Monday, August 31, 2009

White Hot

I read to Cliff when we travel. He hates driving long distances in the car and gets sleepy after a short time. Years ago, I discovered by accident that if I read aloud to him, the time passes quickly for both of us.

We have several favorite authors, but we try to vary them so we don't get in a rut. I had never read a Sandra Brown Novel to Cliff, but I decided it would be a change of pace; we'd picked up "White Hot" at a local garage sale.

"Cliff," I warned, "Sandra Brown writes suspense stories that will hold your interest; but I'm telling you, every one of her books I've ever read have quite descriptive love scenes scattered throughout the story; it isn't what the story is about, but it's like her trademark. Forewarned is forearmed."

"Let 'er rip," says Cliff, smiling eagerly.

I've been reading "White Hot" to him during our last two trips; this past weekend, my prediction came true. We were maneuvering our way into Illinois when it first happened.

Cliff said nothing, but took off his baseball cap and began fanning himself, a big smile on his face.

"I told you this would happen," says I.

I suppose we'll finish this book on short trips to the grocery store and such.

He's had to fan himself with his hat several times now.

I think the next book I read aloud to him will be a little tamer fare. Perhaps something on the order of Huckleberry Finn.

Maybe I'll can just a few more things

My tomato vines are really showing the effects of blight, but there are still lots of tomatoes on them, both red and green. I've been wanting to make a batch of green tomato chow-chow, but with the cool weather we've had, my sweet peppers haven't been ripening fast enough. Finally, today, I was able to come up with ten peppers.

I might even get energetic enough to can a few more jars of ripe tomatoes, as much as I dread the mess that would make. But seeing those vines dying makes me realize the time is short.

This morning I milked Bonnie; later on after Cliff was awake, drinking his coffee, I saw Sir Loin prancing and dancing around the front yard with glee. I ran out looking for an open gate, but none was ajar. I managed to get him to a gate and open it so he could rejoin his mother.

There's a spot where one fence almost joins another; Cliff left a space big enough for a person to squeeze through, but not large enough for a horse to escape. Back then we didn't have a skinny calf to worry about. I knew that had to be where Little Sir escaped.

"We can't waste too much time closing that gap," I told Cliff. "Little Sir is smart, by cattle standards."

I'd hardly gotten the words out of my mouth when Little Sir (or you can call him Houdini) went prancing and dancing and bucking across my front yard again. This time it wasn't so easy tricking him into the barn, but I managed. He isn't scared of me, but he loves to play; and he assumes I'm playing when I approach him, so he'll kick up his heels and run.

I had to send Sadie to the house, because of chasing. Oh no, Sadie wasn't chasing the calf; the calf was chasing her, and she was running for dear life!

Cliff went straight out and mended the gap where our calf had escaped. I'd love to be watching when he is in that area again and thinks he knows an escape route. The joke is on him.

It's a shame he's a bull calf; he's one of the most lovable bovines I've ever had on the place.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Never thought it would happen to me

Cliff and I entered the grounds of that tractor show and realized just how big it was. I thought to myself, "I hope there are lots of places to sit down."

We walked past the place where golf carts could be rented, but about fifty yards past it, Cliff slowed down.

"Do you think we should get one of those?"

"Well, this looks like a big area; but they're expensive to rent."

"Do you think you'll be able to walk all these grounds?"

We ended up turning around, going back, and renting a golf cart. I do pretty well walking, as long as I can take a sit-down break once in a while. But standing in one spot is really rough on the knees. And turns out there really were not that many places to sit down and take a break.

As far as Cliff and I are concerned, it was money well spent; although I hear there are people who attended the show that thought these carts shouldn't be allowed.

Maybe one day their bodies won't be so agile and pain-free, and they'll learn first-hand why older folks need some help getting around.

At some tractor shows I've attended, I've seen senior citizens carrying a thing that looks like a cane... but they can unfold it and it's a portable seat. I'd LOVE to have one of those!

Another tractor show

I'd noticed the gang on Tractor Tales message board talking about a tractor show and a "taler gathering". A couple of them, including the guy who cooks Cajun food for such gatherings, had invited me and Cliff to attend.

Somehow I thought it was in Indiana. I found out Thursday evening it was in mid-Illinois... not so far away after all. And then when I visited the website, I found out the world's largest farm tractor, Big Bud, was going to be there.

Cliff has seen Big Bud on television, and read about it for years; one of his dreams was to see this tractor in person.

So Friday morning, after having only four hours of sleep (because he had to get up and help a neighbor load his wandering bull), Cliff decided to go.

We threw together what we thought we'd need for the trip and took off.

You can click on this picture to make it larger and read the information about "Big Bud".

As you can see by the standing water, there had been considerable rain at some point in the previous twenty-four hours.

A heck of a lot of rain!

Cliff spent a lot of time looking at that tractor from every angle.

For $250, you could buy a toy replica of Big Bud.

We did not meet up with the Talers; Cliff wanted to get at least a couple of hours toward home before dark. As we were leaving the show, I said, "Why don't we go to St. Louis to your sister's and spend the night? We haven't seen them for awhile anyhow, and that way we're halfway home in the morning."

So that's what we did.

Here's a slide show of pictures I took in Rantoul, Illinois. If you click on the four little arrows in the lower right-hand corner, you can view the pictures full screen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Building fence, and look what the cows brought home!

Yesterday it was cloudy and damp, but Cliff and I got out there and put electric fence around the newly-planted field. It's on a slope, and if the horses and cows walk around on the soft ground, their footprints can become a place for water to run in and create a ditch, when it rains.

Besides, the horses love to roll in mud; that's what happened here. Not good for little seedlings.

We use little thin posts for electric fence, but the corner posts have to be sturdier; so Cliff drove T-posts first. That post driver weighs perhaps twenty pounds. You lift it up...

then drive it down, with all the force you can muster. When I was raising calves in hutches, I became all too well acquainted with that post driver, every time I moved a calf hutch and its pen to fresh ground.

We got all the electric fence posts in, and the wire is up; as yet, though, it isn't electrified. It's OK, the cows and horses don't know it isn't turned on.

Last night the cows came up and brought a guest along:

the neighbor's Angus bull. I have him penned up now, but he surely isn't liking it much. Here's hoping he doesn't tear down a fence before the neighbor comes to get him!

I'm rather proud of myself, getting the bull trapped in the small pen all by myself while Cliff was at work. I try not to let on, but I'm a little afraid of bulls.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Asian porn in my comment section

About every day, once or twice, I find in my comment section some oriental characters. When it's left on an old entry, it doesn't post; I have chosen to not allow comments on any post over two weeks old, so I can look at the comment and reject it.

My Sitemeter tells me the spammer is in Taiwan, and that he/she/it comes from a blog that is seldom updated these days, one where there's a link to my blog.

Are any of you getting Asian porn links left in your comments? I think I will temporarily apply controls where readers have to type in a nonsense word in order to comment here. I hate to do that because I think it discourages comments; but who knows where those links would take you?

Did you ever sing puppies to sleep?

Cliff's cousin Edna sent this to me in email, and I looked it up on Youtube so I could share it with my readers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Too much at once!

This morning I figured that since I have about two thousand butternut squashes, I'd better make squash soup again. Cliff and I both enjoyed it, so why not?

I went to the freezer to get some of my home-made chicken broth to use in the soup, and realized I was down to my last quart.

No problem; I had a ten-pound bag of chicken leg quarters. I'll boil those, skin them, and chop and save the meat in two- and four-cup amounts in freezer bags for use in chicken jambalaya and chicken gumbo... and countless other healthy dishes. I'll save the broth and freeze it in quart bags.

So I got out that bag of frozen chicken and put it in the sink to thaw.

Sometime today I realized that I still have chips, but no Russian eggplant caviar in which to dip them. After Cliff went to work, I put two eggplants and a couple of peppers in the oven to roast so I could use my chips.

Then I remembered I was making squash soup... and that I had taken ten pounds of chicken out of the freezer that I was supposed to cook.

Too many things at once!

I checked the bag of chicken and found it still half frozen, so I took it out to the garage refrigerator.

I did get the squash soup made, and sent a serving of it to my sister-in-law when she got home from work.

I did get the eggplant caviar done, and dipped some chips in it for my supper.

Whew. I'm glad that's all done. I'll tend to the chicken tomorrow. I'm thinking that since my garden is giving me bunches of okra, we might soon be having some chicken gumbo very soon.

Not much going on here

So, I'll share a snippet of conversation from our meet-up with Cliff's cousins last weekend.

As it happens, there was another Donna there, one everybody in the group has known a lot longer than they've known me; so of course it got a little confusing.

Evelyn said, "You're going to have to think of another name we can call you."

"No problem; just call me Mo. I'm used to answering to that."

She seemed flabbergasted. "That's going to take some getting used to," she said.

So I tried to explain to them how, back in the old chat room days on AOL, you went into a chat room with your "screen name", also the same as your AOL email address... minus the "".

At that time my screen name was mo2773. The "mo" was for Missouri, and the numbers were part of my phone number. Hey, I was new to the Internet and was having a problem coming up with a screen name that wasn't taken. I had no idea I was going to be entering a chat room where "Mo" would be my name.

In the chat room, I got to know FM and JenFar and Bnana and Jet and Skiss and Qwkwit and Westbilt, and dozens of others with strange names. I used those names to communicate on the chat screen, and that's what I called them if I met them in person. And they called me "Mo".

Soon I was answering to that name as naturally as I answer to "Donna" (or "Sweet Pea", if it's Cliff talking to me).

Unfortunately, I think Cliff's cousins and their spouses could only think of Moe, the one associated with the three stooges; so nobody called me anything.

I think my explanation of how I got my nickname convinced them all that I was a bit touched in the head.

I guess you just had to be there in the chat room days to understand.

Nobody's called me Mo for a long, long time. I miss that.

Project 2,996

I took part in the Project 2,006 tribute in 2006, in my old AOL journal. I did a tribute to Christopher Sullivan, and I intend to repeat that one this year.

I also volunteered to have a random name from the list of 9/11 victims assigned to me this time.

Using Google, I was able to get some information on Christopher Sullivan. I recall that some people doing tributes couldn't find anything at all on their assigned name; but at least the name was put out there so it won't be forgotten.

Two relatives of Christopher's have stumbled upon my little tribute and left comments, which is pretty heartwarming.

If you have a blog, why not sign up for this project?

Project 2,996

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hummingbird videos

On this first one, pause the video at the 22-second mark and you will see that the little guy on the right has a broken top beak. It doesn't seem to have hurt him; he's willing to fight with the toughest. You can enlarge the video by clicking on the square to the right of the sound thingie.

The other one is just a typical example of hummingbird wars. I really do get as close as it looks on these, because the feeder is attached to the outside of my computer room window. I can actually get as close as one foot away from them. Sorry I originally posted the above video twice; I've changed it now to the hummingbird wars.

I know what my birds are now!

Kelly from Georgia identified my unknown bird species: Eastern Kingbird.

That's what my birds are, without a doubt; the markings are correct, right down to the white on the tip of the tail. I found information about them HERE, and it describes their behavior exactly.

Thanks so much, Kelly, and all of you who ventured a guess. There's nothing like the World Wide Web, is there? And nothing like a network of Internet friends to help solve a mystery.

No luck yet with the bird... and welcome back, Flylady

Thanks to all of you who have suggested what sort of bird I might be seeing here. I checked out each suggestion by typing it in Google images and checking out both male and female of the species.

Several of you thought it might be a female barn swallow. We have hundreds of those around, since we live behind a barn. Cliff considers them a nuisance, and I guess they are. But I love to watch them in flight. Anyhow, the mystery bird (I should say birds, since there are several) is not a swallow; of that I am certain. No forked tail.

I have turned into a total slob this summer. I gave myself over to gardening and canning at the expense of any housekeeping. Now I have thrown myself at the feet of Flylady, asking her to either help me out or beam me up. You can bet I'll fall off the wagon eventually; I always do. I'm not even sure I ever get totally on the flylady bandwagon, but things do look better around here when I make the attempt.

So, I'm de-cluttering a little: I finally got the nerve to ask Cliff to get rid of the baby crib that both my children slept in as infants. I did, however, keep the end panel of the bed with the Mobil Oil Pegasus that Cliff, as a teenager, put there for his baby sister, Charlene. It has many toothmarks left there by my son, and I'm sure by my daughter also; although she wasn't as dedicated a chewer as Jimmy was.

So now I have space in my computer room for a daybed, preferably with a trundle. That way when my son and his family come to visit, there's a place for my Georgia granddaughter to sleep; and with a trundle, there's a spot for another granddaughter to spend the night while she's here. I've been watching Craigslist, but without any luck so far. I really don't want to spend as much money as it would take to buy a new one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Name that bird!

Are any of my readers bird-wise? Cliff and I have racked our brains and can't figure out what it might be... dark gray back with white breast. I have typed that into Google so many times my fingers are tired, and have yet to find anything that looks like this bird. It's a little larger than a sparrow.

Sorry about the small pictures, but I couldn't get close; so I cropped my pictures hoping to be able to see him better.

We're seeing more hummingbirds the last few days than ever before; it's almost dangerous to step outside. You never know when you're going to step right in the middle of a hummingbird war! Two of my feeders hold about one cup of nectar each, and they're being emptied about every twenty-four hours.

Cliff spent his morning planting a permanent pasture mix of grasses: timothy, orchard grass, and I forget what else. He also got some clover seed that he'll sow on the plot this winter, hopefully after a snowfall. So, finally that ground that has been disked so many times since last fall will be producing again, verdant and lovely. The down side of this is that the hay-field directly behind the house is going to be disked up, played with for a year, and replanted.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sometimes older is best.

Turns out that since there's new growth coming up through the ruined hay, Cliff's old rake does the job better. He doesn't care; it gives him an excuse to use his Oliver 1855.

Cliff's new implements

Cliff was browsing Craigslist's Farm-and-garden section Thursday and saw a couple of things he really needed. Looking at the pictures, he recognized the implements as belonging to my cousin and her husband, and quickly made a phone call.

They agreed to hold the two items for us, and we picked them up on Saturday.

Cliff has an old-fashioned hay rake, but everybody who has this kind says they are bulletproof, and that you can rake just as fast as the tractor will go. Once the dew is off our rain-ruined hay, he'll try it out. Even though the hay is no good, it needs to be taken off the field. We needed this!

Cliff had an old disc mower he used for three years, but it was so worn out that it seemed he spent more time working on it than he did mowing with it; so this year he sold it for parts and went back to mowing with the old John Deere sickle mower. Folks, that's like going from an automatic washing machine to a wringer washer, and Cliff really missed having a disc mower.

We consider this one a blessing from heaven, because we didn't expect to be able to buy another one.

The icing on the cake is that my cousin and her husband take excellent care of their machinery, keeping everything oiled and greased regularly.

Cliff is so happy.

Here's a related footnote: Cliff mentioned to his Kansas brother who works on farm machinery for a living that he'd like a big plow to pull behind the Oliver 1855 tractor. Donald called yesterday: he found one free plow, and one six-bottom plow for $250 (that's cheap).

"I'll take both of them," says Cliff.

It's raining farm machinery around here!

We don't have much to plow on our property, but Cliff LOVES to plow. So he's going to see if one of the local farmers will let him try his tractor and plow out in some of their fields, once the harvest is over. Farmers these days don't plow at all, so he'll be doing them no favor; he just wants to put that big tractor to work so he can see what it will do.

I think it's some sort of macho thing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

State Fair, cousins, and apples

I like lots of variety in my day, and this day took the cake.

Cliff's cousins wanted to get together in Sedalia at one o'clock, at Golden Corral. We rode the bike. But since the Missouri State Fair is going on through tomorrow, we went early and walked around the fairgrounds for three hours.

This little guy couldn't have been over five years old... my guess is four. But he was leading this cow all over the place. Cute, huh?

Then I watched a half-hour program put on by a conservation agent guy, and learned a lot about Missouri snakes and turtles.

That guy? He's one of Cliff's cousins. Now you know what sort of family I really married into; thank goodness my children turned out normal; I assume they took after my side.

And to make a perfect day even better: thanks to the recent cool temperatures, the Gala apples are ready. We got a half-bushel of seconds for five bucks and put them in the trunk of the bike. They are SO good!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My cousin's cathouse

Cliff found some items on Craigslist that he really wanted. Turns out that when he called the phone number listed, it was my cousin Betty's husband.

We're so happy with the two items we bought; I'll do an entry about those at another time. Let me just say that Cliff is doing a happy dance, and feels like Christmas arrived early this year.

So while the men were chatting, Betty and I had a seat in Russ's shop and had a nice discussion.

Suddenly, a cat jumped up on my lap as though it owned me. And then another one.

"Betty, get my purse," I said. "There's a camera in there, and I want you to take my picture with these cats."

Then I had her hand the camera to me, and I took pictures. I'm not a big fan of tame cats, but I have to admit this cat face is totally beautiful; look at those eyes.

Then a third cat jumped onto my lap. Whoa!

So of course, I had Betty take another picture of me, with three cats on my lap. And they stayed right there until I got up to go home.


Why didn't somebody tell me that you don't have to harvest butternut squash until the first frost?

I feel so stupid.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Old movies

For lack of anything better to record on the DVR, I found a movie on Turner Classics last night: It was rated three stars (out of four), and had lots of big-name actors and actresses. I'd never heard of the movie, entitled "The Chase".

So, Cliff came in to eat his dinner today (spaghetti), and I figured we'd watch the first part of the movie before he went to work, while we ate.

He actually had to point out to me which person was Jane Fonda; which was Robert Duvall (one of my favorite actors); and which one was Marlon Brando! We won't even talk about Robert Redford, because I didn't recognize him, either... although I did recognize his hunkiness.
Is that a word?

About fifteen minutes into the film, Cliff picked up the laptop, bored, and said, "This is sort of a 'Peyton Place', isn't it?"

"The Chase" was made in 1966, the year Cliff and I got married. Peyton Place, the TV series, seems to have begun in 1964.

Movies certainly were corny in sixties, weren't they? I guess I'll be watching the rest of "The Chase" alone.

*People sure did smoke a lot of cigarettes back in the '60's.

squash and tomatoes and saving on groceries

Vicki left this comment on my last post: "Will all of your produce really last until next Summer? Amazing! I'd be curious to know what range your grocery bills fall in."

No, all my produce won't last until next summer. The only thing I canned in huge quantity was the tomatoes, because so many of our healthy winter recipes (not to mention chili; and Cliff's favorite, spaghetti) require tomatoes. Even Wal-mart's house brand of tomatoes are over eighty cents a can these days, and it's hard to find any without salt added. I'm still not sure these are enough to last through the winter; only time will tell.

There are forty or so quarts and pints of tomatoes here,

and several pints stuck here with various pickles and peaches.

If I shopped carefully and kept myself on a budget (which I don't, but should), I'm pretty confident we could get by for under $40 a week; we eat lots of bean-and-rice dishes in fall and winter, and of course this summer we've eaten so many various garden things. We have our own milk now, too; but I can't really say we're saving money, since we paid a fortune for the Jersey cow.

And then there's the butternut squash. This year has been my first experience raising these prolific demons. Oh, I love winter squash, but enough is enough. I'm not really sure how well, or how long, they will keep; in the past when I've bought butternut squash, I've had it last on a counter for a couple of months; I've also had it rot. We shall see. If it all decides to rot, there will be a whole lot of rotting going on!

I have squash in a closet...

Squash inside the door, behind my recliner...

squash on my front porch...

and squash where I've tossed it right outside my garden.

And they're still coming on; oh, the vines seem to be dying back a little in the center, but I read online that the squash will go ahead and ripen even after the vines die.


If my peppers ever start producing like they should, I may make some green tomato relish later on. Other than that, I have no further plans for canning or freezing anything else. Of course, we know what Robert Burns said about best laid schemes... "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley".

Morning thoughts

Everything I have read online about goldfinches tells me they disappear from feeders around August 8. While I'm not seeing as many as before, I still have several still showing up at my feeder; that's a good thing! I love the splashes of yellow cavorting around my yard. I understand their color fades to brown for the winter.

I've acquired several kinds of flowers with which I'm getting acquainted this year, but the Coneflowers are my new favorites. They absolutely bloom their little hearts out all summer; they attract butterflies; and although it's recommended that you "deadhead" them, I'm leaving the dead flowers on the plant because I've seen goldfinches making a meal of the dry seeds. You absolutely MUST get some coneflowers if you don't have them already! They demand little, and they give so much.

Last year my hummingbirds left sometime in mid-August, as I recall. They're still here this year, extra feisty of late. I have one feeder attached to a window by Cliff's chair, and we've had a marvelous time watching the little critters chase one another. Sometimes one will even hit against the window pane in his haste to escape from a rambunctious friend.

We've had rain. Lots of rain: another three and three quarters inches since Sunday morning. All the varieties of tomatoes in my garden are blighty, but the fruits are still staying ahead of the blighted areas of the plants. I think I'm done canning tomatoes; I only have a few pint jars left, and I do believe I have plenty to last until next summer. We shall see. At present, for any dishes requiring tomatoes, I'm using fresh ones from the garden. With any luck I won't have to start using canned ones until sometime in October, depending of course on how bad the blight situation gets.

I'm still scouring the Internet for ways to use Butternut squash. The pie I made last Sunday was excellent. Yesterday I made Butternut squash soup (recipe HERE), and I like it fine; I sent some with Cliff in his lunch to take to work; I'm anxious to find out if he likes it. I found a different recipe from Emeril, but his version requires two cups of heavy cream. With a Jersey cow in residence here, I can obtain the cream; but I don't think Cliff and I had better indulge in so much of it.

From only one plant, we've enough eggplant to indulge in rattatouille, Russian Eggplant caviar, and Eggplant Parmesiana; my daughter has taken a few eggplants home with her, too.

My garden is a weedy mess, but it's still providing us with good things to eat. The okra is taller than I, and is just coming into its own; I'm freezing plenty to use in chicken gumbo this winter.

If the weather-guessers know what they're talking about, it looks like we might have a few days with no precipitation. That will be a nice change.

Enough rambling! I wish each of my readers a wonderful day. I'm wasting time at the computer when I could be outside enjoying a crisp morning that feels like autumn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lots of rain

Sunday and Monday brought us over three inches of rain; some of the rainfall Monday was the washing kind that leaves deep gullies in driveways and plowed fields. Yes, we had hay cut; it's ruined.

Making hay is pretty much of a crap shoot at best. You can listen to the weather-guessers on TV, but they're often wrong. Finally you just do what you must; for instance, if you work four days a week, you make an attempt to cut your hay on the first day of your three-day weekend and hope to get it baled and in the barn before you go back to work.

Our hay, this time, is ruined. But I think this is the first time in three or four years that we've lost a cutting of hay, so I'd say we're doing pretty good. Cliff and I are not depressed about the situation.

Tonight we got another inch-and-a-half of rain. There was a beautiful rainbow, but my camera wouldn't have taken it all in, so I didn't waste my time.

Then there was a lovely fog that came over our acreage.

Even over the field with the spoiled hay.

Life is good here.

Straining milk

It occurred to me that most of my readers have no idea what I do with milk I've gotten from the cow, to make sure it's clean and pure.

Even though I wash Bonnie's udder thoroughly, and she stands quietly and doesn't stir up any dust, she is an animal, after all. An animal with hair. So although I never see any hair in my bucket of milk, it's always a possibility. I got that plastic Kendall milk filter box at a farm sale, many years ago.

Here you see a milk filter; it's much thicker than a coffee filter... about the thickness of the cotton pad on a band-aid.

I secure the filter in place inside the strainer with this round piece of metal with holes, which fits quite snugly.

Then I put an even snugger metal ring on top of that, to hold the edges of the filter tightly against the sides of the strainer.

I've owned this milk strainer since 1969; my parents used it before they gave it to me. That metal thing between the strainer and the jar that I use to funnel the milk into the jar also came from my parents; I don't know what its original use was, but it works great for this job.

I usually bring in about a gallon of milk taken from the two teats on Bonnie's right side. Her calf, Sir Loin, gets the other two teats. (I've taken to calling him "Little Sir".)

Here you see the milk being strained through the filter and going into the jar.

There goes the last of it. Considering the thickness of the filter, it strains pretty fast, probably twenty or thirty seconds. Milk taken straight from the cow always has that foam on top when you first bring it in.

Monday, August 17, 2009


For awhile today, I couldn't access any Blogger blogs, even my own. As a fullly-vested, fallen member of Bloggers Anonymous, you can bet I was fit to be tied, especially when I couldn't access blogs on my laptop either! I dusted off my old Wordpress Blog, the one I've only toyed around with a little, and realized I do not want to learn new things!

Thank goodness everything was all right in Bloggerville when I came back here.

Sadie has settled down

That's the form that was on Sadie's cage when she chose us three-and-one-half years ago, at Wayside Waifs. As you can see, they were calling her Joli. She had been in their care for two weeks.

My previous dog, Mandy, had just been hit by a car and killed, so my worst fear was that this might happen again. Sadie was so very hyperactive when we got her home, she'd run away at any opportunity; and I'd worry myself sick until she showed up again.

So I stopped turning her loose, and kept her on a leash at all times when we went outside. After I'd had her a year or so, I found out it was safe to turn her loose when we took our walks in the pasture; so she had that little measure of freedom.

When we moved back here further from the road last year, I started letting Sadie go outside to "do her business" without a leash, but I watched her closely. If I turned my back, she was gone. If I saw her running off and called her, she ignored me. I tried punishing her for this behavior, but that backfired on me: She decided if she was going to have a fly-swatter taken to her, she just wouldn't come home at all! So when she'd disappear and then return, I began petting her and telling her what a good dog she was for returning.

One early morning recently, I let Sadie out and forgot about her. I don't worry so much these days, because I know she will come home before long. It occurred to me that there's very little traffic around here at that time of day, and that it might do Sadie good to be set free regularly for an hour or so. There was risk involved, but not too much.

The more I set her free, the more laid-back she became... and the more she stayed right here in our yard. My biggest fear used to be that she would follow one of the free-roaming dogs in the neighborhood and get hurt, because she had always gone absolutely crazy when she saw a dog around.

Now that she's gotten acquainted with them all, she hardly notices them, or she'll simply watch them cross the yard from back here at the house. Oh, there's her nemesis, the dreaded Boxer, that she'll still run toward. But the Boxer always stops at her approach; and once Sadie gets near her and sniffs at her from all sides, she wags her tail, and comes back home.

As you can see by these pictures, she generally keeps her Frisbee nearby. On a hot day she'll take it to the shade with her.

When she wants in, she comes to the door, and sometimes barks to let me know she's waiting. She still spends at least three-fourths of her waking hours in the house, by her own choice.

She's a changed doggie. Usually, she even comes when I call her these days. I guess the old saying is true:

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was.

Still, there's always that risk, however slim, that something bad will happen to Sadie. I do believe the older she gets, the less chances of that there will be.