Wednesday, September 30, 2009

About comments

I read a lot of blogs; I don't read every post on each one, but I do keep a watch on them all.

In doing so, I've come to realize that sometimes there's a popularity contest going on. Seriously!
It's as if those who get the most comments are special.

Folks, over the years I've tried not to be a game-player. I dropped out of competition back around the fourth grade, because I didn't want to conform to the ideas of others, and I realized I didn't fit in.

There is a great gulf between me and most of the general population, and I'm really not that comfortable with most people.

I don't want to dress a certain way just because everybody else does. That's just me. I don't intend to wear only white shoes after Memorial Day. Who made up that stupid rule? While we're at it, I don't think people ought to have to dress up to worship God.

I'm really glad I'm not a big-time blogger, by the way. One of my favorite, very popular, bloggers has a person who spends most of her time on her own blog criticizing this lady: She says this person is photo-shopping her pictures to make her look better; that she is making money from her blog; that she is posting unhealthy recipes when she ought to be encouraging people to lose weight. On and on this embittered person goes.

This negative-talking female has scores of ladies who comment to express their agreement. And don't you DARE suggest that they're jealous, because they insist they're not.

I appreciate everyone who has supported me in my comment section, but I want you to know it isn't necessary. Although if my husband ever goes into the hospital again, or if my dog gets run over, I will open my comments. Because at times like that, the things my readers say mean so very much!

I hope you all understand where I'm coming from.


I recently ordered some iris bulbs from a seed catalogue. I have plenty of iris that I set out a year ago, although none of them bloomed this spring. I know I didn’t put them too deep, so I assume it just takes them awhile to feel at home in a new place and bloom.

The reason I ordered more iris is that these are supposed to be red, and I’ve never seen a red iris. Curiosity got the best of me.


It occurred to me that when I’m planting perennials, I’m exhibiting faith… faith that I’ll be here to see them bloom next spring. Evidently I’m not subconsciously expecting some awful illness or accident to remove me from the scene.

I’ve also planted several re-blooming day lilies, but they’ve shown me a few blooms already this year. Some flowers just don’t demand as much faith as others.


I’ve been watching the Autumn Blaze maple trees closely to see if their leaves turn as gloriously red as I’ve been told they will. These are fast-growing trees, up to four feet per year. However, it takes a large measure of faith at my age (65), to believe it’s worthwhile planting young trees for shade.


I have two of these Washington Hawthorn trees. Forget about faith; Hope planted these. I just hope I get to see them bloom someday. But if not, perhaps somebody else will enjoy them after I’m gone. If nothing else, the birds will enjoy the fruits.

Autumn garden

Remember last spring when I so proudly showed pictures of my flowers and my garden? Things aren’t so pretty now.


Flowers are faded; I didn’t “deadhead” the coneflowers because I’ve read that finches will eat the seeds; in fact, I’ve seen them doing it. They’re still away raising their families, but I’ve been assured they will be back to spend the winter. I still have the occasional hummingbird at the feeders, but not often; mostly in the mornings.


The oh-so-prolific butternut squash vines are dying amid the ever-present crabgrass, and a few of the squashes have rotted. Don’t worry, I still have plenty for our consumption.


The tomato vines are riddled with blight, although I can still go to the garden and find a few tomatoes for a salad.


The sweet peppers are outdoing themselves, producing more now than they have all summer.


Turnips are doing well, although I won’t harvest all of them until the twenty-first of October (drunk or sober, as the saying goes).


I planted one sweet potato cutting, remember? This mess is mostly sweet potato vine from that one little plant. It’s invaded the turnips (on the left) and my single eggplant (on the right). I’ve been warned to dig up the sweet potato before frost. I’ve had half a notion to go ahead with it; as cool as it’s been, we could get frost very soon. I wonder just how much larger the sweet potatoes could possibly get in two weeks.

Oh, those tall things in the background? Okra, which we’re still enjoying.

I figured that since you saw my garden at its best, you should also see it at its worst.

You can get lots of good things from a garden, even an imperfect one that's past its prime. I suppose you could say the same for a person.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Planning our next day trip

I’m always looking for places to go on the motorcycle, places with interesting attractions.  One spot I’ve had in mind for ages is Jefferson City:  We can get there without ever getting on a freeway, and it’s only about a two-hour trip.

I’ve been wanting to take in the State Capitol; Cliff seems less than enthusiastic about this, but sometimes he’ll warm up to a place, once he gets there.

I’ve just now found out about the Jefferson Landing and the Missouri State Museum.

Thanks to Missouri Life magazine, I discovered it’s possible to tour the Missouri State Penitentiary!  It must be a pretty popular activity, because you have to schedule in advance.  There are no longer any prisoners there, by the way.

Ah yes, the planning of these trips is half the fun; that, and convincing Cliff how much fun we’re going to have at all these places.

Back to Missouri Life:  There’s a great article in the latest issue about some people who raise free-range hogs in south Missouri.  “Manhattan hot spots like Bar Boulud, Lupa, and Momofuku Ssam not only serve the Newmans’ products, they often give them prime billing on the menu. “BBQ Rib Sandwich (Newman’s Farm, Mo.)” brags the menu at Momofuku.”

Now that’s some classy swine.

Horses, dogs, and other short stories

I waited until Cliff went to work yesterday to give Blue his workout. The horses weren't far away when I headed toward them, halter in hand. I walked up to Blue, reached up to put the halter on him... and he suddenly decided to run away. Actually, "run" isn't the proper word; it was more of a slow lope. Blue likes to conserve energy whenever possible, which is part of the cause of his weight problem. Of course, the other two horses, more nimble and lively than he, did plenty of real running. This encouraged him, and he decided to continue the game.

I was taken aback, because Blue hasn't run from me in years.

He soon tired of avoiding me; for that I'm thankful. It's just that my feelings were hurt, because although Blue won't come when I call, he always stands patiently for me to reach his side and put the halter on him.

Then I realized the problem: It's autumn. The temperatures, both highs and lows, were twenty degrees cooler than the previous day. Any weather change can affect a horse's behavior, but autumn really puts them into a second childhood. Which is why it's the best time of year to ride; all that extra energy, you know.

I'll be sure and take a treat out with me the next few times I go after him. Nothing motivates Blue like food.

When I'm preparing to ride, I make sure Sadie is in the house, because she has a bad habit of wanting to chase horses. She seems to have some breed of cattle dog in her background, and she runs behind the horses growling and barking, trying to herd them; she does this with me and Cliff, to a degree, when we're heading out to take our walk. She doesn't chase cars, but she has scared me to death running in front of the school bus trying to "herd" it. She still seems to recall how it hauled my granddaughters away, back when I babysat them. As far as she's concerned, it's an evil monster who eats little girls, only to spit them out a few hours later. She intends to do all she can to stop such behavior.

For obvious reasons, I do my best to see that Sadie isn't outside when it's time for the bus to go past.

It would do her good to get kicked by one of the horses; maybe then she'd quit this unwanted behavior. The trouble is, I'm afraid she'd get kicked hard enough to kill her. So I yell, "Noooo" at the top of my lungs, and she usually stops. Until the next time.

Yesterday I decided to take Sadie to the barn with me. I was only going to ride in the pasture for a half-hour, so we'd be on our property the whole time. I wondered if she'd try chasing Blue while I was riding. No big deal if she did, because Blue isn't scared of dogs barking at his heels.

But the silly mutt surprised me. She had a marvelous time following at a distance, then running ahead or loping alongside. She seemed to enjoy the whole thing immensely.

So from now on when I'm going to ride on our property, Sadie gets to go along.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The problem with Windows....

You can click to make this larger; what it shows is how many problems have been discovered (and gotten rid of) in a relatively short time by Avira, my free antivirus. Possibly if I could get Windows update to work, I wouldn't have so much trouble. But of course, Windows won't update.

Which is why I'm willing to try that Mac Mini. Soon. And although it's possible to install Windows on a Mac, I won't be doing that.

This is why I do a daily virus scan.

The house where Jesse James was shot

During my growing-up years, once in a blue moon something would take me and my parents through St. Joseph, Missouri. In the early sixties, my mom and I were in that town weekly to watch the wrestling matches from our front-row seats.

We'd pass by the old Jesse James home/museum, and I remember wanting very badly to see inside. It was in a different location then; it's been moved to the grounds of the Patee House museum.

Even though my desire to visit the home had all but faded, I decided to make my childhood wish come true anyhow. Cliff says he doesn't understand what the big deal is about a "scum-sucking outlaw who was a thief and a killer". Well, I used to watch cowboy movies, and they tended to glorify Jesse; kids are impressionable, you know. Also, living in north Missouri, my parents and I often passed by banks Jesse had robbed, or the bridge under which he hid to wait for the train he was going to rob; my parents would tell me the stories, after which Daddy would burst into a song about "that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave", and Mother would join in. (You can listen to the song HERE.) Oh yes, Jesse was our very own.

Cliff and I have been to the other James home at Kearney, so this one was really a let-down. At Kearney, there's a guide to go through the house with you to tell you interesting facts; you're invited to ask questions.

At the "death house" in St. Joe, you give your money to a guy who is so stoned that, when he stands up, he has to hold onto the wall. He asks if you have anything smaller than a twenty (he asked this of everyone who came in while we were there).

There's nobody to answer questions. Most of the things you see in the house are replicas, although there is quite a bit of Frank James memorabilia.

This is a replica of the needlepoint wall hanging that Jesse was straightening when that dirty little coward, Robert Ford, shot him.

The famous bullet hole, made much larger by souvenir-hunters who took pieces of plaster from around it, is possibly not a bullet hole; because when they exhumed Jesse's body, there was no exit wound. Although of course the bullet could have exited through an eye socket. And Cliff says he can't imagine a bullet shot at such a close range could keep from exiting.

There's a casting of Jesse's skull showing the entry wound

And a casting of his teeth.

I really would have loved to tour the Patee house, since we were right there; but all St. Joe museums are only open for four hours on Sundays, and I wanted to have plenty of time to explore the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

If you're wanting to learn about Jesse James firsthand, I recommend the museum at Kearney over the St. Joseph location; although the $2 admission for seniors, I suppose, makes it worthwhile at this one. Just be sure and take exact change.

Questions for Mac users

That guy in Oregon has some questions for you Mac people. If you have time, go over there and tell him what you think.

Click HERE.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Glore Psychiatric Museum

We made it to St. Joseph today; it's supposed to be the last warm day for awhile, so we grabbed the opportunity for a motorcycle ride. We did sort of a whirlwind tour of some museums; on Sundays, they're all only open from 1 PM to 5 PM, so that limited us, since we always strive to get home while it's still daylight when we're on the bike.

The most interesting of the museums we saw today was the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

It's unbelievable how inhumanely the mental patients were treated all through the 1800's, and even on through the 1900's; really, they were punished for behavior over which they had no control, as if they were criminals. Less than ten per cent of them ever got out once they were commited.

I found a website three pages long that tells, in words and pictures, some of the things Cliff and I saw today; if you're interested, click HERE.

You can click on any of these pictures to make them larger.

One poor lady had swallowed all these things over a period of time. She died on the operating table.

This is the hollow wheel; evidently people thought it was good for patients to tread this thing endlessly, like a hamster in a wheel.

Oh sure, that's gonna help a mentally ill lady.

Or this.


Here's how I start each morning

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that the first thing I do in the morning, after making coffee, is to come to the computer. Even on weekends I'm out of bed long before Cliff is, so there's nothing pressing I have to do, once I'm awake. Besides, we all need something to do as we drink our coffee and get ourselves awake. Right?

I've always turned my computer off at night; so when I'm out of bed, I turn it on. Then I'm off to the bathroom and to the kitchen to make coffee. By the time I've done that, the old Dell is booted up and ready to surf. Or at least that's how it used to be.

These days, not so much. Oh, the thing turns on just fine, but when I sit down at the keyboard I find it isn't connected to the Internet. Every. Single. Morning.

My next move after this happens is to open up Cliff's laptop, which is never turned off until it's moving as slow as molasses because it's used all it's resources (don't get me started), and see if it connects. Nine times out of ten, it does, so I know the problem is with my computer and not my router or DSL.

So I turn off my desktop, get on my knees (not a pleasant thing for a person with faulty knees), reach under my desk, and unplug the tower. I go surf for awhile on the laptop, come back in here and plug my computer in, wait for it to boot up, and then, usually, it connects just fine.

I tried leaving it on all night; no dice. Next morning it wouldn't connect to the Internet until I unplugged it, waited, and plugged it back in.

Last night after I turned the dadgummed thing off, I decided to unplug it then, rather than wait until morning. It took it awhile this morning, but it did finally connect without my turning it back off and unplugging it.

I feel I'm getting closer and closer to that Mac Mini. I've been checking to make sure my external hard drive has all my good stuff on it... pictures and songs and such.

By the way, Cliff says "Mac Mini" sounds like something you'd buy at McDonald's.

I'm tired of Windows updates that refuse to update but constantly sit on my task bar nagging at me. I'm sick of seeing my anti-virus find new unwanted programs and viruses at least once a week. The glowing reports in my comment section from happy Mac owners are succeeding in swaying me to the other side.

Meanwhile, I have a cow staring at my front door; I put her baby up last night so I could get some milk, and she's bound to start bawling at me soon. She isn't worried about the calf, but she knows sweet feed is waiting when I let her in the barn.

Just like clockwork, Bonnie is getting very vocal. Have a good day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Finding the back roads

Cliff has had two full days of working on his tractor project uninterrupted. Tomorrow is the last full day of our weekend, and I suggested we get on the motorcycle and ride someplace. Cliff told me to figure out someplace to ride.

There are two places I've nagged him all summer long to take me: the Pony Express Museum at St. Joseph, and Jefferson City, to see our state capital. He's been reluctant to go either place.

So I brought up the St. Joseph trip to him again.

"That's too far," he said.

I returned to my computer to see if I could find anything going on tomorrow, within sixty miles or so. I wasn't having any luck; then he said, from the next room, "Are there any back roads to St. Joe?"

Well, there are some, but it's hard to figure them out on the map. Maybe in the morning it will make more sense.

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Morning ride

Yesterday evening I took Blue out on the road, the first time in a long time.  He needs his feet toughened up again; the rocks really bothered him, and he kept going over to the grassy areas beside the road for relief.

Several things have kept me from riding this summer:  I’m lazy, for one thing, and I don’t like to change clothes just to ride.  It would be easier if I could just go outside and hop aboard Blue when the mood hits; but every item of my clothing, from underwear to boots, has to be changed.  I won’t go into sickening detail here:  Let’s just say that some things tend to bind and bounce when you’re riding, and the wrong underwear can be a great cause for discomfort.  So there’s that.

The number one reason for my not getting on my horse is that my right knee gives me fits these days when I’m riding.  Somehow, the position of that knee when I’m in the saddle is the perfect position for making it pop.  So it pops in and out randomly.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

However, I rode last night, and vowed to ride Blue at least five days a week, weather permitting, even if I only ride for a half-hour.  This morning I rode in the pasture.


I rode back to the point at which I can look down over the Missouri river bottom.  That light area just between the gray, low-lying cloud and the furthest line of trees is where the river is, but what you see is not the river:  it’s fog, produced as a result of the river being warmer than the cool morning air.


Bonnie seemed surprised to see Blue with a passenger on his back.


Little Sir Loin had been hidden in the woods asleep, but he heard me talking to Blue and came to see what was happening.

You will never see Blue’s ears all perky and alert when we’re in the pasture, because he’s bored; after all, it’s his home.  He knows where every blade of grass is.  There are no surprises.  When we’re off our property, he’s always on the alert.  He doesn’t want to miss a thing.

Feel free to remind me from time to time that I’m going to ride my horse more regularly… pain and laziness be damned!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A cheaper way to own a Mac

Every once in awhile I go to the Apple website and browse. I'd really like to own a Mac, but they are so very expensive!

Today I saw an option I had never noticed before: the Mac Mini. It's affordable.

It hooks up to the monitor and keyboard I already use.

This might be an easy introduction into the world of Mac users.

Now, I know there are people wondering why I can't just buy another Dell; PC's are cheaper than they've ever been.

Please tell me this: Have you ever met a Mac user who didn't LOVE her Mac?

Those who own Macs would never go back.

If you know of a dissatisfied Mac user, let me know, would you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Re-arranging the barn

Considering that cattle aren’t the most intelligent animals on the planet, the calf, Sir Loin, never ceases to amaze me.

barn doors

In the evening when I’m planning to milk the next morning, I remove him from his mother by driving him through the sliding door on the right, into the horse stall. Even though I only milk once or twice a week, Sir knows what I’m doing, and after a little bucking and cavorting, he’ll run right in there.

Next morning, Bonnie is usually right there by the barn, knowing her son is inside. She and the calf usually start mooing at one another around 6 A.M., and I get out there quickly so they don’t wake Cliff up. The barn is right in front of our house, you know.

Bonnie goes in the open door on the left, and right to her stanchion; I lock her in it so she can’t leave when her sweet feed is gone, clean her udder, and milk as much as she’ll give me, which is less than a half-gallon. In order to get all the milk in the two teats on my side, I have to let the calf in and get him nursing on her left side so she’ll go ahead and let her milk down.

I prop open the door to where I’m milking, slide open the stall door for the calf, and Little Sir comes right on over.

If I milked twice a day like dairy farmers, I wouldn’t be so surprised at how well Sir knows what he’s supposed to do; but milking only once or twice a week, I wouldn’t have expected him to figure it out.


There isn’t much space between the cow and the wall (sorry about showing you Bonnie’s hiney like that). When Sir was smaller, it was no problem to wrestle him around and back him in there; now that he’s big, I’d never get it done if he didn’t cooperate. He hasn’t figured out how to use reverse, but he comes in the barn, stands in place behind his mom, and waits for me to guide him backwards into that small space. One he’s in position, I go back to my side of the cow and finish milking.

Lately, his body is almost too long to be in there and still reach the teats.


So today, Cliff moved the stanchion over, leaving plenty of space for the calf. No more pushing him backward into that small space.

My blogging buddy Amy said, in a comment, “I try to make sure I don't get too attached to your animals, but Sir Loin sure does pull at my heartstrings.”

Mine too, Amy. If only he had been a heifer! I do intend to enjoy him every day I have him here. Nevertheless, he is bound for the freezer eventually; I’ll be considerate and not blog about it when that day comes.

Let’s hope next years calf is a girl.

horses and cows

In the past, I’ve had horses that chased cows unmercifully, running them into ditches and fences, chasing them into total exhaustion. Horses don’t behave this way out of meanness; they’re just having fun doing what horses do. It’s a game. The trouble is that horses are fast, agile, and graceful. Cows are clumsy and slow. So we know who wins at this game.

For a several years, Cliff and I had electric fence strung up to keep the horses and cows separate. Last year we decided to try letting them roam together, while keeping a close eye on them.

At first the horses did chase the cows quite a bit, and the cows learned to graze in different areas of the pasture; never, though, did the horses pursue them relentlessly like I’d seen some do in the past. They’d just lay their ears back and run the cows off to perhaps fifty feet away from them, then go back to grazing.


As time went by, the misbehavior became rare, and now they can all be seen grazing in the same area of the pasture together.

Bonnie drinking Bonnie’s seen here getting a drink. I had her calf put up overnight so I could milk this morning, and she probably spent the whole night in the lot outside the barn near her calf, away from water. Here’s one convenience I have that Pioneer Woman’s family does not: The in-ground waterer, which never freezes. I don’t have to chop ice in winter like Marlboro Man does. Of course, I realize it would be impossible to pipe water out to those isolated fields where their hundreds of cattle spend their time. But it does me good to know I have one convenience they don’t have!

IMG_3716Just before I took this shot of Sir Loin, Sassy (in the background) chased him for a short distance. If there’s going to be any orneriness done by horses, you can bet Sassy will be the culprit. I blame it on her being half Arabian. I know, I know… there are nice, gentle Arabians around. But I had a bad experience with one, and I don’t forget easily.


OK, so it isn’t as big a deal as the lion laying down with the lamb. But it sure makes me happy.


I first learned about Swagbucks when I checked my Sitemeter and noticed that someone was coming to my blog each day by typing "just me donna" into a Swagbucks search. I mentioned it in a post, that person left a comment, and I decided to try using Swagbucks as my search engine. Once or twice daily, out of the blue, I'll receive some points when I'm doing a search. I've traded points for Paypal bucks and for coupons. I just used a $5 off coupon at Amazon yesterday. I'm not the patient sort, so I don't let my points pile up for long. Right now I have fifty-six, and that may be the most I've ever let accumulate.

If you use search engines quite a bit, and spend the kind of time I do surfing the Internet, there's no reason you can't get these little perks for surfing.

No, I don't get anything for this mention of Swagbucks; it's just that when I find a good thing, I like to share it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet potatoes

Perhaps some of you recall my planting the end of a sweet potato I bought at the store; I'd kept it around the house too long, and rather than toss it, I decided to use it.

I think I tried my hand once, years ago, at raising sweet potatoes.  If I remember correctly, I think my sweet potatoes were long and slender instead of the big fat ones I'd been dreaming of, and I didn't try them again.

So, here I am with one sweet potato vine that has spread about ten feet in all directions, and I got to wondering whether this would yield one root, or several.


A search through Google images led me to this picture.  Wow!  Do you suppose I’ll get that many from my one plant?

That picture led me to a website that tells about some people raising sweet potatoes on a bigger scale; click HERE if you’re interested.

Wow! That's a lot of milk.

Meesha sent me this video, and I figured some of my readers might enjoy it as much as I did. If you watch the whole thing, you'll even see a cow giving birth.

Melvin Price locks and dam

Toward the end of our ride with Charlene and Pat Saturday, we stopped to tour a free museum (I guess you’d call it a museum) and learned quite a bit about barges, and how they navigate through the locks on the Mississippi River.  To read about why locks and dams are important, click HERE.



There’s an area where people can watch the barges as they make their way through the locks.  We witnessed this at another location one time, but on this occasion, we went inside to see what the museum at the Melvin Price site had to offer. 

We found a sort of video game that lets you navigate a barge through the locks, and Pat decided to try his hand at it while we looked on.


He gave it a good try, but didn’t finish in time.


In this shot, he’s navigating the barge toward a bridge under which he’ll have to pass without crashing.


Careful, Pat!  You don’t want to lose all the grain on that barge!



We’d had a great ride and a good time, but at this point we were ready to call it a day. 

Once we were back at the house, the men went to fetch some of the best pizza I’ve tasted in my life.  Normally, if it isn’t Pizza Hut pizza, I don’t care for it.  I’d give the place a plug if I knew the name of it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Slideshow of our ride last weekend

To see the slideshow with larger pictures, go HERE.

Look how Sir Loin has grown


Just born…


… and this morning, at almost three months old.

Of course, it’s no wonder he's growing; he gets four gallons of milk every day, except for once or twice a week when I put him in the barn so I can steal a gallon.

I had the Artificial Insemination tech here for Bonnie almost six weeks ago. After a cow is serviced, you mark it down on the calendar and watch her closely, three weeks later, for signs of being in heat. We had a very busy weekend on Bonnie’s three-week mark, but I saw no signs. This weekend it will be six weeks, so I’ll watch her (hopefully more closely) again.

I had so much trouble with my last heifer, who turned out to be sterile, that I’m almost afraid to hope Bonnie is bred so soon. Especially since she is a dream cow, probably as perfect in her demeanor and behavior as any Jersey cow I’ve owned. And I’ve owned quite a few.

She’s tame, and loves to be petted and hugged; she stands like a lady to be milked; she’s beautiful; she’s a good mother.

She’s perfect. Which is why I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Assuming she’s bred, I’ll let Sir nurse her until a couple of months before her next calf is due. Then we’ll take him to Cliff’s brother’s place to wean him.

Sometime after Bonnie has her next calf, we’ll bring him back home, let him get to the age of about eighteen months, and have him butchered. Since we don’t intend to try and fatten him, we’ll have most of the meat put in ground beef, as we did our last steer.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Singin' the blues

When we started off on our motorcycle ride Saturday, we happened past an arena in St. Louis (or perhaps it was in St. Charles) where B.B. King was scheduled to appear. Now I like me some blues, and in spite of the fact that I was battling a bit of U.T.I. (is that TMI?), I suddenly felt like singing some blues. In fact, I felt like composing some blues.

Unfortunately, when I start singing blues, it ends up sounding like something Woody Guthrie or Jimmy Rogers would have written... not anything B.B. King would endorse.

If you want something easy to compose, just try the original blues beat: first line, then repeat that for the second line, then rhyme it, for the third line.

So, thanks to the mics in our helmets, Cliff got to hear my original composition as I made it up; here are some samples:

"I'd rather drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log (repeat).
Than to ride a motorcycle that people call a hog."

"If your baby left you and you're feeling low (repeat),
Buy you a Gold Wing, get on that bike and go."

"G for Gold Wing, G for get 'er done (repeat),
If you have a Gold Wing, you're gonna have some fun."

"I got a Gold Wing, some folks wonder why (repeat),
'Cause me and my man get on that thing and fly."

"I'm from Missouri, that's the Show-me state. (repeat),
And we all know that Gold Wings are great."

That's only a sample; I probably made up fifty verses as we rode along.

Now here's the sad part; my little blues song was so countryfied that after every verse, I felt compelled to yodel. "Yodel-a-di-oh, di-lay-di-oh, di-lay-di!"

Poor Cliff.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

Cliff and I had made plans for a week to go to Dogpatch, south of Harrison, Arkansas, this weekend.  There's a biker motel there called “The Hub, and we've wanted to stay there for a long time; we even had Cliff's sister and her husband making plans to meet us; Arkansas has some of the best, most lovely motorcycle roads in the country.  Oh yes, we had wonderful plans.

Thursday I just happened to read a certain blog where a lady in Arkansas mentioned rain.  Lots of it.  Rain that won't quit.  I left a comment for her, saying I hoped the rain stopped by the weekend, and I told her our plans.

She commented back to me, saying that we were bound to get wet.  When I checked with, it appeared she was right; so we changed plans. 

Cliff’s St. Louis sister had already put in for Friday as a vacation day.  The weather in her area looked much better than that for Arkansas, the only fly in the ointment being possible rain on Sunday (today).  So off we went, taking the longer and more scenic route (Highway 50) to St. Louis.  Pat and Charlene met us halfway on their Harley.

We had a great time and some nice rides.  It’s amazing how many wonderful, scenic rides can be found such a short distance from a big city like St. Louis.  Yesterday we crossed into Illinois and rode along the Mississippi River; it’s a route we’ve taken a couple of times before, but it’s always fun.

This morning, we woke up to steady rain; we could have waited around in hopes it would quit, but we might have had to wait a long time; we decided to put on our rain gear and head out.

Riding in a heavy rainfall on the motorcycle is one of the more terrifying experiences I’ve gone through:  I’m not afraid of getting cold or wet; the proper gear takes care of that.  But when it’s raining, Cliff and I become legally blind.  Headlights are blurry, and vehicles fifty feet ahead are only shadows.  Rain makes our glasses, and the windshield, impossible to see through clearly.  If someone ahead of us made a wrong move, we’d be out of luck.  My Georgia friend Celeste, the same one who gave me possum-killing advice the other day, informs me there is a Rain-X made for motorcycle windshields.  We’ll be buying some of that!

Thank the Good Lord the rain only lasted for about the first forty-five minutes of our journey home. 

We usually stay off freeways, but after the terrifying experience of riding on the freeway in St. Louis in the rain, I-70 was a breeze the rest of the way once the rain stopped, and we made it home in good time. 

I took some chili out of the freezer for our dinner once we got home, made a pot of coffee, and gave a sigh of relief.  The return home was made even better by the fact that our neighboring fisherman gave us a big freezer-bag full of boned and dressed catfish. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

I killed a possum!

If you think opposums are cute little lovable critters, do not read this entry or scroll down to the pictures; but ever since possums wiped out my whole chicken population years ago, I’ve hated them with a passion.

If you’re reading this VIA Facebook, you are missing seeing pictures.

Sadie had already gone to her doggie bed in the bedroom last night when suddenly she started barking desperately, looking out the window nearest her bed.


I got a flashlight and let her out, following close behind; she went to the deck box in front of our garage and barked like crazy at the space between the deck box and garage. I shone my light into that space and, lo and behold, a possum.


We have big rocks lying in that (weedy) bed of gravel along the house, and I grabbed one and flung it on top of the possum. Then another. Pretty soon the possum was covered with big rocks with nothing but his ugly, growling head sticking out, and I came in and announced my triumph on Facebook. One has to share victories in whatever way is available.

My wise Georgia friend, who has likely had her own struggles with varmints, told me those rocks wouldn’t hold the possum. I called Cliff at work, and he said “get a hammer”. I pointed out that the hammers are way out in the shop, and I was running around in my nightgown with a flashlight.

“Then get a shovel and kill him with that.”

Since the shovels are in the garage near the house, I tried that… one-handed, of course, because I was holding the flashlight in the other hand. Again and again and again, with Sadie going absolutely crazy beside me, I struck at the vile creature. I hate killing anything, even a possum. But I don’t want them taking over my place, either. Who knows, I might want some chickens again sometime.

I saw blood, and the possum stopped growling at Sadie; he was still covered by fifteen-pound rocks.

I announced my triumph (again) on Facebook.


This morning when I went to remove the body, this is all I saw. No possum, only rocks.

I was fairly certain he went off and died someplace, but I sure did want to know for sure.


Then I went out to get rid of some trash and I saw this.

If this happens again, I hope I get a cleaner kill.

Celeste had suggested using a gun, but I don’t touch guns; I’m afraid I’d shoot my fool self, or blast holes in something valuable.

If you go to my wall on Facebook, you can see the whole possum conversation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


That guy in Oregon doesn't care much for Facebook. You can go on over there and read the reasons why.

I'm here to tell you my opinion of the Facebook phenomenon.

The games, quizzes, tests, and such are stupid. Yoville and Farm Town and FarmVille and Barn Buddy... these all bore me now, and I don't even know why I'm still playing. Actually, I'm not playing very often. I should delete them all, except for Mafia Wars: I’ve never played that one, but I joined up so my son could have me on his team… or something; so just for him, I’d keep that.

Anyhow, I recently had the opportunity to learn how useful Facebook can be in renewing or strengthening family ties: My sister's son, grandsons, and their families visited her, and we got together with them a couple of times that weekend.

Our real-life contacts with these folks have been few and far between... more so, as years go by. I barely knew my great-nephew's wife, Heather. We'd shared some Christmas dinners through the years, but that doesn't really acquaint you with someone.

However, since we've been Facebook friends, I feel as though I'm getting to know her. When I get together with my sister, who has no desire to have Internet service, I can usually tell her about some of her great-grandchildren's escapades, because I've read all about them on Facebook.

So when we saw them all a couple of weeks ago, there wasn't any awkward silence, no lulls in the conversation. It felt as though we'd seen one another only last week, or last month. And all this from a random sentence or two typed onto Facebook occasionally.

My daughter has connected me with some of her old school pals; I seem to have had a reputation among them for being a good cook. That's what they recall about me, anyway. I'm glad to know that's what they remember me for; without Facebook I would never have known it.

I've connected with people who were my co-workers five years ago, so I get to see what's going on in their lives.

I get glimpses into the activities of Cliff's brother's kids and their families, just little snippets here and there; but I know a lot more about them than I used to.

I enjoy becoming a fan of my favorite TV shows, because then I get notice when the new season starts, or when a new episode is coming on. Being a fan of Denny's Restaurant, I get 20% off coupons from time to time. Of course I realize that only pays the waitress's tip, but every little bit helps.

I am sorry that Facebook has taken a lot of people away from blogging, but obviously they're more comfortable with brief updates, rather than typing several paragraphs; it takes all kinds of people to make a world.

I know many of my Facebook friends in real life; some, I've attended church with in the past. Other friends I only know online, either from the old AOL chat room or from AOL Journals and Blogger. Honestly, I probably know some of the online friends better than I "know" many of my real-life ones.

They're coming up with a Facebook Lite that won't show all the games and quizzes and IQ tests; it'll only show the things people actually type in, in the course of their everyday lives. I think that may work better for some of us.

Yeah, I’ll keep my Facebook.

My Ipod

My daughter got me an excellent buy on a used Ipod; someone at work was upgrading to... I don't know, an Itouch or an Iphone? Anyhow, this thing is like brand new, and I'm learning how to use it, little by little.

It has 30 gigabytles, which is about five times as much storage as my very first Windows 98 computer had. I've been at my computer all morning adding entire CD's to the thing; I now have ten hours of music on my Ipod, and I've only used one gigabyte.

The thing is so smart! I can choose to listen to a certain artist, or a particular album, or randomly play everything on it. I added a Green Day CD I had burned off my granddaughter's CD, and the Ipod somehow knew who the artists were, and what songs... on a home-made CD!

I have no idea how long it will play on a charge... anybody know?

I think I have the basics figured out, thanks to my daughter’s help; my next move is to learn how to get it to play through my fancy-schmancy radio/CD speakers.

Speaking of how thoroughly modern I’m becoming, I’m liking this Windows Live Writer more all the time; what would I do without my blogger buddies giving me hints and suggestions? Not to mention how you all help me figure out what sort of bird is in my yard, or what kind of flower is growing in my flowerbed.

My readers are the best in the world!

On a random note, I still have hummingbirds, although I think the males may be gone; I haven’t noticed any red throats for a couple of days. And those goldfinches that everybody said would disappear? They have, although they didn’t leave as early as predicted. They are supposed to be back once their little families leave the nest, only not as yellow as they were before. I certainly hope so; I miss them.


Here’s one of my favorite things about living out here in the pasture. I can look out the window and see my cows or horses grazing!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodbye, old baler

I don't know when we bought the old John Deere twine-tie, square baler. I remember it being really cheap; back then, "cheap" was all we could afford, and even then we had to scrape pennies together for any major purchase.

There was a reason it was cheap: It was almost as old as us, and had been sitting outside for several years, rusting.

It took lots of elbow grease, but Cliff got it running. Oh, he's always had to baby it, stopping now and then to give a couple of turns on the thing-a-ma-jig that ties the bales; and it sheared the occasional pin, but those shear pins are one of the few items for which John Deere doesn't charge a fortune; so Cliff usually kept several on hand.

He loaned the old baler out a couple of times, and we soon learned that other people didn't have Cliff's patience, or that ability to treat it gently and take things slow and easy. So they had trouble with it, and never wanted to borrow it again.

Cliff doesn't intend to plant alfalfa any more; it keeps him tied down too many weekends, and works him harder than a man his age should have to work. He'll be using the big round baler for the grass/clover mix we feed the livestock nowadays.

Thanks to Craigslist, the old 214 John Deere baler left this evening. I believe we got twice the price we paid long ago, although with inflation being what it is, we probably didn't make a profit. We sure used it a lot of years, though.

I can't help feeling rather sad to see it gone.

If 10 percent is good enough....

If you only want to hear the song without all the gab, start about 3 minutes into the video.

I pay another man to do my taxes
On account of that's just one more deduction I can take
But you know the mailman brought my W-2 this morning
Yeah and this year they're taking a third of all I make.

Now I'm just as patriotic as the next man
And you know I love that Red White and Blue
So I'm gonna help to pay this rising cost of freedom
But I'll be danged if I'm gonna change my point of view.

Cuz every time the bureaucrats run out of money
Congress socks it to the working man
And I don't think it's one bit funny
How they take so much of my money
And do things with it I don't understand.

I don't know why they think they've got to squeeze us
But I'll tell you just exactly where I stand
I believe if ten percent is good enough for Jesus
Well it oughta be enough for Uncle Sam.

Now some of these folks that we've been sending off to Congress
Think that all they've got to do - just spend and spend, huh
But you know you can't run a family much less a country
With more money going out than coming in.

Yeah and that old debt just keeps on getting bigger
And we all gonna have to pay so don't you laugh
Cuz pretty soon we might just look down at our paychecks
And figure out that they done started taking HALF!

Cuz every time the bureaucrats run out of money
Congress socks it to the working man
And I don't think it's one bit funny
How they take so much of my money
And do things with it I don't understand.

I don't know why they think they've got to squeeze us
But I'll tell you just exactly where I stand
I believe if ten percent is good enough for Jesus
Well it oughta be enough for Uncle Sam.

I said if ten percent is good enough for Jesus
Well it oughta be enough
You know times're getting tough
And it oughta be enough for Uncle Sam.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting day

Cliff and I had just gotten back to the house after taking our morning walk when the local Walking Horse trainer/trader drove up. In times past, it seems he always wanted some favor or other; but this time he was trying to give away an old mobile home he's been renting out that he no longer needs. We have one junkie mobile home to rent out, thank you very much. We suggested he offer it free on Craigslist.

He also wanted to boast about how many rich old ladies he's teaching to ride, and how generously they pay him. Oh, and how one widow just bought the modular home next door to my daughter for $10,500, and is moving it next door to him. That's why he's trying to get rid of the 30-year-old mobile home that's been on that lot.

Feeling generous, I asked him if he and his wife like butternut squash; he answered that they certainly did, saying, "I never turn down free food!" Then we told him to help himself to what's left of the tomatoes. Geesh, he was like a kid in a candy store. Cliff thinks some rich old ladies are going to be offered some squash soon.

Then Cliff and I took some pictures of farm implements and such that he doesn't use much, to put on Craigslist. His tractor fund has been taken down to nothing, and he'd like to build it up somewhat. He listed a two-wheel trailer, the old John Deere square baler, some tractor wheel weights, and other odds and ends. Oh yes, and he re-listed the 520 John Deere.

Craigslist is a wonderful thing, but you always have to deal with what Cliff calls "the talkers" (those who only want a phone conversation and have no intention of buying), and the "lookie-loos" (those who love to come and see what you have, but have no intention of buying).

We had all of the above.

So when three elderly folks came to look at the John Deere (obviously with no intention of buying), Cliff, having noticed my generous mood and the effect it had on the local horse guy, asked them if they'd like some butternut squash and some tomatoes. I wasn't there when he made this offer, but I'm fine with it.

When I went out, though, I noticed one of the old gentlemen had a handful of my bell peppers.

"You're welcome to a couple of those," I told him, "but I'm freezing them, so take it easy."

Cliff later told me he hadn't offered them the peppers; I guess they just figured it was a free-for-all.

So he's had several calls on his ads, but so far it's just talkers and lookie-loos.

On another note: Cliff always has a pair of pliers with him, wherever he goes. He feels almost crippled without them. Lately, he keeps losing his favorite Sears Craftsman pliers. It isn't his fault, it's the way his clothes are designed.

One pair of jeans has a hammer pocket that he keeps thinking is a pliers pocket. Of course, the pliers fall right through. Another pair of jeans is designed so that when Cliff sits in his recliner, the pliers fall out; I find them a few days later when I vacuum (I'm sorry, flylady). And then there are the times that he simply forgets to remove them from a pocket, and I find them when I wash.

Pliers aren't that expensive, so I figured out a solution: I ordered ten (count 'em, ten) pairs of pliars from Sears. I let Cliff take one; I have the other nine pliers in safe keeping.

Cliff’s “new” fenders

Warning: This entry is about Cliff’s passion, the old 1855 Oliver he hopes to restore. City-dwellers, especially ladies, may want to skip this entirely.

I mentioned before that on Saturday’s ride, Cliff found some fuel-tank fenders for his 1855. Oh, his tractor has fenders… but not fuel-tank fenders.

Back when Ollie was new, she was one of the bigger tractors to be found, so full-time farmers were the ones who bought the 1855… and the even bigger 1955 and 2255. One option with that line was fuel-tank fenders: You’d fill up the regular tank plus the two fuel-tanks in the fenders, and you didn’t have to return to the barn so often to refuel, when you were out working the fields.

Very practical, for farmers who had huge acreages. Cliff, however, only wanted them because he thinks they make the tractor look better than the regular fenders.


Ever since he saw that perfectly restored 1755 Oliver (pictured here) at an Iowa tractor show, he’s dreamed of getting his Ollie looking like that. And that tractor had those special fenders.

Yesterday we went to Clinton to pick up those fenders Cliff spotted Saturday; they were ready and waiting, but as the fellow started to load them, he said, “The ones in back that were already off the tractor are in better shape than these.”

He offered to take Cliff to see them, and Cliff agreed they were superior to the others. Those are the ones we came home with.

As it happens, they came off an 1850, rather than an 1855. So there are two lights in each of the fenders instead of one. For a purist, they wouldn’t do. But for my husband, who thinks two lights look better than one anyhow, they’re just right.


Somebody welded ugly angle-iron on top of these, so those will have to be removed.

And that’s the story of the fuel-tank fenders.

Pioneer Woman is coming to Kansas City!

(I stole this picture from her website... I hope she doesn't mind)

No, I won't be forcing my daughter to take me to meet Ree. I've always felt out of my element on the Plaza anyhow. You know, like one of the Clampetts in Beverly Hills.

The Pioneer Woman is going on a tour with her cookbook, so if you're a fan, you might want to check HERE and see if she's coming to a book store near you. She says the list of towns she's visiting will be updated from time to time.

If you see her, tell her Granny Clampett said howdy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I love the words

Cliff has never been able to understand why I admire these people: Bob Dylan; Kris Kristofferson; John Prine; and Iris Dement. Oh yes, and even Arlo Guthrie (and of course his dad, Woody).

He listens, and then says, "I guess I just don't get it."

That's because he's listening to the music, and not the words.

When you can hear a song and feel like the writer has been where you've been, and is echoing what you've felt, it really doesn't matter how the music sounds. It's like you've met that person, because he/she is writing your own feelings.

To me, the words are what matters.

It's the same feeling I get when I'm reading some of Robert Frost's poems.

Or reading certain soliloquies written by Shakespeare. For instance, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.... "

Or even something as simple as Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.

Or the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Are there songwriters or poets who make you feel as though you know them through their compositions?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday’s ride

As I reported here, Cliff and I rode the motorcycle to a tractor show on Friday.

Saturday morning, I overheard him talking to his Kansas brother, telling him all about our Friday.

"It was a great ride," he said, "and I need to mow pasture today, but I might just hop on the bike again."

I'm sure he was just making conversation, but the seed was planted in my mind. So as we were taking our walk, I asked him, “Are we going for a motorcycle ride today?”

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I need to mow. But we might.”

Back at the house, I could tell by the clothes he put on that he wasn’t planning on riding.

“Oh, so we’re not going for a ride?”

“No, I need to catch up around here. We just rode yesterday. Besides, where would we go? Do you have any ideas?”

What you read next will let you know that I truly understand what motivates my husband.

“Oh, I thought we could ride down to Clinton to Cook Tractors; their monthly sale is Monday, right? And you could check out the lineup and see what they’re going to be selling.”

Within twenty minutes he had on his biker boots, I had our picnic packed, and we were on our way.

Consider this part 2 in “tours of Missouri tractor junk yards”.


We took the back roads to Clinton, enjoying every minute of the ride. Once there, we asked a lady working at Breaktime, where we filled up with gas, the whereabouts of the city park. She gave us great instructions, and we had lunch.


Then on to Cook Tractors: There were two Oliver 1855 parts tractors, and one of them had the fuel-tank fenders that Cliff has been wanting ever since he bought the Oliver. Unfortunately, the guy that handles sales of salvage stuff isn’t there on Saturdays.


Cliff must have spent thirty minutes walking around those two tractors, salivating. Knowing this would happen, I had taken along a Readers’s Digest; I sat in the shade of a huge combine and read all the jokes, then went on to a couple of stories.

I don’t think my husband has had a good night’s sleep since. I’m telling you, he really wants those fuel-tank fenders!


Cliff only takes me to the best junk yards. What an honor.

It was another good ride. Do I know how to work my husband, or not?