Friday, May 29, 2015

No gold watch when I retire, thank you

I have been our township clerk twelve years come next March. The March I intended to retire from my last term, travel, see friends and relatives, even some world, and definitely spend my children’s inheritance on myself. Then six months into that four year term, grandchildren were living here. No amount of planning on my part will reinvent the last decade of my life; the children are here to stay and I will keep on working.

The first day I started this job, April 1st, 2004, the township solicitor stopped at the office to tell me his job was to make us look good—the trustees and me. Our jobs are defined by law; our responsibilities are outlined in the pages of Ohio Revised Code. Ed, our solicitor, has devoted his career to township law.

That day he wanted me to know how he feels about townships; the purest form of government, he told me. We are elected by the people to do the business of their township: repair the roads, plow the roads, mow the ditches, mow the cemetery grass, enforce zoning regulations, provide police, fire and emergency services.

Townships exist throughout much of the first west; the immediate post Revolutionary War lands that were not under a form of state government. The Northwest Ordinance of 1797 was “an ordinance for the government of the territory northwest of the Ohio River,” and covered what would be Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and some of Minnesota. It divided the land into rectangles (townships), set aside public grazing areas, set aside some lots of each township to be sold to pay for schools. Rather ingenious.

Ed’s enthusiasm was contagious and I’ve grown even more fond of townships than when we first moved here and found it’s de rigueur to wave at the road crew and the police, as well as your neighbors. 

To be elected to an office one must secure petition forms from the Board of Elections and go door to door collecting enough signatures of registered voters to be placed on the November general election ballot for the office in question.

I’ve canvassed three times, and wondered how I’d get through a fourth, walking up drives, climbing steps, and reversing the process. I’d be such a haggard figure by the second door I’d be done for the day and it would take me six months to collect my signatures. I do have a plan B, and asked the trustee who also will be on the ballot this fall if he would collect my signatures, too. He agreed readily.

Last week I spent one long day at a seminar, sitting on uncomfortable chairs, moving among one hour sessions, learning the most current ways of safeguarding the people’s monies and simultaneously fulfilling my requirement to complete six hours of continuing education per term. At the township’s board meeting I highlighted some items of note and also said that was my six hour requirement for my current term ending March 31st. I will be slipping out the door at the end of my next four year term before anyone notices I do not have another six hours under my belt.

After the meeting the other two trustees offered to circulate my petitions, too.  The next four years of school lunches, school fees and school clothes seem to be covered.  How lucky can one fiscal officer get, short of running unopposed, or being on a plane to visit my cousin in Texas or my BFF in South Carolina or Ann in Wisconsin.

Credit for this goes to the Akron Beacon Journal, accompanying an article done about the township, probably in 2006. The fire department moved to a new facility, the road department moved into the fire department garage (twice the space) and administration moved into the road department. It must have been winter in the ill heated garage; note the sweaters on all except the trustee who turns heat down and air up. That's Ed on my right. We still sit in the same relative positions; the garage was renovated into the township offices.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Standing in place, not moving

Elaine, at A Woodland Journal,
used to find fairy trees.

Trees with tiny doors, for fairies.

I pass this tree often, and decided it's a goblin tree.

Not a wicked goblin, but a mischievous goblin.
See him yet?

Actually, I believe he's rather benign.

Toadstools nearby for his fairy friends.

Here's a house on the same road.
The stones fascinate me (of course).
The low arch on the left leads somewhere.

So many stones!

Something espaliered along the brick wall.
These branches are spaced every few feet.
I'll keep an eye on them.

It is a beautiful day, after the storm overnight,
so I turned down Elm Street.
Every Midwestern town needs an Elm Street.
Front porch rockers:

Banner on the porch.
Don't miss the tree swing.

The postman.

I cannot pass the flower tower
and not want to stick my camera into it.

It's growing down.

Peonies ready to burst open.

The new allium are open and satisfactorily round.

And this is a mystery bulb.
There are quite a few, from the bag of a hundred assorted we planted last fall.
Multi flowers on a single stem. Yellow. No idea.

And, I am ready, with the doctor, to pronounce the radio frequency ablation
a complete failure.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tom, Sawyered

Uncle Tom stopping to watch Laura edge the sidewalk.

Uncle Tom, whitewashing the fence.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Battle of the seasons

Pig's nasturtium has a bloom!

Mom's chive pot.

The bed of pinks and the new allium bulbs, finally blooming.

The scent of the pinks is glorious!

I forget what this is called.

Of half a dozen iris, only this has ever bloomed.
It has two blossom buds; this one grew straight down.
No idea what is going on.

From the flower tower.

More Solomon's seal and the early allisum.

Raspberries coming on!

And pig's nasturtium wrapped up.
More frost tonight.

Have a good and safe holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A model story

In the dark ages, when I was a novice weaver, I thought I was a fiber purist, but I was a fiber snob.

Acceptance to an art show, especially the first time, is dependent wholly on pictures submitted. After the first time the jury looks for work that is new, fresh, growing, but, it’s still all about the slides.

Fiber can be a challenge to photograph, and I looked for a photographer who could do this kind of jury slide. At the studio I found the job was well done; rugs photographed from a height, bags in nice little groupings, and shirts laid on a good background and photographed with attention to weave structure and colors.

We were accepted to some decent local and regional shows, and, of course, next I tried for the big time. My first round of applications to national shows included an application to the Smithsonian Craft Show, and the rejection letter included jury remarks the clothes would have presented better on a model.

I took that letter straight to town and slapped it on the counter at the store of my friend Chris, who kept two artist galleries in town. Chris heard out my rant about judging a bird by its feathers and other such analogies. When I got done he said, “Joanne, get a model.”

My new photographer, in upstate New York, put my clothes on the same woman who modeled all the garments he photographed, and Jerry photographed for a lot of fiber artists. His model lived down the road from him, in Woodstock. When he had a job for her she left her garden, walked up the road, put her hair up on her head and modeled, dirt under her fingernails and all.

One day Jerry said he wasn't photographing garments anymore; his model quit. Someone had complained about her wrinkles, and she quit. What to do? I got by on the old slides for another year, but pushing the old slides to three years is so risky.

I thought of my friend Gail. I took her and a stack of clothes to a new photographer not far away.  I told her all she had to do was put her hair on top of her head. She came out of the dressing room with her hair up, the natural skirt and jacket, wearing black heels and carrying another pair which she had brought. The other requirement for modeling for me turned out to be bare feet. And so we carried the last several years of weaving.

Weaving again, I really feel the Smithsonian jury’s remark to put the clothes on a model. Helen, my quiet studio lady form does not complain and does not come to meals, but she just isn’t enough. Fortunately, I still have friends.

The girl in the hat and the periwinkle shirt. She's modeling the denim shirt at the top of the right column, in the Etsy button.

And no, I never applied again to the Smithsonian show. They really were out of our league, but that letter taught me a lot.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Buy button

I'm turning over a story about on line buying.
I've read Google may add a "buy button" to searches.

Earlier in the month, cleaning up the vestiges of the virus mess on my computer, my computer wizard convinced me to switch to my google email, and I acquiesced, noting google soon may own the earth, and in exchange for telling me what I want to know in a flash, it may be an even exchange.

"It's the future," said my wizard, who is 31 years younger. 

There you have it.

Then it quit raining and I went out to take pictures of raindrops on plants.
This actually is not another garden post this week.

It's about a discovery.

Raindrops on the columbine that reseeded after the awful winter.

Raindrops on the Solomon's seal.

Pig's nasturtiums.
I wish they would bloom!

The girl with the shiny hair pulled some weeds.

She had come outside to install her Christmas present.

The girl with the boots went to work.

I asked her if the gerbera daises were in yet.

Yes, they were.
So, Laura and I exercised our buy button and brought one home for lamb.

Laura filled the watering can at the now overflowing rain barrel,

And watered lamb's daisy.

Then she turned round and said "Look. Water does not stick to nasturtium leaves. There are no drops on them."

Go back and look at my picture of pig's nasturtiums when the rain ended.
There are no rain drops.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Surviving the cold snap

The annual May freeze settled in this week.
Frost warnings last night.

Folks scurried to cover tomatoes
and bring in hanging baskets.

I forgot to mention taking the baskets over to the barn
before I left for a meeting last night.

They weathered it, so to speak.
It will be in the fifties tonight and back into the eighties for the near future.

Global warming is too near, this year.

In other garden news,
the Solomon's seal and the allium look good.
The white allium are about to bloom. I think they're white. 

Over in "the swamp", the bleeding heart took good hold, the miniature iris are starting buds and the saw grass is greening up.

Closer to the house, Walt's pinks bloomed first.
The big bed of Nina's pinks has hundreds of waving blossoms, but they are not open yet.

The flower tower that I have been keeping from you is coming along fine.
Less than three weeks old; it's on a tear.

My lovely anemone still bloom, opening every morning, closing every night.
The red and blue flowers along the walk.
But it seems like a good time for a new header picture,
and in the process of taking one,
I seem to have gathered the gardening news for the week.