Saturday, June 30, 2007


Joanna asked for pictures of the tomatoes. Because she's special, I'll show them:

The plants...

The tomatoes. So far, so good.

picking green beans in the rain

Welcome to all you visitors from, whatever on earth that is. I've signed up to join, just to see who linked to this entry in my blog, and why. Sitemeter is very handy for letting me know where my readers are coming from. Hey folks, there are lots of other entries here, so don't leave so quickly.Ideally, one should stay out of the garden when it's rainy and muddy; the soil is compacted by your feet, and the plants don't take well to being handled when it's wet. You can see the tiny ponds made by my bare feet. Also, it's hard to get the beans cleaned off well: some are muddy from lying on the ground, and dead leaves and blossoms cling to each bean. However, when you're wanting a pot of green beans for the company that's coming, there isn't a lot of choice. So this morning I put on a rain slicker, took off my shoes, and headed out to pick green beans. Some of them were a couple of days past their prime, but they'll cook up all right. So after rinsing them off about half a dozen times, I broke them into a big pan and added an onion from the garden and some Oscar Mayer Turkey Polska Kielbasa (2/3 less fat). This flavors the beans up quite nicely; I don't add any salt at all, but I use lots of pepper! Would you like to see how the rest of the garden is thriving on this rainy day? That's Iohief corn, my mom's favorite variety of sweet corn, developed in 1951. I prefer peaches-and-cream corn, but it's $8 a pound for seed. So I'll just say Mother knows best, and pay 1/4 that price. You can see the cucumbers are doing nicely, too. I like to eat them, skin and all, with no salt. How long do you think it will be until these roasting ears are ready?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just checking in

I babysit two granddaughters before and after school, and some of the summertime. Since Missouri has a summer school program which pays children $100 for perfect attendance for the duration (one month), that only leaves two months when the girls need all-day care.

They are nine and eleven years old, so it isn't as though they need to be watched every minute; they're not likely to do anything harmful to themselves if I want to go to the barn or garden, or while Cliff and I take our daily walk.

It's even gotten to the point that I don't worry if I'm riding the horse and don't get home in time for their morning arrival, because I know they'll be just fine. Cliff works nights, and he's asleep in the bedroom. And they can dish up their own cereal just fine.

My daughter pays me, by the way, for babysitting.

The girls themselves are no problem; it's trying to schedule the horseback rides and motorcycle rides and little trips that sometimes throws a fly in the ointment.

But this weekend they go spend a month with their other grandma, and some schedules will be tossed out the window. The only time frame I'll worry about is Cliff's going-to-work-at-2:30 PM deadline.

I won't feel I have to get up before 5 AM in order to ride my horse while it's still cool.

If Cliff decides to take a vacation day on Friday and we go for a motorcycle ride, we won't worry about getting home before the girls get home from school. We can take a three-day weekend, knowing the girls are being cared for by Grammy.

So, I consider this coming month as a vacation. I think it's good for them to get away from me for awhile, too. And I'm sure by the time the girls are back, I'll be ready to go back to the schedule.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: You swat my flies, I'll swat yours

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click HERE.

Miniature carnival

At a tractor show Cliff and I visited recently, I found myself fascinated with this miniature carnival set-up that some talented person crafted. It's all run by air. Cliff says he's seen the display before, and that things are added to the display every time he sees it. Enjoy!

pictures from my morning ride

A little way down the road, the sun was coming up over the lake at the edge of my little town.

If you've read my blog long, you know I am fascinated by cemeteries.

Click on picture above to make it larger and you will see the stories on the tombstones. The lady lying beneath the one on the left obviously died giving birth to the child buried with her. The person beneath the marker on the right, it seems, never married.

These are all Carters. They have their own section in the graveyard.

Now that's an OLD tombstone. It's a shame it's broken off.
I don't know who lies here; all the memorials are covering the person's name.

Almost home, I took a detour through a cornfield. It wasn't a long ride, but it was a nice one. Blue and I, once again, beat the heat.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

time to put up hay

Cliff used the old Farmall H to rake hay. He and grandson Arick restored this tractor over ten years ago.

Cliff gave me a ride back to the house and I snapped this over-the-hood picture.

Although I don't drive, and have never had a driver's license, I decided I'd better do it today after watching the grandson put the driver-less pickup in motion and try to load hay on it. Oh yeah.

Cliff had nothing but trouble with our antiquated 14-T baler today.

Arick, picking up one of many piles of hay that didn't bale.

Cliff had so much trouble, we kept catching up with him.

The two guys put the hay in the barn, and that dirty job was done.

More haying pictures HERE.

As always, click on any picture to make it larger.

Cliff's latest toy

We were at the point, this summer, of needing a new riding lawn mower. Most of the ones you buy at places like Sears or Walmart are only good for a few years and the cost is far too high. Because Cliff loves older tractors so much, he opted to buy a twenty-year-old John Deere Lawn tractor; something he can paint and tinker with, and that, hopefully, will outlast any of the new junk lawn mowers out there.

By the way, both Lowes and Home Depot sell a lawn mower carrying the John Deere name; John Deere caved to the demand for a cheap model to compete with other brands, and the quality is poor in that particular model. They should have refused, like the guy with Snapper who said no to Walmart.

So anyway, here's Cliff's new prize. Our son has been a storehouse of information; he's made a hobby of learning all about John Deere lawn tractors, and Cliff is on the phone with him almost daily.

The previous owner had mowed five acres with it, and he'd had trouble with flat tires due to thorns. So he had the tires filled with foam. This made for a very bumpy, uncomfortable ride, and Cliff is wasting no time getting pneumatic tires on this baby.

This front tire was so heavy, he decided to weigh it before he started destroying it.

Wow, that's one heavy tire! After he put the new tire on and inflated it, the weight was 13.5 pounds.

The only way to get this tire off the wheel is to cut it off.

Ewwww, they call that foam? That's down-right nasty.

Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Cliff got a couple of extras with his "Little Johnny": A blade...

And wheel weights.

That ought to give him plenty to play with for awhile.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

chat rooms and message boards

I've had my share of all those on-line connections. I've made some of my best friends in chat rooms, seriously! I met lots of those dear folks face to face. It's been worth the price of my computers to meet such wonderful people.

And yet, there's the down side. Somebody figures somebody else is posting too much and tells them about it. They gather their troops, and next thing you know, your name is mud. Or sometimes, they simply don't like the way you type.

Nowadays I'm numb. Except when some drama happens; then I just have to laugh, because they can't hurt me any more.

Right now there's quite a soap opera going on at one of my favorite message boards, Country Living. Some lady thinks she ought to post any original (or non-original) thought she has on a public forum, and people are getting tired of it. She's hogging the forum, and everybody's telling her what she's doing wrong.

Meanwhile, I don't post to that board more than twice a week many times, and somebody made a smart-aleck comment about me. Sometimes you just can't win.

I didn't respond. That's one thing I learned in the old AOL chat days. Never respond. That's what they want, you know. They want a public fight.

I like blogs better. It's my space, I say what I want. Don't read it if you don't like it.

But I do love soap operas. So I keep reading message boards.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Seen on today's ride

When I woke up at 4 AM, I greatly rejoiced, because I had time to drink some coffee and be on my horse while it was still cool.

Riding on back roads, something caught my eye, so I rode closer to inspect it and get a picture.

Ah. It's a bug trap set out by the USDA.

These four look-alike farm dogs tried to scare Blue, but he isn't too worried about dogs.

If you click on this picture to make it larger, you'll see a tombstone or two in the distance. I just discovered this cemetery last fall. It isn't far off the highway, but it's back in the middle of a soybean (this year) field.
We're getting closer.

It's a very old graveyard, but there are some recent graves there too.

See the traffic on the highway in the distance? That's how close the cemetery is to a thoroughfare. And yet I rode near it many times without knowing of its existance.

Blue and I stopped to say good morning to these miniature horses and their babies.

I was only about twenty minutes from home when I took this picture of farmer John's hayfield.

Finally home again, I saw the granddaughters off to summer school.

At 10:30, Cliff and I were on the motorcycle going after tractor parts some sixty miles away. I kept going to sleep during the ride.

A good day, even with the heat.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

drugged horse

Tude, one of the horses boarded here, doesn't take kindly to being shod. So his owner gives him a gentle shot to calm him down for the procedure.

Today, after Tude had his new shoes, Adam gave him some grain. Tude ate the grain, then promptly went to sleep with his nose in the bucket.

Because a still shot didn't seem to do it justice, I took a brief video:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday... hunger is stronger than fear

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click HERE.


For those of you who have never owned a horse, I want you to realize that you don't just decide to go for a ride, hop on the horse two minutes later, and go. Nope.

Before I leave the house, I have to remember some very important details.

1. Change to a sports bra. Now, this next may be too much information, but...

2. I deleted this step; my husband wasn't comfortable with it; it involved another item of underwear... (think "going Commando"). Those of you with bloglines will read it as originally written, I'm sure.

3. Make sure I'm wearing either sweats or Wrangler jeans. Anything else means misery within fifteen minutes of getting on the horse.

4. Put on my fanny-pack, making sure it contains my cell phone and the digital camera.

5. Use OFF insect repellent liberally, especially if I'm heading toward the river.

6. Time to head to the barn. If I haven't put Blue in the lot already, I could be in for a twenty-minute search around the pasture.

7. Lead Blue to the barn. If he's rolled in the mud, it'll be caked on his back like cement, and lots of curry-combing is in order. If he doesn't seem dirty, I still curry him, just in case there's something on him that could get trapped under the saddle and cause him discomfort.

8. Use the hoof-pick to clean his feet.

9. Spray Endure on the horse, to keep the flies and mosquitoes off.

10. Use Wipe on Blue's ears and face, because he goes ballistic if I spray those areas with Endure.

11. Saddle up and ride; it's been at least twenty-five minutes since I first decided to take a ride.

Most every morning ride I take starts off with a sunrise shot.

This is an area of the river bottom that hasn't been tilled since the flood. It looks dry, but it's still mucky, making it hard work for Blue to walk through it.

That's Blue's tracks.

Can you see the tiny soybeans peeking up?

There's one!
Farmer Steve's equipment is ready to go to work as soon as he gets up this morning.

Blue and I are heading toward home now. There's a train in the distance.

Ah, Farmer John caught a racoon!

Back home, I give Blue some sweet feed. He doesn't require grain, since he only works for an average of two hours, every other day. But he shows me such a good time, I like to let him have a treat.