Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Morning cravings

Cliff and I are still weighing in at two to three pounds over where we should be.  What a drag.  It's a roller-coaster, which of course is preferable to a constant up-hill climb, but still no fun.
What is it about winter that makes us crave greasy, heavy foods?  I try to give us our "fix" in manageable ways.  We'll have pancakes occasionally (one large one apiece, with exactly two tablespoons of syrup and one pat of butter).  Bacon and eggs about once a week (two strips of bacon, one egg, one piece of toast).  That sort of thing does keep us sticking to the calorie plan, for the most part.  

This morning I got peaches out of the freezer, intent on having cold cereal with peaches... a delicious and nutritious breakfast indeed.  I settled down with my coffee and resumed reading the first Nero Wolfe book that Rex Stout (brother of Ruth Stout, the famous no-till gardener) wrote back in 1932, just waiting for Cliff to wake up.
For some reason, a little demon hopped on my shoulder and whispered "biscuits and gravy".
I argued with the little pest.  Usually if we're going to have biscuits and gravy, I plan ahead and buy some canned biscuits (50 calories each, so we can each have four of them), because baking powder biscuits,  even if I make them pretty small, are over 150 calories apiece, and who can stop at just one?  And you just HAVE to top off breakfast with a buttered hot biscuit with jelly.  It's too much temptation!  I make a mean batch of baking powder biscuits, by the way.  

See what that little demon started?  Are you hungry yet?
Finally I settled on a compromise.  A slice of bread has only 60 calories.  When I was a kid, bread and gravy was a full meal at our house, and one of my favorites, actually.  My mother used to tell about the time she put the left-over gravy outside in the dog's dish, turned her back for a bit, and looked up to see two-year-old me eating gravy with the dog.  

Two slices of bread each, and one cup of gravy.  I wonder when Cliff is going to wake up?  

We'll have the peaches for dessert at noon.    

The real problem here, of course, is the bitter cold weather.  I'm living a sedentary life right now.  My knees limit how far I can go on our walk.  I am not burning the 1,800 calories I consume each day, and I'm not willing to take in less than that.  Once I can get outside and putter in the garden, I'll be just fine, thank you very much.  At least that's what I tell myself.  

Meanwhile the scales go back and forth between 146 and 149.    

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

fading away

I didn't watch much of the Grammies Sunday night, but I did stay alert listening for them to announce Kris Kristofferson's appearance, because he was to be honored.  Chatting on Facebook as I am wont to do, I mentioned Kris; that's when a friend told me that Kris has something like Alzheimer's.   

Memory loss was on my mind already; last week Cliff, his sister, and I went to visit their Aunt Gertrude, the lady in the middle.  She has asthma, and is in and out of the hospital pretty frequently, but her mind is sharp.  Aunt Lois, her sister, was also there for the day.  She has Alzheimer's.  There's a couple buying her home, living there and caring for her.  Aunt Gertrude likes to give them a day off each week, so they bring Lois to her house.  

She has no memory of us.  Cliff asked about one of her boys, and she said, "Do you know him?"  
"Yes," Cliff answered, "I used to play with him when we were kids.  We used to go to your house every year for Thanksgiving."

She just looked confused.  Aunt Gert says she dreads the day when Lois no longer recognizes her.  

This is not a flattering picture of Cliff, but my blog needs this picture of them conversing

We introduced ourselves to her several times throughout the day.  She seemed to enjoy visiting with us, anyhow.  
Yesterday we got a note from Aunt Gertrude.  She wrote, "(After we left) Lois wanted to know who those people were.  She said 'they acted like they know me.  Who was that man that sat by me?  He sure was a talker!'" 
"That gave us something to talk about," Aunt Gertrude continued, "even if it was reruns."  

There's no way of knowing which of us will end up in the same condition.  If it turns out to be me, I certainly wouldn't want to know ahead of time.  I try not to think about it too much.  

Monday, January 27, 2014


I fixed a couple of cheeseburgers today for our dinner.  I also heated up green beans, not because I wanted them, but because we need some low-calorie veggies when we are having a cheeseburger.  We manage to force them down, even though we would rather have french fries.  The best thing about cooking hamburgers is that for hours afterward, if you go outside and come back in, the house smells wonderfully GREASY.  You know, like a cheap restaurant.

It's winter, and I've been reading books like crazy.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for the library:  Khaled Hosseini has written only three books so far; I've read two of them at no cost, thanks to eBooks from the library, and I have a hold placed on "And the Mountains Echoed" .  I got brave enough to recommend "The Kite Runners" to Cliff, not really knowing if it would be his cup of tea.  He loved it.  Now I'm thinking I need to check out "A Thousand Splendid Suns" again, just for him, because I didn't give him the opportunity to read it; I was afraid he wouldn't like it.

I like this author so much that I've been working on learning how to pronounce his name all day long.  You can find that HERE.  You'll find several videos of him talking about his life HERE.  This man's writings have removed a lot of prejudices from my life.  Books can change the world, if only you can get people to read them.

This morning I finished "Behind the Candelabra", a book written by one of Liberace's boy friends.  I didn't think it was that great until over halfway through.  I ended up giving it four-out-of-five stars, because I was bowled over at how it all ended.  And honestly, I believed the author's account.

I also read War Brides last week.  I don't know why, but I never really LOVE books by British authors.  Still, I have to admit this one held my interest.  There's going to be a movie based on this book before long.

I watched an interview with Jay Leno on 60 Minutes that only reinforced my love and admiration for the man.  You can see the whole segment at the 60 minutes website.  Folks, this guy is real.  


In other news:  On that first below-zero night, my hens stopped laying.  What was that, two weeks ago?  Three?  Whatever.  Now in my experience, if a hen stops laying in winter she isn't going to give me any more eggs until early March.  But Saturday I happened to glance in one of the nests and beheld an egg!  At least one of the hens has come out of retirement.

They tell me propane is up to $4 a gallon, and most companies won't deliver more than 200 gallons at a time.  Seems there is a shortage.  We paid $2.04 a gallon for the 250 gallons they delivered on January 3rd.  In an effort to make it last, we are keeping the thermostat set at 65 during the day and 60 at night.  I'm sitting here with a blanket wrapped around me right now, but by george, the furnace isn't running!  

OK, I think that's all I have.  I realize most of this is book reviews, but hey, it's better than nothing... right?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

George will soon be gone

I put George on Craigslist a few days ago.  Today we sold him, and will take him to the nearby butcher shop as soon as they are ready for him.  

Funny thing is, I could have cut out the middleman and just posted him for sale on Facebook.  I shared a picture of the ad there, and a Facebook friend from over in Spring Hill, Kansas, said she and her husband would be interested, so we set up a time for them to come and meet George.  They were here this afternoon and paid for him.  We had a delightful visit with this nice couple.  They'll make an appointment with the butcher shop, and we'll take him there.  

Here is our buyer, getting a good look at her beef.
Someone who attends livestock auctions in this vicinity told me that, while beef animals are selling at high prices, these dairy breeds are bringing cutter/canner prices, which is around $1 a pound.  We thought we would save ourselves the trouble of a trip to the sale barn and see if anybody wanted some mostly grass-fed beef for a reasonable price.  

This Facebook friend somehow stumbled onto my blog a few years ago when she was looking for something livestock or gardening-related, and we've corresponded from time to time.  It's always nice to put a face with a name.  She said that when they turned onto our road, she immediately recognized my house, simply because of all the pictures I've shared here.  

I think I'm going to buy a bottle calf or two in February or March.  We have a lot of ground beef in the freezer, but who knows how much we'll have in thirteen or fourteen months; it's hard to estimate how much we'll use in that length of time.  We've been sharing with the family because we like to share, but it occurred to me that we don't want to get rid of too much and end up buying stinky, expensive ground beef from the store.  So we won't share quite so generously until one of the new calves is almost ready to butcher in the spring.  Then, we'll pass the older beef to relatives to make way for the new.  I'm considering choosing a smaller, Jersey-looking bull calf, letting him keep his testicles, and perhaps using him to breed my cows next year before we butcher him.  I may buy two bull calves and have one to butcher and one to sell.  Ah, the possibilities.    

Unfortunately, most of our livestock panels have been used to patch fences or keep cows out of ditches.  So I'm not sure what we'll use for pens.      

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Babies grow up fast

Baby's dad hasn't had many opportunities to work lately, with the harsh weather we're having; but today he's working.  This means the Little Princess is here, for the first time in a week.  Every time we are away from her for that long, she comes back with a lot of new stuff she has learned.  
Last Wednesday we would spread a blanket on the living room floor, lay her on it with some toys, and there she would stay, playing contentedly.  Today she rolled off the blanket and clear across the living room.  This means there will be no more laying her on our bed for naps, because she could easily roll off.  We now have the Pack-n-Play set up in the bedroom.  A while ago I laid her down in it with a couple of soft, cuddly toys, and she went to sleep without so much as a whimper.  
sound asleep

Now, to be honest, she might have gone to sleep on her own two months ago, but I love rocking her and singing her to sleep so much, I just never gave her the opportunity.
She can reach for her pacifier and put it in her mouth, not that she's all that worried about her pacifier.  The only time she really likes it is when she's going to sleep.  Sometimes she sucks on her fingers or thumb, but it doesn't appear as though it's going to be a problem.  

I can't wait for springtime, when we can take her outside:  She can watch the chickens, pet the cows, and go for a tractor ride every day.  I'll put the Pack-n-Play at the edge of the garden and she can watch me tilling.  It will be so much fun!  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Small churches in small towns

This is something I've been thinking about a lot.  

First of all, you need to know that I attended a larger church in a nearby town for many, many years.  Not a "mega church", but attendance was usually in the four- to five-hundred range.  I didn't really know most of the people there personally, except as we interacted at church.  I worked in the nursery for many years, which made me feel useful.  Not to mention that I love babies and toddlers, so it was fun.  The preaching was good; so was the choir.  The fact that I didn't really know anyone, or have anything in common with them, didn't bother me.  Sometimes it's nice to be invisible.    
And then the lady who picked me up and took me to church had her husband go into a nursing home in the town where that church was, and she spent Sundays with her husband.  So I lost my ride.
I don't drive.  So I just sort of stopped attending church.  One thing I learned as a non-driver is that nobody wants to be bothered picking up some woman every week on their way to church.  

Although he is a believer, Cliff isn't a "church-y" kind of guy, and when he had to go to work every day, he liked having his weekends to work on projects at home.  
When he retired, I said, "OK.  Now you are home all the time.  We are going to church."

Because I'm bossy like that.  Actually, I'm not, usually.  But I knew he would be willing to give up an hour or so to do something I wanted to do, because he likes me. 

I did not want us to have to drive all over the county looking for a church, so we attended services at a few local churches.  Honestly, every one we attended was satisfactory:  The people were friendly and glad to have us there.  Most of the attendees were local folks, so we saw familiar faces.  I would probably have been happy at any of them.  Cliff was fine with all of them, because none of the services lasted over sixty minutes.  

But for some reason, before we even tried all of the local churches, I settled on one.  I have no idea why.  Maybe I was just tired of "church-shopping".  

I think we've been going to that church for at least two years.  Today I told Cliff that I've figured out why small, local churches stay small.  And it isn't any failing in the people or the preachers.  

I grew up going to small churches in small towns until I was twelve years old, and here's what I think the problem is:  You know those church members personally.  You know who has a bad temper and who has had marriage problems.  You've heard about some of their teenagers' exploits.  Old Brother Smith has been know to take one drink too many at times.  You've heard one of the deacons cursing... that's a sin, right?  But the scariest part is, a few of those people know some things about you, and you're not perfect either.  You might be branded a hypocrite for going to church!    

And this is why I have decided I like going to a small church in a small town.  We are all imperfect, and we are admitting we need God in our lives.  We've seen one anothers' faults, and we hope to do better.  That's why we're there.  And hey, how can we judge one another harshly when we know our own imperfections so well?  

My husband doesn't cook

By that I mean it would surprise me to find him attempting to boil water.  Sometimes when I am cooking some quite ordinary food in the kitchen, he will be passing through and then stop and watch in amazement as I prepare it.  And often he will say something like this:  "Huh.  I didn't know that's how you did that!"  

Because we are always watching our weight, Cliff eats a lot of Jello.  He just doesn't feel as though his meal is complete without something sweet at the end, something to go with his coffee.  We sometimes have a half-cup of ice cream, and sometimes I mix up a cake mix, cut it into small squares, individually wrap the pieces, and put them all in a freezer bag.  Sometimes I buy cookies and dole them out one at a time.  But we only have something like that once a day, and Cliff eats two meals daily that require something sweet.  That's where the sugar-free Jello comes in.  Personally, I wouldn't care if I never heard of Jello again, but it suits him just fine, with five or six chocolate animal crackers thrown in.  Every week, he goes through four regular-sized packages of Jello.  

This morning he happened through the kitchen as I was taking two cups of boiling water out of the microwave.  He stopped and watched me pour it into the dish holding the contents of two packages of powdered Jello, and then stir it.  
"Huh," he snorted.  "I didn't know you had to boil water to make Jello."  
"Yes," I answered, "and once it's dissolved, I add two cups of cold water."  
"Cliff," I said, as he walked away, "If I should die and leave you a widower, and you decide to make Jello, just read the box, OK?  The directions are right there."  

Not that I think he will be eating Jello if I'm gone.  I don't think he would watch his weight without me around.  He'd probably be eating mostly bread and cake, with a little pie thrown in for good measure.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Random. Probably the most boring blog entry you will ever read.

It looks like I will, indeed, be able to go walking with Cliff each day, as long as I keep it a short walk.  The first day I was aiming for ten minutes, but didn't actually pay attention to the time:  I just walked to a certain spot, bade Cliff farewell, and came back to the house.  The next day I watched the time, and found out I actually walked twenty minutes.  Four days of it hasn't put me in any more pain than I have normally.  
Yesterday I got on the scales and weighed 149!  Good grief, I'm gaining weight!  However, it made me so angry at myself that I'm truly motivated to cut back on calories.  Now I'll succeed.  

Around the time Cliff retired, I decided we should do the main part of our grocery-shopping one day a month, and we did this for over a year.  Somewhere along about that time, Cliff decided he wanted to eat salad every evening for supper.  He still does that, by the way.  Well, it finally hit me that we were having to make at least one trip a week to the store to get tomatoes, lettuce, and whatever else I was going to put in his salad, and trying to buy enough groceries for a month was a big hassle anyhow; we'd go to one store and another for various things, hit the feed store for the cows... by the time we returned home, I was exhausted.  I would end up with too much of this and not enough of that, and if I'd forgotten anything, it was another trip.  Yeah, it was a great experiment, but it didn't make sense and it was wearing me out.  So now we go to the store once a week like everybody else.  

my favorite coffee cup
Here's something:  I've mentioned before how I have a favorite coffee cup.  Without even thinking about it, I find myself reaching for that particular cup if it's in the cupboard.  But I realized this morning that I also have a second-favorite and a third-favorite.  It takes at least two days for our dishwasher to get enough dirty dishes in it to wash them, so this means my favorite cup is in there at least every other day and I have to use another.  Now, don't remind me that in ten seconds' time I could go to the sink and wash the cup, and use my favorite every day; it's the principle of the thing:  I have a dishwasher, and by george, I refuse to wash anything by hand that can go in the dishwasher!

 I bought this cup over twenty years ago when my son and his family were stationed at Fort Hood.  It's number 2 on my list of favorites.  

I bought this one at a garage sale down the road.  A retired local schoolteacher was getting rid of her excess stuff.  

Now, in the process of doing this entry, I came to realize there's a reason why these cups are the ones I use.  I like the lobotomy saying on cup number one, so it would probably be my favorite no matter what.  But here's the thing.  Cliff drinks his coffee black, while I use creamer.  These three cups are so dark, it's hard to tell when they're full, if you're pouring black coffee.  I always put a spoonful of creamer in my cup and then fill it, so it's easy to see the lighter shade of coffee in  dark cup.  And that's what started me using those cups.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


First of all, Cliff and I are still coping with being anywhere from two to four pounds over our goal weight.  I know what I need to do:  If I would just cut back 200 more calories a day on our meal plan, we'd lose it.  Obviously, I must not want to do that.  I've been spending twenty to thirty minutes a day doing ab exercises and a few upper-body exercises with a set of five-pound weights, so I told Cliff, "I know why I'm having trouble losing the weight!  Muscle weighs more than fat, and my fifteen minutes of exercise every day is making muscles."  
I wasn't serious.  It's sort of an inside joke around here, because we've heard so many people use this excuse (mostly from people who never lose weight anyway).  Of course there is a small kernel of truth in the statement, but I'm pretty sure you'd have to be a lot more serious about weight-lifting that I am for it to work.  

I have really missed my daily walks, but a half-hour or more of walking for exercise was putting me in some serious pain for the rest of the day.  Cliff still goes faithfully.  I'm proud of him for that; I was afraid if I stopped, he would too.  This morning I logged onto, which I use mainly for calorie-counting, and saw on my start page a message that I've been ignoring:  "Click here if you have done ten minutes of exercise today."  That got me wondering if I could get by with ten minutes of walking with Cliff.  It would get me out in the sunshine, keep me in touch with our land, and give me some bonding time with my husband.  So today that's just what I did, and I plan to keep it up if I can.  
I can walk all day around the garden, to the chicken house, to the barn, and so forth.  It just isn't the same as the kind of walking you do when you're doing it for exercise.      

The people from whom I buy my baby calves are going to be acquiring a lot of babies soon.  I'm thinking about buying one bull calf to raise, just in case we need meat in a year or so.  If we don't need meat, I can always sell him.  Cora is at a stage now where she's easy to leave with Cliff if I want to get out and mess with livestock, so I could raise a bottle calf.  You can put her on a blanket in the floor and put toys around her and she'll play for a long time.  She'll spend the better part of an hour bouncing in her swing, too.  We haven't had her a lot, because Adam's construction job hasn't been keeping him busy this winter.  When he's off for several days, he brings her over for a few hours every once in awhile just so we can enjoy her (no charge; in fact, we'd probably pay him).  We're looking forward to springtime, when we can take her outside and do things with her.  

After I took my abbreviated walk this morning, I got a rubber currycomb and used it on Grace and Penny.  They love being brushed, and when I stop doing it, they follow me around until I do it some more.  Penny thought if she butted me, I'd start grooming her again.  She got soundly smacked with the brush.  You can't allow cattle to head-butt people.  It's dangerous.  

My hens were set to lay all winter until the below-zero weather several days ago.  That ended my wintertime egg supply.  Oh well, they'll start up again in March.      

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Things are looking up

First of all, we have water in the house.  Cliff's hunch that the problem was with the old wires running down to the pump turned out to be correct.  Several people seemed to think it had to do with frozen pipes, but we knew better than that:  We've lived here since 1975, and have never had frozen pipes.  
Anyway, Bruce and his crew came shortly after noon yesterday, pulled the pump, put new wire on it, and returned it to the bottom of the well around 3:30.  

While we were waiting for Bruce yesterday morning, we noticed that Grace was in heat.  It was rather bad timing since we were dealing with the well situation, but Gracie's age is right and it's time to get her pregnant.  Oh, and I had arrangements already made.  

This ad showed up on Craigslist some time back.  Cliff and I talked about renting him and keeping him around until our three heifers are bred.  The problem was that Penny won't be a year old till March, and ideally a heifer needs to be fifteen months old before she meets a bull.  Although Penny is too small to be bred, she comes in heat regularly and definitely would end up pregnant at too young an age.
So I decide to call the man and make a proposition:  First of all, I found out he's less than twenty miles from us.  I asked him if we could haul a heifer to his bull when she came in heat, let her spend some quality time with Mr. Bull, and then bring her home the next day.  I give him $50, and he has money in his pocket for very little effort on his part.  The bull has fun, and so does the heifer.  I see milk, cream, and butter in my future.  Everybody is happy.  

To make the situation even better, Cliff's brother has sold his cows, so he told us to keep his livestock trailer here at our house.  No more running to Higginsville to get the trailer and then making the return trip to take it home.  

If all goes well, there will be a calf around October 19.  I don't care whether it's a girl or boy.  It will be a beef cross, so will probably bring a good price at a sale barn.  

Crystal, Bonnie's whiteface calf, will be the next heifer to visit the bull.  Her calf should really be a dandy, since it will be three-quarters beef breed.    

Penny has to wait until May to get any action.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

No water

Cliff was heading out yesterday afternoon to do some man-type shopping.  Even though I have cabin fever and haven't been out of the house for awhile, I decided not to go along.  
"This way, you can take your time and won't have to worry about me being bored."  
"Yeah," he said, "I'll cruise all the tractor lots while I'm out!"  

Half-an-hour later, I went to the kitchen sink to fill a little bucket with warm water for the chickens.  The stream of water coming from the faucet wasn't very big, and was getting smaller.  My past experience with our well told me to grab a container and save what water I could.  I managed to squeeze out a gallon before it stopped coming.  

My first thought was to let Cliff have his fun, and I'd tell him when he returned.  That way his whole day wouldn't be ruined.  But then I realized that we would need to get started on the problem as soon as possible, so I called him.  

Man, I hated to have to tell him the well was acting up.  It is the most depressing feeling in the world to have problems like that, especially in winter.  If it were summer, we could, with help from a few relatives, pull the pump and perhaps find the problem ourselves.  Winter makes things SO much more difficult.  Even as I type this, a cloud of depression takes hold of me anew.  

He was in Orscheln's when I called, and said he'd head home.  He checked the switch, which is about the only trouble-shooting we can do without pulling the pump.  Cliff said we'd have to pull the pump today, and I mentioned that the oldest grandson has Fridays off work.  

Then I said, "You know what?  It'll cost us a fortune, but let's call Bruce."  Bruce being the only person we know who tackles this kind of problem.  He has the equipment to pull the pump and the knowledge to fix any problem with a well.  We won't talk about the hundreds of dollars it's going to cost.I'm thankful we have a rainy-day fund, even though it's shrinking little by little.  Bruce does have to pay for his equipment, after all.  He's the one that will be out in the drizzle and cold.  He's the one who always gives priority to people with well problems, and reschedules other jobs to try and get someone's water running from the faucets again.  

I'm pretty sure the pump is good, because it isn't that old.  We're thinking the wiring may be the problem, because it wasn't looking so good when we put the new pump in; but it was Sunday and not convenient to go buy wire.  

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get along without water.  Rather than dirty up dishes, I opened a pint jar of home-canned applesauce.  We used paper plates, and each had two pieces of toast with a cup of applesauce.  For dinner, I got a freezer bag full of Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer.  I'll make turkey salad for sandwiches.  

The applesauce was a day-brightener:  There's just a good feeling I get when eating food in winter than I "put up" last summer.  I don't think a day goes by that we don't eat something I canned or froze from the garden and fruit trees:  Peaches or strawberries on our cereal, or as a dessert with a half-cup of ice cream.  Green beans at least once a week.  Canned tomatoes are a key ingredient in so many of my recipes.  We often have my home-processed tomato juice as a mid-morning refreshment.  

No matter what goes awry on the property, we'll have plenty to eat.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A better day

It was below zero this morning, but we have the promise of warmer weather by day's end.  On Facebook I'm seeing many Georgia friends talking about temperatures more typical of Missouri this time of year.  One friend, Celeste, said their water pipes froze.  Even my snowbird sister down in Texas is cold.

I'm making hamburger stew today, enough so we can share with my daughter's family.  Heaven knows we have enough hamburger for several families.  Rachel went back to work yesterday, by the way.  It's great to see things finally getting back to normal for her and her family.  

Pioneer Woman shared her recipe for hamburger soup on Facebook, and I noticed she puts sweet peppers in hers, so I'm tossing a few of my frozen, chopped peppers from last summer's garden into the pot today.  I usually put barley in mine, but I seem to be fresh out of that.  I'll put a couple handfuls of rice in, instead.  A while back I opened the freezer compartment of my refrigerator and noticed I had unthinkingly put my celery in there; I left it, thinking I would find something to use it for.  So now it is chopped up and cooking with the hamburger, onions, and garlic.  The nearest grocery store to us had some lovely fresh cabbage and lettuce on hand when I went yesterday to pick up some necessities.  The produce truck had just arrived.  People were busily stocking shelves that had been emptied during the weekend snowstorm.   Anyway, I'm glad to have some cabbage for my soup.  

Cora's daddy is bringing her to spend a few hours, so we'll be having fun with her today.  

Have a great day!  It's time to slice some carrots and peel potatoes.

Monday, January 06, 2014


With this frigid weather (way below zero last night) I'm a grouch, so I really don't have much to blog about, unless you wanted to read a bunch of complaints.  Yesterday we didn't even get out to go to church because of road conditions.  Many church services were cancelled.  We only had about three inches of snow, I think, but our car doesn't get around well on slick roads, and lots of local folks said the roads were bad.  

I feel so sorry for the animals when it's below zero.  There's been a stiff wind blowing, too, so wind chills were twenty to thirty below.  On my first visit to the chicken house today, Chickie was up on her shelf with her feathers all puffed out, and I was a little worried about her.  Last time I checked, though, she was more like herself, and when I picked her up she sang to me like always.  If she can only make it one more night, it's supposed to warm up to around thirty degrees tomorrow.  

Subway has a month-long special going on:  Any foot-long for $5.  The cold-cut combo is what we normally get, and it's always $5.  We'll take this opportunity to try some of the ones that normally cost more.  

I can't talk about Cora, because she hasn't been here.  Her mom was off two weeks for the holidays, and now her dad isn't working because of the cold weather.  They did bring her by for an hour or so Saturday while they messed with the horses, and Adam will probably bring her tomorrow for a few hours.  I told them it would be free, because we miss her and want to see her.  In the two weeks we didn't see her, she has become very proficient with her hands, and can pick up anything within reach and put it in her mouth.  

So that's it, just me checking in.  Nothing's particularly wrong, and I wanted my readers to know.  We're healthy, our bellies are full.  I still have that two pesky pounds to lose, and Cliff has more, but we'll get it done.  It's hard, when you're house-bound.  Reading and surfing the Internet doesn't burn a lot of calories.  

Friday, January 03, 2014

Partying in the shop

My daughter's kids and grand-kids all got together at her house for a belated Christmas celebration.  By mid-morning yesterday, things were getting crowded there and she called and asked if they could move the shindig to Cliff's shop.  Now, I know people wonder why we are always gathering in the shop.  Having room to roam, that's one reason.  

There's a gym for kids to climb on.  Several, in fact, but they don't have as far to fall on this one.  

You can blow bubbles and nobody cares if you make a mess.

If you want to play in the spilled bubble stuff, people just watch and laugh.  No biggie.  

You can get free driving lessons!

If you spill your drink in the shop, nobody cares.  

A lot of drinking goes on in the shop.  This young lady looks as though she may have had one too many. 

 Teenagers get to text to their hearts' content.  

There's a nice wood stove to keep you warm, too.  The only drawback is that you have to go to the house if you need a bathroom, but the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages.  

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Hard times

Women grew up fast in the old days.  

My paternal grandmother was 18 years old in this wedding picture.  She looks SO young. 

If I remember correctly, my dad, the oldest child, took this picture, which explains why he isn't in it.  The next time my grandmother gave birth, both she and the baby died.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Goodbye dear reader, whoever you are

 Someone who has apparently followed my blog for years was offended by my opinions about the Duck Dynasty thing.  This guy wrote a very kind email message to tell me he could no longer follow my blog because of what I had to say about a television show.  

I don't care.  

I didn't start this blog for him.  If I were looking for a lot of readers, I would have gone in an entirely different direction long ago.  It amazes me that a television show is that important to someone.

Honestly, I don't care if anyone but my husband reads this stuff.  I blog mostly for myself.  I have stated here, many times, that the reason I started a blog was so I could express my opinions in a spot on the Internet that was mine alone.  Those who don't like what I have to say don't have to read it.  I got tired of being censured on message boards for saying things that, honestly, weren't even that controversial. 

I do appreciate the supportive comments, here and on Facebook; and the friendly emails from those who for some reason aren't able to comment here.  

If a bunch of millionaires want to grow beards and act stupid, that's their business.  But I am allowed free speech, just as much as they are.  Folks, I am always willing to admit I could be wrong on any subject, but I think I have the right to express my opinion.  

And I want to thank my checkered group of friends who occasionally chasten me, often disagree with me, and yet listen to what I have to say.  Since they listen to me, I listen to them.  Because, you know, I could be wrong.