Thursday, May 31, 2007

Finally, a sunny day

Because it was a picture-perfect day, I went for a two-hour ride on Blue (long enough, by the way, that my knees are still protesting, but it's worth it).

I love riding my horse, just finding out what lies over the next hill

and around the next bend.

I always check the water level of the Missouri River when I ride past the Corps of Engineers.  It's still bank-full, by the way.

After I got home, I checked Cliff's garden, which I reluctantly admit is looking pretty darned good.

Even the tomatoes.

The timely rain we got yesterday amounted to 1 1/4 inches, and that didn't hurt a thing.  Tomorrow, there's lots of chance for rain again.  I'm glad I rode today. 

I may sleep at the cabin tonight.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

OK Anne...

I saw the following comment on my last entry, and figured I'd better respond.  " WHAT???? No daily update????   What's up?   Anne
Comment from ksquester - 5/30/07 7:20 PM

For one thing, my dear Anne and other readers, the rain is so interspersed throughout the day I can't ride my horse; this eliminates one of my favorite subjects.

For another, Cliff and I are trying to sell a couple more tractors on Craigslist and Yesterday's Tractors.  This has consumed some of my Internet time.

Then there's this:  Cliff's Kansas brother's wife has attempted, for the last three years, to keep him from coming here in July to meet with all his siblings.  Although he's had to leave her at home, he's made the trip alone because it's hard to get all of them together... what with him in southern Kansas and the sister in Wisconsin.  Truthfully, we've not been disappointed that he didn't bring his wife; because we're all a bit below her standards.

So this year he called months early and said they were leaving on their vacation July 4.  I wonder whose idea that was?

No problem, I said.  We'll have our family get-together either the weekend before or the weekend after.

We checked with Don, and he said the weekend before would be fine.  We scheduled the little reunion for July 1, and everyone made their arrangements.

When Cliff and I went to Don's a couple of weeks ago, his wife asked, "Now when are you having everybody there?"

"July 1, Sunday," I told her.  And she nodded, as though that would work.

So today Cliff gets the phone call.  Suddenly they're leaving June 30.  Reservations have been made and cannot be changed.  I now realize she was confirming the date of our family get-together so she'd be sure and throw a monkey-wrench in it.

And that, my dear Anne, is why I didn't post today.  Because I hate it when I vent.

Of course, you can always check my Blogger site for Wordless Wednesday.  It's a hoot today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Prescription problems and Walmart

Cliff takes two prescription drugs for his blood pressure and heart:  Lipitor once a day, at bedtime; and Metoprolol twice a day.  He also has doctor's orders to take a small aspirin daily.  I add a calcium pill and a multivitamin to the mix.

We use two of those containers with seven compartments, one for each day of the week:  one container for his morning pills, one for his bedtime pills.  I'm the one who fills these each week.  Three days ago I started filling the daily-dose container and realized I was woefully short of Metoprolol... and it isn't time for a refill.

Why is it that when something like this happens, I assume I'm the one who did something wrong?  But the more I thought about it, the more I knew there was no way I could have done anything wrong.  I knew I hadn't given Cliff any extra pills, and I was sure nobody had meddled with his medication.

Pharmacists can't refill a prescription early, and I surely didn't want Cliff to miss taking his meds for a week!  Because of the holiday, I waited until this morning to call Walmart, worrying about the situation off and on all weekend.  I figured I'd have to get permission from our doctor to get the extra pills, and it would be a big hassle.  But here's how it went when I called:

"I don't know what happened, but my husband ran out of his Metoprolol early this month, and it isn't time to get a refill yet."  I'm sure there was a definite whine to my voice.

The lady confirmed Cliff's birth date and asked me to wait a minute.  When she came back, she said, "If you'll come in and pick them up, we'll give you the ten pills free of charge; someone must have miscounted."

"It's that simple?"  I was amazed!  No hoops to jump through, no strings to pull.  Just come in and get the pills.  And they took the blame!

No wonder I like Walmart.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nice weekend

We rather wasted the morning driving to Kansas (getting lost along the way) to look at a trailer to pull behind our motorcycle.  It was too much money, too big and ugly a trailer, for our purposes.  At least we know.

We ate out (again... I know, aren't we awful?) at Smokehouse barbecue, bringing home plenty of leftovers that our grandson quickly consumed, and a box of bones for the dogs. 

Cliff's sister and her husband arrived on their Harley; they were heading to eat out somewhere and wondering if we'd like to go along. We informed them we were stuffed as full as ticks, but agreed to ride with them to the best local Pizza Hut, and visit with them while they ate.  We intended to go to Kleinschmidts afterward and shop for Wranglers and chaps, but turns out they were closed for the holiday.

We all thought we'd just go for a nice ride, but the clouds overcame us and sprinkles appeared on the windshield.  We made a mad dash for home and beat the rain, which didn't amount to that much after all.

Once here with Charlene and Pat, our daughter, Rachel, and her family came over; we ended our Memorial Day weekend hanging out in the shop, talking and laughing.  Charlene tried to talk me out of my new dog, Annie (no way) and Pat tried to talk me out of my Republican politics (even a worse mistake).  I told him I will vote for anybody who convinces me they will get us out of Iraq (except Hillary), but I was born a Republican and I will die a Republican.

I think I shut him up on that subject, so we'll probably all have a peaceful trip together to Colorado.

I can be a brat sometimes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My day

My cousin's son Brian (does that make him my second cousin?) spent a big part of the day here.  He's buying the old WC Allis Chalmers that his grandpa gave us for Cliff to restore. 

I've been wanting to get my part of the current Pizza Hut promotion (any size hand-tossed, $10.99), so Arick and I went after a couple of large ones (one super-supreme, one meat-lovers).

Cliff showed Brian various things about the old tractor; I only plodded around the yard briefly on Blue, by the way.

Granddaughter Amber gave her brother, Arick, a haircut (she's going to beauty school).  Arick is crashing at our house temporarily. 

These are my two oldest grandchildren.

When she was done with Arick, Grandpa needed a slight trim.

Then Cliff loaded up our WC Allis and we bade her a final goodbye.

And that's me with my (second?) cousin, Brian.  You will always see me wearing a fanny pack these days.  How else do you expect me to keep my camera and cell phone handy?

There are several entries over at my blogger journal telling the story of the WC.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Burgers' Smokehouse

As we were getting ready to head home from Versailles yesterday, Cliff's cousin was giving us directions to a certain curvy road we like when we're down there on the motorcycle. 

"Oh," he said, "You'll be going right past Burgers' Smokehouse.  You can stop in there and get some of their meat."

When I found out their main product was ham, I told him Cliff didn't need any of that salty stuff, and I would have thought no more about it; but along the road, we kept on seeing these signs advertising the place, and it made us curious.  So we turned in at the entrance and followed a nice asphalt drive back into the woods.  We were surprised to find such a big operation there! 


Once inside, we found lots of things to look at:  Dioramas like this

Antiques like this....

All kinds of meats

... a deli counter where they'll make a sandwich for you

and interesting pictures and stories about their history.

I'm glad Darryl mentioned the place.  Oh yeah, and we got a half-pound of very salty, old-fashioned, country-cured ham.  We had ham sandwiches for supper when we got home.  On 50 highway coming home, all the cars were on the other side, heading toward the lake.  So we had easy going, and no traffic to fight.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Annie loves us SO much, she brings us gifts

One thing for sure, Annie is a pack rat.  All that stuff around her is right outside my back door.  From front to back, you'll see:  a shoe, a Spaghettios can, a glove, and a baseball glove.  There's another (non-matching) glove that Sadie is chewing on, outside this picture.  And I've already made one trip to the trash barrel with the dirty diaper and other unacceptable treasures this mutt has gifted us with. 

By the way, none of this stuff came from my household.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Websites that consume too much of my time

I spend way too much time here in front of my computer.

There are the message boards and forums:  Tractor Tales, Country Living, and Homesteading Today (which is where I found someone willing to sell me my Jersey heifer, Secret, and may be where I find a husband for her).

I read dozens of journals, many of which you can see on the left here under "Other Journals".  My very, very favorite (other than those of my children) is "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman".    Ree's writings are as necessary to my waking up in the morning as my first cup of coffee.  As if that weren't bad enough, I have to go back and read the one-hundred-or-so comments her readers leave.  At least twice per evening.

Of course I simply have to keep journaling all my activities... not only here on AOL, but on my blogspot site.

I visit Ebay and

And now I've discovered Craigslist.  And The Best of Craigslist.

Somebody just shoot me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The mystery is solved

Remember the swirlie?

Tonight I rode Blue on the river bottoms.  I could actually have ridden him clear to the levee, but it got a little muddy; so we turned around.

It isn't as much fun riding down there now.  In fact, it's downright depressing. 

Now that the ground is drying, it's all cracked.

Everything is dead.  It still stinks from rotting vegetation.

But here's the mystery of the swirlie, solved.

There was a drainage pipe causing the swirlie.  Don't you wish it had been something more romantic or dramatic?

School's out, a morning walk, renewing driver's license, and other short stories

We had plenty of company on our walk this morning, since yesterday was the last day of school.  As we headed out to the pasture, here's what I saw ahead of me:

Looking back, I saw this troop following:

Monica dropped back and walked at my left side, talking away, as Cliff, Nattie and the dogs went ahead.

You see Monica ahead with Cliff in this picture, but it was about at this point that she dropped out.

The horses stopped at the breakfast buffet.

"Tomorrow I'm wearing my cap," Cliff said, as he swatted at flies and mosquitoes buzzing around his head.

I don't drive, but I do have a non-driver's license.  It's time to renew it.  Should be a simple thing, right? 

Oh  no, I have to have:  1.  my birth certificate 2.  my marriage license 3.  proof of residence.

We went yesterday with all these in hand, but they didn't want the particular birth certificate I produced; it wasn't official (who knew?).  So back home, I got on the phone, called the great state of Iowa, and ordered a new one.  *sigh*

I see Cliff's little guest entry drew a lot of comments; maybe I should do that once a week?  The only thing is, I'd have to catch him unaware.  Otherwise he'd be speechless.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cliff's bad Friday (Cliff is guest editor on this one)

Friday was one of those days when everything Cliff touched turned to catastrophe.  That evening I had him dictate his view of the day as I typed; here it is, in his own words:

I did all my running around Thursday so I wouldn’t have to run around Friday (I hate running the roads).  Figured I’d  save a little gas (3.15 a gallon) getting all the errands done in one day.  I took a vacation day Friday so I could get some things done.
We were going to Kansas the next day, Saturday; my brother, Don, got some free lights for my shop (the ones I have now aren’t all that bright).  I didn't want to drive the gas-guzzling pickup at ten MPG, so I needed to get our trailer ready... the trailer we plan to use to haul two motorcycles to Colorado in July.

While I was getting the trailer ready, I noticed there was a slick belt on one tire, so it needed to be replaced.  And having no spare, I only  wanted a simple, #&^%*@ wheel.

So I go to a town only eight miles from here (to save gas), but they couldn’t help me.  This meant I had to go twenty-five miles to Blue Springs to be robbed by the local tire store there.  I’ve bought many tractor tires there, so I figured I’d get a good buy.  Boy, was I ever wrong.

$49 later for a twenty-dollar wheel, I asked how much it would be for a used tire (which they charge you for disposing of).  They wanted $20, and no way would I pay that much.  So I figure I’ll drive to Higginsville, where you can buy three used tires for ten bucks.  But, it happened to fifteen minutes till noon, and they close at for an hour at noon for lunch.  So I came back home and ate lunch first.

Then I went to Higginsville and they didn’t have what I needed for the cheap price.  But they had two decent tires for $30.  So I bought them.

I have a brother near there who has a fancy tire-changer.  When I arrived, I found out the tire-changer was broke.  So I had to fix my tires with a hammer and a couple of tire-tools, just like I could have done at home.

When I got home with the tire, I realized there was hay to bale in a small lot where Donna's Jersey calf stays.  I started to mount the spare on the trailer first, only to discover that the neighbor boys had used all my flat metal (which I had told them to leave alone).  They’d left a mess in the floor and gone home.

So then I decided to use the big baler to bale the hay in that tiny lot, even knowing there wasn’t room to turn it around in there.  I hooked the tractor into an electric fence wire, and while concentrating on getting out of that mess, I turned the baler too tight and tore the power shaft off it.  Because the baler is old and well-used, it won’t do sharp turns.

I decided to wash the grease off it to see if I could fix it; put the power shaft in my parts washer only to discover I didn’t have enough cleaning fluid to clean it.  I put the whole thing on hold and figured Donna and I would go on a nice relaxing ride on the Honda.  Walked over to the Gold Wing, bumped the starter, only to find the battery was dead.  Made that “I’m not going to start for you” rattle, down deep.

By now my wife was paranoid, and figured we should skip the ride, with the way the day was going. 

She’s the one who forced me to buy a fancy battery-charger at Sears one time, with enough amps to start a diesel dozer; and that persuaded the ‘Wing it was time to go.

I pulled it out of the shop and saw Donna nowhere around.  I beeped the obnoxious horn on the Honda, letting her (and the whole neighborhood) know I was ready to go. 

She stuck her kinky head out the door and came bouncing out, ready to go.  First thing she said after plugging in the helmet... “Be careful”.

I have a motorcycle with a license to fly, but I have to ease down the road as if I’m on a moped.  After a little while, Donna’s death grip let up on my ribs and we had a nice little motorcycle ride.  The only bright spot in a dismal day.

So: $100 worth of parts just so I could go to Kansas and get some "free" lights.  God knows what it will cost to fix the baler.

The vacation we’ve been planning is getting eaten away, $50 at a time.

Oh, by the way, it’s time to give the renter’s daughter $50 for graduation.  She made valedictorian.         

Quite interesting

Locate anybody by way of their cell phone, using GPS.  Click HERE.

A night at the cabin

I spent the night in the cabin last night; first time in my life I slept with two dogs.  Annie stays on her side of the bed, but Sadie insists on sleeping on top of my legs, which is fine until I want to turn over.

Sadie has always been somewhat afraid of my campfires, and prefers to stay at the side of, or in back of, the cabin when there's a fire burning.  Annie, I found out, loves to curl up beside a roaring fire.

Until it was too dark to read, I studied the book that came with my Canon digital camera and found out it's pretty versatile.  When I say I always "point-and-shoot", I mean it literally.  Except for the few times when I use the macro setting on closeups of flowers or eyeballs. 

I found out I can do black-and-white:

or sepia

I can enhance the blue...

or the green.

And there are lots of other settings I didn't try, yet.  Wow.

What do you want to bet I still go on just pointing and shooting?

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Natural gas well in Kansas

Natural gas well in Kansas

I assumed this was an oil well, but Donald says it's a natural gas well.  Anyhow, it pumps away constantly, not far behind his house, which you'll see toward the end of the video.

I absolutely love the way there are no power lines and jet vapor trails cluttering up the scenery out there.

Oh, for a different video, catch "Cliff getting high in Kansas".

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A cute Kansas kid I met today

Cliff and I made the four-hour trip (one way) to his Kansas brother's place today, to pick up some freebie lights for the shop.  Don has a friend named Pat who helps him a lot; he's raising his grandson, and the kid is bound to grow up to be a mechanic, being raised in a shop and all. 

I can't tell you the baby's name (it was a very unusual one, and started with "La"); I don't know his age, although I'd guess he's about eighteen months old.  But I did get some cute pictures of the little stranger.

He loves tractors.

Here's what happens when you take the little grease-monkey off a tractor.

Here's the desperate look he gets on his face when somebody leaves him behind in the pickup.

Like most males, it doesn't take a lot to make him happy.

And he loves to make new friends.

Friday, May 18, 2007

She's baaaaack!

There Annie is with her chewie.  Sadie was ecstatic to see her buddy return.  I'm glad to have her back too.

I'm letting her keep the name "Annie" simply because it sounds a little more like her original name, "Sammie".

I think this little dog needs to be wild and free, not housebound. 

Welcome home, Annie.

before and after flood pictures

Here's when the water was at its highest level.

Here's how the same spot looks today.

The swirlie

The flood water has receded enough that I can ride Blue down one road and cut across the highest part of the river bottom to my other road.  I have noticed this peculiar phenomenon in a couple of places during that ride in the past two days, and I'll share it with my readers in a video.  If any of you have ideas on this, be sure to leave a comment.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where's Libby, you ask?

Libby is still her sweet, people-loving self, always ready to come and greet me when I pass by.  I've not been so anxious to work her too much since I found out that two years old is probably too young for her to be ridden.  For one thing, she's small; for another, people on the Homesteading Today equine forum urged me to give her more time, preferably waiting until she's three years old to ride her.

Once she's old enough to ride, if I find out she isn't going to get much use here, I'll sell her.  I love her dearly, but horse upkeep being what it is, we can't afford to keep her around just to be a pretty pasture ornament.  I intend to keep Blue here always, no matter what.  But he's the only one who's that special.

I took the above picture just last week.  Libby is so pretty; she always has those ears up, posing for the camera.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A horseback riding video

The granddaughters had been wanting to ride Blue for a long time.  Now that we have a round pen, I'm more comfortable putting them on my horse.  They'd be much better off with boots and Wrangler jeans (real cowgirls always wear Wrangler).  But we got by.

I'll be putting a video of Natalie on my blogger journal shortly.  She rides a little faster.

My granddaughter, Monica, riding

Wonderful weather ahead!

When it gets hot, I really have to juggle things in order to ride my horse without him and me suffering from the heat.  I can't go for early rides during the week because the granddaughters don't leave for school until almost 8 o'clock.  After they leave at night, it's usually too hot during the summer.

But according to the forecast this week, I'll be able to sneak plenty of rides in.  It isn't even supposed to get above 80 again until Sunday.

The weather is perfect, Blue has new shoes.  Life is good.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

on-line window shopping

My last printer quit working some time ago.  Printers don't last long around here, and I'm sure it's because of the dust.  We don't have air conditioning, and the windows are raised, spring through fall.  We live on a gravel road.  Dust everywhere. 

I read the reviews at, and ended up buying a Hewlett-Packard printer/scanner combo for under $90, tax included; Circuit City doesn't charge for postage, which is a boon to me, as a non-driver living in the boonies.  I can't believe how easy scanning is now:  the previous two scanners I owned were quite difficult to figure out.  With this one, I only need to press a button that says "scan".  Who'd have thought it could be that simple?

So now I'd like a dust-cover for my printer.   I've searched and googled my way around the Internet several times, but with no luck.  Oh, I could get one that would fit my printer on Ebay for twenty-five bucks plus shipping.  Nope.  I'll scotch-tape a hunk of plastic sheeting together before I pay that much!  Looks like next time we're in the city we'll have to actually go into a real-life store.

My other window-shopping today has consisted of my drooling over Dyson vacuum sweepers.  I read quite a few journals and blogs, and it seems every woman who has a Dyson sings its praises.  I'm looking at the best pet-hair model, which I could get today for under $500 with my Kohl's 15% off coupon.  Only I'm not quite ready to make that big an investment.

Anybody have comments about Dyson sweepers?  Anyone know a good place to buy a cheap dust cover?  I'll take all the help I can get.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A contented little cow

Secret chewing her cud

When I was growing up, Carnation advertised their milk as coming from "contented cows".  Now anyone who's been around cattle knows that a contented cow is one who is chewing her cud.  Here's my Jersey heifer, Secret, having a contented moment.

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An update on Blondie (the stray)

There's a reason I haven't mentioned Blondie in a few days.  She's at my daughter's house on a trial run; if she's house trained, and no unforeseen problems arise with the other dogs, etc., Rachel's family is going to adopt her.  If they keep her, her name will be Annie.  Which sounds a lot more like the name from her previous life which, we learned, is Sam.  (Sorry Joanna, but I'll find something to name after you.  There are nameless kittens in the barn right now.)

I hope this works out, for the simple reason that as a house dog, Little Orphan Annie will be much safer.  But I will miss her; I already do, in fact.  If it turns out she can't stay at my daughter's house, she's welcome back here.  She simply has to be an outside dog if she returns, that's all.

A lake? The ocean? Nope, the Missouri River, out of its banks.

Along the flooded bottomland

I wish I could share the smell along with this video; the rotting vegetation makes a horrible odor! 

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

When my mom married my dad in 1932, he came with a ready-made family; his first wife died in the process of giving birth to my brother.

They had been married for twelve years when I entered the scene.  Mother had at least one miscarriage, and lost a baby boy full-term, before my birth.

I grew up being allowed to eat anything I wanted, any time.  “We don’t care what she eats, as long as she eats.”

So if I wanted to make dough-balls out of half a loaf of bread and eat them, it was fine.  If there was pie in the house and I wanted pie for breakfast, that was OK.  Mother didn’t mind if she'd spent hours making a big supper and all I ate was bread and gravy.

I was a stubborn and willful child who received lots of spankings.  I’m not sure they did any good.

My mom made the best fried chicken in the world; that’s what she
usually fixed for Sunday dinner, and she was liable to invite the whole congregation to our house for a meal, after Church.

Mother was gregarious, and always had women hanging around, seeking out a shoulder to cry on or a word of encouragement or advice.  I took this picture when I was a teenager, because it’s how I saw my mom every evening after she came home from working all day in a factory.  She admitted privately that some of the neighbor women were tiresome, but she never told them that.  In later years she took her show on the road: She became an “Avon Lady”, and she got to lend her shoulder to a whole new set of people.

Before she retired, she took up making quilts from double-knit fabrics salvaged from cheap clothing bought at garage sales.  She could turn those things out with assembly-line speed, and I’m sure they numbered in the hundreds.  She gave them for graduation and wedding gifts, birthdays and Christmas presents.  Anybody who crossed Mother's path in life has one of these durable quilts in the house someplace.

After retirement, she and Daddy spent hours picking up aluminum cans along the roadsides for petty cash.  They absolutely  loved  doing it. 

They went camping with folks from Church, and she'd make popcorn for everybody in the evening, around the campfire.  She still enjoyed feeding people.

Daddy died in 1987, and Mother was really never happy after that.  She remarried, only to find that two old people, set in their ways, don’t make the kind of marriage she was expecting.  Divorce in her world was a sin, though, and she stuck it out until old Tom passed away.

I prefer to remember Mother as she was before Daddy died, laughing and busy.  I like to remember her playing cards with Cliff’s parents, confiding to me later, “Melva (Cliff’s mom) cheats!”

The happy times.

I was never the sort of daughter Mother had in mind.  But she gave me life, and she was stuck with me.  She raised me the best she knew how. 

I guess that’s just what mothers do.