As I stepped out onto the front porch, the sight that greeted me was like someone might have been celebrating New Years Eve. Blue streamers were descending from the ceiling and lay coiled on the floor. My eye traced the shiny decoration upward and found that it originated in a birds nest. Yes, my old friend the robin had raveled someones blue tarp and used it as part of the nest she had built on the protected top of one of the posts that hold up the porch roof.
This is not the first time she has chosen my porch as a home to incubate her eggs. She has built her nest there several times through the years, and each time, after she deserts the nest, I protect it as long as I can before some tidy man takes it down.
Having her there in the past has proven to be an inconvenience, as her skittishness would force me to give up the use of my porch for several weeks. Every time Id open the door, she would fly, and I didnt want the eggs to get cold. Mrs. Morriss presence would cause a major disturbance. So you can imagine my surprise when I turned on the porch light and opened the door the other night, and mother robin never moved. Then Mrs. Morris walked out in daylight and it didnt phase her. She just sat there.
Late this afternoon Mrs. Morris wandered out the front door. I got busy and forgot she was out there. When I remembered her, I went to see if she wanted in. There she was, sound asleep on the cushion on the glider, and the robin was sleeping on her nest six feet away. Neither one paid a bit of attention to me, or to each other. I checked several more times through the evening and nothing changed. Looks like the robin finally feels at home here.
But as unconcerned as the famous cat is with the robin, the same does not apply with summer noises. For long cold months she has waited to stick her nose out and smell spring. Shes waited for sun and grass. Now its finally here and it seems that every time she goes to the door and I open it, someone is running a lawnmower, garden tractor, or other noisy vehicle. She crouches inside with only her nose out as I stand and hold the door ajar. Hearing the noise continue, after several minutes, she turns around and runs back inside.
I tell her, "This is the weather youve been waiting for all winter. Nothing will hurt you outdoors. Thats just a lawn mower. You know what they are." But shes taking no chances.
About ten oclock at night when everything is quiet, she gets brave and heads for the front door. I turn on the outside light and open the door. The robin never moves, but the cat meanders out and sits at the edge of the porch. She might sit there by the concrete bulldog for fifteen minutes or more. I keep checking to see if she wants back in. Then she disappears for awhile. Its usually under the front porch. But if the evening is balmy enough shell head for my neighbors driveway where the moles hang out.
She and Rudy, the black cat next door, seem to have come to a truce. And so it goes. We are all learning to live amicably.
Earlier this week I checked out a house for sale in the country. Beautiful yard with tall pines bordering the property, woods nearby, and flowers everywhere on the edges of the lawn. I was tempted to make an offer. Then I remembered that Im not very brave or ambitious and this property is on the edge of rattlesnake country. I also know that I like the conveniences of town water and sewer. I also enjoy having neighbors close by. And most important, I wasnt sure how my buddy would like getting acquainted with new smells, sounds, and places. And what if she got lost in those woods, attacked by a wild animal or hit by a car on the nearby highway?
For many reasons, it looks like Mrs. Morris, the robin family and I will continue to hang out here together. I can always get my "country air" from the fields and forests of my friends who share so generously.
Hey, folks! How are you these days with our on again/off again Spring. It can get pretty frustrating so, in the meantime lets get ourselves working on plants and plans!
I thought we would toddle through the world of green by examining a few sites I really liked. To learn about raised bed gardening, go to www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yeagar74.html#top and then hit that site again for beans, green or yellow bush, etc. at www.backwoodshome.com/articles/lefreniere62.html. You can enter their search for other gardening information.
If you are anticipating problems with tomato pests check out www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/greenline/00v3/01.htm. If you would like to know how to grow those delicious red beauties, I suggest www.eesc.oregonstate.edu/agcomwebfile/garden/. Did you ever notice how much the universities are involved with growing! For pruning and training tomatoes see www.muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/hort/g06460.htm. And, if you want more information regarding them in containers, look at www.aggie-horticiculture.tamu.edu/extension/container/container.htm. Here you can look at information about eggplant, squash and pole beans. For entertaining information go to www.thehollandsentinel.net/stories/0709010033.shtml.
If you are interested in planting trees this year, here are a few sites worth examining: www.nationaltrust.org. This will increase your awareness of the tree situation in the world and locally. The old favorite www.arborday.org/trees/aerialbenefits.html is worth looking at. Then there is www.americanforests.org/resources/howtoplanttrees/. I think the name of the site gives you a clue about what it covers. The following is an interesting read: www.treelink.org/docs/29reasons.phtml.
Interested in planning camping or hiking read on, my brave friends. For a camping directory check out www.koa.com. Here you will find numerous locations across the US, including our state and those that we neighbor. Try www.woodalls.com. They have search engines for finding campgrounds, tenting sites, etc. For the whole family see firstname.lastname@example.org. Kids just love camping out. For gear I suggest www.coleman.com. Looking at safety in the mountains, see www.msrcorp.com. Try your national and state park systems through search engines.
Well, if you would prefer to hike about, you might be interested in seeing what the following sites have to offer: www.americahikng.org. It is dedicated to hikers. For some challenge check out www.onedayhikes.com. At www.nynjtc.org you will get information on hiking in the US, particularly in New York or New Jersey. Then for the challenge go to www.dayhiker.com. It will give you hiking trails throughout the US, and it carries some great hiking tips. By the way, if you see killer bees (stay away from brush covered things in ravines!) keep moving. Bees will only follow a couple hundred feet and then will quit. Dont stop that just makes you a better target.
Memorial Day Program
Set By Legion Post 86
The annual Memorial Day parade and program will again be sponsored by Susquehanna Strider-Teskey American Legion Post 86 on Monday, May 26.
The parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and proceed to the Shops Plaza in front of the service board, where the program will be held following the parade.
The program with several events and speakers listed will open with the Community High School band. Wreaths will be placed at the veterans monuments by members of the American Legion with the PA National Guard of New Milford giving a rifle salute.
Charles Aliano, of Susquehanna, County District Attorney and trustee of Post 86 will be the featured speaker. Other speakers will be Peter Janicelli, Post 86 Commander; Roberta Kelly, Susquehanna Mayor; Lee Smith, County Commissioner; Calvin Dean, County Commissioner; Ken Seamans, President Judge, Susquehanna County.
Brian Price, Past Commander of Post 86, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
A VERY BAD Situation Is this what the present GI can look forward to? Will they be just another number to the veterans health care: the following - in part - appeared in the American Legion magazine May issue:
Americas veterans believe the VA health-care system is worth saving. But they are frustrated, waiting hours in line to get prescriptions or to see doctors on over-scheduled appointment days. Worse, many havent even gotten that far. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are waiting months, even years, for initial primary-care appointments.
They feel that in the eyes of the government they swore to protect that they are regarded as little more than numbers.
The American Legions nationwide "I Am Not A Number" campaign, launched last November, was designed to change that perception for veterans, the public and those with power to improve the system.
Thousands of veterans responded to the Legions survey between November and February. Surveys continue to pour in. Stories of frustration span from the World War II veteran who is told he cannot see a doctor for a year to the Gulf War veteran who has been waiting months for any response to his enrollment application paperwork.
The "I Am Not A Number" campaign is not a scientific survey. It was not undertaken to burden the problem with more statistics. It is a collection to testimonies, a body of human evidence. Still quantitative results from the study are revealing:
Of the 3,135 surveys received at the time of this writing, veterans reported waiting an average of seven months each for primary-care appointments. Many said their names had been added to waiting lists one to two years deep.
The average wait to see a doctor after checking into a VA clinic for an appointment is 1.6 hours past the scheduled time, according to survey respondents.
RON McINTOSH "Favorite Teacher" Ron, a former resident of Susquehanna, now a teacher and school-paper advisor at Independence Community College, Independence, Kansas was recently cited by two of the graduation students. Students were asked, "Who was their favorite instructor?"
Pricilla Augusto, of Brazil said her favorite class is speech and her favorite instructor, Mr. (Ron) McIntosh. "He has been so helpful and understanding. He has taught me skills that I will use for the rest of my life."
Monte Peterson, of Nebraska, said his favorite teacher is Mr. (Ron) McIntosh. "I have enjoyed speech. He is friendly to the students and he relates to them."
(Note: Ron, prior to leaving Susquehanna was active in area sports and was employed by Montrose and the Susquehanna Transcript in a "reporting" capacity.)
STATE MAY Lose "Dollars" Pennsylvania, along with 11 other states will lose millions of dollars in federal highway aid if they dont adopt a tougher drunken-driving standard. States have until September 30 to enact a .08 percent blood-alcohol standard. They can lose two percent of highway money and the penalty climbs to eight percent if not enacted by 2008.
NEWS FOR VETERANS The long-anticipated completion of the nations World War II Memorial will be dedicated in Washington, May 29, 2004.
US troops who came home from Iraq with unexplained ailments will receive compensation, as did the Gulf War vets.
The House and Senate approved a budget of $29.3 billion for veterans health care thus averting a cut in veterans benefits.
A VFW-supported bill would allow VA-enrolled veterans to obtain drugs prescribed by their private doctor at VA facilities.
A new bill if passed will raise the benefits of reservists to $276 a month. The active duty version pays $900 a month.
Not counting the war in Iraq, the United States has spent at least $28 billion on the global war on terrorism. The deployment cost for a war in Iraq could cost $13 billion. The war itself could end up costing $60 to $100 billion. (The cost could be worth it if we get rid of Sadaam, bin Laden and the rest of the murderers.)
Bob Hope, one of the greatest friends the GIs ever had, celebrates his 100th birthday May 30. Mr. Hope performed for thousands of veterans during the war years. Among the many honors bestowed on Hope, he said, "Despite all these (honors) my biggest honor was in 1997 when an act of Congress made me an honorary veteran, and to be numbered among the men and women I admire most is the greatest honor I ever received." (Bob was born in England. His parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1907 and at age 17 he began entertaining audiences with his wit and dancing.)
The tables were attractively set in spring-like decor, sounds of laughter and good cheer came from the kitchen of the Baptist Church a week ago Saturday as the men prepared a great breakfast for the mothers and daughters of the area.
The ladies who held their last session of quilt making for the homeless for the year last Thursday have a pile of 126 that will be delivered to various cities. This was more than last year.
Fourteen Spirited Seniors met last Wednesday with a potluck dinner, business meeting and bingo following.
Doris Davidsons family treated her to dinner Mothers Day at a well known restaurant in Great Bend.
Brenda and Bob Reddon honored mom, Virginia Upright and Carl with dinner on Sunday. Virginia and Carl also welcomed son, Brett from Modena, NY for an overnight visit and from Windsor, NY came son, Brent with his wife, Mary Pat and son, John to greet Mom on Mothers Day.
Harrison Piercy, a fifth grader, was on one of two buses that left from the Susquehanna Elementary School last Thursday for a trip to Gettysburg, PA.
Barb and Roger Glover have traded in their gas powered Winnebago for one with a diesel powered camper, looking forward to a trip to Alaska this summer.
The night marauder, Mr. Bruin has been making his presence felt lately, all along the creek valley. I can vouch for this, as I looked out in the backyard one night last week and there the bear was, crouched at the bottom of the bird feeders. Not smelling any goodies, he walked around a bit and then strode purposely over to the neighbors. This was a good-sized bear.
Son, Dan was down Mothers Day and pleased me with doing much spring work, mowing the lawn, planting strawberry plants, and generally cleaning up the yard for me, for which I was very grateful.
Ive been assured one lane of bridge will be open Memorial Day.
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