The last few years the concept of simplicity has been a major theme for me.  I have spent much of the last year decluttering my life and all the stuff I have unnecessarily collected. That included a closet of clothes never worn in several years and a 30×60 foot barn with decades worth of accumulated junk.

For some reason I now find it much more satisfying to live a cleaner life without so much stuff.  I don’t know if this is because I can see the end of the tunnel or if this has been a lifelong endeavor that is finally risen to the surface. Either way I am glad to welcome it into my world.

I searched out my photo library for what I think is the very idea of Simplify and came up with the following photo. Living simply does not mean living without beauty…

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My Small Town And Crime…

2016-04-22_10-04-25.pngI am going into my seventeenth year living in my small town in southwestern Indiana.  It is a town of about 2,000 people and a county of 20,000.  It is in the bottom 20% of the State in that regard. I certainly enjoy small town life.  I have been here long enough that most people at least know that I am the  old”deaf” guy. We aren’t quite “Mayberry” as portrayed to the right but we are probably about as white and as few in number.🙂

Our small daily newspaper, yeah we still have one, doesn’t have much of a staff so they for the most part just print what is given to them. It seems the majority of our daily newspaper is about high school sports and who recently died.  Investigative reporting is non-existent. There are occasional letters to the editor that discusses our local government but for the most part no one in government and especially law enforcement are seriously questioned.  That is an underlying theme for this post.

In the sixteen years I have lived here crime it seems has been pretty static, at least from what I can glean from the newspaper and talking to other townspeople. There was recently a murder of a small child that made State wide news but murder and robbery is thankfully a very rare occurrences in my small town. A couple of times a year I see where the sheriff raids another meth lab but for the most part my small town seems almost immune from the big city problems of Indianapolis which brings me to the main topic of this post.

The budgets related to criminal activities  in our county has taken a sharp increase in the last few years and I just can’t fathom why. For years we got by with one judge handling the legal matters for our county. Most, if not all, the county employees were housed in the 100 year old county courthouse.  And then things suddenly changed. About four years ago when our long-time circuit judge retired it was decided that one judge could not handle the volume anymore. We needed two judges now.

We also needed a greatly expanded support team including more deputies for the three enforcement agencies in our small county. So many more employees where added that they had to seek additional space beyond the court house. Of course along with all this demanded remodeling much of the court house space to accommodate the expanded bureaucracy.  More tax dollars…

Tax dollars dedicated to criminal activities have taken a giant leap here but I just don’t see the cause of it?  And now a plan is underway to close down three of the four courthouse entrance doors and to put some more newly hired  guards  with metal detectors and weapons at the final one.  Of course that means more expense.

Is all of this being caused by real threats or just  increased fear?  Since my county is very red when it comes to its politics I kind of think the later. Fear is very dominant on that side of the aisle.   But I won’t be voicing much opposition to these changes as I don’t want to be deemed the “troublemaker” in my small town.  That can almost be the kiss of social death in a small town….

The Mystery of Women…

canstockphoto20776568One afternoon my Grandad said to me, “Son, to men, women always remain a mysterious entity while to women, men become a flawed utility.” He made the comment with a chuckle and it made me smile because I remember Grandma telling grandad time and again that “You never load the dishwasher correctly,” or saying to any one present “He never puts things back in the right place,” which was possibly a little harsh. There were other observations of a similar nature but the irony was, if anyone else but her was forward enough to criticise him, she would launch herself at them with one or two of those pithy observations for which she was famous….

He was capable of wearing out her patience with an unbroken supply of good humour until she would just shake her head and retire behind her knitting. I remember him saying on another occasion, “When God created men and women a passing angel said, “If they don’t kill each other they’ll have to learn to live together” and I agree with that.

SOURCE:  A Difference Of Outlook | countingducks.

My friend over at the blog CountingDucks  gave me a mini-epiphany today with his latest post. When describing his grandparents he could have just as well described my wife and I. On occasion I wear my tee-shirt with the following words on it just to bug my wife.  “If a man says something and no women are around, is he still wrong!” Even after ten years it still raises a comment or two.

I have to say up front here that I had very early life experience with the opposite sex. I didn’t really get into any serious relationship until I was in my late thirties  so I was isolated from these facts of life.  When I first got married about the age of forty I began to understand that my wife looked at the world quite differently than I did. I was kind of the “live and let live” guy. I just took people for who they were and never thought of doing anything to try to change them. I appreciated the diversity of my friends, even the married ones.🙂

In my job in the corporate world I was frequently praised for the work I did. I got many “pat on the backs” and thank-yous as well as a few promotions. I knew what I did was appreciated. My vain pride was fully intact during those years.

Now that I have been married for almost thirty years  and especially since my retirement sixteen years ago the full force of this basic difference between some men and women has come to brutally hit me face on.  It seems that my wife believes that I can’t even flush a toilet without screwing it up. Almost everything I do is wrong according to her.  I sometimes feel that I am no longer a person of worth and that is a grinding thing that we men seem to have to put up with I guess. As the quote above says we have learned to live together without killing each other… I guess that is saying something.


uRV Stranded

The pic above is of Merv (uRV). He is my truck of almost 25 years that I have been repurposing into a micro-RV for travels around the Midwest in the coming years in my own version of “Travels with Charley”.  I have spent two years turning what was once a delivery truck for my past furniture business into a quite comfortable 5×8 foot living quarters. This spring I will start with the exterior design which will include advertising this blog and the travelogue over at InSearchOfAmerica.

In the mean time here sits uRV up to his wheels in the most recent snow storm. I know I shouldn’t complain as this is actually the first major snowfall to hit us this year. Last year at this time we had already had about 60 inches of snow. And then of course are my eastern neighbors.  If uRV were in Boston you wouldn’t see anything but a mound of snow.

Hopefully uRV will soon escape his snowbound condition and be ready to jump into action.

Not Your City Slicker Lawn…

Country Spring 006I guess it is officially Spring now as all the country yard flowers and in full bloom. Now I know all you city slickers out there call my flowers as shown here weeds but you got to get over that idea. ;)  God just didn’t intend that only one variety of his creation was to appear on your front yard.  But I do have to admit that my wife gets on me from time to time about how our lawn seems to have everything but grass growing on it.

Living in the country means putting up with all the critters that also live here. And those critters can be plants as well as animals.  I don’t spend a lot of my time, especially in the Spring months looking down at my yard. Instead I spend it looking out at all of God’s wonders around me. Click on any of the picture here to get a little bigger view.

The Big Thaw….

Things are finally starting to thaw out here in the Midwest. The temperature actually got into the 20s yesterday and is supposed to break freezing today. But there is still much ice to contend with. As a matter of fact we now have a new lawn ornament in our front yard as a result of the ice. Here is the story behind that.

Our neighbor from across the road knows that ice and I are a treacherous combination so she usually get our mail for us during these conditions. She is seventy-six years old but refuses to admit it. She is definitely of Hoosier pioneer stock. She attempted to deliver our mail today and managed to slip off our driveway almost into one of our hundred year old oak trees.  Given that she has seven grown kids living within a mile of here several were to her rescue almost immediately. But as seen from the photo below even a farm tractor could not clear her of the tree. They will wait a couple of days for more melt before trying again.

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This map shows just how far down this cold weather goes today.  We are at -14 right now with a wind chill of -40! Our neighbors across the road power went down yesterday and it is still out but ours was OK, thank the Lord. They moved in with family in town. The lady next to them also lost power; she will be our guest for the next few days until sanity returns..

These are the rare times when it is dangerous for us senior citizens to be living in the countryside. I hope all my other neighbors are safe this week…..

This kind of weather would make a snowbird out of almost all of us.  That is except for my wife, she ignores the hazards and clings to the beauty…

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Today Winter Begins……

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Given all the snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures lately it is hard to get my mind around today being the first day of winter!  Was all that really Fall??  I kind of think it has something to do with global warming screwing up all the atmospheric condition of the world. But, I am not a climatologist so what do I know?

I always have mixed feelings about living in a northern State and having to face some pretty severe weather conditions. I often dream of being somewhere where is it warm instead of freezing my ### off. But then again I read a couple of bloggers who live in Arizona and they lament about all the heat of summer keeping them indoors.  At least with winter in the north it is kind of beautiful as long as you don’t have to get out in it.  So maybe this is really where I belong.

But then the idea of being a “snow bird” is always enticing even if I can’t afford two places to live or my wife would never leave the snow she loves so much….

Still Clinging To My Hard Copy Magazines….

2013-12-12_09-12-42I guess I am of that rare breed who actually gets a weekly hard-copy magazine. That magazine is Time. Each weekly issue rests on my bedside stand and is read nightly until completed.

I think maybe Time is the only weekly magazine left with my political slant. There is just something about actually holding the info in my hands that still appeals to me. Now don’t get me wrong, 95% of what I read is probably digital. I have a Kindle Reader for most of my books now and part of my regular daily activity is spending about an hour at my computer browsing through news websites and my daily blog reads.  I very much reside in the digital world but that weekly paper magazine still has an infatuating appeal to me.

There used to be a phrase “High Tech, High Touch”. I don’t know if it is still popular today? What it means is that as we become more involved in  high technology we need a corresponding amount of things that we can touch and feel.  Let’s face it, the cyber-world is addictive but we all need more than that.  As we needed a mother’s touch as infants we still need some tactile reinforcement today.  Most often that comes from a  hug of another person.

2013-12-12_10-30-32There are other hard-copy magazines that I also enjoy. One of them is the Friends Journal which is subtitled Quaker Thought and Life Today. Much like their Amish brethren, Quaker life is much about simplicity so a high-touch physical magazine only seems natural to me for this venue. As some of you know I collect “Simplify” signs as a hobby. Including the one I recently got in Holland Michigan I have at least a dozen strewn throughout my study. I’m not sure if a high tech lifestyle is really compatible with a simplified life but I am trying to realize that combination.

Old School….


One of my neighbors is just an old-school type of guy. He continues to burn off the leaves around his house instead of composting them or using some other more environmentally friendly method of disposing them.  In many ways he continues to hang on to the ways of the past. He is radically conservative anti-Obama in a very Red State so he fits quite nicely in his environs; much more so than I do.  We seldom agree on things of a political nature. But…. despite our political, and often environmental, differences we continue to be good neighbors and pretty good friends.

We both have a very reverent place in our lives for our versions of God. We both recognize the humanity of man. I think my neighbor would give me the shirt off his back if I asked for it.  But he is an old-school type of guy.🙂

An Inspiring Spring Day

Spring 2013 Front Yard


I have chosen the crabapple tree in the front yard as my inspiration theme for this Sunday. I just love watching things come back to life after a dormant cold season. The horses across the street are wintered someplace else. This was the first week they were back.

Oh the Snow….

Newest Banner Snow Plowing

Yeah that’s me a few days ago. We had a dusting of three inches of snow that I removed from our 150 foot circular driveway. This one I could handle with my trusty Craftsman tractor.

Is The World Still There??

One of the first things I do every morning when I get up is to look out the back door to make sure the world is still there. What I see now that my neighbor in back has stripped (he says harvest) all his mature trees is a lone Sycamore proudly standing by itself. It used to be hidden by a large oak tree but is now left to sway majestically in the wind untethered by that mighty oak.  I will continue to watch it in the coming years. It has now become one of my daily friends.

My Best Friend…

Seeing a fellow blogger talk about his new pet reminded me that I have been getting too serious on this blog lately. So I thought it was time to kick back on this post and show you one of my best friend. Best friends seem to be hard to come by in my senior years.🙂 She has been with us for about  four years now. Although she weighs in at over sixty pounds she thinks she is a lap dog. This picture was taken a few months ago during our only snow storm that lasted more than a day on the ground. This one took four days to disappear.

Back Home Again In Indiana….

We made it home from Nova Scotia on Sunday afternoon. After doctors appointments on Monday we learned that my wife has a pretty severe eye infection and a rough Canadian cold. I can personally attest to the cold as I also got it!  Other than that we will recover. I will likely hold off blogging for a few more days and then try to get back to my usual schedule.

It is nice to be home and our house sitter did a pretty good job taking care of things while we were away. Our tomatoes are in full ripe mode now. Too bad we are both really too sick to thoroughly enjoy them (ha).  Other than unpacking I haven’t got much accomplished; hopefully that will change today as the side busting cough is starting to subside.

Then and Now

I thought I would look back at our homestead ten years ago and now. It is amazing how things have grown so much but still stayed pretty much the same.

Indianapolis – 2003

This is a picture of Indianapolis taken outside of the Indiana Historical Society building there.

County Fair July 2006

Living in a small town means the county fair is probably the event of the year. That is certainly the case for our small town.

Anxiously awaiting…

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This is my favorite view of our homestead. I call it “up on the mountain” as it is the highest point on our property. This is where my outdoor glider resides and is where I do most of my spring/summer/ fall reading and the corresponding naps. :)    I ache to get back to my mountain home. Given the warm weather lately, hopefully it will be soon. But that is probably wishful thinking.

Hanging on… (Homestead January 2011)


Here is a simple picture taken a few weeks ago during one of our many recent snow storms. It is simple yet elegant in its composure.

Ice Storm…..


We were one of the unfortunate States to be hit with the recent ice storm. Even four days after the event everything is still coated! To make matters worse I fell and fractured some ribs so I will be laid up for quite some time.

Is Spring Around the Corner?



With winter in full force now I need to bring out some pictures to remind me that Spring will eventually get here. This picture was taken in 1993 showing all the daylilies at the end of my veggie garden inside the fence. Those flowers are probably what Yvonne misses the most about our home in Fishers Indiana.

My Pride & Joy –June 1992



I seem to have always had a garden, except for the college years. This one is probably my pride and joy. It had plenty of sun, rich soil, and a fence to keep out the crittters. I was forced to leave it 4 years later due to moving to New Jersey to fill out my pension. And for those who wander no I don’t think New Jersey tomatoes hold a candle to those raised in the MidWest.

Snow in the Oaks…



Took this shot yesterday as I was taking Beulah, our Basset Hound, for a walk around our homestead. We have about six inches of snow on the ground so Yvonne is in seventh heaven (whatever that means) Smile

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