Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One cat moved with us

I only have barn cats and we still have the same barn; we moved from behind the barn to in front of the barn.  But one of the cats has moved.
Back at the trailer house, I could count on the cats being on one of the porches, either the front or back, when I woke up in the morning.  If there was a chair available, one or both of them (or all three, back before Susie got stomped) would be on it.  If I inadvertently left a jacket, towel, or rug outside, you can bet your life there would be a cat on it, obviously assuming I had deliberately placed it there for his personal comfort.   

Even though they are barn cats, they still think everything is all about them, and that the world revolves around them.  I really never paid that much attention to cats until Mama Kitty inserted herself into my life, so it's only in recent years I've learned that cats assume too much.  Mama Kitty actually thinks the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is to feed her and her big, fat son, and back at the trailer house she told me this each day, in no uncertain terms, with her polite little mews.  Jake, her only surviving offspring, was always beside her, yowling and howling like a banshee.  

The first morning I woke up here at the old house after we moved, Mama Kitty was waiting at the back door with Jake.  I couldn't believe that the cats had this whole move figured out that quickly.  After a few mornings, though, Jake was no longer with her.  I guess he doesn't like our new abode, because now he's usually waiting for his breakfast in, or near, the barn.    

This morning I was lying in bed awake before 5 A.M. and heard a "plunk" somewhere nearby.  The sound was like when Iris has her rubber ball in her mouth and drops it to the floor.  I rolled onto my side, glanced toward the kitchen, and saw Iris curled up in her bed, sound asleep. 

There it was again.  One of our two bedroom windows looks out onto the front porch, and I got up to see if that was where the noise came from.  I turned on the porch light,and saw Mama Kitty curled up on a chair I had placed there.  When she saw me looking out the door, she jumped down off the chair.  "Plunk."  

And then she started mewing her polite, dainty little meow.  Because, you know, the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is so I can trek out to the barn and feed her.  In her opinion, it's what I live for.  

I'm off to the barn.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There comes a time

Yes.  There comes a time when nobody can insult you.  If you still feel insulted when someone doesn't agree with you, you aren't old enough, so just wait.  When you've been through enough battles, you stop caring who agrees with you and learn to think for yourself, no matter what.  I think the Internet brought me to this place.  Or, to be more specific, maybe it was Facebook.  

You eventually realize that there are always going to be people who think you are too religious, people who think you are not religious enough, some who think your religion is the wrong one, a few who think you shouldn't be religious at all... and those who couldn't care less.  

We all come from different backgrounds, which means we don't look at life in the same way.  In the old days, we would have stayed in our own little circles and never have realized how many ways there are of thinking, of living, of dealing with life.  

But now we have the Internet, and we are faced with all kinds of ideas and opinions.  We have the choice of turning off anything we don't agree with, but that just doesn't seem like an option to me, so I don't.  I welcome the opinions of my atheist friends, my left-wing and right-wing friends, my Catholic, protestant... insert any religion here.   

If you live in a mansion, I salute you.  A hut in the Congo?  I'm impressed!  You will never see me putting anybody down for the kind of house in which they live.  But if that's what makes you feel good, have at it.

The wonderful thing about the Internet (and Facebook) is that I can say what I think and pass on anything I wish to.  So can you.  We all have the option to ignore one another and stay in our own little circles, or we can watch, and perhaps learn something new.  

I'm not sure whether it's good or bad, but that's the way it is on the Internet.

This is where it gets tricky

For ten months Cliff and I have first lost, then maintained, our weight.  My present goal is to stay below 145; his is to stay below 220.  I went about a half-pound over mine during the weekend and so did he, but the next day we were back where we were supposed to be.  

And now, starting with Halloween, the real war begins.  Actually, since Cliff is retired, Halloween isn't so much a problem, because we don't have trick-or-treaters out here and don't have to buy candy.  It used to spell trouble for Cliff because co-workers brought candy in all the time, but that problem was actually year-around:  I could cook properly at home every day, but his will-power isn't strong enough to make him refuse sweets from other people if I'm not there to see it.  

Anyway.  Last week at our tractor club meeting (where sugary snacks are always served) they mentioned that the annual holiday dinner would be Sunday (last).  Everybody was to bring a dish and join in the festivities.  Cliff suggested I take my Old Settler's Beans, which are always a big hit.  
"Cliff," I said, "We simply cannot go to every big holiday dinner that we're invited to.  I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the family next month, and that one day alone could set us back ten pounds.  We can't avoid that meal, but we can refuse invites to some of the others."  

If you attend Church, they are probably going to have a holiday dinner.  Various fundraisers in our little town are having dinners of all kinds.  The wonderful monthly breakfast buffet at the American Legion hall is coming up Saturday.  We were invited to the grandson's girl friend's parents' house for dinner this coming Sunday evening.  It's always like that, this time of year, and it accelerates after Thanksgiving.  After all, with Christmas approaching it's time to make fruit cake and fudge and hot cheese dips and...  

Yeah.  We've been successful with our goals this year, but we still don't have the kind of will power it would take to go to all these functions and make wise choices.  We'll pass on most of them.  So much for any social life.    

Sunday, October 27, 2013

We play with poop at Woodhaven Acres

We had a wonderful family day around here.  The daughter's family came to spend some time, and her son showed up a little later with my two great-grandchildren.  Both of them are SO sweet and well-behaved... I really enjoyed watching their antics.  

I decided the little kids might enjoy a closeup encounter with a cow (yeah, one of my few remaining cows) and put a halter on Penny.  I led her toward the shop, and Kami slowly made her way to the heifer, reaching out a hand to pet her.  That's when Penny pooped, and that's when Kami decided not to pet the cow.  

Later, though, with a bit of coaxing and a promise that the cow would NOT poop again for awhile, she ventured close enough to pet her. 
Don't ask who the old lady in the background wearing the dirty sweatshirt is.  I know NOTHING.  

An hour or so after the cow deposited the poop in front of Cliff's shop, granddaughter Monica (a senior in high school, by the way) showed Kami how how to take small sticks and stand them up embedded in the cow pile.  Kami decided this was a fun exercise and joined in.  Too late, I decided to take a picture of the cow poop with sticks protruding out of it, just for the entertainment of my blog readers, and went to get my camera.  I say too late, because at the very minute I aimed my camera at this work of art, my grand-dog, Titan (the Great Dane), chose to grab one of the sticks in his mouth and take off with it.  Seeing this, my dog, Iris, also grabbed a stick.  In the process of doing this, they flattened the other sticks and it ruined the whole effect of the picture I was going to take.  You'll have to use your imagination.  

Here are my two great-grandchildren.  No poop involved.  

Even though...

Even though the fig tree shall not blossom and 

there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield 

of the olive should fail and the fields produce 

no food, though the flock should be cut off 

from the fold and there be no cattle in the 

stalls, yet will I exult in the Lord, I will rejoice 

in the God of my salvation.  

Habakkuk 3:17  

Saturday, October 26, 2013


OK, this is what I've decided on the new Ipad:  Although Cliff has been trying his best to steer me toward buying one, I'm just too happy with what I have to spend money on another one just because it has a couple more bells and whistles.  

However... (you know there would be some sort of however, right?) 

I've had my Mac Mini (I'm not talking about the Ipad mini here, but my actual computer) for four years, trouble-free.  It was the cheapest way for me to have an Apple computer because it uses the keyboard, mouse, and monitor I already had.  So I get to be an Apple snob without breaking the bank.  When I purchased the Mini, I chose the roomiest hard drive available for it.  It's now 2/3 full.  These days you can get a Mini with a 1 TB hard drive.  Oh yes, I do have an external hard drive, but I'd prefer to have everything on my computer.  

So I told Cliff I would rather apply the $500 plus that a new Ipad would cost me to the purchase of a new Mac Mini.  He gave me his stock answer:  "If there's something you want, you'd better be getting it, because we don't have much time left."  

In that case, perhaps I don't need more hard drive.  

I know this isn't the type of blog entry most folks enjoy, but bear with me.  I was already in the doldrums, and now I've had a rough week:  In the last seven days I've lost three cows.  Bonnie's calf was dead when we found it, so we had Bonnie butchered; and I found Jenny, the prettiest heifer in the herd, dead, day before yesterday.  It seems that when there's a hard frost, alfalfa can cause bloat in cattle.  Add to that the fact that we butchered Jody a few weeks ago because she failed to breed, and let's just say it's been a bad year all around for our herd.  That's all I'm going to say about that.    

No tears have been shed.  I'm numb.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bonnie went for her last ride

We loaded Bonnie into Cliff's brother's stock trailer and hauled her a mile down the road to Nadler's butcher shop.  We don't need the ground beef, but as far as I'm concerned, I only had two choices: Have her butchered, or let Cliff shoot her and toss her in the ditch and bury her.  No way was I going to have her go to a huge packing plant where many of the cows are still alive when they start skinning them, thanks to the way the companies hurry the process so they can get maximum income from the fewest employees possible.  It isn't just the cows that suffer, either.  The employees of such plants are treated worse than animals.  
Had Bonnie calved a week later than she did, the butcher shop couldn't have taken her, because once deer season starts, that's all they process.  So I'm thankful the timing was right.
We are truly blessed to be neighbors with this butcher shop.  Cliff had a couple of things he wanted done differently, and the owner of the place came out and talked to us about those concerns.  For instance, while the ground beef from Jody is quite tasty, but there is NO fat in that meat.  Dairy cows don't have a lot of fat.  Since Bonnie is older, we were afraid she might have even less fat (less fat than none?  I know, that doesn't make sense).  We told Glen that if there was no fat on the cow, we'd like him to add enough fat for a 90/10 mix.  He said that's no problem, he'll add it if it's needed.  The other thing was the offal:  There's a charge for processing it, and we don't need or want it.  We still have the liver, kidneys, tongue, heart, and tails from the last two animals we butchered.  So Cliff asked if he could bring a bucket up tomorrow so they could just toss the offal in there and we can dispose of it, because there is an almost $18 charge for processing the offal.  Glen said that would be fine, just get the bucket there, with our name on it, by 8 A.M.  

Sometimes I forget all the perks of living in a small, close community.      

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This amazing electronic age

I was dealing with a rather fussy baby yesterday while the noon news was running, paying no attention to the television, when Cliff said, "You have to see this!"  
He backed up the news, as you can do with Direct TV, and replayed the segment for me.  This thing I "had" to see was information about the new Apple Ipad.  
Now, I'm perfectly happy with my Ipad Mini.  It does everything I want it to do.  If we go out to eat breakfast and I forget my morning pills, I just talk to the Ipad and tell it to remind me to take my pills at 11 A.M. (or whenever I think we'll be back home).  At exactly eleven o'clock, the reminder will pop up on the ipad AND my computer.  For someone whose memory isn't as sharp as it used to be, this is an invaluable feature.  
I keep my grocery list on the Ipad, but if I think of an item to add when I am sitting at the computer, the list is right here in the "Icloud".  If I add to my list while at the computer, it shows up on the Ipad, and vice versa.    
My first Ipad didn't have a camera, but the mini does.  I don't know what the big deal is about the retina display, but I don't covet it.  Every new model of the Ipad that comes out is "thinner" and "lighter", but I am satisfied with the weight of mine.  
So honestly, I had no desire to buy any new version of the Ipad... until  Cliff called my attention to the news bit.  Good grief, the prices they're asking!  This morning we were eating breakfast with the news on in the other room and I said, "Are they talking about the Ipad again?"  
"Yes," my husband answered.  "They're saying it's lighter and faster."  

Get thee behind me, satan.     

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Iris has a new hobby

My dog Iris, who never used to want to be outside unless Cliff and I were there with her, has to be begged to come in, now that we've moved back to the old house.  When I look out the back door, this is what I see:  

She has a new obsession... squirrels.
At the mobile home, we didn't see many squirrels, so this is all new to my silly dog.  

She patrols the yard, running from tree to tree, looking for squirrels.  When she finds one, she barks.  Sometimes they bark back at her.  

Sometimes I worry about her.  But I will say this.... 
       When I finally insist on her coming inside at night, she sleeps quite well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Those old hymns

On the way home from my aunt's funeral Thursday, my sister and I got to talking about the old hymns we used to sing at church.  
Maxine quoted a friend of hers who said, "These days, they only sing 7/11 songs at church:  Seven words, repeated eleven times."  
My sister and I were raised in the Church of Christ, and I just assumed they still sang the old hymns; Maxine said no, they don't sing a lot of those.  
"You know," I said, "back in the old days, the preacher might preach a boring sermon, but every song we sang preached a sermon all by itself."  

And I began to sing, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand."  

My sister joined in and sang along.  Cliff just kept driving.  

I do know of one little tiny, local church where they sing the old hymns, and sing them with gusto.  We visited there a few weeks ago, and would have gone back today, had Cliff not been coughing his head off with a cold.  I have a deep hunger for those old songs.  It may not be next week or the next, but I know we will be visiting Napoleon United Methodist Church again before too long.    

I need those songs. 

Leaving carrots in the ground for winter

Not only carrots, but beets, turnips, and parsnips.  Click HERE.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's the land of plenty

I cooked one of those sweet potatoes and ended up with five pints of mashed sweets... yes, from ONE sweet potato.  I dug the last of them this morning:
The larger ones are huge.  I'm not sure what to do with them, since I still have a bucket full in the house.

We went to Rasa Orchard this morning and bought a peck of Fuji apples for eating and a half-bushel of #2 Jonathans for cooking.  
As you can see, more than half the Jonathans are gone already.  That's because I made applesauce after dinner.  I intend to make an apple cobbler with some of the remaining apples in the bag.

I cored the apples and cooked them with the peeling on.  There is less waste that way, and it gives the applesauce a lovely color.  

There are eight pints processing as I work on this blog entry.  They only have to boil for twenty minutes.  I also have a quart of applesauce in the refrigerator, which we'll eat over the next three or four days.  

I picked green beans yesterday until my fingers were numb from the cold.  There are still some out there, but I guess I will let them go to waste.  It's only a few plants, but they are loaded with long, perfect beans.  Whoever advised me to plant Top Crop green beans did me a big favor.  

The late-planted radishes are huge!  Not pithy, either, but crisp and good (if you like radishes... I could live without them, but Cliff loves them in his evening salad).

Looks like we'll have eggplant parmesan tomorrow with our leftover green beans and ham.  I guess as soon as I finish this entry, I'll chop and freeze the last sweet peppers of the year.  

We had fried green tomatoes for dinner.  I like those even more than fried morel mushrooms, and that's saying a lot!

I usually bring a bushel or so of green tomatoes inside before the first frost and let them ripen; I've managed to have tomatoes past Thanksgiving, some years.  This year, though, as you can see, the tomatoes are all split at the top.  I'm fairly sure they wouldn't keep.    We do have plenty of tomatoes for the next few days.  

So, the garden was a fairly successful venture this year, and I learned a lot about fall gardening.  I'm wondering whether it would work for me to leave the fall carrots in the ground and dig them as I need them.  Do any of my gardening friends know?  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Winter approaches

My sister, aged 85, who moved to Kansas so she could live near her son and his wife, came to stay with us for a couple of nights so she could accompany us to our aunt's funeral.  She jokingly said that we've seen more of one another since she moved away than when she lived in the Kansas City area, and I guess that is true.  We plan to visit her before too long so we can see the house she bought in McPherson.  I sent some turnips, sweet potatoes, and fresh eggs home with her.

Cliff and I went clothes shopping today, in spite of the fact that he has a terrible cold.  Actually, I think it's sinus infection; as I told him, his breath smells like something crawled down into his throat and died, which usually means he has sinusitis.  He was in denial for two days, and finally today decided that, perhaps, he has a cold.  

We bought Cliff a pair of Big Smith overalls, but they are getting harder to find all the time.  The smaller Walmarts have stopped carrying them, and even the dreaded Blue Springs Walmart didn't have all the sizes today.  We made the mistake of being at that particular blight on the earth around 11 A.M., and I barely escaped with my life.  They would have sold me some jeans if everything hadn't been in such disarray, but I fled the place and paid more for some jeans at Kohl's.  We were in search of a couple of decent-looking shirts for Cliff, and found those at Kohl's also.  

Back home, we watched some shows that were recorded on the DVR.  

Then Cliff napped and I went to the garden to find some lovely green beans and picked about two-thirds of the row.  By then, my fingers were numb from the cold and I quit.  I picked one of the latest-planted carrots, which tasted sweet ant good, not at all strong-tasting like the ones that had to grow through the summer drought.  I brought in some radishes for Cliff to taste-test, and he pronounced them good.  I brought in what is probably the last four cucumbers and a ripening tomato.  

And I dug a couple of hills of sweet potatoes.
This year's garden may have been my most successful one ever.  The green tomatoes that are left in the garden aren't good enough to save for later ripening, being cracked and ugly.  But hey, they've lasted this long, and that's a good thing!  Tomorrow we'll have those green beans I picked and some fried green tomatoes.  

If any locals would like a giant sweet potato, just say the word.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Aunt Gladys

This was taken a few years back when Cliff and I stopped by to see my Aunt Gladys.  She had had macular degeneration for many years, and couldn't see much by the time she entered the nursing home.  I remember telling her to feel my biker's leather chaps, and she commenced singing some old song about somebody who wore leather britches.  
This lady and her husband, who had alzheimer's,  went into the nursing home, in 2003, I believe.  All the time she lived there, she never complained about her circumstances.  "They take good care of me," she would say.  "This is my home."  
About her blindness, she once told my sister, "I'm glad I had my vision for as long as I did.  If somebody describes the lilacs or pretty leaves, I can picture what those things look like, because I have seen them.  And all of you kids still look as young as you did when I last saw you."  

She was cheery and loving.  She had as great a sense of humor as anybody I've ever met  
This is a lady whose mother died when she was seven years old, leaving her the sole girl in a houseful of males, her dad and four brothers, the oldest of whom was my father.  After my dad's first wife died, they took my sister, Maxine, into the fold.  Aunt Gladys once told Maxine, "I took care of you when I was eleven years old."  

The last time my sister and I saw her three years ago, we were in Bethany for a reunion.  Because we arrived early, we decided to go see Aunt Gladys.  By this time, her hearing was almost gone as well as her sight.  When we walked in, she was all bent over in a wheel chair, and we thought perhaps she was asleep.  We roused her though, and Maxine said, "Aunt Gladys, this is Maxine and Donna."  
She couldn't make out what was said at first.  
Then my sister said, "This is Maxine.  Do you remember me?"  
Aunt Gladys enthusiastically, almost excitedly, responded, "Maxine Allen?"  
That's our maiden name, mine and my sister's.  Maxine's last name hasn't been an Allen for some sixty years, but that's obviously how our aunt remembered her, as the little girl she cared for when she was a little girl herself.     

Our aunt died Monday at the age of 97.  The funeral service today was one of the best I ever attended.  Yes, a funeral service can be good.  Every story that was told about her reminded me again of her wit and optimism.  The preacher did a perfect job of describing her personality, probably because he had known her so many years.      

My daughter said, "She reminded me so much of Grandpa."  
Indeed, those two siblings, the oldest and the youngest, my dad and my aunt, shared a similar sense of humor.  Married in hard times, raising families in hard times, perhaps it was the sense of humor that brought them through.  

They don't make them like that any more.    

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Goodbye, Bonnie the Jersey Cow

Bonnie had her calf yesterday.  It was a heifer, and when I went out to check on them, the calf was dead.  Bonnie's udder is very much compromised, and I do not intend to milk a cow twice a day anyhow.  So I guess we'll be hauling her to the sale barn Tuesday.  We'll be lucky if she brings $200.  Some buyer for a big meat packing plant will be the only bidder, and she will go for ground beef.  Most of the ground beef you buy in stores is from culled dairy cows.

Honestly, I wish we could have her butchered for ourselves.  I'd rather eat her flesh than send her off to the cruelty of a big meat packing plant.  But we just butchered Jody, and if we added more meat to our freezer, it wouldn't be consumed before 2015. 

Lately I have had a hard time staying upbeat, which explains the sparcity of my blog entries.  
The brightest spot in my life has been Baby Cora, who forces me to smile because she won't laugh until I smile.  

Monday, October 14, 2013


Honestly, it's been SO many years since I've been in charge of a baby, there were things I had forgotten.  Cora had three naps today, and in fact was sleeping when her grandma picked her up at 4 P.M.  

After "our baby" left at 4 P.M., Cliff and I decided to watch last night's episode of "The Good Wife"on DVR.  A couple of times during the show, Cliff made some rather loud, enthusiastic comments.  Each time, I caught myself starting to tell him, "Shhh, Cora is asleep.  You'll wake her up!"

I stopped myself before the words left my lips, though.  She was gone, for heaven's sake!  

Last week I caught myself more than once listening for the baby to cry after she had already gone home.

It seems to me a woman gets in a certain mode when she's responsible for a baby.  When my kids were babies, my mom would sometimes take them home with her for a few hours.  All the time they were gone, something didn't feel right.  It was as though part of me was gone.  Oh, I enjoyed the break, don't get me wrong, but I was always thinking it was too quiet, that I should be checking on the kids.  

Is this a universal mother thing?  Surely it must be.  Cliff was a great father to our babies, but with him it was "out of sight, out of mind".  His brother, Phil, a wonderful and loving father, once came to see us with his toddler son, Chad, and left without him.  You should have seen the sheepish look on his face when he returned to pick his kid up.  

You wouldn't see any mom I ever knew pull that stunt.      

Meanwhile, you can't imagine how much I am enjoying feeling that baby squirming on my shoulder, and hearing those little animal-like grunts and noises that small babies make.  She gets her head, cheeks, and forehead kissed many times daily.  Especially when she smiles that million-dollar smile.  I feel very privileged that I am allowed to have her three or four days a week.  And I even get paid for it.    

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Meet Clarissa

This is the look of a person who just jumped out of an airplane.  

I asked Clarissa for a brief explanation of how she got to this point.  I will insert her words right here, lest somebody scroll over the pictures and fail to read a very important message:

Awww well.. As you know..I was hopeless before I got sober July 19, 2010 my life was a mess, emotionally, physically, financially, it was all just really dark.. Dark enough for me to want to change. I hurt a lot of people, because I hurt so badly, but I didn't know how to quit on my own, so I found a place that helps for free, which as a single mom was a godsend.. And now being sober over 3 years, I just want to show other women who are sober that they can do anything they want as long as they stay sober. For me, being sober means I can actually fulfill my lifelong dreams, not just dream them, but actually have the courage and faith to know that it (whatever "it" is at the moment) can be done, and that hardships are just keys that unlock doors for amazing days like this one. I owe my life to the women who came before me that showed me how to live life sober, experience pain sober, experience happiness sober, and most importantly.. How to find God with sober eyes.

I met this lady online, back when she had a blog; she was a totally different person back then.  I met her briefly face-to-face when she came out to my property to look for mushrooms.  

Another person I first met online, Joe, took pictures of this momentous occasion and gave me permission to use them.

Joe said, "The 'Danger' warning seems a bit redundant on a garment you are wearing to jump out of an airplane, doncha think?"

She doesn't even look scared!  She brought a friend along to jump with her.

Her instructor's nickname is Crash.  

She and her friend are ready to go.  

Doesn't Joe take some awesome pictures?

Here they come!  

Yesterday I made the statement, "I wouldn't jump out of a plane for a million dollars."  But you know, I might, if I was fastened to somebody who knew what they were doing.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sometimes it's WHO you know

When we moved from the other house, we brought the router and the DirectTV receiver we were already using.  The DirectTV guy simply hooked it up to the dish the sister-in-law left behind, so it was an easy transition.  

I'm not sure I had even tried to use the DirectTV app on the Ipad at this house until today.  When I tried, the app couldn't find the receiver.  With football season in full swing, I like to be able to put on headphones and watch recorded shows on the Ipad while Cliff is watching his games.  

First I called DirectTV customer service, but I couldn't seem to jump through enough hoops to be able to talk to the right person.  Now that it's over, I remember that the best way to get help is to act like you are leaving DirectTV, because that gets their attention. 

However, it finally occurred to me that my son has managed a crew (I guess that's the right way of saying it) of DirectTV service guys for many years, and he knows this stuff inside and out.  Good grief, how could I have forgotten?  I have personal tech support at my beck and call!  I messaged him on Facebook.  

It took awhile, because first he had to do some troubleshooting, and with me not knowing all the terminology, that wasn't easy.  For instance, he said, "The DirectTV receiver has to be on your network, either hard-wired or with the adaptor on your router," I would answer like this:  Well, there used to be a little box wired up to either the modem or the router, I don't know which; but when we moved, the guy took it out and put one in the living room instead."  

Because what do I know from hard-wired?  

Anyhow, he finally asked the right question and I finally gave the right answer.  He told he how to find my IP address so I could type it in on the Ipad app, and once again I am connected.   

And this is the kind of stuff you will get on my blog until something blog-worthy happens.   

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

With a small baby around...

Memories flood over me, memories of how it was when I had babies of my own.  
Did you know that if you have a baby that has colic, everybody thinks they know how to fix the problem?  
"He's spoiled; you need to let him cry."  
No, he is three weeks old.  He isn't spoiled.  
"If you would change his formula, he would be fine." 
Yeah, I started him out breastfeeding, and you are the one who convinced me to put him on formula.  Thanks for that.  He only cried more and puked more, and it was too late to go back.  

Would you believe there are STILL people who try to tell me what I should have done to get my child through colic?  Good grief, he's in his forties.  He survived, and I did too.  Shut up, and by the way, how is your kid doing these days?  

"He's cold."  
No, I think I'm aware of the temperature in my house, and besides I have plenty of warm clothes for my baby.  

You get the same kinds of advice if you have a child who is a bed-wetter, not saying that I ever did.
"If you'd spank that kid, she would stop that."  

"Stop giving her anything to drink after 4 PM."  

"Wake her up in the middle of the night and make her go to the bathroom."  

I was stupid enough to try every one of those, even the first, which is oh, so wrong.  

My advice to mothers is not to listen to any of the junk people tell you.  If it sounds reasonable and kind, go ahead and try it, but if it sounds cruel in any way, walk away and never look back.  

There is one word of advice I have about babies, and I have told it to several young moms who were weary from lack of sleep:  "It will pass.  There will come a time when you will wish you had one of these days back, just one.  The feeling of an infant on your shoulder, wriggling and gurgling.  The way that baby smiles when he sees you in the morning."  

It all goes by faster than you realize, and I'm here to tell you that when you are my age, you will realize how brief was that time when your children are small.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Holy Harvest, Batman!!

I planted twelve Beauregard sweet potato slips last spring.  The vines ended up covering easily 1/3 of the surface of my garden.  I dug one hill three or four weeks ago and found huge sweet potatoes.  Today I dug three more hills.  

I didn't get all those eggs today, only five of them.  I am not sure I need to freeze any more peppers, but I probably will, rather than let them go to waste.  Tomorrow we'll have stuffed peppers.  I'm not sure I'll use the eggplant.  I'd love to make ratatouille, but don't have any zucchini or yellow squash right now.  We had Eggplant Parmesan, one of Cliff's favorite dishes, today.  

I pulled up one turnip just to see how they were doing, and they are plenty big enough to use already.  Remember the poem I learned from an old farmer?  Plant your turnips the 25th of July, wet or dry.  Harvest them the 25th of October, drunk or sober.  Actually, I hope I can find a home for some of them someplace, since turnips are one of the handful of foods Cliff can't stand.  He doesn't even like to smell them cooking, although it's funny to me that cabbage cooking doesn't bother him, and it stinks to high heaven.  

We are getting more tomatoes than we need, still.  It's been a better-than-usual tomato year for me.  Blight wasn't able to destroy my plants in mid-summer, as usually happens.  It's there, but has been slow to spread.  I've also managed to have zucchini ever since June, until a few days ago.  That's a very unusual situation for me.  Potatoes, which usually do well in my garden, were pathetic this year.  One thing about a garden, there's always a victory or two for every defeat.        

The baby isn't here today, since Dad works construction and it was too muddy on-site to work, so she's home with him.  I imagine that will happen a lot this winter.  I took advantage of the situation to do some garden work. 

Bonnie is due to calve in three days, so we have her penned up in the lot away from steep hills and ditches.  She isn't very happy about the situation.  I'm not sure what condition of milk, or how much milk, to expect out of her this time; her udder and teats are showing a lot of wear and tear.  She's no spring chicken, so I hope her calf, sired by the Red Angus bull we had, is another heifer.  It would be nice to have two of her offspring around.     

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Something to think about

Twas a cold day for a tractor show

We took Cliff's latest project to Powell Gardens yesterday and almost froze to death.  
From what other exhibitors told us, though, last year was colder.  Anyhow, I was already debating whether I should go back to the truck and get my winter coat when a cold rain started to fall.  
"Oh no," I said to Cliff, "I'm already freezing.  I don't need to be wet!"  
And we ducked under the tent belonging to some people making apple butter to sell.  The rain only lasted about five minutes, just enough time for us to inspect their apple peeler collection.  Then we thanked them for the shelter and moved along.  

  One of my favorite things about tractor shows is seeing the stories behind the old tractors.  See that note hanging on the side of this Farmall Super C?  

Yep, these old tractors turn into a money pit.  But it's kind of like a wife or girl friend:  If you love them, it's worth the price.  

A favorite nephew and his lady showed up.  Unfortunately, the nephew was a little miffed at the fact that it cost them almost thirty bucks to get into Powell Gardens.  

Did I mention that Scotty had his lovely daughter tagging along?  I know that smile on Scotty's face is fake, because he is still thinking, "I paid almost $30 for THIS?"

Isn't this cute?  Scotty's girl friend, Marsha, knew these people participating in the Parade of Power.   By the time the parade started, temperatures were up to a comfortable level. 

This is our new neighbor to the west on his VERY RARE four-wheel-drive 1206 International tractor.  He is a sweet, unassuming young man who is very proud of his prize tractor.  We like him.  

A view of Powell Gardens from high above.

This shot is toward where the tractors were on display, although I really can't make them out.  

Because we took a tractor and didn't have to pay admission, it was a pretty good day.

Friday, October 04, 2013

From a 1962 Farm magazine

I'm tossing a lot of stuff in the trash lately.  Today I found some old "Successful Farming" magazines that are headed in that direction, but I decided to create a blog entry from my find first.  It's from 1962, the year I graduated.  
My parents and I had long since moved to the city, but most of my aunts and uncles still lived on farms.  I believe all of them subscribed to this magazine.  

It would still be five years before the D-17 Series IV came along, the style of tractor Cliff used as his main one for many years.  He has another one now just waiting for restoration.

I don't know if any of my relatives farmed with a John Deere.  Perhaps Uncle Paul, up in Iowa.  I didn't spend as much time at his place as I did at Uncle Leo's and Uncle Carl's, both Allis men.

Nowadays chickens are shoved into cages for their entire laying career, and the eggs fall down onto a conveyor as they come out of the hen (click HERE, if you dare).  
Nobody has to gather eggs anymore.  Except for people like me, who enjoy having chickens around. 

When Cliff and I married in 1966, he was driving a 1963 Chevy.  Oops, no he wasn't.  He had a '63 Ford.  He's always been a Ford man, for the most part.  Hey, I don't drive.  Don't expect me to remember anything about cars.    

All my Uncle Carl ever drove throughout the years of my childhood was pickups.  I loved riding in the pickup bed!