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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Monday, August 27, 2012

Flash Fiction: Sunshine

 raymond alexander kukkee

Sunshine splattered on  grass and worn sandy paths interrupted by fluttering shadows of leaves.  Echoes of children's voices crossed the playground  fleetingly, staccato, sharp, and persistent in the warm air. 
"Time to go and play" he said out loud, "Mommy won't mind".  George said, reaching for  the latch on the gate.
"Tommy will be there, and  Billie,  all the kids, to play baseball ", he smiled, pushing the gate open.
"Be there in a minute, boys!" he shouted.
"No baseball today George!  You're 96 today, we're having a party!" the pretty nurse said, pushing his wheelchair into the bright sunshine.


At exactly 100words, "Sunshine"  meets the 100 word count limit of  M3's  Flash Fiction Challenge .

Is that Incoming I hear?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flash Fiction: Desire

 raymond alexander kukkee

"You'll not be leaving whilst breathing"  the voice said.  Heavy breathing echoed in the empty white  galley, a harsh, rattling fight for air.
"Nothing to say?" 
" It's disgusting," he gasped,  "... is it the only way,....the gagging, the choking? "
"It's  final, you chose,  nobody cares".
 Stale air whistled as it was exhaled.
"You made  choices, your desire for evil, now pay"  the voice said,  "That's hardball".
 "You'll not be leaving with air in that sick rack you call a body.  Now be a man."
 The  sickening rattle ceased, quieting the heaving galley with silence and salt water.

'Desire'  -with a word count of  99,  was inspired by Red's  M3 Flash Fiction Challenge. The word limit was 100 words.

Is that Incoming I hear?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Drum

by raymond alexander kukkee

"I want that " the  four-year old said, poking about  in the pantry. Packages rattled.
"This too",  he said.  Baking supplies collected quickly on the counter.
Pointed out with the long wooden spoon,  nuts, raisins and chocolate chips were picked out in a flash
 "Just in time! he said, beating on the lid of an empty tin.
" Look what I found! The secret ingredient!"  
I shook my head.. "It's empty".
"A drum!...You mix,  I drum,!"  the little curly-headed one said, laughing, banging loudly on the  tin can.  Instant Migraine. The secret ingredient.


Flash fiction  inspired by Red's M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.   The Drum has a word count of  95.  The  limit for August was  100.

Is that Incoming I hear?  

Another Star in the night: John Angus Carter

I am sad to report to my loyal readers here at Incoming Bytes that  the world has been diminished with the passing of another  good man.

John Angus Carter passed away earlier this week. I had not heard from John for a few days, --which was uncharacteristic for the John Angus Carter  I knew well.  We communicated by messenger, chat, or email almost every  day for several years.

 I received the startling news by email yesterday from another of his friends.
  John was an American  and a  resident of Barkhamsted, Connecticut.

John Angus Carter  R.I.P. August,  2012

John Carter  was a  fellow writer, blogger, and the author of hundreds, if not thousands of articles.  He was, without exception, perhaps one of the most prolific and knowledgeable people I have ever had the honor to befriend and learn from.  With an unbelievable capacity to not only learn, but to listen and teach,  John was an intellectual giant and no less than a genius in more ways than one.

John's amazing blog 
 John's fascinating, and informative blog 'Goldminingandprospecting' became highly successful rapidly by any standard, garnering by  last count, over 260,200 hits --and that was only one of his blogs.
 Being a graduate geologist was only part of it;  John was always willing to share information on any subject, whether it was politics,   religion,  the application of geopolymers,  global plate tectonics, gold deposits, prospecting secrets and methods,  environmental matters, photography,  mineral specimens or  subduction zones and Cameron's Line.
Gold deposits all over North America and those worldwide were the primary topic of  John's gold blog.  He was actively working on a book "East Coast Gold" which was to be launched in October 2012.
In our many discussions, virtually all topics of interest were tackled and discussed.    John was intrigued with the potential of life --and kept himself informed in matters technology, engineering of all kinds, political matters; any and all subjects of global interest. In addition to being a writer and blogger, John was an environmental consultant, an aerial photographer, geologist, mining consultant,  entrepreneur and the quintessential optimist.  One of his favourite says was "We shall see what we shall see !  usually expressed as  WSSWWSS!

His sense of humor was priceless, his instincts about people were virtually flawless,  and his powerful thirst for knowledge and empathy for mankind revealed the unwavering  heart of a unique, solid man. John always, without exception, spoke kindly and fondly of his friends, associates, and past acquaintances. John was  many things, but  above all else,  he was a treasured friend.

My world somehow seems smaller with John's passing, but in retrospect-- he would be the first to deny that --for his was an endless vision, an inspiration  to be emulated. John  is now another star in the night.
 I will miss him. 

 Rest in peace, John Angus Carter. It was an honor to know you---and you will not be forgotten.  

Is that Incoming I hear? 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Door

 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

The old Hay mow Door
The door swung in the wind, flailing mercilessly, banging erratically and loudly, keeping him awake.
"Damned door!" he pulled the pillow over his head and tried to go back to sleep, but quit trying. He got up and pulled his  boots on. It was raining.
"Good grief!" he said.
 He climbed up to the hay-mow . He reached  down for the door but slipped on the wet timber.
"Damned door! " he yelled on the way down.
 "Good thing the hay-wagon was still loaded " he told his wife as she handed him a cup of coffee at breakfast. 


"The door" was created for Red's  M3 Flash Fiction Challenge. The August word limit is 100 words.  "The door" barely squeaked in under the wire at  99 words.

Is that Incoming I hear?

 photo credit  www. flikr.com

The Call

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee


"You try it"  Mikey said, looking at the gooey stuff. It was like thick soup.
He  stirred . It was cold.
"No, you try it",  Perkins squinted at it. The brown stuff was flat as  pancakes.

"I'm allergic to peanuts" Mikey said,  " I better not, I had it for five years now, is there peanuts in it?" 

"I dunno" said Perkins. 

"You make the call" Mikey said.
 "Here's the bread".  He handed Perkins a slice of white bread and a knife.  He slathered the stuff on his own, folding it in half.
"Make the call now! He took a big  bite.
He gasped and grabbed his throat. His eyes rolled, struggling for air.
Perkins  pretended to  dial 911. 'Operator? Help!!"

Mikey fell back gasping.
Mikey's  mother clapped.  "Chocolate syrup, boys, no peanuts in that. "
 "Good practice, boys! Perfect!"


"The Call"  was inspired by Red's  M3 FlashFiction Challenge and with a w.c. of 139, squeaks nicely into the July limit of  150 words.

Is that Incoming I hear? 

A Sign of Understanding

 by raymond alexander kukkee

"We have an understanding then,  you and me.", Old Jake said, adjusting the throttle valve on the carburetor.  The motor shook roughly.    I watched.  He shook his head.

"You and me, we get along just fine, don't we?  He made another adjustment, tapping the side of the carb,  listening for just the right sound.
He took the long, fine-bladed screwdriver and bent the throttle cable  connector back into position and tightened the clip.
"That ought to do it."  he said.  "You'll be fine now."

He pointed, twisting his hand  to the right, as if he was holding a key.

I started the car.  It fired first time.  Jake looked at me and nodded. He signed me. "Good! ", he said.
He patted the car on the hood.  He signed.  "We have an understanding, you and me".   

  At 137 words, "Understanding" easily meets the word count requirement of Red's Flash Fiction Challenge July limit of 150 words.

Is that Incoming I hear?

photo credit  www.edupics.com

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Idea

by  raymond alexander kukkee

Lilies    (c)  r.a.kukkee 2012

The three popular girls swaggered down the sidewalk chattering  like chickens scrabbling for tossed corn. Curvy  denims wagged happily as they passed gawky boys.
"I have an idea! "  
Ears perked up. Lisa was the quiet one.
"Let's go to the limestone quarry and go skinny-dipping".

"Skinny-dipping! We can't do that! Samantha said solemnly. She rolled her eyes.
 "Why not?  Are you boys listening? "Lisa  called out, teasing wickedly.
"Boys?  No.... I have a better idea..." Samantha giggled.
Lisa smiled smugly, admiring some lilies. 

"The Idea" is flash fiction inspired by the  M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.  The limit for July is 150 words.  "The Idea" easily meets Red's  challenge with 85 words.

Is that Incoming I hear?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Vise

by  raymond alexander kukkee

"Your vice,  boy,  --your marginal propensity to  theft -- lead to your appearance in front of this court! " The judge peered over his black-rimmed bifocals. 

"Yes, your honour"  he said meekly, scuffing the floor with his sneaker. He was ashamed.

Blacksmith's  Leg Vise

"You will return the Smithy's vise you have stolen, and  tools. I hereby commit you to 52 weeks of labour at the blacksmith's shop to learn the fine art of Smithing." the judge said.

"Thank you, your honour. I couldn't  afford the apprentice program...".
The judge winked.  
 " Minor,  age 14!... No record!"

 Next case!"

"The Vise"  is a work of flash fiction inspired by M3's Flash Fiction Challenge.  Only 96 words,  it easily meets the July word limit of 150 words.

Is that Incoming I hear?


by r.a. kukkee

*Conefower (Echinecea

Her knees creaked almost as loudly as the rocker when she got up to answer the door. She shuffled across the waxed hardwood, pausing to peek through the Irish lace at the side window. 

  "I hate company" she whispered to herself.
 She could not see his face.  The visitor studied the pink Coneflowers  by the step.  She hesitated, then opened the door cautiously.

"Why hello there, Sarah, ", the old man said, "the butterflies love your Coneflowers"
She gasped and clasped his hand to her breast.  Her hands trembled as she smiled.
 "Robert, oh, Robert...I thought you would never come!"
" I got your letter a few weeks ago, I was in England,  I knew you would change your mind and marry me."   He put his arms around her.
"No, Robert....it's the cancer, my time has run out. I...need you to help me die."
He cried.


"Company"  was inspired by the M3  Flash Fiction challenge. The word limit is 150 words. 
 "Company" is 147words.

Is that Incoming I hear?

*Photo by r.a.kukkee

The Age of Light

The Age of Light

The Age of Light

Light flickered on cold stone  as the wizened, bent man slowly pulled the wooden door open. Ancient wooden hinges creaked, timeless sound echoing into the darkness above. He painfully wound his way up the worn circular stairway, his shadow chasing  bats awakened  with each step.  

The top door opened silently, bitter cold wind drawing tears as he poured the oil.
Flame from the torch of the  light-bearer sputtered, then  flared, sending the message of peace across the land.


"Light& Peace"    is  'Flash Fiction'  inspired by M3's  Flash Fiction Challenge. The word count limit for this challenge is 100.  "The Age of Light"   is 78 words. 

Is that Incoming I hear?  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Garlic Capers: The Genuine Gusto of Garlic?

 Garlic update


Remember these? 

Garlic scapes are tall this year.  Amazingly, some of  ours grew over 6' high-- and the florets and  bulbils  are quickly developing.  See these?  They grew from a variety of garlic that offers larger bulbs than normal.   Yours may be different in appearance;  in our seed catalogs earlier this spring there were over **20 varieties of garlic offered .
Immature Garlic florets with bulbils

It won't be long before we get to plant the  'little bulbs'  or bulbils. It is no longer necessary to buy garlic 'seed'. 

 Note the bulbils  must be allowed to fully ripen for the best growth performance when planted .

 After the skin on the florets begins to dry,  splits,  and the bulbils begin to ripen, it is time to collect them. Cut the scapes long, let them air-dry them carefully for a few days or a week.  When dry, you can cut off the florets, separate the bulbils and plant them.

These bulbils  in this photo will be the  'seed'  or starters for a whole new generation and crop of  top-quality,  organically grown  garlic.  
 The largest of the bulbils --like the beauties below-will be dried , separated  and planted a couple or three weeks before the ground freezes hard. 
These bulbils are almost a half inch in diameter.

Planting them this fall will result in  some rounded garlic bulbs, (displaying no clove sections) next fall  which can be planted again, -- or garlic bulbs with clove sections --which can be divided.  Naturally, only the largest cloves will be replanted.

Two or three weeks after fall planting, if you happen to dig one of these bulbils up you'll see that a substantial root system has already  developed,  --which  give the garlic plant a great head start for growth in the spring. The root system goes dormant when the ground freezes hard.
 Ideally, for your area,  remember to plant garlic with just enough time to allow development of  roots without  surface growth before the ground freezes solid.    Why?
Top growth would simply die back when the ground freezes--setting the plants back and using up valuable energy from the bulb. 
Smaller floret bulbils  can be planted too, -- or simply  peeled and frozen for cooking  like any garlic clove.
While planting garlic bulbils,  don't forget that it's also the right time  to ripen and divide mature garlic bulbs you have harvested. Always be selective and  plant the largest cloves for a wonderful crop again next fall !

**Don't be surprised if there's another update on Garlic. Why?  We learn new stuff every day. So it goes with garlic, too!
At the Nolalu Market, a small, dedicated collection of growers and vendors sells  fresh organic produce, baking  and crafts every Friday evening.  Recently  I was fortunate enough to meet a new vendor that grows many varieties of garlic.  He has a list of   40 or more !! 
 I only have TWO types  under cultivation --- so far, that is!  

 Am I  missing out on the  potential genuine gusto of garlic  or what?  We'll certainly be remedying that situation!   The challenge is on!  How many varieties do we need?  As many as possible!

  More to come on that one for sure...more information, more varieties, and more gusto!  

Is that Incoming I hear ?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

am getting that  uneasy feeling ---again. It is that time of year.  It happens every year up here in NW Ontario, but somehow, it seems to have arrived earlier this year.  
Evenings and early mornings are becoming cool, dew is heavy.   Yes, it is a welcome relief in some ways-- from the extreme heat--most people will agree.  No matter,  I get the same feeling every year. ...Summer is ending, the end is in sight--even if it's still a few weeks away, the feeling that fall is already upon us has arrived--at least in the mind. 

Out there in the reality of the back yard, some leaves are indeed turning dull.  A few are even yellow.  Is it because of the stress from excessive heat all summer?  The land is dry in spite of rainfall. We thereby reason, but do not satisfy the uneasy mind.
Is it the imagination, or is it just  a perception, a 'feeling'?   Are our instincts that good?
Is it worry about woodpiles that need to be collected?  The sudden race to rescue and collect the traditional garden and field harvests from inclement weather on the way?  
Is it about survival? Is it fear of change, or is it about self-preservation?
 The urgent need to complete a building project?  Could it be buried echos of  dreaded school days surfacing from long ago, the  torture of school about to start again, the loss of idyllic summer freedom? That's a stretch, --albeit genuine stress recalled in the past.

 Is this year different, somehow?  Is the Mayan calendar of doom  right?   Do you know what I mean? 

The beavers down the road have build a huge dam on the creek to store food. Is that a sign of a difficult winter on the way?  Are we like other creatures in nature, like honeybees that instinctively must store food, in  bits and pieces?

--And by the way,  here's an interesting aside,  no wonder honey is good for the common cold.  Honey bees seem to love the lowly Coneflower, also known as Echinecea as much as butterflies do.  How about that?Are they stocking the medicine cabinet for the winter?

A honeybee on Coneflower (Echinecea)
Do you suppose honeybees get 'the feeling' as they go from blossom to blossom too?  

Perhaps  'the feeling' is just one of Mother Nature's unique, persuasive methods--to get us to work harder--and survive, -making us stronger.  NOT a bad thing.

Is that Incoming I hear?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Captivating Unknowns: Orchids?

the "Whitewood Orchid"

 Orchids of Northwestern Ontario

 by  r.a. kukkee

Here at Incoming Bytes sometimes it seems even the very concept of exotic flowers must belong elsewhere. We couldn't be more wrong-- Mother Nature is amazing, isn't she?

Admittedly, tender blossoms and the plants they are borne upon do not usually survive 'our kind' of extreme weather. In the flower gardens we tend to stick with the tried and true,  the indestructible black-eyed Susans,  Sweet Williams, Coneflowers, marigolds, and wild daisies.
 By contrast, delicate tea roses and orchids are perceived to be humid warm-climate plants,  heated greenhouse specialties that are "out of the question" or 'impossible' .  
  It really would not be surprising if flowers complained of off-season temperatures of -40F -- not uncommon in Northwestern Ontario for a couple of weeks or more in the long winter.

Does location make it impossible to have exotics?  No. Even in the wilds, the common " Pink Lady Slipper", a beautiful, delicate orchid, survives in Northwestern Ontario. 

We fearlessly like to believe  think nothing is impossible if you look in the right places at the right time.  It becomes more complicated when we realize that some orchids only blossom  every few years--and under specific conditions. Is that why we don't easily spot them?

I have found three specific flowers that offer unique  characteristics that are reminiscent of orchids.

Check this out!  I found this flower 3 years ago, and at that time I had never seen it in this locality.
  I  tentatively called it  the Whitewood Orchid- simply because there is no better name for this beautiful, and exotic, perhaps even rare flower.

Whitewood Orchid

The  small, creamy-white, less than half-inch blossoms  spring from individual bracts hosted by a single, tall flower stalk that bolts and grows from three or four leaves on the forest floor in a semi-shaded environs. The  habit and  presentation of this flower is similar to that of the common Phalaenopsis orchid.   The main flower spike varies from 7-10" tall with individual plants depending on location. Note the  single, tall flower spike and elongated leaves.  It is a beauty, is it not?

Whitewood Orchid

I made a new discovery this year--another orchid-like flower that has never been seen in previous years .  We have lived here for 33 years and have never seen this species before.  I wonder if the warmer summers have something to do with it?   Check this beauty out!

I have tentatively called this one the Whitewood Pink-fringed Orchid.   You can see why . The flower is similar to the Whitewood orchid, but pink-fringed--and it has completely different leaves.

Pink-Fringed Whitewood Orchid

And yes, it is small. Very small. The blooms are only  about half as  big as the "Whitewood Orchid" and the evidence is fleeting.   Check this out!  Look what we caught in the act, eating the evidence.  
 Now we know who eats this beautiful flower.  It must taste good.  The tiny beetle dining at the top  of the spike  in the photo below is about 1/16" long.Bon appetite!  Would you like fries with that?

 Pink-Fringed Whitewood Orchid  with beetle

Unfortunately, this one and only blooming specimen was trampled and broken by bunnies or Yogi bear between the time I first discovered it and got back to photograph it an hour later.
 I was very fortunate to be able to find the remains of the flower spike in the detritus---enough  to photograph, with a couple of blossoms.

   The leaves of this variety  are distinctively rounded.  There are also a couple missing!
 There were three or four leaves the same size as the largest one in this picture when this plant was still intact.  See?  There are also a couple of immature plant specimens close by.
Hopefully they will blossom next year.

Leaves of the Whitewood Pink-Fringed Orchid  ( Note the mature  big leaf and immature specimens)

As small as that unusual flower is,  in 2010  I discovered one even smaller.

 I called it the "Red-stemmed Spotted Orchid" because --you got it,  it is spotted.  The blooms are between 1/8" and 3/16"  across.  Very tiny, but exotic, aren't they?  It was very difficult to get this macro photo.

Whitewood  Red-Stemmed Spotted Orchid
Like the  rare Ghost orchid, the almost- transparent  Indian Pipe  --also found in this locality,  the Red-stemmed Spotted Orchid presents itself  only on a tall flower spike, without any visible leaves.
 2010 was  the first time we had ever seen this tiny, beautiful and unusual spotted flower as well.

The three stalks were carefully guarded in this location until they faded away naturally, hopefully to feed and preserve the plants.
Three  individual specimens of Red-stemmed spotted Orchids-- carefully guarded

Interestingly, about 20 years ago, an Indian Pipe, the Ghost orchid  was found about 40 feet from this location, but has not bloomed since that time.  Fascinated by exotic flowers,  we've been watching for it to return, but to no avail.  Yet, that is.
*unfortunately, my difficult, miserable and uncooperative internet system has not allowed me to find and add photos of the Pink lady-slipper  or the "Indian Pipe" at time of posting.

Well, that just about does it for orchid-like flowers in this neck of the woods.    I hope you liked them!  We're always on the lookout  for new ones! 
Have you discovered any indigenous wild orchids where you live?

Is that incoming I hear?

Photos by r.a.kukkee (c) 2012