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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:31 pm

There are computer games and then are computer games.  There are puzzles and there are puzzles. Though Phylo may appear to be just a game, it is actually a framework for harnessing the computing power of mankind to solve a common problem; Multiple Sequence Alignments.

Phylo is a game for geeks.  It’s the type of puzzle my granddaughter loves.  Phylo is a challenging flash game in which every puzzle completed contributes to mapping diseases within human DNA.

Phylo boasts nearly countless levels each with several solutions and user statistics!

All that is required is some spare time and Flash Player 10, so check out the fun HERE.

From Wired Science:
A new online game harnesses the computational power of idle brains to help decipher the origins of genetic diseases.

The game, called Phylo, stands on the shoulders of crowdsourced science giants like the protein-folding game Foldit and the celestial object identification powerhouse Galaxy Zoo. Each project takes advantage of humans’ prowess at pattern recognition, something computers are notoriously terrible at.

“There are some tasks that humans can do better than computers, like solving puzzles,” said bioinformatics expert Jerome Waldispuhl of McGill University, one of Phylo’s project leaders. The game was officially launched Nov. 29.

Phylo players move colored squares representing the four nucleotides of DNA to find the best alignment between snippets of DNA from two different species. These particular sections of DNA, called promoter regions, determine which parts of the genome end up as traits in the organism, whether it be blue eyes or heart disease.

Seeing where the genes line up across species can help biologists pinpoint the sources of genetic disorders.

“If some region is conserved across all species after alignment, it probably was conserved for some very specific reason,” Waldispuhl said. “We should be able to provide better understanding of the reason for which mutation potentially will create a disease, or why this disease appears.”

Unlike in Foldit or Galaxy Zoo, the science in Phylo is pretty well hidden. It feels like an abstract puzzle game, with colorful shapes and jazzy music. That was deliberate, Waldispuhl says.

“We don’t want to be restricted only to the people interested in science,” he said. Science geeks won’t need as much convincing to play a game that helps research move forward, he says. The Phylo developers want the game to appeal to people who would otherwise play Farmville.

“If it’s not fun, people won’t play it,” Waldispuhl said. “We wanted a good trade-off between what’s fun, and what’s the interesting information in science… so that when we provide the game on the web, people won’t think about the biological problem, but just have fun and be entertained.”

The team hopes to make versions of the game for smart phones and tablets, and eventually to incorporate it into social networking sites like Facebook. The game already has its own Facebook page, where you can leave feedback.

“The only way to make it better for the community is to release it to the community, and open it to comments from around the world,” Waldispuhl said.
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Location:  Montreal, QC


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:26 pm

The Ellsworth County Medical Center once again will provide their Annual Christmas Remembrance Trees. Anyone who would like to have the name of a family member or friend who is deceased included on the tree will need to contact Doug Stefek with the information:, or 785-472-5028 ext 307.  Include the name of your loved one and who it is from. There is no charge. If someone would like to make a donation to ECMC, it would be appreciated.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:52 pm

Generally speaking, I’m not very easy to scam.  There is that suspicious streak in me that says anything that looks too good to be true usually isn’t worth considering.  Or something like that.

Early this year I ordered a book from Amazon, I think, that a friend recommended.  I put in on a credit card.  I order books rather frequently so when an item for $9.95 showed up on the credit card bill, I figured it was some book I’d ordered.  It said BBVDiscountBookSales.  One would suppose it was a book.

Well, today as I was going over my credit card bill, it registered that something was amiss. It wasn’t a late billing for a book.  I chased it down and it turns out when I ordered that book early this year, it automatically signed me up for a $9.95 monthly membership subscription to buy cheap stuff from them.  I never received notice or confirmation of it by mail, or email or I would have known right away to inquire and cancel it. They have a scam going as far as I’m concerned as the website that appears on my bill is one I’ve never visited and is certainly not the one from which I ordered the book.  They are going to rebate three months of my “subscription”, but I’m out the rest.  I hate getting tripped up by things like this.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:45 am

By Becky Tanner

The Wichita Eagle

Here is a wonderful account of how residents keep small towns alive and vigorous.  Becky Tanner always writes great stories about rural Kansas and this is one you’ll want to read.  Cuba is a great little town and if you haven’t visited there, you might want to take a road trip to visit that part of Kansas.  The Cuba Cash Store has some wonderful treats to bring home…don’t miss their homemade bologna with jalapenos.

Click here for the story.



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 11:05 am

There are five cemetery lots at the Ellsworth Memorial Cemetery we would like to sell. This is the new cemetery by Highway 156.  They are lots 14 through 18 in Block 82, in the south west part of the cemetery.  The lots currently sell for $100 each, the same as those purchased from the city.  The city won’t buy them back, but will refer those interested to these lots.  Give me a call if you are interested.  785.472.3844.


Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 10:49 am

The Smoky Hills Pickers will meet on Sunday, December 5th, at 6 p.m. at the Ellsworth Area Art Council, 223 N. Douglas.  The public is welcome to come listen to the music.

The last day to view the beautiful exhibits at the EAAC for painter Rebecca Drach and potter Carol Long, both of the St. John/ Hudson area, will be Thursday, Dec. 2nd.  The Art Gallery is open M-F 12:30 to 4:30.

The Ellsworth High School art class will assemble their art display on Friday, December 3rd, and have an open House on Saturday, December 4th, from 1 to 6 p.m.   Their display will run through December.   Please come in and visit with the students and have a cup of coffee.

The silent auction for the Christmas wreaths will end on December 4th.  The wreaths can be seen at the Art Gallery until Friday at 4:30 p.m.  On Saturday, the wreaths may be seen at the VFW Hall where people can still put a final bid on the wreaths.

Support the activities of the arts council and various organizations that help make Ellsworth a better place to live.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:00 am

Six years ago today our son Dane had his first stroke.  There is much to learn about strokes if you haven’t had need to learn before now.  Once you’ve had one stroke, there will be another.  It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.  Quick response and time are very important so damage can be reversed.

Take some time to read the following.  It could be a lifesaver for you or your loved one.

Act F.A.S.T. Learn what this means.  And remember the signs:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg — especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 6:48 pm


Ally decided to bake today…French bread this time. Yummy.


High ladder artist, electrician Greg Nece, ponders the fan in my bedroom.  He said it was very dirty and needed cleaning.  I can’t imagine that.  It was built in 1927 and I’m sure hasn’t been cleaned since.  For many years it hung in the doctor’s office that was located on the second floor of the CSB and T.  He removed the motor and cleaned it in his shop. In this picture, he’s in the process of hanging it and reattaching the blades.  He said fans should be cleaned on a yearly basis.  He has three more to go.


There is still time to stop by the Art Gallery in downtown Ellsworth to see the wonderful display of art and Christmas wreaths that are for sale by silent auction.  Proceeds go to supply the local food bank.


Todd and I are thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.


Grandson missed Thanksgiving as he was working.  He’s the one in the middle.


This grandson spent Thanksgiving Day on the slopes at Vail.  This isn’t Vail, but it’s the grandson with his board enjoying the powder.  He had to work Friday so couldn’t manage the drive home for only one day.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 11:33 am


The first step to get the Thanksgiving Day dinner on the table came with setting the table.  Ally did it the way she wanted.  It was nice.


The fresh turkey swam in brine all night then Ally buttered and seasoned it and popped it in the turkey roaster.   It barely fit.  We put a big Turkish towel over the roaster to keep the steam swirling around the turkey.


After 8 hours on the road, Granddaughter Mackenzie arrived from Richardson TX.  What a joy it was to have her here.


Long-time family friends, Bev and Rih Connally, stopped by to visit.  We should have insisted that they stay for dinner.  Chef Ally took a break for the picture.


Two chefs in the kitchen:  Ally and Ryon Carey.  They moved fast and worked well together.


Karen fills the glasses.


Candied sweet potatoes glazing away…


Mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, gravy, wild rice and mushroom, baby peas, dressing…etc.


Back:  Karen’s Chocolate cream and pecan pies.  Front:  Ryon’s Homemade mincemeat pie and Karen’s pumpkin pie.


After dinner music with Laura Lee and son, Elliott.


Todd helping out…


Laura Lee, Karen and Ryon help with the clean up…

Whew!  Quite a day.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:28 am


Rules for Thanksgiving from my friend, Margaret Philpot…

Dear Family,

In a year when we almost lost your Grandpa Harold, I would expect each and every one of you to make the effort to be here this year.  If only for a few minutes.  I’ll make an exception for anyone who lives more than three hours away.  Now that is what I expect, but clearly not what I will get.  So be warned.  At Christmas time what you expect to find under the tree is clearly not what you will get.  I love you.  Really I do.  I don’t expect you to visit often, but I do expect the holidays.  And I don’t think that is too much to expect.

For those of you who are coming – from this point forward known as my favorite family members – here are the house rules.  Your following them will make for an unforgettable meal filled with laughter and bacon.

1. If it jiggles, slap a girdle on it or leave it at home.  I am not kidding Cloe.  One step inside my door with anything made from Jello and it will be your last step.  I have about 50 pounds on you so don’t test me.

2. Rhonda.  My house.  Your pets.  Never the twain shall meet.

3. Mary.  My sofa.  Your kid’s feet.  Never the twain shall meet.

4. I have banned cans of soda.  Two liter bottles of soda only.  I am tired of throwing away half full cans of soda.  If you are two young to lift a 2 liter bottle of soda to fill a glass, you are too young to be drinking soda un-supervised.

5. At age 84 and 11 months, I have had my picture taken more than enough times to fill any memory photo album.  The digital era has made it too easy to take way too many useless pictures.  Point one camera in my direction this year and I can promise you that your camera will be used to stuff something other than the turkey.  When I am gone, feel free to remember me with pictures from my best year – 1962.

6.  Texting and driving is just plain stupid.  Texting and eating Thanksgiving dinner, however, is a crime punishable by no dessert.

7. Vegetarians really should consider Thanksgiving as a holiday from vegetarianism.

8. Any grandchild showing up dressed like a Palin girl, will leave the house dressed like a Philpot girl.  I don’t need to see all that and neither does the rest of the family.

9. The Longhorns are having a difficult year.  Your grandfather is aware of that.  No need to remind him.  Trust me on this one.

10. My Democrats are having a difficult year.  I am aware of that.  Feel free to remind me and I will, in turn, remind you of what I think of the current Republican Party.  Trust me on this one.

11. Sarah Palin having a new book is proof positive that there is something wrong with the world.  I can’t fix that, but I promise that my stuffing made with bacon will make you not give a damn.  So if any of you get the urge to talk about that woman, stuff your mouth full of food until the urge passes.

This year, I am thankful for my family and for borrowed time.   Make the most of what life gives you.  I mean it.  Really.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 9:58 am

Last night Ally, Todd, Karen and I made one of our rare trips to Salina to have dinner.  It would have been Brit’s birthday so it  was a special occasion for enjoying each other and having a nice meal as we always do for one another at birthday time.

It was one of the best dinners we’ve had in a long, long time. I should add…”away from home”.  For the most part, we’d rather eat what we prepare at home as it’s always better than “going out”.  However, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else do the work of preparing a meal.  Last night we had a fine dinner, good food and excellent service (ask for Adrienne).

Their salads are very good.  I had the ice berg lettuce wedge slathered with bacon, chopped tomatoes, onions, bleu cheese and a bleu cheese buttermilk dressing.  Their Caesar’s salad and the house salad are also very good.  Todd had a rare rib eye covered with a topping of sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic, etc.  He said it was the best steak he’s had in ages.  Well, one that wasn’t prepared at home.

The rest of us had the barbecue combo of baby back ribs, pulled pork and thinly sliced brisket which was also very good. Previously, I’ve had their prime rib that is lean and well-prepared. It’s my favorite  I also highly recommend their French onion soup.  There were enough leftovers for our meals today.

We shared a dessert made from a warm chocolate brownie, topped with Heath bar crunch, coffee ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. One serving was more than enough for all of us.

They have specials on alcoholic drinks that change daily so inquire about them.  The margaritas that Todd enjoyed were large, icy, pretty and very good.  Prices are very reasonable.

So…if you want to have a nice evening out, I’d suggest the Timberline Steakhouse in Salina.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 9:03 am

If he were alive, someone very near and dear to me would be celebrating his 85th birthday today.  As long as someone remembers, our memory of him is still alive and a large part of our lives.   With any generation, it doesn’t go much beyond the grandchildren who remember their elder relatives.  Our children were fortunate to have known their grandparents, but my grandchildren were born too late to have ever been a part of their great-grandparents lives. One is forgotten rather quickly in about three generations.

A really big plastic bucket with 2 gallons of water, 2 cups of kosher salt and 1 cup of sugar is outside getting icy cold. The fresh turkey will take a plunge in it tomorrow night and swim all night until it gets a pat down, ladened with seasonings and stuffed with veggies then placed in a hot oven Thursday morning.

We’re now very short of ovens for preparing a meal on Thursday.  Ally has a large gas oven but no gas.  Todd and Karen moved and the oven they inherited wasn’t fit for baking as the door was sprung.  And they are still trying to get settled.  I have a very small oven.  We may cook over an open campfire with the turkey on a spit.   We can make it work.

I came close to being “daughterless” yesterday…or the day before…or the day before.  When Ally got home last night the Black Hills Energy man from Wichita was sitting in his car by the driveway waiting for her.  He’d been there for three hours standing guard over her house.  He wasn’t going to let her or anyone go near her house.  He was there to do his yearly check on gas lines and found something seriously wrong. He’d never seen a gas seepage level that high around a house where the house was still standing. He said by the time they usually find a leak that size, the house has already exploded. She was very, very lucky.  She’d been complaining about the smell….and it was brushed off by those who should have known to check it.  It makes me weak just thinking about it.

There is good news for Lupus sufferers.  Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body cannot tell the difference between good cells and bad. The potentially fatal illness has a vast range of symptoms, including joint pain, extreme fatigue, tissue inflammation, skin rashes and organ failure.  With me, it settled in my lungs.  I also have joint pain and  extreme fatigue at times.  I feel much better than I once did at the onset of the disease.

Lupus is painful, it’s annoying, and you never know when a flare up is going to come up.  So far I’ve avoided serious flare ups.

Help may be on the way. Earlier this week an FDA advisory panel endorsed the drug Benlysta. Benlysta is the first drug developed specifically for Lupus in 50 years. Currently Lupus patients, including me,  take a cocktail of drugs to treat the symptoms but not the lupus itself.  I take one med that is used to treat malaria and the other used during kidney transplants.  Fortunately for me, I have neither problem and I tolerate the meds relatively well.

Benlysta is a once a month infusion that helps inhibit the antibodies that cause disease activity. Benlysta was deemed successful in decreasing symptoms in two clinical studies with little to no side effects.  It won’t be available until next spring.  I’ll tread lightly before I change what works.

Do you remember when the administration decided to give $250 back to medicare patients who fell in the donut hole on drug purchases?  I figured I’d never see that check, but Lo and Behold! it arrived yesterday.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 6:43 pm


Todd assembled our artificial tree and decorated it today.  It’s a tree only our family could love.

For many years we loaded the kids in the car and headed to the nearest tree farm to find our very special tree.  Even after they left home, we cut our own tree.  Increasingly, it became more of a problem and, finally, we joined the ranks of others and bought an artificial tree.  We didn’t like it, but it was more gentle on our marriage.

Throughout all the 57 years we managed Christmas, the “theme” of the tree never changed.  It continues to be covered with decorations I made in the 50s along with other handmade ornament created by friends and our friends’ children. Cherished also are those made by our children and grandchildren.  We have an abundance of clothes pin art.  There are ornaments given to us by friends and family.  And, this year they are all on the tree.  Every one.

For the most part, the decorations are those that Brit and I picked up for mementos of our various trips, of which there were many from all parts of the globe.  Each decoration carries a special memory.

The strange looking thing on the top of the tree is really a quite handsome St. Nick with a fine robe and beard.


Brit is the one who really enjoyed our Christmas tree.  He died Nov. 30th just before Christmas in 2008.  Todd and Ally put the tree up before his birthday, which was Nov.23rd,  so he could enjoy it during his remaining days.  Last year,  I didn’t want to put the tree up, so we didn’t.

The oldest decoration we have is one I had on my family tree when I was a child.  It came from my Grandmother Lottie Jury Baker who lived here in Ellsworth who died in 1938.  I’m guessing that last remaining ornament from her family is well over 100 years old.  It’s the light pink glass ornament next to the bright blue one.  We always put it at the top of the tree in hopes it doesn’t meet the same demise as the two others we inherited.


There are ornaments given to us by friends who are no longer alive. There are some from friends I can picture in my mind but can no longer remember their names.  And, if all the ornaments had names on them  like Budapest, Praha, Hawaii, San Blas, Thailand etc. I could better remember where we bought them.  Brit always had a better memory for things like that than I.  I miss him enormously, for the memories we shared.

Our tree is more like a big kettle of veggie soup that derives its uniqueness from dozens of  mementos from all over the world that go together to make this tree one with everlasting memories.   It’s not a beautiful tree and was never intended to be. It’s the melange of individual artistry and memories that matter most and make our tree very special to our family.  I guess that’s the point of a Christmas tree.


Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 2:13 pm


Betty Gwinner looks at a partial display of wreaths in the lobby area of the Ellsworth Art Gallery.  The wreaths were donated to the gallery by the various businesses in town as a fund-raising event for the gallery.  Ceramics created by Carol Long are displayed below the wreaths.


A silent auction on the wreaths is being held until Dec. 4th.  Stop by the gallery and enter your bid on the sign-up sheets associated with each wreath.   There are 37 wreaths on display from which to chose a special one for your house or business.


The paintings by Rebecca Drach are featured behind this wreath.


Paintings by Rebecca Drach, left, and ceramics by Carol Long are on display at the gallery.  These two very talented women have brought a display of their art to Ellsworth in a very remarkable display.  Please stop by and enjoy their works of art.

Thank you for supporting the arts and the volunteers who bring these outstanding exhibits to Ellsworth for your enjoyment.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:03 pm

You’ll love this.  It’s all vocal music…no instruments were used.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:58 am

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas Thursday morning announced charges against five former Kansas Athletics officials accused of stealing tickets from KU.

Tom Blubaugh, 46, and Charlette Blubaugh, 43, both of Medford, Okla., Ben Kirtland, 54, Lenexa, and Rodney Jones, 42, and Kassie Liebsh, 28, both of Lawrence, are accused of stealing tickets worth $3 million to $5 million. Brandon Simmons and Jason Jeffries are also accused of taking part in the scheme, but have pleaded guilty to related offenses and are not named in the current indictment.

For the rest of the story….


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 9:01 am


Willow Palin, the 16-year-old daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, wrote multiple Facebook posts containing homophobic slurs such as “faggot” on Sunday night, according to TMZ.

The web site reports that Palin’s teenage daughter wrote the comments on Sunday night, when her mother’s television show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” premiered on TLC. According to TMZ, a classmate of one of Palin’s children published a Facebook update claiming that the show “is failing so hard right now.”

Willow Palin reportedly unloaded on the student, calling him “so gay” and “such a faggot.” She later demanded that the student “quit talkin shit about my family.” According to screenshots obtained by TMZ, the 16-year-old called another commenter on the Facebook thread a “low life loser” and lashed out at multiple others, writing, “Sorry that all you guys are jealous of my families success and you guys aren’t goin to go anywhere with your lives.”

For the rest of the story and a grammar lesson…

I get tired of stupid.



Filed under: prairie musings, recipes — Peg Britton @ 8:25 am

Ryon Carey got this recipe from his friend Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse.   Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant known as the birthplace of California cuisine, a style credited to its co-founder, Alice Waters.

The restaurant is located in the north Berkeley neighborhood known locally as the “Gourmet ghetto”. Chez Panisse has been listed by Restaurant magazine from 2006 to 2008 as one of the top fifty restaurants in the world.  In 2006 and 2007, Michelin awarded the restaurant a one-star rating in its guide to San Francisco Bay Area dining.

The best turkeys I’ve ever eaten were ones that I’ve soaked in brine as they are exceptionally moist and juicy.  My recipe is much simpler than this and even though it produces a similar product, it lacks the full flavor of this recipe.  If you’ve never brined a turkey before baking it, you might want to give it a try.  You need to keep it cold while it is in the brine.

For brining, start with a fresh turkey or a completely thawed turkey that is not basted or self-basted.

Turkey Brine from Chez Panisse

2 1/2 gal. water
2 cups Kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 whole head of garlic, separated and peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, smashed
1 bunch fresh sage
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch parsley
10 peppercorns
8 shallots, peeled

Place water in non-reactive container, add all ingredients and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Put turkey in brine for 24 hours, completely submerged.  Remove bird, rinse well and drain.  Pat dry.  Roast bird for 20 minutes per lb. or until juices run clear and turkey is tender.

You can place a frozen turkey in the cold brine and let it thaw.  Don’t brine the giblets.  A fresh turkey will keep for 28 days in a refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower (which is much colder than most household refrigerators).  The trick is to find out how many days it was refrigerated before you bought it. Remove the packaging from a fresh turkey,  remove giblets, then rewrap and freeze the turkey. Place turkey in brine to thaw  for 24 hours before the big day.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:03 pm


The holidays are fast approaching.  An alternative to cooking is to have your family celebration at The Abilene Bed and Breakfast Inn.  Treat your loved ones to an overnight stay in the historic C.L. Brown mansion with a fantastic holiday meal  prepared for you and you’ll create warm memories to cherish a lifetime.

Or, if you prefer to prepare your own dinner with all your own favorite dishes, you can stay at the Inn and have access to the gourmet kitchen.

This home-away-from-home is located in the boyhood town of former  President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The newly-renovated home of C.L. Brown features modern amenities, countless historical artifacts, and a welcoming atmosphere. Whether you are interested in extended stay, a wedding venue, a holiday retreat, a romantic weekend, or just need a room for the night, Marcia will provide accommodations according to your needs.

The ABBI offers space to sleep 15 with comfortable surroundings reminiscent of home.   Everyone is welcome.  Call for reservations and prices.

Contact Marcia Cox, Owner/Innkeeper at the Abilene Bed & Breakfast Inn
(785)263-4900 or toll free 877-220-0717

Click here for further information.



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Tyler Britton USAF, Artists, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 1:10 pm

Please stop by the Ellsworth Art Gallery on Wednesday to see the Christmas wreaths that will be on display.  There will be a silent auction on the 37 wreaths donated by area businesses. In addition, the volunteers at the gallery have provided the public with a wonderful display of paintings and ceramics created by two area artists.  You won’t want to miss it.  And, it’s free.  You should really take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

I must have oversold the pomegranates.  Gene’s is out until tomorrow, according to manager Jeff.

Ally baited our large trap with some succulent morsels and we finally landed the big boy raccoon that has been land lord of our decks and roof for some weeks now.  I think he is the last of the brood of trouble makers to be relocated and the one who broke our chimenea and inflicted all the damage to the bird feeders.  Rich’s Raccoon Removal and Relocation Service, a companion to the Crystal Queen’s Crystal Cleaning Service  came this morning and took care of the problem for me.  Yes, they are cute, but they are very strong, smart and destructive as well.  Rich said they’ll go into semi-hibernation soon and maybe they won’t return.

There is a big treat coming my way on Wednesday as well.  Harvey and Joan Ludwick are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary by traveling all over Kansas to visit friends whom they feel were instrumental in shaping their lives.  I guess Brit and I fall into that category.  Certainly the Ludwicks  and their three sons were important in our lives.   Harvey was superintendent of schools here for many years at the time I was on the school board.  It will be good to visit with them again.

Our soldiers who are still fighting in Afghanistan are going almost forgotten.  Here is a video that you can see which  shows the extent of care given to soldiers and civilians who are wounded.   It was sent to me by my grandson who wanted me to see the level of care he was involved in while serving there and why he wants to return.  He’d like to go back and work in the Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram Afghanistan.  It shows the advanced capability of the hospital staff.  After having once worked amid the surroundings of one of the busiest trauma hospitals in the world  among the best trained medical staff in the world, one can understand his desire to return and help in the ways he is trained to do. He considers it a privilege to work there.

It’s pretty clear that I’ve turned into a hot, brewed tea aficionado.  I not only have a cup of hot tea close at hand most of the day, but now I find documentaries on tea fascinating.  All in This Tea is an intriguing documentary that follows renowned tea importer David Lee Hoffman as he scours the far-flung corners of China to find the richest teas on earth. Tea making is an art and tradition that goes back generations in the East, and Hoffman makes it his goal to bring to the rest of the world the exquisite teas produced by struggling small farmers.  He formed the Silk Road Tea Company.

I have a pantry full of several kinds of tea that I bought in England…Assam, Darjeeling, English breakfast as well as a good supply of Japanese green tea sent to me by a good friend who knows her Japanese teas.  I want to try many others.  This is the site where I enjoy browsing through various varieties of organic tea. Organic Wild Tree Pu-Erh Mini Tuo-Cha is one I want to try.

It’s a beautiful fall day and too nice to be inside.  Ringo and I are going to take another peek around town to see what is going on.  Maybe we’ll have something further to report later on.

Thanks for tuning in…

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