Friday, September 30, 2005

a motorcycle/tractor update

Alice (our Allis Chalmers tractor) could  possibly be sold.  The guy who originally wanted her fizzled out.  But an acquaintance of ours says if nobody else wants her, he'll take her.  I'm not sure Cliff is going to follow through with this, but we do know we have the option of selling our beloved orange tractor.  I'll keep you informed.

Horse country

I took the pictures of the farrier Monday, but I didn't get an entry about them then because of my cable-Internet problem.

I rode Blue Tuesday, and while his limp is gone, he still gives to the right front leg every so often.  So I wasn't too hard on him.  Then Wednesday and Thursday, I had to wait around the house for the contractors from my Internet service, so I couldn't ride.  That's probably just as well, because I don't want to overdo it on Blue.  He's been out of service for at least six weeks.

Today I rode him a little longer, still letting him poke along for the most part.  I felt him give to that leg about half a dozen times, but not nearly as bad as he was doing Tuesday.  I'll give him another day or two off before taking him out again, and see what happens.  It's perfect riding weather in Missouri right now:  highs in the 60s, sunny, leaves beginning to turn.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I'm baaaack!!!!!

My cable-modem went out Tuesday morning.  It seemed to be no problem when I called the cable company:  someone would be here Tuesday afternoon.

I knew I was in trouble when the man called for directions and said, "I don't know if I can help; I don't know much about Internet."


I already knew the modem had died, because they checked that from Georgia, on the phone.  The man did bring a modem along, but he had no software to install it.  In fact, he didn't even know software was needed.

When I called the cable company yesterday, Wednesday, I was told someone would come to correct the problem.  Around 7 PM I called to tell them nobody had showed up, and I was told, "Oh, they're still open; they work until dark."

"That would be in about ten minutes,"  I snarled.  Of course, nobody came.

This morning, ready to do battle, I called again, telling them I was tired of being lied to.  The sweet-voiced lady assured me she'd call the man and have him call me.  Nobody had called yet at noon.  This time she called him and then called me back herself, saying he should be here by 5 PM.  Yeah, right.

Well, he did get here; the "new"modem the other guy left was faulty.  Obviously, I'm back to normal now.

Thanks for my on-line (and in person) friend Lona, who was worried enough by my absence that she called me last night, just to see if anything was wrong.

I watched at least half-a-dozen movies, and finished a book I had barely started before this lack of Internet.  I actually learned how to watch television again!

I watched some DVDs I hadn't seen in awhile:  "All In The Family, the First Season", Apocalypse Now (the longer version) and Casablanca (which I could easily sit and watch again tonight).

Let's see... oh, Cliff and I had a little tiff about the cabin:  He feels I should allow five boys, ages 13 through 16, to have full access to it any time they please.  I don't. He thinks I'm "messed up" in my thinking, but he did put a lock on the door. 

I deleted lots of mail, mostly new entry alerts.  Someone had left links to porn sites in one of my comment sections, so I got rid of that. 

Now, I'm going to catch up on my favorite journals!

Monday, September 26, 2005

You won't believe it

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!  I found the owner of one of the pairs of shoes I spoke about in an earlier entry.

Kevin came to pick up the girls after work, and I asked him if he'd lost any shoes lately, thinking somehow those brown ones might be his.  No, he had not.  Then I picked up the Rockports, which Cliff had taken off by the back door, and told him they had been in my closet, but I didn't know whose they were.

With an incredulous look on his face, he said, "You won't believe how long those have been here... it's been about five years."

They were living in Carthage and had come to visit us one weekend.  On returning home, Kevin's shoes were nowhere to be found.  So all this time they've been taking up space in my closet, and probably would have spent another five years there, if not for Flylady.

Now if I can only find the owner of the brown shoes, the ones made in England.  The ones that showed up only yesterday.

Monday Photo Shoot - outsourcing pictures

Your Monday Photo Shoot from John Scalzi

How much do you trust the people you know with your camera? Because this week's photo shoot is all about trust:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Give your camera to a child, friend, spouse or relative and have them shoot some pictures. Show us the pictures they take. This will be more fun if you have a digital camera, of course (because they can snap off a whole bunch of pics), and I also find it's a lot of fun to give the camera to small fry, because their perspective on what's photo-worthy is different than the rest of us.

Well, I was less than enthusiastic about some of their choices, but I gave them full rein.  I'd have preferred that the world hadn't seen my blighted tomato plants, or that junky background next door at Marvin's place.  Oh well. 

family jokes

Isn't it funny how a child will say something that strikes your funnybone; then you retell it a dozen times, and it eventually becomes a family joke?  Or is it only my family?

Here's an example:  When my grandson, Arick, was about four years old, he spent several weeks with us.  He liked to go barefoot when he was in the house, but he never remembered where he'd taken his shoes off when it was time to put them on and go outside.  You might find them behind the couch or under a bed... sometimes you'd find one shoe, but not the other.  After a cursory search, he'd always declare that he couldn't find his shoes, and we, of course, were expected to find them for him.  At one such point, after telling his grandpa his shoes were nowhere to be found, Cliff said, "Well, what do you suppose happened to them?"

"I think a robber got them," was Arick's quick reply.

So for these past fifteen years, when we can't find something we've misplaced, Cliff and I will say, "That guy who steals Arick's shoes has been here again."

OK, I'm leading up to something here.  I'm only limping along with Flylady lately, but Monday is still my "house- blessing" day.  Because our closet floor was overflowing with sneakers, I examined mine and threw the two rattiest pairs away.  Then I set out all three pairs of Cliff's sneakers and asked him to choose the ones he was least likely to wear, so I could toss them.

"That one pair of shoes isn't mine," he informed me.  "Those are yours."

"Now Cliff, I know my feet are big, but they aren't THAT big."  And with that, I put my foot beside the shoe to prove my point.  Then I placed it beside his shod foot; it was the same size.

"I swear those are not my shoes," he said.

"Well good, that's the pair I'll toss," I said, and headed for the trash can with shoes in hand.

"Wait, maybe I should try them on," he said.

The shoes were a perfect fit.  He's sure they aren't his; they even have a full insole someone has put in, and it isn't the kind he buys.  He's wearing them right now.

Oh, but that isn't all.  As I got ready to sweep at the back door entryway, I saw a pair of brown men's shoes I've never seen before in my life.  Yes, we had plenty of company yesterday.  But who would take his shoes off and then leave, barefoot?

I took them out to the shop to show Cliff; he was as perplexed as I was.

About a month ago, I recall finally tossing a pair of sneakers because I had tried in vain for weeks to find someone to claim them.

And then it came to me... the answer to this puzzle.

That robber who has been stealing shoes (and other items) ever since Arick was a little boy has experienced a twinge of conscience, and is trying to make things right by bringing replacements for all the ones he's stolen.  That has to be it.

I just wish he'd bring us new shoes.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

One Tired Grandpuppy

After hours of romping and playing with Mandy and Buddy, Dixie collapsed in the kitchen doorway.  Would you believe she didn't want to go home when Arick called her to the car?  She ran from him!  Just like a spoiled grandchild.

Cliff, Arick and Michelle enjoyed getting rid of all the ammo on the place.  Then Kevin and Rachel came by, with some of Kevin's visiting relatives. 

I spent an hour at the cabin, reading a little and just relaxing, looking up at the sky.  In spite of the insistent mosquitoes, my soul is restored there.  I've learned to keep the repellent at hand and re-apply it every few minutes.  I heard two Barred Owls calling back and forth, which I thought was unusual in broad daylight.  They kept up their conversation for a good ten minutes.

I'll be delighted when I can ride again.  Blue had that awful limp and seemed to get over it, until I rode him a couple of times.  The limp returned.  My theory is that I didn't give him enough time for the sprain to heal.  So this time I was patient, and had plans to ride this very weekend... but alas, he lost a shoe.  It's been too hot anyhow.  The farrier will be here Friday, and hopefully I'll be on the road again Saturday.

It's been another good day.

My grand-dog came to visit

My grandson, Arick, and his girl friend joined us at Church this morning, so I fixed biscuits and gravy afterward.

All I wanted was one really good picture of my grand-dog, Dixie, and me.  Cliff took at least a dozen shots, but none turned out like I'd have liked, simply because I had interupted some sort of doggie game; and Dixie and Mandy only wanted to get back to their fun.

I sure hope Dixie doesn't turn out to be one of those mean pit bulls, because right now she is the sweetest, most obedient, loving puppy I've ever seen.  She already knows the house rules here, and doesn't go into the carpeted rooms.  I must confess to giving her a bite or two of our breakfast sausage, but even then she didn't whine or jump up on me.  She just sat and silently stared at me for the rest of the meal.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday Six, Episode 76

Picture from Hometown

1. Of the following, which one best describes you at your worst?  (You can't select "None of the above!")
    a. One who doesn't finish what he/she starts
    b. One who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk
    c. One who always finds the worst in a situation
    d. One who generally knows what's right but does what's wrong

Choosing from those, I'd say A.  But I have been guilty of B also, at times.

2. Not counting shows like Saturday morning cartoons designed specifically for kids, what single show that you grew up watching religiously is now the one you most hate to sit through?


3. Have you ever been so angry with a company that you swore you'd never do business with them again?  If so, did you keep that promise?

Not that I can think of. 

4. Take this quiz:  Are you psychic?

When it comes to my husband I'm Psychic.  He'd be the first to tell you I know what he's thinking about quite often; and no, it isn't always sex.

You Are 30% Psychic
You are barely psychic.
Sure, you sometimes predict things...
But is it a matter of luck? Or something more?
Pay closer attention to your first intuitions
You may be more psychic than you know!

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #68 from Lily: What's the longest you've talked on the phone in a single phone call, and who were you talking to?

I don't enjoy talking on the phone.  The only person I ever talk to on the telephone at length these days is a dear friend I first met on the Internet, Virginia. 

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #69 from Betty:   (She recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas!)  How do you feel about gambling?

I have an addictive personality, so I have no business gambling.  If others enjoy it, that's fine with me.  I have always wanted, just once, to go to a local casino with $50 worth of quarters and see if I could have any luck.

Country roots

From left to right, that's my mom's brother, Uncle Carl; my mom's sister's husband, Uncle Lloyd; my maternal grandma; my cousin, Carolyn; and my mom's youngest brother, Uncle Leo.  Carolyn is a couple of years older than I am, so I'd assume this was taken around 1945.

You can see Grandma's house in the background.  I spent at least a week there, every summer.  Uncle Leo (on the right) lived down the road from Grandma about a half-mile (easy walking distance), and his place was a wonderland to me.  He had milk cows and hogs and chickens, and kittens in the barn.  Oh, and he had four kids I could play with.  Carolyn, in the picture, was his first-born.

Grandma had her own milk cow and chickens.  After milking, she'd go to the smoke-house, pour the milk in a cream seperator, turn a crank (which made a unique whirring sound), and I'd watch skim milk come out one spout and cream out another.  You can see the smokehouse roof in the background to the right of the house.

Right across the woods from Grandma's was a wooded area which magically turned me into an Indian when I entered.  I could play for hours, talking to my imaginary tribe.  There was a creek where I often waded, until the day I looked down and saw my legs had leeches hanging on them from my ankles to my knees.  I turned back into a Caucasion really fast, and ran crying to Grandma.  She held a lit match to the little blood-suckers, and they let go. 

When I was growing up, even after we moved to Kansas City, most all the kids I knew had relatives living on farms.  Thanksgiving, for many of us, meant a trip to the country, "over the river and through the woods".

I feel sorry for children these days.  Most of them don't have a farm to visit.  My fondest memories are of times spent at Grandma's house, and at Uncle Leo's, eating huge country meals, making home-made ice cream, riding behind the tractor on a wagon, and so many other marvelous things. 

Besides, farms these days aren't like they were in the fifties.  Back then, every farm had an assortment of animals and crops.  Now, hogs and chickens are raised in huge, factory-like places.  Farmers concentrate mostly on grain crops, or on raising or fattening cattle.  Mega-dairies with hundreds of Holsteins are producing our milk, cheese and butter. 

The small farm has disappeared.  I sure do miss it. 

Some thoughts on growing older (a poem I wrote today)

ON GETTING OLDER  (copyright September 24, 2005)

I hurt in awkward places, and such silly things go wrong.
And now I understand the words of that "September Song".

I go about my duties in a sentimental haze.
There's an underlying sadness in the brightest of my days.

The more I want to slow time down, the faster is its flight.
I taste, and see that life's still fine and savor every bite.

Do not think I'm complaining, for my life is full and good.
And I would never turn back time, not even if I could.

I've often quoted that old line, "Just bloom where you are planted."
And I still try to live that way, and take no gift for granted.

I'm learning, now, to live my life, let others do the same,
And let a Higher Power give the credit or the blame.



(K. Weill, M. Anderson)

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn't got time for the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days I'll spend with you
These precious days I'll spend with you






Friday, September 23, 2005

a boo-boo on my previous entry

I said Patrick's Place was most outspoken.  Geesh. 

Patrick is a peacemaker, but for some reason I have always gotten him mixed up with Armandt.  I fixed my error in that entry... Armandt is the most outspoken, followed closely by my friend Toonguy, but I won't link to him, per his request.

Viva la Vivi


Check out Patrick's Place for details.

And that's the last I'll be saying about the subject. 

I'm not a competitive person.  Anywhere there is a winner, there are many losers.

The most humorous journal in J-land?  MsLinklater.

The most emotional?  Right here. 

The most outspoken?  uncommon sense.

However, I won't be voting.  None of the other categories mean anything to me.

What I like about AOL journals is getting to know the people.  I don't feel we have to rate them "best" or "worst".  I read what interests me.

Oh, and I don't care for the Emmy awards or Oscars, either.


a thought-provoking comment

I'm not sure how many people in my little town read my journal.  I know Tracy checks in once in awhile, and the next-door twins' mom looked me up once.  I don't mention the name of my town, nor do I intentenially put anybody's whole name here, although I'm sure it wouldn't take much doing for anyone to find out where I live.

Anyway, this morning I had a comment that had been left on an early-August entry.  I had taken a picture of a house under construction during one of my horseback rides, and my friend Tracy left a comment saying whose house it was.  Much to my surprise, the builder and owner of the house left a nice comment on this almost two-month-old entry.

How on earth did he find that entry?  I surely don't think Tracy mentioned it to him after all this time.

So I went to Google and typed in his whole name.  Sure enough, Tracy's comment showed up on Google.  Isn't the Internet amazing?

Arby, if you read this, Cliff just went to Henrietta and mowed your uncle's lot yesterday.

It is certainly a small world.

Random Sentence Assignment

"It really was the biggest, nicest calf of the three." 

(That was written in June 2004, about the calf that died.)

Toonguy tagged me for this assignment, so here goes.

1.Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the 5th sentence of that post.
4. Post text of sentence with these instructions.
5. Tag 5 other people to do the same:

I'll tag Siennastar, Lowis6535, Celeste, Pauline, and Marainey1.  But hey ladies, don't feel like you have to play the silly game just because I tagged you.  I skip lots of these little time-killers; this one just happened to come around when I was in the right mood.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


So I set up the VCR to record the show.  I checked the Kansas City Star, where they told me to be sure and watch "Everybody Hates Chris" on Channel 29.  I sat in front of the TV and saw.... "The Sandlot"?

Maybe it's time to cancel my subscription to the Kansas City Star.

I was lured to a channel and FORCED to watch TV, and they lied to me.

OK, OK, it's no biggie.  Actually, "The Sandlot" isn't so bad.  But I want to see this much-acclaimed program everyone was talking about. 

I think I'll be calling the Kansas City Star tomorrow.

This and that

First of all, thanks for all the positive and helpful comments about my foot problems.  You folks have given me hope.  Our insurance does not cover the cost of the expensive inserts, but you can bet I'll be doing the exercises, and maybe trying the inserts Anne recommended.  I do believe the cortisone has lessened the pain.

I finally finished the book "Scruples" today.  I was reading it back in July and, in a Flylady frenzy of decluttering, misplaced it.  I still can't believe I actually enjoyed a novel about the lives of rich and famous people, but I did.  So much so, in fact, that I went to today and ordered "Scruples 2", because I just have to know how things turned out.

I rarely watch television.  But I love Chris Rock, and there's a new show starting tonight based on his childhood.  I'll check it out.  Maybe I'll even get hooked on it.  I'm taping it for Cliff, just in case it's as good as they say it is.

We haven't as yet received a check for Allis, so I have nothing to report in that department, except that someone contacted us from Kansas who might be interested.  I told them to get in touch with us in a week or so, in case the other guy doesn't follow through.

Remember my vow to only shop every two weeks?  Well, that went down the drain.  However, we're doing great at combining trips... making one trip serve two or three purposes.  I'm sticking to my grocery list very closely, and I've cut costs there.  I talked Cliff into letting me buy his Diet Coke again; I'm just not making it available to anyone but him.  It's his private stock.  Everyone else can drink tea, or bring their own Diet Coke.  I'll still feed anyone who comes to my door, however.

I'll have another alfalfa report, but not until it's big enough that you can really see it well.

God bless you every one.

Weekend Assignment

If you want to join in. copy and paste John's weekend assignment into your journal, answer the question, and put the link to that specific entry in John's Comment section HERE.

Rita is plodding implacably toward Texas, and folks there in its path are doing what they can to get out of its way. The evacuation is massive -- more than a million people -- and the logistics of such an undertaking help provide us this week's Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #78: You are preparing to evacuate your house due to an upcoming threat. You have already packed up all your essential items, people and pets. You have room for three non-essential items. What are they?

My Gibson Dove guitar.

My computer, because there are so many precious pictures and documents on my hard drive.

At least one of my Bibles.

(I may come back and change one of these, if I think of something that would take precedence.)

Extra Credit: Have you ever been evacuated?    No


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This evening at the cabin

I try to spend some time at the cabin every day, even if the time is fleeting.  Tonight I had an hour and forty-five minutes to relax there, before darkness threatened.

All this time, I've had two of my dwarfs in back of the cabin, and two in front, on the porch.  Tonight I realized they all needed to be together, and moved them accordingly.  Do you have any idea how much a concrete dwarf weighs?  But don't they look happy together?  I set my lounge chair up right in front of all of them, and it felt as though I were having a party at which I was the guest of honor.

Even when I'm relaxing on the deck at the cabin, Mandy usually ends up begging to go inside to her favorite corner under my bed.  I don't allow Buddy in there, since he isn't my dog.  But I have started letting him have a little dog food when he's with us, and I keep plenty of water out for both dogs.

The mosquitoes are awful.  I apply "Off" liberally, but I have to keep it by my side.  Because after fifteen minutes, the pesky skeeters are back, looking for someplace they can penetrate.  It's worth it, though.  I'd fight more than mosquitoes to spend quiet time at my cabin.

Sometimes I listen to Native American music when I'm there.  Tonight, I simply listened to the sounds of the woods, except for the last 20 minutes or so, when I played old-timey country music like the Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers.

I love my cabin. 

Foot problems, and a poem

About six months ago, my husband developed what are mistakenly called, by most of us, bone spurs.  The real name for the problem is  plantar fasciitis, but who could remember that?  Our family doctor told him there's really nothing to be done for the condition except to wear shoe inserts, and indeed, the inserts have helped Cliff somewhat.

My ex-daughter-in-law has done many things trying to relieve her heel spur pain, including surgery.  But she tells me the thing that helped her most was having shoe inserts made specifically for her feet.  The cost was $800, but insurance picked up most of the tab.  Cliff figured if our family doctor says there's no remedy for the problem, he isn't about to go chasing after a cure.

About a month ago, I began having the same sort of heel pain Cliff had been describing; I got the name of my ex-daughter-in-law's doctor, and had my appointment yesterday.  He gave my heel a shot of cortisone, which, surprisingly to me, did help somewhat.  And they'll call and let me know whether my insurance will cover the cost of those high-dollar inserts. 

After the shot, the doctor covered my foot with a bunch of tape and told me to leave it on for five days and keep it dry.  Huh? 

"What's this for?" I asked.

"To support the ligaments."

It will amaze me if the tape stays on my foot, but if it does, I'm trying to figure out how I'll take a bath or shower and keep one foot dry.  All the mental images I conjure up make me laugh.  Anyhow, just how much support is a bunch of tape?

All of this reminds me of a poem I wrote about my feet several years ago.

I’ve taken walks for many years. I seldom miss a day;
It’s then I seem to hear from God, and find the time to pray.
I took for granted two good feet that carried me along,
And seldom thanked the Lord for them… till everything went wrong!
In fact, I griped about them. They were hideous to me,
And several sizes larger than a lady’s feet should be.
Shoes were so confining that I didn’t wear them much,
Except when going shopping, or to Sunday school and such.

Now, when a person won’t wear shoes, her feet get stained from grass
And spread out even larger, and look unrefined and crass.
The calluses grow thicker, and unsightly scars appear
From all of the abuses heaped upon them, year to year.
One day my foot was injured as I went about the farm
(Keep tempting fate for long enough, and you will come to harm).
The doctor took some stitches, and it put me in such pain
That I could see there’d be no walks. That fact was very plain!

Well, now I can appreciate the things my feet can do…
So many years I’ve used them, and they always got me through.
Who cares if they’re not sexy feet, or delicate or small?
I’ve learned to thank my Maker that I have these feet at all.
Two weeks I couldn’t take my walks; my foot was slow to heal,
But I can count my blessings with a gratitude that’s real.
This whole experience is one I hope I don’t repeat,
But one thing I have gained from this: I’ve come to love my feet!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

goodbye Allis, hello motorcycle

That's Cliff on "Alice" the Allis Chalmers tractor.  Back around 1970, my cousin had one like it, and Cliff helped him farm sometimes.  That D-17 became his dream tractor, the one he wanted above all others.

We bought this tractor, used, sometime in the 80's, I guess.  I know both kids still lived at home when we first got it.  It's been a faithful workhorse for us, and for years it did all the chores around here:  cut, raked and baled the hay; plowed snow from our driveway; mowed the pasture; hauled trash to the ditch; and so many other things.  Cliff has kept her in the shed when he wasn't using her, and painted her twice in the time she's been here.

Over two years ago, Cliff bought a little John Deere tractor (on my birthday, but we won't go there), and Allis has pretty much sat idle since then.  She just can't compete with all the bells and whistles on "Johnnie".  Our whole family has such a sentimental attachment to her that every time Cliff mentioned selling her in the past, we'd all yell, "No!!!!  Not Allis!"

Then Cliff's sister and her husband bought a Harley and gave Cliff this current motorcycle fever.  The most sensible way we could see to get the Honda Gold Wing he wants was to sell Allis; we'd tried before, but we figured we may as well give it another go.

A man in Iowa wants it.  He's seen pictures of every nook and cranny of that tractor.  I've taken shots of knobs and guages that I didn't realize existed.  He called today and said he's sending a check for $4,500 so we'll hold Allis for him. 

I can't say we're 100% certain it's sold,  because we don't have the check yet, and he hasn't seen Allis and heard her run.  We wouldn't hold him to the deal if there was something about the tractor he doesn't like.  But it sure looks like Allis is about to find a new home.

I have mixed feelings, and I'm sure Cliff does too.  I'll keep you posted.

I do know, now, how easily I could be replaced by a younger, newer model.  Allis, my sympathies are with you.

Be sure to read my daughter's comments and my son's comments.

Monday, September 19, 2005

For my friends who hate motorcycles

See the green cast in our alfalfa field?  And don't you love the cows in the background?  I was going to the cabin this morning and took this shot.

Cliff and I will be getting a motorcycle.  It may be an older, cheaper one; or it may be a fairly new model. 

Yes, I'm a little scared of them myself, although we had motorcycles when we were younger.  But Cliff really would love to have another one, and truthfully, I would too.

It's sort of like horses:  We all know they're dangerous, but some of us believe the pleasure is worth the risk.  Trust me, even with the problem I had in May with my daughter's horse, I love those beautiful animals.  I even love that particular horse, the one who hurt me.  He had no malice in his heart.  He just hasn't run into the human who fully understands him.

I spent almost two hours at the cabin tonight, with Native American music playing.  I recalled something from a book I've read back there, and looked it up and wrote it down to share with you.

“Among the Blackfoot, eminent men would make long speeches to groups of boys, telling them what they ought to do to be successful in life. They would point out that to accomplish anything, they must be brave and untiring in war: that long life (beyond sixty) was usually not desirable, that old people always had a hard time. The aged were given the worst side of the lodge, and generally neglected. It was much better, while the body was strong and in its prime, while the sight was clear and the teeth sound, and the hair still black and long, to die in battle fighting bravely.”

From “Mystic Warriors of the Plains” by Thomas E. Malls.

My dear friends, I've seen how it goes with old folks.  Those Indians were right. 

 I've lived to see my grandchildren.  I don't wish to die, nor am I suicidal.  If I found out I had cancer, I'd fight it with every breath that is in me.  But I do believe (as the Indians say) that today is a good day to die.

I refuse to turn back from adventure.

I am not turning to native American religion.  I will always believe Jesus died to save me. 

But I have learned that you can find light from many lamps.

Please allow me and Cliff to have our motorcycle.

The Book of Knowledge

One of my greatest desires as a child was to own a set of encyclopedias.  If my parents and I were visiting friends and I spied a set of World Book Encyclopedias, I was ecstatic, and kept myself entertained for the duration of our visit. 

Alas, we were poor, and I may as well have asked for the moon as for any encyclopedias.

The summer I was ten, my mom sent me to Chillicothe, Missouri, to stay with a preacher's family for a week and attend their vacation Bible school.  Somewhere I have a picture of myself and their daughter standing on their porch during that visit with a birthday cake in front of us.  I was turning ten, the little girl was five.  I think her name was Karen.

At the time they had either three or four children.  It was a quiet, peaceful home, with no arguing among the children or the parents that I recall.  Lois, the preacher's wife, served something I delighted in, at suppertime:  She'd make a pitcher of Kool-aid and pour in a bottle of 7-up.  I thought that was the best drink I ever tasted.

The Lemmons family had no television, but neither did my family at that time.  What they did have was a set of "The Book Of Knowledge".  I'm surprised my eyes didn't fail me, the way I kept my nose in those books.  They weren't exactly an encyclopedia:  There were poems I first discovered there that I still remember.  There were things, toys and whistles, for instance, that a child could make on her own; and scientific experiments anybody could do. 

Later on I pursuaded my parents, at an auction, to buy a box filled with "The Book of Knowledge" from the early 1940's, which made them pretty out-dated in 1958.  But they only cost fifty cents for the set.  And most, if not all, of the same poems were there.

My daughter and her family recently bought a house from an elderly lady who, when she vacated the premises, told them she'd leave all her encyclopedia sets for the kids.  Among these was The Book Of Knowledge set...identical to the one I loved so much when I visited the Lemmons family in 1954.

Let's face it, there isn't much practical use for encyclopedias that old.  So Kevin and Rachel got rid of them.  However, knowing how I loved the Book of Knowledge, my daughter asked me if I wanted theirs; if not, the set would be trashed.

I could almost hear Flylady saying, "It's just more clutter."  And truthfully, I knew they'd just end up in my junk room upstairs, out of sight and out of mind.

I wavered a few times, and then thought of the perfect place for those books, where they wouldn't be in anybody's way, and where I'd definately have the time to browse through them.  My cabin!

Would you believe they fit there perfectly?

The twins, four months old

You can't help but feel sorry for cattle and horses, plagued as they are by flies.  There isn't a lot you can do about it, though.  Spray works for a few hours, then the flies are back.  You can buy insecticide ear tags for cattle that last about six weeks, to control face flies.  I think we may try those next year.  Of course that means getting the cattle confined and forcing each one, in turn, to put her head in a headgate that holds them still.  Which can be quite a rodeo.

These girls are twins, but I recently noticed the one facing left outweighs her sister by at least fifty pounds.  Maybe now I could name them, since I have a way to tell them apart.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

an alfalfa update

Look very closely:  None of these tiny alfalfa seedlings were in sight yesterday.  I believe our crop is off to a good start.

the Saturday Six

Better a little late than never.  You answer the questions in your journal, leave the link in the comment section of Patrick's Place, and we all get to know one another better. 

Picture from Hometown

1. When is the last time you took a vacation and went basically nowhere?  Was it as relaxing as previous vacations where you have actually planned a trip? 

Because of a septic tank problem that used our vacation funds, coupled with the high price of gasoline, we stayed home Labor Day weekend.  I spent about seventeen hours in my cabin in the woods and the rest just being lazy here at the house.  You bet it was relaxing!  I love to travel, but I'm always trying to make ends meet and cramming all the sight-seeing I possibly can into too short a time.  That's stressful, even when you are having fun.

2. Take this
quiz:  Which historical lunatic are you?

You are William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland

3. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #64 from Jaymi:   What is your favorite book from childhood and why?

I have several, but I'll name the one that goes furthest back in my memory:  It was a book of several fairy tales; I believe it was a Hans Christian Anderson collection.  It had "The Princess and the Pea", "Rumplestiltskin", "Snow White", and one of my favorites, about a little tailor that killed seven with one blow (they were seven flies, but he didn't tell people that part).  Oh yes, and there was one about a princess on a glass mountain that was too slippery for the princes' horses to climb.  I imagine I was six or seven years old when my sister gave me that book for Christmas.  If I could find that exact book on E-Bay, I'd buy it for the memories. 

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #65 from Hannah:  What book character do you most identify with and why?

Since he was a real person, perhaps he couldn't be called a "character".  The apostle Peter, in the New Testament.  That poor man was always saying the wrong thing and screwing up, but he meant well.  And even with all his mistakes, he was one of Jesus' "inner circle".

Holly:  What do you think is an appropriate gift to a party?  What do you consider a quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to a party or get together, a friend, and a GREAT friend?

Honestly, I don't do parties or gifts well.  And I don't expect gifts, really... although I've received lots of gifts I cherished. 

Judi:  If you had to make a choice for the rest of your life between food and sex, which would you choose, provided the following conditions: If you chose sex, you would never feel hungry, but just wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice meal or the tastes of good food or drink; if you chose food, you would no longer have the physical intimacy and pleasure, but you still wouldn't feel deprived of it.  In other words, whichever one you choose to give up will be a series of pleasures you'll never be able to experience firsthand again.

I usually don't answer questions about sex since it's nobody's business but mine, but I'll do this one.  At my age, I'll take food, thank you very much.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

a run-around day

What a day we've had, and it was great fun.  I can tell you now, we won't be buying the lovely bike on Ebay; it's already up to $5,200, and there are three days left.  We may just keep looking for awhile.  If we do the sensible thing, we'll buy the old 1981 Gold Wing.  If we do what we really want to do, we'll buy the most expensive one.  The plot thickens.

Friday, September 16, 2005

my husband is obsessed

This baby is on Ebay.  It's 30 miles from us.  We're going to see it tomorrow.  Pray for us, I'm afraid we're doomed.

Embarrassing Internet incidents

If you want to embarrass yourself, the Internet is the perfect place to do it.  This brought back to me full-force today, and I thought back over the years to some of my old chat-room  slip-ups.

I don't really care for Instant Messages, unless there's really something to talk about; just to IM somebody and say, "What are you doing?" or "How are you?" (unless they've been sick recently) isn't my kind of thing.

Back in the old chat room where I used to while away countless hours, there were some people who could get my dander up a bit.  Jerry was one of these, and although I consider him a friend, and still talk to him in a chat room from time to time, sometimes he got on my last nerve.  I'm sure he feels the same about me.  When he'd get on a rant in the chat room, rather than go off on him in the public forum, I'd IM a friend and let her hear my opinion.  That way, it didn't turn into a world war, and my friend and I would have a few harmless laughs.

To IM someone in an AOL chat room, you double-click their name on the right side of the chat screen.  Folks, if you do this, be SURE you double-click the right name.  Because the snide remark I was making about Jerry this particular time went straight to him; I had clicked the wrong name.  Yes, I deserved the embarrassment. 

Recently I was going to IM Celeste, my J-land pal, to invite her to an AOL group I belong to.  I double-clicked her name, I thought, and typed the invitation; but it wasn't her.  It was someone I just had on my buddy list for the heck of it, and she would not have been the least bit interested in my group.  How do you explain to a total stranger that you "accidently" instant messaged them? 

I have an online acquaintance who, if she receives an e-mail that is one of the "urban legends" or hoaxes going around, sends everyone on her mailing list the facts about the "lies", making the poor person who sent it out feel like a fool. 

Today I got an e-mail from this person that was, in part, an Urban legend.  Perhaps some of you have seen it, a picture of a man with a huge bear he shot in Alaska.  The bear isn't as big as the story says, and the bear did not have human remains in his stomach, as the e-mail contends. 

Well now, of course I couldn't wait to point her to to get the real facts, like she is always doing with other people.  Which would have been fine.  But then I decided to forward it to a friend in e-mail, telling her about the snopes site, etc.

But instead of clicking "forward", I clicked reply.  So, the sender of the big-bear e-mail received the little gloating note intended for my friend.

Just a few of my embarrassing Internet moments.  I could write a book.

And yes, I deserve every embarrassing moment I've mentioned.

PS  I'm sending this link to Jerry as part of my penance for wrong-doing. 

a stinkin' billy goat!

Soooo... three hours after my last entry, there's a knock on my door.  It's Jessica, back from her ride, with a billy goat on the end of her lead roap.  It followed her home from a mile away.

"I don't know what to do with him," she whined.

"Well, you can't leave him here, Cliff hates goats!"

It seems she saw this cute little goat in a pen at the old Yackley place and figured she'd let 'Tude get acquainted with him by touching noses with him.  The goat, having no companions except chickens and ducks, decided to go with his new-found friend, so he jumped the fence and followed.  All goats are adept at jumping fences, killing fruit trees by eating the bark, and climbing on new cars to put dents in them.

Jessica and I, together, got him in the back of her very high-off-the-ground four-wheel-drive pickup, and I sat there and held onto his stinking horns while she drove us to the goat's home.  Why do his horns stink?  Because he pees on them all day, hoping to smell attractive to some nanny goat.

Just another episide of my country life.

Excuse me, I have to take a shower.  I smell like a goat.

I'm a horse-whisperer again

We have an intercom between the house and Cliff's shop.  A while ago, Cliff buzzed me, and when I responded, he said, "Hey Donna, come out and catch Jessica's horse for her."

Tude always ran from his owners when they first brought him here, but I had worked with him a little and gotten him where he'd stand still while they walked up to him.  I guess he's had a relapse.

There was Jessica, a rope in one hand and a bucket of feed in the other (she had hoped to bribe him with grain), looking ready to cry.

"Here," I told her, "Give me the rope, and you take the bucket of feed."

I had several plans in mind, if Tude walked or ran away.  But what he did was take a couple of steps toward me, and when I got to him, I put the rope around his neck.  It was rather disappointing, really, because I wanted to show off my horse-whisperer abilities.

However, Jessica was duly impressed, and very thankful.  I had to laugh when she told him he wasn't getting any feed because he's been a bad boy.  As if he would connect not getting any feed to his naughty behavior, five minutes before.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crazy dogs

I spent almost two hours at the cabin yesterday after my granddaughters went home, listening to Floyd Westerman sing Indian songs, and watching my dog, Mandy, and her friend Buddy.  I have no idea what they thought they were chasing, but they were dead earnest in their pursuit of whatever demon it was.  Buddy barked a lot... short, angry, staccato barks.  Mandy isn't very vocal, so she only dug and probed with her nose, and sometimes went to see what Buddy was barking at. 

Just before heading back to the house, I took this shot from my porch.

It's so pretty back there.


 When I Grow Up

Weekend Assignment #77: What do you want to be when you grow up?

This can be answered one of two ways: You can answer by saying what you wanted to be when you were a kid, or, you can answer by saying what you still want to be, one day, one way or another. It's up to you.

All I wanted to be, as a child, was an Indian... a native American.  I knew, even then, that it wasn't something you could "become", but that's what I wanted most of all, and I questioned my relatives, hoping to find that there might be a tiny drop if Indian blood somewhere in my veins.

What I'd like to be now?  A writer.

Extra Credit: What did your parents want you to be when you grew up?

Anything I did was fine with Daddy.  I believe Mother wanted me to be a preacher's wife.  Whew, I'm glad that didn't happen!

a good day for cooking

We made our second trip of the season to Rasa's orchard yesterday, and picked up two bushels of Fuji apples; the Galas we bought a couple of weeks ago are almost gone: my granddaughters love apples.  I picked up three butternut squash, too.  They're fifty cents each there, and in the store, they're ninety-nine cents a pound.  I also got the first really great-tasting watermelon I've had this year.

It's a cool, rainy day, and I felt like cooking a substantial meal.  So I made an apple cobbler (the kind with biscuit-type topping) and sausage corn-bread in the oven, and microwaved a squash stuffed with chopped apple, brown sugar, and a few pecans.  Cliff is a happy camper with that sort of meal.  Here's a picture of our plates, with the cobbler behind.

It's time for us to start actively searching for some pigs to raise.  Our freezer is looking pretty empty. 

Here's the recipe for the sausage-corn bread we both love; Cliff likes to top it with hot Pace Picante Sauce:

My friend Ora left a comment that made me realize I didn't quite scan all the recipe!  You put half the batter in a greased pan, 8X8 or 9X9, top with the hot meat mixture, put the other half of the batter on top of that, and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Then let it set for 5 minutes, cut, and serve.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A very timely rain

We were really hurting for rain on the newly-planted alfalfa crop, and last night we received almost an inch-and-a-half.  I went back to see if anything had germinated, and sure enough, things are greening up nicely; it was so dry, I had been afraid to check, before.  Hopefully the rain will bring up the rest of the seeds.

If we can manage to do it before another rain, we'll put hay in some of the washed places to prevent them from becoming even bigger ditches.

We already have over $400 invested in this little five-acre plot, so of course we want it to do well.  The wonderful thing about alfalfa is that you can get four cuttings of hay a year from it, if the rains come... and it's the most nutritious hay you can feed your animals.  Horses have to be limited, since it's so rich; but a little of it is good for them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

There was a thunderstorm....

It was thundering.  Mandy is terrified of thunder, and cowered beneath me.

She took refuge under my computer desk.  Meanwhile....

My grandpuppy, Dixie, contentedly chewed on a leather chewie her grandma (that's me) gave her.


I didn't know most of the people at Cliff's family gathering Saturday.  There were neighbors and cousins, and the children of cousins... I didn't even try to figure out who belonged to whom.  As I sat and listened to Cliff talking with his cousin Dale, a toddler began fussing behind me, wanting his very young mother to pick him up.  She was obviously frustrated with trying to appease him, and I offered to take him for awhile.  I was sitting in a metal lawn chair that rocked, so I began rocking him and singing all the songs I used to sing to my babies and grandbabies:  "I've Been Working On The Railroad", "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", and "All The Pretty Little Horses".  He immediately laid his head on my shoulder, pacifier firmly implanted in his mouth, and relaxed.  When I'd pause my singing, he'd grunt at me... his way of asking me to continue.

I hadn't realized, until then, how I miss having a baby around.  It came over me like a physical hunger, and I could have cried at how good it felt to have that baby laying peacefully on my shoulder.

At my previous church, I worked in the nusery with a friend of mine, during Sunday School, every Sunday for at least ten years.  I've had grandbabies off and on for nineteen years now, and even babysat a couple of infants when there were no grandchildren close by. 

Now, I have no babies in my life.  The thought of that makes me feel rather empty.  Something must be done!  If I were to take on an infant to babysit, it would drastically cut back on my horseback riding, and other leisure activities... so I will give it serious thought before I commit to anything.  If I could drive, I'd just go back to my old church (I'm still a member there anyhow) and get back to work in the nursery.

Or maybe this will pass.  We'll see.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday photo shoot: CATS

From blogfather John Scalzi, another assignment:   Your Monday Photo Shoot: Cats or Feet!

Be aware I am feeling quite daffy today, and this is reflected in today's Photo Shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of your feet or a picture of your cat. Naturally, if you can get a picture of your feet and your cat, so much the better.

Be aware that for this Photo Shoot I want never-before-seen pictures of your cats, if you go in that direction of things. No recycling your previous cat shots. No recycling previous feet shots either, although something tells me that will be less of an issue.

Well John, I'm not about to show my hideous feet to the world.  So I risked life and limb to climb up on a stack of hay and take pictures of our hermit barn-cat, Fudge.  I hope my dog, Mandy, doesn't disown me, since she feels it's a cardinal sin for humans to talk to cats.

Come on folks, find your cat, take a new picture, and head over to By the Way to share your entry with AOL's J-land community.  Unless you'd rather share your feet.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

A New Recipe

I was fixing Sunday dinner for me, Cliff, and our daughter's family today.  I wanted a dessert that wouldn't involve too much work and would require only ingredients I already had on hand.  Raw Apple Cake came to mind.  However, that particular recipe is in a tattered old church cookbook, and I don't know where it is.  I wasn't in the mood to go upstairs and search through boxes, so I did a Google search for "raw apple cake".

The first recipe I looked at was similar to my old one, with the same proportions of oil and sugar.  My old recipe required raisins, this one did not... but asked for coconut.  Oh well, I have coconut, and decided to try this new version.

Folks, it's great!  I went back to the on-line recipe and copied it for my recipe file.  I may as well share it with my readers.  After all, apple season has started in Missouri.

                                        RAW APPLE CAKE

"You simply cannot go wrong with this raw apple cake. The ingredients of coconut and the apples ensure that the cake will be moist and flavorful." Preparation time: 20 minutes to prepare, 1 hour to cook, 30 minutes to cool.

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (we use grapeseed oil)
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
3 cups of white flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups chopped apples (varieties that are good for baking - i.e. granny smith, gravenstein, Fuji)
1 cup of coconut (the fresh grated, not the dried. If you use dried, soak first in water.)  (note from donna... I used dried, and did not soak it)
1 cup of chopped nuts - walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Beat sugar and oil. Add remaining ingredients. Bake in a greased and floured bundt cake pan
 about 1 hour. Test around the centers with a long thin bamboo skewer or toothpick to make sure the cake is done.

When cool enough to handle, gently remove from pan. If the dough has raised substantially around the middle areas of the bundt ring, you may need to use a bread knife to gently level off the cake so that it sits even.

1/2 stick sweet butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Blend glaze ingredients and cook until melted. Place the cake on its serving dish. Prick all around the top of the cake with a fork so that when the glaze is applied it easily seeps into the cake. Use a pastry brush to apply the glaze liberally around the surface areas of the cake, or use a spoon to dribble the glaze on the cake.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

another happy, busy day

Cliff and I had already planned to go to Booneville to a tractor show when his brother, Phil called, and suggested we ride with him, hit the tractor show briefly, and then go to their cousin's lake house for a family fish fry, on the Lake of the Ozarks.  Phil took two granddaughters along; he had promised them they'd be able to swim in the Lake of the Ozarks, but had neglected to tell them we'd be stopping first at a tractor show.  They were less than thrilled, but he bought them off with a couple of cowgirl hats. 

There are three of Cliff's mom's siblings still living, and he got to see them all today, plus several cousins.  I enjoyed the food, the peaceful setting on the lake, the tour of Ronnie's house under construction, and traveling in the back seat with Phil's giggling granddaughters.

It was another good day for sure.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Harley Day

We left home shortly after 7 this morning, having put my two granddaughters in the care of a next-door neighbor.  Charlene and Pat (Cliff's sister and her husband) had told us they would arrive at the Harley open house at 7 and save us a spot in line... although sign-up doesn't start until 9 AM.  When we arrived at 8:30, we appreciated our early-bird relatives, because the line went back a long way.  Someone told us people had started arrivng at 4 AM.

Cliff had to show his Driver's license (he took his motorcycle test two weeks ago) and I had to show my non-driver's license.  Then we signed a form that, in so many words,  stated than any harm that might befall us was our own derned faults and Harley-Davidson was not responsible.

Because we were so near the front of the line, we were among the first to be able to ride.  Cliff wanted to try a touring bike first, so we ended up on a beautiful Electroglide Classic.  What a smooth ride it was!  Almost as smooth as a Honda Gold Wing, which we're shopping for (in case Cliff gets the Allis Chalmers D-17 sold).  We won't be buying a new one.  We don't ride enough to justify that kind of expense... like $18,000 for the Electroglide. 

We were waiting in line to ride a "Fat Boy" soft-tail Harley next, and the lady said it would probably be twenty minutes before that one would return.  So I went to the rest room, which was in the factory, quite a distance away.  When I returned, Cliff was gone.  I knew what had happened:  his turn came, and rather than give it up, he left me stranded.  Humph... paybacks are hell.

Our third ride was the Harley Sportster, which didn't impress either of us, although it's half the price of the Electroglide.  Then we went through the museum, and took the tour of the plant.  Cameras weren't allowed, but it was a fascinating place.  There were lots of robots doing amazing things.

We'd noticed, this morning, a Honda Gold Wing for sale in a yard a few miles from here.  So on our way home, we stopped to see about it.  It's really older than we want, but the price was good.  The poor owner is getting a divorce and needs some cash; he told us more than we wanted to now about the situation. 

It's been a fun day.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #76: Tell us something you love about or from the American South. From sweet tea to Lynyrd Skynyrd, William Faulkner to the French Quarter, whatever makes you heart long for southern skies belongs right here.

Is it OK if I name three things about the best-of-all southern state, Georgia?  This first picture shows two of my favorite things:  My granddaughter, Lyndsay (in 2002) and beautiful azaleas that grow like weeds down there.


And the second picture is one my regular readers have seen before:  It's me and Cliff with former President Jimmy Carter and Ros, after being in Sunday School with Jimmy teaching.  Would you believe he'll allow his picture to be taken with anyone who wants one, after each Sunday service?  I think that's so kind of him.

Oh yeah, I like all that about the south.

Extra credit: In your opinion, which Southern state has the best barbeque?

HA!!!  You expect someone from Kansas City to say there's decent barbecue anywhere else in the country?  YOU MUST BE CRAZY!!!!  This is where barbecue was born.


Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Seven Things

This has been going around J-land.  Somebody does the seven things and tags seven other people to do it.  Toonguy tagged me, so here's my best effort:


7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die :

1.  Hug some great-grandchildren
2.  Visit New England
3.  Visit California
4.  Visit Wyoming 
5.  Write another song or two
6.  Finally become a full-fledged Flybaby (you know, the Flylady routine)
7.  Live in a house with enough electrical outlets, even it it's only the old folks' home.

7 Things I Can Do :

1.  Milk a cow
2.  write poems that rhyme
3.  enjoy my own company
4.  use my imagination
5.  name the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve apostles, and the books of the Bible
6.  home-can fruits and vegetables, and make pickles
7.  let you know what I really think (which is why it's a good thing I can enjoy my own company.

7 Things I Can't Do:

1.  Drive 
2.  Sew
3.  lie convincingly
4.  avoid acting like my mother at times
5.  break a horse
6.  squat, since my knees gave out on me
7.  have any confidence in the Kansas City Chiefs 

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex:

1.  kindness
2.  sense of humor
3.  physical strength
4.  a nice smile
5.  honesty
6.  dependability
7.  etc etc.  Can you tell I'm not a person who looks at the physical appearance?

7 Things I Say Most Often:

1.  "Not so loud!"  (to my granddaughters, who interited my loud voice)
2.  "No, Mandy.  Bad!"  (When my dog, Mandy, is killing a neighbor's chicken or chasing horses)
3.  "Bluuuuuuuuueeeeeee."  That's how I call my horse, and all the other horses too, for that matter.
4.  "Cliff, it's time to eat."
5.  "Oh man!"  (I say this in place of expletives) 
6.  "Listen!!!  The neighbors are fighting again!"
7.  "I know YOUR trick."

7 Celebrity Crushes :

1.  Beau Bridges
2.  Paul Newman
3.  Michael Douglas
4.  Billy Joe Armstrong (lead singer of Green Day... and yes, I do know he's way too young)
5.  Waylon Jennings
6.  Travis Tritt
7.  Roy Rogers

7 people you want to do this.

I'll pass on this part, but if anyone is reading this and wants to volunteer, let me know.


Tuesday, September 6, 2005

My Old Bible Story Book


I suppose I was in the fifth grade when my mom bought me the Egermeier's Bible Story Book.  It starts with the story of creation, and ends with Revelation, taking whatever stories from the Bible that might interest a child.

There had been other books I couldn't put down prior to this:  Heidi, and several of the Bobbsey Twins books, for instance; but this one was HUGE, and I was fascinated with it.

At night I'd go upstairs to bed, taking a cup of milk and a box of ginger-snap cookies.  I'd prop myself up on pillows, turn on the bedside lamp, and read until my eyes burned, then read some more, soaking cookies in the milk as I read.  Mother finally resorted to removing the fuse for my room out of the fusebox, so I'd be in the dark and would have to go to sleep.

Sometime in the 1970's, Mother told me she still had that book and wondered if I wanted it.  Well, of COURSE I did!  But along the line, it disappeared without a trace.

Three or four years ago, when I discovered Ebay and, I found out there were plenty of the old Bible Story books around, and I purchased one.  Once I received it and looked at the story titles, and some of my favorite old pictures, I stuck it in the bookshelf and forgot about it.

Until today.  Natalie informed me that she is supposed to read to an adult for fifteen minutes every day.  We had plenty of time, so I told her that would be fine.  After breakfast she came to me with an armload of books, but they were mostly the "Spot" books and Little Golden Books.  Those are great, but they're meant for babies.  Natalie and Monica could both read them by the time they were three or four.

"Natalie," I said, "these won't help you; they're too easy.  We need to find a book that will challenge you, and be a little bit hard.  That way you'll be learning something."

"Oh," she answered, "you mean so when I'm thirty I won't be asking 'What does this word mean?'"  (Natalie has a way of trying to explain any statement you make to her, to let you know she understands.)

That's when I thought of the Bible Story book.

So this morning, Nattie read the first chapter, the story of creation.  She reads very well, but in a sort of monotone, unlike her sister, who almost plays every character's part when she reads.

When she finished the chapter, I asked her to tell me what she had read, to see if she comprehended.  She told me the story in so much detail that by the third day of creation, I was begging her, "Stop!  You understand it fine!"

She asked this evening to read a chapter to me, but I told her we'll do it in the mornings.  I have to add ginger snaps to my grocery list now.

"The Point"

Cliff took this picture from the top of our barn, looking north.  Beyond those furthest hay bales, where the pasture narrows, is what we call "the point"; it isn't unusual to see turkeys and deer feeding there.  If you were to walk as far back on the point as possible and head downhill, you'd see my cabin, which I deliberately located where it couldn't be seen from the house.  Those trees line some of the deepest ditches and hollows you'll see this side of the Grand Canyon (OK, that's an exaggeration, but they're deep).  You can see, to the right, the plowed earth where we planted the alfalfa.  On the left is the fence that seperates our land from Marvin's.

This is the area I walk across, going to my cabin. 

When we bought this house, it came with six acres.  None of what you see in the picture was ours.  Who'd have thought we would get the opportunity to buy enough adjoining land to make 42 acres, all told?  We had to re-finance the place to be able to buy it, and at least half of it is useless for farming, or even pasture.  But we have enjoyed it so much!  Yes, it's been worth the $1,000 an acre over and over.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of my pasture; check your shoes, you may have stepped in something while we were back there.

Monday, September 5, 2005

About the last Monday's Photo Shoot

Because I'm sure some of you do not read Scalzi's blog on a regular basis, I wanted you to see all the messages that J-landers put together for the victims of Katrina, on last Monday's Photo Shoot.

Click here to see everybody's signs.  It may load slowly if you have dialup, but I think it's worth the wait.

Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Last Summer Moments

Here it is, straight from John Scalzi:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get one last shot of summer fun.
Take your final summer photos, upload them to your blog or journal, and then go to John's journal to leave a link. Let's say goodbye to summer in style.

Alrighty then.  I took this picture of Cliff moving the big round bales of hay to the barn yesterday.  It's the last hay-cutting of summer, and you can see the granddaughters are having a blast.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

A poem I just wrote

"Where is God?"  the cynic asked, and wiped away a tear.
"In the midst of chaos, don't tell me that God is near."
"How can anyone believe there is a God of love
When He allows disaster, watching smugly from above."

"Where is God?  I'll just get stoned, so I don't have to see
The crowded, dying, stinking masses of humanity.
I'll take care of number one, and keep my senses numb
And put down Christians everywhere; they're ignorant and dumb."

Friend, I saw God yesterday, when someone gave a bed
To someone he had never met... and got that person fed!
God was in the child's eyes who gave ten cents away
To help Katrina's victims somehow get through one more day.

Someone from my little town has volunteered to leave
Because his EMT abilities just might relieve
A little of the suffering and misery and strife.
God's in Brian's heart, to make him go and risk his life.

I've seen God in every tear that anyone has shed.
God will lead the valiant in the hectic days ahead.
Don't look up.  Look all around.  Just seek, and you will find
That God works through the hearts and through the hands of all mankind.

Donna Wood,  copyright September 4, 2005

Hermit for a day

With all the depressing news we've had lately, I decided to become a hermit and spend 24 hours at the cabin.  Mandy and I went back sometime after 8 o'clock Friday evening.  I took a cooler with a few food items, my camera, of course, and an old popcorn popper I'd bought years ago at a garage sale and never used... it's the kind with a thing on the lid that you turn.   I make popcorn in the microwave, here at the house.  After applying lots of insect repellant (the mosquitoes are terrible there), Mandy and I had popcorn together on my little deck while listening to some of my cabin CDs.  There's a radio with the CD player too, but I don't listen to it.  I've had enough news lately to last a lifetime.

I got up around six A.M., and went outside, with Mandy following me.  Usually when she and I sleep at the cabin, we head back home as soon as I wake up; it was hard to make her understand that we weren't going yet.  She kept heading toward the house, looking back over her shoulder at me as if to say, "Come on; it's time to go home."

I left my camper coffee-pot in the camper after the fair, folded down inside the popup.  Therefore, I made coffee by boiling water in a pan, dumping the grounds in, turning off the burner, and waiting for the grounds to settle.  The coffee wasn't bad!  The trick is to toss out the last couple of drinks at the bottom of your cup.  I fixed a BLT for breakfast, frying an extra piece of bacon for Mandy.  I ran into a problem here:  I realized I have no knife at the cabin, and I had to hack my poor tomato apart with a spoon, in order to make a sandwich.  No problem, it tasted good.

The cooking I did required some dishwashing afterward, so while I had nice warm, soapy water, I wiped off all the surfaces well, removing any final traces of the mouse who once staked his claim there.  He must have been the only mouse there, because the mouse-poison I've put in strategic places hasn't been touched.

Mandy and I walked on paths in the dew-soaked grass.  At one point a deer jumped across in front of us, his white flag raised in alarm.  If it wasn't for Cliff spending many hours mowing each spring and summer, the sumac would take the place.  I truly appreciate his efforts, even though I've been known to tell him he worries too much about how it looks back there.  At this time of year I won't venture into the deep woods on account of ticks and snakes, so if it weren't for the paths he keeps open, I'd have noplace to walk. 

I heard the tractor in the distance around mid-morning and went to see what Cliff was doing; he was harrowing, making final preperation for the alfalfa seed and fertilizer.  I took a picture, waved at him, and walked away. 

We had decided at one point to plant clover instead... the seed is so much cheaper... but in the end we shelled out the money for alfalfa.  In a good year, we'll get four cuttings of hay from alfalfa.  Clover doesn't give that much yield.  Now we just have to hold our breath and pray for gentle rain to get the seeds started.

Back at the cabin I read, had myself a hot dog roast, and generally soaked up the peace... until I heard voices in the distance, getting closer and closer.  It was my two granddaughters, as well as Anna next door.  We visited awhile, Monica and Natalie drank my supply of tea and ate most of my cookies, fussed a bit as usual.... and then we heard a vehicle approaching!  It was Anna's mom looking for her daughter.  She was astounded that I had a cabin in the woods.  "You don't need to go to the lake for vacation, do you?"  she said, laughing.

The visitors more or less brought me back to reality, and I decided to return to civilization.  I had planned on staying 24 hours, but in the end it was 19 hours, all told. 

I helped Cliff put electric fence around the alfalfa field until almost dark, and thus ended another perfect day in my country life.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Saturday Six

1. What is the price of gas at your regular station?  Have you made any changes to holiday plans because of gas prices?

$3.19, Cliff says, is the price now.  Yes, we cancelled our plans to go to the Old Thresher's Reunion in Iowa.  I spent last night and most of today in my cabin, so I'd feel like I had a getaway.

2. Some people feel that the song that was #1 when they were born somehow helps shape their life.  Which song was #1 when you were born, according to this site.  Do you think it relates to your life at all?

That site doesn't go back to 1944.  With the help of Google, I see that Frank Sinatra was popular then, and Tex Ritter was on the charts in country music.

3. Take this quiz:  Which child does it say you are?  Is it correct about your birth order?

It says I'm a fourth child.  I'm my mother's only child, my dad's third.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #61 from De:  What animal do you equate your spirit with and why?  (This site may be helpful.) 

Although I love dogs and horses, I think I'm probably more like a cat.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #62 from PsychfunIf you had to describe your personality as a nut (as in the eatable kind) what nut would you be and why?

I'll pass on this question.  It makes no sense to me.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #63 from Chris:   Who knows the "real" you better - - your real world friends or your Jland readers?

I don't think anyone knows the real me except perhaps my husband.

If you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), click the e-mail link on the About Me bar and send it to me.

Friday, September 2, 2005

John Scalzi's Weekend assignment

Weekend Assignment #75: Send a Message

This Weekend Assignment is going to be short and sweet:

Weekend Assignment #75: Write a note to those who are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Take a picture of yourself and the note. Post it online where everyone can see. Write on a whiteboard, a piece of paper, a notepad, whatever.

Natalie and Monica agreed on what to say, and they did the printing and decorating.  I love it when our weekend assignment is one the girls can participate in.

If you'd like to play, simply make your sign and take a picture, put it in a journal entry, and leave the link to that entry HERE in Scalzi's blog, with all the rest.