Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a Gal !

I read a lot, mostly court room dramas, who dunnits, etc. but other day I bought a book that was truly hard to put down once I started reading it. It was about a woman by the name of Stella Walthall Patterson who, at 80 years of age decided to get away from it all and go live in her primitive cabin on her gold mining claim in the Siskiyou mountians of Northern California.
She wanted to see if she could stick it out for one year. Her cabin was bare bones, set on the side of a mountain above the Kalamath river. She cooked on a wood burning stove like my grandmother did. Her water supply was the water running from a creek and funneled into a pipe that ended close to her cabin. Her bathroom was outback. She made kitchen curtains from flour sacks and dyed them with boiled onion skins which gave them a pale gold color. With no electricty, there was no refrigerator so meat was cooked immediately lest it spoil. Every meal was made from scratch, as there were no restaurants within miles of her cabin. This may sound like a hardship to many people but the eighty year old lady loved every minute of it.
She was called Dear Mad'm by the local people that she got to know. Her unusual name came about because she couldn't remember the name of a man she had hired to work her claim so when she spoke to him she called him, DearSir. He laughed, and responded by calling her DearMad'm. The names stuck and so to everyone she was , " DearMad'm and the man was "DearSir".
The one and only time she fired a rifle, a 30.ought 6, for goodness sake, which she could barely lift, she killed a cougar with one shot. It was a head shot, no less. When DearSir and UpandUp, a name she gave to a tall fellow, came to check on her she told them she had killed a cougar. They laughed. DearSir said something to the effect that her little pea shooter, a small Iver Johnson hand gun couldn't kill a cougar. She lost patience and told them to go find the dead cougar...they left and were back in less than 10 minutes dragging the carcass of the cougar between them.
She enjoyed her life in the midst of nature and when one year was up she decided to remain in her rustic cabin instead of returning to her comfortable home in San Francisco.
While living in the wilds, she wrote a book about her life in the rustic cabin and the people she met in the area. The manuscript was picked up by a publisher and it was eventually published under the title of , Dear Mad'm". The sad thing to me is, she passed away before the book hit the stands and so she never got to read it. She was one spunky lady.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There's a snake in the house!

The two Dobermans were excited and looking at the base of the display case in the living room. The case stands about 8 inches from the wall so I thought one of the cats was back there teasing the dogs as they sometimes do. But no, the dogs acted more serious than they do when they are playing with the cats, in fact, they were scared. They would approach the display case then jump back.

I keep a card table tucked out of sight behind the case so we took the table out of the space so we could get a good look at what was upsetting my two big brave puppies. Would you believe it was a snake ? First thought, Mojave Green rattler ? Please don't let it be a rattlesnake in the house. Please, Please.

Looking closer I could see it was not a dreaded rattle snake. A rattler has a head shaped like an arrowhead. The head tapers in at the neck whereas other kinds of snakes have a narrow head that just tapers on back without the indentation that gives the head the shape of an arrowhead.

And of course the rattle snake has rattles on the tail although if it is a baby snake it may not have had time to grow rattles so then you must depend on the head shape and the coloring to know if it is dangerous or not. Thankfully the snake behind the display case was a harmless garter snake and we see them frequently in the yard...this was a first , finding one in the house. Not a happy first, I must say!

So, now the big question is, how do we get him out of the house? I am not brave or foolish enough to pick one of those critters up. Our solution was to make the dogs stay out of the way and then Linda opened the screen door and the front door. Meanwhile I had a long probe that I used to bang around on the wall behind the case and that moved the snake toward the door. The snake saw the open door and freedom out he went, probably relieved to get away from two gals and two excited dogs. He exited onto the front porch and with us behind him urging him onward, he went off the edge of the porch and probably on to his hole-in-the ground home and probably as happy to be there as we were to have him gone.

This is desert, home of snakes, a wide variety of birds and coyotes , a few red foxes , desert turtles and who knows what else. We live and let live unless of course, it is a dangerous snake in close quarters and is a threat to one of us then we do what is necessary to be safe. But that said, it is a little disconcerting to find even a harmless snake in the house. How did he get in??? I wish I knew!

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, July 2, 2010

Positive Thinking

I believe in positive thinking. Here is a good example. When my son was in high school he was on the cross country running team. There was a boy in the group who just couldn't beat my son in running no matter how hard he tried. The boy was saving his money for a pair of red running shoes.
He talked of those red running shoes often and he would tell Dave, " when I get my red shoes I will beat you".
Finally the day came when the boy had his red running shoes and the race was on. For the first time the kid with the red shoes beat Dave. My son said, " he passed me up like I was standing still and as he went by he said, 'red shoes', red shoes, red shoes'.
The red shoes may have helped but I think the power of positive thinking is really what won the race for him.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

P.S. I welcome your comments but please, do make them in English .