Thursday, April 30, 2009


Keith and I have been cleaning out the maintenance yard, and this morning I loaded the truck with another load- 4 old dryers, 6 toilets, some old barrels, a pool tarp, bags of trash, scrap metal etc... As I was loading the toilets I got a brilliant idea! I took a hammer and smashed the trap on each toilet releasing the bounty photographed below- $4.29, some keys, and a ring. Check out that silver dollar in the center! To think that these were on their way to the dump before I intervened. Each went where they were not supposed to go and languished there for a long time, but ultimately they were delivered by an external force breaking them free from the dark slimy bowels of the toilet and into the sunshine. Although delivered they are still miscolored and they have strange deposits that have collected on them from their time in the toilet. It will take some doing to make them sparkle.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


If you were impaneled in a jury in the case of Nottingham vs. Hood, would you find Robin Hood guilty of any crimes?

ARTS AND CRAFTS, with Josh Tate

In this episode I am whittling a canoe.

At this point you may want to convert your canoe into a Christmas ornament by accid... I mean, purposefully, forcing a tool through the bottom of the boat.
Paint it green and red and that'll be a great Christmas ornament.
I felt like crying.

Monday, April 27, 2009


As the sun rose, flooding the waking woods with a yellow light, Kick swept the fire out onto the duff in front of the fireplace. He attempted to return the metal drawer, and its contents, to its slot in the chimney wall, but found that it was too heavy. So he carefully poured half the coins out onto his sweater, and by reducing its weight he was able to lift the drawer up and slide it into its slot. He left the drawer sticking out a few inches so he could drop the remaining coins in, which he did, letting them drop one by one among their brethren with a dull clink. Then he gathered his sweater, tied it around his waist, and set off in the direction of the stream, which he had heard the night before.

The stream which tumbled along over limestone ledges between slimy, moss-covered boulders was criss-crossed with downed trees and fallen limbs. It lay in the bottom of a ravine which widened towards the west where, Kick assumed, it must meet the lake. Stripping down to his waist, Kick dropped to his knees and did his best to clean himself up. It took some doing to work the dried blood out of his eyebrow and beard, and he wished again that he had a mirror. The cut on his forehead had evolved into an angry lump. Kick gingerly traced it with his fingers, and using a sleeve of his sweater, which he had dipped in the stream, he cleaned it up as best he could. He felt sick again, and also a little dizzy.

Down by the stream the mosquitoes were unbearable and the numerous fallen trees made the going tough- so Kick walked a parallel course, about a hundred feet off to one side. He followed it as best he could as it made its way down towards the lake, and after several minutes of stumbling through the woods he heard a waterfall ahead of him. Kick made his way back towards the stream, battling his way through the dense growth and the clouds of mosquitoes until he came to a cliff, where the stream crashed over and down into a brown pool before flowing out through flooded woods into the broad lake.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


This afternoon was one of those lazy Sunday afternoons that fathers enjoy and little boys hate. The whole house felt sleepy and lethargic, and with Lucy asleep, Bowden wandered from room to room looking for some activity to match his energy. I can only say "Not right now," and "Maybe later" so many times before I start to feel guilty, and when Bowden sighed and said "I thought today was going to be a lot more fun," I put my book down and together we took Grandpa Paulson's old BB gun down to the ballfield for some shooting practice.

Bowden and I are crack shots. Watch out ground squirrels!!!

Then we embarked on an hour long hunting trip into the creek bottoms. Our quarry was the elusive ground squirrels that live there. I took a few shots but failed to bag one. They're quick little devils.

Lucy, Bowden and I built this bridge across the stream a year ago. Bowden calls it thorny bridge because of the stinging nettles and wild roses which grow in great profusion there during the summer. Inspired by the Little House series Bowden and I ranged up and down the stream looking for a good spot for our homestead. Eventually we settled on a flat piece of ground near the bridge which Bowden declared a "good spot." We will return on another lazy day to erect some sort of claim shanty.
We climbed the other side of the gully and rested on a rock before continuing on our hunt. We saw deer and coyote tracks on a game trail which runs along the rim of the gully. We pretended that we were tracking a deer whose heavy tracks were well defined in the soft sand. Bowden kept loudly speculating on how surprised Mommy would be if we brought back a deer for dinner. I don't know if he thought that was actually a possibility or if he was just lost in make believe, but I just ran with it. Why impose reality on a moment like that? Rest easy all of you anxious Mothers- the safety was on and Bowden isn't yet strong enough to work the spring-loaded lever. But when I take the safety off and work the lever for him he's actually not a bad shot. I was impressed. I reached back into the shadowy memory of my days at the Police Academy and tried to impart what I remember of gun safety to him. I think our conversation about gun safety, using the official sounding parlance I recalled from my police days, made Bowden feel very grown up and responsible. He handled the BB gun as though he were carrying a loaded bazooka, and was visibly careful to heed all of my advice.

Friday, April 24, 2009


St Rugglin is the patron saint of all those who struggle. I joined with the other faithful this afternoon in celerating what the late, great Mr. Ellis of East Hubbardton dubbed "...the most sacred and holy holiday in all of America." Whether Orthodox or Reformed all those who observe the holiday have a solo parade intended to celebrate struggling. This year I decided to ride a lawn mower without a shirt on as Chris Bayer and my wife took turns attempting to shoot me with a BB gun. In attendance were Lisa Richard, The Bayers, My wife and some passersby who gazed upon the parade with expressions of bewildered horror.
The bouncing and jostling of the lawn mower caused much unfortunate jiggling, and the jiggling led to giggling which, in turn, led to struggle. According to some apocryphal legends St Rugglin was also ashamed of his body.

...a la Jay Tice.

Chris Bayer is orthodox.
Ouch! Sarah tagged me good.

Sarah, who may also be Orthodox, had saved the dishes for me to do when I got home. That was a very thoughtful St Rugglin's day gift.

Thanks, honey!
Here I am reflecting on the day.

MY SHOES UPDATE- The Skater Shoes are done. I trashed them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


St. Rugglin's day, another holiday unique to the Tates and their confederates, falls every year on the last Friday in April. I have big plans for my observance of the day this year.


Next year your birthday falls on St. Rugglin's day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The Jogues valley lies squarely in the middle of one of the largest and most inhospitable deserts on the planet. In fact, it was not discovered until 1825 when an eccentric French adventurer named Henri Jogues returned from an expedition into the heart of the desert telling fantastic tails of a vast forest of giant trees that continually weeped, and through whose “life-giving tears” a virgin paradise was sustained and made to thrive in the midst of the desert. Jogues’ claims caused a sensation throughout Europe, but unfortunately, they were eventually dismissed as the ravings of a mad man, and funding for a return expedition dried up, when it was divulged that he suffered from an advanced case of Syphilis- a disease which, if untreated, can cause insanity among other symptoms.

It wasn’t until 1834 that the Jogues Valley was discovered a second time by a team of surveyors commissioned by the French army to map out a route for a railroad across the desert. After a month of anguished progress the team ascended what is now Mt. St. Pierre and beheld a pear shaped valley 4 miles distant that was, in the words of Lt. Paul DeLiene in a letter to his fiancĂ©, Anne Monsi, “Quite full of enormous trees that continuously oozed water, and supported a great deal of life including me and my weary companions.”

Initially, the colonial government was at a loss to explain the source of the water. A careful and thorough search of the valley, which covers nearly 40 square miles, failed to uncover any surface water at all, and all efforts to dig wells also failed to access a subterranean aquifer despite the fact that some of the wells achieved a depth of several 100 feet! One early theory, offered by Dr. Delsond of the University at Oxford , was that the trees operated on the same principle as a fountain in that they continually recycled the same water. This theory was quickly discarded due to the obvious logical absurdities that accompany it.

It was not until 1839 that the American geologist John Tuttle discovered abundant fossil evidence that indicated the area had once been a thriving wetland, and first theorized that the trees dated to that ancient era. Tuttle theorized that as the land gradually rose, and the valley dried up, the trees’ roots sunk deeper to incredible depths as they followed the water. In support of his claim, Tuttle pointed out that although the Water trees shed vast quantities of seeds every year, no new trees were able to grow in the harsh desert climate. The sheer amount of water required daily by water trees to survive would also seem to indicate they could not have sprouted in the desert and eked out a living until its roots attained sufficient depth to draw water. This proves that the trees must have originated in a different time and under very different conditions. Initially, the scientific community found this difficult to accept as this would mean that the trees predate even nearby Mt. St Pierre, but today the nearly insurmountable evidence supporting the claim has brought about a broad consensus in support of the theory.

Monday, April 20, 2009