Monday, August 30, 2021

Too Old to Cut the Mustard

 I'm doing this entry especially for one of my Arkansas friends.  She asked in a comment what the saying "too old to cut the mustard" means.  

I think the lyrics of a song from 1951 say it all.  The last verse was my father's favorite one.

Too Old To Cut the Mustard, sung by Earnest Tubb and Red Foley

Too old, too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's gettin' too old, he's done got too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
When I was young, I had a lotta pep
I could get around, didn't need no help
But now you're old and a gettin' gray
The people all look at you and say
Too old, too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's gettin' too old, he's done got too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
I used to, could jump just like a deer
But now you need a new landing gear
I used to, could jump a picket fence
But now you're lucky if you jump an inch
Too old, too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's gettin' too old, he's done got too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
When I was young, I had an automobile
Now they push you around in a chair with wheels
I had to fight the gals off with a stick
But now they say he makes me sick
Too old, too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's gettin' too old, he's done got too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
When I was young and in my prime
The gals all used to stand in line
But now they go the other way
And as they leave, I hear them say
Too old, too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's gettin' too old, he's done got too old
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore
He's too old to cut the mustard anymore

If you can stand to read the corny lyrics , perhaps you're brave enough to listen to the song.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday morning, feeling fine

In my post about the Green Cathedral, I forgot to mention the guardians at the entrance.  I said hello to those faithful guards the other morning and happened to have a camera in my pocket, so I figured take a picture and tell you about them.

I consider this little grove of trees to be the entryway to the Green Cathedral.  Straight ahead, down an incline, is the cathedral.

I walk directly past this tree to get to the cathedral.  There are four dogs buried around it, none of which are mine, although I loved a couple of them as though they were mine:  Titan, a Great Dane; Diesel, a chihuahua that belonged to a friend of the family; Hawkeye, a dog loved by everyone.  He was my son-in-law's dog... sort of a collie type Heinz 57; and Radar, who also lived with our daughter's family.  

I was walking in the dark this morning; when I arrived at this tree, I told the dogs I hoped they were watching over me, so I wouldn't stumble onto a skunk or something.  Then I smiled as I thought of Titan, who was such a clown that he would have gone right up to a skunk trying to play with him and gotten sprayed; I know this because it happened once.  

I didn't even really know little Diesel well, but whether anyone else thinks about these dogs daily or not, I do, because I walk past their graves, and I thank God for our beloved dogs.  There's another place where a couple of our dogs were buried, but it is only marked by a tree stump.  And Sadie, my Frisbee dog, is buried right in the backyard; I dug her grave alone, crying as I did so.  

This morning as I turned back toward home there was pink showing in the northwestern sky.

And by the time I got back to our house, it was fully daylight.

I must go take a shower and get ready for church.  Have a pleasant and blessed day.


Friday, August 27, 2021

How does my garden grow?

On the left are green beans, my latest ones planted until a week or so ago.  The next two rows are turnips.  I won't be harvesting them until September.

The watered row on the left?  Green beans.  I may have planted them too late to harvest anything, but I had a few seeds left over and thought, "Why not?"  The next row is cabbage in the nearest end and zucchini in the other end.  There's only half of the third row planted; I think I put beets there, just because I had plenty of seeds.

The green beans are coming up!

Cabbage too!


I don't recall when I planted the seed that grew into this eggplant, but I've only watered it once, a couple days ago.  I am amazed at how healthy it is in spite of the drought we've had this summer.

A tiny eggplant is forming.  Several of them, actually, and this plant is loaded with flowers.  I notice the bees love the flowers on the eggplant.

My two rows of strawberry plants.  I bought 30 plants and now I have 19.  Until three days ago I had 20; unfortunately I got careless with my hoe.  I could have cried.  But all those left are healthy, although some are less vigorous than others.  As you can see, I was watering the plants with a soaker hose; that way the water goes down to the roots where it's needed instead of watering areas where nothing is growing.  

This mother plant has already sent out two daughters!  See the long stems reaching out on the wet soil?  All these plants kept trying to bear strawberries, but I picked the blooms as soon as I saw them; you never let strawberry plants bear the first year; it takes the strength away from the plants while they are getting settled and making daughters.

I also have okra to harvest every other day, but I didn't think to take a picture.  And we are still eating tomatoes and bell peppers from the garden.

I can't wait to see how all these late-planted crops do.  Except for the strawberries, it's all an experiment for me, but it's kept me from dwelling on negative things.  Even in this hellacious heat!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

We're in this for the long haul

Recently I purchased some KN95 face masks; apparently they are no longer in short supply.  Yesterday we did our weekly shopping, so I wore one for the first time and it worked fine for me:  It was a little easier to breath in it than the simple masks we've all been wearing, and it definitely felt as though it would let less germs in and out.  I'm actually being more vigilant now than I was when all this started, since more vaccinated people are getting the virus now.  Yes, their symptoms are usually not so bad as for the unvaccinated, but I don't want this thing in any way, shape, or form.  Cliff wore his usual mask to go in Walmart; he usually stays in the car and reads while I shop, but he has some items he needed in the shop.

The oldest grandson, who's had Covid, told Cliff he has a co-worker who was always telling him the virus wasn't a big deal.  Now that man is fighting for his life in the hospital.  Grandson's mom had it several days ago too, and spent one day in the hospital, but is now back to work driving a school bus.  It's everywhere!    

We went all the way to Blue Springs to shop because Aldi had mangoes for fifty cents each; I bought ten!  They are still green, but I've learned they are still delicious after they ripen, no matter how green they are when I first buy them.  My old peach tree only had peaches on one branch on the west side of the tree, but we've had peaches with our cereal for the last couple of days.  They are delicious, as always.  I have no idea why there was no fruit on the rest of the tree, unless there was a frost that killed the others, and perhaps this one branch was protected.  We had some terrific winds this spring that blew off a lot of little green peaches, so that may be the problem.

We only went to Aldi and Walmart this trip.  Once home, we drove two miles to the post office so I could buy a hundred stamps before the price goes up next week.  Now that I pay my bills by mail, I use more stamps, although the stamps will likely last the year at least; we don't have that many bills.

Cliff and I seem to be stuck on British shows for our evening television watching.  We're watching Line of Duty, a show about how crooked cops (bent coppers) can mess around with justice in various ways, and then we watch the old version of All Creatures Great and Small, from the late 70's and early 80's.  We watched it back then and loved it, and it's just as enjoyable after forty years.  I had read the books in the 70's, after they were recommended to me by a friend now deceased, then watched every episode of the show when I discovered it on PBS.  Those are the two shows we watch together; then Cliff watches Corner Gas... it isn't British, but it's made in Canada.  

In my reading, I am trying my best to enjoy Pillars of the Earth.  I had started it several years ago and gotten weary of it, and I'm at that place with it again.  So many people love Ken Follett's books, I'd love to see what I'm missing; so far, I haven't had much luck with that.  

We're having a heat wave, so I've only been walking every other day, starting out in the dark when I leave.  It's supposed to start cooling down this weekend and get back to average temps next week.  Sunday there seems to be a chance of rain; I hope that comes to fruition.  

And that's about it.  Nothing much going on.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Green Cathedral

There is something about growing old that brings memories to mind, sometimes ones that surprise you because you hadn't thought about them for decades.  While walking in our little woods on the "fingers" of land that separate the canyons for which the road we live on is named, a song came back to me that I learned in junior high school choir.  I thought at the time it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I'd ever heard, probably because I could relate to it so well from my past experiences.  

Across the road from my grandma's house was a wooded area with a stream running through it; I spent many happy hours wandering around through the briars and trees alone.  Later on when the local switchboard closed down and my parents and I moved to the country for a year or two, the old house we lived in was surrounded by timber; again, I spent leisurely hours just walking through the trees while Daddy worked on the farm and Mother worked at VanZant's grocery store in Eagleville.

We moved to Kansas City in 1956, I think.  I later learned the song in junior high that took me back to those happy hours in the country.  I took a couple of photos this morning that reminded me of the song, as well as my woodland wanderings.

Green Cathedral

I know a green cathedral,
A shadowed forest shrine,
Where leaves in love join hands above
To arch your prayer and mine.
Within its cool depths sacred,
A priestly cedar sighs,
And the fir and pine lift arms divine 
Unto the pure blue skies

In my dear green cathedral
There is a hallowed seat
And choir loft in branched croft
Where songs of bird hymn sweet.
And I like to dream at evening
When stars its arches light,
That my Lord and God in its hallowed sod
In the calm, cool peace of night.

And here is the song:

Friday, August 20, 2021

Just sharing

These are the words of Britney Bowling, MD, copied from Kevin

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

I’ve seen its death. I’ve seen it take the breath from someone’s lungs. I’ve watched it shut down kidneys. I’ve walked the halls of an ICU with pumps outside the room, and patients turned upside down. I’ve heard the code blues. I’ve passed an endotracheal tube through vocal cords. I’ve squeezed air into suffocating lungs. I’ve broken ribs doing chest compressions. I’ve sent electricity through hearts no longer strong enough to beat.

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

I am not scared for myself. I am scared for our children who are too young to be vaccinated. I am scared for our medically fragile populations. I am scared of the potential long-term health consequences of those who do recover. I am scared because a Google search today means more than a medical degree. I am scared for a future that further divides people. I am scared for the evolution of viruses to come. I am scared because people seem to care more about lies, propaganda, and distrust than about taking care of one another. I am scared we are failing at the golden rule.

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

I am weary. I am weary of defending science. I am weary of sacrificing time with my family. I am weary of the mistrust and disrespect of medicine. I am weary of misinformation. I am weary that our hospitals are filling up with people who made a choice to not get vaccinated and now want a miracle. I am weary that we don’t have a miracle. I am weary of the evolution of a virus that wants to survive at all costs. I am weary that we don’t seem to want to survive at all costs.

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

I am proud. I am proud of scientists. I am proud of health care workers. I am proud of business owners who continue to do the right thing. I am proud of those lining up to get vaccinated. I am proud of mask wearers. I am proud of the truth. I am proud to have a voice. I am proud I have the courage to use my voice.

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

I have hope. I have hope that vaccination rates will increase. I have hope that our hospital admissions will decrease. I have hope that my children will know a future without masks. I have hope that you will hear my voice. I have hope that you will trust my education and experience. I have hope that if you have been on the fence, you will do the right thing. I have hope that you will find the courage to use your voice. I have hope we will find rest.

I am no longer terrified of COVID.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Hoarding again?

Wednesday was Cliff's monthly payday.  I looked at the ads for all the stores at Blue Springs, even Aldi, and realized there are no bargains any more.  The stores may call them bargains, but I don't.  Of course Aldi has some things I always like to buy there, but I really didn't need any of the basics they carry, so we chose to only drive to the smaller Walmart at Oak Grove and get what things we needed there.  I couldn't believe the empty spots on the shelves everywhere... again!

At least I'm set up with enough toilet paper to last a while, since I bought some last week at Costco.  When will people learn?

I froze the last of my corn today, two more quarts, plus a nice big pan-full we'll eat from for two or three days.  I put some of my earlier frozen corn in a crockpot for my recent family reunion; it always makes a hit, and it's something really easy to prepare:  just heat, season, and put in the crockpot.  I will always plant Bodacious sweet corn unless I can't find the seeds anywhere.  The ears are huge, often two ears to a stalk, and it's supersweet.  I much prefer it to the peaches-and-cream variety that's sold in stores.  I had almost no worm damage this year! 

After Cliff got up and had breakfast, Gabe and I went out to harvest the last of the sweet corn, none of which was ruined by the wind that had come through a couple weeks ago.  Gabe loves corn, and I caught him once at the bucket of corn getting ready to take a bite.  

The grandson's girl friend's dog, Clouse, has adopted Cliff.  Clouse is the most amazing dog I've ever seen in that he wants to be at a human's side constantly, and so far has never gotten off our property.  I've never witnessed a dog that stays home outside voluntarily without a fence or leash keeping him there.  He has a pen the kids put him in when they go to work, but because he stays so close, Cliff lets him out of the pen to hang out with him in the shop when he goes out; Clouse barks toward our house trying to hurry Cliff up until he goes out the door..  Silly dog, he even likes to ride beside my husband in the four-wheeler.  When Cliff went to mow the pasture a couple days ago, Clouse patiently waited in the shop for his hero to return, lying in front of what Cliff has designated as the dog's personal fan.  What a team... Cliff and Clouse.  Sounds like a vaudeville act.

Dogs add so much spice to life, especially in these scary and depressing times.  There's always something to laugh at as long as we have a couple of dogs and a pompous, smart-aleck cat around.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


I've been missing in action for a couple of days.  I haven't been anywhere.  I've just had my nose in books and not doing much of anything to blog about.  The recent storms last week gave us three inches of rain, but it came with some big-time winds that blew down a lot of my last planting of corn.

  Since the wind didn't manage to pull the roots out of the ground, the corn went ahead and matured on the stalks anyway... it was already close to being ready when the rain came.  Today I'll be freezing some of it.  We had corn for dinner yesterday.  We like it best cut off the cob.  I boil it on the cob for 10 minutes, then cool it until I can handle it and cut off the kernels.  That's the same thing I do when I freeze my corn.  We finally have okra but I haven't fried any yet because my recipe for Southern Fried Okra takes buttermilk and I don't have any; this is an instance where you can't use milk with vinegar added as a substitute, the way you can for some recipes.  I've tried it and it didn't work well at all.

The rain came late for the green beans; with no water, they just sort of dried up.  The tomatoes, though, are doing great and giving us plenty for our needs.  That storm gave us a break from the heat wave, so Gabe and I haven't had to walk in the dark; we wait until around 8 A.M. to leave, and it's only been in the low 70's when we return.  I'm going to need an umbrella to avoid being attacked by bluebirds every time I pass their birdhouse as I'm walking out to the pasture:  They swoop down at my head until it's almost scary.  Unwanted birds had taken the bluebird house over in the spring and kept trying to nest in it, but I would tear their nests out before they could finish them.  I guess when they finally gave up, the bluebirds decided to use their house again.

Cliff is doing some work on the Oliver tractor he recently bought, so he comes in for lunch and then goes back to the shop.  It's almost as though he has a job again!  

That's all I have, and I do need to get to that sweet corn. 


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday Stealing

1. What subjects lead you down a Wikipedia rabbit hole

Almost anything.

2. How do you like to spend your birthdays?

I don't give birthdays a lot of thought, and we don't make a big deal about special days.  I always used to want to eat out on my birthday, but these days I'd rather stay home and eat my own cooking; it's ridiculously expensive to eat out, and you can get covid in any public place.

3. Something you might take a little too seriously?

Crazy people on Facebook upset me trying to convince people to think like they do.  My husband tells me all the time there's something wrong with me for taking such people seriously, but I don't care to hear their opinions and fake "facts".

4. Describe a time you made a good decision for yourself.

When I married my husband.
5. Something you’ve improved/gotten better at.

6. What dish would you bring to a summer potluck?

Old Settler's Beans

7. What do you miss about Winter?

Who misses winter?  I don't miss the propane bill, I don't miss freezing to death when I go outside.  What's to miss?

8. Share a summer memory.

I used to spend a week every summer at my grandmother's little farm.  I spent most of my time wandering through the woods and fields by myself.  I enjoyed going to sleep in the featherbed to the music of whippoorwills singing at dusk every night.  Her house was very quiet, no traffic noise at all.  There was a wind-up clock in her bedroom that ticked loudly, and sometimes that was the only noise I heard when we weren't talking.

9. Words you misspell or misuse the most

There are several, but right now I can't think of any.  
10. Things you love to do, that can only happen in summer

Spend time outside, garden, go on road trips
11. How would you describe your sense of humor?

It isn't what it used to be.  Things just aren't as funny any more.
12. Have you ever quit a job or career?


13. What are your favorite features of your cell phone?

There's nothing about my cell phone that distinguishes it.  I don't use it often.

14. What scents always make you hungry?

Bacon frying, biscuits cooking, cake baking

15. What are you working on right now?

About the only thing I've worked on today is the garden, and not much of that.

I got these questions on "Sunday Stealing".   Feel free to play along. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Oh, the memories!

Here's how I fall down Internet rabbit holes and waste my precious time:  

I surfed past an article this morning saying something about how dogs will never be able to actually talk because they don't have the physical apparatus to do so.  However, I recalled that at some time in my youth, there was a contest on the Today Show; I'm not sure if they said they'd give a sum of money to anyone who could prove their dog could talk, or if it was some other incentive, but there were several dogs brought on the show that seemingly "talked".  I distinctly recall one dog repeating after its master, "I love you" back to him (or her).  It wasn't all that plain, but I think it was close enough to reap whatever rewards were offered.  Bear with me, because this is all very fuzzy in my brain.

I discussed this whole dog-talk subject with Cliff; he had never heard of this, so I explained it all to him as best I could, just like I'm doing now on my blog.  Surely, I thought, there would be a Youtube video showing those talking dogs; there was not.  However, I decided to forget about the dogs and find out who the first host was on the Today Show; that turned out to be Dave Garroway, from 1952 until 1961.  

Oh yes, I remembered Dave Garroway!  I used to watch the Today Show while waiting to go to the school-bus stop; Dave had a chimp on the show named J. Fred Muggs.  But my mind moved on from there, wondering who the next host was, because I thought I remembered a calmer, less funny man being the host while I was still in school (I graduated in 1962).  When I saw it was Hugh Downs, I remembered he was somebody's sidekick on the Tonight Show later, but I wasn't sure whose.  Another search!  Yes, he starred with Jack Parr on the tonight show.

Hugh Downs

So that got me remembering the Tonight Show host, Jack Parr.  Parr introduced me to people I would never have heard of in any other way:  Truman Capote was a regular guest, and Geneveive, with her cute, funny French accent.   There were Elsa Maxwell, Fidel Castro, Hermione Gingold, Oscar Levant... well, I could go on.  Suffice it to say I was introduced to some unique folks  the like of which I would never have run into in real life.  Jack Parr, himself, kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.  He was bipolar, a word not heard in those days; I think maybe they called it manic-depressive?   Anyhow, he once almost got into a fist fight with Micky Rooney.  He was liable to cry at any occasion, and one time he walked off the set because he told a joke he had gotten from his teenage daughter and they didn't show it; the big-wigs at NBC decided it was too off-color for television (it wasn't... you can read about it HERE.  (If you click on the link there's a warning about whether you should go ahead, but there's nothing wrong with the site.)

Jack Parr

This rabbit hole was an even longer one because I kept trying to find Youtube videos of various ones of those guests.  Finally I forced myself away from all the searching and decided to write about my search so you will know why I never get anything constructive done around here.

And that's the way it is on this Friday the 13th.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Folk music: the most honest songs I've found

That folk music craze of the 60's started me on a journey I'm still taking.  I simply can't get enough of the American folk genre.  

I'm not able turn a radio on and leave it playing all day long; at some point I just have to have silence or I'll go crazy; I need some quiet time.  But many times, when my husband is out of the house (or dozing on the couch, as he does now in this season of our lives), when I'm working in the kitchen, I'll command Alexa to play my self-created Pandora folk station; that's the kind of music I can listen to for long periods of time.  And what a variety of characters entertain me with that music.

Folk is the most honest music I know, simply because the artist is singing his life to you.  A large majority of the folk singers have no better singing skills than my mother and father and I when we sang in the car on the way to church, but they aren't showing off their voices anyhow... they are showing you their souls, their hardships, their romances, their beliefs.  They don't have bands backing them up; all they need is a banjo, guitar, or harmonica.  For that matter, they'll sing without any instrument if they must.  They aren't showing off; they sing because they'd die if they couldn't sing their lives and experiences.

Yesterday I listened to my self-created folk station for an hour or so, and what a variety of real, genuine people I heard:  Mississippi John Hurt, Utah Phillips, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, Guy clark, Ola Belle Reed:  Even their names are raw and lovely.  It felt as though each one was sitting on a chair in my kitchen, singing just for me.  

As I listened, I thought about their lives; what stories they could tell!

Mississippi John Hurt was a sharecropper who taught himself to play guitar at age 9; he had no success with his music in his early years.  It wasn't until blues enthusiasts discovered the farmer in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C. that he got some recognition and recorded for the Library of Congress.  His songs were later shared by people like Bob Dylan and Doc Watson.  After Hurt's time in the limelight, he returned home to Mississippi, where he died from a heart attack in 1966.  

Wikipedia has a lot of fascinating information about his music.

John Hurt's home; he's on the right.

And if you like, you can watch him singing "Lonesome Valley".

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Same tune, different verse

Today and tomorrow, the heat wave and drought will continue.  Thank God for air conditioning, which we never had until thirteen years ago when we moved back behind the barn to the trailer house.  I don't like the cost of it, but it probably doesn't take as much of our money as propane will take this winter for heating; when gasoline goes up in price, so does propane.   And thanks to the Covid pandemic, everything is going up in price; I've never seen prices rise as fast and as far as they are doing now.  

But enough complaining.  So far, our combined Social Security income pays our bills, and we can cut back on spending quite a bit if it comes to that.  I'm thankful we have a place to live with no house payment, rent, or taxes, and a kitchen full of much more food than necessary.  I probably spend as much on my dog and cat as some people do on groceries, what with grooming for Gabe and prescriptions to keep my pets free from fleas and heartworms.  The cat is outside most of the time, so the vet said I'd do well just to get him wormed once a year, because outside cats always have worms.


I'm back from the kitchen and garden.  I had a roast to get ready to cook in the InstaPot, and some other things to do for dinner, not to mention washing the dishes and cleaning off the stovetop.  I found plenty of okra in the garden today, and picked more than enough to make smothered okra.  I'm so glad I found out about this way of using okra, because the only other method I had for cooking it was fried okra, which we love... but how many times do we want to eat it?  Not every meal, that's for sure.  Now I actually have a healthy dish that uses okra.  I assume smothered okra is what my mom was talking about years ago when she told me she didn't like okra-and-tomatoes.  Mother liked almost any food, especially vegetables; but she curled her nose up when she talked about that dish.  Now I'm wondering why, because Cliff and I are crazy about it.  I can't wait to eat!

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 8 ounces whole okra, cut into 1/2inch pieces (2 cups), or 2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed
  • 2 cups chopped, peeled tomato (2 large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled (optional)
  • In a large skillet cook and stir onion, sweet pepper, and garlic in hot butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in okra, tomato, salt, pepper, and, if desired, cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes for fresh okra (10 minutes for thawed okra) or until okra is very tender. If desired, sprinkle with bacon.

The Perseid meteor shower is going to peak tonight through Friday night, from midnight till before dawn.  I'm always up well before dawn, so I'm hoping I have some luck catching the show in the heavens.  Look to the northeast, according to the news, and it will be possible to see as many as one hundred meteors an hour.  Here's hoping.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Heat wave

When I got up at 4:30 this morning, the Alexa Echo Show told me the temperature was 83°.  It went down to 80° by 6 A.M., and that was our low for the night.  There are chances of rain forecast for various times throughout the day, 30 and 40 percent chances; but it's been so long since we've had a rain that even though I'm hearing thunder now, I don't believe we'll get rain.  Hope has died.  We've had less than two inches since July 1.  

It was warmer than I like for walking, but I didn't go yesterday, so Gabe and I headed out before dawn.  It was pretty dark, but I knew as slow as I walk, I wouldn't be too far gone until I could see my surroundings better.  At first I couldn't let Gabe get too far ahead of me or I wouldn't be able to see him; he's mostly black, you know.  Oh, and even though I had just fed the cats before leaving, Blue joined us, pouncing on Gabe, doing flip-flops in the air, and other such shenanigans. 

Blue has finally decided to return home on his own after he walks with us, usually after a couple of hours of playing in the woods.  I think he felt the storm coming today, because he was only about half an hour behind us.

I didn't walk yesterday because I've been doing so much bending in the garden, picking green beans and placing the soaker hose next to the two lines of strawberries every other day; so my knees are aching more than usual.  Tylenol really helped me out this morning, and I moved very slowly; I actually think walking may have eased the pain.  

Cliff had borrowed his brother's trailer and is gone to return it.  His brother lives about 25 miles to the southeast of us.  Maybe if I don't see any rain here, Cliff will see some down there.  I'm sure it's raining just across the river to the north at Richmond, because the sky is putting on quite a light show over there.  It's dark here, and thunder still rolls, but so far I've seen only sprinkles.

I told Cliff to pick up a carton of Cool-whip for the lemon pie I made yesterday.  It's my sister Maxine's recipe.  Well, actually it's Ann Landers' recipe, but I got it from my sister.  Maxine and I don't care for meringue, so we use Cool-whip.  Since I don't know if I'll ever see her face-to-face again, what with covid still running rampant and her in her 90's, making her lemon pie helped me think fondly of her.  Most of my best dessert recipes have come from her.    

That's about all I have for today. 

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Sunday Stealing

I'm doing this from Sunday Stealing today.

1.  What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.  My paperback One Year Bible, New Living Translation

2.  When was the last time you took a "me" vacation?  Back about fifteen to twenty years ago I took several.  I had discovered a Christian chat room on AOL, and a lot of us wanted to meet in person.  I went to Texas a couple of times, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Virginia.  Also one of the Carolinas, I forgotten the town.  I had never been on a commercial airplane before that.  

3.  How many telephone numbers do you have?  One.  And sometimes that's too many.

4.  If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?  Give the teachers a raise.

5.  What's your favorite Olympic event?  None.

6.  Do you watch the Olympics?  Only by accident.

7.  Who is your favorite sports team player?  I'm not into sports, but when Patrick Mahomes came along and the Chiefs finally had a great year and went to the Superbowl, I became a big Mahomes fan and a Chiefs fan.  Whether that will last through the team's bad times, I don't know.  I do like to watch the big three horse races, but usually don't know when they are; so I miss them.  Oh, and once in a while I like to watch boxing.  (See how I give more information than is asked for on almost every question?)

8.  If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?  I have never quite fit in on this planet; I doubt I'd fit in somewhere else?

9.  When was the last time you sat in a church?  Two weeks ago.  I went to a reunion last Sunday and didn't attend.

10.  Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?  I suppose the spam comments, but that doesn't happen very often.

11. Have you ever gone to a party and snooped in the medicine cabinet?  Not that I remember.

12.Do you watch reality TV?  No!!

13.  How many people can you call who have known you since you were in school?  I would have to get their numbers, but there are two.  I went through high school with two cousins.    

14. Who, when, and where was your first kiss?  No comment.

15. You just got thrown out of your country.  Where do you want to become a citizen?  Canada; I don't like to get any further from my roots than I have to, and Mexico isn't safe.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Clouds above me, fog around me

I'm trying to pull myself out of a funk I'm in much of the time lately, so bear with me.  Lately the high spot of my day is my morning walk through the pasture and woods, and there's only so much I can say about that.  Rain is sorely needed, but watering the whole (admittedly small) garden is more than I'm willing to do, so I water the young strawberry plants every other day, and that's all.

I have been enjoying our mid-day meals lately, thanks to the tomato plants that finally produced a few nice big tomatoes.  Wednesday we had fried green tomatoes, and yesterday we pigged out with BLT's.  OK, for me it's just BT's, since I leave off the lettuce; all it does is make my tomatoes slide around more, and who needs that?  I shouldn't admit it, but we both had two full sandwiches!  Now we're out of Costco bacon, so I guess that'll be that.  Bacon is ridiculously high-priced.

I'm about out of fruit, and that's a bad situation for me.  I can't buy more than three or four bananas in summer because we don't eat them that fast, and one can only eat so much banana bread; we don't have a decent grocery store near us, and the closest grocery store of any kind is ten miles away.  One thing I've had a lot of lately is sweet cherries; I almost have an addiction to them, and have eaten literally pounds of them in the last few weeks.  I'm a big fan of mangoes, too:  I accompanied my daughter and her husband to Cozumel three or four years ago to visit their friend Brooke, and she introduced me to mangoes; it was love at first bite.  Aldi usually has them at a very reasonable price, in season.  I like avocados, too, when the price is right, although I'll admit my main reason for eating them is because they are good for me.  That's another frequent bargain at Aldi.  Unfortunately, the nearest Aldi store is twenty-five miles away.  I suppose that should be no big deal to retired folks with plenty of time whose car gets thirty-five miles to the gallon, though.

I was messing around with Google Earth and remembered that somewhere on this blog, I had shared an old picture of our property taken years ago.  Those "fingers" through the woods are where I still walk, and I placed the red rectangle there to show where our trailer house was.  

Below is a more recent picture that shows the trailer house.  Our property is long and narrow, and consists of a little over 40 acres.  You can see the railroad tracks at the back of our place.  What these pictures from the sky does not show you is the canyons;  Most of those trees you see are in ditches deep enough to dwarf our old two-story house.  Our house sits on a high river bluff, but the back of the place is probably 200 feet or more lower than that, and north of the railroad tracks, it's all fertile (and often flooded) river bottoms where various farmers plant corn and beans.     

You can easily see our trailer house, and the driveway going past the grandson's house and leading up to our two-car garage.  I still walk the dirt trail from our house back to the "fingers" of my walk.  This would have been taken not long after the grandson bought the property and upgraded the old house, in the lower left-hand corner.  The bigger, red-roofed building north of it is the shop.  Almost straight cross the driveway from the shop,  the building with the gray steel roof is the old barn.  I have no idea why all that bare dirt is there on the right of the trailer house, but it may have been where Cliff and the grandson were getting some needed dirt for things they were doing around the old house at the time.

That's it for today.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Weather and other things

We are in the middle of an incredible period of perfect weather; the only thing that would make it more perfect would be a decent rain; but the temperatures are cool and refreshing, giving us a chance to sleep with the windows open at night.  This cool-down follows a few days of temperatures near 100ยบ, so I am doubly grateful.  Of course it will warm up again, but I can keep in mind that we are that much closer to autumn.  Gabe and I can wait until 8 a.m. or so to go for our walk, instead of leaving as the sun is about to come up.  

The crazy cat insists on following us if he sees us walking through the gate, but he usually stops early and spends the whole day in the woods.  That would be great, except that coyotes and foxes eat cats, so I usually worry my daylight hours away and then make Cliff take me back there on the four-wheeler in the evening so I can bring him home; silly, I know.  Blue always comes out near whatever spot we left him in that morning.

Yesterday, however, he came back on his own before noon.  Sometimes I think maybe he just stays because he enjoys riding on the four-wheeler.  This morning he wasn't in sight and wasn't following us when we left, I thought; but when we reached the giant mud-puddle small pond in the pasture, he came bouncing up from behind, then stayed behind as Gabe and I moved on.  Now that he's come back on his own once, I'm not going to worry about him (sometimes I lie to myself like this).

On to another subject:  For years I've been searching for the world's best biscuit.  I googled the phrase "biscuit nirvana" on my blog and found several entries where I've used that term in a post, many of those times mentioning yet another wonderful secret I'd found to making the perfect biscuit.  However, I recently watched a video that gives probably the best suggestion of all, and it's something I hadn't been able to force myself to try before; turns out I had been over-working the dough.  If you like, feel free to watch the video and see how Chef John makes biscuits.  Click HERE.  I found this recipe on allrecipes but had never taken time to watch the video.  Cliff is very impressed with the difference this method makes.  No matter what biscuit recipe I use, this is bound to improve the final product.

Gabe survived his fourth birthday yesterday.  If he makes it to 14 years of age, I will be 87 if I'm still around, so he could well be the last dog I ever have.  I used to worry about what would happen to him if I died, but Cliff has come to like him, and I think he would take good care of him at this stage of his life, other than the fact he'd feed him too much of everything he shouldn't have.  However, my mom's old poodle lived like that to the ripe old age of 17... and died obese, blind, deaf, and happy.

Of course, what if Cliff goes first?  He always says he expects to die before I do because he thinks I'm in better health.  I won't worry about that just now.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021


I went to a family reunion Sunday, my father's side of the family.  It's mostly older people in attendance these days, folks my age; young people don't care about relatives they've never known.  I don't intend that statement as a put-down, because I was in that group myself for years, and still am even at this age, to some extent.  Once Grandma and the aunts and uncles were gone, not to mention my parents, I didn't have much desire to attend.  For that matter, after I married I ignored most reunions for ages.  Then Daddy died and Mother was old, and I went to the reunions to please her.

I always saw more of my mom's side of the family when I was growing up; Daddy's mother died in childbirth in the 1920's, so there was no grandma to visit, just a deaf and blind grandpa who mostly sat in the corner and smoked his pipe.  Sometimes we'd swing by one of Daddy's brothers' houses for a quick visit after spending a day with my mom's relatives, but I didn't know the Allens as well, although I do remember playing with the cousins sometimes when we were there.

In 1944, my father and three of his brothers all happened to have baby girls born.  I think I'm the oldest of the lot, born in July.  One of them, Lela, has spent her whole life in rural north Missouri.  The cousins I got to know the best in my father's family are two of them who lived near us when we first moved to the unincorporated area of Kansas City known as Harlem: Frances and Alice.  We later graduated together at North Kansas City High School in 1962.  

When we first moved to Harlem around 1956, our three families all lived in small apartments in the same two-story building, the downstairs of which had once been a mom-and-pop grocery store.  Frances's family had a rest room to themselves, although their apartment was just one big room.  There were seven of them and a parakeet living in that small space.  Alice's family had what I thought was the nicest apartment of the four in the building; they had to share the rest room with us upstairs apartment-dwellers, but it was in a hall right outside their door.  My mom, dad, and I had a cramped three-room space upstairs.  We'd never had an inside toilet or running water before, so that was a first, even if we did have to go downstairs to relieve ourselves.  We didn't have the luxury of a bathtub or shower, the water in the sink only ran cold, and my bed was the the couch in the living room.

I was miserably homesick for the north Missouri countryside, but I got to know my two cousins while we lived there, especially Alice, who has always been very outgoing and cheerful.  Frances was quieter and much more of a private person.  None of us lived in that apartment building long, but the memories of that place have really stuck with me.  We talked about Harlem at the reunion, and how it was living there when we were all so poor.  By the way, I'm still the poorest of the lot, if you count monetary wealth.  But I've lived a wonderful life in the country that I wouldn't trade with any city dweller.

I did enjoy going down memory lane with those two cousins, both of whom are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet.  It was a day well spent, at least on my part.  I'm not sure they care as much about dwelling in the past as I do, but it was fun for me.

I wonder how many more reunions there will be as, one by one, we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Have you ever lost a camera?

So far I've not lost a camera anywhere outside my home, although I lost one under a living-room chair for quite a while and bought another one before I found it.  Hey, I don't move chairs every time I vacuum, OK?

I almost always peruse Post Secret on Sundays.  If you don't know about the Post Secret website, it exists so people who have a secret they can't share with anyone they know can share it anonymously with the whole world.  Some of the secrets are "R-rated", but many of them are made up of the sort of little things everybody keeps to themselves because the secret might hurt someone they love.  I never had anything to send them, but today I realized I do have a secret, just one of those things you might say to your best friend, but nobody else.  But I digress.

You will have to click on the link to read this story, but it's a great one, full of human kindness; I can't see that anyone would be sorry if they read it, and if you've ever lost a camera, there's a chance you just might find it.

To read the story "Orphan Photos and Lost Cameras", click HERE.  By the way, the helpful online lost-and-found for cameras has migrated to Facebook now:  HERE.