Freddie the Frog Wins!

A few days ago, in my post titled Fish “Fry,” I asked myself which would be first to show up at the pond, a frog or a heron.  The question was answered today. It is a frog. I spent time on the patio this afternoon, repairing the gas grill. When I finished, I knelt at the edge of the pond in the shade. I was looking for some of the baby fish or “fry.” Suddenly on my right, I saw a streak arc into the water with a splash. I didn’t really see it well enough to identify it as a frog, but my fifteen years of experience as a pond owner says, “it is a frog.” Where did he come from? Our yard is on the edge of a wetland, or “swamp,” as I refer to it. This year there is plenty of water in it too. The swamp also has plenty of food for the frogs. Why did Freddie pick my pond over the swamp?

This moment verified that the pond is one step closer to ecological balance. Now, I await the villan. When will Bruce, the Great Blue Heron, show up?

The Best “You”

Everyday, I try to do “something” that will make me a better version of myself. Sometimes the “something” is questionable, but it is “something.” It’s kind of like the Nike comercial, “Just Do It.”

One of my favorite people is Benajmin Franklin. He was always making lists of something that he could do to improve his life. He kept logs and journals to record his progress. I can’t refute that his life was not productive, it was, he is responsible for some of the world’s greatest inventions, (Daylight savings time, public libraries, etc.) Another guru in the world of Quality Control by the name of Joe Juran coined the phrase, “if you can measure it, you can improve it.” After forty years in product design, I can attest to his credibility with that one. Measurement is one key to making improvements.

In my own life, I keep logs, lists, and diaries of the goals that are important to me. Many of them have titles like “Dates With Peg, Theaters visited,  People to call, and People to Pray For.”   The lists remind me of my goals to improve in various areas of my life. One of my favorite motivational speakers is Matthew Kelly. He introduced me to the phrase, “Make yourself the best version of yourself that you can be.” I love it. The challenge does not imply that you should become the best in the world but rather the best you are able to become. Is that being too easy on yourself?  Certainly, one can always set the bar a silly millimeter higher. Just think, if a person makes himself a little better today than he was yesterday, how much better would he be in 365 days, or in ten years, or in a lifetime? The object is to make the goals and take the steps, baby steps, toward self improvement.

Legacy Book

Barb At 30

Barb At 30

Memories evoke emotions. Today, I scanned a series of photos. All of them brought tears to my eyes. The emotions stirred deep as I viewed my Barbara as a bride, young mother, and grandmother. I actually screamed at her, “why?” It doesn’t help, it won’t bring her back. The scream merely let me vent an emotion that is long over due.

Her prayers and poems did the same. She saved every poem that she thought was beautiful, or conveyed her own thinking. Some of them were insights into her future. Others were directed at me and the kids expressing her love. I scanned a bunch of them. Her five year anniversary is nearing, and I want to give each of the children a “Legacy Book.” The book will contain her favorite poems, prayers, and the journal she kept while going through chemo-therapy twenty-nine years ago. I will add the photos of her as a child with her parents, and as a young nurse. I’ll include Barb’s geneology in the form of a family tree. The information will be spotty since only Aunt Marie remains from her family. At ninety-three, Marie’s memory is not what she would like it to be. 

Barb’s children and grandchildren need to have this memento of her. The love she conveys to us in her clippings, and writings is real. She loved us in life, and she left us with many reminders of how much she loved each of us. I hope the book has the same effect on the kids as it does on me everytime I work on it.

This Thursday,  July 10, Barbara would have celebrated her seventieth birthday. Instead we will celebrate her fifth birthday into the kingdom of heaven. There is a special mass for her Thursday, and I will attend. It is one way to be near her again.

 I will present the Legacy Book to the kids a month from now on the anniversary of her death.

Fish “Fry”

The pond in June 2008

The pond in June 2008

One of the goals for the garden is to create a pond that is totally natural. An eco-system that is completely self supporting. Well this morning I had another “Fuzzy Moment.”  I was planting some new water lillies that I got from my friend Kay. To plant them, I first placed a piece of root stock into a perforated pot in soil, then I covered the soil with stones.  I layed an extension ladder on the ground across the pond, and layed a board over the rungs. With this set up I could walk across the pond over the ladder. Instead, I chose to lay on the board and lower the new water plants to the bottom. This was the first time I lay over the top of this pond. As I peered into the water, hundreds of very tiny transparent fish swam beneath me. Wow! I have babies. The eco-system is working.

Peg has noticed that the larger fish are very hungry lately. They are becoming less shy, and will break water to grab a food pellet when she tosses them in. Most likely it is because they are now in competition with the babies for the larva that  had satisfied them before.

The simplest things in life amuse, and bring me joy. The sight of baby fish was exciting, and brought me a great feeling of satisfaction. Nature is at its best. Things are working.

The next milestone will be the arrival of the frogs.

Conserve or Die

WOW! Our country is two hundred and thirty two years old today. WIll we make it to two hundred and thirty three? Will this country, which was built by people who sought religious freedom, and freedom from the oppression of fuedal systems last another year? I often wonder if we will, but that is negative thinking. It is pessimistic, and I hate pessimism even though I am the master of it. Our country will survive. We will even survive the upcoming election. I figure we can last four years of the next president no matter how uncapable he might be. We, the general population will pay for his incompetancy with a devalued dollar, super high gasoline prices, and a lack of jobs. Most likely he will lead us into a “depression.” 

 I was born at the end of the last depression, and I remember the effects it had on my parents. They did everything they could to conserve and preserve what they had in order to survive another depression. Mom saved everything, Dad worked two jobs, and collected scrap. He sold the spare wheels off his car. If something wasn’t necessary, they lived without.

I’m not sure I could live up to that kind of lifestyle. I am positive that, 98% of the population of the U.S.A. would not. The only ones who could are the illegal aliens who came here with the shirts on their backs. The rest of us would take to starving, or stealing to survive.

Conservation is what it will take to get ready for a  “depression.” A mindset that focuses on those things that are necessary to survive. Grow food, sew clothes, repair shoes, preserve food, and walk or ride a bike to get places.

If the next president begins to tax us as I suspect he will, business is going to take a dive. More business will leave the country to avoid taxation. That means our jobs leave too. Of course we could leave to live in Mexico, or China, or Zimbabwe, or wherever the hell the jobs go. Or, we will rise up and challenge the government to provide more, by taxing the rich. Impeach the man who suggests that the American people should be industrious and work for themselves. Perish the htought. 

It’ll be a fun time, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m looking for every volume of Foxfire I can find. I want to learn the ways of survival from the mountain people of Appalachia. If the rest of you are wise, you will do the same, or you might just pick a president who believes in a system of incentives that motivate business and businessmen.

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