Monday, March 31, 2008
I expected them to run and buck and kick up their heels, once they realized they were free. That didn't happen. When they saw that they could get beyond where the electric fence had been, all of them (starting with Libby) ran to check it out. But once they were across their former boundary, they simply put their heads down and started picking at the short grass.
Notice that Libby, always the ham, keeps coming close to me. She loves people, and she's a total ham. I swear she knows what the camera is. Watch her pose.
Cliff bought his first motorcycle, an old Harley hog, at the tender age of 18.
When our kids were small, we had a 350 Honda. Then we moved up to a 750 Honda. I considered Cliff to be a skilled rider, and he was pretty confident of his ability, too.
With two small children, we couldn't ride often together; Cliff rode his Honda to work sometimes, but it got less and less use, and he finally sold it.
Around the age of sixty, he started getting a far-away look in his eye every time he'd see a Honda Gold Wing on the roadways. We went to a Harley-Davidson open house, he went on a few trial rides, and I could see we were going to buy another motorcycle; the bug had bitten my husband.
We found what we considered to be a good buy on a used Gold Wing, and we were soon on the road with it, with no little children to hinder us from riding now.
The man from whom we bought that motorcycle suggested we take the Rolling Wheels safety course, since Cliff hadn't ridden in years. Cliff wanted to, but we just couldn't see spending $130 on motorcycle school when Cliff had done so much riding in the past.
Cliff admits his reflexes aren't what they used to be, so after two years of riding a Gold Wing, I signed us up for the course.
There were, I believe, eight bikes in the class. The class was not easy. Not one of the students was as skilled as he thought he was. Motorcycles, especially the bigger ones, were laid over on tight turns; cones on the course were run over. Many people failed to stay in the lines.
Each rider was individually critiqued on his riding. I was critiqued on my co-ridering. I learned what to do if Cliff sees he's going to have to brake quickly. I also found out that when he's going around a curve, I am to turn my head and look ahead to where he's going. This helps him, for some reason. And he learned that if he's going around the curve he's supposed to watch ahead where he's going, rather than looking directly in front of the bike.
Honestly, by the time it was over we were both on information overload. We have a lot of things to put into practice
You're never too old to learn. I'm including a video of the beginning of first exercise the bikes did, the only event in which I wasn't sitting behind Cliff on the motorcycle. He's the one on the white Gold Wing. Don't ask what they were doing, because I don't remember; and I didn't record the whole event.
We were both drained by the time we rode home. Hopefully, we'll be safer riders as a result of the course.
Some things we heard repeatedly yesterday:
"Become one with your bike."
"Scan ahead aggressively."
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Yesterday was a sunny, breezy day... too cool for a comfortable motorcycle ride, but perfect for a horseback ride. The Missouri River has the nickname "Big Muddy", and normally it does look muddy and brown; but yesterday, as you can see here, it was blue.
I should explain that I don't own the river bottom land where I ride; most of the local farmers have given me permission to ride there, and others don't seem to care when they see me riding my horse on their property. I avoid riding in the corn and soybean fields when crops are growing, keeping on the access roads or on the levee as much as possible. From November through April, it's all wide open to me; oh, there are patches of winter wheat, but riding a horse across wheat doesn't damage it.
There's something about the vastness and solitude of the area that I love. Yesterday Blue and I scared up a couple of deer. He always sees them first, and will stop, put his ears up, and stare. Then I'll look in that direction to see what has his attention. One deer stopped and stared back at us for a minute. When I get a camera with a 20x zoom, I'll be able to take pictures of things like that.
The pictures in the preceding entry are taken on our property; we own forty-two acres at the top of a river bluff made of sand that the wind blew here. There are no rocks on the place that weren't brought here, except at the very back where our land goes to river-bottom level. The picture at the top of this page with my husband on a tractor was also taken on our property; you can see Cliff's shop in the background.
We aren't farmers, although Cliff has so far managed to raise enough hay for our horses and the two that are boarded here. Cliff works in a factory some forty miles away. He car-pools with a neighbor, which is a wonderful thing with gasoline prices at an all-time high.
To answer a couple of questions left in my comments:
From Diane: Is the grass any longer down by the river? Have you ever tried riding Blue and leading Libby? Maybe you can lead Libby to some longer grass and get her used to being outside the fences.
Indeed, Diane, I have "ponied" Libby many times on this place, and a couple of times away from here and down on the river bottom. Unless you're on slow dial-up, you can see a video about that HERE. It'll give you sort of a tour of our pasture. (You'll also see our renters' trailer house, our barn, our neighbor's house, etc.) The video was taken in December, 2006 when Libby was still a yearling. As far as leading her, she leads anywhere just fine. This part of Missouri just isn't warm enough for the grass to grow; it's been a long winter. The horses have plenty of hay, so they aren't hungry.
One question if you don't mind. Do you bury or cremate a dead horse? It would be a big grave.
Our Son just buried Andy, his hamster under a palm tree beside our block a few days ago.
I've never had to address that question. I've had several horses, but none of them died while in my possession. If I can remain here until Blue dies, he'll definitely get a proper burial because he's so very special to me. He'll be fourteen years old in May, so he's middle-aged; I'm hoping he's one of those horses who lives to be thirty or so. I'll be eighty years old if he lives that long, and I imagine we'll both be pretty tired by then.
We have buried a couple of special dogs in a peaceful spot in our pasture.
Friday, March 28, 2008
When I'm working Libby in the round pen, not only does she come to me when I lower the whip, but if I walk around, she follows close behind. We had a great, relaxed session today.
The horses aren't on the main pasture yet because the grass hasn't really started growing. It has indeed been a long winter, because normally by now there'd be plenty of pasture. Usually if I'm not pressed for time, before I take Libby out with the rest of the horses, I let her nibble at what grass she can find in the yard. She loves this.
Today I figured I'd turn her loose in the section that we hay once a year in spring, before we use it for pasture. You can see by the pictures our grass isn't growing much, but there's some green there. Horses have teeth that can tear grass off if there's only a quarter-inch showing.
For some reason, Libby wasn't enthusiastic about the pasture grass. We've had the calves on this section, and they're picking at it all the time. Oh, she'd taste it. But for the most part, she followed me around like she had done in the round pen. I wanted to take some pictures of her, but it was hard to get far enough away from her to get a whole-body shot. If I trotted (believe me, I don't trot much), so did she.
I think I have a friend.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates.
St. Peter says, "Here's how it works.
You need 100 points to make it into heaven
You tell me all the good things you've done,
And I give you a certain number of points for each item,
Depending on how good it was.
When you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says,
"I was married to the same woman for 50 years,
And never cheated on her, even in my heart."
"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "That's worth three points!"
"Three points?" he says.
"Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry
with my tithe and service."
"Terrific!" says St. Peter. "That's certainly worth a point."
"I started a soup kitchen in my City and worked in a shelter
For homeless veterans."
"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says.
Exasperated, the man cries.
"At this rate the only way I'll get into Heaven Is by the Grace of God."
"Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!!!"
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Last summer and fall, before I ever attempted riding Libby, I was driving her in the round pen. I came to a point where I wondered if I was doing her more harm than good: when I first started working her, if I dropped the whip, she would come directly to me, facing me. That's what she is supposed to do. Later on, though, she started getting acting afraid, for some reason, and quit coming to me when I dropped the whip. So I decided to forgo round-penning.
I'm not knowledgeable about horse-training, and my confidence level isn't high. All I know is what I read online (like this), and the advice I get from experienced trainers. The folks on the Homesteading Today equine forum have helped me several times.
Today I groomed Libby and handled her feet, then rode her in the round pen; she's getting better at turning and stopping, and she will even back a couple of steps; mind you, I keep her at a walk because I'm still old and break easily. I led her back to the barn and was going to turn her out, but I decided to try lunging her first to see how she'd do.
And she did great! Well, she was confused at first because I had the whip in the wrong hand (stupid me); but once I got things right, she did fine. Every time I dropped the whip, she came right to me.
I am so uncoordinated that it's hard for me to remember some of the very simple rules of lunging: don't look the horse in the eye, for instance. That un-nerves them, and they feel threatened (that's what this article says; however, this article says the opposite. See why I get confused?). If you're driving the horse, you're supposed to keep your eyes on their buttocks to keep them moving forward. You don't use the whip to "whip" the horse, by the way. I very seldom even crack it.
All of this is supposed to establish pecking order and build trust. I'm beginning to think it might work, in spite of a novice trainer who hardly knows what she's doing.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Blue is bored with the river. He's seen it enough.
There's the green! The winter wheat is doing its best to grow. Wind took a lot of the fun out of riding; it gets tiresome, fighting it all the time.
Blue saw the train in the distance and tried his best to get to it. For some strange reason, he loves moving trains.
The turkey vultures are back from wherever they spend their winters.
They're nasty birds, but I love to watch them flying and gliding in the sky.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Then I rode her in the round pen for a few minutes with no problem.
She's always thirsty after we've been working together.
She'll stay nearby and follow me after I've turned her loose, for as long as I'm willing to stick around. In fact, it's difficult to take her picture because she won't stay far enough away.
So I take pictures like this one. Look at those eyelashes.
And this one.
Ah, there you see the ladies of our pasture: Libby and Sassy.
I decided to read the manual that came with it, this time (novel idea, eh?). And found out I'm the one who killed it. I was leaving it plugged in all the time, and the instructions specifically say not to do this.
Who'd have thought you had to unplug an appliance when it's not in use?
Now, I'd love to have a $200 grinder like THIS. But there's something to be said for a grinder that used old-fashioned muscle power. If I ever find that one as cheap as $50, I'll snap it up, priorities or not.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my morning coffee once again.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
"Really?" he asked.
"Yes, and it's so interesting to see how people live in other parts of the world. For instance, it's so thickly populated where he lives, he has a problem finding any secluded place where he can ride his bicycle or relax."
Yes, I told him. And explained how Muhd is always concerned for his parents, and how he worries about his wifie's asthma. And is so proud of his son.
We humans are not so different, after all.
I like Muhd.
Now playing: Rich Mullins - You Did Not Have a Home
Today, on our way to Shawnee, Kansas, we saw it again. Cliff said, "You need to go to Google and type in "big round glass building in Kansas City".
I said, "How about I just type in 'Sprint Center' and see if this is it?"
Sure enough. That's Sprint Center.
We need to get out more.
Now playing: The Cathedrals - Track 9
Friday, March 21, 2008
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
I rode my horse, Blue, for an hour or so.
Then this afternoon I worked with my two-year-old filly, Libby. I had some backtracking to do.
Recently Cliff decided to trim Libby's feet for me. He'd had great success trimming Blue's feet, after all.
Libby had been allowing me to work with her feet just fine; but when Cliff came around she got all antsy and would pull her hind feet away from him. Unfortunately, Cliff has little patience with horses when they get contrary. He smacked her, and then smacked her again. He also raised his voice. It was not a pleasant day.
I knew at the time this was the wrong way to handle Libby's problem. I also know my husband, and realized it was better for all concerned if I kept my mouth shut.
So today I decided to work on getting Libby back to the point of letting me pick up her feet again.
There was no problem with the front hooves, but the back ones were a different story. When I started, she wouldn't allow me to pick up the left hind foot at all; she'd jerk it away from me.
After working with her for an hour and really working up a sweat, I was able to pick up either hind foot and even use the file on them briefly. I hope to work with Libby daily until she'll let me pick up her feet any time for as long as I want. Because no matter how sweet and loving a horse is, if you can't work on her feet, she's no good to anyone.
Cliff joined me and tried his hand at it. He agreed that losing his temper and smacking Libby had been the wrong thing to do. After a few tries, she finally allowed him to pick up her back feet.
I imagine it's the wrong way to train a horse, but I gave her a treat for behaving when she allowed Cliff to take her foot.
Thankfully, horses and dogs are very forgiving. We humans could learn a lot from them.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Often she chases some wild creature into the woods and disappears for awhile, but she always rejoins us.
This morning she found something dead on her rambling; because she considers slimy, rotting animal flesh to be her own special cologne, she rolled in it quite thoroughly. There was gunk visible on her neck where she'd carefully rubbed it in.
So she got a bath.
Once she'd been toweled off, she decided to use the spread on my un-made bed for a towel.
That's her in mid-shake.
Then I tied her outside.
I don't whether she's trying to dry off on the grass, or practicing what to do with the next carrion she finds.
We found it quite interesting to see how the different systems of the body do their jobs. Cliff worked in a butcher shop for twenty years, so he has a better-than-average knowledge of how the inside of a body works (the insides of a pig work pretty much the same as the insides of a human). He complained about it costing $50 to see the exhibit, but I believe he got his money's worth. At least he stopped complaining, once we'd seen it.
We were surprised at the size of the crowd present on a Wednesday morning; and as we were leaving, there were more people lined up and waiting. Sometimes it was hard to see a display because of other people crowded around it, and there were the usual unruly children you see at any event like that. Still, it was worth seeing.
We're such hicks, we got lost in Union Station and had to ask a nice gentleman who works there how to find our way out. Turns out we needed to go up another flight; we were on the wrong level. ("Golllleeee, Uncle Jed!")
I also did an entry on my AOL journal about our trip to the city.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sort of a tribute to Kansas City Jazz and the jazz museum, I guess.
An advertisement for local breweries.
I hadn't been to Union Station for at least forty years; today we went there to see Bodies Revealed exhibition. What a huge old building!
And what a magnificent ceiling.
Ah, Western Auto. I remember it well.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Oh my goodness, that was some wonderful coffee.
Unfortunately, the grinder stopped working after about two months.
I'm reduced to drinking run-of-the-mill Folgers each morning.
No words can express how I miss my cheap coffee grinder. Don't tell Cliff, but I'm considering buying a hand-driven coffee-grinder. I think they cost upwards of $80, but at least there's no electric motor to stall out.
Direct Deposit Payments
If the last two digits of your Social Security number are:
Your economic stimulus payment deposit should be sent to your bank account by:
00 – 20
21 – 75
76 – 99
If the last two digits of your Social Security number are:
Your check should be in the mail by:
00 – 09
10 – 18
19 – 25
26 – 38
39 – 51
52 – 63
64 – 75
76 – 87
88 – 99
We'll get ours in late May. That's in plenty of time for our vacation.
We haven't had any close calls, really.
But in a few days we're going to attend the Rolling Wheels Training Center, taking the Experienced Rider course.
Cliff has always said that his worst fear is not so much wrecking and getting hurt, but that of hurting me. He wants to be as safe as he possibly can be. He freely admits that, at age sixty-three, his reflexes aren't what they used to be.
He wants us to be as safe as we possibly can be. So for $130, the two of us will spend five to six hours at school. Motorcycle school. I wonder if I should pack a lunch and take an apple for the teacher?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Our house was a commercial for Stanley products. Mother must have used everything they ever made.
If someone gave a Stanley party and some of the attendees "booked" a party at the time, the party-giver got credits toward a gift. Some of them were pretty nice things, too.
Each party started with the dealer showing pictures of the barn where the company was born, and giving a brief history of Stanley Home Products.
Games were played; the winner won a nice little prize, and everybody else was allowed to choose a consolation prize, something like a simple sponge.
Stanley pencils with no erasers were passed out for some of the games.
Stanley made one product I remember well, sort of a lotion that you rubbed on knees or elbows or necks and rubbed it in until dirt started rolling off. Sometimes the Stanley lady made a game of this, and gave a prize to the person who rolled off the most dirt. Pretty nasty, huh?
I was never left with a babysitter in my life; where Mama went, I went. I loved going to those Stanley parties because I was allowed to play the games and choose consolation prizes just like the grownups. And of course, the hostess always served food, usually cake or cookies.
Far back in my memory I remember going to one Stanley party with Mother wearing a hoop skirt: the hem of my dress had some sort of wire (?) that made my dress stand out. Trouble is, when I sat down, my dress went UP! Very strange, and I don't think I ever wore the thing anywhere else. It must have been a style at the time, but it didn't work out for me.
I still buy a couple of Stanley items from Ebay stores. I received these pot-scrubbers in the mail today, and that's what sent me down memory lane.
Anyone else remember Stanley?
P.S. I see by my Sitemeter than one of my neighbors with DSL has spent over two hours on this site today, total. Wow! You must be catching up. Welcome, neighbor. I see you!
We're about to abandon this old house to renters and move in to (get ready for this) a manufactured home.
That would be a trailer house, for the uninitiated.
It'll be on this property, so we won't be giving up our 42 acres. It'll be back away from the dusty gravel road, and at least in two directions, there will be a genuine VIEW, which we simply do not have at present. We'll be able to sit in our living room and watch deer, coyotes, foxes, turkeys, and other assorted wildlife.
For the first time in my life, I'll have central air. And a dishwasher. And all the electrical outlets I need. I'll have several huge closets. Cliff and I share one small one now. There's a garbage disposal, too; but I don't think we'll be able to use it, with a septic tank.
Even the people who sell manufactured housing can't believe we're moving out of a regular house and into a mobile home. That's because they haven't lived in this old house.
None of this is a done deal, but things are looking good. To see what's going on with all this, check out my AOL journal.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
I wanted registered Jersey cattle. I've had them.
I've wanted a horse that loved me as much as I loved him.
I've had that.
I wished for a soul mate who would love me throughout my life.
I wanted babies. I got two of them, the prettiest babies you ever saw.
Then I wanted grand-babies. I've been blessed to take an active part in the lives of most of them.
If I never had any other wishes granted, I'm as rich as a king (or queen).
I think I might be a millionaire.
There is always somebody messing up a good thing. (Edited later: Fixed the problem, I think. I can block a user. It works!)
Cliff and I found a used manufactured home, a single-wide (trailer house in other words), that we really liked today. Even if we don't get this one, the man deals in used stuff quite a bit. He'll be a good contact for us.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So I love Iowa, although I was so young when I left there I barely remember what it was like. After all, it's where I first started school in a one-room schoolhouse. (I'm second from the back in the right-hand row.)
And I love Eagleville. I'm old enough to remember quite a few things about that little town: although if I went back now, very few people would know me, and I'd know fewer of them.
As much as I hated to move to Kansas City when I was in the sixth grade, the memories of laying on a bed in an apartment in Harlem and staring across the river at the skyline, homesick for the country are as strong as though it happened yesterday. Oh how I enjoyed watching the changing colors of the Kansas City Power and Light building. And that huge coffee can atop the Folgers building. I can't help loving Kansas City.
After traveling through Atlanta and Dallas, I realize our Kansas City skyline is pathetic by comparison. But my heart still skips a beat when I see it when we're heading toward the city from the east by way of I-70.
Harlem is still in my blood. That's where I first fell in love with the Kansas City skyline.
I guess it's just an old age thing.
Tulips are up.
And even iris! Last years late freeze killed all these things; hopefully we'll see them this year.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
We can sell this place for $200,000 and buy a smaller place with a better house but very few acres and only room for one horse. We'd be out of debt.
Or we can get a home equity loan and buy a mobile home of some sort or other, put it behind our barn, and stay here. Here, where I can keep my heifer and both horses, and we can continue to rent pasture to two horses. Here, where I'm only a half-hour from the Missouri River on horseback.
But we'd be in debt, right here at retirement age.
We could put said mobile home back from the road away from the dust and noise and peering eyes. We could have air conditioning and be able to use the microwave and the coffeepot both at once, without throwing a breaker.
If money didn't enter into it, I'd choose that option.
So wish us luck, and pray, if you have a mind to.
Monday, March 10, 2008
3. I wish I’d have enjoyed my babies more when I had the chance.
5. Supernanny is my guiltiest pleasure.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
He helped Cliff put hay in the barn. He did his own laundry and gave me a token amount of money to help with expenses.
Since I'm a coward when it comes to breaking horses, he was the first person to actually ride Libby, my filly.
He was pretty rough on his pickup sometimes...
... which is why he made use of Cliff's shop so often.
Well, he turned out not to be much of a problem to me, and he wasn't even around all that much. Besides, his job started going sour and they cut his hours so that he wasn't bringing in much money to stash away for hard times. I told him to stay as long as he needed to.
He got a second job in November, and I saw him like this a lot.
He's now working at a new job that pays well and gives him lots of overtime (probably more than he wants). He and a buddy have made a security deposit on a town house. At long last he's moving out.
I'm going to miss that boy.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I've had my cell phone for almost a year and a half now, and I hadn't gotten any calls for ole Darryl lately. Until tonight.
My cell rang; I looked to see who was calling, and no name was there. Only a phone number. Obviously a stranger.
I answered, and a pleasant-sounding lady asked, "Is Darryl Walliker there?"
"No," I patiently told her. "He hasn't had this number for well over a year."
"Then do you have a number where he might be reached?"
"No, I'm sorry," I told her. "I don't know him; he just happens to be the person that had this number before I got it."
And I proceeded to tell her about the strange calls I've received for Darryl over the past months, from giggling ladies at 3 A.M. to the Cass County sheriff 's department late one evening.
She chuckled and said, "Well, I'm just another person trying to collect the money he owes me."
We said our goodbyes, and that was that. Except that I tried snooping a bit. I went HERE and typed in various spellings of Darryl's first and last names. No luck. I can find plenty of my neighbors at that website (most for traffic tickets), but no Darryl.
The truth is, I'd like to meet him and shake his hand.
I'd say, "Thanks, Darryl. If it weren't for you, my cell phone would never ring. You have truly brought excitement into this old lady's life."
There's a local fellow who likes to partake of spirits rather heavily. He got so many DUI's that finally he decided he didn't need to drive a car. Now he gets around on a tractor. This year he's even winterized it a bit. And of course, there's the little trailer to pull behind with his "groceries" when he goes shopping. This isn't his house, by the way; he's just visiting friends.