Communication Difficulty

>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Several years ago I signed up as a “free” member on  As a free member I was not able to contact other members, etc.  Finally, after numerous special offers, I signed up to become a “Gold Member” with all of the full benefits.  One of the first things I tried to do was send an email to several former classmates.  But, when I would check my account I found that other than 1 or 2 they were listed as “unread.”  The FAQ page indicated that when an email was sent to another member they would be notified.  So, I sent an inquiry to to try and find out what was happening.  That is when our “communication difficulty” started.

My inquiry I thought was simple enough.  I selected the subject of “Send or receive email from other members.”  I wrote,  “Are notifications being sent?  I tried sending one to someone close to me.  She has not received a notification that she has an email but is does show up on her message board but without notification she would not be checking her message board.”  The “someone” I had tried to email was my wife.  I got this reply.  “I understand that you would like to make changes to a Classmates membership, however, in order to protect our members, our Privacy Policy states that we must hear directly from the listed member before taking any action with a registration.  Please ask the member whose name appears on the  Classmates membership to contact us directly for assistance.”

Well, this had nothing to do with my question so I responded,  “I don’t think you get the picture.  I’m attempting to send emails and I do not believe any notification is being sent.  The individual I used as a test is my wife.  She never received a notification, although when she went to her message board the email was there.  My concern is that to those I’m sending emails may seldom if ever check their message boards and if a notification is not sent to them I might as well not have become a gold member.  According to the FAQ’s notification is supposed to be sent.  What is happening?”  I again received a response.  “If you’re having trouble receiving messages from, a filter may be sending them to your spam, bulk, or blocked email folders.  Please check with your email provider to determine if any adjustments are necessary to make sure that our messages are delivered to your inbox.”

As this answer had nothing to do with my question I responded once again.  “It seems that your responses are just ‘pat little notes’ that don’t fit the question.  According to your FAQ’s when I send an email to someone they are notified.  I assumed that this was by an email to them.  I know I get classmates emails telling me someone has signed my guestbook, etc.  Since I have sent numerous emails and they are not being received it appears that no notification is being sent.  To test this theory I sent my wife an email, just as I have done with the others.  She didn’t receive any notification.  After a few days she went to her account and it was there.  My question is: do you send notifications?  If you do then something is wrong in the system.  If you don’t then I wonder why should I even bother.”  Shortly I received another reply.  “We appreciate your interest in Classmates Guestbook!  Please use the link below to visit our online Help Center, where you’ll find answers to many commonly asked questions about this feature.  Simply click the link below—or copy and paste it into you browser—and you’ll be taken directly to the ‘Guestbook and profile visits’ topic on the Classmates Help Center.”  The link was given. 

By this time I was becoming a “bit frustrated.”  I sent another note.  “Please!  Can’t a real person answer a real question?  This reply has nothing to do with my question.”  After a few days I did get a reply from a real person.  “Thank you for your reply.  In order to provide you with the most prompt assistance, I’ve reviewed your previous correspondence with us and am happy to assist you further.  We do send email notifications.  However, members can alter how often they receive these notifications by going to the ‘Account’ settings.  Additionally, sometimes our notifications are filtered  to a member’s junk or spam folder if they have set that up in their personal email box.”    Although this isn’t getting my emails delivered I now have an answer as to why.

Communication shouldn’t be so difficult.  I suspect that the emails that Classmates routinely receive are scanned by some type of computer for key words and an automated reply is generated.  In my case that wasn’t working.


It Is Number 100

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2009

100redarrIt may not be quite as impressive as 100 red roses.   I began my blog with my first post on November 28, 2008.  According to my “dashboard” I have posted 99 times, so this is number 100.  That has to be some kind of a milestone.  For those of you who would like to look back at number one here is the link.


Good Fresh Goat Milk

With three goats producing milk we currently have plenty of good fresh goat milk.  Annie and Brownie both have twin kids that would take all of their milk if we allowed them to do so.  In order to get some of the milk we pen up the kids each evening and milk the mothers each morning. The kids get all of the milk the mothers produce during the day.  If we have plenty of milk ahead we may skip the evening “pen up.”

Below are some photos of the “business end” of our three goats just prior to milking time this morning.

April    21st 001 This is Annie.  I don’t believe she is giving as much as she did a couple of years ago when she was giving about 2 gallons of milk a day.  For a goat that is quite good.

April    21st 002 Brownie, shown here, is Annie’s daughter that was born three years ago, one of four kids.  She freshened for the first time when she was just one year old.  She had one buck kid that year and one buck kid last year.  This year she had twins, a buck and a doe.

April    21st 003 Zoe is our first freshener.  She is also Annie’s daughter from two years ago.  She is doing quite well for a first freshener.

April    21st 005 The bucket is almost full.

April    21st 007 Five quarts of fresh milk.  We drink quite a bit and use some in cooking.  We have also being making yogurt and cream cheese.  Before long we need to make a freezer of ice cream.  We generally can find some others nearby to help us eat it.


Strange Buildings

>> Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I came across a web site that I would like to direct you to.  I found it very interesting.  I contains photos of 50 strange buildings from around the world (actually 150 when you go to parts II and III).  Here are a couple of samples.

01-thecrookedhouse-thumb 30-houseattack-thumb Interesting, huh?  Maybe a bit strange in some cases.  Anyway, here is the link.  Enjoy!


Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

>> Thursday, April 16, 2009

The flowering dogwoods are beginning to bloom here in South Central Kentucky. We are able to see the white “flowers” of the trees scattered throughout the woods, but generally on the outside edges of the wooded areas. According to an article on the USDA’s web site “the white 'flowers' of flowering dogwood are actually four large white bracts encircling a cluster of tiny yellowish true flowers. The bracts start out small and green, and gradually enlarge and turn white during the mid-spring blooming season.”

April    16th 004 In the photo above you can tell that these still have a green look to them.

April    16th 008 In this picture the white bracts, with a bit of purple coloring, can be seen around the central cluster of flowers.

April    16th 005 How do you identify a dogwood tree when it isn’t in bloom? By its bark, of course! Although that is an old joke it is actually true. You look for rough, square to hexagonal patterns like cracked mud. See the picture below.

April    16th 009 We enjoy the many flowering trees here. The redbuds are still blooming and now the dogwoods are in bloom. There will be other trees blooming soon. It seems almost all spring and summer long there is some tree blooming plus we have lots of wild flowers. We feel blessed.



Never did I know that the true morel mushrooms were Morchella per their scientific genus until I did some study online before writing this post.  The morel mushroom is hunted each spring by many ‘shroomers, as mushroom hunters are called.  When I was growing up in Central Illinois I knew the morel simply as “sponge mushrooms.”  This name was basically because the morel looks a lot like a sponge.  They appear honeycomb-like in that their upper portion is composed of a network of ridges with pits between them.  Here are a couple of photos.

morel-mushroom-hunting morel It is morel season once again.  Darryl and the children have found a few the last few days.  Here in Kentucky they have a couple of other names.  I heard one shortly after moving here, “dryland fish.”  Apparently when sliced lengthwise then breaded and fried the outline looks something like a fish.  And, I am told that in many parts of the state morels are known as “hickory chicken.”  Apparently in most parts of West Virginia they are known as “molly moochers.”  Don’t ask me why.

One more picture.  This is one the children found yesterday.  Jessica is holding it.  Excuse the bit of debris that is on it.

April    15th 001


She’s Precious

>> Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some time ago I introduced you to Toby, our chihuahua.  Later I did a post about our “old lady cat,” Snickers.  But, I have never gotten around to presenting Precious to you.

She was acquired the first summer we were here in Kentucky.  While staying in the old mobile home in town with our oldest son and his 5 year old daughter with us, Connie agreed to get a kitten for Tana (our 5 year old granddaughter whose name is Montana).  She heard a man call in to the local radio station with kittens to give away.  They made a trip out to his home where Tana picked out the kitten she wanted and shortly named her Precious.

When Mark and Tana moved back to Illinois that fall Precious became totally our kitten.  She has grown up of course and has truly become what her name portrays, she is very precious.  Here are a couple of photos.

Jan  2nd 012IMG_0196 Precious, like Snickers, is an “inny and outy” spending time inside as well as outside.  One night last week she spent the night outside but was not waiting at the door the next morning to get inside.  As time went on she still didn’t appear, which was quite unusual for her.  I kept thinking maybe she got shut in the barn but when I went out to take care of the goats and chickens I didn’t find her there.  A little later I had a hunch.  I had unloaded and carried several bags of feed from the van to the barn.  I just wondered maybe?  Sure enough, she had gotten into the van while I was getting the feed carried to the barn and had gotten herself shut inside.  She was fine and was soon back inside getting some food.


Morning Sky

>> Monday, April 13, 2009

My daughter is part of a group that posts photos of the sky each week entitled Looking at the Sky on Friday.  You can check her blog, Beth and Cory’s Mom.  I’m not going to try to post a photo of the sky on a regular basis but yesterday morning as I got out of bed I noticed the sky was beautiful.  However, by the time I walked across the house and returned with my camera the sky was changing.  Yet, I think the couple of pictures I took turned out pretty good.

April    12th 001 April    12th 002


Coping Without TV

>> Thursday, April 9, 2009

In my post of February 19th I related that with the switch to digital television we are unable to receive any TV stations.  We did not watch much TV anyway so it hasn’t been difficult to adjust.  What we have found is numerous internet sites where we can watch news videos, various episodes of popular TV shows, and much to our enjoyment episodes of classic TV programs from the past.

April  8th 004 I found that I can watch the NBC evening news with Brian Williams and I don’t have to be concerned if I’m done with my work outside.  I can access it at my convenience, at MSNBC.MSN.COM.  There are even additional segments that don’t make it into the 30 minute TV broadcast.

CBS has Katie Couric and the evening news at CBSNEWS.COM.  ABC has their news programs, including the evening world news with Charles Gibson, at ABCNEWS.GO.COM.


For entertainment there are a number of sites available.  One that has quite a number of movies, TV program episodes and “classic TV” is  Pictured here is Raymond Burr in his role of Ironside.

April  8th 005 Another “classic” that I watched an episode of last night is The Rockford Files.  A series that we watched years ago, and enjoyed, was MacGyver.  Almost all the episodes of all 7 seasons are available on

April  8th 009If you can’t find anything “fit to watch” on TV try the internet.  There are many more sites than what I have mentioned that have movies and TV programs available without charge.


The Problem Was Obvious!

>> Monday, April 6, 2009

When Connie and I started into town Thursday morning we soon discovered a problem.  As I put the van into reverse and began to back out of our parking space we heard the sound of splashing or gurgling water, and almost immediately water started coming down from under the dash onto the carpeting on the passenger’s side of the van.  The problem was obvious!  We had a major water leak somewhere.  Our first response was to grab some paper towels and begin soaking up as much of the water as possible.

Then, it was to try and figure out where the leak was and how the water was getting into the area under the dash.  Without thinking it through thoroughly I thought it must be from around the windshield.  We had the windshield replaced several months ago and I thought perhaps the caulk or adhesive had begun to turn loose.  I didn’t get a chance to really check things out that day and that night we got another 1 and 1/2 inch rain.

When I next got the time to begin check things out I moved the van to experience water “raining” down once again.  I was able to get down and look up to see that the water was dripping from several locations on the bottom of the heater/AC ductwork.  That made me begin to think maybe it wasn’t a windshield leak after all.

April  4th & 5th 010 Just in front of the windshield is a grill which allows fresh air to be brought in.  As I began to check I discovered that there is a plastic pan that sits directly under this grill.  It can’t be seen, but there is a connection from this pan to the ductwork for the heater and AC.

April  4th & 5th 009 The photo on the right shows a portion of this plastic pan.  As I began to examine the situation I noticed that there was a hose that was attached (right in the center of the photo).  This was obviously a drain tube.  I pulled this hose loose and water began pouring out of the drain hole in the pan.  I also discovered that the drain hose was packed full of leaves. 

It became quite clear what had been happening.  The water from the rain had gone through the grill and with the drain hole plugged the water had accumulated.  When the van began to move the water splashed and sloshed in the pan, overflowing into the heater/AC ductwork and then to “rain” down onto the floor of the van.

April  4th & 5th 011 With the drain hose cleaned out water can now drain out as it should.  (Oh, I did discover there is a second drain on the other end of the plastic pan.  It was not plugged but I made sure that there was nothing to obstruct the water from flowing through it.)

Thankfully the solution to the problem we encountered was quite simple once the time was taken to really check it out, just not as obvious as the problem. 


Eastern Redbud Trees

>> Friday, April 3, 2009

One of the things we look forward to each Spring here in South-Central Kentucky is the blooming of the Eastern Redbud trees.  They are just referred to as “redbuds” by most everyone here.  This Spring they don’t seem to be as full of bloom as they are some years but they are still a beautiful splash of color where most of the other trees are still gray and brown.

April 3rd 001
April 3rd 004
April 3rd 007
April 3rd 009
It won’t be long now before the dogwoods begin to bloom.  I’ll try to share some photos of them as well.


Correction to Last Post

JK left a comment on my last post that Regina Brett, columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was NOT 90 but only 50. I checked and he is correct. This piece ran on Sunday May 28, 2006 and she stated that her “odometer rolls over to 50 this week.” I’m sorry that I perpetuated an error that was in the email I received. You can check out other columns by Regina Brett here. Also, she had 50, not 45 lessons listed. To read her 50 lessons check here.


45 Life Lessons

I received this in an email from a friend.  I thought these were good lessons and wanted to share.

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.  It is the most-requested column I've ever written.. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words. 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything. 
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift!


Milling Cedar Posts

>> Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Last February I did a post entitled Skidding Logs Out of the Woods. I mentioned that the logs would have to be milled into 6” X 6” posts at a later date, and that would be the subject of another post.  Today that activity got underway.

Shortly after moving here to Cedar Ridge Farm Darryl purchased plans he found advertised on the internet for building his own sawmill.  He would have liked to have had a nice band mill but just could not afford it.  The mill he built per the plans he obtained uses a big chainsaw.  This is slower in operation and loses a bit more of the log due to the thicker cut that is made but it does a nice job.

April 1st 001Pictured here is Darryl adjusting the cutting position on his mill.  The basic procedure is to cut off the rounded sides on all four sides of the log, leaving the squared 6” X 6” posts.  In this picture the log has just been loaded onto the mill and Darryl is getting set to cut the first slab.

April 1st 004 Cutting is underway.  The chain saw, with a 36” cutting bar, is mounted in a movable carriage that Darryl pushes as the saw cuts its way through the log.

April 1st 006Both the top and bottom cuts have been made and one of the sides is now being slabbed off.

April 1st 012  Here is a close-up view of a finished post which has been loaded onto the truck.

April 1st 009 Pictured here is part of the finished work of the day

April 1st 014 In the foreground is the pile of slabs that were cut from the logs milled today.  In the background are the logs that yet remained to be milled.


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