The Inner Child

Some of the questions you get on the Word Press platform read as though a personality profile company generated them. Word Press, are you profiling us? Scraping personal data, or just loitering around until we reveal the toxicity lurking below our poses as authors?

One of today’s prompts on Word Press was, “what was your dream job as a child?” Wow! That is just a temptation for me to be absurd. I mean, please define a child. My wife thinks I am a child because I’m not particularly eager to vacuum. On the other hand, I sometimes think of myself as a child because of my seasonal fascination each January with running away from New England and becoming a beachcomber in Hawaii.

OK, I am being circumspect here. The inner child wants to go out and party hearty, get down…and it doesn’t get any better after that. Happy now, Word Press!


Push the right button, and I’ll go on for quite a while. Some might say I’m loquacious, wordy, rambling, long-winded, or even talkative. Others mutter about how easily I evade description by deceptive verbal logorrhea. Others have been kind and said that it was like I was under an enchantment that kept me from shutting up.
A close friend implored me to reduce the rhetoric if I ever expected people to flock to me for advice. “Be concise and less wordy.”

In response, I have nothing to say.


It was meant to be a joke present. “I think it’ll be a great joke on Claude. The little fetish doll with the pin stuck right into his you-know-what.” “Say it, Denise, it’s not the 1950s anymore – stuck into his penis! Do you think a little doll dressed up like Claude will send a message to that rotten cheater? Women, to him, are disposable treats.”

I sat quietly, picking out a melody on the guitar. Unfortunately, the tune was easily recognizable as one of my repertoires’s more “adult” selections. The two women began to laugh. Denise looked over to me and said, ” sing us that chorus, Wes. ” 

Willing to play the bard, I began the song’s chorus:

Take your fingers off it; don’t you dare touch it, 

you know it don’t belong to you.”

 Denise’s friend Claire smiled, “Damn, woman. You need a great big needle for that jerk!”

Claude didn’t care much about his birthday present or the knitting needle stuck in it.

Max Strikes Again

Max –
There I was, right in front of Dad. Taking one of my high leaps across the fence and into the woods. It was just a bit of mischief. OK, I was a bit frustrated that he didn’t get up when the kitty and I started serenading early this morning. But what’s the word kitty taught me the other day? Futility… yea, the look of futility on his face…wow! There I was, running in the woods. Remarkable!

Dad –
You little @#$$^& #$%^Y&(, You )(&^^% duped me! It’ll be a cold day in hell before you get trusted again. You drifty s$%t piece of R%%^&( I’ll teach you a lesson Q!!!!##$$%$#^$%&(&)*()(()++
and then no treats!

Max –
I’ll hunker down by the fire and get warm. I sure hope he doesn’t mean it about the treats. A dog gets hungry after a good run around.
I sure hope he’s not mad at me.`

Seed Catalogs

The catalogs started piling up in December, but by a long-standing rule, they stayed by the door until after Christmas. Then they were dropped without ceremony onto a pile of other catalogs until after the middle of January. That date has passed, and now the gardening catalogs are displayed on the table in all their immanent colorful glory.

OK, I’ll admit on the eleventh, I broke down and bought one of those “herb gardens on your kitchen window” kits. I just couldn’t bear it anymore – wait! Let me Italicize that for emphasis I just couldn’t wait any longer!

Things are going to be a bit different this year. I mean it! My hip surgery last August left me evaluating how I use the spatial limits and advantages of the garden and how my physical inabilities butted up against those. So instead of tearing through pages of colorful flowers and veggies, I’ve been looking at elevated planters. I think the days of spending lots of time on my knees may become strictly rationed.

The websites and catalogs are full of goodies promising to make my gardening life easier. But, after an initial viewing, I cut to the chase and went to the many reviews on how these stack up. There are lots of reviews of these products. I am looking at their esthetics, potential longevity, capacity, and pricing. I haven’t made any firm commitments.

For many years I was an advocate of grow bags. They are cheap, economical on water ( rather than watering the whole bed, you just water the bag), and very friendly to be placed in useable but odd locations around the garden. However, their principal problem is that they are ugly and don’t age well. Also, I still have to stoop to weed them. I want to limit stooping and kneeling. Some of the grow bags will go into the further reaches of the garden. Those in poor condition will be repurposed. They are made from heavy-duty landscape cloth, so cutting them up and using them as landscape barriers is a good repurposing.

January tends to be my month for planning and exploring new options in both the shop and the garden. It’s a strategy I’ve found helps me get through the worst of this part of the winter. In February, I’ll start more plants inside, ordering and assembling what I need for spring, and get busy making maple syrup.

If you have the winter blahs, having a plan is essential.

Cold, Slow, and Rotten

January doesn’t last forever; it sometimes just feels that way. But, just so you know, the “normal” New England January is like its comrade in arms, February, a severe period of cold, storm, and darkness. Except, as we all know, that seems to be changing. The end of December was warm, and instead of having a day or two of an affable January thaw, we seem to be having an extended Winter thaw.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that January is not my favorite month. So you might think this extended period of above-freezing weather would make me rejoice. Nope.

I’ve lived in New England for most of my adult life, and if it’s one thing I’ve learned, trusting our climate is an invitation to be sucker punched. It’s not like I’m lacking gratitude for the warmth, so much that I worry that this climatic shilly-shally will result in huge snow drifts in late February, March, and April.

Looking at the seven-day forecast on January fourteenth was like looking at the perfect weather for tapping my maple trees for sap, which made me pause. The season has been erratic for several years, and I’ve tapped as early as January twenty-seventh. But I wonder if the premature tapping of the trees hurt them.

A slow, cold, rotten January is not a nice thing. But it’s what we are used to having. I hate to say it about January, but am I beginning to miss how it used to be?


We were good over Christmas. As a family, we kept the vow to reduce wrapping paper, buy less, and consume less. As a result, trash day at our home had the average volume, or maybe less—no highest volume of the year due to cardboard, plastic, and wrapping paper. As we all know corporations are involved in diabolical plots to choke the planet with clamshell plastic packaging.

My wife, however, insisted that I did not have enough tools in the eight-by-ten greenhouse/shop, which has been past its limit on devices for a few years. I noted that most of the stuff from Lee-Valley seemed to come in cardboard that went right into the recycle. Somebody in Ottawa must be listening to our requests for recyclable packaging.

January is a time for tool companies to send flyers, catalogs, and junk emails. Having behaved for the holidays, they now seek a reversal of my vows to be good and get me to spend on more tools and clamshell packaging. I have a strategy to fight this; all tool company catalogs and flyers are automatically put into recycling. I don’t even look at the covers. Likewise, all emails from tool vendors have been flagged as junk and consigned to the trash bin automatically.

There is a certain amount of warmth of feeling, and yes, I feel vindicated and superior about this. I have behaved in the face of great temptation.

But the seed catalogs are arriving, and I feel my seed lust growing. Will there be room in the garden for the new varieties of tomatoes I want to grow?

Conventional Wisdom

What is your mission?

I don’t think of myself as a folk artist. In fact, none of the craftspeople and artists I know are comfortable with all-encompassing labels. One of my peers who smirked at the folk artist label being applied to her and her work cackled and said, ” let them call me what they will as long as they buy the work.” I think she sells her impressionistic paintings at different galleries than where she sells her folksy greeting cards. It boggles the imagination that critics, folklorists, and others seem to think that just because you produce one type of work in a particular area that it renders you unable to do other things.

The little angel is me in folk arts mode. It’s my mission to confound and confuse the narrow-minded.

Darn it! Let’s fold, spindle, and mutilate convention, and have a good time doing it too!


Do you want to live forever?

Live forever? Dear Good God! Wait, maybe dear, not so good, god. There’s a nasty bit of myth about the gift of eternal life. It seems that a goddess wishing to reward her mortal lover gave him eternal life. But having a busy schedule that day, she failed to include eternal youth or good health. He aged.
Probably, he aged like most of us do in youth, barely perceptively. But as the years rolled on, he noticed that his left shoulder was cranky. In addition, the loss of acuity in vision left him less than satisfied while watching sunsets or clouds scudding across a moonlit sky. Finally, being a practical guy, he noticed that his fingers didn’t darn as well if he repaired his socks. The realization that he was aging was sealed with the graying of his previously lustrous brown hair.

His calls to his lover went unanswered. She had moved on to younger men and had stopped thinking of him years ago. The years and centuries rolled on, and his condition continued to deteriorate. Nevertheless, he still lives today, and if capable, he advises you to be careful of what gifts you accept from forgetful deities. If I remember, it was a Greek goddess involved, and perhaps that was the actual origin of the saying to “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”
Well, anyway, “live long and prosper!”

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