Monday, October 31, 2005

about the Vivi awards

Picture from Hometown

I refused to vote for the stupid Vivi's.  I don't like awards.  I don't like to pit one person against another... much less one friend against another.  (This could be a result of being a Kansas Chiefs fan, I don't know:  it gets to the point where you dread every contest.)  I will never, never vote in the Vivi contest.

So why am I staying up past my bedtime, wishing they'd hurry up and post the results? 

No, I didn't vote.  I never will.  But I still want the results. 

Right now.

A drizzly, dank, depressing day

It was sprinkling this morning when Cliff decided to get back into the routine of walking a few times a week for his health.  At first I told him to go ahead; my feet and knees were hurting, and I was going to stay home.  Then I decided I'd ride along with him to the park, where the track is, and maybe try one round with him.  "But I'll be slow," I told him.  "So if you need to, just leave me behind and walk at your own pace."

The track is 1/4 mile, circling the little league baseball field.  I made three rounds, Cliff went four.  This from a couple who used to walk three and four miles a day.  But it beats doing nothing.

I must say I'm no worse for the wear tonight, so I'll try it again tomorrow.  That's the day I pick up my shoe inserts, so perhaps the walking will be less painful on Wednesday. 

I am allowing Buddy to have access to Mandy's food now.  I won't be worming him; I don't feel that's my business.  But I just can't let him go hungry.  Speaking of the dogs, they both must be enjoying the rotten calf in the ditch, because Mandy smelled so bad of carrion today that I could barely stand to be near her.  But she was happy!

Both granddaughters came home from school with treats; they'd had parties in their classrooms, and were quite happy.  Among their goodies, they'd each received a set of vampire teeth; and they got on my last nerve with the silly things.  Do you know what kids sound like, trying to talk with vampire teeth in their mouths?  Not to mention what they look like.  To see this picture, you'd never know Monica is on the E honor roll.  (I'm a grandmother, so of course I had to sneak that little brag in.)

Thank goodness Natalie dropped hers outside and decided they were too dirty to keep.  Monica left hers here, soaking by the kitchen sink in a worn-out paper party cup as if they were dentures.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oh my goodness

Here's a J-Lander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time during the last hurricane.  Click HERE, and then scroll down to read all her other entries and see the pictures.

Today's Motorcycle report

We left home with full intentions of riding over 100 miles to Versailles, and perhaps seeing some of Cliff's relatives in that area.  But when he found out he didn't have his billfold, we had to go back home and start over.  Normally I don't take my purse along on bike rides, but for some reason I did today.  Thank God for that, because Cliff had already filled up with gas before he realized he had no money.  A credit card saved the day.

It was a beautiful sunny day, although the wind wasn't too pleasant.  We were home by 3 PM.

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown


1. What is a bigger pet peeve for you:  someone trying to talk on a cell phone during a movie, a baby crying in a restaurant, a dog barking on your street, or music played loud enough to rattle windows. 

I don't go to many movies, but I think someone talking on a cell phone in a movie would peeve me more than the others.

2. What is your favorite cologne or perfume that you wear most often?  Which one is the one you like the scent of, but don't wear often or at all?

I'm not fond of perfumes.  If a perfume is overpowering, it stuffs up my nose and makes me about half-sick.  I like the smell of Old Spice on a man, though, if it isn't too strong.

3. In your opinion, what is the best way to tell someone you value how much they mean to you?

Put it in a poem, or at least in writing.  That way they have something they can look at again and again.

4. Earlier this week, I posted a personality quiz:   If you haven't taken it, please do; if you already have, how accurate were the results compared with your true personality.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest.
Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken.

I'd say that fits me fairly closely, although I barely made this category, with exactly 40 points.

5. When was the last time you feel you got as much sleep as you really needed in a single night?

Several nights ago I actually slept through the night for seven hours straight, which is unheard of for me.  I felt like I'd gotten enough sleep then.

6. If a stranger walked up to you and handed you a briefcase with enough money to pay off every debt you had down to the penny, do you think you could start from then on living debt-free?  

I'd love to say yes, but there's an old saying, "Poor people have poor ways."  

With all bills paid off, I'd say to myself (and Cliff), "Well, now that we don't have any monthly bills, we can afford to buy that new super-charged Dell computer I've been wanting.  And while we're at it, you could use a slightly bigger John Deere." 

There we'd be, with two monthly payments again.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Mandy's friend

I got Mandy as a puppy over a year ago; we hadn't had her more than a month before the next-door neighbors acquired a puppy they named Buddy.  Because the two dogs were babies together, they  became pals to the bitter end.  At first I fought it, and tried to chase Buddy home.  Then I decided to let him come around, but ignored him as much as possible.  To me, he's a homely creature; besides, if I so much as glance at him, Mandy is jealous, in spite of how much she likes him. 

This is the sight that greeted me when I looked out my door at 9 this morning.

I lock Mandy in her pen in the barn overnight; often, when I go out in the morning to turn her loose, Buddy is getting up from beside her pen, stretching and yawning.  He's spent the night again.

These two clowns have given me more genuine laughs in the past year than anyone has a right to.  They're a nuisance in many ways, but they team up to do such funny things:  for instance, we turned into our drive the other day just in time to see Mandy carrying a croquet mallet home in her mouth... and the two dogs then played tag with that thing for hours.

You'll notice how skinny Buddy is.  I mentioned to Cliff today that I'm thinking of perhaps feeding him.  After all, he's here half the time, and people will think he's our dog, and that we're starving him.  Cliff just shook his head.  He gets tired of Buddy peeing on all the tires around here.  And boy, do we have tires, what with seven tractors, a car, a pickup and a motorcycle.  Oh, and a couple of lawn mowers.

But hey, the dog is here, whether we like it or not.  Dog food isn't that expensive.  

We'll see.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

another walk in the woods

Cliff and I went riding on the Honda this morning.  We had to watch the time, because school let out at 1 PM today.  We knew we had to be back before the granddaughters arrived at our house.

Cliff has gotten the microphones in our helmets working, so now we can converse easily as we travel on the Gold Wing.

We went by one of Cliff's former employers, but he wasn't home (Tom, in case my kids want to know).  Then we went by my cousin Betty's house; she was working, but her husband was there.  So we visited with him briefly.

Next, we went grocery shopping!  With all those saddlebags, we had room for yogurt and milk and orange juice and cheese and tomato soup for my granddaughters!

After Cliff left for work, my granddaughters and I (and a neighbor kid who tagged along) went hiking in the woods.  The girls now know what itch-weed is (stinging nettle, for you purists).  And they want to hike again tomorrow anyway.

Life is good.


If you find a better horse than this one... let me know.


And now, from John Scalzi comes our...

Weekend Assignment #83: Your Halloween Story

Weekend Assignment #83: Tell us a scary Halloween story... that happened to you.

It's not scary, but it is a Hallween story. 

Until I was twelve years old we had no indoor bathroom facilities; my parents were the telephone operators in a small town, and our living room was pretty much open to the public.  There were no phone booths in town, so if someone away from home needed to make a phone call, they'd see the "Bell" telephone sign on our porch, knock, and come on in.  Needless to say, everyone nearby knew us.  Which means we were often a target for Halloween pranks.

The outhouse was the last place I'd go before going to bed at night, and my first destination upon waking in the morning; unless it was bitter cold, in which case there was a metal "pot" under the bed.  It wasn't ever cold enough by Halloween to necessitate a pot.

Imagine waking up the morning after Halloween with a loaded bladder, heading out to the toilet, and seeing the outhouse laying on its side.  Desperation!

Yep.  That was the most popular "trick" in the fifties in small-town America.  And it didn't matter whether the kids got a "treat" or not.  In fact, the toilet-tippers were usually older teenagers who hadn't even gone around asking for treats.

Extra Credit: The song "Monster Mash": Fun or lame?   As lame as it gets.

My husband, the nomad?

Cliff is a home body, always has been.  For at least twenty-five of the almost-forty years we've been married, I milked cows twice a day, so we had a reason (sometimes an excuse) to have to stay home.

Travel has often been cost-prohibitive around here anyway, with Cliff being the only one with a job for so much of our lives.  Things worked out.  We stayed home; it isn't a bad place to be.

In 1993, after some very hard-to-take job losses, Cliff got his present job and our finances started looking up a little with every raise he received.  Somewhere around that time, I sold my last two milk cows, and we began planning for a real vacation.

We went to Colorado a couple of times, buying a popup tent camper somewhere along the line.  We took a trip down through Kentucky and Tennessee.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly; Cliff, not so much.  I'm sure this is partly because I don't drive, so he's the one doing all the work.

But he's always thinking about what he'd be doing at home if he were here.  And often, it is important things that need doing, like putting up hay.  But the plain truth is, he'd just rather be home than anywhere.

Myself, I love to travel.  Not just the arriving at my destination, but the whole jouney there.  I enjoy looking out the window and watching the world go by, and seeing us inch across the map I keep on my lap as we follow the white line.

When I got a job over five years ago, I did some traveling on my own with my newfound funds.  For the first time in my life, I flew on a commercial airplane... to a chat room get-together in Tennessee.  I took a couple of trips on Greyhound busses, but my last jaunt (to Dallas) was pretty unpleasant, and I swore off busses entirely.  The people-watching was great, but there's too much risk of missing a connection in some podunk town and getting stuck there for twenty-four hours until the next bus comes along;  it almost happened to me.

I flew to Virginia and spent a few days with my friend Sue.  I flew into Washington, DC, another time and spent a glorious week with another friend in Virginia, Joanna, and I got goosebumps when I saw my nation's capital for the first time.  I bought airplane tickets for my daughter and myself, and we visited my sister at her winter home in Texas.

Then I quit my job, and the traveling ended.  Cliff fixed my cabin-in-the-woods, so I could "camp out" on our property.  To everything there is a season, and I'm willing to have a season of staying home for vacations, once again.  I've even considered buying a milk cow and some chickens:  after all, if I'm going to be home all the time...

And then, we bought this motorcycle.  Cliff immediately started talking about getting a trailor to pull behind it, so we could take a tent along.  Huh?  A tent?  He's also mentioned that they make little popup campers for motorcycles to pull.

::knocking on Cliff's helmet::  "Hello?  Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?"

Yesterday he was reading a "Wing World" magazine (the Honda Gold Wing periodical), and looked up to tell me about some annual, national gathering of Honda riders called a "Wing Ding".   

Next year it's in Nashville.

"We could do that," he said.

This could work out pretty well, actually.  I have a good Internet friend in Nashville.

Hey Jen, are you going to be home around the 4th of July?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

an evening at the cabin

I spent almost two hours at the cabin this evening.  I had Native American music softly playing in the background inside the cabin while I sat on the porch.  Mandy had followed me back, but promptly disappeared for over an hour.  When she finally showed up again, she sat on her haunches looking this way and that way into the woods.  At one point she went running down the path and scared up a turkey.  I didn't see it, but I heard it protesting as it took flight.  I could have sworn I heard the persistant meowing of a cat down in the holler, at one point. 

Why is it so comforting to watch a fire burn?  I was almost hypnotized by the flames, which I had to douse when I saw darkness was overtaking me.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A walk in the woods with the girls

When it's cool, the granddaughters tend to come in from school, turn on the TV, and veg out.  Most evenings we can't get too far from the house because I'm never sure when one of their parents will be here to pick them up; it can be any time from 4:30 to 6.  But I've given Rachel and Kevin a weekly "date night" when they don't have to get the girls until 8 PM, which means we had plenty of time for a walk.

It's been a perfect autumn day, and when I suggested we go strolling after homework was done, the girls were quite enthusiastic.  With two dogs running circles around us, we skirted around the bull, who has never chased anyone, but has an intimidating stare.   

Our first destination was the cabin, where we made a "mouse check" (No new tracks).  Then we headed down the path in front of the cabin that leads down to the fence and the railroad track at the back of the place.  The mosquitoes and flies are no longer around, thank goodness. 

Rather than go back up the same path, we walked several yards to the mouth of our biggest valley and used that path to ascend back to the pasture.  All three of us had to stop and catch our breath a few times, going up the hill.  But there was no complaining. 

We were gone for exactly an hour, and had worked up quite an appetite; we were soon sitting down to a "kid meal" of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and green beans, followed by Cookies and Cream ice cream.

Another good day.


Bikers in cold weather

About three days after we bought the Gold Wing, I equipped myself with "leathers":  my fringed coat, chaps, and gloves.  Cliff bought gloves, and said he'd get by with a rather dressy leather coat he's had for a few years.

On our cooler rides, he had a problem with wind blowing up his pant-legs, and he admitted his legs got pretty chilly.  I told him my chaps protected me quite well. 

Last Saturday I finally pursuaded him to buy chaps, and a real motorcycle jacket.  Being the miserable weekend that it was, we hadn't had a chance for him to try them out.

This morning around ten when it was 42 degrees, I said, "Are we going riding?"

"If we are, we'd better get cracking," answered Cliff.  "We'll need to be back by one o'clock for me to get ready for work."

Away we went.  We hadn't gone three miles before I realized I should have worn the helmet with the full face shield; do you know what sort of wind chill you get at 42 degrees and 60 miles per hour?  Cliff offered to go back and get the other helmet, but I used the scarf wrapped around my neck to cover the lower part of my face.  That worked.

There's a Honda Dealer twenty-five miles from here, and that was our first stop.  Cliff had them order an owner's manual for our bike, since none came with it.  I rather gloatingly mentioned that I hadn't seen any other motorcycles on the road.  "Must be a bunch of pansies," I said, shivering.

We rode on to Independence, to the Hub Cycle Shop, and bought a piece for the intercom so Cliff and I can converse better as we ride, or listen to the radio through speakers in our helmets.  By this time a few brave souls were out and about on their motorcycles, so I stopped gloating.  Of course it had warmed up a couple of degrees by then.

When we got back home at 12:45 P.M., it was forty-seven degrees.

Honestly, I wasn't all that cold for the amount of riding we did.  If I were going to be riding all day in those temperatures, I think I'd  add some layers under the leather, but for a short ride I was fine.

Cliff admits he's glad he spent the money to buy chaps and a real motorcycle jacket.  He was much warmer.

We're having fun.

Thanks Ryanagi, for a piece of my childhood

In a recent entry, I reminisced about this book.  I'm sure someone gave it to me because my mongrel dog was named Cooky.  But the thing I most remember about it is how it made me want some cookies!

Now, the wonderful thing about this Internet and the many communities here is that if you can't find something, there's always someone who is willing to help.  I had searched every way I knew how for this memento of the 1940's, with no results.  It was perhaps an hour after I had posted the entry mentioned above that Ryanagi had found it for me.

What a great thing!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My sister's good news

My snowbird sister leaves for Mission, Texas, next weekend; so I invited her out for chili with me, Cliff, and my daughter's family, so we could say a proper goodbye.

Maxine is an amazing woman.  I know, I know... we don't resemble one another.  We share the same dad but have different mothers, although my mom raised her from the age of five.  She is in her late seventies, but she has never had any type of surgery in her life.  She needs no medication, not even for blood pressure.  She has her own teeth.  She can do deep knee bends like a teenager.

Her husband died in 2001.  Just before he was diagnosed with leukemia, Maxine got bad news:  Her eye doctor informed her that she had macular degeneration, and probably within ten years, she wouldn't be seeing much.  We have an aunt with this condition, and she's been very much hindered by it for years.

Maxine told her husband, Russell, that she didn't want their only son and his wife to know because, she reasoned, why should they worry about her any longer than necessary?

But in his dying condition, Russell told their son, because he wanted him to convince his mom to move near them, in Kansas.  He didn't want her to be alone when she could no longer see.   A couple of months after Russell's death, Maxine's daughter-in-law gently let her know that Russell had told her the secret; and they began making long-range preparations for the time she'd have to sell her house in Kansas City and move to central Kansas.

A year after her diagnosis of Macular degeneration, Maxine's eyes had not changed.  Two years, the same.  The doctor said, "Well, sometimes it never gets any worse than it is when it's first diagnosed."

Last year and again this year, there was no deteriation in her eyesight.  The doctor said he doesn't expect her, at this point, to have any  more problems.

If anyone ever deserved such good news, it's my sister.  I am so happy for her.

She still plans, eventually, to move near her son.

I wanted to share this story so that anyone else getting this diagnosis of macular degeneration will know there is hope.  And so you will see how prayers are answered.

I give the glory to a loving God.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. How many products throughout your home are labelled "antibacterial."

My Equate Liquid hand soap

2. As a general rule, and assuming any required knocking on wood, how often do you get anything more serious than a sniffle or mild cold?

I worked for five years at my last job without ever missing work because of illness.  I had a stomach virus of some sort over the Christmas holidays, 2003... didn't miss work because we were off for the holiday.  I usually have 2 or 3 mild colds each cold-and-flu season.  I'm a firm believer in the flu shot, and I got mine for this year a couple of weeks ago.

3. John Scalzi ran
this story about research that suggests the increased use of "antibacterial" products aren't necessary for people who are generally healthy, and might be causing the creation of "superbugs" that are resistant to antibiotics.  Are you more likely to avoid these products after reading about studies like this?

If someone makes a liquid hand soap that is not anti-bacterial, I'll choose it.  Until they do, I'm not going back to bar soap for hand-washing.

4. Take this
quiz:  Will you pass the U.S. Citizenship Test?

I failed.

5. Now that the gas prices have dropped just a little (but nowhere near enough), what's the most you've paid for a gallon of gas so far?


Psychfun:   What was your favorite cereal as a kid?  When was the last time you had a bowl of it?

Cheerios!  I remember a time when I called all cereal cheerios.  My second favorite was shredded wheat.  I have shredded wheat often, even today.  It's probably been a month since I've had any Cheerios.

We're keeping the cows

I had mentioned that Cliff wanted to sell the cows, and there was a reason for this:  he was tired of losing a large percentage of our calf crop each year.  When you only have two or three cows, one calf is a big loss.

Last year one of the calves died of scours (diarrhea, for you city folks).  It shouldn't have happened.  We ought to have been more vigilant, but we hadn't had cows around for years, and had forgotten the risk.  Had we caught the problem early on, the calf would have recovered.  Our herd consisted of three cows at that time, so that left us two calves.  But we took the bull home too soon, and it turned out only two of our three cows was pregnant.  Cliff sold the open cow, and also the two six-month-old calves.

Imagine my joy when, last May, Lucy had twin heifer calves.  Our joy turned to frustration, though, when we realized they were nursing both their mom and their aunt, who wouldn't have her baby for another month.  We tried seperating the cows, but they were so frantic to be together that I believe they would have broken through the iron curtain itself!  Certainly a few strands of barbed wire didn't stop them. 

Money, the other cow, had a nice, big bull calf in June, and we had visions of steaks, hamburgers, and roasts.  We made him a steer on his second day of life, and hoped somehow the month-old twins would leave enough milk for a newborn.

He got by, although I don't think he was growing as well as he would have if those two leeches hadn't been stealing his food.  For some reason, he kept getting through a fence to the neighboring farm, which was an aggravation.  Cliff and I both swear these are the stupidest bovines ever to walk the earth:  I NEVER had these kinds of problems when I had my Jerseys.  Of course, their calves were raised on bottles and kept away from them after they were three days old, so nursing the wrong mom was never a problem.

Four days ago, we realized the little steer was missing.  The other times he got out, he and his mom bawled and bellowed until we reunited them.  This time, no mooing was heard.

Without the calf bawling, the mom wasn't worried, because she had two calves nursing her.  So we figured the calf must be dead.

We have ditches on this place in which you could easily hide our two-story house.  The ravines are deep, and many of the banks are straight up and down.

Last night Mandy led me through the timber, down a steep slope leading to the bottom of one of the deepest canyons on our place, to a place where I could see the corpse... although there was no way I could get down there.  I imagine he fell and perhaps broke his neck.  Otherwise, he'd have bawled, and his mother would have been frantic.  And we'd have helped him out.   

Cliff was already a little depressed about getting rid of the D-17 Allis Chalmers, and he decided it was time to quit fighting it.  He'd sell the cows.  Since we have the horses on the place, we have to keep them in seperate pens, because horses will chase cows to the point of exhaustion.  It has been a pain keeping the two species seperate, I'll admit. 

Well, Cliff has had a change of heart.  For now, at least, we're keeping the cows.  We have plenty of hay in the barn, and we can always sell them later if we must.

This year we ended up with a 100% calf crop:  two cows, two calves... at least so far.

Oh, the picture above is of the steer, right after we'd retrieved him from the wrong side of the fence a few weeks ago.  He is now providing a feast for coyotes, bobcats, possums, and the occasional dog that passes through the woods.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Racism in my life


My "Little Black Sambo" entry got me thinking back to my childhood.

I was born in Iowa, and after my parents and I left there, we lived in small-town north Missouri until I was ready for the sixth grade.  I never saw an African-American live, in person, until we moved to Kansas City... as far as I can recall. 

I do remember my daddy sitting on our front porch in Iowa on a hot summer night, with the radio blaring, punching the air as he rooted for Joe Lewis.

I loved my Little Black Sambo book, and asked my parents for a colored baby-doll... but I used the N word, because that's all I knew.  Mamma laughed at my request, but Santa brought me my doll. 

We used to play ring-around-the-rosy at school, and ended it with "the last one down is a N----- baby."  It's all we knew. 

When we moved to Kansas City, we lived on the north side of the river, so there were no African-Americans in my school.  Somewhere along the line, though, my parents and I stopped using the N word.

Daddy used to talk about working on the railroad, when he was young, with a black man who was the hardest worker and the friendliest person there.

Mother worked at the Cafeteria at Sears for awhile after we first moved to Kansas City, and came home talking about how frustrating it was to see colored women (that's the term we used then) working behind the counter, and yet not be allowed to sit at the counter and eat.

I was raised in the Church of Christ, and sometimes our services were pretty dull.  So if the "colored" Church of Christ was having a "gospel meeting" ( the Church of Christ term for a revival), we attended!  We were often the only white people there, but we sure did enjoy the lively services.

Looking back, I believe  my parents were pretty darned  progressive.  And I remember the words of the Bob Dylan song:

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.

We've come a long way, baby.

a busy day for Cliff

Cliff stays busy in his shop most days, but I think today he was mainly trying to keep his mind off the fact that the D-17 Allis is leaving tomorrow.  He's making a bale spike for the John Deere, to move our big bales of hay around.

I'll be glad to get Allis's delivery done, and behind us.  There's an air of sadness around here, with her sitting out there, but no longer being ours.

Cliff's decided to sell the cattle, too.  That's a decision I'll leave to him.  I've always considered these "his" cows.  He'll use the proceeds from their sale to buy a disk mower (I won't explain, it's just a better implement than he has for haying right now).

My sister will be heading to Texas for the winter in about a week, so she's coming out Sunday to have chili with us; that way we all get to bid her goodbye.  The past two years I've been able to visit her while she's down south, but I don't have that kind of funds nowadays.  I'm sure glad I went while I could.

I'm just rambling here, so I'll stop.



Thursday, October 20, 2005

I wish I'd written that

Willie Nelson - My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys    

Written by Sharon Rice

I grew up a-dreamin' of bein' a cowboy,
and Lovin' the cowboy ways.
Pursuin' the life of my high-ridin' heroes,
I burned up my childhood days.
I learned of all the rules of the modern-day drifter,
Don't you hold on to nothin' too long.
Just take what you need from the ladies, then leave them,
With the words of a sad country song.
My heroes have always been cowboys.
And they still are, it seems.
Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.

Cowboys are special with their own brand of misery,
From being alone too long.
You could die from the cold in the arms of a nightman,
Knowin' well that your best days are gone.
Pickin' up hookers instead of my pen,
I let the words of my years fade away.
Old worn-out saddles, and 'old worn-out memories,
With no one and no place to stay.

My heroes have always been cowboys.
And they still are, it seems.
Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.

Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.


Weekend assignment: Bedtime Stories

Weekend Assignment #82: What was your favorite bedtime story as a child?

As a very young child, I had two favorite books:  "The Story of Cooky", mentioned a few days ago; and "Little Black Sambo".  And there does seem to be a theme here, because both stories made me hungry.  The first left me wanting warm, home-made cookies; the second made me crave pancakes.


I've heard that "Little Black Sambo" was banned as being racist, although for the life of me, I don't see it that way.

If you aren't familiar with the story, it's online HERE.  If you're on dialup, it may take awhile to load.

Here's the exact book I had, and it's bringing $25 to $35 and more on Ebay:


Extra Credit: As an adult , have you shared that favorite bedtime story with a child?

Thanks to Ryanagi, I should soon be receiving "The Story Of Cookie" in the mail; and of course I'll insist the granddaughters read it (although they're a little old for it).  And thanks to John jogging my memory, which led me to "Little Black Sambo" online, yes:  I'll probably read it to/with them tomorrow.

Play along, folks.  Do an entry about your favorite story from childhood and leave the link HERE at John's blog.


May I whine?

A year ago, my knees were my worst problem; once I quit my job, with its eight hours of walking a day, the pain in my knees became bearable.  I can't run, or walk fast; I can't squat or kneel.  But as long as I stroll slowly, the pain isn't that noticable.  A walk back to the cabin, three or four times a day, hasn't been a big deal.  In fact, it was downright pleasant.  When you walk slowly, you take time to "smell the roses".

Then came this plantar fasciitis; my right heel hurts worse every day.  In fact, it's much more intense than any pain I ever had with my knees. 

I'm doing the exercises.  I bought an over-the-counter heel pad, which really helped Cliff.  Nothing has done a thing for me.

Cliff now believes in medical miracles, since getting his new hearing aid, and he urged me to go ahead with the specially-made-for-my-foot orthodic inserts, even though insurance won't pay the $350.  So I went and got fitted.  It'll be another ten days till I get them.  To be honest, I don't expect them to fix my problem.  Can you tell I'm depressed?

You see, I've walked for exercise since the late 1970's.  Usually three to four miles a day, six days a week.  When I got my last job I stopped walking for exercise at home, but I walked all day long at my job.

Now I'm getting fat.  I have very little self-control when it comes to eating, and walking has always been my salvation.  Try as I might, I can't force myself to walk very far with the kind of pain I'm having.  And by the way, although I'm not vain about my looks by any means, it's humiliating to realize I am waddling like a duck because I'm hurting, and can't do a thing about it.

I do count my blessings.  At least I can walk.  I find great pleasure in riding my horse, and that's exercise for me as well as the horse (but winter is coming when I won't be able to ride often).  And thank God for the Internet and good books.

It seems the more sedentary I become, the more I think up delicious things to bake.

I guess if I become fat enough, I can always go get that stomach bypass surgery like Cliff's brother's wife had.  (I think I'm kidding.)

OK, enough of this pity-party.  No more whining for at least a month.  I promise.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The AOL guest editor

Since AOL first began the "guest editor" feature, I've been less than impressed.  However, this week's guest editor has the most fascinating suggestions for the best journals to read. 

I hate to admit I've wasted three hours reading some of his suggestions and "other journals". 

Sometimes you win.  Check him out.

Wednesday, and all is well.

Today was "Missouri Day" in Monica's fourth-grade class:  Each child was given the name of a Missouri person to portray, and had to prepare a presentation about that person.  Monica was Calamity Jane, who I did not know was born in Missouri until Monica told me this morning:  Princeton, to be exact. 

Cliff took some old hay bales that had provided Mandy with a snug house for over a year, and replaced them with sweet-smelling new bales.  He also gave her a bed of cedar chips.  He took the old hay to the alfalfa field to try and stop up the ditch that erosion is creating.  The alfalfa, by the way, is doing great.  While Cliff put the hay in strategic places, I pulled some broad-leafed weeds that are killing areas of alfalfa.  In the lot where the horses graze, those pesky weeds are beginning to dominate.  One of the problems with keeping horses is that they over-graze good grasses in a pasture, which allows weeds to take over in the bare spots.  Horses are equipped with teeth that can bite off a plant right to the ground.  Cows, having no front upper teeth, can't crop the grass off so short. 

I have fifty minutes between the time Cliff leaves for work and the time the girls get here from school.  Today I used that time for a quick check of my cabin.  The mice seem to be enjoying the poison I left for them. 

I'm thankful that the predicted rain is here.  We needed it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I wish I'd written that

Imagine yourself born and raised in a small town.  You've gone to the big city and gotten a good job.  You're so homesick, you've decided to return home, the heck with the money:   Kris Kristofferson said it best:

 I come from just the other side of nowhere
To this big time lonesome town.
They got a lot of ice and snow here,
Half as cold as all the people I’ve found.
Every way I try to go here seems to bring me down.
I’ve seen about enough to know where I belong.

I’ve got a mind to see the headlights shining
On that old white line between my heart and home.
Sick of spendin’ Sundays wishing they were Mondays
Sittin’ in a park alone.
So give my best to anyone who’s left who ever done me
Any lovin’ way but wrong.
Tell ’em that the pride of just the other side o nowhere’s
Goin’ home.

Takin’ nothin’ back to show there
For these dues I’ve paid.
But the soul I almost sold here
And the body I’ve been givin’ away.
Fadin’ from the neon nighttime glow here,
Headin’ for the light of day,
Just the other side of nowhere, goin’ home.

I’ve got a mind to see the headlights shinin’
On that old white line between my heart and home.
Sick of spendin’ Sundays wishin’ they were Mondays,
Sittin’ in a park alone.
So give my best to anyone who’s left who ever done me
Any lovin’ way but wrong.
Tell them that the pride of just the other side of nowhere’s
Goin’ home.
Just the other side on nowhere, goin’ home

Monday Photo Shoot: Fall colors

Blogfather John has given us this assignment

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Capture the changing seasons with a shot of the fall foliage near you.

Well John, it'll probably be another week before our colors are at their best; but I can show you what we have right now.  I took this shot as I was going to the cabin this evening.  The sumac is a lovely red. 

a J-land map

I got this from CELESTE'S journal, and it's pretty neat to see where some of my J-land friends live.  If you so desire, go add yourself to the map.

old tractors

Cliff has loved tractors all his life, I guess.  It was a fascination I never really understood, and certainly did not share for many years.  Every once in awhile he'd get a good buy on some old tractor and knock the dings out of it, paint it, and sell it.  And a few times over the years he painted tractors for other people, and made a few (very few) bucks.  A good paint job is important to him, and at least twice in the years we've had Allis (the one we just sold) Cliff gave her a new paint job and decals simply because she was looking a bit faded.

When my son's family returned from Germany and our then-daughter-in-law and the two kids settled nearby, our grandson Arick spent a lot of time here.  One fall Cliff decided he and Arick would restore an old Farmall H tractor, and it would be Arick's when they were done.  That's a story I'll tell another time; but that "H" was what hooked me into enjoying old tractors.

We started going to tractor shows, and it amazed me to see old relics (including some steam engines over 100 years old) that looked, and ran, like new.  Wow, they really built things to last in those days.  I developed an affection for the old iron, and came to admire the men who restored them in what was, truly, a labor of love.

It was around that time that we paid a visit to my Uncle Leo's farm.  We were strolling around looking at his farm equipment when I spotted a rusty old tractor inside the barn... or at least, part of a tractor.  I inquired about the make and model, and learned it wasn't anything Uncle Leo ever farmed with; it was a "parts tractor" he'd bought when his Allis Chalmers WD needed a radiator.

"Does it run?"  I asked.

Uncle Leo said one of his grandsons had gotten the engine to turn over once.

"Do you want to sell it?"

Poor Cliff turned about four shades of pale, and tried to signal to me that he wasn't interested in this deal.

One thing led to another, and eventually, Uncle Leo gave us the tractor.  All we had to do was drive a hundred miles to his farm and pick it up.  Which we did.  Cliff was still less than enthusiastic.

A friend of Cliff's brother gave us another WC parts tractor, and it seemed to have many of the parts intact that ours needed.  That was a blessing. 

I thought it would be fun to have this for a show tractor because most of the WC Allis Chalmers' we saw at shows were the older, unstyled versions.  We seldom saw one like ours, which was manufactured in 1938, the year they first started  making the "styled" WC.

I can honestly say my orange beauty is an attention-getter at the shows.  Men in their 70's and 80's seem especially attracted to her, and Cliff takes pride in that.  One elderly fellow said, "My goodness, that tractor didn't look that good when it came out of the factory new!"

But it's always been my tractor.  Oh, I've never driven it.  But I was the one who wanted it restored, so it was a labor of love that Cliff did for me.  I guess I wanted it because it came from my beloved uncle, even though it was only a parts tractor.

So before we took it to a show, we had a plaque made for it:

Cliff says he has over $4,000 in this tractor.  There's no way you could ever get that much out of this very common old machine, even though it's been restored.  Which is fine, because I don't want to sell it.  I realize a time will come when it will have to go to the highest bidder, who might pay $2,000 for it if we're lucky.  When that time comes, I know of a young man who wants my tractor. 

And when we're ready to take a loss on it, who better to have the WC than Uncle Leo's grandson? 

Sunday, October 16, 2005

our day

We had planned to spend this weekend in Kansas; it didn't happen, because the man who is buying Allis wanted to come yesterday and settle up.  Yesterday would have been a perfect day for riding, but the guy just would not leave.  Today was rather cool and overcast, but we had a good time.  Cliff has decided to buy chaps, because he was a little on the cool side.

After early church, we decided to ride to Cameron, Missouri, and hunt up my cousin Gerald.  We had no address and no phone number, and only a vague description of how to get there... but we found it!  My cousin and his wife weren't home, though.  Oh well, we'll try another time.  I had my camera and was going to take a picture of his house for my cousin Carolyn, who reads this blog, until I discovered I didn't have the card in my camera.  Duh.  We put 177 miles on Lightning today. 

I came home and made a huge batch of hamburger stew:  very good foresight on my part, because it wasn't long until my daughter's hungry family was here, and then Cliff's sister and her husband, on their Harley.  It's been a good day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Happy days are here again!

Thanks to a free picture-ad service at Yesterday's Tractors, we sold this old Farmall M for $1,500.  It was the strangest thing, because the man never even talked to us on the phone.  All communication was done by e-mail, and he paid a friend $700 to haul it to Oklahoma for him.  We were paid in cash.  Although the Yesterday's Tractor ads are free, I will paypal a few bucks to them.

Also, today we received the money for Allis.  Cliff will deliver her sometime this coming week.

Oh, I am back on my very own wonderful computer now; my grandson Arick's friend, Lee, came by to fix it... but when I turned it on, it worked fine!  I really felt silly.  Lee told me that I need to clean the dust out of the inside of my computer about once a year.  I had never in my life opened a computer and looked inside, but today I did.  It appeared clean, but I took it to Cliff in the shop and he blew hundreds of dust bunnies out of there with his air compressor.  I don't know where all that gunk came from!  Lee said if there are smokers in a house, the cleaning needs to be done every six months.  I've learned something today. 

I'm back yet again

My number one computer suddenly refused to boot up for me, and after the third attempt, it more or less told me I wasn't getting any more tries.  So, I'll have to find a trustworthy hospital for it.  My daughter suggested I simply reformat, but I'd lose a lot of precious stuff if I did that.

I have this spare computer, and figured it would be child's play to put it in here temporarily, hook it up, and scarcely miss a beat.  Alas, it wasn't so simple.  The cable man made it out today and got me back on line, so life is at least halfway normal.

We sold a Farmall M tractor earlier this week, and a man is on his way now to pay for Allis; these two sales together will make up a big part of the price of the Gold Wing.  Cliff will deliver Allis to her new home in the next day or two. 

We've taken a motorcycle ride almost every day this week, and I've had a couple of nice long horseback rides.  Life is good, in spite of a couple of Internet bumps in the road.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

From biker to cowgirl in one day

It seems like it's been months since I took a really long horseback ride, but today it happened.  And it was glorious.  Horses are at their best in autumn; if you watch them in the pasture, they frolic and run with abandon.  When you ride this time of year, it seems their energy is limitless.

There are two ways to really enjoy nature:  taking a walk, or riding a horse. 

Vehicles are so noisy (not to mention closed-in) you don't hear the cottonwood trees rustling (I always think of the line from a song in an old movie, "Tammy":  "I hear the cottonwoods whispering above... Tammy, Tammy, Tammy's in love...".  Cottonwoods really do whisper, but this time of year they're louder, because the leaves are getting dry.  There are few birds left to chirp in October, but you can't help noticing the occasional bird-sounds that do fall on your ear.

Motorized vehicles move along so fast that you miss the lovely little things happening in the world:  a butterfly perched on a flower; the squirrel that sees you coming and scampers up a tree, half-spooking the horse; a pair of little birds flitting across the path in front of you.

If you don't have a horse, I advise you to take a long walk in the country.  If you're not able to walk, just find a peaceful country setting away from people and sit for an hour or so.  You'll be amazed at the beauty around you.

What's a do-rag?

Since several of you didn't know what a do-rag is, I'm posting some pictures.  You can fashion one out of a bandana handkerchief, or you can buy ready-made ones at biker shops (that's the more expensive solution).

If I wear a do-rag under my helmet, my hair will still be flattened, but I can leave the rag on my head when I take off my helmet so nobody will realize how flattened my hair is.  They'll just be thinking, "What is that old woman doing with a do-rag on her head?  Going through her second childhood?"

They'd be right except for one thing:  I've never left my first childhood yet; nor do I intend to. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

one of my favorite poems

Mandy and I went to the cabin tonight after the granddaughters were gone.  The weather was perfect for the nice little campfire I started.  I listened to the sounds of the woods for awhile and was blessed to hear two Barred Owls calling to one another.  Then I listened to Floyd Westerman sing his Indian protest songs while I perused volumes three and four of "The Book Of Knowledge".

Something jogged my memory and made me remember a poem I loved as a child, and still treasure.  Here it is:


 Theodore Tilton. (1835–1907)

Once in Persia reigned a King
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before the eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they:
"Even this shall pass away."

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought his gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these.
But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main;
"What is wealth?" the king would say;
"Even this shall pass away."

In the revels of his court
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests;
He amid his figs and wine,
Cried: "Oh loving friends of mine!
Pleasure comes but not to stay;
Even this shall pass away."

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent;
Groaning from his tortured side,
"Pain is hard to bear," he cried,
"But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away."

Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone,
Then, the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name
Musing meekly, "What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay
Even this shall pass away."

Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he with his dying breath;
"Life is done, but what is death?"
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
"Even this shall pass away."

a book from my childhood

When I was a little girl, I had a book about a dog who loved cookies more than anything else. I think the dog's name was Cooky, which was also the name of the mutt who was my first pet.  I remember pictures of different kinds of cookies on many of the pages, and how, as I'd read, I would drool at the descriptions of those scrumptious treats.  I believe one picture showed the puppy following the scent, wafting above her, of fresh-baked cookies .

I sure would like to see that book again.  It seems like it ought to have been a Little Golden Book, but I've tried in vain to find it on Ebay and Google, with no results.  I find a lot of "Poky Little Puppy" books, and that's as close as I get.  It would probably have been published in the late 40's.

::sighing::  Back to Google.

Do any of you recall your favorite books from childhood?

Are you ready for more laughs?

We rode the motorcycle to pay the sales tax and get it licensed.  We stopped at Wal-Mart to get a few things Cliff needed for Lightning (our bike) before our planned trip this weekend, and also went in a couple of other places.  At each successive stop, my hair looked worse than the before; Cliff put that orange baseball cap on me before we went into Walmart, figuring anything would be an improvement. 

I got some strange looks, but I can understand why:  Here's an aging woman wearing a purple-fringed leather jacket, an orange baseball cap, and old lady shoes.  I'll bet I've set the "biker" image back fifty years.

There were some summer cotton hats on clearance in Walmart for fifty cents, so Cliff helped me choose one for myself, and one for each of the granddaughters.  Looking at the above pictures, though, I think the hat looks just as silly as the cap!

That does it, I'm buying a do-rag next time we're in a bike shop. 

I don't know when Cliff and I have had so many laughs.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Promise not to laugh when you see this picture

These are some cheap "leathers", but I was getting pretty cold even with coveralls and double sweats on, and Cliff wanted me warm; from now on, I will be.  He tried to get me to buy motorcycle boots too, but we'd spent enough money on me today.  We bought those "old lady shoes" I'm wearing at S.A.S. this morning,on the first leg of our bike trip of the day. 

We left the house around 9:30 and got home at 1:15.  We've already put around 400 miles on Lightning, in two days' time. 

Cliff has to leave for work in thirty-five minutes, and he's sound asleep in his recliner, poor baby.

one more recipe that was requested


This comes from the old 1960's Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, the one I learned to cook from.  The great thing about it is, you don't have to knead the dough.  I no longer "scald" the milk.  That's a step that was necessary when people used raw milk (to kill any bacteria that might "fight" with the yeast).  I just get it hot enough to melt the shortening.


1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 egg

Soften yeast in warm water.  Combine milk, sugar, shortening, and salt; cool to lukewarm.  Add 1 cup of the flour; beat well.  Beat in the softened yeast and egg.  Gradually add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour to form soft dough, beating well.  Cover and let rise in warm place (82 degrees) till double (1 1/2 to 2 hours).  Turn out on lightly floured surface and shape as desired.  (I roll out the dough about 3/4 inch thick and use a drinking glass to cut out the rolls; place in pan, sides barely touching, and let rise till double.)   Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

I also use this recipe to make cinnamon rolls:

On lightly floured surface roll 1/2 recipe plain roll dough to a 16X8-inch rectangle.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon; spread over dough.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup raisins.  Roll lengthwise, as for jelly roll.  cut in 1-inch slices.  Place cut sides down in greased 9x9x2-inch pan.  Cover; let rise till double (an hour or so).  Bake in moderate oven (375) 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from pan and frost with powdered sugar icing if desired.

In answer to some comments

Ora's question:  Are you gonna get one of those "leather outfits" the other couple have??? 

Yes, we definately will, eventually.  "Leathers" are fairly expensive, but they can save some serious scrapes in a minor accident.  You can even get them with protective plastic pieces for elbows, knees, and other easily-broken places.  Besides, at this time of year they keep you warm.   

Tedndernoggle's question:  Do you have a favorite sweet potato pie receipe? I love sweet potato pie! 

I couldn't use my favorite recipe this weekend because there was no egg nog at the grocery store, so I used a recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  However, here is my very favorite, cut out of the Kansas City Star years ago:


1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter,melted
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 T. Flour
2 large eggs
2/3 cup egg nog
1 Tablespoon whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (optional)
preheat oven to 375. Peel, cook and mash sweet potatoes, measure out 1 1/2 cups. Mix with remaining ingredients and
pour into pie shell, bake 45 minutes till knife inserted midway between the center and rim comes out clean.
for additional flavor interest, experiment with other extracts, coconut, orange or pineapple extract for lemon extract.

Marainey's comment:  "... and I was glad to see the Helmets on the heads of all riding."

Missouri has a helmet law, but Cliff and I would wear them anyway.  We're old enough to have gained a little sense in our lives.  The safety factor is the main reason I want leathers, too.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

A couple of recipes

The dessert my grandson requested is pretty easy to make.  There's just one trick:  Chill the first layer well (the Oreo crumbs and butter) before spreading the cream cheese mixture over it.  Also use enough milk with the cream cheese to make it really spreadable.  Otherwise you will end up losing your temper as the crumbs lift up and mix themselves in with the cream cheese.

1 pound of Oreos
1/4 cup melted margarine (not spread, but butter or margarine)
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 12 ounce package Cool Whip
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding, prepared with milk
Crush cookies, reserving 1/2 cup crumbs for topping.  Mix the remainder with melted margarine.  Press into 13X9 inch pan.  I put this in the freezer for 10 minutes or so, to get it to set up solid for the next step.
Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Add a little milk till it is spreading consistency.  Spread over crumbs in pan.  Spread 1/2 of the Cool Whip over the cream cheese.  Pour prepared pudding over Cool Whip.  Top with remaining Cool whip and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs.  Refrigerate until serving.

OK, here's another of our favorite family recipes:


4 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder

Work together. 
3 eggs,
3 drops yellow food color
4 tablespoons cream

Mix all together.  Add water if needed.  Knead into a little ball, cover with bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.  Roll out and cut.


Feeding the multitudes

I got up before 6 AM to get the roast started, the noodles mixed, cut, and drying, and the potatoes peeled.  I made apple cobbler and a sweet potato pie yesterday, and had the chicken for the noodles already cooked and deboned in the freezer.  I got the roll-dough rising before we left for late church.  So after church all I had to do was turn the burner on under the potatoes and roll out the roll-dough and get the rolls cut and rising. 

This was to be Arick's birthday dinner; he turned twenty last Thursday.  His request was a whole Oreo dessert just for him, and I had that prepared; he took the whole thing home with him.  I've learned to make a lot of food on Sundays.  This meal was partly for my daughter Rachel, who got none of Amber's noodles two weeks ago, and whined until I promised to make her some this weekend.

Well, Rachel had surprise company for the weekend, so they brought that couple along for dinner.  Then Cliff's sister, Charlene and her husband Pat rode up on their Harley at EXACTLY dinnertime (they were here yesterday evening, and knew I was going to be cooking).  It was twelve of us in all, but there was plenty of food.  The only thing that disappeared completely was the brocolli and rice casserole... but the mashed potatoes ran a close second!

Once everyone was gone, Cliff and I took the motorcycle on a two-hour cruise.

We've laughed at the name his sister and her husband gave their Harley:  "Thunder".  I assume they chose that because of the typical Harley sound.  I told Cliff we needed to come up with an appropriate name for our sweet-running, very quiet Honda.  We settled on "Lightning".  Since we'll be riding with Charlene and Pat frequently, I think that's appropriate:  Thunder and Lightning.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Just to catch up

We have our motorcycle now, and actually got to ride a few miles today.  Cliff's sister and her husband came visiting on their Harley, and we started making plans to go to visit Cliff's brother in Kansas next weekend (on our motorcycles)... weather permitting, of course.

We're also finalizing plans to spend Thanksgiving weekend in Wisconsin with the oldest of Cliff's two sisters.  No, we won't be riding motorcycles there.  Do you have any idea what the weather can be like in Wisconsin on Thanksgiving?  It isn't conducive to Harleys and Hondas.

More tomorrow.

Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

If you'd like to play along, just copy and paste the questions to your journal, then take the link to Patrick's Place.

1. What's your favorite brand and flavor of ice cream when you go grocery shopping?  Is there any of it in your freezer right now?

Blue Bunny has some kind with cherries and chunks of chocolate in it, I forget the name.  No, I haven't had any for awhile.  Even on sale, Blue Bunny is $3 or more for a half-gallon.  Now we buy the cheapest brand of vanilla in a gallon-and-a-pint bucket.

2. When was the last time you ate a fresh fruit as a snack rather than something not "diet friendly?"

It's apple season, so I choose fruit as a snack at least once a day right now, and pursuade my grandchildren to do the same.

3. Take this quiz:  What language should you learn?

I'm not doing these any more.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #72 from Cdmmw2:  If you could relive one moment of your life and watch it (like a movie) but not interfere, what would it be?

Oh dear, there are so many.  I'd love to watch a movie of some happy day when both my children were small and Cliff and I were still young.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #73 from Debbie:  What was something you were afraid of as a child?  Did you overcome the fear?

My mom told me I was afraid of crossing bridges when were were driving someplace, when I was very young.  Since I don't remember it, obviously I overcame it.  I didn't have a lot of fears when I was a child.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #74 from Anna:   If someone were to open your refrigerator right now, what item would it embarrass you most for them to find? 

The most embarrassing thing about my refrigerator right now is, it's too full.  Cliff was looking for the apple butter awhile ago and it took me about 90 seconds to find it.  My trouble is that we'll get hit by an onslaught of thirsty neighbor kids and relatives, and I run out of sun tea.  So I make three gallons at one time, to be ready for the next onslaught, which doesn't always happen.  Yes, right now there are three gallons of tea in my refrigerator.  For five days now.


Friday, October 7, 2005

our local town fair

Warning:  If you aren't family, you probably won't be interested in these pictures. 

For who-knows-how-many-years, on Friday (opening day) of our town's fair, the school lets out at 1 PM, and all kids who have permission from their parents walk three blocks to the square to enjoy the fair.  Younger kids, of course, need someone to watch out for them.  Today I was that person for my two granddaughters, and it brought back many memories.  I can't believe it's been thirty years since my own kids were the ones I was there for; now it's my grandchildren.

It was funny to watch these children, who had just seen one another at school an hour earlier, squeal with delight at seeing one another at the fair, as though they'd been seperated for years.  Fun stuff.

This was the day that, for a $15 wristband, you could ride all you wanted from 1:30 until 5:30.  My girls hollered "uncle" at 5:20.  They'd had all the rides they cared to have, and Natalie was about half sick.  We walked to their house with the prizes they'd garnered, and my daughter drove me home. 

I don't think I'll be staying up too late tonight.


This is fun

I found this on a message board yesterday.  It's the dialectizer, and if you put any URL into it, it will transform that web page into another dialect... redneck, jive, moron, etc.  It's fun to read your journal in redneck language.

Click here, and enjoy.  THE DIALECTIZER

Thursday, October 6, 2005


I've journaled before about my childhood in Iowa, when my parents operated the local switchboard.  Any phone call placed in our community had to go through "central", unless a person was calling someone on her own party line.  So, somebody in our house had to be within running distance of the switchboard located in a corner of our living room at all times.  When Mother had a big meal to cook, or when she was canning the abundant produce from our garden, Daddy would don the headset and take over for her.  When we went to Church (three times a week), my parents paid someone to stay at the switchboard.  In other words, my mom was very much tied down to that thing, and it wasn't always convenient for her to get up and satisfy my every whim. 

Back when I was a toddler, Mother worried whether I was eating a balanced diet and asked the doctor, "What kinds of foods should she be eating?  All she wants to eat is bread and gravy."

The doctor told her, "We don't care what she eats, as long as she eats."

That remark was repeated to me like gospel, the rest of my life; and it may be the cause of my weight problem.  (It's much easier to blame a long-dead doctor, or my dear departed parents, than to take personal responsibility.)

So after that, if I wanted a snack a half-hour before dinner, that was fine with my parents.  I was eating, wasn't I?  If it was Christmas fudge, that was super, just so I was eating.

In those days, however, handy snacks weren't as easy to come by as they are now.

"There's nothing to eat," I'd whine to Mother.

From her throne at the switchboard, as she plugged one person to another so they could talk, she'd recite, "There's bread and milk, crackers and milk, graham crackers and milk... why, when I was your age, I was glad to have bread and lard and sugar."

I can  still hear my mom saying these things.

And although, as a child, I wished for something more interesting, I usually ended up eating something-and-milk as a snack, and I fixed it myself.  

If I was sick with an  unsettled stomach, I was given toast and milk, with sugar sprinkled over it.  I loved it. 

At least once a week these days, I'll get a yen for something and realize nothing but crackers-and-milk will satisfy my craving.  But you know, it's been years since I've had toast-and-milk:  I may have that tonight.

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #80 from John Scalzi

Share a favorite joke. Keep it clean, of course. Otherwise, go nuts.

I've always been a sucker for parrot jokes.  Many of them are a bit on the naughty side, so I searched the Internet for something I could use for this weekend assignment.  Here's one:


The Magician & The Parrot  

There was a magician on a cruise ship who figured, "Why keep changing my act? Every load of passengers is different and it will be a lot easier for me to keep the same one." So he started repeating his act.

Everything was fine until the captain's parrot started showing up at his performances. After one round of passengers, of course, the parrot starting acting up. Just as the magician was going to finish a trick, the parrot would speak up... "awwk, it's under the table" or "awwk... it's up his sleeve," which made everybody angry.

Then one day, the cruise ship encountered a furious storm and ended up sinking. Wouldn't you know it, the magacian and the parrot ended up on the same piece of floating wreckage. And after staring at each other for hours without a word, the parrot finally said, "awwk... okay I give up, what did you do with the boat?"

Here's another I found:


A parrot was seated in an airplane next to a businessman. When the stewardess came by the parrot nastily shouted, "Hey, you brainless bimbo, bring me a vodka and tonic, and make it quick!"

The stewardess then looked at the man next to the parrot and asked him what he wanted to drink. The businessman asked her to bring him a scotch and water.

In a short while the stewardess returned with the vodka and tonic for the parrot but not the man's drink. 

After the parrot finished his drink, he again nastily yelled at the stewardess to bring him another vodka and tonic. The man sitting next to him told the stewardess that he would like the first drink he had ordered, the scotch and water.

When the stewardess returned she had the vodka and tonic for the parrot but again did not bring the man his scotch and water.

The man was starting to get upset at the stewardess for ignoring him in favor of the overly rude parrot and so the next time she approached his seat, he barked at her, "Hey, you brainless bimbo, I want you to bring me my drink right now!" 

After he spoke, two male flight attendants quickly approached his seat and grabbed both him and the parrot and threw them off the plane in mid air. As they were falling to the ground the parrot looked at the man and said to him,"You sure have a lot of nerve for someone who can't fly."

Extra credit: Seriously: Do people think you're funny?

I doubt if "funny" is the word that comes to mind when my name is mentioned.  Unless you mean funny-strange, as opposed to funny-haha. 

sad but inspiring story here

How can you beat a true story about a kid and a horse?  Click HERE to read it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Blue is back on duty

Blue seems to have recovered from his leg problem.  I took him out this morning and gave him a pretty good workout.  We went about five miles all told, and I kept him at a lively gait for the first 2/3 of our ride.  He's soft and out of shape, of course.  That's why I took it easy on him the last couple of miles. 

When the girls got home from school, they were pleasantly surprised when I asked if they wanted to ride.  You bet they did!

Now I remember why I keep telling people I wouldn't take $10,000 for this horse.  And I mean it.

Apple butter, the easy way

I'm not a big fan of apple butter, but Cliff loves it.  And since I've been buying apples by the bushel lately, what better time to try my hand at making it?  I've had a crockpot apple butter recipe around for years, thinking I'd use it someday. 

I made it, I've sampled it (as have the granddaughters) and, by george, I think we're onto something.

I realized a few minutes ago that I forgot to put the cloves in, but it still tastes like apple butter to me.  I saw lots different of recipes on the Internet, some starting with applesauce instead of apples, some using red hots for flavoring; so you don't have to stick with this recipe.  Just do a google. 

I thought perhaps some of you might want to try it.  It makes the kitchen smell heavenly.

Crockpot Apple Butter 

makes 4 pints

5 1/2  lbs apples, peeled and finely chopped (I used Jonathons)
4  cups sugar
2-3  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon ground cloves
1/4  teaspoon salt

   1. Place apples in a large bowl.
   2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
   3. Pour over apples and mix well.
   4. Place in crockpot, cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
   5. Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown.
   6. Stir occasionally.
   7. Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer.
   8. If desired, whisk until smooth.
   9. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
  10. Cover and freeze.

I cooked mine several hours longer than the suggested 9-11 hours, to get the consistency right.

three dogs, wrestling

Mandy and our neighbor dog, Buddy (who seldom goes home) begin every day wrestling like this.  I lock Mandy in her pen in the barn around 8 PM, and there she stays for ten hours or so.  Often when I go to turn her out in the morning, Buddy is curled up next to the pen, where he's obviously spent the night.  If I don't get right outside to turn Mandy loose, Buddy will whine at my back door, begging for freedom for his playmate.

The dogs appear to be chewing one another to bits, but there's never a yelp of pain; they've learned to pull their punches, after a year of this sort of activity, every day.

When my grandpuppy, Dixie, comes to visit, she immediately joins the frolic.

They can go on like this for an hour at a time.