Winter Creeps Along

Ice Pine By David Jacobi

I read a few articles recently about an increase of interest by people wanting to move from cities to small towns and rural properties. In many areas rural prices have been rising in response to the desired exodus. Since we bought our place out here in 2018 I have not seen a single for sale sign on our road or anywhere around us. The neighbors we have met have lived here for a long time. It seems that when one lives in the country something keeps you there. A blizzard blew threw recently, dropping several inches of snow and leaving the usual high drifts resulting from 36 to 48 mph wind gusts. Our two dogs, Marley and Steve, love to lay down and crawl along the big drifts and then roll on them. They stand up caked with snow then shake it off. I don’t know how many rabbits are living out here now but it seems every other time I enter the machine shed I scare one up, and there are tracks in the snow all over the acreage. We have two squirrels around the place but no songbirds are to be seen or heard. After the last blizzard I filled two of the bird feeders but so far nothing. Last time I was in town I noticed the river was almost completely frozen over, which usually brings the eagles out of the river valley over the plains looking for food. Sure enough a few days later I was driving along our road and saw one fly up and land in a barren, empty field. I came to a stop parallel to it and we looked at each other for a few moments. It flew off and I watched it go until I could see it no more. Winter creeps along.

Obscure America: Clubs

A vacuum cleaner collection

Here are five obscure clubs.

Concrete Canoe Club – Civil engineering students build and race concrete canoes.

Giga Society – Membership of the Giga Society is ideally open to anyone outscoring .999999999 of the adult population on at least one of the accepted tests. This means that in theory one in a billion individuals can qualify.

Ejection Tie Club – Life membership of the Ejection Tie Club is confined solely to those who have emergency ejected from an aircraft using a Martin-Baker ejection seat. The club has over 6,000 members.

Obscure Song Club – Their goal is to increase members’ and non-members’ knowledge of, and performance of, songs, particularly obscure ones.

Vacuumland – For vacuum cleaner collectors and fans.

Beef Stroganoff

Ground Beef Stroganoff

This is a very quick and frugal meal that our family has enjoyed for years.

Ingredients:

One pound ground beef

One small onion, diced

One clove garlic, minced

½ tsp paprika

One can cream of mushroom soup

One can sliced mushrooms, drained

½ cup sour cream

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup milk

Brown ground beef with onion, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Fold in all remaining ingredients and heat through. Serve over corn chips or cooked noodles.

Adventures With Jeff

I wish our raft was this well put together!

I wrote a while back about one of my boyhood friends named Jeff and how we burned down his house. We had a few other adventures I figured I would recall to round out our time together. After the fire some of the smoke damaged furniture that Jeff’s mom wanted to save was stored in the garage, which instantly transformed it into a neighborhood clubhouse. A few pieces of furniture were soon pulled out into the yard next to the garage to help air them out. Not long after that happened it occurred to us that we might as well jump off of the garage, landing on the furniture in the yard. That evolved into dragging the furniture further and further away so eventually we had to run along the length of the garage and leap off of it in order to hit our targets. We would run and jump then smash into a davenport with such force it would flip over backwards and we would roll off the other side. Needless to say that furniture never made it back into the house. As long as I knew him Jeff had a fascination with flying, vowing someday he would have his own plane to fly. For a few weeks he was even making plans to build a spaceship. On the sidewalk in front of his house we would build a homemade ramp to jump our bicycles, the incline increasing with each jump until someone suffered a spectacular crash. Then we would start over with the small ramp and raise it up again. One summer we decided to build a raft using only logs and vines. A few yards after shoving it into the Des Moines river it came apart and we had to swim for shore. Occasionally I would spend the night at his house, and one night we snuck out headed for a local apartment complex that had a pool. We silently scaled the locked fence surrounding the pool and quietly went for a swim. There were few lights on around the pool and I remember floating in that deep blue water looking up at the brilliant scattered stars. Early one morning when I had spent the night we woke to deliver the newspapers on his route and the radio told us about the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash. We eventually drifted apart and he moved away. The last I heard a few years ago, from an elderly lady in the old neighborhood, Jeff was living a successful life in Kansas City. When she mentioned he owned his own plane I had to smile.

Potential

Beached By David Jacobi

Ethereal waves and flickerings of magic light

Blew over

What dead and dying remnants lingered

Showing to all, the bleached bones of potential

Or is it the beached bones of potential

Everyone can see, anyway

The magic fading away

No matter if bleached or beached

All seems lost, almost

Until the laughter rises floating

And bones click and clatter

Reminding us of the potential

2011 By David Jacobi

Sun and Broken Branches

Ice Willows By David Jacobi

A few days ago the weather report warned about “freezing fog” occurring during the overnight. I don’t recall encountering freezing fog before, but sure enough the next morning the trees were coated with frost. The next couple of nights were marked by fog so thick we could not see to the boundaries of our two acres. The coyotes seem more active during a foggy evening, and will come closer to the house than usual. Last month we had some freezing rain come through and cake our trees with ice. Several large branches came down as well as hundreds of small ones, making a real mess. The upside was the next morning while the dogs and I were walking around the acreage assessing the damage, the sun began to melt the ice. Everywhere the tinkling of ice falling from the trees and crashing to the ground could be heard. The sunlight made all of the trees sparkle brilliantly as they shed their ice coats. I stopped several times and just watched and listened. As the day continued to warm, the ice that still clung to the trees began to melt until it seemed to be raining under them. The sunshine grew warmer, and the tree raining increased. Finally what was left were shattered pieces of ice melting under the trees and the warmth making short work of them. Soon all was gone but the sun and broken branches.

Obscure America: Words

Suppedaneum

Five obscure words:

Boanthropy – A psychological disorder that causes a person to believe they are an ox, cow, or generally of the bovine species.

Euneirophrenia – The peaceful state of mind after a pleasant dream.

Gynotikolobomassophile – One who likes to nibble on a woman’s earlobes.

Neanimorphic – Appearing younger than one’s actual age.

Suppedaneum – A shelf affixed to a cross for supporting the feet of the crucified.