Category Archives: between books

Always Thus – –

Jack gets in just in time for Veterans’ Day – –

Today is Veterans’ Day in the US and Armistice Day in the UK.

My feelings are very mixed because of the way this day has developed over the years in Britain. It started in 1920 as a memorial for those who died and a plea for no more wars. But it has developed into a glorification of the armed services and an opportunity to promote Britain’s ‘might’ and how it single handedly ‘won the wars’. This has become much more obvious during the Brexit period, promoting the notion of ‘Britishness’ in the parts of the UK that lie outside England.

It’s my considered belief that all wars have been fought for economic reasons and that was certainly true of WW1 – simply a competition between empires to hold or increase their colonies. WW2 was in many ways little different although as usual it’s been spun differently since. Of course the armament manufacturers stand to make lots of profits so you can usually find them on the sidelines and often selling to both sides while funding the politicians who will promote war but never fight. Sometimes they’re about the need for a politician to boost their popularity – The Falklands War, both Iraq Wars – but mostly these days they’re about oil! Wait for when water becomes the new oil and see what happens.

My views are obviously colored by my Quaker beliefs, and here’s a more personal note –

My Dad volunteered for the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of WW2 because he could see that he’d be called up (drafted) and could have ended up in the army. He couldn’t bear the idea of personally killing anyone. He joked that he was immediately handed a rifle and sent to guard a barrage balloon site which might have defeated his object somewhat.

He was promoted to Leading Aircrafts Man (LAC) and sailed to Egypt where his skills in sign painting and lettering were put to use in map-making and painting the numbers on the sides of liberators, Mitchells and Spitfires. He also spent a good bit of his spare time capturing the local views and people with his water coloring skills. I have no idea if he was anywhere near any action that might have meant him personally killing anyone, but there is an odd connection to my later life –

About eighteen years ago Wendy and I were in Romania where I was teaching a management program and she was working with Rroma storytellers (that’s not a typo). We stayed in the town of Ploesti which is at the center of the Romanian oil industry. During WW2 it was frequently bombed by the US air force flying from Libya and Egypt – yes, Egypt! I wonder – – –

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Filed under between books, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

The Chicken or the Egg?

Jack getting his guest post in on time is a rare event – – –

Some regular readers will know that we have chickens free-ranging in our backyard, four to be precise. Two (Thelma and Louise) came in March and settled in easily, exploring their new surroundings and quickly began laying an egg each per day.

Then, more recently we received another two – retired government workers! They had been employed to track any evidence of West Nile Virus by having their blood tested regularly. After their stint is finished these chickens are re-homed to people who must promise not to eat them. They quickly settled in as well and within days had become good buddies with the original two. We christened one of the newbies ‘Elissa Hirple’ because she was limping when she came and the other one ‘Kathy’. But we didn’t see any eggs from them! (Also Ms. Hirple overcame her limp.)

Being novice chicken owners we did some research on their laying and found that it’s related to the amount of daylight they experience. When the days get shorter and darker they are likely to stop and about a week ago that seemed to have happened. I stopped seeing eggs in the usual corner of the coop I’d converted from an old outhouse.

When we stopped seeing the usual two per day we resigned ourselves to not getting any until Spring. When we were getting eggs regularly, Wendy preserved a couple dozen using a method involving pickling lime called ‘glassing.’

I still checked each day just in case they might provide an occasional egg, but nothing, and we began to talk about when we would break into the glassed eggs. Then yesterday as I refilled their food and water, I happened to look in a different corner of the coop and to my astonishment there were fifteen eggs. So they hadn’t stopped at all and it is almost certain that either Elissa or Kathy joined the production line!

So we now have two large containers of glassed eggs sitting on the counter, and we are still enjoying three-egg days.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch