Monday, August 31, 2020

More on our Iowa trip

 If you went out to look at my little garden, you would assume the weeds have taken it over.  But after being gone for two days, I came home to a bountiful harvest, at least considering the size and weediness of the garden.

I picked that many green beans yesterday, too, and there are more out there.  My mom always told me that beans that are planted to harvest in the fall were the best ones, never bothered by bugs.  I guess she knew what she was talking about.

Back to our trip:  There was much more to see at the Heartland museum than Big Bud.  There were plenty of tractors and lots of displays about local history.  They had a main street of Victorian furniture and stores, and a couple of other main streets from different eras.  

Any time I see one of these refrigerators, I take a picture because the earliest refrigerator I recall from my Iowa childhood looked like this.  I was young, and was short enough that the top of my head didn't even reach the top of the door.

barber shop
Barber shop

Above is Lavinia Sellers' hat parlor.  Many years ago my cousin, Carolyn, planned a gathering of relatives; she had Lavina do a program for us in Bethany, Missouri.  She had all kinds of hats old and new:  She would put on an appropriate hat and read a poem, Bible verse, or article that the hat reminded her of.  This might sound boring when I describe it, but I absolutely loved that program and have never forgotten it.  She had business cards that read "The Hat Lady", which inspired me to have some cards made for myself... "The Poem Lady".  I had been singing at various places in the community at the time and often read a few poems I had written myself so the singing would not get so boring.  I also went through a period in my life when I sent notes and greeting cards to a lot of people.  When I wrote a poem for one of those folks, I'd sometimes include my business card just for kicks.  That was many phone numbers ago; I think I've already written a poem for everything there is.  Or maybe I'm just too lazy to sit down and work at it like I used to.  You can read Alvinia's obituary HERE, and hear her daughter tell her story HERE.  She was an inspiration to me the one time I saw her.

There was quite a tractor collection in the main museum, too.  A man working there told us most everything in the museum has been either loaned or donated, and there is only one paid employee.  The rest are volunteers.  Clarion, small as it is, is the county seat of Wright County.  Two towns on opposite sides of the county wanted the honor of being designated the county seat; they settled that problem by putting it in the exact geographic center of the county. 

I'm not sure, but this may be the first Australian tractor I've seen.

As you can see, there were plenty of tractors there; this is just a sample of them.

When we left the Heartland museum we went to Subway for a sandwich, then went north to Charles City, Iowa.  We found a great Comfort Inn motel there.  Our room cost us only $90, all told, and was about as nice as any we've had.  (I'm making a mental note to give them a good review.)

I'll tell you about our experiences in Charles City in another entry.  

And that's the way it is.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Well, friends and neighbors, I'm back

 Cliff and I finally took our little road trip.  We traveled over 500 miles round trip to Iowa to see some tractor museums, one of which we had seen twice before... Farmall-land... but Cliff loves the display of shiny red tractors looking their best; he wanted to see them one more time.  I had a terrible time talking myself into going, simply because (as I've said before) I just do not care if I leave the house.  I don't think it's the fear of Covid, I've just gotten used to staying home.  I couldn't even make myself prepare properly for the trip like I usually do, and kept telling Cliff, "I know I'm forgetting something, but I have to make myself travel so I don't turn to a pillar of salt staying in my house.  

Our first stop was in Clarion, Iowa, where the four-leaf clover emblem of the 4-H clubs was conceived.  It's a small town, about half the size of Lexington, Missouri, and sets in the middle of nowhere.  But the Heartland Museum is quite an attraction.  I was surprised at the number of people there, although it wasn't hard to keep six feet from people.  We wore our masks, but most people did not; this held true about anywhere we went in the state of Iowa.  

Because of Covid, the museum is only open three days a week from 9 AM to 3 PM.  We arrived in town about 1:30, so had no choice but to go ahead and get a motel.  This usually happens to us when we go out of state:  We get there mid-afternoon when there's not enough time to do anything, then I wake up by 5 AM and we wait until 9 or 10 when things open.  The motel was practically across the road from the museum.  We had no problem with it, and chose it because of the rates:  $67.  The bed was OK, and the room was fairly clean, so at the price we agreed on it was OK... but I'd only give it 3 stars if I were rating it, although reviewers average rating was 4.5.  No motels are doing breakfast right not, but I had eggs, coffee, bread and other items plus our little electric skillet, so we had no problem having breakfast.

We had checked the museum on the Internet and read reviews, so we were excited to see it for ourselves, but there was a big bonus for Cliff.  Big Bud was there temporarily!  We saw Big Bud in 2009; I think Cliff was working four-day work-weeks at the time, and I talked him into going because he had dreamed  about seeing "Big Bud" for years.  And it turns out, Big Bud got even bigger since then, and all because of some new tires.  First of all, I'll show you the difference the tires made.



And here it is, in all its glory.  We were really lucky to catch it, since it leaves August 31.

We watched a film showing the old tires being removed and the new ones installed. Cliff was happy to find it on Youtube after we got home, because they didn't caption the film at the museum; so he couldn't understand the narration. Better late than never, he finally got to hear what was said!


 We were both plagued with arthritis pain, but I had my chair-cane (cane-chair?) and told Cliff we'd better be getting one for him before long. He's doing well to drive so many miles, and it only gets worse when we're walking around museums for hours. I'll do at least one more entry about our trip, but this is enough for today.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

I did what?

Sometimes I amaze myself with my forgetfulness:  I accidentally ate two breakfasts this morning.  I awoke around four, thinking about those cheese grits in the refrigerator, so by five I was eating some delicious grits.  Then I did two days' worth of reading in my one-year Bible, because I forgot about it day before yesterday.  I do believe I'm going to make it through the Bible this year.  I always start out in January with good intentions, but I often drop out in three or four months.  Anyhow, by the time I read that and caught up on Words With Friends, which I hadn't done for about 24 hours and had quite a few rounds, it was time  I crawled into bed with Cliff at 7 AM; we talked awhile and when Cliff got up, I told him it seemed to me he isn't eating two meals a day now, but has been having a light supper of whatever he can find:  That's what we were doing before he went on the two-meals-a day thing.  So I said, "Can we please go back to our regular mealtimes?"

Regular times consist of a light breakfast, the biggest meal of the day at noon, and whatever, but not too much, of whatever you can find in the evening.  If we have something more substantial for breakfast like a breakfast burrito, we hold off until 2 PM for dinner/lunch.  

My peach tree has lots of fruit getting ready; I've already done a few pints of sugared peaches to put on cereal, and a couple of loaded quart bags that hold five cups of unsweetened peaches for cobbler.  I'd love to go ahead and make the filling, with sugar and all, to freeze.  But I'm afraid if I added sugar, a quart  freezer bag wouldn't quite hold it all.  I canned one quart of corn yesterday and we had some for dinner.  That's the last of the corn.  But I digress.

I told Cliff we'd have Mini-spooners with peaches for breakfast, not even thinking about the fact I wasn't hungry.  It wasn't until two hours later I realized I'd had two very substantial breakfasts!  I get excited when the peach tree produces.  For some reason, we had no peach crop the past couple of years.  The local peach orchard had plenty, so I don't think my lack was due to the weather.  

So I'd already told Cliff dinner is at noon and we'd be having meat-and-corn-bread squares, one of his favorites.  I knew I wouldn't be even a little hungry.  I just went ahead with it, and told Cliff I'd heat up a serving in the microwave when I get hungry (or tomorrow, because it's 4 PM right now and I'm not hungry yet).  I went ahead and had my dessert, though... a modest (one biscuit) piece of peach cobbler with a little cream.

Meanwhile, peaches have taken over the kitchen.  I pick them while they're still solid, but in a day or two they ripen nicely and I freeze them.  Here's what I have right now:

There are three ice-cream buckets full as well as those spread out on the table.  the five lined up closest to you in the picture are flawless peaches.  In a couple of days they'll be ready to eat for a snack.  You can see flawed fruit behind them, one had been pecked by a bird.  And there's the occasional worm.  

Oh, here's a surprise growing in the garden... it's a surprise because I didn't plant it:
I often toss watermelon rind across the fence, so I'm guessing that's how the seed got in the garden.  I first noticed the watermelon when it was about two inches long.  When I showed it to Cliff, he said, "When it gets heavy, it'll fall off the vine."  Well, it's two feet long now, and it's still hanging on, although it is resting on that 4X4 on the ground.  Those leaves you see in the foreground are my turnip-tops, from the turnips I planted on the twenty-fifth of July, wet-or-dry... so I can harvest them the twenty-fifth of October, drunk or sober.  I tried sowing them by hand, so they are too close together.  It's sort of hard to do anything wrong with summer-planted turnips, though.  They aren't picky.  Speaking of things not being picky, Gabe has practically made himself sick cleaning all the good red parts on the rinds we throw out.  He does love watermelon.  His favorite garden vegetable, though, is sweet corn.  I crowded my corn when I planted it, so every stalk had one perfect, large ear of corn, and a couple of what my parents called "nubbins".  They are smaller ears with only about half the corn on them, scattered here and there.  When I got hold of these, I tossed them on the ground.  Gabe has probably eaten two quarts of corn this year, and it's showing a little.  I haven't weighed him lately, but his sides stick out a little more than usual.  Here's what a corn cob looks like when he's done with it:

And that's all the news that's fit to tell.  My skeletons shall stay firmly in the closet.  


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ah, the sameness of my days

Things are rolling along smoothly in west-central Missouri.  Our town still plans to open school this month, as far as I know.  Today Lafayette County reached 200 cases of Covid since March... not bad, really.  

I'm once again attending two churches on Sundays; the Methodist Church finally opened back up, although everyone has to wear a mask throughout the service.  A lady called me Saturday night to say there were only eight people attending on Sundays and they missed me.  So I went, and finally got to hear the new preacher, then walked down to the Baptist Church; they are only wearing masks when they are entering, or when people are up and walking around.  It too is a small congregation, so it's very easy to social distance.  The largest church in town is the Evangelical Free Church, formerly United Church of Christ.  I was told they had someone in attendance Sunday before last who later tested positive for Covid, so they didn't hold services this week.  

Cliff finally found someplace we could go for a road trip:  There's a big museum in Clarion, Iowa that includes every model of Oliver tractor every built.  However, it isn't just a tractor museum:  There are all kinds of artifacts and local history it in too.  We talked about going this week, but I have gotten to the point now that I don't much want to go anyplace.  I will tell Cliff I want to go one place or another, even locally, but when it's actually time to go, I change my mind.  This is not normal for me!  Since I don't drive, I'm usually ready to hop in anybody's car at every opportunity, just to see someplace besides home.  This is a strange thing that's come to pass, and I'm wondering if I will change when things loosen up again.  

We've had a few relatives coming by lately.  Our daughter and her husband came to visit Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday we went to Blue Springs to visit Cliff's older sister, Rena, so she could cut his hair, then we went out to eat.  Cliff likes to take her out to eat when we visit her, and of course that's fine with me.  We went to a Mexican place near her house (only the second time we've gone into a restaurant during Covid).  The burrito I ordered was huge, so I had them box up the rest to take home; We were going home when granddaughter Monica called; she was coming to visit us with her five-month-old daughter.  She hadn't had dinner, so I gave her what was left of my burrito, then gave her cheesecake for dessert. We had a good visit, and that baby of hers got held and tickled and played with a lot!  She's a very happy child.  The only time she cried in the four hours they were here was when she was getting hungry.  I love the little pony tails.

Gabe went to the groomer's yesterday.  All the animals are doing well:  The three Corona-virus pullets' combs are turning red, so they could start laying eggs any time, and should lay all winter and all next year until fall.  I turn them out awhile each afternoon so they can eat grass and bugs, and run freely.  While they are loose, I often take a piece of bread out and hand-feed them small bites.  All I have to do is holler "Chick chick chick" and they come running.  Yesterday when Monica was here, Cliff's younger sister who lives in St. Louis called, so I stepped outside to talk to her.  I guess the chickens recognized my voice, because they gathered around me as I stood there talking on the phone, looking up at me as if they wondered where the bread was.  Then they started pecking at my toes!  It wasn't painful, it was just funny.  It was all I could do not to laugh.

I've been taking walks in the pasture again, two or three times weekly.  Most other days I spend half-an-hour on the exercise bike.  The riding time goes fast if I have an interesting book to read, but not every book turns out as interesting as I expect it to be.  I recently read a book entitled "Normal People", forcing myself to read it through to the end.  What a waste of time!  It didn't even have a plot; I kept thinking it had to get better, but alas!  It did not.  Now I'm reading "The Life We Bury", which at least has a story line to it, and I think it will have a decent finish.  Still, I'd probably only rate it a 3 1/2.  

"American Dirt", though, was unforgettable.  It follows several Latinos making their way north toward the USA, through all kinds of danger.  The book made me understand why those people take such risks to get here, and kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.  Cliff finished it today and liked it as much as I did.  I only have one book on hold now, "Of Mutts and Men".  According to the library, it should be ready in two weeks, but I've noticed people don't take long to read a Chet and Bernie book; so I'd be surprised if I have to wait more that one week.  

My tomato plants are dead.  Cora, the kid I babysat for five years, came to visit one day last week and helped me dig potatoes.  I had only planted five hills, but I was glad she was here for the digging; that's a chore she's enjoyed ever since she was two.  My second planting of sweet corn is ready now, and I made smothered okra with the last of my tomatoes today.  Oh yes, and the peach tree, which has given me nothing for the past two years, has fruit ripening now.  I've already put two quarts in the freezer.

I made that Woolworth's cheesecake I mentioned in a recent entry.  Cliff prefers it to the real cheesecake I make in the Instant Pot.  It was fun for me, tasting something my mom used to make so much in the sixties, something I hadn't eaten since I first got married.

I guess that's all I have.  I'm enjoying life... what more can a person ask for?

Yours truly,


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I think Jesus lives in Buckner, Missouri!

Each of the little towns around us has a Facebook page, and I follow most of the ones nearby to keep up with what's happening around us.  There's one small town we've never given a lot of thought to, except maybe to remember to drive at a snail's pace once you get to their city limit... unless you like being stopped by the police.  But a few days ago, I was amazed at the kindness I saw on that Buckner page.  

This was so important to me I felt I needed to share it, but I also wanted to protect everyone's privacy.  I've spent over an hour getting this done because you can't copy and paste from a group Facebook page you're a member of.  I had to type everything word for word, make up names for everybody, etc.  But we see so much "bad" around us, seeing something so positive just floored me.  The thing is, I tend to overthink situations when people ask for help; in other words, I find fault or sit in judgement on the person.  That isn't what I see in the following posts from Buckner people, and honestly, I envy them:

Hungry Lady:  Does anyone have some frozen meats and sides they can give away?

lady 1: Sending you a message. You may have to check your others (messages)

Gentleman 1: Do you live in Buckner?

The hungry lady: Yes

Gentleman 1: What type of food are you in need of?  I noticed in your profile that you have a young one... my wife or I would be able to meet you at Buckner Thriftway and get you some groceries in the morning. Do you have a way to meet at the store?

Hungry lady: Yes I can come to store... I just need frozen meats and sides (for dinner) and lunch meat and stuff.

Gentleman 1: I will reach out to you here in the morning here on Facebook and we can set up a time to meet there in the morning.

Hungry lady: OK, thank you much.

Gentleman 1: No problem. I like to help when I can.

Praying lady: Gentleman 1, may God bless you and your family. I pray the Lord would show you great favor in the days to come. I also ask that the Lord would bless this lady who had such great faith to ask for help, I ask God to show her a way to provide. I ask that you place opportunity right before her. I ask that she would walk in faith. Thank you father that you are faithful.

Donna Wood: Buckner Harvester’s is tomorrow at 4 PM. You never know what you’ll get, but there’s always some good food.

Gentleman 1, tagging two friends in this post: I am going to reach out to this young lady around 9:15. Would you be willing in helping out that way? That way we could get her around $75 worth of groceries. You are definitely my go-to guys for help. I can do it all on my own, but you know I would rather spread the help around.

Gentleman 1 tags hungry lady: If you would like to go to Buckner Thriftway and get you $40 or $50 worth of groceries I will meet you down there around 9:45 and pay for them. Please respond to this when you are headed that way.

Gentleman 2: I’m a little late to the party, what do we still need?

Gentleman 1: We got her taken care of, buddy

Gentleman 3: I have a bunch of frozen dinners I would like to give away. Let me know and we can arrange a place in Buckner to meet.

Gentleman 4: Sure, anything to help: Send address, needs.

Amazed lady: This is amazing, you guys!

Gentleman 5: I have some chicken.

Blessed lady: I hope everybody knows how blest we are by the generous members of our community.

Gentleman 6: Did you get enough food? Harvester’s food distribution is tomorrow

Monday, August 03, 2020

All for the love of cheesecake

The only cheesecake I normally make is that no-bake cherry cheesecake pie you see around at family dinners:  It's so easy, and everybody loves it.  Almost two years ago I made a delicious cheesecake in the Instant Pot; it was perfect, but for some reason, I never tried it again.  Today I found the recipe I used before.  It's in the Instant Pot right now.  I'm hoping for the best, because I didn't mix the filling properly, so there are tiny lumps in the mix.  I was supposed to add the wet ingredients slowly, but I dumped everything in at once.  In my defense, the blogger who came up with this recipe puts so many pictures on an entry, it's hard to find the instructions when you need them; Pioneer Woman is guilty of that too, too many pictures!  As I told Cliff, baked cheesecake can be touchy at best, so who knows how it will turn out.  Usually if I mess up a recipe at the beginning like that, I dump everything and start over.  But it's just me and Cliff, so I decided to take it all the way and see what it's like.  If I remember, I'll let you know.  That won't be today, though, because this cheesecake has to be refrigerated for 24 hours before it's perfect.  Crazy, I know.  

Thinking about cheesecake got me thinking about something my mother used to make for every potluck dinner she went to for a two- or three-year period.  It was a no-bake recipe using lemon Jello for the flavor.  I loved the stuff, but didn't pay a lot of attention to how it was made.  I didn't have a man to cook for at the time, and Mother made it often enough to satisfy me when I visited.  Through the years I'd think about that cheesecake, wishing I'd written down the recipe.

Then the Internet happened.  A couple of years ago I did a Google search with the words "cheesecake" and "jello":  There was Mother's cheesecake recipe, only it was called Woolworths cheesecake; Woolworths served it at their lunch counter!  No wonder it made such a huge amount.  I recall Mother having a problem once or twice with remembering to get the Jello out of the refrigerator before it firmed up too much, so she ended up sometimes with tiny flecks of Jello in it.  The recipe says put the mixed jello in the refrigerator five to ten minutes until it's slightly thick; I doubt 10 minutes is going to thicken it any.  

I do intend to try this just for old time's sake, but I'll have to recruit relatives to help us get rid of it.  The grandson is losing weight and not eating much, but maybe our daughter's family could help us out some weekend.  We could have a Woolworth's cheesecake party, right?  If you're interested, you'll find the recipe HERE.  And HERE.  Or just type "Woolworths cheesecake".  It's EVERYWHERE.

Meanwhile, I have re-discovered my mom's breaded tomatoes.  That's what she called them.  I went looking on and found out why my own creation never tasted right to me:  I wasn't using enough sugar... although honestly, the amount of sugar in that recipe on the website was far more than Mother used, I'm sure, so on my second try I got it just right, then broke up soda crackers in it; my mom sometimes used bread rather than crackers, but I prefer crackers.  It's the same as when I found that recipe for turnips that tasted like those my mom made: sugar was the secret.  The grandson is not putting turnips in his wildlife plot this year, so I bought some seeds and tossed them into a bare space in my little garden.  They were up and growing in two days' time, so I may get my supply of creamed turnips again this year.  

This morning I picked about a quart of green beans that I intend to cook, drain, and cover with cheese sauce, since I have lots of American cheese on hand.  Cliff is still on his strange diet, and he's actually lost some weight.  Oh yes, and he likes my cheese grits now.  I guess it really is an acquired taste, because he had no love for grits when he first tasted them... although I don't think I had graduated to making cheese grits that first time.  That could explain it.  I have a few ears of corn I need to pick and do something with before the next planting is ready, so I guess that's next on my day's agenda.  Our tomatoes are about done, but when I get small ones, or those that have been nibbled by bugs or slugs in places, I trim them up, peel them and make more breaded tomatoes.  My breakfasts lately have consisted of breaded tomatoes and cheese grits.  

That's my great big cornfield.  lt consists of two rows side-by-side.  There are two plantings in those two rows; the first delicious planting needs to be picked today, or it'll get tough and starchy.  I planted the first half of the two rows, waited two weeks, then planted the rest of each row, so each planting would have some help pollinating.  

I did not intend to freeze corn this year, but I can't let it go to waste, either.  So here goes; there are about 8 more ears ready in the garden, and then the next crop.  Remind me that two old folks can't eat that many ears of corn before it gets tough.  Probably half a dozen seeds would have given me all I wanted.   

OK, I think that does it.  I hope your day is going well; at 10:30 AM, it's 72 degrees, with a forecast high of 78.  I'm loving it.

Yours truly,

Sunday, August 02, 2020

My little world of finance (and rainy days and animals)

Cliff has been selling things lately, so we've been making larger deposits at the bank than is normal for us, since the only deposits that usually go into our checking account are from our social security accounts.  He sold the Allis Chalmers tractor last week for a healthy sum; the buyer is fairly local  (Blue Springs) and wanted to write a check on the condition that he wouldn't come and pick up the tractor until the check had cleared.  Cliff agreed to that.  Monday morning we drove to the bank to deposit the check.  On Wednesday the guy contacted us and said it had cleared his bank; I told him it would probably clear our bank by the next morning, and that's exactly what happened.  I did realize a hold would have been put on the check, but it was to be released from the hold Thursday, and the fellow was coming for the tractor on Saturday.  Perfect.  

All proceeds from Cliff's tractor hobby go into his savings account... it's all his, and I am proud of that, since I'm the one who made that rule.  Of course, if he buys a tractor, that comes out of his tractor fund account, too. This is a man who, early in our marriage, had to get by on five dollars a week to buy the gas to get to work, and for most of his life, his money was our only income.  

When I got online to move the now-available money from checking to his savings account, I noticed most of the money was gone from our checking account except for the now-approved money from the sold tractor.  There was, in fact, only $12 left in checking after I moved that money.  I called the bank and was told there was another hold, an "Exception hold" of $675.  And I had a bill to pay!  I asked for an explanation and the lady said she'd look into it and call back, but she didn't.  However, the next day I got a letter from the bank saying that particular hold was because we deposited more than we were supposed to on Monday.  This hold lasts longer than the hold on the check, though, until next Wednesday.  And I needed to pay that bill sooner than that.  So I had to go to my little puny savings (I'm a little jealous of Cliff's money, can you tell?) and move funds to checking so I could pay the bill in a timely manner.

Things are strange since the Covid 19 shut-down, so maybe that has something to do with it, and it may be normal procedure for all banks.  But I can't understand why they had to hold money because of a deposit that had already cleared... and such a strange amount!  I had no deposits or withdrawals for that amount.  I hope they invest my money wisely before they let me have it back next Wednesday.

Enough of that.  Folks, we have been getting rain, rain, and more rain:  five inches one day, three another.  One day it rained off and on all day, but when it let up at noon, I let the three pullets out.  I hoped maybe the rain was finished; I was wrong: it was just getting ready to rain harder.  Later on in the evening, I looked out and all three not-too-bright chickens were out in the downpour as though they thought they were ducks!  I've been around chickens all my life and never seen hens that would stay out in the rain; they usually go running to the henhouse at the first few drops.  It wasn't too long until it would get dark, so I went to drive them in their house.  I grabbed an umbrella, but it was useless:  I learned you can't drive hens into the henhouse in the rain while holding an umbrella over your head.  In fact, you can't drive them into the henhouse if they don't want to go, period.  In the end, I went sloshing back to the house and put on dry clothes, leaving the hens to put themselves into the house on their own.  But until then they continued running around in the rain.  So who's the crazy one?  Maybe it isn't the chickens at all.  Especially since that wasn't the first time that day I got soaked in the rain messing around with animals.

Yeah, some folks never learn.  Earlier on the morning of that same very rainy day, I had opened the front door to see if Blue the cat was on the porch waiting to be let in, although  I hoped he was either staying dry under the back porch or out at the barn, because we were having a torrential downpour... but no.  He was curled up on the corner of the soaking-wet porch (a porch that does nothing to protect from rain).  When he got up, he left what was the only dry spot on the whole porch, and that pitiful little dry spot where he'd been huddled up as small as possible made me sad.  He ate his canned food and played with Gabe awhile, then I ran out to the barn with him and left him there.  Yes, I got soaked doing it, and wouldn't you know he was back at the door (wet) within 10 minutes.  

He is currently spending lots of time with the big cats in the barn, as well as several neighboring cats who sneak in daily.  There's an older couple nearby who feed all the strays, and they seem to come over here for snacks.  In fact, my Jake has moved over there permanently.  Maybe it was something I said, or maybe they serve better food.   

Gabe has a birthday today:  he turns three years old.  I'm 76, and  I sometimes wonder which of us will be the first to die.  It needs to be him, because nobody else would put up with his jealous, needy, bark-out-the-window behavior if I were gone.  You could say the same for me, actually (except for the barking-out-the-window part, but I sometimes sing pretty loud). But I'm a human, so I have some say-so about what happens to me, at least until the point I'm not capable any more.

Have a good, thankful Sunday, won't you?