Thursday, November 30, 2006

More about Harlem

My parents moved often all their lives, I guess; I mentioned this to my sister, who is sixteen years older than I, and she remarked how awful it was to always be the new kid in a strange school.  Mother seemed to love moving into a rental house, cleaning it up, painting woodwork, and wallpapering every room. 

Then we'd move on to the next challenge, and she'd do it all again.

We must have moved briefly to Harlem at some previous time, because I remember attending a little school there that was long-gone in 1956 when we moved back.  Those are bad memories, whenever it was:  I was advanced a grade (evidently my one-room school teachers in Iowa had done their job well), and math suddenly became Greek to me.  I hid under a desk once, hoping the teacher wouldn't call on me.  Some little boy kept trading sandwiches with me there against my will, at lunch.  He always brought peanut butter, and I hated peanut butter.  I have no recollection of where we lived at that time, only the awful school, where I never made a single friend.  It seems like this was second or third grade.  I do know the time was brief, thank God. 

There was an area of Harlem where people lived in old city busses converted into houses.  Seriously!  Uncle Cecil lived in one of those, at some time in my memory, with his brood.

But when we moved to Harlem in 1956, we moved into a three-room upstairs apartment in a four-apartment building that had once been a mom-and-pop grocery store.  Uncle Cecil and his family lived in one of the downstairs apartments, and Uncle Clifford, Aunt Mable, and Alice were directly beneath us.  All four apartments shared one bathroom, which consisted of a sink and a bathroom stool. 

Primitive and crowded?  Yes, but it was the first time we'd ever had an inside bathroom or running water (only cold water, but still...).  I had been allowed to bring Pinky, one of the farm cats, with me when we moved, and I taught her a few tricks, believe it or not.  She eventually disappeared, as is the way of cats turned loose on city streets.

Our landlords had a two-story rental house up the street, and when that became available, we moved there.  Back to an outhouse again, but only briefly.

Across the road, a shack of a house went up for sale, and my parents, who had never been home-owners in their lives, bought it.

Now we had hot running water, and a bathtub!  I remember taking hour-long baths with bubbles heaped up around me a foot high, just like on the commercials.  (Get that Zest glow from head to toe.  That must have been a great commercial, because I've been using Zest ever since... some fifty years.)

This is a house that holds fond memories for me.  The pictures in my previous entry were taken when we lived there.  I had my own huge bedroom, which I pretended was an apartment; the walls were plastered with pictures of Elvis, Fabian, Ricky Nelson, and Conway Twitty... all carefully removed from Photoplay Magazine.  My hi-fi record player and a pink, plastic radio (with conelrad stations marked on the dial) were in heavy use.  WHB was my station of choice. 

I attended school at McElroy Dagg, part of the North Kansas City school district, and I made friends there.

Sometimes tramps came knocking on our door in Harlem, and if Mother was home, she'd pour them a glass of milk and make them a sandwich.  They'd sit on the front porch and eat, then be gone.  When Mother got a job, I wasn't to unlock the door to them, so I had to turn them away, and they finally stopped coming around.

My parents sold the Harlem house, which gave them the down payment on a much nicer place in Kansas City, North.  It was a cheap, pre-fab  house, but I felt like we had a mansion.  It was practically new!  Crestview, our subdivision, was a predominantly Catholic neighborhood because of its close proximity to St. Pius X school, and back then Catholics still had large families.  So I had plenty of baby-sitting jobs.

That house was also in the North Kansas City School district, and that's where we lived when I graduated.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So, what is it with AOL?

OK, I thought free AOL might be a good thing, but good grief... it's as slow as molasses in January lately!  I can't edit my journal half the time when I want to, unless I do it from off AOL, using another browser.  And if I try to add pictures to my FTP space, forget it!  It takes about ten tries before I'm successful.

I'm about ready to start blogging elsewhere.

Harlem... Kansas City

I was in the sixth grade when we left the farm where Daddy was a hired hand and moved to Kansas City.  I cried for weeks, perhaps months, for my old way of life.

I'd been a free spirit there, after all.  Mother worked all day in a dry goods-grocery store, and Daddy was busy with farm chores.  I could play with the calf in the barn that belonged to the cow Daddy milked twice a day.  There were kittens in the same barn.  I watched setting hens hatch out their babies.  In May, I found wild strawberries along the roadside, and in July there were blackberries, back in the woods.  I was in heaven, and nobody bothered me at all.

Daddy shot my old dog, Cookie, before we moved to the city.  She had a huge tumor on her belly that dragged the ground, and she was at least ten years old.  I remember hearing the gunshot.  It was a mercy-killing, but it was rough for me.

We got an apartment in Harlem, an unicorporated village just across the Missouri River from downtown Kansas City.  I had cousins nearby, and that helped me make the transition from country to city.

Most people, when they hear "Harlem", think of New York City.  Well, Kansas City's Harlem was all white folks, but it was a very poor neighborhood.  There were times I felt unsafe on the school bus.

However, I found some pleasant diversions in Harlem.

Back then, the big airport in Kansas City was the Municipal Airport, and it was only a few blocks away.  Every time a plane took off, it messed up our TV reception.  In summertime, I'd walk down there and watch airplanes taking off, and dream about the romantic places they were headed.  Me and my mom once met Pat Boone's plane when it landed, and on the front-page picture in the Kansas City Star, you could pick out me and my mom reaching toward Pat as he got off the airplane. 

And then there was the levee.  I'd go up there, walk right down to the riverbank, and watch the strange (and sometimes nasty) things floating past.  I could go right up to the ASB bridge and climb steps that took me to the top, where cars whizzed by.

Underneath that bridge I'd see evidence of the places where hoboes had camped:  traces of campfires, whiskey bottles, and sardine cans (now I find out sardines are one of the safest seafoods to eat, because they are at the bottom of the food chain).

My parents bought their first home in Harlem, then sold it and escaped as soon as possible (to "Kansas City, North").

Isn't it strange that I can have so many good memories of such an impoverished place?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The best way to get acquainted with a horse (that nobody wants to do)

When I first  bought Blue, he wasn't really thrilled about having a new owner.  He'd been out to pasture for three years with nobody bothering him.  When I first tried to climb in the saddle, he'd cow-kick.  If I got near his front end, he'd strike with his front leg.

Yep,  this is the same old Blue I ride often now.  The horse I have bonded with so thoroughly for three years, and kiss on the soft, velvety part of his nose almost every day.  I'm not a cowgirl, either.  I wasn't raised with horses. 

How did such a cowardly person as I manage to make friends with such a spoiled horse? 

I took a chair to his pen, turned my back to him, and read a book.

Funny thing about horses:  if they think you aren't worried about them, they'll break their silly necks trying to be your friend.

The only investment on your part is time:  You must be willing to sit in that chair, ignoring the horse, for however long it takes.

It amazes me how few people are willing to devote that kind of time to establishing a relationship.

And then they wonder what is wrong with their horse.  (or their spouse, or child, or friend.)  All they really want is for you to be there, not demanding anything of them.  Just your presence, the knowledge that you care.  Maybe horses aren't so much different than people.

My friend, Lona

Browsing through the "my documents" section of my computer, I found this poem I wrote.  My buddy Lona is in rehab right now, going through seven kinds of hell.  If you are a praying person, please remember Lona.  If you aren't, then please send good and positive wishes her way.  I'm sure she's sick and tired of being in rehab.

When I got a computer, I had heard some awful stories;
Some were kind of asinine, and some were downright gory,
About the dangers one might face while on the Internet,
And all the bawdy creatures one might wish she had not met.

I ventured to a chat room of the “Christian senior” type,
Prepared to use some wisdom, and get past the Newsday hype,
And find, perhaps, somebody sharing common thoughts and goals,
To help me to define myself, and find my proper role.

Ah, cautiously I watched the type that came across the screen:
The people I saw chatting weren’t counterfeit, or mean:
And yet I used discretion, till at last there came a day
I set up an acquaintance with someone called LonaMay.

We found out we were neighbors, not so many miles apart,
And we shared common interests, and the same things touched our hearts.
The more we chatted in the room, the more we had to say,
And gradually, I learned to trust my good friend, LonaMay.

One thing led to another, and of course we finally met.
(Now there’s a day in Texas that we never will forget!)
And later, down in Tennessee, I also met her Don.
I’m glad I got to meet him, before Jesus called him on.

Since then, I’ve met so many folks that I look on as friends…
Good people whom I dearly love, and on whom I depend.
Dear allies whose great kindnesses I never can repay…
And first and foremost of all these is my friend, Lona May!


Sunday's project, bringing the bargain tractor home

After noticing my son's comment on the last entry, I figured for his sake I'd best show the pictures taken on our trip after the Ford 4000 tractor.

We had to use our grandson's pickup, the one we sold him; Cliff gave him gas money, and I made him cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and grilled him a couple of brisket and cheese sandwiches like he's always begging for, for lunch.  There was even one piece left of Monica's birthday Oreo dessert (his favorite).

I've been out spending time with Libby, the filly... and something around here smells like horse-poop.  I'm off to change clothes, bathe, or whatever it takes to lose this odor!  (No, it isn't my shoes, I wore boots outside and changed back to sneakers when I was done.)

So it rained on our ride....


Blue and I still got in well over an hour of time down by the river before we decided we'd better call it quits.  Main problem was, I need windshield wipers for my glasses.

By the way, I took this myself, holding the camera out at arms length.

Happiness is a ham-bone!

While digging around in the deep freeze this morning, I noticed a ham bone I had forgotten about.

Oh, the possibilities!

My first thought was to make a pot of pinto beans.

Then I remembered split pea soup, and checked the cabinet to see if I had any split peas.


Lunch is made now, and the Split Pea soup is divided for one meal today, one tomorrow.  Or maybe I'll freeze tomorrow's and spread the pleasure (and gas) out by a few days.

Amazing how much meat is on a little ole ham bone.  I imagine there was a cup-and-a-half.  However, I weighed it once the bone was removed, and it was only six ounces.  So I figured the sodium per serving at 650 or so grams... not great, but not terribly bad, either.

I do believe I'll go for a ride now; there's a bitter cold front headed our way Wednesday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another nice day

Cliff and I took off on the motorcycle around 9:30, thinking the sun would come out and warm things up.  We were going to go to Sedalia, perhaps eat a steak, and return home.

Unfortunately, it didn't warm up fast enough to suit us.  We aborted the trip at 50 highway and came back home to warm up.

By 1 PM the temperature was perfect for bike-riding, but we were out of the mood.  So I rode Blue to town, said hi to my daughter and granddaughters, and then rode on some back roads and across a few fields.

Once Blue was put up, I worked with Libby, and took her into the shop; Blue won't set foot in the shop.

"Damn," Cliff said, "You've already got her so dead-headed she won't move outta the way when I go through the gate."

But there was admiration in his voice.

The girls and I were going to bring Libby in the house the other day, and she refused; so we're working on that.  (Don't laugh, the house isn't nearly as neat and clean as the shop... a little horse-poop wouldn't hurt anything.)

You don't think a horse should be in the house?  Then I guess you haven't met Patches.  Everybody should have a house-horse.  To meet Patches, click HERE.

I wish you all good times and happy memories such as I have.

Good night.


smashed pennies

We retrieved pennies we'd taped to the railroad track yesterday, some more smashed than others.  We also gathered up some pieces of coal spilled from passing trains, thinking to have Cliff start a fire for us so we could see it burn.  I vaguely remember, as a child, the smell of burning coal, and wanted to re-capture that.  The fire might have been successful except that Monica started tossing objects into it when it was barely starting.  I'll have to play with coal fires when the girls aren't here. 

I think trains are much fewer on holiday weekends, because on my horseback rides and railroad adventures the last four days, there haven't been nearly as many. 

A neighbor told me yesterday that nails are fun to smash on railroad tracks, too.  So that'll probably be our next experiment.

Don't hold your breath until that one, though.  My knees need a rest from hill-climbing and track-walking.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Our Thanksgiving day

Cliff and I left on the motorcycle this morning around 9:45, and got back home at 3:45.  We had a nice, relaxing time cruising through farm country. 

Our destination was Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  We didn't see any geese, but we spotted hundreds of ducks, three eagles, and a snake.

Coming home, we passed through Brunswick, Missouri, the pecan capital of the world, and saw the world's biggest pecan.  Sorry, Cliff didn't stop for me to get a picture.  It wasn't a REAL pecan, anyhow.

Missouri isn't very photogenic in the winter... mostly browns, tans and grays.  We saw lots of huge farms on the fertile river bottom land,  many of them irrigated (thanks to global warming I'm sure) and a few four-wheel-drive tractors at work, even on this holiday.

We went through several rural towns:  some were sad, with half the buildings and houses vacant and falling down; others were proud, and provocative with their beauty.

Driving past farmhouses, it was interesting to see that at 75% of them, nobody was home.  At the other 25%, cars filled up the driveways and yards... obviously that's where the big Thanksgiving dinners were being held.

I cooked Monica's birthday hamburgers this evening for her whole family, plus Charlene and Pat (Cliff's sis and hubby).

A wonderful day, topped off by a telephone call from our son. 

I am thankful

That I still have Cliff with me, after his quadruple bypass in April.  Not only is he still around, but he's in better shape than he's been in years.  (Look at those legs, won't you?)

That I'm still able to make it down to the railroad tracks with my granddaughters, ride my horse, and take daily walks with my spite of knees that have seen better days.

That we have so much fun with the motorcycle.

That I just happened to see an ad online saying someone had a Foxtrotter filly for sale.  Cliff isn't so fond of horses, but even he admits Libby is incredible, and seems smarter than your average young horse.

May all my readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  Remember to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I haven't accomplished a thing....

OK, I finally did dishes an hour ago.  But other than that, I haven't done a single useful thing.  No school, so the girls were here all day.  But since Cliff was here, I was able to sneak in a short ride on Blue this morning, a little over an hour.

The girls and I hadn't played on the railroad tracks for ages, and it's such a nice day I figured this was the time to do it.  It was a little risky having a fire, but I was careful and watched closely.  The girls started cooking each and every hot dog they were going to eat, but they just couldn't get the knack of it.  Or smoke would get in their eyes.  Or their hand got too hot.  So they'd start cooking the hot dog and I'd finish. 

Once we returned to the house, I took some time to work with Libby.  I put the saddle on her yesterday, just to see how she'd do.  No problem.  Today I not only put it on her, but drew the cinch around her belly, loosely.  That little lady doesn't get excited about anything.  Her former owners told me they'd had a saddle on her, so it wasn't her first time ever.  Still, she amazed me. 

I'm going to have to find a cheap, smaller-sized saddle someplace.  I won't be riding Libby until April, at least; but she needs to get used to the feel of a saddle, and Blue's is far too big.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A different sort of Thanksgiving

Cliff had a Thanksgiving dinner at work.  Then we had a Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter's house Saturday night.  Enough is enough, although I do appreciate turkey.  But I was prepared to do the big turkey dinner here: noodles, sweet potatoes, broccoli-rice casserole, and rolls, on Thursday.

Then Rachel gave me an "out".

"Mom," she said, "since Dad has had so much salt and stuff lately, if it's OK with you, we could do Monica's birthday dinner on Thanksgiving Day."

Whoa!!!!  Prayers can be answered.

We can either have an early cheeseburger dinner (Monica's choice of fare) around 11 AM, or an evening repast, around 5:30 PM.  Either way, Cliff and I can take off on the motorcycle.  Thank God for this!

Folks, I've pretty much lost heart for the holidays.  I'm sorry, but it's all just mechanical these days.  I love the memories of Christmas when I was a child, and of Christmas when my babies were small.  But these days, I just can't care much.  If  I have my way, we won't mess with the stupid cheap artificial tree we bought last year, with last year's decorations still on it.

Please don't ask me to go through the motions again.  Every day is Thanksgiving here, and Christmas memories are wonderful, and maybe when I have great-grandbabies to hold, new life will come into the holidays.

But for now, I'd just as soon pass.

Me and Cliff on the Gold Wing, with a picnic lunch stowed away, sounds wonderful right now.

Autumn Leaves


I think you have to reach a certain age before the lyrics of this song really sink in.  An age where you can see the winter of life closing in.

                                    AUTUMN LEAVES

English Lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Music by Joseph Kosma

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

(Instrumental for 1 minute)

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Hooray for Tuesdays, hooray for hay

Now that we have no pickup, we must figure out different ways of transporting stuff.  We can borrow a pickup from our grandson or our son-in-law if we must, but Cliff was pretty sure the old gray trailer would be adequate today.  We bought that thing from my parents, some thirty-eight years ago.

We can go a few miles in almost any direction and find a Subway, but this one is our favorite, and was in the same town as the farm store.  The staff is fast, efficient and friendly.  One perky little gal remembered today that we were the ones whose cold-cut combo sandwich got overloaded with mustard last week.  She and her helper made sure I got to see their new "Hooray for Tuesday" T-shirts, front and back.  Do you think she wanted me to take a picture?

We've done very well to get by over halfway through November without haying the horses; there's still quite a bit of grass out on the point, but it doesn't have as many nutrients as we'd like, this time of year.  We'd put off spending the $250 for a bale ring as long as possible, but the time had come.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Yes, I do love Grey's Anatomy.  But House is better.  Just my considered opinion.

I've always loved wierd, scruffy, grumpy guys.

A pox upon the person who got me addicted to television after all these years.

(Just kidding, Joanna.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mmmmm, Turkey Frame Soup

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter's home last night.  We were getting ready to leave when I noticed the stripped-down turkey carcass sitting on a plate on the counter.

"What are you going to do with that?" I queried.  "You're not throwing it out, are you?"

"Why," she answered, "are you going to make us some turkey-frame soup?" 

So I came home with the main ingredient for one of our favorite soups.  You'd be amazed at the amount of meat that's still hiding on that turkey skeleton.

If you'd like to it, here's the recipe, right out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:

                                   TURKEY FRAME SOUP

1 meaty turkey frame
8 cups water
1 large onion, quartered
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
chopped cooked turkey

1.  Break turkey frame or cut in half with kitchen shears.  Place in a large pot.  Add water, onion, and garlic salt.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
2.  Remove turkey frame.  When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bones; coarsely chop meat.  If necessary, add enough turkey to equal 2 cups.  Set aside.  Discard bones.  Strain broth.  Skim fat from broth.

1 14 1/2-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, basil, marjoram, or thyme, crushed (I prefer the oregano)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups (any combination) sliced celery, carrots, parsnips or mushrooms; chopped onionis or rutabagas; or broccoli or cauliflower flowerets (or slice some cabbage)
1 1/2 cups medium noodles

3.  Return broth to pot.  Stir in undrained tomatoes, bouillon cubes, herb and pepper.  Stir in vegetables.  Return to boiling; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in uncooked noodles, simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more or until noodles are tender but still firm, and vegetables are crisp-tender.  Stir in turkey; heat through.  Makes about 9 1/2 cups.

This stuff is low-fat, low-calorie, and a great way to use something you'd ordinarily throw away.

You can go to google and find lots of variations on this.  After all, it's just soup!!!  Be as creative as you want to.

(PS to my daughter:  I made more than this recipe makes, so there's plenty to share; I simply have to pick up the dry noodles on the way home from Church, re-heat the stuff and add noodles and turkey.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Patrick's Saturday Six

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Weekender, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. When a bill arrives in the mail, what do you do with it: pay it immediately, hold it with others and pay at once, or put it off until the last possible minute?  If I can afford it, I pay it immediately.

2. Which actor makes the best James Bond?  I can't stand James Bond.

3. Of the foods you enjoy, which one are you least likely to try cooking yourself?  pizza

4. Take the quiz:
What does your birth month reveal about you?

Your Results:
Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood.Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people's feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets.Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically andmentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying

5. Of the results you just got, which one seems the farthest from the "real" you?  "hardworking" and "approachable".  Perhaps "fun to be with" also.  Unless you are a dog, in which case I'm loads of fun.

6. Will you see your extended family on Thanksgiving Day this year?  I'll see my daughter and her family, and probably Cliff's sister and (perhaps) her husband.  That's it.

fixing fence (and horse stuff)

Horses are rough on fences; it's a fact of life.  The woven-wire fence in the pen the horses lounge around in had been leaned on so much that it was sagging, and leaning sadly outward.  It held the horses in just fine, but Cliff wanted it back like it's supposed to be.  This meant taking all the wire loose from the posts, pulling all the posts and then driving them back in, and re-attaching the wire.  It isn't that long a stretch of fence, and we had it fixed in three hours.  Cliff plans to put a strand of electric fence around the top of it soon to keep the nags from messing it up again.

I'm having some very rewarding training sessions with Libby; I've only missed two days working with her since I got her.  Sometimes I only spend twenty or thirty minutes, but she seems to retain most of what she learns.

She'll walk on the plastic tarp now, even if the wind is blowing it around.  I put a bale of straw on it to keep it from blowing entirely away, and found out Libby will step right over the bale (that one really impressed Cliff:  "Let's see Blue do that," he said.  Yeah, right... it takes about an hour of pursuading just to get Blue to step on the tarp!)

Libby's learning hand signals... me motioning her to come forward or step backward.  She responds to "whoa" if she's getting too close to me.  If I pull downward on her lead rope, she instantly lowers her head, which is a very basic but important thing.

When I handle her feet, she knows which foot I'll be going to next, and lifts it for me before I get there.

I'm still sacking her out some, but I'm staying away from her head with the sackful of cans, since that seems to upset her quite a bit; I don't want to make her head-shy.  We have all the time in the world; there's no need pushing her too fast.

I can turn on a very noisy leaf-blower as I hold it in my hand and, as long as she doesn't feel it blowing air toward her, she'll actually put her nose on it and sniff it while it's running.

I try to begin and end each session with lots of rubbing, petting, and praise.

I can't believe how smart she is!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Doubleday Book Club

When I had a job, I joined up with the Doubleday book club.  I bought my required number of books, then opted out.  Ever since then, they've sent me mail that I usually don't bother to open, trying to get me to sign back up with them. 

I buy my books at garage sales, thank you very much.

The other day Cliff and I were watching TV, and an ad came on for the latest James Patterson book in his Alex Cross series.  Cliff said, "Make a note of that, won't you?  See if you can get it online."

Alex Cross novels are among our favorites for road trips.  I read, Cliff listens.  The chapters are short and the pace is fast, and those books eat away the miles.

(As a sidenote here, we've decided we like John Sandford even better than Patterson.)

"Cliff," I told him, "I buy books from; it'll be a long time before that one is on at a reasonable price."

The very next day, I got some junk mail from Doubleday.  And I opened it, thinking about James Patterson's latest.

They offered me this deal:  five books at 99 cents each, with free shipping.  And if I'd select one more for $5.99 (also free shipping), I'd only be obligated to buy three more books over the next two years.  Nothing to return by mail, I can opt out of any book at their web site.

Hey, I can't do any better than that at!

So yeah, I'm back with the Doubleday Book Club.  All I have to do now is get Cliff to go on a long enough road trip (in the car, not on the motorcycle) for me to read "Cross" to him.


Cliff was reading my previous entry and said, "Thirty years?  I thought we'd been married forty years!"

Oh well, time flies when you're having fun.  Yes, we've been married forty years.  Our children are aged thirty-seven and thirty-nine.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Does Cliff ever relax?"

OK, so a couple of my readers wonder if Cliff ever relaxes.  They say he wears them out.

You don't understand.

The work Cliff does on our place is how he relaxes.  It's what he loves to do, it's his recreation.

We have friends from our younger days who sold their place once they retired:  they live in a camper, and go deep-sea fishing in Florida in wintertime.  It seems one of their main occupations these days is shuffleboard.  This fellow told Cliff, last time we saw them, "I sure don't miss putting up hay!"

Dear Lord, Cliff's idea of hell is being confined to playing shuffleboard and going fishing.  He loves putting up hay!

Please don't expect him to sit and watch TV unless he's put in several hours of work around here first.

I believe some of the old codgers who read my journal will say a hearty "amen" to this.

I've lived with this man for over thirty years.  I know what it takes to make him happy.  He's most relaxed when he's doing some project around our home place. 

Trust me on this.

And if he really needs some extra help relaxing, we'll hop on the Honda and go for a little road trip.

a sunny day

Every morning when we take our walk, Cliff notices stuff that he thinks needs to be done.  A dead tree that should be cut down, limbs that hang too low to drive the tractor under... things like that.  Today he decided to work on some of those items that daily nag him.  Sadie and I joined him after awhile, and that dog was ecstatic to have some extra outdoor time, running around in circles, and finding sticks for me to throw so she could fetch them.  Until she ran away, full-speed to join the dogs next door and disappeared into Marvin's woods.  She wasn't gone too long.  When she's on the trail of another dog, she goes totally deaf, it seems.  I wasn't worried this time, because we were far removed from any road.  After about fifteen minutes, she overcame her deafness and returned to me.  Of course it's no use scolding her, because after all, she DID come to me... finally.  I hooked on her leash and tied her to the tractor for the rest of our work session.

I piled brush as Cliff trimmed it off the limbs, and helped him stack some of the wood.  I'll have to spend a lot of time at the cabin, if I'm going to use all that wood.  I'd say it's about a five-year supply.

The temperature was brisk, but the sunshine made it a pleasant morning. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy birthday, Monica!

There was a time when I thought I had all the grandchildren allowed me.   My son had a couple of kids; my daughter had her son.  I figured I'd sit back and wait for great-grandchildren.

Then my daughter divorced her first husband and married her second.  And shortly thereafter, Monica was born.

I was blessed to be able to spend lots of time with my first grandchild, Arick.  He holds a piece of my heart that nobody else will ever claim, and I still melt when he hugs me.

His sister, Amber, was such a sweetie.  I loved to hear her chattering to herself as she played with Barbie and "Kim"... she never quite got Ken's name right.

Then came my daughter's firstborn, Brett.  He was a solemn child who was born knowing how to pout.  Amazing.  Tickle him as you might, he never cracked a smile.

And I assumed I'd have no more grandchildren.

Monica was the first surprise. 

And my daughter and her husband were willing to share her with me for 24 hours each week!

I'd bring her home with me on Wednesday nights and get up with her during the night when she cried (with Cliff saying, "Why are you doing this?") 

I'd tell him, "So she'll know who I am."

Monica amazed me by recognizing the letters of the alphabet at the age of two.

She's going to attend a dance Friday night, and tells me she'll be hanging out with all her "peeps".  She turned eleven today.

Happy birthday, Monica!

Because I keep forgetting

I had good intentions of ending every entry this month by naming something for which I'm thankful.  Since I keep forgetting to do this, I'll do a "thankful" entry right now:

I'm thankful for my childhood and for every aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparent that helped shape my life.  I'm thankful my parents raised me just the way they did, because even with all my flaws and all their mistakes, I have enjoyed my life exactly like it is.  And had I been raised differently, I wouldn't be the same "me".

I'm thankful for small towns.  Yes, everybody knows everybody's business, but there's something comforting about the community-feel of a village.

I'm thankful for midwest farm country, for the fact that I get to watch the crops grow from planting to harvest each year; and for the tractors and cattle and rural mailboxes that are scattered about the landscape.

I'm thankful for the wide variety of fresh produce available in grocery stores.  In the old days, the only fruits and vegetables people had in winter came from cans and jars.

I'm thankful that children no longer have to suffer with mumps and measles and polio, and other scourges that once were common.  Dear Lord, I remember having the whooping cough:  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

I'm thankful for my children and grandchildren, and for the fact that they're all in good health and of sound mind.

I'm thankful for our forty-three acres. 

I'm thankful that we have a house to live in, and for the propane we're able to buy to heat it.

I'm thankful for dogs, and the way they can light up my life with affection and make me laugh with their antics.

I'm thankful I don't have to milk cows twice a day, or bake all my own bread... but I can if I want to.

I'm thankful for our motorcycle, which has been a big incentive in Cliff's recovery from open-heart surgery.  That Honda Gold Wing weighs over 800 pounds, and Cliff couldn't handle it very well until he started working out and building up muscle.  It has been a huge motivating force for him and, I'm sure, has accellerated his recovery.

I'm thankful for a husband who puts up with my eccentricities and loves to see me happy.

I'm thankful for all my Internet acquaintances, and for the fact that I've been able to meet so many of them face to face.  I'm thankful that my friend Lona, my very first real Internet friend, was able to call me today from rehab, and I pray she will regain her strength in time to enjoy Christmas.

I'm thankful I am able to pray, and that I have the privilege of praying for people I love.  I'm thankful for forgiveness, both from God and my fellowman.

I could go on like this for hours, but I think you get the idea.

How could I NOT be thankful?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

happenings today

After ponying Libby this morning, I rode Blue for an hour-and-a-half.  It turned out to be colder than I realized, and I was wishing I'd worn my coveralls.  Blue, however, was soaking wet with sweat. 

By the time I got home, it was almost noon, so we made our Tuesday trek to Subway.

The calorie-count on Subway sandwiches isn't bad at all, and we load them up with all the veggies they offer.  On Tuesdays, they're a real bargain.  We get a meatball sub for lunch, and a cold-cut combo for our supper.

The worst part of it is that Cliff gets about two days' worth of sodium in one day.  I try to make up for that in the following days; we really LOVE our Subway sandwiches.

desensitizing a horse

A reader asked why I "sack" Libby, and wondered what purpose there is in this activity of rubbing plastic bags (filled with cans rattling) against a horse's body repeatedly. 

It's called "desensitizing" the horse.  Rather than try to explain in my own words, I give you this link, which explains it well.  In fact, that whole website, "Training Horses The Wal-Mart Way", looks like a good one!  I discovered it just now, while googling up a good answer for my readers.

I keep forgetting about my intention to mention something for which I'm thankful at the end of each entry; sorry about that!  Today I'm thankful for all the information I have right at my fingertips on the Internet.

Monday, November 13, 2006

the deer population around here

One of my readers asked if we have that many deer around here (I mentioned a line of cars at the local butcher shop).  He said he didn't recall me mentioning deer in my journal.

Well, we have plenty of them:  Almost any time I ride down at the river bottoms or in farmers' fields, Blue and I scare up a deer or two.  One day I was riding along the levee and gave Cliff a call on my cell phone; the minute I said something, two deer jumped out of the weeds not ten feet away, which of course made Blue jump with surprise.  I almost dropped my phone!

There's an article in today's Kansas City Star about the growing problem of car accidents involving deer:   click HERE.  I hope you don't have to sign up in order to read it, but if so, let me know and I'll just copy and paste the article to an entry.

I don't have the opportunity to get pictures of deer because they're so fast at getting away.  By the time I calm my horse down and dig the camera out of my pocket, they're long gone.

grazing with the horses

Today I tried a couple of new things with Libby:  First off, I rubbed her all over with a white plastic bag with Coke cans rattling inside it; she didn't like it much at first, but settled right down after a few minutes.  Then I got her near a leaf-blower, to see how she'd handle the noise.  She didn't raise much fuss about that either, unless I let the air blow on her; and even then it wasn't that strong a reaction.  I'll repeat both exercises daily until she shows no fear at all.

Later I went out onto the orchard-grass pasture where the horses are grazing these days and sat on the ground to watch them.  I even laid down, part of the time.  Blue and Libby came right over to check me out; they knew this wasn't usual behavior for me.

Cliff is pretty sure there's plenty of grazing for the four horses to last until December first, which is really stretching the pasture season here in Missouri... especially after the sort of near-drought we've had this year. 

Saturday, November 11, 2006

some of today's happenings

It's been a good day.  When we woke up, the temperature was 27 degrees.  We noticed somebody parked in front of our shop, and assumed it was our grandson's boss, since Arick had asked if he could go deer-hunting here.

Marvin, next door, knocked on the door later and asked if he could go looking on our land for a deer somebody shot on his place that got away.  All they found, though, was a blood trail.

I saddled Blue for a ride, but Monica caught me and asked if she could ride.  Why not?  She went for the longest ride I've ever seen her take, and then Natalie rode, too.  Finally it was my turn.  I avoided the river bottoms and back roads, where somebody might have mistaken me for a deer; instead, I rode past the nearby butcher shop to see how many deer hunters had been successful.  Once home, I ponied Libby.  She balked a few times, but Blue and I dealt with that.  I'm sorry there are no pictures of that event, but the battery-pack in my camera gave out at an inopportune time.

Later today, Sadie and I went for a walk in the pasture.  Don't worry, I was wearing my orange hunter's vest for safety's sake.

In between all these happenings, I worked on my grandson, Brett's, birthday meal, scheduled for tomorrow evening.

I'm thankful for warm clothes that enable me to get outside and enjoy nature, even when the temperatures are frigid.  And for a warm house to enter, once my escapades are done.

Monty Roberts... Horse whisperer, or a bag of wind???

Because of my recently acquired eighteen-month-old filly, I've done plenty of surfing, Googling up various horse-training methods online.  RFD TV has lots of helpful shows I watch from time to time, too.  I've picked up a few basic things that seem to work well with Libby. 

I keep in mind that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing; I pray hard when I'm working with my adolescent horse that I won't do anything to mess over her mind (and of course that I don't get hurt). 

What I've been using most is the Parelli Seven Games; Libby already seemed well versed in games #1 and #2 when I got her, but I reinforce those constantly, and am working on #3.

This morning I turned on the TV early, and there was Monty Roberts, the famous "horse whisperer", who has even trained horses for Queen Elizabeth II.

It didn't take a lot of web surfing to find out that his family has written a book refuting the things he's said about his cruel daddy and his mousy, subservient mom.  I've been skimming over the book, which can be read on-line for free if you sign in and make a password.  I'd say there are a lot of inconsistencies in Monty's stories.

I think I'll stick with Pat Parelli.

(Added later)  I should have mentioned that nobody really has any objections to Monty's methods with horses; it's just that he tells so many lies about his past, especially about his father.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Free meal for veterans

Don't forget that Golden Corral gives all veterans a free meal Monday, November 13, from 5 PM to 9 PM.  Check it out HERE.

I'm thankful today for our veterans!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Weekend Assignment: Favorite Children's Books

For this week's Weekend Assignment, John Scalzi wants to know: What were your favorite children's books? Tell us in your blog, and link to the post in the comments section of John's audio entry.

Because I'm always trying to find little pieces of my childhood, I went and purchased my favorite childhood books on Ebay; that's them in the picture:  Little Black Sambo, The Story Of Cooky, and Egermeier's Bible Story Book. 

I'm thankful for parents who read to me, and taught me to love books. 

I remember one time sitting on Daddy's lap on a Sunday morning, him reading the funnies to me while I looked at the pictures.  And I recall the book of Mother Goose rhymes Mother read to me so often that I knew them all by heart.  I fondly recollect the Bobbsey Twins and Heidi and Little House On The Prairie.

I'm thankful today for books.

today's ride

This is supposed to be our last nice, unseasonably warm day for awhile.  So after I ponied Libby, I took Blue down to the river bottoms.  Even if the weather does get nice again, I probably won't ride down there until after deer season.  It's a popular place for hunters.  I'll stick to the roads for the time being.

I'm thankful for lovely places to ride, and a gentle horse to carry me to those places.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

A motorcycle ride and a tractor acquired

This Ford 4000 tractor was offered to Cliff: price, $500. 

The forecasters said it would get near 80 degrees, so we took off on the Gold Wing at nine this morning and headed for Warrensburg, a forty-five-minute ride from here.  A pretty cool ride, at first. 

The Selectomatic transmission is messed up on this thing.  Cliff's brother, who has worked on such tractors, says it might be a blown O-ring, which he could fix.  Cliff started it up, and it sounded good, although he said there's a fuel problem somewhere; gasoline problems, however, are one of his specialties.  He loves chasing down what's wrong, finding the trouble, and making it right. 

We really don't have the money, but this is such a bargain, he can't resist it. 

Looks like a good project for this winter.

I am thankful for Cliff's love of tractors, and that he has a shop where he can work on these "noble beasts".  He's never bored.

Now it's time for him to go to work.  Time to pay the piper.  (Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Cliff's job?)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I voted

Yes, I made it to the polls today.  Not because of any politicians running for office, but because of some amendment issues.

I voted for the minimum wage increase.  I've worked for minimum wage before, and nobody should have to work that hard for so little pay.

I voted against raising taxes on cigarettes.  I don't smoke, and I wish nobody did.  But if we are going to tax things that wreck our health, then fat people ought to be taxed too, every time they eat at Mcdonalds. 

I agonized over the stem cell amendment, changing my mind several times over the past weeks.  I finally made my decision, after much prayer.  But I will admit that I was relieved to learn that my husband had cancelled out my vote.

As for the crooked politicians running for office, I really don't care who wins.


I am so thankful to be living in this country.  God bless the USA!!!!

"Nobody heard me crying."

My regular readers probably know that I babysit my two granddaughters before and after school. 

Last Friday, Cliff took a vacation day from work and was tackling some project in the shop when Monica and Natalie got home from school.  They were in and out a lot, sometimes with Cliff, sometimes playing with neighbor kids or jumping on the trampoline.  They're nine and (almost) eleven, so they don't require a lot of watching, although I do check often to make sure they don't stray too far from our property.

Monica had come in to watch TV and I was at the computer when Natalie came in the door crying as though her heart would break.  Turns out she'd fallen on the sidewalk, and had really scraped her hands raw.  Upon examination, one knee needed a couple of band aids.

Crisis averted and tears dried, Natalie said, "Grandma, nobody heard me crying."

She sounded so sad when she said it, as though that were the biggest part of her pain.

I've turned that phrase over in my head many times since Friday, realizing that it puts into words one of human-kind's biggest fears... that we'll cry, and nobody will hear.

I'm thankful today that I have someone to hear me when I cry.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Horse lessons

When you are working with any horse, the main thing you are trying to achieve is trust:  they must trust you not to take them to places where harm will befall them.  Libby had lots of trust instilled already by her former owners.  In many ways, she is calmer and more easy-going than Blue.  And that is saying a lot!

When I bought Blue, his owners told me that one of the things they'd done with him, when they were training him, was to teach him to walk over a plastic tarp.  This is totally a lesson in trust, because horses don't like anything that makes a strange noise when they step onto it, and they certainly don't like something that moves with every step.  Not to mention they don't like seeing something unusual lying on the ground in the first place! 

I'd never done this exercise with Blue, or any other horse (I'm not a horse-trainer, remember?), but I figured it might do Libby some good.

She didn't like the tarp at first, but I led her in circles around it, getting closer and closer to it, letting her smell it, and snort and jump back when she wanted to.  In under ten minutes, she was willingly letting me lead her across the tarp.

I was almost disappointed that it was so easy.

After walking her off the tarp and back across several times, I got the idea to bring Blue out and let him try his luck.

He had forgotten any lessons he ever learned with a blue plastic tarp at his old home, because he wasn't having any part of such nonsense.  It took at least a half-hour to get him on it, and even then he wasn't totally comfortable.  He sure gave me some good laughs with his silliness, though.

I'm so thankful for my Foxtrotters.


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I enjoy cooking and I enjoy eating.  So what's not to love about it?

But I like being thankful, too.  Throughout my life, I've noticed that the happiest people I've known were those who are thankful for what they have; and the most miserable folks were those who constantly bemoan their lot in life: 

"Woe is me... I never get a break."  You know the type. 

The happiest times of my life have been those days and moments when I stopped long enough to be thankful.  I've been up, and yes, I've been down.  So I know whereof I speak.  Even when I was "busted, dusted, disgusted and couldn't be trusted" (Woody Guthrie), I realized that if I'd look around and see how many things I HAD, I no longer focused on the things I did NOT have. 

Could it be that thanksgiving is the secret of happiness?

You don't believe in God?  Then be thankful to the universe, or to the parents who gave you life.  Be thankful to your employer and the grocery store that presents you with such a wide variety of good things to eat.  Be thankful to your insurance company for covering the cost of your health care.  If you are truly at the bottom with no way out, then be thankful for so many ways to commit suicide.  (That's written with tongue in cheek, but I must say there's a grain of truth here.)

For my own part, I will continue to "praise God from Whom all blessings flow."

Throughout the month of November, I hope to conclude every entry I make by mentioning something for which I am thankful.

Today, I am thankful that my home is in the "Show-me state" countryside, with the Missouri River just a short horseback ride away.  It's truly "God's country".

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Patrick's Saturday Six

I haven't done one of these for a couple of weeks; time to get back in the groove:

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Weekender, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal at Patrick's Weekender, so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. How many trick-or-treaters did you have this year? Were that more, less, or the same as last year?  Not a single one, and that's the same as the last few years.  There are kids in our country neighborhood, but they'd rather not waste their time in the country.  They go to town where they can make a real haul.

2. What kind of halloween candy did you buy?  This is the first year I didn't buy some candy "just in case".  I gave each of my granddaughters a dollar for trick-or-treat before they went home, and if anyone else had shown up, they'd have gotten a dollar also.

3. What's the next topic you intend to blog about?  I'm not sure:  I'm thinking about doing an entry based on something my granddaughter Natalie said Friday; and I'm going to do an entry before long with a video of me riding my horse, Blue, while I "pony" my new filly, but I want her to get better at it first.  I pretty much blog on impulse.

4. Take the quiz: What is your beer personality?

Oh please... beer personality?  I'll pass.

5. Do you like the taste of beer? Have you ever tried this particular one?  Nope.  Nope.

6. Which of the following in your home is more full: your dishwasher, your washing machine, your dryer, your sink or your hamper?  (I don't have a dishwasher, by the way) I'd say the hamper.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

November sunrise

Picture taken during our morning walk. 

We haven't seen a lot of evidence of deer on our place this year, but this morning, tracks were everywhere.  And on the way back to the house, we saw a deer heading west, right behind our barn.  Deer season starts next weekend... maybe they have some premonition that tells them they'd better get active.

Friday, November 3, 2006

More good news about drugs!

I found out about this over at Hestia Homeschool.

Free antibiotics at all 176 Meijer pharmacies throughout the Midwest.

We don't have those pharmacies here.  But for those of you who do, be sure to take advantage.  Click HERE for a store locator. 

Gee, this reminds me of the old gas wars the filling stations used to have.  Only now we have prescription drug price wars.

my horses

I saddled Blue and ponied Libby for 45 minutes today.  Blue didn't like it much, but we managed.  Look at all the sweat on him!  Hard work for him, leading a sometimes-protesting kid around.  Actually, Libby did great, all things considered.  When Blue got into his head-nodding gait, I noticed Libby's head was nodding too; in other words, she was doing her gait.

My worst problem with the whole exercise was the two boarded horses:  They'd wait until we were some distance away, then come running, bucking and kicking past us.  This was a bit unsettling for the filly; I think she felt she ought to join them.

Next time, I think I'll shut those other two horses in the lot, so my horses and I can work in peace.

If all else fails.... reboot.

Whatever my problem, after rebooting, it seems to be fine.  Strange, because it was happening both on and off AOL, as far as journal comments and my own journal.

JournalsEditor was right on the problem once I e-mailed him, very willing to work with me.  Thank goodness the problem fixed itself with no hassle.

Is it just me?

I can't comment on anybody's journals because when I click to add my comment, I get a sign-in page.  My screen name, Mosie1944, is right there; but when I type in my password (and I DO know my AOL password) it says "screen name or password invalid".

Now, in the first place, I've NEVER had to "sign in" in order to comment!  And in the second place, if I'm going to have to do that, my password had darned well better be valid.  I usually access my journal directly through AOL, but I'm making this entry via Opera browser, just to see if anything was different.  Nope.  I still get the sign-in thing, followed by "invalid screen name or password.  In fact, I got that message when I wanted to make this entry.  Only, it recognizes my password here in my own journal.  Just not on other journals.


Thursday, November 2, 2006

An outing for Sadie and other sunny-day happenings

I had planned on another horseback ride today, but Cliff was preparing to go to his brother's place to use some of the fancy equipment in his shop.  Phil has a thing that breaks tires down (like service stations use), and Cliff wanted to make use of that; while he was there, he figured he'd change oil

"You may as well go," he said.

"Well, I was going to ride," I told him.  "But if I could take Sadie along, I wouldn't mind going."

See, Cliff's brother lives at the end of a one-mile-long drive, very isolated.  I figured that would be one place where I could safely turn Sadie loose and, for once in her life, let her run as much as she wanted.

To my surprise, Cliff agreed.  We loaded her into her crate in the back seat and away we went.

We were a half-hour away from home, almost to our destination, when I remembered the applesauce I'd had cooking on the stove at home.

"Oh Cliff," I moaned, "I don't think I turned off the burner under the applesauce!"

I'll leave what Cliff said to your imagination.

I thought of our renter, and told Cliff I'd call and ask her to go check my stove, and turn it off if necessary.  Whew, that saved the day.  I might have been sleeping on the couch for a couple of days if we'd had to turn around and come back home.

Needless to say, Sadie had a blast.  She was on the go for two hours, the whole time we were there.  I visited with Phil's wife for awhile, but most of the time I just played with my dog.

The filly, Libby, is really doing well.  I was afraid after being hurt on the trailer when we transported her here, that she wouldn't load easily again, and I decided to find out.  But she hopped right in with very little hesitation. 

The final necessary thing Libby had to learn in order to stay alive here was to drink out of the in-ground waterers, because they don't freeze in winter.  So I dumped the big stock tank  yesterday, which meant she'd have to drink out of the in-ground ones, or not drink at all.

After our hour of bonding today, I led her to the waterer and she lowered her head and took a long, refreshing drink.  I believe she must have already found it on her own.

I really hate that she has the scar on her leg.  I don't think it did any real damage, but it's a shame for such a pretty little filly to have a scar for life. 


Walmart's $4 drug list

This is going to be a boon for many senior citizens who have to spend huge portions of their income for prescription drugs.  One of Cliff's meds is on the list. 

To check the list of $4 drugs, click HERE.

To see the list of states where this applies, click HERE.  Looks like most states are on the list... all the good ones, anyhow.  Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas.  Oops, no Colorado.  I wonder why. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Discovered during todays two-hour ride

It's another very cool day to be riding, but with my Carharts on, I do fine.  I remembered to wear my leather gloves today.  It was about 40 degrees when I left, and now it's 47.

I have ridden along 24 highway many times without seeing that cemetery.  I found it today because I was taking Blue out across the bare fields.  We came upon what looked like a seldom-used driveway, and since Blue seemed to want to check it out, we followed the sparse gravel trail.

There were lots of old tombstones, but I noticed some fairly new graves, too.  One was that of a baby who passed away last January.

Two hours is a plenty long ride for this old gal.

Peaceful pastures

All four horses are getting along nicely now, as you can see.  The big guys are letting Libby have the shed on this chilly morning, and she's peeking around the pole at the camera.

Cliff is amazed that Libby got used to the electric fence without ever breaking it; usually a new horse will take off running, not see the wire, and run through it.  It really worked well to have the two boarded horses away for the weekend, so Libby could discover all the electric-fenced areas without being pushed around by the whole group.

I had mentioned before that she was touchy with her legs when I first got her here; well, I found out why:  she had a big scrape on her left hind leg, acquired on the trip home.  Now that her bumps, bruises and scrapes are healing, she's letting me handle any part of her body.

I "ponied" her Sunday beside Blue.  In other words, I rode Blue and led Libby alongside us.  I may do more of that; it's supposed to be good for young horses.  Cliff leaves for work at 2:30 every afternoon, and that's when I go out and handle Libby.  I have almost an hour before the granddaughters get home from school, and I lead her, brush her, pet her... just generally let her get acquainted with me. 

I love the way she comes to meet me.  Blue is gentle and friendly, but I always have to walk all the way to him with the halter and lead rope.  Libby acts like she's anxious to be handled!