Friday, March 30, 2012


Last year I planted parsley, oregano, and basil next to my porch where it would be handy.  I was surprised to find that parsley winters just fine.  Today I cleared a spot near it to plant dill and basil; as I was clearing weeds, I made a delightful discovery:

The oregano came back!  I almost pulled it for a weed, but it looked familiar to me so I smelled a leaf.  Now I'm wondering if last year's basil will do the same.  

The grass had invaded the four-year-old strawberry patch to such an extent that I told Cliff to just mow it all; I started a new patch elsewhere.  He was going to mow it, but when he saw a few blooms he just didn't have the heart to do it.  So I pulled up a lawn chair the other day and pulled grass for about a half-hour.  I suppose we will get a few small berries from it.  

It's looking more like a garden out there!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Cliff and I went shopping for a new drill press, since the ancient model Cliff has used for years finally shot craps.  I took my Nook along, so while Cliff shopped for drill presses, I read my latest Harlan Coben book (Live Wire).  However, when he was shopping at Sears, I went in to look at blouses that might be considered decent to wear to church.  Why?  Because most of my "tops" wardrobe consists of T-shirts, and that's a little too casual to suit even me.  
I went looking for mushrooms this afternoon.  I picked up five morels and one tick (that I know of).  
This evening we watched Secreteriat on TV.  I warned Cliff before we watched it that it might make me want another horse; I would never have ended up with Blue had I not read Seabiscuit.  Sure enough, after Secretariat ended I found several very cheap young Foxtrotters on Craigslist.  Cliff didn't seem agreeable to another horse, which is probably a good thing.  
My back is fine.  I'm pretty sure my only problem was the stooping and bending I've been doing working in the garden.  
About Titan:  I guess none of us realized that you are not supposed to walk a Great Dane puppy.  You aren't supposed to play roughly with it.  You shouldn't let it run.  What kind of freak dogs have we humans bred, that you can't play with a puppy?  It's a shame, because he is so lovable.  We'll see how he responds to the meds.  All I can say is, do not get a Great Dane.  They will break your heart.  
Tomorrow looks to be a perfect day for a motorcycle ride.  Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not in the mood

Cliff tells me I had better do a blog entry for my "clamoring public", so here goes nothing.  We expected bad news about my grand-dog, Titan, and that's what we got:  He has dysplasia in both hips.  That is pretty much of a death sentence, although the vet put him on a twenty-two day regimen of anti-inflammatory supplements to see if that would help.  

I, who absolutely never have back pain, have really been troubled by it for the past few days.  It especially hurts when I bend, even slightly.  This is making me very grumpy.  
On the positive side, I have gone a whole winter without having a single cold, flu, or case of the sniffles.  I hope I'm not bragging too soon.  However, I think I would trade this backache for a cold if I could. 

I love my spring mornings.  As soon as it's barely daylight, I go outside with my cup of coffee and just walk around, looking for flowers that might be blooming or vegetables that might have come up in the garden overnight.  

Bonnie is usually waiting for some grain when I go outside.  She normally only gets grain when I milk her, but she lost so much weight while she was away that I'm still in the process of getting her back to her normal condition.  She's become quite accustomed to it, and will likely be unhappy when I stop the daily feeding. 

Most of the daffodils are finished for the year, but there are a couple of stragglers left.  

I can never remember what plants I've put in any location, so I'm waiting to see what this is.  Perhaps some kind of lily?  

Bonnie lets me know when she's done eating by standing at the gate, which I closed to keep the other cows out while she has breakfast.  

I feed the cats while I'm on my morning rounds; the kittens are moving around a lot now, and are beginning to eat a little cat food.  

As the sun was showing itself, I went back in the house to find Cliff lying in bed awake, (im)patiently waiting for somebody to take him his coffee.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

For those in the greater Kansas City area

For some needy, deserving person, that is.  This is the final week to enter.

"Gahagan-Eddy is about to give away a free roof to a deserving local family. We are doing this in celebration of our ten years serving Kansas City with excellence and honesty.
Please nominate a family who has a difficult medical or financial situation — or an individual who boldly serves our community or country. You can help us make an incredible difference right here in Kansas City."
Click HERE for the nomination form.

What a wonderful weekend

Cliff's St. Louis sister and her husband spent the night Friday night and part of the day Saturday; it was good catching up with them.  Sunday morning Cliff and I awoke to a perfect day and decided we were past due for a nice, long motorcycle ride.  
We've taken day trips all over, so that there aren't many new roads to ride in any direction for a hundred miles.  We thought about going to Cliff's childhood town, Versailles, but we'll be going to a gathering there in a couple of weeks, so why go now?  
"What about that town with the big goose," I asked Cliff.  "That's a nice ride.  We could ride to Swan Lake."  
I should have looked up the information on the place.  Autumn is the best time to visit.  
Not that it matters, because we had a great ride.  We never tire of 24 highway going east, and 65 to Chillicothe is a fun ride too. 
We always stick to the back roads when possible.  It's a little sad to see buildings in the countryside and small towns deteriorating, but that's life.  Nothing stays the same; nothing lasts forever.

We found a great place to eat our picnic lunch at Pershing State Park.
  This is the park where I used to go to church camp as a kid.  Redbuds are in full bloom everywhere.  

It's amazing how good a tuna salad sandwich tastes when you're really hungry.  

  There wasn't a soul around when we started eating.  We were sitting there drinking our after-dinner coffee when two black vans and a black car cruised through the parking lot, left, and soon returned.  A whole clan of Mennonites got out, and one gentleman came and asked if we minded them eating in the shelter with us.  We told him we were ready to leave anyhow; he told us they had plenty of hamburgers if we wanted some, and strawberries for dessert.  We declined.  
I am assuming they were Mennonites rather than Amish, because they were driving vehicles.  They spoke with a strong Iowa/Nebraska accent, but I didn't think to look at their license plates to see if my accent-detection was working properly.  

Tribute to the mothers of the armed forces, circa 1944
We drove past the giant goose in Sumner that turns as the wind changes directions.  

The other time we went to Swan Lake there were eagles flying overhead, hundreds of geese, and lots of people pulled over on the side of the road, watching it all.  Yesterday the only creature we saw moving was a red-tailed hawk looking for lunch.  Big deal, huh?  

Oh yeah, and we finally saw some little ducks.  Don't visit Swan Lake in March. 

sign in the rest room at Baltimore Bend Winery
But it was a fully enjoyable ride.  On the way home, we stopped at Baltimore Bend winery to use the rest room.  There are always a lot of motorcycles in their parking lot there, and yesterday was no exception.  At our ages, it isn't always easy to climb aboard the Gold Wing.  Neither of us is anywhere near agile and we both have aches and pains, so we don't get on the bike in the conventional manner:  that would be Cliff first, then me.  Nope.  I get on first, then he attempts to throw a leg over the saddle without kicking me.  As we were going through this yesterday, I said to Cliff, "I wonder how much longer we're going to be able to climb on this thing," and a biker walking by said, "For the rest of your lives." 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We are sad tonight

This is my grand-dog, Titan, not even a year old, with his bestie, Heather.  She is my oldest grandson's girl friend.  If you follow my blog, you know how much we all love this dog.  
A week ago he started limping and favoring a back leg.  We think he probably has hip dysplasia.  It's a common problem among the larger breeds of dogs, and the outlook is not good.  Monday we will find out for sure if that's the problem.  
There is a surgery that can be performed, but the chances of it helping the dog are slim, and the cost of the surgery is high.    
Heather and I had a long talk tonight, and we agreed that the best course of action would probably be to spoil that dog rotten and fulfill his every dream in the next few weeks.  
Does anybody have a large female dog in heat?  I'm pretty sure that would be on Titan's bucket list.  No, he isn't neutered.  
Meanwhile, if the diagnosis confirms our fears, we plan to feed him steak and hamburger and whatever else might appeal to him.  
I'm so sad tonight.  I sure hope we are wrong about what ails him.

Answering your tattoo questions

"How long did it take to get your tattoo?"  Over two hours
"How much did it cost?"  $75.00, but they have low overhead since they are not in a big city.  I heard one of the guys telling a lady, "You'll have to go to (some shop in) Warrensburg to get that done; it will cost you twice as much, because it's a college town, but that's where you need to go."  I have little idea what the going price is for a tattoo the size of mine, but I'm thinking anybody with that kind of artistic talent who spends over two grueling hours working on an old lady's back is working pretty cheaply.  
"Didn't it hurt?"  After the first five minutes or so, I more or less got used to the burning sensation and didn't even think about it... until the last twenty or thirty minutes, and then I was very ready to be done.  Logan kept asking me if I wanted a break, but I just wanted it done, so he kept at it.  
"Are you going to wear sundresses to show it off?"  I might get some tank tops or spaghetti-strap shirts for here at home, but I will probably wear my usual T-shirts when I'm off the property.  People do tend to judge folks with tattoos.  How do I know this?  Because I've done a little judging of my own, over the years.
"Why Pegasus?"  You'll find the answer HERE, if you read the whole entry.  If I hadn't been watching an episode of "Pickers", I would have ended up with some sort of Honda Gold Wing tattoo, which would be about me and Cliff and our mutual love of riding the motorcycle.  The Mobile Pegasus goes back to Cliff's teenage years, his youngest sister's childhood (and even another sister who died as a toddler), and to my children's infancy.  So it's very personal to me, and reminds me of my favorite people. 

If you have other questions, leave them in my comment section and I will edit this entry to answer them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Crossed off my bucket list: Tattoo!

Last Saturday I made an appointment at Bootlegger Tattoo in nearby Odessa.  My oldest grandson (who, by the way, was dead-set against Grandma getting a tattoo) told me about the place, saying that he had lots of friends who went there and none of them were unhappy with their work.  

I stole this off the Bootlegger website
Logan was the artist who did the work.  When I told him my age and that it was my first ever tattoo, I think he was a little apprehensive.  "This is pretty extensive for a first tattoo," he said.  
I didn't give him any trouble, though.  Cliff watched the whole procedure, and he would be the first to tell you that the guy really is an artist.  
Cliff wasn't crazy about me doing this, but he said, "I know when you get something in your head, nobody is going to stop you."  
Since he was so nice about it, I let him choose where the tattoo would be placed on my body.  

This is how it started.  

Cliff thought it looked good enough like this.  Of course, it was barely started at this point.  The fill-in was what took time.  

This was taken over halfway through the procedure.  

And this is near the end.  

After it's healed and the red is gone, I will show you a picture of the completed masterpiece.

Did it hurt?  It was more of a burning sensation, but after the first five minutes or so, I got used to it and conversed with Cliff and Logan as the work progressed.  I will admit that the last half-hour, I was really wanting it to be done.    

P.S.  Cliff was, of course, the photographer.  What a great guy!  No wonder I have his name on my shoulder.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For those who are following my daughter's latest adventure

She updated her blog HERE.

Pictures from our foggy morning walk

Smoky Canyon

'Tude, on the watch for something
cobwebs on the leaves
cow parade

I checked on the kittens after our walk.  They try to nibble cat food from my hand now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Noodles and mashed potatoes, and why they work well together

Now remember, I did not say it's a healthy meal.  Neither did I say we were going to eat noodles and mashed potatoes every day.  I never fix noodles unless we have company, usually grandchildren.  My ex-daughter-in-law came to eat noodles with us last Saturday.  This is allowed, because she is the only person in the world who actually wants me to come and live with her if something happens to Cliff.  Trust me, that would be a disaster for both of us.  But it's nice of her to keep repeating the offer.  
And now to explain why noodles and mashed potatoes are a good combination:    
Before I make noodles, I boil some chicken, take it out of the broth and remove the skin, debone it, and toss it back in the pot.  I  usually use three or four chicken leg quarters, but the amount doesn't matter.  Just so it's enough to make delicious chicken broth.  Please don't buy that chicken broth you get at the store that comes in cans or boxes; it doesn't hold a candle to home-made.  
I add enough water to make a LOT of broth, because broth is what makes the mashed potatoes so good when you put the noodles over them.  My oldest granddaughter, the picky one, is the noodle addict.  She doesn't like the broth at all; she takes a slotted spoon and gets noodles only.  Unless there is pumpkin pie for dessert, she eats nothing but noodles, no matter what else is on the table.  
Because of the amount of flour used in the process of making noodles, the broth thickens up almost like gravy.  I'm sorry you northern folks don't understand why anybody would put noodles on their mashed potatoes; I will be sure and not make any mashed potatoes when I make noodles for you.  But let me warn you that without potatoes, the broth is going to run all over the place and soak into any other food on your plate.  It will be a mess.  Have fun with that.  

By the way, what kind of grandma worries about carbs or calories or rules when she is cooking for her grandchildren?  Sheesh.  It is the parent's job to keep the children healthy; it is GRANDMA'S job to spoil them.

My mom's noodle recipe is HERE.  You will find me sharing my noodle memories HERE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


There are a few controlling people who hate the fact that I have a blog (dare I mention inlaws?).  
You know, the type of people who think that if they're scared to death to do something, everybody should be scared.  One of them recently had a conversation with Cliff about my "problem".  (Chuckle)
I'm sorry, I won't live my life letting fear keep me from doing what I love.  You go shopping, if that's what you want to do.  I will blog.   
Do you realize how much I would miss out on, if it weren't for my blog?  I don't meet a lot of new people in person.  I don't drive, and Cliff and I don't travel much.  But I have "met" so many wonderful people through blogs!  
In fact, the Internet in general has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.  For one thing, it got me back in touch with one of my favorite former coworkers, Jessica.  The one born in Arkansas to hippie parents.  
Last Saturday the local grandchildren, plus a couple of other people, came here for noodles (a family tradition in this house).  The only other food I fixed was mashed potatoes, because most of us like to put our noodles on mashed potatoes.  No green vegetable.  No dessert.  Just noodles and mashed potatoes, because that's really all my grandchildren cared about.  As I was making the noodles, I posted this picture on Facebook:
Among the people who asked for the recipe was my little buddy, Jessica. 
I mentioned that when you make noodles this way, you really need a child unrolling them.  I remember unrolling my grandma's noodles for her.  
Yesterday Jessica tried my noodle recipe for the first time, and posted a picture of her daughter unrolling the noodles.
 I knew by the picture that those noodles were perfect, and Jessica confirmed that.  I think this makes us relatives.  We are more than blood sisters; we are NOODLE sisters!  Noodles are a family tradition.  

Here's a picture of my real-life sister making noodles with her great-granddaughter at Christmas:

Don't you just love family traditions?  And don't you love the Internet, where those of you who aren't scared of your own shadow can keep in touch?  

Speaking of family traditions, I think Noodle Day may become a monthly event.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Good news

An update from my daughter HERE.


I just finished a page-turner of a book by Harlan Coben, "Tell No One".  There were twists and turns in the plot right to the last page.  Wow!  

Today I got to thinking about fleas, and wondered if my barn cats had them; cats are notorious flea magnets.  I'm not really sure what people do for fleas on cats, but I went out and checked them.  I was pleasantly surprised to find no evidence of fleas on Mama Kitty or her babies.  They all have white bellies, so fleas (or their leavings) would show up if they were there.  
I'm amazed!  I wonder what keeps them flea free.  
The kittens are starting to act like they're glad to see me when I hover over their nest now.  

Mama Kitty is hard to photograph:  She will either put her tail in the air and walk away from me, giving opportunity to catch a good shot of her rear end, or else she comes quickly to me and rubs against my leg, which of course makes it impossible to get a decent picture.  
It takes a cat of a certain disposition to work its way into my heart, but Mama Kitty has managed to do it.  She isn't pushy.  She stays away from the house.  If I want to pet her, she allows it, but she doesn't insist.  
Here's to Mama Kitty.  May she have a long, good life.

Oh, here's something:  Don't let anybody tell you that Obama is terrible because he took the red, white, and blue colors out of the Oval Office.  Only one President used red, white, and blue in the color scheme of the oval office, and that was Bill Clinton, who had a rug in those colors on the floor.

George W. Bush

Bill Clinton (that rug is hideous)

George H.W. Bush
Of course, since I got this information from Snopes, I imagine some people will assume the pictures are doctored.   
I'm not a huge fan of President Obama, but I don't really enjoy seeing lies circulated about him.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Yes, it's come to this.  I'm blogging about toasters.  
When Cliff and I got married, I had been living on my own for about three years, so I had a few pots and pans, a coffeepot, a cast iron skillet... you know, the basics.  I didn't have a toaster, though.  Honestly, I never missed having a toaster.  I can live without toast in my life.  
Fast forward about five years.  I had a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and suddenly I felt the need for a toaster.  Christmas was coming up and when relatives asked what we wanted, one of my requests was a four-slice toaster.  Something like this one:
We received that toaster, and I put it on the second shelf of a roll-around, three-shelf kitchen utility cart.  Something like this one, only retro:
I placed our new toaster on the middle shelf, plugged it in, and taught my two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son how to use it.  It was right at their level.  
I know.  I'm a terrible mother.  Who turns a two-year-old loose with a toaster?  Those kids could have been horribly burned or mutilated.  Thank God they survived.  
Anyway, for the first month after we received the wonderful toaster, we were not surprised to smell toast cooking any time the kids were awake.  My children, both of them, had learned how to get a slice of bread, put it in the toaster, push the lever down, wait expectantly, and then take the toast to the table and spread butter or peanut butter or jelly (or any combination thereof) on it, and make themselves a snack.  
My babies could cook!  I didn't even make them ask permission.  My children, if you are hungry, make some toast!  God has blessed us with a toaster!  
As I said, I was a terrible mother.  We sure had fun, though.
Back then, toast could be made in about 60 seconds.  When it popped up, it was hot, so I taught my babies to be very careful.  Toast is hot, children!  This was an important life lesson for them.  Half the life lessons they learned were learned in my kitchen.  
The toaster I have today takes at least three minutes to turn bread into toast; you could starve, waiting for it to pop up.  And when it DOES pop up, it isn't hot.  It won't melt butter.  
Maybe I should get on Ebay and buy a toaster made in the sixties.    

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just call me the horse whisperer

This morning Adam, who boards his horses here, decided to get his two horses up so he could haul them someplace to ride.  It was a lovely morning, and although he's working most Saturdays lately, he was off today.  
I looked out the window and saw him approach the horses several times.  He'd get to within a few yards and they'd take off running.  
They're getting lots of grass now, so the feed bucket he was carrying didn't hold much appeal.  
The poor guy was out there for well over an hour, and he never got close to the horses.  My grandson was here watching with me, and I told him, "If he'd just go home, I could get those horses up for him."  
Finally Adam gave up.  He and the grandson stood in front of the barn talking.  Adam was about ready to shoot some horses, he was SO frustrated.  
I saw the two guys chatting and decided to try my hand at catching Tude and Sassy.  Thinking the horses would follow a feed can to the barn, I got some dairy feed and walked out to them.  They didn't run from me, and they each ate the handful of feed I held out to them.  But they didn't follow me to the barn.  This wasn't their first rodeo.  
I came to the house, got rid of the feed can, and picked up a rope, which I tucked under my shirt out of sight.  I walked back to the horses.  I sat on the ground, then stretched out and laid down a few feet from the horses.  I was hoping they'd be curious and come on over, but that didn't happen.  
So I got up and walked over to Tude (from the side, because horses don't like to be approached from the front.  They also prefer that you not look directly at them as you approach.)  I rubbed Tude's neck a few times, slowly got the rope out from under my shirt, and looped it around his neck.  I led him to the barn, with my grandson and Adam both laughing and shaking their heads.   
I learned these lessons from Blue.  When I first got him, if he saw me approaching with a halter, rope, or bridle, he would run.  I had this book, "A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color", and I'd take a lawn chair out to Blue's pen and read the book.  If I sat there long enough, he'd come over to me and put his head right in my lap.  I'd have a lead rope with me, and I'd rub his neck with the rope so he'd see it as something other than an enemy.  People don't spend enough time just "being" with their horses.  We really bonded.  
Of course, part of the reason Tude let me put the rope around his neck might have been that he knew he wouldn't have to carry me on his back all day.  I've never ridden him.    

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dumb animals?

My Uncle Leo (is it OK to have a favorite uncle?) used to say, "There are dumb people, but there are NO dumb animals."  
Well, I've always considered cows to be not-so-bright.  That's in spite of the fact that every mother cow I've owned who had a baby in trouble came to the house to get me, bawling her head off.  
It's true.  They know that when the chips are down, I will help them.  
But you can't teach a cow tricks.  You can't ride most cows like you would a horse.  You can't get her to fetch a stick or roll over.  The most you can do with a cow is try to tame her down enough so that you can milk her without getting kicked.  And if you're lucky, maybe she'll let you pet her.
So Bonnie and her calf were gone for over a month, and both of them were happy to see their best friends again.  I have to tell you, the reunion was heartwarming.  I really did get a lump in my throat watching them.  
I decided to put Bonnie's calf, Max, in the stall tonight so I could get some milk out of Bonnie in the morning.  I opened the stall door and drove him in.  He remembered the routine after being away for about five weeks.  No problem.  
Later on I looked out and saw this:

Max is in prison, and his BFF is not going to leave.  The two grown cows (one of whom is Max's mom) went out to graze, but Jody is going to wait right there until her buddy is released.
Uncle Leo was right.  There are dumb people, but there are no dumb animals.  

Growing things in the garden

Cabbage seedlings.  Of course I'll have to thin them and transplant some.  It's much cheaper to start them from seed right in the garden rather than buy plants at a nursery.  Cabbage does well for me as long as I dust often with Sevin to keep the cabbage worms off.

Beets, already showing their red color.  Beets have never let me down as a garden crop:  insects don't bother them; rabbits don't eat them, because they are occupied with eating the lettuce and peas; they don't get blight.  In my next life, I want to be a beet farmer and live on borscht, pickled beets, and Harvard beets.

Radishes, a crop that lets me down often.  They usually refuse to become round.  I hate a stubborn, rebellious vegetable, and yet every year I try again.  Mainly because they reach maturity in about three weeks and I can pull them and forget them.  I don't even care much for the taste of radishes except maybe in a salad, but Cliff likes them.

Lettuce.  I planted leaf lettuce and head lettuce, but they look the same, so I only took a picture of the leaf lettuce.  

Spinach!  Just in case Popeye comes to visit.  

Sugar snap peas.  

Because I love the humiliation of a crop failure, I planted more radishes today.  Also a few carrots.  If I plant the entire contents of a package, I use the empty package to mark where the seeds stop.  

Lombardy Poplar trees are really nothing more than giant weeds, but they grow fast.  These are about four years old, and were only sticks when we planted them.  The purpose was to hide the monstrosity of a house next door, which is now vacant.  

The trouble is, there was a shed sitting where some of them were really needed.  Oh well.  We'll be getting rid of the poplars before long, and let the Norway Spruce trees in front of them take over.  The house still won't be hidden from view, but maybe somebody will buy it who will take care of it and plant grass in the yard (and not yell obscenities at one another at the top of their lungs).  

  Just to show you the sort of weeds Lombardy Poplars are, at this time of year you can cut switches off them, stick them in the ground, and they will take root, no tending necessary.  Cliff is thinking of planting some by a fence in the pasture, so he started these just in case.  If you would like a Lombardy Poplar, go find a tree growing near you and cut off some twigs.  Do it soon, though.  It only works in the spring.  And be aware that these trees will start dying at around the age of fifteen years.  
I decided to show you my garden now, before a drought or pests or blight destroy it.  This is probably the best it will ever look.