CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 29, 2012

Deep Freeze Endangers Fruit Crop

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DEEP FREEZE ENDANGERS FRUIT CROP

     I am a statistic. I assume I am also one of the majority.

     I refer to the percentage of Southwestern Pennsylvanians who relished the unseasonably warm March weather.

     And also Northern New Yorkers, especially those who live far north in the state by the St. Lawrence River. My husband Monte and I stayed there between March 4th and March 11th , enjoying the same early spring heat wave.

     I never heard one complaint in either location.

     Upon our return to Pennsylvania’s Ligonier Valley I found it a real treat to sit on my patio early in the morning, drinking a mug of coffee and watching the birds at the bird feeders while I read the newspaper, according to which High temperatures eclipsed 70 degrees in Pittsburgh for 11 consecutive days, the only such stretch since record-keeping began in 1871.*

     The warm streak ended Monday night. County extension agents warned farmers (and others) to cover their fruit trees in preparation for a high-impact freeze**.

     The cold streak not only affected Southwestern Pennsylvania—The National Weather Service has issued hard freeze and frost warnings and watches in a swath from the central Great Lakes to the East Coast. Temperatures could drop as low as the mid-teens across a swath of states including Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.***

RESULTS OF FROST ON FRUIT PLANTS

     It truly was a hard frost. In Prospect and Franklin Park, Butler County, the temperature dipped to a low of nineteen degrees. It dipped to 17 degrees at Laurel Mountain in Westmoreland County (I live in a foothill of Laurel Mountain).

     The owner of Trax Farms in Finleyville, Ross Trax, and his employees scrambled to protect flowers and ran irrigation on the farm’s strawberries. Moist soil aids (more…)

March 27, 2012

Hard Freeze Threatens Early Spring Blossoms

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

HARD FREEZE THREATENS EARLY SPRING BLOSSOMS

     It was a sunny and temperate winter…

                                                     …early spring blossoms abound…

     Now, on the sixth official day of spring—March 26, 2012, to be exact—the newspaper headline yells out ‘HIGH-IMPACT FREEZE’ DUE.****

     The crown in shades of yellow, shades of forsythia and daffodil, covers the greening of winter lawns that experienced little of the typical blankets of winter’s snow. White snowdrops are past their prime. They paved the way to blue, pink, and sometimes white shades of forget-me-nots. Fruit trees in the region are in full blossom (ours are just budding). Although I’m not receiving gardening magazines in the mail (we’ve moved so much the subscriptions don’t know where to find me), I’ve been thinking of summer gardening for two months.

     My fingers itch to dig into earth’s brown soil, to loosen it up, to plant seeds that will give way to new life. I unwisely purchased two bags of gladioli with hope that I will have ten rainbow hues from one bag, and ten listed to be a blue tropic hue—shown on the package as a shade of delicate purple—from the second bag.

     The fresh produce season has already begun with the use of fresh chives, a volunteer plant in our back yard. Whenever cooking something I step out and clip a few dark green stalks to add extra flavor.      

     I equally anticipate delicious eating produce grown on our property: green beans, lettuce, and Swiss chard. My husband Monte relishes the few pears and peaches we grow on our unkempt, unpruned trees—we must, he tells me, take (more…)

March 25, 2012

March 2012 Sticky Note

Filed under: WELCOME MESSAGES — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
Tags: ,

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MARCH 2012 ‘WELCOME’ STICKY NOTE

(It’s time to remove the March Welcome to Carolyn’s Compositions sticky note. Time to post April’s welcome.)

     Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Looking ahead, Ash Wednesday (February 22) begins the season of Lent. Unfortunately, because hubby Monte is doing what is necessary to maintain his 91-year old brother in his home (over 400 miles away in another state) and I am integrating a second sister into my life and my family (she was released for adoption by my mother) we will not be able to post a Lent study this year.

     We encourage you to follow one of the two (more…)

March 22, 2012

A Popular Author’s Love Affair With the Word ‘AND’: Part B

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A POPULAR AUTHOR’S

LOVE AFFAIR

WITH THE WORD ‘AND’: Part B

Excerpt from A POPULAR AUTHOR’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE WORD ‘AND’: Part A (see link at end of this post):

          While staying at my late brother-in-law’s home in March, 2012, I picked up a hard-back novel written by a very popular author. By the time I read half of the first chapter I was ready to toss the book aside. Her apparent love of the word and was very distracting…she is very well known—she has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 400 million copies of her novels sold…

     (I compiled) ten of the sentences…from the book. I will post the name of the author and the title of the book in another post, along with my edits of the sentences…

     Before announcing the title and author of the book, I will state that I did enjoy the plot of the novel, and other than the author’s love affair with the word and it was very easy reading, which I needed while undergoing a stressful time.

     The title of the book is Irresistible Forces, written by Danielle Steele—her forty-seventh bestselling novel, published in 1999 by Delacorte Press, a registered trademark of Random House.

     And I, a yet unpublished novelist, daringly, boldly, edited the following ten sentences:

  1.   And over the distant wail of police cars approaching the scene, there was another round of gunshots, and this time one of the young men fell to the ground, bleeding from his shoulder, at the same time one of his companions wheeled and shot a police officer cleanly through the head, and suddenly a little girl screamed and fell to the ground in the fierce spray from the hydrant, and everyone nearby was shouting and running in all directions, as her mother ran to her from the doorway where she’d been watching in horror, as the child fell. Over the distant wail of police cars approaching the scene, there was another round of gunshots, and this time one of the young men fell to the ground, bleeding from his shoulder. At the same time one of his companions wheeled and shot a police officer cleanly through the head. Suddenly a little girl screamed and fell to the ground in the fierce spray from the hydrant, and everyone nearby was shouting and running in all directions, as her mother ran to her from the doorway where she’d been watching in horror, as the child fell.
  2.  And in the ambulance, as it sped downtown, Henrietta Washington clung to her child’s had, and watched in silent terror as the paramedics fought for her life. In the ambulance, as it sped downtown, Henrietta Washington clung to her child’s had, watching in silent terror as the paramedics fought for her life.
  3.   Neither of them had finished high school, and they (more…)

March 20, 2012

A Popular Author’s Love Affair With the Word ‘AND’: Part A

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A POPULAR AUTHOR’S

LOVE AFFAIR

WITH THE WORD ‘AND’: Part A

     While staying at my late brother-in-law’s home in March, 2012, I picked up a hard-back novel written by a very popular author. By the time I read half of the first chapter I was ready to toss the book aside. Her apparent love of the word and was very distracting.

     However, I decided to continue reading the novel. By the end of the first chapter I decided to list some of the sentences to present to the Beanery Writers Group for critique.

     Many of the sentences began with the word and. I soon quit typing these sentences into the computer. I continued to type in many of the other sentences, quitting only when I reached twenty-five.

     The first quarter of the novel was maddening due to the author’s use of the word and.   The second and third quarters improved, but the author slipped back into the unbearable use of the word in the fourth quarter.

     What surprised me was that this author is very well known—she has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 400 million copies of her novels sold…many are international, according to the blurb on the book’s paper jacket. It is her forty-seventh bestselling novel, published in 1999 by Delacorte Press, a registered trademark of Random House.

     Below are ten of the sentences I copied from the book. I will post the name of the author and the title of the book in another post, along with my edits of the sentences.

     I challenge writers reading this post to edit these sentences before clicking onto A POPULAR AUTHOR’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE WORD ‘AND’: Part B (link at end of this post).

  1. And over the distant wail of police cars approaching the scene, there was another round of gunshots, and this time one of the young men fell to the ground, bleeding from his shoulder, at the same time one of his companions wheeled and shot a police officer cleanly through the head, and suddenly a little girl screamed and fell to the ground in the fierce spray from the hydrant, and everyone nearby was shouting and running in all directions, as her mother ran to her from the doorway where she’d been watching in horror, as the child fell.
  2. And in the ambulance, as it sped downtown, Henrietta Washington clung to her child’s had, and watched in silent terror as the paramedics fought for her life.
  3. Neither of them had finished high school, and they (more…)

March 18, 2012

Mid-Winter Golfing: 2012 (and men in beards)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MID-WINTER GOLFING: 2012

(and men in beards)

     We’d been in New York State since February 25, 2012—one week in Syracuse, the remainder of the time further north in a small community near the St. Lawrence River. We marveled that we had driven so far north from our Southwestern Pennsylvania home and seen little of the white stuff that normally blankets that part of the world well into spring. There was one evening when we went to the library that it was snowing a good show, but by the time we left the building the precipitation had become wimpy, and the night sky was clear.

     On our first morning back home, March 14, I relaxed with the February 27 newspaper, reading the following:

Two years ago, not one person played golf in February at the Moon Golf Club. In February 2011, golfers played 50 rounds at the public course. By Friday — Feb. 24 (2012) — the club had tallied 250 rounds, with a forecast that might allow more golfing before the month ends.

“We never count on any golf in January and February, so this is unusual. Lots of our members are happy,” manager Mike Quigney said.

This winter is not the mildest ever in Pittsburgh — it’s not even in the top 25. Still, temperatures have been warmer than normal since early December, according to the National Weather Service, leaving Mother Nature dazed and confused.*

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     While preparing to leave Northern New York on March 12 Monte suggested we eat breakfast at a roadside diner a couple of hours away, one he remembered eating at on another journey. He recalled that he was the only man among many men without a beard. He felt like he wasn’t one of them. This time his full beard would make him one of them

     Enroute I drank my coffee and took my meds. . The diner was further away than Monte thought. The miles, time, and towns passed by—towns named Mexico, with its water tower painted desert orange; Fulton; Hannibal… Along the way we passed a ridge of layered flat stones.

     “It’s nice driving in the spring,” Monte said. “You get to see more, things that are hidden by growth later on.”

     It was a beautiful day: sunny, ever so slightly overcast, fifty-three degrees. Monte kept driving, well past my eating hour—around eleven o’clock in the morning. I caved in and drank an orange juice.

     We finally found the diner—Two D’s Drive-In.

     As Monte entered he said to the familiar-looking woman who greeted him It looks like we came here in the in between time. She said there were busy and not-so-busy times.

     After we ordered our meal two men entered and sat at the counter. Neither had a beard. I heard them tell the waitress they were coming from the golf course to eat lunch before starting another round of eighteen holes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Writers are taught to eavesdrop.** Taking writing hints seriously, I listened to the conversation at the counter. Besides, we were sitting less than three feet away. Their conversation was very audible.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     I commented to them on the weather. They said there was little snow this winter—they had been out golfing for at least a month. The waitress noted that the two had been golfing all winter.

     The man in the red shirt with the golf tee behind his ear was teaching the second man the intricacies of the game. They discussed different types of golf clubs.

     After their golf discussion the student asked his teacher if (more…)

March 15, 2012

My Tinge of Irish Heritage: The Googins Family

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MY TINGE OF IRISH HERITAGE: THE GOOGINS FAMILY

     What do the names Bonython, Foxwell, Rogers, Welch, and Googins have in common? What Irish heritage is found in these Maine location names: Pepperrellborough, Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Kittery, Trenton, and Lamoine?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     While sitting in my brother-in-law’s hospital room at the end of February I shared information from my files about my ancestor Patrick Googins, which I was reviewing to write a St. Patrick’s Day post. We discussed the United States region he emigrated to as a young man in the first quarter of the 1700s: Saco and Biddeford, Maine, then Pepperrellborough, Massachusetts (between 1762 and 1805). I read from my files that the Saco River emptied into the seacoast at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

     Not long after that, Monte entered the room after taking a walk in the hospital corridor. He seemed excited, saying he had something to show me. On the wall in the corridor, among a number of paintings, was a picture of the Saco River flowing in New Hampshire, speeding to its destination, the Atlantic Ocean at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Today is the day the Chicago River turns green.

     It’s St. Patrick’s Day.

     My Irish ancestry is so washed out as to be nonexistent. However slight it is, I still claim it, especially on March 17th each year.

     It began about ten generations ago in lower Maine. Patrick Googins, a woolen weaver by trade, emigrated from Ireland and entered the service of William Pepperrell, a native of Kittery.

     Pepperrell studied surveying and navigation before joining his father (a shipbuilder and fishing boat owner) in business. Young William Pepperrell expanded their enterprise to become one of the most prosperous mercantile houses in New England with ships carrying lumber, fish and other products to the West Indies and Europe. The Pepperrells sunk their profits into land, and soon they controlled immense tracts.* Thus, Patrick must have abandoned his wool weaving training to enter the mercantile business.

     Through the influence of William Pepperrell Patrick obtained (more…)

March 13, 2012

February 25 to March 12, 2012: A Three-Week Odyssey

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

FEBRUARY 25 TO MARCH 12, 2012: A THREE-WEEK ODYSSEY

Medical decisions, sometimes made through Medical Power of Attorney appointees, are not always clear-cut. Medicine is not an exact science.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     I want to thank all my blog readers, especially the subscribers, for bearing with CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS during my last month of erratic postings. During our travels I clocked only two hours of Internet time, and my other time was distracted from writing. 

     There is a more than reasonable explanation. My husband Monte and I were out-of-state participating in a life-and-death journey. And thus I write about that journey…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Early morning, Monday, March 11, 2012, the air is crisp and the ground is free of snow, very unusual weather for Northern New York near the St. Lawrence River. We enter our silver car, prepared to start of the final phase of a three week journey of life, death, and continued life. We will drive four hundred and some odd miles today, stopping in Buffalo to visit my sister Nancy. We will drive about the same distance tomorrow before arriving at the sanctity of our Southwestern Pennsylvania home on Tuesday evening. Upon our arrival we will reenter the life that was abruptly interrupted by a 5:45 a. m. telephone call that roused us from our slumber on Saturday, February 25.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     My brother-in-law Paul (not his real name), ninety-one years old, fell in the wee hours of that Saturday morning. The telephone caller gave sketchy details.  He was in a local hospital, waiting to be transported to a city hospital, a teaching hospital, better prepared to deal with his type of trauma.

     We were on the road by 10:30 a. m., having packed sufficiently for any circumstance that might arise. After entering New York State we received a call that. Paul’s doctor wanted to talk to Monte, who was Paul’s medical power of attorney. The information enabled Monte to make plans. He decided to check into a motel prior to visiting the hospital.

     Last year I questioned the sanity of anyone traveling to Chicago during the first week in March. This year it wasn’t a question of sanity, but necessity, of traveling to a part of New York State that I normally considered insane. The problem is wintry weather. We were weather-lucky on both trips—it was easy driving until we passed through Ithaca. It wasn’t snowing, but previous snowfall left the road in a snowy/icy hazardous condition. We passed three vehicles that had slid off the road. Monte drove behind a truck for safety. We followed a truck that demonstrated skill in driving in these conditions.

     “It boggles my mind that someone driving a Walmart truck would know what they are doing,” he said, when the danger seemed over and a nice sunset was in view.

     We checked into the motel and visited Paul for a few minutes before returning to our room to recuperate from the day’s activities. We returned to the hospital early Sunday morning.

     Between Sunday and Wednesday Paul wavered between lucidity (mostly mornings) and dementia-like behavior—calling out to his late wife, his late son, and other persons; once about a dust pan being on the shelf…most difficult to listen to were his declarations I don’t know what to do, I want to get out of here, open the door, I gotta get up… I gotta go do something   no one will help me…

     Occasionally Paul would stretch an arm heavenward. I wondered if he was reaching out for the hand of his late wife or his late son. Or was he praying? Maybe he wanted to get out of bed or to exercise.

     Irregardless, Paul’s lucidity became increasingly absent during the next few days, either due to his deteriorating mental capacity, or, more likely, due to the medications he was taking.

     Meanwhile, Monte was struggling with, wrestling with, making a decision whether Paul should undergo surgery for his broken hip.  Surgery would offer him a chance to walk again, while not having surgery would condemn (more…)

March 11, 2012

Two Haikus: Cardiac Ultrasound Inspired

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TWO HAIKUS: CARDIAC ULTRASOUND INSPIRED

     While my brother in law was in the hospital he underwent a cardiac ultrasound. I was allowed to be with him during the test. While watching the monitor screen I decided I would attempt to write a haiku poem (I had been reading haikus written by Jan, a member of the Beanery Writers Group in Latrobe, Pennsylvania—which I facilitate).

     Thanks to Jan, I have the following instructions on writing haikus:

3 Lines – non-rhyming

 17 syllables – I like 5-7-5

No title – no punctuation

Mostly seasons

No past tense

Only present tense*

Captures a moment in time

An epiphany

A metaphor

Not a simile = no like or as

NOT SURE ABOUT THE ONLY PRESENT TENSE RULE………

      Below are the two results of my efforts:

Swish, swush, gurgle, (more…)

March 8, 2012

Earth Day 1970 Leads to Slippery Rock, PA, Recycling Center

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

EARTH DAY 1970

LEADS  TO SLIPPERY ROCK, PENNSYLVANIA,

RECYCLING CENTER

2012. Recycling is mandated in many communities, with few people challenging the importance of this lifestyle.

It hasn’t always been this way.

1970. Recycling is one of the lifestyles connected with ‘on the fringe’ lifestyles. The first Earth Day begins to look at its importance. Some communities respond to this event’s call for action. Slippery Rock,Pennsylvania, was one of these communities.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

1970

     In April, 1970, shortly after my husband Monte and I moved from Buffalo, New York, to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, we participated in the first Earth Day movement. The event called participants to environmental action.

     Out of that celebration emerged a few people who thought that Slippery Rock should have a recycling center. The main movers of the project were three women whose husbands were connected with Slippery Rock State College (now Slippery Rock University): Wanda Badgett (education department professor); Karen Lamson, (librarian), and Sue Hotchkiss, (parks and recreation department professor).

     Enjoining Dick Manning, a parks and recreation student who was the resident manager of  Sippery Rock CommunityPark, to help locate a site for the recycling center, the group found a small barn in the park, which was once a farm. It was full of junk and had a dirt floor.

     I’m not sure how our family became involved in the recycling operation, but we soon signed on. Monte thinks he heard about it through Wanda, who was, like us, a member the Slippery Rock United Methodist Church. 

      Soon Monte was doing much of the nuts and bolts work at the center. He helped to clean out the barn and concrete the floor.

     The recycling center needed large containers to sort the recyclables in. Someone with connections to Armco Steel Company in Butlerarranged for them to donate barrels. Initially, Monte thinks they brought the barrels to Slippery Rock. Later on Monte drove his bright turquoise (ugh! the color!) van to the Armco Steel Company to pick up the barrels.

     I used to get barrels that acid came in. They were great because the steel 55-gallon drums had a vinyl liner that could be pulled out and used as a second barrel when the top was cut off, Monte said.  

      We were different than other recycling operations in the area—we let people bring in bags of materials at any time. The building was open all the time. That meant that things were not sorted well and we had to work to sort. I think it was good because it made recycling easier for people, Monte said.

     Initially, people brought glass, metal cans, aluminum, and newspapers to the site. They were required to remove the labels from the cans, and flatten them. To pack the glass more compactly, volunteers broke it. There was an element of fun hearing the glass splinter in the barrels.

     Although we were not organized and bags were just piled in the building for us to sort, we felt good that a lot of people were at least beginning to think about recycling, Monte said.

     Time went along, and the recycling center became more organized. Volunteers sorted the recyclables. It was hard to get workers for recycling in those years in the seventies, Monte said.

     The recycling center was fortunate that the National Guard unit in Grove Citywas seeking projects for their unit to do on some weekends. They brought trucks, loaded up our metal, and transported it to Neville Island. Monte recalls that the Interstate 79 Neville Island Bridge wasn’t completed yet, and we had to travel over some back roads, and cross the Ohio River at Sewickley, then proceed to Coraopolis and Neville Island. The National Guard unit also trucked glass to Parker or to OwensIllinois in Clarion.

     Eventually Sue Hotchkiss contacted the U-Haul company’s corporate offices in Arizona and arranged for them to donate a truck for our use. We had to buy the gas and pay four dollar insurance fee to use a truck we picked up from a dealer in Mercer.

    We didn’t get a lot of money for recyclables in those days, but we (more…)

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