Thursday, September 30, 2004

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #27: There are 12 months in the year. Which is your favorite? Give us one good reason why.

"And what is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days."  James Russell Lowell

June means school's out, vacations may be taken, calves are following their mothers out in the field.  The corn and soybeans are up and well started.  The trees are still a deep green.  Home gardens are in their prime, before the weeds take over.  June, the month of June bugs and fireflies:  My favorite!

Extra Credit: Which month comes in second?

July!!!  My birthday is in July, and Independence Day, which is a great holiday.  My son comes to visit from Georgia, and we have quite a family reunion.  Now that I think of it, it's a tossup as to which is my favorite... June or July.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

my visit with the orthopedist

The specialist gave me my options.  Here they are:

1.  a special brace to help take weight off my knee joint and keep me from twisting it.

2.  Arthroscopy - Arthroscopy of the knee, according to AAOS, was first performed in the late 1960s. If you have persistent pain or swelling of your knee, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend this procedure to relieve the problems. Arthroscopy allows the surgeon the opportunity to diagnose and treat knee disorders, according to AAOS. Using a pencil-sized device, called an arthroscope, small incisions are made into the knee. The scope transmits an image of your knee, which is projected onto a television screen. This clear view of the inside of the knee allows surgeons to find out what's causing your problem. Surgical instruments can also be inserted into other small incisions to remove or repair the damaged tissue. Almost all arthroscopic knee surgery, according to AAOS, is done on an outpatient basis.

3.  Total knee replacement

Seeing my confusion, she said if it were her, she'd try option #2.  She said the main risk with it is that it might not help.  I said, "Would I be able to work afterward without hurting myself?"  "You would need a special brace to protect your knee," she answered.  Turns out it's the same special brace as option #1.  So, although I can't see it helping me at all, I got fitted for one, knowing that I can use it if I go ahead with option #2.  I'll get it next Monday, probably (Total cost, $1,250, but insurance pays 90%).  I'm very negative on this... I do not expect it to work.  But at least I'll have it when I move on to my next option!  My sister-in-law had the arthroscopy, and it helped her for perhaps three months.  Then she got total knee replacement.  If it would get me by until July 17, 2005, I'd be fully vested on the 401K at my job, and that would be a good thing.

So, that's what's up with my knee.  I think I'll saddle up and go check the fire damage down at the cornfield, and forget my problems!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A big adventure with Blue

Because my knee has kept me from doing much lately, I've tried to take some long rides for exercise.  The painful part is bending my left knee enough to get my foot in the stirrup; after that, everything's fine.  Blue and I headed down to my favorite riding place, the Missouri River bottom.  I gazed at all the crops ready for harvest and looked across the river.  Then, riding along the levee, I noticed smoke in the distance... a lot of it!  Somehow, a cornfield had caught on fire, so I got in on the excitement.

Actually, a little more excitement than I would have asked for.  Blue handled all the smoke and fuss just fine when we rode by the fire.  Then we headed up the road that takes us out of the river bottom up the hill toward home.  Here's what it looks like... banks straight up on both sides of the road (this picture was taken several weeks ago):

We no sooner got to this part of the road than here came a fire truck/water wagon about 70 miles an hour, rattling and banging its way toward us, and us with noplace to go, really.  My previous horse would have sprouted wings and flown out of there if he'd had to, but Blue handled it well.  I patted his neck and told him what a good boy he was, and then I heard sirens coming toward us!  Now, this horse handles rough situations well, but I know better than to tempt fate.  So I dismounted and led him as far up the bank as I could while the firetruck approached.  The driver stopped the siren while they passed, and I was grateful.  There was another one right on his heels, and he, too, turned off the siren when he saw me standing there keeping my faithful steed back from the road.  All's well that ends well, and I was able to get back on Blue and ride on home.

I remember reading Uncle Wiggly stories to my grandson Arick when he was small; that old rabbit was always looking for an adventure, and usually biting off more than he could chew.  Today, I felt like Uncle Wiggly.

Leona (Lee)



Donna Wood, August 8, 1995

‘Way back in my younger days a bunch of us would sing and play,
We’d gather once a week in someone’s home.
With one banjo and five guitars, we all thought we were singing stars:
We took turns working on our golden tones.
Those were times I can’t forget.  My boyfriend played guitar like Chet,
And I would harmonize with all my friends.
We laughed and sang and had a ball; but one sweet voice outshone them all…
Oh, if I could hear Leona sing again.

Lordy, how that girl could sing; her voice would make the rafters   ring,
     And I was blessed to have her for a friend.
     I was just a foolish kid.  I prayed to sing the way she did,
     Oh, if I could hear Leona sing again!

She’d sing, “I done sold the farm”, and I’d have given my left arm
If I could just have sung it half as well.
Another song I still think of:  Together, we’d sing “Bye Bye Love”
And let that country music weave its spell.
The years that passed are twenty-nine; they tell me you can’t turn back time,
But how I’d love to open that old door.
I’d shut my mouth and let her sing; I’ll bet she’d still make rafters ring
If I could hear Leona sing once more.

I wondered why she didn’t go down to the Grand Ole Opry show,  
     Cause she was just as good as all of them.
     I pray that I don’t leave this world till I’ve once more heard that gifted girl…
     How I’d love to hear Leona sing again!

Rest in peace, Lee.  You weren't even 55.  I only wish we could have sung together one more time.  


These pictures were taken 10 years ago, the only time I saw Leona after 1967, I believe.  I had written the above song about her and sent the tape to her mom and dad; when she was here visiting from Illinois shortly after that, we briefly got together.    This is a person that I really never spent a lot of time with... we just shared a lot of jam sessions, back when I was single... but I feel there's a huge hole in my life now that she's gone.  Isn't that strange?  She was always an outrageously funny person, living on the edge.  I can't believe she's gone.  Dear Lord, it makes me so sad.

Monday, September 27, 2004

off work

First, I'll share something very special to me, given to me by my mom's sister, my Aunt Ruby when she knew she was dying of cancer.  My mom and I went to visit her in north Missouri, and she kept saying, "I wish I had something to give you."  Then she went into her bedroom and came out with a Walmart bag all wrapped around something.  "These were MY grandmother's ice cream dishes," she said proudly. 

You will notice the one on the lower right is a different pattern.  Anyhow, these were from my mother's grandmother, which means they are from the 1800's sometime.

An update on my gimpy knee situation:  I saw my doctor today, and he set up an appointment with an orthopedist for Wednesday.  He told me several things that might be done, although of course he doesn't know what the specialist will do.  We went by the hospital and picked up my MRI films to take along.  I'm off work this week  for sure, and will take next week as it comes. 

Everything else around here is going fine.  I gave Mandy a bath so she'd smell better, and now she's laying in the corner passing gas!  Geesh, if it isn't one stink, it's another.  I guess she just couldn't stand smelling good.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Here's a close-up of Nattie on Blue today.

Sorry Rachel, the picture's big.  But at least they can see my granddaughter!

Peaceful Sunday

My daughter asked me to reduce the size of photos I post here, so she wouldn't have to scroll across.  I did it, Rachel!  Here you see Natalie taking her second solo ride on Blue.  He did fine and so did she, but it made me a nervous wreck watching.  I fixed a nice big Sunday dinner... roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green rice, peas and carrots... and home-made apple pie for dessert, knowing my daughter's family would be here to help us eat.  So I was somewhat disappointed that my son-in-law, Kevin (a true appreciator of good food) was helping friends build a deck on their house.  However, we did have a fine time, and I sent plenty home for his supper.

Two days ago, I had decided to quit my job, since I can't work in the kind of pain I'm having.  However, I realized that I'd still have to do something about this problem, because I'm very much sidelined by it.  I can barely go up and down stairs; putting on jeans is a horrible experience, because bending my knee hurts so badly.  I can ride my horse, but it hurts like hell to get on him.  So, I will wait and see if something can be done before I do anything rash.  I love my job and I love spending my money and traveling; I can take a medical leave if I must.  I am going to explore all avenues to get mobile again.  I'm an active person by nature, and I do not like being a cripple.  I'm not so sure it's the arthritic knee giving me problems... maybe tendons or ligaments?  And I intend to find out for sure.  If I must live with pain, then I will.  But not without putting up a fight!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

dog party

My ex-daughter-in-law brings my 17-year-old granddaughter over, most weekends.  Usually they have their two dogs along.  Mandy is delighted!  It's someone to play with, you know.

That's a Shit-zu and a Pekenese... the Peke would rather not lower himself to playing with a mongrel, but Scrappy is glad to do the honors!

feeling better

After having a couple of days off, I'm feeling less pain.  Yesterday I went for a three-hour ride on Blue, which is always good therapy for both him and me.  Next week (six days to work) will tell the tale on whether I can hold down my job full-time for awhile longer; if it's too painful, rather than just quit right away, I'll try the part-time schedule and see if I can stand up to that.

When we bought this place, it was the house, a couple of outbuildings, and six acres.  Then the next-door neighbor, Tim (of the winery) decided to move on to a bigger place, and split his land so we could buy what was attached to the north of our property.  That took our land up to 42 acres.  It isn't really good farm land, for most of it ends in big ditches at river-bottom levels.  But there's some prime grazing on the top of the hill, and our house sits high and dry in flood-time, too.  This river bluff we reside on is, they tell me, wind-blown soil.  Hence, any stones or flint you find here was carried here.  When Tim owned the acres in back of us, he decided to farm what could be farmed, and plowed it all up for perhaps the first time ever.  He unearthed all sorts of Indian artifacts, and allowed a co-worker to walk the exposed earth in search of such loot.  The fellow found a treasure-trove of stuff.  When Cliff plows up land to re-seed pasture, I half-heartedly walk over it after a rain hoping to find an arrowhead or two.  Mostly, I find only the chips and pieces of flint left behind by those warriors of the plains.

Several years back, I had a couple of sows and a boar (male and female hogs, for the uninitiated) and raised a few pigs.  Hogs have a powerful nose, and can root out holes big enough to lay down in.  I went out to feed the sow behind our barn and she had unearthed two wonderful Indian tools of some sort.  These are the only real prizes of Indian artifacts that I've ever found.  Here's a picture of all my finds... those big ones are what my sow found.  The largest one is probably five inches long.

I like to hold those in my hand and think about how old they really could be. 

Thursday, September 23, 2004

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #25: Share a favorite story that features you and a sibling.

My sister was married at age 18, when I was not yet three years old.  I recall spending the night at her house many times, especially after she had her only child, Larry.  He was a chubby, placid child, and I enjoyed playing with him.  Later they moved 100 miles away to Kansas City, and I'd spend a week with them each summer. 

Once when I was very small, we were all going to a carnival together:  my mom said, "We can only afford for you to ride one thing; that's all."

"Then I'll get to ride three things," I told her.  "Sister will pay for a ride, Russell (my sis's husband) will pay for a ride, and you will pay for a ride."

I was right!

If I were to make a list of my most admired persons, my sister Maxine is at the top of the list.  She's a perfect housekeeper (and yet you feel comfortable in her house); she has lived an exemplary life; and has so much class, you would never guess she was my sister!  I love her dearly.  Last February my daughter and I visited her at her winter home in Texas for three days. 

Extra Credit: Need I say? Pictures, baby! Pictures from the past are good, but recent pictures of you and the siblings are just peachy, too.

 Here's a picture of me and Maxine at Padre Island during that visit.


(she's the slender, classy-looking one with shoes on)

My sister's natural mom died in childbirth having our brother (now deceased), and my mother raised her from the age of five on.  Although we're half-sisters, I couldn't think any more highly of her.  Thank God for my sister, and for her continued good health.  She doesn't even have high blood pressure, and has never been in the hospital for any medical condition.  She's 76, and I hope to keep her around for several years yet.

I've been to see the doctor

I received cortizone shots in each knee; I really can't tell that it's done a lot right now, which concerns me.  But I sure do appreciate the doctor (it's my regular doctor's day off, so his partner saw me) working me in.  I also left FMLA forms to be filled out, so I can miss an occasional day from work if the pain is too much.  If I don't get some relief, I won't be keeping the job anyway.  But I want to give this every chance to run its course.  I told Dr. that the Celebrex doesn't seem to be helping, and he prescribed 800 mg Ibuprofen; we'll see if that does better.  That's my health report.  Now to enjoy this time off.  There's a slight chance of rain, so I'll wait till tomorrow to ride Blue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

painful day, painful week... painful knees

Today was the most excruciatingly painful day with my knees I've ever had:  so much so, in fact, that I took a green sheet day off for tomorrow, and a vacation day on Friday.  I have an appointment with a nurse-practicioner tomorrow morning, and will discuss the whole problem with her.  I'm hoping the doctor can give me a cortizone shot in each knee, to get me by until the Syn-visc injections in October.  I'm also going to put in for FMLA, which would let me take off work when I'm in too much pain; my doctor will have to fill it out and sign it.  Today it was all I could do to keep from crying, at times.  I got through it by reminding myself that Christopher Reeves would dearly LOVE to feel pain in his knees and be able to limp along... and also, I told myself, pain never killed anybody.  Linda L. gave me a couple of prescription pain pills that took a little of the edge off and made me not care if I got any work done or not.  I was at the point where I'd have taken anything, just to get through the day.  Thank God, I now have four days to rest.  All day long I thought of quitting, but I'd have to give up so many fun things.  I hope I can get through a couple more years, till age 62.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

silly horse

Today while I was working, I was trying to decide what I'd do this evening... ride Blue, or take my quilt, and Mandy, back to the pasture to relax.  Then a stroke of genius hit:  Why not lead Blue out there too, and turn him loose to graze nearby?  He usually does his grazing (one hour or so a day) in a pen that's only an acre or two.  It ought to be a real treat for him to be turned loose in 40 acres to kick up his heels.

So, I gathered up my bookbag, clipped a leash on Mandy (so she wouldn't go join the neighbor kids on the way to the pasture), put the halter and lead rope on Blue, wadded up my quilt, and headed out... believe me, my hands were full!  The cows were near the cottonwood tree grazing, so I spread the quilt beneath that tree, turned Mandy loose, and then took the lead rope off Blue.  As I expected, he kicked up his heels and took off running... back to the pen where he always grazes!  And he put his head down and started grazing in his usual favorite place, where there's lots of white clover.  I gave it one more try... led him back near the cottonwood; only this time I turned him loose nearer the cows, in some clover, since he seemed to like it so well.  He grazed there for perhaps ten minutes, and then mosied back into the lot.  So much for HIS companionship.  Well, at least I had my books, and I did read a bit in both of them.

I bought that horse book at the Smithsonian last June, when I was visiting Joanna.  At least Mandy didn't desert me.

When we bought Blue, one of my husband's concerns was that most horses chase cows.  They'll run them into ditches or fences, and the results can be disastorous.  Well, it's just one more fault that my horse does NOT have.  Two of our cows, and the calves, were lying down near the gate, chewing their cuds.  But the other cow had found a friend:

It was a pleasant evening, but I'll just have to keep a lead rope on Blue if I want him nearby.

Monday, September 20, 2004

evening ride

I've made the three appointments for Synvisc injections in my right knee.  The first one isn't until October 8, so I have quite a wait.

I went for a wonderful ride tonight, the longest I've been on in a while.  I rode past the ghost farm, got down and led Blue across the rotten bridge so I could make sure he didn't step in the wrong place, and rode, as I often do, on the river bottom road.  Here's a view from Blue:

There are soybeans to the right and corn on the left, although it doesn't show.  The gold up ahead of us is corn, ready to be harvested, and the line of trees marks where the Missouri River is.  I let Blue have a couple of bites of corn.  He loved it.  On the way home, there's a horse I always let him say "hello" to.  Horses get acquainted by putting nostrils together and breathing one another's breath.

What a relaxing way to end the day.  Sometimes I feel like Roy Rogers and Trigger might be beside me:

Sunday, September 19, 2004

a nice family day

Well, I would have had the picture of a lifetime today... but my daughter didn't tell us until after the fact:  seven-year-old Natalie rode Blue, in his dry lot pen, ALONE.  Nobody was leading the horse.  She had the reins and was in control.  Of course Rachel, her mom, was keeping a sharp eye on her.  This is why I bought a horse... so everyone in my family who wants to ride, can do so.  I'm sure there'll be another time, and I'll get pictures for sure.  Meanwhile, I'm just glad it happened.  Meanwhile, here's a picture taken this afternoon in the pasture of our entire cattle herd (five animals) with my favorite cottonwood tree in the foreground.

It sits down in a hollow, so you can't see the trunk.  When there's a breeze, it makes the loveliest sound.

Sunday morning

Friday night we got rain... lots of it.  Our guage showed 2 and 6/10 inches when I woke up Saturday.  It seemed like it never stopped, the whole night... I'd wake up and the thunder was still rumbling. 

We went shopping yesterday, and didn't get home till after noon.  We picked 17-year-old Amber up on our way home... she spends most weekends here.  Rachel, Kevin and the girls came out, and Rachel made chili.  Cliff's sister and her husband also showed up, and Charlene rode Blue for the first time.  Judging by the big smile on her face coming back out of the pasture, she enjoyed the ride.  Here she is saddling Blue:

I never realize how tall my horse is until I see someone else putting a saddle on him!

I've been having to take shorter rides lately because, after a half-hour or so, my right knee has really been giving me pain.  Yesterday I bought a knee brace; we'll see if that helps when I ride.  I intend, this coming week, to make a doctor's appointment, and see about having Synvisc injections for the arthritis.  It works well for some folks, and not at all for others.  But now that I'm back to 40- to 48-hour work weeks, I'm in considerable pain all the time.  If I'm going to last another year and ten months on this job, I have to have some relief.  The cortizone shot helped, but only lasted about a month; and there's a limit on how many of those you can have.  Getting old is not for sissies!


Friday, September 17, 2004

the "ghost farm"

I don't usually use this format to share pictures, but there were so many, and I couldn't choose any favorites.  So, you get them all.  I hope you can get the same eerie feeling looking at the pictures that I got as I rode Blue past those old buildings. 

All is well

It's seemed like a long week to me, and I'm glad to finally see Friday night.  Cliff decided to take the day off, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out he was home.  I haven't seen him yet; he's out mowing in the pasture.  Mandy is here, acting as though nothing happened to her at all.  But she's spayed!  It cost $70, which is less than I thought it would be.  And Blue got a reset from his new farrier... $60, also cheaper than I thought.  I like these kinds of surprises.  I rode last night, and Blue and I discovered a sort of "ghost farm" that I ride past all the time, and didn't know existed (old Mrs. Danner's place, for the friends and relatives who know this area).  It's on the road I take to the river.  I knew there was a dilapidated old house there, but I'd never gone up the driveway; there's yet another falling-down house out back, and several barns and buildings, and even an old outhouse... and a tossed-aside tractor, all in the timber on a hillside.  I'll take my camera next time I go, and hope I don't get shot for trespassing.  I think all three of the old "river-rat" homesteads are going to be up for sale soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

rainy day in Missouri

I guess I'll go back to riding with Tracy next week.  She says she needs me, and who am I to deny someone that needs me?  She's the most fun, anyhow. 

I've spent time with my pets tonight.  I hadn't ridden this week because Blue's shoes were so loose, and I didn't want him to lose them completely.  But tonight, after his grazing time, I brushed him and combed his mane and tail.  He always seems to enjoy the attention.  Tomorrow he'll meet his new farrier. 

Cliff asked me to bathe Mandy, because tomorrow she goes to be neutered.  I thought this strange, at first:  I figured if she needs a bath before surgery, the vet would do it.  Then I realized Cliff just doesn't want a stinky dog in his car.  She's in her pen for the night now, and won't get breakfast in the morning.  So I probably won't bring her inside before work, like I usually do.  Cliff will take her at 8 AM, then come home just in time for Blue's shoeing.  I appreciate all the time he devotes to my pets, because he does it for me... not for them, and not for himself.  Maybe I'll ride tomorrow evening! 

I checked the 10-day forecast for Columbus, Georgia, which is near my son's home, and it looks like they're in for several days of wind and rain.  We got a nice little rain today, enough to get the pasture-grass that Cliff sowed Monday, growing. 

Christmas is coming:  I personally sent over 6,000 Christmas decoration items to the stores todayAnd I do feel it!


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

in the pasture again

Lying on my quilt today, I looked up to see puffy white clouds floating by and changing shapes rapidly.  It was very relaxing. 

Turkey vultures drifted above me on the air currents, but every time I'd turn the camera on to take a picture, they were out of range.  They are unbelievably ugly creatures close-up, but soaring in the sky, they're as graceful and lovely as any eagle.

Mandy found some interesting digging, and threw dirt all over my quilt.

On the way back to the house, we passed Blue, grazing contentedly.

What a lovely place God has given me, and what a great world in which to live.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

words & music by Carl G. Boberg and R.J. Hughes


Autumn is in the air

There's definately a feeling of fall in the air, even though the temperatures have been in the 90's.  Out in the pasture with Mandy yesterday, I noticed the black walnut trees are almost leafless; they're the first to shed their leaves.

They're loaded with nuts.  The squirrels should eat well this winter. 

The new farrier is coming to take care of Blue's feet Thursday, and Mandy gets spayed the same day.  Over half my check will go toward animal upkeep this week.  They're worth it, I suppose.

It's three weeks till the big races at Kansas Speedway, which means my son and his family will be visiting.  Our little town's fair is that weekend too, so I plan to buy plenty of tickets so the grandchildren can ride the few dilapidated carnival rides that will be here.  I intend to have a birthday party for all six of the grandchildren (and the step-grands) while the Georgia gang is here.  If Cliff and I go to Branson, it will toward the end of October.  I decided I was getting entirely too anxious right now, with company coming so soon; besides, it would be nice to go when the leaves are changing.



Sunday, September 12, 2004

Family day

I'm feeling pretty good now; we talked to a local Walking-horse breeder-trainer in town, and he's going to set us up with his farrier.  So, Blue will have shoes before long, good Lord willing.

My daughter's family was here today.  We barbecued, visited, watched a little football, and even had a hayride.  Natalie was our driver; for a seven-year-old, she does a great job.  Here she is at the wheel of the John Deere, pulling us on the wagon.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of Mandy riding with us.  She had to have help getting on the trailer, but seemed to enjoy the ride once we helped her up.

She's had her bike since two weeks ago, on her birthday, and has learned to ride quite well now:

Monica wanted the world to see the gap where she lost a tooth today; I told her it would not be a flattering picture, but she didn't care.  So, heeeeeere's MONICA!

Oh, and I have to share this picture, taken last night, of my favorite brother-in-law, Cliff's sister's husband.  He was worn out from two days spent at the Harley factory.

Isn't he cute?  We've often told Charlene that if she gets rid of him (he's not her first husband) she'll have to find some other family to join, because we're keeping Pat!  This man can make me laugh when nobody else can.

One day off

I came home from work yesterday to find Mandy in her pen at the barn and Cliff gone in the car.  There's a tractor show this weekend at Booneville, and I figured maybe he'd gone there.  He checked in soon enough, though, and told me he was helping out again at the winery.  A couple of hours later, his sister Charlene and her husband, Pat, showed up here in biker clothing, do-rags and all.  They've ordered a Harley that they'll take possesion of in late October, and they'd been at the Harley plant testing the products.  There's some sort of two-day open house there where any licensed motorcyclist can take a turn on any of their cycles, and these two had spent the day riding everything available.  Since Cliff was at the winery, and Charlene and Pat hadn't had "the tour" there, we went over and watched the last load of grapes for 2004 getting crushed.  We were all a bit hungry when we came back here, so I broke into my stash of Nathan's hot dogs that my friend, Joanna, send UPS for my birthday.  I've been really hoarding them in my freezer to make them last, but I knew it was a good time to share.  (And I still have six left, I think.) 

There's no early Church service today, and since this is my only day off this weekend, we'll play hookey.  There'll be a run to Wal Mart when Cliff's awake, and I'm still making phone calls searching for a farrier to shoe Blue.  I may ride him later, loose shoes and all.

Happy birthday (yesterday) to my daughter-in-law in Georgia!  We'll be seeing you before long, Deb.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11


© copyright Donna Wood


September 10, 2002

Our dreams of peace were shattered on a clear September day

When confiscated airplanes stole our innocence away.

Our prayers and ceremonies won’t undo the damage done,

But I hope all of us have learned some things from nine-one-one.

I’ve seen the face of terror, and I have just this to say:

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed; we only have today.

Be kind to those around you. Live and love, and have some fun…

That’s all a part of lessons I have learned from nine-one-one.

I want to hate the terrorists who did those awful deeds,

And yet, the Bible keeps insisting love is what they need:

Lord, help me forgive them for the awful deeds they’ve done.

Forgiveness is a lesson that I learned from nine-one-one.

This year, we’ve done some extra things. I bought a new guitar.

We’ve taken some vacations. I have traveled near and far.

I seen some country concerts: life is sweet, and too soon done,

And I intend to live it! I learned that from nine-one-one.

I’ve seen the face of strangers who would risk their lives for me:

I watched them last September, right on nation-wide TV.

I thank God for their courage: that can never be undone:

Thanksgiving is another lesson learned from nine-one-one.

They say that nothing we go through is totally a loss,

Although a lot of lessons have been bought at dreadful cost.

If we’ll just hold our heads up, then our victory’s begun,

And day-by-day, we’ll see more lessons learned from nine-one-one.


Friday, September 10, 2004

relaxing in the pasture

Three times this week after work, I've gone back about an eighth of a mile in our pasture, found a shady spot, spread a quilt, and relaxed.  I really have no peace and quiet in our yard:  there are so many houses around us, it's like living in town.  And I have to be alert all the time to make sure Mandy doesn't hear the neighbor kids playing and run off to join them.  But back on "the point" as we call it, the only temptations for a pup are grasshoppers and dead sticks to chew on and chase.  I semi-doze between rounds of playing fetch with my pup.  I remember as a child, I loved to lie on the grass looking up at the trees and the sky.  I still do!

I took a few camera shots from my quilt today so you could see the world from my relaxing point of view.

All I take on my jaunts is a quilt, my camera, the dog, and my Bible.  Sometimes I read it, sometimes I don't.  But I like having it with me.  Mandy would love to chew on it, but she has to settle for the quilt.


crunching bills

I sat down with the checkbook this morning and saw that perhaps I will be able to pay bills ahead of schedule a bit, and have money for Branson in a week or two.  Of course, it's time for the dreaded propane truck to come and suck up about $300, but I can still see a possibility; it helps that I'm back to 40-hour work-weeks again.  Here's hoping! 

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Life goes on...

Somehow, the anniversary of the Twin Towers disaster looms in my mind, and I'm rather depressed.  I tend to get Seasonal Affective Disorder (known as S.A.D.) in wintertime, but I've pretty much beat it the past couple of winters.  I don't think this has anything to do with the seasonal thing.  It's just that the world seems to be in such a turmoil.  It's amazing the number of people I know who have problems with anxiety or panic attacks, and I can't help but think it's the constant shadow of terrorism and war.  Even when I'm having a wonderful day, I feel the injustice and savagery in the world weighing heavy on me.

I have a couple of little nagging things bugging me:  for one, my grandson sold a car to a friend of his and never bothered to locate the title and give it to the boy.  That's turned into a mess, and it depresses me that my grandson won't get on the ball and fix the problem... that, and the fact that he won't hold a job.

Then there's the problem of a farrier:  the older fellow who's been shoeing Blue has retired, and Blue needs attention RIGHT NOW!  It's a real problem to find someone who will come to your house for just one horse.  My horse's shoes are loose, and I can see my rides on the country roads ending soon, if I don't find someone.  It isn't like they don't make a fortune at the business... I've been paying $80 every six weeks, and the job can be finished in a half-hour.  And Blue is very well-behaved; he hands the guy a foot almost as soon as he approaches.

The other depressing thing is so trivial I'm ashamed to mention it here.  I had hoped my husband and I could make it to Branson one more time before my overtime starts, but it appears that the only way I could summon up the funds to go would be to use a credit card.  And I won't do that.  Either we'll come up with some extra cash, or I'll be patient and wait till next spring.

Now on the bright side:  All our bills are paid on time; I have a wonderful horse and a dog that makes me laugh a lot;  My husband is madly in love with me and spoils me rotten; my children and grandchildren are healthy and happy; the weather lately has been PERFECT; I like my job, and the time goes by fast.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

written by Horatio G. Spafford

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

A poem I wrote today



© copyright September 7, 2004

The day was quite amazing, and the weather, so ideal

That it seemed like a dream I had, instead of something real.

I saw the evening nearing, and I felt a little blue

To think that such a perfect day was very nearly through.

Today at work, I thought about my perfect day again,

And realized that all good times must, somehow, reach an end.

And then I thought of soldiers in a distant, foreign land

Who'd love to see my little farm, instead of endless sand.

How I wish that I could share my perfect day with them:

The breezes in the cottonwood sound almost like a hymn!

The roadside plants that we call "weeds", adorned with yellow flowers...

I'd share them with our soldiers, if I just had magic powers.

How can I enjoy such peace, when they must fight a war?

Happy times almost make me feel guilty, any more.

Nine-eleven changed the world in such a real way,

And made me realize that I'm not guaranteed today.

Every time I laugh, I think of young folks overseas.

I almost hear their voices, upon every autumn breeze.

Back here in Missouri, as the summer turns to fall,

I only wish those soldiers knew that I pray for them all.

Monday, September 6, 2004

What a Day

This was a day that was so perfect, I could cry that it has to end.  I rode Blue this morning and then again this evening; I went for a walk in our pasture with Mandy... she is still exploring our pond:

This evening Blue and I rode through water standing in the bean fields on the river bottom, and weeds higher than his head.  I was so proud of him for forging ahead.  We saw this field of corn, ready to harvest:

We saw wild flowers along the roadside:

It was the kind of day I dream about.  God is good.  If it all ended tomorrow, I'd say I'm still blessed above everybody I know.

Nice peaceful weekend

I've managed to get a ride in for three days straight, although yesterday's ride was brief; Cliff and the boys were disking and harrowing in the pasture, and I saddled Blue up and hopped on in my shorts and barefoot; you can't go far that way without rubbing blisters on your ankles.  Blue and I went alongside the tractor for awhile, and Cliff happened to have the camera with him.

We love apples, but I sure got tired of paying $1.50 a pound for them; and the taste leaves something to be desired when you buy them in the store, too.  Today we traveled east a few miles and picked up some Galas at the orchard.  It's a beautiful day for getting out and doing that sort of thing.

As you can see, they were doing a steady business.  I got a bushel of lovely Gala apples for $15.50, and a bag of Red Delicious for $5.

It's been a great weekend, and it'll be tough going back to work tomorrow, knowing I'll be working next Saturday.  But I'll manage, and I need the extra money anyhow:  My dog needs spaying, and my horse is about due for some new shoes.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

lazy Sunday

Wouldn't you like to know what these animals are thinking?

I walked out in the pasture with Mandy today.  She loved exploring, chasing bugs and leaves, and seeing frogs jump into the pond.  She even got up enough nerve to jump in herself, about belly-deep.  I don't think she's ready to try swimming yet.

Cliff worked at Tim's vineyard again, helping with the grape harvest.  Friday when we went over there, Tim was testing the grapes to make sure they were ready to pick.  I believe they picked Norton grapes today.

Anyhow, Cliff was able to come home and hook up to a disk, with a little help from his friends... notice the four-legged supervisor.

He has some pasture-mix seed he'll plant on this strip of ground he's been disking up all summer.  The tractor you see in this picture was supposed to be an investment:  He got a great buy on it, and the plan was to sell it for a huge profit.  However, he ended up getting awfully attached to it, and hasn't made a lot of effort to sell it.  Men and their toys!

Saturday, September 4, 2004

Under attack

Somewhere over that hill are houses, and one of the houses belongs to me.  That's the sun coming up this morning.  If you look closely, you can tell the corn is brown, and will soon be ready for harvest.

I hadn't taken an early morning ride for quite some time.  I left the house when it was still dark, expecting to enjoy a nice, cool morning and perhaps get some good pictures.

Unfortunately, I didn't take into consideration the mosquitoes down at the Missouri river bottom, which are as big as house-flies.  Blue's neck was crawling with them, the whole time we were out.  And I'd look my arms and hands and see a dozen "skeets" sucking my blood.  Yuck.  Oh well, autumn and winter will arrive before long, and there'll be no pesky, biting creatures to ruin our fun.  And no horseflies, face flies, and such.  And then we will own the River bottom, because the crops will all have been harvested, and we won't have to pick our way around the corn and soybeans.

I'm scheduled to work 40-hour weeks this month, except the last week of the month, when I may work 48 hours.  Then watch out!  My employers think we'll be working every Saturday through mid-December.  We'll see... their "tentative" schedules don't always pan out.  I think Cliff and I will try to slip away to Branson again later this month.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

silly pup

You can see what a mess Mandy makes in her little favorite corner of the kitchen.  Bits of chewed-up paper, and sticks she carried in from outside; throw rug all wadded up to her liking; and the Mountain Dew case pretty well chewed up too.  The bull is gone home now, so I took her for a stroll in the pasture last night and showed her our pitiful little pond.  She heard the "plop" of frogs jumping into the water as we walked by, but never could figure out the source of the splashing.

This mutt is working out well for me and Cliff.  It's hard to get a dog that suits my husband, but it appears we've done it.  There is, however, one problem:  Mandy is not good with small children.  She has a tendency to jump on them, and chase them, nipping at their heels (part Blue Heeler, you know).  We had a rather ugly incident with her chasing Natalie last Sunday, so now I'm watching her like a hawk when the kids are here.  Hopefully she'll grow out of some of her foolishness.

I hear I may have to work Tuesday through Saturday of next week; that's probably right.  I'll know for sure this morning.  If so, I had better enjoy this coming three-day weekend to the fullest!

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

just checking in

I rode down to the river bottom yesterday evening; signs of fall are evident everywhere.  Foliage on the trees looks raggedy and worn; the cornstalks have died completely; the soybean plants are loaded with pods.  There's a certain route I always take to the river:  I go west, turn north on a narrow gravel road, cross a ramshackle old bridge, ride eastward awhile, turn back south, cross another bridge as I head toward the main highway, and when I reach it, ride west toward home.  In other words, I ride in a big square.  Whenever I only want to ride for about an hour, that's been my place.  Last night, the old rotten bridge, across which farmers still drive tractors, let Blue's left hind foot fall through a rotten spot.  He was unharmed and handled it well, but I don't believe I'll be crossing there any more.  Aside from that, though, it was a lovely ride, albeit a hot and sweaty one.