12 December 2010

Mail Boxes and Old Barns – Sunday Open Forum

by emmajeri1010

Well. I promised last Sunday I would fill you in regarding unheated second floor bedrooms with light snow cover on the blankets in the morning, frozen rabbit turd collections in wheelbarrows, shotguns in the moonlight and kittens in the barn.

Unheated second floor bedrooms with light snow cover on the blankets in the morning: It’s true. We had heavy storm windows for all 20 or so windows of the house that were installed each fall and removed each spring. So we had proper “protection” against winter storms. However, if a blizzard with 40-50 mph winds spent 7-8 hours working the house over through the night, that sifty, sandy snow surely did work its way through the unsealed corners of old windows. In the morning, there might be a very thin “sand dune” trail of frozen snow across #13 of the 13 blankets on the bed. So why unheated bedrooms upstairs? Tightwad Dad? Nope. Not enough money to buy enough coal to heat the upstairs all day and night? Nope. Just common sense, actually. The coal furnace was banked and pretty much shut down at night. The main floor would stay halfways comfortable, so that when my Dad fired things up in the morning, it would be warm in 30 minutes or so, but that was because it had been heated all day the day before. It made absolutely no sense to spend the energy and coal to heat the 3 upstairs bedrooms and hallway all day just to preserve the possibility for heating at night. We never thought a thing of it, although we learned when my Mother was in her 70′s that she was not happy with our laughter about the “snow on the blankets.” She denied it vociferously. Thus we learned that she wished the upstairs could have been heated better.

Frozen rabbit turd collections in wheelbarrows: When it’s 20 below and you want to play outside with your brother….the one truly entertaining thing you have plenty of is frozen rabbit pellets~~everywhere in the tree line that was carefully planted in the 1940′s to try to provide some shelter from those Montana winds. So you gather at least a couple hundred pellets. Why? Because then you can create a checkerboard outline of frozen rabbit turds and play checkers! Or you can draw pictures in the snow with the frozen rabbit turds serving as pen and ink. FRTs are very sterile and highly entertaining: found art is what it was.

Shotguns in the moonlight: The crunch of snow underfoot. I got the .22 and my brother carried the 4.10. We hunted rabbits in the bright, bright moonlight late at night across hundreds of acres of frozen prairie. Brilliant silhouettes of trees and buildings could be clearly seen. The stars were amazing. (Do not inquire about shooting rabbits. Actually seeing one was not even a possibility: white rabbits on white snow!! We hunted rabbits! With shotguns, in the moonlight, with crunching snow. It was rather wonderful.)

Kittens in the barn: My neighboring cousin and I had a running contest which was dependent on the mating habits of our cats. The contest was driven by the country conviction that any cat herd numbering less than 20 didn’t count for much on our farms. A three-dog-night can be handled by 15 cats just as well. When it’s bitter cold in January, let’s bundle up and head down to the barn. We make ourselves a spot in the hay, start gathering the cats around. I’ll sit there for 90 minutes, hunched over the pile of cats in my lap, scrunching their fur, talking to them…and not feeling bad for them at all when I left to go back to the house because they would just wrap themselves in one another’s paws and be very cozy. Then as I slid the big barn door shut behind me, even loving the stark starlit evening as I did, I ran like crazy for the house, only at that point somehow wondering if there was anything out there in the night that I should fear.

So that’s the deal….with the unheated second floor bedrooms with light snow cover on the blankets in the morning; the frozen rabbit turd collections in the wheelbarrow; the shotguns in the moonlight; and, the kittens in the barn.

Winters, summers, autumns and springs have their distinct memories in each part of the country. How cold did you ever get? What was the most kittens you ever had? What bizarre weather did you love?

130 Responses to Mail Boxes and Old Barns – Sunday Open Forum

  1. GracieD says:

    Emma, that was great!

  2. Pat P says:

    Sweet story of children on a farm in the frozen plains. This reminds me of my own childhood growing up in the fifties, and the contrast to the life my grandchildren know. So different were the days when our parents expected us to amuse ourselves outside for hours on end, and these days of almost constant supervision and structured activities.

  3. jmp1970 says:

    My dad grew up in southern OH in the 40s. And he was just telling me over thanksgiving about how the bedrooms upstairs at the old house on the hill were not heated. It was 30 degrees or less in those rooms sometimes in the winter at night. They had the coal stove downstairs, that was it. Lots of blankets and 3 kids slept snuggled together!

  4. jmp1970 says:

    Oh, and by the way, I lived for 3 years in Russia, about 24 hours east of Moscow by train. My first few weeks in my flat, I had no fridge. No problem – it was February, and I just kept milk on the window sill. It didn’t get above 0 F for over 2 weeks, and most of the time it was 15 below or worse. The milk would freeze, actually.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Can you tell more about that? I don’t know if “Russophile” is quite the right term, but I can’t get enough of reading about the history and daily life in rural Russia, including the good, the bad and the ugly, colored by politics, military nightmares and econonic neglect over the centuries, up through the 1990′s. There are some terrific narrative travel books written by folks who had no particular political interest that really paint a word picture for a person. There is something severe and un-ending about Russian winters that is more severe than our northern plains perhaps primarily due to the higher latitudes. Tell more if you would? A friend of mine was in last family group numbering 70 folks who escaped from Russia after the Bolshevik Revoluation across the Amur River into China on horse drawn sleighs in 1929. Russians are an incredible hardy people; mostly, I suppose, because they have had so little choice in the matter.

      • jmp1970 says:

        Hi, sure. I lived in Perm from 1996-99 in Peace Corps. I remember being worried about the ‘terrible’ Russian winter. I don’t know why; I’m from Ohio and quite used to snow and cold. But I guess ‘the Russian winter’ is so built up in our minds to be this awful thing.

        Guess what my favorite time of year in Russia was? November-February! Oh ok, June-August was nice too, sort of warm and white nights were awesome.

        But those bitterly cold months were AWESOME. The snow would start falling in November and pretty much kept coming down slowly for the next 4-5 months. There were not big snow storms that often like in the states. It just seemed to keep slowly coming and coming and coming and coming. And coming.

        Oct/Nov could suck because it wasn’t really cold yet so you had terrible mud and puddles to deal with. The roads and sidewalks in Russia are terrible so you end up with just a mess of water and slush and mud everywhere.

        But when it got cold, man it was great! Normally when it’s really cold – below zero F – it’s sunny outside. I lived in the forest, so most days in the dead of winter, it was sunny, bright, snow on the trees, sun low in the sky all day, like dusk all day (well 6 hours tops in mid winter). I used to go running when it was -10 or -20, just made sure my hands, feet and head were covered (3-4 pair of underwear – trust me! I learned the hard way).

        There was not much wind either, so I’d go running on roads through the forest. Sometimes I’d just stop. You could not hear a sound other than me breathing. Just silence, snow glistening on the trees, the sun only a few degrees above the horizon. The snow in the road was frozen solid, it was like running on pavement. It could be very slick and I fell many times.

        Then I’d come back after a 30 or 40 minute run in the bitter cold and have hot tea and fresh bread. Oh man, that was paradise! I’d have sweat and ice and snow frozen on my face!

        I was always a bit sad when March/April came and the thaw started. Man it was a mess. I lived for the dead of winter. Imagine over 2 weeks in winter when it did not get above zero! When it got up to 30 degrees it felt like the tropics.

        • jmp1970 says:

          Anyone from the far north in the US or Canada knows – you just dress appropriately and you’re fine. I would normally wear long johns, a sweater, flannel shirt and t shirt, felt lined jeans, heavy boots, gloves, heavy socks, fur hat and heavy gloves for going outside in below zero temps for any length of time. I was astounded how many Russian guys could have their ears exposed; their fur hats often stopped above their ears. My ears would freeze in 5 minutes. I had to have them covered if it was below 20 degrees.

          At those low temps, a fur hat isn’t a fashion statement, it’s a necessity. A stocking cap is totally inadequate for being outside for more than 15 minutes when it’s below zero.

          • jmp1970 says:

            I remember my first experience in 1996 with below zero temps and being outside in them for a long time. I was walking to a bus stop in Vladimir and I kept getting junk in my eyes. I was like, damn it, what’s going on??? I finally looked at my glove. It was ice. My breath was freezing in my eyelashes!

            a huge difference in Russia from the states is you are out in the elements a lot more. There are lots of buses and public transport, so you end up dealing with the elements more. Although I hear from friends that more people have cars now, so it may have changed some.

            • Integrity1st says:

              So you’re all bundled up, on a daily basis to deal with the elements, then you’re crammed on public transportation, or in all those heavy clothes while inside, shopping or whatever. Man I feel like one would hardly be able to move with all those clothes, freeze outside, boil inside, but boy do you paint a picture of wonderment. Thanks = )

              • jmp1970 says:

                yes, dealing with the crowds on buses could be a pain. The old hungarian buses had minimal heat, so on the 20 min ride into the city, my feet would freeze in mid winter. Could not move much due to the crowds. That sucked.

  5. Emma–it’s that same fine (but not in an “excellent” sense!) kind of snow that I saw yesterday in piled-up little drifts along the windows INSIDE the post office entryway. I was bewildered at first, because the doors are kept closed, but my husband (who did part of his growing up in Kansas) explained it to me. If you’d published your story a few days earlier, I wouldn’t have had to ask!!

    • jimbojimmierayjimbob says:

      I used to work with a guy that grew up in Kansas. One of his favorite lines was about when he couldn’t sleep so he’d get up to go pour himself a glass of milk. When he opened the fridge, “all this warm air would hit you, so I’d just stand there a while”.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Yeah, that’s it! It just gets in anywhere there’s the slightest possibility, and lays there until it warms up…..jmp1970, as you describe those forest winters and the kind of ongoing snowfall you got, I’m reminded also that the innards of Russia are very far from any oceans so don’t experience those west to east weather systems. Your point also about simply being outdoors more there because of infrastructure being very different.

      The mud you describe seems to be a common denominator in most narratives out of Russia, once away from the larger cities. The roads (or lack of) are in stupendous contrast to our abundance: I have always appreciated our roads and highway system, but even more since I’ve read material from all of Russia and Central Asia with endless descriptions of the perils of long distance travel. It’s one reason I get really ticked with those who mock/hate our “wealth” (read: ability and willingness and resources to get things done, build things and make things happen) and apparently think it’s morally superior to tear down the fine blessings we have.

    • Pat P says:

      Frankly, what is the latest on your dad? Did he go to the hospital?

      Stay warm and safe out there in the cold west!

      • He went to the hospital by ambulance, in a driving blizzard. Even the ambulance driver commented on it. His hip wasn’t broken; the best explanation the MD could come up with for why he was screaming in pain and had one leg shorter than the other was that it might have been partially-dislocated and all the hoisting, turning, pulling, and carrying it took to get him there popped it back in. By the time we got there, he felt fine and wanted food!>8-( I had to remind myself, “You really are a nurse, and you really saw that he was really in pain when you called all those people out in the frigid winter to make a 52-mile round trip FOR NOTHING!!!!!!!!

        • He stayed overnight because I’d ridden in the ambulance and I had no way to get him back there. My SIL picked me up 6 hrs. later on his way home from work, but he only had room for one. The next day, I was sitting in church, just as the pastor got up to preach, and realized that in 20 minutes I was supposed to pick my dad up (the hospital is across the street) in -1 degree weather, and all he had to wear home was what he wore on his ambulance ride–a sweatshirt and a pair of socks! POWER SHOPPING!

          I feel that he’s deteriorated hugely over the last several days. His mother lived for 5 years after becoming bedbound; I don’t think he’s going to do that, but we’re very close to being unable to get him out of bed any more. I’ve given up trying to predict anything, though, because he does not do ONE single thing that I expect him to, and a whole bunch that I don’t! It’s a good thing I was a nurse, and not a prophet, because if I’d been a prophet, I’d be turning in my license about now…

          I don’t know why it only posted part of my response. Apparently winter makes the internet weird around here, too. Thank you for asking about him. That was nice.

          • Integrity1st says:

            Frankley, much as I’m sure these aren’t the best of times for you, your writings indicate you have a very good handle on things, and perhaps even a good attitude towards the situation?

            Please know we care and lean on us. We are a lot of good shoulders in this Motley crew here. Be well, and be warm.

            • Am I doing well? Yes, and no. I worked for decades in labor and delivery. When a baby died, it was part of our job to prepare a memento box for the grieving parents. Over the years, that gravitated towards me a lot, because I got so that I could do a very nice job of preparing it. In order to do that, I developed the ability to divorce my mind from what the rest of me was doing. When my daughter’s last baby died, I was her nurse, and received him from the MD, took him into another room, and found the obvious cause of death. Emotions were at the funeral; right then I wanted to give my daughter a reason, because my experience had taught me that it was much harder for parents when they didn’t know WHY.

              So that’s what I do now. I take care of his physical needs. I make the hospice nurses laugh. A lot. I’m very funny in describing my woes! But I’m also very well aware that I’ve got a monster day-of-reckoning coming, where I will pay for all this dispassion. However, it serves me well now, and if there’s ever a need for anybody to do standup comedy on death and dying…here I am! I would roll my eyes at myself, but my late mother always warned me that they’d get stuck back in there if I did that, and I’m still afraid!

            • GracieD says:

              I agree FtN, I’m praying for both you and your dad. Please remember to take care of yourself.

            • Pat P says:

              Frankly, like Integrity said, we are here, this motley crew, to listen to whatever you care to share with us.

              I know it is human to keep busy with the tasks that need to be done at a time of family crisis. It helps to concentrate on something other than the elephant in the room, and I am sure your training and experience as a nurse honed that natural tendency.

              And laughter, even in the graveyard, isn’t a bad thing. One day while decorating the graves on Memorial Day, my mother and daughter and I were sharing family stories. My mother, a very humorous person, said something that struck me particularly funny, and I literally rolled on the ground in laughter, and peed my pants. In the cemetery among my departed relatives.

              We do whatever we need to do to get by. I’ll be thinking of you, and hope that your dad’s last days won’t be too hard on either of you.

            • Ting says:


              I took care of my father, and helped him die. Like you, I was the “strong” one – the seemingly detached one. Someone has to be the one to hold it all together, after all. We can’t have everyone falling apart. I thought there would be a terrible day of reckoning after it was all over. I was told there would be – I believed there would be. But after almost 6 years it still hasn’t come. There are moments. I miss him and his big, fun-loving, encouraging personality so much. But I have not fallen apart. I now think it is because I am content with the knowledge that I did everything I could and that my actions allowed my mother and sister to grieve and come to terms with their loss in a way that they could not have otherwise. I bet it will be similar for you. Thankfully, my family knows that my steadfastness was not a sign that I didn’t care, but rather a sign of how very much I did care, not just for my Dad, but for them all.

          • Thank you again. You are all very kind, and I appreciate it a lot. I hope I don’t come unglued. I would dislike that intensely, but if it does come it won’t come until I let it. Over the last 10 years, we’ve had wave after wave of personal disaster of such a variety and intensity that if I said them all, you’d think I was trying to write a bad soap opera. I’ve “coped” with a lot for a long time. This is just the latest wave. I’ve withdrawn a lot in a lot of ways, just holding myself together to do the things that have to be done. I won’t feel that I’ve failed, I don’t think, if it all–at some point–catches up with me for awhile. And if it doesn’t? So much the better!!

            And I laughed at my mother’s gravesite, when the pastor was inadvertently funny. So I perfectly understand. Unfortunately, at my understand the peeing-in-the-pants stuff, too!

              • Integrity1st says:

                Frankley, you shared some heavy stuff with us before. It most definately is heavy stuff, coming in big waves. Thus I find it amazing that any of us can focus and do what needs to be done for our country when survival seems so overwhelming with crisis after crisis in our own lives, never mind what the tyrants are doing to us. Wish we could do more for each other but please let us do what we can. My heart goes out to you.

        • yomotley says:

          FTN, you are in my prayers. One time I mentioned in passing to my mom how detached I was with feelings. She said I was not a detached person. I merely felt in reality, which is much deeper, so deep it is beyond the tears and anguish. I don’t know if she was correct but it definitely helps me see myself as more human.

  6. PhillyCon says:

    An enlightening, 20 minute video of the philosophical and academic roots of political correctness, a.k.a “The Frankfurt School.” Listen toward the last 5-10 mins. or so, and notice an eery correlation b/t Obama’s political/community “organizing” and the Marxist theories espoused of overthrowing the “cultural” middle class. (I suspect some of you have already seen this one).
    h/t Liberty Pundits


  7. GracieD says:

    Here is an interesting Article from American Thinker…


    • sundancecracker says:

      Good article….. “Voter fraud has become a pivotal strategy for the progressives. This is why they are coordinating such vicious attacks against honest citizens working to combat electoral corruption. Only with chicanery can collectivists successfully implement their social justice agenda rejected by most Americans. The uprooting of voter fraud jeopardizes the left’s delusional aspirations, so they feel justified in using every despicable trick to thwart the efforts of groups like KSP….”

  8. Bijou says:

    Hello, Honeys!
    Emma, thank you for another delightful glimpse into your childhood on the farm! Your stories absolutely bring these images to life. I could just ‘see’ you snuggled up with those precious kittens in the barn on a blustery night. Wonderful stuff!

    Speaking of blustery, we are getting ‘the storm’. It’s been snowing lightly, but steadily, since the very early morning and is to continue throughout tomorrow. I’m glad I planned ahead and ‘stocked up’ beforehand. I am also very thankful that I don’t have to go out in it except to walk the pup, keep the driveway shovelled and this afternoon I plan to take a long walk with my camera. I see that the Minneapolis Metrodome roof collapsed under the weight of all the snow. Yikes.

    (BTW, I have posted a little something in ‘The Case’ thread, for any interested parties.)

    • Pat P says:

      Hi (waves at Bijou across the Detroit River)!!!

      Storm in progress on this side of the river too. Bundled up in the house with the dog. Think I will go bake molasses cookies for work tomorrow.

    • sundancecracker says:

      Bijou, I didn’t notice you posted about the Metrodome…. (Yikes on that). Thankfully it happened at 5am, and the football game had been postponed, to Monday. Even without a full collapse, if the stadium had been filled, one can only imagine the potential for panic.

  9. Bijou says:

    LOL! I just noticed our new byline.
    ‘A motley crew if ever there was one…’
    Awesome! Well done!!!

  10. DeniseVB says:

    Love the memory posts, I think the 50′s was my favorite decade when less was more and I thought President Eisenhower was the greatest man in the whole world :D

  11. sundancecracker says:

    Metrodome roof collapsed @5am. Thank God for timing. No reports of injurys.

    • Pat P says:

      That happened at the Silverdome (former home of the Detroit Lions) in the late eighties or early nineties during an ice storm.

  12. sundancecracker says:

    BOSTON (AP) – A Massachusetts prosecutor said Friday it’s likely that a North Carolina teen whose mutilated body was found in a Boston suburb fell from the sky after stowing away in an airplane’s wheel well.

    Norfolk District Attorney William Keating cited evidence including a handprint in the wheel well, clothes strewn along the plane’s flight path and an autopsy report indicating the teen fell “from a significant height.” Keating said Friday that he’d informed federal transportation safety officials about the apparent airport security breach by 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale.
    “We feel it’s important to inform federal transportation safety officials that it appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet liner without being detected by airport security personnel,” Keating said. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20101211/D9K1D21G0.html

    • yomotley says:

      Now, why would a kid be hitching a ride in a wheel well? It, like, is not your typical mode of transportation when running a way. Is it really even remotely close to what a teenager would think up? What made him think to even try to get pat security, etc.?

  13. Kristi says:

    Sarah Palin in Haiti. Saw this over at Conservatives for Palin

  14. sundancecracker says:

    Condoleeza Rice deconstructs Katie Couric’s left wing ideological narrative brilliantly. The moment at 19 seconds where Condi first responds to Ms. Couric is priceless…. absolutely priceless. From that moment forward Rice completely shredded Couric. Frilliant… Simply Frilliant.

  15. Integrity1st says:

    Morning Peeps:

    Thanks Emma. You have inspired me to get my Dad to do the same. Such great stories.

    I thought our avid readers would be interested in this: http://superstore.wnd.com/books/faith/Americas-War-on-Christianity-God-and-Americas-Leaders-Bundle
    “And just as God and America’s Leaders gives you historical evidence of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, America’s War on Christianity gives you all of the factual accounts of how this heritage is under assault in our schools, our media, our military, our courts, our homes and our government”

    and, on another note, I don’t mean to be caddy, but I still get the emails from HB and occassionally I open them. He now talks about having dinner with his new benfactors, and I am, of course, concerned for the next wave of his victims. He is hosting: The Megan Fox Radio Show at 12 noon CST for Megan Fox call-in number: (818) 431-8248…if you are not by a computer, you can listen to the show by dialing into the telephone number!

    Is that now? Should we call in???????

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      My older brother made a point of doing audio interviews (using an old-fashioned tape recorder) with some of my uncles in the 1980′s. He also did an interview with one of my grandfathers even earlier and transcribed it all by hand. These things are so worth doing for so many reasons…so if your Dad doesn’t care to write it out himself or whatever, figure out how he is comfortable expressing himself, and adapt. It’s so worth it.

      I do not (any more) think of the old days as inherently being harder or better …. or anything. They just “were”….each of us has our personal historical context; there are lessons to be learned; there are hard times to survive and good times to enjoy; there are “best things” and “worst things” in every context (including today’s world). We don’t have to worship the old or the new. It just IS…and there are things to be learned by thinking about our history, personal and otherwise. Good luck to your Dad and you in getting the word pictures nailed down!

      • Integrity1st says:

        “I do not (any more) think of the old days as inherently being harder or better …. or anything. They just “were”….”

        Well Emma, from my perspective, though hardships I would prefer to be spared, there were some mighty fine experiences and memories that to a great degree seem richer than what many generations since will experience. I’m certain I would have liked my son to experience childhood as I knew it, outside all day playing in fields and ponds, only accountable when the streetlights came on or the dinner bell rang, parents got to know your friends and who was calling because all calls went to home phone, no cell phones, etc. etc. etc. Those were, in my humble opinion, ‘better days gone by’.

        • emmajeri1010 says:

          I understand…but part of what I have in mind here is that I am quite aware in adulthood of some of peers who also grew up in the 50′s who lived in dirt-scraping poverty (and a mindset of poverty is far more than just the absence of money), families where incest or alcohol abuse was rampant, etc. Therefore, “old isn’t inherently better”…. I guess part of my motivation in mentioning that is that I have been accused of acting like everything was perfect “back then” and ignoring the parts that were far from it. Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant. Yea, I have a good heritage.” True for me. My older sister would tell you only bitter stories of the same family; the same farm; the same community. Some of that is definitely a matter of personal perspective.

          There may be folks reading this blog who had nightmare childhoods involving family alcoholism, physical abuse and abandonment. The 50′s are a bad memory for them, and I only wanted to indicate that I am aware they are out there as well.

    • old crank says:

      I just found my way to a computer, saw K’s email about the radio show, came here and saw Integrity1st’s speculation about calling the show. If I could figure out how to GET the program, I’d listen to it. Why not call in? Why shouldn’t we call in if there’s something we can add, or something to be gained from the communication? We’re not in high school any more, gang. We’re free adults in a free country.

      Now that I’m here, I wanted to ask Integrity1st about that godawful experience you described with a corrupt police officer. Are you in Rowan County, NC? Was this in the Charlotte papers? What HAPPENED?

      The cold, cold, cold that Emma and jmp talked about is foreign to us in North Carolina, and an overnight low in the teens is plenty cold to us down here. My parents’ house up on the Virginia border is old – maybe 150 years – and uninsulated, and was built to be heated by fireplaces in every room. I like to say the thing is built over an underground glacier because it’s always colder inside than outside. I only lived there for two years, but Mother and Dad lived there 40+ years. It used to have an oil furnace in the basement, but like Emma’s Dad, mine did not want to heat the upstairs – or even the dining room and “parlor” downstairs. So he burned firewood in the den – and in the parlor at Christmas – and heated the kitchen and bathroom by opening the vents from the oil furnace. He eventually sealed up the den fireplace and put in a wood stove. That was very successful. Around 8:30 or 9:00 he would open doors to let the heat escape upstairs to his bedroom. My brothers’ bedroom, across the hall, would get so cold that ice would freeze in a glass by the bed. So they said, anyway.

      My Dad died in 1999 and a grandson’s family moved into the house to look after Mother. Grandson took out the oil furnace and put in a gas furnace that burned PROPANE! I have never wanted to know what this cost! I took over the place a couple of years ago, and went back to heating with the wood stove, living pretty much the way my Dad did. Grandson had also insulated the attic, or most of it, so that helped too. My brother, his father, is now the proper owner of the place, and he collects, hauls, splits, and brings in plentiful firewood so that it’s almost like living in civilization…i.e., warm in winter.

      Emma, I believe one can make do on a three dog night, with only two cats – oh, maybe three if they are not Maine Coons. If the grid goes down and we all have to make do without heat or lights in the dead of winter, I hope everybody has a couple of cats to sleep with. They are truly phenomenal little heaters.

      • yomotley says:

        I am pretty open and accepting. People can pick who they want as friends and visit and contribute to any site they want, without the demand for exclusive loyalty to Honey Trail.

        I will say, I find it offensive and rude, knowing the history, that a plug for Hillbuzz and Kevin Dujan would be posted here, disguised as an opportunity to be snide to him.

        My open mind does NOT include promoting or drawing attention to support for someone that so many here feel unsafe about. Future plugs for Hillbuzz will not be posted. The comment will go up as “This comment was a plug and an attempt at free advertising for the Hillbuzz/Kevin Dujan blog and has not been posted, per site policy.”

        And thus, we now have one whole policy here at Honey Trail.

        • emmajeri1010 says:

          That’s sort of my take, too. Far as I’m concerned, the dude is just a bad memory.

        • Integrity1st says:

          Motley, you MUST, MUST, MUST know that my ONLY goal with calling into the show is to confront and expose Kevin. My God, I’m intimately aware of what he has done to all of us and the devastating sense of betrayal and of being duped, including out of money.

          That was NO PLUG, but a wished for opportunity to hold him accountable on the air for what he has blocked in terms of comments where I have tried to do so, and to warn others – – – and to get other good buzzers out of there. I could not get connected to hear the show, or you would most definately heard me, ever so innocently asking what happened to all the good people who used to post on his site, and why was I, as a contributor both with money and comments, bannished from posting when I had never said anything ill of anyone except to ask if the site was hacked or an apology to posters it it was not. MY BIGGEST GOAL WITH REGARD TO POSTING that ‘plug’ for the radio was for us all to be able to call in, confront, and WARN THE NEXT CROP OF VICTIMS of his scam!

          • yomotley says:

            WaltingMtilda — Here is where you chime in with your funny, “Oh, do we have some drama on the Honey Trail…..?”

            • Integrity1st says:

              Sorry Motley. Last thing I need or want is more drama. Well, at least I can look forward to Waltzing making me laugh. She always does. Can’t wait. (And that picture, and expression therein, in conjunction with the way she comments – – – like I said, can’t wait =)

            • yomotley says:

              I can wear drama pretty good as long as I “accessorize” with lots of humor bling.

            • Integrity1st says:

              I’ll pass on drama every chance I get.

              The humor or bling, not so much.

        • old crank says:

          Are you talking to me? Was I the one giving Kevin a free plug?

          • Integrity1st says:

            No Dear Old Crank. I believe my post was misconstrued as a plug.

            • old crank says:

              I don’t get it. Are we not supposed to mention this man, or name his blog? Is there a Google device that collects every mention and posts the numbers somewhere, and that makes it a plug?

              Yo, Motley. Give us a break. People gotta think their thoughts. As that batty old feminist Mary Daly said, (and rightly, I think) “We hear each other into existence.” By which she meant that speaking your thoughts out loud to a listener helps you to get a handle on them. To know yourself.

            • yomotley says:

              Old Crank, I have not said we can not mention the guy.

              Perhaps I am the only one who sees this as a plug:

              “Why not call in? Why shouldn’t we call in if there’s something we can add, or something to be gained from the communication? We’re not in high school any more, gang. We’re free adults in a free country. ”

              The first two sentences could go along the thought of what Integrity mentioned; more to challenge and expose. The last two sentences do leave the impression of a reprimand for being intolerant to those involved over “there”, which is unfair in itself. The last two sentences validates it is a plug.

              This discussion pertains to the plugging of HB site and inferring that if not for it we are high schoolers and it is not a free country.

              Perhaps, you did not intend it to come out that way. But it did. And I addressed it as such. Even if not intended the way stated, The new policy is in effect. It is not a mandate of no-talk about the guy/site. It is about promoting any event, article, etc. on this site.

              It is unfair to take the leap from the simple policy to imaging I want and am demanding a total banishment of the subject. It is unfair because the leap contradicts the pace and tone that has been set here and put me “out of character”.

              Anyone get what I am saying?

              • AliRose says:

                I didn’t take it that way at all. The “we’re not in H.S….we’re free adults” bit was only intended to mean we don’t have to ask permission. This was a direct response to a direct question. It cannot be appropriately interpretted out of context.

            • Integrity1st says:

              Old Crank, I don’t know if you read your way through all of what we went through and then the miracle of us finding each other, but if not, I guess you would think and say the way you are thinking about the HB matter.

              There is no thinking police here, just a bunch of wonderful people that, because of what we know, DO NOT WANT TO PROMOTE someone we have all fleed from, and know is simply recycling his agenda to scam and then ultimately abuse people. It is something we all know is happening, and I put that post up for a different agenda than yours.

              I will stand by reasons for posting about the broadcast, and that this site should never promote what we all know to be a fraud, specifically Kevin Dujan and Hillbuzz, (however creatively the two were packaged).

              • old crank says:

                Please forgive me. I simply am out of the loop and have only my own experience of Kevin to go on. As you can see, I’m bumbling around here, and must be coming across as mightily insensitive. As for “we’re not in high school,” well, yes, that was a bit snide. I get that way. I really am old, and I really am cranky. (Well, sometimes.)

        • Richdet says:

          About mentions of duJan — this site originated in reaction to duJan and his manipulations, which are probably ongoing and certain to continue. I would argue that one important contribution this site can make is to provide a place to air reactions to events at Planet duJan, all the more so because many of us are in a very informed position to provide a context/frame for whatever he does or says. And I assume Honeytrail will continue to attract posters and lurkers needing de-programming from their experiences at HB — and as far as I can tell, this is the only place that addresses and critiques HB from a conservative perspective, which is very important in its own right.

          I continue to check in on KdJ’s postings, and he is now claiming that he soon will be doing radio broadcasts and become a larger presence in “conservative” media. Let’s play along for a moment and pretend that happens: how then will you possibly avoid talking about duJan when the spirit moves and circumstances demand? So far I haven’t caught any allusions to this site over at HB, but what if he were to cite postings here or ridicule a Honeytrail poster or posters on one of his radio gigs? What if a Honeytrail poster felt compelled to call in a rebuttal? It shouldn’t become taboo, or understood to be taboo, to refer to his radio performances — again assuming they ever materialize.

          In other words, DuJan will, for the foreseeable future, be part of the back-story of this site and its reason for being — the elephant in the living room sort of presence. Maybe a policy that avoids a blanket rule, but addresses out-of-line Kevin posts (for whatever reason) on a case by case basis would be more workable?

          Sorry to butt in on this debate, but I wanted to toss in some potential factors that I believe should inform any decisions you make about HB postings.

          • yomotley says:


            Why would the “Let’s play along…..” scenario Richdet poses above NOT BE promoting/advertising the HB site?

            Is a no HB promotion/advertising policy a blanket rule that covers all things HB/KD?

            Even though I have no desire and will not, would you want me to judge what you post about KD as out-of-line or not and on a case-by-case basis?

            Would that be more workable than a straightforward no promoting/advertising the happenings/events at HB/KJ policy?

            • GracieD says:

              Motley, I think it is your decision. I understand your not wanting to promote the site of someone who hurt many here at HoneyTrail. That is a fair policy to my mind.

              Many sites have a policy, whether written or unwritten that they will not promote other sites, period. Personally, if I saw something on any other site, I would email you a link, and allow you to determine if it should appear here. That would only happen if there were no direct link to the information to be shared, i.e. to HotAir, one of the BIG sites, etc.

          • Integrity1st says:


            I think Richdet meant “play along” only in the sense of ‘believing’ that Kevin is actually going to be doing radio broadcasts. IF in fact, that ever materializes, then I like his idea of us being privy to what the rest of his listeners won’t know unless we call in, and tell them.

            I agree with: “…one important contribution this site can make is to provide a place to air reactions to events at Planet duJan, all the more so because many of us are in a very informed position to provide a context/frame for whatever he does or says. And I assume Honeytrail will continue to attract posters and lurkers needing de-programming from their experiences at HB …”

            I also agree that it is NOT too much to ask that there be NO PROMOTION OF HB on this site, except to provide links to the very funny, and nice sites that provided HB exiles shelter until this site came into being, even though they were/are progs.

      • Integrity1st says:

        Old Crank, to answer your questions:
        Far from over. All in Mass.

    • AFinch says:

      I would just point out that those of you who are still receiving automaticially generated emails from HB can unsubscribe via your wordpress settings. If you are still receiving HB emails, you are doing so by choice. I unsubscribed shortly after the USO thread, and while I still check the site from time to time, I do so on MY schedule and by MY choice.

      Richdet is correct that, because of the history of how this site started, there will always be a desire to talk about HB and KDJ on some level. Each person is dealing with his/her HB experience in his/her own way. It is out of respect for everyone–people who still want to talk about it and people who prefer not to have any reminder of what went down there–that we have requested that those conversations occur on the Updating the Case Thread. Much like what I have done with my HB email subscription, I can go to that thread by choice to see if there is anything new happening, without being accosted by HB discussion in the open thread.

      • old crank says:

        Okay, I have not read the complete history of this site, and do not know what-all K has done and to whom. I do not wish to open old wounds or revisit old mistakes and I apologize if I have done so. Thank you, AFinch, for directing me to the Updating the Case thread, I will read it. (Where is it? How do I get there?)

        I do want to be able to talk about K here, not necessarily about the past. I’m thinking that he is conservative, whatever his personality problems, and can promote conservative causes/candidates. (I am used to working with terrible people when I have to.) Again – I do not know what-all he has done, and could conceivably find myself repulsed beyond all tolerance – so far, disappointment and wary caution prevail.

  16. sundancecracker says:

    Here is a great Pigford article with some triangulation and considerations.

    ………”To sum up: Here’s a guy who is the ringleader of a gang of people defrauding the Federal government. He murders two individuals to shut them up, and cuts off the head and hands of one for good measure. He threatens people and solicits perjury. After all of that, the Department of Justice decides that they’re not going to pursue it as a capital case?

    I’m personally against the death penalty, but my gob is smacked.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the DOJ didn’t want to make it a death penalty case, because they didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention to Pigford.

    The date on that Clarion Ledger piece is January 30, 2008. I don’t know whether or not this was the decision of Holder’s immediate colleagues, but somebody sure as hell ought to find out who made the call–because it reminds me a little bit of a case regarding the NBPP in Philadelphia, and a polling location, and a dude with a nightstick.

    Just sayin’…..”

    (read full article at link)

    • Ting says:

      Whoa – this gets more and more serious every day. If this story ever really gets “out there” it will be all Pigford all the time. Murder, money, race, political paybacks, corrupt prosecutors…..Careers have been ruined and blockbuster movies have been made from much less. I think someone should make a movie – quick, quick, quick. Oliver Stone, where are you?

  17. ZurichMike says:

    Do you know the German word “Schadenfreude”? The delight you take in the misfortunes of others. I went back to that “other” site from which many of us fled. He has a handful of comments on a few silly posts, with repeat comments from a core group of half a dozen regulars.

    Schadenfreude. Almost as fun to say as “Staubsauger” = literally “dust sucker” (vacuum cleaner).

  18. yomotley says:

    Wow, the sacrifice of our service men and women. Tucked inside this article it mentions that two of the military is a married couple who are headed back home to spend time with family which is their three sons and those taking care of them! I did not know it was even allowed to have two parents deployed.


    • emmajeri1010 says:

      Someone who’s more knowledgeable can clarify, but I believe that in such a case, legal guardianship is signed over to another family member.

      • YTZ4Me says:

        Wonderful, descriptive post — truly a yummy read for a Sunday.

        Yes, all active duty/reserve/guard with dependent children are required to have a child care plan in place in the event of mobilization. This includes non-custodial/part time custodial parents as well. Often, temporary legal guardianship and power of attorneys are granted to close biological relatives, but it does not have to be a blood relative, as long as that individual is competent and is able/willing to care for the child(ren).

        People do get administratively separated if they are unable to establish a contingency child care plan that is acceptable to the Command as established by directives.

        During the current operational tempo, this policy applies to everyone, even people who think that they are in “non-deployable” billets. We had a friend who was on flight instructor duty and was pulled to serve as a civil affairs officer in Afghanistan and had to do some last minute arrangements.

    • Integrity1st says:


      YTZ has a beautiful ‘holiday’ story that should be shared:
      okay, I was going to post a link to it, but just spent about half an hour trying to get to her site. How do I get there? (I know, I should have saved to favs)

  19. old crank says:

    The Army used to refuse to take in anybody with children unless they had given somebody else legal custody. Probably still do.

  20. WeeWeed says:

    I don’t know if I can copy from one blog to another, but live and learn, say I….everybody take the Hot Air poll on O’Dumba$$ for the week!


  21. Amsterdam Expat says:

    Caroline Glick has a sober analysis of increasing Iranian influence in Latin America (thanks above all to H. Chavez — and to O). (Sober! — when is she ever not?)


  22. sundancecracker says:

    OK gotta admit that I am a total Space Shuttle fan. I mean seriously…. the most complex technological machine ever created in the history of the world; and it is AMERICAN made. You Betcha. This new high definition video documentary is exceptional. The footage is absolutely breathtaking. It’s 45 minutes long, but well, well worth sharing especially with a new generation that has taken the shuttle for granted. The shuttle program is 30 years old, and sadly almost finished. But this video footage captures it frilliantly. WoW.

  23. Integrity1st says:

    Okay, so who is the author of the fantastic poem that Honey Trails posted but I can’t open. Sounds like one of Sundance’s frilliant poems, but I can’t verify. Whose ever it is, I need to credit ’cause I’m going to start using as my holiday cards!

    • yomotley says:

      That was an oops post. It was a draft and I pressed “publish” but then pulled back right away. It will be up tomorrow as open forum. Now that you are privy to the top secret material, you are being issued secret agent badge #HT00-I1 with the job of keeping the material close to your being and let no eyes fall upon it (except your baby blues or browns). Keep you shoe-phone close by for instructions on the next assignment. Over. Out.

      • Integrity1st says:

        Green eyes are awaiting instructions, and hoping to discover author.

        Check out that YTZ story above for consideration for another lead-in to open thread?

  24. Pat P says:

    I don’t know if anyone has posted this yet, but here is the latest on wikileaks – disrobing the main stream media!


  25. Kristi says:

    Yeah! Our schools have a 2 hour delay in the morning.

    Nothing better than a 2 hour delay on a cold monday morning.

  26. WeeWeed says:

    More Christmas lights, kids! Why? Because I like ‘em! Got this one from lucianne.

  27. jm says:

    What is the Christmas holiday season without music! This was wonderful–moving and exuberant at the same time–brought to mind many cherished memories for me–important things to hold onto in these “times that try men’s souls”.

  28. Kristi says:


    Adorable story about an angel at the post office.