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April, 2009 | Scuff Productions

Sshhh! The Rufous are nesting.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday April 29, 2009

ALL our hummingbirds seemed to return. The Feeding activity JUMPED to almost .5 quarts a day. In just three weeks time, the activity has dropped next to nothing. That’s kind of nice….it means everything’s working the way it should since:
1) ALL our yard trees are blooming or getting set to bloom.
2) SO MANY insects are out now…………another source of great protein.
3) AND……..I am sure our little girls are nesting already! We expect to see a big jump in feeding at the ports about Mid-May when that first batch fledges……….I can’t wait. Between now and then, it will probably be a bit quiet…..but about Mid-May it should look like this:
1may07hummersdusk11ports

Three years ago I remember Rodger capturing this little baby beauty on a branch, so unsure of herself…but she finally figured out the feeders:
babyhummer

Ah Nature! ALWAYS teaching me patience. Like waiting for the Grosbeaks! I saw the FIRST one yesterday:
evegrosmale1

The home-made suet continues to draw in lots of woodpeckers and their cousins: Downy’s, Hairy’s, Flickers……. and all the little birds seem to like this recipe too and I can only guess because of the peanut butter:
1suethomemade

***ON THE PLUS SIDE: I walked clear down INTO FOREST PARK along Fire Lane 10 with Arnie this afternoon….I haven’t been that far down since the break, and it felt great! Came home planted onions. I even put together a batch of my favorite chowder: Adobe Corn Chowder.….Yumm.

A great day now that the rain is vanishing….

G. Will sneers at people who wear “denims”….. smug arrogance

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday April 29, 2009

George Will. The Arrogant Elitist rabidly conservative columnist you can find in most papers? IF you have ever paid attention to him before, please read his So arrogant writeup about low classless people who wear “Jeans” or “Denims”. **NOTE: I suppose the rabid right wingers have nothing REAL to say, eh? If this is all they can bitch about…………….

I felt this was SO typical of the conservative crowd…………..the good old white boys at the private club……………..

I’m only putting in part of his text…….(read below)…….and not even putting in the link. If you want to read the WHOLE thing, just google George Will……it’s a column from April 23 in the Washington Post (and other sources).

Whew!.

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Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves.
Do not blame Levi Strauss for the misuse of Levis. When the Gold Rush began, Strauss moved to San Francisco planning to sell strong fabric for the 49ers’ tents and wagon covers. Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene.
This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don’t wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly.
Edmund Burke — what he would have thought of the denimization of America can be inferred from his lament that the French Revolution assaulted “the decent drapery of life”; it is a straight line from the fall of the Bastille to the rise of denim — said: “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.” Ours would be much more so if supposed grown-ups would heed St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and St. Barack’s inaugural sermon to the Americans, by putting away childish things, starting with denim.
(A confession: The author owns one pair of jeans. Wore them once. Had to. Such was the dress code for former Sen. Jack Danforth’s 70th birthday party, where Jerry Jeff Walker sang his classic “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.” Music for a jeans-wearing crowd.)
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WELL? DO YOU FEEL cheap and humble now, you screaming left leaning liberal?

Gardening Begins in Portland 2009!

Bloged in garden,Pacific Northwest,Scuff Boys by mark Sunday April 26, 2009

You don’t have to live in the Northwest many years to learn ONE thing about living here. When the FIRST or SECOND real sunny weekend of the year arrives after March, and it’s Saturday morning….. BE prepared for HUGE crowds at Nurseries, lines at Gardening shows, and thousands of very pasty white people rototilling, plowing, planting, buying seeds, starts, etc. EVERY business in town that SELLS ANYTHING relating to gardening will be swamped. The “greening” up of the environment has been coming along almost hidden because it was hidden in mists of fog, clouds and damp, but it HAS been happening. When that first BRIGHT sunny weekend pops, it almost seems your yard is instantly something else.
1floweringtrees09 . . . . . .
Those blossoms are everywhere in this valley, and our Orchard BEES are ALL swamped with pollinating and mating, and having a ball. The NEXT trees to bloom in THIS yard are also getting ready:

1appleblossom09b
APPLES! I can almost see the pie Rodger will make in October!

We DID think we were exempt from any garden “rush” this year because of this JUNE trip. Since JUNE is truly the one MONTH you MUST firmly establish your garden’s roots (that’s when the rain almost completely stops until October) so that it will explode in the next four months of paradise summer, we’d decided to truly scale back. But with David and Serafina deciding to come on up and stay with MAC and defend our homestead against all the squirrels and moles, WE joined the crowds and started a garden last weekend.

So we had an EARLY start last weekend. After a drive to the Landscape Supplier, out came the rototiller, and Rodger took on springing up the garden:
1rdgtilling09

I know I blog about it every spring, but IT IS an exciting moment to see the composted material pushed under, new nutrients added, and it all stirs up to be a beautifully soft rich medium that excites even a little hobby gardener like me:

1posttill09

From any view, it’s a very good feeling to see the Tilling was nearly done.

1markbackgrnd
**I’m in the background there, yep, still cleaning up winter branches from last December.

It was still early afternoon. We wanted chips down under the feeders and our deck edges, so I DROVE the truck to the compost place and got some fresh cedar chips…loved being back in the driver side:

1cdchipsdown
If you haven’t been in your yard on a spring day with some FRESH Cedar Chips around you, you should get some. THESE smell lovely, really. So, chips were done. It was nice to see spring growing in little favorite spots …… like the Oxalys if off to a good start (thanks, Nancy):

1oxalys09

The wild currents are blooming (Nancy, this time the hummers are thanking you.):

1yardapr09a

We still had some time, so tasks were completed: Mowing, weed digging, etc etc. Monday, I planted some starts and seeds so the garden was off to a good start April 2009:

1stlettuce09c

The seeds will be up about the time we begin eating these first starts………….

THIS weekend that startup continued. Off to the mammoth Clark County Garden Show where we met up with growers (AND friends) Michael and Missy Stucki of Millenium Farms………… They are now taking up 5 booths to sell all their goodies.

We now have a couple of flats of vegetable peppers, herbs to plant and other things for flower beds. Lots of seeds were planted yesterday………..I’m finally tired. Mac CAUGHT his 4th mole of the year (7 last year). I have only been able to trap 2………he’s ahead of me.

Time to go watch a new episode of the TUDORS!

Are We Becoming Sweden:

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday April 26, 2009

Fabulous look at the new “socialism” all the right wing screamers are trying to scare you with (short 10 second ad….) Here is is from the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
The Stockholm Syndrome
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

Utah Liquor Laws updated. Better? Funnier?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday April 22, 2009

After years of wrangling, and protests from the Food Service Industry, the Mormon-Controlled legislators along with the Mormon Governor spent the LAST year completely, according to them, re-writing and “SIMPLIFYING” those laws so Utah’s Non-Mormon Guests could enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner without having to buy a membership in a *Private Club* or going through other ridiculous requirements.

1utah-8drink980

Have they made it simpler for a vacationing Lutheran to enjoy that glass of wine? Hah. Take a read here on the “NEW” legislation Gov. Huntsman is about to sign off on:
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Zion curtain’s downfall may add to confusion
By Dawn House The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 03/26/2009 11:25:31 AM MDT
**I have only included parts of the article that describe some of the changes…if you want to read the entire article, it’s at this URL: Zion Curtain’s Downfall may add to Confusion

**I’d best “esplain, Ricky”, the infamous “Zion Curtain” was a required 2 ft high barrier wall (could be glass) HAD to exist between the bartender mixing drinks and the customer. The waiter would take your order, disappear behind the curtain to mix, then return, and your innocent children would not KNOW what evil had transpired. So here we go:

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The infamous Zion Curtain will be taken down from Utah restaurants, replaced by a bevy of rules designed to shield children from seeing bartenders mixing cocktails and the sight of open bottles of liquor.

The mandates pose restrictions that will apply to restaurants built after the law takes effect but not to existing eateries, raising questions about whether some of the regulations may be vulnerable to a court challenge.

The legislation does away with the Zion Curtain, a glass barrier in restaurant bars that servers must walk around to distribute drinks to patrons. And, bartenders will be allowed to pass a drink to a patron across the bar.

Restaurants that start construction after May 12, however, will need a separate area for mixing drinks and storing liquor bottles. The state’s 774 existing restaurants will be grandfathered, as will establishments on which construction was started before the May date. But restaurants that are remodeled or expanded could loose their grandfather status.

There’s more. Under the legislation, children may not linger or sit at bar areas in grandfathered restaurants, but at new eateries they will be able to — in areas referred to in the legislation as “counters.”

Once the liquor bottles are opened in restaurants built after May 12, the containers must be out of sight.

Restaurants in the planning stages of construction will have to wait before owners will know what floor plans will be permitted

That’s a lot of confusion, said Melva Sine, president of the Utah Restaurant Association, which will push for changes during the legislative session next year.

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And a couple of the funniest readers have commented online:
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**I’m wondering why the legislators haven’t taken on deserts. The weight problem is much more prevalent than seeing alcoholic beverages. Driving while fat can make it difficult to steer. Being too short is even more dangerous. When are they going to protect us from short people?**

**Do you think they will ever legalize adulthood in utah**

**Okay… So the story goes like this. A man in his late twenties walks into a bar – ahem! – a restaurant in Utah and in walks a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi.

The man in his late twenties orders a beer, the Catholic priest orders a single malt Scotch on the rocks, and the Jewish rabbi orders a gin and tonic. But alas, as luck would have it, the three men were told by a server that they had to order food with their drink.

Frustrated, they got up and left, and headed for a bar down the street. Not having to buy a membership they ordered their favorite drink, without incidence, and lived happily ever after.**

**What offends me is all the mormons at work who bring in cookies, candy, cake and eat it like there is no tomorrow. Not once considering we pay for their health care costs once they go on medicare due to heart failure or diabetic complications.**

**better to restrict childrens dining to golden corral, home towne buffet, chuckarama and the like. hate to see em witness someone pouring a beer or glass of wine.**

**More alcohol makes all your wives look better**

**I saw this on a t-shirt in SLC, UT many years ago:
It said on the front of the t-shirt, “If you think Utah’s liquor laws are funny”… On the back it said, “You should see their underwear”...**

**You know why you need to take 2 Mormons with you when you go fishing? ANS: If you only take one, he’ll drink all your beer.**

And the BEST:
**woo hoo Utah is legalizing booze while the rest of the country is starting to legalize weed-they are still a hundred years behind.**

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Hilarious! I WELL remember living in Utah during the “private club” days. It made me feel I was in with the “cool kids”….. SO, kids, remember, if you’re preparing to go to Utah, get ready to be treated like either a 1) child, or 2) alcoholic drunk by the Mormons giving you a cocktail. The waiters will be cool about it, it’s the people in the restaurant NEXT to you that occasionally will, you know, give you “the look”.

Oh reading this reminded me just how happy I was to have moved out of there in 1978. I suppose they were happy to see me go. I KNOW there are blue laws in the south today, thanks to religions (Thanks, Southern Baptists)…….but I think there’s a slight difference between a redneck in Utah and one in Alabama (excuse the dated Palin inclusion):
palin812ec822-5882-410b-b2a6-a619c8ff6159

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two forward and one back

Bloged in General Home Life,Pacific Northwest by mark Tuesday April 21, 2009

I was in yesterday at the Orthopedic Clinic for what I thought would be the last X-ray and a release from the doctor…..when, at the last moment, he asked, “Any questions?”…I decided to ask WHY I’m still having knee pain and stiffness. He seemed surprised and did an exam then said this is a “probable” “Torn Meniscus” (knee injury) and if I don’t feel better in a month to come back for an MRI and maybe surgery. I walked out shocked….and didn’t think about the complications of the Trip out of the country early in June………….

I can’t have surgery in mid-May on a knee and then leave for Europe a week later.

I’m now awaiting a consultation call from his clinic……. I’m afraid he’s going to order a clamp down in activity for a while….icing the knee and see what happens…….. fingers are crossed.

The Gathering Gay Storm

Bloged in Gay,Political,Religion by mark Tuesday April 21, 2009

I hope this hasn’t been scaring you. . . . . THIS version of the Gathering Gay Storm re: Marriage should put you at ease:

A Gaythering Storm from Jane Lynch

Hey. I was famous in Vale.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday April 16, 2009

In the weekly Vale, Oregon (pop 1600) newspaper, the Malheur Enterprise, I am mentioned this week. A celebrity I must be. I haven’t lived there since 1965. Oh, maybe I should disclose that the aforementioned “mention” is in this section of the 6 page paper: “50 Years Ago” (w/e Apr 2, 1959).

Even THIS picture of me, in my most polished celebrity Vale outfit, with my favorite life mentor, and piano teacher, Marilee, was taken more recently than 1959 (in 1963 in fact)!
1markpiano19621
** the article noting my former celebrity status reads **

ANNUAL PROGRAM TO BE PRESENTED
The Vale Parent Teachers Student Association will present their annual fundraising program at the high school cafetorium Friday, April 3 at 8 p.m.
Plans have been made for the following program:
*Clair and Beverly Hollingsworth will sing a duet.
*Mark Huffaker, who will present a piano solo.
*Rosemary Johnson Bair will tap dance.
*a Father/Son Quartet consisting of John & Jack Taggart, Rulon & David Huntington will sing.
*A square dance will be next on the program.
*A Harmonica Group will be next.
*The Vale Mormon Choir will sing and,
*The Singing Mothers, will render “Lord’s Prayer,” concluding the program.
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Now really! Can YOU claim any bigger celebrity status than THAT in your life? Hey. It was something to be 12-13 years old in a tiny farm town in pre-media days and be the pick of all available “local” pianists if a PTA fund raisers was held, or maybe a “society” weddings (local auctioneer owner’s daughter) would feature Mark H at the Organ, etc. Whew! It has been rough settling into a life of obscurity here in my later years with no media, no interviews, no occasional spot on Oprah or The View.

I haven’t played for a wedding since the fabulous Leavitt/Smith ceremony 4 years ago this year!
1markweddingsmith
THAT was a grand experience not having played for anything since leaving Vale in 1964 and did require about 3 weeks of practice.
1lizjasnight-0131
Currently, Liz is just finishing her graduate work at Harvard Divinity School (yea, Liz) while Jason works in the financial sector in Boston …..at a level I will never experience.

At any rate, just the mention of that little PTA night so long ago brought many memories of what town and time I grew up in. However, let’s get things in a REAL perspective of the place. Here are a couple other items deemed newsworthy from that week’s newspaper:

*Mr. & Mrs. Ted McKenna of John Day stopped at the Dolly Williams home last sunday for a short visit on their return trip from Caldwell.

*Cattle sold thru the auction Wednesday, April 1, 2009. 792 head. Comments: Good demand for 400wt to 650 wt grass calves.

*In news from Juntura (30 miles out in ranch country): There is a little bit of trouble at the school. The potties aren’t working, so the kids and teachers are having to go elsewhere for potty breaks. It seems they need a new drain field. Hopefully it will be taken care of by the new school year.

*Nancy Wilson of Nampa was a weekend visitor of her mother, Catherine Wilson.

*The cowboy poetry party at the W. Jones School in Arock will be held May 1.

Now you understand why I DO know I won’t be hearing from Oprah.

And How was Your Easter?

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday April 14, 2009

Well…..I spent part of the day OUT of a leg boot I’ve been wearing for 5 weeks, and without crutches walking, er, hobbling around the house. BIG STUFF, and Thrilling!

MORE than that, Satuday we’d gone to several stores catching up on needed items. One item found was a Prime Rib at half price that seemed that it was asking to be consumed on Easter.

So. Yesterday began with Rodger making fabulous biscuits (The classic Joy of Cooking Basic recipe….can NOT be beat….just keep your butter COLD after you’ve diced it), eggs, Zenner’s Sausage, and Strawberry Freezer jam. Fabulous Beginning of the day!

Among several things we got done was catching up a bit on “THE TUDORS“,
**the link opens to a page of short video summaries giving the timeline of Henry VIII’s life….fascinating).
the Showtime series now in season 3. On our 3-month free Showtime period, we’ve doing “Video on Demand” to catch all of Season two and three. We’re REALLY enjoying reading up on Henry VIII and ALL the intrigue he created, and I don’t mean JUST the Sex scandals. I suppose you would be a bit disturbed if you were thrown at 9 years old into the impossible position of knowing you’ll be King because your older brother dies. Not only that, but you learn you will have to marry the older women your dead brother was betrothed to, a marriage of convenience to bolster England’s influence on Spain.

WHEW! I NEVER understood how much power that Ann Boleyn could cause in a few years…..(with Henry’s help, of course): during her time, Henry truly brought the destruction of the Catholic Church in England. Henry’s break with the Catholic Church was MUCH more powerful than I’d ever thought about. I’m REALLY enjoying this wonderfully done series.

By mid-afternoon, we got Roast Rubbed, set, and placed into the Oven, with Potatoes, pulled out some Freezer Corn, and waited two hours for our fabulous Prime Rib Dinner.

All in All, I really enjoyed our Easter …………. and somehow can’t say we did anything exciting enough to break a leg….

I’m really lucky my guy has been so good to me while my life speed’s been slowed to half. I thought it was a wonderful time together considering I did very little except begin learning how to walk more normally.

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