Monday, August 19, 2019

It's been a fun weekend

Saturday we had a parade in Lexington with our club.  Cliff has made three different carriers for me to sit in behind the tractors.  Now we only have two, because he sold one with the little Farmall Super C; actually, that one wasn't so much a carrier as a simple seat for me to ride on.  No matter how I'm being transported behind any tractor, Cliff and I are amazed at how people laugh and give us thumbs-up when they see us.  They think it's the funniest thing ever seeing a woman ride behind a tractor like that.  So this is us Saturday toward the end of the parade.

There were a lot of tractors in the parade.

Now, Sunday Cliff took me to the Truman Lake Opry to see Bill Anderson.  My poor husband was pretty indifferent about it, since he never cared for the man's singing.  I didn't either either, but after finding out what a prolific songwriter he is, and watching him in discussions with the other country singers on Country's Family Reunion, I've learned to love him.  

As it turns out, it was a great show, and I was glad to see Cliff applauding enthusiastically for the music, and laughing at the jokes.  Old Whisperin' Bill is a really good showman.  I took my copy of his book to get it autographed, but I sure had to stand in line for awhile to get it done.  That's me down there, turned around talking to some of my fellow fans of the 81-year-old man we came to see.
You don't see many young folks here

So I got my book autographed and got my picture taken.  Cliff blurred the picture of the signing, but at least this one turned out fine. 
Don't you suppose he gets tired of wearing a big fake smile for about 100 lady fans who just want to get a picture with him before he dies of old age.  I asked him about that, and he replied, "Somebody's gotta do it."  

Cliff agreed with me that the hairpiece Bill was wearing yesterday was the best one he's ever had.  We watch Country's Family Reunion shows that cover a twenty-one year period, and some of his hairpieces weren't all that flattering.  Seriously, this is the best ever.  

Bill told some good jokes, some we'd never heard before.  He also told a few life stories.  Here's one I enjoyed:  Bill said he met up with Jamie Johnson and Buddy Cannon back in 2006 with the idea of collaborating on a new song.  As they began, Bill said, "I really didn't bring any ideas today."  Buddy Cannon said, "I don't have anything either."  Jamie Johnson said, "Well... I'm in the middle of a divorce."

Bill said, "What country songwriter couldn't make a song out of a divorce?"  And they began writing the song "Give it Away".  (What you see next are paraphrased, since I wasn't recording or taking notes on what Mr. Anderson was saying.)

At one point, Bill said to Jamey, "I don't think you want the word "flung" written into a song."

Jamey answered, "But that's what she did!  She flung the ring at me!"  So the words remained in the song that was a giant hit for George Strait.  

When that front door swung wide open
She flung her diamond ring
Said, give it away
Just give it away

So, in 2007 when the song became song of the year of 2006, George, Bill, and Jamie rose and went to the stage.  Bill did the usual brief thank-you speech thanking everyone involved in his career.  George Strait, the same yada yada yada.  Jamey stepped up to the mike and said, "I want to thank my ex-wife for divorcing me..."

Before I stop, I want to let you know that not every song Bill Anderson wrote was so great.  For instance, "Peel Me a Nanner, Toss Me a Peanut"; or "Walk Out Backwards so I'll Think You're walkin' In."

Yes, it was a fun concert and a good weekend.  Oh, and here's the autograph in my book; If I hadn't seen him sign it, I wouldn't even believe it says Bill Anderson... because it doesn't!  It's the real deal, though:  I looked up other autographs he's done over the years, and this is pretty much it.     

Monday, August 12, 2019

It'll be hot today

They are forecasting 95° for today's high.  Notice how I used the symbol for degrees, rather than typing out the word?  I use that shortcut so seldom, I never remember how to do it, but today I googled it.  Will I remember tomorrow how I did it?  Probably not.  On a Mac, I simply do control-option-8 and there's the magic little circle.  Simple enough, but my head is already filled with things I barely recall.  Why add another?  

We didn't go to the reunion yesterday.  The more we discussed going 400 miles round trip to spend a couple hours with people, half of whom we don't know, just didn't seem worth it.  Next Saturday is the Lexington Fair parade, in which we plan to participate with members of our tractor club.  Sunday we'll see Bill Anderson at the Truman Lake Opry.  I never cared much for "Whisperin' Bill" as a singer, but after watching Country's Family Reunion for a few years, I've seen how many songs he's written in his life, and I always admire great songwriters.  For a list of his songs that have made the country charts, click HERE.   But he wrote countless others, too.  If he takes time to meet his fans, as so many of the artists do at Truman, I'll have him sign the book he wrote.  

The next weekend we'll be going to Rantoul, Illinois, to a big tractor show.

We're planning a trip to Colorado with the grandson and his wife before long, too.  Here's hoping we find some things they'll enjoy with us.  I hope we don't run out of funds before we get all these things accomplished!

I've decided to try and teach Gabe to bark on command.  Today I managed to get a "speak" out of him twice after about 20 minutes of trying, but I doubt it's sunk into his brain yet; I gave him a treat each time he managed to bark after I said "speak".  It shouldn't be hard for him, because he's an expert at barking wildly at the window when he sees someone he knows!  People did warn me that Schnauzers are "barky", and Gabe is no exception to that rule.  

Speaking of Gabe:  We were taking a walk a couple mornings ago, just as the sun was coming up.  As usual, he was on the leash.  I wasn't paying attention to him, though.  I was lost in my thoughts until I realized he was pulling way harder on the leash than he usually does.  I looked up to see him almost nose-to-nose with a skunk!  I'd give a pretty penny to have gotten a picture of them, but I was more worried about putting some distance between us and Mr. Stinky.  I knew we had a little time, since the skunk had his face toward us instead of his butt.  In fact, through all of this, I never got even a hint of skunk smell, which is really unusual.  The skunk watched our retreat, then turned and walked away, taking his sweet time.  This morning I didn't go for a walk, but when I let Gabe out the door I saw him running toward the front of the garage in the dark and realized there was something there.  I had the flashlight in my hand, and approached the lump in the dark on the concrete; it was a possum, and Gabe was right there sniffing at him.  I'm not sure what it takes to make an opossum bite (they usually just act dead instead of fighting), so I got Gabe to pee and then herded him inside.  Oh, the joys of living in the country.  

I tried something new yesterday.  I think I've mentioned I've been taking turns between the Baptist Church and the Methodist Church in town on alternate Sundays.  Well, because the Methodist Church shares a minister with a larger congregation in Odessa, nine miles away, they have church here at 9 AM, and do Sunday School afterward.  The preacher leaves before Sunday School so he can get to Odessa by 10:30.  At the Baptist Church, Sunday School is at 9:30 and church is 10:30.  I decided to see how it would work going to both places every Sunday.  Cliff would drop me at the Methodist Church, I'd walk four or five blocks to the Baptist Church afterward, and Cliff would pick me up there.  

You're probably thinking, "Wow, two churches in one day!  You must really be religious!"

Not especially... "religious" is sort of a negative-sounding word anyhow; But I do need Jesus in my life, and I like to go to Church; I often think of myself as God's special needs child.  I like to sing the hymns with people.  I know I'm always saying I hate small talk, but somehow at church I don't mind it in those brief minutes before and after church.  Now I need to start learning the names of a few people.  I hardly know anybody in our town, and I've lived here since 1975.

I'm thinking about our mid-day meal now.  We had some eggs that needed to be used, so I cooked hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.  They're so easy to peel when cooked in a pressure cooker.  So I made deviled eggs yesterday.  I sent some home with the oldest granddaughter, and Cliff and I will have deviled eggs for our protein at dinner.  I'll slice some tomatoes and maybe make glazed carrots and green beans, and that ought to be plenty.  Oh yeah, as I was pulling blight-killed leaves off a tomato plant, a whole branch with immature tomatoes came off in my hand, so I guess I'll used the tomatoes off that branch and have a few fried green tomatoes.  I love them, but it sure is a messy business making them, dipping them first in milk, then flour, then eggs, then crumbs.  All those bowls, and the counter gets messy.  But then, what else am I doing?  

Have a great day, faithful readers!  There aren't as many of you as when I posted the link to every entry on Facebook, but I'm after quality, not quantity.  


Friday, August 09, 2019

Just living my life

There are not many notable happenings around here, but here's a milestone:  Gabe has finally figured out that if he barks at the door, someone will let him in the house a lot faster than if he just sits there.  Now I'm wishing he'd learn that barking to go OUT would work, as well.  So the first time Gabe wanted out after Cliff went to the shop this morning, he went into a sit position right at the crack of the door, which has always been his way of saying "I want out".  Today I noticed him quietly sitting in position to be let out, so I thought I'd show him a better way.  "Watch this," I said to him.  And I gave a sharp "bark" and opened the inside door, then closed it.  "See?  When I bark, the door is opened.  Now, you try it."

He wagged his stubby tail and stood up; he just didn't get it.  He was probably thinking, "Do you call that barking?"  Maybe sometime in the future he'll figure it out.

We went to the state fair as planned yesterday, but my knees weren't in the mood to let me walk as much as I did last week in Omaha.  So we didn't do much except eat the bargain-priced food we really shouldn't have been eating:  We had corn dogs (2 for $4), a large slice of pizza that was surprisingly good (2 for $4, I think), Dippin' Dots, $2 each, and some ice cream for $2 off the regular price.  There's not much to do at the fair, compared to the old days; as farmers dwindle, so does the fair.  Oh, we did stop by the tent where the Budweiser Clydesdales were put up:  Each one was 18 to 18.2 hands tall, browsing at perfect, green alfalfa hay as though they weren't really all that hungry.  We were heading from there toward the exit when a lovely young lady driving a golf cart slowed down as she approached us and asked, "Do you need a ride?  May I take you someplace?"

"You betcha, young lady!"  I told her I didn't see any wings on her, but that she looked like an angel.  She said, "I'm in disguise today, that's why you can't see my wings."  Great comeback.  She told us there were three other people driving around in golf carts, and that we should flag any of them down if we needed a ride.  

It really was a good day for walking around the fairgrounds, for those who could comfortably walk.  The temperatures didn't get out of the 80's, and for the first couple hours the sky was cloudy, keeping it nice and cool.

On the way home Cliff needed to get something at his brother's south of Higginsville, but said he figured I wanted to get home to my dog.  I told him Gabe would be fine, and Phil's house was on our way anyhow.  I went in the house to visit with Faye while the guys brutalized an old, out-of-service mower to retrieve a tail-wheel Cliff was going to add to his own mower.  

This is what he and Phil removed from the the mower

The wheel they took from the old mower will go in the middle, between these two wheels.  Cliff will have some fabricating to do, since Phil's wheel isn't at all the same as these.  He hopes adding a wheel will make for smoother mowing on uneven ground.

Here you can see the new skid-plate Cliff actually bought from the John Deere dealer.  The mower had been used improperly, tipped forward, Cliff says.  Anyhow, when Cliff brought it home from the auction and tried it out, it was tearing up (scalping) pieces of sod as it mowed.  He hopes to get that all fixed, but I don't think he's certain how he'll do it yet.  Odd jobs like this require a lot of moseying around the object to be fixed, and sometimes Cliff even resorts to pulling up a chair, sitting down, and staring at whatever he's working on for an hour or so as country music plays behind him... then somehow he'll figure things out and get the job done.  

That's his story, and he's sticking to it.  I just thought he was tired and wanted to sit down, but apparently it's simply part of the process.

What should I run into in Phil's house but a brand-new, two-week-old great-grandbaby!  They have several great-grandkids of various sizes, but I had the good fortune to get hold of an infant!  Her 18-month-old sister was there too, but she was far too independent to waste time on some old lady she didn't know.  I often forget how good it feels just to sit in a rocking chair holding a sleeping infant.  That baby's head fit perfectly on my arm, and she was snoozing in my lap for perhaps twenty minutes; it was better therapy than an hour on the beach, so very relaxing.  

I guess this entry just reminds me that you can have a good time at the fair even if you're only there for a couple of hours and run into an angel.  You can go into a two-story country house expecting to visit with a sister-in-law and ended up holding a tiny baby, singing to her and enjoying every minute of it.  

I do believe I had a great day yesterday.  Don't you?


Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Leftovers. Dangerous?

My mother took a casual approach to leftovers.  She never disposed of food lightly, and if nobody else was interested in the leftovers she placed in the refrigerator, she'd eat them herself a little at a time.  Because we were seldom sick with belly-aches in spite of her frugal ways, I'm probably not as cautious about tossing food out as I ought to be.  But I've survived so far.  I remember some time ago a facebook friend... I don't recall who it was... mentioned she had accidentally left something out on the counter overnight, something she had just cooked that evening.  She threw it in the garbage!  I said nothing, but I knew I would have at least served it the next day.  There aren't flies in most homes these days to lay their eggs in food left out where maggots can hatch and grow into more flies.  

Friday I made taco soup.  Arick is usually off on Fridays, and he joined us for dinner.  I accidentally left it on the counter Friday night, but put it in the refrigerator Saturday morning when I got up at 4 AM.  Saturday after we were done riding in a parade with our tractor club, I heated it up for Cliff's lunch/dinner/whatever-you-call-it.  

I would have had some myself, but I had gone to the fair thinking I'd get a corn dog before coming home.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a convenient way of getting to the stand selling corn dogs because when the parade was over, we had a tractor on a trailer behind us; you just can't go any old place pulling a big trailer.  So there I was with an intense craving for corn dogs, but nothing I could do to satisfy it.  Now, don't leave comments telling me to get one at Sonic:  Theirs aren't greasy enough to be in the same class with corn dogs you buy at fairs, where you get the faint smell of cow dung as you are eating.  On the way home it occurred to me I had hot dogs in the freezer, and I have a Fry Daddy deep fryer.  I could make my own, as I used to do often when our kids were at home.  

Unfortunately, when I got the Fry Daddy out of the cupboard, the electric cord wasn't with it.  So I ended up eating two plain, ordinary, boiled hot dogs on bread, with a slice of cheese wrapped around each one.  Tasty, yes (I like hot dogs).  But in no way did they taste like a corn dog.  So I ordered a new cord for my Fry Daddy, hoping the craving would hang around until the cord arrived.  I'm still waiting, by the way.

I had hot dogs, Cliff had more taco soup because he doesn't share my enthusiasm for hot dogs.  That was Saturday.  Sunday was the Allen reunion.  That's my dad's family reunion.  We hadn't been to the store in over a week.  I was out of sugar, so there was no way to make a dessert.  I always have ground beef, and keep cans of various types of beans all the time.  So I settled on Old Settler's Beans.  Then I noticed I had quite a few potatoes and made potato salad.  

There was so much food at the reunion!  Three of us had taken potato salad, so I knew we'd be bringing some of ours home.  We also had a good portion of Old Settler's beans left.  Someone had brought an extension cord with three or four plug-in spots for the slow-cookers, but for some reason mine wouldn't work.  Someone commented, "That's how they are.  One day they're working, then you leave home and they've quit working."  I was pretty sure my almost-new slow cooker had not stopped working, but sometimes I know when to keep my mouth shut, and besides, Old Settler's Beans don't have to be piping hot.  However, when I got home I plugged the crock pot in and it worked just fine.  Now I'm wondering if anybody's slow cookers were working after they were plugged in.  It's a mystery, for sure.   

Yesterday, Monday, I asked Cliff if he had any problem with eating tater salad and Old Settler's beans for dinner.  Of course he did not, since he loves those foods.  I did the arithmetic in my mind and decided it wouldn't kill us, even if both the items sat around for a couple of hours on a picnic table Sunday on an 85 degree day.  I think those leftovers were even better than the first day.  

Today I told Cliff it was more of the same if he could handle it, or he had the choice of taco soup left over from Friday.  That's what he chose, leaving perhaps one cup of soup in the pan.  I had more of our reunion food, and there was perhaps 3/4 cup of potato salad and a handful of the beans when I got done.  When we were done eating, I told Cliff, "OK, we've hung on to all this stuff long enough.  I'm going to throw this little dab of food in the garbage disposer."  

You'd have thought I shot him the way he hollered out "Oh no, don't do that!"

I knew I'd get that reaction, and the only reason I told him in the first place was that next time he was looking in the refrigerator, he'd be bound to ask where the potato salad and the beans had gone; I hate to see him disappointed.  It took me ten minutes to explain that you just can't keep food around forever and keep heating it up and eating it.  He may not have been satisfied with my explanation, but I have my limits on how long to keep leftovers, and this stuff has gone the distance.

I have another reunion this coming Sunday, my mom's family.  I've been skipping this one for several years, but Cliff thinks we should put in an appearance.  So unless something comes up, I suppose we'll go.  It's farther away, a two-hour drive.  I really do HATE leaving Gabe in his kennel for six hours, but I know he'll be fine.  

P.S.  The Missouri State Fair opens day after tomorrow, the 8th.  Various foods and beverages are selling at a cut price on opening day:  One stand may have ice cream cones at a bargain price, another will have cheap soft drinks, and yet another one will have corn dogs.  I've been trying to talk Cliff into taking me to watch the Kansas City Chiefs practice in St. Joseph, which he says he will NOT do.  But I've never had trouble getting him to take me to opening day at the state fair.  Maybe I'll get my corn dog then.  

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Books can be magical

I've mentioned before how much I liked the book "All Over But the Shoutin'" by Rick Bragg.  I read a lot of books; Sometimes I choose a book because it's popular, or I'll pick books by certain authors whose writing I enjoy.  John Sandford comes to mind.  I look at reviews, and at the New York Times best seller's list, although many of those are romances; I don't like romances unless the love story is part of a larger story, because they tend to start out with two people hating one another (or barely tolerating each other) and by the end (surprise surprise) they're madly in love.  Besides, some romances get a little mushy and sillly for my tastes.  

If a friend recommends a book, and I know I've enjoyed some of her recommendations before, I'll read that.  I do pay attention to genre, because there are some great books out there that I wouldn't necessarily like, even if my friends do.  

As I was reading through Rick Bragg's childhood, I noticed a lot of his growing-up experiences were very similar to my husband's childhood.  Once I finished the book, I started "suggesting" to Cliff that he would really like the book.  OK, I suggested it a lot, to the point it almost became nagging.  I just knew he'd relate to the story, and I couldn't see him going on with life without first reading that book!  

He knows how to tune me out.  After all, it's summertime and there's plenty to do without reading books.  

When we had decided (OK, I decided) we'd go to Omaha, I wanted to find an audiobook in the library's collection that would keep us interested during the three hours plus it takes to get to Omaha, and the same amount of time returning.  I didn't have anything specific in mind.  Then I happened to notice there was an audiobook version of the book I was (and still am) reading, also by Rick Bragg:  "The Best Cook in the World".

It's another good one, with more stories about the author's childhood and a lot of his family background.  "If Cliff could hear a little of this book and find out how good it is, I'll bet I could get him to read the other one," I thought.  That was my plan, then.

We don't have a bluetooth speaker in our old 2003 Mercury, but I have a cheap little thing I bought on Amazon for the books we listen to in the car that booms out the sound just fine.  The iPad isn't loud enough by itself for Cliff to make out the sound, but when I connect it to that little speaker, it transforms the narrations just fine; if we listen to a really good book, the miles melt away.  

Once we were on the fringes of Kansas City, we began listening.

The magical element is this:  Rick Bragg himself is the one reading the book: once his voice begain coming out of that speaker, I went to a whole new level in my appreciation of his writing:  When that warm, lazy, Georgia/Alabama drawl began describing Rick's mama's food, I could see it (and smell it) in a whole new way, although I had read that part of the book before.  He starts right out describing things his mother cooked, and it sounded incredible with his voice carrying it to my ears.  (Warning:  Do not read this book on an empty stomach.)

It was like poetry, really, that voice.  Cliff agrees.  We laughed our way through several chapters on our trip.  I'm still reading the latter part of it, but I sort of wish I were still listening:  You can see the cotton fields, hear the chickens cackling, taste the moonshine in your mind, in Rick Bragg's voice.  

So.  Don't read this book.  I'm serious, do NOT read the book, "The Best Cook in the World".  Listen to the author read it.

I'm sure it's in your public library, so you don't have to buy it.


Friday, August 02, 2019

We've been to Omaha

We were discussing perhaps going to Colorado this week or next, but we changed our plans, deciding to go there in September instead.  We've always gone in the hottest part of summer, so this might be a positive change.  Maybe it'll be cooler in September.  However, I wanted a minor road trip right now.  We were discussing going to Omaha last spring, but about the time we would have gone, most of the country started being flooded.  I-29, the road we take to Omaha, had water over it for a long, long time, so I put the trip on the back burner.  There is still water right up to the edge of the highway up around Craig, Missouri.  

As we left our motel yesterday morning to start home, Cliff told me he intended to gas up before we left the city, but both of us forgot about it.  We were twenty miles out of Omaha when Cliff thought about it, and gas stations aren't plentiful along that stretch of highway for quite awhile.  Finally we saw a filling station sign ahead at an exit ramp.  However, our relief was short-lived.  As we neared the station, it was obvious it had been flooded and, at least for now, abandoned.  And we were just then starting to get to the worst stretch of road, as far as flooding is concerned.  

The old Mercury gets decent gas mileage, but was below a quarter-tank.  I fretted and stewed.  Several miles beyond our first try we saw two gas stations just beyond the exit ramp ahead of us; I was afraid to hope, since it was obvious the flood waters had been there.  As we approached, though, we saw cars at the gas tanks and knew we would be OK.  I was doubly happy, because I needed a restroom.  

This particular stop had a restaurant attached to the station, and rest rooms would have been between the two.  When I got out of the car, I realized the whole building was deserted, and my heart sank.  Everything was closed, with the gas pumps being the only thing working.  But people were getting out of their cars, I saw, walking to the building and going around a corner; I decided to follow them.

The one on the left is the women's restroom.  I just couldn't get a full shot of it.  Am I glad somebody put these portable toilets there!  They were pretty much like a real facility except the stalls were a little crowded.  

We left Omaha sooner than we intended:  The plan was to get up, check out at the motel, and go across the river to Counsel Bluffs where we'd go to a highly rated railroad museum with great reviews.  Then we'd go next door to the squirrel-cage jail, then find something to eat, and possibly get home around four o'clock.  However, when we pulled up to the museum shortly before it opened, we realized we'd been there with our tractor club at some point!  OK, Cliff realized it before I did.  First I thought he was wrong, but as I looked at that building, I remembered things we had seen there and knew he was right.  The strange thing is, I can't find any blog entry about the museum.  I thought I'd blogged about all our trips with the tractor club.  

I doubt if our club will be going on any more trips; there aren't enough people who really want to go, and you need a certain amount of folks for the bus owners to make any money.  This year some club members wanted to go to Branson, but Cliff and I have been there so often, I'm not sure we'll ever go back.  The glory days are behind them at Branson, and they have little that appeals to us now.  So I suppose we'll choose our own road trips when we can.  I've pretty much given up on Maine, just because it's so very far.  Cliff has no desire to drive that kind of distance, and I have no desire to try and force him to do it.  His older sister would go along if we went, and she'd help with the driving, but it's still more driving than he wants to do.  I don't blame him... that's a lot of miles to cover.  And the cost of joining up with a group bus trip is ridiculous.

There aren't any earth-shaking places of interest in Omaha, but we found things to see and do.

Omaha has a lovely riverwalk that, I believe, is a work in progress.  There are park-like areas, and a pedestrian bridge.  All that area was flooded for awhile, and some of the trails on the other end of the pedestrian bridge aren't open, but it was a lovely place to walk around on a cool, cloudy day.

I took this while standing in the middle of the pedestrian bridge.  Cliff said, "Doesn't it seem funny that we could get on a boat here and float to within a mile of our house?"  

The way that water was rolling, you'd have a hard time convincing me to get on a boat in that river!

I was amazed at how much walking I was able to do before my knees gave out, and after a night's sleep, they were back to their normal level of hurting again, which isn't so bad.  The bridge is a mile long, but we only went to the center and back.  We walked all over the riverwalk park, got something to eat, and then went to the Joslyn Art Museum.  We looked at exhibits on our own for 45 minutes, then joined a group and followed a guide around, learning a little about the exhibits.  

I liked this one of Venus, apparently getting ready to go out on a date, but meanwhile using her mirror to give me a dirty look.
And look at these fallen angels!  I wonder what evil deeds they're getting ready to do?

Over and out!  I shall see what I can get into today.  Oh, by the way, it's my dog Gabe's birthday.  He's two years old.  

Yours truly,

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Passing on what he knows to another generation

When we first got married and moved to the country in the fall of 1967, Cliff knew very little about farming.  He'd grown up in Kansas City.  But he had farming fever BAD!  Daddy sold us an old Minneapolis Moline tractor with very little braking power, dirt-cheap.  Our first 20 acres was hilly, and a nephew of ours had a close call, riding with Cliff and Phil; in fact, Cliff pushed him off the tractor to save him, just in case things turned bad.  The kid was about five, and he still hasn't forgotten that push.  

Later Cliff got a Ford 8N with a brush hog, so he could mow the pasture.  

He started working at the Country Butcher Shop and sometimes picked the boss's brain for farming information, since he knew quite a bit about farming.  A co-worker, Gene Wyzard, may he rest in peace, was also a big help.  There was no Internet then, so you couldn't just look up "how to plant pasture grass" or "how to raise alfalfa for hay".  You had to find out from someone who knew about it.  The information Cliff got from those guys really helped him out,; but there were other things he learned from simply doing it wrong, trying something else, then trying yet another way, over and over until something finally worked.  

There wasn't a barn on our property, and I was milking a cow we bought from my parents.  Suzie had to be milked, rain or shine, twice a day.  I needed to get her inside for milking, but had no place to put her.  We also would need a place to store hay.  We were broke, but somehow came up with the money to buy the lumber and steel panels to build an open-face pole barn.  Gene Wyzard was on hand to show Cliff how to measure and build a simple building.  Every little victory was a big deal for us, and we couldn't have done it without friends helping.  Cliff's brother Phil caught the move-to-the-country bug after helping Cliff put up fence, mow weeds, and do other odd jobs that go better with two people.  He later bought a place in the river bottom only a couple of miles from where we live now, and his house floated away in a flood... but that's another story.

Since our oldest grandson bought this place, he's been good medicine for Cliff.  Finally he has somebody who wants and needs to learn some of the lessons he learned the hard way.  The grandson living next door has worked out very well, especially for Cliff, because truly, Arick and he are best friends.  When Arick is home, Cliff has a ready-made helper who does the heavy lifting and is about the best help he ever had.  And he gets to pour information into him, so he won't have to learn the hard way like Cliff did.  

Arick has been preparing the ground for a wildlife food plot, and today he planted the mixture of seeds with Cliff standing by giving advice, if needed.  I think it's two weeks too early for planting, but what do I know.  Arick bought an old seeder yesterday, since the one we used for years pretty much fell apart.  They had to work on it to get it to go on the tractor, but it didn't take long.

Cliff has trouble getting up and down, so that's another way Arick comes in handy.

Once they got it all set up, Farmer Arick went out to sow the seeds.  Cliff gave him some last-minute tips and sent him off.

We stood and watched for awhile.  I went on to the the house with Gabe, and Cliff came after awhile to eat dinner.  I looked out the window and saw Arick still out there, but on a different tractor, the Farmall H... his own tractor, the one he helped Cliff restore when he was eleven.  He was driving over the seeds with a harrow to give them a little covering.  I could hear the tractor running in the distance; Cliff, being hard of hearing, could not.  

At one point I told Cliff I didn't think the tractor was running.  I went to the back porch to check and saw the grandson had gotten off the tractor and was looking at the innards of the thing.  Before long, he came to the house and said it just stopped running, like it would if it were out of gas.  Cliff finished eating and we all went to see what the problem was.  I stayed at a distance awhile.

Within ten minutes they solved the problem; Cliff said dirt probably got in the carburetor.

On the way back to the house, Cliff pointed out what he thinks is Johnson grass.  Not good!

And then, rest for the weary.  This is a scene you'll see almost daily around here:  Grandfather and grandson, just being together.  Sometimes I walk out there and nobody is talking; Cliff will be listening to his old-time country songs on Sirius  radio and Arick will be surfing on his phone, or maybe playing a game.  Other times they are deep in conversation.  The other night I was in the swing in our front yard and heard just bits and pieces of conversation.  I couldn't make out any words, just voices floating up to me on the breeze from the shop, almost musical, punctuated by Arick's laughter every so often.  And I thought how blessed Cliff is to have someone to help him do the things he loves, someone to talk to about "guy things".  Some evenings when Arick gets home from work they'll sit out there like that for two or three hours.  

Best friends.  Isn't God good?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

I have a guest post

I was perusing Facebook when I noticed an interesting post by a former neighbor.  After seeing the whole story with pictures, I knew it would make for a great blog entry.  Her name is Mariah, and she grew up right next door to us.  She loves chickens the same way I've always loved cows, and keeps a few hens in her yard in Napoleon.  Before I go any further, I need to tell you she's twenty-two years old, and she has a two-year-old son.  I include this information because to look at her, you'd take her to be ten or twelve years old.  I imagine her petite body has something to do with the fact she has Cystic Fibrosis; she has probably used up all her calories trying to keep breathing.  You'd never know she has a problem, though, whether on Facebook or in real life.  She has a sweet and energetic spirit.  And now here's the story, in her own words and pictures.  By the way, Polish is a breed of chicken, for you city slickers:

"Last night I found my last Polish at the bottom of the coop, lifeless, dirty, and a little worse for wear. Almost as if something tried eating her, even though the coop was locked up tight.

I never thought I'd be giving a chicken a bubble bath in my kitchen at 9:30 at night, but hey, life happens. Anyways, I think I found the culprit."
"The things I do for these birds.  Also to add, Peanut (the hen) is doing great today! This guy is going to be driven across town and released."

At this point one of my granddaughters commented, "Thanks for saving the snake.  He was just trying his best to fulfill the circle of life."

Mariah answered, "He tried really hard to get away.  I had both hands on him, pulling him out of the coop, one foot braced against the wall.  Like a cartoon."

So she put the snake in a tote container...

...and gave him his freedom someplace else, saying, "Enjoy your new home, Dude.  Don't come back, though.  I like my chickens."

Mariah ended her story with a shoutout to her man, who she said did nothing to help.  He told her, "That's your thing, Babe."  However, her two-year-old son son brought her a bucket when she asked him to.

So they all lived happily ever after.  The end.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Strange things happen as I age

There are many things that happen as I age that I don't (or won't) talk about.  I'll just say that my mother didn't warn me about all the things that happen with age, so surprises happen from time to time.  You finally learn to expect things popping up.

However.  Arthritis is a strange and fickle thing; when I first began having knee pain, I felt it getting steadily worse.  I finally quit walking for some years because it made my knees hurt.  Then, as I've mentioned here, I found if I walked every other day and took my time, I was OK.  Well, this morning as I walked, it occurred to me I've walked for six days straight, and my knees hurt no worse than usual.  Of course they always hurt, but it's nothing I can't live with.  But the thing I don't understand is this:  Why does it hurt less than it did five years ago to walk?  I've done nothing that would make the arthritic knees better.  I hope I'm not jinxing myself here.  

This morning I took some pictures as Gabe and I were walking:
I took this picture right out the door, the sun just coming up over the trees to the east.

This was about halfway through our walk, with the sun up a little farther.  

Gabe is really doing well on the leash.  He seems to understand he can only go so far, so he hasn't been pulling at all.  

The red rectangle is where our trailer house sits.  See that spot of red toward the top of the picture is my cabin, which was long ago hauled up here and turned into a chicken house which turned into a junk-storage shed.  I walk down a hill to the west and back where the path is hidden by treetops, then to where the cabin was and back, then down almost to the east side of our property and back.  I also walk around the pond... just above that almost-square plot of pasture... down a small hill and back.  There are a couple of steep slopes that make my heartbeat pound in my ears, and a couple of times I paid attention and actually heard my arrhythmia in action; the beat would be steady as a clock ticking, then after ten or twelve beats, it would skip one.  

United Health sent a nurse to our house to do an in-home check on us a few years back, as most of the Medicare insurance companies do. Listening to my heart, she noticed the arrhythmia; she actually called the doctor insisting they fit me into their schedule the same day, so I got a little concerned.  However, they weren't concerned, so I'm not either.  Once in awhile I'll ask them if my heartbeat is still irregular, and it is.  I'm just thankful I don't have atrial fibrillation like my mom did.  

I had one of those nights when I woke up at one AM and couldn't go back to sleep, so I got up at two and read.  Gabe has switched his sleeping spot lately:  He prefers being under our bed instead of in the kennel.  He joined me in the living room after awhile and stared at me, wishing I'd go back to bed, but he finally joined me in the recliner.  I usually go to bed at 9, but Gabe goes to bed around 8:30, occasionally getting up and standing in the bedroom doorway staring at me as though he can will me to join him.

Back to my knees:  Three years ago we went to a swap meet in Minnesota, a HUGE swap meet.  By the time we had walked around there for an hour, my knees were shot.  I was in some real pain.  I found a bench, and for most of the day I just sat there watching people.  When we got home, I decided I wouldn't be able to walk around all the events we attend, so I figured I'd buy a mobility scooter.  Seriously, at that time I felt like I'd have to have one, or else stay home even more than I already did.  Keep in mind that I was babysitting a very energetic toddler then, too.  Some days after following her around, my knees were in bad shape.  I did use the scooter quite a bit in the yard playing with Cora, and we took it to a couple of tractor shows.  Now, it wasn't a heavy-duty scooter, and it wasn't made for gravel or wet grass or huge hills.  But it served the purpose, and it only cost a little over $600.  Anyhow, for the last couple of years, it's just been sitting around in the way.  When our son was here earlier this month, he mentioned that those little scooters bring $500 all the time on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.  "But I didn't pay much more than that for it, new," I said.  He said that didn't matter.  By the way, the same scooter is $100 higher on Amazon than when I bought mine.

First of all I put an ad on Craigslist.  For some reason, they rejected it... they don't give a reason, you just look and find out your ad wasn't posted.  So I put the same ad on Facebook Marketplace, where it posted, and got many inquiries in instant messages about it.  Yesterday it sold, so I have most of my money back.  We have learned that Marketplace surpasses Craigslist as a way to sell stuff.  The last tractor Cliff sold was listed on both, but most of the interested parties had seen it on Marketplace.  Apparently,  Craigslist is going the way of the dinosaur.  

Alrighty then!  It's about time for us to go shopping.  Sweet cherries are still on sale everywhere, and I'm still not sick of them.

Have a great day, won't you?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I shall now blog about my dog (again)

We love our pets, don't we?  And especially as we get older, dogs seem to take the place of children in our lives.  I bought my Miniature Schnauzer knowing the little girl we babysat for five years would soon be leaving us,, realizing there would be a terrible hole in my life without her.  So I got a dog.  In some ways he's a poor substitute for the beautiful little girl who chattered constantly, making us smile.  On the other hand, I don't worry about scarring him for life with my pathetic attempts to train him... that's always a worry with children, at least in my case; not so much, with dogs.  I constantly wondered if I was doing my best with Cora, knowing my best was never all that great.  

With a pet, it's simpler.  Just feed them, be nice to them, even spoil them rotten if you want to.  Dogs never become juvenile delinquents, as long as they are loved; they might have behavior problems, but theirs are minor compared to behaviors human children display once they reach puberty.  Dogs don't become drug addicts or alcoholics, and you can get them fixed so they won't be spreading babies with different daddies around all over the place.  With human kids, that's always a possibility.  Especially if, like me, you're a less than stellar parent.

I may have a dog so spoiled that visitors can't stand him, but that's their problem.  

Meanwhile, my dog keeps me laughing almost as much as a child would, and he stays a child all his life.

Gabe seems to have a problem with my church attendance now that Cliff doesn't attend with me.  When Cliff went, I put the dog in the kennel for the brief time we were gone.  But now Cliff drops me off and quickly returns home, so I leave Gabe free in the house.  When Cliff comes home alone, Gabe drives him crazy running to both ends of the house looking for me; if he goes outside, he looks around a bit and comes right back to the door wanting in, continuing to behave as though he thinks I've been kidnapped.  

The second time Cliff came to pick me up at church, he let Gabe ride along, and he's been doing that ever since.  So now Gabe tries to force him to go outside to the car while I'm gone; Cliff lets him out thinking he needs to pee, but he runs straight to the car.  You see, I normally don't go anywhere without Cliff, since he drives and I don't.  I'm the chief caretaker for the dog; I'm the one who feeds him.  He constantly lays on my feet in the recliner, or beside me.  He's used to Cliff being outside somewhere while he and I are in the house.  But until recently, he's never known me to be gone without my husband.  This is a big concern to him.  

I can go for slow walks in the pasture at least three days a week without my knees hurting too badly; walk one day, skip one day.  It takes me 50 minutes to walk the distance I use to traverse in 35 minutes, but it's still exercise, and I enjoy being out there in nature.  So does Gabe, and I started out letting him run around unleashed as we walked.  However, I finally got tired of the stick-tights and thistles getting embedded in the hair on his face, legs, and belly and started using the leash.  Giving him the freedom to run led to so much pain for him when I combed out the stick-tights, it wasn't worth it.  He's taken pretty kindly to the retractable leash.  He pulls hard on it when we first take off, but unless he sees something interesting he'd like to chase, he settles down and doesn't fight it much. 

Actually, on our last walk the leash probably saved us both from an uncomfortable situation.  We were walking out behind the little pond in the pasture when I caught a whiff of skunk perfume.  That isn't unusual; there are many mornings I walk out into the yard and am greeted by the odor of Pepe Le Pew.  So we kept walking, when suddenly the smell became overpowering!  Obviously we had ventured too near this skunk for his comfort, so he used his defenses.  I actually think I heard the sound of his stomping his back feet on the ground as he sprayed... he was close, off in the brush to my left!  If Gabe had been off leash, I have little doubt I'd have had a very stinky dog on my hands.  As it was, I wondered if any of the smell had settled on us; it seemed like it took forever to walk our way out of the fumes.  

Once we got back around the pond and on to the next portion of our walk, we scared up a deer in the brush, and of course Gabe tried to chase him.  Lord only knows where he'd have ended up, running after a deer.  Yep, I think the leash is a good idea.  

I'll leave you with a picture of my little buddy.  He was relaxing at my feet in such an ungainly position, I squirmed out of my spot behind him to take a picture.  Honestly, I don't even know what kept him from falling off that footrest.

Anything for a laugh, right?  That's Gabe's motto.

Yours truly,
Gabe's best friend

Monday, July 22, 2019

Perhaps clothes DO make a difference

I've always hated dressing up.  Most of my life I've simply worn T-shirts and jeans in cool weather, or t-shirts or tank tops with shorts in summer.  It's been my uniform.  I wore nothing but dresses when I was a child, because that's what little girls wore, and school required it until the year after I graduated (just my luck), at which time girls started wearing jeans to school.  I went through some of my mid-life years wearing dresses to church (partly because someone gave me a bunch of them), but the truth is I was never comfortable wearing dresses as an adult; I guess I was making some concessions to popular opinion at that particular church at that time, trying to fit in (that never works).  In these later years, I've worn jeans exclusively; many women wear them.  Some even wear shorts.  

I didn't wear T-shirts to church though; I'd watch the Walmart bargain racks and get a cheap blouse occasionally that was perhaps one step better than a t-shirt.  One of my favorite quotes is "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."  (Henry David Thoreau)

I have a Kohl's credit card, and a year or two ago when one of their huge sales was going on I decided to actually buy a couple of decent tops.  I think at that time I was between churches, so I didn't buy them for church.  My thinking was that we are going to be going to funerals at this stage of our lives (maybe our own), and it wouldn't hurt me to look a little better.

Now get this:  People who have known me for years began telling me, "You look nice," or they'd compliment me on the top I was wearing, one of two I'd purchased at the time.  I still had no makeup (and likely never will), and had tennis shoes on, but suddenly I looked "nice".  So I got to the point where I'd put on a blouse or other nice top just to go to the grocery store.   

I decided I may as well have a larger selection of tops.  When Kohl's puts clothing on sale it's usually at a good price, and then if you have a charge card and get one of those thirty-percent discounts in addition, you can make a haul.  So each time they gave me a 30% discount I'd buy something.  I didn't spend a lot at a time, and as is our custom, of course, I paid each bill in full when it came due.  

So now if we happen to go to a concert... that happens twice a year at most, on average... I browse through my new tops and feel pretty good about myself.  I've spent my money wisely.  I know this because I'll be waiting in line at a rest room and some stranger will say, "I love your top!"

Really?  I must have better taste than I thought.  Just today, when we were at the license bureau, as I got out of the car a lady said, "Oh, I like your top!"  

It isn't a fancy one at all, and I found it peculiar, once again, that strangers walk around complimenting me on my choice of clothing.  I could sort of understand folks who've known me for a long time saying something complimentary, simply because it's a departure from what has been my normal garb; but strangers on the street?   It boggles the mind.  

Anyway.  I do have a nice variety of tops to wear; I just took a count:  Ten!  I have ten decent tops!  And usually the only place I wear them is to church or to Walmart, so they ought to last awhile.  

When I sat down here at the computer, it was to blog about my current adventures with Gabe-the-dog, but clothing came to mind, so that's what you get.  If nothing earth-shaking happens between now and tomorrow, I'll ramble about my dog in the next entry.


Friday, July 19, 2019

Garden victories, garden woes

I'll begin on a positive note:  We had BLT's yesterday with tomatoes from our own garden.  If bacon wasn't so bad for us, we'd have them again for the next three days.  The bad news on this score is that it won't last.  Every day I pull off more blighty leaves and branches.

As you can see in this picture, there are some big tomatoes that are almost ripe, and I have more ripening on a table outside.  However, every plant has evidence of blight.
See the brown, dried-up leaves?  Every day I pull off more of them.

So I'm not really expecting to have tomatoes for long, but I will enjoy them while they're available.  Next year, if I even have the inclination to try again, I may try using fungicide.  I used it long ago with some success, then later on I tried it without much success.  We'll see.

On the other hand, cucumbers are doing well, happily climbing the garden fence.  Just so you know, all that tall grass is not in our yard, it's part of the pasture.  For years I had problems with squash bugs killing all my viney plants.  Last year I never even saw a squash bug when I let the cucumbers climb; if that turns out to be the case this year, I might consider doing the same thing with a squash plant or two.  If I have to give up on tomatoes, I'll need to plant something else in their place (as if anything could take the place of a good garden tomato).

Wednesday Cliff got a call from the radiology doctor where he went for radiation, reminding him of his appointment yesterday:  We didn't even know he HAD an appointment!  On his last visit to the urologist, he was told he might get to stop taking the female hormone shots next time, and that wish of Cliff's came true!  So eventually he will lose the hot flashes and other side effects of the drug.  He always complains that the doctors just make him come in so they'll make more money, and that he's wasting his time.  Yesterday, for instance, he said, "That doctor could have told me everything on the phone.  All he did was ask how I was doing and answer a few questions."

I told him before he complains about doctors, he should remember they've saved his life at least twice.  I'm sure he was heading for a heart attack before his bypass surgery; and the doctor who operated on him after his gall bladder exploded told me after surgery, "He could have died!"

Since we were sort of in the vicinity, we stopped at Costco after the doctor visit.  Among other things, I wanted one of those big, Costo rotisserie chickens.  We got home around noon.  I baked a couple of potatoes in the microwave and heated up and seasoned a can of green beans to go with our chicken.  I always grab a leg and thigh; Cliff prefers breast meat.  Today I'll use two cups of the chicken to make our low-fat chicken jambalaya.  We'll get at least two more meals out of the chicken, possibly three more, after today.  

This morning I was praying for a situation;  actually, I was praying for a person (no blood kin) who caused the situation because, you know, we're supposed to pray for those we'd rather smack in the face.  But then I found myself doing such a ridiculous thing I couldn't believe it:  I was telling God how He should fix the whole situation!  I hope I'm not the only person who's ever done that.  I did apologize to Him, and even had a little laugh at myself because, really... who do I think I am?  

Honestly, I've learned that the main thing prayer changes is the person doing the praying.  When I have a conversation with God about things, it gives me a different perspective.  Let's face it, the only person I even have a remote chance of changing is myself, anyhow.  

I finished the great book I was reading yesterday and am now reading a delightful book by Robert Hillman, "The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted".  It's supposed to be a three-hour-and-12-minute read, so I'll likely have it done by this evening.  It reminds me of "A Man Called Ove", which Cliff and I both loved.  Speaking of Cliff, I finally got him to start a Chet and Bernie book, and after reading awhile, he said, "I think I'm gonna like this book."

OK, it's time to head to the kitchen and start the jambalaya.  

God bless all my readers.  You are the cream of the crop!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Cooking for a crowd

Years ago, I cooked lots of big meals.  We had some Thanksgiving dinners with twenty or thirty people here, and I did most of the cooking back then because I loved to do it.  I knew how much food I needed to cook, and I prepared ahead of time to have all the proper ingredients on hand.  I made light rolls from scratch and somehow managed to let them rise twice and get the timing right so they'd come out of the oven when the turkey (or roast) was done to a turn and the noodles were ready for the table.  

Not so, these days.  We don't have many meals for the masses these days, and that's a problem each summer when our son comes to visit.  Oh, we don't have huge numbers of folks when he's here, but it's more than I'm used to, and I'm cooking things I don't often cook for the two of us.  Things get a little "iffy" at mealtime... will there be enough for everybody?  Will I have all the needed ingredients?

This year, the grandson took vacation for the week his dad came, as did his wife.  Our son-in-law who lives a couple of miles away had knee replacements this year, had been back to work for a week afterward, and then took that week as vacation.  This crew doesn't make up a huge crowd, but when you mostly cook for two, it's still a challenge.  The first morning I made biscuits and gravy and managed to screw up the biscuits (I know, right?) and make an insufficient amount of gravy.  I redeemed myself on another morning, though, with a double batch of perfect biscuits and over a gallon of gravy.

I will say I did better this year on buying the ingredients I would need:  Ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of sugar, plenty of rice, a fresh bag of raisins.  Oh, and three dozen eggs.  The one thing I didn't consider was milk; up until two years ago, I milked a cow and never lacked for milk and cream.  But now our milk comes from the grocery store, and I forgot how much of it is consumed, both by cooking, and by people who love to drink milk.  So there were three separate runs for milk during the week.  Planning a meal is harder than it used to be!

Overall, it's a nice problem to have, because we get to see our son for a few days each year, and that's what it's all about.  It was nice making the "cookie of the day" each day, and rediscovering desserts I never bother to make for me and Cliff (brownie pudding, yes!  With ice cream on top while it's still warm).  Once, while digging around in the deep freeze, I found apple pie filling for one pie in the depths of the thing.  I had prepared apples by peeling and slicing them, mixing them in the sugar and cinnamon necessary, and putting them in a pie plate to freeze; then I took the frozen product out of the pie pan and placed it in a gallon baggie.  

All I had to do was make the crust, put the prepared-and-frozen filling in it, and bake it for a half-hour longer than I normally would.  It was delicious!  I hope I get myself off the computer and into the kitchen this fall when apples are ready at the orchard, because I wouldn't mind having enough saved, ready-made fillings for half-a-dozen pies.  

Awhile back I bought a device that was supposed to teach Gabe not to bark at people; a reader wanted to know more about it so she could try it on her dog.  There are several kinds, but if you want to see one similar to mine, click HERE.  Now let me give you the bad news:  After a month or so, Gabe figured out it didn't hurt his ears all that much and began barking again.  The thing still works, but it no longer works on him; push the button all you like, but there's no result any more.  I do think it helped him learn to mind me better and obey my commands, though.  When you read reviews on the thing, you'll see it doesn't work for all dogs.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ah, the fruits of summer

It's the peak of the sweet cherry season, so the price per pound is great; I've eaten enough cherries to make me a little ill more than once.  Seedless grapes are reasonably priced too, and melons of all kinds.  I love most any fruit.  I still buy bananas every week, too.  Right now, while trying to make up for our excesses when our son was here, we're reaching for fruit as a snack.  Of course, I bought so many varieties of fruit last week I forgot about the seedless watermelon I bought and took to the refrigerator in the shop until today.  I was almost scared to cut it for fear it would be too far gone to be delicious, but it's as good a seedless watermelon as I'll ever find; none of them are as flavorful and sweet as the old Black Diamond watermelons with seeds aplenty.  

We've both been missing our little girl, the one we babysat for five years... Cliff especially.  So I made plans with her mom and we had her here yesterday for the day.  

 This picture is a little misleading; our new "couch" only seats two people, so she is sitting on a raised portion between the two of us and looks taller than she is.  She's still beautiful, isn't she?  We did pretty much anything she wanted to do for the day.  She always gets the Little People stuff out and gets one or both of us to play with her when she's here, and goes around looking for certain toys, I think to make sure we haven't gotten rid of any of "her stuff" yet.  We went down to the Lion's Club park in Wellington and watched her slide down the slide.  Cliff pushed the merry-go-round for her, but found out it was making him dizzy just watching.  He has a lot of problems with dizziness these days.

For awhile Cliff and Cora picked up Sweet-gum balls off the ground, and she dumped them down the slide to see how they'd roll down.  We took Gabe along, and after we'd been there awhile I let him off-leash.  He did great!  If he trotted too far in any direction I'd say "no, come!" and he'd obey.

Then we went to the Corps of Engineers Park, which we've always called "Cora's park".  She's always enjoyed throwing sticks and rocks into the Missouri River, and that's how she spent her time there yesterday.  

She was throwing big pieces of gravel; there weren't any big rocks around there.  I can actually see the gravel in mid-air here.  Cliff is self-conscious wearing shorts, and will want to kill me when he sees pictures of himself in work boots and shorts for all the world to see.  

Here she is getting ready to launch a stick into the Mighty Mo.  I kept Gabe on the leash at this little park because it's right off 224 highway.  

Anyhow, we enjoyed our day with her.  I'm sure when she's at home she's outgrown most of the toys she played with three years ago, but it seems to delight her to go down memory lane with us and play with the stuff she always had here.  That's fine with me.  

A couple of months ago Cliff had an eye bothering him.  I stayed home, he went to the doctor.  The nurse/practitioner looked at it and informed him there wasn't anything in it, suggesting it might be a "floater".  So he came home; he still feels something is wrong with that eye.  Anyway, after two months Cliff got a bill from the doctor's office saying we owed $200; the insurance wasn't paying it.  We tried to think of anything Cliff had done by our doctor that could have amounted to that much, but could only think of that simple visit, which couldn't possibly have cost that much.  Today I called to see what was going on:  Turns out they still have Cliff's insurance from last year in their computer.  His visit in May was the first visit of the year, and he hadn't updated our insurance card for 2019.  All we have to do is take his card to them so they can change it.  Whew!  I can't believe the actual bill for a visit to the doctor is $200.  

Alrighty, I'm going out to search for a cucumber in the garden.  I'll be back around in a day or two.  Oh, I'm done with Rory Feek's book and now reading "It's All Over But the Shouting".  I highly recommend it as one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

This and that

We have mostly hot weather now, but that is to be expected here.  Summer is a good time to read, once the temperature is in the 90's.  In other good news, I brought in three tomatoes to ripen on the table.  They are getting so nearly ripe, and I didn't want to chance leaving them till the last minute, only to see them killed or devoured by vile insects.  You can see there's already some damage to them.

I'm reading Rory Feek's book, "Once Upon a Farm".  It's an easy read and he's a decent writer, so I'm enjoying it.  In one chapter he mentioned a book his mother had told him years ago he ought to read:  "It's All Over But the Shoutin'".  I immediately laid Rory's book down, grabbed the iPad, and checked to see if my library had it.  Sure enough!  And it's been out long enough, there was no waiting, so I checked it out.  After reading a few chapters, enough for me to know it's going to be good, I finally put it down and went back to "Once Upon a Farm", because I get confused enough without reading two books at once.  I asked my Facebook friends if any of them had read "All Over But the Shoutin'" and found out several had, and they loved it.  So that's waiting in the wings.

In Rory's book, the first paragraph of one chapter caught my attention because it's something I could have written about myself.

Yes, I love Mondays.  And sunrises.  And a new year.  I've always loved new beginnings that promise a chance for a brand new start.  Although to be honest, I think my love of Mondays came about after both kids were in school.  Cliff went to work, they went to school, and I was alone for the day!  I could garden or read a book or really, anything I wanted to do... without interruptions.  The world was mine.  I still love my alone time, which is why I don't complain too much about waking up most mornings at three or four o'clock.  

Let me tell you about my cooking marathon during the week of Independence Day.  When our son comes in from Georgia there are certain things he really likes to eat, and I try to fix many of them while he's here.  It's all terribly fattening, starchy and sugary stuff that Cliff can't resist.  Rice and raisins (rice pudding to some folks), home-made biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, and all manner of cookies.  Very few vegetables, because our son has never been a big fan of vegetables except potatoes.  It's one week out of the year, so what can it hurt?  

Then Jim leaves, and I have to get back to cooking lighter and moderating portions for our own good.  If I have any younger readers, let me tell you this:  Weight takes ten times longer to come off since we turned sixty as it did when we were in our 20's or 30's.  But, here we go again.

Remember how I said I was going to give up Words with Friends?  I'm still in the process, but remember, I promised myself that I would finish all the games I already had started.  Here's the thing:  Some people only make a move once or twice a day.  When I kept thirty or so games going all the time I didn't notice this fact, because the folks who make a lot of moves daily, like myself, sort of took my mind off the slowpokes.  Even though I have turned down everyone who has wanted to start a new game, I still have some games in the air.  Funny thing is, now that I have decided to take a break, it isn't even fun playing against the few competitors I have left (except for one lady who's really good at the game that I finally beat last week for the first time... I may keep her).  Human nature is a crazy thing; my nature is obviously crazier than most.

Yesterday we had a tractor drive with some of the folks in our club.  The tractors left Mayview at 9:30, took a break around 10:30 or 11, and arrived at noon in Napoleon, where we had a delicious meal that was prepared and served by the Lions' Club of Mayview.  There was pie for dessert, and not any old store-bought pies, either.  These were made from scratch by people who know how to make a pie.  After we ate, the plan was to drive back to Mayview, but since we were only two miles from home and had enough riding in the hot sun, we just went home.  Cliff's brother went on the drive too, and had some problems with his tractor; so he went to our house too.  Then he and Cliff loaded his tractor onto our trailer and we all went to take it home to Phil's place at Higginsville.  We took Gabe along, which of course made his day.

Cliff thinks from now on we'll skip the tractor drives and just do the parades.  He gets bored, going through the countryside at 8 miles per hour.    

When we were getting ready to leave with our tractor yesterday morning, I shut Gabe in his kennel; he always whines a little when we leave, but not for long.  This time, though, after watching Cliff load up the trailer I came back to the house to use the bathroom and heard Gabe howling like a wolf... a wolf with a soprano voice.  I guess we shouldn't have taken him bye-bye so much; now he thinks he's being abused if we leave without him.  I have to admit it made me feel sort of bad to leave him howling.

I believe I've rambled enough for one day, so I'll wish you all good cheer and will be back soon to regale you with more non-adventures.

Yours truly,