Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's been an interesting morning

Don't worry, I'll get back to our road trip.  Some things can't wait, so I'll tell you a story that seems sad, and yet...

First of all, I haven't been sleeping well at all lately... about four hours a night, the last four nights.  I go to bed at nine and go straight to sleep, but by one o'clock I'm wide awake.  I blame it partly on the full moon.  I lie in bed another hour trying not to toss and turn, and finally get up.  I don't make coffee yet, because I might feel like going back to bed soon (never happens).  So I've been sort of dragging around, half the time. 

I'm almost to the end of the Ricky Skaggs autobiography "The Kentucky Traveler" I've been reading.  It's taken so long because I get library books that I have to read within a certain time, so I save actual books I own to read when I'm between library books.  In telling his life story, Ricky talks a lot about his first real job as a musician, which was when he and Keith Whitley were teenagers and best friends. They went to work for the Stanley Brothers, bluegrass singers.  I've never gone out of my way to listen to bluegrass, but when Ricky would mention a song they did with the Stanley Brothers, I'd stop reading and tell Alexa to play the song.  I think this bluegrass thing might be growing on me. 

This morning I really wasn't in the mood to read, and told Alexa to shuffle the Stanley brothers.  I closed my eyes, and hoped sleep would find me.  One song came up that told a couple of favorite Bible stories I learned as a child, and I replayed a few times, thinking later I would write down the words and see if I could sing it.  I even shared the song on Facebook.  

First of all, here's the song:



Old Job, every rose in his garden had faded,
Every flower in his life had withered away.
Then he said, "I know my Redeemer liveth
And the roses for Job, they all bloomed again.

     The roses will bloom again, some morning,
     No matter how long the winter has been.
     When you see the rose of sharon in the beautiful garden,
     It's gonna come springtime again.

It was dark for Jacob when they brought him that coat,
And it seemed to him that Joseph was dead.
But things looked brighter when he saw the wagons coming
And the roses for Jacob had all bloomed again.

 When Cliff got up, I made his coffee and told him the dogs and I were going to go for a walk in the pasture.  I've learned if you feel sluggish, sometimes it helps to do something physical.  I put the camera in my pocket just in case I wanted to take pictures, and a handkerchief... because any time it's below 50, my nose runs.  The dogs had a great time.  At one point, they were both out of sight and didn't come when I called, so I got on the ground and started yelping like a hurt puppy.  That works every time, and they came bounding toward me.  I got up and we went on our way.  I noticed the river bottom covered completely by the flood and dug in every one of my six pockets (crazy coat), but my camera was gone.  My cell phone was there, so I did take the pictures.  I wasn't too worried about the camera because I was pretty sure where it was... somewhere around the spot where I sat down and yelped.  I knew I could just have Cliff take me back in the four-wheeler later before the rains start. Turns out I was right about where the camera was.

Cliff was waiting for a friend to call so he could go and borrow a trailer.  He got the call and went outside to leave, but came back in directly.  "I've got some devastating news," he said.  I paused, almost afraid to ask, but then said, "What is it?"

"The deep freeze in the garage has stopped working; the light's on, but all the meat is thawed."

"Is it still cold?  If it is, we can still re-freeze it."

Alas, juices were flowing out of packages; I held a package and sniffed:  it wasn't rotten, but it was beyond saving.  Both of us were speechless.  

"Well," I said, "if we can scoot the freezer over in front of the door, you could lift it up with the tractor and take it all down to the ditch."

"I'll call Arick (the grandson) to help," Cliff said.  I reminded him that the grandson was helping a friend move, so he isn't home.  "But I'll help," I told him.  "We were eating too much meat anyway."  (That's all I could think of to say.)

But as we were getting the job done, in my mind I heard my mother saying, as she did when things went wrong, "Well, it isn't a human life."

And then I thought about old Job and old Jacob, spoken of in the song, and I think I even smiled a little.  

We got that deep freeze loaded on the forks of the tractor easily, and Cliff drove it down in the pasture.  When he came back we didn't have much to say, but we hugged.

Cliff went on to pick up the trailer.  I thought of Job saying, "I know my Redeemer liveth", and remembered something else Job said later that wasn't in the song:  "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." 

I don't say a lot of spiritual things, and I'm not a model Christian.  But I know that my Redeemer lives, and though He slay me, I will trust Him to the bitter end.  Just like a friend I met a few years, Christine.  She had terminal cancer, surgeries went wrong, she died a miserable death.  But to the bitter end, she begged everybody to "know Jesus".  Boy, I miss that lady.


Christine


Why me?  Well, why not me?  Bad things happen to us all.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The first of two days in Memphis

First of all, I happened to notice that in the last entry I said we left home Monday.  We actually left Sunday morning.  Can you get jet lag from riding in a car?  Anyhow, I corrected that mistake.

I had some things I really wanted to see, things I hoped we'd both enjoy.  I wanted to do the Memphis City tour, the Mississippi River sightseeing cruise.  Both of these have guides telling you details about the area.  I didn't know whether we'd stay two days or three yet.  We only had the VRBO place for two days, but it isn't peak season yet.  I'm sure we could have gotten a motel room to stay a third night.

Everybody online told me to be sure to go to the Peabody Hotel and see the ducks either marching in (morning) or marching out (evening).  All sources said to be sure to get there by 10:15, or you wouldn't be able to see them over the crowd.  That's forty-five minutes of waiting in a swanky hotel.  Cliff thought this was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard, but as he said, "We did this trip for you, so OK."

Now, why I thought looking at five ducks being herded inside a hotel would be a big deal, I don't know.  There's nothing special about ducks.  I've raised a few of them.  But I let the hype get to me.  Yes, it's kinda neat, and you don't have to pay for the experience of watching them (you don't see many things that are free in Memphis).  But I had other things I'd rather have done with that time, like the Memphis City tour that started at 9:30.

We left our Memphis "home" around nine.  We found a parking garage.  We asked a man sweeping the sidewalk to point us toward the Peabody, and he actually led us to the nearest corner and pointed it out; directly after that, a homeless man with a blanket around him and some squashed-up cake and broken cookies in a plastic bag and asked if we would buy him a hamburger.  Cliff just handed him a five-dollar bill, and we went on to the hotel  And thus began the hour-and-a-half wait to see some stupid ducks walk down a red carpet to an indoor fountain (Cliff says "I told you so").  I will share the following video so all of you can see it.  The video is actually preferable to seeing it in person.  Click HERE.  

One item of interest on the mezzanine from which we watched the ducks was a piano like I've never seen, especially built for Francis Scott Key.



I couldn't take many pictures of the ducks because of all the lights.  That was also a problem when we were in the house at Graceland; I'm sure a knowledgeable photographer with a good camera could have managed just fine.  

As we walked toward the parking garage to our car, I took the next picture, taken right off Beale Street.


Then we drove to the National Civil Rights Museum.  We were hungry, so we went to the closest restaurant we saw after we parked on the street nearby.  I think it was Central Barbecue, but I looked that up and it sure had great reviews.  I wish I knew for sure, because I'd love to give them a review.  The food was nothing to brag about.  Cliff got Diet Coke, I got Sprite, but guess what?  Our drinks tasted like mold.  That made me wonder if they didn't clean their soda machine; I mentioned that to Cliff, and we both stopped drinking it.  We drank some water when we went to the car.  What kind of fool from the Kansas City area buys barbecue anywhere else?  We do, I guess.   

This is a good stopping place for today's entry, so come back tomorrow and I'll tell you a little about the Civil Rights Museum.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A trip to Memphis

Perhaps my readers will remember my saying I needed a road trip, and deciding Omaha would be a great destination.  If you watch the news, you know all about the flooding and freezing cold, and the snowstorms and rain storms that have occurred in Nebraska ever since I decided to go there.  I realized I needed a different destination, and decided Memphis would be perfect.  When I checked out a few websites, I knew we'd have no problem finding interesting things to see and do there.  Cliff is never actually happy to hear I want to travel, especially to destinations that requires driving almost 500 miles; we won't talk about the August tractor show we'll be attending that's a wee bit further than that.

Here's the deal:  Cliff has never enjoyed driving long distances.  It doesn't help that we've always lived at least 30 miles from anyplace he has been employed, except for long ago when he worked at the butcher shop that was less than five miles from our house; after about fifty-six years of spending forty-five minutes to an hour one way on the road going to work, it didn't take him long to learn to hate it.  It's worse now that he's older, with aches and pains everywhere.  Hours on the road magnifies the pain.  But he loves me, and usually tries to enjoy it as much as he can.  For my part, I try not to push him into very many long trips.  It's all about compromise.

There is flooding in all parts of the country, it seems.  It's time for the spring thaw up north, so it's only going to get worse.  Memphis sits right on the Mississippi River, so we were a little worried about going there, but there wasn't anything on the national news, and weather.com didn't say a lot about Memphis, so away we went, deciding to leave Sunday.  

We took Gabe-the-Mini-Schnauzer to granddaughter Amber's house Saturday, where he always has a happy time playing with her Shih Tzu and the cats.  He likes visiting there, but he is always happy to see me when we return.  We got home after 10 PM last night, and went to get him this morning (Wednesday).  He came home to a surprise:  a new dog bed from Costco online that he seems to absolutely love.  I bought it for him because I'm always worried he'll get cold at night, and it looks warm and snuggly.


He never would let me cover him with a blanket when he was in his kennel, but he seems to like being covered in this bed.  I think I'll leave him out of the kennel at nights, putting this bed right beside my side of the bed on the floor where I can reach down and pet him occasionally.

So, away we went Sunday morning.  I have to say, fortune smiled on us both going and returning.  The only real traffic tie-up we saw was on the northbound side as we went down there, so it didn't affect us; but it went on for miles.  I'm sure some of those folks sat in that mess for an hour or more.


  Cliff thought the line was probably ten miles long.  A tractor-trailer rig had jackknifed, ending up halfway on the median, and spilled white plastic pipe all over the road.  


I found this on VRBO.com.  We stayed on the right side.  It's old, but was very clean.  


Cliff settled down with his computer and a cup of coffee 

and I blue-toothed my keyboard to the iPad.

And that was the first day.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's day (tomorrow)

What a nice day it's been, after all the snow, swampiness, and everything else we've had.  I need to get a "springier" picture up at the top, because I've seen about all the cold and snow I want to for this year. 

We rode on "Big Ollie", Cliff's pride and joy, to be in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington.  We neither one have anything green to wear, but the big green tractor was enough green for anybody.  I've told Cliff he has to celebrate St. Patrick's Day now, because his DNA test revealed he has a good portion of Irish blood in his veins.  We don't have a trailer big enough to haul Ollie, so we usually only take it to places close enough to home that we can ride the tractor to our destination. 


It was a good-sized group to see in St. Patrick's Day parade.  We had only participated once, two or three years ago, and that was a damp, chilly day.  I still needed a coat today, especially on the highway going and coming, because we go so much faster on the highway.  Ollie is pretty speedy, as tractors go. 


This one is taken from the other direction.  That closest one is ours.  One other guy showed up after I took this.


This club member was looking pretty lonely and weary, sitting on those steps.  We found out he had good reason to be tired and a little down.  His 70-year-old wife has congestive heart failure.  The doctors had done everything they could, but really thought she wouldn't make it; her kidneys were not working.  He spent 14 days and nights with her at the hospital, thinking she was dying.  Finally they gave her some lasix, a strong diuretic, and her kidneys began working again.  She's home now.  He said he told her she is not allowed to die until he does!  Cliff is always telling me the same thing, that he has to die first.  Listening to them talk, I realized they have a lot in common. 


 I met this little lady on the sidewalk. 


See the guy with the straw hat-brim on?  Yeah, it's just a brim.  I guess it keeps the sun out of his eyes, and that's all he's worried about. 


Isn't funny how they are all looking on?  That guy in the overalls is trying to do something (I think) to make the tractor run better.  I enjoyed these guys admiring the old John Deere B.


I swear, they were gathered around that old classic for at least 45 minutes.





These folks brought their practically new tractor with a cab so their two grandchildren wouldn't fall off a tractor.  Isn't that little girl a beauty?


I love the old houses in Lexington.  This brick one was built, I believe, in the 1850's.  


25 years or so ago, this was a Chinese place.  We loved the food, although the lady serving us was always wearing slightly-soiled aprons and such.  Then one time my mom was in the Lexington hospital; my sister and her husband came to visit her, and we took them to the Chinese place.  There was a bird, bigger than a sparrow, flying around in there over the table and everything, all the time we were eating.  That did it.  We never went back.  It wasn't long before it closed.


On the left you have Gerald and Monica, my granddaughter.  They are a couple.  The other people are Gerald's family.  When we came around the corner, Gerald was standing up bowing over and over.  He's a hoot, wish I had gotten a picture.  Monica took a picture of us on the tractor.




See the two ladies, each holding a little red-haired baby girl?  Cliff's brother, Phil, is their great-grandfather.  They are such little cuties.


Just some of the crowd.  They have a good turnout at these things, even when the weather isn't the best.  

So there you have it:  Our first tractor activity of the year.  



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Might be time for a road trip

I've been looking at various places we could go on a little before-spring road trip:  I've sent for information from Omaha, the whole state of Kansas, and Memphis.  Memphis sounds to me like the most interesting.  I want to incorporate some of the tours around the city into our little getaway.  We always learn more on group tours than we do on our own.  Of course, they are pretty pricey, too.  I will need to choose carefully.  

Here's the unique problem Cliff and I have:  Even with all the information to be found online, and even though there's a website for any place of interest you might want to visit, it's still awfully easy for those of us who just fell off the turnip truck into the middle of Memphis or any other metropolitan area to miss a connection... yeah, even in Kansas City; the stories I could tell!  This is why I like pre-arranged bus trips; they are already planned for me.  But the two of us are going to do this, by hook or by crook.  I've been looking at hotels and watching the VRBO website.  I found one really nice little place, very reasonable, with good reviews.  The trouble is, on VRBO, if you need to cancel, most of them will only allow cancellation if you do it months ahead of time.  As I told Cliff, if anything comes up in the few days before our trip so we can't go, we won't be able to get our money back.  He says not to worry about it, the likelihood is we'll stay healthy.  If not, we lose some money.  It wouldn't be the first time.

I want to see Graceland, Sun Studios, and all the other historic spots.  Honestly, it looks like you could spend a week in this town and find plenty to see.

In the world of books:  Believe it or not, I'm getting very close to the end of "Kentucky Traveler", Ricky Skagg's autobiography.  The fact I have an Amazon Echo, Alexa, really enhances any book I read by country music artists:  The author will mention a song I'm not sure I've heard, and I'll stop reading and have Alexa play it.  I'm still working on reading "The Man in Back" by Jimmy Kapps, one of the main session players in Nashville.  

Here's what Jimmy said about the first #1 hit he played on:  "One of the first huge hits I played on was "Easy Lovin'" by Freddie Hart.  I was on that song because of Ray Edenton.  Ray was a member of the A-team.  He'd created the style of rhythm playing that became so popular in Nashville, and he'd get so many calls that he couldn't do it all... so he'd recommend me and another guy named Bobby Thompson to work the sessions.  Ray was very busy.  But he also liked to fish.  One day, he called me and asked if I could play a session with Freddy Hart in place of him, so he could go fishing.  Freddie Hart was making what would probably be his last album for Capitol Records."

Jimmy goes on to say the work he is proudest of is "The Gambler" with Kenny Rogers.  "The coolest thing about "The Gambler", at least for me, is that everyone got to hear me and Ray Edenton before you got to hear Kenny sing anything!  We start off the song.  The acoustic guitar is not like a lead instrument.  When a song leans itself to acoustic, you've really got to come up with something unique that will fit the song.  It's not as easy on an acoustic guitar."  "There we were, on Kenny's biggest record, and the acoustic guitars had four bars of just rhythm and finger pickin'." 

So of course I told Alexa to play The Gambler, so I could hear the acoustic picking he's talking about.  Once Kenny began singing, I told Alexa to stop.  Cliff said, "Hey!!!" as though I'd insulted him by stopping the song.  I explained to him I just wanted to hear the guitar-playing at the beginning.

Before spring actually arrives, I'm liable to be reading whole books to you on my blog, just to have something different to say! Ah well, if our road trip turns out well, that will give me something to talk about.  If it turns out going wrong, it might still make a good story.  

It's gently raining here today, and there will be more of the same tomorrow.  I'm not sure whether we'll do the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington Saturday or not.  It's usually too wet, too cold, or both.  I would sort of like to see the Kansas City St. Patrick's Day parade just because Eric Stonestreet, from Modern Family, is the Grand Marshall.  But I don't want to go badly enough to push somebody into take me.  In fact, I imagine if somebody came to my house Sunday and said, "Get ready.  I'm taking you to the parade," I'd realize I really don't want to go at all.  Sometimes it's more fun talking about doing something than it is actually doing it.

Alrighty friends.  I think I'm done.  Spring is at hand.  I feel it coming.

Sincerely,
Donna



   

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Books (because it's all I've got)

After all, my main hobby this winter has been reading.  So when I have nothing else to write about, that's the subject I grab.  

I read several great books in a row a while back, but of course that can't go on forever.  I've lately started reading some real clunkers, only to return them after a chapter or two.  This is partially due to February being Black History Month.  On the library's home page, various current books by black authors were displayed and recommended.  After reading "The Sun Does Shine", I was ready for more black authors, so I selected a couple of those displayed and soon returned them:  One was "Cherry", and I don't recall the other; it was centered too much on drugs and "hood behavior", with no real solution.  There was a third book that I felt was well-written, but not a subject I wanted to read a whole book about:  "Ali:  A Life".  I suggested it to Cliff, and he's enjoying it.  Also, I practically had to force him, but he finally read "The Sun Does Shine" and admitted that, to his surprise, he liked that one too.  Do you wonder how I could force him to read it?  Well, he hasn't learned how to check books out online (or doesn't want to learn).  He'd rather have me do it for him, so I give him books I'm sure he'll like.  I really ought to see if he's interested in learning how to do it himself, because the Libby app makes it incredibly easy.  But then how would I force him to read a book I know he'll like?  I also forced him to read "Population:  485", which he agreed is a great one when he after he'd finished; it was fun to hear him chuckling occasionally as he read it.  It's a true story, written mostly about volunteer fire department and the things they go through, whether funny, sad, or a little of both.  If I had a way, I'd make every one of my blog friends read some of these great books.  I put "Educated" on hold for Cliff, but it'll be a while before he gets it.  

Let me show you my list of holds, which required two screenshots.  There are ten of them:
    



Now, here's the problem with holds:  In three weeks, I'm scheduled to have four books at once show up on my Libby shelf.  We'll see how that goes; I have three weeks, once I get a book, to read it.  I may have to return one or two and start them all over on the "hold" list.  Or I might decide at least one of them isn't for me.  As you can see, the last two are obviously holdovers from Black History Month.  I would expect the Frederick Douglas book to be interesting, but I've been wrong before.  

What I'm reading now:
Kentucky Traveler by Ricky Skaggs
The Man in Back (you read it right) by Jimmy Capps
    Both of these are actual books.  Jimmy Capps even signed mine!  I bought Ricky Skaggs' book used, online, so it was a bargain.  

I read a Harlan Coben book, "Long Lost", simply because there were a lot of his available.  This was a Myron Bolitar book.  For some reason I don't relate to Myron the way I do with John Sandford's characters; maybe it's because of Myron's filthy rich friend, Win, who always comes to his aid.  See, I don't like Win; I appreciate how he helps keep Myron alive, but he's a little too hard-core for me, in any way whatsoever a person CAN be hard-core:  rich, horny, dangerous, wise guy.  So while I read these books to pass the time, I have to force myself a little, and I'm always switching from one to another, which is how you can tell I'm bored with what I'm reading.  None of them are great, perhaps, but they'll get me by until something better comes along.  

I'm also reading Carol Burnett's latest autobiography.  There's not much that's new here, but I like Carol, so I don't mind a book that's a little repetitive, when it makes me smile once in awhile.  

In other news, Cliff had a tractor he couldn't fix, the Oliver 550.  He thought it was ready to go.  We took it to a parade in Norborne last year where it performed admiringly for the parade.  However, once we got away from the parade route and the other tractors, Cliff speeded up and we heard the most awful, metallic, eardrum-bursting noise coming from within the guts of that tractor!  You can read about the day it happened HERE.  He's torn it apart several times and still can't figure it out, so yesterday we took it to an Oliver doctor about 100 miles south.  

This is a Google photo of Trenary Implement
Since we had decided to have a sack lunch rather than buy an expensive dinner, I elected to take Gabe along.  We seldom take him anywhere because we are usually going to be shopping or going inside to eat, and I don't want to leave him in the car alone.  Also, he used to get carsick.  For awhile it seems like he puked almost every day, here at home.  Thank goodness he outgrew that.  He was certainly excited when he found out yesterday he could go bye-bye with us.  He does a good job of staying in the back seat while we travel.  I put his bed next to a window and he spends most of his travel time napping, only getting up when we slow down for any reason, or turn corners.  In case you're wondering, I took Gabe a little snack so he could eat when we did, although he watches us eat all the time at home, knowing he won't get any of it.  It just seemed like the thing to do, take him a little dog food... and water, of course.  Water's his drink, his kind doesn't like coffee, booze, or soda.  That last line will only be fully understood by folks who have read the "Chet and Bernie" books.  I'm SO glad there's going to be a new Chet and Bernie book this summer!    

Have you had all the drivel you can stand?  I'm out of here.

Sincerely yours, 
Donna

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Begone, Winter!

I'm sure my readers can tell I'm sort of "forcing it" with the scattered entries I've been doing.  Nothing is happening, folks!  Well, except for weather, but who wants to hear about that?  Weather is ALWAYS happening.  

So I told Cliff, "I'm going to the big computer to see if I can come up with something for a blog entry."  And I turned toward the computer room.  Just as I started to sit down at the computer, Cliff starts hollering some story to me from the living room.  Kind, considerate woman that I am, I walked up the hall and peeked around the corner to listen attentively.  I gave some sort of answer to his homily and walked back to the computer.  Unfortunately, the Shakespeare of the tractor world realized he had another thought that needed to be expressed, so before I could get my backside to make contact with the chair, he started talking again.  I can't tell what he's saying from this room, so again I go peek around the corner in rapt attention.  I guess Alzheimer's is setting in here, because I don't remember what either of his lectures was about.  When he seemed to have imparted all the wisdom he wished to, I ever-so-gently told him, "OK.  Now, I'm going to the big computer and make an effort to do a blog entry."

"OK," he said, "I'll shut up."  

Let me say right here how grateful I am that Cliff is a good sport when I tell a story like this.  He's gotten used to me sharing embarrassing pictures of him sleeping with his mouth open, and tells me he no longer has any shame at all.  So he lets me twist and re-arrange one or two of his sentences, just for fun:  But if anybody thinks I'm trying to make my husband look stupid, trust me, that's the last thing I'd want to do.   He didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday!

You know what my favorite pass-time is in winter?  Baking!  You know what people shouldn't be doing who are wanting to lose their Christmas pounds?  That's exactly right:  Baking.  But oh, this winter.  It's driving me crazy.  There is relief in sight.  After today the temperatures are going to rise; I noticed in the forecast for next week,  the highs for every day were in the 40's.  It's about time!  Lately I've been making Oatmeal Raisin cookies.  I found a wonderful recipe on Allrecipes.com.  The raisins soak in the beaten eggs and vanilla for an hour before you go ahead and mix up the recipe.  You might want to not go overboard on the flour, because when it's done, it's VERY dry.  But I have several witnesses who will testify that these cookies are great!
  "This is the best Oatmeal Cookie I have ever tasted and is my family's favorite. This is a recipe that I have had for years that a friend of mine gave me."


GRANDMOTHER'S OATMEAL COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Beat eggs, and stir in raisins and vanilla. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Cream together shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in raisins and eggs, then stir in oats and walnuts. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Cool on wire racks.

In other news, our tractor club is always invited to be in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington, but Cliff and I have only done that one time.  The weather seldom cooperates in the middle of March.  We shall see what happens this year.  We will also be doing a memorial drive for a club member who died recently at the age of 90:  We'll meet at the guy's farm, drive the tractors around there, then to his grave at the cemetery.  Then we'll all go eat someplace, because we love to eat.  

There's a fundraiser for House of Hope at Big River Ranch in June.  Lots more activities will be coming up later.  Meanwhile, Cliff and I are planning a trip to Memphis at some point, but we will wait until there's no chance of getting snowed in someplace.

Until next time, dear readers, I am

Sincerely yours,
Donna   


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Recycling leftovers

One thing I learned at my mother's knee:  Don't waste food!  My mom went through the depression, so she knew what it was like to save every bite that was left from one meal in hopes it would help fill out the next one.  Unlike many of the things she taught me, this was a lesson that stuck for life:  Don't waste food!

One of the advantages of being the cook of the household is that you get to make anything you want.  Cliff isn't picky, so as long as I don't serve him oyster soup, yogurt, or turnips (about the only things he hates), he's happy.  However, sometimes I get a hankerin' for something while there are still leftovers in the refrigerator that need to be consumed.  Right now there's one serving of broccoli-cheese soup left from yesterday, half a breast of a Costco chicken bought on Friday I planned to eat yesterday (easily enough for a main course for the two of us) until I got a hankerin' for brocolli-cheese soup), and one serving of chicken jambalaya (made from part of the Costco bird).  I figure Cliff or I will eat the jambalaya this evening.  Or the broccoli soup... or maybe we'll toss a coin tomorrow and see who gets the soup and who gets the jambalaya.  I put the chicken breast in the freezer, but one day this week it will become chicken salad for sandwiches.  And then I started peeling potatoes for potato soup (my hankerin' for today).

I've made broccoli-cheese soup twice before, using different recipes, but yesterday I just looked at a couple of recipes for suggestions and played it by ear.  It was by far the best I've made.  Both recipes called for chicken broth, so I pressure-cooked a couple of Costo chicken skeletons I had in the freezer to make the broth.  We don't throw away poultry bones in this house. 

This morning I found myself dreaming about breakfast buffets, Golden Corral's in particular.  I think the reason I'm always day-dreaming about breakfast buffets is the idea that you can have all the good breakfast items in one meal.  Let's face it, there's nothing they can serve for breakfast that I can't make at home.  But it make no sense for me to make waffles, bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, cinnamon rolls, gravy, etc. etc., for just two people.  We can only eat so much!  And to be truthful, what I really want the most in that lineup is scrambled eggs with cheese sauce poured over them.  So what I need to do, rather than make Cliff take me to breakfast thirty miles away, is make some cheese sauce, scramble some eggs, and pour the sauce over the eggs.  I can't even do justice to a buffet any more, try as I might.  By the way, I still haven't lost my holiday pounds, speaking of buffets and other downfalls. 

So what did we have for breakfast?  Something that is so very simple and cheap, I often forget it exists:  French toast!  One of the best ways to use bread that's too dry, although I'd say bread pudding is the VERY best way to use old bread... not that either of those options is going to help me lose my holiday poundage.  

Cliff and I had our great-granddaughter, Amara, here for a few hours yesterday.  She and Gabe are pretty good buddies:  He was always a bit of a problem with Cora when I watched her, because she is so energetic she runs everywhere she goes.  Gabe fed on that energy and at first would go running after her biting at her clothes and sometimes tearing them!  Finally, he figured out if he picked up a dog toy or something to keep in his mouth while he chased her, he would have to refrain from biting her and thus, stay out of trouble.  Amara toddles slowly, as any toddler should.  Once Cora began walking, she thought she was Andy Granatelli and couldn't waste time moving at a snail's pace.  While I'm talking about Cora, I might mention she is no relation to us.  I believe one of my readers commented, calling her my granddaughter.  She feels like family to us, after having her here from the age of two months until she was five years old, but I just happened to be the lucky one who got to babysit that little talking tornado.

Now, here's Amara.  You will be surprised at how well she took a beating from my dog.

 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Everybody talks about the weather

 Our weather has been very interesting the last few days, and I saw it "up close and personal" Friday.  Let's start with Thursday, though.  We saw the weather forecast that foretold a snow storm coming.  We weren't desperate for food; we never are.  If we're out of bread I can make some in the bread machine.  If we're out of milk, I have powdered whole milk in the cupboard.  I wouldn't want it on my cereal, but it's fine for cooking purposes.  So why would we make a trip to a Blue Springs grocery store?  

Bargains, that's why.  Considering it's twenty-five miles to Price Chopper in Blue Springs, they don't have any prices that truly make it worth the trip for us, but we've been housebound so much lately, I'm ready to go anyplace Cliff is willing to take me.  We weren't doing anything else, and Cliff said he didn't mind.  Just before we got to our destination, I realized I didn't have my billfold; I'd gotten it out of my purse to hunt up my Medicare card that morning, laid it down beside me, and forgotten to put it back in my purse.  Money wasn't the problem.  Cliff always carries a nice little stash of cash with him.  But in order to get those great bargains, I needed my Chopper Shopper card.  It was at home in my billfold, twenty-five miles away.

"Maybe they can look me up on the computer," I said.  "I'll go on in and see what I can do."

I asked an employee about it and he said, "Oh, that's no problem.  Just tell them your phone number and you'll be fine."

Right then, when he said this, I couldn't help but wonder how long the phone number they had on file had been there.  I couldn't recall ever changing a phone number at Price Chopper, and I've had Chopper Shopper cards for years.  What if it was our old land-line number?  But I'm no negative nelly, so I assumed everything would work out for the best.  I put all those wonderful bargains in my cart and went to the checkout, where I found out that sure enough, I didn't know the number they had on file.  I don't remember any of my old numbers.  The lady said, "We can put your cart in the cooler if you want to go home and come back."

I told her where we lived, and she agreed that wasn't an option.  I went in Aldi's and got a couple of items with Cliff's money and we headed home.

That evening the forecast hadn't changed:  There was a huge storm coming, with plenty of snow.  Friday morning around 9 AM, Cliff asked if I wanted to go to Price Chopper; there's one at Grain Valley, which is a little closer than Blue Springs.  "Really?  You are willing to go again?  What about the weather forecast?"

"It isn't snowing.  We'll go now and get home before the snow hits." 

So away we went, on a mission that really made little sense.  One reason Cliff was so willing to go was that I had chili made, and he was really wanting some Fritos for chili pie.  Fritos were $1.79 a bag.  Yes, you had to buy five bags, but they stay fresh for ages until you open them.  Oh yes, and Oreos were $1.99 if I bought five packages.  I always stock up on them so I can make everybody's favorite dessert (Oreo Delight) for family gatherings. 

We hadn't gotten five miles from home when we drove into a snowstorm.  It was like a white-out!  We got within sight of Price Chopper and saw the parking lot packed with cars.  We should have turned around and gone home right then, but no.  If the parking lot didn't scare me, the lines at the checkouts should have, because those lines went way back into the aisles.  I said to an employee, "Is everything gone?"  "Well," she said, "if you want bread or milk, you'd better hurry back there and get it; it's going fast."  

Every time I'd glance out the window in front of the store, I saw the snow really coming down hard.  I grabbed a couple of the wonderful bargains, but when I got to the Fritos, there were only two bags left, and I needed five to get that cheapest price.  Oh, and those two bags were jalapeno flavor, which I'd never tried.  Even though it was a strange flavor, and even though I would probably be paying over three bucks for a bag, I grabbed one, because that was the main item Cliff was worried about.  This whole trip was turning out to be a disaster.  

I went to the end of one of the long, long lines, quite frustrated.  I had a little pep talk with myself.  You know, stuff like, "Well, you can't do anything about it, so stop fretting."

(But I could have done something.  I could have turned and walked out the minute I saw the crowd in the store.)

A man ahead of me seemed to know me, so we visited a little.  This happens to me all the time:  Some friendly person will seem to know me, but all I can figure out is that the person is vaguely familiar.  That's because I don't look at people, so I never recognize anyone.  Besides, maybe the guy was just friendly.  But when it came his time to check out and he gave them his phone number, it was a Lexington number.  He probably knew me, might even be someone from the tractor club.  I'll never know.  

Then a woman in a line several registers down waved, calling me by name.  This person didn't even look familiar to me!  We hollered back and forth a couple of times about the weather, but I had no idea who she was.  One thing about it, she was friendly.

(Later a cousin's daughter told me on Facebook, "It was good seeing you in the long line at my Price Chopper this morning.  What an adventure!"  Now I feel better about not knowing who she was!  I don't think I've ever met her face to face; her mom goes to the family reunions, but she doesn't.)

I told the lady at the cash register, "I'm going to say a prayer for you folks working here.  Your customers get to go on home, but you have to be here with these never-ending lines of grumpy people all day long."

When I stepped out into the storm, I realized we'd gotten at least two inches of snow in the forty-five minutes or so I'd been inside, and it was coming down so hard and fast it was scary.  It was a slow drive home on back roads, trust me.  Cliff hung onto the steering wheel and said very little.  It took us, I'm sure, at least forty-five minutes to get home from Grain Valley.  We walked into the house around 11:15 AM, about the same time a terrible pileup of vehicles occurred a few miles away on I-70 in which one woman lost her life.

We always have a good supply of food here, and we've laughed at the crazy people who run to the store at the mention of bad weather.  This was the first time I've ever experienced such a mess.  I assure you it will never happen again.

The jalapeno Fritos were pretty good in our chili pies, though.  I'll be buying them often.

All told, I believe we got four or five inches of snow.



Full of gratitude (and who knows what else), I remain...
Donna

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Here we go again

This was yesterday's entry, but I messed it up so badly, it's taken me 24 hours to come back to the computer and try to fix it.  Guess what?  I just didn't bother to fix it completely.  I'm sick of this entry!

Yesterday our temperatures got up into the 50's.  Today we've plunged back into the deep freeze.  Honestly, I'm grateful to have the mud frozen again.  Our yard is ruined.  when we moved hack here to what once was part of the pasture, we planted grass in our front yard.  It was so nice!  But over the years, thanks to four-wheeled traffic, moles, drought, and mud, real grass is non-existent.  It's so bad, I doubt if there's even any crabgrass growing any more.  I'm hoping to convince Cliff to assist me in tilling up the front yard (he's thinking, "Oh, you mean poor old Cliff gets to do it") and planting grass again.  Of course we'd need to put out some grub treatment or the moles would have it ruined again in no time.  Dreams of spring in the middle of winter, right?

After reading about coyotes killing so many small dogs, I've decided to keep Gabe on a leash when we walk in the pasture.  I hate this development as much as he does:  His chief joy was being able to run as fast as the wind and head down into the hollers.  Just watching him in action made me joyful.  Typical of terrier-type dogs, he pulls on a leash something awful, but my oldest granddaughter passed  something on to me that she couldn't use:  A harness that won't let him pull.  I'd tried the Halti head halter back when I had Sophie, but this kind was new to me.  It goes across the dog's chest.
It isn't as severe as the head collar, but it does work.  Although my dog can't run free any more, I want him to have some room to sniff around, since sniffing is his favorite hobby when he's outside.  When he's here at the house, I use the six-foot leather leash the granddaughter gave me when I first got Gabe.  Don't you love it when your dog gets hand-me-downs? I love that leash, although when Gabe was a puppy he kept chewing off the metal snap that attaches to his collar.  Cliff re-attached it each time, so now it's only about 4 1/2 feet long.  I finally ordered a new one a couple of days ago (surprise, Cliff).  Anyway, I got out the retractable leash I hate because it gives him some room to roam while I'm slowly walking in the pasture.  The first time I took him out with the halter and leash, he broke into a run as soon as I opened the gate, as was his custom.  It was a short walk, because when he got to the end of the leash he came to a halt.  After the first five minutes he seemed to get used to it and didn't fight it much, so I've actually found something the retractable leash is good for.

I feel in need of a road trip, but this time of year isn't the best time to travel with the weather around the country like it is.  Cliff doesn't tolerate long car trips, so I've been trying to think of someplace not far away where we could go, someplace with museums and places of interest; We've been all over Iowa with our tractor club folks so there's not much left to see there. I wouldn't mind going to the Flint Hills again, seeing some things we missed before, but not in winter; We had a great time in Lincoln, Nebraska, but I think we saw everything there was to see there.  There are blog entries HERE and HERE about that trip.

So this morning my mind went in all directions, trying to think of someplace far enough for a road trip, yet not so far we couldn't get there in one day; guess what came to mind?

Colorado!  That won't work in winter, though.  I guess I'll just stay home and plan a summer trip to Colorado.

Have a great day.  There will probably be another entry soon, because I have other things to say.  

Your bumbling blogger,
Donna

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Is it spring yet?

We’ve had a time with this weather.  Our driveway turned into a sheet of ice from the thawing, then freezing back.  Can you believe there’s still nasty weather coming every other day this week?  At least the temperatures are going to be more bearable.  Gabe hasn’t been for an outside run in days; I was afraid to try taking him to the pasture, since there are slick conditions even on the grass, and I’m at an age where I don’t want to fall.  I’m thinking I may have to stop letting Gabe run loose anyhow, after seeing this from a Facebook friend in Massassachusetts.  

I’m posting this for the Boxford Dog Officer who is not on the internet or a member of this group.

Over the last few months, coyotes have attacked over a dozen dogs of all sizes in our town.

Dogs that were just a few feet away from their owners, at various times of the day, were victims and only a couple were able to be saved after extremely large vet bills.

The survivor dogs and their families will never be the same after such a horrific ordeal!

Poultry and livestock are at risk as well, so are your guard type dogs that the coyotes consider competition.

This is not a joke and if you keep poultry make sure that they are in predator proof environment. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS FREE RANGE, Because Really It’s A Free Lunch For Coyotes!

I’m not in Massachusetts, but Missouri has as many coyotes as any state, I’m sure.  Cliff and I often happen to look out the window to the north and see one loping across the pasture.  They are one of the main predators of chickens, but even when I kept chickens, I admired coyotes; I simply tried to make sure I penned up the hens at night.  However, I’m thinking I had better keep a leash on Gabe on our walks, as much as he loves running free.  He’s often out of sight, down in ravines, and it wouldn’t be hard for Wily Coyote to snatch him; he’s fast, but he’s no Road-Runner.  I’m trying to set up a plan, though, where I go to an area of the pasture where he doesn’t get out of my sight.  I’ll sit on the ground and read while he runs around and gets rid of some energy for fifteen minutes or so, then leash him and go for our walk.  Here’s hoping.  In summer, I can sit and read in the hammock with him running, and he doesn’t take off for parts unknown.  

Believe it or not, I’ve been having a problem finding a good book for the last several days.  I’ve returned several of them without reading past the first couple of chapters.  One book, “Cherry”, seemed to consist of nothing but a man and his girl friend staying high on injectable, illegal drugs constantly.  I went to a chapter about 3/4 of the way through to see if there was any redemption, but nope.  They were still doing drugs.  I don’t need that kind of negative hogwash, and I’m not patient enough to read the depressing stuff looking for the good in it.  It’s highly rated, but not the kind of thing I read.  I’m reading “The Hideaway” by Lauren K. Denton, but it turned out to be a love story, which has never been my favorite type of book, and pretty predictable (like most love stories).  I was struggling, about halfway through, and decided to see what was happening later in the book.  Yep, predictable.  However, lacking anything else, I decided to go ahead with it.  Next morning I began reading and realized some things weren’t making sense.  That’s when I realized I hadn’t gone back to my original spot, so I’d missed out on some elements of the story.  I backed up until I figured everything out (predictable), then went on reading from there, so I missed 1/3 of the whole story and still know everything that happened.  There are bright spots on the horizon, though.  A blogger friend in Arkansas mentioned the book she just read, “Inheritance”, by Dani Shapiro.  It was so good, she read it in one day.  I checked the Amazon reviews and immediately put it on hold at the library.  The estimated wait time for me?  Eight weeks.  By the time I get it, I won’t remember why I even wanted to read it, but that’s OK.  If it’s good, it’ll hook me by the second chapter.  And I’m sure it is good.  In other positive news, there’s a new book in the Chet and Bernie series coming out in July!  Chet, a big, black dog, is the narrator of these books, and does a great job at seeing detective work from a dog’s point of view.  That isn’t as silly as it sounds.  If you like dogs and detectives, you’ll like these books.

The grandson mentioned he had company coming for breakfast yesterday morning, so I jumped at the chance to make some cinnamon rolls, first ones I’ve made since July when our son was here.  I made a lot, so I sent one pan to his house and kept the rest here.  The son-in-law was in the shop working on a car yesterday afternoon, so Cliff took some out to him, with a carafe of coffee.  Cliff and I had a couple of them for breakfast this morning, too.  Still, there are about eight left, and I’m hoping the grandson will come and eat a few.  We don’t need them around tempting us every time we walk through the kitchen, and I’d rather not throw them in the trash.  

For my friends who have Netflix, I highly recommend the movie “Bernie”, based on a true story.  There are some great laughs in it, you get to see the main character talking to the man whose part he’s playing in the movie, and the people are so real, you will feel as though you’ve met them.  And it isn’t even R rated!  It might not be the best for children of a certain age, simply because there are some undertaker scenes and a death or two.  But Cliff and I don’t always like the same movies, and the grandson watches even different kinds of shows than we do... but we all three agree this movie is great.  Another one we enjoyed on Netflix was “Hell or High Water”, but there’s lots of killing in that one.  Can you tell I have cabin fever from all this being iced in?  I normally refuse to watch television during the day, but yesterday I found myself binge-watching “One Day at a Time” and “The Ranch”.  I can only force myself to watch “The Ranch” for two or three episodes at a time, though.  It’s pretty corny, most farm facts mentioned are off-kilter, and I get tired of a father and son yelling and cussing at one another all the time.  I actually found myself getting depressed yesterday, watching all that arguing.  

Well, that’s enough for today.  I’m doing my very best to do a blog entry at least three times a week.  If I go longer than that without an entry, I lose my mojo and don’t enjoy blogging any more.  If I force it (like most entries lately) and talk about trivial things, it keeps me coming back.

Life is good.  Spring is coming.  Global warming is real, but I don’t see anything we can do about it:  I don’t know how it works, but scientists say it’s the reason our winters are harsher.  Not to mention the hotter summers.  Scientists have made a believer out of me, now that I’ve finally read a little about it.   “You can’t tell much about the climate or where it’s headed by focusing on a particularly frigid day, or season, or year, even,” writes Eoin O’Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s all in the long-term trends,” concurs Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

We have this day, this hour.  Let’s not spoil today by worrying about something we can’t change.

Peace.


Thursday, February 07, 2019

Iced in

It's a bitter cold, windy day, although not so slick on the grass and gravel as yesterday.  We got enough sleet and freezing rain this morning that it actually roughed up the surface areas so it's possible to get a little traction.  Yesterday I was afraid to step onto our gravel driveway, it was so slick.  Today, no problem at all.  I had a little problem opening the gate, though.

  
Ice wouldn't let me open the latch, but I went back to the walk-through gate, kicked it and jiggled it a few times, and got it open.  After five minutes outside, I knew I wouldn't be taking my usual walk all over the place.  I could have withstood the 13ยบ temperature, but that wind was awful!  Just for Gabe's sake, I went on back by the pond while he ran down in the surrounding ravines, disappearing awhile and then coming back to touch bases with me.  

Even dead weeds are pretty when covered in ice.




Gabe was excited to find a hole in a tree.

So right after I took this shot, to Gabe's dismay, we headed for the house.  

I see no reason to get out of my bedclothes today.  I don't picture anyone coming to visit.  However, we did have a special visitor yesterday.  Our little Cora came by for a few hours, first time we'd seen her in a month.  I get a kick out of her when she visits.  I moved a lot of her books and toys around after I stopped babysitting, so most things aren't quite where they used to be when she was here regularly.  Now, when she visits, she checks to see what's here and what isn't.  She does not like change, and if she played with something one time, two years ago, she considers it hers forever.  Yesterday she looked through all the books I kept after she entered pre-school, but couldn't find "The Very Hungry Caterpillar".  I can't imagine I would have given it to Goodwill or to some other kid, because it's a good one to have when children visit; and I have a nine-month-old granddaughter who would eventually like it.  But try as I might, I couldn't find that book.  I told her I'd keep looking for it, and she was OK with that.  

Another thing she will do every time she comes is to get out the Little People and make one of us play with her for a short time.  It's like she's checking to see if we've forgotten how to play with her.  When she was a toddler, she liked to play hide and seek with Cliff, but now that she's five years old, there's no way to hide from her in this little house.  There are very few places an adult can stay concealed here.  She kept begging Cliff to hide, and he kept telling her it was impossible.  As they were having their little discussion, I said, "Cliff, remember the game 'Hide the Thimble'?  Why don't you two use some small toy and hide that, the way kids used to hide a thimble?"  

That worked great, and we all had fun with it until her dad picked her up.  Sometimes I amaze myself.  

We had biscuits and gravy for dinner yesterday, so I let Cora play with the extra biscuit-dough, just like the old days.  She used my rolling pin to roll it out really thin, and I said, "That looks more like pie crust than biscuits."  Her face lit up, and she said, "Yah, it's pie crust!  Can I have a pie pan?  I'm going to make a grape pie for you and Cliff."  

"I don't have any grapes," I told her.  

"Grape jelly, silly!"

So I gave her a little pie pan, she shaped it just right, and we placed her "pie crust" in the oven with the biscuits.  When it was done, she spooned grape jelly into it.

You can see Cliff's plate in the background, with what's left of his biscuits and gravy.  We told her we were so full, we just couldn't hold much pie, but we had a bite of it.  Tasted like very thin biscuit dough with jelly, for some reason.  

I had fried a pound of sausage and took out about half the patties, setting them in a dish on the back of the stove-top.  When my back was turned, Cliff carried them to the table.  I noticed he had a sausage patty on his plate and asked, "Oh, you're eating some sausage?"  "Is that all right?" he asked.  

"Sure.  We can spare one patty.  I intend for us to have sausage, eggs, and warmed-up biscuits in the morning.  That's why I didn't put them on the table.  But go ahead and eat that one."

He agreed that was a much better idea than just eating them all at one sitting.  

Wish us luck.  We always worry that we'll lose electricity when there's ice on the lines and a brisk wind blowing.  I do believe we're done with the sleet and freezing rain, for this round anyhow.

Stay warm, my friends.  Enjoy the day.  I have books to read, and so does Cliff.  I'm glad to be alive.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

It's a good day

We had about four days of mud, so Gabe and I didn't go for a pasture-walk; His only outings were taken at the end of a leash, and he was only out long enough to do his business.  It's just too much trouble to have to give him a bath after every walk.  I don't mind combing stickers out of his beard, but I I don't think it's good to give a dog too many baths.  He already has dry, itchy skin from laying on the heat register every time the furnace kicks on.  Anyhow, as much as I enjoyed the unseasonable temperatures over the weekend, I'm glad to see the ground frozen again.  Gabe and I were able to go for our walk and still keep our feet clean, and we both loved it.  

I need some good, comfortable leather walking shoes.  For years I only bought Nike brand walking sneakers:  I walked three miles or so every day for exercise, and they were comfortable.  Back then I walked along the road and in a little local park for exercise.  Some years ago I decided to walk in our pasture.  I'm a morning walker, so when dew was on the grass, I got wet shoes and socks.  So I simply started walking barefoot when weather permitted.  When it was muddy or too cold, I'd wear my Muck boots, and mostly just used my sneakers for going to town.  I need to buy some shoes now, but I see no reason to buy sneakers.  The least amount of dew on the grass gets them wet, so I want some good, comfortable leather walking shoes for going places.  They'd clean up better and keep my feet dryer at those big tractor shows we attend.  Back before I was married when I was working in a factory and on my feet all day, I wore deerskin leather walking shoes that were perfect.  I guess they don't make those any more.  I'm not looking for something terribly cheap.  I want comfort and durability.  Wish me luck.  I have big feet, so it's sometimes hard to find the shoe I want for my size 11's.

A while back I was trying to explain to my sister, her son, and his wife how much I love going barefoot.  The best feeling in the world to me is walking through the cool, green grass on the first spring day, I told them.  The second-best feeling is walking on plowed-up garden dirt.  When I was telling this to them, they looked perplexed.  So, hoping to enlighten them, I said, "It's sort of like the feeling of coming home after a days work and taking off my bra!  It's freedom!".  Which I think only confused them more.  

You just don't know how happy I am on that first day of sixty-degree temperatures after a long winter, when I can go outside without shoes.  I feel like I'm a part of the earth, like I've been set free.  I feel sorry for people who don't "get" this sensation.  Cliff, for example, is a tenderfoot who won't even go barefoot in the house, and yells like he's dying if he steps on a grain of rice,... probably even a cooked grain of rice.  Not that there's rice laying all over my floors, but there's always something that he'd consider to be crippling when stepped on.   When I talk about the wonders of going barefoot in the grass, he just shudders, checks out, and thinks about other things, as though his feet hurt just thinking about it.  

I've shared the following poem before, but it seems appropriate to make it part of this entry; I jumped down off some hay one time and landed on a metal door-stop that did considerable damage and took awhile to heal; that's when I realized how much I owe to these feet of mine:

 I’ve taken walks for many years. I seldom miss a day;
It’s then I seem to hear from God, and find the time to pray.
I took for granted two good feet that carried me along,
And seldom thanked the Lord for them… till everything went wrong!
In fact, I griped about my feet, so hideous to me,
And several sizes larger than a lady’s feet should be.
Shoes were so confining that I didn’t wear them much,
Except when going shopping, or to Sunday school and such.

Now, when a person won’t wear shoes, her feet get stained from grass
And spread out even larger, and look unrefined and crass.
The calluses grow thicker, and unsightly scars appear
From all of the abuses heaped upon them, year to year.
One day my foot was injured as I went about the farm
(Keep tempting fate for long enough, and you will come to harm).
The doctor took some stitches, and it put me in such pain
That I could see there’d be no walks. That fact was very plain!

Well, now I can appreciate the things my feet can do…
So many years I’ve used them, and they always got me through.
Who cares if they’re not sexy feet, or delicate or small?
I’ve learned to thank my Maker that I have these feet at all.
Two weeks I couldn’t take my walks; my foot was slow to heal,
But I can count my blessings with a gratitude that’s real.
This whole experience is one I hope I don’t repeat,
But one thing I have gained from this: I’ve learned to love my feet! 

In closing, let me share a comment someone made on my "open gates" entry:   

I enjoy your blog and have been reading it for years I starting reading it because of the cows, 
when I was young we milked cows and sold the cream on Saturday my dad and I would go to 
town in a horse drawn wagon {1952} I know the feeling of giving up things like a big garden 
and chickens. My dad was cotton farmer 80 acre farm. Thanks. donjacks Muskogee oklahoma

I truly do blog mainly for myself, not for an audience.  Most of my family doesn't even read it... 
they know enough about my life that reading about it bores them.  And yet, hearing from 
someone who has never left a comment even though he's been reading for years makes me 
happy.  So yes, I do appreciate my readers.  Thank you for commenting, Don.  

Try to get outside and look at the trees and the sky, won't you?  Bundle up first, though.

Peace.

(Don't ask why this entry is multi-colored with several fonts used.  It's a long, boring story about 
a woman whose techskills are limited.)