Thursday, June 30, 2005

Our surprise for Cliff

When Cliff and I first married, he loved hunting and fishing.  He owned two firearms:  a Colt pistol with a holster, and a Belgium Browning shotgun. 

We'd been married a little over a year when we bought our first country place with twenty acres, and I'm not sure he ever went hunting again.  He'd found out he'd much rather spend his time building fence, clearing brush, and tinkering with tractors.

So he sold the guns, and I don't know that he ever regretted it much.  But in later years, I wished he'd kept the Browning.  It was sort of a collector's item because it had been made in Belgium.  I always had hopes of buying another for him.  When I'd mention it to him, he assured me he had no need for such a shotgun.

Last year, I asked Cliff, "If you could have any firearm in the world, and money wasn't a problem, what one would you choose?"

After a few seconds consideration, he answered, "Oh, I suppose a Glock."

I mentioned this to our son, Jim, who is a certified gun nut with an impressive arsenol of weapons.  So a couple of months ago, he contacted me and said he'd be willing to split the cost of a Glock as a birthday gift for Cliff.  This is the weapon most policemen use.

Cliff was totally surprised.  Now we can get rid of "Old Betsy," the very cheap handgun we bought as protection when we're sleeping in our popup camper; it wasn't something you'd use for target practice, since it didn't shoot straight (if it decided to shoot at all).

Oh, those other pictures are of my youngest grandchild from Georgia, Lyndsay, dancing for me last night.  She'll be five in August.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

an Internet friend

AOL, PLEASE give us more options on "mood".  Like tired, reflective, mad, frustrated... there are so many more moods than you allow us.

This morning I talked on the phone to one of my best Internet friends, Jen.  As with most of my online acquaintances, I met her in the old Christian 50s chat room.

There's something special about Jen.  The reason I know this is that, although I hate talking on the telephone, I can talk to Jen for two hours straight and love every minute.  I've visited her at her home in Nashville, and felt right at home.  We've shared a motel room, and it was like rooming with my sister.

Just like Joanna and Wilona... Jen is family.  If I ever find the picture I have of me and her in Kentucky, I'll scan it and post it. 

God bless my Internet "family".


Helping Phil pick up his "parts" tractor

Most of my lady readers will likely skip these many pictures of men loading and unloading a tractor.  I don't blame any of you!

Just down the hill from us, a farmer had sort of a freak thing happen:  His tractor evidently wasn't in gear, and it rolled down the drive, across the road, and turned over.  It wasn't his main tractor, and it was insured.

It just happens to be the same make and model that Cliff's brother, Phil, just bought recently.  While mowing, Phil's tractor broke a spindle (I think that's the thing that holds the front wheel on???).  Parts from a dealer are terrible expensvie, and when Cliff told him about this wrecked tractor, he contacted the farmer who owned it.  Sure enough, as soon as the insurance settled with him, he'd be happy to sell it.

It makes me a nervous wreck seeing Cliff do something like this.  I watch until my nerves give out, then I turn my back and pray silently.

All's well that ends well, and now if Phil's 190XT has other problems, it's very likely he'll have what he needs on this "parts tractor" for which he paid $500.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

my new chaise lounge

I spend at least one night a week at my cabin; sometimes two. Seldom does a day go by that I don't spend at least a couple of hours there.  I take a book and sit on my porch/deck, and read.  I bought a cheap plastic lounge chair to leave back there, but it just wasn't comfy.  So today I tried some others, when I was at Wal Mart.  Now I can be comfortable when I read!  $38 dollars well spent!

Nathan's hot dogs... an addiction

A year ago when I spent a week with my friend Joanna, near Washington, DC, she got me hooked on Nathan's hot dogs.  Somehow Nathan's taste like I remember wieners tasting when I was a child, so they've become one of my "comfort foods". 

I couldn't find them in my area when I came home, and Joanna kindly had some shipped to me for my birthday last year, and then for Christmas.  Believe me, I was very stingy with them.  Cliff got a couple, and I may have once shared with his sister and her husband.  Otherwise, I kept them in the freezer and doled them out sparingly, even to myself.

Today I found them in Price Chopper, one of the stores where I often shop!  They may have been there all this time, because they're so outnumbered by the displays of Armour hot dogs, and Oscar Meyer, and all the other well-advertised brands... but now I have them any time I want them.

Some days are diamonds.

Joanna, please don't be getting me addicted to any more foods; I don't need the weight gain.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday photo shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get Hungry!

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture of something that makes you hungry. To be specific for you double-entendre fans out there, it has to be food. Also, it has to be your picture -- don't just cut-and-paste an ad of your own favorite (which is a copyright violation anyway). And naturally, home-made delights are not only acceptable, they're encouraged.

Well, nothing makes me hungrier than knowing Kevin, my son-in-law, is barbecuing brats (and it's been some time since I've had one, by the way).  If you look closely at my grandson, Brett, and me, watching from the sidelines... I'm sure you'll see us drooling.  Sorta reminds you of buzzards waiting to swoop down, doesn't it?

If you want to enter the Monday photo shoot with "what makes you hungry", click here.

early morning ride

In pictures #3 and #4, Blue was not happy to be in tall weeds.  In fact, he was so unhappy, I got him down off the levee shortly after these two pictures were taken.  I don't like not knowing what's down there at his feet, anyhow:  He could step into a gopher hole, or a hornet's nest (that would be disaster!).

In spite of the fact I used Deep Woods Off on myself, and "Repel" on Blue, the mosquitoes and horse-flies took a lot of the pleasure of riding away, but Blue needs to be exercised... so do I, for that matter.  It's a nice way to start the day.

We've had temperatures in the mid-nineties, so early morning is the only comfortable time to ride.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

family reunion

I just got off the phone.  Cliff's cousin, Edna, called, re-confirming that they'll be here for the family reunion I'm holding next weekend.  We're talking about a family that's never had reunions... a family with long-standing feuds and grudges.  Not my immediate family, mind you; we've all decided life is too short for that sort of nonsense.

I'm not sure who will really show up.  It might be 75 people, or 175.  I don't care.  It's for one day, and I can handle anything for one day.  Cliff's getting excited about seeing folks he rarely ever sees, and excitement is contagious.

Of course, we're both anxious to see our son, Jim, and his family; they're coming from Georgia, Wednesday.  We see them twice a year... three times, tops.  I'd tell you all what a cute baby he was, but you all have a child in your memory just as cute, I'm sure.  (That's what YOU think!)

I'd appreciate any prayers and good thoughts for cooler weather this weekend, and for peace and love to prevail.  Oh, and I will have pictures to share, after it's done.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

the book I'm reading

A couple of weeks ago, Cliff and I stopped at a garage sale.  We always try to stop at country garage sales because they're more likely to have farm-related things, or tools and such.  No such luck here.  If you are a garage-sale fanatic, you've been to this kind of place:  mostly junk, all of it dirty, and a garage that smells like the inside of a cat-litter box.  As you leave, you check the soles of your shoes for cat or dog poop.

I hate to waste my time at a garage sale and then take nothing home.  So I browsed through a box of yellowed, tattered paperback books.  Your choice for a quarter, or five for a dollar.

I grabbed anything that looked like it wasn't a saccharine-sweet love story.  Once home, I checked between the pages for roaches.

I'm reading the first of the group now:  Scruples, by Judith Krantz.  I'd never have thought I'd enjoy a book about high society and the world of fashion, but by george, it isn't bad... a bit outdated, though.  The original publishing date is 1978.

Saturday Six

Patrick's Saturday Six

1. Yesterday, I linked to the journal "Mall Of America," a collection of photos from shopping malls of the 1960s and 1970s.  What store do you associate most with your childhood in terms of happy memories and why?  Is the store still around? 

Before we moved to Kansas City, my mom worked as a sales clerk at a small grocery and dry goods store in Eagleville, Missouri... Vanzant's; it's been gone for years.  I loved walking in when she worked there... I felt like she owned the store.  Back then, folks did their shopping on Saturday night, and people gathered in clusters to catch up on local happenings; kids got together and strolled around the square.  Sometimes, if we could talk our parents out of a quarter, my cousins and I would go see a movie, often one starring Roy Rogers.  At 10 PM, the Hardware store held a drawing and gave away three prizes, so that's where everyone ended up before they headed home. 

2. What song makes you the most emotional and why?

  Right now I'd say, "These Thousand Hills" by Third Day.

3. Take the
quiz:  What year were you born under, and what year should you have been born under? 

I was born under the year of the monkey; I should have been born under the year of the horse.  (rather fitting, eh?)

4. What time do you typically wake up each day?  anywhere from 4 AM to 5:30 

What is the latest you're normally able to sleep? 

probably 6:30, but that's extremely rare 

How many hours of sleep do you get in an average night?  From 6 to 8 hours; since I quit my job, I sleep much, much more soundly. 

5. What frightens you the most about getting older? 

The idea that one day I may not be able to do simple things (like go to the bathroom) without help.  My mom ended up in a fairly good nursing home, but when she could no longer wait on herself, it was difficult and sad; there wasn't enough staffing to take care of the needs of so many bedfast patients.

Debi:  If you found the house of your dreams, right price, then discovered that a murder or suicide had taken place in the house, would you still consider buying the house? 



Friday, June 24, 2005

horse behavior

I am certainly learning some things about horse behavior, watching these three creatures.  Old deaf, half-blind, twenty-two-year-old Crook has now assumed leadership over the other two.  This is the horse I thought Blue was going to kill, his first day here.  Amazing!

pimping a journal

For one of the funniest journal entries I've EVER seen, click HEREThis woman could do stand-up comedy for a living.

It's a journal entitled, "Do I Amuse You?"  I believe you'll agree, she is amusing.

a survey for bloggers to take


                                                          Take the MIT Weblog Survey

John Scalzi found this survey in "Just One Girl's Head Noise". 

Click HERE if you'd like to participate.

"The larger their sample is, the better chance they have of being unbiased. Help spread the word, and have your friends with weblogs take the survey as well!"

the cow saga

For those who haven't followed our cattle saga, here's the story:  The cow on the left had twin heifers about seven weeks ago.  The other cow was still pregnant, but the twins decided to nurse her too.  So when her huge bull calf was born, we seperated the two families, figuring those month-old twins wouldn't leave any milk for the new calf.

Cattle are herd animals, and the moms weren't happy apart.  After a couple of weeks of living in different pastures, the mom with the twins disappeared... and showed up the next day in the big pasture with her friend.

Cliff and I wondered what to do.  We considered taking that big steer and bottle-feeding him, and just letting the twins have the milk from the two cows.  That would have worked, but living in a calf hutch in Missouri summertime isn't the best environment for a calf, and we'd be buying milk replacer at $20 a bag, and feeding bottles twice a day.

Then we realized that every time we tried to intervene in this situation, it seemed to end in a mess.  So they're all together and quite happy.  I got a good, close-up look of the young steer this morning, and he looks to be in fine flesh.  He pooped, and there was plenty of it, so he must be getting nourishment.  (Sorry if that's gross to you city folks.)

I imagine, now that he's a couple or three weeks old, he is hungry enough, and aggressive enough, to get his share.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

horses and their cliques

The horses are getting along better every day.  I let Crook follow the other two into the dry lot when grazing time was over.  There were several threats from all three horses, but this time, no injuries.  I decided not to push my luck so soon, and seperated Crook from them for the night.  But there's no doubt they are getting along better.  If the dry lot wasn't so small, they'd be fine there, I'm sure; and eventually, they might do OK there.

I only feed the horses a bite of grain.  Mark Rashid says almost every problem horse he's dealt with was being fed too much grain.  If it weren't for calling them in from pasture twice a day, they'd hardly ever get grain from me.  My local horse-trainer thinks I'm terrible, since he feeds his horses three 3-pound coffee-cans-full daily with a raw egg mixed in.  But my horse looks as good as his, and seems to feel fine.  I trust Mark Rashid.

Weekend Assignment

From John Scalzi

Weekend Assignment #65: Dedicate a "summer song" to someone in your life. Could be a happy song for someone you like, a "kiss-off" song for someone you don't, or a romantic song for someone you want to know better. Point is, it has to be summery, and you have to intend it for someone.

I'll dedicate this one to my dog, Mandy, since she's sleeping stretched out on the floor as I type this:



Summertime and the living is easy
Fish are jumping the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich and your mother's good lookin'
So hush little baby and don't you cry.

One of these mornings your gonna wind up singing
Your gonna spread your wings and reach for the sky
But until that mornin' your gonna wind up singin'
And mommy and daddy are standin' by.

Extra Credit:
Ever have a song dedicated to you? What was it?

None that I recall.

I don't mind them taking a few walnuts, but hey...

When they get into my stash of chocolate, somebody's going to end up as stew.



Oh by the way, I didn't take this picture.  Somebody posted it on a message board and I just had to share.

more on Van's

I saw lots of different things yesterday, so I'll try to describe some of the strangest.

1.  There was a guy wearing nothing but a loin-cloth, I kid you not.  Amber pointed him out, and I was so stunned, I didn't think about my camera, or I'd have taken a picture.

2.  Last year, I ended up in front near the stage and got caught in the mosh-pit with Amber; thank goodness we escaped with our lives, and vowed not to get near that near the stage again... it's dangerous.  Yesterday, while watching Amber Pacific on a smaller stage with a smaller crowd (not big enough for crowd-surfing, so no bodies being passed overhead) things were calm until suddenly a couple guys began pushing one another, running into those around them and making a circle, dancing crazily.  My grandson knew about this; he said it's a "circle mosh pit".  I made sure to move far away from all this action.

3.  Sitting in the reverse-daycare tent at a little distance from the music, I realized it sounded a whole lot like Native American music, far back.  It was a very primitive, tribal sound.

4.  When you are close to the band that's playing, the noise is so loud you feel the vibration in your throat.

5.  Some scantily-clad anorexic girls need to cover up those bones of theirs, and some scantily-clad overweight girls need to cover up all that flesh.

6.  Although both grandchildren who accompanied me like alternative rock music, the individual songs they enjoy are totally different.  No, you grandmothers reading this, all punk rock does NOT sound alike. 

I'll end my observations here, unless I think of more later.



Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Back from Van's Warped Tour

That's Matt, the lead singer of Amber Pacific... a group my granddaughter, Amber (in the picture, getting a poster autographed) likes, and so do I.  And isn't he cute?  With the exception of the band's drummer, everyone in the group is 18 or 19, and very talented.

The temperatures were HOT HOT HOT, and I did something this year that I didn't last:  I went to the reverse day-care for a couple of hours.  That's an air-conditioned tent with free water and soda where kids can take their parents (or grandparents) and leave them to be taken care of.  LOL.

In order to get to Bonner Springs, Kansas, we had to maneuver through some of the most nightmare-ish traffic this side of Washington, DC (::waves at Joanna::).  Amber hasn't been driving long, but she did so well!  Brett was the one who kept us from wandering about the state of Kansas all night, because Amber and I couldn't remember how we got to Verizon Ampitheater, and did not have a clue how to get home.  Brett knew every turn.  He also was the one who remembered where we parked.

It was a great day, and worth every penny I spent.  I am amazed at what these young folks wear, and what they do to their bodies, to "fit in" with the crowd.  More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

summer morning

That's the sunrise that greeted me, coming back to the house this morning, after a night in the cabin. 

Mandy is always ready to go to bed before I am.  Buddy stayed with us until we both turned in for the night; then he left.  I guess he was ready to party all night, but we're both early-to-bed folks.

I awoke around 5 A.M.  As much as she loves sleeping at the cabin with me, Mandy's always anxious to leave at sunup.  If fact, if I let her out, she'll head to the house without me.

Tomorrow is Van's Warped Tour, the punk-rock fest I'm attending with two grandchildren.  I know we'll have fun.

Monday, June 20, 2005

big moon tonight

John Scalzi says the moon is going to appear extra-big tonight (click here to see what he says).  Sounds like a perfect night to sleep in my cabin, right?  I'm going back there... who knows if I'll stay the night.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

runaway cows and rude horses

First of all, let me say that our wandering cow and her two calves are home.  They appeared in the big pasture, not in the pen from which they escaped.  It's a big relief for us.  I guess we'll leave them together, since they are so unhappy apart, and hope the big steer calf can get his share of milk.

Those of you who follow my journal will remember that Blue and Brat ganged up on old Crook when I brought him here, so I've kept him seperate since the beating he took then. 

I turn Blue and Brat out for two hours twice a day, every day, to graze.  Because they are on dry lot twenty hours a day, their minds aren't on much else besides eating, when they're on pasture.  Now that I'm home all the time, I'm going to try slowly re-introducing Crook to them, just for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  As you can see, he keeps a respectable distance.  I saw Brat lay his ears back once and threaten him when he got too close, and perhaps it happened at other times... I've only been periodically checking.  Anyway, it was only a threat; nobody was hurt.  So far, it seems to be working.  Maybe if I do this every day for a while, I can eventually pen them all together.  It would make feeding and watering them much easier.  And Crook wants so badly to be with them.

Monday Photo Shoot

This, from John Scalzi's journal

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of a gift that has sentimental value to you. If you like, explain the sentimental attachment. The gift can be anything that's important to you, from any time in your life, from a stuffed animal to a new car to a simple card that just means a lot. You pick the gift.

Cliff isn't really big on buying gifts.  If I mention something I want, he'll say, "Get it."  But as far as going out and choosing a present, it's hard for him.  He does try, on birthdays and Christmas; but he'd really rather give me the money and let me get it myself.

The gifts that mean the most to me are those that come unexpectedly, with no occasion warranting them.  So when Cliff and a couple of his brothers went to Wisconsin to visit their sister a couple of years back (I didn't go, I had to work), imagine my surprise when he brought this cowboy home with him.  It's something that would have caught my eye had I been with them, and I guess he knew it.  But what makes it really meaningful is that there was no occasion, no pressure on him to buy me a gift.  He did it simply because he was thinking of me. 

this 'n that

My friend Tracy gave me some leather chewie things for Mandy a long time ago; her dogs didn't like them, she said.  Well, Mandy wasn't too interested either.  I'd occasionally give one to Buddy, next door, and he'll take anything you put in his mouth.

I noticed Mandy was always chewing on sticks when we were at the cabin, and decided to take the rejected chewie-sticks back there for her.  At the cabin, she enjoys them!  Funny thing, she always takes them to that same spot at the  back corner of the cabin to work them over.  Do you suppose she likes that gnome?  Anybody know which of the seven dwarfs that is?

Cliff spent most of Sunday plowing a 2 1/2 acre spot where we'll sow alfalfa this fall.  He did it the hard way, just to appreciate how good he normally has it on the other tractor.  He used the old Farmall M with no power steering, and a pull-type plow, which worked him pretty hard.

We have a cow problem around here:  Because the twins nurse both cows, which doesn't leave any milk for the newest calf, we've been keeping the two moms seperated, which they both hate.  It's also very inconvenient for Cliff, because when he drives through the nearest pen on a tractor, he has to open a gate, close the gate when he's through, open the next gate, close it behind him... you get the picture.  Well, the cow with twins disappeared yesterday.  We think she's in with some cows on an adjoining property to the east.  I'm going to try and find who is renting that pasture, and see if we can leave her there until the weekend, because Cliff is working twelve-hour days this week.  Cliff is getting fed up with these silly cows.  We've had cattle most of our married lives, and never had these kinds of problems. 

This is a shot from my cabin porch, taken a couple of days ago when the sun was setting.  Peaceful, isn't it?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

a downside of country living

Cliff and I have never had a water bill, in thirty-nine years of marriage.  Each of the places we've owned has had a well.  So that means free water, right?

Most of the time, yes.  Until something goes wrong with your well, or with the pump.

Several years ago the metal casing of our well rusted through and allowed sand into our water supply.  That makes for some gritty drinking.  The only solution was to drill a new well.  It was a mess, and very expensive.  But we got it done.  Metal casings are no longer used in wells, so that problem shouldn't occur again.

If we lose electricity, we lose water, since electricity keeps the pump running.  That, however, is usually short-lived... unless there's been an ice storm, and the power outage lasts for days, which has only happened once in our time here. 

Cliff rigged a light on a pole outside so we know when the pump is running.  The reason for this being that most things that go wrong with a pump will cause it to run often, or even constantly.  So if that light stays on all the time, or comes on too often, we know there's a problem.

Lately, it's been coming on too often.

We warned our renter yesterday to get some water in containers to use, because we'd be pulling the pump.  Cliff set a bucket of "flushing water" in the bathtub, and I got a big pan of cooking-and-drinking water ready in the kitchen, just in case.  You see, we've had things go wrong in the process of pulling the pump out of that 130-foot hole.  There's no way of knowing if things will go smoothly or not; and on weekends, it can be difficult to get parts.

There were two things that needed fixing:  there's a rope hooked to the pump, far down there in the water, that is used to pull the pump up when needed; the metal it attaches to had rusted through, so we had no rope for pulling it.  We had to rely on the pipe that carries the water to us to hang onto the pump fastened onto its bottom end, and bring it up.  And Cliff had to figure out a way to hold onto the slippery black plastic pipe while he got a new hold on it and made the next pull.  With the help of the John Deere tractor and Travis next door, who operated the tractor, we got the pump pulled, ten feet or so at a time.  Cliff is better at "making do" on things like this than anyone I've ever known.  He's saved us a fortune over the years with his ingenuity.  I'm sure, just yesterday, he saved us three or four hundred dollars.  Bruce, up the road from us, is the only person I know of who will pull pumps and work on wells:  his services are very expensive. 

The other thing that needed fixing was a fitting close to the top, which had cracked.  This was the culprit that had recently caused our "warning light" to be on a lot.

It wasn't easy, but things went much more smoothly than I expected.  We started the job around 11 A.M., and by 4 P.M., it was finished. 

Thank You Lord that we got it done!  And thank you, Cliff, for your ability to improvise. 


Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Missouri River Bridge at Lexington, Missouri


    Seven-span through truss bridge over the Missouri River on MO 13 at Lexington
    Open to two-lane traffic
Future prospects
    Scheduled to be replaced by a new bridge in June 2005
    Opened to traffic Oct. 31, 1924
    - J.A.L. Waddell (Consulting engineer)
    - Kansas City Bridge Co. (Contractor)
    Eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
    +39.1869, -93.8962
Land survey
    T. 51 N., R. 27 W., Sec. 35
    From north to south:
    Three 8-panel polygonal Warren through trusses with a Camelback profile
    Two 12-panel polygonal Warren through trusses, each 408 feet long
    Two 8-panel polygonal Warren through trusses with a Camelback profile
    Three 8-panel Warren deck trusses
    Multiple deck pony plate girder spans
    Main span length: 408.0 ft.
    Total length: 3072.4 ft.
    Deck width: 20.0 ft.
    Vertical clearance: 18.1 ft.
Inspection (as of 2001)
    Appraisal: Structurally deficient
    Sufficiency rating: 2.00

This bridge will soon be destroyed.  We moved to this area thirty years ago, and it was in horrible shape even then.  The new bridge will be opened June 25th.  It will be at least four miles further for us to go to Richmond, where we like to shop.  I guess I'm glad; the old bridge is downright scary to cross.  But it's going to be sad to see it go.

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

I always forget to link to Patrick's blog:  If you want to do the Saturday Six, leave a link to your entry HERE, in the form of a comment in his journal.

1. Do you do a yearly "spring cleaning" in your home?  If so, have you done this year's version, yet?  No, I don't

2. Have you ever been blindfolded and asked to identify which of two drinks is Pepsi or Coke?  no  If you haven't, do you think you could tell the difference?  Yes

3. You find out that you're going to have a child:  what baby names will you choose?  Jessica or Jody for a girl, and Benjamin for a boy, after my grandfather... but I'd probably call him Ben.

4. You must become one of the Brady Bunch kids for a single day:  which one would you choose to become and why?  I never cared for The Brady Bunch, seldom watched it, and don't know one kid from another.

5. Where are you going for summer vacation this year?  Since I quit work our funds are limited, so I don't plan to do any vacation other than the Old Thresher's Reunion on Labor Day weekend.  I do have "mini-vacations" almost every day, by spending time in my cabin or riding Blue for an hour or two.

6. What is the most religious thing you do on a day-to-day basis?  I have a One-Year Bible, which takes me through the Bible in a year.  I try very hard to read each days scriptures, although I miss sometimes.  If I just miss one day, I usually read two days' worth the next.  If I miss more than one day, I simply skip the ones I've missed. 


Friday, June 17, 2005

The Information highways

The thing that fascinates me about the Internet is the way you can get an answer to almost any question you might have.  Twenty years ago, you'd have to go to the library and hope to find a book on whatever subject about which you wanted to learn.  Today, the answers are at our fingertips.  Of course, you can easily pick up wrong information, but you soon learn to double-check the sources.

When I was a child, the only information highway we had was the encyclopedia.  Oh, and how I longed to have a set of World Book Encyclopedias!  But we were poor, and it was an impossible dream.  At least my sister had a set at her house, for my nephew; when I was there, I perused them constantly.  And there were several different sets in the school library.  I spent a lot of study-hall time looking up various subjects.

I remember singing along with Jiminy Cricket, on the Micky Mouse Club:  "It's the ENCYCLOPEDIA... E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A!!!!"

When I was ten, my mom sent me for a week-long stay at a preacher friend's house in Chillicothe, Missouri... Brother Lemons (Mother had a lot of preacher-friends).  Joe and Lois had four precocious children, all younger than me.  The reason I was there for that week was that they were having Bible school at the Church of Christ where Joe preached; and I'd boost the attendence.  Also, my mother hoped I'd learn enough to be convicted of my sins and walk the aisle at Church, and be saved.  (I didn't walk the aisle until much later, but that's another entry.)

The Lemons family had no television, but that wasn't a big deal.  We didn't have one at home, either.  What they DID have was a set of "The Book of Knowledge".  This was more than an encyclopedia; it introduced me to poetry!  I pretty much kept my nose in those books for that whole week.  I was hooked.

When I was thirteen (1957), I accompanied Mother and Daddy to a weekly auction, and saw a set of "The Book Of Knowledge", published in the 40's.  When it came time for it to be auctioned off, nobody would bid on it.  I begged and pleaded, and we ended up taking that box of books home with us, for 50 cents.

I was ecstatic!  Those volumes introduced me to most of the poets who are still my favorites today:  Edgar Allen Poe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Sarah Teasdale, the Brownings, John Masefield, Emily Dickinson, and scores of others.

How can you top this one by Emily Dickinson?

The Soul selects her own Society -
Then - shuts the Door -
To her divine Majority -
Present no more -

Unmoved - she notes the Chariots - pausing
At her low Gate -
Unmoved - an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat -

I've known her - from an ample nation -
Choose One -
Then - close the Valves of her attention -
Like Stone -

or this...

Jenny Kissed Me, by Leigh Hunt

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time, you thief! who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add-
Jenny kissed me!

I'm so thankful for that fifty-cent box of books.  How greatly it has enriched my life! 



Thursday, June 16, 2005

My daughter's father's day entry

My daughter made a great entry in her journal for Cliff's birthday.  Here it is.

Weekend Assignment #64

It's time for John's Weekend Assignment, found HERE.

"Weekend Assignment #64: Tell us about a moment with your dad that serves as an example of one of his best qualities. That would be a personal moment between you and dad."

I must have been VERY young when this happened, perhaps four.  I recall a Sunday morning when Daddy was reading the Des Moines Register while he sat at the switchboard in our living room.  Mother was probably getting ready for Church, and somebody always had to be with the switchboard.  Anyway, I was sitting on Daddy's lap looking at the comics (I think Lil Abner was one) as he read them to me.  The picture in my mind is as vivid as if it happened yesterday, and I can almost hear his voice and see the colors of the "funny papers".

 Extra Credit: Pictures, naturally -- perhaps from right about the time you were born.

I've used this one before, but I like my dad's tousled, hillbilly look here.  That's my half-brother, my half-sister, my mom holding me, and my dad. 


Judith Heartsong's Artsy Essay

Every month, one of the most widely-read journalists in J-land chooses a subject for people to write about.  Often the subjects are a bit lofty for my tastes.  This month I read June's Artsy Essay and realized I'd written a poem on this subject some time ago.  To read the entire assignment in Judith's journal, CLICK HERE

Oh, and I stole this photo from an entry of Judith's from a couple months back, because it is one of the shades that I can't get enough of.  Here's the comment I left in her blog about the picture:  "There are certain shades of blue that make me want to jump up and down with joy.  That picture shows one of those shades.  If it were possible, and I could find some of my favorite shades of blue in large enough quantity, I'd roll in blue like a dog happily rolls in carrion, or like a cat revels in catnip."


(c) February 15, 2003

The world has shades of every hue
Eye-catching reds, and grays...
I wonder why I so love blue,
And why it takes my gaze.

There's lovely dandelion yellow...
Rose- and apple-red.
Pinks and purples soft and mellow:
Why not them, instead?

At my workplace yesterday
New sweaters caught my eye.
Their color took my breath away:
The blue of summer's sky.

 I'd go back to my work and then
Forget them for awhile.
That blue would catch my eye again
And give me cause to smile.

 I wonder if it's born in me
To love a certain hue?
Or maybe some lost memory
Attracts me thus to blue.

 Some preferences, we're born to hold.
We gain some, as we grow.
I'd love to learn, before I'm old,
Why blue attracts me so.


Happy birthday Cliff

Cliff cut some low-grade fescue that we normally wouldn't bother to bale, so he'd have something to test the big-baler on.  I don't have a picture to show it, but they did finally make a decent bale and get the twine to tie.  I was back at the house fixing Cliff's favorite, spaghetti, for his birthday dinner, when the big event occurred.

I wanted to have some sort of party on his birthday, but anyone I'd normally invite works the day shift.  So, I invited the boys who help Cliff so much.  They've always loved to eat with him, even to the point that  they'll go home and get their lunch and bring it over here.  I don't know what the big deal is, but today they actually had an invitation, and got spaghetti too.  They ate plenty.  So much that none of them had room for dessert.  I made a low-fat Jello cake, thinking of Cliff's diet, and a cherry pie with some of our fresh cherries.  I love cherry pie, and I'll likely end up eating most of it myself and gaining five pounds.

Anyhow, it's been a pleasant day.  Now Cliff gets to go to work.  He gets a day off with pay for his birthday, but he chose to take it near the Fourth of July weekend, when our son will be here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

evening photos

I went to the cabin for an hour or so tonight.  Mandy went along, but soon deserted me.  I strummed my guitar and sang some folk songs, listened to some Indian songs on the CD player, and just enjoyed my secret place... except for the mosquitoes.  They were swarming!

I took the pictures of Mama Cow Lucy with her twins on the way to the cabin.  The others were taken on my way back to the house.

a busy day

Cliff and I took soil samples to a town about 20 miles south.  While we were out, we bought twine for the big baler he's working on.  The only way he can test it to see what needs fixing is to bale something.   That requires baler twine.

Before we did that, though, we did some cattle chasing.  We're still keeping the mom and newest baby in a pen close to the house, because the month-old twins steal milk from their aunt.  And I'm afraid the little steer (oh yes, we made him into a steer today, and it was no easy task) might not get enough nourishment with those piggish little cousins (also half-sisters) stealing his food supply.  Anyhow, the other cow got in there, without her twin calves; and it was a rodeo getting her back where she belonged without turning everybody out together.

I picked about a gallon of cherries off my tree.  Do you know how long it takes to pit enough cherries to make three pints of jam?  Geesh.  I think I understand why George Washington chopped down the cherry tree.

This afternoon the farrier came, so I had the pleasure of standing for an hour and a half holding Blue, and then Crook, while he worked on them.  Trust me, Blue will pay for this with a two-hour ride... soon!  Especially since the whole ordeal cost a hundred bucks, for the two horses.  Someone on a message board had the funniest line:  "I used to have horses.  Now I just burn a fifty-dollar-bill every Friday.  It's all the same." 

You'd probably have to be a horse-owner to relate, but it's so true!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Happy anniversary to me and Cliff

Thirty-nine years ago today, Cliff and I tied the knot.  We had known one another for about six months, and dated less than three months. 

My mother was staying up nights, guarding my apartment, every time Cliff was there.  She lived some twenty miles away, but she'd drive to Independence and park about a half-block away and just sit in her car.  I was twenty-one, but I was her only baby girl.  One night we looked out the window to see her little Ford Falcon there in the dark, and Cliff said, "Well, we could get married."

That was my proposal. 

Cliff had a brother and a sister who'd already had failed marriages, and I'd heard his mom make the remark that she wasn't signing for even one more of her kids to get married.  Now, back then, women had to have a parent's signature at age eighteen, if they wanted to marry; and men needed parental consent until age twenty-one.  Taking his mom at her word, we decided to wait until Cliff was of age, on June 16.

Melva, Cliff's mom, knew we were going to get married, and asked what we were waiting for.

"Cliff isn't twenty-one yet, and you said you weren't signing for any more of your kids to get married."

"Oh.  Well, I'll sign for you-uns."

And that's why our anniversary falls on June fourteenth... two days before Cliff's birthday, on June sixteenth.

Our wedding was very simple.  We were neither one attending church at the time, but Cliff's older brother, Phil, and his wife were.  So we got the phone number of their pastor and called him up; with our two witnesses (Cliff's brother's wife, Faye, and his mom) we made it official.

I recall the preacher saying, "What kind of ceremony do you want?"

"The shortest one you've got," was Cliff's answer.

I've never regretted any of it, although perhaps Cliff has, a time or two.

As for the tiny, impromtu wedding, I've always hated big weddings.  Still do.  I had just the sort of ceremony I'd choose again.

And just the sort of man.


Monday, June 13, 2005

This Michael Jackson thing

OK, so maybe Michael Jackson is not guilty, or maybe he is. 

You know who I think should be on trial?  The parents of those kids who were allowed to go spend time with him.  Perhaps he never did anything wrong.  But if I thought there was the slightest doubt, my child wouldn't have been in the same room with someone like Michael.

He had paid some people off, and been accused of horrible things,.  And some people still let their children hang out with him after all that.

The wrong person has been on trial here.

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot:  Red

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Picture something red. Show it to us.

My son's family had been stationed in Germany for some time (three years?  four?).  When he returned to this country and settled his family near us, Arick was his grandpa's close companion and best buddy for a couple of years.  When Cliff bought a Farmall H tractor to restore, Arick stayed right by his side, helping with the sanding and keeping him company until the tractor was completely finished.  When they were done with the project, Cliff declared the tractor Arick's property... although he doesn't get full possession of it until Cliff dies.  His name is on the battery box.

The tractor wasn't so red when Cliff got it out of the weeds in a co-worker's pasture.

I once called this old 1951 Farmall a "money-hole" because of all the funds it took to fix it up.  But the memories Cliff has of the time spent with our oldest grandchild are priceless

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Nuts and Bolts

I mentioned in my journal yesterday the fact that Kevin, our daughter's husband, brought Cliff some goodies they were throwing away at his place of employment.  Cliff spent at least four hours sorting this junk... er, ah... these valuable items. 

This entry is primarily for my son; Cliff wanted him to see all this loot.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Cliff's project for today

Cliff got some parts for the baler yesterday, and spent most of today working on it.  He was distracted for about four hours when our son-in-law, Kevin, brought him about a bushel of nuts and bolts that they were throwing away, where he works.  Cliff sorted and counted for a long time.  He reminded me of Midas, counting his gold.

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. When was the last time you looked your significant other in the eye and told him or her how much they mean to you?  Cliff was driving and we were headed down the road at about fifty-five mph at the time of our last such heart-to-heart, so I don't suppose we were looking one another in the eye; but it was only a couple days ago that we discussed how we are one another's best friends, and agreed life will be difficult for whichever one of us lives longer.

2. Which business do you have the longest continuous relationship with:  your bank, your auto insurance provider, your home telephone provider, your cellular phone provider, or your cable company?  How long have you been with them?  We took out State Farm Insurance when we lived at the first home we bought, so that would be the longest... at least 35 years.

3. What is the most embarrassing question you've ever been asked?  I'm sure I've been asked some, but I'm drawing a blank just now.

4. You have the ability to snap your fingers and be instantly transported to one of three places whenever you wish to go there.  Which three places would you select as your destinations?  1.  A cabin in the Colorado Rockies  2.  a campground in the Colorado Rockies  3.  the beach at South Padre Island 

5. Last week, the Reader's Choice question asked you to identify your favorite movie line.  Later this month, the American Film Institute will list the 100 Greatest Movie Lines of all time.  Which one do you expect to win?  "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

6. You are given the gift of an original oil painting by any famous artist.  What painting would you choose and why?

In all honesty, I'm not that familiar  with artists or their work.  But years ago, when visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the paintings that mesmerized me were the old landscapes.  I love any realistic picture of the outdoors.  So I googled up my answer for this question, and came up with Rembrandt's "Landscape With A Stone Bridge". 

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sleeping beauties

Good Grief!!!  Over 20,000 hits on my journal!  Of course, I probably check back a dozen times a day, so a lot of the hits are mine.

Here's a little nugget of small-town life, for those of you who live in the big, anonymous city:  Cliff's check is direct-deposited into our little bank, and every Friday, we go through the drive-up and write a check for $100 cash, Cliff's gasoline-and-spending-money.  Last week our renter paid all the rent except for $25, so I wrote Cliff's check out for $75, knowing he'd be getting $25 from Vicki.  As the lady at the drive-up window handed Cliff his cash, she looked knowingly across at me and said, "So, you cut his allowance this week, eh?"  Had I been thinking faster, I'd have said, "Yes, but I'll let him take it out in trade", or "Yes I did; he's been a bad boy!"  What I actually said was, "We're expecting the $25 from another source."  Geesh.  I am explaining to a bank teller why Cliff isn't getting his usual amount of money?  The funny thing is, it doesn't bother me.  I like that aspect of small-town life, the part where everyone knows your business. 

Being out of work isn't all bad

I've been adjusting my budget since quitting my job.  We'll be traveling much less (Cliff is happy about that), but we both enjoy every day on our place. 

Mandy and I spent last night in my cabin in the woods.  I picked up another tick while there, too... but it wasn't a deer tick.  I'm learning to tell the difference, and I'm now saving any tick that bites into me until I know what variety it is. 

Mandy is a bit of a party-pooper at the cabin:  She would rather go inside the cabin and go to bed than to sit on the porch and enjoy the campfire with me.  And she whines at me if I don't join her.  Then when 5 AM comes, just as the birds are starting to sing their prettiest songs, she walks all over me on the bed, whining and panting, begging to come back to the house and start her daily activities:  you know, important things like rolling in carrion and chewing the neighbor kids' shoes and toys into tiny bits all over our yard.  Actually, she has gotten better about chewing things... but worse about rolling in rotten stuff.  I don't think dogs ever outgrow that.  Her canine friend, Buddy, chases the occasional car; and she's started to join him in that activity, too.  This scares me, because there's always the chance of her getting run over.

A really positive thing about my quitting work is that my knees don't hurt.  Oh, I can't do any deep-knee bends, or squat without pain, but just walking around pursuing my daily activities no longer bothers me at all.  I can get out of bed and walk straight to the bathroom without hobbling for the first several steps.  Perhaps I won't have to have knee replacement surgery after all... at least not in the near future.  A couple days ago I did the push-mowing for Cliff, on the banks that are too steep to mow with a riding mower.  I suffered no ill effects from it.

Another benefit of my being home is that Cliff is steadily losing weight, now that I'm here to cook the right things and supervise his portions.  He's lost 21 pounds since May 1.

I have much to be thankful for!

Thursday, June 9, 2005

I've found the hymns of my childhood!

In an earlier entry, I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn't find the old hymns of my childhood, sung a cappela as I heard them in the Church of Christ.  Well, today I hit paydirt. 

There's a website called Dallas Christian Sound that has CDs with most of the songs I remember.  Even the ones the Church of Christ no longer sings.  In a cappela.  With all four parts sung. 

There are five CDs in the "Songs From Home Series".  The good news is, you can listen to some of the songs right on the website.  I heard the hymns there, and was transported back to a time when music shaped my childhood and built my faith.

I will be purchasing all five CDs.  And I may get the "Peace and Joy" series, too.

Some days are diamonds. 

Weekend Assignment

Weekend Assignment #63: Amusing Amusement Park Moments  

Weekend Assignment #63: Recount a noteable amusement park experience. No, it doesn't have to be about getting sick on that rollercoaster... although (heh) those usually are pretty good. It can be any sort of memorable moment: cute, scary, funny, nice, whatever.

That's my Georgia daughter-in-law and me about three years ago, at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.  Behind us, my granddaughter, Amber, and my step-granddaughter, Christyn (probably misspelled, sorry Deb).  We had a great time that day, or at least I did.  I believe that was the first time their family visited me after the birth of Lyndsay, my youngest granddaughter.

Extra Credit: What's the scariest amusement park ride you've ever been on?

That one in the picture is probably it.  I was too chicken to ride a roller coaster until I was past 35, and as I age, I'm turning chicken again.  I used to love the Orient Express coaster at World's of Fun, but they tore it down.  Too tame, I guess.  Truthfully, the scariest rides, to me, are those rinky-dink ones at the state fair, held together with baling wire.


For years, I'd write a poem every day.  Taking my first sip of coffee this morning, I recalled writing an "ode to coffee", and did a search of my documents.  I discovered I've written at least four coffee poems, and given it an "honorable mention" in many other writings.  Here's the one I was looking for, though.

(c) copyright May 22, 2003
Donna Wood

Who figured how to make a brew
To cheer one so, when the day is new?
Who, in Africa, munched a bean
And felt effects of the drug, caffeine?

I’ve read that a man was herding sheep:
They ate the berries, and couldn't sleep.
Then monks found out they'd stay awake
If they took a little "coffee break".

Turks were the first to brew the drink
That cheered the heart, and helped them think.
Then Arabs took it for their own:
Its taste and powers became world-known.

Here's to coffee, much maligned...
But a boon to man- (and woman-) kind.
When it's hard to rise and greet the dawn,
The thought of coffee leads me on.

Click here for the history of coffee.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

horse fun

Rachel and I planned to ride last night, but when she got here after work, storms were in the forecast and she decided to wait until today, before work.  So, Anna and I rode instead.  The horseflies are terrible; Old Crook was even bucking a little, trying to get one off his rump.  Still, we had a nice ride.

Rachel isn't a morning person, so I didn't really expect her to show up for a ride today, but she did.  We rode for about forty-five minutes.  The horseflies were bothering both horses, but Blue handles them better than Crook does, and patiently waits for me to squash them.

Now, as for my statement yesterday about leaving AOL, let's face it:  ten bucks isn't that much money.  Probably the only way I'll leave AOL is if they lose my journal archives, or do something to make me really angry.  Now that AIM users can journal as part of the AOL community, I'd no doubt start over that way, and let everyone know where to find me.  I'd do it in e-mail though, not in this journal, just to keep out a couple of undesirables.  I'd NEVER consider letting someone pay my monthly bill (but thanks to those who have offered).  I've seen too many moochers pull this trick, and I know what sort of opinion I have of them.

Have a great day.  I intend to.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

One year of journaling

I started this blog on June 4 of last year.  Wow, how time flies when you're having fun.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up, at least on AOL.  Now that I'm not working, that $10 a month for AOL could probably be put to better use.  But we'll see!  I would hate to give this one up, because it's great to be able to look at the entries in the archives and reminisce.  And if I leave AOL, the blog will be gone.

I'm working on reunions today.  Saturday I sent out flyers about Cliff's family reunion that'll be held here on July 4th weekend, and I'm getting calls back about that.  One of Cliff's cousins called last night telling me that if his brother is attending, he's not coming.  I told him we are inviting everybody, and there will be plenty of others to talk to if he doesn't want to talk to his brother.  Cliff has said for years that the reason his family never had reunions is because they don't get along, and any reunion would break out in a fight.  I must say he and his siblings are excited about this event though, and I'm glad we're doing it.

Later on in July there'll be a reunion of Internet friends in Kansas City, and I'm staying busy researching places of interest.  It looks like it will be a nice group, not so large as to be unmanageable, but with enough folks to have fun (and enough to receive the discounted rates on our block of rooms).  My friends from Scotland are especially interested in seeing The Anderson House and battlefield, The 1859 Jackson County Jail, Fort Osage, and Missouri Town 1855.  Now to figure out how to squeeze all that into three days!  Actually, the Scots will be around a day or two longer, so I'm sure we'll see all that and then some. 

The new calf appears to be hale and hearty.  I'm glad he's a bull, because that means meat in the freezer in fifteen to eighteen months.  Yum.

Monday, June 6, 2005

We have a new calf today

We could tell the big cow was in labor this morning.  What I didn't know (and Cliff did, but didn't think it would matter) is that the twins have been nursing both mom and auntie.  Here a new arrival was due, and someone was taking all the milk!  We had a regular rodeo getting the twins and their mom out while keeping pregnant mom inside, since she was so desperate to get out anyhow.  But finally, success!  We don't like the cows having their babies out in the big pasture because of so many deep ravines where a new calf could get lost.  If some of the newborn pictures seem far away, our two cows are very protective of their calves, and I'm scared to get too close.

It's been an eventful day, really:  My two-hour ride, some "house-blessing", a little thistle-killing, and the new calf.  Now Mandy and I will go to the cabin for an hour or two, and I'll finish my book.

Monday Photo Shoot... Wish You Were There

Your Monday Photo Shoot -- Wish You Were There

Let's engage in a little daydreaming for this week's photo shoot, shall we?

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show a picture of the place you wish you could be right now. Vacation spot, old neighborhood, a friend's house -- wherever it would nice to be right htis instant, grab a picture from your archives and show us.

That's my daughter, my granddaughter, and me in a hot tub on the roof of a cabin we rented in Colorado, in 2002.  What a place to watch the sun come up!  That's where I'd love to be, right now... anywhere within sight of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.


an early-morning ride

Since I woke up early, I rode, knowing the forecast for today says it'll be 90 degrees for a high.

There are some flooded areas in the Missouri River bottom now, as a result of the five 1/2 inches of rain we received lately.  Yes, that is water in the distance.  Lovely crops can be grown here, but there's always a risk of losing some of your profits to flooding.  Blue and I won't likely be going down there for the rest of the summer:  the mosquitoes are back with a vengeance!  Of course, the standing water makes a perfect breeding-grounds for them.  The weeds along the levee are getting pretty thick and tall, too, which makes it difficult for Blue to navigate. 

I saw a herd of at least nine deer.  It's hard to count them when they're on the move.  The area near the river would be a bird-watcher's paradise, because I saw birds of every size and kind.  Red-winged blackbirds were especially in evidence.  As we rode along the river, a beaver slapped his tail on the water and made Blue jump.  It was a good ride.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. Who is the last performer you saw live in concert?    I believe that would be George Jones, at Ameristar Casino.  I was disappointed, because age has pretty much ruined his voice.  What is the last film you saw at a theater?  "Ray"  Which was more worth the money you paid?  Definately the movie!

2. What do you do more of in a typical day:  work, sleep, eat, exercise. watch TV, surf the web?  Since I've quit my job, I'd say surf the web.

3. Your office brings in a new drink machine and it's your job to fill the eight selection slots.  What drinks (non-alcholic, of course) do you select?  I'll pass on this one, since I really wouldn't care.

4. Take the quiz: 
What is your expression number?   Do you agree with the description it gives you?  No  What do you disagree with most?  Most of it; I'm just not that nice a person, I'm sorry to say.  Probably the very last sentence is true, though.

"Your Expression Number is 6 You have an outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance.
You are helpful and inclined to comfort those in need.
You have many artistic and creative talents, but you only use them to better others.

You are loving, friendly, and appreciative of others.
You have a depth of understanding that produces much kindness and generosity.
Openness and honesty are apparent in your approach to all relationships.

Sometimes, you can be too demanding of yourself.
At times, you tend to sacrifice yourself for the welfare of others.
At other times, you have trouble distinguishing between helping and interfering."

5. Counting all light fixtures and lamps in your home, how many bulbs do you have in place, and how many of them are on right now?  Fourteen bulbs in my home.  Three are on.

Laura: What is your favorite movie line ever and why?   Old Lodge Skins, in Little Big Man: "Today is a good day to die." 

Why?  Because at my age, I can truthfully say this each morning.  Any day is a good day to die, because I have had my share of beautiful things.  From this point on, every day is a bonus.  Death can cheat me of nothing.  I've had it all. 

We've Got Rain!!!




I'd have loved to spend last night in the cabin with Mandy, but by the time I realized the rain was going to become a reality, I'd have gotten soaked just going back there.  Every time I awoke in the night, it was still coming down steadily.  Finally, just before sunup, it slowed to a sprinkle.  So I took the flashlight out and checked the rain guage:  4 inches!!!  I know the farmers hereabouts are rejoicing, because some of the crops were starting to look very much in need of moisture.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Never Curse The Rain

It's dry here.  There's been rain all around us:  Kansas City, only 40 miles from here, got 1 1/2 inches a couple of days ago.  It all went north of us, though.  Today we finally got 1/4 of an inch.  Big deal, eh?  Rain is in the forecast for the next several days, and perhaps we'll be more fortunate then.  Meanwhile, I've been thinking about a poem I wrote in 1992... a year when we seemed to get TOO MUCH rain, as we did also in 1993 (the year of the flood). 

                              NEVER CURSE THE RAIN       

                                         11/19/ 92  

Because I've seen some years of drought, I never curse the rain,
For once you've had to do without, you learn to not complain!
Our old roof leaks a little more with every passing year.
But never mind how hard it pours: I'm happy, living here.

I have to say I miss the sun when clouds control the sky.
I'll be glad when the rain is done. (It will stop, by and by.)
But I'll take what the Father sends and thank him for it all.
The sun and rain are both my friends, so let the sweet rain fall!

If trials come into my life, they're sent here for a reason.
My character is shaped by strife that comes in its due season.
When everything is said and done, the good Lord knows what's best:
He sends the rain; he gives the sun. By both, our lives are blessed!


On a happy note, our roof doesn't leak like it did back then!

The author, James Patterson


That's James Patterson.  I don't think of him as my favorite author, and yet I find myself reading more of his books that anybody else's.  The man has to be warped, to write about so many brutal slayings and mutilations.  He keeps his chapters short, and leaves you wanting more when you've finished each of his stories. 

Of all his writings, my favorites are the books in the "Alex Cross series".  I've read them all out of order, so his children keep getting younger in each book I read.  I recognize "good guys" who, in later books, turned out to be "bad guys".  It doesn't matter.  He keeps me on the edge of my proverbial seat. 

Right now, I'm reading the very first Alex Cross Book, "Along Came a Spider".  Wow; no wonder he stays on the New York Times' best seller list. 

The only author that comes close to holding my attention like this is Sandra Brown.  Good stuff, here.  (Yes, she's warped too... I worry about myself.)

Thursday, June 2, 2005

another favorite poem, rediscovered

    by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

a long, long ride

I left the house around 8 o'clock this morning, figuring I'd get my ride in before it turned too hot.  But I made a mistake I haven't made for quite some time:  I waited until I was getting sore and tired before turning back toward home.  So of course, I was almost unable to walk by the time I got home at 11 AM.  I find I can handle a two-hour ride very well, but anything longer really gets to my old bones.  Anyhow, I enjoyed the scenery on a road where I don't often ride.  When we got back, I cooled Blue off with the garden hose, and he seemed to appreciate that.  Cliff and the neighbor boys got another 56 bales of hay put in the barn while I was riding, so they were tired too. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

one of my favorite poems, re-discovered

I spent a couple of hours at my cabin this evening, and while reading one of the books I keep there ("Poems For A Good And Happy Life") I found a poem I've loved for years, but had forgotten:

 Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
    From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
    A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
    You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
   Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
   They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
   Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
   Yea, beds for all who come.

Christina Rossetti