Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The past weekend was Memorial Weekend, the national holiday which usually coincides with the end of school and thus begins the summer vacation time, but its origin of intent was to remember and to say thanks to all of those good people who have served in our military, who have perhaps lost lives, limbs, and their sanity in doing so.

I will admit to being one who has largely regarded this weekend primarily as the beginning of summer with all of the trappings of sitting by pool, barbequing and such, drinking a few chilly brews, and have given very little reverence for this day to remember those who have served in the military. It has not been out of disrespect, perhaps it’s more of a disconnected feeling from those who have seen battle or even just spent years of their lives doing their duty, because I personally, and luckily, did not, but I do appreciate those who did.

My husband is a veteran and served three years of his youth during the Viet Nam era, but who fortunately became a photography teacher for the army rather than have to have gone to the battle field and kill or be killed for that very unjust and unpopular war. My father, served in the Korean Conflict during the 50’s, and he did see the horrors of combat personally, was wounded, earned medals of highest honor, and spent many years of my youth awakened by his night mares of Chinese fighters shooting at him in the Korean mountains.

In the words of the rock song from the 70’s!” rings a truth that we humans simply can not figure out how to deal with and/or avoid. “War..huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” Repeatedly through out mankind’s history wars have sprung up for all sorts of reasons, lives have been lost, boundaries changed, technologies have been pushed, cities destroyed, and bits of civilization and knowledge have been lost forever. To what end? It is a truly baffling mystery. It sure would be a super world if wars were no more and being a veteran was an obsolete occupation and was a thing of the past, a place were folks just got along. Nice fantasy. Imagine…

Any way the weekend was nice and long, and it did allow for some good and much needed relaxation, dinner with friends and family, reading by the pool, and the big green egg got a stiff workout cooking lots of ribs and veggies.

Twenty eight years ago today was the birthday of my geriatric mare, Limerick. Born on Memorial Day, her then owners who were serving in the military at that time, decided to honor the day by naming her G.E Commemorative. It’s a bit of a full mouth of a name and no one questioned why they named her after a light bulb company, so when I bought her as a yearling I called her Limerick to limit the confusion and shorten the writing on the halter plate. She was a Hanoverian through and through, tough, opinionated, very talented, and worked when she wanted to, or not. She could jump the moon and buck just as well, and many a time I found myself without a saddle to land on. But when Limerick was playing nice with me, we won everything we entered. It was either a first place blue, or last. She has spent the last couple of years being a nanny to my weanlings and always did a super job teaching them manners. She always kicked them high, if they needed it, being careful not to damage those potentially expensive legs. Twice I have called the vet to come do the final closing for her when she has been acting or moving like she felt very bad, and both times she has foiled that plan and has met us at the fence with a whinny and a canter, clearly not ready to go just yet. Today she will get many carrots, chopped fine so she can chew them carefully, and a nice grooming. Limerick gave me many good memories, and taught me a great deal, along with a few broken fingers, and a dislocated jaw once, and she is deserving of a peaceful retirement in her little pasture and barn, forever how long she decides to hang on, and at this rate it will be totally her decision.

The Purple Martin colony is noisy and raucous with the growing chicks in the gourds sticking their yellow rimmed mouths out to the frantic parents who continually fly by to stuff them with dragon flies and whatever bug is prey. Today unfortunately, one of the chicks made an error in judgment, or was pushed, and left the nest too early. I saw the brancher sitting on the fence line below the pole where its house was, and a male adult kept flying to it, seeming to encourage some flying. Occasionally the parent would just sit on the wire next to the baby, but for whatever reason, the chick either couldn’t or wouldn’t try to fly and eventually it hopped to the ground and hid in a rose bush. Marely, the Yorkie, smelled it and brought it to me in her mouth and the poor little bird gripped my finger as I took it from her, and it slowly closed its eyes and let go. I know mortality is high for the chicks but I just hate to see one so close to making it adulthood die right there in my hand, so pretty, and very sad. Perhaps it was nature’s way of making sure its remaining siblings had enough to eat, or perhaps it was just bad timing on the chick’s part. Either way Mom nature can sure deal out cruel blows along with all the other good stuff.

The weather has finally turned to summer and perhaps one of the only, if not the best, redeeming feature of enduring the torture of a southern summer, it is a homegrown tomato. There simply is no substitute for one still warm from the sunshine, sliced thin, and juicy. The first of our tomatoes have turned red and I picked three this morning and plan on some ‘mater sandwiches with mayonnaise and salt and pepper for dinner.
It is a pure and yummy goodness like no other. A cold watermelon is almost a good second, and then there are cantaloupes too.

In the past few years our tomato plants have succumbed to a virus or some form of wilting disease but so far, (knock, knock on head) they are looking incredible thanks to a new location and many piles of nicely composted horse manure tilled into the ground before planting them. The plants are tall and vigorous and loaded with large green fruit, waiting for the sun to turn them red, although there is much to be said for a fried green one too, so many choices, but such a good problem to have.

The heat of the day is closing and off I head to feed the herd and take Lim her birthday snacks and some to Frank who also had a birthday this week, one year old now. Happy Birthdays to them both…and  many more....

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