Sunday, November 30, 2008

When Sadie has company...

When Cliff's sister is visiting, that means her dog Mindy is here.

When everybody is up for the day, the dogs always have a little tussle. This is how it goes:

Cliff in the hot tub

Cliff doesn't often make use of my hot tub. He loves it, and how it loosens him up; but it's just too much trouble to him, first thing in the morning, to make sure there's no lotion or deodorant on his body and face the cold temperatures. However, he pulled something in his back yesterday. So in spite of having to walk through snow to get in, he's out there enjoying the warm relaxation only a hot tub provides.

And what a view today!

I've already had my turn.

Patrick's Sunday Seven

Here is this week’s “Sunday Seven” question. Either answer in a comment at Patrick's Place, or put the answers in an entry on your blog…but either way, leave a link to your journal at Patrick's Place 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 blog in which you answer the questions. A general link to your blog cannot count. Enjoy!

Name seven things for which you are thankful.

Either answer the question in a comment at Patrick's Place or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment. (To be considered “first to play,” a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.) You may include this link in the URL space when leaving your comment, or in the comment itself. As long as it’s there in one spot or the other.

Wow, this is easy:

1. The grace of God

2. My husband, his health, and his job

3. my home, with all the new-to-me perks that go with it (a/c, dishwasher, garbage disposal, hot tub)

4. my children and grandchildren, and family in general

5. Our 42 acres

6. the Internet and all my Internet friends

7. Our motorcycle, and all the fun trips we have on it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Remembering Khrushchev

Perhaps readers who are my age or older recall Khrushchev banging his shoe on a desk at the U.N. in 1960.

Now, I'm wondering if I remember the incident correctly.

Meesha put some pictures from that time on his blog, and that made me remember the shoe incident. Surely I could find a picture of this on the vast Internet. Right?

I could not. But there's always Youtube. Maybe I'd find an old news clip there. I'm positive I remember watching the news and seeing Khrushchev bang his shoe.

Meesha included a picture of Nakita with the fabled shoe in hand, in answer to a comment I made. But did he bang the shoe, or merely wave it?

Perhaps my memory isn't so sharp after all. I could have sworn I saw him bang that shoe on his desk on the black-and-white TV news.

So, with my leftover turkey...

I made a double-batch of Tex-Mex turkey and rice casserole, from one of my newer Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks.

This made good use of the last four cups of turkey from Thursday; it's low-fat, according to the recipe. Since we have company, we have help consuming the quite-tasty casserole. Now to think about making beans tomorrow with the ham-bone I saved.

The old left-over turkey dilemma

OK, we've had turkey gumbo and turkey jambalaya. I love turkey pot pies, but three of the four people here at present don't need any more pie crust. Besides, I'm out of chicken broth, which is a pretty vital ingredient.

This may require a trip to the local grocery store. But I happen to have a taxi-driver today, so that wouldn't be a problem. Or, it may simply require a little imagination and recipe-changing on my part.

Or I might just go ahead and make a turkey pot pie, and the heck with calories and fat.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ladies' night in the hot tub

Natalie and Monica (my daughter's girls), Rena (Cliff's oldest sister), yours truly, and Charlene, Cliff's baby sis.

A perfect Thanksgiving day

If I had custom-ordered the weather for Thanksgiving, yesterday would have been exactly what I ordered. Temperatures near sixty, sunshine everywhere. The perfect day for that after-dinner walk. You know, the one you force yourself to take, even though you're so full you can hardly get out the door.

You barely burn calories because you're walking at the speed of a slug, but the fresh air and sunshine are a nice change from the turkey-laden, oven-heated air in the house.
I brought up the rear, and when we got back to "the point", I dropped on the ground and lay on my back, while the others walked a little farther. And was greeted with this:

Nothing like dog-slobbers in the face. Of course, all she wanted was....

somebody to take her stick and toss it.

Happy Thanksgiving, Sadie. Did you get enough turkey to satisfy you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The aftermath

And like any good rednecks on Thanksgiving Eve... we're watching some reality show about cops chasing drunks.

And two dogs are guarding Cliff in his easy chair.

Our sons two kids (our oldest grandchildren) were here for dinner, but they went on their way a couple hours earlier.

Thank You Lord For Your Blessings on Me

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Found on "Best of Craigslist"

Since I own a hot tub and have become aware of how fragile they can be (never let them sit empty, pray you don't have an extended power outage in winter, etc.) this caught my eye. I would have linked directly to it, but "Best of Craigslist" can sometimes get pretty raw.

Free Hot Tub

Date: 2008-10-15, 8:57AM AKDT

Do you need a year round way to water your lawn, deck, yard, garage? Have you ever wondered what a 425 gallon colander looks like? Ever really wanted a motorized dog bath? Today is your lucky day. I have a free hot tub. Yes it is complete and it is drained. I drained part of it and it drained itself the rest of the way. Where does it leak??? Find that and you have found the leprechaun with the pot of gold. This unit is perfect for the individual who knows no limit to frustration. The type of person who likes a challenge even when there is no chance of winning. This will build the kind of character in you the armed forces dream of. You will find yourself exhibiting behavior that you never thought possible, but ITS FREE!!!! You will need strong backs to load and a trailer. I will be able to offer short bouts of sympathy and witty banter while you prepare to begin your journey.

If this interests you, and it should because ITS FREE, you will need to call and schedule to come by and pick it up. Please remember, I am not a business as it is hard to make a living giving things away. Please call and let me know when you will be there as I have other things to do. I will not guarantee anything except you have your work cut out for you. I will not deliver it, save it, paint it, or take photos of it for you until it is on your trailer....again...ITS FREE. Please call me if you want it. [DELETED]

Coleman 411 – 5 Person tub
Has Cover
Pumps, heater, etc did work
Air injector pump has been disconnected
The rest is a foam filled crap shoot

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cliff, keeping busy

It's a fantastic day today, and Cliff went back in the pasture to trim up some trees so he can mow under them in summer. He also cut wild grapevines off that are deforming some of the trees. The sides of our deepest canyon are a mass of tangled vines, as you can see here:

In the background of this movie, quite a distance away, you can see my cabin. Once the leaves are off the trees, the cabin can be seen from many vantage points. Including from our present home!

Sadie found a twisted piece of cut grapevine and decided she loved the novelty of having a crooked stick.

And she brought it all the way to the house.

Hooked on Yoville

I blame my daughter for this latest Internet addiction: YoVille, an application on Facebook.

When you start out as a YoVille resident, you get to create a little "you" to live in the apartment you are given. You can actually walk around the town and talk to people. Yes, it's a kid thing; and I'm hooked. By the way, if you think that doesn't look much like me, there's no way to put wrinkles and gray hair on me. So that's a younger version.

In YoVille you can go to work at the Widget Factory every six hours and draw your pay. You can then spend your earnings on furniture for your home, clothing, coffee, booze, food, or even a house.

I'm not good at saving large amounts of money, even pretend money. But I did finally save enough to buy myself a junkie trailer house (sound familiar?).

I actually paid YoVille bucks for that pickup on jacks and that dilapidated doghouse. Oh, and the junk fence.

I can rearrange furniture in my rooms any time I want. I can visit my daughter's apartment or trailer.

If you ever decide to move to YoVille, look me up.

Don't even get me started talking about myFarm. (I doubt these links will work if you don't have the applications on Facebook yourself.)

Somebody just shoot me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks, Kelly!

Trouble with this award, which I received from Kelly, is that the rules say I'm supposed to pass this on to seven other bloggers, and I don't want to do that. Many of the blogs I read have already received it anyhow.

All of the blogs I read are real blogs done by real people; otherwise I wouldn't waste my time. So, if you know I read yours, go ahead and take this award with you and post it in your sidebar.

Also, some of the bloggers I follow wouldn't really waste their time on something like awards and memes anyhow (you know who you are). And not all the blog authors I enjoy have any interest in my ramblings, nor the time to read them.

Just take this award and run with it! Display it proudly. Each one of you deserves it.

received in email from Edna

young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are
eating breakfast, the young
woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash
'That laundry is not very clean', she said.
'She doesn't know how
to wash correctly.

she needs better laundry soap'

husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would
hang her wash to dry, the
young woman would make the same

one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
nice clean wash on the line
and said to her husband:

'Look, she has learned how to wash

wonder who taught her this?'

The husband said, 'I got up early this
morning and
cleaned our windows.'

And so it is with life.
What we see when watching others
depends on the purity of the window through
which we look.

I have to admit, this one hit home in more ways than one.

Countdown to Thanksgiving

The neighbor who gives us catfish (filleted and ready to fry) so often blessed us with a gallon bag-full of frozen fish last week, saying he won't be going fishing again for awhile. I decided to share the bounty, so yesterday the daughter's family (some of them) came over to help us eat all that fish. Cliff's sister and my oldest grandson also helped out. I find I don't manage the coordinating of company meals all that well any more: the baked beans were done early, and the scalloped potatoes took longer than expected, delaying the actual fish-fry by a half-hour. Cliff was looking forward to corn bread, but in the last-minute rush of frying fish, no corn bread was made. And I'm doing the Thanksgiving dinner Thursday? Lord help us!

The son-in-law is making sweet potato casserole, and I'll have the sister-in-law next door do the broccoli and rice casserole; she's the one who originally introduced the dish to the family. In fact, we call it "Rena's Green Rice", although you can find it online at
Campbell's Kitchen,, and other websites in various forms, without Rena's name attached. Now that I think of it, it's going to be handy having Rena next door with her fancy new oven. I may put her in charge of ham or turkey!

I'll make "Mother's noodles", which recipe I have never found online with the exact ingredients my mom used. Thanksgiving dinner without noodles and mashed potatoes (and home-made rolls) would be a complete disappointment.

I look forward to having turkey and ham leftovers. I can't wait for the turkey frame soup Cliff and I love so well, and I always freeze some of the ham in small amounts to be metered out in soups and casseroles later on. The ham bone, of course, will season either a "big ole pot of beans" or some split pea soup, later on. Cliff's younger sister and her husband will be here for three days, so I'll no doubt use some of those leftovers while they're here. Which reminds me, it's time to wash the sheets and get their bed ready! Anybody and everybody has been using their bed lately. (I added that for Charlene's benefit, but she knows who's been sleeping in her bed.)

Wish me luck. I certainly hope I coordinate things better than I did yesterday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sad tidings from a blogger friend

One of the sweetest, most upbeat Christian ladies I have come across in my AOL-journal/blogger experience has had a tragedy in her family: Her two-year-old grandchild died unexpectedly this weekend.

Please send your condolences her way, and send a prayer heavenward on her behalf and that of her family..

Her blog is

It's gonna be a good day....

When I bring my morning coffee to the computer and see there are posts from two of my favorite cops, Remo and Dave, and one from a guy who works in a correctional facility; oh yeah, I smile real big.

Now if only Midtown Miscreant posted on weekends, my Sunday would be complete.

These fellows allow me to see life from viewpoints I'd never get in person.

*warning: there may be strong language in a couple of those blogs. Click on the links at your own risk. Dave is probably G-rated, though.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cliff has one tractor-driver that's better than I am

There are certain things Cliff would love for me to help him with, but I refuse. Because some things look dangerous, and I don't want to be responsible for maiming or killing him.

Granddaughter Natalie, aged eleven, came over today. So Cliff enlisted her help. He's been training her for quite some time.

The project was this: Grapevines had overtake many of our trees in the pasture and deformed them. So Cliff went out back to take care of that situation.

While he was there, though, he decided a certain tree needed trimming. So he had Natalie elevate him high enough to get rid of some limbs.

Don't try this at home.

Cliff gives Natalie the "higher" sign.

And she raises him up.

That high.

Scares me to death.

Are you ready for Black Friday?

I found a website with all the major Black Friday ads HERE.

Being a non-driver and having a husband who hates to shop, I've done the black Friday thing only once in my life, with my daughter and a couple of her friends. I've never been one to go all-out buying Christmas gifts, and these days I just don't do any gift-buying at all; call me Scrooge. I do think that if I drove, I'd get out early and watch the excitement, though. I'm sure a couple of hours would do me in; then I'd be begging for the comforts of home.

Which reminds me: Yesterday Cliff and I took his motorcycle to Tipton, Missouri, to have some maintenance work done; fluids changed, brakes, checked... that sort of thing. The cost for this at Ghetto Cycle Center is much less than at Hub, which is where we've always gone before. And with gasoline prices at $1.49 per gallon (and less), we didn't mind the little drive. We even spent a couple of hours visiting with Cliff's aunt, who lives in the area.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, shopping: we stopped in Warrensburg so Cliff could buy the oil for our Gold Wing. The Walmart Supercenter we entered was bustling with shoppers, all of whom seemed happy and polite. The management must pipe some sort of happy gas into the store, because I'm used to Walmart shoppers practically running me down with their shopping carts; and if they make eye contact at all, it's usually to glare at me. Most shoppers seem angry at the world. It was like this even before our economy shot craps!

Of course, I have to pause here and admit that when I see a reflection of my own face while shopping, I don't exactly look the picture of peace and good will. So maybe I'm just getting back the same vibes I'm sending out.

And that's my totally random entry for this morning. As I read back over my words, I can see this whole post goes nowhere and says very little. If you made it all the way to the end, aren't you sorry you wasted your time? (Don't answer that.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

An old-fashioned winter?

When I was a child growing up in Taylor County, Iowa, I remember lots of snow and cold weather; I walked to my one-room school back then (no, I didn't walk uphill both ways), but if the weather was severe, my mom drove me the mile or two. The above picture, by the way, is of Skinner School, and that's my first teacher. I'm the mopey-looking girl near the back of the right-hand row.

We visited some of my dad's kinfolk in 1959, and my cousins and I built a snow-fort.

Even after we moved to Kansas City, I recall heavy snows that closed the schools for days at a time. Maybe it's just selective memory, but it sure seems to me like we got a lot more snow back then.

These days, I go into winter thinking I want lots of snow; by mid-January I realize it wouldn't bother me to never see another snowflake... even if we've had nothing but flurries up to that point.

Yesterday evening I watched the Fox 4 meteorologists (weather-guessers) discuss what they think will happen this winter: They all expect more snow than usual, not to mention below-zero temperatures.

I guess I'm ready. Of course, let's remember that these folks do well to accurately predict next week's weather; I'm not so sure I'll trust them on an entire winter's forecast.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm trying!

Quite a long time ago I took a suggestion from the guy at Astoria Oregon Rust to heart: Cliff and I stopped buying bottled water. I won't say we never buy it, but we used to sometimes buy it by the case. Now we'll buy a single bottle of water perhaps four times a year, when thirst hits us and we're unprepared.

Presently I'm making the supreme effort to buy my groceries at the home-town market rather than Walmart; the idea is to keep a local grocery store in business. So far, so good... two out of three weeks isn't bad. This was another idea that came out of Oregon, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with it this time.

Perhaps you noticed, in the picture in a previous entry, that I'm now taking a couple of my own bags to the grocery store. Once I'm firmly in the habit of using them, I'll get more. It'll be that much less plastic in the landfills. This also came about from my blog-reading. Someone, I have no recollection who, mentioned that if a person went to the Earthbound Farms website and took a simple quiz, they'd be sent a free tote bag; so I did, because I'll take almost anything that's free. I'd forgotten about taking the quiz when, several weeks later, I found my tote bag in the mail. It's roomier than most, and I wish I could buy some more just like it. The Tote-bag giveaway is over now, I'm sorry to say.

Since I had a tote bag, I told Cliff I was going to leave it in the car and try to use it. He later brought home another bag from work, so that gave me two. I'm just now getting to the point of remembering to take them in. So I guess Earthbound Farms and some anonymous blogger get the credit for this particular move of mine in the right direction.

You see? One individual really can make a difference in protecting the environment. Now I'm blogging about it, thinking that maybe just one more person will latch onto one of these ideas and make a difference in their own little world.

For somebody who isn't what you'd call a "tree-hugger", I'm doing pretty good, wouldn't you say?

Edited to add that it was no doubt Meesha, of Kansas City With The Russian Accent, who steered me to the free tote bag at Earthbound Farms. Thanks for the comment, MV.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oreo Delight recipe

Some of you asked what Oreo Dessert is, and asked for the recipe. If you've ever made or tasted "Dirt Cake", this is very similar, except that it uses chocolate pudding rather than vanilla. Be sure and use more milk than you think you need when mixing the cream cheese and milk; otherwise you'll tear up your crumb crust when spreading the mixture.

Kids love this.


1 pound of Oreos
1/4 cup melted margarine (not spread, but butter or margarine)
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 12 ounce package Cool Whip
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding, prepared with milk

Crush cookies, reserving 1/2 cup crumbs for topping. Mix the remainder with the 1/4 cup of melted margarine. Press into 13X9 inch pan. I put this in the freezer for 10 minutes or so, to get it to set up solid for the next step.

Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add a little milk till it is spreading consistency. Spread over crumbs in pan. Spread 1/2 of the Cool Whip over the cream cheese. Pour prepared pudding over Cool Whip. Top with remaining Cool whip and sprinkle with the reserved crumbs. Refrigerate until serving.

What a day for shopping!

When Cliff and I were done with our daily walk this morning, the temperature was in the mid-forties and the sun was out-doing itself shining.

We needed to pick up a prescription and run by a dentist's office to pick up an X-ray. I suggested we take the motorcycle.

"In fact," I said, "we could do the weekly shopping if you want. The morning is going to be shot anyhow, and I have my list ready."

We bundled up well; and indeed, it was a great ride. By the time we got all our errands run, it was in the mid-fifties.

I did patronize our nearest small-town grocer this time, and even though I bought both a turkey ($.69 per pound) and a ham ($1.69 per pound), I stayed under the $100 I allow for groceries. With a little cash to spare!

And it all fit in our motorcycle trailer.

Unraveling my childhood

You can click on the pictures to see them better.

My mom had a book called "My personal history and family record book". If I were the type to dig into my genealogy, this would be a great start. In fact, I believe I loaned it to a cousin who's digging up all the family bones. I'm just too lazy to begin such an effort.

Today I dug this book out in hopes it would help me identify some people in old pictures, but alas, it did not.

However, I found a page listing my mom's job history, and I now realize that my memory goes back further than I thought. On her list, she wrote "Nodaway Tel. Co., August 1948 to October, 1949".

I have distinct memories from our time at Nodaway, Iowa. I remember some of the neighbor kids. I even recollect the name of one little neighbor girl: Mickey Snowden. She was younger than I, and had long, wavy hair.

I was four years old in 1948, and it amazes me that I have such vivid pictures in my mind of that time. I even recall a meal we had once, because whatever was served, I ate only bread and gravy. Then after supper I was playing with a couple of kids outside and Mother heard me tell them, "I had bread and gravy for supper."

She quickly came out and let it be known that wasn't all we had for supper. Hey, I thought I was bragging! I liked nothing better than Mama's gravy.

I recall someone setting up benches on a vacant lot there, and showing "Dagwood and Blondie" movies to anyone who wanted to come.

So many memories from that time. Thanks, Mother!

(By the way, that job listed as "chicken-picker" cracks me up.)

On to a later time, 1960. I was always looking for something to photograph back then. I believe this was taken when the family was gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving at grandma's place. Some cousins, my nephew, Larry, and I were wandering in the pasture and we came upon what was left of an old car. I had them pose, and you see the result. Cousins Linda, Royce and Scotty in front, nephew Larry "driving". I don't know what he has on his head. Maybe a hubcap? Or maybe it's an actual hat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving: All relatives and former relatives

Yes people, I am going to "do" Thanksgiving dinner this year. It will take place around noon on Thanksgiving Day.

We will have turkey and stuffing. Possibly ham too, if the budget allows.
Cranberry sauce, the canned kind.
Home-made rolls.
Home-made noodles.
Mashed potatoes, giblet gravy.
Broccoli-rice casserole.
Maybe candied sweet potatoes... I'm not sure yet.

I realize there should be something green and healthy-like. Sorry about that, we eat that stuff all the time around here. The broccoli in the casserole is about as green as it's going to get.

Cliff wants apple pie and pumpkin pie for dessert. If enough people beg, I might be persuaded to make Oreo Dessert.

Obviously, this menu has about half as many items as the dinners I used to prepare. Feel free to bring something. Otherwise, what you see is probably what you'll get.


Oh yeah, let me know if you're coming.

Twenty questions: a meme

1. How many pets do you have?
Two: Sadie and Blue (I don't count the assorted barn cats).

2. How do you style your hair?
Medium-short and naturally curly, like I've worn it for the past thirty years.

3. What’s new in your life right now?
I'm living in the pasture instead of by the noisy, dusty road.

4. How many colors are you wearing now?
Gray, army-green

5. Are you an introvert or extrovert?

6. What was the last book you read?
I'm reading "Step On A Crack" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. The last book I completed was "Pretty Boy Floyd" by James McMurtry.

7. Do you nap a lot?
Only when I accidentally fall asleep in my recliner.

8. If you could live anywhere else than where you live, where would it be?
I always say Colorado, but honestly, I hope I don't have to live anywhere else until it's time to move to senior citizen housing... which would be if Cliff dies before me, or when Cliff can no longer take care of this place.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
This recession we're in.

10. What was the last thing you ate today?
I've only had coffee. I don't eat breakfast until Cliff's up, around 7:30 or 8.

11. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Get ready for what?

12. What websites do you visit daily?
My blog, Facebook, Bloglines,, Tractor Tales, and many favorite blogs.

13. What kind of animal or insect do you not like?
slugs and leeches

14. Do you like to clean?
No, but I like the feeling I get after I've cleaned.

15. What’s the last TV Show you watched?
N.C.I.S reruns yesterday evening.

16. What are you doing right now?
Duh. This meme. Before that, reading blogs. Which is how I found this meme over at Patrick's Place.

17. What is the last song you listened to?
It would have been one of those on my playlist on the left. Haven't listened to any songs today.

18. What would you do if you see $100 lying on the ground?
Use it to buy the makings of my Thanksgiving dinner.

19. Best time of your life?
From age forty to fifty.

20. Tell me something good.
Right now you can go to Craigslist and get an incredible buy on a Gold Wing motorcycle or a horse (I've seen several free horses, even). Recession, I guess, does have its good points.

I’m not tagging anyone: just leave a link if you decide to play!

Driving the tractor

Even though we're haying the horses now, they insist on tromping through the best piece of pasture we have, cropping the grass down to such an extent that they'd soon have a three-acre dry lot there instead of pasture, if left to their own devices. Cliff's been wanting to put electric fence around it, but he needs a tractor driver to transport the posts, wire, and so forth. Otherwise he walks himself silly, back and forth.

I don't drive, but I can usually do OK on a tractor. So I got a meat loaf ready for the oven, put it safely in the refrigerator, and told Cliff he had me for two hours. He put in some big steel posts for the corners; then he pointed to the John Deere, already running, and said, "Go get the tractor now, and bring it to me."

"Ummm... you'll have to show me what to do."

"Oh; OK, come on."

"See those two little pedals? You step on the left one to go forward, and the right one to back up."

"I'm going to have to back up?" Panic in my voice.

"No, that's for future reference."


I'm only on a tractor every six months or so; I doubt I'll remember this. Although those instructions seemed pretty darned simple, even for me.

And sure enough, it worked just like he said. Yes friends, that's my big foot down there, making the tractor go forward.

Cliff simply walked the stretch of electric fence putting in those little posts, with me following on the tractor.

If you think those dark areas on the picture are bad, you should have seen it before I cropped it. I have another camera ordered. Funny thing is, it happens randomly. One day I'm taking dandy pictures, next day there are smudges. I will admit I'm terribly rough on cameras.

Anyhow, we got that area of pasture fenced. And with my wonderful driving skills, we were done in plenty of time for me to cook that meat loaf before Cliff had to get ready for work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More details about our barn... from Cliff

When Cliff read the previous entry, he remembered some things I had forgotten: The wood for the frame of the barn came out of a 24' by 24' garage that Cliff tore down with the help of an alcoholic co-worker of his (not in any of the pictures below); to repay him for the help, Cliff overhauled the engine of an old '49 or '50 Chevy pickup.

Because the garage Cliff tore down was 24' by 24', that determined the floor space of the barn.

We bought the poles from the local electric company; at that time they sold used poles for fifty cents a foot (Cliff says that was a lot of money for us to have to pay at the time).

Cliff's boss's son, Tom, isn't in any of those pictures, but he built the whole front of the barn, including the letter "W" that stands for our last name.

Our barn

In 1977, we were in need of a barn of some sort. Trouble is, we were lacking funds, which is pretty much the story of our lives. We've always had great credit, but since I'm the one who has to figure out how to pay the bills, I didn't really want to use a credit card to purchase the lumber and metal for our barn. I suggested that the frame and roof be constructed (I assume I somehow squeezed enough money for that from our budget, or maybe we received a nice income-tax refund) and we'd finish the barn when we got more funds. This barn-raising was a big deal, and friends and relatives were ready to help. That guy at the peak of the roof is Bruce, a co-worker of Cliff's at the time.
That's Cliff and the same two brothers who are pictured in a previous entry.

Cliff with our son, Jim.

That's Cliff's youngest brother, Warren. He died several years ago.
Anyway. It was a good three or four years before we got sides on that barn. Cliff actually gave up on ever getting it finished. I don't recall now whether I finally agreed to buy the rest of the materials on credit, or if there was some sort of windfall that came in to supply the cash for the barn tin. I'm sure the neighbors were shocked to see the structure finally completed. We've always lived hand-to-mouth like that, and when I think about it, I'm amazed we got by as well as we did. Cliff later added wings on both sides of the barn. I milked cows in the wing on the right... it's now used for storage; and he uses the other side to park various tractors and trailers.

You can see it here, behind me and Libby. Remember Libby?

And here, in a picture from 2002.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sometimes good preaching ain't what it's cracked up to be

Almost two years ago, I blogged an entry telling how much I like good preaching.

I sang the praises of a black man that could preach up a storm. I'd seen him on TV and even paid to buy a tape or two of him preaching certain sermons. I will tell you that those sermons helped me cope at one of the roughest times, financially, in our marriage. In that blog entry, I linked to the website of the church in Florida where Darryll Gilyard was preaching at the time, because his sermons were right there online, and I wanted people to hear them.

It was good preaching. Turns out, though, that Mr. Gilyard wasn't such a good preacher. I had been taken in hook, line, and sinker.

Thanks to a Google search that led someone to my website, I Googled ole frisky Darryll for myself. I found THIS. And THIS.

What a disappointment.

This is why so many people mistrust preachers, and the Church in general.

Consider this another public service announcement reminding you that there's no fool like an old fool. Honestly, I should know better than to trust any preacher I see on television.

However, I'm not sorry I had those tapes of his sermons to help me through that rough patch. Even if some of them were based on lies. I'm thankful that I didn't know what he was really like back then.

Oh, you can still see a sample of his preaching at Youtube, right HERE. And a portion of one of the sermons that helped me through a bad time HERE.

Nice laid-back weekend

Cliff's brother Don (on the left) came from Kansas to pick up an old car he bought from brother Phil (on the right) yesterday. Daughter, granddaughter Natalie and I rode with Cliff to meet up with them so he could help load the car; yesterday was cold, as you probably surmised by the guys' clothing. Upon returning home, daughter turned our TV to her Nascar race, I made some chili, and we all had a pretty nice time just chilling out with our chili; Natalie and I even had a nice soak in the hot tub together at twilight.

Don spent the night, which gave me a good excuse to make biscuits and gravy this morning. Cliff loves it when somebody spends the night; it gives him a break from his usual healthy breakfast of oatmeal or cream-of-wheat.

Since Don's a mechanic by trade, Cliff had him look at our old pickup; he knew there was some sort of problem, he just wasn't sure what. They ended up replacing a bearing and the U-joint before Don headed home at noon.

Cliff sat down to watch the Chiefs game, but gave up in disgust before long. As usual. With the temperature up to fifty-five degrees, we put on our leathers and went for a motorcycle ride. It was a little too windy, but we enjoyed an hour-and-a-half ride anyhow.

Now it looks like we're settled in for the rest of the day, Cliff with a cup of hot chocolate and me sipping green tea. Life is good.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What's this white stuff?

Outback steak for $10? Really?

My AOL home page led me to something I do NOT need to know: Where to eat out cheaply.

If Cliff had his way, he'd never eat away from home. Even since I started cooking low-salt, low-cholesterol, low-fat, he still likes home cooking best. However, he knows I love to eat out, and I have no self-control when he says, "Where would you like to eat?"

Anyhow, according to this website to which AOL lured me, the recession has led many restaurants to put some low-cost meals on their menus. Thanks a lot, AOL.

Click HERE to see the bargain prices.

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 at Patrick's Place 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. Between breakfast, lunch or dinner, which meal are you most likely to skip on a typical day? I don't miss meals!

2. Do you prefer a hot breakfast, like oatmeal, or a cold breakfast, like cereal? A hot one.

3. When you’re in the mood for a big breakfast, what do you typically crave? biscuits and gravy

4. Take the quiz: What kind of muffin are you?

You Are a Cherry Muffin

You are very friendly and sweet. You love to socialize.

You have a bit of a fire in your heart, and you secretly love adventure.

You are well known for speaking your mind. You tell people exactly what you think.

However, you're so nice when you're honest, no one really cares!

Even though you're down to earth, you're not exactly the girl or guy next door.

You are actually quite worldly and sophisticated. You are well traveled and well read.

(I have to say, there's nothing accurate about this quiz; I'm not sweet and I'm not all that nice... most of this is NOT me.)

5. What are you more likely to cook for yourself for breakfast if you’re alone: a stack of pancakes, a waffle, or grits? I love waffles! However, the truth is if I'm alone, I'm likely to have a bowl of cereal.

6. What’s your favorite beverage to drink with your breakfast? coffee or milk

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, since...

My daughter mentioned her childhood in her blog tonight, I thought I'd share a picture or two from said childhood. All these are from 1977.

That's my daughter, Rachel, and her brother, climbing on the structure that eventually became our barn.

That's my son and daughter with the birthday cake they made just for ME.

That's my daughter and her friend Cammy. Click on this picture to make it larger so you can see behind them what sort of lovely gardens I raised back then... flowers and all.

A grandmother I never met

I first had these pictures on the previous entry. Then I realized there's a story here that really needs no written words.

Look at my dad's mother, at her clothing and her hair. Even with the artificial way people were posed in those old professional pictures, she looks as though she's anticipating wonderful things ahead.

Look at her after having five children.

She died having another baby, not so long after this was taken.

Times were hard back then.

All those children: and I know that she, by necessity, had to raise a big garden and milk cows and keep a wood fire burning and bake all their bread.... how on earth did women manage to do all that, back then?

Thank You, Lord, for letting me be born in 1944.

various old pictures

I don't have any real interesting blog material this morning, so I'll share some ancient pictures I have scanned and stored on my computer.
My mom's Aunt Nellie. I don't know for sure what side of Mother's family tree she's on; but I've milked many a cow in my time, and I can tell you that's a very gentle animal that doesn't have to be put in a stanchion and given grain to keep it from walking away.
My mom and her siblings, with their mom looking on at the left. I wish Mother hadn't written on the front of the picture. As a child, I thought it very strange that baby boys wore dresses in the olden days. This must have been taken before my Uncle Leo was born.

Keziah Allen, my dad's grandmother (I think).

On the back of this picture it says, "Bud Allen and Uncle John Allen". This tells me they're in my dad's family tree somewhere; that's all I know.