When Do You ‘Put Your Affairs in Order’?

The Quippery

Unless your Doctor has given you notice that your ‘Best Before Date’ is rapidly closing in on your ‘Expiry Date’, you might not have thought about the most important thing you can do for yourself now AND leave for your loved ones when you depart this world.

This important thing costs no more than a sheet or two of paper, but it is priceless. It is a List of All the Things you know now – but might not remember later. It is a list of things the Executor of your Estate won’t know until they have rifled through your desk, file cabinet and all sorts of places obvious and obscure – so that they can wrap up your estate and deliver it to your rightful heirs.

Think about this: Do you keep your documents in obvious locations like your desk, file cabinet or a shoe box under the bed? Does your family know you also stash important papers in a fake cabbage (or lettuce) in the fridge, a former box for fish cakes in the deep freeze, a secret cubby hole, a hidden safe, behind a trap door, or in a plastic case under a paving stone in the garden?

The QuipperyOur Experience: The Car Guy’s Dad passed on to the Great Fishing Hole of the Beyond a few months ago – without making The List.  The Car Guy is the Executor of this relatively simple Estate and fortunately he knew that the Original of the Will was in a safety deposit box – but he didn’t know which Bank owned the box nor where the keys were kept. That was just the beginning of what The Car Guy didn’t know.

Fortunately, The Car Guys Dad kept just about everything in a desk and file cabinet (and a Safety Deposit Box that the Bank won’t release the contents of until some unknown date in the future). It  took weeks to sort through all the documents, make a list of  possible assets and trace accounts back to their source to see if they were still active. Multiple layers of Government, Banks and Financial Institutions had to be contacted. Each of them required a large number of detailed and correctly filled out forms.

The whole process is like doing a Jigsaw Puzzle, except you don’t know how many pieces there are and you don’t have the box lid to see what the picture is going to look like. This experience has been the incentive for us to make our List of Things our Executor will need to know. It has been a good motivational exercise that has encouraged us to reassess what we are responsible for, and what we can get rid of. If you are similarly motivated, here are some things for you to consider, roughly in order of when your Executor will need the information:

The Basics: Full Name (‘Fishin’ Fred isn’t going to be good enough); Birth Date and Place (somewhere ‘down East’ before the crash of the stock market’) is just a bit vague; Location of all government issued documents and the ID numbers.

Burial or funeral instructions – that aren’t in your will.

The Family: Names and Contact numbers for all Immediate Family; Parent’s full names, where they were born; Spouse – Full name and location of the original marriage certificate.

Government, Career, Financial Information: List Company Names, Policy or Account Numbers, and Contacts for: Employment, Pensions or benefit plans; Health and Insurance plans; Government Insurance and benefits; Income tax documents; Bank and Credit Cards; Investments.

Real Estate: Properties you own; Loans and Mortgages; Utility companies you have accounts with.

Affiliations: Groups, associations, memberships, newspapers, magazines and all those things that will have to be redirected or cancelled.

Online: Internet accounts and passwords.

Wrap it Up: list all the places where you keep documents and valuables. Explain what is in those places. Summarize  your assets and liabilities.

That is it! It will take some time to gather this information, but it will be as valuable to you now as it will be to your family when you pass on!

Have you been Executor of an Estate? Do you have a secret hiding places? Have you made a List?

 

Crabapple

If you have a Crabapple Tree in your yard, you know there can be such a thing as too many crabapples. If you offer your crabapples to the local wildlife –  deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, bears, raccoons or coyotes for instance –  you won’t ever have to deal with too many crabapples. You might end up with wild life problems, however…

I planted six Purple Spire Columnar Crabapple trees a few years ago. This year we harvested the three crabapples you see in this photo. Too many crabapples might not be a problem for some time.

Plant Profile
Common Name: Purple Spire Columnar Crabapple
Scientific Name: Malus x ‘Jefspire’
Hardiness: to Zone 3
Growth: Purple foliage; full sun; 10 to 20 feet tall (8 meters); 5-10 feet wide (2.5 meters); columnar form; slow growing
Blooms: Sparse pink flowers in spring.
Fruit: Flavorful but often very tart
Origin: A seedling from the controlled cross ‘Thunderchild’ and ‘Wijcik made by Dr. David Lane of the Summerland Research Station in British Columbia

If you plant crabapples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
– Author Unknown –

Mountain Ash Berries

Sorbus genus

Mountain Ash Berries

The Mountain Ash tree is a member of the Sorbus genus. The fruit is not only safe for humans to eat, it is a favorite of many types of birds. Mountain ash berries hang on the tree well into the winter, making it a good source of cold-weather bird nutrition.

In Celtic and Norse folklore, the Mountain Ash was called a Rowan or Witchwood tree because it was believed they had magical properties.

frost

If you have read the Harry Potter books, you might remember that Rowan Wood was prized for making wands.

It is commonly stated that no dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world.
– Mr. Ollivander, Harry Potter books –

This site about Wand Woods was of particular interest to me because the Red House woods not only have a Mountain Ash tree, they have numerous other trees that are good for making wands: several apple trees, many aspen, dogwood, larch, pine, poplar, spruce and willow. If I was inclined to start a wand making business, I would have lots of wood to choose from.

Have you ever started writing a post and found you headed off in a direction that was entirely different than where you started going? So it was with this post, which was simply going to be about photo filters that blur, add textures or shift colours. I thought I’d add the Latin name for the Mountain Ash tree and before I knew it, I had found sites about the many uses for the berries and, of course, wand making… and witches.

Most people think witches are a coven of lesbians dancing naked in the forest celebrating the semen stolen from imprisoned hypnotized males, which they then use to inseminate one another using turkey basters in order to create a legion of demon babies. Well, that’s only part of it. We are also active in community outreach programs.
– Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, a satirical novel by comedians Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert –

Well of Lost Thoughts – 2017

The QuipperyWhen I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them,  I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

How Cold was our Christmas this Year?
“On Boxing Day, extreme cold warnings were issued for a section of Canada stretching from the Alberta/B.C. border all the way to the St. Lawrence River. That’s a swath of Canada roughly 3,500 km wide.” from the National Post: Mars and the North Pole are warmer than Winnipeg

It was -30C (-22F) here at the Red House on Boxing Day (December 26). It takes a lot of fuel to heat our country in the winter – renewable resources are not going to be able to provide that much energy in the near term. In the meantime, we depend on fossil fuels. This video by Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, (filmed near Devon, Alberta on May 30, 2004) is a favourite for some of us who depend on this industry. The Car Guy will attest to the accuracy of the terms used in this song.

On the Topic of Jobs Where you Get Dirty
Mike Rowe has dedicated his life to making ‘work’ cool again. He recognizes and tirelessly promotes, the need for education programs for trades people.

We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.
– Mike Rowe –

Mike Rowe – You’ve Got to Make Work Cool Again

The Piano Guys – This is Your Fight Song
I first heard The Piano Guys at a friend’s house in Arizona this past spring. The group, who are from Utah, decided to perform at the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017. That caused a lot of controversy, but the ‘Guys’ explained “We don’t feel right limiting our positive message only to people that believe or act the same way we do.”

Christmas Joy
I am not a devout anything when it comes to religion. This has been quite useful as I traveled the world and visited churches of many faiths, listened to their music and read their history and stories. In keeping with this time of year  and the Christian traditions of many parts of the world, here are some videos that are fun:

Christmas According to Children

From England – Marks and Spencer Videos – lots of interesting stories, including this one from last Christmas:

Human Rights, Animal Rights and Plant Rights
A Dissertation on Plant’s Rights by Cowboy Poet Baxter Black DVM .

Last, but not least our Canadian airline, WestJet Puts the Fun Back into Travel

Deer readers, my gnu years resolution is to tell you a gazelleon times how much I caribou you! Sorry. Bad puns. Alpaca bag and leave.
– Greg Tamblyn –