Thursday, October 19, 2006

If you don't use it, you'll loose it

The Postal Service was in the news again today, stamp machines are being phased out. My first reaction was, just like pay phones, I didn't think we even still had them.

I have worked for the USPS for nearly 27 years. There have been changes during that time, but probably none that most would know. There have been a few small post offices closed as the population moves closer to urban areas. Thankfully, though, nearly everyone who has an address and puts up a mailbox, receives daily service. And, of my total route, there are less than the fingers on one hand that don't pick up their mail each day.

In this day of $1 bottles of water and $2 to $3 per gallon of gas, 39 cents is still a bargain to deliver a letter anywhere in the United States. The old adage, "if you don't use it, you'll loose it" might have been the demise of stamp machines. Let's make sure it doesn't happen to any other service.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This apple does not make pies

I promised to post Kansas color tonight. The trees are looking very pretty out on the route, but I decided this is also a fall event.

Years ago we lived in a house on a lot with at least five hedge Osage Orange trees. These trees would not be considered decorative yard trees partly because of the "apple" it produces. However, they were there when we purchased the lot and we found the trees to be very nice shade and well shaped.

This tree from the Mulberry family has served many purposes in its past. It was planted as fences before barbed wire made its appearance on the plains. Even though farmers have cleared out the hedge rows, many are still visible throughout eastern Kansas. Its wood was used for fence posts because it was resistant to moisture and rot. Indians used its wood for archery bows. We heat with wood and hedge definitely provides the best heat, although it must be burned in an enclosed space because it also pops wildly. Finally, there is a belief that cut up hedgeballs keep crickets out of the house. I have not had much luck with that use.

When I was a kid, my cousins and I decided we would pretend to can some hedge apples. We borrowed some of Mom's canning jars and cut up the apples and stuffed them in the jars. What a mess. The juice of the hedge apple is sticky and is hard to wash off. We learned our lesson well.

Even though the leaves aren't pretty this time of year and the balls are a pain, the Osage Orange or plain old Hedge tree is a keeper.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sisterhood revisited

Sunday afternoon the sisterhood met again. I wrote about our group last year so I won't explain again how we came to be long distance friends. The afternoon passed quickly and we finally decided we better get on the road around 7:00 pm. We never ran out of things to talk about. It was a great day ending with Kayzie and Lynn spending the night here. It was just like old times, Kayzie and I sat up until midnight talking some more!

We had two fairly hard freezes here last week. Well, the temperature reached the upper 20s. That seems cold to me. We saved the mums, but everything else either got nipped or was moved into the house.

Overall, the trees are currently not too colorful. I thought after last week the leaves would fall. I guess it is all about the length of days because even with the cold temperatures, many of the trees still have leaves and are showing a little promise.

I'm taking my camera with me tomorrow on the route--I'll see if I can capture a little Kansas color.