Saturday, June 30, 2007

food influences

I've done pretty well here at home, cooking for our health.  We've banned salt far, far away, to the point of even buying no-salt-added ketchup and no-salt canned tomatoes; I cook low-fat most of the time.  Holidays I make the good old fattening dishes, but I can tell I'm not as good a cook as I once was on those things.  Use it or lose it, the saying goes.  I'm losing my touch with a lot of the old farm-style foods I seldom make any more.

Enter Pioneer Woman, the best blogger ever.  Note that I did not say my favorite blogger, or the one I'd most like to meet.  I doubt Ree and I have much in common, when you get right down to it.  But her style of writing, her humor, and her pictures inspire me!  I use photos a lot more these days, thanks to Pioneer Woman.

Anyway.  Pioneer Woman Ree occasionally  shared recipes on her main blog, and has lately set up new digs specifically for cooking.  So far, there hasn't been a healthy one in the bunch.  But those I've tried are all delicious. 

Just to show the kind of influence she has, two of her dishes (chicken spaghetti and  "the best chocolate cake ever) are very similar to a couple of recipes used by my Arkansas friend, Lona.  But I had never tried to make them until PW shared them.  Why?  I think it's the pictures!   Ree takes pictures of every tiny step in making a dish; including, toward the end of each food entry, shots of some luscious bite of heaven perched on the end of her fork.  So you just HAVE to make it to see if it's as good as it looks.

As I type this, there's a Pioneer Woman brisket slow-cooking in my roaster.  Brisket has been a big family favorite around here, and nobody else could convince me to flavor it up in a different way.  But I've had such great success with PW's other foods, I just had to try.  It's no doubt loaded with sodium, since there's a whole bottle of soy sauce in there.

In my freezer is a pan of Ree's chicken spaghetti, waiting for an opportune time to be taken out and slid in the oven.

So, let me warn you:  reading "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" may be hazardous to your health.  It can derail your diet and clog your arteries.  Don't go there.  Most especially, don't go there hungry.

Speaking of food, you can check out how Cliff's garden is growing on my blogger site.

Friday, June 29, 2007

GPS systems

Cliff and I seem to get lost often when we're traveling; he often says, "If there's a 50/50 chance of choosing the proper road, I always take the wrong one."

When I got the laptop, I bought a GPS system to go with it.  It's never performed properly when we really needed it.  It could be "operator error", but whatever.  Cliff has never let me forget that I paid for a system we haven't been able to depend on.

His brother called the other day, telling him about his new GPS:  his wife bought it for him on Home Shopping Network for $300.  He told Cliff how easy it is to use, and about some of its finer features.

"Ha," I snorted.  "If it was $300 on HSN, I'll bet I can get it for $200 at Circuit City or on Ebay."

The laugh is on me.  Any way you shake it, the Magellan Maestro 3140 cannot be purchased anywhere for under $369, and that's on Ebay, where you have to add another $25 for shipping.

I called Phil's wife and told her I couldn't find it anywhere for $300, not even on HSN.

"Oh, that was for one day only," she said, smugly.

So to Joanna and all my friends who shop on QVC and HSN, I apologize for thinking I knew more about it than you did.  There are bargains to be found on HSN.

If anyone happens to see a great deal on the Magellan Maestro 3140, let me know, would you?

(I won't consider any other kind, because we had such horrible luck with the laptop GPS.  I figure if there's any problem with this one, Cliff can gripe at Phil.  Or call him for advice.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007


We had wonderful rain all night long, coming down gently.  We've had over three inches so far, and it was much needed.  That's the good news.

I guess the bad news isn't that bad, but when anything interferes with my Internet access, I am not a happy camper!  I woke up this morning to no Internet.  We have Embarq DSL, and I haven't really had a lot of problems with them.  After two or three hours with no Internet access, I decided to call the technical help line.  I got a recording saying they were having difficulty, and couldn't give a time frame in which the problem would be fixed.

OK, fine.  Cliff and I went to do our weekly shopping.  When we got home, there was still no Internet.  I called Embarq again and got the same recording.  Finally I hung on the line until I got hold of a real person.  He said everything looked fine from that end; he was able to detect the modem.  We checked out a few things, nothing worked.  Finally he suggested I bypass the wireless router (the one from HELL, just ask my daughter who spent hours getting it to work before).

The router was the problem.

There is a class action lawsuit against Belkin regarding this, and other models, of their routers.  Meanwhile, it looks like I had better buy myself a different router.  It won't be Belkin this time!

See, this is what is so wonderful about having a journal:  I come on here and vent over some trivial thing.  By the time I'm done, I realize it's not that big a deal, and I feel 100% better.

Life is good after all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No-show Iris, revisited

After awhile, you learn to pay attention to people who know the score.  In a recent entry about how Iris Dement was canceling her concerts at the last minute, I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Then I got comments from a couple of worldly-wise people who, I'm sure, know whereof they speak. 

First this, from Mort:  "Dahling, I am in show business and let me tell you, the show MUST go on!  If not, that's the sign of someone who thinks they are bigger than the audience that PAYS them to perform."

Then this from Mrs. Linklater:  "Cancelling an hour before showtime sounds like her peeps couldn't get her clean and sober enough to roll her out on stage. Too bad.
Mrs. L"

Added to this, I have the concert she gave in January as broadcast by folk Alley:  Click HERE, if you don't mind hearing Iris... especially when she's loaded.

Mort, Mrs. Linklater... you are wise people.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Disney's Desperate Housewives

A ride in the Missouri River bottoms

riding my horse

I made this video a few days ago:  You'll see Blue and me on the road leading out of the river bottoms as a train passes.  Toward the end, we shoo buzzards away from the rotten raccoon carcasses they're feasting on.  Once the train passes, I break into song as I'm wont to do when riding.  All that in just over two minutes.  Enjoy!

This is simply a still shot of some of the buzzards that I took on another ride.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I saddled Blue up this morning.  The temperature was already over 80, and the sun was beating down with a vengeance.  So I simply walked Blue around the pasture and the neighborhood for a little while, letting him plod along like an old plow-horse.

When I was ready to put him up, Cliff said, "I'll bet he'd like to have the sweat washed off him and cool off a little."

Sure, why not?  So Blue got a quick shower.

Can you tell he's enjoying it?

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stupid old baler

Cliff usually puts up the grass hay in big round bales.  Today, though, he figured he'd do small square bales, just in case hay's in demand next winter.  Our big round baler doesn't make bales worthy of selling, although they're fine for our purposes.

The old 14-T square baler is totally used up, but Cliff can usually baby it along and get it to work after a couple of false starts.

Not today.

Cliff baled (when the baler would work), I drove Arick's truck pulling the wagon, and grandson Arick put the hay on the wagon.  We made quite a trio, if only things had been working.

I did take pictures as I drove, since it's a landmark event that doesn't often happen.  Only when it's a necessity, in fact.  I'll post them another time.  Right now I'd better see if I'm needed in the hay-field.

More of today's haying pictures HERE.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Osage Orange hedge posts

I imagine I have more pictures than anybody cares to see, but I thinned them out as best I could.  At least I spared you the dozen or more shots of Sadie.  She had a delightful morning running free.

Cliff's friend Tommy recently bought some cattle; he has plenty of land, but none of it is fenced.  He's been looking for some hedge posts to buy for quite awhile, but balked at paying $30 apiece for them. 

Hedge (Osage Orange) posts are heavy, strong, and tougher than iron.  They'll outlast any wire you attach to them. 

Tommy was after corner posts, which are the strongest point in any fence.  They serve as an anchor for your whole fenceline.

Cliff's brother, Phil, has Osage Orange trees scattered over his eighty acres; so Cliff and Tommy spent the morning cutting posts. 

I passed time taking pictures and enjoying my dog.  And removing ticks from myself.

"No-show Iris"

If you've read my journal long, you know I'm a big fan of Iris Dement; and perhaps you'll remember the fiasco last fall:  You know, the one where I begged Cliff to take me to Iowa City, Iowa, to see Iris perform live.  And the performance was canceled at the last minute.  I wasn't so much angry that she canceled, because I understand that anyone can get sick at any time.  The disappointing part was that she didn't cancel until an hour before showtime. 

So, after wasting all that time and money on a trip to Iowa, Cliff wouldn't take me to see Iris today if she was performing at her own house in Kansas City (only 40 miles away).

Now I see she is canceling performances again.  Remember when George Jones did this and was given the nickname, "No-show Jones"?

However, I've known performers to go through mid-life crises and mental challenges that caused cancellations.  So, honestly, I'm just wishing the best for Iris, whatever her problem might be.

And hoping someday I can see her perform live.  I won't dare hope that I might see her with John Prine just once. 

At least I have the DVD, "Sessions at West 54th Street". 

Friday, June 22, 2007

A camper full of memories

Several years ago Cliff and I saw a used popup camper alongside the road at the end of someone's driveway.  The owner told us what we needed to know about it, and we brought it home.  I've always loved camping.  Cliff, not so much.  But he was really into tractor shows back then, so we'd take the camper and go.  We saw shows in Minnesota and Kansas, and several in Iowa.

Cliff isn't really big on camping at the state fair, either.  But he'd take me and various grandchildren to Sedalia at fair-time, set up the camper, and leave us for a few days.

I've lost much of my enthusiasm for camping as I've grown older.  Cooking a meal in a cramped space when the temperature is 100 degrees just doesn't hold the allure it once did.

So I didn't object when Cliff suggested we sell the camper for $500 on craigslist.  He hosed it off and instructed me to take a picture.

Then we set it up.  Cliff took the shop-vac and cleaned it up while I started unloading all the stuff we've kept inside it:  lawn chairs, buckets and dishpans, silverware.  The night case containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shaving cream.  And half-a-dozen cardboard Missouri-State-Fair fans.

"If anybody buys it, we may as well let them take the porta-potty,"  I said.  "We won't be needing it."

Cliff didn't answer at first.  A few minutes later, he said, "You know, if we just used this a couple more times, it would be worth keeping it."

And we started talking about fun times we'd had with the camper.

I guess we'll keep it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The longest day of the year... rants and raves

It's 5:30 A.M., summer solstice.  The days will start getting shorter now, reminding me that winter is indeed on its way, no matter how much I'm sweating now.

The window-unit air conditioner is in place, keeping our bedroom pleasantly cool at night.  It operates for about twelve hours each day:  I turn  it on a couple of hours before I go to bed at 10; and when Cliff gets up around 8, we turn it off. 

The huge fan upstairs moves air through the house when the grandson goes up to bed.  The electric bill we received yesterday is already fifteen dollars higher than normal.  I'm braced for next months bill.

The price of gasoline keeps on getting higher, which is causing the cost of groceries to escalate at an unheard-of pace.  Good grief!

Even though it was my idea to cancel our motorcycle trip to Colorado (and I am sure it was the right move), I'm sad that we aren't going somewhere on vacation this year.

The stray, Annie, disappeared last weekend.  I really miss her.

Ticks and mosquitoes are worse than usual this year, making our daily walks and my nights in the cabin less pleasant than they could be.

I wanted to buy a cheap steer calf so Secret, my calf, would have a cow buddy.  Looks like it won't happen.

I hate that our son is laid up for the whole summer with a badly-broken leg.

Looks like our yearly drought has begun.  Everybody who lives thirty miles from here in any direction received significant rainfall last week.  We got 1/10 of an inch.


My faithful horse is willing to take me five miles in any direction and then bring me back. 

The Missouri River bottoms (my favorite place to ride) are starting to look normal again after being mudded and flooded.

Sadie makes me smile many times each day.

We have plenty to eat.

We're maintaining our weight loss.

Secret isn't complaining about her lack of bovine companionship.  She chews her cud peacefully, and literally dances circles around me when I go out to feed her.

Nobody in the family has any terminal illness, so far as I know.

We have a roof over our heads and a bed in which to sleep.  I've been to Mexico with a missions group and seen people living in houses made of wooden skids and scrap lumber, squatting  on government land.  I've seen these same people dancing and laughing in the evening as if they didn't have a care in the world.  Oh, and it's hotter in Mexico than here, and those folks don't have air conditioning.  I could take a lesson from them.

We don't farm for a living, so our income isn't affected by a drought.

I think I'll take the advice found on this little plaque I saw on one of our motorcycle trips: 

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Secret's name

OK, Mort asked why I named my calf Secret.  I emailed him with the answer, but if anyone else wants to know, here you are.

I wish it were more exciting, I really do.

When Cliff and I decided we were going to buy a Jersey heifer, I said in my journal, "I've got a secret."

I meant, of course, my calf.  She would make for new topics, new territory to blog about.  I was mainly interested in getting everyone's curiosity aroused.

By the time we went after the calf, I decided Secret would make a good name.

There you have it.


I spent last night at the cabin.  The temperature was perfect, the campfire was good.  I slept quite well.

Because it wasn't awfully hot today, and because it's going to be getting hot soon, I rode Blue at mid-morning.  It was a rather short and uneventful ride... until I rode across the lot of a vacant house-for-sale across the highway:  Blue jumped, scared to death, when a little spotted fawn got up in the tall grass, almost at his feet, and ran into the cornfield nearby.

Cliff sold a tractor.  A friend of his brother had told Cliff he could have the Oliver for $2,000; if he wanted to sell it for more, he could keep the profit.  Cliff made $700 on the deal, which pays for some extras on the lawn tractor he bought.  Thank you, Craigslist. 

Also, Cliff's brother thinks he has another 4020 John Deere sold.  Thank you, Yesterday's Tractors.  Of course nobody is thanking the woman who put all this junk online.  (Well, Cliff is, because I twist his arm until he says thank you.)

 Yeah Rachel, there's a container of green beans and taters in the fridge that you are welcome to take.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cows like watermelon???

I slipped my watermelon rind under the fence and Secret ate until all the red part was gone!  Notice how her horns are coming along?


green beans and new potatoes!

Cliff's new potatoes are already huge, so I quartered them.  In the old days I used bacon or ham to season this dish, but my friend Lona put me onto Oscar Mayer Turkey Polska Kielbasa.  It's less fat and calories, and it's yummy in your tummy.

The pan I'm using is part of a set my mother bought many years ago at some sort of party.  It's known as "waterless cookware" I think, and cost a small fortune.  My mom did not part easily with her money, so the man who sold these to her must have been one heck of a salesman!  She told me more than once how those pans would outlast her, and I'd be able to use them all my life.

It's funny the things that will trigger a memory, isn't it?

Monday, June 18, 2007

One more John Deere entry for our son

Meet Little Johnny

This entry is chiefly for our son, who is very interested and enthusiastic about Cliff's new lawn mower.  He wanted pictures, he's getting them!

Take a good look folks, this is my vacation to Colorado.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Changes in plans

This seems to be the year of changed plans.

First there was our annual reunion, sometime around July 4, with Cliff's siblings, their kids and grandkids, and our two children and their families.  Our son has come up from Georgia each July for the past few years, and we've planned the festivities around his visit.  This year my daughter had a professional photographer coming to take pictures of family groups.

But Cliff's brother's wife sabotaged the reunion by scheduling other things on the weekend we had specifically arranged to conform with her original plans, so that particular brother couldn't come.  (In case you wondered, they don't have Internet; if they did, I wouldn't blog about this.)

Then a couple of weeks ago, our son had a motorcycle incident that left him with assorted bolts and pins in his left leg.  Of course he won't be doing much of anything in July.

The daughter's two girls are scheduled to be at camp with their Grammy during July 4th week.

Cliff's sister is still coming to the area from Wisconsin, but there'll be no big shindig here.  I will admit it got me out of quite a bit of hassle, worry and work.

Another change-in-plans occurred this weekend, being culminated this morning after Cliff and I discussed things reasonably.

We've planned since winter to go to Colorado with the motorcycles, with Cliff's sister Charlene and her husband.  Originally, we were going to take the bikes on a trailer so we wouldn't have that long, long ride across Kansas; but turns out our car doesn't do well ,even with the trailer empty.  It surely wouldn't like to pull 1,500 pounds of motorcycles. 

So we decided to ride the bikes all the way to the Rockies. 

Yesterday Cliff and I rode some three hours, all told, in scorching temperatures, to the tractor show and back.  We've noticed before, three or four hours is really all we like to lump into one ride.  We're in our sixties, folks!  Yesterday was no exception.  It wears us out.

Bear with me here. 

Last week our old relic of a lawn mower started gasping for breath.  We'll have to have a riding mower.  We had already decided some time ago to get a used John Deere of some sort for our next rider, because a twenty-year-old John Deere will outlast any of those brand new  Walmart cheapies that cost $1,000.  We found exactly the right John Deere, pretty close to home.

Our son has made himself an expert on John Deere lawn tractors, and Cliff has called him several times for advice and counsel. 

The mower we'll be getting costs a lot more than $1,000.  In fact, as luck would have it, it costs exactly the amount we have saved up for our trip. 

And truth be told, we don't want to go across Kansas
on a motorcycle with the never-ending wind and bearing-down sun and temperatures nearing 100 degrees; Cliff did it once when he was in his twenties, and it wasn't enjoyable even then.  The trip is off.

So he will now take his remaining seven vacation days one-at-a-time, mostly on Fridays.

We'll go, perhaps, on a shorter motorcycle jaunt with Charlene and Pat over some extended weekend.  Maybe to Arkansas.  We have yet to talk to them about this change, but their finances were becoming stretched too.  They had to get new tires for the Harley, and the transmission in their car gave it up to the tune of $1,600.  They might even be relieved.

I feel as though a load has been lifted from my shoulders.  So we must be doing the right thing.

By the way, our decision to cancel the Colorado trip truly had nothing to do with the fact our son was injured on his motorcycle. 

We just don't want Cliff in a situation where he'd perhaps like to stop for the day, but wouldn't , for fear of being a party-pooper because others are involved.

I'll continue to have mini-vacations on many early summer mornings, riding my horse.  Or back at the cabin stoking a campfire and listening to Indian music and woodsy sounds.

There's another big change we're working on, but that will be another entry.  It'll be two years before it takes place anyhow.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Lathrop tractor show

I started the day by riding my horse.  With temperatures approaching ninety every day, morning is the only time to ride.

Cliff raked hay and then decided we'd ride the motorcycle to the Lathrop, Missouri, tractor show.  First we went to Hub Cycle in Independence to pick up the radio from our motorcycle; they sent it off and got it fixed for us.  We don't use the radio or tape deck, but we do talk a lot using the mikes in our helmets.  And without the radio working, the mikes didn't work.  Once Cliff gets it put back together, we won't have to yell at one another as we ride, to be heard.

I recorded a short clip of a bluegrass band playing at a restored filling station on the grounds:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random memories of Daddy

I looked for a picture to go with this, but it seems nobody in the family took many pictures in the early-to-mid 1950's.  At least none of Daddy.

As I've mentioned here before, my parents were "Central" in a small, north Missouri town.  When folks made phone calls to anyone other than people on their party line, they had to go through Central... the operator... to do so.  Mother and Daddy both put in time at the switchboard.  I believe Mother did duty more often, but when she needed to cook, can, sew or do housework, Daddy took over. 

If there had been a particularly stormy night, Daddy often had to go un-cross telephone wires, and I sometimes went along.  Those are the only times I remember him driving, except later on in the city when he headed off to work at the box factory.  Mother did all the driving when we went anywhere as a family.  It was so unusual for him to drive that I remember being a little afraid of riding with him, back when I was a kid.

A cousin, Gerald, visited last Sunday, and a memory was jogged as we visited.

We were poor, although I didn't know it at the time.   And a nickel amounted to a lot more than it does today.  So if I asked for five cents to buy a bottle of pop or a candy bar, I didn't often get it.  Unless.

Sometimes when Mother was at the switchboard, Daddy would walk across the road to Virgil's filling station and visit with whoever was hanging around there.  Mother laughingly said he was off "bumming around".  The men would exchange jokes, many of which I didn't understand, and share local gossip.  Daddy smoked then, and rolled his own cigarettes.

When Daddy was away from my mom like that, he was ripe for the picking.  I'd ask him for a nickel:  he'd hesitate, then reach into the pocket of his overalls with a smile and come up with the money.  Every time.  And I'd walk up to Pierson's store and get my candy bar, usually a Slo-poke or Bit-O-honey.

Daddies are like that.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm letting the granddaughters grow up a little

Missouri temperatures are rising, and it's too hot to ride the horse any time after 10 in the morning.

The granddaughters get here between 6 and 7 A.M. and leave for school at 7:45, so I can't ride at sunup, which is when I really love to be out and about.  I am, after all, a die-hard morning person.  By the time Cliff and I take our walk, it's already pretty hot.

"Poor me.  I can't ride my horse without suffocating from the heat," I whined to myself.

When my pity-party was over, I realized these girls are 9 and 11 years old.  Cliff is in the house, in bed asleep, so they wouldn't really be alone if an emergency were to arise.  I carry a cell phone when I ride, which gives me a way to check in with them.  The worst possible thing that could happen is that they might start fussing and arguing and wake Cliff up.  And that would only happen once, believe me.

So I rode this morning.  It was wonderful.

Why, oh why, have I waited so long to do this?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It wasn't a scam!

A few days ago, I blogged about the email I received from AOL's Uncut Video saying I had won a nifty digital camcorder worth more than $100.  I almost believed it, but until I have a prize in my grubby hands, I won't fall hook, line and sinker.

Today Fedex delivered my prize!

This thing runs the whole month of June, so be sure and load your videos there instead of Youtube!  Maybe you'll get a camcorder too.  Click HERE for details.

It has nothing to do with how good the video is; they simply pick one at random, like a drawing.

I'm invisible

Because my daughter is in Nashville on a business trip and my son-in-law leaves for work before 5:30, I'm at their house for a couple of mornings.  Usually Rachel drops the girls, aged nine and eleven, at my house on her way to work. 

The granddaughters are going to summer school at present time.

As a side note here:  No, my granddaughters aren't stupid and they didn't flunk, as some people in other states seem to think.  Here in Missouri, summer school is voluntary.  It's mostly fun subjects and projects with no homework.  If they attend school without missing a day for the whole five weeks, the state pays each of them $100.  And my daughter doesn't have to pay me as much for babysitting.

So anyhow:  I suggested to the girls that we pretend I'm not with them and find out if they could do OK on their own.  Yesterday I had to take a couple of time-outs to tell them things I had forgotten about, but for their part, they did great.  They got themselves up and ready, they didn't fuss and argue (if they had, I wouldn't have said anything unless somebody's life was in danger).  They left for school on time; I followed them most of the way there, and then called Cliff to pick me up.

So this is day two of the experiement.  Each of the girls, when she got up this morning, put her fingers to her lips to remind me not to talk.  I believe they could do this!

By the way, doesn't anybody ever feed and water the dogs around here?  I see two empty dog-dishes every time I come!

Pictures will be added to this entry when I get home.  Maybe.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hmmmm.... should I worry?

My granddaughter howls

So, I was watching my two granddaughters this morning at their house.  We're playing this game... "pretend Grandma is invisible"... so they'll learn to take care of themselves.  Nattie noticed I had my camera out and decided to show off her howling skills.

I'm so proud of my granddaughter and my grand-dog.

Monday Photo Shoot: In Flight

John Scalzi says:
"We've got some fine, summery skies here these last few days, which inspired this week's Photo Shoot:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Capture something in flight. Birds, insects, planes, bats, whatever -- if it's getting around in the skies, it's fair game for this photo shoot".

The other day we pulled up in the driveway and, lo and behold, right above our hay field, there was a blimp advertising Outback!  Not exactly what you expect to see out in the boonies.  That flies, right? 

If you're going to join in on the Monday Photo Shoot, be sure and leave the link to your entry over at John's Blog.

The luckiest birthday EVER

My daughter was the one to inform me that this year, I have the luckiest birthday ever.  Why?  Because my birthday is next month on July 7, and this is 2007.  In other words, 07/07/07.  Since it falls on a Saturday, which is one of the days a Powerball drawing  takes place, perhaps I'd better make sure and buy a Powerball ticket on that day.  Do you think?

I've had a good life so far, so I'd say my birthday has always been a lucky one.  But if this year happens to be extra-lucky, I can live with that.

Speaking of lucky days, my anniversary is this coming Thursday... forty-one years.  I've been married for about two-thirds of my life.  Wow.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More on the Confederate Memorial Site

Here's some information I copied and pasted from the Missouri State Parks website

"In 1889, almost 25 years after the Civil War ended, a group of Missouri Confederate veterans gathered in Higginsville for their annual reunion. While meeting to remember old times and past glories, these men recognized the need to establish a haven for their less fortunate comrades. Across the state, veterans and interested parties joined forces and founded the Confederate Home Association. Within a year, the association raised enough money to purchase 365 acres of prime farmland just north of Higginsville. Newly formed Southern patriotic women's organizations, especially the Daughters of the Confederacy, began earnestly seeking funds for the construction and outfitting of dwellings on the site. In April 1891, Julius Bamberg became the first veteran admitted to the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri. He was the first of more than 1,600 veterans and their wives, children and widows who sought shelter at the home over the next 59 years.

Needy and incapacitated former soldiers and sailors from across the South resided at the home after proving their service record, financial need and Missouri residency. Most had been infantry, artillery and cavalry privates, but others served as officers, sharpshooters, partisan guerrillas, musicians, paid conscription substitutes, naval personnel on the first ironclads, and even spies. They participated in every theater of war and in every major battle, from the first shots fired at Fort Sumter to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Veterans from the border states and all but one of the Confederate states lived and died at the home. Unlike other Southern veteran institutions, Missouri's home admitted women and children from its beginning."

"As the years passed, the home continued growing as the Civil War veteran population aged. At its height, the home annually cared for more than 380 veterans and their families, and the property consisted of 30 buildings, a thriving farm and dairy, and a memorial park. The home generated its own electricity and steam heat, and in many ways it was a community unto itself."

On May 8, 1950, the last surviving Missouri Confederate soldier, Johnny Graves, died at the home at the age of 108. He was buried alongside 800 others in the site's cemetery. The state transferred the four remaining widows to a nursing home, officially closing the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri.

Soon after its closing, another state agency appropriated much of the property and demolished many of the dilapidated buildings. However, the Missouri State Park Board took over management of the remaining property, consisting of the 90-acre Confederate Memorial Park, cemetery and one cottage."

Because two of the headstones mentioned "Shelby's men", I googled a bit and came up with some fascinating information about the man General Jo Shelby.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A motorcycle ride into the past

We went to Higginsville on the motorcycle.  I bought some chaps at Kleinschmidts, since I let Cliff have my old ones that were too big.  He sold his original ones.  We also bought a pair of Wrangler jeans for each of us.

Then we visited the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site.  It's a lovely place, and we learned some interesting facts.   This was a retirement home for confederate soldiers and their wives.   There were houses for couples to live in who were able to care for themselves, and a big brick building for the rest of the old soldiers.  When the last one died in 1950, he was over 100 years old.

I have more pictures of the cemetery I'll talk about later.

Friday, June 8, 2007

elusive happiness

I’ve read that as you grow older, taste buds die.  Food doesn’t taste as good as it used to when you were younger.

And statistics tell me other senses grow weaker, also.

So maybe that’s why my sense of wonder and amazement isn’t  what it used to be.  The evening news has left me jaded, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy and content when riding my horse through the countryside, or when I spend time back at the cabin.  Or anytime Cliff and I are together with no worries on the horizon.

But the keen feeling of happiness-so-sharp-it-almost-hurts isn’t there any more.

I miss that.

It all comes back to me, though, when I watch the two dogs running and playing.  They haven’t lost it, and I envy them their freedom from worry. 

I see it in the eyes of children, amazed by a summer storm.

When my Jersey heifer runs and kicks up her heels playing at my approach, I vaguely remember what it was like to be a child.

It isn’t that I’m unhappy; it’s just that happiness isn’t as sharp a feeling as it used to be.

Enjoy it, youngsters, while you can.


Don't look if you're squeamish

Here are some random pictures sent me by my daughter-in-law in Georgia, taken of my son after his motorcycle wreck.  I'd explain what's going on in the various shots, but I really don't know exactly.  I know the apparatus on his leg is to keep cool water circulating around it to reduce swelling.  The picture of the stitches is pretty self-explanatory.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

medical issues in the family

I got a call from the doctor's office today.  The only problem Cliff's blood tests show is too-low "good" cholesterol.  Niacin will fix that.  He's been on it before.  No problem.

My son in Georgia is at home now, still on some pretty powerful pain-killers and with three pins in his left leg.  He also has a brace, and he is using a walker to get around.  He can't put any weight at all on that leg for four weeks.  There's also some sort of contraption on his leg that pumps cool water around it so it won't swell.  He has orders from me to take plenty of pictures.

I've found the George Foreman grill I really want:  it's on sale at Kohls for $69.99.  But I have a 20%-off coupon, which would make it much less.  The thing I like about this one is that the grill plates are removable.  So you can toss them in the dishwater to soak.

I surely do need a bigger one, because the one I have now does well to grill two hamburgers.  We're going shopping tomorrow; perhaps I'll get the new, bigger one.

odds and ends pictures

I call this picture "You'll never walk alone".  We were taking our morning walk and the horses decided to accompany us.  I made the mistake of setting my camera for smaller (less pixels) pictures, and it turned Blue into a dark blob like my old camera used to do.  I won't be doing that again!

This farm is about four miles from here; I ride past it often.  It looks so inviting back there in the trees, almost as if it were in a park.  I'd hate to have to try and clean that huge house, though.

This is the entrance to their drive.  Notice yellow ribbons on three trees.  I wonder if they have a relative in the armed services.

The granddaughters and I roasted hot dogs and marshmallows at my cabin Tuesday.  I took this from inside the cabin.

The girls took various pictures of the smoke drifting through the trees.

my oldest grandson

My oldest grandson is living here temporarily.  He had been splitting rent with a roommate, but he, his roomie, and a girl friend became a triangle that was hard for him to put up with.  When his personal goods started disappearing and a checking account was set up in his name that he knew nothing about, leaving him to pay for checks he didn't write, he needed to get out of the situation.  I told him he could crash here until he gets things on an even keel.

I gave him the cold, hard facts of living here, and set a few rules: 

He can't keep pit bulls here.  I don't want another dog in the house, and I don't want a pit bull running loose in the neighborhood.  I'm sorry he's had to give his two dogs up, but I've stood my ground.

I don't want to have to cook for him.  Now I know, that sounds pretty harsh for a grandma, and truthfully, the boy could use some fattening up.  But I'm used to fixing mine and Cliff's healthy little meals, and I never cook in the evenings when Cliff's at work.  We limit meat and desserts, and eat a considerable amount of non-battered fish and sugar-free Jello, not the kind of fare most young people crave.  If there's plenty of what we're having and he wants some, he's welcome to it.  He isn't terribly picky, so about half the time, he eats leftovers from our noon-time dinner when he gets home from work.

Tentatively, I've told him he can stay until July 31.  However, if I see he is putting money back, and if he isn't rocking my little privacy boat too much, that may be extended.

He'll pay me a certain (very small) amount to help cover his food costs.

Those are the rules.

He's twenty-one, so he doesn't have to tell me where he's going or keep a curfew.  He's been doing his own laundry on Saturdays.

Last night I introduced him to the Lean, Mean grilling machine, and he made himself a double-cheeseburger from some frozen hamburger patties he got at work at a bargain price.  He consumes a lot of peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches.  You'd think I was raising monkeys here, because we're going through over 10 pounds of bananas a week.  The grandson isn't the only one eating them; my granddaughters, Cliff, and myself all like fruit. 

It's been three weeks, and except for one crazy incident, my grandson has done fine so far. 

Wish us all luck.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I think I won this?

Pure Digital

When I put videos online, I usually use AOL's Uncutvideo, rather than Youtube.

It's what I'm used to, and I seem to have better luck with it.

So today I got an e-mail:

" Mosie1944,

Thank you for entering your video, "thirty-second campfire", into the Camera-a-Day Giveaway from UnCut Video.  You are one of our potential daily winners!

To receive your prize, you must to respond to this e-mail within five (5) business days of the date it was sent.  If we have not received your confirmation e-mail, sent from this e-mail address, within 5 business days from the date it was sent, we will select another winner.

When you reply, please provide us with the following information:

Full Name
Date of Birth
Mailing Address

If you’re not familiar with our sweepstakes, here’s the skinny…

During the month of June, the UnCut Video team is giving away one digital camcorder every day.  It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our users.

The prize is a Pure Digital Point & Shoot camcorder, valued at around $100.  For more information on the sweepstakes, you can check out the following links:

UnCut Video blog entry

Official Rules for this UnCut Video sweepstakes:

I was skeptical, but after checking things out, it seems legitimate.   I won't really believe it until the camera is in my hands, and you readers will be the first to know.

To tell the truth, I don't need it; my digital camera takes great videos.  But hey, if it's free, I'm not going to turn it down.

My Jersey heifer, getting her breakfast

Feeding Secret

My husband, the smart-aleck, was supposed to stop shooting once Secret got to her feed.  I'm sorry the last half of it is so far away.  Tonight maybe I'll make a movie of her actually eating!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Monday Photo Shoot

John Scalzi gave us this assignment: 

"Your Monday Photo Shoot: Picture something in orange. As a challenge, don't take pictures of actual oranges (the fruit), and picturing actual pumpkins seems a little too easy too. Other than that, go for it."

Around here, when I think of orange, I think of Allis Chalmers tractors.  Even though we sold our last Allis a couple of weeks ago, it's my personal favorite brand of tractor because many of my uncles farmed with Allis Chalmers' when I was growing up.

In this picture you see a tractor that was given to us by my Uncle Leo and restored by Cliff.  It's still in the family; that's Uncle Leo's grandson, Brian, who bought it.

And here's the D-17, series IV Allis that was our workhorse for many years:

Is that enough orange for you, John?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cliff's doctor appointment

I'm sure most of you knew we wouldn't find out anything today... except for weight, blood pressure, temperature, and little incidentals like that (those were all good, by the way).

Blood was drawn, and we'll hear the results of those in two or three days.  They did the thing where they glue little things all over Cliff's chest and hook wires to them.  So far, so good.

Cliff almost talked me into canceling this appointment because he has absolutely no discomfort today, but in the end, I refused to back down.

I'm not overly concerned, butI don't want to take any chances with his health.  We'll do a follow-up appointment with Dr. D in ten days; since Dr. D has had heart issues himself, I trust him to stay right on top of things.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

another report on my son

I spoke with my daughter-in-law a few minutes ago.  Jim is doing OK so far.  I would try to describe what went on with his broken leg, but it's all over my head and pretty complicated.

They're at the stage now where they got Jim off morphine and onto something else.  Well, the first drug they tried made him sick.  The one he's on now puts him to sleep.  But this is something everyone has to go through, I guess, if they're in pain.

He sat up today in a chair (but was not comfortable!).

Typical male ( just like his dad), he won't call the nurses when he needs assistance.  Sheesh.

When you are praying, be sure and remember Jim's wife, who has to go to work tomorrow, and feels guilty for leaving him and going home tonight.  We wives all know the feeling, don't we?

The doctor said they're on guard for pneumonia, since Jim's a smoker.

So far, so good.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

reporting in with family health news

Our son came through surgery today with flying colors.  Cliff spoke with him briefly this evening after we got home from our ride; Jim's main complaint?  He's dying for a smoke.

Does anyone else find it strange that we rode the motorcycle while our son was in surgery for a motorcycle injury?  Oh well.

And Cliff?  Well obviously, he's not doing too bad, since we were gone on the motorcycle from 10 AM until 4:30 PM.  He does admit, however, to his stomach still "feeling funny".  And also, he's glad I made the doctor appointment for him on Monday.

I just thought my readers would like to know.

Today's motorcycle ride

Although I spent many of my childhood years not far from Jamesport, Missouri, I had never visited there to see the local sights and eat Amish food. 

When we woke up this morning, we had intentions of attending a certain festival east and south of here.  But the weather in that direction looked pretty wet, so we decided to go north.  It was one of the most pleasant rides we've been on, and the clouds were the star of the show all day long.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The campfire at my cabin last night

thirty-second campfire

Turn on your sound and you'll hear the bugs, frogs, and the wood popping and cracking as it burns.

I spent last night at the cabin with the two dogs.  I was awakened by a delightful thunderstorm around 4:30 AM, went back to sleep, and woke at 6:30 ready for coffee.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any with me.  The dogs and I got soaked returning to the house, but it was all great fun.

The first thing I did at the cabin was start a fire.  We had rain the day before, so the wood was wet and made lots of smoke.  I love the way the smoke looked floating down into the woods.

I took this shot looking toward the north from my cabin porch when it was almost dark.  I did get to see the "blue moon" before I went to bed; you'd never have known a storm was coming.

Sadie knows food always tastes better when you're camping out.

The dogs went to bed  before I did.

It's always something (as Gilda Radner said)

I spent last night at the cabin.  Cliff called my cell phone around 9 o'clock and said, "I have some bad news."  My heart flip-flopped.

"Jim (our son) wrecked on his motorcycle in a parking lot and broke his leg; they think that's all, but they're going to do a cat scan and some other tests."

Well, I was relieved, honestly.  Jim survived a broken leg before when he was nine years old.  That involved a motorcycle too, a Honda 70.  Broken legs heal.

This morning I called Deb, Jim's wife, and found out a little more.  Then Rachel and I went shopping, and when we got back, Cliff was on the phone talking to Jim.  Then I had a turn talking to him.  He sounds just fine, except for some slight slurring of words as a result of the morphine.

It was a compound fracture, so they're watching for infection.  Tomorrow he'll have surgery.  The bone is broken in three places.  He'll have some sort of open cast to keep it immobile for four weeks, then he'll be looking at six weeks of therapy.  Bummer.  But still, it's just a broken leg; his head is intact.

Prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated.

When Rachel and I came home, Cliff looked rather pale.  When he got done talking to Jim, he went and laid down on the couch, not something he'd ever do under normal circumstances.  I'd heard him tell Jim he had some stomach pain.  I began quizzing him and found out the pain had almost doubled him over.  You can imagine, I'm thinking heart issues, since he'd thought his angina was indigestion, back before his surgery.  He also mentioned he's been having slight stomach pain over the past couple of weeks, although it's in a different area than his angina pain was.

I got on the hot line to his cardiologist and talked to the nurse at the office.  She said, "Any time he's having pain that doubles him over, he should go straight to an emergency room, no matter what the cause; and he needs to see his family physician, so he can determine if we should have a look at him."

Well, the pain has passed, so I don't think I'll get him into an emergency room; he was peeved that I called the doctor!  But I've scheduled an appointment with our family doctor for Monday.

Prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated.