Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Things happening outside

First of all, let me show you how some of my tomatoes are doing:  It's the same plant in both pictures, but from different sides.  



Of course with all the rainy weather, blight showed up early.  Cliff said somebody told him I should take the blighted leaves off as soon as they appear.  

I'm pretty sure I remember trying that idea in the past to no avail, but since I have so few plants, what could it hurt?  I'll let you know how it works out in the end.  Those biggest tomatoes are already bigger than some tomatoes you can buy in the store, so I'm hoping for the best.

Yes, I'm still slacking as a blogger.  I hope I'm not going to fizzle out completely, like so many have.  Sunday before last, the day after our big concert by Ricky Skaggs, we went to Truman Lake Opry to see Gene Watson for the fourth or fifth time.  As soon as he came out on stage and began singing, I could tell his voice wasn't as strong as usual, although he still sounded pretty good.  "He's sick," I thought.  Before long, he apologized that he was having a bit of a struggle with allergies.  I'm thinking he was worse off than just "suffering from allergies".  He looked sort of flushed, and just wasn't his old happy-acting self.  Still, he was in the lobby afterward for autographs and pictures.  "The show must go on."

I don't know why I look five months pregnant in this shot, but just deal with it, OK?  Maybe I should go look at myself in the mirror and see if I look that way all the time!  Nah, then I'd have to do something about it, right?  It probably has something to do with bad posture, which I am constantly trying to correct (to little avail).  

Gene has a ridiculous tour schedule, especially considering he's my age.  I get a kick out of his bass player, who stands in the background during their shows acting like he's having some sort of seizures or fits while he plays.  I wish I had taken a brief video, but I thought I could come home and find a video of him on Youtube.  Nope.  That didn't happen.  I had Cliff take a picture of me with him, but to look at him or talk to him, you'd think he was the quietest, most normal person you've ever seen.
He doesn't even look like himself when he's not cavorting and twitching and clenching his teeth

Here you see him on stage, behind Gene.  His name is Staley Rogers, and I googled him every way a person can be googled!  Not a video anywhere.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  

I have a great idea for another entry, so stay tuned for a shocking story soon to come.

Unfaithfully yours, (ha!)
Donna

PS:  I'll try to get back to being a faithful blogger again.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

We had a fun day

Yeah, I'm getting lazy again and haven't posted in awhile.  You try thinking of something blog-worthy when you are in your seventies and don't get out of the house much!  But yesterday, we had an eventful day, one that we thought was going to be ruined by rain, because our planned activities took place outside.

Our main priority was to attend a festival yesterday afternoon and evening, because Mo Pitney and Ricky Skaggs were going to be the main performers.  I had looked forward to the event for months.  It's called Rosefest, an event to help families of children with cancer in north Missouri with all the costs cancer brings with it; that's where all proceeds of Rosefest go.  The only thing they asked of attendees was a contribution toward that goal, however much you felt you wanted to give.

The tractor show at Lathrop was also happening on the same date.  I had suggested to Cliff that we go there first, then drive the fifteen minutes up the freeway to Cameron for the music.  Two birds with one stone.  However, he said the tractor show is pretty much the same every year and thought we'd skip that.

When we woke up and saw the forecast, my heart sank:  There was a high chance of rain in the forecast, with possible wind, hail, and perhaps a tornado or two.  Wow, all those plans would come to nothing, because it looks like it's going to get rained out!  As a matter of fact, it was raining when we got up.  We decided to just watch the weather and hope the forecast was wrong.  Around mid-morning the skies lightened up, the sun came out, and I formulated a "Plan B".  We'd eat our noon meal and go to the tractor show.  After spending time there, we'd do another weather check and if it sounded like rain would hold off, we'd go to Cameron.  Mo Pitney was scheduled for 6 PM, Ricky at 8.

The tractor show was enjoyable, as always.  I can't take the heat well at all these days: my stomach acts up and I start feeling sort of spaced out if it's really hot.  A couple of neighbors, Diane and Larry, were selling stuff at the flea market.  Larry said he was getting ready to go watch a bluegrass group performing at the old country church on the grounds, so I left Cliff shopping for nuts, bolts, and other rusty junk and went to see the music.
Their music was good, but the old church is so echo-y that it sort of distorted the sound.  There was air conditioning, so that helped with my heat problem.

The "Parade of Power" started at 3 o'clock, so I joined Cliff to watch it.  We enjoyed seeing so many kids in on the action.  Also one dog.






Yes, there is a child in the shadows on the seat of the tractor. 




As far as I know, that dog was sitting there with no restraints.  He was pretty hot!






As you can see, it was a lovely day with no sign of rain up to the time we left.  We bought ourselves some home-made ice cream and went to the car, heading for Cameron.

We parked in the satellite parking lot set up for the event at the Elk Lodge in Cameron and got onto a school bus (carrying our lawn chairs) a mile down the road to the place.  It was a nice crowd, and apparently they moved the whole thing back an hour.  Mo got on stage shortly after we arrived, right after a family got up and told what they went through when their daughter had cancer.


Mo Pitney was great.  We already knew that, thanks to Country's Family Reunion.  One of his brothers was playing in the band, as well as his sister.  She is a great singer too; she sounds a lot like LeeAnn Womack.  I didn't bother to take pictures, because they usually don't turn out well at an event like this.  I was amazed at how good the sound was:  So many times, music at outdoor events don't have the best sound.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I took two pictures right after Ricky and his bunch got on the stage, and that's it for pictures.  They turned out better than I expected.



Oh, and just as the show was ending, rain started.  We folded our chairs and got on the bus and it began pouring rain.  It rained on us most of the way home.  Cliff almost hit a deer that ran in front of us on highway 13, and Cliff is sort of night-blind, so he wasn't having a good time driving anyway.  

But we made it!


Thursday, June 06, 2019

A day visiting relatives

Cliff still has relatives he cares about in Morgan County, Missouri.  We have intended for awhile to pay a quick visit to his 92-year-old aunt who is in a nursing home in Stover, and a lady cousin of his on his dad's side who has spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals in the past few months.  Then there's the wife of another cousin who died a few years ago; she lives not far from the other places we went; Cliff kept saying he'd like to see her, and this week I said, "Quit talking about it and let's go!"

So yesterday, away we went; I decided to take Gabe, the dog, along.  He loves to "go bye-bye" with us, and his being along makes the time pass better for me; I'm not so sure how Cliff feels about it, but he'll put up with a lot for my sake.  I planned out how the day would go, and realized Gabe might be a problem if we planned on eating a meal someplace; the day was too hot to leave a dog in a car.  Then I got a fine idea... I'd make a picnic lunch and we'd eat at a little park in Stover after visiting Aunt Gertrude.  When we used to cruise around on the motorcycle, we often had picnics and thoroughly enjoyed them:  I packed nothing fancy, just sandwiches and some chips, and a piece of lemon pie for each of us.  I made a lemon pie Monday, cut it in eight pieces, and we've each had a piece of pie every day for four days straight.  Anyway, our trip seemed to be shaping up.

If there's anything I don't like, it's people who run around with a dog and take it in someone's house where it's almost certain to pee or poop... because when a dog is in a strange house, that's what they do, no matter how well house-trained they are.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but it does happen often.  Also, some people simply do not want a dog in their homes; my sister is an example of this.  I'm sure if I took Gabe with me when we go to visit her, and brought him in her house, she wouldn't say anything.  But she wouldn't enjoy it at all, for sure, even if his behavior was perfect; she isn't a big fan of dogs.  

Cliff asked what I was going to do with the dog while we were visiting people.

I told him about my obviously simple solution:  I'd take a tie-out and put him outside while we visited; he might bark nonstop, but he'd be fine.  Both the homes we'd visit are in the country, and Cliff said at the nursing home, our first stop, I could tend to the dog while he visited Aunt Gertrude; when he came out, I could go in and say hello and he'd watch Gabe.  That went well, by the way.  There was a lovely shade tree outside the place.  I got my cane-chair out of the trunk and used it to sit on while Gabe sniffed everything he could reach at the end of his leash.  It was lovely.  Then Cliff came out and took his turn, and afterward we had our picnic at the park.  

At stop number two, the cousin's house, things were a little different:  Three good-looking children met us at the car as we pulled in.  A little blond girl pointed at the three big dogs barking at us and, pointing out two of them, said, "These two are nice."  Then, pointing at the third one, she said, "He's mean." 

The dog was obviously part Pit Bull, and I asked about this.  The oldest child, a boy who looked about twelve years old, said proudly, "He's half Lab and half Pit."  Hmm.  I put Gabe down cautiously, but the "mean dog" as the kids called him, acted a little aggressive.  Cliff's cousin's daughter, who lives nearby and is part-time caregiver for her mom, said, "Just bring him on in the house."

The house isn't a huge one, and the daughter's son and his three kids were there, so things were a bit crowded.  There was a cute little Shi-tzu waddling around the house, two guinea pigs in a cage, and a kitten about a third grown running and jumping around.  The boy we had met outside now came inside riding on some sort of motorized skate-board, tooling around from kitchen to living room, hallway and back, at a brisk pace.  I cautiously set Gabe down; the kitten began stalking him, even jumping on his back as he passed by a chair.  That was hilarious, and the way they were playing the whole time we were there, I wished I could steal the cat.  He and Gabe made a fine pair!

With all the conversations from so many people, neither Cliff nor his cousin could hear anything; they're both about half deaf.  If you are familiar with hearing aids, you know how background noise messes with them; Cliff has a button he can push to help with background noise, but he never remembers it.  I'm not too hard of hearing, but I missed a lot of the many conversations around me.  On the bright side, the cousin was happy to see us; we love her, and are glad we visited.  Let's just say it was an interesting visit.  Oh, and of course, Gabe peed on the carpet.  I cleaned it up the best I could.  

On to our last planned stop, the deceased cousin's wife's abode.  As we pulled in the drive, she came out the door with her purse in hand, obviously getting ready to go someplace.  We talked to her for about fifteen minutes and then let her go about her afternoon.  There would have been a place for Gabe on a tie-out there, but alas, we weren't there long enough to take him off the leash.  As far as the actual trip in the car, Gabe did great.  He stayed in the back seat, often curling up in his bed and going to sleep.  However, I won't be so quick to take him places without learning first what the conditions will be at our destination.  I could have left him home in the kennel, or, for $15, I could have left him at Bed and Bones for the day, where he could have had fun with other small dogs.

Oh well, it was a road trip.  What else can I say?  Actually, on the way home, we had some big laughs about some of the happenings of the day.  Oh, and we stopped by the Mennonite store to get a pint of Sorghum.  I also bought two big tomatoes, one of which we had today on BLT's.  AND.... for the longest time I've wanted some real, old-fashioned bologna, the kind they slice while you watch, as thick or thin as you want it.  The packaged bologna you buy in the store is mostly water; I've been wanting some of the old-fashioned greasy stuff that you can fry, melt some cheese on, and put between a couple slices of bread.  The store had that bologna which, by the way, we sampled for supper last night.  We were not disappointed.  

We are not eating in a healthy manner, but we are eating deliciously!  Don't worry, I bought all sorts of fresh vegetables today, so we'll have a healthier meal tomorrow.

Enjoy every day, folks.  Laugh every chance you get, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  Be daring enough to eat the good-tasting stuff sometimes.  Have some pie.  And by all means, take your dog for a ride.

Yours truly,

Donna




Sunday, June 02, 2019

True stories from my Sunday morning

Both of these are posted on Facebook, but most followers of my blog aren’t Facebook friends.  I posted it around 7 AM, and at 1:30 PM there are over 50 likes on it.

 This is comical in a way, but also kind of nice:  I took my guitar out in the front yard and was strolling around singing hymns loudly; it was early, so I assumed all neighbors were still asleep.  Gabe was having fun enjoying the smells of nature, apparently tracking something.   Over the sound of my loud mouth and my inept strumming I heard something.  I paused in my noise-making to find the source of such a racket and realized there were two mockingbirds singing along with me... or maybe they are critics and were telling me to keep my day job.  I began singing again and a cardinal (not the Catholic kind, the feathered kind) landed on the nearest treetop.  About that time Heather’s Great Dane came running over, and he and Gabe started running and playing around me.  Then I saw Heather, looking for her dog.  

Had I known I was going to attract such a crowd, I would have stayed in the house!  

No, I wouldn’t have... because it was fun!

The other little story was brief:

In other news, I got pecked in the head by Mama Bluebird a while ago.  She was letting me know in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t like a peeping tom looking at her babies.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Keep on the Sunny Side

That title has nothing to do with anything, except that it's something I always try to do.  I could give you a link to the Carter Family singing the song, but everybody is familiar with it.  

The past two days Cliff and I noticed our arthritis acting up more than usual.  Yesterday we gave in and each took a couple of Tylenols and felt much better.  I put straw down in the garden, threaded a soaker hose through the tomato cages and around the herbs, pepper plants, and cucumbers.  I've been in a fit of pulling weeds out of the flower beds the like of which you've probably never seen:  You see, for four years I was babysitting our little Cora; I've never been a high-energy person, so while she was here I used all my energy on her... because she IS a high-energy person.  She liked to help, which is great, and I let her help in a lot of ways.  But weeding the flowerbeds wasn't something she was exactly skilled at because she lacked the knowledge to differentiate between weeds and vegetable plants.  Besides, as I said before, my energy was pretty much drained with babysitting her.  This year I felt it was time to manage a few things outside, things I've let go.



First I'll share a picture of the baby bluebirds.  Usually when I peek in to check on the babies, the parents have acted as though they want to dive-bomb me, but I think they are getting used to me now.  The mother flew overhead, but wasn't scolding me.  This bunch doesn't instantly open their collective beaks and peep when I lift the side door of their house.  It worries me a little, because I can't help but wonder if they're OK.  But they're alive and growing.  The Internet tells me they remain in the nest for almost three weeks.  


That's my chair on the back porch, but I never use it these days because it's pretty much upholstered with Mama Kitty's white hair.  I will eventually clean it off, and try to remember to turn it upside down when I'm through with it.  Because I really need my chair.

On another topic, Gabe is now the perfect dog.  He never fails to come when I call him, so he spends lots of time outside sniffing, tracking, chasing cats and bluejays... you know, the things that make life worth living for a dog.  And since he IS so great now, I decided to look for affordable Schnauzer puppies online.  The only "reasonably-priced" Schnauzers were mixed breed.  One litter of them really looked like a purebred Schnauzer, though, quite a way out in Kansas.  I communicated with the people by email, asked some questions, and was about to talk to Cliff about it when I noticed their father was a mini-Aussie.  Yeah, a double-coated dog.  Remember, one of the things that caused me to get a Schnauzer was the non-shedding trait.  Those little puppies might inherit the Schnauzer's non-shedding coat, but they might also take after daddy.  Believe me, after my experiences with Sadie and Iris, I'm done with dog-hair in the house!

Then this morning I really saw the light:  A puppy means: going through the whole house-breaking ordeal again; feeding two dogs separately because Gabe is a pig; taking two dogs "bye-bye" when we decide to go somewhere a dog can go... and so it goes.  Besides, Gabe is an only child, and although I know he'd be fine with another dog, it would take him a while to adjust.  Then there's the cost of good dog food, and the money spent on grooming every two months or so.  Am I crazy?  I just now got Gabe to the point of being a perfect companion dog and I'm considering going through all the nuisance of a puppy again?  

Whew.  I'm glad I got through THAT crisis!

When Gabe reached one year of age, he was still squatting like a girl to pee.  The grandson thought it was because we had him neutered at a very young age, so I didn't think a lot about it.  But at some point when I had him on leash going through the grandson's yard, he'd pull on the leash heading toward a tree:  Lo and behold, he was peeing like a big dog!  I praised him like crazy, because he's a small dog and it's sorta cute.  I deliberately took him through the grandson's yard again, and he'd do it again, with me telling him what a big guy he was.  

Well, now he hikes his leg all the time.  On the car tires and tractor tires and vegetables and trees.  I even caught him peeing on the 1855 Oliver tires IN THE SHOP!!!  "I told you to get a female," Cliff said.  

Speaking of the 1855, Cliff has decided to use it to mow the pasture.  With that tractor and the big mower, it takes less time for him to mow the pasture than it does for Arick to mow our yard on his zero-turn mower.

And speaking of tractors:  Cliff decided to sell the Farmall Super C back around the first of April.  A guy from Lexington (I think) and his wife bought it for a price that actually made Cliff a profit, and were obviously thrilled to have it.  Well, Cliff went to talk to our local insurance guy, and he informed Cliff the guy had come to him and insured the tractor!  You don't hear of a lot of folks insuring an old tractor like that.  When they were getting ready to load it up, I asked if they wanted us to take the seat off that I sat on for parades, but they wanted it.  From what they said at the insurance office, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we were to see them in a parade with it one of these days.  

I really, really loved this particular tractor, but knowing they are so thrilled with it makes me feel better about its being gone.  I warned her to hang on, if she ever sat on that back seat.  Cliff took off fast during one parade and I came very close to falling off.  

Sincerely,
Donna

Thursday, May 30, 2019

I've been gardening


Today I weeded and used the tiller on the garden where I could, then spread the straw around.  You can't really see the plants too well since I put the straw down, but in a week everything will be showing and growing well.  I have three Celebrity tomato plants, one Jet Star, one Better Bush, one Cherokee Purple, and two Defiant.  That adds up to eight plants, when I only intended  to have three.  I've planted cucumber seeds in a corner, to grow its vine up the fence like last year.  I also have a variety of herbs:  I love having fresh parsley, basil, and oregano.  The plants in the foreground against the fence are Gladiolas:  I saw some bulbs really cheap and bought them, thinking how nice it would be to see flowers in the garden when I walk out the back door.

This morning I told Cliff, "Even though I know blight will probably ruin my tomato crop, there were times it wasn't so bad.”  So I still have hope.  I love the feeling of hope fluttering in my chest (or maybe that's my irregular heartbeat), watching the tomatoes grow and bloom, each bloom soon replaced by a tiny green tomato.  I'm always thinking "this year might be different".  And I think of the Emily Dickinson poem:

 Hope is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Then I think of an old hymn:



I've lost a lot of enthusiasm as I age, but I thank God I haven't lost my ability to hope.

Five baby bluebirds hatched in the birdhouse a couple of days ago, and they are already covered with blue fuzz.  We have more orioles around this year than I usually see, and they are sticking around longer, which makes me happy even though they demand jelly every day, not to mention oranges.  I have the usual hummingbirds; I'm fighting ants, of course.  They think the nectar is for them and they will climb high in order to get to it.  They like the oranges too.  I guess nothing comes without problems, even hummingbird-feeding.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of Gabe this morning, sitting on the tractor with Cliff.  When Cliff got off the tractor, Gabe followed him.  Next time I glanced at the tractor, Gabe was waiting on the seat for Cliff.  Apparently he wanted to ride some more.  

I cooked some sirloin steak in the Instant Pot, cooking some potatoes in aluminum foil with them.  It only took about half an hour, even counting the time the pressure cooker took getting up to pressure.  If you want to try it, you'll find the recipe HERE; it can also be done in a slow-cooker.  It was a luscious meal:  We had some broccoli, as well as corn-on-the-cob, or roasting ears, as many relatives used to call them; I heard it as one word, "roastineers" when I was a kid, and didn't know what it really was called until probably sixth grade.  

Gabe is staying with me so much better outside, so I don't have to worry all the time about him wandering off.  I understand why people are always saying a dog is good for older folks.  He brightens up my day in so many ways.  Cliff likes him too.

Our holiday weekend was nice, with relatives coming to eat with us.  We've had a couple of tornado watches nearby and even one warning, and there is a lot of flooding in Missouri.  None of this affects us personally, since the tornado missed us and we are on a hill high above the water; but the flooding is bad for farmers.  The river bottom land won't even get planted this year; it looks like an ocean down there.

I hope life is treating you kindly.  

Yours truly

Donna

Friday, May 24, 2019

What Memorial Day means to me

I realize Memorial Day is meant to be a day to honor and remember the people in the armed forces who never came home from the wars, although I only learned it after I joined Facebook, I think, when someone shared a meme telling the difference between Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and... some other day.  Yeah, I'm too lazy to look it up.  But when I was a kid, Memorial Day simply meant a day when we met up with relatives, went to some cemeteries and put flowers on the graves.  The grownups talked about the relatives who had gone on before; they all called it Decoration Day.  Maybe that's how I got my love of graveyards, because it just seemed like a happy holiday to me.  I liked walking through the tombstones, reading inscriptions and imagining what life might have been like for the people who died long ago.  Sometimes I'd make up stories in my mind about the little girl who died at the age of two, or the wife who died giving birth. 

I'd like to visit some relatives' graves on Memorial Day weekend, but I know how Cliff hates driving.  My family mostly lies buried in or near Harrison County in North Missouri, a two-hour drive.  Cliff's mom, dad, brother, and other relatives are in the graveyard at Versailles, Missouri.  That's a hundred miles to the southeast.  He'd take me because he loves me, but I hate to make him do it:  I realize the people who lie buried in those graves don't know the difference, whether we go or not.  I'm thinking I will ask him to take me to Kansas City, North, where my sister's husband is buried, taking some flowers to lay on the grave.  My sister Maxine has moved yet again, even further away.  When she was in her 80's, she decided she ought to move nearer her only son and his wife, so she moved to McPherson, Kansas.  Now her son and his wife are both retired; their two sons and their families live near Oklahoma City, and they wanted to move there to enjoy their grandchildren.  So they sold their house, my sister sold her house, and they bought houses down there.  Maxine (my sister) just moved this week.  I told her when she felt like company to let me know and we'll be there; that's a road trip Cliff will take me on any time.  Maxine recently had a heart attack, got some stints put in place, and was back to normal in a few days.  She is my only sister, the straightest arrow you'll ever find, and the best example of common sense, hard work, and a Christian woman of anyone I know except for Cliff's Aunt Gertrude, who is 93 and in a nursing home now. 

Three-day holiday weekends are no big deal to retirees, but I'm feeling sorry for the poor working stiffs who look forward to the time off, because if the weather forecast is right, it's going to rain every single day.  So far today has been a nice one, albeit rather warm and humid.  We went to the local U-pick strawberry patch up the road, Fahrmeier Farms.  We got there when they opened at 9 o'clock and picked more strawberries than we really could afford in no more than ten minutes.  It's all the berries we'll be able to eat this weekend, though.  And we can eat a LOT of strawberries!

Cliff did NOT want to be in the picture I took at the strawberry place, so he looked both peculiar and unhappy in it.  So instead, I'll share this picture from five years ago that came up on my Facebook memories of the grandson and him smoking a cigar. 


Gabe and I try to spend awhile every day in the hammock swing in the yard, with him gazing over at the neighbor's place watching for their three dogs to show themselves.


I'll leave you with a video taken in our small town's cemetery.  I made it while riding my horse, Blue, years ago.  The guy singing the song is Loudon Wainwright III, who wrote the theme song to M.A.S.H., "Suicide is Painless". 



Have a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

No clothes hanging on the line today

We're in for a few days of rain, they tell us.  So I'm back to the old dryer, which works just fine, but uses propane and costs me a few cents.
  
Yesterday there was an earthquake in Oklahoma, and I felt it here.  I often feel the ones from Oklahoma.  They are so tiny by the time they get to Missouri, you'd never feel them if you were up doing things, but I was sitting on the couch reading at the time.  I even went to Facebook and typed, "Did I just feel a small earthquake?"  Within five minutes people started sending me news items about the 4.4 event in Oklahoma.  I always heard animals get nervous before an earthquake, but Gabe was sound asleep on my lap both before and during the minor event.  Thunder makes him a little nervous, though.  

Yesterday I guess you could say I lost the whole day.  I have a touchy stomach, and it ruins an occasional day for me once in awhile.  I'm not deathly sick, you understand, but I don't feel like doing much, either.  The doctor told me I have gallstones a while back, and I can't help but wonder if that's what causes my occasional indigestion; I wonder why I don't just ask her about that.  But I digress.  

Cliff had planned for a long time to hook up to our big trailer, go to his brother's place, load up an ancient backhoe he had borrowed from a cousin, and haul it home.  "Home" is over 100 miles away at the Lake of the Ozarks;  Cliff didn't enjoy loading it up and bringing it home months ago, and he surely didn't look forward to returning it, but it's his only remaining brother, and he sort of likes him.  

I'm always wanting to turn something like this into a road trip, and at one point I discussed going along for the ride, taking my dog Gabe with me.  I figured that way I'd have something to amuse me while three guys messed around down there with the business of unloading the monstrosity.  However, I saw Cliff sort of stressing about the trip and really dreading it, I began to have doubts.  I told him, "I think you have enough to worry about today without having to cater to me and my dog, bathroom stops, and all that."

"You may be right," he said.  I'd had doubts about going anyway, because I knew they weren't going to have an easy time loading that thing.  Any time Cliff loads a tractor onto a trailer, I turn my eyes in the opposite direction.  He's very careful, but I've heard horror stories of people getting hurt or dying in a tractor-loading accident.  So I opted to stay home, where I still worried, but had quiet surroundings and the good sense to pray every once in awhile if I caught myself worrying.

I did want some pictures of his day, though.  He seldom remembers to use his cell phone to take photos, so I asked him to take pictures if he thought about it.  He left sometime after 8 AM.  When he returned almost 12 hours later, I said, "Well, how did it go?"

He groaned, "Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong."

Then he showed me this picture:
In trying to load the beast, this happened.  Seriously, Phil is lucky he escaped unscathed, since he was up there on it when it occurred.  There isn't a decent place to load anything at Phil's place.

See, Phil isn't bothered by the things that drive Cliff crazy.  Everybody's different, and what's important to Cliff isn't a big deal to his brother.  If he needs my husband's help working on a tractor or implement, Cliff has him bring it here.  Cliff's shop is neat, with a place for everything (unlike his clutter-bug wife, who can't usually find her shoes).  If he's going to do a lot of work on someone else's stuff, he'd rather do it here.  He knows where every tool is.  At his brother's house, it's a game of hide and seek.  

To make a long story short, it took three hours for them to get it loaded; it was after noon before they headed for the lake.

I would have been scared to death, if I'd been there.  I wouldn't have been watching, but I would have heard that thing hit the ground and maybe had a heart attack.  All I can say is, I'm glad I prayed a few times.  No, I'm not taking the credit here.  But the praying helped keep me from worrying.

All's well that ends well, right?  And Cliff told his brother he wasn't ever going to haul the backhoe again.

I will leave you with a recipe I found on my favorite recipe site, Allrecipes.com.  Blueberries were 99 cents at Price Chopper, and I wanted to make some blueberry muffins.  The recipe is "To-Die-For-Blueberry Muffins".  The reviews were almost all five-star.  How could I go wrong, with that name for the recipe and so many wonderful reviews?  They have a sugary topping that I was sure would be over-the-top good, and I thought what a nice surprise Cliff would have when he got up, even though we could only have one, due to calorie content.  

Well, the topping hardened like cement, and we weren't either one impressed.  I put them in a tight-sealing, clear container, but last night I told Cliff I thought I'd just toss them.  He didn't have any objection.  This morning I got out the container to throw them away, but decided I'd take a bite first, just to make sure I was doing the right thing.  I'll swear, they were indeed "to-die-for"!  We each had one for breakfast, and they were that good.  Somehow, being enclosed in that tight container sort of softened up that hard crust from yesterday and made them perfect.  The recipe is HERE if you want to try it.  Just don't eat them right out of the oven.  At least, that's my experience.

Have a wonderful day.  

Peace.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

I love this time of year

Monday is the day most women used to do their laundry.  However, I just wash whenever I have enough clothes for a load.  I have clothes on the line right now because I started a load of clothes washing at 4 AM.  Why?  Because this HD washer takes about two hours to get the clothes clean.  If I just push one button on the silly thing and let it wash, nothing comes out clean, so I've learned to push the "soak" button, which makes an incredible difference.  When this machine quits, I'm going back to an old-fashioned washing machine, and I'm not referring to a wringer washer; just a washing machine with an agitator. 

I have to try and watch what I'm feeding Cliff a little closer, because his wintertime belly is back.  I'm making meatloaf today; I warned him we'd be splitting a baked potato at noon instead of having mashed potatoes, which is what he loves with meatloaf.  I thought he was going to cry.  However, after he left to see the doctor (there's something in his eye), I decided to make a small amount of mashed potatoes with two medium-sized taters and leave out the butter and cream.  That will make him happier, I think, than a baked potato.  

He's been a lot more active lately, since his brother has a tractor they're working on.  Being active will go a long way towards losing the "preacher-belly" as I call it.  


This tractor is presenting Cliff and his brother with some new challenges.
Our A/C is running right now, and I'm thinking it's pretty silly to cook something in the oven when you are trying to cool the house, but I'm at the point of no return now.  The meat loaf is in the refrigerator, all mixed up and in the loaf pan.  

We went to the city yesterday.  Cliff bought a $700 welder at Harbor Freight 10 months ago that quit working this week, so he returned it for a new one.  Thank goodness it was guaranteed for a year.  This time he paid for an extended warranty, just in case.  Because we were in the general vicinity anyhow, we went to Costco for the first time in awhile.  I enjoy window-shopping there, especially in certain aisles.  This one is my favorite.  
Dishes and pans and silverware.  I seldom buy anything here because I don't need much, but I love looking.  Below is the other side of the aisle:
A few months ago, I bought a box of dishes from this aisle that I didn't need, but that for some reason fascinated me; I couldn't stop looking at those Ceramic glazed dishes with lock-tight plastic lids.  No one dish was the same pattern.  So I bought them; I love looking at them so much, I leave them stacked on the counter.


I use them mostly for leftovers.

Once when I was living in my first apartment in Kansas City, I had to get on one bus, then transfer to another downtown to get home from work.  Near the corner where I was waiting for the bus was a small shop with knick-knacks in it and I saw the cutest little bookends ever.  I was making minimum wage, bringing home $36 a week; by the time I paid my rent and a few groceries, and paid for bus fare, there was nothing left.  But I wanted those bookends so badly, the next payday I squeezed out however much I needed to buy them.  They somehow were lost during a move.  I had not lost my love for the bookends, so about 15 years ago I searched on Ebay and found the same exact Chinese bookends.  For all I know, they could be mine, right out of the past.

They aren't very heavy, so I can't expect them to hold up many books.

(continuing after dinner)

Boy, with interruptions here and there plus waiting for photos to load, I've been at this entry awhile.  I began it about 10 AM.  Since then I've cooked dinner (lunch to you city folks), had a decent meal, and read a little.  Oh, another one of my favorite buys at Costco...
2.5 pounds of spinach for... I forget, $4 or $5.  No more than that.  Cliff and I really like spinach, whether canned, frozen, or cooked from fresh.  But we like cooked-from-fresh the best.  There's enough spinach here for four or five generous meals for the two of us.  Of course we have to eat it within a week to ten days, but we have no problem with that; all I have to do is remember it's there, and so far I haven't forgotten any.  I never tasted spinach until I was grown and married.  I assume Mother didn't care for spinach, since I'm sure she never grew it in her garden or cooked it.  Another vegetable she never cooked that I discovered as an adult is broccoli.  I wish I'd thought to ask her while she was living whether she didn't like these two vegetables, or perhaps she just was never introduced to them.  My mother was NOT a picky eater, but she didn't like okra and tomatoes, and would make a face when she mentioned the dish, saying it was slimy.  She only liked okra fried.

I've been puttering in my tiny garden since it stopped raining the last few days.  I started it with the intention of having only two tomato plants.  Then the two became four, then six... yes, I'm a mess.  Although if my tomato crop is as much a failure as last year, I'll need a dozen plants just to get a few for the table.  Hope springs eternal in the human breast, though.  Maybe this is the year I'll have a great crop and will have to can some tomatoes to get rid of them.  Yeah, and maybe I'll win the lottery while I'm at it.

I've noticed my readership has slipped a lot since I don't post the blog link on Facebook.  That's exactly what I had in mind.  Now I have quality readership rather than a bunch of unknown stalkers.  

I hope everyone is enjoying springtime as much as I.  I believe I will go outside and sit in the hammock swing.  Gabe will have fun sniffing around the yard while I read.  Oh, I'm on the last chapter of "Just Mercy", which I think every American should read.  Meanwhile, both of the latest John Sandford books are waiting on the iPad for me to read; if I'd wanted to spend twenty bucks buying each of the books I'd have been able to read them six weeks ago, but I'd rather wait for my turn at the library and save my money for other things.  

Sincerely,
Donna


Thursday, May 09, 2019

Ramblings

Most years it's the same thing:  After a bitter winter, all of us long for spring, and usually, at some point in March, there might be a day or two with highs in the 60's.  Or it may get up to 80 in February.  See, that's the thing; almost anything can happen, weather-wise, in Missouri.  We do have four seasons that are usually well-defined, but those seasons are never quite the same.  But we like to complain, don't we?  So every year we all forget that there is no "same" weather pattern in the midwest and whine about it.  It might snow a lot in winter, but maybe not.  Last year we hardly had any spring; we went right into 90 degree temperatures in May, with little rain.  This year, typical for Missouri springtime, it'll be warm for awhile, then cold... sometimes all that in one day.

So I wash a lot of clothes when it's like this.  It's been up to 80 a few times already this year:  I will get out of bed, keep my flannel pajamas on, slip on a fluffy housecoat, and enjoy my "me time" with the dog until Cliff gets up at 7.  At some point I get dressed, and maybe it's 60 degrees by then, so I put on appropriate-for-the-weather sweatshirt and jeans.  By noon I have the windows open and have changed into shorts and a t-shirt because it's 75.  If it's still warm at bedtime, I dig out a light summer nightgown for bed and toss the flannel pajamas in the dirty clothes.  I have now changed clothes three times, but wait!  If we go anywhere during the day that requires my getting out of the car and going inside a place where I'll see people, that's another change, because I only wear shorts at home these days.  My legs look like a road map of Georgia with all the veins showing.  Unless I've been outside gardening, none of these clothes really gets all that dirty.  But I can't keep piling them in the floor for use the next day.  So eventually I do laundry, even though half of the articles of clothing were only worn two to four hours.  I don't like to hang clothes I've worn back in the closet, and there aren't that many other places to put lightly-worn clothes.  

We did have a nice weekend before the rain started again this week.  It has rained a little every day, with us receiving over an inch in three days.  Today there was only a morning sprinkle, but it is cold.  The furnace has been kicking on from time to time.  It's 50 now at 4 PM, and heading down to around 40 tonight.  What a roller coaster!  I'll tell you, though, it's great for the morel mushrooms!  They like things cool and damp.    

Since this appeared to be the first day we've had without rain for awhile... and since I had four loads of clothes to wash... I decided to hang some clothes on the line.  Yes, even with the temperature at 50.  Since there's a brisk wind, the clothes are almost all dry already.  

While I was at the clothesline, I took a trip down memory lane, remembering how women of my mother's generation took great pride in their clean clothes hanging on the line.  They wanted their whites to be almost blinding, no matter what it took, and their colored clothes had to be bright and lovely.  They didn't just hang the clothes up willy-nilly; all whites hung together, towels together, jeans and overalls together.  You get the picture.  I don't really make an effort to hang anything a certain way; I just pick up whatever my hand touches.  I'm not creating art here, I'm just trying to get my clothes dried in a frugal manner.  Besides, the clothesline is in my back yard, which faces the pasture.  It's a very rare occasion when anybody is there to see anything; I like that about my back yard.  But when I was a kid, women liked to admire the neighbor's wash and comment on the bright whites (and perhaps judge people by their laundry).  I remember Cliff's mom saying, as we were together going someplace in the car, "Oh, look at that pretty wash!"  When my sister and her husband used to be winter Texans she told about riding down into Mexico on a train, seeing lots of poor people living in shacks.  She said some of them had laundry hanging out on a line, and even in their poverty, their white clothes were practically blinding, they were so clean.  

If you drive through Amish country on a Monday you will see clothes on lines everywhere, weather permitting, hung more or less the way my mom and her friends did them.  Orderly,  bright, neat, and sorted according to kind.  

Here's a picture of my two children playing in the soapy water of my wringer washer.  Before my daughter was born we invested in a dryer, which was kept in the basement of that old house.  I was SO happy, knowing I wouldn't be freezing my hands off hanging out diapers in winter again.  

We could have gotten an automatic washer at the same time, but I was stubborn and really hated to get rid of my old wringer washer.  I don't know why it's hard for me to let go of old things.  I get so attached to them.  It's a trait my mother passed on to me.  

Enough musings for today.

Yours truly, 
Donna

Monday, May 06, 2019

Such lovely weather

Because the moles, and all the freezing/thawing over the past year, completely ruined our yard, we decided to tear it up and reseed it.  (I just went to flush a tick that was crawling up my neck... I'm back now.)  Anyhow, the reseeding did not turn out well.  We know spring isn't the proper time to plant grass, but it was such a mess!  Well, we should have saved our money and Cliff's efforts and done it this fall.  There were several factors involved in the failure including poor equipment, weather, and other factors; but what we have now is a yard that's about one-third grass and two-thirds weeds.  We shall plant again in the fall and hope for the best.  I'm sure it will do fine then; we'll be using a different method, too.

I try never to complain about rainfall, especially in spring when you expect plenty of rain.  I will say, though, that when it's been raining for several days straight, a few sunny days sure make me happy.  Our weekend was glorious.

This morning after breakfast I asked Alexa the temperature; she said it was 56.  I stepped onto the porch and knew it wasn't that cold, but I grabbed a jean jacket and put it on; then Gabe and I went and got Apollo the Great Dane and headed out toward the pasture and I was shedding the jacket almost as soon as we got started.  Cliff and the grandson mowed a lot of the pasture yesterday, for which Gabe and I are grateful.  Apollo, however, seems to prefer the tall grass.  When we got to the un-mowed patch where Arick planted a wildlife plot, Titan dived in and had a blast.  You will notice Gabe growling at him at some point, and I will address that after you watch the video.



My little dog has almost totally stopped barking like an idiot at people he sees out the window.  He will still let out a growl and sometimes a little bark or two, but I say "no" and he's done.  I don't use the stinger much now.  It isn't necessary.  The big surprise with using this little training tool is how many bad behaviors it is fixing in my dog.  "Come" means something to Gabe now, and if he's running away from me, he turns and comes back on command.  I try not to over-use the thing, because even though it doesn't shock, it makes a sound that hurts a dog's ears.  We don't hear a thing when I use it, although the grandson does... which makes me wonder about him.  I guess I should google "people who hear dog whistles" and see if he has a problem.  

There is another behavior of Gabe's I thought needed correcting:  When I turn Apollo loose, or if we take Gabe with us to the grandson's house, Apollo tries to play with him;  then Gabe growls and grabs the big dog's jowls viciously.  So yesterday I tried zapping Gabe when he attacked Apollo.  The poor boy came cowering to me and got to a place where I was between the two, even trying to climb up my leg at one point.  That's when I realized he wasn't being mean:  He was terrified of being hurt.  I have that feeling every time I'm outside when Apollo comes running toward me, because Great Danes are clumsy.  If they come running at you from behind, it sounds like a horse coming at you.  I usually stand completely still if he's running toward me, in hopes he won't end up running into my artificial knee... or my other one, for that matter, because I don't like pain.  Titan, the grandson's Great Dane that died, ran into my artificial knee about two weeks after the surgery and it worried me to death, it hurt so much.  Evidently no permanent damage was done.  Anyhow, back to Gabe:  I thought he was fighting Apollo out of jealousy.  I was wrong.  He was afraid he was going to get hurt.  Apollo has no ill will toward any dogs, as far as I know, and he is very sweet to me.  Still, he's big and clumsy and plays rough, not realizing his own strength.  So I'm letting Gabe growl at him now, if that's what he needs to do.   

I ordered two tomato plants from Gurney's.  Plants, not seeds.  Nobody had a particular variety I wanted to try (Defiant), and I've ordered various flowers before as plants; they did fine.  However, I received notice these tomato plants were shipped a week ago and I still don't have them.  They sent it FedEx, and FedEx was to deliver it to the post office.  Well, I think it arrived at the post office Friday.  I'll probably receive it today.  Those plants had better be alive, or the company is going to hear from me.  Costs a fortune to buy and ship live plants in that manner.

I had better start dinner.  It always takes longer to do a blog entry than I expect it to, and then I'm behind in my meal preparation.  

Bye-bye.  

Here are the boys after one of their big bursts of speed:





Saturday, May 04, 2019

birds, morel mushrooms, sunny weekend

The hummingbirds and orioles have returned, so we spend time looking out our various windows.  I've discovered something this year:  All the birds... finches, orioles, hummingbirds, and others... seem to like their feeders placed behind the house.  Possible because there isn't as much human traffic there, but I think the cats have something to do with it.  They are always stalking my sweet, lovely birds, and they don't have as much access to them along the back fence-line.  

I'm seeing more orioles at once than in other years, since I moved their feeder.  This morning there were three males sort of fighting for territory at the feeder; I got a picture of two of them, but once the third showed up, they scattered.
one on the feeder, one up above waiting his turn
The birds sure do make things interesting.  I mentioned the other day that Cliff accidentally messed up the bluebird house and broke all but one of their eggs.  I hoped they'd stay and hatch that lonely egg, but apparently they decided to find a home in some safer spot.  The old birdhouse needed to be replaced anyway.  The roof was leaking and it was about to fall apart.  So I'm looking for a new one.  

We are supposed to have sunny weather and NO RAIN today and tomorrow.  Cliff was going to a swap meet, but I decided I didn't want to go.  Cliff was debating on whether to go anyhow; last year we went and there was hardly anybody there.  I like getting out and going places, but the grandson and his wife have been so successful at hunting morel mushrooms that they needed help getting rid of them, so I took a whole bunch of the older ones that might soon go bad.  Cliff and I can eat a lot of mushrooms, but believe me, we will get our fill for today!
That's a one-gallon ice-cream bucket, about 2/3 full.  Now folks, you might think of mushrooms as a healthy food; after all, they grow out of the ground.  But any good nutrient that MIGHT be in them is pretty well cancelled out by the eggs, cracker crumbs, and flour I roll them in, magnified by the fact they are fried in shortening of some type.  So this morning I figured we'd better have some fruit and cereal for breakfast.  

Some strawberries (from the store) with a little sugar added, plus half a banana cut up for each of us, made our Cheerios a taste treat.  

Enjoy your day, won't you?

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Me again, telling a story about my dog

Gabe was the most difficult dog to house-break I’ve ever had, perhaps because he’s male.  Most of the house dogs I’ve had before were females, so it really isn’t fair to blame Gabe’s slow journey to “good dog” on his sex.  But it’s all I’ve got for an excuse.

With that said, he’s done great for months.  About a month ago I finally got brave enough to leave his kennel door open all night, and there have been no incidents.  Until last night.

In the evenings, I carry his warm, snuggly bed to the bedroom and allowed him to choose where he sleeps... either in the cage/kennel, or in his soft bed.  He is liable to start out in the kennel, then switch to the soft bed; both beds are side by side.  A dog isn’t allowed to have many choices in life, but I let him have this one.  

This morning I got up and made coffee before Gabe got up, then took him out.  Because it’s been raining all week, I’m back to leashing him when we go outside to prevent his walking through the mud.  I’ve had house dogs that absolutely refused to do their business in rain-soaked ground and would go for an incredible length of time before they’d perform.  Gabe takes a little longer when it’s wet outside, but he gets the job done eventually.

When we came back inside this morning, he went to the couch and walked behind it, which isn’t normal for him, but I thought maybe he was looking for crumbs or something.  When I called him out he got beside me in the recliner like always and lay down.  At 4:30 I fed him as usual.  When he was done he went behind the couch again for about the fourth time.  I wondered if maybe there was a dead mouse back there, and finally got up to look.

Dog poop!  I began telling Gabe he was a bad dog, and lectured him the whole time I was picking up, and then flushing, his “mistake”.  He didn’t look very sorry.  Since he’d just had breakfast, I took him outside again, where he made a huge deposit.  When we came back in, I noticed he did not go behind the couch, nor had he done so at any time, after I picked up his poop.

Now, Cliff will tell me I’m making excuses for Gabe, but here’s my theory:  it is definitely difficult for him to potty outside when it’s wet and rainy.  And I tend to hurry him with his business when I’m getting rained on, when I should give him more time, not less.  He did not poop on his last walk of the day, which he usually does.  Therefore, I accept the blame.  He probably did the unspeakable after I’d gone to sleep last night.

At this point, Cliff will say I’m giving a dog far too much credit for brains, but I think Gabe was trying to bring that poop to my attention so I would get rid of it, because he knows that’s what I do.  He kept returning to the scene of the crime so I could take care of his mess.  Once I did that, he had no more interest in going behind the couch.

That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.  Dog-lovers, UNITE!

Peace.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bone for the dog



Cliff and I had T-bone steaks for dinner today, as well as cauliflower in cheese sauce and green beans.  Gabe always gets any beef bones we have around here, once we have the meat off them.  The trouble has been that he insists in eating his bones in the living room.  I don’t particularly like slimy bones being dragged around on the carpet.  I used to put him outside on the tie-out before I gave him a bone, but sometimes the weather isn’t fit for that.  Right now, for instance, we are having our April/May rainy season.  A few months back I decided on a compromise:  he can have his bone in the living room, but he has to keep it on a small throw rug.

It took him awhile to figure out what is expected of him, but he has the idea now.  He keeps that bone right on the rug.  Once in awhile a tiny edge will slip off the rug, but I scoot it back where it belongs and he’s fine with that.  I'm always watchful when he's eating a bone, because he does keep chewing until the bone is down to almost nothing.  I lost one beloved dog to a bone piece that stuck in her throat, and I don't want to go through that again... but Gabe loves his bones SO much!

I went to the vet today to get him a new supply of heartworm medication and flea/tick preventative, and saw a notice on the bulletin board that all dogs are going to need a heartworm test because there is now a heart worm that has developed resistance to the current preventative.  I found out Gabe won't have to have the test until this winter, so at least that's one expense I didn't have this time around.  Still... my dog cost me $125 today.  It's a good thing I like him.  He's worth it to me.  

I've always used the flea/tick preventative that you rub on the dog's back, but this time I got the Seresto collar.  The vet said that's the cheapest option, and it works for eight months.  I must search Amazon and see if it's cheaper there, so I'll be prepared if I should decide to continue using it.  

It's still raining.  Last time I looked at the gauge, it was almost on the two-inch mark.  This is what I expect in April and May, so let it rain, I say!  My tiny garden likes it just fine.  

Peace.


Monday, April 29, 2019

My morning adventure

As Cliff and I grow older, we find ourselves having an adventure of some sort almost every day.  I'm often the culprit when we can't find things, simply because of my habit of laying my stuff any old place around the house rather than actually putting them where they belong:  things like my socks, my shoes, my purse, my coat, the dog's leash... the list goes on.  But this morning's adventure had me thinking I had surely lost my mind!

Actually it begins yesterday morning; my coffee tasted awfully weak for some reason.  I tried to drink that first cup, but I might as well have been sipping on stump water.  It was horrible.  I knew I had ground the same amount of coffee beans I always use for three cups of coffee.  It occurred to me that maybe it really wasn't weak.  My tastes have changed so much in the last couple of years, that was a possiblity.  For instance, I can no longer stand to drink any cola drink:  There's a foreign taste to all of it that I never noticed until the last several months.  If I want pop (which is rare), I'll choose Sprite or 7up.  So I ground more coffee beans, making sure I got it right, then added a few more.  It was better, but still weak-tasting.  It surely must be a personal problem, right?  

I'm going to digress a bit here:  except for our disastrous few months trying in vain to keep a Kuerig in our lives, we've always used a Bunn coffee maker.  My current Bunn was purchased over ten years ago.  There isn't a lot to go wrong with these pots.  I have looked at new ones, simply because they now have a model that comes with a stainless steel carafe that also serves as the pot the coffee brews in.  I'd love to have one, actually, because I put coffee in a carafe for Cliff when he gets up.  He's pretty "stove up" (as my dad used to say) right out of bed.  It hurts him to move and it hurts him to wake up, so I make the coffee, put it in a leaky old cheap carafe, and take it to him along with his cup; he can sit there for an hour or longer without having to move.  For years I took his coffee to him in bed, but arthritis in his shoulders won't let him lay on his side to drink it any more.  

I may be a slob, but I try to be kind to my for-better-or-worse husband because he's nice to me.  

After seeing that new model Bunn that comes with a stainless steel carafe, I had thought to simply buy the stainless steel carafe to use with our old pot.  "I'll bet that carafe doesn't leak!"  So I ordered it ($39), thinking it would fit my old Bunn.  It didn't, but if you print your own return label and take your unwanted purchase to a UPS location, you can return items free.  So it's all boxed up and ready to go back.  This, of course, has little to do with my morning adventure.  So now, back to the weak coffee problem.  

I recalled a couple of times when a little screw-on thinga-ma-jig that goes up under the top of the coffee pot had clogged up from the calcium in our well water, back before we got a water softener.  I reached up to unscrew it and inspect it, and behold!  It wasn't there.

Here I was ready to make some really strong coffee, but a vital piece of my Bunn was missing,  Without that little round thing, the water comes out in one single stream and only touches the center part of the coffee grounds.  I had found my problem with weak coffee, only to realize I had a bigger one:  It was 4 AM and I WANTED A DECENT CUP OF COFFEE RIGHT THEN!  Thank goodness for the coffee pot in the garage that we use on road trips.  

I swept the floor, fished under the cookstove with a yardstick, and looked under everything that disc could have fallen into or under.  Nope.  It had vanished from the face of the earth.  I got our travel coffee pot out of the garage and made some coffee in it, but still worried over the Bunn.  I checked Amazon once the coffee was brewing in our second pot and found I could get that thinga-ma-jig for $5, so it wasn't a big problem.  These days I could replace the whole pot for $50, even though they always used to be $100.  Not the new model with a carafe, that's $100.  

Once Cliff got his hearing aids in, I told him my sad story, explaining to him all the locations I'd searched, telling him about the weak coffee (Did you notice the coffee was weak yesterday? I asked.  Yes, he answered.)

"I'll bet it fell into the used grounds and ended up in the trash," he mused.  

Why didn't I think of that? 

It wasn't pleasant, since the trash can was three quarters full and had lots of wet grounds in it, not to mention discarded bits of food and a REALLY rotten banana.  I took the whole mess outside to the trash can and searched until, right near the bottom of the trash can, I found what I was searching for nestled in cold, wet coffee grounds.  

I won't have my expensive carafe, but I'll bet if I look I can find a plastic one that doesn't leak from all the seams without breaking the bank.

Have a great day, dear readers.  May all your adventures be happy ones.  If they are problem adventures, may they be solved as easily as mine was this morning.  

Sincerely,
Donna


Sunday, April 28, 2019

This and that

Yesterday morning I awoke at 3 AM, which is nothing unusual.  I played all the Words With Friends games awaiting me, I read for awhile.  I drank my coffee.  Around 6 AM I remembered I had some over-ripe bananas in the freezer.  I'm assuming all my readers know that if you have over-ripe bananas and don't want to make banana bread that very day, you can put them in the freezer in a baggie for later use.  You can, if you like, freeze them with the peel on, but they say it's messy getting the frozen peels off.  

Anyhow.  I remembered those bananas and thought what a nice surprise it would be for Cliff to wake up to banana-nut muffins, fresh out of the oven.  He always asks me to wake him at 7, so I figured they'd be done when he got up.  But wouldn't you know, he got up 20 minutes early and ruined my surprise.  Not only that, but I didn't even have his coffee ready.  I ordered him to go sit on the couch, and told him when I got time, I'd make his coffee.

So the surprise factor was gone, but he did enjoy the muffins.  

The first year we moved back behind the barn, I went crazy feeding and housing birds, birds I'd never even noticed when we lived up at the old house.  As I perused the Internet I found there were ways to attract bluebirds.  One thing suggested was a birdbath; my daughter and her husband had an extra one they brought over, and indeed, the bluebirds found it and put it to good use.  However, it was concrete, and so hard to clean up when it started growing mold, and I got rid of it.  So I bought a bluebird house.  I read online bluebirds like their houses to face east.  Really?  Why would that matter?  They also want low-traffic areas where there aren't people coming and going.  I found a bluebird house at Orscheln and Cliff put it on a fence post facing east.  I didn't have high hopes for the project, but bluebirds moved in almost immediately after it was placed out there, and have occupied it every spring and summer since, hatching a couple of batches of babies yearly.  I'd peek in the side that lifts up for cleaning, see those little blue eggs, and rejoice whole-heartedly every time.  Initially I worried about sparrows, since I read that they will take over a bluebird house, killing the babies in order to take over and use it themselves.  However, in all these... what, 10 or 12 years?... the only fighting I've seen is when the bluebirds first arrive and decide to nest.  The sparrows are waiting, ready to fight, but the bluebirds have always won the battle.  

Cliff was mowing the pasture yesterday and in the process of raising the mower and turning, bumped the post with the birdhouse on it.  He must have bumped it pretty hard, because he said all but one of the eggs were broken and the nest was on the ground.  He stuck the nest back in and placed the single unbroken egg in it.  I've seen the pair of bluebirds tending the nest since then, so I'm hoping they don't give up on their old home.  I bought another bluebird house and put it some distance from the original, but I forgot to tell Cliff and the grandson that it had to face east, so it's sitting empty so far, facing south.  And probably will until I get one of them to change it.

I follow a Nebraska author named Roger Welsch on Facebook.  He has made friends with crows:  He set up a feeding station for them and puts bread, hot dogs, and other delights out for them.  Now they watch for him, and as soon as he walks away they swoop down on it.  I am very jealous of him and his crows.  We have a flock of seven crows that fly over and often rest in the trees far in the distance on our property, but they don't intend to show themselves to me.  The best I can do is watch them fly over when they don't know I'm watching.  

Oh by the way, the morel mushrooms are popping up now.  The grandson and Heather have found a lot.  I miss mushroom hunting, but my knees just can't take the climbing.  I don't worry as much about eating them these days; actually, I just can't eat the volume of food I used to put down, and a lot of my tastes have changed.    

Today the oldest granddaughter and her mom came by; we needed a spreader to distribute grub killer on the yard, and Amber has one, so she brought it out for us to use.  We always have a nice visit.  The grandson came over and I made pancakes and sausage for everybody.  I had gone to the Methodist Church this morning:  Church starts at 9 AM because the preacher has to preach at two churches every Sunday morning, so she does the first of the two services early, in time to drive to the other one.  Anyhow, I was home at 10.  Next week I'll probably go to the Baptist church.  I like going to different ones.  I will say, the Baptists sing more of the old hymns I'm familiar with.

Gabe is still sticking to me like glue, and I only have to remind him about once a day that he has to come when I call him.  Honestly, although I got the little tool (I call it a zapper) hoping it would stop him barking at people so much, I wouldn't care whether it works for that or not, because in other areas it has made him such a good dog.  The only time I leash him to go outside now is when it's dark, simply because any kind of animal could be out there that he might chase.  But in daylight, the leash stays in the house.  I even walked with him back in the pasture yesterday and didn't have to worry.   

I'm still boycotting Walmart.  I'm sure I'll eventually go there looking for something I can't get elsewhere, but I'm doing my best to take my business elsewhere.  

Cliff got all the anti-freeze out of the camper, so it's about ready to go.  We're going to one of the nearer state parks for an overnight before long to make sure everything is ready for some use.  We can go any time, but right now it's COLD.  There'd be no problem heating the camper, but I don't want to be cramped up in a small space throughout another camping trip, like last year.  I want some good fishing weather.  

I believe that's all I've got, so I'll just stop right here.

Yours truly,
Donna