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Listening in the Time of Cacophony

Hello and welcome to the first Saturday of June here at the Wannaskan Almanac. Today is June 6. Anyone see the "strawberry moon" and partial eclipse last night?

Wow, what an emotionally distraught week. How quickly we transitioned from celebrating graduation in the time of corona to nationwide, societal upheaval. Pandemic-shpandemic. We've got bigger problems to worry about.

I’ve been dreading writing this blog post. The question: “What should I say?” has sat hunched like a squawking parrot on my shoulder all week. Here’s my dilemma: I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to lose friendships. I don’t want to become further isolated than I already am due to the pandemic in my community.

What I keep circling back to is listening. This week, the world was called to listen. I know this is a skill I need to work on. I’m a chatterbox, a chatty Kathy. (All my Kathy friends say so.) My husband and I regularly debate who’s the chattier one at parent-teacher conferences – him or me.

Recent posts

Let's Climb a Mountain

When will this be over? When can I go to a restaurant? When can I travel?  When, when, when? Well that remains to be determined. A few years ago I read a book called No Picnic on Mount Kenya. It was written by an Italian who had been captured by the British in Africa during WWII. He knew he'd be there with his fellow Italian soldiers until the end of the war. He was treated well, but the boredom and uncertainty was driving him crazy.

He had been a mountaineer back in Italy and the POW camp was near the base of Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa (17,050'). The author and two friends decided to break out of the camp and climb the mountain. They planned to come back once they had accomplished their mission. They say the Italians can make cheese out of dirt and these clever men made climbing equipment out of scraps found around the camp. Their map up the mountain was the drawing on the label of a can of Mt. Kenya brand vegetables.

It's a great book. I recomme…

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Soul Detergent

     My wife (and one other bold commenter) were somewhat appalled that I would air my dirty ‘laundry’ for the world to see; my laundry being the big mess I cleaned up during the months of April and May this year. I included several images of the before and after of my long-overdue clean-up project, a feat that involved ten trips to our county’s landfill, fifty-three miles away round-trip. See my blog post for last Thursday, May 28, 2020:

     The other area I cleaned up wasn’t shown in the blog post. It lay along a dirt path leading out from the yard past three early 20th century agricultural relics: a steam-powered threshing machine, a horse-drawn haystacker, and a 1950s-era pull-type combine that are parked along an old fence line paralleling the path. Between the path and the fence line a second junk pile accumulation developed over time as tangled forms of rolled wire fencing that had deeply em…

Word-Wednesday for June 3, 2020

And here is the Wannaskan Almanac for Word-Wednesday, June 3, 2020, the 23rd Wednesday of the year, the 155th day of the year, with 221 days remaining. Palmville Township Nature Update: the deer flies and bull flies are out.

Nordhem Lunch: Closed.

Earth/Moon Almanac for June 3, 2020
Sunrise: 5:24am; Sunset: 9:21pm; 1 minutes, 25 seconds more daylight today
Moonrise: 6:52pm; Moonset: 4:18am, waxing gibbous

Temperature Almanac for June 3, 2020
                Average          Record           Today
High             70                  89                  80
Low              48                  32                  56

June 3 Celebrations from National Day Calendar
National Egg DayNational Repeat DayNational Repeat DayNational Chocolate Macaroons DayNational Running DayNational Doughnut DayNational Leave the Office Early DayChimborazo Day

June 3 Word Riddle
My first is a color;
My second is an agreeable exercise;
My third is an article of clothing;
My whole is a celebrated literary character.*

June 3 Pun


Wannaskan Almanac for June 2, 2020 The Greatest Show on Earth

The year was 1835.  A huckster had just had his business shut illegal lottery system that had been quite lucrative.  He turned his attention to starting a traveling show.  That man's name was P.T. Barnum.
His first foray into the world of the traveling showman started on June 2, 1835.  The show, which started in New York, featured a wrinkled old black lady who Barnum claimed was 160 years old.  He also claimed that she had been the nurse for George Washington.
The lady who Barnum was showcasing was named Joice Heth.  She did "appear" to be very old.  Many people did believe that she was all that Barnum was claiming.  The media of the day debated the claims, which led to Barnum claiming that he would do a public autopsy after her death.
Heth died on February 19, 1836.  Barnum went ahead with the public autopsy and his claims about her were disproven by Dr. David L. Rogers.  Barnum claimed that the body was not Heth's and that she was currently on tour in Eur…

5—7—5 1 June 2020

Five – seven – five. The number of syllables in the three lines of a haiku. Looks simple, right? Just three little lines. But oh, so much more than that. First, the images in the poem typically connect with the natural world. This guideline alone makes the haiku adventure challenging. Coming up with images that are not clichés can be difficult.
The purpose of haiku is to share a brief moment or event so that the reader can bring to life in his or her mind (and thus undergo the same feelings) without having to physically experience what the author is expressing in the poem.
Haiku don't tell, or merely describe, they allow the reader to enter the poem in their own way. Haiku are ideal for non-fiction observations as a kind of shorthand for remembering events or incidents. They can be therapeutic, and they exercise both the right and the left side of the brain.
The first three haiku below were written by the author of this post. After that, I’ve included a few by Matsuo Basho, perha…


The quality of old age depends on how many body parts check out between the first thing to go and the last.
I pick through the rubble of philosophy and  cobble together the religion of me.
Facebook can be informative and entertaining; about at the level of Interstate billboards. 
I used to say there’s nothing worse than an old fool. Now that I’m old I see that it’s the young fools that are causing all the trouble. 
Drinking with others does not make it less of a solitary pleasure. 
I’m not in favor of Zoom and it’s ilk. It’s made it hard to doze off during long phone conversations. 
No one surfs the web anymore. We’ve all found what we like and imbibe it exclusively in our favorite tiki bar. 
Don’t sing your own praises. Let the band play your anthem as you stand on the medal podium. 
The Golden Rule is usually a good guide. But sometimes I don’t want my eggs done unto me the way you like your eggs done unto you. 
If there is a Purgatory, I’ll be sent back to earth to perform those tiresome goo…