By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Indiana Farm Boy at 100 - A Trip to Granny's House and the Death Bell

When my father was four years old his family was living close to relatives, including one of his grandmothers. Nina, his mother, needed to send someone to "granny's house", and for some unknown reason decided little Frank would be given the responsibility. She called to him and said for him to put on his coat and head to his grandmother's house. So Frankie did exactly as his mama had told him to do. He put on his coat and headed out.

Now, I have no idea how far this grandmother lived from the Engle's, or whether she was an Engle or a Temple. If she was Nina's mother then the family must have been living somewhere in southeastern Indiana since Nina was from Vevay on the Ohio River. If she was an Engle then she would have been further north, closer to Anderson Indiana. The name of the granny, the distance, and the purpose were never clear. Only that my father was only four years old, and that he had put on his coat as his mother had instructed. Since the coat is part of the story, and we are talking about Indiana, it must have been chilly, maybe even cold with snow on the ground.

Imagine his granny's surprise when little Frank arrived and she told him to take off his coat only to reveal that he was STARK NAKED underneath!

Another story about the Engle boys involved two old ladies and a bell. One year, as the boys were growing up, their parents moved with them into a rambling farmhouse. "Next door" there lived two old women, a mother and daughter. One day they heard the neighbor's bell pealing loudly and unceasingly.   Grandpa Engle sent his boys to investigate. But the boys had different ideas. For one thing, they were not from the area, so they didn't know the two old women very well. They were also afraid of the old ladies of the house. The oldest was in her 90s, wrinkled and toothless and appeared to the Engle boys to be an old crone. The daughter, in her 70s, wasn't much better. They procrastinated as long as they could until their mother had had enough. Nina gathered her purse and headed with the boys in tow to find out what was the matter. When they arrived they discovered the ancient woman was pulling the bell rope. Her daughter was dead.

Now in those days you washed and dressed the body yourself. There weren't funeral homes and directors in every town. You would get the deceased presentable and leave them on the bed until the undertaker, or someone else, brought a casket and hauled the box with the body in it off to a church (or directly into the ground if there wasn't a church available. Usually someone would sit up all night long with the corpse until the next day so that there was time to prepare for a funeral. This was called a "wake". When Nina arrived with the boys she helped as much as she could, but someone had to stay to take care of the old woman overnight until the undertaker could get his wagon and pick up the body the next day, and she had other things to take care of. The boys were left to take care of the old woman.

The Engle boys were no wimps. Though they were skinny and small (except Lee, who was always at the top of the growth chart) they were strong and tough. They were used to farm work and fighting one another. But old dead people scared the dickens out of them. They spent the entire night awake, terrified of the ghost of the woman, or maybe even the devil himself coming to get them. Even after 45 years my dad could remember just how terrified they all were. For whom did that bell really toll? It tolled for them!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Indiana Farm Boy at 100 - The Indian

My dad once said he had no idea if any of his brothers actually graduated from high school. His mom was a high school graduate, but his pop had only made it to the third grade. Now granted, that was around 1896 or so, which means he probably knew more about American history and civics than kids today know in 12th grade. But a little more education might have made his life, and the lives of his wife and sons, easier. My dad was respected by everyone in his family as being the "smart" one. My guess is they also thought he was a tad odd. They recognized his talent, but never really understood it.

As my three sons have grown to be men I have had a tendency all along to compare them to my dad. Do they resemble him in their features? Do they have similar talents or interests? Do they have the same sense of humor? And so on. Sometimes it's a gesture, or a "look" that one of them gives me, and I can see my dad. At one point my eldest looked very much like him. Especially his senior year of high school. All you had to do was place his senior portrait next to his grandfather's and it was obvious they were related. Like his grandfather, my eldest has an interest in intellectual pursuits, especially in reading and studying history, literature, and writing. My middle son is a wonderful teacher and is pursuing a career teaching in colleges and universities. My youngest is a very talented draftsman and loves to putter around in his grandfather's studio with all the old tools and equipment.

I don't spend a lot of time looking at myself in a mirror and wondering if I look like my father. My mother has always insisted that I look just like him. Maybe when I was younger that was true, but today most people think I look more like her. I have never thought I had the same kind of talent or capacity for intellectual pursuits he had either. Being a girl, and a Southerner, I have interests more like my mom's. I have, however, discovered something recently that ties me directly to my dad. His high school interests!

Frank Engle graduated from Anderson High School in Indiana in 1935. The school yearbook was called "The Indian". My father's senior portrait portrays a solemn young man with wavy dark hair and a penetrating gaze. Recently I looked for his yearbook on one of those online high school classmate sites. When I found it the list of accomplishments under his name caught my eye. I was a bit stunned the first time I read his list. It was like reading my list in my own senior yearbook!

Frank L. Engle (Class of 1935)                                
Academic Honorary Society                                    
History Club                                                              
Art Association                                                          
Chairman Prom Committee (Jr. year)                        
Annual Staff

Eve W. Engle (Class of 1976)
Beta Club
History Club
Art Club
Chairman Prom Decoration Committee (Jr. year)
Spanish Club
Blue White Staff (newspaper)

Apparently we were very much alike when we were teens. Four decades after he graduated from Anderson High School his daughter (me) graduated with almost the same accomplishments! I also sang in my high school's choirs and marched with the band (flag corps). I know he served as the towel boy for the Indian basketball team. He couldn't play on the team since he was too short, and I couldn't march with the actual band since I didn't play an instrument. I have no idea what else he did, but he must have been very active.

In 1985, shortly after my first son was born, my parents came to Fort Bragg, NC, where we were living at the time, and gathered me up with my baby. We all headed to Indiana for my dad's 50th high school reunion. It was a bittersweet time for him. He was amazed at the people he saw who were still able to put on a cheerleading costume (yes they really could) and a basketball uniform to do dribbling "sorties" (yep, those old men could do that too) but sadly he realized that no one really remembered him. He was the odd one who had left and not really ever come back. He hadn't remained in Indiana supporting the local basketball team, or retired from General Motors. He hadn't corresponded with anyone over those 50 years and there was no Facebook back then (not that he would have ever done that in a million years!!!!). But still, the evening I went with him (my mother and I took turns accompanying him) he enjoyed reminiscing and seeing how some of his old classmates had fared. He was proud of having been an "Indian", but mostly he was happy that he had graduated and moved on to all the wonderful things he had experienced during his long life.

There must be a little "Indian" in me too.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Indiana Farm Boy at 100 - Beating the Odds

My dad would have been 100 years old next year. That's a sobering thought. To hit that milestone with a grandparent doesn't seem that odd. But to realize your parent would be that old, well, it's just weird.

He was born in Peoria County Illinois, but he claimed Indiana as home since he spent most of his life there. I always thought of him as an Indiana farm boy who never really grew up. People never really realized his age until the end of his life. He always looked younger. And he never lost his silly little boy sense of humor. He loved to sing goofy songs, LOUDLY. He giggled. He danced jigs. He ran barefoot in the snow in delight when Alabama had a rare snow event. And he could bang on a piano with his elbows at parties and somehow everyone would be delighted.

My dad lived a long, and very productive life. When he died at age 85 in 2002 he had already beaten the odds of dying prematurely at least three times. When he was just five years old he was hit by an automobile and suffered a traumatic head injury. For weeks he lay in a coma with a fractured skull. Given that this was in 1920 it's a wonder he didn't end up with debilitating brain damage, or that he even lived through it. His parents didn't know his skull was fractured. Or if they did, they never mentioned it to him. When he was in his late seventies he had an X-ray taken to check his carotid arteries and the doctor who was treating him asked him what had happened. My dad had no idea, after 70 some odd years, that he would see the damage from that accident depicted on that film.

When he was in his 30s he was the owner of Frank Engle Studios in Newburgh Indiana. As a ceramicist he was used to working with glazes and knew the risk of contracting lead poisoning. Given that he was the son of a tenant farmer/sharecropper many of the homes he and his family had lived in probably had been painted with lead paint. The dinnerware they had used probably had it in the glaze since American made china still had traces of lead until sometime in the 1970s*. So, when he got sick with lead poisoning it was probably a combination of the glazes he was using in his business, and a lifetime of exposure. He might never have ended up in Alabama if it hadn't been for the lead. In an attempt to regain his strength he arrived at the University of Alabama to teach ceramics in the newly formed Art Department in 1949, and never left.

In 1996 my parents owned a little piece of paradise on the banks of the Bon Secour River just off Mobile Bay. "River Bend" was full of wisteria, azaleas, and water oaks, with a view of the shrimp boats docked across the water, and visiting dolphins would sometimes cruise by in front of the boathouse. One night before they planned to leave to head back to Windy Hill in Tuscaloosa County, my dad had a massive heart attack. He had moved a refrigerator the day before in order to tile behind it. And had blocked the door of their bedroom. The EMTs had to climb through a window to get to the bedroom in order to treat him. Consequently he had a quadruple bypass, and six months later he was recovered enough to dance a jig with me at Christmas.

Now, before you get too depressed and wonder why I would start off a celebration of his centennial birthday with such a sad sounding topic let me explain. My dad wasn't a sad person. He wasn't some poor guy which bad luck, or chronically poor health. He was a remarkable guy who loved life. His glass was always half full, not half empty. He found humor in most things, including his heart surgery. As the anesthesia wore off he kept seeing things. As one female doctor came in to check on him he declared, "I know you can't see her, but there is a naked woman sitting on the end of the bed!" And then he grinned.

I believe the car accident was the reason he was so creative. His little brain must have compensated for its injury by shifting gears and working harder in its right hemisphere. I believe the lead poisoning lead him to the career change that allowed him to grow as an artist and an intellectual. And I believe that the heart attack forced him to stop driving himself to work constantly, and take the time to focus on being creative again.

He beat the odds. He fought hard to live his life as long and as fully as possible. I believe he would have found it amusing to celebrate 100 years of life, and maybe, just a little annoying. He never really liked to bother with egocentric behavior. He had too many ideas floating around in that right hemisphere that needed to be explored.

*Want more information about lead in your coffee mug?
Frank Engle eating an ice cream cone in his ceramics classroom in the Art Department at The University of Alabama, late 1970s.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obsessing on Weight Loss

Here I go again. My up and down waist line is the bane of my existence. There is no one to blame but myself. I know it. My closet shows it. Instead of organizing it by color (I'm a bit OCD about it) I really should organize it by "big", "medium" and "small" sizes. It really is ridiculous how many times I have gone down this road.

In 1973 I started losing my "baby fat". I was very proud of my new womanly figure even though I was a bit self conscious about my measurements. By the time I started college in 1976 I was a fit and trim 94 lbs. Before you gasp at that weight let me explain something. At my tallest I was 5' 3 1/2" with a small bone structure. I was also a dancer on my college contemporary dance team. We rehearsed constantly.  When I married in 1980 I was up to 117 lbs. That seemed heavy to me at that time. By the time I was in graduate school I had started working out with weights and riding a bike 14 miles five days a week. I weighed in at 127, which seemed a high number on the scale but I had gained a lot of muscle weight. Then I found out I was expecting.

Son number one did a job on me. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I developed gestational diabetes and was very sick. As soon as his 9lb 2oz butt entered the world I started working to get all the weight off. In fact, I overcompensated. He learned early what the inside of a gym daycare looked like. I lifted weights like a crazy woman. Power lifting wasn't really my intention, but I was damned good at repetitions and the weights just kept being added. So much so that I moved out of the women's program and into the men's. I was Superwoman and in better shape than I had ever imagined. But no sooner had I gained that lovely hard ab tummy than son number two decided to derail me. Even though I was pushing a baby stroller and running around after a toddler I was back in maternity clothes and fighting to keep my weight stable. And afterward I was back in the gym.

Now a few years went by, I had gained a little more weight and a lot more width around the middle, when son number three arrived. That did it. I got really serious and joined Weight Watchers. I still went to the gym but things were different. The weight wasn't coming off as quickly as I had hoped, so I threw myself into the world of obsessive weight management. In other words it was all I thought about and talked about. I counted everything that went into my mouth. I wrote everything down. I discussed every ounce of solids and liquids that entered by body with anyone who got trapped and had to listen. I was obnoxious, but it worked. I lost 40 lbs and looked better than I ever had. Then tragedy struck. My husband left. All the weight loss hadn't changed the fact that I wasn't in a happy marriage.

Over the next several years I had more stress, my profession became more sedentary, I ended up with a job that kept me working long hours, I had a bad second marriage, and I passed out of my 40s into my 50s. And the weight kept creeping up on me. I would lose then gain. After another divorce I got myself together and started working out and losing weight again. This time I was really going to do it. I was going to get back into those size 8 clothes! Shakira had nothing on me when I shook my hips in a tee-shirt and leggings! I feverishly belly-danced, hulaed, and discoed. Even my dogs got embarrassed watching me sometimes. They would exit the family room to find dark quiet corners in other rooms to escape the loud bass and the wild gyrations. It was working though. I lost 25 lbs.

Then I got sick. Really sick. Too sick to gyrate. I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. There was no choice but to have a hysterectomy. I did. My friends who knew warned me that it takes about two years to get back to feeling 100%. In the meantime the weight crept back on. Then I found out about the wedding next summer.

Not just any wedding. The wedding of the son of my closest friend. The friend who used to be overweight and who moved to Florida and got thin and in the best shape she's ever been in. The friend who gives me her old clothes because they are too big for her. The friend who is ever supporting and encouraging whenever I need her to be. I refuse to be fat for her son's wedding!

I have seven months to lose 50 lbs. If I lose exactly that amount I will be thin enough to wear a sleeveless summer dress for an outdoor summer wedding. I CAN DO THIS. I WILL DO THIS.

And that piece of wedding cake at the end of the ceremony is going to taste so sweet!

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wedding Bells and a Fluttery Stomach

Weddings, weddings, weddings! 2015 will be a big year for two of my dearest friends as they plan their children's weddings. One a son, the other a daughter. Both friends have older children who are already married. Both have their first grandchild. Both are waaaaay ahead of me. 

I have three children who spent their early childhoods in the company of the engaged. To be clear, they aren't engaged to each other, but they all know one another. I knew the bride while she was still in the womb, and had the privilege of changing her diaper in the hospital. She was the only baby girl whose diapers I changed. She is only three months older than my youngest son. How is it possible that she is old enough to be engaged much less actually getting married? 

My stomach is fluttery. I feel emotions that I can't fully explain: excitement, envy, anticipation, grief, pride. I  feel old. And I feel a particular sense of loss. Loss because these are the children we left behind when we moved to a different city 15 and 1/2 years ago and we haven't been part of their lives. Loss because one of my sons' came close, but the relationship fell apart after a three year engagement, so there is no wedding in the near future and I know he is lonely.

I also feel fear. That has to do with the "state of affairs" between my bank account and me. My house is the real culprit. It robs me of money every month. It gets creative in searching for new ways to frustrate my savings account and keep it sliding up and down, usually through the plumbing. Weddings get expensive, even those that are not your own kids'. Knowing that two very important events that I don't want to miss are coming up means I have to double my efforts to add to my savings. But I am afraid something else will break.

Truth be told, I would sell my house before I would miss these two weddings. One will be only four hours away and I am bound to find someone who will put up with me on their couch that weekend. The other is all the way in North Carolina. So, I am thinking I'm going to plan a serious vacation that week. I could do more than the wedding. I could actually visit the mountains, or go hunting my ancestors in Mt. Airy, or even tour Biltmore again (I saw it in 1985 when my eldest was six months old). Or I could enjoy the wedding and then head home to fix the plumbing. It's bound to break while I'm gone.

Time to start making plans! 

But first I have to get rid of the fluttery feeling in my stomach. I'm thinking chocolate as the remedy. Everything is better with chocolate in my tummy. Then I can start making plans.

After all, it isn't every year that two of my closets friends see their babies get married.

Best wishes to Matt Crowe his fiancé Lauren Burianek, and Morgan Marr and her fiancé Kyle Mann.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Attack on "Humor", "Satire", and "Freedom of Speech"

From Google

the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.
comply with the wishes of (someone) in order to keep them content, however unreasonable such wishes might be.
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

free·dom of speech (free speech)
the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.

  1. No one questions the lack of humor in terrorist theory. Every moral person knows that dictators, thugs, and terrorists are bullies, and that bullies can't abide someone else not taking them seriously, or promoting humor at their expense. But this idea of controlling the world media through threats, murder, and economic instability affects us all. The attack on the World Trade Centers was an obvious warning that dangerous minds can destabilize the world market through destruction, murder, and mayhem. The same message was sent with the recent hacking of Sony and the threat to theater owners. Show this poorly written satirical movie meant to promote a comedic actor (Seth Rogen) and a heart-throb (James Franco) and we promise some kind of retaliation (destruction? murder? mayhem?) which means all your other movies will suffer because Americans will be afraid to come to the theater, resulting in economic instability. But the message sent this week in France went a step further. 

    It wasn't a random target with random casualties. It was very specific. And the message was loud and clear. Take us seriously and don't ridicule or criticize our stupidity or vices through satire. Do not express any opinions that question our authority or our purpose. It isn't funny to us. We don't see the humor (noun). 

    Humor (verb) us and we will not kill you or destroy your means of economic support. 

    Personally I love humor, but I'm not so sure about satire. There have been enough bullies throughout my life that I tend to find satire suspect. But instead of trying to censure it I choose to ignore it. Growing up during the '60s and '70s I loved Mad Magazine. Maybe it was because the cartoons were funny and I loved silly looking illustrations. But I didn't care for All In the Family even though I understood it's purpose and the humor behind its satirical script.  Maybe it was because there were "real" people being bullied. Maybe it was because I felt the bigotry, the undercurrent of mistrust, dislike, and fear between the characters. 

    This week we have all been hurt and offended. That anyone would hide behind a religious doctrine that condones torture and murder in order to force that doctrine on others goes against everything democratic societies find morally precious. Standing together to define our outrage and to show solidarity is commendable but it cannot be temporary. This isn't a "problem" of another city, country, or culture, or even of this generation. This involves us all. This is forever.

    Freedom is more than being able to write and publish satirical cartoons or write and produce satirical movies. It's more than having the ability to buy a magazine or a movie ticket.

    Freedom is about living without fear. It's about the ability to live WITH HUMOR. 

    Je suis Charlie. Vive la liberté! Longue vie un sens de l'humour!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sanctuary from the Storm

Last Saturday my middle son and I dared to cross the great divide to reach T-Town. For anyone who is not a native Alabamian that means we left War Eagle Country for Bama Country and Tuscaloosa, the location of The University of Alabama. If you are still confused it means you aren't a football fan and the references don't matter. The point is, I was returning my son to graduate school after his holiday break.

The weather was nasty. The air was full of rainy drizzle and the sky was a depressingly monochromatic shade of gloomy befitting our moods. The end of the holiday break is always a bit depressing anyway, add a little gloom and you have a the perfect mix for a post-holiday funk. Then add a poor lunch stop decision and a standing still interstate (with no idea of how long a delay due to a wreck) and a girl just wants to throw a hissy fit, the only redeeming factor being the company which you are keeping.

After three and a half hours I dropped the kid (he's 28, hardly a 'kid') at his apartment in T-Town and headed out to our home in the country. Windy Hill is a nonworking farm with a mysterious looking house half hidden by overgrown azaleas, rambling roses on a chain link fence, and a giant magnolia tree. Even if you are lucky enough to know the owner there is still a protocol you must endure in order to acquire admittance. But once inside, the house is a refuge of esthetic overload, fine food, drink, reading material, and conversation. On Saturday there was none of the above. I was only there long enough to drop off my bags, and the kid's laundry, pet the two doggies on the head, race to the bathroom, and head right back out.

My mother wanted to brave the elements and drive back to town to purchase a new mattress. When my mother has a single minded purpose you either go along or you get out of the way. She knew what she wanted, just not exactly where to find it. After reviewing two newspaper flyers we chose one and headed back into town. We were on a mission.

The original plan was to look the mattresses over and compare, but time and the elements influenced our decision to go to the first place we came to, which was probably the better choice anyway. Their flyer was nicer. We stepped inside and were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of giant marshmallow white mattresses and boxed springs confronting us. The saleswoman was jovial and immediately called my mother "sweetheart". Usually not a good sign. My mother does not care for false affection. But this young woman seemed to be all heart. She was very informative. My mother lay down on several mattresses and encouraged me to do the same. She was a bit overwhelmed. I was entertained.

Memory foam is fascinating. I found myself poking, prodding, sitting and jumping up quickly to see how fast the mattress would recover. I giggled. I dug my hand as deep as possible into the 'example'. "This stuff is awesome!" I burst out. The young man behind the desk found that statement (and probably the fact that I am too old for such juvenile exclamations) amusing. He grinned. After all the poking and bouncing and sitting, my mother made a decision and the transaction was finalized.

Good grief.

Even the sale price was atrocious. But the guarantee should see her through at least 10 years. And she got one that raises and lowers both the head of the bed and the foot. She was happy. I was envious. My mattress is a 20 year old nightmare hosting a love nest of dust mites. We said our 'ta-tas' and headed out into the dark to go get the kid for dinner and to head back out to Windy Hill. Then, my mother turned the key of her new car.

There was a funny sound. "RrrrrrAhhhhRrrr".

"What was that?", she asked cutting off the ignition.

"I don't know."

"This is a new car, and it shouldn't be making that sound."

"I don't see any indicators on the dash that you have trouble. Try it again.", I said.

She turned the ignition again. "RrrrrrAhhhhRrrr". We rolled down the windows to better hear the engine.

"That's a siren." we both said at the same time. The timing with the ignition had been spot on.

"What do we do?", she asked.

"Go back into the store and find out what's going on.", I answered.

Just what we needed. A tornado warning in Tuscaloosa. And we were in the precise location of the 'big one' that hit in 2011. Just lovely. My thoughts went to my son on the second floor of his apartment building. I called him. "Tornado warning.", he answered calmly. He was watching The Weather Channel.

"We're still at the mattress store. You're on the second floor," I stated the obvious, "do what you have to do. We'll be there as soon as we figure out what's happening."

Inside the store both clerks were on their phones. Our saleswoman was talking to her mother. The young man next to her informed us all that the T-Mobile next door was closing. That explained why a family with young children were frantically running out from the T-Mobile store and jumping into an SUV as we had been sitting in our own vehicle. We approached the service desk. "It's a tornado warning for the southwest corner of Tuscaloosa County," our saleswoman said a she disconnected from her mom, "and we aren't closing."

The young man promptly disappeared through the 'employees only' door. Our saleswoman handed us her phone so we could see the squall line ourselves. "You're welcome to come into the back of the store with us."

Hmmmm. Memories of the devastated area four years ago flooded my head. My mother refused for the same reason. I looked up to hand back the phone but the woman had also disappeared. My eyes went back to the squall line on the tiny screen.

"Let's go get the kid and go home.", I said, heading for the back to return the phone. We could avoid the worst if we went north and then west toward home. And so we did.

The drive back to Windy Hill was long, through torrential rain, lightning, and thunder . We were passed by multiple emergency vehicles along the way. Something had happened on the highway, and for a while we weren't sure if it would block our exit. Whatever it was turned out to be on the opposite side so we were able to make our way through the county down our old road, and eventually to the house and sanctuary. It poured and thundered around us but we were safe and warm.

Outside on the back porch two orange tabby cats huddled, obviously miserable. My mother tried to feed them, but instead a beautiful young opossum appeared. The cats looked on with disgust as the little fellow with a very pink nose and little pink feet knocked over the bowl and devoured their food. We watched through the window in awe.

"It's a baby. I've never seen him before. The opossum that usually eats the cat's food is bigger." my mother said. Living in the country guarantees wild encounters but I found her statement amusing. The cats never tried to defend their food. They watched too.

The next morning was still. Pools of water lay across the grounds behind the house. Looking up I noticed a kettle of vultures (or 'buzzards' as we call them) circling over the northeast field. Not good, I thought. I went for my 'wellies' knowing I would need them to get around the swampy ground. My son came with me. Fearing a downed coyote or deer we trekked around the fencing to reach the area. By the time we made our way around the birds were down. We couldn't see them, or what it was they were turning into their breakfast. Thankfully it was on the other side of the tree line. On the way back to the house we discussed planting an orchard on the hill where we were walking. The storm was over and it was time to think about planting and harvesting. All was right with our world.