Friday, April 29, 2011

The aftermath...

I guess we're all tired of hearing me talk about those devastating tornadoes, but when I drove to Rome this morning I passed an area that made my jaw drop, and as far as I know no tornado touched down here, just wind.  For about one-quarter mile along both sides of the highway there had to be at least 100 huge trees down, with damage to at least one home.  This is country, not town, so there were not a lot of houses to begin with.

We had a Traveler's insurance adjuster stop by to use our facilities this afternoon, and he's done nothing but drive for days now. He said that to the west of our store out the Alabama Highway, there was no power until the city of Gadsden and in some places it would probably be a month before power was restored.  Some of those big high-tension power transmission poles had gone down.  The wonderful little town of Cave Spring got a direct hit, but I didn't drive through to see. They don't need tourists rubbernecking right now.

I found this map online today, and it pretty much says it all.

Cave Spring is the little squiggle northwest of Atlanta.

And, since that map didn't show enough detail for me, I traveled the internet seeking other maps that would show this area better, and found this one.  Since I have to do 'print screen' to capture this, the quality isn't great, but it shows where we are.

You can see how the majority of the storms moved along a northeast line.  Cave Spring is the red squiggle just above Cedartown -- not 10 miles away!  Over in Alabama to the southeast of us, Jacksonville isn't all that far away and there was supposedly a tornado spotted on the ground east of Piedmont (near Jacksonville) headed directly for Cedartown.  I don't know how up-to-date these maps are, since NOAA can take time to survey damage in a particular area before determining that it was a tornado.  Doesn't matter.  Whatever you call them, it was bad.

However, no harm came to me or anyone in this area and we are all very grateful for that.  Some people still don't have electricity, but that's nothing but a minor inconvenience compared to what might have happened.  And, I guess we're still not out of the woods.  Another nasty front is supposed headed this way.  I sure hope Mother Nature gets over this little pissy spell soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It's been a nerve-wracking day in these parts.  Shortly after I arrived at work this morning, in Rome, the first big front rolled through quickly leaving a significant amount of devastation in its wake.  Countless huge trees down, many across streets and taking down power lines.  I drove about a mile toward town just before noon (foolishly expecting Staples to be open!) and saw chunks of metal all over the place from signs and buildings, one brick building whose front had collapsed into a traffic lane, and one long concrete block wall that had tumbled down onto a row of cars in a  used-car lot.  Traffic lights were mostly out.  Staples didn't have power (duh!).  There was damage everywhere.  Cedartown mostly escaped, as the storm traveled northeast. There was a report of a funnel cloud on the south of town, in the air but not touching down.  A house below it had two huge trees crash across it from opposite directions.

Chattanooga has seen the brunt of it all day, and continues to be right in the path of the front as it travels right through the city going northeast.  Huge tornadoes have been seen not all that far away in Alabama. So far, we've gotten off fairly lucky.  I just hope it stays that way although I surely don't wish destruction to others. 

About 7:30. See the two tornadoes to the left, around Birmingham?  And all the ones to the north around Chattanooga?  Polk County is indeed right in the path of the one in Birmingham, unless it scoots north.

Now, at 7:30pm, I am rather anxiously awaiting the next front to roll through -- this is the nasty one that has produced so many bad tornadoes and so many deaths in its march across the country.  I'm becoming almost complacent, there have been so many this spring.  Looking at all the radar maps, the line seems to still be traveling northeast at an angle that will keep it north of us, but I can't trust that and relax, certainly.  Our local radio station is saying that this huge storm that has several tornadoes in Birmingham right now is headed directly for us, and they've got live radar to look at.  All I can do is wait and see what happens.  What will the night bring?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Medical rant

It's no secret that I am not a fan of the medical system in this country.  Yes, we have fine doctors who are terrific at treating symptoms and keeping people alive with procedures and drugs.  I don't deny that. But, treating symptoms with drugs more often than not creates a whole new set of symptoms that they like to treat with more drugs with more side effects, and it's no wonder we have so many unhealthy people in this country.

What we lack is a good system of preventive care and physicians who know how to use food and vitamins for healing the body's deficiencies naturally.  And when you can find them, most health insurance (including Medicare) won't pay for them.  Not because they are ineffective, because they are very effective.  But because our doctors are not trained in nutrition.  They are trained to treat symptoms and perform procedures.

If we had good preventive care and if health insurance would cover natural health doctors and the nutrients they prescribe, I think we'd be a far healthier country.  Of course, that would require the cooperation of the general public who would rather wolf down some fast food and take a pill to treat their diabetes or whatever, rather than eating a diet that could eliminate their diabetes (type II) for example. And granted, not all illnesses are reversible by diet and nutrients and in those cases, drugs and procedures are certainly called for. 

I got the results today from a slew of blood tests and x-rays.  The x-rays show some deterioration in the lower spine, which is likely causing at least some of the peripheral neuropathy the doc said was probably what was going on with me.  All I know about the blood tests is that they were 'good'.  I'll pick up a copy for myself tomorrow and make my own assessment based on past tests and medical opinions.  Still, the woman I spoke with at the doc's office said there was no treatment, but they could give me something for pain.  Sorry.  I don't go there.  First of all, I don't have pain, I have numbness and tingling.  Secondly, I've done my own research and there are several treatments, merely not drug-related treatments.  Stretching in certain ways helps (I've tried it, and it does help), as do several B vitamins.

I already take a good bit of Thiamine (B-1), but in my research this afternoon found that this form of B-1 is not as absorbable by the body as a newer form, Benfotiamine.   I've taken the Methylcobalamin form of B12, but ran out a few weeks ago and didn't order more.  I've also taken the P-5-P form of B-6, and recently ran out of that and didn't reorder. ($$, you know.)  There were others, but I couldn't afford all of them and these seem to be the best at doing what needs to be done in my body. So, I plunked down $50 and placed an order for these 3 B-vits at my go-to place for vitamins, Swanson.  I really couldn't afford that, but it's worth a try to see if my symptoms will alleviate once I begin taking them.  All of these symptoms seemed to return after I ran out of the P-5-P and Methylcobalamin, although it could have been a coincidence.  We'll find out.

End of rant, although I'll be continuing the effort to myself for awhile to come, no doubt.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great American Clean-up -- Polk County Style

The cemetery committee was invited at the last minute to join in the big county clean-up today, so I opted to go along.  We went to two small cemeteries deep in the woods, well out of sight of any roads.  It's fun to see these old family cemeteries, and feels good to help keep them from being lost in overgrowth.

We started off the morning at Peek Park with a sausage biscuit for breakfast, then headed out to our various assignments.

We began our day at a small cemetery way back beyond the tree line at the edge of the next treeline.  All those yellow flowers were pretty!

As you can see, it was an overgrown mess!

This was the Brumby Family Cemetery.
We found this Confederate States of America star half buried in the ground.  It wouldn't budge, but at least it's not likely to be the subject of vandalism.
It looked much better by the time we left.

Then it was off to the Ammons-Young family plot, buried amidst all this periwinkle.
I'm guessing he was the patriarch, although there was another, very old and almost unreadable, marker for a Jessee Ammons born 1800 died 1879. This marker is clearly new.

This was an interesting cemetery.  We found numerous markers that were knocked down, but this one was also buried under soil and overgrowth that kept it in pretty good shape.
By the time we left, this one looked pretty good, too.

Back at Peeks Park, this group had to have won the prize for most trash picked up, if there was such a thing!  They were sent to what was described as 'the worst area of Polk County'.  I don't know where it was -- but those are bathtubs in the back of the pickup!

I came home ready to rest, but ended up feeling guilty about that so I went out back and sifted some more compost, dug up a few weeds.  Now, I'm ready to rest!  I knew I was too tired to paint  -- painting is easier than sifting compost, but takes more skill and attention than I had to give it.  Tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I know you think I'm kidding....

...but I'm serious when I say this back room redo might kill me.  I almost electrocuted myself this morning when I was applying spackle around an electrical outlet.  I guess my putty knife slipped and hit one of the screws inside the box, but I couldn't swear by that.  All I know is that there was a loud pop, I jumped, and when I opened my eyes sparks were flying all across the floor.  The metal blade of the putty knife had a 1/4 inch chunk out of one corner.  Not a good way to start the day, but it sure woke me up!  Fortunately, no harm came to me from the incident, although I had to get James to install a new plug when he did the rest of that room today.

Aside from that -- we're still making progress.  The closet is finished, aside from sanding when it's dry.  I thought James would do that, but he didn't seem too inclined so I guess I'll have to, and that won't be pretty.  I don't do well when it comes to sanding above my head, so it probably won't be a very good job but it's a closet, people. I can only apply so much angst to the issue.  James also put the window stop trim in place, and that looks good. I primed some of the woodwork so at least I feel I accomplished something.  There's more spackle to be applied here and there and more priming, then I can start painting the color on it.

The room suddenly is taking on a whole new life.  Getting the white over most of the wood lightened the room  much more than I expected and my heart takes a small leap when I walk into it now.  I'm at the point where I can see it coming together and I want to do nothing but continue -- but I can't.  I must work tomorrow, and I only have so much energy.  Still -- it's happening.

I even managed to get a bit of compost sifted and into the new raised beds today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The latest addition to my family...

This sweet young man is my new cousin, Asher, born April 7.  His grandpa sent me a preview of his newborn photos today.  This was my favorite of the bunch.  Can you see why?

I gotta tell you, when I started figuring out generations on him I suddenly felt really, really old.  His great-grandmother was my favorite cousin, a few years older than me, who grew up in the same house I did for my first 6 years.  My grandfather, who I knew and loved, is this child's great, great, great-grandfather.  Ken, who was born when I was almost a teenager and who I remember as a child, is his grandfather. See what I mean about feeling old?  Egads, where has the time gone.

Congrats to the parents and family -- names omitted because these are just preview photos and I don't want to make them too public before they have a chance to do so. But, I had to share something so lovely.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How grows the redwood?

There's a new shoot coming out of the soil beside my little redwood!  It's only a quarter of an inch or so tall yet, but it's definitely redwood, not weed.  I wonder what this means? The main stem seems to also be growing, albeit slowly, and I don't think it's usual for redwoods to send up secondary trunks.  But, you can see that it's a little bigger than the sprout on the lower stem of the main seedling, and that's been there for months.  It's only been in soil (native humus from it's home area), as opposed to water, for a few months, too.  I don't remember when I finally decided to plant it even though it had no discernible roots.  It was living and growing and that seemed to be enough.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Peek-Wright Cemetery, Antioch, Polk County, Georgia

Another cemetery clean-up today, with dedicated workers, good friends, and lots of generous spirit. Each time I go to one of these I see a new part of the county, learn new roads. The morning was muggy -- overcast, as you can see, but humid.  We only worked for about an hour, but we were all pretty tired at the end of it.  Personally, I came home and crashed.  Work around here can wait until tomorrow.

Once again, when we arrived someone had half the grass cut already, which is wonderful.  Last week someone had done it in advance, today a different man had started early with his riding mower. Really made the work so much easier for the rest of us!
All we had to do was get out a couple of push mowers and some weed-eaters, plus hand snippers and rakes, to get inside the enclosed spaces and around individual stones.
It's a lovely old cemetery.  Many (if not most) of the markers are for people who died pre-1900.
All finished.
It looks much, much better.  The same volunteer will cut the grass another time or two this summer, but we won't be back here for awhile.  Too many others in need of work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Between the back room and the garden, I worked for about five hours this morning and I'm ready for a rest!  I began in the back room, first clearing it out, then doing some fine sanding on woodwork, then running the vacuum, then (all out of order) deciding to use the sander again on the white paint that's already on one window and needs replacing.  Whew.

Then, off to the garden.  Sometime in the past week the idea that planting time is not far away broke into my thick skull.  My two new beds need help and work, so I attacked one of them this morning. The other will have to wait awhile.

OK, so this is the other bed -- I didn't get a 'before' photo but let's face it, they look very much the same and need the same amount of work.  First, off with the chicken wire and into weed removal. Took about an hour with a hand tool to stir up all the soil, get new weeds and remove older, larger roots and things that didn't decompose completely over the winter.

Off to the back 40 to attack this compost pile, which is the oldest. 

I forgot the step where I unrolled this hardware cloth and fought to make it lie flat across the bed.  This is a bucket-load of raw compost, which then had to be sifted through the mesh to keep larger pieces out.  I took special care with the fat earthworms that were transferred, not smushing them in the mesh.

Four buckets later (all my body would handle today and also about half the pile) I have an inch or more of gardener's black gold over the entire bed.  And it's still not even close to being full.  I see more Black Kow in my future. And perhaps more diligence in removing green weeds.

Lunch.  Garbanzos with lemon, parmesan, olive oil, garlic and herbs over fresh greens from the garden. Life is good.

And now, folks, I think I'm gonna crash for awhile, start making that long list of things to buy at SW tomorrow after work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County Georgia

Despite all my grumbling and whining (all of which was actually half-hearted and good-natured), I enjoyed the morning of work with the cemetery committee more than I've enjoyed anything for a long time.  I'm always happy to be outside in the sunshine, but before the morning was over I also felt a sense of belonging, of being a part of a community, which is something I've felt very rarely in my life.  It was a good feeling.

It didn't hurt that sense of belonging to find these markers for my great-great-grandparents.  I knew they were buried here, but had never been here before.  Their daughter, Fannie, was my grandmother's mother. 

It's a wonderful old church -- long abandoned.  This was a 'before' photo.  Both the mess around the big tree and around the iris patch were cleared during the day.

Another 'before' photo, early morning before work began.  A neighbor had volunteered to mow it earlier in the week, so all we had to do was fine-tuning.

This whole corner was cleaned out -- saplings and overgrowth.
Lots of brush and tree trimmings were hauled to the curb, where the county will pick them up.

I loved the idea that after all these years somebody keeps flowers blooming where this infant was buried in 1938.

After -- they tell me this cemetery hasn't looked this good for a long time!

I love the Ben Franklin quote: "Show me your cemeteries and I will tell you what kind of people you have".

We only worked until noon or so, but of course had to eat lunch, stand around and talk genealogy and ghost-hunting for awhile.  I got home with plenty of time to head to Sherwin-Williams and get some paint for the new trim (and the rest of the woodwork).  I was bemoaning the fact that I'd missed the 30% off sale last weekend, and he told me they were having a 40% off sale starting this Friday -- so you know I'll be stopping there on my way home from work Friday!  Got the first coat of primer on the trim.  It didn't go on very evenly so I'll have to sand smooth and coat again tomorrow.  But, that's ok.  It'll be ready for Jeff to cut and install whenever he makes it by here again.