Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Old pictures

My daddy in 1934

My aunt, uncle and cousin in 1928.

To see more Wordless Wednesday posts, go HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

a weekend visit to a friend's place

Cliff got a call from a friend last weekend. Tommy said a neighbor of his had a trip-bucket loader for a Ford tractor, and he just wanted it out of his yard. Obviously the man never heard of Craigslist.

Cliff can't use the loader, but he has heard of Craigslist, thanks to his loving wife. We'll see how much we can get for this thing.

Tommy's neighbor has a skid-steer loader, which he used to load the bucket-loader onto our trailer. Cliff took time out to admire the skid-steer, which the man picked up from a farmer for a mere $11,000. In great condition. (Cliff takes time to admire all things mechanical.)

Tommy's neighbor had sort of a pretend town in his yard; I don't know what the purpose was, but it was cute. No, we were not anywhere near Holden. The guy is a retired mailman, so maybe Holden used to be his mail route.
Tommy has Scotch Highland miniature cattle; he pastures them sometimes on this neighbor's place.

Tommy has a brand new tractor. Sixty horsepower. It has an air-conditioned cab. Cliff is jealous.

Of course Cliff had to try it on for size.

Tommy used to live in that house, but he sold it, along with a few of his acres...

and built that house yonder.

Back at home, we took pictures of the bucket-loader and put it on Craigslist. And then went for a motorcycle ride.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How big are my horses?

I've had Blue about four years now (how time flies when you're having fun). I had never measured him at the withers, but I've always assumed the local horse trader was right when he estimated him to be 16 to 16.2 hands. A hand is four inches, so that would be sixty-six inches tall at the withers. Because he seems like such a huge horse, it sounded right to me. After all, I have to get up on something to mount him. Of course, I do have bad knees.

Yesterday I had Cliff get out the tape measure to see how tall Libby is; I had guessed her to be fourteen hands, and that's exactly what she is. I'd really like her to grow to two more inches taller, but at 2 1/2 years of age, this may be her full adult height.

"Let's measure Blue while we're at it," I said.

Cliff made sure Blue was standing squarely, and measured twice. He's only fifteen-two. All this time I've been wrong about his size; he's four inches shorter than I thought.

I'm not going to tell Blue, though. I'd hate for him to get a complex.

Back to Libby: she seems not to have quite enough withers to hold the saddle in place when I'm mounting. Once I'm on her, the saddle stays put just fine; but it's hard to mount her without the saddle slipping sideways in the process. It's nothing I can't deal with, it's just a thing for me to puzzle over.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A tribute to Norm on my AOL journal

I did a tribute to an accidentally-found blogger friend, Norm, over at my AOL journal. Click HERE to read the entry.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Are you tired of hearing about Libby yet?

I like to go out to the pasture, lie down, and watch for photo opportunities with my horses. You never know when they might pose real pretty, or cut up a little bit. Once I'm out there for awhile, they ignore me and act natural. That is, all except one.

Libby always seems concerned when she sees me sitting or lying on the ground, and comes right over to check.

It's really hard to take her picture when she's six inches from my face. (Look at those eyes.)

She nibbles at the grass right up next to me, and hangs around.

"Are you OK?" She seems to be saying. "Why aren't you petting me?"

She checks out every inch of my body; she's sure something must be wrong.

Finally she grazes her way away from me. But not too far away.

Libby and me

I posted these pictures in my AOL journal, but I am just so happy with how Libby is doing, I had to put them over here too. See how her ears are up and how happy she looks? She seems to feel that my being on her back is the most natural thing in the world.

The last time the grandson was on her, he had trouble getting her to go faster than a walk... she'd lay her ears back when he asked her to speed up. I'm sure she'll let me know when she's ready to go faster, but meanwhile I'm in no hurry.

She jumps around quite a bit when I tighten the girth up, but I've found if I give her a treat first, she's fine. She just needs to get used to things.

Because she's young, and not all that big, I don't ride her longer than fifteen or twenty minutes at a time.

I'm so proud of her!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

... and speaking of mundane

I've bought more mops in the past year than anybody ought to have to buy in a lifetime. I've tried every variety Walmart carries. The best of them lasted a couple of months; the least of them, one week. When the last one gave out, I decided to tough it out and get on my hands and knees, doing it the old-fashioned way. I have bad knees, but I toughed it out. I'm so tired of spending money on useless mops!

Anyone who has arthritis will tell you there are bad days and worse days for pain. Today was one of the "worse days", and by the time I got the floor halfway mopped, I was almost in tears.
That's when I remembered my mom's old fondness for Stanley Home Products. All of my growing-up years, she used nothing but the Amazo Mop. I recall the demonstrations at Stanley parties, and the warning, "do not use them to mop up urine". Well, Sadie, Cliff and I are house-broke, so that shouldn't be a problem. I went to the Stanley Home Products website and there it was, in all its glory: The Amazo II mop! I think it used to be blue, but otherwise, it looks the same. Then I went to an Ebay store and made a bid there that saved me about $3. Hey, a buck is a buck, as my ex-daughter-in-law used to say. I hope it arrives within a week. Before I need to mop again.

Of horses, dogs, and other mundane matters

When we adopted our dog, Sadie, from Wayside Waifs, they sent a bag of Science Diet dog food home with us, and it's what we've fed her ever since. It's pricey, but she loves it and seems to thrive on it. All my previous dogs made do with Purina, but after losing Mandy suddenly the way I did, I was an easy sell for anything that might be good for my dog.

The worst thing about Science Diet dog food, other than the price, is that you can't get it at Walmart or in any grocery store. When Sadie's out of dog food, it's a special side trip to Feldman's or Orscheln's or Tractor Supply. This doesn't always fit into our plans.

So I was recently in Walmart when Sadie was out of food, and decided for the first time ever to change her diet. Iams is every bit as expensive as her Science Diet, so it surely must be just as good, right? I bought a smallish bag, just to see.

I could tell she didn't eat in her usual hoggish manner, but she did eat it. Then the second day I gave it to her, she puked. And again, a few days later.

I know, some dogs puke a lot. Sadie does not.

So yesterday I bought some Science Diet for her, and put it on one side of her food dish with Iams on the other. She couldn't get enough Science Diet dog food! It's like she had been deprived for the past couple of weeks.

Lesson learned. It may just be her personal preference, but I'm sticking with Science Diet from now on.

On another note: Yesterday evening I rode Libby around in front of the barn, and then in the big lot awhile. She did great. When I led her out to the pasture to turn her loose, I hung around and petted her, since she was in no hurry to wander off. Then I hugged on Blue awhile. I started walking back toward the point, and the horses followed.

At the far side of the alfalfa field, I sat down, and Libby came over beside me as if to keep me company, nibbling small bites of grass beside me. After she wandered off, Blue came on over and lowered his head for some petting.

Horses look different when you're looking up at them, don't they?

I had forgotten how relaxing it is to spend time in the pasture with horses, simply watching. It's one of the best stress-reducers I know of.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Branson comedians make us laugh!

Harley Worthit

Seen here with Homer Lee.

Homer Lee and Harley Worthit, as Siamese Twins. Wait, make that Minnesota Twins.

As seen at The Branson Brother's show, Branson, Missouri.

See other (more) wordless Wednesdays HERE.

hot tubs and swimming pools

One reason we chose to stay at Pointe Royale in Branson this past weekend was the fact that they had an indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

If I won the lottery, one of the first things I'd do (after having a new home built) would be to have a hot tub installed. Above, Amber and I spend quality time in the hot tub while Cliff watches the younger girls in the pool.

Friday we had the place to ourselves for two hours. It was great!

The girls enjoyed horseplay with Grandpa.

I was surprised to see how well Amber (on the left) could swim!

The two little girls and I went back on Saturday for another two hours. While we didn't have the place entirely to ourselves, there were only a few folks coming and going during our session, and for the last hour, there were a couple of girls who played with Monica and Natalie, which made it more enjoyable for them.

I can't swim at all, but I love to play in the water.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pick up your trash

We spent this weekend in Branson, at a condo in a golf resort. Today on our way home, we decided to eat off the dollar menu at McDonald's. Since we were drinking our own pop, we hunted up a city park where we could have our lunch. It's a lovely park, and we enjoyed our respite from the road.
It was rather windy, though, and the Mcdonald's sack blew away. We were finishing up our meal when Cliff told Monica, who's almost twelve, "Go pick up that trash."

Monica responded, "You mean that green paper?"

Cliff is hard of hearing, or maybe he wasn't paying attention. And he said "Yes."

That sack is what Cliff had in mind.

Here's what Monica picked up. Although, when she saw our reaction, she dropped it really fast.

Poor kid. She confessed that she wasn't really sure what all the fuss was about, but knew it must be something bad.

"Do you know what a condom is?" I asked.

"Ewwwwww, yes!"

And she borrowed her older cousin's hand sanitizer, really fast.

Oh boy, I'll bet this post will bring some wacky googles my way. ACK!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Years

I found this shot submitted on a message board, under "what's the best picture you've taken". Guy's handle on the board is "Swampy". He gave me permission to use it here.

For other WW entries, go HERE.

More about ponying Libby

I had never heard of ponying a young horse to train them. I first saw the training method mentioned at the Homesteading Today horse forum. Then I typed "ponying a horse" into Google and found THIS ARTICLE.

The article says for the horse that's being used as a teacher, it's necessary to have a steady, dependable horse (preferably a gelding) that knows what he's doing. Blue was totally unfamiliar with the process when we started, but by the third or fourth session, he did great. I'd wrap the lead rope around the saddle horn, and when Libby would suddenly balk, Blue would keep on plodding ahead so that she had no choice but to come along.

Don't ask me how I know, but I can somehow tell that Blue enjoys having Libby along when we ride. Maybe he just likes having another horse beside us.

Blue and Libby are special friends. When I watch the four horses here nipping and squealing and kicking one another, as horses are wont to do in their fight for first place, Blue and Libby will join in the scuffle... but never will they threaten one another; they only show aggression toward the other two. They seem to have come to an understanding of some sort that they are family.

Now playing: Stephen Fearing - Thrasher
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Libby today

You can't tell by looking, but Libby had a big adventure and learning experience just before Cliff took this picture.

I've been ponying her alongside Blue for almost a year, here on our place. Today I decided she was ready for a longer trip into the big world: I saddled both horses and we rode along the highway and down to the Missouri river bottom. I'd guess our trip took us about four miles, round trip. Because it's pretty muddy down there, I didn't rush the horses. We were gone an hour and a half.

So now Libby has experienced cars going past us (no problem); crossing railroad tracks (no problem); a man using a chain saw beside the road (no problem); a German Shepherd coming out of nowhere, barking (she simply jumped in surprise, just like she did when a nearby cow stood up later).

Ten days ago I couldn't pick up her hind feet at all. Today after our ride, Cliff and the grandson trimmed all four of her feet, and she only pulled one hind foot away, one time.

Working with Libby has been one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences of my life.

Of course, after such a long workout, both horses were starved.

In answer to Midlife Mom's question in the comment section: Libby is mine. I got her because she was cheap ($150), a Foxtrotter like Blue, and friendly. I would NEVER attempt to break a horse for anyone else; in fact, I've never done any horse-training before. It's her good nature that has made this process so easy for me. She wants to please. If she does something wrong, it's because she doesn't understand what I want. Her previous owners said when they sold Libby's mom, the little filly was wild. They cornered her in a barn, managed to put a halter on her, and forced her to lead... behind a tractor, I think. Sounds cruel, but it worked; when I went to look at her, she was the first one to come up and meet us in the pasture. Her previous owners have emailed me saying that if I should decide to sell her, they might be interested. They've followed her progress in my blogs.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good times

I like the weekend I just had.

Saturday it rained all day, and except for cooking a carbohydrate-laden, old-fashioned meal, I did very little except (as I've said before) sit at the computer. But the rain was so welcome that I loved every minute of it. Our pasture is green and growing again, and there's water in the bottom of our tiny pond.

Yesterday, Sunday, I brought the filly, Libby, up to the barn. I worked on getting her to let me have her feet; she's doing much better with that. I saddled her and led each of my daughter's girls around the yard on her back. I introduced her to cars, close-up; and I clapped my hands often, because she jumped a bit the other day when a granddaughter clapped her hands while on her back.

The daughter helped me make a video of the two calves running for their dinner.

I went for a long ride through the countryside on Blue.

Yep, I like the weekend I just had.

Now playing: The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - So You Would Know
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 14, 2007

That next-blog button

I really enjoy checking out new blogs. Yesterday was a lazy, rainy day, and I spent most of my time at the computer. I decided to use that next-blog button at the top, on the left, and see if I could meet some interesting bloggers.

I hadn't done this in awhile, but I knew I'd get a lot of foreign-language blogs. I decided that even if I couldn't read the language, I'd leave a comment, if there was a picture that I could relate to. For instance, if there was a baby picture, I'd say, "You have a beautiful baby there." I figured if they couldn't read English, that would throw them for a loop.

When I started out on my blog-jog, I would occasionally get a porn site, and often there was no "next blog" button showing. So I'd hit my back arrow to the last place I'd been, click on "next blog", and get directed to a different site.

After about an hour of this, I realized the porn blogs were coming up on at least half my clicks! Spyware, no doubt. I have a free program downloaded from the Internet called Spybot Search and Destroy (which I highly recommend), and I decided to run that and see who was leaving unwanted cookies on my computer.

Sure enough, when it was finished, among the things it caught were a couple of bits of spyware called "sex-tracker".

As much as I like to find new blogs, I guess I'll stay out of the Blogger "next-blog" option. Wouldn't you think they'd do something about this situation?

From now on, I'll find my new blogs by checking out the ones listed and recommended by other people on their sites. That way they're pre-approved.

And by the way, I'm running my free AVG anti-virus as I type, just in case I picked up a Trojan when I was lured into those unsavory areas of the Internet.

Left-brained or right-brained?

To find out which you are, click HERE.

Turns out I'm in the minority here; I'm right-brained. But then, I was born left-handed, and forced to switch when I started school; yes, they used to do that.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Outhouse memories

Toni, over at "In the midst of this season" was pondering outhouses in her latest entry, having been forced to make use of one recently.

Until I was twelve years old and we moved to Kansas City, my family didn't have running water in the house. There was no kitchen sink, no bathtub, and no commode.

Toni wondered why the old outhouses were equipped with two holes: Well, I can tell you that many good conversations were held in the "toilet", as we called it. My mom bought toilet paper as far back as I can remember, but I had aunts and uncles who considered that a waste of money: so they kept expired catalogs and magazines in the outhouse to use as toilet paper. The pages of these were slick and not very absorbent, but if you took a page and wadded it up tight, then stretched it back out to size, it was a little softer and more effective for the intended purpose.

Anyway. I recall sitting in an outhouse on one of the holes while a cousin sat on the other: we were looking at what was left of a year-old Montgomery-Ward catalog , discussing the dress styles therein.

Once a friend came home with me after church; rather than sit on the hole in the outhouse, she actually stood over the hole and then squatted, so she wouldn't be sitting on that wood where everyone else had sat! That seemed strange to me, and I considered her a little "uppity" after that. She was originally from Tennessee, and I remember wondering if that was how all southerners used the toilet.

As Toni mentioned, outhouses do have a certain "stench". Let's face it, anywhere poop is piled up, it's going to smell bad. However, most folks kept a bag of lime handy in the corner; sprinkling this on the waste below really helped a lot with the odor. After my mom was done mopping floors in the house, she usually took her bucket of mop-water to the toilet, freshening it up with a little extra Stanley Germ-trol (similar to Pine-sol) in the water for good measure. Mother was big on Stanley home products. (But I'll save the Stanley-party memories for another post.)

This is Skinner school in Iowa, the first school I attended. I remember that the toilet was just to the right of where those kids are standing. I thought the accommodations at school were really fancy, because there was one outhouse for boys and one for girls!

If you think outhouses are gross, there's another aspect to remember: The old chamber pot under the bed! Yes, when the weather was bad and I awoke in the night having to "go", there was a covered enamel pot to use. Mother had the pleasure of emptying this in the morning, and washing it out. I believe there was one in my parents' room, too. (I swiped this image from Ebay, where people are actually bidding on these relics!)

When we moved to Kansas City to a tiny three-room apartment, I felt we were in the lap of luxury: there was cold running water in the kitchen, and a bathroom downstairs that we shared with another family. No more having to go outside on cold or rainy nights when nature called!

Ah, the good old days.

And while we're on the subject, here's a gross and disgusting, but pretty darned funny, website about POOP. Appropriately, the URL is

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pioneer Woman

I discovered The Pioneer Woman some time back, and was immediately hooked. I spread the word to family and friends. Ree's funny, she's a good writer, and she takes wonderful pictures of horses and cattle and cowboys in Wranglers, which are just a few of my favorite things.

I seldom comment on journals that, like hers, get over 200 comments a day; I figure my little submission will be lost in the shuffle, and won't be read by either the journal author OR the readers.

But sometimes I simply have to put in my two cents worth.

So I noticed (thanks to my handy-dandy sitemeter) that when I comment over there at Ree's place, people come from her blog to mine. They usually don't stay long, by the way. Let's face it, after reading PW's stuff, my ramblings are pretty lame.

Anyhow: Hello to all you fans of The Pioneer Woman out there who clicked on my profile and came to visit. Isn't she great?

What would we ever do without her?

Now playing: Loudon Wainwright III - Missing You
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nope, banks don't make mistakes

As Cliff and I were taking our walk this morning, I realized what happened with my checking account: Grandson gave me cash to replace what I had transferred out of his savings. Due to his needing a new tailpipe and muffler on his truck, I told him I'd just put it in my checking account and leave it, and when he got the work done on his truck I'd write him a check; which I did, and entered it in my checkbook.

I failed to write that deposit of his cash down, though.

I guess you could call it a small miracle. Because it's money I didn't realize I had.

Thanks, God! I'll take my miracles where I can find them.

And as for the grandson's phone: He bought a new cell phone to replace the one that he lost that was run over. He got the most expensive one T-Mobile has: It's also an MP3 player. The fact that he's had bad credit in the past doesn't help, with T-Mobile bills. For him to live here, one of our requirements is that he pay his bills on time, and hopefully clean up his credit problems. So far, so good.

Do banks make mistakes?

I usually start my day with a little Bible-reading and a prayer. Mostly I give thanks when I pray; I try not to ask favors of God, figuring He's handled things without my suggestions for a long time. Today, however, I did mention to Him that I could use a little extra cash for our upcoming Branson trip.

Later, I logged onto my online banking site to see that all recent checks, except one for about $45, have cleared. And the bank seems to think I have over $250 more than my checkbook attests to.

I wracked my brain, poring over the checkbook to see where my error occurred. I'm a sloppy bookkeeper at best, and I knew I had to have made a mistake someplace... a mistake which, if corrected, could be the answer to my morning prayer! $250 would be plenty of dough for us to spread around Branson, considering that we'll be having a lot of our fun right there at the condo.

But I found no glaring error in the checkbook, so I returned to my online statement. I decided to start by going over all deposits, to see if I'd missed listing one. That's when I found the mistake, and it isn't mine... it's the bank's.

I did an online transfer Friday for $265, from my grandson's savings account to my checking account, so I could pay his phone bill online for him. (I know, who pays that much for a cell phone? But that's none of my business.)

The bank has the transfer listed; but it also a separate deposit on the same day for the same exact amount... a deposit that doesn't exist. They've somehow listed the same deposit twice: one as a transfer, one as an actual deposit.

So today I'll call the bank and get it cleared up.

If they were to tell me I could keep it, I'd be back to tell you that the age of miracles isn't past.

God has done a lot of fantastic things for me, and answered many prayers (my horse, Blue, is an example). He's gotten us through some rough financial spots. But He's never flat-out given me a handout from the bank.

I'll let you know if He's changed His tactics.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: That's a TALL horse!

On our way back from Kansas Sunday, we stopped by the Family Center in Harrisonville to see the world's tallest horse, Radar.

This is the picture from the card that was handed out to viewers. The other pictures are from my camera.

Read about Radar HERE.

For other WW entries (probably more "wordless" than this one) click HERE.

Planning a getaway

Four years ago, Cliff and I took advantage of an offer for a Branson vacation. We would receive tickets to shows, a $50 coupon for a meal, and $50 in cash. What a deal! All we had to do was take a two-hour tour of the condos at Fall Creek Resort.

We learned that we could buy a time share for something like $19,000, and then be allowed to stay there for a week, once a year. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but it was some ridiculous amount. That much I do recall.

The two-hour tour turned in to five (shades of Gilligan's Island), and we were both sick of the spiel from the saleslady by the time we got out of there. I felt it was worth it for the payoff, but Cliff said he'd rather pay full price than do that ever again.

We've been planning for some time to take any available grandkids to Branson, October 19 and 20. We aren't loaded with dough, so I've been surfing the Internet looking for bargain places to stay where we can do our own cooking. The cheapest one was near Silver Dollar City, $100 a night for six of us, tax and all.

The two youngest granddaughters would love an indoor pool, but that would require a motel. Motels require some eating out. $$$$$.

Then I thought of Fall Creek Resort. I had seen, online, where a condo could be rented there by the night. They have an indoor pool and hot tub, and miniature golf; and Internet in the lobby and clubhouse.

The price was more, indeed. But considering the pool, and the fact that we can still provide our own meals, I believe it's worth $166 a night. We may not even leave the resort at all!

I read some reviews, many of which were horrible; they seem to have an ant problem. On the other hand, some folks loved it. We'll take the chance, if only for the swimming pool. I'm not too hard to please, since I like primitive camping. Click HERE for more very mixed reviews.

No matter if I like it or hate it, I'll have something to blog about afterward.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

So, we were headed to Kansas...

And Cliff says, "Look at that car ahead of us! That's a '55 T-bird!" So I took a picture.

Then Cliff said, "I'm going to pull up beside him so you can take a better picture.

Does this guy look the part, or what? We loved it!

Life is good.

(Click to make the picture bigger.)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Outside my bedroom window


Snowbelle, the queen of our barn, has always deemed it necessary to come to the house every morning and let us know she's hungry. I'm sure she thinks that if she doesn't tell us she's out of food, we'll forget to feed her. She has now trained her spring litter to come with her.

Cliff doesn't like the cats all waiting around the back door, so we've tossed cold water in their direction trying to discourage them away. Still, they gather outside every morning, scattering when we open the door in order to avoid another baptism. Oh well, at least we don't have to worry about stepping on them now.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I hit the jackpot!

Cliff wanted to check out a garage sale up the road, so I went along.

All these books were $2.75, a quarter each! I don't believe I've ever read anything by Dean Koontz, but I'll bet he's good.

I love bargains.

Now playing: John Prine; Mac Wiseman - I Forgot to Remember to Forget
via FoxyTunes