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We had a sudden change of weather here in the Pacific Northwest: it suddenly got warm! February was unusually cold, so this was what I refer to as “all-out-gardening” weather. The problem with all out gardening weather is I’m so used to having two days out of a week to get a month’s worth of gardening done (because you never know what next weekend will be like). I tend to over-do and hurt my back and…

I am learning to slow down. I have time. I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock. I have every morning that is slightly warm and dry to work in the yard, clean debris, dead-head last fall’s flowering plants, pull the first weeds, and clear sod for new flower beds. And, after I iced my back for two days, slow down is exactly what I did. I hurt my back in a frenetic attack on the day lilies, pulling out the old leaves and the moss as if the day would end too soon & I wouldn’t have accomplished something. Silly me. (But I did watch some good movies while my back muscles recovered, so there’s that.)

I ordered roses. One has arrived, the other is on back order. I bought rhubarb roots because my original one has been transplanted too many times. The race was on to get these all planted in the narrow window of nice weather – BUT the flower bed hadn’t even been created yet!

So – I spent three days digging up sod, which you can’t put into the yard bin because it has too much soil attached. I have to dump it in an empty corner of the yard to let the rains come and wash the sod off, returning the loam to the yard. The filbert tree kills the grass, so that’s where I dumped it. Take that! Nasty grass!

Day one, I kept finding cool creatures in the loam. Centipedes, army worms or cut worms, earthworms… And no camera. Mud on my garden gloves. There had to be a better way.

Day two, I placed my Google Pixel in my hip pocket. The thing has a great macro lens. I’d dig up something, take my gloves off, zoom in, and click! Unfortunately, looking at the LCD image on my cell phone is a foreign way of taking photos (I’m a die-hard DSLR – formerly a die-hard SLR film photographer). The sun reflects off of the LCD image and I couldn’t always tell if I had the subject in focus. The photos aren’t large by DSLR standards (I normally shoot at the highest setting on my Canon), but they’re decent – and focused for the most part.

Now that I have that out of the way: DO NOT PROCEED if creepy crawlies get you creeped out. If you dislike any of the following: spiders, wasps, cutworms, earwigs, centipedes – do not scroll on down.

This fine piece of thin material appears to be part of a beetle wing. It could be plastic, too, but I think it is organic. It was extremely fragile and only a portion of it ended up being in the photos. I found it with a couple pieces of pottery and a vintage playing marble.



This guy (all 11 of them I found) was as large as a U.S. quarter or a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar. Very green-hued. I can’t identify it without the moth it turns into, but it’s much larger than the usual cutworm one finds in the soil. I took to tossing them out into the streets for the crows and automobiles to take care of.


The cutworm (also a moth) was about nickel sized when curled up. I only found a couple of these and they got to go flying into the Great Asphalt Desert as well.

Don’t worry – I probably didn’t harm the overall moth population at all.


It has taken me years to come to terms with earwigs. They were a pestilence in my childhood. I later learned they have redeeming qualities (they eat aphids) but I still don’t like them in my house or crawling on me. One of the few insects I truly struggle to like.


Bingo! There’s nothing to compare the size of this critter within the photo (sorry) but curled up like this, it was only the size of a dime or less.



Stretched out, the centipede is not much wider than a blade of grass and about 17mm long (just over half an inch).


I love jumping spiders. They’re very friendly. This one was about the size of a penny, the size I used to find lurking around the office back in my employed days.

Paper wasps, not to be confused with their aggressive cousins (yellow jackets). These are solitary, make small nests of paper (they will protect their nests with stings, but you have to really threaten them to anger them). We live at peace with most stinging insects here (yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets can be exceptions, but only when they get aggressive or nest in the yard).


The woodlouse spider! It is about half an inch long, hates sunshine, moves fast – it hunts the wood louse (pillbugs, roly-poly bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs – whatever you grew up calling them – although potato bug is a misnomer).

What I did not find were slugs. This is good. It means I have done a good job of cleaning up our yard so slugs don’t want to live here. I hate slugs. The Pacific Northwest is renowned for slugs. We have giant slugs, banana slugs, big brown slugs, black slugs, green slugs, and leopard slugs. I put down hazelnut shell mulch to discourage slugs.

I got my rhubarb roots in the ground today. Tomorrow, I will finally plant my rose. Hopefully, I will get my second rose to plant soon. And my hops rhizome. I’ll be taking a lot more photos of creepy crawlies.


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I’ve sifted through it several times, but I’ve never felt comfortable with the contents until now. There isn’t anything in the box that I would sell (his keepsake box is another matter) as nearly everything left in the Japanese inlay box is heirloom or sentimental in value.

jewelry box

Dad liked all things Japanese, so it is not a surprise to me that he had this box (the hinges are broken) as his primary jewelry box.

The contents are small items (the box is 22x15x6 cm or 9.75x6x10.5″).

SA Class ring 1920(2)

Chas Edwin Cusick’s high school class ring – St. Anthony High School, 1920. Uncle Ed (he went by Ed) was born in 1902 and died in 1960, never having married. His parents and sister preceded him in death, and he was close to my father The Cusicks are the Irish lineage, having come from Derry, Cavan, Ireland in the 1750s.

Franklin Hebbard Cusick’s class ring from St. Anthony High School, 1926. Uncle Frank also never married, but he lived a very long life. He was born in 1907 and died in 1985 It doesn’t seem that long ago. Great Uncle Frank was a kick in the pants and told me stories about my father that Dad would never tell me – and he did so in front of Dad, forcing my father to confront his wild youth. I adored him.


Then there is this – This photo does me in. Sylvia Cusick. She was born in October of 1903 and died in March of 1930. The photo above is dated September 1930 on the back. She married my grandfather in 1925. She was a young mother of only 26 when she died of sepsis related to strep. My father was not quite 2 years old.

Those are some pretty awesome pants she’s wearing and fuzzy slippers!


Somebody (most likely my Great-Grandfather John T. Wilcox and his bride, Azema (née Kimmey), visited the 1904 Wolrd’s Expo in St. Louis. Gramps – Fred Orson (Fritz) – would have been 6 years old. There are a couple mementos from the World’s Expo of that year.

siam front 1904siam back

A pin of one of the nations represented (only one pin, sadly). The flag part measures 2x3cm (1.25×1.8″).

This is perhaps the coolest – a folding book in copper. The book itself is 2.5×1.75cm (1x.75″). I’m loading the images separately because they are so tiny!

paris coverparis1paris2paris3paris4paris5paris6paris7paris8

Still with me? Haven’t bored you yet?


There are other items in the box – pins and such – but this is the only other item of any interest to someone other than myself: a gold nugget.It’s roughly 1cm (2/3 of an inch?). No note, no history, just a random gold nugget. I’ll just leave it like that.

Oh! Wait! One more. Dad’s pin.


His handwriting, no date. He was left-handed. Writing is still legible, so when he was much younger. 🙂



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This post is brought to you by Daphne the Goose, who is in her third incarnation.


This is how she looked when I discovered her inside a thrift store in 2011.


She was clearly screaming for someone to rescue her and give her new life. “Ave me from the blue flowers on my butt!”

“Save me from this dorky Mother Goose Hat and these awful feet!”

I tried to make a more realistic Daphne and by July of 2011, had painted a 2-goose Daphne.


She was a white-fronted wild goose on one side…


Blue-fronted Snow Goose on the other side.

Daphne has weathered seven years in the garden and was beginning to look the worse for wear last summer. I brought her inside in the fall with a promise to give her a new life.  Her paint was worn and she just looked tired.

I started work on her this week – and that’s when the arguments started. She wanted an orange foot. I told her that was stupid. She insisted my former paint job was stupid. She wanted to be a domestic goose. I wanted her to be a wild goose. I told her that she’d been a big white goose when I found her. She told me that not all domestic geese are white (remember the song, “The old grey goose”?

Daphne won.

Just a simple Greylag Goose getting ready for Spring. She looks quite happy.

Who knows what other incarnations she will have throughout the years.

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Since I was already dusting our bedroom today, I decided to whip out the camera and take some photos of the vintage items there – especially the salt & pepper shakers from my mother’s collection. I do not collect S&P shakers, and I don’t think our children will be interested in these, either, so if I can dig out what they might be worth, maybe I can set up shop and sell them.

But – first – I took photos of my shadow pictures. They were Mom’s a long time ago, but I’ve owned them for so long that I forget that. The largest is only 5×5″ and I’ve already priced these at antique shows: they’re worth no more than $20 and what you can sell them for.

The top two have curved glass and paper backgrounds, two have flat glass and foil behind the shadows. The last – and smallest – is a decoupage.


Etched into the bottom of these faux shakers is “Handmade Solid Copper Bull Montana” – apparently, they are simply souvenirs of the 1960’s or 1970’s. Charming.


Lusterware, hand-painted penguins, undated.

This is a four and a half inch tall urn with lid, no date. JAPAN stamped on the bottom. Hand-painted.

NapCo china from Japan. I found the exact set in an image search of the Internet, but it was a dead-end on Pinterest. There are four. They are tiny and they all have corks in the bottom.


Clearly hand-painted, this is not lusterware, but painted to resemble it. Peeling & one is missing the cork.


A fine example of lusterware – the egg is that perfect blue hue. The maker’s mark looks like a 7, but the top is an indent and the side protrudes (bottom right of egg, above the gold. 4″ tall.


Just for a comparison of the quality of glaze and gold (or lack thereof).

I really didn’t find much of value until I looked up the last set.

Vintage 1930’s Black American Children Eating Watermelon. I found a site where the exact set sold for $115.00. 2×2″, hand-painted

I think I will start setting these things aside to sell on eBay or Etsy.


P.S. These are the only S&P shakers I have “collected” – they were a parting gift from my dear friend, Rosie, when she sold out and moved to South Dakota to live with her sons. I suspect they are vintage, too. I think they’re adorbs.

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Here are the ideas for dealing with Dad’s stuff (see the two previous posts here and here):

Make a shadow box to donate to the Lions Club Dad belonged to. I was all for that, bought a shadow box, then remembered: Lions Clubs don’t meet in their own space. They rent luncheon spots (or dinner or breakfast). The officers change yearly. I’m not feeling that vibe anymore.

Make a shadow box of my favorites for myself. Well, I bought the shadow box, and I do really like this idea. So I will do that.

I recalled I have this vintage trunk that is about 7″ deep, by 14″ wide and 30″ long. It was an oxygen tank holder, but I stripped it of everything I could remove and lined it with cork board, thinking it would make a nice display for my art work when working venues. It worked okay for that, but it isn’t ideal. I could line the inside with favorite pins & glue the pins in place, leaving the outer shell vintage and “shabby”.

OR – I could also line to outside of the trunk with pins glued in place and pour a thin coat of resin over. That sounds cool, but I wonder two things: how much would such a thing weigh? and would I do all sides or leave two sides undone for standing & hauling purposes? Would it look decent? Would it have resale value as a piece of recycled art?

The last idea is to buy cork board at the craft store and re-do the Star Thread case for now (I’ll probably actually do this). I need to mull the other ideas over for awhile, decide on favorites, and build up my energy to deal with it. This is a part of grieving, and I’m in no hurry to rush it: grief takes its own path. I have a lot of grief to deal with.

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I spent today sorting through the Lions’ Club Pins, disassembling Dad’s displays to make better sense of what he collected, listening to his disapproving voice over my shoulder (you never really get away from that), dusting them off and discarding the filthy poster board, reassembling the pins in categories, and counting them.

There are 126 pins I could get rid of in an instant, 100 of which are duplicates of other pins he owned and 26 of which have someone else’s name on them (as in “vote for…” or “so-and-so in such-and-such position”).


I haven’t actually touched the last 26 as my muscles hurt and my mind is tired.

There are 229 pins left to deal with + 8 name badges (seven with Dad’s name & office and one with Mom’s name as a spouse). I could toss the name badges.

There are: Ely (Nevada) Lions’ Club pins, California-Nevada 4N Region pins, International pins, States of the Union pins, Cities of Nevada pins, and generic Nevada State pins (some with dates). The Cities of NV pins cover 27 Nevada communities, including Ely. 39 states are represented, including 17 California communities). 9 pins representing different countries (and several more of Canadian towns, provinces, and one territory).


Dad did not travel to these countries, and probably didn’t travel to all the states, either. I have been to Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan (the Sapporo Acacia Lions Club pin, upper right). The Lions’ Club “sent” me, but Dad really footed the bill because he couldn’t get the support of the local club even after we hosted our own exchange student from Sapporo the year prior.


L-right: me meeting the mayor of Sapporo in 1974, Keiko-san in traditional dress in 1973 when she stayed with us, and me riding a random farm horse on the island of Hokkaido. Keiko & her friend, Mitsuki, insisted the taxi driver stop and we ask this poor farmer if the American girl could ride the horse. 🙂

I digress.


These are easily the coolest pins: the undated Nevada Gambling Collection. They are definitely ones I will not part with, but will keep as heirlooms.

As for what to do with the pins, I’ve had a few suggestions:

  1. create a shadow box with my favorites and get rid of the rest.
  2.  donate the pins back to the local Lions’ Club they came from.
  3. join a Lions’ Club Trading Pins group and trade (sell or give away) the pins I don’t want.

I’m also considering attaching them to something and creating objet d’art. A sample would be one of those cars where someone glued or welded a million pieces of trivia onto.


That American Dolls horse has been a project since my youngest left the house, but I think you get the picture. I just have to find the right object to the Lions’ Club pins (a lion, perhaps? Or a wooden cut-out lion shape?).

I’ll start with finishing the cleaning job and putting the pins back into the Star Thread box for now. I’m afraid I am much too drained emotionally to think or act any further with this.

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It started with this:

Random photos of the cleaning I have accomplished only to realize I can’t just post these pics and *not* tell the stories about the items in the window or on the shelf or at the top of the stairs. For one thing, the stupid carpet didn’t come clean despite my efforts (the only carpet in the house and I hate it). For a second thing, there are too many memories and sentimental values assigned to the objects in the window, on the shelf, and at the top of the stairs.

I’ll eventually have to deal with the two boxes at the top of the stairs: the “Star” thread display case and the “Fairy” soap case. And I don’t want to.

Dad’s been gone for 8 years this May. Mom has been gone for 24 years this June. I *have* to deal with it sometime.

Dad’s entire collection of Lions’ Club pins is stored in the Star display case. I haven’t counted how many pins. There are a lot of duplicates. There is a lot of Lions’ Club history. There’s not a lot of monetary value, if eBay is to be believed (I didn’t see any bids on most of the pins I searched for, but they were priced individually between $2 and $4 – unless they were really old. None of these are really old.

All of them are intricate works of art.

Dad collected pins from different states, a few countries, for different accomplishments, for different people in office (Lions’ Club offices), and for nearly every burg in Nevada. I haven’t even looked at the 100% attendance pins. Oh – and I’ve given four pins away to grandchildren, allowing them to take their choice.

I think Dad would have liked that – me, passing on his collection to small children. Or maybe not. He had a love/hate relationship with small people.

But, really, what do I do?

Some of these are really cool pins!

I don’t have the walls to display them on, but I think I will rethink how the Star case is set up to display the pins. The duplicates will have to go away, which means eBay. The ones with names on will also be put up on eBay, I think. They are of no historic value to me, but maybe to the ancestors – and I’m not spending the time to track down those people even if I probably should.

The best I can do is to organize the pins, wipe the dust off of them, and set them up in a better display. They do bring me joy, but they may bring my heirs headaches. I’m pretty certain there are over 300 pins here.

And the contents of the Fairy Soap box? Old country/western cassettes. I don’t even want to think about that. I’ll be converting those to digital.

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