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 Thirteen years of dedicated service................... Dutch called Cliff about 5 o'clock last evening and told him his Kia battery went dead again and he needed his help.  Cliff and Dutch are "brothers."  Cliff got up off the couch, put his sneakers on, and asked me to go with him.  The past couple of days all he has done is sleep, barely eat anything, and I've had to make him drink fluids.   When we arrived Dutch told him he lied. The batter wasn't dead and he needed to go into the community center.  Cliff still was in a fog.  When he figured out his friends were there for him he became overwhelmed and filled with emotion.  I was holding back my tears. Freddie, his Chief,is to the far right.  Our neighbor, Bill, is second body on the left and Jamie in the blue shirt.  Jamie loves Cliff and is the one who organized this celebration.   Meatloaf, chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, Cliff's favorite mac 'n cheese, coleslaw. But nothing appealed
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 Yesterday I was hoping to arrive in town before the Capitol Tree did so I could watch the huge truck maneuver  into place but it arrived early and the crowd was already in motion. It was warm and muggy.  Clouds looked like the would rain any minute but never did.  On the right is the truck carrying Ruby the Spruce tree.  The red section with six windows is the top of the tree decorated with colorful cardboard faux decorations.   Cardboard figures of the U.S. Forest Service personnel on this tour.  Three of them were from Murphy and happy to be there talking to people.   Under this tent was the story of Ruby . From these pine cones.......... come these seeds. These baby spruce are 6-8 months old. This is a piece of Ruby showing how old she was when harvested. Each ring was labeled in the year of growth.  1950 was the first label.   Guests were invited to sign the plastic covering the tree.  I wish I had taken a picture of my signing so Cliff could see it. Even the Grinch was there.....
 The Almanac says we're in for a cold, wet, slushy winter. Judging by the number of acorns dropped on the porch and in the driveway, I can believe it's going to be a challenging winter.  The deer have eaten everything in sight.  Many a morning their movements trigger the front porch flood light so I can watch the four-point buck, the doe and their two fawns slowly wandering from parsley to lettuce, still blooming flowers nibbling plants down the soil.  They even eat plants that they don't like.  So far the sage, lemon balm,and rosemary still exists.  I placed a wire cage over the lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale.  This is the first year I didn't plant garlic in October.  I really have been giving up some of the adventures I get myself into so I have more time to do what's necessary here.  Once the consistently freezing nights arrive, anything that can't survive the winter will die and no covering with plastic for protection.  More letting go.  Last week I received
Oncologist visit this morning went well.  The doctor's overall assessment of Cliff was still positive.  He spent time discussing that nobody knows how long their life is.  Cliff is a detailed person who depends on numbers and statistics.  Not only is he tired due to cancer but he's also tired due to aging. We'll get the newest cancer marker in about a week.  Dr also explained that patients respond differently to their  cancer progress. Life is a journey.  Enjoy the ride!
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 After waking to a chilly 38 degrees this morning, we enjoyed the slow warming to 73 right now at 3:30.  It felt to comfortable and pleasant to stay in so we puttered around outside in the sunshine.  Cliff did some leaf blowing which was good for him.  It's what he used to do and tackling these chores for short periods works for him.  About 3 o'clock I grabbed a cup of tea, my book and headed for the front porch to stay outside as long as I could before temperature began dropping.    Right now I'm reading High Plains Tango by Robert James Waller author of Bridges of Madison County   I barely made it through three pages without being painfully pelted by corns from the oak's branches that canopy the open front porch. Cliff's hard hat is locked in the shed so I put on my gardening straw hat. Feeling safer and able to read.................. Yesterday Cliff had laser eye surgery. His lenses from the cataract surgery 3-4 years ago began to opacify blocking light from ent
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 Not much left of the garden, just a few butterfly bushes and the red salvia.  Pineapple sage is ready to burst open just in time for the hummingbirds to migrate south.   butterfly bush was full all summer. With less daylight we not seeing as many blooms. kitchen garden full of sage, mints, and basil   Sunday I cut lots of basil stalk, made a water slush in the mini food processor, and froze them. bagged and labeled them and stored them in freezer bags. Collards will grow through the winter and the snow.                                                          Moon flowers Our neighbor's chickens.  We take care of them when they are away for a couple of days.  Cliff changes the water while I fill the feed and collect eggs.  Sometimes I chop kale and cabbage with some parsley and basil and kitchen compost scraps for their treat. Cliff has an appointment next Tuesday for laser surgery on his cataracts.  He's not able to read close up and our eye optometrist diagnosed reforming ca
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 I had two good nights sleep in a row.  How wonderful!! It's amazing how a full sleep allows me to cope with life as it is now, to cope with Cliff's ups and downs.   Cliff met with his friend, Dutch, for lunch at Chick-Fil-A and I headed to the park for my walk.  Many mornings I see the same walkers.   One elder couple walk their rescue greyhounds, number six and seven.  With her walker and a smile she guides one on the leash and her husband walks the other.  I speak with them often.  Then there is the couple who hits me in the heart every time I see them......husband strolling-hand-in-hand with his wife.  When my mother spent winters in Florida with us, she and I attended a small quaint church in Lake Helen where she used to make up stories about people in the pews.  Not knowing the reality of the elderly hand-in-hand couple at the park, I find myself imaging their aging life.  She seems to be dependent on his hand holding as they slowly stroll the park.  Was it a stroke or de