Saturday, November 29, 2008


A happy Thanksgiving. Margy's family, less oldest brother Bill, all came for the occasion. Dan, the family patriarch now in his 94th year, no longer wishes to make the long trip to Virginia as we have done the past few years so all came to see him. Nephews Brian from NC and Daniel from LA. came the farthest.

The usual feast with a turkey and all the fixin's. Stuffed portabellas for the vegetarians. Nice pies for dessert. Everyone ate too much and staggered to the living room to be inert for a while.
Some nice walks and time with Dan sorting papers and conversation and an entertaining game of Trivial Pursuit last night with the Frysinger Sibs snatching a come from behind victory from The Kids while Team Spouses shot out of the gate but limped woefully to the finish.

Fun to have Jake and Lizzy pouring their energy on the group. We shake our heads in wonder at the parent's stamina.

All but Daniel left after lunch today. A quiet settles upon the house.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Camera Repair

Robin wants a camera that uses film to take portraits of people at Botten Vilage. With access to a darkroom she wants to do some B & W work the old fashioned way. The camera she was using was not working correctly. Could I fix it and send it?

I fixed cameras for a living for 25 years working out of a small room in the basement, going to town twice a week to pick up and deliver the work. It was good work that paid a decent hourly wage with the flexibility to allow for raising children and building our house.

But I haven't fixed a camera in several years and skills fade. I'd never worked on Robin's camera so decided to give her my old Canon AE-1 Program. This camera, introduced in 1981, was the follow up to the AE-1, which was possibly the most popular camera ever. And it was one of my favorite cameras to fix.

I check out my camera, which hadn't been used in years, and what do you know, "The Canon Squeal". This little problem was a boon to my industry. A little train of gears(see pic) which slowed the rising of the mirror would make this annoying squealing sound. I never saw it get so bad as to cause the camera to be inoperative but customers didn't like it and the fix was to take the camera apart and put a drop of oil on the gears. Nice job.

So I did this once again after a long hiatus and it was fun. Had to use a little drawing for which wires go where but the fingers still remember how to do the tools.

Now does anyone know where I can get a Canon FD 28-80mm Macro Zoom for cheap?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A perfectly dreary day

Lucy needs a walk. It's been raining all morning but let up a bit so off we go, our usual route to the church and up around Dad's field. Earlier this week a deer was hit along Marengo Road and the vultures have been workin' on it, trying to get their share before the game warden hauls it away. When we come by they move to the trees to wait. I just saw 7 but Margy saws dozens yesterday.

I turn Lucy loose in the field and off she goes this way and that boppin' and weavin' nose to the ground. The nose knows. She is posessed.

I leash her again and we head further down Marengo to the end of Hank's field then left down the farm road to the creek and she's off again.

It's starts to rain again but it's warm so it's nice. Wet grass, wet shoes,wet feet, wet dog. A subdued pallet of colors and earthy smells. We walk home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hornet Nest

This hornet nest is made by bald faced hornets. It's not something you'd want to mess with as they will attack en masse but in general a good critter to have around as they eat other insects. They begin building the nest in the spring and leave it after the first heavy frost. Queen hornets start the nest and then workers expand the nest by chewing up wood that mixes with a starch in their saliva, which they spread to dry into paper. Nests have been found over three feet in length. Bald faced hornets are found throughout North America.

This nest is in a Purple River Beech that Margy gave me for a birthday gift some fifteen years ago. This tree is deep maroon through out the summer turning a gorgeous bronze in the fall. A very slow growing tree.

Now that the hornet's nest is empty I think I'll take it down and hang it in my shop porch as an object d'art.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Robin

Dear Robin,

Yes, it was an historic day. Margy stayed up for the finish, to hear his victory speech, and cried tears of joy. I read the speech today and got a lump in my throat. We want so much to believe in honesty, and integrity and truth and the power of love and the ability of people to help one another and we are so often disappointed. But this night we were not disappointed. Barack Obama speaks words we are longing to hear from our leaders. I do not envy him his seemingly insurmountable task but I am grateful he is being given the chance.
We had the 60's where we made a little difference, I think, in ending a war and in women's rights and civil rights and we questioned the value of material wealth. And then the easy money of the 70's was so alluring and too hard to resist and we turned to raising children and the movements lost their drive. Barack is giving new hope to your generation that it is your turn and that you can make a difference.
It will seem too slow. It will seem that not enough people are helping. But all you can do is the task before you. The work you are doing now is making a difference in someone's life. Every interaction that you have with others is an opportunity to make a contribution to a more loving, peaceful world.

Take care. Be well. We miss you.

Love, Dad

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Storm Tree Damage

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled around the house. Hundreds of pine cones fell as the pines swayed. We sat safe and warm in the living room. Then an ominous sound, not much of a snap or crack, but a heavy thump, something big ... hitting the roof? I took a flashlight outside and looked about the house a bit but nothing to be seen.

Not until the next day did Margy find the source. The top 30 feet of the big pine right next to the garage/shop had snapped off. It didn't hit the shop roof, or the porch roof, or the lamp post. It didn't take out the power line or the young pine I've been encouraging. It took down one branch from another tree and kicked a bunch of dirt on the steps. It couldn't have fallen any other place and done less damage.

Now I have to see if I can drop the remaining thirty feet in the same place. But first I'm going to do something really sweet for someone to replenish my good karma.

Today I was thinkin' I might leave 10' of this tree standing and make a totem pole. That'd be cool wouldnit?