Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey), 17 January 2021


I hope everyone has a safe week, and you all find some joy. 

Sunrise through the Lodgepole Pines
Yellowstone National Park
US National Park Service NPS/Jacob W. Frank
Photo labeled public domain (copyright free). 

  • Diane:  Thank you.  Stubbornly hoping here!

    Frankly, can't stand Rupert Murdoch.  Fox News is the biggest defender of DT.  A ghastly duo.

    Other than that, a busy and sort of frustrating day - and also waaay too warm for January.

    Have a good week everyone.

  • DIANE – Thank you. Hope and the dawn of a new era?

    ANNETTE – A blissful max of 22 C today. I’ don’t want to know about next weekend (37).

    First half dozen pasties in oven, remaining 7 waiting. Earlier I diced most vegies and I was ready for a 10 min sit-down before I diced the potatoes, when Dau phoned. An hour later, well rested, we finished catching up and I completed pasties. Trio have finished a week of holiday swim lessons, now only once a week. Great excitement - MissJ was assessed and has passed and is officially a “goldfish”, same as MissL. Dau has spent the “spare” hours shop to shop, buying school uniforms. They have a choice of dress, skort, leggings, track pants. Uniform? The only common appearance is the colour.

    Much angst from tennis players in Melbourne. Because they were on same planes as 4 who have tested positive to covid, they are all considered “close contacts” and are confined to motel room. Stiff cheddar, as we say. Aussieland has very strict regulations; you were told them. If you don’t like, you needn’t come here.

  • An expert is a person who has made every possible mistake in a small field of study.

    There are 3 kinds of people in this world. Those who are good at Maths, and those who aren’t.

    It's easy to identify people who can't count to ten. They're in front of you in the supermarket express lane. (June Henderson)

  • HEATHER: Last week, you said: "DIANE - I'd love to know more about homesteading. I will Google it." I tried to write a reply to your post, but I got excited and I wrote way too much. I've recently started writing a novel (to distract myself from worrying about my own and my country's problems), and I've been researching some Indiana history. You were probably just being polite, but I wrote more than you want to know. LOL! So I'll try to cut it down, and I'll respond to you in a couple of posts. Nobody has to read it. LOL!

  • No DIANE I wasn't being polite, I am very interested in these things and did find some information online. I'm looking forward to your posts ! A while back AQ posted something that triggered my interest and I followed that up, also. Good luck with the novel , what an excellent distraction...
  • HEATHER: Part 1

    My ancestors originally homesteaded a larger parcel of land than I have now, but much of it was sold off during hard times, especially the Great Depression. My Scottish great-great grandfather was an English teacher, but his services weren’t needed here in those early frontier years. My great-grandfather was a coal miner until he was severely injured in a mine accident, and then he started a small ice business (before refrigerator-freezers). Times were tough for my people.

    The definition of homesteading differs depending on the location and the historical period. In general, the term refers to poor or working class people (new settlers, tenant farmers, laborers, freed enslaved people, immigrants, etc.) having the opportunity to acquire government or public domain land for free or a small fee. The U.S. Homestead Act of 1862 granted each person 160-acre plots of land for a token fee.

    In order to gain the deed and ownership, a person usually had to apply for the land, live on it for a specified time, and then demonstrate that he or she had made required improvements. (Yes, women homesteaded! Diverse people benefited from homestead laws, but not Indigenous/Native Americans, who were displaced, forced off their lands, and marched to distant reservations.)

    From 1863 to 1976, 4 million homestead claims were filed. The U.S. granted 1.6 million deeds and distributed 270 million acres (420,000 square miles or 675,924 kilometers) of federal property, a total of 10% of all the land in the U.S. I still hold a “Homestead Exemption” on my house, which lowers my property taxes and protects my land from any type of seizure. The federal homestead law was repealed in 1976, but some states, including Indiana, still have a homestead program. The land can't be worth more than $10,000 in Indiana.


  • Heather: Part 1 originally copied in small print, but I've fixed it.
  • HEATHER: Part 2

    Homesteading was brutally hard. Homestead land was located in undesirable, remote, and rugged wilderness areas with little public access (no reliable roads, etc.). Many rough, one-lane, muddy rural roads remain in my region. We call them “cow-paths.” I’ve gotten lost on them, and I thought I’d never make it home. Most settlers here had to travel by horse or by flat boat on the Wabash River and its tributaries to get supplies or medicine they couldn’t make themselves. My nearby small town was one of the first in the region (founded in 1834 to accommodate the railroads), so my people were lucky to find a general store when they arrived.

    Settlers had to be self-reliant or die. They had to clear the land themselves, and you saw in my satellite picture how dense our forests are. They had to learn to grow their own food and raise livestock. My great-grandmother made a spring tonic from early wild vegetation (flowers, etc.), because the family was usually malnourished when winter finally was over. Midwest soil is good, but the weather is unpredictable and occasionally life-threatening--hot, humid summers and harsh winters. Up on the prairie in northern Indiana—where I grew up—the wind storms are fierce. Settlers had to make their clothing. In Indiana it was often buckskin in the early days. 

    Besides immediately planting crops to ensure a food supply, settlers needed shelter and usually constructed a drafty, dirt-floor homestead shack as soon as possible. I remember my ancestors’ original homestead house, which did indeed have a dirt floor. My Dad didn’t tear the shack down until the early 1970s. I think he preserved it out of respect.

    When I get depressed and focused on my own hardships (which I’ve done lately), I make myself go out and sit in the area where that little shack was built. I think about how hard my kin’s lives were.

    PHOTO: This is the state park up the road from me. This is the terrain that homesteaders would have faced. Dense forest, tall sandstone cliffs, and rocky canyons. My grandfather was a forest ranger here.

  • Good morning, all. It's a beautiful morning here (YAY!) and I'm going to take Limpy to Abberton Reservoir. It's not on our doorstep but it's very disabled-friendly and his PTSD means he has to get out birding. It would be lovely to get out on our own seafront but the chances are lots of other people will be doing the same thing.

    People have finally started getting vaccinated here - YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • DIANE - thank you so much. I've read and will read again. Much appreciated.