I enjoy early summer. It feels so good when the days finally warm up with not a shiver in sight. I like those days when you can go outside and actually feel the heat. At 72-76 degrees you don’t feel anything except that feeling of being comfortable. But, when it gets up to the mid 80s and low 90s you feel the heat. That is when a good soak in the river feels good. Ask this Killdeer, and he’ll tell you that it is so.
Did you ever stop to think about all the opportunities that you have? Most of us never think too much about that. We go about our lives and do what we do, every day.
My wife and I decided to go for a country drive. We drove slowly, taking in the beauty of nature. Suddenly, I saw this chipmunk on a stump. I took the opportunity to take a picture of it. It is no award winning photo, but it speaks boldly of Spring. The chipmunks are plentiful but it is not every day that I get the opportunity to see one that is so boldly sitting on a rotten stump looking at Spring. And, the flowers were beautiful.
I told my wife one day that I really need a good picture of a bobcat. The only bobcats that I had ever seen were a few crossing the road at high speed.
We decided to take a trip that day to a remote area to do some birding. We had many opportunities to see what Spring produces. The Redbuds were amazing. The grass was vibrantly green, birds seemed to be singing from every bush, and the Ospreys were nesting.
Almost before I knew it this bobcat was right in front of us. We looked at each other for a moment. It was not in a hurry to get away, but slowly walked along, sniffing at the grass and bushes. I started taking pictures as fast as I could. It gave us one backward glance, as if asking, “Are you done now?’ then leaped into the bushes and disappeared. I had an opportunity to take a picture of a rare moment and I took it.
We are at the tail end of Spring migration. Warblers sing with glee from every tree and the Wood Thrush sings its beautiful song from the forest floor. I had an opportunity to take a picture of this beautiful Prothonotary Warbler.
Take the opportunity to see the beauty of life. The Created world holds many opportunities, which I thank God for every day. Don’t forget that opportunities are to get. Rarely does opportunity seek you out. Get out of the house and look for opportunity today. When you see it, reach out and get it. Be thankful, be active, and be vigilant. You will be surprised at all the opportunities surrounding you.
Louiza Catherine Fox
Louiza Fox’s parents were concerned about their daughter. She had agreed to marry 22 year old coal miner, Thomas Carr. She was only 13. It was not only the age difference that concerned them, but also Thomas Carr’s violent mood swings. They spoke with their daughter and told her that she must end the engagement, which she grudgingly agreed to do.
Carr became extremely upset. On January 21 he hid behind a fence row where he knew she would pass on a given day. Louiza and her brother walked down the winding dirt road in Egypt Valley when Carr stopped them. He told her brother to keep going since he needed to talk to Louiza. In a fit of anger the rough coal miner slit her throat, stabbed her multiple times, and threw her into a ditch. The young brother had hidden behind some bushes and saw the whole thing. He quickly ran home and told his family the sad news.
The next morning a search party was put together. They found Carr badly wounded from a self-inflicted bullet and an attempt to slit his throat. They bandaged him and took him directly before the judge. Five days later when he was sentenced to be hung Carr laughed at the sentence.
In March of 1870, Carr admitted to killing Louiza, and at least fourteen others. He also claimed to have attempted, but failed, to kill 5 other people. Many people felt he was making it all up since he was well known to exaggerate. On March 24, 1870, he became the first person to be legally hanged in Belmont County, Ohio.
Louiza Catherine Fox is buried in the Salem Cemetery, near where she was killed.
What a sad end for a 13-year-old adolescent. Parents need to instill Godly fear into their children by command and by example. The only hope for future generations is for parents and children to be under their respective authority: husband and wife under the authority of God, and children under the authority of their parents. This is a beautiful picture of the will of God. Below is the marker that we found while driving down the narrow dirt road in the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area in eastern Ohio.
Count Your Horses
Names were changed to retain the integrity of the guilty.
Clara was 18 and her husband, Jakey was 20 when they were married. Jakey was a scrawny little fellow scarcely tipping the scales much over 120 pounds. She was robust. They moved on to the family farm and kind of farmed. He is a hustler. In his hustling, he sometimes forgets why he is hustling.
In the early days of their marriage, I watched him come up the lane to the barn with a load of hay. I looked at that load of hay, and at the horses that were supposed to pull it up a steep hill and into the barn, and I came to a thoughtful conclusion. I knew for certain that those horses would not pull that load up the drive. His optimism, however, was the size of the load.
The horses looked like mice peering up to the top of a grandfather clock. Though the mouse may have looked up at the clock, you may as well forget about Hickory, Dickory Dock. Those horses would definitely not be running or walking any hill with that load. Jakey looked like a little replica of himself sitting way up on top of that load of hay.
I trembled with excitement. Let the show begin.
Suddenly, the scrawny little fellow way up on that mountain of hay slapped the lines and screeched an astonishing yell that rose way above his size. The horses dug in. The yells rolled over them. The wagon inched forward.
He continued yelling as the horses crouched low. They pulled with all their will and their great strength. The screams rose to a terrific crescendo as the horses treaded gravel. Peculiarly, I noticed that though the horses’ feet moved nothing else much did.
Finally, they stopped. The brake was quickly set, a fork grabbed, and the unloading began. The brake was released, the screams rose and the horses pulled—for one foot. The brake was set again and more hay was unloaded. This happened about three times until a good half of the hay was unloaded.
I decided then and there that children should never get married until they are able to evaluate the size of their horses in comparison to the size of the load.
The moral of this true story:
“Sitting on your work does not necessarily mean that you know the full size of it.”
The Big Fall
The trees displayed their best colors as the stream wound its way toward the Ohio River.
The horse was delighted to take such a stunning trip.
The light tickled the leaves as they hovered over the road, giggling softly.
The community of trees came together to create drama for the schoolhouse.
A mirror of trees saluted the quiet water on its way south.
They walked in gentle harmony to the neighbors to eat popcorn and discuss what kind of winter it would be.
He grabbed the last of the grass while the grabbing was still good.
The vapid pieces united to make a strong case for themselves.
It lived a great life until the winter of its life showed up.
This N That
Summer’s over and fall is upon us. It’s time to share a few leftover pictures with you since summer has closed the door and locked it (the key is under the door mat).
Looking out over the hills during the summer reveals this pleasant treasure. Doesn’t it look serene? You can walk for miles and find the same idyllic setting. Nice!
A few miles away and there is that red and white again tucked neatly into the hills. I hope the red paint stays on sale. Don’t you?
The little tree takes advantage of the mirror that the sun creates, and bends over to look at itself. What do you think little tree? Are your leaves shiny enough?
This monarch doesn’t care all that much for greens. He enjoys the sweet yellow wildflowers. Go for it! You’ll need it once your start on your southern trip.
Not all school busses are yellow. It looks like this one is full. How do you like the air conditioning on this one?
It’s a brand new world for this fellow. Three years from now he’ll be as big as Mama. Looks like you have plenty of nutritious grass. Eat your fill. You need the vitamins.
How would you like to live in this hidden cove? No electric lines means no modern technology can creep into this place and ruin the whole culture. Peaceful isn’t it?
Sitting on the freshly turned over sod is a great way to view the world. There is something solid and back to earth about it.
Summer’s evening creeps down the lane ready to make itself at home.
The smell of new hay and the soft plod of horses finishes the day well.
The most precious gold lies not in the vault but in open fields of a summer evening.
A storm might be brewing on the horizon but from where I sit everything is tidy and in order.
You might have your computer games and other electronic gadgets but I bet you don’t have your very own pet clothes line!
You can have a good enough day, but if you don’t have a giddy up trip home you’re missing it.
Present Things From the Past
It is always sad when I see what lack of use and maintenance does to the past. It only takes a little bit of neglect to render the once useful, useless. Needs change over the years, and what was necessary becomes unnecessary. What was profitable becomes a liability. It is the way of life, and has been thus I suppose for as long as man has existed. Milk sours, honey thickens, and cheese becomes moldy. Iron rusts, wood decays, and cement cracks. Aging and decay is part of life. Look into the mirror and you will see that time moves on. Come with me and let’s see if we can find beauty in age.