Squirrels Win, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

When it comes to endurance and the persistence of species, I’m pretty sure it’s the rodents who’ll triumph in the end.

One day a few autumns ago I was sitting at my desk writing when I heard a noise at the window.  You can tell I had to be quick with the camera — that inquiring nose is not quite in focus.

Squirrel looks in the upstairs window.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed all the upstairs window frames had bite marks on them.

I thought this was pretty cute until I investigated and saw the places where the window sills and the siding over the garage had been chewed up. See the holly next to the house? It’s history now, along with some overhanging tree branches. I expect the squirrels can get up the side of the house without any help, but why make the trip so easy?

The contractor who came to fix and paint insisted on installing a fake owl on the roof. “It’ll scare the squirrels away,” he said.

Fake roof-owl for scaring squirrels.

Would this look scare you away? (assuming you wanted to eat the house)

“Hah!” I said, “But OK, as long as you don’t put it in front.” The owl endures too, ‘watching’ from the roof of the back porch. And, to be fair, the squirrels haven’t eaten much siding lately, but then, there’s a vocal family of real owls just across the street, so maybe they’re helping too.

As for me, I’m still trying to persist in downsizing, but some days I’m short on endurance.

Wish me luck?


Meanwhile, here’s an owl serenade from my front yard:

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance


A 1918 Time Capsule, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Not long ago I came upon a mystery packet of photos and documents, including this 1918 photo. It’s 8 inches high, probably 4 foot long (ish), packed in a roll, and fragile. I was afraid to unroll the whole thing lest I damage it. It was, of course, in my basement. Here’s a detail:

Company 'B' S.A.T.C. Lawrence KS, 1918. The armistice came in November. I hope these soldiers didn't have to go.

Company ‘B’ S.A.T.C. Lawrence KS, 1918. The armistice came in November that year. I hope these soldiers didn’t have to go.

With this photo were two High School yearbooks from Kansas City MO, 1916 and 1920. At first I couldn’t imagine how these things came to be in a box with my stuff, then I found names on some accompanying documents and realized they were papers that belonged to the people who lived in my Kansas City house before I did. I bought the house from their estate.

We came to Georgia in a corporate move. I can only think that when the company sent movers to pack up the house, they were able to find some cubbyhole I never happened to run across when I lived there.

I’m sorry the photo has been rolled up and stored for decades, first in one house, then another, in what to photographs is likely a hostile environment. Still it’s an interesting picture, with the geometry of its composition — all those crossed legs on the front row — and its poignant glimpse into preparation for a long-ago war that caused such devastation. Here’s a look at a larger portion of the photo:

SATC Lawrence KS 1918

S.A.T.C. Lawrence KS 1918

 Something else occurred in the fall of 1918 that may have threatened some of these soldiers. The “Spanish Flu” epidemic of 1918 started that October, a deadly pandemic that killed more people than the war did. According to the article I’ve linked to below, the S.A.T.C barracks were used as makeshift hospitals.

This is as far as I unrolled the picture:

S.A.T.C. Lawrence KS 1918

S.A.T.C. was a precursor of R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officers Training Corps)

My house’s former owners were Leonard and Elsie Rehard. I see on their marriage certificate that she was Elsie V. Walker. I don’t think they had children, but I don’t know for certain. There is an Elsie Walker as a Senior in the 1920 yearbook that was stored along with this photo. I didn’t see Mr Rehard in either book, but there were a couple of Walker boys. Perhaps Elsie had a brother among the soldiers.

I emailed the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka about the photo (they took Bob’s yearbooks), and I’m happy to say they wanted it. I’ve already mailed it out and it should arrive soon.  I’ll save the yearbooks for another post, but here’s a teaser…

The Overall Club - Northeast High School 1920

The Overall Club, Northeast High School, Kansas City MO, 1920

So glad the war is over — What do you think? Handsome, yes?

Related articles:

S.A.T.C. The Student Army Training Core at Lawrence Kansas

1918 flu: The grim reaper closes (Kansas University) campus.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Cleaning the Basement, Irony, Bad Puns, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

My adventures of late have been brave expeditions to the depths — of the basement.  It’s hard to imagine why I had these irons. Was I concerned about keeping my clothes pressed after the revolution, or maybe after the ‘pulse’?

This is a gas iron. Can you imagine?

A gas powered iron.

What can I say? I used to like to buy weird, um, stuff in flea markets.

I found some pictures of this ‘Diamond’ gas iron that indicate it was sold in the 1930’s. That surprised me. I would have guessed it was older.

Speaking of older —

'Asbestos' sad irons

I don’t know where these came from. Sometimes I think things get into my basement through a warp in the space-time continuum.

Would you recognize them as irons? I checked eBay and I see these are called ‘sad irons’ —   😦    I’m all for good grooming but I’m glad I don’t need to use these. (and by the way, the extras are so you can always have one that’s hot) I have so much respect for women of previous generations.

Flash of guilt: I just remembered, my mother used to iron my clothes for me when I was in school, back in the pre-permanent-press days. Second flash of guilt: I wonder if the treatment used on fabrics now is harmful to the environment? Maybe that’s one more good reason to just wear T-shirts and jeans.

I do have a useable iron. When I cleaned out the cabinet in the laundry room, I even found a spare, so I must have needed them once. These days that’s pretty silly, and so 20th century. I use an iron once a year at most, usually if I’ve unpacked and cleaned up vintage linens, or got out my grandmother’s napkins and table cloth for Dinner Club.

My not-quite modern steam iron

My not-so-new steam iron looks a little like a happy bug in this photo.

I didn’t make it to Dragon Con on Labor Day weekend this year. That may be only the second time this millennium that I’ve missed it. Still I have lots of photos from previous cons, so in honor of this bad pun iron-adventure post, here’s one more iron — Iron Man:

 What do you think of his costume – are you impressed? And what shall I do with my antique irons?

A little more about irons:



And of course, more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure