Meeting Interesting People

Dare to Encounter

By Annette Rey

We meet people everyday and usually take little notice, and we certainly don’t engage in extended conversation with strangers. That’s too bad because we miss good opportunities to study the differences between people, and to discover things about them we can’t read from the surface.

Because I stepped over into another person’s world, today a stranger broadened my life experience.

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Seeing Really is Believing

Escapades with Your Camera

By Annette Rey

Would you like to own a picture collection of doorknobs, doorknockers, benches, signs, museum articles, plastic toys, display-case jewelry, natural outdoor scenes, animals, twisted tree trunks? What turns you on? The world is alive around you, and you really are too busy to notice the individual beauty of everyday things as you rush to here and go to there. You don’t stop and just look.

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Winter Flower Greetings

 

Flowers Without the Fragrance 

By Annette Rey

Winter is cold in Midwest America, and February is the month noted for hothouse flower deliveries, tokens of love for a favorite valentine.

In honor of my readers, I would like to send virtual flower greetings. So calm your spirit, and hope you enjoy the photos.

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A Trip to the Telephone Museum

 

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A Fun Time Looking Backward

By Annette Rey

Can you imagine this little side trip to be interesting to anyone, adult or child? Yet, it was just that. And more. The Telephone Museum is the type of place that appeals to many types of minds; those who are mechanically inclined, history buffs, the technologically curious, the aged for a reminiscent look back, the uninformed child, the writer (see my other site, https://writersblocknomore.com/2017/01/29/writers-seek/).

One of the first telephones that amazed me was an 1876 unit (on right in photo). It held a container of acid in its casing. The chemical 100_7549reaction in the container generated electricity that enabled voice to travel over wires. As the chemical reaction weakened, the voices faded out. I can’t invent a better hairpin, so I am in awe of even this dated technology.

A later model used batteries instead of an acid container (on left in photo). Notice the three large batteries wired to the cabinet below the mouthpiece.

As early as 1878, pay telephone stations were available at places like hotels. I found it humorous that the attendant locked the caller in a booth until he received payment for the call. All the bulging eyes and foot-kicking from the inside of the booth did not deter the attendant. It was a no tolerance policy and, with such a new technology, people had to be made to understand they were buying a service and payment was due.

Service in rural areas was non-existent unless an 100_7530entrepreneurial spirit took the reins. Generally, a farmer connected his house with his nearby family. A whole two houses would be on that circuit. Another farmer made a side-business out of the new technology. He bought three switchboard units and installed them in each of his daughters’ bedrooms. Twenty-five households were on that rural circuit. One of the units is pictured here.

At first glance, the museum is just a place of glass cases full of pieces of equipment staring blankly back into the room. But the guided tour makes the displays come to life. That’s interesting in itself, isn’t it? Inanimate objects can be given life by language. In addition to years, words make them antiques, pieces of history. As if by osmosis, in the presence of an object that came from another period, I feel a connection to that eventful time and place. I am transported, and my imagination pictures the scene; the lonely country road with the first telephone poles, the farmhouse wall holding the new crank unit, the candlestick model on the harried newsman’s desk. How many fancy flappers, G-men and gangsters, doctors and dockworkers, came to depend on this miracle invention?

100_7528I saw the large switchboard that was wheeled out of storage for each of four presidential visits to my city, from Johnson to Carter (pictured at the left).

A U.S. Army, olive-drab, World War II, field telephone sits behind the glass and I wonder, what soil did it lay in? Normandy? The Battle of the Bulge? What young soldier depended on it, turned its trusty crank, and urgently called for heavy artillery support?

As time marched on, telephones became lighter in 100_7514weight, and changed in color, shape, and size. In the 1960s the car phone hit the scene, but was not commonly used by the everyday telephone customer. They depended on home, business, and pay phones in telephone booths.

The 1990s saw novelty telephones on the market, but again, these did not replace the preferred home and business models.

Today a telephone is loosely referred to as a cell. It can be flat, just a few square inches in size, and weigh only ounces. Verbal communication reaches from the earth to space stations and back. The people of the eras behind us could not imagine such things, and millions of people who live today cannot imagine what life was like for people who had to travel hours and miles just to see a heavy, new-fangled, communication gadget adhered to a wall.

A look at history is intriguing and fun. Education is not boring. Take your kids to these out-of-the-way places and show them another way to look at commonplace items that are in their lives today.

Perspective is everything.

 

 

 

Your Local Public Library

By Annette Rey

Did You Know…?

Your public library is a great information resource.

The library is not just about books anymore.

Your library is equipped with a check-out system you can access from your home computer. Isn’t that great when you are snowed in? That feature is a real plus for parents and students who don’t want to leave their lair. And what about the money you save when you don’t have to purchase a necessary product?

Let’s crack the surface and see all the things your library has to offer.

For some years now, the library has been the portal to the internet for many people who don’t yet own a computer. Several rows of computer keyboards and screens sit on long tables and are available for visitors’ use. The staff is trained to assist the uninformed, so don’t be shy. No question is too simple to ask.

Many of you know you can walk in and check out audio books, most of which are on CD. DVDs are available in kids’ movies and in adult movies rated PG13 to R. The clarification I received is these are not pornographic movies, those are rated M for mature. The library does not carry them. For the more serious viewer, adult non-fiction DVDs can be found among books of similar title and/or subject.

There is so much to tell you about public libraries that I must resort to a numbered list to give a brief overview of their offerings. It is up to you to get the details by visiting your 100_7347library. You need a library card to check out any item, physical or virtual.

1) Download an app titled Overdrive (no cost) to transfer eAudiobooks to your device.

2) Download Adobe Digital Editions software (no cost) to use eBooks you want to read.

3) To borrow Kindle books you need an Amazon account.

4) Besides an entire section of magazines in the library, you can view magazines from your home.

The library provides detailed pamphlets with straight-forward, step-by-step instructions for the all of above. The staff is well-versed to help you with each step if you need assistance.

All virtual items borrowed have a usual return date. The system de-activates the item by that date, but there is a procedure you can follow to return it earlier if you have finished using it.

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The library supplies pamphlets of staggering variety to expand your resources. I have one titled: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Inside is a list of specialized books I would not have known exist. Following are a few of the entries (don’t miss the whole list under the category Books on WritersBlockNoMore.com):

FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics

Forensic Science (3 volume reference set)

The CSI Effect by Katherine Ramsland

The Real World of a Forensic Scientist by Henry Lee

The pamphlet also includes a list of forensic books for kids!

Another pamphlet is titled: Local True Crime Titles.

Yet another pamphlet is titled: Sources to Obtain a Death Certificate or Death Date. Inside are impressive listings. A few examples are:

International Vital Records Handbook by Thomas J. Kemp

Vital Records information on the internet, www.vitalrec.com

Social Security Death Index, www.familysearch.org

Online searchable death indexes for the USA, www.deathindexes.com

There are more searchable entries for death records listed by state. Also listed in the pamphlet are websites for obituaries, a newspaper index, and early birth and death records (pre-1910).

The library also provides information on finding grants and general assistance funds.

Libraries also offer adult yoga classes, Facebook training, introduction to Word, and adult coloring – all for free. Not to mention all the children’s offerings: storybook time, poetry contests, movie events, even Lego playtime. These activities give you and your kids a place to go and have fun at no cost. 

So, you thought your library is a boring place. Everything you want is on the internet, right? Well, think again. Your public library is an adjunct to any family.

A wealth of information is available to you.

Go check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Me Back!

By Annette Rey

Just a short note by way of update – I will be adding entries to this site once again. My goal is to supply uplifting and informative posts for my readers.

Please visit my other site WritersBlockNoMore.com for all things writing. It is a website designed with creative views and versatile articles for writers who want to improve their writing skills.

Let’s add some fun and get reading!

PLEASE GO TO NEW SITE ADDRESS

 

PLEASE START USING NEW SITE ADDRESS:     http://www.AnnetteRey.com

Fall Pics

Life Nuggets is all about stimulating interest in the common and curious, ordinary and singular  people, places and events in rural Missouri. Today I planned to inform you of a unique and interesting professional woman in our midst, Jo Schaper. Circumstances have intervened and I must postpone regaling you with her story until Monday.

Short on time, I will provide a feast for your eyes, instead.

Have a Blessed Fall Weekend.

Enjoy the scenery!

 

Feast For The Eyes!

 

Monarch Butterfly

 

 

Always Look Up!

 

Summer Moon

 

 

Golden Goldenrod

   

Impressive Contrast

Stuckmeyer’s Farm Market

Jefferson County, Fenton, Missouri

Stuckmeyer Farm and Market lies in Jefferson County in a picturesque valley southwest of Highways 141 and 21 in Fenton, Missouri. The land is rich and fertile because it has been untouched by bulldozers and wanton “development”.

Stuckmeyer Valley

Fourth generation Stuckmeyer family members work hard in the pursuit of their ancestors:  tilling the soil, planting prime seed, and growing and tending plants. All summer the market shelves are full of lovely fresh foods, jars of jellies and other edibles. Farm fresh eggs are here and have a flavor unlike eggs that have been transported to grocery stores. Besides a variety of edible, superb vegetables, colorful annual and perennial flowers and herbs fill multiple greenhouses.

A Sea of Color

Shopping at the farm is a fun experience. Children can see chickens, ducks, a turkey, and a goat and sometimes a few rabbits. Whimsical yard ornaments decorate the shelves. And the display of gigantic mums in the fall is spectacular.

Delicious Foods

The entire month of October is a time of festivities; celebrating the time the growing season of the earth goes to sleep to reawaken when warmth returns to nurture the soil. Halloween is the last day of the year Stuckmeyer’s is open to the public. Every October weekend from 9am to 5pm these are some of the items to enjoy:

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins – Hayrides – Pony Rides – Corn Stalks – Kids’ Barrel Ride – Mini-Pumpkins – Inflatable Slide – Inflatable Farm Train – Gourds – Live Music – Indian Corn – Straw – Fort Spooky – Corn Maze – Caramel Apples – Johnathan, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious Apples – Hot Dogs – Kettle Corn – and the fruit and vegetable market is still open.

October Mums

I’m a bit saddened when the farm closes and fall leaves cover the ground. But I look forward to spring days and watch for the market doors to open, welcoming a new warm season of farm visits and the purchasing (and eating) of good foods.

Fewer and fewer family farms exist across our country. Find them in your area and frequent their markets – eat well and have fun.

A Walk on the Wild Side

Life at Ground Level, High Ridge, Missouri

Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall and see inside the lives of others, to learn about their secrets, to solve mysteries about them? How do they do that? What does that mean? When will they have those babies? Will they survive? What will their future hold?

Do you watch wildlife from your back window? Squirrels or an occasional opossum might meander through your yard. Are you ever curious about particular aspects of life at ground level? You might see raccoons and skunks, too, but are afraid to approach them. Rumors abound about aggressive raccoons (they’d rather run away from you) and you don’t want to be sprayed by a skunk. And what do you know about rabbits? Or Groundhogs? Seeing them from afar doesn’t give you many answers. Wouldn’t you want to see them up close?

Well, you can walk a bit on the wild side and have a peeking perspective on these creatures if you visit your local wildlife rescue center. Our local Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic had an Open House on October 2, 2011, a beautiful, sunny day.

Emily, the Director, was all smiles and eager to supply any information to visitors. While we were speaking, a butterfly floated between us and chose to land on her shoulder. Both of us admired this small gift that caused us to pause in our conversation and elicited a gentle breath in us – an example of one of those magical moments sent to all of us each day. Do we see these gifts or are we, to our own detriment, just too darn busy to notice?

This Butterfly Knows!

Tables of donated items were selling at too low prices, in my opinion. Many baskets of great gifts were offered by a drawing, $1 a ticket, or six for $5 (again, I didn’t win). Kettle corn, hot dogs and sweet ketchup filled the air with tantalizing aromas. The volunteers were proud to show off their wards. And a human-sized skunk and an unidentified brown animal cheerfully posed for pictures and were good ambassadors for the other harmless creatures waiting inside.

Miss Cheerful Skunk

Miss Brown . . . What?

Clean cages displayed playful raccoons, slow moving ’possums and hyperactive squirrels. There was even a ground hog. All were well supplied with acorns, ears of corn, persimmons, romaine lettuce, carrots and more – a smorgasbord of flavors, appealing to sharp eyes and sensitive noses. And each animal appeared exceptionally healthy.

Awakened From His Sleep and Little Grumpy

And what explains their healthy condition? The dedication of the volunteers, that’s what. In many cases, they rear these creatures from infancy and provide hand feedings every four hours. Food preparation takes an immense amount of time. In the case of the persimmons, because they are so delicate and will turn to mush when handled, each one has to be placed on a large plastic tray for freezing. After they are frozen, each persimmon must be inserted side-by-side, not jumbled up, into a plastic bag and refrozen until time for use.

Cages must be cleaned daily in addition to cleaning the entire facility. Donations of bags of dog food, gallons of acorns, and boxes of newspaper require heavy lifting. Laundering and folding of towels, sheets, and cleaning rags must be done. Shelves of these items line what serves as an office.

Still, all of the volunteers are cheerful and go about their tasks with concentrated focus. I asked one of them, “What makes you do all this hard work?” And back came the simple answer, “Love.” Yep, that is the only answer that makes sense.

Who's Peeking?

Watching the various lovelies elicits questions as to why they are rehabilitating. In many cases, mom was killed by a car and the resident human knew where the nest was and compassionately brought the babies to the center. This can be done with baby skunks, too. They aren’t able to deliver “The Bomb” until they are older, so do your part. Take them to the “Animal Angels”. They will do the rest. The ground hog was hit by a car and has some nerve damage. He will be at the center until spring.

The Ground Hog - A Hit With Kids

I have visited other centers through the years but still learn something new when I visit again. For instance, stop if you see a dead possum on the road. Check to see if it is a female, then check the pouch – babies could be alive in there. Or if that curdles your milk, just scoop mom up and take her to your wildlife center. They will retrieve the babies. Sometimes, babies are not in the pouch but are clinging to her body. Don’t let them starve and suffer in the hot sun. Cultivate compassion. It is a very healing exercise. And, what goes around comes around.

Speaking of compassion – you could learn a lot from these volunteers. A woman brought in what she thought was a baby possum. It was so tiny it was practically a fetus. As it grew, its identity revealed itself. It is a grey mouse. No matter. He is treated no differently than the other patients. He is fed and nurtured, protected and kept warm. A life is a life.

Want to Share?

Our Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic will accept turtles or snakes. For the care of these animals, the Clinic will contact the St. Louis Herpetological Society and will forward the animal to them for specialized care. The Clinic also has access to veterinary care in the case euthanasia is necessary.

Isn't He Gorgeous?

Snakes Are Cool, Too!

I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I thought ’possums used their long mandible like a straw and sucked water into their bodies. At ground level view here at the Clinic, I was entranced to see a tiny, pink tongue lapping water. A small fact, but it adds to my understanding of the world around me.

Familiarize yourself with your local center. Know where it is located before an emergency. Learn all you can and get your children directly involved. If you can’t donate dollars, take your newspapers to them. Have a field trip with your kids and gather acorns or persimmons. Set up a lemonade stand and place a sign on it – Proceeds for Animal Charity. And don’t forget to go see their twinkling eyes and beautiful coats of fur and watch their antics as they snuggle with their own kind. Raccoons and squirrels play like effervescent bubbles bouncing off one another. When you watch them you’ll find yourself smiling. You will recognize they are completely innocent and childlike.

Connecting with animals imparts to us those same qualities. We can use more innocence these days. A lot of peace is derived from having a childlike view as we look at a fallen leaf or feel the tickle of a wooly worm as his many feet move across our palm. So, risk opening your heart. When we are thoughtful of animals, it is not only they who benefit.

NOTICE:  Please click on these live links to visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic and the St. Louis Herpetological Society sites. Gather more information and check out the “Wish List” for items you may be able to supply. Keep up with scheduled events.

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