Archive for Strange and Unusual

Differences between the Northerners and the Southerners…

I have a good friend in Maine who decided this year she was going to make her own maple syrup. She was really excited about it, sent me a very knowledgeable article about how to go about it and I was really impressed with her ambition to tackle this project. We make our own cane syrup and that’s a job in itself, so I had a pretty good idea of what she was going to take on all by herself. Here’s a picture of one of the trees on her first day of tapping the syrup…

Cat's Maple Tree Tapping


Interesting, huh?  Looks cold and looks like a lot of work, but wow, how cool, I thought to myself.  I saved this picture to my screensaver.  Today she sends me this picture.  Now keep in mind, our weather here today in Florida is just beautiful, the sun is finally out and the wind is blowing a gale, and I can’t wait to get out in it…)

The Cars in the Yard Today


I looked at this picture and thought, “Wow, what an April Fools Day they are having!”  Then I noticed that odd shape sticking out of the front of the truck.  Emailed her about that…she said “They stand the wipers up so they won’t freeze to the windshields…better than trying to dig them out to warm up the car…”

Well, duh, now that I see that, it makes perfect sense.  Glad we don’t have to do that here in good old sunny Florida…

I proceed to ask her how her maple syrup making is going and  she tells me this and I quote…

“Well, let’s see, my maple syrup experience…where do I begin…We put out 15 taps in maple trees out to camp and in a week I had 35 gallons of sap.  My next part was boiling it down…where we have too much snow this year I couldn’t get to the fireplace.  So with my real smart intelligence that I have I set up two gas cookers in the shed out to camp (the ones used for deep frying a turkey).  I had one going real low to keep the sap hot and the other one boiling like hell, getting the water out of the sap…then I’d add the hot over to the boiling.  Do you know how long it takes to boil down 35 gallons of sap??? I DO!!!  I started at 1:30 p.m. and was still at it at 3:30 a.m., 13 frigging hours…and it was now down to only one gallon left…so I took it in camp and finished it off.  Took about another two hours to get it to 219 degrees…had my jars all ready to put it in.  By then I was so freaking tired…out of 35 gallons of sap I ended up with the grand sum of  5 DAM PINTS of syrup!! I call it liquid gold!!  Everyone has asked me for some…I tell them, “Are you for real!”

15 taps with hoses…$30.00

Trip to camp everyday…gas for car…$30.00

Propane gas to run 2 cookers 13 hours…$35.00

Candy thermometer – $5.00

Cheese cloth for straining…$4.00

Learning experience….PRICELESS!!!

I learned I’ll never do it again!!  So basically that is my maple syrup experience in a nutshell!!”

I had a really good laugh over this and just had to write it down.  Gee…I wonder…should I ask her if she’ll send me a pint of that liquid gold?  By Fedex?  I’d better not…I don’t really like maple syrup THAT much, I’m hooked on the cane syrup.


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The Dam Doll

The Dam Doll

This is a doll I had back when I was about 12 years old.  Back in the 60’s.  They were popular back then.  They were called Trolls and all my friends had at least one.  I also had the little ones with the different color hair.  I’m sure you can still buy them somewhere but I never see the original DAM dolls.  She was made by Thomas Dam and his family in Denmark.  She is about 7 inches high.

I never did name my doll.  I enjoyed calling her my Dam Doll.  I would say, “Has anyone seen my Dam doll?”  or,  “I’m going outside to play with my Dam doll!” and then laugh like crazy.  Mom and Gram both knew why I was doing it and really didn’t say too much because sure enough, it said Dam right on the bottom of her feet!  I’d be sure to point that out if they got on to me about it.

You really have to admire the little dress I made for her.  It’s what you can now call “vintage”.  I cut her hair too.  It used to go down to her feet.  i was into shoulder length, I suppose.   I was always cutting my doll’s hair.

Sure wish I’d kept my original Barbie, Midge and Ken dolls.  I think they’d be worth a small fortune by now.   Story of my life…saved a lot of stuff from childhood and my teenage years but nothing is worth a lot of money.  I sure wouldn’t part with the memories though…

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Some Songs Just Get Stuck In Your Head..

All day long this has played in my head.  I used to love this show.  LOL

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one’ll talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this: “I’m Mister Ed.”

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A Homeless Man and his Dog

Good Dog

About two weeks ago I was headed into town to the post office and came up behind this odd-looking sight on SR 200 right in town near Winn Dixie.  It was a fellow on an old bicycle with a wooden cart attached to the back.  He was pedaling slowly along in the heat .  It must have been at least 93 degrees.  I read the sign he’d tacked on the back of his cart, it said:

 I’m broke, hungry and tired -Lost everything in a house fire in Ohio- Headed to South Florida – God Bless You

In the middle of the cart – propped upright and fully open –  was a large, fading beach umbrella.   It gave the cart a whimsical appeal.  However, I saw an old black Labrador Retriever under it.  He was just laying there, big head up, graying muzzle, looking with disinterest at everything around him.  He also looked hungry and tired. 

 It was the dog that got me.

 I could pass a dozen homeless people, I’m afraid to say, and not feel too badly for them.  They are human.  They can ask for food and water.  They can speak for themselves in most cases.  I’ve handed plenty of coins to begging people on the side of the road, believe me.  I mean, you wouldn’t stand there unless you had to, would you?

 But the dog.  Oh God, that dog.  In just that few moments, I saw the fellow turn around and look back at the Lab, making sure he was okay.  I saw in that man’s eyes a love for that dog, you know?  You could tell he CARED about that animal.  Everything else might be going to hell in a hand basket, but at least he had his buddy with him.

 They passed on by as I went into the post office and when I came back out, I didn’t see them.  I headed back to work.  I could not take my mind off of them.  I got halfway back to work, and did a u-turn while at the same time shaking my wallet for money.  I had eighteen dollars on me.  I could part with it.  All I could see was that dog’s eyes and wonder how long it had been since their last decent meal. 

 It took me several turns and over 10 minutes to find them.  I couldn’t believe how easily they had disappeared!  I went up and down the road  –  thru the intersections – drove thru McDonald’s, Burger King and Hardee’s, thinking perhaps they had cut thru hoping someone would feed them.  As I pulled out of the parking lot at CVS I saw them stopped right there on the corner waiting on the traffic light.  Apparently, they had gone through the parking lot of the gas station.

 The fellow had his back to the traffic and he was lightly petting the dog on the head.  I whipped my car up beside him, right in the lane of traffic, and rolled down the window and loudly said, “Sir!” and he turned around and saw that I was trying to hand him some money.  He put his bike down and ran to the car, took the money, then smiled and thanked me.  Shockingly, I saw that he was not old, he was probably in his 30’s.   Some of his teeth were missing and he was sunburned under his hat, but he was not old.  He ran back to his bike and dog and I pulled away from the curb and almost got run over by a damn log truck, I kid you not. 

 Wouldn’t that have been poetic as hell. 

 I felt good about my small donation.  I hope they make it to their destination safely.  God be with that man and his dog…

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Troubled Times

 Not looking good.  Not looking good at all…

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Firefly Magic

Fireflies at Night

You ever wonder what you would miss most if you suddenly became blind?  

I was thinking that last night as I was out doing my nightly walkabout. Probably because it was so dark and I could hardly see while waiting on my eyes to adjust. I walked right into a tree one night and I knew the darn thing was there. I was groping around for it when my face found it. I also walked right into the back of Tim’s truck another time. It scared me so much I screamed right out loud because I didn’t know what it was at first. The truck is a dark gray color and I thought it was parked somewhere else. I hit it hard and hurt several areas on my body. It hurt enough to make my eyes water and then I stood there giggling  because it scared me so badly. THEN I looked around to see if anyone saw me. You know how you do when you accidentally trip or stumble. Try to act like you did it on purpose. “I really meant to smack into that truck and scream suddenly like that, I did!” 

 Anyway, every year I wait anxiously to see the fireflies come out. I worried this year they may not be so abundant because we had such a cold winter. I watch the woods for that first little white blink…I will see it and perk up…no…it’s the neighbors porch light shining thru the woods…or maybe a car’s headlights over there…so I wait some more…go out every night…look…and eventually, there it is! My first sighting of a lone firefly blinking, winking, floating through the trees. I am always so awed and so dumbly happy to see them it’s pitiful. What’s truly pitiful is the firefly dance I do to welcome them in…but I won’t describe that.   

 Slowly, over the course of a few nights, it becomes a FireFly Family Reunion and I can’t wait for dark every night so I can go watch their gathering.  If you creep to the woods and stand still (which is difficult because apparently the mosquitoes are their kissing cousins) they will come close enough you can reach out and carefully catch one. I like to hold them gently in my closed hand and see their little light flicker through the cracks and then release them. They are so beautiful drifting through the bushes and trees, zigging, zagging, floating, coaxing for a mate. Sometimes it looks like Christmas trees all lit up in the woods. 

With the fireflies come the Whip-poor-wills and for a little while the blend of bird music and tiny lights fill me with pure joy at just being a witness to such a wonderful thing and I’m happy to be alive. I’m grateful I can still see – and hear – even if both those senses are dimming a bit as the years go by. 

I would miss hundreds of things if I was struck blind…and those fireflies would rank in the Top Ten. 

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Old Phone Call Home

My friends – remember the old days when there was usually only one phone in the house and it was located in the kitchen where everyone could hear you talking?  If someone asked you your phone number you said, “Exbrook 8 – 7195” or “EX8-7195” and they knew what you were talking about immediately.  (That was our phone number when I was about 7 years old. 

Well, things have certainly changed since then, huh?  I felt very lucky to have a Princess Phone in the room I shared with my MOTHER when I was a teenager.  Nothing was better than listening to your boyfriend’s heavy breathing on the other end of the Princess Phone.  The heavy breathing was usually because he’d fallen asleep while we were talking, LOL.  I mean, geez, he’d stay at my house all evening and then go home and call me and I’d make him talk to me until one of us fell asleep.  Teenagers are so…out there.

But for you youngsters who think the big thing is texting and tweeting and having all the cool phones, you need to have just a clue of what we had…Check out this video and try not to laugh at the little girl who is struggling to keep smiling.  And then when you get upset because you are stuck with the Blackberry when you could have a Droid Incredible, or whatever the heck it is, remember to be grateful to your parents for what they give you. 


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