College, Ducks, and Corn

Today’s post comes from Ben

Typically, there isn’t a lot going on in August once the oats and straw is done. One year it rained a lot and oats was late and straw kept getting delayed and I was still doing straw in September and that just made me grumpy. But usually, August is a pretty quiet month.

College classes started so I’ve got homework again. ‘MN Rocks and Waters’. This first week is plate tectonics and continental drift. It’s interesting but there sure are a lot of terms and I hope I don’t have to memorize all of them.

I’ve been picking some corn ears, looking at plant health, and monitoring progress. The plant looks pretty good; not seeing any fungal diseases (which wouldn’t be expected in a dry year like this) Some ears look better than other ears.

Most have above average girth counting 16 or 18 around (it will always an even number) and length varies. Good ones count 42 kernels long. Shorter ones count 30. There are ways to estimate final yield by doing the math. We’ll see. I won’t bore you with the details. It doesn’t take into account how many deer are out there anyway.

Soybeans are looking OK too. Starting to turn yellow (meaning maturing) and it’s interesting you don’t hear so much about estimating soybean yield. Not a perfect science perhaps.

The ducks have learned to spend the day outside and go back in at night. It’s still wet inside their pen no matter how often I clean it. It’s the end of the pen where the water is, they’re just sloppy drinkers.  Kelly and I were talking that we don’t remember if they’re always this skittish. There is a breed called ‘Indian Runners’ and they’re always totally crazy. But I just don’t remember if these breeds are usually so nervous. Maybe it’s the mallards? Maybe in another month they’ll mellow out a bit. After all, they’re just barely a month old. It’s impressive how fast they grow.

I gathered up all the round bales of straw and put them in a line. Just so they’re not scattered all over the fields and to make it easier for the guys to pick up later.

If there was alfalfa hay growing under the oats it would be important to move them as soon as possible so as not to kill the alfalfa. But in this case, I’ll be digging up the field in another week or two simply to control weeds. And since I don’t know when they’ll pick them up, this may be a snow fence too.

I got parts for the grain drill that I want to get put back on this fall. And some new parts for the corn planter I could be working on.

My mom is adjusting to her room in the Long Term Care area. One day she said the bad was outweighing the good. But she says good things about the staff, and she gets ice cream every day, and yesterday she said she’s almost ready to call it home.

With rain predicted for the next few days I cleaned gutters out this morning. One was more involved than expected; it wasn’t just cleaning the leaves out from the top; it was pulling off an extension under the deck and snaking a hose up in there to flush it out.

Do you wear any rings? What is/was your wedding ring like?

102 thoughts on “College, Ducks, and Corn”

  1. sounds busy for an off time ben
    i guess you fill your day huh
    what made you choose that class
    why the big round bales vs the little square ones
    glad your mom is getting acclimated, hope she learns to love the new deal
    i took my ring off at the beginning of the pandemic and set it on the headboard of my bed
    it’s been gone a long time
    i asked my wife if she put it somewhere and she said she didn’t touch it so therefore the cats must have knocked it off and it’s under the bed. that or the vacuum got it
    it is my second version of the ring
    we were in yellowstone and one of my favorite it the hot pots at the 49th parallel where the river has a spot you crawl into and enjoy the natural spa effect of hot water being introduced from a thermal and it’s a hot tub in the river flow. you park your car walk 1/2 mile and crawl in and look for the spot where it’s just right
    not too hot not too cold just the right water flow… all that
    i got up about 530 with everyone else asleep in the campsite and thought i’d sneak in a soak before everyone else got up and on this day the hot was real hot and i walked into a spot that was too hot to stay in and had to move through it quickly
    i was scooting through boiling water barefoot over rick bottom with water flow kind of knocking you down and on the process of trying to keep my balance not get burned and avoid the sharp rocks on my bare feet i was using my arms as a counter balance and my ring finger simply let the ring go flying into the river rapids 20 feet ahead of me….. damn ….. really now i get to figure out wher it went in, reach down in to the hot water with brisk current and feel between the rocks and sand to find it? right
    after 1/2 of looking knowing it was hopeless scalding and late fir my getting back to the campsite i gave up and had to find the ring store where i bought it and figure out how to get it again
    it’s a platinum silver band with zero markings on it
    just a silver looking band plain as can be
    i’m not a gold fan, just don’t like it so the silver color was the appeal the plain finish is something i will never tire of , classic timeless tireless . perfect
    life is busy
    it’ll keep
    lord knows when i’ll move the bed but maybe with this post i’ll crank it up a notch
    i’ll let you know

    thanks again ben

    ever think about looking at doing herbs or garlic?
    i wanna do hops and lillies and hosta
    i’d like to find a couple acres to plant lillies and hosta and a spot to do hops where i can get started and expand
    i love the farming routine and know i’d enjoy it

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Tim, you have to enjoy it. You have to love it. I feel a deep connection with the ground I’m working. Not just the crop.
      Good luck, and I hope you find the ring. Mine is long gone.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. tim, I sure enjoy the way you describe things. You’ve had a lot of adventures.
      I made 600 small squares and didn’t need any more. There’s a better market for the large round than small square so that’s why I had the round bales made.

      The rocks class sounded interesting, plus it filled in the box the college wants, plus it fit my schedule.

      I’m far too lazy for the manual labor required for herbs or garlic… I’ve talked with that guy about hops… he just doesn’t have the time.

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  2. Our wedding bands were crafted by an artist, jeweler and art teacher named Christian Schmidt. He experimented with organic forms like those found in nature such as caterpillar cocoons and young ferns. Working with another artist, he wrote a book about jewelry and design. The rings were gold, massive in shape and covered with a rough texture like tree bark. Christian Schmidt lived in a small modern home tucked in a forest near Jordan, south and west of the Twin Cities. When we visited him I was moved by the sight of chairs and music stands arranged in a circle by a big picture window. Christian, his wife and two of his children played string quartets together in that room. Not long after making our wedding rings Christian succumbed to cancer. He was a lovely human being whom I will never forget, and I wore that ring with pride.

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  3. I currently wear a ring made from my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s rings. MIL died long before I met Husband, and as the oldest son, he was given her wedding ring to give to me when we married. That was good, because we were pretty poor at the time. When my mother died, I took her rings, the first one she had when she and dad married in 1942, and the second one she got for their 25th anniversary, and had them all made into a new ring and set the diamonds in it. I also wear a college ring. I wear very little jewelry. I can’t wear earrings, and I have one necklace, a string of pearls, and that is it.

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  4. Ben, I was wondering the other day when we were driving out of town – do the round bales have a protective wrap that keeps them from getting too we when there is a lot of rain? And I suppose it helps when you line them up like in the photo… or doesn’t it matter so much if they get wet?

    I’ve had a lot of interesting rings over the years, but have learned that rings come and go – they seem to have their own agenda, and can’t be controlled or kept if they want to move on. I lost my engagement ring a few years after we were married, but Husband replaced it with a similar ring he had made for our 25th anniv.. (which kind of blew me away since we NEVER give each other monetary gifts.)

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    1. Most round bales these days are wrapped in a plastic ‘netting’ that is supposed to shed water. It is more protective than just wrapped with twine. Straw, just being used for bedding, it isn’t *that* critical to protect.

      Bales being used as food are stored inside or completely wrapped in solid plastic to protect them. There is a whole line of machines that can either individually wrap bales in plastic, or wrap them in a long tube. Man, that’s a lot of plastic.
      Plus various methods of making the process of collecting the bales from the field more efficient. Two weeks ago you saw my bales scattered around the field. I only had 12 bales; imaging 1200 bales and having to collect them one at a time. So some machines try to carry 3 bales and drop The three in one place. There are machines to pick up and carry multiple bales. That’s an area that is getting attention for automation. Let a robot go around and collect the bales all night long. But then they still need to be wrapped and stored somewhere.

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      1. I hated the round bales that were taking away my beloved pitching job. But they were happening, and I couldn’t stop it. I saw there was a new purpose built, round bale trailer, that really looked good. Called the Traileyre, or similar. Made by someone called Eyre, or similar, I think. Just pick up maybe six bales without stopping even, and whiz straight back to the yard, one man, rapid turnaround. I’ve never actually seen one, but I bet they were great. I really thought, I should get the money and get one, and really contract myself out
        seriously, stop messing about. For a few weeks a year. I didn’t stop to think, but would have had to, that I’d have to update from my beloved Fordson Majors. I’d discovered already they couldn’t compete on hilly ground with their six speed gearboxes. Even eight speeds enabled another tractor to walk away from me. Dread to think how many gears Ben’s JD has got. But I didn’t know it, but it was my last year in farming anyway.

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        1. Fenton, the tractor in these photos (it’s a model 6410) has 4 ranges, A-D, and 4 gears in each range. Forward and reverse is a separate lever on the left hand so one can operate the loader with the right hand and change direction with the left. Clutching is not needed with 1-4 or forward reverse. Top speed is about 24MPH.

          The bigger tractor, an 8200, has 16 forward and 4 reverse. Again, no clutching between any gears. When doing field work I’m generally in 10 or 11 and that’s about 6 MPH.

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        1. Ben, I drove a John Deere that was probably from the seventies, stick shift on the floor. And then a brand new four wheel drive in the mid eighties, really nice to drive, with probably pretty similar gearing to one or other of yours. The four wheel drive steering system turned sharper than any I’d ever come across (though we were only just getting FWD then). It was great fun driving straight at a bunch of bales, and turning away at the last second. Let’s see…. 1985, I was 34.Still adolescent.
          Those tractors would have been made in
          Mannheim, Germany.

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        2. Tight, yeah. They do need to be. When round bales first appeared, Graham had the most, best hay he’d ever had (oh sure, yeah, he always says that, you’re thinking. Honestly. He did.) He’d decided that year, to go over to round bales. I didn’t think they were suitable for a stud farm, with stallions in separate stables all round the yard, but not my business. He got a contractor to come and bale them, I think we had a good summer, and we’d whack down a whole lot of grass at a time. You’ve got more leeway with big bales, you don’t have to pick them all up at once. As Ben says, they’re fairly waterproof. So the guy could come in and just keep baling. We stuffed the place full of bales, they just kept coming and coming, and we had the two sides of the big shed absolutely full, leaving the livestock yard part in the middle, for livestock. And a few weeks later, up at the top of the farm, doing a few jobs at home in my caravan, I saw smoke coming across the Moor, the big field next to what was eventually known as Fenton’s Field. Where Fenton lived. And yes, it was coming from the direction of the farm. I thought, “What the blank is she burning now? (Lynn, Graham’s wife). There’s nothing left to tidy, she’s always blanking out there, picking up something.” Reader, of course, you know what it was. And I would find out later, right now I’d finish what I was doing. I was going down to cut the lawns later(part of a loose arrangement). No panic.
          Yes, well, I felt a right fool, didn’t I? Alan Woolacott was there with an all-steel trailer. Colin Miller was there with an all-steel trailer. Graham’s brother had come over with a loader and was pulling out smouldering and burning bales and dumping them in the trailers to tip in the field. The firemen were as muchon top of things as they could be, Elaine and Paul had come round to spectate, and most people not actually squirting water, were engaged in a bit of a social event. My arrival was expected, as Graham had apparently once said that, if it was the last day on earth, he’d expect to look out the window and see me cutting grass. I always seemed to be cutting the grass. There was a lot of it, every chance I got, I’d make a bit more lawn. It nearly stretched to Scotland, and I used to cut it for free. I enjoyed it.
          So we kind of had a bit of a party. It was insured, after all.
          The story was, this was the earlyish days of round balers. Not counting the Allis Rotobaler, yes, you won’t catch me out on that, Ben. The centre of the bale wasn’t wrapped as tight as it might be, and this is a thing that can be conducive to letting the hay overheat, and even catch fire. Well….. it did. Maybe that WAS it. Graham claimed further, and I never believed it, that the contractor who owned the baler, hired another contractor, with a different make of baler, to bale his own hay. That’s kind of stretching it, I think.
          After the merriment died down though, Lynn became depressed, more depressed in fact, than I had been not long before, at burning my caravan with so many possessions. That was when she articulated what I realised I’d always known. About the symbolism of the harvest. The insurance money didn’t cover the deep down loss she felt, a loss I fully understand.

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  5. Bought matching wide thick plain bands of gold in 1965 from tiny jeweler across University from Stub and Herb’s. Bet his living was from diamonds and weddings there by the U. $22 and $28. Should weigh mine to see it’s value today, not that I would sell it. Hers now has a diamond mounted on it. I cannot wear mine, the fibromyalgia/touch driving me crazy thing. Hers won’t go over any of her swollen knuckles.
    Your corn looks much better than field 50 feet from me right at the moment. Hope coming rain does not damage crops now.
    I have spent last four days sneaking around behind her back getting ready to put her in memory care. And cleaning and cleaning. She right now must realize, she is rational right now, she has to go into care.
    My son starts new job Monday. Thursday right before his exit interview with his team of programmers they laid everybody off, made them redundant to Fenton. Thus by the rules of his contract they did not have to pay him for Friday. Only he and CTO are experienced enough to know they are selling the company. He warned the HR woman at his exit interview that she better start job hunting. She insisted they would tell HR if they were

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    1. Large employers are lying, heartless creeps. Clyde, I’d be fascinated to know what word I replaced in your auto correct’s mind. Mine’s pretty inventive too.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If you can’t find just the right place at first, find what is available, and then put her name on the list for the place you want.

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    1. I do wear rings. In fact I like rings a lot. I have two sets of engagement/wedding rings and I didn’t think about it at the time but looking at them now I realize how similar they are to each other. I really like braided and twisted designs and all of the rings that I own incorporate something like that. I’ve always meant to take all of these rings and have been made into another ring that I would be comfortable wearing these days, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. Anybody in the Twin Cities have any suggestions?

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  6. RIse and Shine Baboons,

    Lou and I had our custom wedding rings made out of “investment-grade diamonds” (bad investment) that were not worth the price of the so-called investment. So we wear them instead. There was a semi-retired jeweler in town that made them in her home-based jewelry studio. The house was on the Minnesota River bluffs near where tim used to live. The rings are now 28 years old. The jeweler has died and the house was torn down then the property re-developed, but doing these rings and working with her on them was an interesting and fun process for me.

    I am partial to Native American jewelry made of turquoise and silver and I wear some of that as well. There are a lot of beautiful pieces made in the Santa Fe area that hosts so many artists. They come to the Phoenix art fairs and markets to sell their wares. Looking at this stuff leaves me feeling almost high from the beauty of it all.

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    1. I am off work for a week and preparing to make my jellies, jams, tomato soup and salsa mix, then can it this week. There are lots of tomatoes and chili peppers lurking out there in the garden, waiting for me. The garden, which I watered during the heat and drought, is so lush and jungle-like that I am starting to think it will be the Thing That Ate the Back Yard. Should I disappear, send someone over to find me lost in there.

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      1. Today is pepper roasting, eggplant roasting, and tomato sauce making day. The shell out Hidatsa beans are plumping up, so I may be blanching and freezing them as well. Fall spinach is coming along nicely. We will also trim out the spent raspberry canes. Ben might not have much to do, but it is a busy time here!

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        1. How do you roast your eggplant, Renee? I roast my peppers directly over the flame of the gas burners, but have never done that with eggplant, which I’ve always done in the oven. I’m spending much of my day in the kitchen as well. Damned inconvenient time for my oven to be on the fritz.

          Does anyone here have a countertop convection oven? If so do you like it? And what do you use it for?

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        2. PJ, it occured to me recently that there are three A’s which didn’t seem to be grown much in Devon. Artichokes, Asparagus, and Aubergines. Also celery, but who would want to grow that?

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        3. I roast the eggplant in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes on a parchmentlined baking sheet. ,or until it is soft. I roast them whole with slits cut in them. When done,I peel it and then chop it and freeze it. I like to use it in that eggplant curry recipe of yours.

          Husband roasts peppers under the broiler or just in the oven at a high temp. He let’s them cool in a paper or plastic bag.

          The microwave above our stove is also a convection oven, and it comes in handy when the big oven is in use. It cooks well.

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  7. Did you ever find your lost wedding band, Ben?

    I wear three rings. Two of them on my left hand ring finger. On the inside, my wedding band – a narrow, plain white gold band. On the outside, another plain white gold band with nine small diamonds set into it. The diamonds were from husband’s mother’s wedding band. She died when he was fifteen years old, so I never met her. Her ring had an elaborate and busy setting, not my taste at all, so husband found a local jeweler to reset them. It was his intention to add diamonds over the years to eventually circle the ring, like an eternity ring, but that never happened. My third ring I wear on the right hand ring finger. It’s a modern design silver ring that I bought for myself on one of my excursions to the American Swedish Institute. I rarely remove my rings, so little chance of losing them.

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    1. I have not found my ring. I just ordered one of those silicone ones to try. We had two rings each; plain bands for ‘every day’ and fancier ones for dress. So I still have the fancy one… it’s gold and silver and has 3 little diamonds in it. Obviously I don’t want to wear that while working.
      My everyday ring was a silver band.

      I am well aware of the dangers of wearing a ring and doing the physical work I do. My brother in law wore his wedding ring on his pinky finger, snagged it jumping off a platform one day lost the finger. So I was looking at the silicone rings anyway. Sizes seem to be limited so we’ll see if this fits.

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        1. Just realized this: I ordered several things from Amazon related to dealing with Sandy’s personal problems, things cannot get here in town anymore. But that has not produced any ads for such products anywere.

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  8. I wore a quirky ring for a while. In Brazil in the 60s the VW beetle was hugely popular. They had a windshield washing device that terminated in a metal bulge that sat just in front of the windshield. It had two openings so water could be jetted on the windscreen. Kids would rip those off unattended cars, solder a ring to them and glue in red glass pieces. It produced a ring that looked like a chrome June bug with red eyes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Not sure I understand the relevance of the VW being popular in Brazil in the 60s. Was that windshield wiper thing you describe unique to VWs sold in Brazil? Was the ring imported from Brazil? Or was that comment not related to your ring?

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      1. The chrome lump that made up the ring was part of the windshield washing assembly of VW bugs. The bug was made in Brazil and was an extremely popular car there. If you were a kid lookin’ to rip off one of these things, you’d have no end of cars wearing them to choose from.

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        1. I’m still unclear on what you’re saying, Steve. Are you suggesting that there was a cottage industry of sorts that imported rings from Brazil that were made of stolen VW parts? I’m making the assumption that you did not make your own ring from stolen car parts.

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        2. The rings were very popular in Brazil. I got one because my girlfriend (later my wife) had been an exchange student in Sao Paulo. And somehow she acquired one. I can’t remember the name, but Kathe would recall. She is visiting from Belgium, so I can ask her in half an hour.

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        3. I talked to my erstwife moments ago. She, too, is blanking on the name of the VW Bug windshield washer ring. Actually, I have a guess, but she’s going to consult her memory on this before I tell her the name I think I remember. Those who know me know that one of my eccentricities is trying to remember things from the past. When I lose a memory or a name I once knew, it drives me crackers.

          She shamed me by remembering we had matched woven bamboo engagement rings before we got married. I have no memory of that. As penniless students, it makes sense we couldn’t afford a real set of engagement rings. She lost her engagement ring days before our wedding, and I lost mine too!

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        4. Aha! I just got confirmation of my recollection of the name of that funny little ring. They called it brukutu. I just love it when memory comes through on silly little things like this. I spent my adult life thinking I had a terrible memory, but now I get a thrill each time memory comes up with some old obscure fact. 🙂

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  9. Jane loves the “Shopping experience.” She’s not going to buy anything where they say “Oh yes, the rings are over there.” Well – I went down on one knee, and I meant it. But I didn’t have a ring handy. I know that’s bad, OK? I’m sorry. So we went out and found a little shop in Chichester, near where John and Sandra lived at the time. An elderly couple, she sold her own paintings, and he sold rings, and maybe other pieces that he made. So we had a nice chat, and bought a really nice little engagement ring, which Jane still wears. I’ll look at it later, and try and describe it. I’ll probably have to ask an innocent question or two, to get the name of the stone etc. Amethyst? I’ll let you know, it’s handy, you all being 7 hours behind.

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  10. Our wedding rings we bought at H. Samuel, a jewelry chain that goes back to the dawn of time. We went somewhere else, where they said, oh, yes, the rings are over there. But at Samuels, a nice lady took us upstairs and sat us down and brought rings out from places where they’d been saving them just for us. We bought heavy, plain gold bands. 150 pounds for Jane, 250 for me. I mean that’s the price, not the weight. We left and Jane said what a good shopping experience that was. And it was. And how proud I was, when I put hers on her finger.

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  11. No rings for many years. My simple gold band had to be cut off because of a ring finger injury. Just never got around to repairing it and the ex wife kept it.
    I lost my class ring while shoveling my car out of a snow drift on a country road. In the spring, it was found by a farmer who returned it to me. He did a little research. It was bent and I couldn’t afford a fix so it sat in a cufflink/tie tack box for years. The ex wife got that too. No matter. When you work extensively in glue, rings are bothersome.

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  12. Our original wedding rings were designed and made for us by an art professor at Carleton College who was also a friend of Robin’s parents. I think we had an old family ring or two to contribute to the gold. The rings were distinctive and sculptural—mine broad and sculptural with a couple of keyhole-like openings, Robin’s similar but smaller, of course, with an opal set in one of the openings.

    Within a couple of years of our wedding, Robin lost her ring when her hand got stuck in an office building mail chute. We replaced it with a simple band. For the next few decades, she wore a succession of bands that she alternatively lost and replaced. I knew she wanted a proper ring, one she could specify, so about ten years ago we went to talk to a jeweler she had met and whose work she particularly admired. Working with that jeweler, she designed her ideal ring, with a stone she liked (not a diamond—neither of us a enamored of diamonds) and a setting she liked.

    I still had my original ring but hadn’t worn it for a few years because it no longer comfortably fit. Fit is especially critical with a wide band. It struck me that rings are meant to be worn and wearing a ring is more meaningful than any particular ring, so I asked the jeweler to make me a simple band that would more-or-less match Robin’s ring in the metal used (palladium) and the finish. I gave her my old ring for its gold value as a partial payment.

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  13. When I married wasband in Greenland, there were obviously no jewelers around, nor any place to buy a wedding ring. He somehow ordered two identical wide gold bands in two different sizes from Sears. Though he didn’t say so, I’m pretty sure the width of the band was meant to broadcast to the world that I was his, very much married. Within four years, the width of his band became an obstacle to his philandering, though I didn’t know it at the time. He bought himself a narrower cheap enameled band at a local head shop to wear instead.

    During my sophomore year, I was in my second metalsmithing class, and decided to cast us new wedding bands using the gold from the Sears rings. Though we both liked these handmade and distinctive rings, they were both melted down when the marriage fell apart a few years later.

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    1. You cannot believe how quickly she progresses. She will not do anything I ask her to do, tell her to do. Like take meds. Was looking at me an hour ago like she does not know me.

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      1. I’m wondering, Clyde, if there’s any way you can get a visiting nurse to dispense Sandy’s meds so that they don’t become associated with you trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do? Sorry that’s an awfully convoluted sentence, but I think you get my drift.

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        1. Here is full ugly truth of my life right now: I have home health care coming Monday for evaluation, but I may call it off. We are way past home care. She takes 17 meds. 12 in morning, 6 at dinner, 9 or 10 at bedtime. Lots of repetition of drugs, but have to spread through day and take bedtime ones after 10 at night. Had six significant health issues, blood pressure has spiked to as high as 200 over 100. Refuses to wear Depend diaper (name is Depend I discovered, not Depends). I have cleaned up three times today, one major, two not as bad. Smell need to do a fourth yet. Three loads of wash, many towels, all the bedclothes, which I have done three days in a row. Her lift chair, she also had a colitis attack in it and would not get up. Trying to save it. I won’t get into issues of her clothing. She can barely move anymore. Has lift chair but will not use lift. I am worried about leaving her alone. No one I can ask to stay with her except her dear giving friend who ran large social service agency but moment she comes here she starts to take over and keeps telling about what she is like I don’t know and starts to reorganize the house but you don’t rearrange around a person with dementia, and how does not know that. Keep fending her off. Got two personal letters today, which she had craved for years, real letters, but she stares at them and does not open them. Very few dementia care openings in town, and lots of beds. One has an opening. Manager has set up for me to talk to county Monday morning to start process. I can not physically care for her with my neck and lumbar falling apart.
          So only option I can see is to be put into care, about which she will be fiercely angry.n

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  14. I’m struck by the number of rings that didn’t make it too far. The number that were replaced.
    Mine was the only ring I’ve ever worn. That ring, and no other, was the one Jane put on my finger. Though that thought has only just this minute crystallised. Told you I wear my heart on my sleeve.
    I’m skinny already. When I went on a Candida diet for a while(“It’s not for my weight, it’s for my health,” I’d constantly explain), I got even skinnier. I really had to watch that ring, and nearly lost it a time or two.
    The diet helped, but not fully, and I gave up. The ring stayed on again. Actually, it might have got tight sometimes. Then, don’t remember why, it started getting loose again, and then just stayed being loose. Jane got things to pack it out. They were gimmicky rubbish.
    I was made redundant at my job, and had one month to the day, left before closedown. Despite what I say about truck driving, I’d come to terms with the job I had, liked the depot, and was sixty. Five well paid years, then a pension. Still, it was over. I was shifted in on the last day, and looked forward, Saturday four weeks ahead, to shaking hands with people, wishing them luck etc. So this Saturday evening, last man back, as usual, I came into the depot and backed up to the loading bay to unload my empty roll cages. Alan came down from the office to help me, get me out so he could lock up till Sunday night. We unloaded, I slipped, in a daft accident, and broke my hand. I didn’t know I’d broken it. We knew full well this should go in the accident book. But we were more interested in getting out of there, and must have forgotten to actually mention it. I couldn’t sleep, and eventually went to hospital, and my finger had swollen, so my ring had to be cut off. What a primitive machine, it took ages, and I took turns on the handle to help things along. They said it was unusually good quality gold.
    Eventually, I took the ring back to Samuels for repair, and to make it slightly smaller. It had to be sent away, which meant insurance. I think the cost was around a hundred pounds. We filled in the form, purchase price 250 pounds. Current value, he put at 500 pounds. They sent it off.
    Jane said “Five hundred! Why didn’t you sell it?” I was flabbergasted. My WEDDING RING? SELL IT? She said, “You could buy a cheaper one.” I never have grasped how it will work, selling a treasured item. You spend the money right away. The treasured item is gone forever. You see? It’s illogical, Captain.
    I didn’t sell it. It came back fixed, and to tell the truth, it still could have been slightly tighter. And Sandra, calling from Spain, mentioned that she could have got it done a lot cheaper there.
    As I say, I could have sold it for five hundred pounds. I paid a hundred to get it fixed, and lost it very soon afterwards.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I had to take the last month off work. Therefore Alan, as supervisor, must have got into trouble for not entering the accident in the book. I regret that, and forgot to mention it when I saw him a while later.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What I meant was, if not made redundant, I would have had five more years. I could have moved to the new depot, it wasn’t THAT far away. But I didn’t like the sound of it, management were lying about the whole thing, again, and I took a pretty good payoff. I’d be better off now if I’d stayed with the devil I knew. On the other hand, if we’d been that bit better off, we might not have been forced to sell our house, in a town I hated, and move to the one we’d already bought and paid for in Palomar. Jane wanted to come, but was scared. We’re both so much happier now, though I’ll never stop hankering for Devon.
      Uh oh, more heart on sleeve stuff. I don’t plan it, it just comes out.

      Like

    1. And maybe it’s time I gave David another chance. I’m prejudiced over my perception of his treatment of Tammy Wynette. But I have no real idea what happened, they were different times, and I’m no angel myself.

      Like

    1. While working at Minot Airforce Base, my workmate and I watched a PBS presentation of the entire performance. Not consecutive hours but all 15 throughout the week. Better than drinking at the bars.

      Liked by 5 people

  15. OT YouTube Video Recommendation: I debated running this. Shawn James is a man living in Ontario who has decided to break free of reliance on other people and social systems. He has two extremely popular websites: My Self Reliance and Shawn James. He had built a log cabin home in the wilderness. When people moved in around him, he recently bought more land in a more remote area, and is busy creating a whole new homestead.

    Although he hunt and fishes for food, he long ago realized the need to grow food for himself and his family. To that end, he has constructed a modern geodesic dome greenhouse. He cuts his own trees, mills his own lumber, builds his own structures, cooks his own meals on a wood stove and generally lives life on his terms.

    These videos are professionally done. For example, when he takes a little trip with Cali, his golden retriever, Shawn record the event with beautifully shot footage, including drone cameras. He’s damn good.

    Who would want to watch these videos? Gardners. Self-reliance fans. Anyone who enjoys film of nature, much of it ASMR. Anyone who likes to build stuff. Anyone who might enjoy cooking good food in primitive places. Shawn can show you a lot about cooking great meals with bear meat.

    Here he works on his greenhouse:

    I just read an analysis that suggests Shawn James makes about two million dollars in profit with all his enterprises.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m wondering from where he has access to and maintains his two websites. Surely he doesn’t have access to the internet from the wilderness, or does he? And if he does, how far into the wilderness is he?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I imagine he contracts the management of the web enterprise remotely. If he doesn’t have high speed internet access, it would still be possible just to record to a flash drive and mail it from a nearby town.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. PJ, he “goes to town” to post his videos. His wilderness homestead does not have a WiFi connection. He is considering installing one. I am not a fan of Shawn James, but I respect his principled approach to life’s challenges. He is thoughtful and humble. I think very few people could do what he has done, but that is no criticism of him doing his life in his own way. I failed to mention before that his video channels are wildly popular. The new one already has over 300 thousand subscribers. The original channel is way over a million subscribers.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Barbara, you are talking about Dick Proenecke. His self-filmed videos of a solitary life in Alaska were the main influence on Shawn James. Dick was his hero. But when he visited Proenecke’s cabin, he was shocked to learn that his hero had 95 percent of his food flown in. That’s what led Shawn James to build that incredible greenhouse.

        Again, I am not a fan. But I have respect for the way Shawn James is asking fundamental questions about the bargains we make to live. He seriously questions many normal assumptions, and I think he has a lot to say about these matters. You won’t find him a careless or romantic voice when it comes to deciding what is important in life.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. And OT, except for rings being bought and sold on the black market and a Free French emblem within a ring, Casablanca is on TCM. My favorite movie.

    Liked by 5 people

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