Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 08/31/2014

The Woods

At the trail head feet go on boots,
and the mind is heavy with the world,
and up the trail trudge.
The boots carry burdens unseen,
and unknown to the people of the forest,
the hawk, deer, grass and tree.
All look at me – questioning the weight,
that holds the soul so far away.
Each answers the question unasked,
“journey on,” they say, “journey on.”

The old man of the forest lives under the canopy,
with arms out stretched and beard hanging long,
he bids me leave the millstones at his feet.
I sit with him awhile,
and listen as he whispers the stories,
that are the people of the forest.
I leave my burdens for him to guard,
and feet in boots I travel on.
I give him my story, my gift,
to him and his people.

I find myself above the canopy,
on the mountain top.
From ocean to bay,
from mountain to valley,
all the world is there to see,
and the hawk sings my soul.
To me it rejoins,
soaring from the heights to catch,
and with a breath,
my soul and I are one.

 

————–

Still stuck on poetry as I’ve decided to become a world famous poet (details to follow).  I wrote this poem about nine years ago and still like it.  Next post I’ll get back to a non-poetry topic.

Till next week,

Andrew

 

Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 08/24/2014

Heart Beats

Heart beats
Lungs breathe
Blood flows
Life

Breath interrupted
Touched by pain
Frightened by visions of death
The mind reals

Where is strength?
The body fails
The soul seeks comfort
The monitor above the bed speaks its warning

Then a touch
Cool water
Warm blankets
Comforting words as warmth in the veins takes away the fear.

“Breathe”
is the command
Breath is difficult to find
Life slowly returns

The cat lies on the bed
Fur slowly rising
and falling
Breathing

The wind blows in the garden
The shadows move across the ground
Dark night and sleep come
and in the dawn, breath

Heart beats
A warm cup of tea
Sits next to the cards
Email on the screen

A noise from the street
A bird settles on a branch
A phone rings
and hands move while the lungs fill

With relief
With comfort
With strength
With the possibility

That a new day will arrive.

—————

That’s it this week, just a poem.  Wednesday I’ll update you on my woodworking and next week I’ll update you on my plans to become to a world-famous poet.

Till next week,

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 08/20/2014

Wednesday Woodworking – Shop projects

This week I got started on the shop projects.  After the kitten attack and moving most of my shop outside (stuff to be trashed is in the driveway, stuff to save is in the side yard), I’ve started work on some shop storage projects.  Turns out I’ve got a lot of junk in the shop so I have thrown a bunch of trash out and have more to get rid of but still a of useful stuff I want to keep.

That is the one big problem in my shop – effective storage.  That is a place to store things in an organized and ease to get to manner.  I need places to store parts, works in process, lumber and all my tools.  The first project I am working on is some pullout shelves for under my outside work bench.  I’ll use these small tools, screws, nail, finishing supplies and so on.  I’ll put doors on it to keep out dust and kittens.

Here are a few pictures of the state of things:

The wood that survived kitty poop and fuel oil is now outside waiting for the new lumber rack.

The wood that survived kitty poop and fuel oil is now outside waiting for the new lumber rack.

With the wood and dust gone my outside shop looks very clean and has lots of space.

With the wood and dust gone my outside shop looks very clean and has lots of space.

Here is the outside work bench with all it's junk.  There will be 6 new pullout shelves to store and organize this stuff.

Here is the outside work bench with all it’s junk. There will be 6 new pullout shelves to store and organize this stuff.

I've got material left over from the office closet project so I am using that to make the shelves.

I’ve got material left over from the office closet project so I am using that to make the shelves.

So far the biggest help to my messy shop problem has been admitting that some things I’ll just never use.  I’ve taken what I can to the thrift store or sent to recycling but there is stuff that is just stored garbage and that filled up my trash can this week.  Even with all that, I still have a lot of material left to deal with.  I plan on using up as much what is left on the storage projects.  After the shelves are done, I’ll move on to a new inside lumber rack for new materials and improvements on the outside lumber rack where I store my scraps and “recycled” materials.  Yeah, that’s it – I don’t have junk, I am a wood recycler.

If you need me – I’ll be in the shop

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 08/17/2014

Conversations

Today is one of those days where I’ve got about five things I could write about so I asked Heather for her input on today’s topic.  She produced a list of questions and this was on the top of the list:

“What is it about the history of wars that interests you?”

For those who don’t know, yes I have a great interest in history of war, warfare and how those events changed and shaped our world.  I often read history books, watch TV documentaries, have talked to veterans, go out of my way to visit a museum or war memorial.  With the advent of the internet I even follow a blog or two like Pacific Paratrooper. In addition to the history of war, I also am very interested in works of fiction about wars.  I’ve seen most films on WWII and read lots of novels on the subject.

There isn’t a short answer to why I am interested to the extent I am.  There are times I find it odd that I am interested at all.  I’ve never served in the armed forces, only two members of my immediate family have served and in general I find war to be evil and engaging in it, to be against my basic religious and spiritual beliefs.

Given a choice, I opt for the path of peace and am not a violent man.  When I worked in security, I generally talked my way out of difficult encounters – even when I would have been justified in using force.

Still there is something about the history of conflict that draws my attention.  If I were to give a top reason, it would be something my father told me when I was in school, “If we don’t know our history, we’re doomed to repeat it.”  This was father paraphrasing Winston Churchill who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Part of me wishes to understand how we got into and out of war so that we can stop repeating the mistake of war and learn to live in peace.  Perhaps idealistic, but it is a hope of mine.  Even though I hope for peace, I understand the reality of the world and know that sometimes the only way to combat certain evils. or aggression, is with the force of arms.

Wars over the centuries have shaped our world in many ways.  National boarders, government systems, who is in power, who is in prison, customs and even our technology have been influenced by wars.  There is a connectedness in our world where one event leads to another and another.  In the flow of events, war is among the most powerful and extraordinary events we face.  The act of war releases a human energy as powerful as any natural disaster.  The effects – death, destruction, injury, displacement and all the horrors of war forever change those who have faced the aggression.

While the macro picture and movement of war – the shaping of peoples, nations and government is interesting to me, it is the micro side of war that interests me the most.  That is, how are individuals affected?  Does the war break them? Or do the extraordinary circumstances of the battlefield cause the frightened solider to rise above his fears and become capable of extraordinary feats of bravery or kindness.

What is it about a war that takes a young frightened boy to become a hero?
What is it about the long days of fear and battle that break some – forever robbing them of happiness or the ability to cope with life?
What is about war being forced on people (like me) that drive them to forget their peaceful ways, pick up a weapon and fire in anger at the enemy?

It is those personal questions that interest me and cause me to turn my mind from time to time to the question, “What would I have done in their place?”

Till next week,
Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 08/10/2014

Of Kittens and Workshops

I am cleaning my workshop (I know, shocking).  I’ve removed half the contents and am carefully cleaning everything before I put it back.  There is a bit of reorganization and a bunch of stuff is going straight into the trash.

It’s been a long time coming, but I am on the job now.  You can expect a lot of shop storage projects being posted on “Wednesday Woodworking.”

You see it all started about 8 years ago when we bought these tiki torches and a gallon plastic bottle of citronella oil torch fuel.  We lit them once, didn’t really like them and the bottle of fuel ended up in my shop – a place where failed tools, projects and ideas go to die long silent deaths in a dusty maze of forgetfulness.

The next item in the chain of events was this cat having kittens in our front yard.  It was early May when one of the contractor’s told me that he’d seen a bunch of kittens in my yard.  I went to investigate and sure enough there was a momma cat and a litter of kittens.  I told the contractor that I expected that now that we had discovered the group that the momma cat would move the kittens away.

As predicted the cats were gone the next morning and I didn’t see them for about three weeks. One day after work I came home to discover kittens playing in the front yard.  Great I thought, just what I need.  A few days later, Heather came home from her trip to England and I told her about the little critters.  We thought momma would move on again and did nothing.

After a couple of days we discovered that the momma cat was gone – apparently abandoning the kittens.  It was possible she was killed, or died, or simply didn’t have enough food and walked away.  Well, we couldn’t just let the cute little guys starve, so we decided to start feeding them and trap them.

We then did our research; found out where the animal shelter was; what kind of food to feed them, and so on.  While we were doing our little rescue thing, who shows back up?  Momma cat.  Great, we’re halfway to getting the little guys caught and momma comes back.  She was a good momma though, she let the kittens eat first, watched over them while they ate and only ate last.  By this time we had counted five kittens.

“Well,” we thought, “At least we have to get them all their shots and be spade/neutered.”

This is when we discovered that in the last twenty years (the last time I had to deal with feral cats) that the whole procedure has changed and these days the city practices, “TNR”, trap-neuter-return.  At first I was unsure about the program.  It seems a little harsh, but it does make sense.  Around the beginning of July, Heather went down and got the trap.

We managed to catch all six – momma and five kittens over the course of a few days.  We had some hope that the kittens would be young enough to be sent to a rescue agency to be tamed and put up for adoption, but they told us that the first bunch we brought in were too big.  Apparently they need to be less than three pounds – maybe we shouldn’t have fed them so much.

Well, three days later the first batch of kittens were back at our house and soon momma cat reappeared.  They’d all been fixed, given their shots and were now on our door step looking for food.  In time four of the kittens were returned – we’re hoping that number five, who we called Baby, has been sent for adoption.

Momma cat’s behavior towards the kittens changed – she starting eating first, hissing at the little ones and bating the away from the food.  We’re not sure what caused that, but clearly it wasn’t good.  We were reasonably certain that momma hadn’t taught the kittens how to hunt or scavenge for food and now it looked like they won’t get the training from momma.  We were forced to chase momma cat off so the kittens could eat (momma still shows up from time to time, well feed so she’s doing alright somewhere).

We then made the fateful choice to again trap the little guys and try to tame them ourselves.  We’re hoping at least some can be tamed enough for adoption or at the least be outdoor cats we can control enough to get them to a vet if needed.

Yeah, it might be difficult and maybe not all will make it but if one or two do, it will be worth the effort.

Setting to the task, we bought food, litter (lots of litter) and some good cages.  Then we started to trap them earlier this week.

Bella, a sweet gray kitty, was the first to get captured on Tuesday.  She fell into the old, “Look here’s a treat way back in this cage,” trick.

I’ve had most of the week off and was working to do some clean up after all the remodeling.  We’d been smelling kitty poops in front of the house.  Wednesday morning I discovered some of it in my outside workshop (a fenced in area of the carport) and I ended up moving most of my tools, wood, junk, scraps, dust and other valuable objects out to clean up after our dear darlings.

At some point during the day, I had left the door open to my inside shop and I chased two kitties out at one point.  After the evening feeding we’d accounted for three kittens: Bella caught, Boots and Spot still at large, but sighted eating dinner.  Socks was missing.

Thursday morning Heather goes out to feed Bella, hears a loud meowing, looked up and sees Socks sitting in the window of my inside shop crying.  Heather let Socks out, but Socks didn’t go too far and by the end of the day Socks too was in our evil clutches  (at least that’s Sock’s opinion of the whole thing based on the complaining she’s doing).  Boots too was trapped by Heather in a cat carrier.

When Heather open the door of the inside shop she was nearly overcome by fumes while Socks made her escape. Heather discovered that Socks had somehow knocked over the gallon of citronella oil with the entire contents now spread over various boxes, tool boxes, tools, floor, floor mats, dust, trash, shop coat and other assorted objects.  The resulting aroma guarantees I’ll never get mosquitoes in the shop – or possibly another living creature, including humans.

and we did find kitty poop in bottom of a tool box – our good tool box, the expensive, well-built red Kennedy one – the one with all my ‘good’ hand tools.

We spent much of Thursday and Friday dealing with the aftermath.  I hauled out everything that had been hit by the oil or had been pooped on, threw kitty litter over the oil spill (we’ve got close to 60 pounds of the stuff right now) and Heather cleaned the tool box and floor with soap and water – I lost count how many times she had to wash everything down.

We did learn that it takes two washing to get citronella oil out of my shop coat and then you still need to clean the washing machine.  Although part of me now thinks I should have bought a new washing machine or maybe just have bought a new coat…

So thanks Socks, you have now properly motivated me to clean up my shop – inside and out.

Till next week,
Andrew

And here are some pictures of the little guys.

Instead of kids we now have cats in the guest room.

Instead of kids we now have cats in the guest room.

Bella and her toy bird.

Bella and her toy bird.

Socks didn't like her picture being taken.

Socks didn’t like her picture being taken.

Boots is starting to like this living in a cage with room service and daily cage cleaning.

Boots is starting to like this living in a cage with room service and daily cage cleaning.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 331 other followers

%d bloggers like this: