Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is there something I should know?

I saw these books at Sam's Club today. Looks to me like someone is expecting times to get really hard!

I was certainly glad to see these two, since Cliff and I have crossed off everything on our bucket lists. Perhaps if we read these, we'll get some new ideas.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cliff's toy is home

Cliff's brother, Don, had been working on a car that he got from their other brother, Phil, and had started to restore. In the end he decided it was too much work, so since he was bringing the trailer to haul Cliff's Oliver, he brought the car with him and unloaded it; Cliff will get it to Phil before long. So that's what you see in the first picture.

Cliff, Don, their sister Rena, and I made a party of it; there's plenty of room in Don's truck, and we all had fun on the trip to Kansas. There was nobody at the farm when we arrived, so Rena and I followed the sound of mooing cattle and found some beautiful Red Angus calves that were protesting being weaned.

Once the farmer arrived, he showed Cliff every detail he could think of about the tractor, and also hunted up the owner's manual for him. I had already ordered a service manual on Ebay (that's not the same as the owner's manual), and it arrived today about the same time as the tractor.

We all found it strange that a motorcyclist would have a huge flag on his bike, so when he pulled up beside us in Olathe, I snapped a couple of pictures. Everything taken after that was taken here at our place, and chronicle the unloading of the tractor.

If you want to see any of the pictures in more detail, just click on that picture.

My first tomato!

The poor little thing is the size of a pea,
But it's holding the promise of good things for me.

This little guy will never be huge; it's a grape tomato. I went out searching my garden because I read over at Dad's Tomato Garden that his first tomato made its appearance. Of course Dad's in Tennessee, so his crop is bound to be ahead of mine.

Cliff's brother is coming this morning with a trailer large enough to haul the big barn ornament Oliver tractor we're buying. I think I'll ride along; I might get a picture or two.

As far as I know, this is the last item on Cliff's bucket list. He now owns everything he wanted when he was younger but couldn't afford. I'm sure he'll think of something else, though, once the new wears off this thirty-some-year-old giant of a tractor.

Friday, May 29, 2009


That's an old large-sized coffee can holding Cliff's radishes. You know, those round things that I can't seem to raise. Two years ago Cliff couldn't grow them either; we're both stumped as to what he did differently this year. I cooked all these turnips yesterday. And then I ate them all myself. *burp*
The beets are looking good, but it will be awhile before I can try my hand at making borscht. I remember reading some story in grade school that mentioned borscht, and the teacher telling us it was a Russian dish made with sour cream and beets. At that time I didn't know anything about cultured, store-bought sour cream: To me, sour meant spoiled, and I couldn't imagine anyone eating such a thing.

With any luck, the cabbage will be ready at the same time, since it's another ingredient required in making borscht.

Leaf lettuce is still plentiful, so we had wilted lettuce again yesterday. Once the weather heats up, it will bolt; then I'll pull it up.
I have one single eggplant. The bugs were attacking it, but it will be all right now that I dusted it. Why do I have one eggplant? Because I love ratatouille! That's the only recipe I make that requires eggplant.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's all for the birds

Last year I discovered how much pleasure a person can get watching hummingbirds. This year, it's the goldfinches. There are very few times that there isn't at least one of these yellow lovelies at the feeder; a couple of days ago when Cliff and I were returning from our walk, we counted eight goldfinches altogether, including the ones on the fence.

I also see house finches every day, although I have yet to get a picture of one. I snagged this picture off the Internet.

My daughter gifted me with a birdbath. I've been wanting to attract bluebirds, and according to Dr. Google, that's one thing they like. So far, all I've seen bathe in the thing are robins and sparrows. Evidently goldfinches aren't worried about their hygiene, because they only use it to drink from. I've never seen any of them bathe in it.

I do see bluebirds perching on the back fence on a daily basis. I guess my next move would be to purchase a bluebird house. Wish me luck.

Random pictures, random thoughts

Remember the lovely tulips right outside my front door? The ones of which I was so proud?

Not so pretty now. If they'd go ahead and die totally, I'd dig up the bulbs and replant them. You can see I have marigolds in front, and there are some other flowers on back that haven't bloomed yet, between the tulip rows. But really, the brown, dying tulips are what catch my eye when I step outside.

Granddaughter Natalie took this glamor-shot of Cliff baling hay on the Mahindra tractor we're babysitting for the brother-in-law. I hope Pat takes time to look at this, because he's never seen his tractor without the bucket-loader on the front.

Cows always look so awkward when they're at rest. Bonnie was chewing her cud until I approached her; then she starting thinking there might be a bite of sweet feed for her somewhere, and got all alert.

She's sniffing my camera in hopes it's edible.

I received an interesting anonymous comment from someone reading my blog around 3 A.M. today: "Gosh dang this must be the most interesting blog I ever read."

Why do I think that comment was made tongue-in-cheek? I mean, it was left on an entry about my garden, for heaven's sake.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Having problems viewing Blogger blogs?

Carlene emailed me this information:

"Hi Donna
Not only could I not get into your blog, but I couldn't get into my own!
I found this information at Blogger I removed my followers list and now I can get into my blog. It says you can also place it lower on your side bar.
Here is the information:
Update (May 26): We are still working on resolving this bug. This only affects viewers using IE to view the blog; for right now, blog owners can either move the Followers gadget lower in their sidebar, or remove it altogether. Either action will eliminate the pop-up dialog box in IE.
Hope this helps out.
love carlene"

Well, I don't want to remove my followers gadget, so I think I'll wait and see if Blogger fixes the problem.

Garden report

I should tell you that these turnips aren't so very big yet, but they are edible at this size. I can count on one hand the foods Cliff doesn't like: Turnips are at the top of the list. He thinks they taste like spoiled potatoes. I love them fixed the way my mom used to cook them, creamed, with a little sugar.

Yesterday I put a thick layer of straw on the tomato and pepper area of the garden. This keeps weeds away and holds moisture in. I couldn't normally afford this much straw,but we got those huge straw bales off Craigslist that were very reasonably priced. In fact, I could mulch the whole garden if I so desired.

There are lots of little yellow blooms on the grape tomato plant; I can hardly wait!

You can see there will soon be blooms on the bell peppers. It'll be fun to watch them and see what color they'll be, since the seeds were a mix of various colors of peppers.

Green beans planted early in spring are always "buggy", and mine are no exception. I dusted them with Sevin, and that will do away with the bugs. An organic gardener would be wise to wait until June to plant beans; then the bugs would stay away.

I also dusted the cabbages to keep worms off them.

I'm experimenting with some bush cantaloupes. In the past I've had a horrible problem with squash bugs, which can kill cucumber, melon, and squash plants almost overnight. Sevin dust doesn't faze them; they almost seem to enjoy bathing in it.

I found this picture on the Internet of a squash bug and some of its eggs. They do their dirty deeds on the undersides of the leaves, so they can have a plant killed before you ever notice them.

I recently mentioned my problem with radishes: they go to seed without ever making a round radish; all I get is a long, slender root. I've seen on the Internet that the problem can be caused by too much nitrogen, not enough potassium, or too-heavy soil. Whatever. Cliff and his sister are gardening in a different area, and Sunday he came in with a big smile on his face, and the nicest radishes I've ever seen! I guess I'll let him gloat.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sorry about all the entries

I've had a couple of emails telling me some folks have been unable to comment on my blog. I think that problem has been fixed. At least I hope so. Also, some people are getting an error message saying Internet Explorer can't open this site. I don't know what steps to take to remedy that situation; I'm hoping that if I wait long enough, Blogger will fix it.

OK, this is crazy

When I click on one of the links to other people's blogs over there on the right, it takes me to Bloglines instead of to the actual blog. What's up, Blogger? Is it something I said?

Never mind; whatever the problem was, it's fixed now.

Will the last one to leave Blogger please turn off the lights?

Time was, I'd get up in the morning, check my Google reader, and lose myself in blogs for two hours (it's OK, I'm an early riser). There'd be anywhere from fifty to one hundred new posts.

This morning, I only had a dozen new posts to read.

I'll admit I've trimmed my list somewhat. Not that much, though.

Facebook and Twitter are the culprits, I suppose, taking all my quality reading away. I may actually have to start reading books again.

Thank goodness Antique Mommy still gives me some food for thought when she posts an entry; she may not give me quantity, but the quality is there. That lady has the ability to listen to her child, really listen, and learn from him. Then she finds the words to blog about it, and I get to learn from him too: I'm sure my family has seen me plenty of times with a straight mouth and curly eyes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

T-Mobile rocks

We have four phones on our T-Mobile account: Mine, Cliff's, and both his sisters (who contribute to the monthly payment, I might add).

While we were in Branson, we got word that Cliff's older sister, Rena, wasn't getting service. I called, and the customer service fellow told me to have her turn her phone off, then turn it on again; he was pretty confident that would fix the problem.

It didn't.

So tonight I called T-Mobile again, with Rena's cell phone laying next to me.

We spent about half an hour doing various things that didn't help a bit.

Then the tech guy asked me to remove the SIM card from Rena's phone and replace it with one of ours. I couldn't get the SIM card out of mine. I passed the phone to Cliff who, believe it or not, knows more about the ins and outs of cell phones than I do.

After at least an hour and a half spent with T-Mobile techs, we learned the problem was Rena's SIM card. We hope to remedy that problem tomorrow.

Although the last tech guy we dealt with was no doubt in India, he did a great job. We could understand the guy. And I still say, T-Mobine rocks!

So does my husband, for taking on the task of getting the cell phone problem solved when I was almost at the point of tears.

Since I can't post a picture of Meesha...

Here's a hint about what Meesha looks like: He looks as though he could be related to Henry Kissenger and Sheldon Leonard.

And that's as much as you'll hear from me.

A bright spot in a depressing day

If it's going to rain, I'd much rather we'd get some accumulation. Today it's just drizzled off and on all day, but not much measurable precipitation.

Mike had contacted me this morning saying they might drop by this afternoon; I actually had given up on them, with the rain and all. But around 6 P.M., here they were!

I'm a faithful reader of Meesha's blog, so it was a treat to really meet him and his beautiful daughter, Samantha. I took a picture, but you won't be seeing it here. Mike doesn't want his picture floating around the Internet. I'm pretty sure Meesha must be Russian for Mike. Hmmm, I wonder what the Russian word is for Donna?

Anyway, I was having a bit of a blue day, and these visitors perked me up a bit. I only hope they show up in good weather sometime; Samantha wants a tractor ride, and Cliff likes any excuse to put one of his tractors to work.

At least they got a glimpse of my goldfinches and hummingbirds. And of course, they got to meet my pesky dog, Sadie.

Checking in

Since the weather-guessers in Branson kept saying rain was inevitable yesterday in Arkansas but not here at home, we decided to come on home. We took the long way, though, going out of Branson on 76 east long enough to extend our riding time by a couple of hours. One good thing about returning a day early is that the traffic wasn't bad at all. Another good thing: our daughter and son-in-law invited us over for barbecue last night.

As long as it isn't so cold I have to wear gloves on the motorcycle, I usually have my camera in hand so I'm ready to take a picture. I never get the very best ones, though, because when I see something unusual enough to merit a photo, I'm busy discussing it with Cliff. As soon as we're past and it's too late to capture the moment, I'll say, "Dang it! I should have taken a picture!"

So I'm left with pictures of cattle grazing or old barns and abandoned businesses to share with my readers. And many of those are blurry or crooked, due to the fact that they're taken from the back of a moving motorcycle. I only wish I could show you some of the "ones that got away".

Here's something Cliff and I discussed as we were riding home, noticing all the places of worship: What sorts of differences in beliefs spawned so many varieties of Baptists? While I'm not a Baptist, in the past I've attended Southern Baptist and Bible Baptist churches, and I have no idea what their differences were supposed to be. Down in south Missouri we saw lots of General Baptist Churches, and also some Free-Will and Missionary Baptists.

Thanks to Google, I found some answers to my questions HERE and in other spots on the Internet. In THIS ARTICLE I read that there are over 300 varieties of Baptists!

Trouble is, even after reading about the differences, I still don't understand most of them.

I hope nobody thinks I'm picking on the Baptists; it's just something Cliff and I used as a topic of conversation yesterday, and I thought I'd toss it out there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

heading to Arkansas

We intended to ride the motorcycle straight to Arkansas today. But when Cliff suggested we go by way of Versailles to see his favorite aunt, I agreed that was probably a good idea.

When we got to her house, nobody was home. A few well-placed phone calls, though, helped us locate her at her son, Darryl's, house, which is under construction. So we went there. It was good timing, since we were starving and Darryl was barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs. It did delay us a bit, but as I like to remind Cliff, "When you're on a motorcycle, it's all about the ride."

I love this picture. Darryl asked his mom, Aunt Gertrude, to say the blessing before we ate. Yes, I did bow my head. Believe it or not, my eyes were closed when I took this shot. By the way, the guy on the right is a real live cowboy; he's very familiar with the Drummond Ranch (you know, Pioneer Woman). He doesn't seem to be really happy that they're a big corporation now, but he enjoyed a couple of stories I told him that Ree has written about on her blog.

This is Darryl's tractor. Cliff can't help himself, he has to inspect any tractor within walking distance.

Why are they closing out? It's quite a while till the Fourth of July.

There were lots of boats on the Lake of the Ozarks. At the time I took this picture, it was a perfectly lovely day.

I really want to go to this festival. I'm not sure Cliff is interested, though.

Oh, and that perfectly lovely day? It deteriorated somewhat. We rode in the rain for at least an hour. On a long, drawn-out detour. I kept telling Cliff, "It's all about the ride", but I think his mind was closed. Hey, at least we finally got to use our rain-gear.

We got as far as Branson and stopped here because they have cheap motels. There's usually a reason a motel is cheap, and I won't go into details about this one. Suffice it to say it's next door to the helicopter ride, which is running constantly. I wonder if that helicopter runs all night long?

Tomorrow, good Lord willing, we'll get into Arkansas. The grandson is house-sitting and dog-sitting. For any who wondered, Sadie is alive and well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

So, let me show you some Oliver tractors

So this eighty-year-old man named Bob took us around to three different locations to see their Olivers. He apologized for not inviting us into his house. "My wife died five years ago of cancer, and I'm not too good a housekeeper."

He loves those Oliver tractors, and it was worth the trip just to meet this man. He told us he has one good ear, one good eye, and one good leg. "At least so far I've only lost things I have two of," he said.

The first tractor he showed us was right there behind his house: An 1855 Oliver diesel, one of the last ones built. It was manufactured in 1973. Don't ask me who Cliff's talking to; his cell phone rings often. It was probably his brother Don.

Then we went to another farm and Cliff test-drove a 1655 Oliver diesel. This one was well-worn, and requires a dose of ether to start it.

And the tires were horrible. Do you have any idea what a tractor tire costs? Don't ask.

Then we went to another of his farms (his family farms 2000 acres) and looked at Bob's personal favorite: it's a 1655 gas tractor. Trouble is, Cliff wants a diesel. He really would have preferred a 1655, and they had two of them. But one wasn't diesel, and one was worn out with bad tires.

Bob's son, Lee, showed up and shot us some prices. Cliff came home, did some research, and decided on the first one we looked at. The 1855 Oliver made in 1973.

And now... Arkansas, here we come!

A trip into Oz: LOST

When Cliff talked to the man in Kansas with several Oliver series 55 tractors, he asked him for his address. Thanks to 911, even very rural homes have genuine addresses that can be typed into a Garmin and found easily. This morning we entered it into the GPS and merrily headed out on what was supposed to be a seventy-six mile trip.

On the way, a motorcycle caught our attention. Something just looks wrong with the biker (or his bike, or the combination of the two) on the right. I wanted to take a picture from beside him, but the traffic was horrible and the speeds were such that we couldn't catch up with him.

At about the time we should have been reaching our destination in the extreme boonies of Kansas, something just didn't seem right; so when we saw a fellow painting some sort of wagon, we stopped and asked. He knew the guy we were looking for, and told us we were on the wrong road.

"You just go up here a piece and turn south..." etc. etc.

Yeah, right.

I made Cliff stop so I could take a picture of this mansion in the middle of nowhere.

Lord only knows where we'd have ended up, but Cliff got a call on his cell: Lee, the farmer we planned on meeting up with, said he had given us the wrong address.

"Oh," I said, "so that's why our GPS didn't recognize that other address."

We typed in the new address and confidently headed on our merry way, already a half-hour behind the originally scheduled arrival time.

That didn't work so well either. Cliff decided to call Lee back, but wouldn't you know, the cell phone had no signal where we were.

When we finally got a signal, Cliff called him and he said, "Let me check dad's address; maybe I got it wrong."

Hmmm, again?

It wasn't the fault of the GPS; this farmer just couldn't get his dad's address right, and hadn't bothered to check and make sure he had given us the right one.

"I never send Dad any mail," he said. "I don't know his address."

Armed with the proper address we drove straight to the eighty-year-old gentleman's door; he was sitting on the back porch waiting for us. We liked him immediately, and decided not to be angry with him for his son's incompetence.

I'll do an entry later telling about the tractors we saw there.

On the search for another of Cliff's dream tractors

You city folks might want to skip this entry; once you've seen one tractor, you've seen them all, right?

As I said in the last entry, Cliff wants an old Oliver tractor. It's rather like he's trying to go back to a certain time in his life, back when my cousin Gerald had a big farm and Cliff helped him get his crops planted. Gerald had an Allis Chalmers D-17 Series IV that Cliff loved, and we eventually bought one of those that was Cliff's main tractor for years. He truly had his dream tractor. Once he bought the new John Deere, though, he hardly ever used it. So he sold it to an acquaintance who still thinks it's the best tractor ever.

So now, Cliff wants an Oliver Diesel tractor of the 55 series, another tractor my cousin farmed with, back in the day. He wasn't seeing many of them offered around here, so I suggested he put a "wanted to buy" ad in the farm and garden section of Craigslist.

A fellow from north Missouri called, saying he had one. Cliff mentioned to him that my relatives are originally from that area, and mentioned my mother's maiden name, Stevens.

The guy said, "I bought this tractor from a guy named Stevens." And he gave Cliff that phone number, so Cliff could ask questions about the tractor's previous history.

Cliff dialed the number and found himself talking to someone with whom he'd talked tractors at my last family reunion, a distant cousin. He learned that this particular Oliver had been "rode hard and put away wet", not taken care of at all.

So yesterday evening we went to see the tractor. Cliff started it up and rode it up and down the driveway; boy, did that thing smoke. While he was doing the test-drive, I learned that the present tractor owner's wife is the daughter of a cousin on my dad's side. Good grief, it's like I'm related to this Oliver!

Cliff really prefers the smaller 1655 to this huge 1855, but he'll take what he can get. We go to Kansas today to check out a whole barn full of Olivers; they'll likely be in better condition than the one we saw yesterday. I certainly hope so: That one would have to have an overhaul, which would cost us $3,000. I know this because Cliff talked to his overhaul man. It isn't a job he'd tackle himself.

If he ends up with a tractor like the one in the picture, I only hope there's room on our 42 acres for him to turn it around. That thing looks HUGE to me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Searching for a tractor

Cliff is in the market for a certain type of Oliver tractor. Since he wasn't having much luck finding one locally, I suggested he put an ad in Craigslist stating that he was looking for that special tractor.

He's had a couple of promising calls. This evening we headed north on highway 13 to check out an Oliver 1855.

It was far enough north to be in the area where my mom and dad were raised.

Would you believe the man's mother-in-law is my cousin? Small world.

The town of Knoxville is on highway 13. Every time we pass through there, I'm amazed, because the whole town seems to be a used car lot. Seriously. On both sides of the road! I did a video (through a very dirty windshield) just to show my readers.

Tomorrow we head to Baldwin City, Kansas, to look at more Oliver tractors.

How much fun can one person have?

Motorcycle on the Autobahn

Watching this video made my stomach hurt. The guy wheelies for the first several seconds, so all you see is sky at first.

Why would I remember that?

After exchanging a few emails with Kris this morning, my mind started wandering back through childhood; this sentimental journey really had little to do with our conversation, but it was somehow triggered by it.

And I realized that a person can be marked for life by the wrong words.

I recall lots of happy memories, but there are a few incidents that for some reason I've held onto that perhaps helped form my perceptions of myself. Keep in mind that I was pretty much raised as an only child; I had an older sister and brother, but they were both grown and gone by the time I was three. Maybe that's why it didn't take much to hurt my pride... I never had to put up with the kind of insults that many kids get from their siblings, growing up, to make them tough.

In the first memory, I am probably five years old, in primary (kindergarten) grade at a one-room school in Iowa. It's recess, and three or four of us girls are playing in the snow. There's quite a pile of snow drifted in a ditch, and we're hollowing it out to make a cave, or house. Excitedly, I say, "Let's play like... blah blah blah," and then I'd get another marvelous idea and say, "Let's play like... blah blah blah" again. I must have repeated it several times, because finally a girl said scornfully, "Play like, play like; is that all you know how to say?"

I don't think I said much else during that particular recess. I may have quit playing, I don't remember. All that sticks with me is how humiliated I felt.

Scene two: I'm still only five or six, and I'm at a birthday party for a little girl who attends my school. (I wonder if it was the same girl?)

We're making dolls out of hollyhock flowers, and I'm having lots of fun. I don't know what the discussion was that we were having, but the birthday girl said, "Do you have to be so loud? I can't hear myself think!"


I was probably around the same age when I asked my mom, dead serious "Am I pretty?"

Mother laughed and said, "Heavens no; you look too much like me to be pretty."

When I got older, I realized she was just trying to make a joke, but at the time it was like a slap in the face. When I had children, I began telling them how good-looking they were before they could talk.

Let's fast-forward to scene four. I'm sixteen, and I'm taking driver's training. The way it was done at good old North Kansas City High was that three students and the teacher went together in one car, and the students took turns driving. I had never attempted to drive, and I lacked self-confidence; everybody else seemed to have had some experience. When I got under the wheel I was terrified, and afraid to get up much speed at all.

Mr. O'Dell, the teacher, said, "Haven't you ever driven a kiddie car or a tricycle or anything?"

Keep in mind there were two other students in the car to hear this.

Another time, he said to me, "I'm going to let you pass this course; but please call and let me know if you're going to be out on the road, so I can stay home."


I've never attempted to get a driver's license. I've never driven a car since, and I'm sixty-five years old. I'm not blaming Mr. O'Dell, by the way. People have overcome far worse handicaps than humiliation to get their licenses.

The thing is, everybody has had things like this, and far worse, happen to them. I doubt they even remember rude things said to them in the first grade.

I wonder why such long-ago words have affected me so? It reminds me of the Maya Angelou quote that's at the top of Kris' blog: "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free hot dogs!

I just noticed this over there on the right, amongst all the blogs I have listed: On Cutting Coupons in KC, there's a deal you can't beat:

Free Oscar Meyer all-beef hot dogs! I signed up for mine. Now you go right over THERE and get yours.

I'd advise you to check out that Cutting Coupons blog from time to time, especially if you're in the Kansas City area.

a couple of garden shots

It's always a good day when you see the first tomato blossom of the season. This is on the single Celebrity plant I bought. I also bought one grape tomato plant, and it's almost ready to put on some blooms. The Legend plants I started from seeds will likely have some blooms in a week.

No heads on the Savoy cabbage yet, but aren't the plants pretty?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A fun and exciting day

Welcome to all you folks coming today from some forum called "AVR Freaks". Thanks to the Aussie guy who posted a link to my blog; some of you might want to leave a comment while you're here.

Peace and quiet reign in my neighborhood tonight. That's good news anytime.

Granddaughter Natalie and I observed an oriole at the hummingbird feeder today. Wow! I'm not sure I had ever seen an oriole anywhere, at any time.

I've been putting the pregnant heifer, Bonnie, in the stanchion at least once a day; she needs to know this routine so I can milk her after she has her calf. I give her feed, she sticks her head in, and I lock her in. She jumps when I first close the stanchion, but then she just goes back to eating like a pig.

This afternoon I was standing there watching her eat, and asked myself, "Can I still bump a calf in a pregnant cow?"

This wasn't necessary, by the way. Bonnie shows plenty of external signs that she is pregnant. But I was curious as to whether I'd retained my old cattle skills.

To "bump a calf" in a cow, you get on her right-hand side (the milking side). You make sort of fist and start hitting her down low on her belly with your knuckles. About the third bump, you'll usually feel the calf, if there's one there. I've actually been able to bump a calf in a cow when she was four months along. I may have Cliff help me do a video later, so you can see what I'm talking about.

As I said, there's no doubt Bonnie's pregnant. But still, when I felt that calf bouncing against my knuckles, it was the most awesome feeling!

Life is good.

Correction from Cliff

Cliff was looking at this blog this morning and said I've been calling his old John Deere mower by the wrong name. It isn't a #5, it's a #8 or #9.

Now, I know 99% of my readers could care less; but just in case there's some tractor-lovin' farmer who wondered why I was calling a #9 a #5, there you are.

I stand corrected.

Birds of a different feather

Yesterday evening when I headed to the kitchen to make my evening popcorn, I glanced out the window to see what I first thought was trash blown over from the neighbors... I'm used to seeing White Walmart bags strewn across our place on a windy day. On second glance, I realized the hayfield was being visited by Cattle Egrets. There were at least twenty-five of them, and they stayed for over an hour. I assume some bugs must have been stirred up when Cliff mowed, and they were having supper. What a treat! I would likely never have seen this sight living at the old house. You can click on the picture to make it larger.

I've been telling Cliff for weeks that I wish I had a couple of sweet potato plants. Just a couple, to play with (my whole garden this year is "to play with", really). I figure if I went somewhere to buy some, I'd have to buy a dozen or so. I remember how my mom made sweet potato slips, but it's a little late for that, I think.

Yesterday I decided to microwave a couple of sweet potatoes for our dinner, and I noticed one of them was sprouting on one end. So I cut off that end, stuck it in a dish of water, and am now waiting to see what happens. Looks like God gave me the couple of plants I wanted.

Life is just full of little gifts, isn't it?

*I first called the birds "snowy egrets". After a little conference with Dr. Google, I realized those are fairly rare. Further research informed me that these were the more common "Cattle Egrets", migrating through the area.

Monday, May 18, 2009

So far, so good

After some adjustments and hooking the mower up to the tractor, old John Deere #5 is working. It's a lot more work than with the disk-mower; Cliff has to keep his head turned all the time, looking back. And there are frequent stops to unclog the thing. But at least the hay is going to get mowed... I hope.

I've received an award: The Honest Blogger

Thanks, Amy. I think. Now I am supposed to name ten honest things about myself and pass this award on to seven bloggers.

First off, let me just say that I won't be passing this to others, because I don't like to pick and choose like that. And I believe most of the bloggers I follow are honest. I really don't care for phonies.

Also: I don't think I've practiced deception here, but I do leave many things unsaid. I've often considered setting up a private blog just for the purpose of relating all the antics that go on in this neighborhood on every side. But I know that would be wrong; Cliff and I will have to keep our laughs to ourselves. I'm not one to blog about my love life (you didn't think I had one, eh?), and I don't share my family's dirty laundry.

Now comes the hard part: Ten honest things about me.

1. These days I don't consider myself a very friendly person; the older I get, the more I turn into a cross between Oscar the Grouch, the grinch that stole Christmas, and Scrooge... before his conversion.
2. I dislike housework. No, wait... I HATE housework.
3. It doesn't take a very fancy house or fine furniture to please me.
4. I don't care much for cats, except for one near Washington, DC, named Jakie.
5. I wish neighbors wouldn't let their dogs run the countryside, peeing on everything in sight. I also wish other neighbors wouldn't feed said dogs, which keeps them coming around.
6. I don't enjoy cooking like I used to.
7. I would love to travel a lot, but I get homesick after about a week away from home.
8. I say what's on my mind too often; but I don't always mean what I say to be as hurtful as it turns out to be.
9. A lot of things aren't nearly as black-and-white to me as they were ten years ago.
10. I just wish everybody could get along.

My new header... and tales of woe

My St. Louis sister-in-law complained about the header I've been using. She likes looking at Blue, she says; but she wants to see the trees leafed out. That picture I just took off, by the way, was taken over a year ago, but I liked it.

So what better to put at the top of my blog than my trailer house, I ask you? I may change it before the day is over.

Cliff's day turned sour after we got home from our ride yesterday. He decided to mow one round in the hay field just to make sure everything was working.

The disc mower failed him in a big way. It'll need fixing, and it won't be a cheap or easy fix. In fact, he says he's of a notion to "eat it" (forget about it and call it a loss). He hauled the old John Deere #5 mower out of storage and is going to try and get that working instead.

We are not real farmers. If we ever made any money at the little bit of play-farming we do, it would shock us. We're mostly just having fun. (Although right now, Cliff isn't having fun.)

Play-farmers like us can't justify spending lots of money on equipment; we go for cheap. Cheap means old and worn-out.

So, wish Cliff luck on getting that old John Deere relic working. He'll need it.

Yesterday's ride

Cliff always has something that needs doing around here, and yesterday was no exception. It's about time to mow hay, since there's no immediate rain in the forecast. We don't have the alfalfa patch any more, just a pasture-grass mix that is fine for our animals. So mowing only has to be done a couple of times a year.

Cliff decided to put the mowing on hold so we could go for a motorcycle ride. I assembled stuff for sandwiches: bologna, mayo, bread, cheese, tomato, bibb lettuce from the garden, hot pepper rings... I just tossed it all in the cooler, rather than make the sandwiches ahead of time.

We have lunch meat so rarely that it's actually a treat for us. Cliff had me buy some Oscar Meyer all-beef bologna recently ($4 a pound... ACK!) and I froze it in packages of four slices each, to ration it out.

Cliff wanted to hunt up some tractor dealer in Clinton; they wouldn't be open on Sunday, but he likes to cruise tractor lots and see what they have. He's on the lookout for that elusive Oliver 1755, you know.

We stopped for lunch at the city park in the tiny town of Centerview.

Once we got to Clinton, we started looking for a McDonald's; we love their coffee, and a "senior coffee" is cheap. Besides, I needed a rest room. Cliff stopped to get gas, but the rest rooms at the station had outside entries. That usually means a filthy rest room, and I passed on that. Try as we might, we couldn't find a McDonald's, and we really wanted some good coffee.

I saw a sign for the Katy Trail State Park, and told Cliff to pull off there; state parks have rest rooms, and indeed, this one did. While we were stopped, we decided to look at the map for some creative way to ride home, and a lady said, "Are you lost? Can I help you?"

"Yeah," I replied. "Where's the McDonald's in this town?"

Turns out there was more town up the road that we hadn't even checked out.

Cliff never found the actual tractor place he was looking for, but we had a nice ride.

The closest we came to finding an Oliver tractor for Cliff was in Higginsville, and that was a 50-series rather than 55.