Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our first tomato plant is PLANTED!

It's a Celebrity bush tomato. I also planted a couple of other, smaller plants. This one is supposed to give us fairly early tomatoes; I'll buy the plants for our main crop next week some time. My area of Missouri is considered safe from frost after May tenth.

Now playing: Eliza Gilkyson - Walk Away from Love
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why this song means so much to me

In 1987, my son graduated his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. My daughter was in her senior year in high school... I think. Or maybe it was her junior year.

I so wanted to see my son's ceremony; Cliff hates to travel long distances. I don't drive, never did. But my daughter had her driver's license and loved to drive.

So she and I set off. I'll never forget that time, and I'm so thankful Rachel and I went.

It's a long, long trip back home from Columbus, Georgia, but Rachel was determined to get back as expediently as possible. I told her to stop the minute she got tired, and we'd get a motel.

She was wide awake until we hit St. Louis. By then she started getting sleepy, but we were in Missouri; and she didn't intend to stop at that point. It was only four hours to home.

Somewhere between St. Louis and Kansas City, this song came on the radio; and Rachel, trying to stay awake, said, "Come on, Mom; let's sing along." Or something like that.

So every time I hear this song, I get teary-eyed remembering a time that is precious to me, and would be totally lost, had not my daughter made me stop and listen to a song with which I wasn't even familiar.

I wouldn't take half-a-million dollars for the memory.

Oh, and by the way; Rachel's husband, Kevin, can tell you the whole history of Lionel Ritchie and the names of every group he was ever associated with.

You can play this one at my funeral; it's so tied up with fond memories of both my children.

Suddenly enlightened

Yesterday evening my dog and I went to sit on a mound of excavated dirt in my future back yard, and I realized something about our new home location: I may not need my cabin in the woods any more, once we're moved.

Our present house sits right at the edge of a road, with neighbors in three directions. Sometimes it feels like I'm living in a fishbowl; nothing goes unobserved. This is why, three years ago, Cliff took an old shed and turned it into a "cabin" where my dog and I could retreat from the crowd, have a campfire, and meditate (Sadie is quite the meditate-er, you know). Sometimes I'll head back there to spend a night; other times I'll simply spend two or three hours. It's like a mini-vacation. It was especially refreshing to go to the cabin and unwind back when I had the stress of a job.

As I sat in the pasture last night, I realized how easy it would be to have a fire pit behind the mobile home. I love sitting at a bonfire; it's one of the big perks of having my cabin. (My dog, Sadie, is scared of fire, especially when it pops and cracks. So she's usually standing at the back side of the cabin while I'm at the front, if the fire's going. Which means I have to choose between having a fire or having my dog's companionship.)

I Googled "firepit" and found all sorts of advice on building one. Although of course we could do exactly as we did at the cabin: Place a ring of stones in a circle and start a fire. But it doesn't look as though it's complicated to go ahead and do it right.

Anyway, when we're moved, the cabin may become unnecessary. My home might have enough peace and quiet to suit me. Especially with a bonfire in the back yard for atmosphere, whenever I want it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Because I'm rather up in the air just now... have some lyrics

The lyrics to "Piano Man"

Its nine o'clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in.
Theres an old man sitting next to me
Makin' love to his tonic and gin.

He says, son, can you play me a memory?
I'm not really sure how it goes,
But its sad and its sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger mans clothes.

La la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Sing us a song, you're the piano man
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you've got us feelin' alright.

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine:
He gets me my drinks for free,
And he' quick with a joke or to light up your smoke,
But theres someplace that he;d rather be.
He says, Bill, I believe this is killing me
As the smile ran away from his face
Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place.

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife,
And hes talkin' with Davy, who's still in the Navy
And probably will be for life.

And the waitress is practicing politics,
As the businessmen slowly get stoned.
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness,
But its better than drinkin' alone.


Its a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile,
'Cause he knows that its me they;ve been comin' to see
To forget about life for a while.
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival,
And the microphone smells like a beer;
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, man, what are you doin here?

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Morel mushrooms galore

There's a story behind this "nice mess" of morels.

A year ago, the next-door teenage twin boys asked if they and their also-next-door cousin could hunt for morels on my property. I have bad knees and can't keep up with the mushroom-hunting, and I told them yes; somebody may as well have them.

A couple of hours later I heard an engine back in my pasture; going back to check out the situation, I found the three boys I'd given permission to mushroom hunt, along with three other boys, riding a cart behind a lawn mower. Needless to say, I was angry, and I snatched the bag of morels one of the kids had.

Last week, one of the twins called and asked permission to hunt mushrooms on our 43 acres.

"Nope," I told him.

Today one of the twins spent some time here, visiting with me, my husband, and my daughter's family. I told my story about 1993, the year I found morels a-plenty, and how I shared my bounty with the neighbors.

"You know," I said, "all I want is for those who find morels on my property to share what they find with me."

Later on, as I was heading into the house, Tyler (the twin) asked, "Could we hunt mushrooms on your place if we give you half?"

"Hmmm," I said, "I'm not sure I can trust you to share. But for today only, yes... you can."

A couple of hours later there was a knock on my door. It was Tyler and his cousin, Ryan, with a Walmart bag in hand that held fifty mushrooms.

I invited them in and we split the loot. That's my half you see in the picture.

I always thought I liked those boys. God bless them. I told them I now take back anything bad I ever said about them.

Oh, if they bring me another mess of mushrooms, I'll get their pictures for you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Patrick's Saturday Six

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

1. How many pairs of shoes do you own right now? Seven, which is really funny, since I hate shoes. Over the course of a single week, how many of them are you likely to wear total? On average, four

2. At what store do you buy the majority of your shoes? Kohls

3. How much did you pay for the most expensive pair of shoes you own? $80 (cowboy boots are expensive, even when you buy the cheap ones). How much was the cheapest? Thirty-something

4. Take the quiz: What do your feet say about you? Forget the quiz, I had trouble with adding the HTML to this entry. My feet say I've been spending too much time looking for morel mushrooms, and my knees add a hearty "amen".

5. What’s your preference: dress, casual, sneaker, flip flop or sandal? I prefer no shoes, but since my feet turned traitor on me, I mostly wear sneakers with my prescription inserts inside them.

6. Have you ever had or considered getting a pedicure? Why would I? I only have one toenail. But I got rid of that pesky toenail fungus. Haaaaa!

Now playing: Chuck Brodsky - G-ddamned Blessed Road
via FoxyTunes

Secret's new game

Sometimes my heifer, Secret, makes me just scratch my head and wonder, "Why do they do what they do?"

That washtub sits out by the garden because we use it to cover the tiller when it isn't in use. For some reason, Secret has decided it's great fun to butt heads with a tub. She was standing like this for two or three minutes, but when I got too close she stopped, and just looked at me as if to say, "What, you never saw a cow fight with a tub?"

Someone recently asked why I named her Secret. As I recall, I was doing an AOL journal entry. I had decided to buy a Jersey heifer calf, but I wanted to wait until I actually had her home to tell my readers about her. So I wrote, "I've got a secret."

After a couple of days, I decided "Secret" would make a unique name for her. Besides, as long as I have her around, I can always say, "I've got a Secret!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Well now, this is amazing

I'd say this is taking "going green" to the extreme. More power to them. Thanks, Rachel, for this. I do admire these people.

getting ready to move to the pasture

We received our tree order yesterday. Twenty-five Norway Spruce and five free White Spruce.

We need some privacy between our new home-site and Marvin next door, whose monstrosity of a house looms over the entire landscape for miles. We already planted a row of Lombardy poplars, but since those aren't very long-lived, we'll plant the Norway Spruce in a row this side of the poplars. Although at our ages, I imagine the poplars will outlive our stay here.

That's the front view from our new home-site. Originally the plan was to tear the barn down and re-locate it, and we may yet do that. But it's blocking the view of the road and the renter's trashy trailer, which in my opinion are positive things. What if we simply plant our free white spruce trees just this side of the barn?

That will be our view to the east, and any flaws you see in the picture can be easily cleaned up.

The view to the north; I hope to have a deck on this, the backside, of the mobile home. A deck where, once my privacy trees are tall enough, I can sit in my nightgown if I so desire.

Of course we'll plant some shade trees.

One person said she was anxious to see how I'd "decorate" my mobile home. I'm still laughing at that one. Folks, I don't decorate. I plunk my furniture in place, put a very few items on the walls, and call it home. Someone else asked if I was buying new furniture. Why would I? I like the stuff I have. Well, my Lazy-Boy could use replacing, and with a bigger living room we'll need a couple of occasional chairs (which I'll probably get used, on Craigslist). But no, I don't require new furniture. Especially to furnish a used mobile home.

Can you tell by now that I don't do things just to impress people?

This whole move out to the pasture is for these reasons:
1. I want and need air conditioning, which I've never had and really didn't want until the last couple of years.
2. One closet in a whole house for two people is not enough. I can't wait to have THREE!
3. Two bathrooms will be nice.
4. I'm sick of throwing a breaker every time I use too many appliances at once.
5. I want a view.
6. I want all my living space on one floor. Our upstairs is just a dust-collecting, clutter-ridden, abandoned place.

Oh, I could go on. The reason we're not just putting all this money into remodeling our old house? By the time we re-did the foundation and re-wired the place and added on enough space to make a bigger living room and closets, it would cost many times the money we're spending to do what we're doing. From outside, the old house doesn't look so bad. Trust me, it has more flaws that I do. And that's plenty. Now, at one time we were simply going to sell this place and buy something smaller, with a better house. But we both love our 43 acres: there's room for horses and cows, and places to hunt for morels in the spring, and my cabin. Oh, and Cliff's shop, which we had built to his specifications, and is really a dream-come-true for him.

Life is a series of compromises. I hope this one works for us.

You're going to LOVE the storm shelter Cliff is fixing up, but it'll be awhile before I unveil it to the world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things found in the woods today

As long as you take a camera along, no walk in the woods is entirely wasted. I found delightful things today. (Click on any picture to see it better.)

This snake was such a peculiar shade of green, I thought at first it was plastic. Mr. Google tells me it's a Smooth Green Snake.

Later on, I found this big black rat snake. I'd say he was at least six feet long.

Sadie wasn't sure what to make of Mr. Black Snake. He wasn't inclined to move much until I poked him with a stick; then he made a hasty retreat, rattling his imaginary rattles (yes, black snakes shake their tails exactly like a rattlesnake would, when they're disturbed). Then Sadie chased after him, keeping a cautious distance just in case.

During morel season, many people sneak onto my property from the back, along the railroad tracks. I often wonder what they think when they come upon my cabin, isolated as it is. Do you suppose they think somebody lives there?

Ah, I found what I was searching for! A gray morel.

Several feet away on the same bank, I found two more. And that's all. Not really enough to do much good. I'll probably dice them and cook them in with some scrambled eggs tomorrow morning.

Oh, that? That's a tick I found crawling up my arm, once I got back to the house. One of three I've found so far today. Excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower.

Things found in the dirt

This big pile of dirt has been in the pasture for over two weeks; we had a really hard rain night before last, and I figured it would be a good time to look for Indian arrowheads.

I found lots of tiny pieces of flint, probably the chips that fell away from the larger pieces of flint when the native Americans made their arrows, spears and tools. The hill on which I live was formed by windblown soil, so any sort of stone or rock you find had to have been brought here by someone.

Ah! An arrowhead! It isn't complete, to be sure; the portion that would be used to fasten it to a stick is broken off. But at least it's recognizable.

It isn't a very big one. I'll add it to my little collection.

Many Indian artifacts found hereabouts are from the Hopewell period.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Things found in the woods

Although I'm still running a low-grade fever and have a rattling in my chest, I felt I should check on the horses this morning. We had a rainstorm last night that included half-inch hail, and I knew the horses would have been spooking all over the pasture. I wanted to make sure they hadn't run through a fence or into a ditch and hurt themselves.

I found them grazing peacefully back by the pond. Since I was that close to the woods, I figured I may as well check for morels (don't know what morels are? Click HERE).

I found no sign of morels or morel-hunters, although I went to all the honey-holes I could manage, in my weakened condition. This picture shows the sort of place where you're likely to find the mushrooms.

I saw this bird moving in the brush; I first thought it was a mother bird acting injured, trying to lure me away from her nest, but when it allowed me to poke and prod it with my fingertip, I realized it was just a young bird, either injured or too sickly to fly.

In another spot I found this bright yellow feather.

I did find some sort of fungus growing on dead wood. I don't know if these are edible or not; I only eat morels, because I know what they look like and feel I won't get poisoned by them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cliff and I like to do things together

I guess that's why we both came down with colds at the same time with the exact same symptoms. You know, the cold I described a couple days ago as "minor"?

Forget that! I'm thinking it wasn't the wisest thing to go riding the motorcycle yesterday, because we coughed and hacked all night; both our colds took a decided turn for the worse. Cliff said he didn't feel like going to work this afternoon, and I told him, "I know exactly how you feel, and I wouldn't go to work if it were me." So he called in for a sick day.

We've been napping off and on in our recliners most of the day.

Remind me never to brag again about not having a cold all winter.

Oh, I did take my choking, hacking self out to the pasture (slowly) to see if any poachers were on my place stealing morels; I unlocked the cabin so I could get Sadie a drink and noticed some sort of toad all flattened out by the door handle.

See him, to the right of the lock?

He didn't even budge as I approached for a closeup. In fact, when I closed the lock thing, it touched him and he still didn't move.

Isn't he cute? Click HERE and scroll down to "gray treefrog"; I think that's him.

I saw this little skull in the leaves below the cabin; a squirrel perhaps? By the way, ticks are already out and about. I discovered one latched onto my arm a couple of days ago, and I found one crawling up my ankle today. So I availed myself of the Deep Woods Off I keep at the cabin.

I always forget what these are called; they aren't violets.

It's easy to remember the name of these: Dutchman's breeches!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oh yeah, I bought a T-shirt too

I asked Cliff to take a picture of the back of my new T-shirt, the one I bought at Heart of God fellowship. If you can't read it, click on the picture to make it bigger.

Now I know Cliff's tricks, so as he took the camera behind me, I said, "I want pictures of the T-shirt, not my butt!"

"Stand still," he said. "I can't get a clear picture of the T-shirt if you don't stand still."

He took several shots, and I figured he must be behaving himself until I got home later and looked at the pictures. There were three views of my butt in chaps, and only this one of the actual T-shirt.


Delete, delete, delete. That's the best thing about digital cameras. No film is wasted on the pictures you don't want.

We rode our motorcycle to church today

I took this picture in the parking lot this morning, before church.

Cliff and I have been intending to make it to Biker's Sunday for the past couple of years. Two years ago we really would have gone, but Cliff was in the hospital recovering from CABG surgery. Last year we ended up in Branson for that weekend.

That's Pastor Bob on the left. The service was SO cool! There was a blues band (with a harmonica player who was out-of-this-world). There was standing room only. They fed us all! There were more bikers than non-bikers in the crowd.

I often call this church "the biker church", but really it isn't; it's a church for all people. I love how casual everyone is, because I hate to dress up.

Oh, they fed us hot dogs with all the trimmings, pasta salad, cole slaw, and potato salad. Plus many choices of dessert.

I love Biker's Sunday at Heart of God Fellowship. I hope we can go again next year!

Patrick's Sunday Seven

List either the name of a favorite blogger or their blog’s title that begins with the first letter of each of the first seven letters of the alphabet.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment at Patrick's Place. (To be considered “first to play,” a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.) You may include this link in the URL space when leaving your comment, or in the comment itself. As long as it’s there in one spot or the other.

In doing this exercise, I found out I have lots of favorite blogs that begin with the letter "C". And only one that begins with "E".

Antique Mommy - She has such an excellent way with words, she has almost made me cry at times.

Because I Said So - Ebay made her blog famous; now she's written a book.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman - Who doesn't know about Ree?

Diane’s Place - one of my recent discoveries. If you check out her blog, be sure and look at her recipe blog too.

Ellie’s Dish - Ellie just doesn't do enough entries to suit me. Ellie, if you're reading this... get on the ball! (you were my only "E" on the list).

Faze Daze - Faye read my AOL journal for a long time before she started her own blog.

Good Morning, Sunshine - Another AOL journal that's chock-full of positive thoughts. Go there for a big dose of optimism.

Well, that's my required seven. I could go on through the alphabet, but Patrick says seven.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A cold-free winter?

Not quite. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my AOL journal that neither Cliff nor I have had so much as the sniffles this winter. No colds, no flu.

"Let him that standeth take heed, lest he fall."

Both of us now have minor colds, right here in the middle of April. It's still probably a record year for us, because I usually get at least two colds per winter. So I won't complain.

On the subject of good fortune in health, I was thinking this morning about how blessed I am on some other counts: I've never had a wart; I've never had a cold sore; and I've never gotten poison ivy.

I got a call from the doctor yesterday telling me results of a recent blood test: My total cholesterol is high, but that's OK because my HDL (good cholesterol) is high and the LDL is normal.

Cliff's smiling this morning because he had a egg-and-cheese sandwich. I limit eggs around here; although I've had people tell me there's no limit on eggs these days (and it's true that only 25% of our cholesterol comes from what we eat) the American Heart Association still recommends no more than two eggs per week for people who have had trouble keeping cholesterol down.

Better safe than sorry. Besides, Cliff loves his "loaded oatmeal"... rolled oats cooked in the microwave with cinnamon and raisins, with banana and walnuts added.

I realize this is a pretty dull blog entry, but I have a slight case of the doldrums; so this is the best I can do.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Another amazing horse video

I found this over at Spyder's blog.


Hey, thanks to the fact I'm an early riser, I felt the earthquake this morning at 4:40.

Did any of you other Kansas City bloggers get up early enough to experience it?

How exciting! It's only the second earthquake I've actually felt.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My afghans

I've had these afghans for several years now. The one on the back of the couch pretty much stays there. The other one is often on my lap on winter evenings, with my dog, Sadie, curled up on top of it.

My mom's older sister, my Aunt Ruby, made the afghans for me; and because I see them daily, hardly a day goes by that I don't think of Aunt Ruby.

I was looking on my computer for pictures of her, and realized I haven't scanned any of the later photos that were taken... her fiftieth anniversary picture, for instance. I have them upstairs, but it seems I only scan the really old shots of family members.

Aunt Ruby is the tallest one in this picture. The girl on the left is my mother. The boys are in front. Yes, the baby on the left is a boy. Back then, boys wore dresses until they were out of diapers. It made for easier diaper-changing.

This is one of my favorite old photos. Piggies and all.

Aunt Ruby and Uncle Lloyd only had the one child, Gerald, who survived. They had a daughter who died in infancy. Back then, almost every woman had at least one baby that died.

This is the Aunt Ruby I remember best. (It seemed like, in the 50's, half the pictures we took of people sitting down made their legs look huge; or was that just my family?)

Aunt Ruby and Uncle Lloyd became winter Texans in their later years, and they had a lot to do with influencing my sister and her husband to try it out. My sister, as my regular readers know, is still a snowbird.

For the life of me, I can't recall the year Aunt Ruby died. I do know that my daddy died in 1987, and that was the year she was diagnosed with cancer. She lived several more years, still knitting afghans and playing cards (pitch) every chance she got until finally she had to go into a nursing home.

I hope she can somehow look down and see how much I enjoy my afghans.
I'm so blessed to have such wonderful memories of aunts and uncles.

And to have my afghans as a daily reminder that I had an aunt who loved me.

River Bottoms

Since I was asked the meaning of "river bottom" or "river bottoms", I looked up the meaning in an online dictionary and came up with this: "a channel occupied (or formerly occupied) by a river". The way I used the term, it would mean "formerly occupied.

It's the low-lying ground that is the first to flood when the river rises out of its banks. It's very fertile ground, since flooding that comes along every three or four years deposits rich silt and topsoil as the water retreats.

Wikipedia has information about the Missouri River bottoms HERE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two years ago...

I had gotten a nasty cut as a result of too close contact with a livestock panel. I took my camera along to the doctor's, and blithely took pictures of the procedure. You can see that whole story HERE. I thought I was SO cool, doing all that.

Little did I know that a short two days later, my husband would be admitted to a hospital, awaiting CABG... open heart surgery, a four-way bypass.

Believe me, that took all the "cool" out of me. Thank God for what He's brought us through.

Now playing: Dallas Christian Choir - No Not One
via FoxyTunes

our morning walk

Can you see the purple on the river bottom? That's from a weed called hensbit. Soon the farmers will be planting corn and soybeans there. (Click on the picture to make it bigger and you'll see the purple better.)

Sadie found a stick.

Cliff stole it from her.

Nana-nana-boo-boo, I'll keep it from you.

"Gimme that," says Sadie, right before she grabs it.

Here she's drinking water from a horse hoof-print left in the wet ground where a spring comes out of the hillside.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I rode yesterday

We've finally gotten a break in the winter weather.

If you click on the picture, you might be able to see the horse Blue sees.

Different horses, same pose. It amazes me how horses notice one another at such a great distance.

I was about two miles away from home and saw a familiar-looking, unfinished house on the horizon. Oh yeah, that's my next-door neighbor's house, the one he's taking forever to finish.

Cattle enjoying the sunshine. Usually by mid-April the trees are leafed out. Not this year.
Farmer John's calves got up and stretched when I got too close to them with my horse.

So it's true, the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

(If you got here VIA Wordless Wednesday, sorry about that. I left the link to my blog, then changed my mind about staying "wordless".)