Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday entries, go HERE.

Spring is coming

I'm very happy to be able to go outside in these tolerable temperatures we're having. Yesterday I got Libby and Blue out and groomed them. They'd been rolling in mud, so I had to use the metal currycomb on them. I usually groom them with a rubber one, but that dried mud wasn't going to budge! Both of them are starting to shed their winter coats already. I'm thinking there's a good possibility for a ride today.

I've used this picture of Snowbelle before: She's quite the character. When she and the other barn cats are out of food, she comes to the house and meows at the door until somebody feeds them. When we step outside, she heads for the barn, as if to show us the way.

I usually buy big bags of Walmart's house brand of cat food, and all the felines like it just fine. Recently, though, we were patronizing a local grocery store when we were out of kitty food, so we bought their cheap brand, I believe called Always Save.

Snowbelle hated it. In the couple weeks we used it, I never saw her take a single bite, although surely she did, or she'd be starved by now; somebody was eating it, because by morning the dish was empty.

She'd come to the house to get us during the day, we'd go check... and there was still food there.

Yesterday we finally got back to the Walmart brand. I'm surprised Snowbelle didn't make herself sick, the way she dived into that grub!

Silly picky cat.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Secret is HOME!

Here she is. Cliff is guessing she weighs at least 85 pounds. The lady we bought her from thinks she was born February 6, which would make her three weeks old. She's a bit lonely for her mom and the other cows; it will take her awhile to get used to being the only cow on the place. I'll be giving her a bottle twice a day. Rest assured, there will be more pictures.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

We're HOME!

I'm going to be lazy and just post the link to an entry on my other journal, for anyone who is interested in our trip to the FASCINATING state of Kansas. Or for those who love rusty tractors.

Oh, by the way: tomorrow we'll go get my baby Jersey heifer, Secret, and bring her to her new home.

I can't wait. Stay tuned for pictures.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A road trip tomorrow?

Looks like Cliff and I might make a four-hour (one way) trip down near Independence, Kansas, to visit his brother, Donald. There are tractors there that Cliff wants to see. I'll take the camera. And a good book to read aloud while we travel.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Guess what I did today?

Finally, I rode Blue! Yesterday I didn't get it done because we went for another motorcycle ride.

You can't tell it here, but it was pretty wet in the bottoms, and Blue sank a couple of inches with each step. It gave him a good workout.

He made a friend...

....or two.

If the weather-guessers are right, it won't be good riding weather again for a few days.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Changing a few things here

So far, my primary blog/journal is the one on AOL, simply because I've had it going for so long, and because I have many faithful readers there. I know some of them read this one, but many do not.

When I began this blog, I started putting all my old contacts under the "favorite journals" heading on the right. I've been meeting and making new friends in this so-much-bigger community, and if I start adding those to the list, it's going to be so formidable, nobody will even look at it, I'm afraid.

So I'm going to link to my old favorites on my AOL website, and my new friends here. As long as I have two journals, that ought to work. At least I hope so.


The weather forecast for today: sunny with a high of 53. Since we got a motorcycle ride in yesterday, I'd say today's plan calls for a horseback ride.

Both our state and federal income tax refunds are now being processed (you can check online, you know). That means bill catch-up time, and money for our summer vacation, which consists of plans for...

Going to Colorado with Cliff's sister and her husband in late July. We're going to take the motorcycles out on a trailer and ride them around those beautiful mountains, once we get there.

My daughter has plans for her mother-in-law watch the girls for a few days
in late March, which allows me to plan for....

A possible weekend getaway, perhaps to Branson. Weather permitting, we could go on the motorcycle. Although any Missourian knows you don't count on March weather to be kind. But it could happen.

I have plans for the Jersey heifer calf I've spoken for, which may get to come home this Sunday. We have a place prepared for her in the barn.

There are plans to get a few bantam chicks. I have a cage to keep them in until they are old enough to roost; then I plan to teach them to roost on a pole somewhere in the barn to keep them safe from predators by night, and they can roam free during the daytime. This worked well for me in the past.

All these things will come to pass, of course, only if the good Lord is willing (and the creeks don't rise, as Tennessee Earnie Ford used to say). Since Cliff's sudden hospitalization last April, and the subsequent quadruple heart bypass, I've learned that plans can change.

One day at a time is sufficient.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: tree in Colorado, with negative

Click on the picture to see it larger.

Go HERE to leave a link to your Wordless Wednesday entry.

new microwave

You know you're getting over the hill when a word like "microwave" sends you down memory lane.

Cliff has been telling me in recent months that our old microwave oven was slowing down. For instance, when he'd make a bag of popcorn, some of it would burn before it all got done. Once he brought it to my attention, I realized that yes, my Healthy Choice meals were taking almost twice as much cooking time as recommended on the box.

I remember my first microwave oven. I was one of the last people in our circle to get one, it seems. I was working at Whitaker Cable then, and heard my co-workers singing the praises of this new, modern convenience. I figured that, although I couldn't afford one outright, I could manage a monthly payment at Sears. As I recall, we paid just under $400 for our Amana Microwave. A lot of money, back then, for sure.

We had two teenagers at home, and we managed to keep that microwave busy.

It was still working just fine when grandchildren began to appear on the scene, but the door became faulty, which I had heard might not be the best thing for our health.

So when my mom remarried and ended up with two of the things, she offered us one.

That's the one we've been using for the past few years.

My daughter recently bought a new microwave at Walmart; she was talking about prices of various ones, and good grief... they're dirt cheap now, most models less than $100!

So I got myself a new one last Saturday. The one in the picture.

When I make popcorn in my ancient plastic microwave popcorn popper now, it only takes two minutes instead of five. This oven even has the spin-around carrousel in the bottom; we've never had that before.

Life is good.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My dog

My dog, Sadie sits on my lap when I'm in my recliner watching TV or reading. She looks out the window in hopes of seeing a neighbor dog, and if she sees one, it causes all kinds of excitement. I've learned, however, that all it really takes is the mention of a dog for her to get interested. No actual dog is needed.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

another Church-less Sunday

I like going to Church on Sunday. It just seems to make the rest of the week go better, as well as reminding me where my priorities ought to be.

But for the last two months, my Church attendance has been sporadic. Some Sundays, it's the severe weather that keeps me home. Other weeks, it's a coughing cold. Last Sunday, I was out of town.

I've had three colds this winter, which isn't unusual. Most winters I'll have two or three colds. This year, though, the coughing of one cold barely starts to let up before I start sneezing with a new one. Mighty peculiar. And frustrating.

I'm sure this third time will be the charm, especially since March is drawing nigh.

I could go to Church with this mild cold I have today, but a big proportion of the members are elderly. I don't want to be the one who infects them with a germ that could lead to pneumonia in a person ninety years old. Yes, I said ninety. I'm sixty-two, and I'm one of the younger attendees there.

I've baked a Texas sheet cake (recipe from Ree). I have roast to cook and taters to mash. If I can borrow a tiny bit of sugar from my daughter, I'll make yeast rolls... and hope somebody shows up to help us eat the stuff.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Coming soon!!!!!

I used to have a small herd of registered Jersey cows. I loved them so much, and I've missed them terribly for the past dozen or so years I've spent without them. It looks like, good Lord willing, this baby will be mine in a little over a week. I'll bottle-feed her, halter-break her, and make a total pet of her.

Her name is going to be Secret.

She is tiny; I doubt that her mother weighs more than 500 pounds. But I've always preferred my Jerseys small.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Please come quickly, springtime

(Click on the picture for a wintery view of the Missouri River bottom)

Cliff and I usually take a daily walk in our pasture. It's the only place I feel free to turn my dog, Sadie, loose. When she sees another dog, she's gone. And goes totally deaf to my calling her. So I keep her leashed on our trips in the yard, because we live right on a gravel road, and within spitting distance of a highway (albeit a minor one).

She does sometimes sight a fox, some birds, and yes, an occasional dog, out in the pasture. But the likelihood of her running across a highway and meeting her death while chasing after them (like my last dog, Mandy) is much less at the back of the place; and it's her only taste of freedom, so I take that small risk. So far, she has always returned to my side after her brief forays into the unknown.

This winter has really cramped our style, not to mention Sadie's. In the past, we've headed out in any temperature. We'd put on layers, cover our faces, and go. But as we age, we find it more difficult. So when it's ten degrees with a wind chill factor of minus 20 or so, we skip the walk.

Then there's the ice and snow factor. We wear sneakers for our walk, and they aren't the best thing in snow. Some of the slopes we walk on still have ice, in spots, from a month ago... ice which is now covered with newer snow, so we can't see it to avoid it. It's camouflaged.

I'm hoping today (if there's school, so the granddaughters aren't here) that we can perhaps get out and walk along the roadside, with Sadie on her leash and halti. I feel so much better when we can take a half-hour walk. But if we can't, at least the end of this frigid weather is in sight. In a week, they're forecasting temperatures in the fifties, possibly even the sixties.

With temps in the forties, I can comfortably ride my horse. In the mid-fifties, Cliff and I can ride the motorcycle. And of course, we can once again take our accustomed walks with Sadie.

I've seen rougher winters. I've seen more snow and ice than we've had this year. But it's been years since I've been house-bound this long.

I'm beginning to understand why my sister goes to south Texas for the winter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday... Mandy eating with Blue

Sadie in the snow with her stick

Snow again

It isn't a lot of snow, although there is some drifting. There's no school, so the granddaughters are here for the day. They both played on the Internet for over an hour (one on the laptop, one on the desktop). Now they're watching Beethoven's 2nd on Starz kids and family.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The big dog show

Tonight I'm watching, off and on, the Westerminster Dog show. I enjoy it, truly. You can't help but appreciate the differences in the breeds, and all the work that goes into making them what they are.

But when will there be a show for the most popular breed of all, the mongrel?

You know, like my Sadie.

Or Mandy, the dog I will never stop missing:

As a creature of mixed heritage myself (so mixed, I don't have a clue what I am), I say there ought to be a mixed-breed show for dogs. They're the best.

Those Pedigree commercials make me downright teary-eyed.

God bless the mutts.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Saturday Six, #148

Do you ever think about where you live? Rarely, if you're busy working, raising a family, trying to find a little time for yourself. There's something special about every place. Maybe this week's edition will give you pause to think of what's special where you are!

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's weekender, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal over at Patrick's weekender, so that everyone else can visit! Enjoy!

1. A friend arrives from out of town and wants to go to dinner at a nice locally-owned restaurant: where would you take her?
I hate to confess that when Cliff and I eat out, it's usually at Subway. Or Olive Garden in Kansas City, if we feel fancy.
My tiny town, of course, has nothing except one bar that serves Mexican food. But I'm not far from Lexington, Missouri. I suppose I'd take my friend to The Brewery there. Or else Las Carretas, a Mexican restaurant, mine and Cliff's favorite place to dine in that town.

2. Your friend then says he wants to learn something about the history of your city: where would you take him first? Back to Lexington, to visit the Anderson House and the nearby civil war battlefield.

3. Does your current hometown have any specific kind of weather threats (i.e., tornado alley, etc.) or natural disaster threats (i.e., earthquake faults, volcanic activity) that concerns you?
We're always on the alert for tornadoes. It's Missouri, for pete's sake.

4. Take the quiz: What city shares your personality?
I scored as Killarney, Ireland.

5. Have you ever visited this city or lived there before?
You gotta be kidding, right?

6. Based on what you know about that city, either firsthand or from others, do you think it would be a good fit for you? Do you think it would be a better fit than the city in which you now live?
Nope, no way. I have no desire to live outside the good old USA.

In the pasture today

The horses followed me and Cliff when we went for our daily walk.

Here comes Blue!

He's checking me out.

There he goes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Me and my Missouri Foxtrotters

I'm always willing to admit I could be wrong (and other short subjects)

I've journaled on AOL for going on three years now. I have lots of regular readers there. The reason I came to Blogger is that I'm not sure AOL will always be around, and I wanted to stake my claim here before they go the way of the dinosaur.
I've taken part in a few memes, using the random-blog button, and following links on people's sidebars, and I've found lots of new connections. I thought it would be difficult to feel a sense of community here in this so-much-bigger Blogger-world, but it isn't so hard.

I pay attention to what people write about. Sometimes I'll read something in a blog or journal that will make me take a new look at things, or see things in a different way. Never any big changes, mind you. I'm living pretty much in a rut.

Here's a change I've made as a result of somebody's posting: I read this post the other day, and it sparked a discussion between my husband and me. The guy suggests we should all consider shopping at our home-town grocery stores rather than the big chains (Walmart, in my case).

Cliff feels there is something to gain from this, simply because if we don't support them, some day they won't be there. And then we'll have to drive farther when we need something in a pinch.

Our small grocery stores don't have some of the things we need. No-salt-added ketchup, no-salt canned tomatoes and other vegetables, for instance. Or lower-sodium Ritz crackers.

However, I've decided to take a small step toward supporting our local grocer by shopping there every other week, even if it's a bit inconvenient. On the other week, I'll go to the nearest Super Walmart and stock up on the items I can't get at Dave's Country Mart.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Responsible pet owners

Regarding my previous post: it isn't only horses who are accident-prone, you know. (Read the comments on the last entry.)

I used to have a few registered Jersey cattle. I didn't have facilities for a grade-A dairy, so I needed something to do with all that milk. I gave some to hogs, mixed with wheat shorts; and I raised Holstein bottle calves from a nearby dairy.

One of my prize yearling Jersey heifers somehow ended up breaking through ice in a 2-foot-deep pond. She couldn't get out, and died before I found her the next morning. We lost one of my Holstein babies in a different pond, another winter.

Another of my favorite heifers obviously was frolicking a little to heartily, ran headlong into a fence, got entangled there, and broke her neck. Cliff had to put her out of her misery.

My beloved Mandy, the dog I had before Sadie, ran across the highway and was killed. Am I irresponsible for letting her run free like the other dogs in this neighborhood? Probably so. She's the reason I won't turn Sadie out now, although Sadie has enough pent-up energy for a dozen dogs.

And now, about horses. The horse I owned a few years ago had a habit of pawing the woven-wire fence and tearing off his shoes. Finally Cliff put electric wire inside the woven wire so Pleasure Boy wouldn't get close enough to paw it. Our neighbor kept a horse on our property at the time; that mare would paw the woven wire fence, get her foot caught, and stand patiently until somebody came to set her free. It was a potentially dangerous situation for her, but thank God she never panicked.

We have barbed wire fences; we also use electric fencing around our hay fields. I'd love to have fancy, horse-proof fencing all over our place, but we don't have that kind of money. The local Tennessee Walking horse breeder tells me, "Well then, you shouldn't have horses."

No, of course not. And people who can't afford children shouldn't have babies. But then, I wouldn't be here, if my parents had followed that rule. Nor would my kids.

We have caverns on this place in which you could set our two-story house and not see the roof. Some of the banks of those caverns are straight down. We've had cattle get down in them before, and they had to be helped out. There's no practical way you could fence around all those caverns, dangerous though they are. I'm including an overhead view of our place (click on the picture to make it big, then notice the thin red line. That more or less shows the boundaries of our 43 acres). All the wooded areas you see, although you can't tell it from the air, are huge canyons.

If we had to fence all our property, then fence off the ditches... well, it isn't feasible. We do the best we can with what we have.

I take good care of my horses: I worm them regularly, have the farrier out often, get their vaccinations and have Blue's sheath cleaned when needed (sheesh). I do the best I can with what I have. Blue is my childhood dream come true, and I love him. We either have to take some risks with our horses, or not have horses at all.

And hey, the horses here get better care than 90% of the horses I've seen around the countryside.

(I hate debates, so this will be the last I have to say on this subject; but that's just me.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

For horse owners

This entry will probably not be of interest to anyone who doesn't have horses; I simply have to share the link to a particular thread on the Homesteading Today equine message board with other horse owners. It made me laugh out loud.

Click HERE.

about books and reading

One of my daily journal reads is "Ramblings From The Reservation". I don't have a clue as to how I discovered that particular blog... probably followed a link from someplace else, noticed the horses, and put her in bloglines. (If you go visit her, please tread softly... she seems to have a bit of seasonal affective disorder at present.) Today she was on the subject of books she's reading.

So when I came here to make an entry, I saw the paperback, "Koko", which I've been trying my best to get into for at least a month, over there on the sidebar. It's supposed to be riveting and suspenseful, but I just cannot stay with it. And the thing is, I have some really good books waiting in the wings. I only paid a quarter for "Koko" at a garage sale, so it wasn't a big investment. It's time to switch books.

When Cliff and I travel, he's the chauffeur, since I don't drive. He doesn't enjoy travel (unless we're on the Honda Gold Wing). Years ago we were heading home from an antique tractor show in Minnesota; I'd bought the book, "Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them". Cliff was dreading the long drive back to Missouri, and I casually suggested I read a few pages of our new book to him.

I finished the whole thing before we got home, and the hours of freeway time had whizzed by for both of us. Cliff is hard of hearing, so I was (and am) thankful for strong vocal chords and a loud mouth. Reading that book set a precedent: Cliff may have to do all the driving, but now I am doing my part to make freeway time enjoyable.

These days, when I acquire a book, I have to make the decision whether to save it for a road trip (will Cliff like this one?) or read it for myself. I don't need many "road trip" books, since Cliff would never travel, given his choice (not by car anyhow). James Patterson is great for long drives: He holds our interest, and his books are in two-to-three page chapters, so it's easy to find a stopping place when I need to take a break.

Gee. Now I'm ready for a road trip!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Great day to be alive!

After the temperatures being below freezing for the better part of the last two weeks, we got a reprieve today; it got into the fifties! Of course it's a muddy mess outside, but I put on my chore boots and waded outside to give Blue and Libby some attention. I was surprised to see the amount of loose hair I got from both of them when I curried them. Gee, the temperatures are going back to single digits tomorrow; they need every hair they can muster.

Our bathtub drain froze a couple of days ago; it's no easy task to get it thawed, but Cliff got that done today, thank God. One winter we ended up bailing water from the tub to the toilet until spring arrived.

The other good thing about today: My daughter, Rachel, got my wireless router set up for me, so now I can use the laptop in the other rooms! She is a lot more persistent than I am. After she'd spent about two hours of her only day off in ten days on the phone with tech people at Belkin, I suggested she just forget about it. Nope, not her! Thank you Rachel.

Most of the snow and ice will be gone after today, which will make for easier walking for me and Cliff when we get our exercise.

It seems like months since I've ridden Blue.

Monday, February 05, 2007

typical of me

I did the previous entry quickly, without reading the rules thoroughly. I was supposed to list my seven favorite episodes of one individual TV show. It's no big deal; the purpose of these memes is really just to help us discover new blogs and people, so I'll leave it as it stands.

I could easily have named seven favorite episodes for either I Love Lucy or The Andy Griffith Show. In fact, it would have been easier than what I actually did.

But it does show you a particular flaw in my nature: I speed-read through something and then give the wrong response, simply because I didn't take the time to read carefully and thoroughly. I've done this with business letters, e-mails, and (many moons ago) with tests in schools.

Get used to it. At age 62, I doubt if I'm going to change.

Patrick's Sunday Seven

Name your top seven favorite individual episodes of any single television series. If you feel especially enterprising, give a few lines explaining why you think makes your chosen episodes so good.

Either answer the question in a comment at Patrick's Weekender, or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment over there. (To be considered "first to play," a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.)

1. The episode of I Love Lucy where she has little Ricky. (Season 2, episode # 56)

2. The episode of I Love Lucy where Rock Hudson guest stars. It takes place in Palm Springs, I believe, when they were all visiting California. This one always made me laugh out loud!

3. The episode of I Love Lucy (do you see a pattern here?) where Lucy gets homesick in Italy. ("Sheeza my birth-a-day too")

4. The time on Andy Griffith where Otis is in jail and pours his moonshine into the water cooler, and Barney keeps taking another drink of water saying, "Somebody's gotta wash that crock" until he gets totally looped.

5. The special one-hour episode of "The Lone Ranger" that explained how he became the Lone Ranger. My first crush was on the Lone Ranger.) I LOVED the Lone Ranger!
6. The episode of Rin-Tin-Tin featuring the white buffalo.

7. I'll throw one recent one in, just so you know I do still watch TV: The episode of Grey's Anatomy where Bailey has her baby and the hospital has a "code black".

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How much do you like that Geico caveman?

I got this link over at Patrick's Place . You can stroll around all over the Geico caveman's house, peek in his microwave, help him choose his clothing for a party. Yes, I know it sounds silly. But it's addicting. He has a really nice house, by the way, for a caveman.

Want to check it out? Click HERE to go to the Caveman's Crib.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, February 02, 2007

To change the world

I mentioned in a recent entry how I once dreamed of changing the world, and wrote that I felt I had failed at that. Several of you nice folks told me in my comments that I am changing the world right now... with this blog, for instance.

One of my favorite movies is “It’s A Wonderful Life”, so I’m aware that every person, even the most humble and unlikely, touches many other lives in one way or another. Obviously, my children and grandchildren wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t lived. So of course I've made some differences in the world.

What really got me thinking along these lines is a recent incident where I submitted an old picture of my grandma (the one above) to eagleville.com; they ask for submissions of old pictures of people who used to live in the community, and readers try to recognize the "person from the past".

After Grandma died in the early 1960's, the funeral home was packed. Everyone in that little town seemed to know her then.

But nobody recognized the lady in that old picture. No one remembers. She is just a pebble thrown into the vast ocean of time, whose life long ago stopped making ripples.

Grandma lived a good life, and affected the lives of her neighbors, friends, and relatives, I’m sure. One of her sons fought in World War II. The others were farmers who helped feed the world. Grandma made a much bigger contribution than I ever will.

And yet, wars kept happening. Crime got ever worse. Poverty in third-world countries wasn’t affected by her life at all.

Sure, I’ve written a song or poem, here and there (maybe even a blog entry), that made somebody smile. But I’m talking about the vast scheme of things.

When I was eighteen, I remember watching the news, seeing people who were willing to go to jail for a cause: the civil rights movement. And I wished I could be a part of something that big and meaningful. Maybe just write a song, like Bob Dylan's “Blowin’ in the Wind”, that would move people to fight against injustice and prejudice.

Years later I saw a documentary on PBS about Mother Theresa, made after she won the Nobel prize. There was a woman who made a difference!

That’s what I’m talking about.

But the truth is, I just don't have the intestinal fortitude to put myself on the front lines that way. You could get shot doing that! Or catch some communicable disease!

So, I’ll go on cooking healthful meals for my husband, taking walks with him and making him smile. I’ll babysit my two granddaughters before and after school. I’ll ride my horse and throw sticks for the dog to chase.

But I wanted to change the world.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where's the hay?

The horses here have free access to mixed clover-and-grass hay, so they aren't hungry. But during this cold snap, Cliff likes to give them something a little extra: half a bale of alfalfa hay every morning.

This is the sight that greets us now, when we head out to take our walk. You'd think they were starving, wouldn't you? (Click on the picture for a better look at their hungry faces.)

Finding new, interesting blogs

I've found the best way to find interesting blogs on the Net is to find one journal... just ONE... that you love, and visit the links to blogs he or she has listed on the sidebar.

One of my favorite jumping-off places is A Homesteading Neophyte: I have yet to find a bad blog in her list of links (yeah, I'm there too, which is a real honor). Find her HERE, scroll down, and stroll through her favorites on the right-hand side. Of course, many of her links are country-oriented, which may not be your cup of tea. But it certainly is mine!

I was led from there to My Journey to Simplicity, which took me to Hillbilly Housewife, which has lots of suggestions for saving money on your food bill. And check out Living On A Dime, while we're saving money.

Anyway. Homesteading Neophyte is taking me to some wonderful and useful places. And I appreciate that.

By the way, am I the only one having problems leaving comments on blogspot today? On most of them, if I click to leave a comment, I get this message:

"We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request."

Oh wait, if comments aren't working here, you can't let me know, can you? Oh well.