Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My old hymn books

In my Memorial Day entry I mentioned the favorite hymn of my childhood.  In my entries about the cabin, I have talked about the old song books from Grandma Steven's little Zion Church of Christ.  My mom had saved several of these old paperback songbooks, and I have them now.  One of the books is at the cabin.  They really aren't as old as I thought; as you can see here, the copyright date is 1940.  I recall one time when Big Creek got out of its banks and flooded old Zion Church, Grandma put all these songbooks on her clothesline to dry.

The Church of Christ didn't (and many still don't) believe in instrumental music, so in order to make the music sound pretty, we learned at a young age to sing our parts... suprano, alto, tenor or bass.  With no piano to help us stay with the melody, our songbooks used shaped notes.  About every two or three years, someone would come through and conduct a "singing school" at church, and teach us to read the shaped notes.  I learned to sing alto as Mother, Daddy and I traveled in the car.  The three of us would sing our hearts out! 

The Churches of Christ in north Missouri were small congregations compared to the more widely-known Baptist and Methodist churches.  On the first (or fourth, I'm not sure which) Sunday of the month, a dozen or more congregations of the Church of Christ would meet for a "singing", with a basket dinner beforehand; each congregation would take its turn hosting.  Sometimes the song leader would take requests, and I always asked for "On Jordan's Stormy Banks".

The sad thing is, hardly anyone sings the old songs I loved so much.  Oh yes, we all sing "Amazing Grace" and a few select "classics" of the Church.  But so many have fallen by the wayside; I wonder, when I'm on my deathbed longing to hear the old songs, who will sing them to me?  Will anyone know them?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Gnome sweet home

I don't know how many of my readers follow my daughter's blog, but there's quite a story behind these gnomes.  When she and Kevin were trying to buy their house, Rachel remarked that the gnomes had to go... they give her the willys.  I don't understand it, but she's that way about clowns, too.  I guess she's been warped by too many scary movies.  She's taken quite a teasing from friends and family about this phobia, and I, to help her out, volunteered to take them to my cabin in the woods.

Saturday we learned a little more about these guys:  They are over thirty years old, and started out as the "seven dwarves"; some of you probably recognize them.  However, according to the lady from whom Rachel and Kevin bought the house, people kept taking them.  So she had the remaining five wired pretty tightly to her porch.  Yes, there were five, until about a week ago.  Somebody kidnapped one!  It's a shame, too, because he'd make a good guard for my outhouse at the cabin.

They're somewhat worse for the wear.  One almost fell apart when I moved it.  But I think they look very much at home in the woods.

I included some pictures of the inside of the cabin because some of you seemed to think it was getting too fancy back there.  As you can see, it's still very simple.  I only want a CD player there for rare occasions.  I won't have music playing much of the time, but I especially like listening to some Native American songs I've ripped from a folk CD here at the house.  I'm also thinking of taking my old cheap guitar back there and leaving it, in case I'm in the mood to strum along with a folk song. 

As for the books that stay there:  There's the one explaining the lifestyle of American Indians; a Bible; two hymnbooks, including one ancient one from my grandma's little church, years ago; a book that's a collection of American folk songs; a couple of books of poems; one of the "Foxfire Books"; and the volume I'm still trying to wade through about JKF, "An Unfinished Life".   In the picture of my foot, that feather on the wall is one I found near the cabin; some unwitting turkey left his calling card.

Thoughts on this Memorial Day



In the mid-sixties, the hippie era of peace and love, there were a lot of songs about brotherhood, love, and freedom.  I was young and foolish enough, back then, to believe some of the lyrics:

"I can see a new day, a new day soon to be... when all men are brothers, and the sun shines on a world that's free."  "I can see a new man, a new man standing tall with his head high and his heart proud, and afraid of nothing at all."


Or this one:

"We shall overcome, we shall overcome.  We shall overcome some day."  "We'll walk hand-in-hand, We'll walk hand-in-hand..."


Bob Dylan hit the nail on the head with one song, though:

 How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

The answer still blows in the wind, elusive as a butterfly.   How can the world live in peace if you can't even have a family reunion without someone saying, "If HE'S coming, I won't be there"?   How can there be peace in the world when tiny church congregations split because of petty differences?   The protest songs these days spew hatred:  "Don't wanna be an American idiot."    I've grown up and matured enough to know that there will never be peace in this world, and obviously, so have the songwriters.  Oh, if I could only believe like I did back in the 1960's, when I sang folk songs with Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan.  

Ah, but thinking far back to my favorite hymn of childhood, I realize there is a glimmer of hope:

"Oh Jordan's stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye To Canaan's fair and happy land Where my possessions lie.  We will rest in that fair and happy land bye and bye, Just across on the evergreen shore; Sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, bye and bye, And dwell with Jesus evermore."  

And in that refrain, my friends, lies my only hope of ever knowing a world at peace.    

A night in the cabin

Mandy, Cliff and I spent last night at my cabin in the woods.  The faithful turkey vultures floated overhead as we sat on the little deck, although Cliff gave up and went inside to read his book, after Mandy and her best doggie friend, Buddy, kept jumping on, over, under and around his chaise lounge playing tag.  Buddy eventually went home.  I had a nice campfire going, and sat there singing old, old hymns from my childhood as the sun went down.

Mandy was a bit disappointed at being banned from the bed; she always sleeps beside me, when it's just the two of us.  But Cliff refuses to sleep with a dog, so finally she settled in under the bed.

The stove in the cabin is now working, and has a full supply of propane.  I made coffee to go with our bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches.  Mandy kept trying to get us to return to the house when we first woke up, but once she got a bite of bacon, she wasn't in such a hurry to leave.  I have a dishpan, dishcloth and towels at the cabin, but no scrubber for a tough skillet.  However, I recalled my mom and aunt talking about how they'd use a rock, when they were small, to scrape the stubborn, stuck-on bits of food off a skillet when they washed dishes.  It works!

We need to find some sort of small table, since the stove we got takes up most of the built-in table back there.  And I can't wait to get the gnomes my daughter bequeathed to me situated back in the edge of the woods.  I intend to buy a cheap, battery-operated CD player for the cabin.  I have my MP3 player, but I don't want something I have to plug into my ears; that blocks out everything else, and I like to hear the birds singing.

Cliff and I had a Memorial-Day-weekend campout and didn't have to worry about traffic or crowded campgrounds.  It was wonderful.  Now, I must make noodles and finish up the Oreo Dessert for today's dinner.  Have a great day, everyone.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

moving day for Rachel and Kevin

What a day!  Rachel and Kevin are delirious with joy, and Cliff and I share their happiness.  We got the dreaded gnomes moved out here, except for one who is missing.  I suspect Tracy, but who knows.  If it shows up at Rachel's house, we'll have a good idea who the culprit is.  Anyhow, the gnomes will be transported back to my cabin, where Mandy and I can enjoy them.  The lady who sold the house to the kids had the poor things tied up because people kept taking them.  They are solid concrete, by the way, and very hard to lift.

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. What is the most inexpensive, non-valuable thing you tend to collect and hoard?  Coffee cups with sayings on them, or that are souviners from someplace.  Why do you do it?  Because they are either cute, so they make me smile, or remind me of someplace I've been, so they make me smile, or are a gift from someone I like, so that makes me smile.

2. What is the highest price you've paid per gallon for gasoline where you live?  Since I don't drive, I don't pay attention to gasoline prices.  I do know we were paying more than $2 a gallon recently, and now it's below $2 a gallon.  Do you use regular, mid-grade or premium?  regular

3. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?  Oh, I have so many.  The one that comes to mind right now is this:  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6.  If you don't have a verse from the Bible that holds meaning to you, what's your favorite saying and why?  Well, I do have a favorite verse, but may I still share a favorite saying?  "What goes around, comes around."

4. What was your favorite movie from the 1970s?  "Little Big Man"  When did you last view it?  last winter sometime  Do you have it in your movie collection?  Yes

5. Do you weigh more, less, or the same as you did one year ago?  Six months ago?  Three months ago?   the answer to all three is somewhat less

Jennie: What one lyric sums up your current love life?  

 Storms Never Last: Waylon Jennings and Jesse Colter.

Storms never last do they, baby?
Bad times will pass with the winds.
Your hand in mine steals the thunder.
You make the sun want to shine.

Oh, I followed you down so many roads, baby;
I picked wild flowers and sung you soft sweet songs.
And every road we took, God knows, our search was for the truth.
And the storm brewin' now won't be the last.

Storms never last do they, baby?
Bad times will pass with the winds.
Your hand in mine steals the thunder.
You make the sun want to shine.

Storms never last do they, baby?
Bad times will pass with the winds.
Your hand in mine steals the thunder.
You make the sun want to shine.

Written by Bosse Andersson and Jesse Colter.
(© Universal Songs Of Polygram.)
From "Music Man", © 1980, RCA.

Your view on life? 

 God Will Take Care Of You 

 Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.


God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.


All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.


No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

Your past?  "Bummin Around" as sung by Dean Martin, written by Pete Graves 

Got an old slouch hat, got my roll on my shoulder
I'm as free as the breeze, and I'll do as I please
Just a-bummin' around.

I got a million friends, don't feel any older
I've got nothin' to lose, not even the blues
Just a-bummin' around..

Whenever worries start to botherin' me
I grab my coat, my old slouch hat
And hit the trail again, you see.

I ain't got a dime, don't care where I'm goin'
I'm as free as the breeze and I'll do as I please
Just a-bummin' around.

Your hopes/dreams/fears? 


God sent his son, they called Him Jesus He came to love, heal and forgive
He bled and died, to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

And then one day, I'll cross that old river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory
And I'll know He reigns.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, I know, He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives


Friday, May 27, 2005

Remember Green Acres?

Eddie Albert died today, age 99.  CLICK HERE.

from the Purpose-Driven-Life daily devotional

"WHAT GOD DOES" by John Fischer

God is crazy about you. He’s all over you like a glove. God waits for you, hanging on your every word. He loves to hear you call to Him. He has been relentlessly pursuing you since before you were born; He sacrificed His Son to remove the barriers to His love for you; and He has plans for you that go way beyond anything you can imagine. How do I know all this? I’ve been reading about it in the Bible for most of my life, and I know it in my heart, and I’m telling you about it because I figure if I keep on like this, I’ll eventually begin to believe it for myself.

Appropriating God’s unconditional love is not as given as it might seem. Jesus said we were to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but what if I have a problem loving myself? Then the reverse is most likely true; I won’t love anyone else either.

The only way you disqualify yourself from experiencing the unconditional love of God is to think of yourself as better than most everybody (my particular version of it) or to think of yourself as worse than most everybody (I’ve actually got a little of this, too). How tragic to be measuring and comparing ourselves — trying to qualify for a love we’re already qualified for just by being alive!

Here’s how to end all this nonsense. Accept God’s love for you as totally undeserved. You’re just as much a scoundrel as the next guy, but here’s the amazing thing, God’s crazy about you. He looks at you and sees beauty. Don’t ask why or how; just believe it. Believe it and you’ll start to see people that way too.

Then loving your neighbor as you love yourself will be a lot easier because you don’t think of yourself as better or worse than your neighbor; you are simply both recipients of the amazing grace of God when neither of you deserves it.

Since when do you love people just because they exist? Since you found out that’s what God does! So when it comes to loving yourself, do what God does: Look at yourself and see something beautiful. Soon you’ll see everyone else that way, too.

John Fischer is the Senior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prayers and good thoughts requested

I haven't been visiting this lady's journal long, but it caught my fancy and I put her in my alerts.  Her daughter is seriously ill tonight, and I know she would appreciate all good thoughts and prayers we can send her way.  CLICK HERE to read about it.

Yes, it WAS a good day!

I rode for a couple of hours this morning, and it was so cool, Blue barely broke a sweat.  Cliff got everything done he had planned, before time to go to work.  As I expected, neighbor kids were hanging around, but they are wonderful help for Cliff (close supervision is required when they're operating tractors).  Four were here for lunch, although all they had was bologna sandwiches. 

Cliff and I were worried for a few hours.  The two mother cows were up near the house, and only one of the twin calves was with them.  I went back to check after they wandered out into the pasture, though, and there were both girls.  I believe Auntie will have her baby within a week.

My daughter and her husband are officially home-owners now, and residents of the town in which my daughter swore she'd never choose to live!  But we all know it's a woman's right to change her mind.

So, how are things in the country?

Well, if the sun coming up over Cliff's mowed hayfield is any indication, it's going to be a great day.  It cooled off enough last night to make for great sleeping.

I'm enjoying my leisurely life:  Yesterday I saddled up Crook and Blue, and rode with 14-year-old Tyler, one of the twins who is, lately, taking quite an interest in riding (while his brother, Travis, looks on and hurls insults that have to do with some doubts about his brother's masculinity).  Yesterday was the last day of school in my little community, so children will be very much in evidence around here.  Cliff's shop is a kid-magnet.  After all, he has all the tools they might need to work on bikes, mowers, and so forth.  And an air compressor that makes for some easy tire-inflating.

Mandy and her doggie friend, Buddy, have taken up a new hobby... chicken-killing.  Buddy's owners (Marvin's family) have an assortment of chickens and ducks that are supposed to be contained in a pen, but are always finding some way out.  In a way, it's justice.  Because Marvin's various dogs, over the years, have killed many of MY chickens, not to mention my barn cats that fell prey to their Lab.  That's the reason I had such a nice, tightly built pen for my poultry, when I had them.  However, it's sad for the deceased chickens, and for the children who love them.

Now that I am a lady of leisure, I've picked up a book I'd forgotten I owned, and am engrossed in reading.  It's an old one by Sandra Brown, "Exclusive".  This woman is GOOD!  I can hardly lay the book down.

Cliff has been busy laying the water line to our in-ground cattle waterers.  He dug the 3-foot-deep trench mostly by hand last week, so it's been no easy task.  Today he'll check for leaks, and if there are none, he'll fill in the trench and we'll have waterers for the cows and horses that don't freeze in winter.  I imagine when the dew is off later this morning, he''ll rake and bale the hay he has laying down.  It'll be small square bales, because he hasn't had the time to work on the new big baler we bought.  In summer, he always has a mile-long list of things that need to be done:  things he loves doing, but the list can become overwhelming if he allows it to.  He's learning (with my reminders) that none of these things are life-or-death.  If it rains on the hay, it won't be the end of the world.

This is the day (finally) that our daughter and her husband close on the house they are buying.  The whole process has been fraught with problems for them, but my experience tells me that good things often come out of difficult times.  And it's all a learning experience. 



Wednesday, May 25, 2005

He-mote control

Oh yes!  Where can I buy one?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Blue has bucked with one person, since I've had him.  Or, I should say, had bucked once.  I didn't get to see it, but Cliff and our son saw him toss my daughter-in-law, almost a year ago.  If a horse is ever going to buck, he'll tend to do it when he's running or cantering; and that's when he bucked with Debbie.

Anna was riding Blue tonight, and I was on old Crook.  Anna loves to let Blue canter up hills, and I've let her do it... but tonight, he bucked.  Not big bucking like he did with Deb last summer, but it scared me to death to see that little wisp of a girl in danger.  She handled it well... got her right foot out of the stirrup, lifted her leg over so that she was hanging onto one side of the horse ready to jump off, holding onto the saddle horn.  Then he stopped, and she got right back in the saddle. 

I'm sure she was terrified.  In fact, I asked her if she was scared.  "Yes," she answered with a nervous giggle.

"Well, we can't let him think he got the best of you, so we need to ride around awhile longer."

We rode another fifteen minutes or so, then put the horses up. 

"Do you think you'll still want to ride him?"  I asked.

"Oh yes!"

What a cowgirl.

Now, Cliff is going to tell me I'm nuts, because of course, we are liable if my horse hurts Anna.  Not to mention it would break my heart if she was injured.  But if she keeps him down to a normal pace, he won't buck again.  She learned a valuable lesson today:  You never know what a horse is going to do.  Their thought process isn't like ours.  They don't do things "for spite", but if they're tired enough, or uncomfortable enough, they may find a way to let you know.  I think perhaps the cause of his escapade tonight was that Mandy came running up behind him, and he didn't know what the movement was.  The other theory is that I had been having Anna ride him repeatedly back and forth in the same place, trying to get a point across to old Crook, who balks at that spot all the time... and Blue had enough of going back-and-forth.  The guardian angels around here are working overtime lately. 

Which reminds me, I finally feel 100% myself again, after my Mother's Day incident with Rachel's horse.  I began to think I'd never recover.

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, ten thousand at thy right hand.  But it shall not come nigh thee."  Psalm 91:7

Monday, May 23, 2005

my poor horses

My grandson, Arick, and his friend, Matt... riding Blue and Crook (the old guy) off into the pasture.  They'd jolly well better be good to my horses! 

Our new farm implement

This is Cliff's $400 round baler.  It works all right except that the twine doesn't tie when it's supposed to.  I'm sure Cliff can get it working, and this will save him a lot of lifting and tugging during the hot summer weather.  Of course, in order to see if he has it tying right as he works on it, he'll need some hay to bale; so he went out and mowed the small pasture.  We have a little banking to do in the morning, and then he'll choose from the half-dozen things around here that are demanding his attention... and then go to work at 2:30!  Summers around here demand a lot of him.  The things he does around home, though, are enjoyable to him. 


Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Time To Remember

Cliff and I got married in 1966.  By the summer of 1967, I was looking at real estate ads.  I wanted us to own a home.  Since Cliff's parents had only made one brief, unsuccessful attempt at home ownership, he felt this was not something people in our economic group could do.

But my parents (also in a lower-income group) had owned residences, and I knew it could be done.

Mother and Daddy knew somebody at church who knew somebody that had twenty acres for sale, with a four-room house on it.  We were hooked as soon as we checked it out, although the little abode wasn't much to brag about.  Cliff and I had neither one been accustomed to nice houses anyhow, so in autumn of 1967, we moved to our own home with our baby boy.  In 1969 our little girl was born.  We had no extra money, but oh, what sweet memories I have of our time there.

In 1974, we found out we could get more than twice as much for the place as we had paid, and figured with THAT much money, we could buy a real farm up in north Missouri.  Well, once we were in north Missouri, we learned two things:  Number 1, we hated it there.  Number 2, the money we thought was so much, wasn't much at all.  We lived up there for nine months, and began looking for something back in area surrounding Kansas City.

The only place we could afford with any land at all was this one, where we now live, with a measly six-and-a-half acres.  There was enough pasture to perhaps support one cow, which meant I had to sell a half-dozen or so prize Jerseys, my beloved pets.  I didn't like this location, or the house; Cliff did.  For years, resentment smouldered, but I kept it to myself.  My children were six and eight when we came here.

In 1986, we got a chance to buy 37 acres adjoining our place.  It stretched our budget, but we jumped at the chance, and I've never been sorry.  Somewhere along the line, I started liking it here.

Cliff loves to tinker with old tractors, and he had a shop area in the corner of our detached, two-car garage.  We'd always talked about how, when he retired, we'd have a nice big shop built for him.  But I kept hearing stories about men who, as soon as they retired, had heart attacks or strokes and weren't able to do the things they'd always planned.  So at my urging, Cliff agreed we'd re-finance once more and make his dream come true before retirement.  That was, I believe, five years ago.  I haven't regretted it once.  Cliff spends most of his free time out there.

This coming weekend, Memorial Day, marks thirty years since we first moved here.  Had we not bought the added land, it would have been paid off ten years ago.  Had we not re-financed to build Cliff's shop, it would be paid off in two more years.  As it is... well, you get the picture.

I still don't care for my house that much.  But I have come to love the total package that is our home here.  It's been an exciting thirty years, and I guess, looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

a poem I wrote

Of all the poems I've written, this is perhaps my favorite.  I think of it every time I'm back in the seclusion of my cabin. 


No one really owns the land: the Indians knew it best,
And laughed to see the settlers, as they moved from east to west;
They'd quickly build their homes and clear the land, till it was bare:
But birds flew in unhindered, for no man can fence the air! 

No one ever owns the land: the Indians had it right;
You may as well hold back the sun, or parcel out its light.
Though fence surrounds a property, it will not stop the deer
From moving freely to and fro, at different times of year. 

No one can truly own the land.  The Indians knew it well.
Yes, you may write up deeds, and even boldly buy and sell,
But talk to all the earthworms and the garter snakes and moles:
Tell them the land is yours, and tell them where to dig their holes. 

Enclose your precious property and hoard each blade of grass;
Post signs that warn, "No Trespassing", but they will never last!
This earth belongs to everyone who ever drew a breath,
And someone else will claim it when you close your eyes in death. 

I seem to hear the Indians, in my spirit, laughing still.
The white man claims to own the land, each valley and each hill:
He plows and discs and harrows it, and sows his precious seed---
But after he's asleep at night, the deer and rabbits feed!

Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. What is the last product or service you tried just because you saw a commercial that impressed or amused you about the product?  Did you like the product or service after you tried it?  I pay so little attention to commercials, I can't think of a thing.

2. How old is the oldest photograph in your home?  I have reprints of photos that are almost 100 years old, but the oldest actual original photos are probably from around the time my parents married, in 1932.  Are you in it?  no

3. What is the most supernatural event you have experienced?  I had a yearling Jersey heifer I had just turned out with the other cows, and she didn't show up with the herd on her second day with them.  I went looking, and found her in a crevice at least six feet deep, the walls of which were straight up and down.  If she backed up, she'd fall much deeper into one of our huge canyons.  It started to rain, so I put a halter on her and tied her to a tree-root so she wouldn't back into the gulley and break her neck.  Next morning, I went out and untied her and pulled on the rope, doing everything I could trying to coax her up onto solid ground, to no avail.  Cattle are not skilled jumpers.  I let the rope go slack in my hands and, looking skyward, said to God, "If only you'd send an angel to push her from behind..." at which time the heifer, with no prompting from me, began scrambling and digging into the perpendicular wall of earth in front of her, and came up and out.  For a long time, I'd go back and just peer into that place with amazement.  There's no WAY that heifer could have gotten out on her own.  Erosion has changed the look of it now, or I'd go back and take a picture to share.  Did you feel there was a specific reason that it happened to you?  Sure!  God heard me, and used the opportunity to remind me there's help available when I ask.

4. Do you usually consider the glass half-empty or half-full?  half-full

5. What part or parts of your body do you shave regularly?  I'm sure this is more than anybody wants to know:  One advantage of getting older is that the hair in my armpits and on my legs no longer grows.  I shave NOTHING.

6. What day is typically your busiest of the week?  It was Monday when I worked.  Now I don't think there is a busiest day.  What day are you usually the happiest?  What day are you usually the saddest?  I can be happy or sad on any given day. 

my morning ride

Dawn wasn't spectacular this morning, but I had an enjoyable ride, and I think Blue had fun too.  We scared up a herd of deer heading for cover after a night of browsing, and saw a couple of skunks at different times, meandering along and searching for mice or insects to eat.  I was going to take a picture of the second skunk I saw, but as I approached him, he turned his back end toward me and lifted his tail in warning.  Blue and I then gave him a wide berth!

I had mentioned a tractor accident in a previous entry.  It turns out the tractor simply rolled out of the shed on its own, picked up speed, and overturned.  The way it happened, though, it's fortunate no cars were passing on the highway.  I talked to the farmer this morning and got the details.

a weekend alone

Cliff left early yesterday morning for southern Kansas, along with his older brother Phil.  They're helping their brother, Don, put up the building he's going to be using as a shop.  Rattling around here alone feels rather strange, but I'm getting by.

I'd been craving waffles for breakfast for awhile, but Cliff is dieting, and I didn't want to tempt him.  So the minute he left, out came the waffle iron.  I even had sausage.

Mandy and I spent the evening and most of last night at the cabin.  I had a campfire that lasted until bedtime, and slept quite well until 3 AM.  Then I started thinking how nice a horseback ride would be at sunup; so I came back to the house, turned the horses out to grass (I hate to ride a hungry horse) and made coffee.  Sunrise, according to information I googled, is at 6:01.  That means I need to be on the horse and headed out before that.  I'll take my camera along, of course. 

When Cliff returns, he'll have with him a big round baler that Don found at a farm sale for $400.  It isn't working just now,  but I'm sure Cliff can get it fixed.  I'm pleased about this purchase, because at his age, my husband doesn't need to be lifting and lugging the small square bales of hay we've always put up for the livestock.   With big round bales, all the lifting is done with a tractor.

Wish me "happy trails"!  I'll soon be heading toward the river on Blue.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Weekend assignment #60: Your Star Wars Moment

Weekend Assignment #60: Recount an interesting moment in your life that somehow involves Star Wars. It can be deeply tangential -- it doesn't have to have happened at a Star Wars movie, for example. But let's face it -- for the last 28 years Star Wars has been part of the common culture. Surely there's an interesting moment in your life in that time, in which Star Wars, its characters or its merchandise has been a part of it.

I confess, I am not a big fan of "Star Wars".  But I do have a memory connected with the movie.  My son was eleven years old, and my daughter was nine.  I somehow managed to talk Cliff into taking us to the Henrietta drive-in to see Star Wars.  Now, you'd have to have seen the Henrietta Drive-in to appreciate it.  It was sort of out in a cow-pasture, near the Henrietta bowling alley (both long gone).  You had to put on lots of mosquito repellent before you went to see a movie there.

As if I weren't bored enough by the movie (I'm sorry, it just isn't my type of story) we took my son's then-best-friend, Jerry, who had seen the movie about six months prior; he insisted on telling us what was going to happen next, over and over.  *yawn*

An interesting side-note:  Jerry later became my son-in-law, and the father of my grandson, Brett.  Yep, my daughter's ex.  Nice guy, by the way.

Extra Credit: Ewoks: Cute or Evil? Explain.

What's an Ewok?

health and welfare

Let's face it, aches, pains, and health concerns make for a boring journal.  So I'll try to update for both me and Cliff now, and hopefully it'll be the last you hear about that sort of stuff for a while; this is mainly for family members, so feel free to skip it.  How's my bruised leg?  Well, the black-and-blue is fading, only to be replaced by this huge, hard knot.  However, it doesn't cause me a lot of pain unless, as I did this morning while cleaning Blue's feet, I rest a horse's foot on that spot.  Wow!!!  What a burning sensation THAT was.  My energy level still isn't where it should be, but the pain decreases every day.

Cliff recently went to the doctor and found out his blood pressure was drifting higher, so they doubled his Altace.  He still takes Toprol, too.  The level of his good cholestorol is only 30, and they like it to be at least 60; so he'll be taking a pill to improve that.  I asked the doctor if this is one of those pills that cause liver damage, and it isn't.  While we were there, Cliff mentioned his allergies:  He's been sneezing, snotting and hacking for months, and it was beginning to get very tiring, both for him AND the people around him.  Allegra has now almost totally solved that problem!  Oh, and he's lost 18 pounds in the last 2 1/2 weeks, with my help.  

Now to the other part of this entry:  I officially resigned my job today.  The almost-five years I worked at Kohls distribution center has been a delightful part of my life.  Since I haven't spent as much time working outside the home as most married women, the unaccustomed  money was an "extra".  I flew around the country like a jet-setter.  I did things to spoil my grown children and my husband.  I bought computers, a Gibson guitar, a horse, and various useless toys.  It's been grand.  I had hoped to stay there as a part-time employee until I turned 62.  However, I happened to have a supervisor who changed all the part-time rules, and worked me very little.  So little that there was no way I could get in enough hours to become fully vested (which had been one of my reasons for staying on a while longer).

So now, I imagine my vacations will consist of nice, long horseback rides through the lovely Missouri countryside, or spending nights in my cabin in the woods.  It's OK:  To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  I've learned that if you don't fight things like this, you usually find out it was for the best.  Meanwhile, I'm very thankful for all the things I've been able to do with my little paychecks... not to mention the assortment of co-workers I've met, and the two kind and thoughtful supervisors I had before the last unhappy, people-hating boss. 

I celebrate this bend in the road, and look forward to the future.

"Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone.  Because I know He holds the future... my life is worth the living just because He lives."

                                                                                                 Bill and Gloria Gaither

Horses and tractors

That's Arick on old Crook, last Saturday.  He rode him again last night.  Arick is very much a novice rider, and really needs a knowledgeable horse person to accompany him when he rides.  Hopefully, between my daughter and I, we can arrange this in the future.

My husband always tells me how dangerous horses are, but he neglects to mention that many people are hurt or killed on tractors each year.  Last night when Arick and his friend came to ride, they said a tractor had overturned just down the hill, and was pretty bent up.  So today I rode that way as I began my two-hour ride, and saw the damage.  It belongs to John, a farmer down the road.  I certainly hope he wasn't hurt.  

It's HOT today, and Blue was soaked with sweat by the time our ride was over.  Cliff hosed him off with the water hose, to cool him off and get rid of all the salty sweat before I put him up.  So, what did he do as soon as he finished his can of grain?  He rolled in the dirt until he was as filthy as any pig! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I'm not on line as much as I used to be.  For one thing, I decided if I'm going to be at home all day (more on that another time) I'm turning off the computer when Cliff wakes up, and leaving it off until he goes to work.  And I mean turning it COMPLETELY off; otherwise, I'll just check my email as I go past, or surf for something I'm wondering about... and before you know it, I've spent three hours of my day online.  I still have plenty of computer time from 2:30 PM( when Cliff leaves) until bedtime... unless, like last night, I go back to the cabin at 5 PM!

I spent last night in the cabin with Mandy, and came back to the house at 5 AM for my coffee.  I spent lots of time oiling the old saddle I got with Crook, then saddle-soaped it.  Later, I groomed old Crook, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.  Then I went for a long ride on Blue.  When I got back, Cliff and the twins were baling hay, and before long,  Arick came to help.  His girl friend, Michelle, arrived shortly afterward; she seemed disappointed at my new computer rules, but found some games to play until I accessed the Internet at 3 PM.  Although the skies threatened off and on all day, no rain fell, and our hay is safely in the barn.

Arick and his friend Matt are now saddling up Crook and Blue... do they like to ride in the dark?  I threatened them with death if anyone mistreats my horses; it's like sending a daughter out on her first date, turning people loose on my horses.

Monday, May 16, 2005

a movie starring our three horses


Check out this entry of my daughter's to see our horses come alive!

John Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show off a graduation ceremony of someone you know and love. Kids, parents, spouses, friends -- even yours. Show off that cap and gown and diploma that says "you made it!"

This is my ex-daughter-in-law, ready for graduation nineteen years ago.  But hey, look who she's holding!  Her son, Arick... my first grandchild!  I babysat him while Kat finished school and my son was in the Army.  A grandmother will NEVER pass up a chance to show off her grandkids!

things are going better

We decided on a different pen for Crook, the old guy.  It seperates him from the other two horses, but he gets to be with them when we ride.  And he can see them and whinny at them at all times.  He's been without horse companions for ten years, so he ought to adjust all right.

Tonight the neighbor kids met me at the pasture gate, informing me that four of them wanted to ride Blue.  I got them started on him, with our renter, Vicki, keeping an eye on things (two of the riders were her kids anyhow) and then fetched Crook up, brushed him well, and saddled him.  He's a bumpy ride for someone used to a gaited horse, but he'll do OK for me to ride alongside one kid or another while I keep an eye on them; I imagine I'll mostly be walking him.  He gave me no problem at all.  If he lasts two years, I'll get my money's worth.  I ended up paying $375 for him and a saddle, after some dickering back and forth.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

horse trouble

My wonderful horse, Blue, is eleven years old today.  He took me for a nice ride alongside my daughter, who rode on Brat.  Toward the end of the day, Natalie took a turn, Anna rode for a half-hour or so, and Tyler hopped on.  What a horse, eh?

But I've discovered there's a terrible flaw in his personality:  he hates our new arrival.  If they are in the same pen he will corner him and kick and bite him, unmercifully.  He accepted Brat gladly when we brought him here.  What's up with this?  There's no possible way we can keep the old guy in the same pen with Blue.  There is one place we'll try as his pen this week.  If it doesn't work out, we'll have to return him to his old home.

How can such a sweet animal as Blue be such a tyrant?  I guess we all have our dark side. 

Saturday, May 14, 2005

friendly stablemates

Now THESE two get along fine... Brat and Crook.

Here's the old man

No, he isn't beautiful.  He's twenty-two years old, and his name is Crook.  But he let my grandson ride him on his first day here, after taking an awful beating from Blue (horses have pecking order).  His feet have been let go something awful, and I'm sure he hasn't been wormed in years.  I think he'll do OK here, although we may have to keep him away from Blue.

Saturday Six


Picture from Hometown

1. How many scars do you have on your body?  I have too many to count Where are they?  At my age, I don't want to look that closely at my body to find them all.

2. What is the last junk food you ate in such large quantity that you actually felt guilty afterwards?  At my age, I refuse to feel guilt for eating. 

3. What is the closest spot to your home where you go when you feel like you need an afternoon escape?  Easy question!  My new cabin in the woods!  (click here to see it)

4. Of those in your collection, what movie have you watched the most times?

"It's a Wonderful Life"

5. Have you ever felt discriminated against?  No What about you do you believe led to the discrimination? 

6. RAPID FIRE QUESTION #3:  Have you ever hired a:
    a. Maid  NOPE
    b. Lawyer  Yes, to make out our will
    c. Chauffer  My husband is my chauffer
    d. Plumber  Who can afford that?
    e. Photographer  no
    f. Realtor  Yes, twice
    g. Gardener  nope
    h. Personal Trainer  ROFLOL  no
    i. Psychic/Spirtual Advisor  I read my Bible for spiritual advice, and pay attention to the preacher at church
    j. Mortician  no

Friday, May 13, 2005

the disappearing twins

At ten days old, the twins appear to be doing fine now.  Cliff will be mowing that tall pasture-grass for hay before long, but as it is, calves can be completely hidden unless you're really close to them.  We'd seen the two grown cows today, but I had not seen both calves together since yesterday, and I get nervous if I don't see them daily.  The cows are spending most of their time in the small pen up close to the house, so I decided to search there first.  I figured I'd walk from one end to the other, starting at the back side and moving nearer the house with each pass.  As luck would have it, I found them the first pass, and this was after Cliff had stomped around out there in vain for quite a while.

I've been a little under the weather this week:  Folks, I'm sixty, and getting body-slammed by a horse and then having him fall backwards on me with all the force of his 800 pounds has slowed me down.  The Flylady's e-mails have been deleted as fast as they arrive, this week.

I'm sure things will be looking up soon.  If I feel up to it tomorrow, I'm going to go ride that old Appy up the road and see if I think he'll meet our needs as a kiddie horse.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

weekend assignment #59

Weekend Assignment #59: Teachers Worth Remembering

Here it is: The assignment pre-empted by Mother's Day:

Weekend Assignment #59: We've all had teachers who have made a difference in our lives. Tell us about one of yours. It can be a teacher from any level of education, from kindergarten to graduate school.

That would be Mrs. Eighmy, the teacher for my first two years of school.  I've posted this picture in my journal before; I'm the second person from the back in the row to the right.  About ten years ago I found out my first teacher was still living on the same Iowa farm where she's lived since she married, and I wrote her to tell her about my good memories of her.  She responded promptly, and she and my mom exchanged Christmas cards after that until Mother's death.

Extra Credit: Tell us your second favorite subject in school.

I'm going back to my early school years for this, since I really didn't care for any subjects by the time I got into high school.  My favorite subject was music, which, in that one-room school, consisted of all of us singing a few songs once a week from a book.  My second-favorite subject would have been reading.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

a visit to my cabin

When Cliff left for work at 2:30, it had been muggy all day... sticky-hot.  But there was thunder in the distance, and a darkening sky.  Although it appeared to be moving north of me, I decided to take the dog and the camera, and head to my cabin for awhile, hoping to see what it's like back there in a thunderstorm.  Cliff had dropped off a small pile of nicely aged firewood for future campfires, so I neatly stacked that.  It's really too dry for a campfire, until we get some rain.  But I like to be prepared.  I got a Wal Mart bag and gathered up dry sticks to use for kindling, and put them on a shelf in the cabin... in the event it's wet when I want a fire.  I also put a couple of the sticks of the firewood inside. 

Mandy spends a lot of time just gazing intently into the woods, as though she senses something there.  As I sat with her on the porch, I looked up to see our five resident turkey vultures.  They were flying low enough to get Mandy's attention.  Vultures are hideous things close-up, but the way they soar and float in the sky above you is a work of art.  One of them paused in mid-air for several seconds, magically floating on a current.

I spent an hour or so at the cabin before the walk home, which takes under fifteen minutes (of course I walk slowly).  Every time I visit there, whether to spend the night (as I did last night), or just to escape for an hour or two, I have the most unbelievable feeling of peace.  Old hymns come to mind that I hadn't thought of for years, and I sing them to myself.  There's no computer, no television, and no neighborhood kids making noises outside the window to distract me.  I get in touch with my soul again and realize how much we miss, being so civilized. 

Oh, I didn't get my storm while I was there.  Sprinkles.  That was it.  As I write this, it looks a bit more promising.  But I think I'll stay here.

if you have children in your life...

This is a heartworming, thought-provoking little piece:  CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

and speaking of birthdays...

My son was born on this day in 1967.  He had colic and cried constantly, and when I was desperate for a break, Cliff would take him for a ride on my dad's garden tractor.  As he grew, we spanked him too much, and too hard.  We had seen so many bratty kids, and were positive ours would NOT act that way.  Poor kid.  One of the things I would go back and change... Jimmy would not have so much expected of him.


There he is at one year old.  I thought (and still think) there was never a more beautiful baby.




That's Cliff, Jim, and Cliff's dad holding baby Arick:  four generations.  Jim was just out of boot camp in this photo, I believe.

Where does the time go?

I love you, Jim.




Happy Birthday To Blue

I had a knock on the door this evening:  Two kids wanted to ride Blue (Anna and Tyler).  I was terribly tired from working today, but who can resist those smiles, and those pleading eyes?  So I saddled up old faithful Blue and stood watching as he plodded along, or picked up speed to find his gait when Anna asked him.  I'm so glad I have a horse I can share with the neighborhood children.  Tyler asked, "How old is Blue?", so I told him I'd check his registration papers and see.  That's when I found out Blue will be eleven years old next Sunday.  What can you get a horse who has everything?

This amazing animal is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I know God brought us together.  He's the horse I dreamed about as a little girl.  He has the patience of Job, the heart of Seabiscuit, and the stamina of an elephant.

Thank You, God.  And happy birthday, Blue... the horse of my dreams.

Monday, May 9, 2005

I have a confession to make

I have never been Catholic.  In fact, until I was twelve years old and we moved to Kansas City, I never even MET a Catholic. 

When I go to bed, I turn on the TV, and that gets me snoozing.

Lately, I've been going to sleep listening to nuns saying the Rosary.  It's the best sleeping pill I've found!

There's this Catholic channel on Direct TV, EWTN.  As I understand, some little old lady nun started this TV network on a shoestring budget, and it's grown like Topsy.

I already knew the Lord's Prayer, although Catholics leave off the part that says, "for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever".  I've learned the Hail Mary, since it's so short.  I'm gradually learning the Apostle's Creed (the church I attend now says it every Sunday anyhow). But my favorite part of the Rosary is this: 

"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy."

My daughter says I'm going to wake up Catholic some morning.  I don't think so.  There's just something SO soothing about all those female voices praying.


only child seeking attention

Since I now have the biggest bruise of my entire life on my leg, I figured I should share.

In case this doesn't arouse enough sympathy, I have one on the other side of my leg too:

It's going to be hot tomorrow, so I think I'll wear shorts to work.  When co-workers say, "What happened to YOU?" I'll tell them about my experience breaking a bucking bronco at age 60, and how I climbed right back on.  Oh, it's going to be a GOOD day tomorrow.  ROFL.

school bus wreck


This happened about thirty-five miles from my home, in the city where my husband works.  I can only imagine how horrifying this was for elementary school students.

How I feel today

I have a couple of huge bruises on my upper left leg, a stiff neck, and some pain when I take a deep breath.  But I'm fine.  Ibuprofen is already easing some of the pain.

Cliff, Mandy and I spent last night in the cabin.  I was ill-prepared, but it was a pleasant place to be, and I slept well on the air mattress.  I still have to get a container of water back there.  Oh, and my propane stove works great:  I made coffee!  Trouble is, I forgot to take coffee cups and Coffeemate.  And, we ran out of propane.  We'll rob the bottle off the camper next time we go back.

I have my unhindered view of the river now, since Cliff cleared some trees out of the way. 

Life is good.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

My best Mother's Day gifts

I just have to share what both my kids had to say about me for this day.  Here's my son's, and here's my daughter's.  I must be Superwoman!

just for your information...

After Anna and I had our exciting ride, Tyler decided it was time for him to try this horseback riding thing.

And for your information:  I won't be riding my daughter's horse again; I'll leave his training to her.  Hopefully that old Appaloosa up the road will work as a second riding horse for me.

a new experience

You'd never know by looking at this photo of me and Anna, but not one minute after Cliff took the picture, Brat threw me.  Or, should I say he reared and fell on me.  Cliff almost had a heart attack, but I'm fine.  It knocked the wind out of me, bruised a leg, and busted my lip... but I'm fine, and now I can say I know what it feels like to be unloaded from a horse.  Yes, I did get back on (that's how cowboys do it, and it's what my daughter-in-law did when Blue bucked her off.  Now the laugh's on me, Deb!). 

Here's the picture Cliff took after the big event.  If I look happy and confident, trust me... I'm not.  But you HAVE to get back on the horse that throws you!

Nice Saturday

Cliff took the chainsaw back to the cabin and cleared the overhanging limbs on a riding trail that were too big for me to handle with the nippers and bow saw.  He also felled enough trees for me to have a view of the Missouri River from the cabin; mostly scrub brush, but one really big tree.  We had three tag-along kids with us:  Tyler, one of the twins who spends so much time here; Anna, my twelve-year-old riding partner; and her brother, Quinton.  I'll bet they all ended up with ticks hitch-hiking on their bodies, not to mention a big dose of poison ivy.  We took a tractor-bucket-load of firewood to the cabin, so next time I spend the night, I can have a longer-lasting campfire.  I think I'll wait for some rain, though, before I have an open fire back there.  Things are awfully dry!  I had to edit and add this later because I forgot to mention, I now have a propane stove in the cabin, which means I can make coffee in the mornings, after I spend the night.

I had a short ride with my daughter and Buddy after dinner, then rode alone for a longer time, after the Kentucky Derby.  Blue is in great shape, and never shows signs of wearing out; I can't get enough of riding him!

That horse up the road that's for sale will probably end up here.  He's twenty-two years old and well-broke, which sounds like a perfect horse for youngsters.  The fellow who owns him said he really didn't know how much to ask for him, and I offered $200.  He seemed happy with that, and even has a saddle to go with the horse.  He said he knew the horse would have a good home with me (they see me ride by often) and thinks it would be nice for him to have company, after years of being the solitary horse there.  Even if we only get a couple of good years out of him, I think we'll get our money's worth.  I imagine within two years, the grandchildren will have lost interest in riding, anyhow.  Some horses are sound and arthritis-free into their thirties; I'll give him a chance! 

Saturday, May 7, 2005

I wish I'd written that

IT IS NO SECRET WHAT GOD CAN DO written by Stuart Hamblin

The chimes of time ring out the news,
Another day is through.
Someone slipped and fell.
Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength,
Your courage to renew.
Do not be disheartened,
For I have news for you.

It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.

There is no night, for in His light
You never walk alone.
Always feel at home,
Wherever you may roam.
There is no power can conquer you
While God is on your side.
Take Him at His promise,
Don't run away and hide.

It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.

riding my horse

I haven't mentioned riding too much lately, except for my adventure with Anna, next door.  But I've been riding almost every day, and loving it.  Last night Blue and I turned a different direction when we crossed the bridge to the river bottoms and discovered some lovely paths made by people on four-wheelers.  Except for practically getting my head sawed off by a prickly vine of some sort (four-wheelers, being much lower to the ground, don't clear out the brush at horse-riding height), it was delightful.

On the way home, there's a horse that lives along the highway, and Blue always wants to greet him.  I never see anyone ride him.  Last night there was a sign on the fence, "Horse For Sale".  I called the number, but nobody was home.  The price would have to be pretty low for me to buy him.  I've never much cared for Appaloosas.  And he'd have to be broke.  However, as Mark Rashid says, "A good horse is never a bad color".   

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. What is your single biggest frustration right this minute?  The fact that my doctor insists I'm free of Lyme disease when it doesn't even show up in a blood test until at least a month after exposure.  All I can do is wait for symptoms of stage 2, to find out if I have the blasted stuff... at which time I'll go get tested again.

2. What classic television show would you most like to see made into a modern-day movie?  The Real McCoys What classic movie do you think you'd like to see remade?  Perhaps one of the "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies.  3. How many people in your family are war veterans?  My son served in Desert Storm.  I had an uncle and a brother-in-law who were veterens of World War II, but they're gone now.  Of those, how many have you actually talked to about their experiences in war?  I've heard all of them refer to some of their experiences, but as far as sitting down and having a discussion about their war experiences, I never did.  My brother-in-law didn't like to recall his wartime experiences anyhow; and my sister said as he got older, he often became very emotional when he talked to her about the war.

COURTENAYMPHELANWho do you think is the best author in J-land for poetry?  I haven't read that much poetry in J-Land, so I have no favorite.  How about for prose?  No favorites.

COURTENAYMPHELAN: If you haven't put your picture in your journal, would you consider doing so?  Good grief, I have put pictures of me at every age and stage.  If you have, what made you do so?  Because I like to see what others look like, so I assume one or two people might be interested in what I look like.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #53 from Nyuknyukpik2:  What is your favorite black and white movie and why?  "It's a Wonderful Life" because it made me see a brighter side of things when Cliff and I were going through times of extremely low finances. 

Weekend assignment

Weekend Assignment #58: Mothers and Children

Weekend Assignment #58: Post one of your favorite mother/child pictures. This could be a picture of you and your mother (at any age), or a picture of you with your children (again, at any age), or even one of your spouse and kids. But it should be a mother who is important to you personally.

I was going to post a picture of me with my two children when they were small, but looking through my photos, I found this.  Daddy's in it too, as well as my brother and sister (from my dad's first marriage; his first wife died in childbirth).  My mom is holding me, in this battered old picture.

Extra Credit (this is an optional part of the assignment): Share a piece of fun trivia about your mom.

My mom yodeled.  Not particularly well, but she could yodel... and loved to do so.  I remember how it embarrassed me, growing up.

Friday, May 6, 2005

A night in my cabin

Last night Cliff called from work to see if I'd rounded up the cows and calves (I had) and I informed him I wouldn't be in bed when he arrived home.  I was going to spend a night in my cabin for the first time.

I ended up making three trips back there, and it's about 1/4 mile one way.  First, I realized I didn't have matches for a campfire.  Then I got to thinking how nice it would be to strum my guitar and sing in the woods.  So I had to fetch my guitar.  Oh, and since Mandy has always figured into my cabin plans, I had to find her, and she was nowhere in evidence until my third trip back to the house.

Finally I was ready.  Mandy loves the cabin, and if I go inside, she's happy to go with me.  She'll go under the bed, or, if invited, will join me on the bed.  One of the reasons I wanted a cabin was that I wanted to let Mandy sleep with me.  No dog will ever sleep in Cliff's bed.

I found plenty of dry wood and soon had a wonderful fire going in front of the cabin; Mandy didn't like the way it popped and snapped, so she stayed back.  When the fire was pretty much out, my dog and I went inside, I spread my sleeping bag open on the bed (a piece of plywood Cliff built into a wall) and invited Mandy to join me; she did, gladly.

At one point, you could hear some creature moving about nearby, and Mandy got up, went to the end of the bed, and watched out the window for the longest time.  She doesn't like to bark, so all she did was watch whatever it was, silently.

I didn't sleep a lot, but I was determined to spend the full night there.  My bones are too old to sleep on a piece of plywood, so I wasn't all that comfortable.  And it got pretty darned cold, even though I was zipped into a sleeping bag.  Mandy stayed right by my side and slept well, all night long.  When I went outside to answer nature's call, she stayed there on the bed.

My first sign that dawn was approaching was the sound of Marvin's roosters crowing in the distance.  I figured it must be about 4 AM.  I had no time-piece.  Finally, I heard the birds in the woods waking and chirping.  Once it was daylight, I headed home.  I needed coffee, and we haven't taken my little propane stove back to the cabin yet.

Today we went to Wal-Mart, where I got a full-size air mattress.  As soon as Cliff went to work, I took it back to the cabin, aired it up with the hand-pump, and lay down to try it out.  I awoke an hour later, quite refreshed. 

I do believe this cabin idea is working out.  I can hardly wait to spend a stormy night back there, listening to thunder and rain.  I'll get Cliff to spend a night in the cabin with me soon; I've promised him Mandy will sleep under the bed when he's there.

I guess I'll never grow up.

Twin calves, two days old

We had to bring the cows up close to the house; Mama would take one calf along with her and forget about the other.  We'll turn them loose when the calves are strong and knowledgeable enough to stick together... probably a week at most.  I think she'll have plenty of milk, since there's Shorthorn in her background.  I'd love to raise one on the bottle, and keep it for a pet.  But it would be such a shame to seperate them.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

a special ride with Anna

Twelve-year-old Anna, the little girl next door, knocked at my door and asked if I'd ride Buddy-Brat (my daughter's Arabian) while she rode Blue.  I told her as soon as the horses had their two hours on grass, I'd try; but I wasn't promising anything.

Just getting a saddle on Buddy is sometimes a challenge.  And getting aboard is often difficult, as it was today.

"I'm old, I break easily," I told Buddy.

However, once I was on him, he was surprisingly good.  Oh, he did some head-tossing, and tried to go faster than I like.  But I was able to keep him in check.  Anna and I rode on her parent's property, then went back in my pasture.  We went down into the deepest cavern, and back up, and out.  When I came inside, we'd been riding over an hour.  And Anna had the BIGGEST smile on her face you've ever seen.

I think that girl is a natural horse-woman.


family reunion

About a year ago, my daughter suggested we have a family reunion. 

"What family," I asked.

"You know, a Wood family reunion."

"Where?" I ventured.

"Here.  At your house."

I think I raised my voice slightly as I said, "Do you know how much WORK that would be?  It's easy for you to say 'Let's have a family reunion!'"

But in July, we had a reunion of sorts, when my Georgia son was visiting: immediate family, some friends, and a couple of Cliff's siblings and nephews.  It was great fun, and in the afterglow of that, I decided maybe we should extend the borders and reach out a bit further... Cliff's cousins, for instance.  He only gets to see them at funerals, these days.

We've contacted several of them, and it looks promising.  Cliff got a call from his cousin, Kenneth, today.  He's going to supply a whole roasted hog, and bring about twenty people.  I'm excited.

Most of the people attending live within a couple hours' drive, except for Cliff's Kansas brother and his Wisconsin sister.

Oh, by the way; how many portable toilets should we rent?  We have one tiny bathroom in the house.  LOL.

To my friend Joanna, if you are reading this... please don't remind me I'm not a "people person". 

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

little rewards

The little girl that lives next door, the one who rides my horse a couple times a week, came to my back door with these.  I'm touched.

the cheap rocking horse

I'm sure this plastic rocking horse didn't cost much, even when it was new.  By the time I found it at a garage sale in town, I believe the price was fifty cents.  I was a brand new grandma, and I was babysitting my first grandson, Arick, while his mom finished her senior year.  Any time I found a garage sale with baby toys, I selected some for him.

Arick went to Germany with his parents, and by the time he returned, he had a baby sister, and was two years old.  He played with the rocking horse quite a bit, as I remember.  Arick and Amber left for Texas with their parents, and Amber wasn't around much as a toddler.  I don't recall if she rode the horse or not.  But my daughter's little boy, Brett, really enjoyed it. 

Later on, I babysat Kody.  He spent lots of happy times on the horse, although he had a habit of rocking too enthusiastically and getting bucked off.

Then came Monica and Natalie.  They're seven and nine now, and much too big for the rocking horse.  But that doesn't stop them from dragging it downstairs almost every time they visit, and climbing aboard.

It's funny, how the some cheap, trivial thing you bring into your life somehow can become an indelible part of your memories.

I believe I just might take the rocking horse into the nursing home when I go. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

We have twins!

Cliff's been keeping this cow in a pen close to the house for at least a week, so she wouldn't go off to the woods to calve, and perhaps lose the calf in one of our caverns.  Well, he was working on a project today that required leaving an opening in the fence, and off she went... to one of the most precarious points on our place:  A huge gulf to the right, and another huge gulf to the left.  Arick came out to ride Blue, and I told him to watch for the cow, to see if she had a calf.  Imagine my surprise when he came back and told me she had two.  They've both been up nursing now, so they ought to be OK.  We've had lots of cows over the years, but this is our first set of twins.  I think they're both girls!

Monday, May 2, 2005

I was going to bed early, but...

I went out to put my dog, Mandy, in her pen for the night, when the three little waifs from next door came running up to me.  "Can we ride tonight," Anna said, "or are you too tired?"

What can you say?  That little girl loves horses.  I remember the feeling.  And Blue is such a wonderful, patient teacher.  I can see Anna developing confidence with every ride.

When she was done, I put the halter on Blue and had her lead him around with her sister, Mariah, on board.  She had a problem with my horse wanting to eat grass, so I took over when it was Spencer's turn, and did the leading myself.

I told her to ask her mom to buy her a riding helmet:  her head is much too small for the helmet I bought for the grandchildren.

And by the way, her parents have bought her a Tennessee Walker from the guy in town.  But he's only three years old, and it will be awhile before he's ready for her.  So I guess Blue can be done teaching her to ride by the time her horse gets here.

Your Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Significant Others:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of your significant other, or show off a picture of your significant other that you particularly like.  "If you are currently between significant others (hey, it happens), you can use a picture of a former significant other, or a picture of a really good friend, since really good friends, in their way, are just as important as a significant other.

Why this photo assignment? Well, you know. Significant Others are cool."


Cliff lost a good job back around 1989.  He was working for R. B. Rice, and they moved to Tennessee.  He was pushing 50, and jobs were scarce.  He made do with one thing and another, and drew some unemployment.  But he also went to school two nights a week and studied for his G.E.D.

Cliff made it to his junior year before dropping out, and it was one of his greatest regrets.  His parents had moved often, so of course he fell behind in school.  Math was like greek to him.

When he tested at the GED school, the teacher told him, "You won't be with us long."

He was right.

It was fun to see Cliff anticipate his classes.  He was learning quickly, and finally starting to understand math, for the first time in his life.  He was actually disappointed when school was done, and it was time to take the test.

Even though he thought he did well on the test, he was quite relieved the day I collected the mail and found the envelope that would tell him whether he had passed, or would go back to school.  I'm sure you can tell by his smile... he passed with flying colors.  After I took the picture, he went back to making a pen for my brood sow.

P.S.  Obviously, Cliff was on a weight-losing binge.  Look how loose those overalls are! 


a Flylady update

Some of you were reading this blog when I discovered Flylady, so you may remember how enthusiastically I wrote about her plan to declutter a home.  I haven't mentioned her lately, so I wanted to let you know I'm still flying... sometimes... rather close to the ground.

I'm not following all of her plan to the letter.  It's spring, and sometimes I choose a horseback ride over "fifteen minutes in my zone".  I delete most of the e-mails her group sends out.  Is it really necessary to ask me where my shoes are three times a day?  Or ask where my laundry is? 

However, many of the changes she helped me initiate have become permanent.  Enough so that Cliff sings Flylady's praises often.

Only once in the past three months have I gone to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.  Except for that one lapse, I make sure my sink is shining every night before I go to bed, no matter how sleepy I am.  If there are dirty dishes sitting around, I put them in a dishpan under the sink, since I don't have a dishwasher.  The dishdrainer that always sat on the counter, full of clean dishes, is no longer in evidence.  I dry dishes and put them away now.

I don't "swish and swipe" the bathroom every morning as I'm supposed to, but I get to it at least two or three times a week, without fail.

When we leave the house to go someplace, I do a quick scan of the kitchen and hallway and ask myself, "Is this what I want to see when I return home?"  Unless I'm in a huge rush, I turn around and fix it, if it looks cluttered.

Every Monday, I "bless my house".  I haven't missed one Monday since I signed up with Flylady.  This is an allover, quick housecleaning... vaccuuming in the middles of the rooms, mopping the non-carpeted surfaces, dusting with a feather duster.  What did I do before?  Well, I'd mop when the floors got so bad I couldn't stand them... or when Cliff grumbled enough.  My vacuum might have gotten used once a month, if that.  I really had gotten to the point that I didn't notice dust at all.

My cluttered upstairs is STILL a mess, although I've thrown lots of stuff away.  I am supposed to spend five minutes (that's all) each day in the messiest part of my house.  This is one simple habit I still need to develop, because it's amazing what five minutes will do.  And it's over before you know it.

So I am still a Flybaby.  But who'd have thought my housekeeping habits would improve at age 60? 

Sunday, May 1, 2005

My daughter's soon-to-be home

We're all so excited about our daughter's family's impending move, we can hardly contain ourselves.  Click HERE to read her entry about the tour we took yesterday, with pictures.

Internet relationships

I've met so many dear people on the Internet, I can't even count them.  I've confided in some of them to an extent you would not believe.  There are some sweet ladies who'd do whatever it takes to help me, if I had a genuine need.  I've been in the homes of two friends on the east coast... Joanna and Sue... that I met on the Internet.  There's one of the dearest strong-willed Texas ladies you'll ever meet, Frankye... I've been in her home.  And Wilona, in Arkansas, has a bed that I claim as "mine".  I do allow her daughters to use it when they visit her.

The reason I'm thinking along these lines is that a wonderful man on one of my message boards, Kountry Living, has had yet another stroke.  His handle on the board is "DeadCarp".  If you want to see some of his views, click HERE for his website.

Sometimes people on a message board can be nit-picky to newcomers.  For instance, a person who can't type well, or whose spelling isn't the best, might be corrected by the "board police".  Any time an underdog was jumped on at Kountry Life, DeadCarp was the one to speak up for them.

All of us on the forum have watched him recovering from his last stroke... he's a true hero in my book; this morning his children informed us he'd had another one.  When I saw the outpouring of good wishes, it touched my heart.

Say what you want about the liars and game-players on the Internet.  When the chips are down, you learn that people really DO still care about others.  I have been so blessed by the friends I've made here.

Here's the post from DC's son, and the responses.  Incredible.  Click here.