Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kubota Scam

Every so often, a scammer tries to use Craigslist to make a bit of money. I've already posted about a horse trailer scam in May 2015. A lot of folks commented that they'd run into similar scams. Today my husband, who checks out farm equipment on Craigslist noticed an on the Lynchburg Craigslist that was just too good to be true—a Kubota backhoe, worth $20,000 for only $2,500, in Evington, VA.

Now, besides the way-too-low price, I noticed something else. The phone number wasn't a Virginia one. So I Googled a bit and found what looked like the same Kubota (with the same phone number) on the Morgantown (West Virginia?) Craigslist. Only this was a "KuBota."

The "LOader tlB dieSEL bAcKhOe KuBota HyStaT beautiful - $2500" was in New Salem. And the dirt it was digging was exactly like the dirt in Evington! Coincidence, or what?

A bit more Googling revealed the same tractor with the same phone number on the Cedar Rapids Craiglist, and this tractor was in Swisher. Not only did the ad have the same weird capitalization as the other two ads, but the tractor was digging the same black dirt as the other two. And doggone if the dead tree is just like the one in the first picture. Wow! What a coincidence.

Or maybe it isn't a coincidence. Maybe it's a just a scam. And that phone number—it's in Utah.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hay June 2016

It's been a good year for hay, and last week was perfect hay-making weather—dry, hot, and windy. Our hay isn't finished yet. The Brown Farm is still  in progress, but Polecat Creek and Smith Farm are done. Polecat Creek made 75 bales; Smith Farm 72.

Here are pictures of the point and front fields at Polecat Creek Farm and the front field at Smith Farm:



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Thursday, June 09, 2016


"Nature abhors a vacuum," the saying (attributed to Aristotle) goes. From my viewpoint, nature seems to want to fill in any empty spaces it finds. At least, that's what's happening around here.

We've had a hot rainy spring, so everything growable grew. I've had more health problems than usual, so I couldn't keep the flowerbeds in line the weeds whacked back, or the shrubbery trimmed. Here's what the front looks like:

The boxwoods are blocking the lower half of the windows. It's hard to see out. You can't even see the front porch.

The hemlocks should be narrower and pointy. Not round blobs.

In back, the patio is hidden by assorted vegetation.

Most of the deck is still visible, though.


But the steps leading from the  bottom driveway to the deck have vanished. You can see part of the handrail below.

The flowerbed beside the upper driveway is way overgrown. Even the big rock is partly covered. 

It's difficult to tell what's what.

At the end of the bottom driveway is the old gazebo, but can't see it for the overgrowth.

The dark area leads to its entrance. 

Beyond the old gazebo is what used to be my kale and mustard patch, but it got away from me. I'm letting it reseed itself before I chop back all the overgrown plants. 


Grapevines have covered the pergola in the lower yard, but you can see a bit of one of the benches at the right. 

 On the road, where the upper driveway begins, the mailbox and paperbox have all but disappeared.

There are more than two big rocks here, but some have been hidden.

You can barely see the really big rock on the other side of the driveway.

The gazebo beside the upper driveway is all but hidden. Seven years ago, this space was bare.

The brick walkway is covered in weeds.

Even from the side it's hard to tell the gazebo is there.

Eventually, I'll feel well enough to get the place looking civilized again. But it'll take a while.