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!)

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,


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.