January 18th, 2009

Winter Doldrums
By James Castwell


We all get them, those 'letters' from our friends each winter about how the past year was for them. As grateful as I am to receive anything in the mail these days, there is something a bit impersonal when I realize that what I got is a ditto of one that went to everyone on their mailing list. I will try not to make this like one of those even though it may be read by more than the two of you guys.

This season for me often is like the adage of the teenager, he was too tall to peek through keyholes and too short to peer over transoms. In between. That's me in January. I know many of you have great adventures at this time but I don't. You ever hear of the small town in upstate Pennsylvania that had on the average four kids per family? They figured out why they were so far above the national average. A long, noisy coal train went through town every morning at 5 AM. Too early to get up and too late to go back to sleep.

I did put a new string on a hanging bird feeder this week. Between the squirrels, racoons and rats the old one wore out. My life has finally turned around for the best. You know how you save all sorts of scrap things? Nuts, washers, bolts, pieces of rope of various sizes? Well, I have been too and now my life has turned around and I am starting to use some of the stuff up. Like the string. I had exactly the right size, material and length to rehang the bird feeder. Life can be beautiful. The birds again love me.

My 'deep-techi' Ron has been sick most of this past week or a few changes might have shown up on here. May take another week to get some of them started I guess. Deanna goes to her shoulder surgeon this coming Tuesday. We got another MRI done as she was complaining that it hurt again. Looks like there is another tear in it. We have the MRI disc with us and will get a second opinion a week from now too. Looks like she may be in for a bit more of something, sure hope not.

We have lost a couple of sponsors lately. The economy is a bit involved but these things happen. Most stay with us for many years but not all. We are grateful for any support we get. Picked up a couple new ones too and have two more in the works so to speak. Got to have them. Hope you mention to any sponsor anytime you can that you appreciate them. It sure does help.

Did you know that an Eastern Grey Squirrel will chase out a sharp-shined hawk? I didn't until I saw it happen. With all my feeders we have lots of birds and the occasional bird eating hawk. It hurts but, heck live goes on. Anyway the hawk swooped into a low cut off stump in the middle of our back yard, about twenty feet from where a hanging feeder is that I fill with sunflower seeds. The big squirrels figure they are theirs. Hawks not welcome. No sooner had the bird landed and stood erect to see what might be on the menu and a big furry grey blur shot straight at him. He barely escaped with all of his feathers attached.

Some of you may remember I had some trouble with my back. It has improved to the point that a couple of pills a day and I can do most anything. The sharp, knife type pains are gone. Figured I might take them all the way along, but got lucky I guess.

Getting a few new guys writing things for us. Whoopie. Love it. New blood. New slant of everything. Hope you have noticed the new names showing up. These seem to be great guys. Not in anyway connected but, if you must know, one of the things on my mind lately is how to make a good enchilada. I can barely boil water or make fudge from a box, but been having fun 'googling' some recipes. Boy, there seem to be hundreds of ways to make one. Actually bought a ready-made one today, will 'nuke the succa' and put some good salsa on it right before I host tonight (Saturday afternoon now). Oh yes, the little film thingy at the end here was shot on a private pond near our house. Had a bit of fun with it. Hope you take it the same way. ~ James Castwell

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Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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