Bits and Bobs Thursday

Neighbor Cathy came by yesterday bringing a container of Chili peppers for the parrots.  “Would you like other vegetables?” she asked. “I have eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, kale. I made Ratatouile the other night, but I’m not from the South, so I don’t know how to cook collard greens (David’s favorite).  Of course, I said “Yes” to all vegetables.

Cathy’s vegetable garden is flourishing in the tall weeds.  Her brother cleared out her yard and the garden and planted the vegetables earlier this summer. He told her to keep it clean as he did not intend to drive back  next fall and clean it.  Nevertheless, she has let it go. The heat was simply too much for her.  (Photo above from Wiki.)

Cathy lives in her mother’s old house.  Her mother retired here years ago.  She was one of the many women who migrated from all over the US to work for the War Dept. during WWII.  Cathy knows all the older women around here, most of them in their 80s now, like Pat who took in the orange cat once belonging to Sarah the retired lady archivist who worked at the National Archives and died last year.

The government hastily constructed federal buildings all over the Mall to provide offices for the government girls. Someone, perhaps a contractor, built hundreds of small houses here in Arlington which dot our neighborhood, farmland until WWII.  The are cute little houses, thrown up overnight in the midst of the older buildings, farm houses, former tram stations, and the odd small apartment building. Many newer homes have replaced some of the older houses which sit on large lots. One of the newer houses, up Edgewood looks like a ski lodge and is huge.

When we first moved to DC, the Mall held old termite riddled buildings, all of them with the name T-??, (T for temporary which they were meant to be).  Over the years, they  have given way to various museums and monuments like Vietnam Memorial and the new Indian Museum. T-7, one of the last T buildings stands next to the new Air Force memorial at the top of the hill overlooking the Pentagon and the memorial dedicated to the dead of 9-11.


My SIL Bill stopped by today with two of his crew to repair our back porch roof wrecked by the Derecho a couple of weeks ago. Bill runs his own roofing business.  I thought of him last week working on roofs in the heat. He’s out there summer and winter, fall and spring and at age 57 he is not finding it any easier.

Bill’s great-grandfather founded the roofing company Bill owns and runs.  The family business has never taken a dime from the government and Bill was very upset about the comments Mr Obama made last week about how if you have a business you didn’t do it without government help.

The only thing the Feds ever did for Bill’s family business was seize their homestead and turn it into a field hospital during the Civil War.  The family was loyal to the Federal government but  they never got the house back.  (During the war, Arlington was completely occupied by Federal troops. A large part of Robert E. Lee’s former estate became Arlington Cemetery.)

Until recently, Bill’s old family house had a historical marker on it, but that marker disappeared recently. No doubt the house will also disappear when our local government can figure out how to sell it to a developer. The county currently uses it as a half-way house for folks with disabilities. The land could easily be converted into a park for the children, but will probably become a 12-story building with condo apartments and shops and offices…a good tax base.


My hair designer was back from Lebanon today and we had a long chat about the situation in the near east.  N is very concerned for the Christian minorities in Syria and other countries with new regimes unfriendly to some ethnic groups.  N’s family fled Lebanon to escape persecution.  I have never asked him about his religious affiliation. I know this about N,  he is one more small business owner working his behind off to make a living, who has never taken a Government handout.   

Above Ratatouille  


6 thoughts on “Bits and Bobs Thursday

  1. That is a very appetizing looking ratatouille! We do not have neighbors with veggies so we buy them at the store, but I am sure they would taste better if they came from a nearby garden. I understand about minorities being scared in some countries – my cousins live in Cairo, Egypt and they are Armenian Christian Orthodox. We also have friends, Christian Orthodox, living in Israel – their house was taken away from them.


    • I have a number of Greek Coptic American friends. Tough times all round. Are your Christian friends in Israel also Palesinian Arabs? I know many of them gave up their homes to Jewish developments. Not fair for sure.


  2. We, too, enjoyed veggies from friend’s gardens in June. By July everything was dried up. Now its almost time to get ready for fall veggies down here.

    i, too, have relatives who started and grew successful businesses. It was hard work and long hours and they continue even though they are in their 60s. They didn’t taken money from govt. They did, however, have to take seriously govt’s constantly changing, growing and costly regulations.


    • I didn’t want to be too inflammatory, but the government regulations are an issue for most small businesses. One nice thing about Bill fixing my roof is no permits are required. He is a relative. I expect someday you will have to obtain a permit to help a relative. Irksome.


  3. Neighbors like Cathy are solid gold. For years I golfed with a Mormon guy who brought us gifts of veggies from his garden many times. He’s one of the best friends any of us ever had.


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