Friday, September 26, 2008

It's a Johnny Appleseed Friday Five

Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!

September 26, 1774 was his birthday. "Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.

As Johnny traveled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.

So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!
(I'm sorry the font is so wierd! Today's score is Blogger 1, Zorra 0.)

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)
I LOVE apple dumplings. Last October I posted my favorite recipe here.

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?
(Warning: this is sad.) We moved into our new house in December 1991, and the following spring we planted a pecan tree in the backyard, in memory of the baby we had lost in September 1991. That tree now towers over the house, is the centerpiece of the back yard and patio, and has given us wonderful pecans for many years. Ike took a lot of them this year, but he didn't get them all!

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?
I love roaming around the countryside with the Scientist, but I would not enjoy a nomadic lifestyle. I'm too much of a homebody for that.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?
How about a family historical legend? Supposedly I had an ancestor who was attempting to manage the farm by herself while her husband was off fighting in The War (if you're asking "which war?" I know you're not from the South). Legend has it that a lone Yankee soldier walked up to the house, and the dog began to bark. He raised his pistol to shoot the dog. My ancestor appeared on the porch, aimed her shotgun at him, and said, "You shoot that dog, and I'll shoot you." Legend has it that he turned and walked away. Every Southern family has at least one story like that--I hope mine is true!

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?
Sometimes I sing a psalm, like the praise song set to Psalm 18:
I will call upon the Lord
Who is worthy to be praised.
So shall I be saved from mine enemies.
The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted
The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted

It helps!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm such a nerd.

Did you see the article today about how the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the penny will be replaced in 2009 with several new designs to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth? Very cool, at least to me. I collected pennies when I was a child, and kept them in a little display book. For a while I had a 1909 VDB that my parents brought me from a Memphis coin shop, but I took it out to look at it so many times that I finally lost it. (It was worth about $5.00 in those days.) I think I still have a 1943 penny, made of steel.

Anyway, the lovely "wheat ears" penny above, 1909-1958, was replaced by the (boring) Lincoln Memorial in 1959. As time marches on, there are fewer and fewer of these in circulation. A few weeks ago I picked up my change in the grocery store, and--lo and behold! In my delight, I showed the cashier: "Look! A wheat ears penny!" She gazed at it, and then at me, with a look of uncomprehending disdain (a look I've received quite often over the years). I didn't care. That little prize made my day.

So what good is a penny these days? Not much, and perhaps they should be discontinued. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy finding these commemorative editions. (You can laugh--it's OK. I know I'm a nerd.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random post-Ike bullets

  • We're still fine, with electricity, good water pressure, and plenty to eat. Thank you, God.
  • Our only problem right now is scarcity of gasoline. The few stations that are open have extremely long lines most of the day. Early this morning I did slip into a station where I only had to wait behind one other car. There was a $20.00 limit, cash only, but that brought me up to about 5/8 of a tank. When the Scientist went by there later in the morning, he was only able to pump $5.00 worth before the pump ran dry! But we both should have enough for the rest of the week.
  • My supervisor has no power at home, and brought his sweet Cavalier King Charles spaniels to work yesterday and today. They follow him all around the building, and their tails wag in unison.
  • Our pastors came for the early service on Sunday, and then had to head home to deal with storm-related problems. We had a nice do-it-yourself 11:15 service, with about 40 people. We kept it short. Our deacon was the man of the hour, showing up with a cooler full of iced drinks. Most of our church friends still don't have electricity.
  • Reluctant to waste the water with which we had filled the tub, the Scientist brought my favorite 3-quart saucepan into the bathroom and turned off the water to the toilet. Yes, we've been bailing the bathtub to flush the toilet. He said, "The engineer in me wants to see how long the water lasts." It lasted until tonight.
  • Favorite Lurker spent two nights with us. Her deadbolted French doors flew open in the middle of the storm, and she sat on the floor in the dark with her back against them for more than two hours. She was exhausted when she got to our house on Sunday, bearing the contents of her refrigerator. After we ate her goat Brie and homemade date bars, and drank a bottle of wine, she had a hot shower and a good night's sleep in an air-conditioned room. Much better.
  • We went to the Scientist's lab on Saturday and Sunday for "mouse duty". The lab mice are in special sealed cages with filtered air, and can only survive for a day if the power is off and the lids are on the cages. They were all fine, and we moved them to another room where we could remove the lids and leave the cages open on top (they don't try to climb out, but busily scurry around the cage and through their little "enrichment" tunnels). Nocturnal creatures, they were quite active and seemed to be enjoying the extended "night".
  • 1.5 million people in metro Houston are still without power. Tens of thousands along the Texas and Louisiana coasts are suffering. Remember them tonight.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All clear

We made it! Unlike 95% of the people around us, our subdivision has water and power. There was no damage to our house or to my MIL's house. We only lost a section of seventeen-year-old fence.

So much for this year's pecan crop:

...and next year's peaches. (This was our fourth peach tree since 1991, and I think we are finally ready to accept that we're not meant to grow peaches in this yard!)
And O my poor caladiums!
Like everyone else, we had a long and anxious night, but our area had only light damage compared to the storm surge areas on the coast, and Houston itself. You won't be seeing our county on the news. We went into the Scientist's lab today to check on the mice (they were fine), and saw less damage in town than we had expected to see. Many billboards were damaged, and a number of trees were broken or uprooted, but we saw little severe damage to buildings along the highways where we were. Only emergency crews are allowed downtown, so our views of the skyscrapers with the broken windows are the same as yours--on TV only.

Please pray for the many thousands who are without electricity, water, and in many cases, homes. Thank God the storm has passed.

P.S. I've been catching up on blogs, and I have to say I'm puzzled. How could there be so many people who were not waiting for a hurricane yesterday?

Friday, September 12, 2008


He's home! We are going to gather some stuff and go down to my MIL's house soon. I can't get a good wireless connection at her house, so I probably won't post again until after the storm (assuming I have electricity with which to post then,which is a big assumption). Thank you for your prayers.


He called about an hour ago. He had stopped for lunch! He should be here before long.

Impressive footage on TV of waves already slamming the Galveston seawall.

Turning on the TV and seeing Michael Chertoff: not a good sign.

Breezy here, with a light overcast.


He called just after 10:30. He's on his way and should have no traffic or weather problems at this time. I expect him by 2:00 or 2:30.

Sounds of sawing and hammering coming from next door. However, only one or two of my neighbors have boarded their windows at this point. Potential flying objects are all inside now.

Beautiful sunny day...a light, pleasant breeze has picked up in the past couple of hours....


Thanks for your prayers! We are far enough west of the projected landfall, and far enough away from the coast, that we are not in an evacuation zone. In our area, Fort Bend County, we anticipate sustained tropical storm-force winds, with possibly some Category 1-level winds. It won't be fun, but we should be all right. As far as water, food, batteries, etc., we're ready.

The Scientist intends to leave San Antonio mid to late morning, so he should be back by mid afternoon. I don't think the projected tropical storm winds will have materialized that far west by then, but please pray for his safety on the road. The evacuation has gone very smoothly--nothing like the nightmare before Rita--so there has been no need to make I-10 contraflow, which could have impeded his return.

I'm going to take Amie to get her arthritis shot before the vet closes. I'll update again later.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New week coming

Busy week ahead, but possibly less stressful than last week. I am pleased to report that I have increased my agency days to four and will be cutting my practice back to one day a week, if that. This should definitely lower my stress level.

Speaking of stress, have you seen Ike's latest projected path? The Scientist will be away later in the week, and it remains to be seen whether or not I will need to follow him...with my ailing MIL and three dogs in tow. We've been through a Category 3, and that was scary but managable. Right now I'm thinking that I won't leave unless it's going to be stronger than that. But I'm not thrilled about the idea of being separated from the Scientist during a hurricane.

Watching the weather report. Trying to remember to just BE.