Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tagged for a MeMe again.

Recently I was tagged by Barn Goddess over at Ramblings From The Reservation. The MeMe goes like this:

I have to tell you 9 things that you don’t know about me, only 8 of them are true. Can you guess which one is not?

I'm sure a couple of these "secrets" have already been told in one of my blogs, but there is only so much I am willing to share with the world.

1. I am naturally left-handed.

2. I only have one toenail.

3. I've never been bucked off a horse.

4. I have a guitar that cost $2,000.

5. Although I'm a jeans-and-T-shirt type woman, I love to occasionally put on the makeup and get out a fancy dress and high heels (with a matching purse), and go someplace fancy to eat, and window-shop in upscale stores.

6. I wear size eleven shoes.

7. I've never had a driver's license.

8. I didn't date until I was twenty years old.

9. I didn't live in a house with indoor plumbing until I was twelve years old.

Now, can you pick out the lie? I'll be back tomorrow to tell you the answer.

I tag Mel and my daughter and Celeste.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday... Only in Missouri

I scrambled for my camera when I saw this sign, as we were riding the motorcycle near Sedalia, Missouri; we were almost past it when I snapped the picture.

For more wordless wednesdays, click HERE.

Our Colorado vacation plans

We've been making plans for months to vacation in Colorado. The original plan was that Cliff's sister Charlene and her husband Pat would go along. We'd load up our motorcycles... our Honda, their Harley... and take them on a trailer to Colorado. Once there, we'd spend a few days as free spirits, leaving the car behind.

After a recent trip to southern Kansas pulling that trailer, we realized the car didn't like pulling it that well and gas consumption was high. We discussed this back and forth and decided, finally, to throw caution to the winds and ride the bikes all the way. So that became the new plan. Charlene and Pat were quite happy with this switch.

This morning I told Cliff, "The best I can tell, we'll need to figure between $200 and $250 a day, counting motels, gasoline and eating out."

"No way!" Cliff exclaimed. "Hell, if it's going to cost that much, I'd rather forget about the whole trip and stay home!"

I was a little deflated, to say the least. Yes, it makes me nervous thinking about that long a trip on a motorcycle; but it's an adventure, and I love adventures! Still, I didn't try to change his mind.

"You'll have to break the news to Charlene and Pat," I said. "I'm not going to be the one to tell them."

"I will," he said.

An hour went by with no more mention of the trip; then he said, out of the blue, "I guess vacations always cost a lot of money; and maybe we should go this year, because we might not be able to, in another year or two; you never know what could happen."

So I guess the trip is on again.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The rest of the (tractor) story

If you've been following my tractor stories thus far, I left off HERE, with a WC Allis sitting idle that I just couldn't sell because it had ties to my Uncle Leo. There's another thing Cliff mentioned today: my sister's late husband was the one who restored the fenders on the tractor. With so much family poured into the WC, and with my name on it, how could we let it go?

When Cliff mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we should sell the tractor, I reluctantly agreed. But only because my cousin Carolyn, Uncle Leo's oldest daughter, had e-mailed me some time ago saying that if we ever decided to sell that tractor, her son Brian would like first shot at it.

I let her know we were ready to sell, and very shortly she answered back saying Brian would take it.

He came today to pick it up. Cliff told him all about the peculiarities and eccentricities of the tractor.

So my dear departed Uncle Leo's grandson has the tractor now. It's still in the family. It looks like everybody is happy with the deal!

Brain handed us a check and left; when Cliff looked at the check later, he saw we'd been paid $300 more than we asked. Isn't that something?

Friday, May 25, 2007

A motorcycle ride

Cliff took today off so he could have a longer weekend. We watched the weather this morning, and learned that although it was going to be cloudy all day, there was no rain in the forecast. We headed out on the open road, thinking perhaps to go to Hermann, Missouri and spend the night there, returning tomorrow before the forecast rain started. Today was supposedly rain-free; the next four days had rain indicated. Are you with me here?

Not a half-hour from home, sprinkles started, and continued sporadically for the next couple of hours. We didn't get wet; our leathers were sufficient to protect us, and the tall windshield on our fairing kept it off Cliff's face. Missouri's rolling countryside is beautiful even on cloudy days, and we enjoyed ourselves. However, somewhere along the line, Cliff suggested we simply ride to Versailles and then home.

Lunchtime approached, and we couldn't find a suitable place to eat. The rain finally let up, so we decided to have lunch at the first city or roadside park. I carry a large freezer-bag with emergency rations in the Honda, consisting of at least a couple cans of sardines, a roll of crackers, some 100-calorie packs of cookies, and single-serving cans of fruit.

Not far out of Boonville, we came to this park (click to view pictures larger).

It was cloudy, but we had ourselves a satisfying lunch. All we lacked was our after-lunch coffee; we prefer McDonalds for coffee, but couldn't find one. so we stopped at a Breaktime station, where I took the following shot of us:

When I take these self-portraits, I always seem to be giving the world a shot of the inside of my nose. But YOU try holding a camera at arms length, aiming it at yourself, and shooting with the camera backwards. Not an easy task, I assure you. I was quite proud, by the way, that I accidentally got the Gold Wing in the picture.

We stopped by Cliff's Aunt Gertrude's in Versailles. Her son, Darryl, is living with her right now; he and Cliff had a great visit. As we were getting ready to leave, these Clydesdales came past. I have no idea what they were doing on a city street, but it was a pretty neat thing to see.

So we've started our weekend with a bang. If the rest goes as well, I will have no complaints at all.

Oh, about the forecast of rain for the rest of the weekend? That's all changed. No rain is forecast now until Tuesday.

Back to the tractor stories

Cliff had quite an adjustment to make, once I became a confirmed old-tractor addict. He'd spent his entire married life hearing me say, "We can't afford it." Now, suddenly, I was willing to beg, borrow or steal in order to get any old tractor that sounded like a good buy.

One time when we were visiting at my Uncle Leo's farm, we went moseying around the place peeking into all the outbuildings. In a dark section of his barn I spotted a tractor; I suppose it would be more accurate to say "part of a tractor".

"What kind of tractor is that?" I asked. "Does it run?"

Uncle Leo said it was a WC Allis that he'd bought for parts; his WD had needed a radiator, and buying the old WC was the cheapest way to get one.

"Is it for sale?"

Now at this point, Cliff was starting to squirm. He loves all tractors, but he had no desire for a WC Allis. It was one of those old relics that came in and took the place of horses, and it had absolutely no bells and whistles. The hand brake was impractical. This wasn't something Cliff would ever need or use. Honestly, it was junk. But much to his dismay, Uncle Leo gave us the tractor. Here he is with the old beast on the day we loaded it up and brought it home.
We checked the serial number on the frame and found out it was one of the first "styled" WC's made. A friend of Cliff's brother gave us another WC parts tractor; and honestly, there may have been more of that one in the finished project than Uncle Leo's. But the end product was a sight to behold, and became quite a conversation piece at tractor shows.
We won't even talk about how much time and money went into the tractor, although Cliff says he thinks it was less than he put into the Farmall H he and Arick restored. But remember, this wasn't a tractor Cliff even wanted. He did this one all for me.
The twins next door drove the WC in the Parade of Power at a nearby tractor show.

And then gas started going up, up, up. Our pickup gets about ten miles per gallon, and we really couldn't justify hauling tractors around the countryside for shows. The WC sat in a corner except for perhaps twice a year when Cliff would use it just to make sure it still worked.

Our interests changed. I started spending a lot of time on horseback, and the two of us rode the motorcycle for recreation.

But that WC reminded me of my favorite uncle, now deceased, and I wasn't about to let it go anywhere!

To be continued.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our used motorcycle

That's Cliff's Gold Wing, without the seat on it. There's been a slight problem with our bike. Cliff would go out to start it up and the battery would be dead. Something, he said, was sucking juice when the motorcycle was off.

He traced it down to the tape player, which we have never used. It seemed to be in a permanent "eject" mode. Yes, it was trying to eject a nonexistent tape. All the time. Whether the Honda was running or not.

Cliff took the wiring out and looked at it, figuring he'd just disconnect the tape player. Not possible, he decided. He called a Honda dealer and found out they would have to diagnose the problem ($70 per hour labor cost) and then they'd send it off to be fixed ($70). He pointed out that he'd already diagnosed the problem, but that wasn't acceptable to them. They have to do it.

He dragged his heels at this, even with me pointing out to him that we spend $80 every six weeks in summer keeping shoes on my horse; so what's the big deal about $140 or so spent on the motorcycle?

Yes, we did recently take it in for a different repair. That's what happens when you opt for a ten-year-old bike rather than a $18,000 brand new one. Some things need to be fixed from time to time.

If it weren't for the fact we use the microphones in the helmets a lot, carrying on long conversations as we ride, Cliff said he'd leave the whole panel out. The clock doesn't work anyhow, and we don't use the radio or tape player. But we really enjoy our conversations!

He seems now to have resigned himself to paying to have the thing fixed.

Figuring the battery has been run down so much lately, and it's the one that was on the bike when we bought it, he bought a new one today. Tomorrow we'll see the electric panel off to the doctor.

And Cliff has four days off, so who knows where we'll end up?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

not a bad day at all

The granddaughters are out of school now, and they wanted to work on their "horse skills". Monica is a little scared of Blue's back feet, so she cleaned his front ones.

Natalie happily cleaned his back hooves.

The old Circle Y saddle is far too heavy, and Blue is too tall, for the girls to try and saddle him. Still, they are learning the right way to catch him, lead him to the barn, and put on the bridle. They haven't mastered it yet, but they're learning.

Natalie is tightening the saddle girth after I put the saddle on the horse.

When they had both had a nice ride in the round pen, Monica asked to comb Blue's mane and tail, and wanted to braid his tail. I suggested she braid his mane instead. When she was finished with that (the braids wouldn't stay in, she said), she led him out to pasture.
I think the girls will be great horsewomen; just give them a little time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

This was taken around 1969. That's my husband's baby sister sitting on our first milk cow, Suzie. (You'll see that same tractor in my previous entry.)

For other Wordless Wednesdays, click HERE.

How I got hooked on old tractors

Although Cliff was raised in the city, he had the heart of a farm boy. We'd been married less than a year when we moved beyond the sidewalks, and we never looked back. Once we bought our first place, twenty acres with a little old house on it, we had to have a tractor.

Cliff went from an old Minneapolis Moline (in the above picture) to a Ford 8-N, and then moved on up to an Oliver 550. He loved each one better than the last. I wasn't interested in any of them, except it was nice that we had a tractor Cliff could use to mow hay for my Jerseys. After many years and a couple of moves to different places, he settled on his "dream tractor": A D-17, Series IV Allis Chalmers.

Once in a while over the years, Cliff would buy an old tractor, paint it, and sell it for a little profit. He also took to painting the D-17 whenever it faded a little.

After my son's family came back from Germany and bought a house nearby, my grandson Arick spent a lot of time here; Cliff decided they should restore a tractor together, and he found an old Farmall H they worked on for a whole winter. The "before" picture is above; below is the "after".

I was overjoyed when it was done. Not because I cared about the tractor, but because at last, money would stop pouring into the project. Do you have any idea how many seals have to be replaced in an old tractor? Do you know how much one of those big tires costs? As I looked at the finished product, I said, "Well, Money-hole, at last you're finished."

And then one fateful year, we went to the Old Thresher's Reunion in Iowa. Seeing all those tractors that were older than me (some twice my age even), looking and running like new, struck a chord: hundreds of born-again tractors! And suddenly, I wanted them all. One of each. I'll take that one and that one and oh yeah, a green one....

So, I was talking Cliff into buying every old "bargain" tractor we found.

(to be continued)

Monday, May 21, 2007

uncles and old tractors (part 1 of a continuing story)

First of all you have to realize that I wasn't a lovable kid. I was my mom's only baby (by birth). I was strong-willed and contrary. I never really learned how to deal with other kids, and I didn't have a lot of friends. Nor did I feel I needed them, to be honest.

But I did have a wonderful extended family. I had uncles and aunts and cousins who accepted me, just the way I was.

I hate to confess to having a favorite, but I did have one: My Uncle Leo.

He laughed at my silly jokes that nobody else saw humor in... like this one: "What does FORD stand for?"

"I don't know."

"Fix Or Repair Daily."

I remember Uncle Leo laughing a lot at that one. Of course we were riding in his Chevy at the time.

As a kid, I'd spend a week every summer at Grandma's house. This meant spending a couple of nights at Uncle Leo's and Aunt Mary's house, since they lived up the road about a quarter-mile. He had four children: Carolyn (who was born an adult at heart and didn't play with us kids much), Betty, Royce, and sweet little Linda.

I never had a lot of friends, but I had cousins who were stuck with me. And by George, all my aunts and uncles made sure they were nice to me.

Because of memories like these, we ended up with my Uncle Leo's old parts tractor, a WC Allis Chalmers that he bought because his WD Allis needed a radiator, and that was the cheapest way of getting it.

(To be continued.)

Libby blew a splint

"Blew a splint" sounds both strange and scary, doesn't it? The black arrow is pointing at the bump on Libby's leg that is, in fact, a blown splint. Libby is my two-year-old filly.

Cliff first noticed the bump, two or three months ago. She didn't seem to have any pain in the area, and it wasn't hot to the touch. When I took this picture and posted it on Homesteading Today's Equine board, almost everyone there agreed that Libby probably blew a splint.

I'd never heard of such a thing; so I googled it and found this description: "Splints are bony deposits that appear on the upper inside border of the front cannon. They seldom cause lameness, but occasionally a "high" splint may interfere with the action of the knee and cause unsoundness. Young horses stressed by play or training may "blow" a splint. If lameness persists more than a few days, a veterinarian should treat splints."

Libby never showed signs of lameness or limping. When the vet came to vaccinate and float teeth, I asked him about it; he confirmed that it was, indeed, a blown splint.

"Will that hurt her for riding purposes?" I asked.

"No, probably not."

"Will that bump go away?"

"If it's been there over a month, I imagine not."

I hate that this happened to her, but since it isn't hurting her and won't keep her from being ridden when the time comes, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm sure if I end up selling her, it will affect the price anyone would be willing to pay. But then, I only paid $150 for her; I've had that much enjoyment out of her already, just being around her.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

a tongue-twister for you


Petey was a snake, only soooo big. Petey lived in a pit with his mother.

One day Petey was hissing in the pit when his mother said, "Petey, don't hiss in the pit. If you must hiss, go outside the pit and hiss."

Petey went outside the pit to hiss. Petey was hissing all around, when he finally leaned over a little and hissed in the pit. Petey's mother heard Petey hissing in the pit and said, "Petey! If you must hiss in the pit, go over to Mrs. Potts' pit and hiss in her pit!"

But Mrs. Pott was not at home, so he hissed in her pit anyway. While Petey was hissing in Mrs. Potts' pit, Mrs. Pott came home and found Petey hissing in her pit and said. "Petey, if you must hiss in a pit, don't hiss in my pit, go to your own pit and hiss."

This made Petey very sad and he cried all the way home. When Petey got home, his mother saw him crying and said, "Petey, what's the matter?"

Petey said, "I went over to Mrs. Pott's pit to hiss in her pit, but she was not home so I hissed in her pit anyway. Mrs. Pott then came home and found me hissing in her pit and said, "Petey, if you must hiss in a pit, go to your own pit and hiss, and don't hiss in my pit."

This made Petey's mother very angry. She said, "Why that mean old lady! I knew Mrs. Pott when she didn't have a pit to hiss in!"

Cliff getting high in Kansas

I have always said Donald, Cliff's brother, was a bad influence. So when I saw him luring my husband into getting high, I took a video for proof.

The purpose of the "trip" Cliff took was this: he wanted to see if these lights got hot enough to create a fire hazard; Don gave him a bunch of them... 400 watts, I think they are. Cliff wanted to take no chances of burning down his shop.

Just a note: When I loaded this video to, they wouldn't accept my description; said it was inappropriate language, or some such thing. It took me about five tries before I finally figured out the word "hot" is inappropriate. Sheesh.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kansas weeds, Kansas Landscapes, Kansas sights

It isn't really a junk yard. Some old guy just puts everything he gets his hands on right here on his property. With the price of metal, there's a fortune here, rust and all. (Click on any picture to make it bigger.)

Some Kansas weed/wildflower. I'm sure they're in Missouri too, I just haven't noticed them.

Same ones, not so closeup.

Another kind.
And another.

And a simple Kansas landscape. When you're in Kansas, it's no problem to find a scene without power lines or utility poles cluttering things up. And I didn't see any jet vapor trails while I was there, either.

Tell me, my dear husband... what is it you don't like about Kansas?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The barn-kittens are learning to eat solid food

On our daily walk (and a glimpse into the barn)

When Cliff and I went through the gate to take our walk, the horses were all in a huddle; we had to shove them out of the way to walk through their midst. Once we got past them and started toward the point, though, they followed us back to their "breakfast bar".

I turned Sadie off her leash, and she quickly found a stick to entice us with.

I'm usually in front, but I got behind Cliff because I stopped to take pictures of the horses.

This was taken yesterday evening after the girls had their ride; since they're interested in riding the horse, I figure they may as well learn to tend to his needs. Monica is cleaning Blue's hoof in this shot.

Before long, I'm going to send them out to the pasture to fetch Blue when it's time to ride. It'll save me the trouble, and they need to get used to putting a halter on a horse. I'm afraid I'll be the one putting the saddle on, though, for a long time to come. That old Circle Y saddle weighs a ton, and Blue is a tall horse.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen television shows I enjoy:

1. Cold Case Files
2. CSI
3. CSI Miami - mainly because of the incredible colors; we recently got HDTV on DISH-TV.
4. House
5. Grey’s Anatomy
6. Down-Under Horsemanship
7. Criminal Minds
8. Dog Whisperer
9. The Closer
10. Law and Order
11. Law and Order, Criminal Intent
12. Without a Trace
13. CBS Sunday Morning - the best news magazine show EVER.

For more Thursday thirteen entries, check HERE.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My nine-year-old granddaughter riding Blue

Natalie is a natural when it comes to horses; she's ridden Blue from time to time for a couple of years. Last autumn, though, Blue found out if he wanted to turn around with Natalie riding, he could pull it off; this caused Natalie to lose confidence.

Now that we have the round pen, I intend to let the girls have more chances to ride Blue; I'm sure Natalie will get her confidence back and be able to give orders to Blue. I never worry about form or proper leads; I just want the girls to be able to safely enjoy a horse. I was cutting the girls' heads off today in videos, for some reason. Oh, you'll hear Monica chattering away in the background telling me how to keep a horse from running away.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My (maternal) cousin Carolyn and me, perhaps 1945?

Maternal cousins: Betty, me, and my cousin Royce... probably around 1950. (That's my grandma's house in the background, and Grandma's dog, Tippy.)

Paternal cousins... I'm third from left. 1959

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go HERE.

Shoes for Blue

Over the past fall and winter, I had great success leaving Blue barefoot. As I rode, his feet toughened up; it worked out great for both of us. Even gravel didn't seem to hurt his feet.

Unfortunately, during the past month or so, his feet were wearing away drastically, and he was getting very tender-footed.

So yesterday I called Randy, my farrier, and had him put shoes on Blue to the tune of $85..

The past two summers it seems Blue's feet refused to grow. The shoes would fall off, but there was no new hoof to nail them back onto for a re-set; so Randy would have to do the best he could. Before long, Blue's feet would more or less crumble from all the nail-holes; then I'd have to simply ride him unshod at home in the pasture.

We'll see if this summer is a repeat of the previous two.

Monday, May 14, 2007

a nice, Jersey pillow

Enjoy the slide show:

So, how'd my weekend go?

Saturday Cliff mowed the little lot where my Jersey heifer, Secret, stays. It's only a half-acre or so, but the clover and grass were so thick you could hardly walk in it. It'll be interesting to see how many bales a tiny patch produces. He also mowed the brome pasture for hay, and even the field that used to be alfalfa. I hope we're wrong, but it looks like the freeze may have wiped us out of the alfalfa business this time. No pictures, because it makes me sad to look at it. Cliff hasn't decided whether to bale it, or just leave it laying, since it's mostly weeds.

While the hay was curing, we took Cliff's motorcycle to the shop, as you see in Saturday's entry; it was ready for pickup before 3:30 Saturday.

Yesterday I took myself a Mother's Day horseback ride to the flooded area again. Look closely here and you can see the poor little soaked corn plants.

Here's a field of planted corn that's high and dry away from the flood, and looking good. (Click on the picture for a wonderful countryside view.)

Yesterday we went out on the Gold Wing for an hour or so, then Cliff raked the brome. The moisture has to be just right before you rake hay; then it has to be just right before it can be baled. The brome field, being mostly grass with no legumes, cured quickly.

A granddaughter called and asked if I was cooking a big meal. It's Mother's Day!!!! You think I'm going to cook a big meal on Mother's Day? As evening drew near and Cliff was getting the big hay bales put up in the barn, I realized he wouldn't take kindly to a request for pizza (this is where it would be nice if I drove) but I remembered some meat loaf I'd put in the freezer. I got that out, mashed a few taters, opened a can of corn, and Cliff had one of his favorite meals waiting when he came in.

Then his sister and her husband dropped by on their Harley and ate some leftovers. They wanted me to take them to Napoleon Elevator, since I had an invite by the owner to visit; so we visited with the couple who are doing so much with the place, saw a breathtaking sunset reflecting pink on the Missouri River (it was impromptu, so I didn't think to grab my camera, but take my word for it) and got a brief tour.

Somewhere in there, my son called to wish me happy Mother's Day, and my daughter (who was having a rather bad day) wished me well in her blog. Since I'm not Cliff's mother, I don't expect gifts or special treatment from him. He's pretty darned good to me all the time anyhow.

For a video of a horseback ride along the flooded Missouri River bottomland... check this out:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Motorcycle expenses

Cliff isn't too interested in horseback riding, and he reminds me often of the high expense involved in keeping a horse. It's true, there's plenty of money involved in Blue's upkeep. Plus the ever-present danger that he could get injured or sick and require lots more time and effort.

Well, paybacks, as they say, are hell. While I thoroughly enjoy our trips on the Gold Wing, the Honda is chiefly Cliff's baby. I'd even say it's his passion. So when we have to unexpectedly spend money on it, it's my turn to rub it in.

The motorcycle developed a little problem. Whatever it was, it involved "forks" and "hydraulic oil". I think.

The cost to fix it is $300. Why, that would keep Blue in shoes for most of the year! And he doesn't require $3 per gallon gasoline, either.

Since I don't drive, our daughter came over to follow the motorcycle in the car and bring Cliff home. I wasn't in the mood to ride the motorcycle with Cliff, so Natalie took my place. Her first real, going-someplace-as-a-destination ride.

Ready to roll.

We laughed at the way Natalie leaned to the right if the motorcycle leaned to the left.

This shot is a little dark, but Natalie turned to wave at us.

We did a little window-shopping while we were there. The girls liked the four-wheelers. Cliff and I priced a new Gold Wing with GPS, seat warmers, and handle-grip warmers. $20,300.

I think I like our old bike just fine.

I certainly hope we didn't turn Natalie into a biker babe.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Old hankies

In March, I posted an entry entitled, "What Do You Do With Old Hankies?".

I had half a grocery-sack full of old hankies, most of which had belonged to my mom or my grandmother, and I didn't know what to do with them.

In the comment section of that entry, Robbie left this comment: "One of the crafty, creative bloggers that I follow makes pillows and sachets out of them. Maybe you could deal direct with her and do a barter. She makes you a pillow or sachet out of the hankies of your choosing and she gets the rest to do with what she wants. That way you keep something for memories sake that isn't hiding in a drawer and you don't have to make it. :-) Here's a link to one of her hankie sachets:

I contacted this lady, Janet, and we indeed worked out a deal. She made me some pillows using some of my old hankies, I gave her the rest in trade for her work. My pillows are on their way now. She sent me pictures of two of them, and that's what you see on this page. See more of her creations at Primrose Design.

Isn't the Internet wonderful? You toss a question to your cyber-friends, they toss back some suggestions, and once in awhile something happens that you'd never have dreamed of by yourself.

Pictures from around the countryside

As long as we get an occasional rain, there should be some blackberries in July, as evidenced by these blossoms. Berries will be welcomed, since so much of this year's local fruit crop was wiped out by several nights of hard freezing.

The new stray and Sadie enjoy an occasional game of tug-of-war. My daughter is going to take Stray for a trial visit this weekend. If she proves to be house-broken, they'll keep her. I have to say, she's a much nicer dog than Sadie. She isn't very wise when it comes to motorized vehicles, though. If she ends up staying here, she's liable to get run over.

One morning she followed the granddaughters on the school bus. How embarrassing.

This picture was taken May 9, when the Missouri River was at it's highest flood stage.

This is the same area a day later. The road on the near side of the bridge is now dry.

This big black snake was crossing the road last night when I went for a horseback ride. He was about six feet long.

Can you see the River otter sticking his head up, a little above the center of the picture? This is on the back of our place, which is usually dry land.

I clipped the picture to give a better view of the otter; now you can make him out. I mistook him for a beaver, but more knowledgeable people pointed out my mistake. There were four of these critters showing off, but they moved so fast, this was the only picture I was able to get of any of them.

The same area today. The base of the tree that was under water two days ago is back on dry land.

Our back fence had all been under water, but today I could see the tops of the posts.