Friday, October 31, 2008

Checking on local crops

I haven't ridden my horse nearly as much as usual, this summer. So it had been awhile since I went down near the Missouri River to see how what was happening with the crops on the rich bottom-ground.

On the way there, I noticed someone planted some winter wheat. This crop will go dormant during winter, but at the first hint of spring it will green up again and grow. It can often be harvested in time for the farmer to plant soybeans in the same spot, thus getting two crops off the same bit of ground in one growing season.

There are still plenty of soybeans left to harvest.

The line of trees in the distance marks the bank of the Missouri River, which was my original destination.

But I didn't make it, because I found a flurry of activity on the way there.

Farmers are combining soybeans!

The combine is creating quite a cloud of chaff and dust. What do you suppose this farmer thinks of a lady on horseback taking his picture? He isn't one of the farmers I'm acquainted with, but at least nobody told me to get off his property.

One truck is loaded with soybeans, one is waiting to be filled.

Now that's a lot of soybeans. Perhaps some of them will wind up in the next bottle of vegetable oil you buy at the grocery store; although the largest portion of soybeans is used as protein in livestock feed. It's mind-boggling, though, the many uses for this crop.

It was a good two-hour ride, and a perfect day for it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pets who passed on

AOL journals close down officially tomorrow. Thanks to a little help from our friends, many of us have been able to transfer our AOL journals to Blogger.

To my J-land buddies, I'm passing along a link from Sugar (I call her Sister Sugar because she's a preacher lady, and because she sent so many supportive voices to my AOL site when I was hurting... both when Cliff had heart surgery, and also when my Mandy died on the highway.

Sugar is pretty much house-bound, but she certainly plays a big part in the lives of all of us who are needing a shoulder to lean on.

Thanks, Sugar.

The link is here: Our Beloved Pets

Here's the link to her main blog: Sugar Shack

Believe me, if you ever need a word of support in hard times, Sister Sugar will be there.

She lives only forty miles away, but so far we've not met in person.

Seen while shopping

Cliff, his sister and I went to Kleinschmidt's today. Rena needed some sort of waterproof foot gear for our daily walks. I can always find something interesting there, so I was glad for a reason to go.

Reminds me of Cliff before he's had his coffee in the morning.

Is it moose season? Where's Sarah Palin when you need her?

OK, this one is downright silly. I don't want it.

I want this. But not if I have to pay $80.

Ditto on the cowboy kissing his girlfriend.


Don't you wish YOU had a Kleinschmidt's?

Escaping from the Asian Lady Beetles

It happens every year: Once the farmers have harvested all the soybeans in the fields, the bugs who lived in those fields start looking for a warm place to spend the winter. Those spots on the outside of my window? Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles. They are not the ladybugs I used to read about in Mother Goose (fly away home); these pests were imported by our government to help control aphids.

Have a closer look. For a really close look, click on the picture. If you smash these little creatures, they have an unpleasant odor; they've been known to bite, too.

They look for cracks and crevices around windows and doors where they can sneak inside. They want to live with me! At the old house, many of them did get in, and in spring it seems I spent half my time vacuuming up ladybugs. We'll see how many of them make it inside this trailer house. It's much better insulated, with no drafts at all.
So far the only ones I've seen inside sneaked in when we opened the door. By the way, there's no extermination method for them, which you'll see if you go to this USDA site and scroll down to "prevention and control".

Anyhow, I needed to get away from the lady beetles for awhile, so Sadie and I went to the cabin. The bugs don't like shade, so there are very few of them in the woods. I started a fire and read from a book called "Poems For A Good and Simple Life". With no distractions, I could ponder the meaning of each line.

We stayed for a couple of hours before the evening chill got the best of us.

Amazing how something written in the 1600's can apply so well to today.

I love this. So short, so simple, so true.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: horses sunbathing

For more Wordless Wednesday entries, go HERE.

My new cell phone

Just guessing, I'd say I've been a cell-phone user for about four years. I doubt if I average receiving more than three calls per week, because I've made everyone I know aware of the fact that I hate to talk on the telephone... any telephone.

Perhaps you're wondering why, then, I need a cell phone.

Well, I ride my horse alone in rather secluded places; Cliff felt I needed a way to get help if Blue should step into a hornet's nest and toss me. He'd been carrying a cell phone around for some time (and using it quite a bit, I might add). So just for him, I joined the masses and became a cellular phone user.

Every time we get to the point in our contract where I can get a different phone practically free for simply extending our T-Mobile service by a couple of years, I'll buy a new one. I'll try it out awhile, then end up passing it on to Cliff or a grandchild because, you know, I can't figure out how to use it. I even got one that was an MP3 player; couldn't understand how to load music onto it and finally gave up. I think that might be the one the son-in-law uses now.

So all this time, I've been using the very first cell phone I ever had.
Which I mainly use only to call Cliff when we're in Walmart, shopping in different areas; or to call him in to dinner when he's working outside or in the shop. Or to chat when he's at work, taking his lunch break.

It was only within the last month that I learned how to give each person who might call me (all six of them) a different ring-tone, so I'd know who was calling before I even looked at my phone. And I had to have my daughter's help to get that done.

I'm a ring-tone junkie. Yeah, I order new ones sometimes: snippets of old songs, sung by the original artists.

So I recently decided, once again, to order a new phone. My old one works fine, but it's showing wear. I know, I know. An old lady like myself should show more common sense: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".

But here I am with another phone that I don't know how to use. Oh, I can send and receive calls, but that's about the extent of it. I'm sure, though, that a grandchild will be able to help me out with it. I refuse to pass this one on!

I called T-Mobile once I got my new phone charged up and ready, and asked the man on the other end if I could somehow get the ringtones I'd purchased over the past couple years; they were on my other phone. The man patiently sent them to my new phone, one at a time. Eight of them. T-Mobile has the best customer-service representatives ever.

Now if I only knew how to assign my tunes, or even how to make one of them my current ringtone.

But hey, I can listen to the first line of "Say You, Say Me" any time I want! Or even "Take Me Home, Country Roads"!

There's no fool like an old fool.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christian the Lion

Maybe everyone else has seen this video, but in case you haven't, you need to see it. I don't cry easily, and I got a lump in my throat watching it.

I checked it out on, and it is true. Snopes also tells the rest of the story HERE.

Autumn is showing off her colors

Once Cliff has had his breakfast and his share of coffee, we're out there enjoying whichever season it is, taking our half-hour walk in the pasture. We walk for our health, but I suppose I'd do it just for the pure pleasure of it anyhow.

Or I'd do it for Sadie, who, once she sees us putting on our shoes, circles and whines until we're out the door.

Cliff's getting ready to toss that stick down the hill to his right.

We like to throw sticks down this steep hill, thinking we'll wear her out, making her come up such an incline.

Fat chance.

Look at those leaves with the morning sun shining through!

I love autumn. I'm so thankful I can walk!

Feeding the birds

Some of my faithful readers know that I had my first hummingbird-feeder experience this summer. Those tiny little creatures provided some of the best entertainment I've had in years, and I now wonder why I didn't start watching them sooner in my life.

My hummingbirds stopped showing up at the feeder about a month ago; I don't know why, since my cousin, Betty, said she was still seeing them a couple of weeks ago. I have an idea I had fewer birds than she did, out here in the pasture. So maybe my small flock just decided to migrate sooner.

Anyway, I've missed them. So I decided that, for the first time in my life, I'd get some feeders for all the birds that winter around here, and watch them.

Do you know how expensive wild bird seed is? Good grief! The little feeders aren't cheap, either. I refuse to pay $30 for a plastic feeder; the cheapest ones I found were still over $10, and I reluctantly paid the price.

I first thought I'd wasted my money, because the feeders just sat there, not visited by a single bird that I ever saw. Thank goodness Cliff happened upon an article in the Kansas City Star that said indeed, the birds know the feeders are there; it's just that there's still plenty to eat everywhere else.

I did notice lots of birds perching on the fence in the back yard, near the feeder. Finally about a week ago, I looked out to see finches hanging all over the thing. Exciting? You bet!

It seems they are checking out the feeders in the afternoon before the sun starts to set, because that's when I see them there.

You can see I do not plan my entries ahead; otherwise I'd have taken these pictures in daylight.

Nope, I'm not one for planning ahead. I ventured out through the frosty grass and took pictures at six A.M.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interesting stuff

Pioneer Woman has an entry today that made me think hard about who I am. You can go over there and read the whole thing, but it boils down to what she asks her readers to do: "What are your five adjectives? How would you answer, with a list of five items, the question “WHO ARE YOU?” Go ahead and scrape the depths of your psyche. You need to let it out."

What she's saying is, use five adjectives (or nouns) that describe you.

Check out the hundreds of comments there, and notice how many people use their relationships to describe themselves. "Wife, mother, sister, friend...". Somehow that doesn't tell me the essence of a person. Or does it?

Food for thought.

Getting an MRI anytime soon? Ewwww

Just a snippet from Dr. Kevin's blog. Right HERE.

Hamburger Stew

Let's face it, with temperatures hovering near the freezing point, it's time for hearty soups and stews. A local small-town grocery had ground beef for $1.69 a pound; I used a pound-and-a-half of it for hamburger stew. I've blogged about this before, so I won't go into great detail. But it always amazes me how many meals can come from a small amount of ground beef when you use it for stew.

Any form of vegetable stew gives me an opportunity to find veggies in the freezer that need to be used; I just toss them in the mix, and nobody's the wiser. At some time in the past, I thought I had a hankering for Lima beans. After serving some of them with a meal, I realized I wasn't such a big fan of Lima beans and the half-empty bag lay languishing in the freezer. Yesterday, though, they made a great addition to my hamburger stew.

The neighbor who always gives us fish to eat was getting his garden ready for the freeze that's forecast, so Cliff went over there and picked some tomatoes, both green ones and ripe ones. I skinned some of those ripe tomatoes and added them to the stew. Yum! (Cliff came back with more fish, too.)

My daughter's family ate stew with us Saturday. Cliff and I had stew that evening. I fixed something different yesterday at lunch, but we had stew for supper. And there's still a couple of servings left. No, we're not tired of it yet.

Because there's also corn bread left, I asked Cliff what he thought about my getting some cooked beans out of the deep freeze for today. He thought that was a grand idea, until I remembered the bacon I bought at the local grocer's when I got the ground beef... it was "buy one, get one free". And I saw those ripe tomatoes on the table.

So the beans went back into the freezer... they hadn't started to thaw... and so did the corn bread.

We're having BLT's today! And who knows, we might have fried green tomatoes tomorrow.

By the way, I'm learning to Twitter. Haaaaaaa!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Secret's last chance

We took Secret for a little romantic vacation with a Scottish Highland bull. She's due to come in heat sometime between this coming Wednesday and next Sunday (18 to 21 days). This little bull has never had opportunity to breed a cow, so here's hoping he figures it out (he will). And here's hoping Secret doesn't have some reproductive problem to keep her from getting pregnant. If she does, we'll be eating Secret-burgers before long. Usually when you let a new cow in with a cattle herd, they'll swarm over to meet the newcomer, smelling her behind, jumping on her as if she were in heat, and sparring a bit with their horns, if they have them, to establish pecking order. So Cliff and I were surprised to see that all Tommy's cattle, including the bull, were scared silly of Secret! I wish I'd have been able to get a video, but they were quite a distance away. Remember to click on any picture if you want to see it larger.

They kept a healthy distance from her.

That's a steer on the left and the bull on the right. Tommy has his heifers separated from the bull at present. Notice the pretty autumn colors in the background.

Wouldn't you know, the steer is more interested in Secret than the bull is?

So Secret went over to the fence to make friends with some heifers. Girl talk, you know. Someone gave Tommy's son some chickens, so Tommy's building a chicken house. He said he's using stuff he had on hands already, so he only has $40 worth of material in it.

We advised him to make access to the nests from outside, so his boy won't have to crawl in chicken-poop to gather eggs. He agreed that would be a wise move. Wish Secret luck on this little honeymoon!

Google searches leading to my blog

Thanks to my sitemeter, I'm able to see what brings people to this site.

The most common Google query leading here is "How long can a cold last". That's because of THIS POST, done almost two years ago.

The second Google search leading here has to do with ticks, and I do believe that every day, several people look at THIS POST and a picture of a tick bite I had on my back that caused the doctor to give me antibiotics, in case it was Lyme disease.

Since I did an entry about stimulus checks the other day, that's another item that brings people here from Google.

I usually get people looking for "how to build a round pen" (don't do it the way we did, by the way) and "hard-to-catch horses" (get yourself a horse that doesn't run when you walk out to get them... that's all you'll learn from me).

Of course there's the ever popular "Blue Springs Walmart" search, which leads folks to my Walmart rant. I set out to be at the top of the Google page for that search, and by george, I did it. I'm right below the commercial ad for Walmart, and have been ever since I made that entry.

Sitemeter can disappoint a person sometimes. Let's say you have two hundred visitors in a day, and figure you're getting pretty darned popular. Then you look at the details and see that most of them visited for zero seconds. That'll burst your bubble.

By the way, Blogger has a feature that would let me be omitted from Google searches, but that's no fun. It would destroy my illusion of having dozens of devoted followers.

I always loved Andy Griffith

First, let me say that I am not campaigning for any candidate. Politics is so messed up, I have half a mind not to even vote at all. But ever since I visited Robbie's blog and watched a certain little movie, I've been dying to share it. It made me laugh out loud... especially the part with "the Fonz".

Without any more ado, here's the link, right HERE.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Patrick's Saturday Six

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment at Patrick's Place, or put the answers in an entry on your journal…but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as “first to play,” you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. When was the last time you donated money to a charity, and which cause was it? I add an extra $1 to my electric bill each month to help those who can't pay theirs. My favorite charity is City Union Mission, and it's probably the last one to which I actually sent a donation.

2. Think of the last time you were specifically asked for a handout from someone who approached you on the street: did you give him or her anything? Out here in the boonies, that doesn't happen. Oh, wait. Cliff and I were entering a McDonald's several months ago, and two boys around ten years old asked us for some money to buy burgers. They were not poor- or hungry-looking, so we declined.

3. What led to that decision? Who wants to encourage children to beg?

4. Take the quiz: How Good Are You?

You Are 44% Good

You are a fairly good person. You strive to live a moral life whenever possible.

You are usually kind, generous, and loyal. However, you do have a dark side that even you may not see.

When it comes down to ethical decisions, you tend to take the path of least resistance.

So you may end up lying, cheating, or engaging in other bad behavior... because it's just easier to do so.

You are also probably: Conflicted and confused about the current course of your life

Right now you are on track to being: A slightly crooked politician

To be a better person: Break one bad habit - whether it's telling white lies or spending too much money.

5. Which kind of charity/organization of the following list are you least likely to donate money to: a church, a people-oriented charity, a children-oriented charity, an animal-oriented charity, a college, or a food bank? a college.

6. If you could permanently block a single, specific charity from ever contacting you again, which would you block and why? I don't think I have any who contact me, so that isn't a problem.

Cliff's latest project, finished

Most of my lady readers and city slickers won't be interested in this.

This entry is mainly for my son; Cliff wanted him to see his latest "work of art". Cliff took an ordinary blade that came with the John Deere... (edited: It did NOT come with the John Deere; a relative gave it to Cliff in two pieces.)

... put wings on it...

hydraulics and a wheel...

Are you impressed yet, Jim?

Cliff said this works great at leveling out bumps and hills.

It ought to, he's spent most of his spare time this week creating this masterpiece.

I may add Cliff's words of explanation later on when he comes inside.

Two brothers sharing one wife?

Pretty interesting story out of India. Read it HERE.

I found this link over at the Shoebox Blog, a website with great humor from some Hallmark people. One of the first AOL journals I used to read regularly was from one of the writers there, Russ. I always watch for his slightly twisted, often weird cartoons on Shoebox, since I haven't found him blogging lately.

Cool morning

Eleven-year-old Granddaughter Natalie spent the afternoon, evening and night with me. We had a session in the hot tub, watched NCIS reruns, Trading Spouses and Supernanny.

We also spent some time in Yoville (on facebook) and toured one another's apartments there, she on one computer and me on the other. A nineteen-year-old guy hit on me in the bar there, asking how old I was. "Old enough to be your grandma," I told him. He found someone else to hit on. Yes, there's a bar in Yoville, and you can get so drunk that everybody looks blurry.

Nattie and I ate popcorn and chilled out until bedtime.

Because I know Natalie likes to sleep with a radio on, I gave her use of my Blackout Buddy. It's still going strong, so I guess a charge lasts a long time.

It's cold this morning, so the hot tub is going to be great. I'm usually in it when the sun is coming up, but today I'm waiting for my granddaughter to wake up, so we can indulge together.

I'm really enjoying all the comments on my previous post. If you have a blog and haven't left a comment there yet, it isn't too late!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why did you start blogging?

I've often wondered what circuitous route led all of you whose blogs I read to start a diary that's wide-open to the whole world. Sometimes I tell myself how crazy it is to type words on a screen about my life and my mundane activities, and expect that anybody would be interested.

I started connecting with people on the Internet in an AOL chat room. Not your typical one, though. It was a Christian chat room that you couldn't really enter directly, so it seemed as though not too many "crazies" made their way there. I spent way too much time chatting there, but I made some wonderful friends and had a lot of genuine rolling-on-the-floor-laughing moments, just from typed words scrolling up a screen.

The chat room went sour toward the end, with lots of bitterness and petty fussing. By the time AOL closed it, I had already left it behind.

I found some message boards that filled the void for me, and fully enjoyed them for a while. If I had a thought or a picture or two I felt I wanted to share with the folks on the forums, I'd post it there. But I hesitated to do this too much, because I didn't want to dominate a public forum with the drivel that is my daily life.

I saw one message board that was originally a country living site degenerate into arguments about religion and politics. I got the feeling that nobody wanted to hear my opinions anyhow, and I started my AOL journal. That way, nobody was forced to read what I had to say, and I didn't have to put any boundaries on myself.

I still feel this way: If you don't like what you see on a blog, don't run a smear campaign, as I've seen someone do with one of the most widely-read blogs on the Internet. Just don't go there, if you don't enjoy reading it.

I love the freedom of blogging, and I enjoy the new Internet buddies I've made in this way. I'm learning what life is like in Singapore, and I'm keeping up with folks in nearby Kansas City. Two mothers of young children are going through ordeals with a serious form of breast cancer (HERE and HERE), and I feel their fears as I read their blogs. I share in the adventures of a lady cab driver in Oregon. I read about the trials and tribulations of a cattle farmer I met on one of the above-mentioned message boards. I read the blogs of atheists and Christians and one Muslim, and I like them all. Or else I wouldn't read them.

I have to confess there are a couple of reads I can't add to the blog list on the left, due to the authors' tendencies to start some of their entries with certain four-letter words that would show up on my blog. But I still read them. They've not used any words, so far, that I haven't heard or read before.

So, why did YOU start blogging? Leave your answer in a comment or do an entry in your own space and let me know, so I can read it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I made bread this morning

This time of year, I have a strong desire to cook and bake. I've been doing well with keeping things nutritious and low-fat until today. I was reaching into the deep freeze and noticed a bag of whole-wheat flour I inherited from my sister-in-law when she divorced and moved.

"I should throw that out," I thought.

Then that baking urge came upon me, and I started recalling my little-house-on-the-prairie days: We had a tiny house on twenty acres, and I raised gardens and canned the produce and washed on a wringer washer and raised hogs and milked a cow... really, I did, and all that with two babies!

And for some four or five years, I baked all our bread.

So this morning, for the first time in years, I made some bread.

There are two reasons I don't have a bread machine. First, I'm afraid that would make it so easy to make bread, we'd gain weight from eating too much of it. Second, I love to knead bread, getting it to just the right elasticity.

Honestly, I would have preferred white bread, but knowing there were three cups of whole wheat flour (fiber, you know) eased the guilt I felt for cooking something in which I knew we'd overindulge. And drench in butter, even.

It came out of the oven looking pretty decent. The pans I used, by the way, are the same ones I used in the old days when my children were babies.

I've always smeared the tops of home-made bread with butter so the crust is softer. I sliced both loaves, and I'll put them in the freezer; we'll get a couple of slices out at a time. Otherwise we'd either eat too much, or it would go stale before we ate it all.

And that's about the only useful thing I've done today.

I've played around with widgets for this blog, adding two stat-counters that I'll probably remove before long. I still like my Sitemeter best.

I've added a local temperature widget.

I find these goodies, by the way, reading YOUR blogs. I see something I like and I check it out.

I've made playlists and added them to my blog... one folk and one rock. I did not set either of them to play when someone comes to this site, because self-starting music on blogs annoys me; I'm often listening to my own music, and I don't really enjoy having somebody else's songs suddenly start playing while I have one going. If you're ever curious as to what music I like, there it is on the left (the rock one is waaaaaay down the page.) I don't listen to that much rock, and I may remove it later.

I'd be very surprised if anyone shares my taste for folk music. I like it because it's honest and down-to-earth. Most folk singers sound like they could be singing right here in my living room, and I like that.

So that's my rambling for today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank goodness for granddaughters

Since it was raining, my daughter's two girls came here after school.

I'd been needing their assistance, so it was a good thing.

First of all, eleven-year-old Natalie helped me with some things I didn't understand about Facebook (and subsequently, Yoville; dear Lord, I have to have a job on Yoville? I thought I was retired).

Then she helped me straighten some things out on my cell phone.

Later on, thirteen-year-old Monica took time out from her text-messageing to help me out on a few more things with my cell phone.

I feel so inadequate in this cyber era.

Is the high price of groceries getting you down?

Over there on the left on my "link list" are some websites that will help you feed yourself and your family tasty, healthy meals for less money.

Hillbilly Housewife is amazing. I notice she hasn't updated her emergency $45 menu since 2006, so it's pretty out-dated. I imagine it would be more like $60 now, at least. If you had a totally empty cupboard and four mouths to feed, this would start you out in style. (Note: that emergency menu doesn't allow for booze or cigarettes; if you can afford those, you aren't broke enough yet to need Hillbilly Housewife's emergency menu.)

Five Dollar Dinners is a site I just discovered this week, and there are recipes there that I can't wait to try out. From that site I went on to find Mommy Snacks, another money-saving website that I have to look into today, with links to coupons and good buys. You'll find links on all these websites that will save you more money!

Perhaps not all of you have heard of Angel Food Ministries, so I'll include it here also. For $30 you get a lot of food, including quite a bit of meat. Cliff and I don't avail ourselves of it because it has some pretty salty, highly-processed foods. If it weren't for his heart issues and our ages, though, you can bet your sweet bippy I'd take advantage. There are no income requirements; it's for everybody. If you're a hungry atheist, never fear! Although the food is delivered to and picked up at churches, nobody will try to convert you... as far as I know. If someone says "God bless you" as they hand you the grub, you can always turn a deaf ear. OK?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A most delightful storm

Thunder and lightning preceded the rain we're having now, making me anticipate the storm that was approaching. I lose our Dish-TV signal during rainstorms, but that's OK. It's worth it. I do love rain.

Sadie doesn't deal well with storms, and seeks a snug cave in which to hide. So I removed my guitar from under the baby bed behind me to allow her to curl up there... although she isn't normally allowed in that space. I'll vacuum tomorrow to remove the dog hair. It's the least I can do, to make up for poisoning her Saturday.

Another economic stimulus check coming?

So, I see HERE that officials in Washington are pushing another round of economic stimulus checks. Yeah, like it really helped the economy last time, right?

So they'll print up some more "play money" and pass it around, and the people who are losing their homes get to stay there one more month before they have to move. And everybody will wonder why the dollar isn't worth much any more.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dog owners, beware!

Fleas have been awful this year. It's as though they're hiding in the grass waiting for the first available dog to come along. I've bathed Sadie and dusted her, only to find fleas on her again the next day. So I decided to get some of that stuff that you apply on the dog from neck to mid-back. Out of several brands displayed, I chose Sergeant's Gold.

When I first applied the stuff on Saturday, Sadie acted as if it were irritating her, but I've seen that reaction before, and figured it was temporary. I ignored the warning voice in my head reminding me that my daughter's dog had a reaction to over-the-counter flea pesticide recently.

Yesterday (Sunday) I noticed Sadie was drooling a bit, and panting constantly. I googled "dog drooling" on the Internet and came up with toad-licking or mole poison. Sadie hadn't been outside to play with any toads, and she hasn't run away lately to get into mole poison.

Her appetite seemed good, so Cliff and I went on our ride. When we got home, my dog seemed more like herself, except that she kept trying to scratch the back of her neck, and repeatedly shaking herself. By this time we knew it must be the pesticide on her neck causing the problem, but since she didn't seem to be sick or drooling any more, I thought the side-effects might wear off (I know, shoot me for an idiot). I really wanted rid of the fleas.

Today I googled "Sergeant's Gold" and found more complaints against the stuff than I could count. Several dogs lost control of their legs temporarily, and some were taken to a vet to have their stomachs pumped!

Sadie has now had a bath, along with my sincerest apologies. I'm glad dogs are forgiving creatures.

I'll pay the higher price and get my flea stuff from the vet from now on.

Maybe this entry will save someone else's pet some misery.

Sunday ride, part 2

From Holt, where we ate lunch, it was only twenty miles to my cousin's house.

Unfortunately, he and his wife weren't home when we arrived.

Gerald quite wisely keeps all his restoration projects under lock and key, so there was no looking at those.

Cliff said, "Well, since we're here, let's go look at the tractor; I haven't seen it for awhile."

As if it would have changed in six months' time.

"Hmmm, he has quite an oil leak here."

"Something isn't right there."

Cliff keeps up a running conversation with himself when he's looking at tractors.

"Huh, he just bolted the hydraulics to the right fender." (This said in a slightly disapproving tone; Cliff thinks aesthetics are important when it comes to tractors.)

Materials for future car restoration projects, neatly stored away.

These are project cars my cousin may get to someday.

After leaving a note on their front door, we headed home.

When Cliff sees a tractor sitting along the road somewhere, he'll usually ask questions like, "What series is that?" or "Is that an 'H', or an 'M'?" He doesn't expect an answer from me, because at the speed we're going, I can't often make out what sort of tractor it is. And I probably wouldn't know anyhow.

Now that's a bigger herd of horses than I usually see.

We would have enjoyed visiting with my cousin, but it was a good ride. I'm glad we went.