Saturday, 15 August 2020

Hay Cemetery

    It seems that this year the fashion of choice for hay bales is white plastic.  These plastic-clad bales now litter the countryside.  The other day when I noticed this field, it struck me how much the distant white bales looked like tombstones in a manicured cemetery.  
    While I realize this new method of baling hay probably protects the hay better through rain and winter, I find it sad and defeating.   What will happen to all these thousands and thousands of miles of white sheets of plastic, when the hay bales are unwrapped in six months?   The earth really doesn’t need more plastic to clog up dumpsites and poison animals as it breaks down.
    While a lot of little people do try to do what they can to not damage the earth further, it seems that industry goes out of its way to create new things to destroy it.  

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Friday, 14 August 2020

Mudcrutch: Hearing Tom Petty Again

    I was a huge Tom Petty fan and was devastated that afternoon in October of 2017 when I heard on the radio that Tom Petty was brain-dead and was taken to the hospital where he later died.  I don’t remember any other singer’s death hitting me as hard as his.  I always felt a kinship of sorts with Tom Petty because I could tell from his songs, that growing up he had listened to, and loved the same music that I had.  When he died I hated the fact that I would no longer be hearing new music from him.
    When he was alive I bought most of his albums as they came out.  Because I liked him, I knew basic things about his life, one of which was the fact that he had a band called “Mudcrutch” when he was first in LA trying to get a record deal.  
    I was completely unaware that in 2008 Petty re-assembled the musicians in Mudcrutch and made an album under that name.  Included in the band was his amazing Heartbreaker’s guitarist Mike Campbell, along with Tom Leadon (guitar, vocals) and Heartbreaker Benmont Tench (keyboard, vocals).  Tom Petty played the bass on the album.  
    I first became aware of the album about a month ago when I saw it on Apple Music.  I eagerly clicked on it to hear what Mudcrutch sounded like.   Wow !!!  Love at first listen.   What a wonderful treat to hear Petty along with those beautiful crisp driving backups.   I have been listening to the album ever since.
    Obviously, I am not the most diligent of musical followers, because I had been totally unaware of the 2008 Mudcrutch album (it was just today I discovered there is a Mudcrutch 2 album recorded in 2016).          
    While I may be late in my discovery of Mudcrutch, it has been a really wonderful belated surprise for me.

Here is a link to a video of “Scare Easy” one of the songs on Mudcrutch:

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

No Stoping

    The mudslide up the road has now settled down, but there still remains some potential danger for people driving past the area.  To warn of the danger the Ministry of Highways has located this sign on Mountain View Road near Koeneman Park.  It gave me a laugh when I first read the flashing warnings:  
            “LOOSE GRAVEL.........SLIDE AREA.........NO STOPING”
     No Stoping?????
    As someone who has made his share of public spelling mistakes over the years, I had to stop (or is that stope?) and take a photo of someone else’s spelling blunder.   As I was taking the shot, a knowledgeable neighbor pulled up behind me and jokingly said something like, “I guess they are restricting mining up the road.”  
    Of course, I didn’t know what he was talking about, until he explained.  Unbeknownst to me, it seems like there is such a thing as “stoping”.  It’s the type of mining where they extract the minerals in steps or layers.  Who knew.
    I doubt that whoever programmed this sign knew anything about mining techniques, but just to play it safe I will not do any stopping or stoping up the road.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Whose Been Sleeping in My Raspberries?

    Our raspberries grow in a circular shaped patch in what used to be my Angora goat paddock.  The other day I went out to check if any raspberries were ripening and noticed that there seemed to have been some animal that had made a path into the interior of the raspberry patch.  When I walked closer to have a better look, I noticed that the canes in the center of the patch had been all smashed down, like something had slept there.
    At first I thought it might have been a deer, but then it seemed more reasonable that it was a bear that had snuggled down, surrounded by tasty berries, an arm’s reach in any direction.
    I walk past the patch every day to get a sprig of spearmint for our iced tea.   I am now a bit more observant and careful when I get close to the raspberries.  I don’t want any surprises.

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Monday, 10 August 2020

Hay, They Got It Off

    Through all that rain and showers during July, the watched as all that hay growing in the fields matured, then over matured, and the rain kept falling.  
    “The hay crop this year is really going to be a bust,” we told ourselves, “It’s going to be as bad as last year; they’ll never have a chance to cut and bale it.”
    Fortunately we were wrong.  There was an unexpected break in the weather that provided some hot sunny days, and suddenly bales of hay can be seen everywhere, and there are a lot of them.  All that rain really made the hay grow.

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Sunday, 9 August 2020

Fresh Snow on the Mountains

    What a year, we really haven’t had a proper summer yet and when the clouds began to open up in the evening yesterday, we saw fresh snow on the mountains.  Such an event could happen in any month of the year, but after being beaten about by all of the crappy weather we have experienced this year, the snow seemed like a harbinger of an early fall.

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Saturday, 8 August 2020

My MG Midget

    When I graduated from university, for a graduation present my parents told me they would buy me a car.   My cousin had a red Triumph sports car that she allowed me to drive once, and that was great fun, so I decided I would really like a sports car too.  After looking at what was available I decided on a British Racing Green, MG Midget.
    After being behind the wheel of the family’s old Ford pickup, a 1954 Chevy, a 1961 Chevy station wagon, and an old used VW Beetle, driving my own new MG sports car was quite an exciting treat.
    I quickly learned that all of the other local sports car  owners (there weren’t that many) would always give a friendly wave when they saw you.  It was gratifying to be in such a elite group.
    I will always remember driving home one summer’s night (morning) with the top down.  I was on an empty rural road,  the stars were sparkling in the night sky, my hair blowing in the warm breeze, and Joni Mitchell was singing “Chelsea Morning” on the late night radio program.  It all seemed perfect.
    After graduation, I went off to Hawaii for Peace Corp training.  I dropped out after the training, wanting to get back and do what I could, to fight for an end of the Vietnam War.  I returned to my MG and soon found myself living in Indianapolis, working in a Goodwill Store as a Conscientious Objector.
    One memorable MG event happened when I was driving back to Indianapolis after a weekend away.  I was on an Interstate Highway, I had the top down and the wind was in my face.  The cap I had on one of my front teeth was loose, but I didn’t recognize that as a problem.  Then suddenly I had to sneeze, it was a hard sneeze.  The loose cap shot out of my mouth, then was picked up by the wind from the moving car and blew past my ear and was gone, bouncing somewhere down the highway.    
    My life had changed, and the MG was also going through some changes; it’s glory days had past.
    The MG began to constantly break down.  It seemed like every month something when wrong with it.  I was just making a starvation minimum wage at the Goodwill, and I began pondering the fact that the name “MG” stood for “Morris Garages”  I didn’t know anything about Morris Garages, but I was beginning to become all too familiar with MG Service Centers. 
    My MG’s engine caught fire once as I was driving to work.  I sat at a traffic light waiting for it too turn, when I noticed smoke coming up from the side of the car, then I watched stunned, as a big green blister started growing on the “bonnet” (hood) of the MG.  Mechanical problems increased with the MG and it became so unreliable and expensive, I eventually started looking around for a more reliable vehicle.
    I loved that MG for the first few years, but that feeling slowly began to dissipate and I was very happy when someone saw it sitting on my parent’s front lawn with a “For Sale” sign on the windshield and stopped.  The sport car dream had gone from my eyes and I was happy that the guy that came to look still had it in his.  He bought it and drove it out of my life.

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