Monday, April 30, 2007

A funny animal story

My daughter and her family often come to visit on weekends.  If they're going to be here awhile, they bring their two dogs.

Their big dog, Hawkeye, loves it here; and they don't have to keep him on a chain.  Most times, he hangs around near the back door of the house and never offers to run away.

So Saturday when Kevin was ready to load him up in the pickup to go home, he called, "Come on, Hawkeye!"

Hawkeye headed away from Kevin and toward the shop, where I was sitting.

Kevin shouted a bit more assertively and headed toward Hawkeye.  Hawkeye curled up in a fetal position.

So Kevin picked up that big dog and placed him in his pickup.  First chance he got, Hawkeye jumped out and followed after me... I was getting ready to go in the house.

This whole episode was repeated yesterday, only Rachel was the one who had to deal with Hawkeye.  Poor dog; he only wanted to stay at Grandma's house and run free.  So he tried to hide underneath my feet.  Bless his heart.

I could kick myself for not doing a video of the whole thing.  Hopefully it will play out one more time, and either me or my daughter will have camera in hand to document the story.


A Secret update

We now realize Secret lost part of her tail switch in the freeze that got the ends of her ears.  We don't care, we love her anyhow. 

I was petting her today and realized that handfuls of dead winter hair were coming off, so I got the soft brush I use on the horses and relieved her of a lot of her old winter coat.  She loved it.  She leads well.  She doesn't get milk any more, but eats plenty of rich pasture by day and calf feed by night. 

Although she seems content, I would love to have another calf to run with her for company.  Not another Jersey heifer, I can't afford that.  But maybe a dairy breed steer.  I'm going to keep my eyes and ears open.

Just for comparison, here's a Jersey calf with normal ears:

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Belkin wireless routers

Quite some time ago, I ordered the cheapest wireless router I could find at Circuit City online.  It was, I believe, $38 including tax.

When it arrived I carefully followed instructions (at least I thought I did) but alas, it didn't get my notebook computer on the Internet as it was supposed to do.

Months later, my daughter spent half of her Saturday fixing the problem for me.  It took her at least four hours, including an hour or so on the phone with the Belkin techs.  But she did get the thing working.  I'm not that patient, and would have given up long before she did.  In fact, I kept telling her, "Just forget it; it isn't worth it."

Last week I got an e-mail.  Here's what part of it said:

ettlement Claim Information

For details about the Belkin Wireless Product Class Action Settlement go to:

Class Notice



To receive a full refund for a qualifying Belkin wireless product, you must follow these Instructions. If you fail to submit the required documents by the deadline set forth below, your claim will be rejected, and you will lose the right to receive a refund under the settlement.

Who is Eligible for a Full Refund of Actual Purchase Price? You may be eligible to receive a full refund of your actual purchase price of your Covered Belkin Wireless Product if: while residing in the United States, you purchased, between October 13, 2002 and February 5, 2007, a Covered Belkin Wireless Product from an entity that regularly sold such devices or items at the time of such purchase.

What is a Covered Belkin Wireless Product? These include 37 different wireless routers, modems and adapters, the packaging for which, at the time of retail purchase, did not state that the actual data transmission rates and/or connectivity ranges would be lower than the rate and/or range, respectively, identified on the product. "Covered Belkin Wireless Products" do not include any products that were installed in or sold with other devices, items or equipment. The product identification (SKU) numbers for these 37 products are the following: B5D036, F1UP0001, F5D6000, F5D6001, F5D6020, F5D6050, F5D6050-APL, F5D6051, F5D6060, F5D6130, F5D6230-3, F5D6230-4, F5D6231-4, F5D6231-4-APL, F5D7000, F5D7001, F5D7010, F5D7010-APL, F5D7011, F5D7050, F5D7130, F5D7230-4, F5D72314, F5D7231-4P, F5D7233, F5D7330, F5D8000, F5D8010, F5D8230-4, F5D9009, F5D9010, F5D9013, F5D9230-4, F6D3000, F6D3010, and F6D3230-4.

How you obtain a refund: You may be eligible to receive up to two full refunds of the actual purchase price, but only if, no later than 180 days after the date of the Class Notice, you fill out and submit online the Refund Claim Form and Release ("Refund Claim Form") found at Online Form. After you submit the Refund Claim Form online, and once the settlement is approved and becomes final, Belkin will e-mail you a notice (the "Refund Notice"). Then, within ninety (90) days of the Refund Notice, you must send a copy of the Refund Notice, along with the original or legible photocopy of the sales receipt(s) for the Covered Product(s) showing the place and date of purchase(s) and the purchase price(s) paid for the Covered Product(s), via U.S. Mail, addressed to: Belkin Corporation, 501 West Walnut Street, Compton, California 90220, Attn: Networking Offer.

If I understand it right, it states that those models of the Belkin Router did not perform as they were supposed to.  Mine is one of those listed, so I filled out the online form.

They'll let me know when the class action suit is settled, and then I can submit my receipt and collect.  One of the perks of buying things at Circuit City online is that your receipts are always right there to print.  No problem with losing them.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

People to whom I'm related

My cousin Pauline is working on the family genealogy of her dad and my mom:  The Stevens family.  Although when you go far enough back, it's spelled Stephens.  She's managed to trace us back to the 1400's in England.  So finally I know one of my countries of origin. 

I don't have the patience to pursue the family tree stuff, but I'm glad Pauline does.  And now, without further ado, I'd like you to know some of the famous people I'm related to:

Lucille Ball, Oliver and William Winchester (of the gun company), Edward Winslow (a Mayflower passenger... I'm a blue blood!), Samuel Adams, Henry David Thoreau, John Hancock, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julia Child, Robert Frost (I'm especially proud of that one), Emily Dickenson (that one too), Gregory Peck


Are you ready for this?

Toonguy, don't look now....

Really, don't.  You'll be sorry.

Go back while you still can...

I'm related to George Walker Bush!

swap meet

After several cloudy, rainy days, yesterday turned out lovely.  Cliff and I rode the motorcycle to Lathrop, Missouri, to a tractor swap-meet.

Cliff had originally planned to load up a trailer with assorted tractor parts from his past restoring and rebuilding projects, stuff he doesn't need but that would be worth some money to somebody else.  But I talked him out of that..  I reminded him that he'd really need to spend the whole day if he was going to make his trip worthwhile, and he doesn't do well with sitting around doing nothing.   Even on vacation, he's always starting a sentence like this:  "If I was home, I could be (cutting brush, mowing the lawn, putting up hay, fixing the whatever... fill in the blank").

Oh, I do believe I've found my next breed of dog while at the swap-meet.  Laid-back, friendly...

He's four months old.  Look at those ears!  Who wouldn't love him?  See the size of those feet?  He doesn't jump up on people, he doesn't seem to care if anyone ever takes him for a walk.  He only wants somebody to pet him.  He wasn't for sale, by the way.  An older couple had brought him to the swap meet for company.

So we rode up there, walked around for an hour or so, and that was that.  Except for a slight detour past the Longhorn Steak House, where we got enough food for lunch AND supper.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

pets... they crack me up

Yesterday when I got back on Blue at the elevator, he happened to see his own reflection in a picture window while I was saying my goodbyes to the owner of the place.  His head went up, his ears went perky, and he started nickering... to his reflection!  I could hardly tear him away.  I'll bet he was thinking, "Dang, that's one good-looking horse."

Blue makes me laugh in so many ways.

My dog Sadie is hyperactive with a capital "H".  I'll be in my recliner watching CSI or something equally fascinating, and she'll bring this rope-toss-chew thing of hers and nudge me with it.  If I ignore her for long, she'll drop the nasty, wet-with-saliva thing in my lap and put her chin on my knee, hoping against hope that I'll have a change of heart and play with her. 

Cliff says next dog we get will be a nice, lazy basset hound or something similar.  You know, a dog that will lay around in a corner yawning all day long; a dog more suited to the lifestyle of a couple of old coots.

Funny thing, around 8 PM, Sadie turns into a pumpkin.  She goes to bed early, and can't even be induced to go potty before 6:30 or 7 AM next morning.  I suppose all the hyperactivity of her days wears her totally out for the nights.

Sadie makes me laugh in so many ways.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

People die

I remember when my maternal Grandma died.  And my paternal grandpa.  Then for a long time, nobody died in my family. 

Cliff's Uncle George, who thought I could do no wrong, passed away when my kids were young.  It's hard to find people who put you on a pedestal like that, and I hated to see him go.

After that, it was a long time before anyone I really truly cared about died.  So I was fine.

Then people started "going home" faster than I could ever have imagined.

Momma.  Daddy.  Cliff's mom and dad.  My brother.  Cliff's brother, Warren.  My sister's husband.  Every beloved uncle and aunt I ever had have gone on, except for two; and they aren't doing so well.  My favorite pickin' and grinnin' buddy from the past, Leona (and she was younger than me).

So I really didn't need to see more people dying at this point in my life.

But alas, I made Internet friends, and they started dying too.

Goodoldys.  Revwife1.  Westbilt.  Lona's husband.  White Dove's husband.  Sue's  husband.

A year ago my husband had a close brush with death.

I started my AOL journal, made journal friends, and watched more people die.  Mostly from one form of cancer or another.

And some are fighting the "Big C" even now.  For the second time, dang it.

Then, for some reason, I wandered innocently through Blogger journals some time back and discovered this man  dying from pancreatic cancer in Canada.  And I cared.  My father-in-law died from pancreatic cancer, you know.

At some point in life you realize you are going to die; we're all going to die.  It makes you aware, somehow, of how brief our stay on earth is.  Of our mortality.

I really don't think our own deaths are as hard to consider as the deaths of those around us.  The ones we love.

I don't know about you, but I look to that Supreme Being, the Almighty God, to forgive our sins and lead us gently home.  And to do the same for those we love.

It's the best I can hope for.


Blogs, and which to use

I started to put an entry here, with pictures, about a local landmark that somebody turned into a weekend home.  Then I realized that if I add pictures from Flicker, you can't click on them here in J-Land to make them larger.  And these pictures really need that feature.  So I'll be placing that entry over at my Blogger home; it's such a great story I'm really wanting to do it now, but I've already done an entry over there that is drawing a good deal of attention today.  So I'll try to hold back until tomorrow.

If you got an alert and then came here to find no new entry, that's why.  I deleted what I had started.

If you haven't been to "Just Me" and read about my wedding cake, I think you'd enjoy it.  And you'll get a laugh out of the way Cliff, at age twenty-one, looked about sixteen years old.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cliff's cousin Edna got her e-mail working again!

Edna's email is working, and I'm laughing at this crazy thing she sent me:

Wisdom of Larry the Cable  Guy:

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other  hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are  made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad  name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6.  He who laughs last thinks the slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger  without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second  mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only  culture some people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of  a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending  machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of  payments.

13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is  coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the  future. Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be  without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into  jet engines

19. What happens if you get scared half to death,  twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

21.  Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, "What  the
heck  happened?"

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all  fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some  people appear
bright until you hear them speak.

Now, I don't know if Larry the Cable Guy really said this stuff or not; sounds a lot like George Carlin, too.  But I got a smile out of them, no ma
tter who said it. 

Welcome back, Edna!

Laminitis and founder

In yesterday's entry, I wrote, "The vet, on his visit here last week, warned me that Blue might eat more, and get more benefit from his food, with his teeth fixed.  He suggested I watch closely for grass founder."

In response, this comment was left on that entry, and I figured I'd better address it:  "What do you mean the horse you had  foundered on the feed? Or grass?   Got sick?  I'm afraid I'm not familiar with terms you use sometimes. I'm sorry."

Internet friends who have known me since 1998 already know how hard it is to understand "founder".  I've had it explained to me by farriers and veterinarians, and I still haven't figured it out.  But what it amounts to is this:  Some horses, if they eat too much... even if they only eat grass... will founder.  And once foundered, the horse is never as good as new.

When I had Pleasure Boy, I went out to the pasture in one day in May and found him limping.  Cliff figured he was just a little foot-sore, and said, "He'll be all right in a couple of days."

Pleasure Boy kept eating and limping, and I finally called the vet, who knew instantly what was wrong:  Founder.  He pointed out how fat my horse's neck was, and told me, "Any time a horse starts getting a 'cresty' neck like that, you need to take him off pasture; it's the first sign that founder is imminent."

Now, don't ask me why a horse eating too much ruins his feet; I will never understand it.

Pleasure Boy, I was told, had to be kept on dry lot (no lush grass to eat) for the rest of his life, and fed only grass hay, no alfalfa.  He was to have no grain, ever again. 

If managed correctly, a horse that has foundered can still be ridden and enjoyed.

Pleasure Boy did get over the limping, and had no more problems, once he was kept on dry lot.

So why don't I still have him?

Because he was a somewhat more spirited horse than I like; he wouldn't let me set a child on his back to lead around; and he wouldn't cross railroad tracks, which kept me from riding in the river bottoms, my favorite place.  Oh, and I got a job, so I wasn't riding him as  much.

And now about Blue:  When I first bought Blue, the first thing I noticed was the "cresty" neck.  He was running in lush pasture with access to lots of good-quality hay, and I just assumed he had foundered.  But I had become a pro at dealing with a foundered horse, the price was right, and I bought him.

Although the vet who examined him shortly after I brought him home said he had not foundered, I treated him as though he had, because that's the safe thing to do.  I kept him in Pleasure Boy's old dry lot and turned him out to pasture a couple of times a day.  No matter what sort of diet I put Blue on, his neck stays thick and fat and "cresty".

Last year was so dry the pasture never really became lush, so I let him roam freely with the other horses.  The way this year is starting out, I'd say the risk factor increases.  So I'm keeping a close eye on Blue, especially since the vet's warning.  The thing is, there's nothing to cure founder once it happens; it can only be managed, the way a human manages diabetes.

I got this on a Bayer website:
  • Factors that seem to increase a horse's susceptibility to laminitis or increase the severity of the condition when it does occur include the following:
  • Heavy breeds, such as draft horses
  • Overweight or horses prone to be "easy keepers" with thick cresty necks and fat pads over the tail head.
  • High nutritional plane
  • Ponies
  • Unrestricted grain binges, such as when a horse breaks into the feed room (If this happens, do not wait until symptoms develop to call your veterinarian. Call immediately so corrective action can be taken before tissue damage progresses.)
  • Horses who have had previous episodes of laminitis

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's raining and I love it

We've had so many dry years, I'm happy it's raining.  Last time I looked at the rain gauge it registered an inch and a half (starting yesterday evening) and it's still raining.

Oh, there are drawbacks to storms.  We depend on DishTV for our television programming, and right now I have no TV.  I got soaked putting the heifer, Secret, in the barn.  I weaned her a couple of weeks ago, and she's eating some four pounds of calf starter daily.  But because she's a Jersey (possibly a mini-Jersey) she is small. 

Mini-Jerseys are simply a small version of Jersey cattle, and Secret's grandma was a mini.  Although I wouldn't pay extra for a Jersey cow just because she is freakishly small, they are worth a small fortune; sort of a fad.

Anyhow, I don't intend to leave her out to serve as dog food for the marauding packs of dogs around here.

The vet, on his visit here last week, warned me that Blue might eat more, and get more benefit from his food, with his teeth fixed.  He suggested I watch closely for grass founder.  With all the rain, and at this time of year, the grass is going to grow like crazy.

So I'm keeping poor Blue up in a dry lot for eighteen to twenty hours a day.  My last horse foundered.  Once the damage is done, there's no fixing it.  It would break my heart to see it happen to Blue.

The frame of the trampoline was damaged beyond repair; the renter, Vicki, offered us a perfectly good frame because the fabric of theirs was damaged.  It was a generous offer, but it would have taken Cliff all morning to fix it, and the granddaughters really haven't been playing on it that much.  So Cliff and Vicki gave the next-door twins their trampoline parts, and the boys made a good one out of the mess.

And that's the evening report.

*P.S.  At 8 PM, rainfall is up to 2 1/2 inches in the last 24 hours.
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After the storm

This morning's sky is beautiful, isn't it?

When I was walking around in the dark after the storm last night, I saw the two girl horses, Libby and Sassy, in the lot near the barn.  Chief, the temporary resident here, was in his pen.  I did not see Blue and Tude.  Blue is afraid of storms, and I was hoping he was OK. 

I checked the electric fence, and it wasn't working.  Great.

This morning I woke up at 4 AM.  Normally I'd go back to sleep, but I kept wondering if Blue and Tude were OK.  So I got up, took the flashlight, and went looking.  After walking all the way around the alfalfa patch, I found all four horses, and gave each and every one a pat on the nose.

I also checked on Secret, the calf, in the barn.

On my little walk-in-the-dark, I discovered the electric fence was totally down in one spot, and it was obvious that something had run through it.  Most likely a deer, since the horses know where that fence is by heart and never challenge it.  Cliff and I will have that to fix this morning.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A most delightful storm

Cliff called from work at 7:25 this evening, asking if it was raining here.  There's a TV in the break room where he works, and he was seeing all kinds of warnings for our area.

"Nope," I told him.  "Just a little thunder and lightning in the distance."

I had barely closed my cell phone when all hell broke loose.  Straight out of the south.

Rain came sideways into my living room window, and I quickly shut it.  The granddaughters' trampoline, west of the house, went flying God only knew where.  My daughter called, telling me they'd lost their DishTV signal.  She asked if my Blackout Buddy was charged up.

I called Cliff back and thanked him for jinxing me.  By this time I had lost the satellite signal on our Dish TV AND my DSL Internet.

"OK," I told him, "What am I supposed to do?  I can't jump on the trampoline, I can't watch TV, and I can't get on the Internet.  And by the way, we got an inch of rain in fifteen minutes."

Little by little, life got back to normal... except for the trampoline.  I was creeping around in the dark looking at the shattered trampoline and the rain gauge (one inch, total, even then) when I saw the renter's boy heading to my back door.  I let him ring the doorbell, heard Sadie barking in the house, and then turned my flashlight on him.  (Yeah, I'm ornery that way.)

"Yes?"  I said, trying to sound like Vincent Price.

"Did you know your trampoline blew over at Marvin's?"

"Yep; I saw that when it happened."

"Oh.  OK."

I do love a good storm.


Cliff's day yesterday

Cliff's brother, Donald, came with his buddy yesterday and brought an old eyesore of an Oliver tractor.  Cliff is to enjoy the tractor for as long as he wants (he's always had a penchant for Olivers), see if he can get a few bugs worked out of it, and then try to sell it; anything it brings over $2,500 is his.  ::sighing::

Since Don was going to be here anyway, and does a lot of transmission work, Cliff's brother, Phil, came over and had him re-work the transmission for his pickup.

I fixed them cheeseburgers for lunch, and had some great fun:  I made one burger for everybody and was left with enough ground beef to make a tiny patty, about 1 1/2 inches across.  Everybody realizes how closely I monitor Cliff's food intake; so when they all gathered at the table, I put that tiny burger on Cliff's plate, saying, "Here's yours, Cliff."

Then I put the platter with the regular burgers in the middle of the table and told them to dig in.

I kid you not, Donald's mouth was agape, and when he finally found some words, he said, "Are you serious?"

I had warned Cliff in advance what I was going to do.

I couldn't keep up the farce long because I was laughing so hard.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot: Blue Skies

John Scalzi has given us our weekly Monday Photo Shoot.

"Your Monday Shoot: Picture some blue, blue skies. Wide stretches of blue are the goal here. Fluffy clouds are great, too -- but try to get the skies mostly blue. Interesting stuff in the foreground is groovy, too."

Here's mine, taken at my town's cemetery overlooking the Missouri River Bottoms:

If you join in, be sure and leave the link to your individual entry in the comment section over at By The Way.

Branson pictures for my daughter

My daughter pointed out that I didn't share many pictures from our Branson trip.  Well, it's like this: we only spent about sixteen hours in the town, and we were asleep a lot of that time.  Oh, and we weren't allowed to take pictures at the Dixie Stampede, the only show we saw. 

Cliff took this shot of me, Pat and Charlene on our way to the Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede theater.

That's Pat and Charlene approaching our destination; you can see the Dixie Stampede sign.

It was only after Charlene talked us into getting up there in the butterfly for a picture that we noticed a sign saying to stay away from the butterfly.  Oops.

Cliff and Pat were not about to park their precious bikes out in the general parking lot.  Oh no, they measured and checked and fretted and fumed and decided this was the spot... where they could look out our motel window and keep an eye on their prizes.

That's our motel sign, as seen from our room.  Levels one, two, and three could all be entered at ground level, thanks to the hill the motel is located on.

Exciting, right Rachel?

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

For Cliff's cousin, Edna

OK Edna, I know you read this journal.  And I realize you're unable to send email right now.  So here's what I want you to do:  Go to or and make yourself an email address there.  Tell all your buddies this is your new email address.  And get back to the business of sending me mail!!!  I miss your emails!

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postcards from Branson

Cliff's sister and her husband had a plan for the weekend:  We'd all ride our motorcycles to Springfield, Missouri, and talk to some fellow who makes motorcycle trailers.  They planned to come back the same day, Saturday.

Since Cliff and I had been wanting to go to Branson for an overnighter to go to Dixie Stampede, this was a perfect opportunity.  Branson is only about forty miles from Springfield.  Charlene and Pat would head toward home, we'd go on to see our show and spend the night.

We couldn't make connections with the guy in Springfield, and somewhere along the line, Charlene and Pat decided to go on to Branson with us.  So we picked up tickets at the Dolly Parton Theater (they're often sold out) and got a motel nearby, so we could walk back to see our show.  Being on the busy 76 Strip when the shows all let out at once isn't fun, even in a car.  On a motorcycle, it's worse.

We got one room with two queen beds for $62.  Not bad!

We had lots of laughs and a great ride, both going down and coming home... although it was awfully windy today.

Dixie Stampede is the most fun experience in Branson.  The audience is divided between between the north and the south, and there's lots of audience participation.  The most scrumptious food is served in a timely and entertaining manner (you have to eat it with your fingers, though).  Oh, and there are horses!  That alone makes it great, right?

They won't allow pictures taken at Dixie Stampede, so I bought four post cards.  My scanner no longer works, so I simply took pictures with my digital camera.  It worked pretty good except for a glare that showed up on them.

Hey there, Joanna!

Before we left for Branson yesterday morning, I had Cliff's sister's husband take this picture so my friend, Joanna, could see we're still wearing the shirts she bought us.

Friday, April 20, 2007

banana bread recipe, since you asked

There's nothing special about my banana bread recipe; I use one from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, the year 2000 limited edition.  I chose this particular recipe because it has half the fat of most banana bread recipes, and less sugar than many. 

                                            BANANA BREAD

1 ½ cups flour (I substitute whole wheat flour for ½ cup of the flour)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda        
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil for everything)
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

1.  Grease the bottom and ½ inch up the sides of an 8X4X2 inch loaf pan; set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Make a well in the center of dry mixture.  Set aside.

2.  In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, and cooking oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture.  Stir just till moistened (do not overmix).  Fold in nuts.

3.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes or till a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Cool, remove loaf from pan.  It’s best if stored overnight before serving, but don’t tell Cliff this, because he likes it warm.

Makes 1 loaf (sixteen servings)
154 calories, 6 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 23 grams carb., 1 gram fiber (more if you use some whole wheat flour), 2 grams protein.

Yes, we have no bananas....

Ah, but we DO have bananas.  When Cliff and I were shopping yesterday, I told him I wanted to "run in" Price Chopper, because when they have very ripe bananas, they put them in bags in a shopping cart, marked 99 cents each; often there's as much as four pounds in a bag.  My granddaughters can eat a lot of bananas, and I love bargains.

The shopping cart was full, and in my excitement, I grabbed four of the fullest bags I could find, realizing it was overkill, but also knowing we're about due for some banana bread.  And the granddaughters can eat a lot of bananas.  Oh yeah, I mentioned that.

These bananas weren't what I'd call over-ripe, but there was a factor I didn't figure in:  Cliff thought we should eat at Fazoli's, so those bananas were in the car with windows rolled up rightly, with sunshine streaming in to heat things up like an oven.

This morning I noticed my just-right bananas were now over-ripe; a couple of them were downright soft.

So I made three loaves of banana-nut bread.  That barely made a dent in the mountain of bananas on the counter.  Then I made a loaf of banana bread with no nuts, for my grandson Arick who hates nuts.  Hmmm, still lots of bananas.  Banana bread freezes well, but I didn't want to get too carried away.

I've had several people tell me you can freeze over-ripe bananas, so I did a Google to check.  I read that you can even freeze them with the peel on!  That would be easy, but I could forsee frozen bananas with peels on being scattered throughout my deep freeze, and kept looking.

What I settled on was this:  Puree the bananas, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of puree (to keep it from turning brown), and freeze. 

I think it will work.  I froze two bags of puree, each with two cups in it.  I'll probably do at least one more.

Because the granddaughters aren't really in the mood for bananas now. 

I foresee a lot of banana bread in my future.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

A couple of things about Blue (my prize horse)

The first thing I want to tell you is that having Blue's teeth floated made an incredible difference.  I had him saddled up before my daughter came to pick up the girls, because I was aching for an evening ride.  I was on my horse when Rachel came; she gathered up the girls, and off I went.

The local Tennessee Walking Horse breeder/horse trader has told me for years that horses need their teeth floated.  I've been a skeptic.  The man is such a know-it-all.

Dang it, he was right.  For the three years I've owned Blue, he's had this habit of sorta chewing at the bit, and tugging on it... especially if I stopped for awhile.

Not today.  He did do the tugging thing twice, but not hard, the way he's always done before.

I feel bad, knowing that all this time the sharp edges on his teeth were causing him discomfort.

Now onto the next topic, which also concerns my horse.

I fully expect Cliff to outlive me.  But after the events of one year ago tomorrow, I realize there are no guarantees.

I've stated before that I wouldn't stay here if something happened to Cliff.  I love this farm in so many ways, but I couldn't take care of the place and I don't drive.  So I'd move to some town.

On the other hand, what if I go first?  Cliff isn't a horse person.

This has, until now, always left me wondering what would become of Blue.

Not any more.  There's someone I met over at Blogspot who left a comment here recently telling me that if I ever sell Blue, she wants first chance at buying him.  Seriously.

I won't let her buy him.  But she can have him free, if circumstances of any kind move me to town; or if circumstances cause me to go to the great beyond ahead of Cliff.  Because I've seen how well she cares for her old gelding. 

I'm just saying.

I think Blue would love Oklahoma; especially on, or near, a reservation.

(Pssst... to my friend Joanna:  She loves cats, too.  LOL.)

Horses... probably more than you ever wanted to know

In THIS ENTRY yesterday morning, I addressed questions my readers had about sheath-cleaning.  I took these same questions to the good folks on my favorite equine message board, to see what more knowledgeable people than I had to say about the issue.

It occurred to me that some of you might want to read the ensuing discussion.  You'll get a few chuckles, if nothing else. 

Click HERE.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blue's day

Along with "happy" as my mood, you can also put "broke". 

I took the early morning ride I planned on.  Poor Blue is probably feeling overworked and underpaid.

Around 2:45, the vet showed up, and the bill slowly began to add up.  I've honestly never had dental work done on my horses.  Just like with the sheath cleaning, I didn't know it was necessary. 

But the local horse trader has preached to me for years that a horse needs his teeth floated, so when I called to make an appointment with the vet, I mentioned that I wanted him to check and see if my horses needed anything done to their teeth.

We did Libby first, and that's when I learned about wolf teeth.  Libby had those, and they needed to be removed so she wouldn't have problems with a bit.  They are tiny little teeth, as you can see in the picture.

Both horses got necessary vaccinations, and even the heifer, Secret, got a couple of shots.  Booster shots were left here for us to give the two horses in three weeks.

Thank goodness, the vet says Blue won't need dental work or sheath-cleaning next year; he'll do that every other year.  Libby will need to have her teeth worked on next year, though.

And Doc said that I'd better watch Blue closely for founder, since he'll be utilizing his food much more efficiently now that his teeth are fixed.  As long as I'm riding him often, he'll be OK.  But I may have to consider keeping him on dry lot sometimes if I slack off on his exercise.

Yes, he did get his sheath cleaned while he was drugged.

And that's how this day went.

questions about the previous entry

A couple of you asked this question:  "What happens to the health of all those 'wild horses' in the country that don't have anyone to clean their sheath for them?"

Isn't that like asking, "What do wild dogs (coyotes, wolves, and foxes) do about fleas?"

They get by, of course.  If there's discomfort, they simply have to live with it (or die with it).

I've had geldings before, and had never even heard of the procedure of sheath-cleaning.  Obviously, they got by fine without it.   I learned about it because when I first got Blue, he kept rubbing his behind on any surface available.  So I went to Google (my eternal source of information) and did a search about horses scratching their butts, or something similar.  Yep.  I did.  I learned that, since he couldn't scratch where it really itched, he scratched his butt.

That's how I found out the source of his discomfort.

Now where else could you learn all this useful stuff?


Planning my day

Unless Cliff has plans that involve me, I'm going to ride Blue this morning as soon as the girls are off to school.  I'll skip my daily walk with Cliff, because it seems like by the time Cliff and I finish our half-hour walk, it's often close to 10 o'clock... and time to start our noon meal.  And today, shortly after dinner (noon meal), the vet is scheduled to visit.  Which is why I intend to take a morning ride.  Because Blue may be tipsy this evening.

The vet will give my horses the usual yearly vaccinations; he'll check to see if their teeth need floating; and because it's been three years since it's been done, he'll clean Blue's sheath.  I will not be taking pictures of that particular procedure to share on my journal, so rest easy, gentle readers. 

To get him to allow a stranger to work on such a sensitive area, Blue will need to be sedated.  No riding tonight.

And I'm sure I'll need some sedation to recover from the vet's bill.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ebay is fun

Cliff's brother acquired several tractors (with help from a friend), recently.  Cliff painted one of them.  It's for sale on Ebay now.  If you want to watch the auction, it's right HERE.

There's another one for sale that Cliff didn't paint.  It's right HERE.

I only post this because sometimes it's fun to watch the bidding.  I'm pretty sure none of my readers are looking for a tractor.

By the way, I think both are priced too high, and I'll be surprised if they sell.  We'll see if I'm wrong.

Horses and trains

I've accomplished little today:  I took an early-morning ride on Blue, and later today Cliff and I went for a spin on the motorcycle.  Good times!

Blue amazes me in many ways, but the thing that never ceases to surprise me about him is that he isn't afraid of trains, unlike all the horses I've owned before.  It isn't so much the noise a train makes that scares them... it's the fact that they go on and on with no letup.  Most horses find that frightening. 

Blue would actually get within touching distance of a moving train, I think... but I don't want to push my luck.  Here's a short video, just to show you how calm my horse is as a train passes.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

fertilizing the grass hayfield

We had debated whether to fertilize the grass-hay patch.  We really get enough hay for our needs without fertilizer.  But the stand of grass was looking pretty sparse, and we don't want to lose it just because it lacks nutrients.

I realize this isn't an exciting entry.  But it's how we spent our morning!

Finally, springtime again

When my daughter is out of town on a business trip, the son-in-law brings me to their house to watch the girls.  Otherwise he'd have to drag them out of bed at 5 AM, to bring them to my house.

I'm always up by 5, so this works fine.  They have computers, after all.  I can read blogs or (as I'm doing right now) make a journal entry.  And the granddaughters can sleep in until 7. 

Yesterday was a perfect day, and I enjoyed a long horseback ride with my grandson, Arick.  Today looks to be even better.  Cliff's talking about ordering fertilizer for our grass hay-field.

I'm really hoping for a getaway to Branson on the Honda, this weekend.  The weather forecast is "iffy":  40% chance of rain on Sunday.  I'm a wimp, and after a bad experience, years ago, riding a motorcycle with Cliff in a thunderstorm, it doesn't take much threat of bad weather to discourage me from a road trip.  So we'll see what happens.  If we go, it will just be Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday.  We're saving Cliff's vacation days for my son's visit in July, and our Colorado vacation.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Strange weather we're having."

I have to laugh when I hear that phrase.  Because there is no "normal" weather in Missouri..  We've had a hard freeze as late as May 10.  I've seen snow in April (thank goodness I'm not seeing it this morning; our precipitation is still coming down in the form of rain).

Oh, there are a few  things you can be sure of:  It won't snow in June, July or August, for instance; or at least hasn't so far.  I do recall some seventy-plus-degree days in the depths of winter.  Yesterday I heard a weatherman on TV say that the record high for that date was 92... and that occurred just last year.

Some years we seem to have two or three tornado warnings a week; other times, you almost forget there's such a thing as a tornado, they're so rare.

I've seen years when it wouldn't stop raining (1993 is a good example), and times like last year where you couldn't beg, borrow or steal a few raindrops.  We seem to get more of the latter, by the way.

So yeah, don't be surprised if you see me smile when you say something about "the crazy weather we're having this year."

It's Missouri.  Deal with it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A horseback ride (video entry)

This thing goes on way too long, I'm sure.  Don't feel obligated to watch it all.  If you get bored, then click out of it.  As you'll see, the scenery isn't pretty and the skies aren't sunny.  But I had an enjoyable two hours of riding time anyway (the video isn't two hours long, it's eight minutes long).

I saw the sun!

Yesterday turned out to be not such a bad day:  Because it started out chilly and cloudy, we decided to get the grocery-shopping done.  We went to the Wal-Mart across the river, and as we were passing the barber shop Cliff patronizes lately, he decided to stop and get a "Cliffie".

Cliff likes his hair short in summer, especially now that he wears a motorcycle helmet a lot.  So he asks the barber for a "Princeton" haircut, which is so outdated that younger barbers never heard of it.  But years ago when he worked at the butcher shop, his young co-workers dubbed his short haircut "the Cliffie". 

Anyway.  I had the two books along that my friend, Jen, had sent me, so I was prepared for what appeared to be quite a wait.  But right beside the barber shop is a beauty shop, and I needed a haircut (my beautician closed her shop recently).  I went inside and found a very personable lady who had not one customer at the time.  I believe I've found the right person to cut my hair!  So that's settled.  Oh, I did have a touch of "sticker shock" when she said it would be $13, because Connie only charged $7.  But I always knew she was way cheaper than anybody else, and I'm sure in the city a haircut costs more than I paid yesterday.

My son-in-law picked up the granddaughters early, which gave me time for a rare evening ride; and I wasted no time in saddling Blue.  I was almost ready to leave when my grandson, Arick, showed up.  He came out to ride the paint he's been working on, so we rode together.  The paint, by the way, is behaving much better, considering he bucked Arick off when he first arrived here.  We even went up the highway a little, and traffic didn't bother him at all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Check out my son's last couple of entries:  he's spent two days this week at former President Jimmy Carter's home, and I believe he came away with the same impressions of the man that Cliff and I got, three years ago (by the way, our son is on the right, if you had any doubts).

You see, Cliff and I went to Church at Maranatha Baptist Church some time back, and sat in the Sunday School class taught by Jimmy Carter.  We came away believing this man is genuine.   He might be wrong, but I'll guarantee you he does what he believes is right.  If there was ever a sincere Christian and a good-hearted man, it's Jimmy Carter.  And yes, folks, I am Republican.  I don't agree with Mr. Carter's latest book.

But I love and respect the man.

I do hate the fact that Cliff and I were both so fat in that picture, and I'd love to convince Cliff to make the trip down there one more time... just so we'd have our skinny selves pictured with a former president before he dies.  He's no spring chicken, you know.  (By the way, am I the only one who thinks Jimmy looks younger now than he did three years ago?)

About my Monday Photo Shoot

OK, John Scalzi said we were to reveal on Thursday what our pictures were in the Monday Photo Shoot.  Many of you were in the ball park.  However, most people thought the eye belonged to a horse; it's actually the eye of my Jersey Heifer, Secret.  That's my reflection you see.  I was holding my hand up above her nose to distract her from trying to eat the camera.

Most of you knew the next one was a flower, and I think somebody even guessed its identity:  It's a dandelion picture I cropped and made very close-up.

Here's the original picture:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


AOL says the temperature is 42 degrees.  It's been drizzling for the past 24 hours.  Now if it were 42 and sunny, I could have ridden my horse.  But as it is, I just get grumpier and grumpier.  The forecast sounds like I may get a ride in tomorrow, then we're back to the rain on Friday.

Cliff was going to go see my cousin's husband this morning.  I figured my cousin, Betty, would be working; and I would have stayed home except for the fact that Cliff lured me away by promising to split a steak dinner with me.  As luck would have it, we found a place that didn't look too terrible in the eyes of the health department... Smokehouse Barbecue. 

Anyhow, back to Betty's place:  Cliff found Russ in the shed, and I told him I'd stay in the car and read.  My friend Jen sent me her son's new book (Click on the link and scroll down on that page to the book, "Failure, and How I Achieved it"), and also her daughter's latest.  I'm 2/3 of the way through her son's book now, and I just got it yesterday. 

I happened to look up from my book and see Betty approaching the car.  She has a lot of "sick days" to use up before she retires, so she was home after all.  She and I went inside and had a really nice visit.  I'm glad I went.

As we were leaving, I snapped that picture so I could post it here for Betty's sister, Carolyn, to see.  Hi Carolyn!

I may never eat out again

About once a month, Cliff and I like to go out for steak.  Outback can't be beat, really, and you get enough food that two can split a meal.  So it isn't so terribly pricey.  But we usually do our eating out on weekdays, at lunchtime.  Because Cliff leaves for work at 2:30.  Outback doesn't open for business until 4 PM on weekdays.

So I was doing a web search for steak in Independence.  I had to laugh when I somehow came up with the Bamboo Hut, because it's a rather disreputable dive of a place that's been there for probably fifty years or more.  Still, somebody gave their steak a good review, while mentioning that you have to breathe cigarette smoke while you're eating there.

I Googled a few other places, and somehow ended up HERE.  It tells the results of all the health inspections for all eating establishments in Independence, Missouri.

The good news is that Outback and Olive Garden scored pretty good.

The bad news is, practically everybody else flunked.  No soap in the employee's men's rest room?  No soap in dishwasher?  Mold growing on walls?  ACK!!!!

I don't think I'm hungry any more.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something in extreme close-up -- so close it's hard to tell what you're looking at. Ask people to guess. On Thursday, reveal what you've photographed. The only catch: If you've done this before, no reusing old pictures. Get close to something new.

OK everybody.  Here's mine!  (Oh, I decided to do two of them.)

If you're playing along, be sure to leave a link to your individual entry at By The Way.

Monday, April 9, 2007


It's still cold enough to be depressing here.  However, it wasn't such a bad day.  There was no school, but the oldest  of the granddaughters I watch, Monica, spent the day with a friend.  So it was just Nattie here.

Natalie walked in the pasture with me and Cliff, and actually finished ahead of us... although she did neglect one portion of the walk.  Still, she did well.

I saddled Blue and adjusted the stirrups to fit my granddaughter; and she rode for awhile.  Then I ponied Libby until time to start the noon meal.

Cliff, Natalie and I ate dinner in the living room, watching Law and Order.

When Cliff left for work, Natalie and I headed toward the back of the place, taking time to pet Libby on the way.

We went to the railroad tracks down the hill, thinking we'd make a video of a passing train.  Alas, no train came.  Until we gave up and went up the hill to the cabin.  Then a train came.

So we made a video of the sound  of the train.  With no train in view of the camera. 

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Sunday, April 8, 2007

My Easter horseback ride

I've always loved graveyards, and today Blue and I spent a half-hour or so exploring one we discovered just a few months ago.

                                              Loudon Wainwright III

I go to the graveyard where we all must go
Among the dead and buried there Just so I will know
What it’s like beneath those trees listening to that wind.
I go to the graveyard and I’ll be back again.

I played in the graveyard when I was just a boy
I’d run among the headstones, myself I would enjoy
When I was young and hardly knew what would happen then.
I played in the graveyard and I’ll be back again.

I walked through the graveyard I read the headstones
So many dead and buried there, each one all alone.
An old man and an infant and a little child of ten
I walk through the graveyard and I’ll be back again.

My father’s in the graveyard and my dear mother too.
I visit them with flowers; what else can I do?
I go to the graveyard to remember them.
I’m an orphan in a graveyard and I’ll be back again.

I go to the graveyard where we all must go.
Among the dead and buried there, just so I will know
What it’s like beneath those trees listening to that wind.
I go to the graveyard and I’ll be back again.


I do love a good choir

There's only one place I want to be on any given Easter Sunday, and that's New Life, the Church I attended for many years.  Pastor Rusty and the choir there are as good as any I've heard anywhere.  And they didn't disappoint me today.

Before the program started, Pastor Jack said that during a certain appropriate song, which he named, everyone could take Communion.  At this time, the ushers passed out something that was new to me and Cliff... a Communion packet. 

It's an individual packet with the Communion wafer sealed on top to be opened first, and the grape juice in a cup below.  Seems like a good idea, for sure.  Only I wish we'd taken the time to examine ours before the lights went down.

Near the end of the service the choir began singing the song that signaled Communion.  The lights were low, and we struggled, trying to free a wafer from its packet.  Forgive us, Lord, but we got tickled.  At a time when one is supposed to be solemn, remembering the sacrifice made for our souls... Cliff and I were stifling giggles.

Cliff finally got our packets open by the last line of the song.

I hope God had a sense of humor this morning.

Oh, if you'd like to hear the choir I heard this morning, go HERE for a listen.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What do you do with morels (and are they that good)

You folks ask what's the big deal with morels:  OK, I'm getting ready to tell you.

People sell them for anywhere from $25 to $50 a gallon.  Yes, they're that good.

You find the little buggers in the woods, or on the outskirts thereof.  They're only available for, at the most, three weeks every year.

Bring them to the house, cut them in half, and soak them at least overnight in salt water.  This gets rid of bugs and snails that might be living inside them.

Now there are several ways to prepare them, but all the best ways involve frying.

If I'm in a hurry, I simply roll them in flour and fry them in plenty of oil.

If I have lots of time and patience, I drain them, rinse them, get them good and wet in an egg-and-water mixture, and then roll them in a mixture of half flour, half-crushed Hi-Ho crackers.

Nothing in the world tastes anything like fried morels. 

Nor any better.
  They're nothing like the silly little "umbrella-shaped" mushrooms you are used to getting from grocery stores.


I am laughing out loud here

OK, I shared about the new friends I made today out in the back of our place.  I think I might have neglected to tell you that I told the mushroom hunters that, if they wanted to see themselves on the Internet, they could go to Google and type in "Just Me", and they'd probably find themselves.

I'm pretty sure two of them commented.  I know for sure one did.  And I quote:

"He really didn't have anymore than me, we each had about 10 or so. yes,you will probably see as again hopefully we'll have some bigger ones so we can share with you.You are one strange lady, but all and all you are pretty cool.


Maybe I did make a friend!   Have I ever mentioned that  you get extra points for realizing I'm a strange lady?  And for being brave enough to admit it?

about "posting" your property

People suggest "no tresspassing" signs at the edges of our property.  We've done that.  People enjoy tearing them down and throwing them on the ground, and they also enjoy using them for target practice.  There is one method of "posting" property that is supposed to be legal.  It wouldn't be too expensive or difficult.  Click HERE to read about it

Oh, somebody suggested electric fence around the property.  Obviously you've never dealt with electric fence:  In the first place, it's simple to lie down and crawl under it.  In the second place, electric fence must be closely maintained.  If branches fall on it, or weeds grow up on it, it no longer shocks.  We're talking "in the woods" here, folks.  Oh, and anybody with a pair of pliers with insulated handles could cut the fence.  Electric fence is not a workable solution.

The thing is, even posting would do no good.  It's one of the Redneck's inalienable rights:  You can go anywhere you want to when you're hunting mushrooms.  I think maybe it's stuck in amongst the Ten Commandments someplace.  They might see the purple paint and be a little bit sneakier, but they wouldn't stop coming.

Yes, I do catch people all the time.  But most are strangers to me, so how would I know who to take to court?  Unless it was Marvin; and do I really want to take my next-door neighbor to court?  Would you?

my new hobby

Since I love my camera (I have mentioned that, haven't I?) and one of my favorite things to do is take pictures in my woods, I'm having a blast this morel season taking pictures of mushroom hunters I meet on my property.

One of the most fun things about this hobby is the expression on folks' faces when I ask them to hold still while I take a picture.

"Why are you taking pictures?" they'll say, and you can see them squirm.

I told my "new friends" today that I have an online journal, and I just want to share with my readers how many people hunt mushrooms on my property.

"Don't worry, we're not posted, so I can't get you in trouble.  And I don't even know who you are.  Are you some of Marvin's?"

They said they weren't, but who knows?  And who really cares?

Oh, to meet my new friends, click HERE.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Greetings from Independence, Kansas

Talk about spur-of-the-minute, this is it.  Cliff's been planning for two weeks to come down here and paint some tractors for his brother.  I didn't intend to come along because I'd have been bored sitting around Donald's house; his wife and I have little in common.  Besides, the granddaughters are out of school today and I had to stay home with them.

But Cliff was dreading the four-hour trip alone; and he has a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel, driving by himself.

This morning I got a brainstorm, and I ran it by my daughter first, since it involved her daughters.  What if the girls and I were to accompany Cliff and stay at a motel in Independence, Kansas?  I'd checked out what the town had to offer, and learned that the Appletree Inn is downtown near stores, a museum, and a movie theater.  And it has an inside swimming pool.  Rachel sounded surprised/apprehensive/confused, but said it worked for her.

When Cliff woke up, I told him my idea.  I had to explain the whole thing about three times, but he finally admitted he was dreading the drive and it would be nice to have company.

I always read aloud when we're traveling by car, so I chose "Little House On The Prairie" for this trip.  Which turned out to be a good choice, because it takes place, I found out as I read, forty miles from Independence, Kansas.  The store held everyone's interest, although I should have stopped reading at times and helped Cliff watch our roads, because he got lost and had us headed merrily to Oklahoma City.  I just happened to take a break from the story and look up to see that we were on I-35.  Not good.  Since the kids were along, Cliff held his anger inside.  OK, so we wasted 40 miles.  Other than that, it was a good trip.

The girls have had a swim, and in about an hour we're heading across the street to see "Meet The Robinsons".  They assured me it's a good movie for kids.

This is kinda fun.  I'd better eat my peanut butter sandwich so I don't get too hungry in the movie.

When Cliff is done for the day, he'll join us for a good night's sleep.

Vote for Melanie

There's somebody I've chatted with on message boards for a long, long time.  Because she has a way with words, definite opinions, and deep feelings, I suggested she start a blog.  Which she did.  She's in a contest right now that would win her a sizable amount of money, and she could use your votes.  You can vote once a day.  It won't cost you a cent.

Vote for Melanie.


Folks, because I briefly made this journal private and then came back out of the closet (haha), you AOL folks who like alerts will need to sign up for them again.  Just thought I'd tell you.

And I apologize for my brief lapse "into the closet".


Thursday, April 5, 2007

e-mail buddies

I've mentioned Cliff's cousin, Edna, in this  journal before.  I met her early in our marriage, but I really didn't get to know her then. 

When I got my first computer, Cliff's brother's wife, who was raised down in that same area, received an e-mail and noticed Edna's name and email on it.  She forwarded it to me and wrote, "Edna's e-mail is on here, if you want to get in touch with her."

So I did, telling her in the subject line, "This is Clifford's wife."

That was six or seven years ago.  And ever since, Edna has sent me e-mails she thought might be of interest to me.  She's sent me some dillies, too.  Cute little videos (The Fruitcake Lady was my favorite), inspirational websites, you name it.  Every once in awhile in the subject line you'll see "XXX not for children".  Which I appreciate, since the granddaughters are here a lot.  None of them are really what I'd score a triple-X, but at least I know to be cautious when I read it.

Over a week ago, I realized I hadn't gotten any e-mail from Edna.  No problem, everybody is entitled to a day or two away from the computer.  Then another day went by, and another.  More than a week passed, and I began telling Cliff every day, "I don't understand why I'm not getting any mail from Edna.  I hope she and O. L. are all right."

"Her computer probably crashed," Cliff said.

Well now, around here, that's almost as bad as a death in the family!  So I broke down and gave Edna a call.  Nobody answered.  Now I was really getting concerned.

But tonight Edna called and checked in.  She has caller ID, so she knew I'd called.  She's fine, and her computer is working except for one thing:  It won't send e-mail.

I'm so relieved.

OK, I'm back

It's way too much trouble to keep a private journal.  I heard from all these screen names I've never seen before in my life, wanting me to add them as readers, several a day.  Then I hear from my cousin, who wonders what's wrong with my journal that she can't read it; I doubt she has AIM or AOL, so I didn't know any way to add her. 

I got to thinking maybe I've vented all I want to for this year anyhow.  I deleted appropriate entries and I am now public again. 

All you lurkers who say you've read me for years and wanted me to add you: come on out of the woodwork and comment one time, won't you?

And hello, cousin Carolyn in Omaha.  I'm back.  I always was a little peculiar back when we were growing up, and you know I've remained so.   But I'm back in public again.

I'm just lazy, I guess.  Too lazy to keep adding all those readers one by one.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I never thought I'd see the day

That's Cliff, this morning, mowing the yard with coveralls and a stocking cap on.  He said he didn't think he remembers ever mowing at a time when he could see his breath.

They predict we'll be in the lower 20's or even upper teens this weekend, and they mentioned snow.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

cow memories

I was pregnant with my daughter when we bought our first milk cow, Suzie, from my parents.  She was dry at the time, being very pregnant.  So we didn't have to milk her for a few weeks after bringing her home.  I told Cliff when we got her that he'd have to do the milking, because I had tried many times at Grandma's house as a girl, and I just couldn't get the hang of it.

So guess who ended up milking?  Practice makes perfect, and after a week or two of sore hands and spending forty-five minutes with my head in a very patient cow's flank, I got it right.  And loved it to the point you could almost say I was addicted.  So from 1969 until somewhere in the early '90s, I milked cows twice a day, every day.  Sometimes as many as four cows, sometimes one or two.  We didn't go anywhere overnight, because the cows had to be milked.

Back to Suzie:  She was some sort of Guernsey-cross my parents had bought as a calf, and among all the cows I've owned, she was the biggest character.  For instance, we used her like a horse.

That's Cliff's sister, Charlene, riding Suzie.

If we wanted to lead her somewhere, no halter was needed.  We'd just loop a rope around those horns and she'd follow right along.

Cliff built a metal pole barn on the twenty acres that was our home then, and put a sliding door on it.  This gave me a place to milk, and we had room to store hay for our animals for the winter.  Suzie figured out quickly how to hook one of those horns on the edge of the barn door and open it wide enough to squeeze through.  I'd go out and find her in the barn, happily tearing up hay bales and munching alfalfa in the middle of summer, when pasture was knee-deep.   Cliff finally put  a chain on the door that we could hook on a nail, to prevent her breaking and entering.

Those horns could be dangerous.  Oh, Suzie wouldn't hurt anyone on purpose.  But one time when I was standing beside her with my arm around her neck, she swung her head at flies, a horn connected, and I ended up with a black eye.

We had a view of the barn and dry lot from both a kitchen and a bedroom window.  If I tried to sleep in on a weekend morning, Suzie would get as close to the house as she could (probably no more than seventy-five feet away) and bellow, glaring at the house.  If I tarried too long before going out to do the evening milking, I'd be standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and she'd look me right in the eye through the window and moo pathetically.  She liked to be milked on a regular schedule, thank you very much.

When we first bought that place, the fences were in deplorable condition, and Suzie soon became an escape artist.  She'd find the easiest way out and make her way to the alfalfa patch.  Or a neighbor's cornfield, but that's another story.  Cliff spent one weekend building a new stretch of fence, a few feet down the hill from the old fence, between the pasture and our alfalfa.  When he was done, he tore down the old fence.  Before long, Suzie came over the hill and noticed the fence was gone:  she didn't see the new stretch of fence further down, so she thought we had set her free in the world.  If you've never seen a grown cow cavort, bucking and running and shaking her head, you've missed one of the funniest sights ever.  That's what Suzie did, hopping, skipping and bucking... until she came to the new fence and realized she wasn't free after all.  She put on her brakes and looked up and down the new wall of her prison as if to say, "What the heck?"

Suzie is the reason for my love for dairy cows.  Suzie is the reason I now have a little Jersey heifer with frozen-off ears named Secret. 

Monday, April 2, 2007

Cliff's weight loss

When I did the previous entry, I said Cliff had lost 80 pounds, which was wrong.  He's lost around 70, I think.  But that is over a two-year period.  When he came out of surgery a year ago, he weighed 230 - 232.  So in the time since the surgery, he has lost twenty-five pounds.  That's pretty reasonable for a year's weight loss, I think.  It was the year before his open-heart surgery that he really lost a lot.

As far as how he looks, I wouldn't care if he lost any more weight.  220 was fine with me.  However, in the research I've done, the less you weigh, the less work your heart has to do.  And keep in mind that there was some damage to his heart, although his heart is compensating for it, the doctor said. 

Cliff just wants, for once in his life, to weigh 200.  If he should continue to lose weight after he reaches his goal, I'll give him bigger portions.  Trust me, it won't be hard to get him to eat more!  (He'd be the first to tell you, though, that he's never hungry.  He takes in about 2,500 calories a day.)

Another nice day

Cliff loves to go to Scott's Bargain Barn.  He could spend hours there, browsing.  I generally have a Reader's Digest in my purse, and stay outside reading; sadly, it wasn't in my purse today.  Actually, Cliff didn't browse long anyway. 

We stopped by "Horseplay" right up the road from Scott's and bought a snaffle bit for Libby.  Tractor Supply, Feldman's, and Orschelns only had fancy snaffles for $59.  Geesh.  For a bit!  We got one today for $7.  The proprieter recognizes us now when we come in wearing our leathers, and usually makes a remark like, "Here come the Hell's Angels."

Cliff offered to take me out to eat, but I declined (much to his surprise).  Tomorrow we'll get our sodium fix at Subway, and I figured it would be best to eat healthy stuff at home today. 

Cliff weighed this morning and said, "These scales are having another one of their fits."

That's what he always says when he loses a pound or two.  He just can't accept that he is able to eat spaghetti, roast and mashed potatoes, even biscuits and gravy once this week... and still lose weight.  Helloooo!  It's called portion control.  (I fill his plate for him.)  Anyhow, he was 206 this morning, and his ultimate goal has been 200.  He's lost 70 pounds in the last two years.  No wonder everybody calls him "skinny". 

*I first said he'd lost 80,  but I realized that was wrong and corrected it.

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Blossoms and Blooms

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a snap of some of the latest blossoms and blooms near you. If for some reason it's still too chilly where you are, one, you my sympathy, and two, go ahead and use a picture from your archives. But everyone else should go out and take a fresh picture if they can. Let's see what spring looks like here in 2007.

I took this shot of a wildflower in the woods this morning during our walk, using the macro setting on my camera. 

If you have a blooming shot to share, just be sure and leave the link to the entry over at John's journal.