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When the Founding Fathers of our great state were looking for a state capitol, they had a short list of requirements. It needed to be big, it needed to be pretty and it needed to be close to some live music. Apparently, the old campfire harmonica player was getting on everyone’s last nerve.

My lovely bride had just gathered a collection of beautiful seashells down by the seashore. She knows all about hermit crabs, so before keeping one of her treasures, she made sure to check for occupancy first. She looked inside each shell, even tossing a “Hello. Anybody home?” inside the front doors.

The first time I took someone golfing with me who wasn’t actually a golfer, I loaded my daughter Jaime, then around 4 years old, into a golf cart with me as I headed out for a round. My birthday is in May, and I’d gotten the round as a gift.

I’ve been around long enough to witness a ton of fashion and other trends as they’ve come and gone.

You’ve probably heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Poor ol’ Ebenezer Scrooge. Just minding his business, doing his thing (making everyone around him miserable) when out of nowhere he gets a visit from his dead buddy Jacob Marley. The dead dude’s wrapped in rattling chains, speaking in that weird voice dead people use in the movies while warning Scrooge of what’s about to be a real bad night.

Through the opening in the tree line, I see more cars pull into the yard. A mix of adults and kids climb out and join the assorted noisy clumps outside and inside my house. I lost track of how many people are here for Thanksgiving, but the three turkeys defrosting in the fridge all week suggest ... many. I’m OK with that, especially after the last two years, but I also need a bit of peace before entering the mix. And a cup of cleavers tea.

I’m the only one who hunts this pond. Everyone else gets a bit creeped out by it staring back at them with hundreds of eyes. Fritz, my black lab, is the only one that’ll join me in my blind. He doesn’t seem to mind the weird seedpods of American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) swaying in the cool wind, each filled with a dozen unblinking, eye-like nuts. He smells the scent of ducks on that wind and is vibrating in anticipation. The cold water beneath the gray sky is paradise for him, especially when he’s swimming back to shore through those lotus pods with a duck in his gentle mouth.

Even if your vehicle has reliably transported you and your loved ones around your neighborhood, a road trip is a bigger commitment — and the trip can put a lot of strain on your vehicle. While you may get your oil and other fluids changed regularly, a mechanic should look at your car before you hit the road.

One of the rewards of foraging in the July heat is finding the summer’s first ripe ground cherries (Physalis genus). From their name you’d expect them to have a fruit-like flavor, and you wouldn’t be too far off. However, being related to tomatillos, the flavor can best be described as a sweet tomato. These small, husked, wild tomatillo-like fruit like to grow near, but not in, water. Seek them out along the un-mowed banks of streams, creeks, drainage ditches and irrigation channels.