Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Edition "Q"

I have to be honest and say that I almost skipped the letter "q", because there are no "q" words I can have fun with. No singers' names begin with q; no states or towns. So this week my entry is going to be very boring. But I may as well go ahead; I've made it this far.

1. Quicksilver: SS Quicksilver of Fallneva was a high-class Jersey bull I used on my tiny herd back in the 80's. I was very proud to be able to own some of his daughters. That's the wonderful thing about artificial insemination in cattle: Anyone has access to the best bulls in the world.

2. quiz: Doesn't everybody hate pop quizzes?

3. Quiznos: We ate there once because it was free; I prefer Subway.

4. Quandary: Something I often experience when thinking about certain neighbors.

5. quilt: My mom turned out quilts by the hundreds after she retired.

6. quart: When Cliff and I acquired our first milk cow, he drank a quart of milk with almost every meal.

7. quaint: a polite way of saying "run-down".

8. queasy: I very seldom have a queasy stomach.

9. Quiktrip: That's where Cliff usually gasses up, at least when we're in the greater Kansas City area.

10. quack: I've been to a lot of dentists I considered to be quacks.

11. questions: You get a lot of them when you have small children around.

12. quiet: I love how quiet it is at this house.

13. qualms: That's what I had about doing this entry.

To see who else did the "Q" thirteen, go check it out at Izzy 'N Emmy.

Around the homestead

When I'm riding Blue two or three times a week, he hardly needs his hooves trimmed at all. In fact, only the two front ones where they tend to grow long in one spot need attention, and Cliff can usually handle that. For the past few months, though, I haven't been on my horse often enough to wear his feet down. So Randy, my farrier, came to visit yesterday. I'm so glad I stopped having shoes put on my horse: It saves a lot of money and hassle to keep him barefoot. $35 for a trim, as opposed to $85 for shoeing.

After an afternoon of rain (another half-inch in the rain gauge), I noticed the sun was shining brightly outside yesterday and figured there might be a rainbow to the east. So I grabbed my camera and headed out.

Indeed there was, a nice, full one, a rainbow too big for me to capture in one photo.

Notice how the coffee tree is illuminated by the setting sun. Even though I know rainbows are a natural phenomenon, I still get a feeling I'm seeing something magical when I witness one.

For any farmer-type people who might read this blog, here's the business end of my recently-acquired Jersey heifer, Bonnie. Although she isn't real heavy with calf, when I look at her backside and udder, I wonder if she'll really wait until late June to have her calf.

Cliff rigged it up so the ladies can get in this pen where they can bed down in the stall without horses bothering them. They opt to spend most nights in there. It's their choice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stupid Facebook (for my youngest granddaughter)

So, my youngest granddaughter, the one who lives in Georgia, sent me this silly facebook quiz called "What do you want in a man".

Lyndsay, for heaven's sake: Have you not looked at your grandpa? THAT'S what I want in a man. None of the questions in this quiz were applicable to my situation.

What Do You Want in a Man? Likes and Dislikes

1. Your Favorite type of Movie?
Romantic Comedy
Mystery and Suspense
Who has time to watch movies?
Slapstick Humor

My answer: Who cares? Movies make me sleepy.

2. Favorite Type of Music?
I'm too busy to really listen to music.
Top 40 / 1980's

My answer: Folk, and 1960's through 1980's country.

3. What is your ideal family?
Husband and Wife and Few Children
Husband and Wife and Many Children
Husband and Wife and other Swingers
Depends on my our ancestoral backgrounds
I spend most of my time with my Work Family!

My answer: I'm sixty-four years old, and so far I have never seen an ideal family.

4. Dream Date?
Romantic Dinner with Wine and a movie
Board Games and pizza
Church and Dinner with the Family
Drinks at an Airport Bar
Surfing and drinks at a Tiki bar

My answer: Please, I don't want a date. I go to bed before 10 o'clock. I'm tired.

5. How do you like to dance?
I don't dance
I am always too drunk to remember
Two step
Slow Dancing

My answer: I never learned to dance, and I don't intend to start now.

6. Sexiest male celebrity?
Matt Damon
Edward Norton
George Clooney
Barak Obama
Clive Owens

My answer: What kind of choices are these? Where is Paul Newman? Where is Elvis? Sheesh.

7. What would the man of your dreams do for a living?
College Professor or Professional
Bartender or Waiter
Business owner or Heir
Church pastor

My answer: farmer.


Wordless Wednesday: Mad cat

For more Wordless Wednesdays, check HERE.

New life

I'm an early riser. Far too early to suit me, but that's how I'm wired, I guess.

As soon as it's light enough to see, I go outside, because exciting things are happening out there. Since we claimed this section of the pasture/hayfield as home only last summer, we had lots of planting to do. Now everything is coming to life, and it's a big adventure for me.

Right outside the front door is this dwarf lilac bush which, as you can see, is about to bloom. I don't know why it's slower than all the other lilacs in the neighborhood; I'm just happy to know it's going to have flowers, and it's less than a year old.

Behind the lilac bush is a clematis vine, one of several Cliff's sister brought from Wisconsin last year. It seems to climb inches taller each day.

In the front yard, I check the Chanticleer Pear tree. In the background you can see one of two Autumn Blaze maples that are also thriving and healthy. You can also see the mature Kentucky Coffee Bean tree I blogged about recently.

Following the sidewalk around the house to the back, I monitor the progress of the Astilbes I put out in early spring. These are especially exciting because I've never had them, and all I know about how they look is what I saw in the seed catalog. I can't wait to see them up-close and personal! They're supposed to be a good shade plant, and I needed something on the north side of the house.

Another good plant for the shade, Impatiens.

This is the tiny Chinquapin Oak tree I brought up from the woods last fall. It's alive! See the reddish leaf-buds? It's a slow grower, so Cliff and I probably won't live to see it in its mature glory. Still, it'll be fun to watch, knowing it started life back by my cabin.

I received ten free trees (for a small donation, so how free is that?) from the Arbor Day Foundation. I had given them all up for dead, but a few days ago I noticed the Washington Hawthorns had buds, and I did a happy dance. Out of ten trees, two lived. Hey, that's better than nothing.

And then this morning, I noticed that a flowering crabapple is waking up. That makes three out of ten. Maybe more will come to life?

I've already blogged about the "dead" Norway Spruce trees that are, one by one, getting busy growing. I love it! Seeing life come back into those trees, some of which had become nothing but bare sticks, is amazing.

No, this wasn't taken in my yard. I took it yesterday in the woods. I must say, all of these and others I found were very tasty.

See? How can a person NOT be excited, with all this going on?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

scenes from the garden

So, I hear more rain is coming

Yeah, for the next three (count 'em) days. Two or three inches overall expected.

morning visitor

It wasn't even fully daylight this morning when this little hummingbird showed up on my front porch.

This isn't my first hummingbird of the year, by the way; the first one was much smaller. So it was probably a male.

I do believe she's a camera-hog. She would take a sip of necter, then buzz around and look at me; take another sip, buzz around and look at me again. What a ham.

Monday, April 27, 2009

We've had lots of rain lately

Just remember:

Sadie's adventure in the woods

Please keep in mind that it doesn't take much for Sadie to have an adventure. For instance, if she looks out the window and sees a certain boxer in the distance, she goes into her "kill" mode. Unless you let her out to chase her, in which case she's careful not to get within ten feet of the boxer.

That thing in the upper right-hand corner is the strap of my camera. I do believe I see the glint of an eye far down in the log, though.

Mayday, May baskets

I discovered, reading Meesha's blog, that Mayday is quite a big deal in Russia.

I left a comment telling how I remember Mayday, from when I was growing up in Iowa.

My mom sometimes bought tiny plastic May baskets for the occasion. Other times we'd make May baskets from construction paper, in school. We'd put wildflowers and small candies in the baskets and head to the homes of friends. It was a rural area, so Mother had to drive me around the countryside to deliver my baskets. I was to go hang the basket on the doorknob, or if that wasn't possible, leave a basket on the stoop.

Then I was to knock on the door or ring the doorbell (there were not many doorbells on farmhouses in 1949-50) and run for the car like crazy, because my friend was to come to the door, find his (or her) basket, run after me, catch me, and kiss me. I remember the panic I felt when one little boy actually did chase me; I don't recall whether he managed to kiss me.

Had the friend been a girl, it wouldn't have mattered. In those innocent times, there wasn't such a sexual connotation to a kiss as there is now, at least not to grade school children. I had never even heard of "sex". My mother sheltered me from such shocking things, until the school nurse in Kansas City finally hinted at the forbidden subject when we girls had a session with the her, in sixth grade. Even then, I didn't have a clue; all it did was confuse me. But I digress.

I recall a little girl having a birthday party on or about May 1, back in Iowa; one of the activities at that party was making May baskets of construction paper. Then we went outside to pick wildflowers to put in the little baskets.

My family moved to Kansas City in 1966, I believe, and I never heard of Mayday being celebrated after that.

I found some information online about Mayday and May baskets as I remember them, HERE and HERE.

More from our Arkansas trip

The rain has been falling all night, and is still gently coming down. You remember my parents' saying about "if it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain for the next seven Sundays"? This makes two down and five to go. My rain gauge says 3 1/2 inches, which causes me to wonder if I forgot to empty it last time. My sister-in-law, however, said she heard on the news that some areas got four inches.

Here's a question for my Arkansas readers (that'd be Lona and Diane, for sure): What are these red flowers that bloom in abundance along the roadways down there? I jokingly called them "redbelles" because in Texas in the spring, bluebelles bloom like this.

While we're talking about flowers, have I mentioned how I love Azaleas? Just look at those colors! Next time I'm at Colonial Nursery, I'm asking if there's an azalea that can winter over in my part of Missouri.

Even with the trees all ice-damaged, the Arkansas landscape is breathtaking.

We left home Saturday morning around nine o'clock; of course we had to stop at Lamberts for lunch on the way past Ozark, Missouri.

I believe it was around six when we found a motel in Russellville, Arkansas.

Next morning we were heading for Bella Vista where my friend Lona lives. We could have taken a freeway, but Interstates aren't any fun. We like to take the older highways and look at the abandoned businesses in dying towns, left behind by progress. Before leaving the motel, I looked at the map and told Cliff, "Oh, this will be no problem: we just go west on 64 until it hits 71, then go north."

We did see lovely sights going that route, including hundreds of my beloved azaleas,

Old barns,

Many older houses made from Arkansas rocks,

A realty with an interesting name,

and various kinds of homes (Cliff said, "What are we laughing at? WE live in a mobile home behind a barn!").

Unfortunately, we missed 71. We started feeling uneasy when we spent a half-hour going from stoplight to stoplight in a bad section of Russellville, the sort of neighborhood where one expects to hear gunshots at any time; our hearts sank when we passed a sign saying "Welcome to Oklahoma".

We pulled off at the nearest exit and found ourselves in front of an abandoned livestock sale barn (also not a very comforting place to be, and Cliff didn't take his Glock). Cliff dug out the GPS, because we knew we'd never get out of this mess without it.

Since there's no safe place to attach it to the motorcycle windshield, I held it in one hand and told Cliff whatever the GPS told me. On the lower lefthand side, you see that our arrival time at our friend's home in Bella Vista, Arkansas, was to be 11:29. This was a good time to arrive, since she was making dinner for us and we were getting hungry.

All's well that ends well. I met Lona in a chat room in 1998, and we still keep in touch. If I wanted some serious, objective input on most any decision I had to make, this is the lady I'd go to. Even when she doesn't think I'm listening, I probably am.

Do not, however, ask her opinion of GPS devices; that's where she and I part ways.

Originally we had planned to spend the night at Lona's house, but because of the threat of rain, we came on home. It worked out all right, because we had a lot of outdoor work to do, and Cliff and I worked like troopers all day Sunday.

It was a nice getaway.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I have hummingbirds!

That's all. I just wanted everybody to know my hummingbirds have returned.


Cliff was recently talking to a biker in Buckner (has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?) who told him about a biker motel in Arkansas where the food is heavenly and a room can be had for $45 a night. We vowed to look it up. We knew it was someplace on a scenic roadway where we'd ridden before, but Cliff didn't get any details and we certainly didn't recall seeing it.

There's this ghostly place just south of the Arkansas state line on highway 7 (wonderful, curvy motorcycle ride) that was quite the tourist attraction forty years ago, back before Branson made the big-time. It was called "Dogpatch", and had all sorts of carnival-type rides and concessions, with a hillbilly theme.

Of course, I love abandoned barns, houses, and ghost towns, so there's a big fascination with this place; I snapped a few pictures as we drove by.

A short distance up the road from there is a scenic overlook where you can look out over "the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks", and we pulled over. There was a biker and his (well endowed) girl friend there, and the guy struck up a conversation. You know, the usual, "Where you headed?".

They, as it turns out, were headed in the direction from whence we came, going to the Biker motel. Turns out it's on the Dogpatch property. He said some weekends they have bands, and often it's "no vacancy".

So now we know. After we and the couple parted ways, I said, "Cliff, I have a question about that lady."

"Of course I noticed them," he answered.

"Well I knew that, silly. But are they real?"

"Oh yeah!" he grinned.

We really didn't want to turn around and go back, but at least now we know where the Hub biker motel is. I'd like us to get together with Cliff's sister and her husband and go down there, one of these days. I'm pretty sure it's a rougher group of bikers than we're used to, but it would be a great place for people-watching.

All over Arkansas the treetops are horribly damaged from last winter's ice storm.

This shot was taken at the spot where we talked to the couple on the Harley.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You never know

Cliff likes to kid me about always taking the laptop when we go on a road trip.

Look who is enjoying the laptop now.

Ah, the weather

Cliff's sister took this picture this morning. Didn't we look happy to be heading to Arkansas? Don't mind the neighbor's dirt yard; it's been like that for three years. If weeds start to grow, he just gets the dozer and runs it over the yard.

Fools. That's us. Check out the weather for Arkansas and Missouri for the rest of the weekend. If we don't get drenched heading home, it'll be by the grace of God.

I will say we sure did enjoy the ride down here. At least we have that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a day!

I started my day this morning with an hour-long ride on Blue. It was cloudy, but still a pleasant ride.

Cliff, who has never been able to find any morels, decided we'd mushroom-hunt instead of taking our regular walk, which suited me just fine. We split up so we could cover a larger area.

I found this white-ish toad. Or frog. I've never seen any amphibians this color before. He wasn't spookish at all, but stayed frozen to the spot while I took this closeup shot.

Another Mayflower growing through a leaf.

For the first time in his life, Cliff found some morels. Of course, it took the two of us two hours to find this many.

Thursday Thirteen: Edition "P"

I can't believe I've made it this far through the alphabet with Izzy 'N Emmy. Of course, the dreaded "X" is coming up eventually. I may have to make it "Thursday Three" on that week.

1. Pigs: They are fun animals to have around. Here's a picture of the last two pigs we had on the place, four years ago. Notice my dear departed Mandy in the picture.

2. Porter Wagoner: I never cared much for him, but I loved it when he sang with Dolly Parton. She got her start with him.

3. Peanut butter: One of my favorite snacks is peanut butter on celery.

4. Pennies: I still "find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck."

5. Peppers: I love all varieties of peppers, from those sweet yellow bell peppers to burning-hot jalapenos.

6. Peonies: Lovely, fragrant flowers, but it seems they always get knocked down by spring storms before they're done blooming. There's an old wives' tale that says peonies won't open up without ants on them. It isn't true, so feel free to dust your peonies with Sevin dust; I've done it before with no ill effects. Or, you can live and let live.

7. Powerball: We generally buy one Powerball ticket each week. It's only a buck, so it doesn't break the budget. And it gives us a chance to talk about what we'd do with all that money if we won.

8. Pancakes: Who doesn't love pancakes? Although I prefer my home-made waffles, made with the old Better-Homes-and-Gardens recipe:


1 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 egg whites
1. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
2. In another medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in milk and oil. Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (batter should be lumpy).
3. In a small mixing bowl beat egg whites till stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold beaten egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white. Do not overmix.
4. Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cups batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle maker.

I never make waffles for company because there's too much waiting time between waffles.

9. Parables: Here's my favorite one.
Luke 15:11-32 (New International Version)
The Parable of the Lost Son
11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.a]">[a]'22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

25"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

28"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

10. Poodles: Not my favorite breed of dog, but they're usually very smart. And they don't shed! I may yet end up with one, if I outlive Sadie.

11. privacy: I can't get enough of it.

12. peaches: The only way to get the best peaches is to grow your own, so you can let them ripen right on the tree.

13. pregnant: I've been pregnant twice in my life, and enjoyed every minute of it, except for the constant heartburn.

If you decide to join in on the Thursday Thirteen, be sure to leave your link at Izzy 'N Emmy so everyone can find your entry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Meet Bonnie.

She's two years old. She should calve in late June, or thereabouts. She is a registered Jersey, and is bred to a registered Jersey bull.

She's about the same size as Secret, although her conformation is much better.

Thanks to Craigslist, I now have a heifer that can give me a calf, and consequently, some milk and cream. Here's hoping everything goes well with her.

She's fairly gentle, having been handled by her former owners. It won't take much to make her a total pet. I'll keep her in the small pen until the horses get acquainted with her; otherwise they'd chase her.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I've always loved Kansas City

So many people love to put Kansas City down; and yes, I know she has seen better days.

But if you thought all the beauty was gone from our fair metro area, you need to check out

Thank God for folks who find beauty where others find ashes.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

scenes from my woods

This is a scene from our woods; morel mushrooms abound on these slopes, if you can catch them at the right time. Those gullies are the reason my knees hurt; they are the reason I am currently walking with a limp.

It's beautiful back there, though.

Even when I don't find many morel mushrooms, there's always something in the woods to catch my eye.

You may not be able to tell it, but this is two butterflies mating.

Mayflowers abound in the woods. The little guy on the left, though, decided to grow through the middle of a dead leaf. So he's caught in a leaf hug.