Monday, November 30, 2009
Some time this winter after a snowfall, Cliff will inter-seed clover into the grass that's already established... grass that has grown so tall that he's afraid the little clover seeds might not make it through the dense growth to the earth. So he figured it wouldn't hurt to graze it some. The horses don't need it. But Bonnie could use it, and cows don't nip grass right to the ground like horses do. The problem was this: how to give Bonnie access and yet keep the horses out.
So Cliff fixed up this rather elaborate entryway to allow Bonnie and Sir Loin to safely get into the plot without the slightest risk of getting shocked. It only took one can of feed to lure Bonnie in the first time, and she's been going in and out to her heart's content ever since. The horses haven't even attempted it.
Unfortunately, Sir Loin refuses to enter. He waits patiently for Mom to come back out. By George, it's been his experience that when you get too close to that area, it hurts.
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," he thinks smugly as he chews his cud and waits for his milk source to join him.
So when I saw five pounds of carrots for $2.49, I was ecstatic. Do you think eating five pounds of carrots will atone for five pounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, and pie I've consumed? Please tell me they will!
Back home, I took the big baggie of turkey out of the refrigerator and divided it into manageable amounts. When my children were home, I'd have made a gigantic turkey pot pie with most of that, and we would have devoured it in two meals. Unfortunately, turkey pot pie is as unhealthy as any other food that includes pie crust in the recipe. I didn't freeze all the turkey, by the way; we'll have some for lunch, and Cliff will take a sandwich of it to work tonight. The carcass is boiling merrily away as I type this. Tomorrow, turkey soup!
My mother never actually had me do much cooking when I was growing up, but I did a lot of watching. It amazes me to see how many things I do just like her, since she never actually told me anything about how to cook. I learned mainly from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, after I was on my own. Of course after I married Cliff, I asked her advice many times.
Pies, for instance: I make the same thumbprints around the edge, and put the same designs in the top crust, as Mother did. She always cut a pie into six pieces, and I did too, until the last several years. Now I make it eight pieces, and that's plenty. By the way, Lloyd's of London wouldn't insure that pie; Cliff and I can't walk past it without looking at it. I'm fairly sure that Mother covered her turkey snugly when she roasted it, and that's what I've always done. Even though all the cookbooks and online recipes say to leave it uncovered except for putting an aluminum-foil tent over it at some point, I've always been afraid to do it that way. This year, I got brave.
It worked! We almost broke into applause when we drew that twenty-pound bird out of the oven; the legs were a little dry, but that's because I left it in the oven longer than recommended. Oh, the stuffing: that's something else my mom did: she cooked the stuffing in and around the bird, not in a separate pan. Of course, she made her own, from scratch. I use Stove-top Stuffing.
So I'm sixty-five years old, and I finally roasted a turkey like it's supposed to be done. The old dog learned a new trick.
The things that get us in trouble are eating out too much (probably only twice a week, but those buffets add up), and cooking for company occasionally.
When it's time for a holiday meal, or when family guests are here, it isn't their fault that I cook unhealthy stuff: I use them as an excuse to cook and eat all that stuff I never make otherwise.
Yesterday's Thanksgiving meal left us with a heap of leftovers, many of which I pawned off on the family members: Granddaughter Amber loves noodles, so I sent those home with her; I'm sure her mother will help her eat them. Of course, I saved out a little for Cliff because I hate to see a grown man cry. Amber also took some pumpkin pie.
Her brother took quite a bit of the Oreo Dessert home with him. My daughter ended up coming back and getting the mashed potatoes (again, I saved out one serving for Cliff) and the broccoli-and-rice casserole.
The apple pie remained. And although I should have, I didn't press anyone to take any. Why not? Because I love it so! Cliff does too, but then he likes all desserts. Nobody else makes apple pie to my satisfaction, so when I've baked one, I can't leave it alone.
Today I had to decide when I would have my daily piece of apple pie. You see, I can limit myself to one piece a day until it's gone. I decided to have it, ala mode, for breakfast. That takes care of a couple of the food groups, right? Fruit and dairy? Ya think?
One thing about it, the remains of the holiday turkey will not go to waste here: I'll freeze it in appropriate amounts to use in my healthy versions of gumbo and jambalaya . The turkey frame and bones are waiting right now for me to make turkey frame soup. Low-fat, low-calorie, and chock-full of vitamins.
Maybe the oldest grandson will drop by at some point and have a couple of pieces of apple pie, or the rest of the Oreo Delight. Somebody needs to save us from ourselves.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
"Where else can you buy them?" I asked.
"I haven't been able to find them anywhere else."
"So, how many of them could you use?" I asked him.
"Oh, I probably only need a dozen."
So I'm doing the math in my head. Seventy-two cents. Why would a man not spend a buck or so to get those washers he needs? Especially a man who has spent quite a bit of money buying tractors and motorcycles.
"It's just the idea of it," says Cliff.
Must be a guy thing.
and some reasonably-priced jackets and shirts, if you don't mind a $5 coat that says, "Bob's Electric, Parumph, Nevada", or a $1 T-shirt emblazoned with, "Granny's Marathon, 2005".
Friday, November 27, 2009
I know not everybody follows her on Facebook, so if you're interested, you'll find the video HERE.
I don't know whose blog I was reading when I saw a recommendation for the movie, "State of Play", but I'd like to thank them if I ever figure it out. It was an excellent thriller that had me so wound up at one point, I had to turn it off and wait a few hours before I could work up the nerve to watch the rest.
I'd only had this thing a few days when I remembered that the son-in-law wanted me to burn a CD for him. Since my daughter was here at the time, we decided to figure out how to do it. Now, she uses a Macbook all the time, but she's never needed to burn a disc; she's never worked with the Iphoto program, either. These are things I've had to learn for myself. Looking back, it's been good for me.
After a few frustrating attempts, we decided the Mac Mini must not be capable of burning CD's. I seldom burn them anyhow, but it was rather disappointing that I had paid so much for a computer that couldn't perform such a simple task. Kevin brought over an external CD burner that he no longer uses, just in case I ever needed something put on CD. Since all six of my USB ports are filled, I never plugged it in, though.
This morning I went to the Apple site and started perusing information given about the Mac Mini, and lo and behold, I learned that it does have a CD burner! I then searched "help" on my Mac and found instructions on two different ways to burn a CD or DVD; seemed simple enough. I inserted a blank disc and before you know it, I had burned those songs Kevin wanted to a disc.
I was so proud, I even emailed my daughter at work to tell her about it.
I had no sooner clicked "send", though, than I realized I didn't know how to eject the disc. Talk about feeling stupid!
It took another half-hour or so of reading "help" topics, but I finally found the solution. It wasn't hard; in fact, it's ridiculously simple. Most everything you do on a Mac is more straight-forward and sensible than a PC; it's just so totally different, that it takes a little study. If I had an Apple keyboard, I would have clicked the "media eject" key. Since I don't, I simply needed to hit the "F12" key.
My daughter learned from a coworker, and relayed on to me, this simple fact: If you're having trouble figuring something out about your Mac, you're probably trying to make it too hard.
That has proven to be the case, so far, with every difficulty I've had with this computer.
I love my Mac.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
But then came the magic moment when everybody posed just long enough for the picture. You'll hear Cliff saying, "I woulda bet money that wouldn't happen."
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
If any of you have read about it and would like to have it, I am allowed to invite three more people to sign up for Google Wave.
Leave your email address in a comment, or send it to me in email (you'll find my email address on my profile). I'll have them send you an invite.
My mother loved to cook, and when I was growing up, the holidays were her time to shine. I enjoyed hanging around the kitchen when she was baking: I got to "lick the bowl" in which cakes were mixed; I was allowed to take a taste of brown sugar, or grab a handful of raisins.
Today I was baking a pie and, as always, I baked the extra pieces of crust. I still love pie crust trimmings, and when Cliff's around, he'll have some too. Maybe it's just another way of keeping in touch with my childhood. Or maybe pie crust really is that good.
My mom also used to give me a slice or two of raw potato when she was peeling them. I didn't really care for raw potato, but I never turned down that slice she handed me, either. I wonder why?
You see, it isn't that I'm ashamed to be reading that type of blog, it's just that I don't want risque stuff showing on mine!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I went into Walmart north of the river and found no turkeys. OK, there were two small Butterball turkeys no bigger than large hens, $1.49 a pound. I didn't want that small a turkey! Except for those, the cooler was bare.
So we stopped by a local Apple Market in that town and found out they had plenty of turkeys at 39 cents per pound! So much for my plan to buy a smaller turkey; I never could pass up a bargain. They had good buys on other items I needed, too. I wish that store was closer to home; I do believe I could learn to like it.
After getting home and putting up groceries, I looked out the north window that faces the pasture and saw Sir Loin coming toward the house at a dead run, without his mother. First I thought she might have preceded him up here, and perhaps he was coming to join her. But soon I saw him laying down, chewing his cud... all alone. Then I cast my eyes far away and saw Bonnie grazing, way out on the point.
This is not normal cattle behavior, people. Cows are herd animals; they tend to panic when they're away from their friends. It puzzled me, but I decided maybe it was the weather change. Animals often act peculiar on days like this.
Half-an-hour later I saw Sir had joined his mother on the point, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever his problem, it seemed to be solved.
A while ago, I heard him bellowing loudly, and looked out to see him coming toward the barn again, running as fast as he could! Bonnie was nowhere in sight. He went to the salt block and licked it, bawling every little while.
I decided it was time to go take a close look at Bonnie; maybe there was something I hadn't been able to see from a distance. Sadie and I headed out, soon to be passed up by Sir Loin, trotting and bawling as he went.
By the time we caught up with him he had joined his mother, who was grazing happily in tall grass the horses turn their noses up at. She was obviously in good health.
So, I still don't know what possessed that silly calf to throw two running fits in succession.
Things that make you go "hmmm".
I notice most of my commenters like green bean casserole, and that's fine. There's just something about the fact that the sauce tastes like cream soup right out of the can, and I don't care for that kind of onions, either. Believe me, there are very few foods at which I turn up my nose! Oh, I can eat the stuff; I'd just rather not.
The turnips are still in the garden, and at least once a week I'll bring some in and cook a few creamed turnips for myself. I was delighted this week to finally make them taste like my mom's: The secret ingredient turned out to be just a little sugar!
The daughter's husband and their two girls are spending the actual Thanksgiving Day (and two days following) with his family at Carthage. My daughter has to stick around here because she works Friday.
My two oldest grandchildren really, really want the big dinner each year, or else I'd probably skip it; if I scheduled the feast for Thursday, it would only be me, Cliff, Rachel, Arick and Amber. Oh, and Cliff's sister next door. As much as Arick insists I do the annual feast, he also goes to two others on the same day. Which means his heart isn't quite in it, as it would be if he had no other place to go. He has to pace himself.
So I decided to have our feast on the weekend: Sunday, to be exact, since Amber works Saturday. I've asked each person what food item they absolutely MUST have, so I'll be sure and fix their favorites. The son-in-law and his girls should be back by then.
Sunday's menu: turkey and dressing (Cliff), noodles and mashed potatoes (Amber), broccoli-and-rice casserole (Arick and Rachel). Those are the requests. Of course I'll make my home-made rolls. My daughter said Kevin really loves sweet potato casserole, but personally, I don't. It's too sweet; everybody requests it, but I'm always left with a whole bunch left over. I might try a butternut squash version of it, since I'm blessed with lots of squash. Dessert will be Oreo delight and probably apple pie; I might even break down and bake a genuine pumpkin pie.
By the way, am I the only person in the world who hates that green-bean stuff with the canned onions? I've never made it.
As for Thursday? Cliff and I will probably eat soup, or something equally easy.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Don't judge the poor Oliver by how naked it is; Cliff won't be putting all the tin on until he paints it.
This gave me the opportunity to work with my Mac Iphoto and Imovie, splicing two videos together. My daughter was right: we tend to try and make things too hard on a Mac. Some of the programs are so simple that if you'll let it, it will practically do things by itself!
I could avoid all this by (a) using word verification for comments or (b) blocking anonymous commenters. Either method loses commenters, so for now I'll keep doing what I'm doing. It's rare that I get a legitimate anonymous comment, but when I do it's very special because it's usually someone saying, "I've read you for a long time" or "I read your blog every day." It's a treat to hear from someone like that, somebody who has never come out in the open before.
On another note, am I the only person whose spelling seems to have gotten worse since spell-check appeared on the scene? In the old days I'd stop and think about how to spell a word; now I just type it in any old way, knowing spell-check will give me the proper spelling.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
You know what's funny about it? This is how my Sadie acts when my son-in-law shows up. Even if she's seen him earlier the same day.
Our school had only one more team to beat in order to go to state competition in St. Louis: The Hamilton Hornets (Hamilton, birthplace and home of JC Penny). I begged, pleaded, and cajoled until Cliff agreed to go to the game yesterday. Granddaughter Natalie went along with us.
We have a friend there who has worked at several different jobs with Cliff; his son John is on the football team. The guy Cliff rides to work with has been going to watch John play, and he warned us that Hamilton is unbeatable. I so wanted him to be wrong. Obviously, so did all my neighbors, because it looked as though the whole town had traveled the sixty miles to watch the game.
Hamilton had three touchdowns by the end of the first quarter; we hadn't scored at all.
It was like watching the Kansas City Chiefs play. Not that the Tigers were bad, just that the other team was so doggoned good! Our guys valiantly tried to make a comeback in the second quarter, and they did some scoring. Alas, so did the other team. The final score was 62 to 27.
So the Hamilton Hornets will go to St. Louis. Well, at least we know John (who is an amazing football player) personally, and that gives us an interest in the team. The games will be televised locally, and I'll be rooting for Hamilton.
Because of the way the game went down, I didn't take many pictures.
Here are our boys, facing the camera before the game started.
You gotta love high school cheerleaders. By the way, when did pom-poms get so small? They used to be HUGE.
Hamilton's marching band, which has won four competitions this year, is amazing. Seriously.
Heading home, we enjoyed seeing that tiny dot of sun disappear into the cloud bank in the west.
And now, it's time for some basketball!
Friday, November 20, 2009
The reason they've been "lost in the shuffle" is that they are a pain in the patoot to put back on, once they're removed. It wasn't necessary that they be on the tractor in order to use it, so most farmers tossed them in a corner and thought no more about it. They weren't worried about how pretty the tractor looked; they were busy making a living.
Cliff wants his Ollie to have every piece she started with, but no matter where he called, there were none to be had.
So he found a suitable piece of metal and made a battery cover himself; once the Oliver is finished, nobody will be able to tell it isn't original.
Here's a closer work; Cliff's very proud of his handiwork.
*OK, I think I'm still going to be all over Dee's page. Even if she blocks apps like Swagbucks and drawings for Macs and Walmart gift cards. Because when I do a blog entry (at least three times a day, it seems) it shows there; when I write on someone's wall, it shows up.
My Facebook friends are doomed to an overload of ME, unless they totally block me. That can be done, you know.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
For instance: When we bought this mobile home, I intended to eventually have different cabinets installed in the kitchen. While I was putting it off, I realized we're not going to be here that long, so why not put up with the cabinets I have?
We moved back here to the pasture because I wanted a view, and more privacy than I had at the old house. I love my view: right now I can look out the window to my left and see the horses and cows grazing. It's been worth the hassle of moving. It was a good move! But remodeling the trailer house? I'm not so sure it would add one iota to my happiness.
Every plan I make these days is weighed against the time Cliff and I have left, and most are discarded. That is, unless it's some foolish-but-fun bauble. Like Cliff's Oliver tractor, or my Mac Mini.
The things on which I'm motivated to spend money are: Computers and the Internet, of course. Things that bring music into my life, like the Bose and the Ipod. Outdoor flower bulbs and plants (I guess I feel I'll be around in a year to see the blooms). And an occasional road trip with Cliff on the Gold Wing.
Clothes? Nope. My wardrobe becomes shabbier and more frumpy every day. Of course, I never was a clothes horse. Besides, I really don't go anyplace that requires much of a wardrobe.
I've even thought about knee surgery in light of how brief my life is, and have almost come to the conclusion that, no longer than I have to live, the pain isn't that bad. It only hurts when I stand too long, or walk too far. Right this instant, sitting at my computer, I'm in no pain at all.
"But you're sixty-five years old; you could live for another twenty years," I can hear you exclaiming.
Believe me, as fast as the time goes these days, twenty years is a puff of smoke, dust in the wind.
I have a couple of pictures and knick-knacks I need to hang. Does it matter whether I hang them or not? Increasingly, I find myself thinking it just isn't worth the bother.
I hope this entry isn't too much of a downer, but this is what's on my mind this morning. Spring will come again and crowd out such somber thoughts, and I'll be outside tending my garden and pruning my roses and taking pictures of the tulips.
Right now, I'm hearing "Autumn Leaves" playing softly in my mind.
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
The Bible hits the nail right on the head.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I've always been a diehard Cash fan. I listen to anything he ever sang, from his early songs in the '60's right down through the American recordings where you can almost hear death in his voice. All of them are precious to me. One of the best purchases I ever made was the DVD with some of the best portions of The Johnny Cash Show; I watch it a couple of times a year. It's impossible for me to see it without smiling; it takes me back to a time when I was a young wife with two babies and a big garden and several Jersey cows, when anything was possible.
I really don't know why I like Iris Dement's music so much, but even though we once drove three hundred miles to see her and she was a no-show, I still listen. She doesn't make me smile, though. She makes me a little sad.
Ah, but there's John Prine! I'll be on the computer or mopping a floor or cooking a meal, and I'll hear lyrics like these:
That's the way that the world goes 'round.
You're up one day and the next you're down.
It's half an inch of water and you think you're gonna drown.
That's the way that the world goes 'round.
I was sitting in the bathtub counting my toes,
when the radiator broke, water all froze.
I got stuck in the ice without my clothes,
naked as the eyes of a clown.
I was crying ice cubes hoping I'd croak,
when the sun come through the window, the ice all broke.
I stood up and laughed thought it was a joke
That's the way that the world goes 'round.
And I smile.
Then there's this one, which I never understood until I saw John live and heard him explain that he had set out to write the worst song ever, because the guy producing his album insisted he write one more song.
Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.
I was in the army but I never dug a trench
I used to bust my knuckles on a monkey wrench
Then I'd go to town and drink and give the girls a pinch
But I don't think they ever even noticed me.
Fish and whistle, whistle and fish
Eat everything that they put on your dish
And when we get through we'll make a big wish
That we never have to do this again again? again????
On my very first job I said thank you and please
They made me scrub a parking lot down on my knees
Then I got fired for being scared of bees
And they only give me fifty cents an hour.
He said after he sang it a couple hundred times, he sorta got to liking it. I just can't keep from smiling when I hear those lyrics. Every once in awhile I chuckle aloud, listening.
On gloomy days like these, any cause to smile is pure gold. Because it seems like the world around us is going to hell in a hand-basket.