Friday, April 30, 2010

We'll be going to Wayside Waifs tomorrow

My qualifications for the next dog:  
1.  female (because male dogs pee on my tomato plants and flowers)
2.  short-haired  (easier to bathe)
3.  past puppyhood  (I don't like having my furniture, shoes, and electrical cords chewed on)
4.  Medium sized (Because most small dogs are rather fragile; and large dogs are too big for my house)


And that's about it.  Wayside Waifs has two dogs I'm interested in:  


Tiki is just a tad young (nine months), but I watched the video of her sitting on command for a treat, and I love her enthusiasm.  


Roxie is two years old; I like the fact that she's active, because an active dog makes our walks so much more interesting and actually motivates us to walk.  We need all the motivation we can get.  


Of course, whichever dog I come home with will be renamed Iris.


Wayside Waifs doesn't open until two o'clock, and Cliff plans to spend a long workday at his brother's farm today.  I'd LOVE to rush right over there and check out the dogs, but I believe if I am supposed to have one of them, the right one will still be there tomorrow.  I will look at other dogs while I'm there, and if I don't "click" with any of them, there's a half-price sale on adult dogs weighing over forty pounds at one Kansas City area shelter this weekend.  There are also some shelter animals in nearby Higginsville.  Somewhere Iris is waiting.   

Average Jane gave me the link to THIS GROUP; these dogs are all foster-homed, rather than put into a shelter.

Unique Sadie

Sadie was one of the smartest dogs I've ever had.  I was often surprised to find out she understood so many things I would say.  
She turned our daily humdrum, tedious walk in the pasture into one of the brightest spots in our day, bringing us sticks to throw for her and barking at us.  
On boring winter days we learned we could set her off by saying certain things, such as, "Is that a dog?"  or "There's that dirty dog."  Just a mention of Buddy's name (the dog next door) meant instant barking at the window.  Even something as simple as "What's that?" said in the proper tone of voice, got a reaction from her.
Sadie herded us on the way to the pasture; she tried to herd the horses, but finally got kicked and stopped that.  She herded the vacuum cleaner and the lawn mower.  She tried to herd the school bus, with almost disastrous consequences, until I started making sure she was in the house when it was time for the bus.  
The first year we had her, we never let her off the leash outside because she was sure to run away.  We also left the leash on her when we walked in the pasture.   By the second year she lived here, we were letting her loose for our walk, and I also let her roam free when she and I were at the cabin.  
Finally, in the past year, she calmed down enough for us to let her outside and leave her there alone.  Oh, there were a few scary moments, but after she'd had some freedom, she didn't really worry much about leaving the place.  I'm glad she got to have that taste of freedom for a few months before she died.  




She was too big to be a lap dog, but she humored me by laying on my lap often.   
Sadie wasn't crazy about other dogs being in our home.  She guarded her food from them and made sure they didn't get near her toys; she put up with Cliff's sister's tiny mini-doxie because Angel was smart enough to roll over and submit to her.  If my daughter's dog, Hawkeye, was running around our yard, Sadie refused to go outside.  She had a serious jealousy problem.  
Sadie was probably more MY dog than any we've had.  If I was in the computer room, so was she.  When I moved to the living room, she followed.  She slept beside the bed near me every night.    
It was only within the last few months that she actually started coming to me when I called, every time.  
I will get another dog; it will be female and it will be named Iris.  (At least I hope it's a female, because Iris will be a strange name for a boy.)  Beyond that, I don't know what she'll be like.  She will have to pick me out just like Sadie did.  
I realize it's not considered wise to go right out after the death of a pet and get another one.  Just keep in mind we got Sadie two days after Mandy died, at the deepest part of my grief.  That worked out pretty well.  
Besides, Ben Stein told me to get a dog.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes I just have to share

The mother of my lovely and perfect great-granddaughter posted this on Facebook.  I'm sure she got it from someone else, but I had not seen it before.  It explains SO MUCH.


With time, women gain weight because they accumulate so much information and wisdom in their heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest their bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enomously cultured, educated & happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ~"Good Grief, look how smart I am!"

I guess hummingbirds remember

Yes, hummingbirds remember, even though I, a simple human, do NOT remember where I put my biggest and best hummingbird feeder when I was done with it last year.  
Last weekend when Joanna and Boo and I were visiting in my living room, we witnessed one of my early hummingbird arrivals.  
Ever since last week when I saw my first hummer, I have been looking in vain for two of my feeders.  My MAIN feeders.  Good grief, where would I have put them, and why didn't I put them in the garage with the other two?  
Anyway.  Today I glanced out toward the front porch and saw a hummingbird circling the spot where I had my best feeder last year.  There was no feeder there, but he was circling as though he was looking for it.
He surely must be a return visitor; otherwise, why would he even be looking for nectar in that spot?  
Amazing!  
I hunted up a substitute feeder to hang in that spot, and he and his buddies are already fighting over it.

Here's what happened

Sadie had recently been vomiting violently for several days; we kept thinking whatever was wrong with her would run it's course.  She seemed to feel perfectly fine when she wasn't vomiting.  Finally, a week ago Monday, we took her to the vet.  She had no other obvious signs of problems; the doctor gave her a shot to stop the vomiting and some antibiotics, and she did not vomit once after that.  I was so relieved.  
There was a lot of barbecuing here last weekend, and somebody who didn't know about my rule against feeding Sadie pork bones, gave her some.  Actually, my reason for the rule was that she once became violently ill after eating pork bones.  Little did I know there were other dangers.  
Sunday Sadie started puking again; I had heard about her being fed pork bones and figured that was what had sent her back into the digestive trouble she'd had the previous week.  I kept giving her the antibiotic pills and waited.  
Monday she got worse as the day progressed, and Tuesday morning I called my son-in-law and asked him if he would take us to the vet, figuring the doc would give her another anti-vomit pill and she'd be fine.  She was drooling at this point, and moaning with every breath.  
The vet took us right in, and I told him about the pork bones; he made a disapproving sound and shook his head.  Xrays showed a bone lodged in Sadie's esophagus, and I could tell the vet didn't have much confidence that he could fix the situation.  There was no encouragement in his tone.  He told me that he could sedate her and attempt to reach the bone and remove it; if he couldn't, then Sadie was doomed.  He still did not sound encouraging.
I knew the procedure was taking too long.  Another vet went in and tried, with no success.  Finally the original doc came out and told us he wasn't able to get the bone, and he had a suspicion it had perforated something or other.  He said he could do exploratory surgery, but again, his tone didn't offer much hope.  
"Does that involve a lot of money?"  I asked.  
"Yes, it does."  
Now understand, if I had thought there was a 75% chance of the surgery working, I would have gone ahead.  But I could tell it was just a last-ditch effort that probably wouldn't help.  
"Then go ahead and put her to sleep," I told him through my tears.  
A lady at the front desk had me sign a paper saying it was OK to put Sadie down, and said, "Do you want us to dispose of the body, or do you want to take her home?"  
"I'll take her home," I said, knowing immediately where I would bury her.  
My son-in-law, Kevin, went to the car and got the quilt I had taken with us, and they wrapped Sadie's body in that.  
Once home, Kevin offered to dig a grave for Sadie, but I needed to do that myself.  
I came inside and saw it was time to wake Cliff; I made his coffee and awakened him with the horrible news.  
After breakfast, I got Sadie's body out of the car, still wrapped in the quilt my mother made in 1987, and laid it near where I was going to bury her so I'd be sure and make the grave long and wide enough.  

In this picture, I had laid out the edges of the grave. Sadie is in quilt: the pretty part is against her, and the brown lining is what shows.  The blue throw is what I always put on my lap for Sadie to lay on so she wouldn't get so much hair on me.  I wrapped her in that to bury her.      
Some good can come out of this if someone can learn from my mistake.  First of all, do not feed pork bones to your dog; I don't care if you've done it for ten years and he's fine, DON'T DO IT.  You are taking a chance.  Second, before you give any sort of people-food treat to somebody else's dog, ask them if it's OK.  You never know what might make any individual dog ill.  I have seen a guest in somebody's home in Dallas, Texas, feed the resident dog some bits of food from her plate behind the owner's back, thinking it was a funny thing to do and full-knowing it was against the owner's wishes.
As I was putting Sadie next to the iris bed, I realized I was going to name my next dog Iris.  This has nothing to do with the folk singer Iris Dement, much as I enjoy her singing.  
I am trying really hard to make myself wait for a few months for another dog, but it's so lonely here, I don't know if I can hold out.  My friend Joanna says I should go to the shelter just to look, in case Iris is already waiting for me.   
I keep remembering the old superstition about things happening in threes.  First Blue, now Sadie.  I only have a cow, a steer, and two chickens left.  If something else has to die, I hope it's one of the chickens.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Here we go again

After Sadie visited the vet a week ago, she made wonderful progress.  Her appetite still wasn't normal; she only ate about three cups of Science Diet from Monday to Friday... but her vomiting stopped and she seemed her old self.  And she was starting to eat more.  
Saturday we had a barbecue here, and Sadie was fed some pork bones.
Don't even ask what I think about that.  She hadn't fully recovered, for heaven's sake!  Plus, pork bones have made her sick in the past.  
So now we're back to her vomiting a substance that looks like egg whites, (and that's what it's like to clean up, too).  I fixed some rice with a little chicken broth this morning and she ate it with relish.  It stayed down less than two hours.  Her dissolved antibiotic pill came up with the rice.  Last week Sadie would vomit, then afterward be energetic and playful.  Today she is somewhat lethargic. 
She will eat all the rice and chicken I give her as though she's starved, but of course I'm not giving her a lot for fear too much would make her sick again.  
We sunk $100 in her last week; shall I risk another trip to the vet that will cost at least that much?  
Or shall I wait it out another couple of days and, if she gets no better, have Cliff take care of the problem here at home?  
Probably, if she's no better in the morning, we'll see the vet once more.  He will want to run costly tests.  We have the money to do this, but there is a limit to what we will spend.  No need to test for cancer, for instance, because we wouldn't pay for chemo and radiation for a dog.  Even one I love.  
I am so depressed.

The weekend

My friend Joanna has visited Missouri twice now, both times in April.  Both times, the weather has been atrocious.  
April is not reliable in these parts:  You might get sunny, verdant days with trees blossoming; or you might experience below-freezing temperatures, tornadoes, rain and mud.  
We got the rain again.  The only sunshine Joanna saw here was on Friday afternoon.  I kidded her Saturday about sleeping in a trailer house during tornado season; I don't think she slept too well that night for wondering whether the wind she heard outside was just a harmless wind, or perhaps a tornado.  
It was wet and cold; that pretty well describes the whole weekend.  But we enjoyed one another's company, as well as that of the others who gathered here.
Joanna and I could not be more opposite:  She's a "girlie girl" who loves to shop, watches a lot of QVC, and enjoys nice clothes and jewelry.  We all know that isn't me.  Normally the two of us probably have never given one another a second thought, had we met in the real world.  But we connected in a chat room.  
Yesterday Joanna mentioned the time her cat, Jake, fell off her second-story deck.  
"I remember that," I interjected.  "Didn't that happen one morning before you went to work?"  
"Yes, it did."  
"We were in the chat room when that happened!"
Many of us from that chat room have gone through similar things together.  I recall Joanna's years working for an employer who thought he was master of the universe; Jo called him "the twit".  I was in the chat room to hear the good news that she had found a better employment opportunity, and she took the job she still has today.  She could have retired some time ago, but why stop working if you're enjoying what you do?  
I remember Joanna's sister getting cancer and steadily going downhill.  Jo and the others were there for me when my mother died.    
Several ladies in that chat room became widows during those years, and we all shared in their grief.  
We shared recipes and jokes and family stories; we sent songs and silly sound bites to one another to play in the chat room.  It was like a sort of cyber back fence where we could visit and share our lives, laugh and cry together.  
We could have these friends over for a visit (by way of the chat room) and not have to clean up the house for them, or get out of our pajamas, or even comb our hair.  
When we visited one another "in real life", we discussed the situations going on in the chat room, and checked in once in awhile to say hello, and see how chat was going without us.  


The hands you see here are those of Sue, another friend from Virginia.  On the screen is the famous chat room.  I happened to be visiting Sue when that crazy shooter was taking potshots at people;  In fact, we were in the Spotsylvania Towne Centre shortly before he killed a lady there.   This did not do much to endear Cliff to my new habit of flying around the country to meet people he'd never seen with names like "Bnana" and "Joyjoy" and "Sprkl and "Havok".   Yes, we mostly addressed one another by our AOL screen names.
Back to Joanna:  She always comes bearing gifts, souvenirs of Washington, DC this time; as well as matching Gold Wing T-shirts for me and Cliff.  When we were at the winery for breakfast, she shopped in their gift shop for something to take back to her friends in Virginia.  She's thoughtful like that.  
So I just have to be thankful that a loner like me who doesn't even look at people's faces in the grocery store got to meet a whole realm of faithful friends from California to Texas, from Virginia to New England; friends I don't hesitate to hug when I see them in person.  
It's probably the best thing about the Internet.  Even better than Google.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What a day!

First off, it rained all day.  We went ahead with the barbecue as planned, but it would have been more fun with warm, sunny, dry weather.  
Cliff, Joanna, and I headed to our friends' vineyard/winery this morning to eat a pancake breakfast; it was for a good cause, and I wanted Joanna to see the beautiful location of the vineyard.   We picked up granddaughter Monica on the way.
  
 Here we ladies are after coming out of the building where we ate a hearty breakfast.  With the permission of the owners, we took Joanna on a quick tour of the building where the wine is made and bottled.  

I knew local bloggie buddy Clarissa (who doesn't blog much any more)  and her mom had planned to come and hunt for morels, but since it was raining steadily, I didn't expect them.


Clarissa showed up without her mom.  Not only that, but she hunted morels in the rain for at least an hour and a half.  She found two morels, which I would have found disheartening.  Not her!  She hopes to return tomorrow with her mom.  She pronounced our place "beautiful".  Yes, her two mushrooms are in that bag.  And yes, she is SOAKING wet.  But happy.  

Friends from Kansas showed up; Don and Cliff have a great rapport, partly because they both love tractors.  But mainly because they're both nice guys. 


Kevin barbecued.  In the rain.  


Visiting friend Joanna and I took pictures.


You know you're a redneck when you entertain your guests in your husband's shop. 

 Eventually we women got cold and went to the house.  We got pretty damp getting here, which made us colder still.   So we bundled up in afghans and blankies.  The three of us met in a chat room, years ago.  No wonder we're such a bunch of nuts. 
So, in spite of the rain, we had a great day.  Thanks to my daughter and her husband who did a HUGE share of the work involved in today's feast.  
Tomorrow morning Joanna heads back home.  What a short visit it's been.

I'm here

I'm enjoying the fact that my friend Joanna is here; we're doing a lot of catching up, since we had not visited face-to-face in four years.  We have plans for an enjoyable day.  Oh, I saw my first hummingbird of the year yesterday!  Trouble is, I can't find two of my hummingbird feeders.  Where oh where could I have put them?  
We received 2 1/2 inches of rain that broke the drought and brought on the morel mushrooms in great quantity; thank goodness Cliff's nephew was here to gather some for me, and for himself and his mother as well.  I have a couple of local blogging friends coming to hunt for mushrooms this afternoon, Clarissa and her mother, Arlene.  It will be our first meeting in person.  I think Arlene and I worked for the same employer at the same time back in the 70's, but we didn't know one another.  I hope to have my camera handy at all times today.   

Thursday, April 22, 2010

pictures from around the place

I took this picture this morning right after I milked Bonnie.  Sir Loin is ten months old, and as big as his mom.  The only reason we haven't weaned him is that Bonnie would be the only cow on the place without him; I'd rather she have some sort of bovine companion.  Cliff's brother is going to bring some calves here to wean, like he did last summer.  At that time, we'll haul Sir to the butcher shop down the road and I will dry Bonnie up so she can put all her energy into the calf (I hope there's a calf... I'm gun-shy after our experience with Secret) growing inside her.  
My friend Joanna is flying in tomorrow; she lives in Centreville, five minutes from Dulles airport.  She and I met years ago in the old AOL chat room where I met so many wonderful people.  I had hoped some of my pretty flowers would be blooming for her visit; unfortunately, the tulips are fading fast, and the last daffodils have lost their petals.  


There's a bloom trying to break out on this iris, but it won't make it in time for Joanna's visit.  The peonies aren't doing anything, and there isn't so much as a bud on the rosebushes and the tall phlox.  The lilac bush is trying hard, but it won't bloom for at least another week.  


When I moved back here behind the barn, I went into a frenzy of flower-planting.  Most all the things I planted have lived through the winter and are starting to grow.  Unfortunately, I don't recall what some of them are.  


This, for instance.  


And this.  
I'm pretty sure I bought both of these at Home Depot when they were closing out their nursery stock.  Or maybe it was Walmart.   Anybody have a clue what either of these are?  I remember my readers identifying Blazing Star for me last year... a plant which really doesn't impress me, by the way.  


The Crepe Myrtle tree I planted was killed by our harsh winter.  I got it on closeout, so I didn't pay a lot for it.  I've since learned that local nurseries won't guarantee Crepe Myrtle trees (or bushes, whatever they are) because it really isn't hardy enough for the zone.  


Cliff pulled the dead tree up by its roots and stuck two traffic cones in the hole; I'm really wanting a Crimson King maple tree to put there; but they are so expensive, I just haven't been able to talk myself into buying one.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Everything is fine and dandy

I did indeed call Social Security one last time; turns out I didn't answer the question wrong after all, so now all we have to do is wait for mail from Social Security or Medicare; we'll have to send them Cliff's birth certificate, which they'll return.  And life can go on normally.
By the way, there is a Medicare line to call.  The trouble is, you have to be enrolled first and have a Medicare number before you can get through to someone.  So that's why we initially had to go to Social Security.  
The last couple of calls I made weren't so bad, because I knew what to expect and which parts to tune out.  All of the real people I spoke with were very nice, so I have no complaints there.   
Maybe somebody learned something from my experience.  If nothing else, you know what to expect when you call the Social Security phone number.  Above all else, do not call on Monday or at the first of the month; but the robot tells you that at the beginning of her speech.

More about talking to Social Security

Now, I know part of the problem is with me.  To their credit, after Monday, I was able to contact the Social Security people without a long wait time... that is, AFTER I spent at least ten minutes talking to the robot.  I actually contacted them three times yesterday and once today.  Why so many times?  
The first guy I spoke with about starting Cliff's Medicare said he would have to talk to Cliff, personally.  Since Cliff was still asleep, I thanked him and hung up.  
Once Cliff was up, I called again.  
Now here's the thing:  at first you reach a lady robot telling you something about some Obama program that started in March.  I should have it memorized by now, but I've tuned it out.  
The next lady robot tells me to say what I want, and I usually start with "Medicare signup".  Then she has to say something like this:  "It sounded like you said Medicare; is that correct?"
Of course, I say "Yes."  
Then she spends about five minutes telling me stuff about Medicare that I already know, and suggests I visit their website.  Now, during all this, I can press "O" as much as I want, and nothing happens.  But there comes a time when I hit "O" and she says, "Did I understand you want to speak with a representative?"  
"Yes," I sigh.  
She proceeds to tell me all the various ways I can find out about Medicare without speaking to someone and then says, "Do you still want to speak to someone?"  
"Yes."  
So now I am told the wait time is less than one minute.  Do I get to talk to someone that quickly?  
Oh no, the robot is back with some questions:  Cliff's social security number, the state he was born in, his first name (spell after you say it), his last name (spell that too), and his mother's maiden name (spell that too).  Whew.  Of course, she has to repeat each of my answers back to me, very slowly.  
I go through this Every.  Single.  Time.  
So Cliff got up and had a cup of coffee, and I went through the whole routine again.  This man did not need to speak to Cliff (HUH?).  He gave me three options:  1.  He could make us an appointment with the local office,  2.  Cliff could talk to someone and enroll on the telephone, or 3.  We could do it online.  
I first said let's do it now on the phone, and he told me he'd have to direct me to someone else and the process would take about 45 minutes.  And he began pitching the online route.  He explained where to go on the web, and what to click on.  "It's really very easy," he said.  
Finally, I agreed to try that.  
I will tell you truthfully that it indeed was easy.  When I was done, I printed off what I'd sent them and gave it to Cliff to read.  
"This isn't right," he said when he got to the second page.  "I'm not covered by a group health plan through my own employment."  
I had misunderstood the question and given the wrong answer.  Now what?  
This morning around 5 AM I decided to call my robot lady friend so I could talk to a real person and tell him or her about my mistake.  I went through the whole ten or fifteen minute routine with  robot with whom I have now formed an intimate relationship, and finally my real person answers.  I told him about my problem.  
"We'll have to speak to Clifford directly," he said.  "Once we get his okay, we can send the correction to the local office."  
Of course, Cliff was asleep in bed.
Dear Lord, I have to go through all that again?  Somebody just shoot me.

Vacuum sweepers

They all suck.  Some more than others.  
I saw this article on AOL about vacuums; the article itself isn't so interesting as the comments.  I learned a lot from the comment section.   I found out that many people hate their Dysons.
Now, bear in mind I have a Dyson, and have loved it for, I believe, three years now; this is good, since I paid a lot for it.  However, I probably wouldn't buy another one, especially after reading these comments.  
Here's the comment that did it for me, from a man who owns a vacuum shop and has worked on all makes and models... keep in mind this is not the actual article, but a comment left in response to the article:  


"I  own and operate a vacuum shop. I repair ALL brands, so when I give my advice it comes from actual firsthand knowledge.

ANY BAGLESS SWEEPER, INCLUDING DYSON, IS A POOR DESIGN AND WILL SUFFER FROM SUCTION PROBLEMS AND PREMATURE MOTOR FAILURE. It doesn't matter if you paid $50, or $500, bagless is a poor design. Bagless sweepers are NOT A SOLUTION FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM ALLERGIES. They clog almost immediately and the debris, looking for a path of least resistance, blows out of every available crack. I actually charge extra to work on bagless sweepers due to the increased health risk to myself and my employees and the need for extra cleanup...They're just plain gross. When a Dyson comes in for service, the complaint is invariably the same, "It isn't sucking like it used to". Don't be fooled by the clever marketing, or the Brittish accent,...Dyson vacs are completely reliant on filtration.
Also note; Dyson is notorious for having insufficient parts supplies. Depending on what it is, I sometimes wait months for certain Dyson parts.

ANY vac that has the name DIRT DEVIL on it, particularly Bagless models like the one above, are absolute junk. Buy one today and you'll be shopping for another before the year is out.

Electrolux is made by Eureka, which is owned by Electrolux. When you purchase an Electrolux, you are buying a Eureka at double the price...This is a no-brainer.

Hoover products are still good, so long as they aren't bagless.

Kirby makes a solid vac...VERY SOLID, and heavy to boot. I love Kirby customers, because they've already paid through the nose for their vac and therefore don't mind paying me to repair it. I get Kirby vac in for repair daily. Lots of shattered fans and fired switches. Both parts and labor are expensive, so bear that in mind. Bags for the Kirby are also pricey.

For my money, the very most dependable vacs that I sell are Panasonic and Simplicity(the latter is Made In USA). I have sold Panasonic for over 20 years and during that time I have had only 3 warranty failures. That tells it all. Simplicity's 8lb Freedom Upright Series beats the tar out of Oreck, hands down, with 40% more suction and much more durable construction than Oreck. Oreck's reputation is solely due to the enormous amounts of money that Oreck throws into its ad campaign. Oreck sweepers are extremely fragile and easily broken under normal use.

Also, it is a good practice to avoid any vacuum cleaner that seems to have a lot of electronic gadgets/switches/displays. These involve fragile circuit boards that are easily fried by power surges and coming into contact with debris...Simple is better.

You can take or leave my advice, but bear in mind the fact that I repaired over 1000 vacs in 2009 and many more in years previous."

Sadie's new Frisbee

Actually, the round discs I buy for Sadie are not, strictly speaking, frisbees.  I can't throw a frisbee properly.  I bought my first Aerobie Superdisc at the state fair from some people who had a trained dog act; back at home, I found out I could make it sail away with the greatest of ease.  Another advantage of the Superdisc is the soft edge, so when Sadie jumps up and catches it, her mouth doesn't get hurt.  
So far I haven't found any local stores that sell Aerobie products, so I order them from Amazon.com.  
Yesterday the mailman brought Sadie's new toy; on the way back to the house I ripped the package open, pulled out the frisbee, and gave it a toss.  Sadie was after it immediately, but she didn't return with it like she usually does.  She went far over by the garden in the shade and lay down, placing her frisbee beside her.  She probably spent twenty minutes over there, I guess just getting acquainted with her new toy.   I later called her to me and she came, but it was as though she was daring me to touch that frisbee.  


She kept her paw firmly on it and howled at me.  


I tossed both her new frisbee and her old cracked one at the same time, to see if she had a preference.  She definitely liked the new one best.  




Later on, I looked out the front door and saw Sadie sitting there holding her frisbee on edge, and she remained like that for at least five minutes.  Maybe these things are worth the ridiculous price I pay for them.  At least Sadie seems to think so.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm probably the last one to see this

But just in case you haven't seen it, here's a little news item that will warm your heart.  My Texas friend Frankye sent this to me.  It's a five-year-old girl calling 911 for her dad, who's having chest pains.


Click HERE.

I reached the Social Security people!

Oh, it was a bit of a hassle; but I got along fine with the automated lady this time.  I pretended to be Cliff when I answered the automated questions, giving his SS number and his mother's maiden name, etc.  Then I was transferred immediately to a real person!  Oh, the joy!  
Now for the bad news.  Once I reached the real person, I was informed that Cliff will have to do the calling himself.  That means spending about three minutes with the automated person again.  At least I can do that part for him; I'll hand him the phone when the real live person answers.    
I did learn that since he has his own insurance and isn't on Social Security, he can sign up for Medicare part A, which costs him nothing.  Otherwise he'd have to pay $100 or so out of pocket each month.  
So I now have some answers.  
I believe my problem yesterday with not reaching a real person was that it was a Monday; the automated person told me there's a wait time if you call at the first of the week or the first of the month.  
Thank you so much for your helpful comments on this subject, and to Penny for the prayers.  Also a special shout-out to a cousin who called and gave me a backup number to use which would connect me immediately to a real person whose name she gave me; I decided not to use it unless I had to, but it's good to know it's here if I need it.  
And now to wake Cliff up and give him the good news.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fledgling house finches

I absolutely love house finches.  There are hundreds of them around here, I'm sure; but they get along so well with other birds that I have no reason to dislike them.  I understand they were originally taken to New York to be sold as caged birds, and were eventually turned loose; once set free, they proliferated.  I found that information HERE.  
I don't know where the little creatures nest around here, but it must be close; I keep finding fledglings in my back yard.  Today I went out to fill my birdbath.  As I approached, I noticed a house finch perched on the edge; even when I was a mere three feet away, he stayed there.  I sat my bucket of water down, reached out my hand, and made him perch on my finger.  I then transported him to the bird feeder so I could refresh the water in the birdbath.  When I was done, I got him on my finger and returned him to the edge of the birdbath.  
"Whoa," I whispered.  "I have to get a picture of that little bird on my finger."  
Of course, once I went out with the camera, he wasn't so friendly.  
A while ago, though, I looked out my computer room window and saw Sadie pawing at something in the grass.  Looking closer, I realized it was another fledgling and shouted "No!!!!"  
I got the camera, ran outside, and finally rescued the little fellow.  And I got my picture!  (Click to make it larger.)  


He figured out how to fly shortly after I took his picture, and got himself to a safe place.  Of course I gave Sadie a treat for turning him loose.  

Sadie, and Frustration with Medicare enrollment

First of all, let me tell you about Sadie's recent problem:  She has been her usual active self, but for more than a week she's been vomiting violently.  It seems as though she was doing it more and more each day.  Nine times out of ten, it would be phlegm, but sometimes there was actual food involved.  I cleaned up four vomit-spots on the rugs yesterday.  As soon as she was done upchucking, she was ready to go for a walk or play Frisbee.  Mighty peculiar.  Since she seemed otherwise healthy, I kept waiting to see if she would get better on her own.  
Today we finally took her to the vet, who felt her throat, , opened her mouth wide and looked in, took her temperature, and pronounced her healthy.  He thinks she has scratched her trachea, or perhaps has an infection somewhere in her respiratory system, that's making her cough and gag.  So he gave her a shot to keep her from vomiting, just in case; and antibiotics for any infection she might have.  Oh, and that will be $100, please.  I also had him give Sadie a kennel cough shot so if we go on vacation for any length of time, we could board her there.   
The head vet at Oak Grove Animal Clinic was out front as I was paying my bill.  Cliff and I were among his first customers, back around 1970.  One time we had him repair an umbilical hernia on a Holstein calf I was bottle-feeding.  Cliff and I held the calf down on the office floor, and Doc Findley stitched him up.  We were all such kids then.  
Anyhow, Doc greeted me  with, "Well hello, Donna; how are you?  Do you still milk those Jersey cows?"  
Good grief, I haven't seen the man for at least twenty years, and he remembers me that well?  Of course I told him about my years of not milking, and how I missed the little Jerseys so much I got Bonnie.    


Now, on to my rant.  Cliff will be 65 in June.  He doesn't want to sign up for social security yet, but as we understand it, he has to sign up for Medicare by age 65.  I am so confused, and I just want to talk to a real person, not a robot on the other end; I tried dealing with the robot lady, but she kept getting the social security number wrong when she repeated it back to me.  I have tried vainly all morning to accomplish this, and gotten nowhere.  It's so confusing!  He could apply for Social Security online, but that isn't what he needs.  And I'm not sure whether he's supposed to get Medicare A or D or what; he has good insurance where he works, so he doesn't need any of it.  I even tried calling a local social security office, figuring I could talk to someone there who would answer my questions.  Nope.  The phone rang and rang every time I called it, and nobody answered.  
Grrrr.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cats make me laugh

Today started out pretty chilly; we had been talking about riding the motorcycle down to Jefferson City to visit Cliff's cousin Edna in the hospital.  She fell and broke her hip Tuesday.  Anyhow, we decided against going, which was probably a good thing;  I talked to her daughter today and found out Edna doesn't feel that great.  
It warmed up enough to ride by noon.  Since we like to have a destination when we ride, and because I'm a Facebook fan of Hiboy restaurant, I found a good deal:  Buy one sandwich, get one free.  
You need to understand that Hiboy has an eternal place in my heart because Cliff and I used to eat there when we were dating.  He and his family lived about two blocks from Hiboy at the time.  
After we were done with our Hiboy burgers, we headed to my cousin Betty's lovely country place.  We always enjoy visiting with her and her husband.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times on Uncle Leo's farm with Betty and my other cousins.  
Russ and Betty have a couple of spoiled cats (I've blogged about them before).  
They recently took the cats to the vet to have them neutered; because one of the cats had a problem with matted hair, the vet shaved him while he was there.  Honestly, I laughed out loud when I saw him.  And I'm pretty sure the cat told me how he felt about that, in no uncertain terms, with a very direct stare.  
Sometimes you just have to see something to understand, so here's the cat:  


  
Betty's other cat, the one you see in the background of the first picture, just loves attention and hangs around people as much as possible.  My cousin and I were sitting at the picnic table visiting, and I noticed him all stretched out in the middle of the iris bed (I think it was an iris bed).  
I don't want to own a cat, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying other people's cats.  
While we're on the subject of pets, Sadie has been vomiting frequently for at least two weeks, and we'll be spending another bundle of money on her tomorrow.  Wish her (and us) luck.

I've been pretty lazy with my blogging

But I really, really like this entry my daughter did at my request.  
Check it out HERE.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Things are growing and blooming around here.

I love this big, ruffled-looking tulip.  So pretty.  


More tulips, with some pansies I sneaked in there so when the tulips are done, there'll still be something pretty to look at.  


In the foreground is tall phlox, although it isn't very tall yet; if you want something that's carefree and smells good and lasts most of the summer, this is the ticket.  Come and visit, and I'll see that you get a start of it.  My original start of tall phlox came from a now-deceased neighbor, Mrs. Perrine.   She didn't know the name of it; I saw some growing in someone else's yard and asked what it was.  I love having flowers that were originally given to me by friends.  All the iris in the yard at the old house came from my friend Dona, who is now in a rest home.  Did you know it's considered bad luck to thank someone for living plants they give you?  The old wive's tale says if you thank the person, the plants will die.  
Oh, behind the tall phlox are June-bearing strawberries; after this year, the strawberries are going to the garden.  There's no room for them to spread here between the sidewalk and the house.  


When you see dirt cracking and rising in the garden, you know there's something underneath pushing that clod up.  


I pushed the clod aside and saw potato plants emerging.  


This is a teeny, tiny cabbage plant I started from seed.  Something has been snacking on it, possibly an insect or a rabbit or the wandering guinea that spends more time over here than it does at home.  Let's hope Cliff doesn't catch her in my strawberry bed in June.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Telephone dilemma

Anyone who knows me very well knows I don't like to talk on the telephone.  If our home phone rings, it's usually for Cliff, not me.  My cell phone seldom rings because I forget to keep it with me; often when it does ring, I run through the house trying to locate it, and the caller gives up before I can find it.  Most folks figure it's a waste of time to call my cell phone; I'm not likely to answer it.
Cliff's youngest sister, who lives in St. Louis, usually calls on Thursday nights just to check in .  Even though I don't always hold up my end of the conversation very well, I do look forward to her weekly calls.  
Yesterday Cliff bought a pickup load of river sand which he's going to dry, sift, and use for sandblasting.  He spread some out on his shop floor, and some on the floor of the garage his sister, Rena, parks her car in.  I happened to be looking out the window when Rena arrived home, and I saw that she didn't pull in the garage, but parked out front of it.  I immediately knew what the problem was:  She was unsure whether she should drive in on the sand.  I grabbed the cordless phone and took it over beside my chair, sure she'd call and ask what was going on.  I didn't want to call her because after a long drive home from work, I figured she needed a little time to take her dog out to potty, and perhaps use the facilites herself.  
Well, she didn't call just then; but about fifteen minutes later, Charlene called my cell phone; time for our weekly chat.  At exactly the same time, the home phone rang.  I looked from one phone to the other and finally made a decision to answer my cell phone and tell Charlene to hang on a second.  
By the time I did this, the home phone stopped ringing.  But I looked to see who the caller was.  It was Cliff's sister, the one I'd been expecting to call ten minutes earlier.  Oh well, I'd call her back when I was done with Charlene.  
Perhaps five more minutes went by before the home phone began to ring again, only this time I saw it wasn't Rena; it was a neighbor down the road who probably just wanted to know if I've found any morel mushrooms.  So I ignored that call, which wasn't easy, trying to concentrate and talk to Charlene with the $%&@^# phone ringing.   
Finally the ringing stopped, but the silence wasn't to last.  Within three or four minutes it was started again; this time it was Rena calling.
"I'm going to have to let you go and answer the phone," I told Charlene.  "It's Rena, and I'm pretty sure I know what she wants."  

Indeed, Rena only wanted to know she whether could pull into the garage, just as I had suspected.  
Even though I called Charlene back, our weekly call was pretty much ruined, what with not being able to concentrate, plus all the interruptions.  Oh well, maybe next week will be better.  
I tried to return the missed call from my neighbor, but by then she was gone.  
Is it any wonder I hate telephones?  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I've been planting

I've planted about everything I had plans for in the garden; oh, there'll be later plantings of corn and beans, but for now, I'm pretty well done.  After last year's explosion of butternut squash, I've decided not to plant any this year; it just takes up so much room, even if I were only to have one hill.  
My peas came up rather spotty, but there should be enough to use.  That is, if we get any rain.  The garden is pure dust.  I noticed some of the potato plants are breaking through the concrete-like surface.   
I've washed my hands several times today, but they still smell like turpentine:  I have to soak my sweet corn seed in turpentine or else the moles go right down the row and devour every seed within a day or two of planting.  Funny thing, once the corn has sprouted, they lose interest in it.  My cousin Gerald is the one who told me about the turpentine; he said when he was a kid and there was still seed in the corn planter at the end of the day, that's how they kept the mice out of it.  I haven't had any problem with the moles eating my seeds since.  
I planted eggplant seeds, rather than buying plants that are started.  Just for fun I planted a little kohlrabi, because I like to see the way it grows.  I've also planted a few flowers here and there.  My friend Joanna is coming to visit next weekend, and will likely see no flowers at all:  The tulips will be past their prime, the daffodils are done blooming, and it isn't time for iris and peonies yet, nor any of the other perennial flowers.  The son-in-law is going to do some barbecuing out here Saturday in honor of our guest, and another buddy of mine from the old AOL chat room is coming.  She and her husband, Don, live in Kansas City, Kansas.   Cliff and Don can talk about tractors for hours.
A reader commented that chickens would keep me busy.  Well, they really won't.  I could put food and water out once a week for just two chickens, and it would be plenty.  There will be some cleaning of the pen occasionally, but not that much.  Two chickens will lay more eggs than we use, most likely, except when I'm cooking for company.  I just happen to enjoy chickens.  
I haven't been getting around to my favorite blogs much, what with all the outdoor activity.  I won't apologize for that; sometimes real life is more appealing than the Internet, especially when it takes me outside.  I notice visitors to my blog have dropped off, so it isn't just me who's enjoying springtime.  It was SUCH a long, hard winter.

Chickens

I've wanted a couple of chickens for a long time; unfortunately, Cliff didn't want them.  For one thing, I had hopes of securing some nifty sort of pen, or even better, a chicken tractor that I could move from place to place so my chickens would have access to grass each day.  Cliff really didn't want to get involved with anything that requires building something or buying something.  He also knows how my interests can wane, and if I lost interest in my flock, all that work and money would be invested for nothing.  
Yesterday we went to Feldman's to get acetylene and oxygen, and I noticed all the peeping baby chicks for sale.  I looked at the different varieties and saw there were some Barred Rock pullets that were fully feathered out.  That means no shoving them in a box and keeping a light on them, because they can handle the weather just fine.  


I hunted Cliff up and asked him what he thought about keeping a couple of chickens in Mandy's old pen, which has only been used for lawn mower storage since my dog, Mandy, died four years ago.  
To my surprise, he agreed.  
So I came home with two pullets, Gertrude and Lois (after Cliff's remaining two aunts).  Don't ask me which is which; they're identical.  


Yesterday they seemed unhappy to be out in the big world, with only each other for a friend.  This morning, though, their peeping took on a more cheerful tone.  I'm going to have to buy a feeder and waterer for them, but for now they're eating and drinking from cut-down Folgers cans.  
At least I have somewhere to go with my table scraps now.  
They will have to stay in the pen; we witnessed a neighbor's rooster being attacked by a hawk one time, and the only thing that saved him was his weight.  The hawk couldn't lift off with him.    

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Small world indeed

Last night my wireless router stopped working.  I turned everything off and went to bed, hoping it would fix itself by morning.  It didn't.   
I unhooked the router and connected the modem directly to my computer.  Internet happened!  Unfortunately, we need the wireless router in order for Cliff to use his laptop in the living room.  When he and I were taking our walk this morning, I explained our options.  
"I could call Linksys tech support," I said.  "I'll be talking to someone in India, so I never know whether I'll be able to understand them.  And I may have to pay a fee; I had to the last time I called them (to secure our Internet) because we've had our router for years.  I think the fee was good for six months' support, though; I wonder if it's been six months."  
Cliff didn't offer much in the way of feedback.  
"It would probably be easier to run to Oak Grove and get a new router," I said.  
Silence.  We were just in Oak Grove yesterday, after our ride.
As we arrived back at the house, I gave a long sigh and said, "OK, I guess I'll try calling tech support in India."  
The lady who answered spoke English with such fluency, it took me awhile to realize she did indeed have a faint accent.  
I was on the phone with her for at least an hour; Cliff says it was longer.  She had me undo some cords, type numbers into my address bar, click this, click that, stick a pin in a hole.  In the process, there were long pauses when we had to wait for something to happen, so she struck up a conversation with me.
"Where do you live," she asked.  

Totally forgetting she wasn't even in this country, I answered, "The Kansas City, Missouri, area."  
"Oh, is it almost summer there?"  
"It's spring," I told her.  
And we went on to talk about my garden.  
"What sort of things do you do on the Internet," she asked.  "Do you game?"  
"The only games I play online are on Facebook."  
"Which ones do you play?"  
"Mostly Farmville," I said.  "Sometimes a little Yoville."  
"Oh, I like Farmville too," she exclaimed.  "Do you play Farm Town?"  
"I used to, but I like Farmville better; a person can only play so many games."  
The conversation went on like that; at one point she said she was enjoying talking to me because "You're fun."  
So, later on Cliff and I went to the dentist.  I needed an adjustment, and Cliff had to turn in his partial for a couple of days to get a broken tooth fixed.  The dental assistant told us to both come on in together.  
When it was Cliff's turn, I said, "Oh, here I am without my camera!  I could be taking pictures of Cliff in the dentist's chair."  
"You like to take pictures of him doing things like that?"  
"I have a blog," I explained, "and I have a lot of fun with pictures like that."  
"On Facebook?"  
"No, on Blogger; I do have a Facebook account, though."  
"Do you farm?"  
At first I thought she was changing the subject; then I realized she meant the Facebook games.  
"Yes, I enjoy Farmville."  
"Oh, me too," she responded.  "What level are you?"  
"Thirty-seven, I think."
She said she thought she was somewhere around that level too.
"Sometimes I get bored with it," I said, "but then they come up with something new, like the co-op farming, and the puppies."  
"I know!  Do you have a puppy yet?"  
"Yes," I answered.  "I just got mine this morning."  
Now seriously, did you ever think grown-up people in so many countries from all walks of life would be discussing a pretend farming game so enthusiastically?  
What a world we live in.

An unexpected motorcycle ride

I realize I'm not updating my blog as often as I normally do; it's just that real life is so busy and good lately that I can't get myself to take the time to blog.  Yesterday morning I had some ideas, but the granddaughters were here; by the time they got off to school, Cliff was up.  
Then the day took a decided turn for the better.
Cliff had taken a vacation day yesterday so he could go watch the monthly tractor auction at Clinton; his older brother was going to accompany him.  I figured this was a sign from heaven for me to finally do some housecleaning.  I wasn't excited at the prospect, but some things just need to be done.
Cliff called his brother, who had changed his mind about going.  "I thought you'd be going for a motorcycle ride, on a pretty day like today."
Cliff got off the phone, mentioned "motorcycle ride", and I said, "Hey, that's a great idea!"
I packed our usual hobo lunch along with a thermos of coffee, and we were off.


Once there, Cliff tried on a couple of old tractors for size.




I kid you not, I have never seen so many pickup trucks in one parking lot in my life.


We didn't even stay to watch any tractors sell; around noon we left, found a city park near the Katy Trail, and ate lunch.  It was as perfect a day for a ride as we've had in months.  I'm embedding a video of the ride, which will probably bore you silly if you try to watch it all; but it will show you how lovely Missouri can be in the spring.  The redbuds are in full bloom and the trees are greening up.  I added Dean Martin singing what I consider to be my theme song, so that adds some flavor to it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Men who love tractors (and their relatives)

Cliff's brother was here today, and also his sister's son.  They decided to tackle a hub on the Oliver that was "froze up", whatever that means.  Here's a slideshow of some of the action.



And here's a brief video that will show you how noisy this sort of activity can be.


Perfect weather

We're finally getting some genuine spring weather.  In Missouri, that means changing clothes several times a day:  When I wake up, sweats and a coat are required for a trip outside, because it's been 40 or lower each morning.  By 11 AM, it's shirt-sleeve weather and at 3 PM, I'm wearing shorts and a tank top.  Then in the late evening it's either back to the sweats, or else time to put on my flannel PJ's.  I'm not complaining; this is an altogether pleasant time of year, as long as there are no tornadoes heading my way.  
Yesterday we rode the motorcycle to Sedalia and ate lunch there.  At the edge of town I saw a huge store I'd never heard of, and said to Cliff, "I wonder what kind of store Menards is?"  
"Oh," he replied, "Rena said those stores were everywhere in Wisconsin; they're like Home Depot or Lowes, I think; I'd like to go in there and look around."  
So after lunch, we went back.  Of course we were limited in what we could buy, being on the motorcycle.  I bought a package of gladiola bulbs, thirty for $2.50.  They're certainly worth that, even if I don't bother to dig them up this fall.  $2.50 for thirty lovely blooming plants for one summer?  You bet!  
We agreed that Menards seems to have lower prices than their competition; if they ever put a store in the Kansas City area, we'll be patronizing them.  Unfortunately, the KC area is so saturated with the competitors, I'm not sure there's room for another such type of store.  The one at Sedalia is our closest one, and that's an hour and a half drive.  
Are any of my readers familiar with Menards?  

Friday, April 09, 2010

ramblings

Finally I've changed my weight ticker on the sidebar.  I'm gardening now, so I'm much more active; a couple of pesky pounds came off, in spite of our Easter gluttony.  This was not my normal weigh day, but since I missed the Monday weigh-in, I decided to do it today.  
It's cool right now, but I can almost guarantee we'll be going for a motorcycle ride later; the hour-by-hour forecast says it should be 58 degrees by eleven o'clock, and if Cliff sleeps until ten as usual, that's just about when we'll be heading out.  He doesn't work Fridays, so we should get our fill of riding.  
Last night I thought of something from my childhood:  As far back as I can remember, my mom told me stories about what a fussy baby I was in the evenings.  I had "the six-month colic".  She explained to me that babies with colic had it either for three months, six months, or nine months.  An old wives' tale, of course, but I soaked it in.  I loved hearing stories about my infancy.  Mother told me that she, Daddy, and my sister Maxine (age sixteen) took turns walking me for about three hours every evening while I fretted, puked and cried.  She asked the doctor if there was anything she should do to help my evening bellyaches; he said as long as I was gaining weight and doing fine on her breast milk, I was healthy, so not to worry.  I'd outgrow it.  This was the same country doctor, by the way, who once told them, "Don't worry about what she eats, just as long as she eats."   
You won't hear doctors saying that today.
For some reason it made me feel loved and very special to picture my family walking the floor with me every evening.  It still does today.  I like to think of them carrying me around in the living room with the switchboard in the corner, perhaps singing to me as they walked.  
Mother showed me how they carried me:  They'd face me forward, sit my bottom on one hand, and put the other hand on my belly.  I will attest to the fact that this is a sure-fire way to make a crying baby hush.  It's also good because when he spits up, it isn't on your shoulder or down your neck... it goes on the floor, or at the worst, on your hand.  
It must have sunk in pretty well, because in this picture, I'm about two years old, and I'm holding my doll in the same manner my family held me when they walked me with "the colic".  
By the way, notice the screen door in the background.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A new header picture

When I walked today, I took my camera along; I wanted something a little greener than the picture that was atop my blog.  I took several shots, but most of them didn't lend themselves to cropping.  


I took this shot toward the back of the house; unfortunately, it's far too dark.  Plus the dreaded monstrosity built by the neighbors next door shows on the right, although I could have cropped that out.  


I rather like this one of a stump beside our walking path, but to crop it and make it long and narrow would ruin the picture.  


Sadie in the mayflowers.  Mayflowers are supposed to be an indication that it's time for morel mushrooms.  Again, it wouldn't crop well.  And that tangle of trees in the background isn't really picturesque.  
The picture I settled on, the one now on my header, looks north across the Missouri River.  In fact, if you look closely, you can see the river in the lower middle part of the picture behind a line of trees; once the trees leaf out, it won't be visible.  

Another trip down memory lane

The Oregon guy has done it again, this time reminiscing about old screen doors.  Who would have thought somebody mentioning screen doors would bring huge portions of my childhood so vividly to mind?  Those doors slammed, as Guy pointed out, with a noise unlike anything you'll hear today, a satisfying "thunk".  
Thinking about screen doors brought back other visions of rooms from my childhood, like the bucket of water in the kitchen with an enamel or tin dipper down in it, the same dipper from which everybody drank... family, friends, visiting strangers; all sharing germs and saliva, and nobody giving it a second thought.




Then I recalled the wooden screen doors on small-town stores of my childhood, and how they had "Colonial Bread is Good Bread" metal signs on them.  In a fit of Googling, I found an article describing country stores as I remember them.  Further searching led to the best find of all...


Can you believe it?  It's on Ebay with a buy-it-now price of $800.00.    Oh, the dipper pictured above is also on Ebay.  
Thanks for the memories, Guy.  

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Robins love their baths

I love watching robins bathe in the bird bath; they enjoy it so!  (Click on any picture to make it larger.)








Notice the woodpecker at the feeder, oblivious to the robin in the bird bath.

Dadblamed broadleaf weeds

Every day when Cliff and I take our walk, on the way past the field he planted in grass last fall, he'll say something like this:  "I gotta get out here with the hoe and get those dad-gummed broad-leaf weeds."  
Three years ago when a late freeze killed most of the alfalfa in this little plot, weeds took over.  And although Cliff disked the area repeatedly last summer, we would see big plants waving in the breeze, thumbing their noses at us.  
This morning when Cliff said, "I intended to get out here with the hoe and get those dad-blamed broadleaf weeds, but it looks like it ain't gonna happen," I thought, "Maybe he's hinting for me to do it." 
So after planting some trees and tilling the garden this morning, I headed out with my trusty hoe.  From where we took our walk, we'd seen perhaps a half-dozen of the big weeds; I figured it wouldn't take long to get rid of them so Cliff could find something new to talk about on our walks.  

Bonnie and Sir Loin followed me in and started enjoying the new grass; you wouldn't think there were any broadleaf weeds there, would you?  Just lovely, green grass, waving in the breeze. 

Once inside the electric-fenced patch, though, I saw there were dozens... perhaps hundreds... of the dad-blamed weeds  They were just getting established, so they were too small to see from our path.  
The trouble is, when I use the hoe to get rid of them, the root is still there to send up another plant.  We hate to use a broadleaf weed killer, since we inter-seeded clover there last winter.   
It almost makes me want to move to town.

Monday, April 05, 2010

An interesting walk for Sadie

Cliff and I didn't walk this morning, since thunderstorms were passing through.  Sadie and I waited until this afternoon to head out to the pasture.  I was barefoot.  So was Sadie, for that matter.
As we rounded the corner of my cabin we scared up a squirrel, so my dog had an exciting chase.  Of course she didn't have a chance of catching him, but it's all about the chase.
A little further on, I saw what I thought was a tiny dead snake, and bent over to investigate.  I keep an eye on the ground when I'm not wearing shoes, trust me.  He was all curled up, not making a move.  Sadie happened to see me checking something out and came to investigate, hoping perhaps I'd found a stick to toss for her.


You may need to click on the picture to make it larger.
I decided to poke it with a twig, checking for signs of life.  Oh, it was alive, all right.  And a vicious little creature he was, curling back and striking for all he was worth.



Once I got him moving, Sadie realized it was something alive and played with it for awhile.  If you stick through the video for all twenty-six seconds, you'll get a glimpse of the snake.  




And then, Sadie topped off a perfect walk by carrying home a stick for me to toss later.  

Enjoying the birds

Why do they call them "red-bellied woodpeckers" when their bellies aren't red?


There's a female cardinal at the feeder with the house finches, and a male cardinal on the ground.