December 2, 2012
We all sang it and jumped rope to it when we were kids. Well, sometimes I forget what generation I’m in. But, surely we’ve all HEARD the song.
“All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel,
the monkey stopped to pull up his sock.
Pop! goes the weasel.
A penny for a spool of thread,
a penny for a needle.
That’s the way the money goes.
Pop! goes the weasel.
I knew what a weasel was since we had chickens and weasels are as clever as foxes at breaking into the chicken coop. My dad would point out their tracks and curse them vehemently.
There are many verses sung in various parts of the world. The song actually originated in London in 1852. Most of the verses were sort of ribald tales of “where the money goes…as in carousing, gambling, drinking, and worse..”
As it turns out, the rollicking little song isn’t about a chicken eating weasel either. The usual chorus in London was,
Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes-
Pop! goes the weasel.
The Eagle was a well known London music hall where drinks were sold. The weasel was a tool used by hatters, often pawned on Saturday night. Pop was a slang term for hock.
Hmmm! Now I know Pop goes the weasel wasn’t an American jump rope song, nor a simple fun rhyme that was easy to make up verses to match it. It was an adult fun ditty. And, now you know too.
March 7, 2012
Western Arizona, like Texas, retains a bit of its wildness. The characters of the past, reveal true grit, and occasionally in some of those we meet along the way. Belle Starr has true grit. She has multiple sclerosis, and is confined to a wheel chair. Her Silverado Ranch is where we camped the last three nights while visiting Douglas, the Slaughter Ranch and Bizbee.
She has donkeys, horses, dogs, cats, a parrot, chickens and one helper. She takes in campers. Dry campers are free for the first seven days, after that she asks a $10 donation. For using hook-ups, she has two, she asks for $10 a night and a bit of help around the place.
I gave the animals some food, and tried to trim one little dog’s toenails. Jim did most of the helping by working three afternoons on her computer. Aaron, here helper knows nothing about computer. The truth is, we were mightily entertained for our efforts. The stories flowed. The one that sticks is her encounter with the Border Patrol.
Her ranch is near the Mexican border and the border patrol would routinely come in and search her little outbuildings, two of them “camping” cabins. One time they broke her gate, another time they practically dismantled one of the cabins and then wanted to “invade” her house. She drew a gun on them and told them No. Both agents drew guns on her and ordered her to put the gun down. She did. Two weeks later she got a visit from the CIA and the FBI. She told them, keep those “bas—–” off my place. They told her they would take care of it and she hasn’t been bothered since.
This is Belle at 52 with a $1700 fighting cock. Her third husband was a member of the mafia and she escaped him and changed her name from Bell Santos, to Belle Starr, legally. She is remotely related to the famous female bandit.
A fountain for the birds.
In this corral she has four horses. Another holds three. In another eight miniature donkeys and two full-sized donkeys in yet another. We counted six dogs and one cat.
This little dog, Margarita, was so loveable I wanted to take her home with me. I do miss my animals now that I travel half the year. I feel lucky to be able to enjoy other people’s pets as we go.
Jim, too! We are now at Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico hunkered in for a few days of cold windy weather. I’ll tell you all about an amazing historical event that happened in Bizbee, tomorrow.
January 4, 2012
A few years back I had my yard registered as Certified For Wildlife and it has been an interesting panorama of wildlife frequenting my small acreage. Mostly they come for the water. I have had deer, cougar, bobcat, fox, raccoon, squirrel, owl, bat and various cats and dogs stop in to have a drink. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen this chicken pecking about. She is bantam of a mixed breed. During my 40 year marriage, we had chickens in every yard we had until this particular spot. The hawks came by and gobbled up my last 17 chickens as we were moving here. I never replaced them. I never cooped them, either, they were always free range. And this little bitty seems to have survived the predators on her own. My kind of gal.
I know she must belong to somebody, but she seems to have adopted my place. She isn’t wildlife. I don’t feed her. One neighbor down the way may be her owner and I’ll check with him, but, chances are, she is going to stay. And, I hope she does. Karen’s cat took a swipe at her, but she just ignored him and Wiley just doesn’t know what to make of a bird that isn’t afraid of him.
November 9, 2011
Here’s a fun little piece about RVing…
In other news…
Yesterday was sunny and 56 degrees. More internal cleaning in the motorhome including the cooking stove and microwave. 19 days until my departure to the sunny and warm south land.
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
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August 5, 2011
Guys like my robot. Their mechanical curiosity immediately pops up at first site of it, and they check out his movable arms and legs, and head; his spark plug toes; radio tube eyes. They act like teenagers looking under the hood of their first car. (It helps to know he is made of car parts.) One piece comes from a 1947 Plymouth, the artist told me.
Rust has caught up with my robot and I tried to move him inside, out of the weather until I could attend to the problem. Unfortunately, the weld on his foot gave way and down he came, his head came undone and rolled to the side. Oh, no! Some rusty looking oil spilled out of his “crank case” and there he lay. Now, where is one of those handy car guys when you need him? No putting off the job. I got out the steel wool and sandpaper, bought some aluminum paint and went to work. Not a job I wanted to do just now, but the robot needs this fix.
Several hours yesterday morning, I managed to get two legs finished on one side only. Hmm! This is going to be a long process I can see. I’m enthused. He looks much better. Now, to find a handy welder kind of guy to put him back together before I leave.
I spent the afternoon with an old quilting buddy, Kendra North. We didn’t quilt, we talked about the quilts we haven’t finished yet, our high school reunion experiences and had lunch instead. I am so fortunate to have so many talented friends. Kendra, a cancer survivor, can saddle a horse, shoe a donkey, weed eat her acreage, stave off the coyotes with her rifle, tutor her grandchildren, build a chicken coop, make gorgeous quilts, and keep her ancient Volkswagen running. She doesn’t weld.
June 27, 2011
On June 23rd, leaving graduations and Las Vegas behind, I flew my youngest grandson to Sacramento with me. With a seven year old’s sense of adventure, through his eyes, I enjoyed the planes landing at the airport; the monitors, the hustle and bustle. I enjoyed him while he enjoyed the tube, the luggage loaders, the servers, then the fabulous terrain out the window from the air. Not an ounce of fear for his first flight in memory, just fascination with cars turned to toys, tiny buildings, etched roads and patchwork fields. Once the terrain out the window became repetitious, he tried for a nap.
We paused at my daughter’s house to check on the chickens, cats and garden, then immediately drove to Lake County, North of Willits, to join them at their cabin. Its located five miles off the highway in a breath-taking valley with a river running through it. It’s also a dead zone for phone and internet. Peaceful, quiet, solitude for we adults; fascinating exploration for kids. To introduce a new experience to a seven year old allows us to be kids again and share their sense of wonder.
I drove back to Murphys; home for a family reunion. These pages will be dead spots here and there for awhile as well as I get caught up.
May 10, 2010
Before leaving Greenville, we decided to go out for breakfast. It was Mother’s Day and I had been hankering for pecan waffles with pecan syrup, a fave years back when Shoneys Restaurants could be found on every highway throughout the South.
I’ve seen two Shoneys on the road. Since the Waffle House chain is dominant-my thought was it must have replaced the Shoneys.
A Shoneys it ain’t. Pecan waffles? Yes, but no pecan syrup, that wonderful warm concoction with real butter that sent your taste buds to heaven.
It was a cramped place, efficiently run. Jim noted he hadn’t been in a “holler” restaurant in years. Holler as in shouting the order in waitress lingo across the floor fifty feet away to the cook. Saves steps. You could see every bit of the operation from the coffee crew, egg man, the dish washing cycle, and carry outs. The plastic menu is limited. Their bragging coffee has a ground bean toughness to it, but the waffle wasn’t short on pecans. Its what you call a “cover the basics” kind of place. Get ‘em in and get ‘em out. What it lacked in atmosphere, we concluded, it made up in cut-to-the-bone economy. You don’t leave hungry or broke, but you can’t say you really enjoyed the experience.
From Greenville, we drove to Boone, N.C. Good historical records prove Daniel Boone actually hunted in this area named for him. Its a hilly town and it took us several try’s before we found a suitably level parking spot for the night. One of the “famous” Mast General Stores, made notable by Charles Kuralt in his Backroads television program, proclaimed a Mast Store to be a “destination.”
They specialize in folksy goods, along with the usual general store fare. The wide plank wooden floors are to envy. I could have taken every one of these chickens back home to replace those the hawk ate way back in 1989.
I couldn’t believe the old fashioned coke machine where you open up the lid and reach in for a bottle. The inside machinery that scooted the bottles along was missing, but it gave me a sweep of nostalgia. Don’t we all just love things that are quaint?
It had two floors with everything from toys to shoes but my favorite item, (oh that it could have fit in the motor home), was this comfortable, beautiful rocking chair.
Log cabins also fill me with nostalgia because I lived in one until I was nine years old. This is supposed to be a picture of my brother but the cabin shows pretty well in the background.
Boone Ridge had a slew of log cabins from different eras. All are authentic domiciles from the area moved to this one spot to be saved from the inevitable forces of nature.
I never had to chop wood, but I remember all too clearly the old outdoor toilets, my dad butchering chickens and pigs, hauling water from the well . My job was picking up chips around the chopping block to be used for kindling. Reliving the past is fun occasionally as long as I don’t ever have to actually live it.