Archive for February, 2010

Magic Axe/Magic Hoe

February 28, 2010

Just back from a renewed Google search on this mystery.

I am trying to locate a story/myth/fable which I read way back in 5th grade in the 1970’s. It was about someone who in order to gain a prize (wife, riches, etc.) had to over come 2 obstacles (that I remember.)

One obstacle was a field that could not be planted because it was full of stones. The field was enchanted or cursed and for every stone removed, two would appear it its place. This problem was overcome with an enchanted/magic hoe which hoed so fast that the stones could not keep up.

The other obstacle was an enchanted/cursed tree which could not be felled. For every notch chopped out, two would appear in its place. This was overcome by a magic/enchanted axe which chopped so ast that the tree was felled. I really cannot remember anything else about the tale except that in my memory it had a European feel to it.

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The Pet Clock

February 22, 2010

cuckoo clockWe’ve been seeing to the needs of an elderly church member. She’s what I call a survivor of East Germany post World War Two. Her path runs from Leipzig, East Germany, to West Germany, to America, to our area here in New Jersey. Just before she came to America in 1969 she purchased a cuckoo clock. It’s a good one, with a chime, cuckoo, and oompah band played by a two tune music box. This clock hung in her apartment near our house for any years collecting dust.

As I mentioned, we’ve been seeing to her needs of late because of an apartment house fire which landed her in the hospital because of smoke inhalation. She’s a great gal, especially considering she’s 81. You’d never know if from her spirit and inner strength.

We had to enter her apartment several times to retrieve personal items and clothes which she needed in the hospital and the rehab/care center. Since then our church has come together to try and help her out a bit. We’re getting her a few new pieces of furniture, some clothes and having her place painted. Because of this, we’ve taken everything off the walls, including two cuckoo clocks.

The woman said that she no longer wants the clocks as one never ran and the other was giving her trouble running, so I took them to see if I could do anything with them.  I always wanted a cuckoo clock.

One is basically useless as it lacks chains, weights and pendulum. The other was nearly complete, missing only a pendulum weight, which I was able to carve from a piece of oak I had laying around. The clock needed oiling, so I treated it with some WD-40, (sacrilege, I know to clock repairers.)

The clock has been running in my daughter’s room now for about a week. The only ‘problem’ it has is that the band doesn’t always play. It’s supposed to go at the hour and half hour, but sometimes sticks, requiring a tiny pull on the weight chain to start it up.

I think of this clock as a pet clock, because it only runs about 8 hours before needing winding. Thus, it needs attention or it will ‘die’.

L.B.P.s

February 19, 2010

An LBP is anything which in reality isn’t very efficient, useful, or sensible, but which probably looked like a great idea on the drawing board, I.E. on paper. LBP is my abbreviation for ‘Looked Better on Paper’ and I attribute it to anything which just doesn’t work like someone might have expected.

The one that occurred to me this morning is the new, modernized Monopoly game where all the prices and money are corrected for inflation. All the properties are changed too, being the result of polling the public. The part about it that just doesn’t work for me is all the added zeroes to the money.  Just try doing subtraction in the millions of dollars to make change on the fly!

I like Monopoly, even the special ones that my daughter has, such as My Little Pet Shops, but the new modernized one is a big LBP.

Fake Maple Syrup

February 12, 2010

This is the recipe I got from my mom. I don’t know where exactly she got it, but it’s the cheapest way to keep your house in Maple Syrup.
You will need:

4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract (can be imitation)
1 tsp. maple flavor

combine sugar and water in large saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Bring to boil. Cover and boil gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat for about 1/2 hour. add vanilla and maple. Stir only until mixed.

This recipe makes 1 quart and will keep in refrigerator.

Keeping the Brain Going

February 4, 2010

A few years ago I was in the hospital (two actually) with a liver abscess and a blood infection. I was having high fevers during this time and due to that (and perhaps the meds they had me on), I was having some whacky dreams. (I tell you, I was this close to solving the riddle of the universe…)

After my hospital stay, I was a little worried about my memory and brain functions generally. I bought an easy crossword book and started solving away. Now I cannot solve crosswords that are not labeled as ‘easy’ or ‘fun’. This is not because of my brain, but merely because of my lack of ‘culture’. I don’t watch TV, I don’t go out to the movies, I don’t read popular magazines. (Yea, I’m a great conversationalist, sticking to the subjects I write about on this blog .)

I stick to the easy, fun crossword books, but to make things a little bit harder, or slightly more challenging, I solve them a certain way. I start at 1 across and 1down, and work my way out from there. However, each new solve has to be connected to a letter in a previously solved word. In other words my solutions are connected, like building dominoes.

Sounds easy, yea, but sometimes I really have to snake around my solutions to figure out the answer to 13 down!