Sometime in 2020 I held a brushfire. My friend came over for marshmallows, hot dogs, and beer. Once the sun was good and down a couple of deer ran across the yard right near us. It was a good time during what was a rough year.
Weeks later I had a fire by myself during daylight. When it was put out, I found blue smoke:
Points To Ponder:
“Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, and aliment, without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.” – James Madison
A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down and a spoonful of silliness makes the workday go better.
Last summer, my nephews came to visit me in Rhode Island and they played soccer on the porch in pouring rain and lightning. They were completely unmanageable. A bit later there was small hail. This was the second time I had seen hail. The first was in New Hampshire in the late eighties. Interesting.
Later that same day, we saw a rainbow:
Still later that same day, we saw a whole family of turkeys walk right across the yard. A row of little turkeys followed the adult. After that, we were playing hide-and-seek and I got stung by a wasp. A giant wasp nest was in the hedge near where I had previously found a bird nest. It was a wild day in the middle of a wild year.
Weeks later, I visited my nephews in New Hampshire and took a photo of this creek surrounded by flowers:
Points To Ponder:
“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” – Jesus, Matthew 19:14, NLT
This past summer, I trimmed the hedge around the yard and exposed a bird nest:
The birds never came back ☹
The twenty-first century will one day be remembered as the age when men were free to appropriate the cultural dress codes of women and enter women’s bathrooms and locker rooms at will, yet white children could not darken their skins to transition into a black person on Halloween.
After living in the same house for 106 years, my grandfather died in 2020. I was tasked with helping to sort through the stuff in the house and the barn/garage. Apparently, my grandparents never threw anything away. It was like visiting a museum! Many things were either garbage or commonplace items, but there were also more than a few objects of interest, some of them quite old.
The model barn shown above was under the basement stairs and nobody knows why it exists. There were also a collection of several gas lamps, including one that had been converted to electricity. There were two towel racks of the kind that stick to the wall and splay out. There was a butter churn that I never saw before it was sold, but I am told it was the kind with crank and paddles and it was glass.
Also in the basement was a tabletop grain mill. There was a “demagnetizer.” When he was alive, my grandfather showed me how it would suck a long bolt through it and spit it out the other side.
In the storeroom was what appeared to be a model of a Victorian “fainting couch.” Only later did we find a note indicating that it was once used as a doll couch. There was also a doll in an old carriage.
Paintings found in every room in the house were painted by my mother. Most of them were of birds or landscapes. There were so many, we had to get rid of some of them.
My grandparents also had quite the collection of china sets that they never used, fancy glassware, and fancy candles, such as this snail:
In the barn were cobbling tools. My grandmother used to make clothes for the family, but no one remembers anybody making shoes. There were also milk bottles, potatoe sacks, and nail kegs from companies no one has ever heard of. There were two old metal trash cans. There was a collection of old doors in the slowly-collapsing shed.
There were railroad spikes. There was a railroad lock on the bracket of a shelf in the barn that nobody had ever been able to find a key for. My grandfather did used to work as the guy who put the crossing bar up and down, but this lock was already there when his parents bought the place.
The barn used to be a schoolhouse and we found a single desk hidden in the corner. It appears that when placed in a row and bolted to the floor, the kids would sit on the chair part of the one in back and use the desk part of the one in front. No wonder pigtails were pulled!
Then there were the numerous tools, such as the post digger, and the pitchfork, and the wheelbarrow I used to take rides in as a kid. Look at all this cool stuff!
2020 has been a very strange year. I let the water run dry on my boiling green beans three times! They smelled like burnt tobacco. A lot of my projects were put on hold and I travelled hardly at all. However, I did take a few walks around the neighborhood:
We apparently have some artistic neighbors. A few miles down the road somebody has filled their yard with giant metal insects and spiders. On the way there is a boulder recently painted with an ocean scene and a holly bush.
These are some other things I saw on walks around the neighborhood in RI:
Points To Ponder:
“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.” – Psalms 19:1
“Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.” – 1st Corinthians 10:31
“I have witnessed real faith and genuine sincerity in the holy places of many different religions, and in every case my heart responded to them. I will be entering many more churches and holy places and see a good deal more, I’m sure; but to me the best church of all is the sky’s starry dome above. The whole of nature is my temple, and so are my room and my small heart, as long as it is alive and beating.” – Svetlana Alliluyeva
“I’ve read enough books in their entirety to know that if I persevere and keep reading, things will make sense, and I might even be changed in the process of making sense of them…God, the Master Author, writes every chapter of our lives with the aim of character development. He patiently works in us through the mundane and the problematic. He adds odd passages and tedious side plots. He weaves our lives with those of other characters through unexpected and even bizarre ways. Yet, when we turn the last page, it will be the beginning. There will be no more wistfulness. There will be no more wondering.” – Klara Holscher
I find it very curious that people find it so easy to believe one guilty of a crime such as rape, murder, fraud, or insider trading, yet find it so difficult to believe one guilty of a crime such as falsely accusing another of such a crime. Curious indeed.
So, what’s new in the grocery store salsa aisle in 2020?
Mrs. Renfro’s Craft Beer Salsa:
This medium salsa tastes a lot like bit-too-salty tomatoes with no detectable beer. It contains tomatoe, onion, Rahr Texas Red American Amber Beer, brown sugar, jalapeno pepper, chipotle pepper, ancho pepper, guajillo pepper, cilantro, garlic, citric acid, and corn starch for some reason.
Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa:
This hot salsa is fantastic and goes with everything. I never get tired of it. The quirky habanero flavor comes through and compliments the sweet tomatoes. It contains tomatoe, jalapeno, green chile, onion, garlic, cilantro, habanero, vinegar, and corn starch.
Mrs. Renfro’s Green Salsa:
This salsa is slimy and contains only jalapeno, which is probably why it tastes that way, but who can be sure?
Mrs. Renfro’s Black Bean Salsa:
This salsa is good, but nothing special. It has black beans.
Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa:
It’s very hot and kind of smoky, reminding me of chipotle. Then again, it might have been my tongue that was smoking…
This salsa just tastes like tomatoes in vinegar. It contains tomatoes, jalapeno, vinegar, garlic, onion, green chile, cilantro, and salt.
Jardine’s Ghost Pepper Salsa:
This salsa I thought was a bit runny and very hot. The lime was detectable and it tasted otherwise like bit-too-salty tomatoes. It contains tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, ghost chile, onion, lime juice, and potatoe starch.
Field Day Garlic Cilantro Salsa:
The garlic and cumin were quite noticeable in this salsa. I certainly wasn’t complaining. It contains tomatoe, onion, cilantro, lime, cumin, black pepper, garlic, jalapeno, and cider vinegar.
Siesta Salsa Bacon Salsa:
This very mild, fine-chopped salsa tastes just like tomatoes and bacon! There are no bacon bits in it, but the essence permeates the vegetables. It goes well paired with meat.
Taste of Inspirations Three-Bean Salsa:
This salsa is mislabeled! It is actually chili! Let me start over…
This hot chili is wonderful and can be used in any application that calls for chili. It contains red beans, white beans, black beans, red bell pepper, tomatoe, onion, jalapeno, lime, garlic, and cilantro.
I visited the Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island sometime in October 2020. I needed to get out and get some air and get away from people. I was surprised how crowded it was.
It smelled like fall and looked like fall. Leaves were falling everywhere. So were acorns. One missed me by less than a meter. Sometimes I think the trees are trying to get my attention to warn me about something. Then again, they may just be mad I walked on their toes.
In a ten-foot radius from one spot I found seven “oak apples.” They looked lonely, so I gathered them together.
Not far from there was a pond on the other side of which was a house with a giant boulder in the yard, a small cemetery, and some grapevines. I took pictures of flowers and things.
By this time, I had noticed a pattern. Many trees had dark, vertical marks on them, which in some cases had swollen into ridges. Could these be allergic reactions to dragon scratches?
On the far edge of the park was a stone wall bordering a small clearing that appears to be at the end of a long driveway. No houses are in view. It’s as if people wanted a secret spot in the middle of the woods to conduct human sacrifices or something and the Audubon put a trail right next to it. The nerve!
Further along the trail, I found a dragon tooth! Suddenly, it all made sense!
This wildlife refuge is where they sacrifice people to the autumn dragon for a bountiful harvest! No wonder it smells like fall here! The dragon’s scent has even caused the leaves to break out in spots!
No wonder the parking lot was so full! It’s not because this is a popular hiking spot; it’s because most people never leave! I should have known all along!!!
I also saw a woodpecker. That was nice.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.