Essentially Esther Banner

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Well, the squirrels have played with their Tinker-Toy on the tree all day. Business is picking up as others want to see what it is….they get playful and scramble all over the tree, up and down. Those little guys are fast…..so far, too fast for the cats, thankfully.

I took a picture of a bird feeder my friend made for Christmas. She is a bird lover as I am and she sawed a pretty good sized branch off of a tree, cut it to roughly a foot or so and then drilled six holes in it to put peanut butter. She gave me six nails to hammer in under each hole so the birds would have something to perch on while eating. It was all fixed with a hook on top to hang and I was anxious to try it. She even provided the first jar of peanut butter so I was ready to go.

I have to divide my time doing things that need to be done and then enjoying the feeders and the activity they initiate. It’s a barrel of fun and I manage to see a lot every day. A fella just can’t work all the time.

I took a picture in case anyone wanted to make something like it. I know there are a lot of “birders” out there. It would be interesting to see how someone else could substitute the branch…..not everyone has a tree to saw up but I suppose it could be done with boards…..4 X 4’s whatever. At any rate here is the one she made for me and the birds and I love it.

Time to feed Napoleon so see you later.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


When things get boring in the Ozarks we look for simple diversions. I have the prettiest, fattest squirrel population in the area. For years the bandits have come to my feeding stations (for the birds) stealing their sunflower seeds. Their young are shown where to come and the generations have come and gone.

If you read me very long you know I’m a critter lover and especially for the strays. I’ve never taken action against the squirrels because, honestly, they are as much fun as the birds……albeit in a different way. They make me laugh and shake my head. Their antics are legendary…….so recently I decided to add a little excitement.

While at the feed store buying bird feed I asked if they had any squirrel feeders. I was shown the choices and promptly picked out one with lots of action. It’s a large 3-spoke squirrel whirly so I bought it and had Dave, who is a family handyman, make it and secured it to the tree. The view from my kitchen window is like a seat at the movies.

Well, I laughed so hard at the first visitor I knew my money would give fast returns. It took a while for them to notice and then decide to have a bite of corn fastened on the three spokes. He jumped on one of the spokes which immediately gave him a circular ride spinning him around like a top. Not to be outdone he rode it around several spins and then hopped up on the small metal ledge to eat his kernel.

I almost felt like an animal abuser watching in my delight at his expense. He continued his quest and finally left. This has gone on until this morning. You know squirrels are pretty smart…..real smart. He found if he slithered down the bottom spoke, he could come and go back up without the whirling ride. With his sophistication he cracked the code and outsmarted the whirly-jig. However, as with humans, there is always a dummy somewhere who doesn’t “get it.” So I have a lot of squirrels to go before they have all tried and conquered their carnival ride.

The first visitor “paid” for the feeder. His antics of hanging on while spinning and then jumping off to the little platform was stellar. One little kernel at a time he got the ride of his life.

It’s almost sinful the way I laughed at him !!

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


With the severe weather we got after the first of January and all that has to be done outside to feed/water the birds……all the stray cats and my own, a date slipped up on me. I have always noted that my first post was made on January 4th, 2004. I’m not a whiz at blogging yet but I have come a far cry from that first post.

I was so excited to see all the inner-acting from bloggers out there who had encouraged me to begin. Mary Lou at Whidbey Island noticed my comments on John’s blog and kept after me until I decided it would be a good way to write the family history as I knew it……..for my children.

After a few years, I ran out of relatives to talk about unless they were newly deceased. The circle grows smaller every year and one of these days my writing will also stop. It gives me peace to know I’m leaving most of what I thought about in life and also the family tree that budded me.

I was blessed with great memory of the families I came from and I knew once I’m gone, my children might wish they had listened closer when I talked of family members they only knew as small children. It was a labor of love and with the other subjects I have touched on since they will know their mother a little better also.

After my father died, everything he ever said returned to me in many different ways. It was always a learning tool for he was a good teacher. Because of his signature in my young life I was more than prepared for whatever came after leaving home. He was not a perfect man but he wanted my brother and I to grow up and be responsible human beings.

If dad was the disciplinarian, my mother was the gentle soul who saw good things in everyone. She loved reading and living through the books she read. She was fond of frontier stories ……folks going west and their adventures. Mom was sympathetic towards the way Indians were run over and killed……the US Government broke every treaty ever made to the Indians. Because of her stories I grew up loving books and reading the books she read as a girl. Reading gives one a great vocabulary and broadens one’s life experiences.

Some people muddle through life and have hardly lived before they die. Some find satisfaction in being critical of everything that doesn’t please them and some are afraid to expand their horizons. I see life as a gift of opportunities and that anything is possible if you dare to dream……..and I am a dreamer.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Every day has it’s own beauty but some are special and captured in the sea of memories. I mentioned before that Rocky’s brother and his wife were coming to visit on Thursday. They arrived late afternoon and we had lots of visiting to catch up on. One of the things we always like to do when they come is to make a trip to a favorite gift store. The short drive, the visit with the folks who own it and then a trip around the store is certainly “eye candy” I almost always come home with candles.

We did some serious visiting when we came home and Becky came after work to join us. Richard and Helen are nice to be around……their visits are too far apart and too short from my standpoint but they live near Chicago and it’s a long drive to come here. It’s time Becky and I make the drive to their home and we plan to do that late Spring. With my kitty population here it’s hard to get away but I have friends who will fill in while I’m gone. One of these days………

January is midway and February is short……so can Spring be far behind? All of God’s creatures look forward to the return of good weather and the beauty that awaits…….for every snowflake He will send a flower.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Wow! We had a heat wave here today. It was almost up to freezing. The birds have not been to the feeders as much with the break in the weather. I don’t know how the little guys make it through such terrible conditions but they do.

I’m getting ready for Rocky’s brother and wife who are coming on Thursday. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them and we’re looking forward to them coming. The rest of the week looks pretty good so travel shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m enjoying the football playoffs. Anything can happen in a game and I don’t care how good a team is sometimes the best of them fall err to defeat. Competitive sports is wonderful entertainment for me. The Olympics will begin when football is over and then American Idol goes on until late Spring. Television brings events right in the living room of which we’d never be able to see otherwise. Television is a love-hate tool because so much of it isn’t worth watching (as far as I’m concerned) but there is a lot of good.

Computers bring people together instantly much like the old calls we used to make. When I was first married and living in a small town everyone knew everyone else. The ladies who worked the switch boards would chat with you when you made a call. It seems funny now, much like the Andy Griffith Show. I would pick up the receiver and the operator would ask “what number please” and I would say “Well, hi there, Mary, how are you?” and she would reply and then I’d ask her to call Mary Lou for me. I used to watch them work the boards when I paid the bill. You did that in person. No PC to send it and no postage required, just stop in and hand it to them.

A lot of people say the “good old days” were not so good but I am the opposite. Times were no harder than they are now……just different. I still think about a little town where you could walk anywhere you needed to go. Main Street, USA. Friday night high school football games, softball, folks sitting on the front porch and everyone waved, honked, yelled, or whistled when they passed by.

Life was slower and more courteous. We talked and listened but not at the same time. Life is a personal journey and we each find our own path. I have no complaints…….I’ve enjoyed every step of the way.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Well, yesterday I woke up to frozen pipes. In a mobile home that’s serious because all of the pipes are built right into the floor plan. They are also a type of plastic so the old thing of using a blow-torch to thaw is not an option, either.

After considering some possibilities I called a plumber who has been here for my other water problems. It seems they either leak or won’t run water. It made an impact on my morning. It’s amazing how many ways water is needed to get through the day. Forget food. If it came to push and shove, we have to have water. Thankfully he came within the hour and had the pipes up and running.

I copied this picture from a FW my uncle Tom sent me. He is somewhere around the age of 94.….lives in the north-eastern part of the US and is sharp as a tack. He is adept in anything connected to a battery or electrical cord. He still has a good sense of humor which the picture provides. He keeps up with the news and events, in short he is amazing for his age.

I hope you enjoy the picture. Considering the weather at hand it is folly to think of our world as we know it, melting down to a water-world. Of course, that’s my opinion and since I last looked, we still have that option.

I hope my northern family and friends warm up without the threat of floods. Their resilience is to be admired……..

Essentially Esther

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Well, if this is global warming, I’ll eat my hat!! Tell it to folks up in the northern states who have umpteen feet of snow and still coming down. I saw pictures of houses that were snowed in…..only the door was scooped clear so folks could get out. I commend them for the weather they are suffering and doing it without whining. Neighbor helping neighbor is the American way. God bless them!

In my own little piece of real-estate the ground is covered but not very deep. I suppose we got about four to five inches in two different snows. The temperature is about 7* with winds howling up to 40mph wind gusts and it freezes my hands before I can even get to the bird feeding areas.

The wind is blowing snow and it looks like smoke from a fire. Just swirling and being driven by the hard north-west winds. I cannot imagine the toll this is taking on ranchers and the wild life that will have to suffer through. So many young calves that may not make it……I hate when the weather turns lethal.

I work hard to keep my song birds, even to the point that I have to feed the ugly big black birds that come in droves to feed. They hounded the feeders to the point all of my cardinals and others as well were sitting on branches, hoping to get some feed before it was all gone. I knew I couldn’t keep them all going with what little feed I had so I drove over to the MFA feed store and bought 100# of black sunflower seed and 50 # of hen scratch. I put about 25# out when I got back and I’ll put more out towards evening.

Water is crucial. I only have a heater for one birdbath and the black birds flop around in it taking baths. I sure don’t see why they would do that but by the time they drink and bathe the other birds do without. I go out as often as I can with refills and some of the smaller birds get a drink when the big ones fly up.

Napoleon was out and filled up on the sunflower seeds with the other birds and I haven’t seen him since. He is probably laying on the leeward side of the house out of the wind. We have two more days of intense cold weather before we get a break on Sunday. It will be a while before the outdoor critters will feel much comfort. If I can keep them fed they will have a better chance….at least for the ones I can do for.

I hope you are warm and safe from the weather wherever you are. As long as the power stays on we will be OK here. It’s times like this we realize why we need to draw on faith. There is nothing man can do to deter the weather except through the grace of God.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, January 02, 2010


At mid-night December 31st the old man hobbled off and a new baby was born. It is the metaphor of wisdom passing the cares of the world to a new and lively baby. A baby who has no idea of the weight he is expected to carry for the coming year. Two things come to mind……Solomon (who was the wisest man of his time or ever would be, according to the gospel) when he said, “With much wisdom there is much sorrow.”

There are a lot of things that make me sad. Cruelty on any level. Damage to anything. Lies and deceit. The list goes on and on but the longer one lives the more he is exposed to sorrow on every level.

Mother’s who cry at weddings have lived through the tough times they know will come to their child either walking down the aisle or waiting at the alter. The tears that escape and run down faces happen because we are losing something. A something that will never be the same again.

Like the end of one year and the beginning of another on a certain day at a certain time we spend a life as the old man leaving and the baby just beginning. A lifetime. For some of us it will be a long one and for some it will be short. The important thing is to live it all with grace and a loving spirit.

Those two things will pretty much take care of anything we come up against in our journey……..

Essentially Esther