Saturday, July 14, 2018


Cliff and I went to the Mayview Picnic today, using our largest tractor (the Oliver 1855) as transportation.  They have a huge yearly tractor drive that usually involves 30 or more participants.  Most folks haul their tractors in on a trailer, unload them, and line up for the drive.  Since Mayview is only about fifteen miles from our house, it's one of the few times Cliff can drive the big tractor and show it off; it's too big to load on any of our trailers.  We drive there by ourselves, then line up with the others and go even further, although this year they abbreviated the ride because of the heat.  It's slow going, since some of the antique tractors can't go over six miles per hour.  In fact, I think Cliff is about ready to swear off tractor drives because they're so boring to him.  I, on the other hand, really enjoy it for the most part, but then I don't get out much.  I'll post pictures in another entry.

Gabe has gone on two tractor drives with us and loved every minute.  Today we were getting ready to leave and I let him go outside with us while we prepared the tractor.  He saw the tractor sitting there with the basket behind it that he's ridden in twice before, and immediately ran and jumped in, ready to go.  
It was a rather sad moment when I carried him back inside and placed him in his kennel, but it was for his own good.  It was far too hot a day to keep a dog out in the sun for hours.  

Now, on to my ramblings about things that have been running through my mind lately... I made notes during my ride in the basket behind the tractor, but it's such a bumpy ride, you can hardly make out what I jotted down.
First on the list?  Cows, horses, heat.  It has always amazed me that horses will stand out in full sunlight on a 100 degree day when there's shade available.  I realize that horseflies and other biting, stinging insects are more of a bother in the shade, but I would think being cooler would be a positive tradeoff.  Not so.  Very, very seldom do you see horses seeking shade.  Cows, on the other hand, know the coolest places to rest on a hot day.  They have to be out in the sun while they're grazing, but once their bellies are full they find some shade.  I learned long ago that if you want to know where it's coolest on a hot day, all you need to do is see where the cattle lie down to chew their cuds.  

Second item on the list is Gabe with the tractor.  I've already covered that.  

The third item says, quite simply, sing.  In a moment of quiet, early-morning pondering last week, this question came to me:  If I knew I only had a short time to live, what would I do differently?  The answer was almost immediate... I'd sing more.  I don't mean singing for an audience, or even getting out the guitar and singing.  I'd just open my mouth and sing more often for the pure joy of singing.  My husband, who doesn't sing too well, has mastered this art.  My parents sang around the house all the time when I was growing up, just because they felt like it... Daddy especially.  He sang randomly and often.  If you wanted to get my mom singing, all you had to do was put her in a rocking chair and hand her a baby; her first impulse was to sing.    

Cliff does have one rather endearing (or aggravating, depending on the day) way of getting stuck on one particular line out of some old country song, belting out the one line, and repeating it every five minutes or so.  But he SINGS!  Why is it I hardly ever sing "just because"? 

So today, riding in the basket behind the Oliver, I sang... mostly "Keep on the Sunny Side", but parts of a few other songs as well.  When I sang "Keep on the Sunny Side", I clapped my hands as I sang.  The tractors make plenty of noise, so nobody heard it but me.  Well, Cliff heard it a couple of times and thought I was hollering at him, but that's all.  I'd already told him about my plan to open up and sing, whether in the kitchen or the car or the garden.  So he'd turn, look at me, and smile when he realized I was singing.

It actually felt pretty good, singing for nobody.  I'm always resolving to do something or other like this and then not following through.  I hope I do better with this effort, which only involves myself and doesn't really require any effort on my part; one song a day would suffice.  Feel free to join me in this enterprise.  If Cliff can do it without even thinking about it, anybody can, although I hope you don't continually sing just one line from your current song-of-the-day.  

Sing a song, won't you?  It'll make you smile, and smiling always makes a person feel better.     

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Relaxing outside

My daughter loves relaxing in a hammock on her porch and decided I needed a hammock, so she bought one for me.  Unfortunately, she bought it as a Christmas gift, so I didn't get to use it for a long time.  On Mother's day she came out to supervise Cliff as he hung it for me, so her gift also became a Mother's Day gift, with Cliff putting in his efforts for Mother's Day... so it was also a gift from him.  None of the trees planted in my yard in 2008 were big enough to have branches that would support the thing (with my weight in it), so Rachel suggested it be hung on the big tree near Cliff's shop.

It was comfy and shade there, but anyone using the hammock (and there were several) was pretty much alone.  If folks were hanging out in the shop, the swing was too far from the group to join in discussions.  And if there was nobody in the shop, and I wanted to enjoy my gift?  REALLY alone, and yet far from the trailer house, where my Wifi lives.

I figured somebody must manufacture some sort of movable frame to support a hammock; and indeed, I found one on Amazon and showed it to Cliff.  He looked it over and said, "I could make something like that."  The grandson and Cliff have been obtaining various shapes and lengths of used metal lately at bargain-basement prices.

My birthday was Saturday.  Sunday Cliff, the grandson, and our son visiting from Georgia began construction.  Cliff called me to the shop when it was done, to make sure the hammock was at the proper height, and then it was moved to my front yard.

Last night I sat in that swing for a long, long time.  It was great, except for the heat.  I believe the temperature at the time was 96 degrees.  I sat there swinging myself by pushing with my toes on the ground wishing it were cooler and got an idea...

Right smack in front of me was the wading pool I'd filled for the child we babysit (and the dog, if he were so inclined).  I had light-weight clothes on and wasn't afraid to get wet, so I got out of the swing, went and sat down in the sun-warmed water, and then laid down, as much as possible, in order to get my top half wet.  

I was cool and comfortable swinging for another half-hour or so before I decided to go inside.  What a wonderful world!  And now my hammock is a Christmas gift, a Mother's Day gift, and a birthday gift.  And I'll even be able to use it in winter when Cliff is in the shop with a little heat on:  That swing and its frame will go in the shop!

Peace, my friends.  Keep cool if you can.