Friday, July 19, 2024

One thing and another

I haven't had a lot of good luck in the garden this year.  The potatoes didn't do well at all; I'm glad I didn't plant too many of them.  My tomatoes always have blight, but we have had some delicious big tomatoes anyway, and I've been sharing with neighbors while they last.  

The yellow onions all split into two parts as they grew, and they won't keep very long.  The red ones look good though.  I can always count on green beans, so I'm passing those around the neighborhood too.  I'm trying to fight off the squash bugs from the zucchini plant.  Nothing seems to stop them, but Rebecca in south Missouri said she is smashing the adult bugs.  I cannot do that with my bare hands and fingers, but I decided to try it with my garden gloves.  Ohhh, but it was a great feeling to grab those ugly things as they ran away and killing them!    

Two of the split onions.  They just grow that way sometimes.

I have decided Walmart is the winner in these high inflation times.  They have the lowest prices by far on most groceries.  On Wednesdays I always look at ads from Price Chopper, Aldi, and Hy-Vee, hoping to find a bargain that's worth driving to Blue Springs for, but lately it just isn't worth it.  Walmart made a whole line of off-brand cereals that are half-price of the name brands, and taste exactly the originals.  They have the cheapest butter and dairy products.  I don't always love their fresh fruit and vegetables, but most of the time they are acceptable.  The Oak Grove location doesn't have  quite all the stuff that larger Walmarts carry, but they have most of what I need.  We can also do our banking at Oak Grove, and there's a place to buy goat food.  

I didn't plan my garden very well at all this year.  I planted the row of cantaloupes five feet away from the row of red onions, but it has totally covered them up.

Also there's this problem with the cantaloupes:  If you step on the vines, they die and baby cantaloupes die along with them.  So if I want to get to a ripe one, I start tenderly picking up the vines and moving them over one by one, hoping not to fall on my face as I lean, reach, and crawl far beyond my capabilities.  I didn't think we were ever going to taste any of the cantaloupes because the first three rotted just before they were ready, and I tossed them.  However, last night I brought one in that was as good as they get.  I'm hoping for more.  You can see two of them in the middle of the greenery that should be ready in a day or two.

That's the grandson's dog Klouse riding in the middle of my two slaves.  Usually Bonnie is riding too. 

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Well, it's Thursday

The lady we are buying the goats from had a very busy day today:  She started the day taking one of her children to the doctor.  She works cleaning houses for people.  She also milks some of her goats.  Today she wasn't feeling well and the day was getting more hectic for her the longer it went, so I told her not to stress, and just wait until the weekend.  So they are going to bring the two goats over Sunday afternoon.  I've had a busy day in the garden myself, and Cliff keeps making things for the goats!  He was inspired last Sunday by all the things these folks have built for their goats, and he took pictures so he could copy them.  So you may not see MY goats, but you will see some of the herd there.  The mother/daughter combo I'll have are Nigerian Dwarf goats.  They have a LOT of goats.

It was in the 90's last Sunday, but that didn't keep this goat from sunning himself on the playground.  

The next two pictures are of their hay feeder.  Cliff has fashioned one following this for a guide, and it's in the goat pen now.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Wait for Thursday

 First of all, I will tell you that I did take my camera to the goat farm; however, I forgot to use it!  Cliff took pictures with his phone, but no shots of goats:  he took the pictures because the man of the house had made a lot of things that goats need and he wanted the pictures so he could use their ideas.  The fencing was done this morning, and now they will make the gate.  We think we'll have the goats here Thursday.

The guys were out working on the pen at 7:30 A.M. hoping to avoid the 100° heat.  Below, they are taking the fencing around the northeast corner.

They got to the last post around 9 o'clock A.M.  The fencing is done!  Now I assume they are making the gate in the shop.  I think I'll go check.

Rebecca, who blogs at Dairy Daze, took pictures of her flowers, so I decided to show you some of mine that are growing currently.  The near end of this flower bed doesn't get much sun, but I guess it's enough for flowers to bloom.  I like Marigolds and Zinnias because their seeds always wake up the next year as plants, and all I have to do is dig them up and put them where I want them.  At the far corner is a lovely Mum, just starting to bloom.

I finally have a sunflower blooming.

And of course, my Hibiscus, grown a few years ago from a seed my cousin Betty gave me.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Things are getting real!

Things I've seen in the comment section of my last couple of entries:

"Goats are a lot of work.  Good luck."  I'm not starting a goat farm, I'm getting two, count them, two goats.  Surely I can keep them in fresh water and a little hay, even in winter; they will be pretty close to the house.  Since I get to take them to their present owner to breed, I probably will do that at least once just for the fun of playing with baby animals, but nothing says I have to keep them forever.  In fact, at my age, anything could happen.  But whatever time I have, I'll do my best to enjoy it.

"It sounds like you have many people helping you make this a reality. I hope it's everything you hope for!"  If it isn't, I'll get rid of the goats and put chickens out there.  I have had goats before, so it isn't like I don't know what I'm getting into.

"You listed all the reasons why it's a headache to have goats. However, I'm not seeing why you would like to have them. LOL They sound like real characters with not a lot of common sense."  It's my husband who has had so many problems with goats, but if they have the right kind of fence that they can't get out of, there's no problem really.  Our problems with goats was always because we just put them in the pasture with the cows, and a lot of cattle fencing isn't made to hold goats.  If they have their own pen made for goats, they can't do any harm that I know of.  Knock on wood.

"It’s going to take a tall tall fence to turn goats. They like brush and that looks like a cow pasture."  The goats will have their own brand new pen with five feet high wire that they can't get their heads through.  They won't be running around in the big pasture.  It isn't huge, so I'll probably end up feeding them hay year around after they eat the grass down in their pen.  Thank goodness goats don't eat as much hay as cows do.  

Tomorrow after church we are going over to talk with the lady we're buying them from and see what we're getting.  When the new pen is finished, she will bring them to us.  

Here's the pen, ready for the wire to be added and one gate to be fashioned.  The wire starts being put on tomorrow.

The gate will be here, facing east.  Cliff put those big tires in there so they'd have something to climb on.

   This is the fence between us and the neighbors, and that means that side of the pen is already fenced.  Even chickens couldn't get out of this wire; the holes in it are 2 inches by 4 inches.  And that's what we bought for the rest of the pen.

 I intend to take some pictures tomorrow when we go to see the goats.


Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Things are coming along

The two men started by getting the holes dug for the fence posts

See the bright red goat house?  And also, our backyard.

another post hole being dug

There was a little discrepancy at this point, but they figured out what to do 

Next step?  The actual fencing, then making a gate.

Sunday, July 07, 2024

I'm back

Our son, his wife, and their five-year-old granddaughter spent Monday through Friday with us last week, so I left my blog alone while they were here.  Our son is always with us on the fourth of July, so we invite all the relatives who are in the vicinity, which makes it sort of a reunion.  The grandson smoked ribs and pork butt, and people bring whatever they want to add to the meal; it's a grand time.  But somehow this year's Fourth was about as good as we've ever had. 

I was a little "off" that day and didn't cook as much as usual; but I tend to cook too much anyhow, and then we're left with a bunch of the type of leftovers nobody needs, especially old folks like us.  This year there was plenty to eat, but not so many leftovers.

Mae, our great-granddaughter, is such a sweet-natured kid.  She is just happy all the time.  She does a lot of walking from Arick's house to the shop where the men hang out, and to our trailer house.  Each time she opened my front door and walked in, I'd say, "You again?"

These days I'm likely to call her grandma her mom, and our son, her dad, but she sweetly corrects me.  Her mom, our youngest grandchild, did fly in to spend two days with us.

There were a few kids present on the Fourth, and they were quite the happy group.  There's nothing like playing in water on a very warm day to make children happy, and I loved hearing their laughter in the background while we were all in the shop visiting.

Today I am officially 80 years old.  I struggle with people's names, but I still enjoy reading good books, making pickled beets, and working in the garden.  My hibiscus finally started blooming the day before my birthday!

It makes me happy that when I make cinnamon rolls, my oldest granddaughter Amber, and Mae, one of my great-granddaughters, love them so.  Mae didn't want to eat much of anything else the last two days!  It takes me back to my childhood when I stayed with Grandma Stevens and asked her to make cinnamon rolls; she was the reason I learned to make them for myself. 

Yes, there will be goats, once the pen is built; the goat house is in place.  It's hot, my husband is old, and Arick works.  So it isn't going to be built in a day, even though it won't be that big a pen.  They will do their best, I'm sure.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Goats? Really?

I've always liked goats, and in the last few years I would have had one or two.  But my husband hates goats, and it really isn't their fault; they are just curious and playful.  The first goat I had back in the sixties was a sweetie, but she had one fault that made Cliff roaring mad:  When he'd hop off the tractor to open a pasture gate, that goat would run through the gate before he could get back on the tractor, every time.  She had twenty acres of grass to eat, but as they say, the grass is always more tasty on the other side of the fence.  One time he got of the tractor, saw her running toward the open gate, picked up a large rock, and threw it at her.  That misplaced something in his shoulder and he had to go to a chiropractor before he could use that arm.  

Goats need special fencing, too.  The spacing in the kind of fencing farmers use for cattle are just the right size for a goat to get her head in to eat grass on the other side.  If it isn't a horned goat, that's fine; but a goat with horns pushed through the square in the fence and gets trapped, because her horns won't let her get out.  She will bah bah bah all day long, but the minute she is free, she'll go right back and get stuck again.

I could go on and tell you about the time a goat we had kept getting up on the seat of Cliff's Allis Chalmers tractor and thought she couldn't get down, or another one that we caught jumping on my brother-in-law's brand new car.  But by now, you surely get it.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw on Facebook Marketplace some goats for sale and Cliff grudgingly said OK.  I only wanted one goat and lady selling them insisted she would not sell one by itself because it would be "depressed".  I've had a single goat several times, and they didn't seem depressed to me, but I finally agreed to take two.  However, I had forgotten the grandson's two dogs; one of them would definitely kill a goat.  She is not a friendly dog.  I told Cliff I was sure she would crawl under the gate to the pen, and he said he could fix that.  But not wanting to spend any money, he started turning a small pasture near the grandson's house into an eyesore with old boards and gates and other junk; I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have deterred the dog anyhow.

My birthday is coming up: I'm pretty sure I have dementia because I'm losing a lot of words, and I'd like to have something I want before the final curtain rolls down.  Thanks to my grandson doing all the work building a goat house and being willing to help Cliff put up a new fence that will work (which I'm paying for), I think I'm going to be able to get my goats.  I found a different lady with registered goats and she's wanting to sell a few.  She won't sell just one either, and the registered ones are a little higher priced.  But she said she would haul them to us, and I could take the mama goat to her billy goat to be bred when the time comes.

The goat house the guys are making isn't fancy, but the only cost is their labor.  The goats won't care, and neither will I.  They may even be able to hop up on the roof.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

I'm a nature fanatic

I woke up at 2:30 A.M. hearing rain and wind beating on our trailer house, and rejoiced for my garden while wishing the wind would cease.  I tried to go back to sleep, but it's never easy these days, especially when I hear rain, because we get good rains so rarely.  As I always do when we've had rain overnight, I get excited knowing the garden plants will keep growing.  In fact, the reason I couldn't go back to sleep is that I wanted to know how much rain we had received.  I got out of bed at three, because the rain had slowed down a bit and the wind had settled, and I figured maybe I could go out to the rain gauge and check.

I made my coffee, sat down with my computer, and went to to see what today would be like: it actually looks as though we might get even more rain today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy; that's good news, because we've been having a heat wave.  Clouds will bring the temperatures down somewhat.

Around 4 A.M. the rain had settled down, so I put a coat on over my nightgown so the now-gentle rain wouldn't get me wet, grabbed the flashlight, and walked out to the rain gauge.  One and three-quarters inches, and still coming down!  On the way back, I pointed the flashlight toward the garden to see if there was wind damage, but everything looked all right.  If the corn and the sunflowers could stand up to the wind, then everything else should be OK.

I love nature:  Sunrises, full moons, pastures and wooded canyons.  One of my greatest blessings has been that my husband and I both like country living.  I could always have most any kind of animal I wanted, although Cliff and I didn't always agree on what animals we should have.  He liked having a place where he could fool around with tractors, and we didn't always agree on what tractors, or how many, he had.  

Living beyond the sidewalks as we have helped keep us broke all the time, but it's been worth it.  Out here, all my childhood dreams have come true.  

What a good life we've had.  I'm incredibly grateful.  Oh, and there's a steady rain still going.  Have I mentioned I love the sound of rain? 

Monday, June 24, 2024

A strange thing happened to me yesterday

 After attending both my churches yesterday, I came home and started making a couple of tenderloins for sandwiches.  Quick and easy, for sure:  roll in flour, wet them well in egg with a little milk added, and put them in cracker crumbs.  Then fry.  

But as I was standing at the skillet, I started feeling strangely weak.  I ignored it for a bit, then decided I'd better sit down at the kitchen table.  I wasn't sick, but I just didn't feel myself.  I also had a bit of a headache, and I never have headaches.  I made my sandwich and ate it, but then I decided to check my blood pressure.  I don't remember what it was at first, but later I wrote some of the results down every once in awhile; I had never had that kind of numbers!  The first I took was 128/90, with 91 pulse.  The next was 129/72, with 140 pulse.  After that, 141/92, 136 pulse.

Those were written down during a period of maybe an hour, just guessing.  Then I sat down on the couch with a book and was reading and dropped off to sleep.

Along about 5 P.M., I told Cliff I was pretty sure I was fine.  Sure enough, everything was normal.  This morning my blood pressure was actually better than it usually is.  Cliff thought maybe I took a wrong pill or something yesterday, but I'm sure I didn't; I only take atorvastatin, amlodipine, and two calcium tablets.  

Isn't it odd how something like this always happens on the weekend?  Had it been on a week day, I would have called my doctor's office to ask a nurse if this was serious enough to worry about.

All's well that ends well, and my stats are perfect today.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

We are getting plenty of food from the garden

 I have only grown cantaloupe once, back when my kids were in grade school.  It was a roaring success.  I gave away a lot of them, and even peeled and cut some of them up to put in the freezer.  I don't know where I found out I could do that, because there wasn't Internet back then.  Maybe I read about it in The Mother Earth News, which was a much more interesting magazine in the sixties and seventies than it is now.  Lots of the articles were written by hippies in communes.  Anyway, as long as we didn't let the cut-up muskmelons totally thaw after they left the freezer, they were delicious.  By the way, I never hear anybody call them muskmelons any more; as a child, that's all I ever heard them called.  

OK, I've just now learned there IS a difference.  All cantaloupes are muskmelons, but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes: 

"There are several different varieties of muskmelon, and cantaloupe is one of them. Muskmelons have sweet, juicy flesh that can be yellow, orange, white, or green. Cantaloupes have orange flesh and a rind with a rough, netlike pattern. Honeydew is another popular variety of muskmelon."

This morning I dug the Yukon Gold potatoes I planted early on, since the blight that potatoes get have left the leaves brown and dead and they wouldn't grow any bigger.  I only had a few planted, so I didn't have to work hard digging.  I came inside with a little over ten pounds of taters!  The heat is brutal outside by mid-morning, and I was thankful to get in with the A/C.  

I went on a web search to see what Google says about freezing cantaloupe these days, and learned there are more uses for freezing it than there used to be:

How To Freeze Cantaloupe Or Watermelon (For Smoothies And Drinks)

-Cut a cantaloupe or watermelon into 1 inch chunks.

-Place the cantaloupe pieces on a lined baking tray (use parchment, plastic wrap, or wax paper).

-Place the tray into the freezer to quick freeze the cantaloupe.

-After pieces freeze solid, pack them into freezer bags or containers.

-To remove air from bags, try using a straw or vacuum sealer.

-Frozen cantaloupe is a terrific addition to iced teas or mineral water and creates flavorful smoothies and sorbet. You can also blend it to create traditional or virgin daiquiris or margaritas.

I -For best quality, eat frozen cantaloupe and watermelon within 9 to 12 months

I thought I left enough space for those cantaloupe vines to grow, but they are trying to take over the tomatoes on one side and red onions on the other.  That's a cabbage on this side of the vines.

And look at that almost ripe tomato!  We'll be eating BLT's any day now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Getting ready for Fourth of July

Every year, our son travels here from Georgia for the 4th, usually staying for about a week.  Cliff and I have been doing some healthy eating lately, and it's been fairly successful.  Both of us have lost some pounds.  But when Jim comes to visit, it's tradition for me to see how much sugar and how many starches I can possibly use in five days.  Throw in plenty of bacon, sausage, and other kinds of pork, add 14 pounds of fatty beef, and its a wonder that somebody around here doesn't have a heart attack or a stroke every July!

I only hope Cliff and I can do a little portion control for the week of the 4th.  We have good intentions, but we'll see. I wanted to get our usual brisket, and at first I thought of Walmart.  But then Cliff reminded me that Costco had some the last time we were there.

My Costco membership is free because a friend from my very last job works there; she and her husband have a Costco membership that gives them a couple of cards for family or friends, and she gave me one of those.  It's 25 miles from our house to Costco, so we don't go often.  I messaged my friend and asked her how much their brisket was. she immediately messaged back.  It's the same price as Walmart.  I have been around long enough to know that if Costco and Walmart have something at the same price, you'd be a fool not to head to Costco.

But before we went I did some Googling and found this video;  no need to watch all of it, just take it from me that Costco won.


Now, I'm not going to be smoking my brisket:  I'll cook it in the oven, cooling it down, cutting it in slices.  Then I'll pour some tasty juices and barbecue sauce over it, and put it in the freezer.  One day of the week our son is here, I'll thaw it and we'll have brisket sandwiches the next day.  Another day we'll have tenderloin sandwiches.  There won't be a lot of work or standing up for hours with my bad knees, that way.  I am always expected to make Rice-and-Raisins (similar to rice pudding, but no eggs are involved), and I make cinnamon rolls at least once while our son, his wife, and their youngest grandchild are here.  I'm going to do as much as I can ahead of time.

We will definitely have potatoes, onions, and green beans from the garden.  If blight doesn't totally take over, there will be tomatoes.  Cliff and I are eating pickled beets every day with dinner, but most of our company won't go near beets.  We bought bacon at Costco today, four pounds for $16.99.  As we were heading for checkout, we got one of their huge $5 cooked chickens to go with our green beans and potatoes when we got home.  It was still nicely warm after our thirty minute ride home.

Now, on another front:  just in case any of my readers know someone who has dandruff, I googled up the perfect cure a while back.  Cliff said Head and Shoulders wasn't working for him any more, so I found a product that claimed to be the best thing for dandruff:  It's called Nizoral,  and Cliff has NO dandruff now.  It is pretty costly for a shampoo at $28 for 14 ounces, but Cliff said he doesn't have to use very much, and it does work wonders.  Some things are worth paying a higher price for!     

And now, it's almost time for the two of us to go get haircuts.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Nice weekend

Saturday was a different kind of weekend day for us:  The pastor who has been with the Methodist Church four years now will be preaching at the church for the last time next week, and a new pastor is coming the next Sunday.  So we all met at Catfish Charley's, Wellington's only restaurant, to eat, courtesy of the Wellington Methodist church; even my husband was invited, and he has only attended once at my request, when the preacher had a couple to come in and sing.  The church doesn't have a lot of attendees, but the people, mostly senior citizens, are the best; we hate to see this couple go.  Attendance can vary from six to twenty at the church, but we all knew he and his wife cared about our tiny group.  When the service was done, he and his wife drove to the Methodist Church in Odessa, to preach to a bigger congregation. I had seen on Facebook that there were some special things going on at Arrow Rock, Missouri that day, but hadn't mentioned it to Cliff until we were sitting at the table with my friends at Charley's.  He didn't protest, so away we went; it's only a little over an hour away.

Arrow Rock Tavern

inside a small cabin that was once
a courthouse

The museum.  I took this shot as we were walking toward it.

I took several more pictures, but if you're really interested, I found a Youtube video that will tell more about this historical town than I can.

Friday, June 14, 2024

I have never enjoyed big weddings

 I had attended a few weddings of varioius relatives, but I never could understand what all the falderah was about.  It seemed like a waste of money to me.

So when Cliff and I decided to get married, it was just us, plus Cliff's brother's wife and his mother for witnesses.  And of course, we needed somebody to marry us, so we chose the pastor of the church his brother attended.  It was June 14, 1966.  

At that time, girls had to be 18 and men had to be 21 in Missouri to marry, unless their parents signed for them.  I had heard Cliff's mother saying more than once that she had signed for two of her children to marry and would not sign for any more kids, because neither of those lasted more than a month or two.  I was 21, but Cliff was 20.  Three days before he was to turn 21, we went and got our license.

We were visiting his parents and told them we had the license.  His mom said, "What are you waiting for then?"

I said, "Well, I heard you say you weren't going to sign for any more of your kids to be married, so we're waiting for his birthday."

She replied, "Oh well, I'll sign for you-uns."

And that's why Cliff has three things to celebrate in a very short time in June:  An anniversary, then a birthday, and somewhere in there is Father's Day.

We had known one another approximately six months when we married.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Addiction is sad


I spent an hour weeding the garden and a flower bed during the cool morning hours.  The flower bed was difficult, thanks to my cat's addiction to catnip.  I keep that bottomless ice cream bucket around the plant because otherwise he lays on the whole plant and rolls on it.  He almost had it killed before I put the bucket there.  There were a few grassy weeds growing in it, so I took the bucket off to better reach the weeds and not injure the plant itself.  That crazy animal hopped on it so I couldn't even get the weeds.  I splashed some water on him and he stayed back long enough for me to finish and put the bucket back on it.

On another note, I know a lot of my Facebook friends like me to put the link of my blogger posts on Facebook so they won't forget to check it. Well, apparently that's over because they removed this one. Here's what I got:

"It looks like you tried to get likes, follows, shares or video views in a misleading way."

"Your post goes against community Standards
Repeatedly breaking our rules can cause more account restrictions."

Now this doesn't bother me at all. I never was trying to see how many people would read my blog, but some of my friends requested that I share on Facebook so they wouldn't forget. I wanted to let you know why I'm not doing that any more. My blog will still go on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

some days aren't fun, and some days are crazy

Cliff has been having vertigo off and on ever since he got his second cochlear  implant, the one on his left ear.  Doctors had him go to therapy for it.  My daughter sometimes has vertigo, so I knew more or less what they would do.  I will tell you that we can't help but wonder if it's something about the implant in his left ear; a week after he got it, he got the worst kind of dizziness:  He couldn't walk on his own, and was dry heaving, so he let our grandson take him to the Emergency Room in Independence.  However, he did have this happen once a few years ago, so who knows.  But it was only once.

The first day he went to therapy, our granddaughter Monica drove us there (I don't drive and never have).  He came out of that session feeling a bit better.  He went to a second session a few days later, but he decided he couldn't afford paying our part of the price.  Our part was $30.  Now, this is a man that will spend 500 dollars on a rusty old tractor that he doesn't need, but he "can't afford" thirty bucks twice a week.  I handle our checking account; he doesn't even know how much money we have.  We didn't ever have a lot of money during our marriage, but with our Social Security, we are doing better than we ever did before we retired.

So he told those folks he couldn't afford them,  He was given a sheet showing him how to do the exercises at home, and he did them every day, once a day.  The dizziness came back.  He kept getting worse as time went along, and one spell lasted three days.  He really didn't think the therapy was going to help, but because I kept reminding him even when he was dizzy, he attempted the movements he was able to doHe looked at the papers with the exercises he was supposed to do, and noticed  he should have been doing it it five times a day, instead of once.   I called the office of the doctor who did the implant and his people said "go back to therapy".

I am the one who sees all our bills are paid, and I told Cliff we have plenty of money for him to do what the doctor said.  I told him that before, but you know how that goes.  His sister drove him to his session.  He told the therapist he had been trying to do his exercises, and was told by the therapist that was the worst thing he could have done, so that's on me.  

The therapist told him not to bend over the rest of the day, gave him some other advice and explained what was happening to him, and made him another appointment for next week; but he is not to do the exercises until he goes back.

Actually, he's doing well now.  But for three days, I was thinking he would have vertigo the rest of his life.  He's a big man... would I be able to help him to the bathroom all my life?  And you can't burn calories laying on the couch.

So we are both losing weight.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Sweet rain!

When I woke up at 3 A.M. this morning hearing the pitter-patter of rain, I was so very relieved to have our latest drought end, and knew I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep.  I was that excited!  

At times like these, I am always taken back to Eagleville, Missouri, when our Church of Christ was having a Gospel meeting.  They called it a tent meeting, but I remember being disappointed that it wasn't a real tent; it didn't have a roof, just three walls of canvas.  I was ten years old.  We were in the spell of a severe drought, and since we relied a lot on food from our garden, my mom desperately wanted rain.

Together, my parents had what was really a 24-hour job: They were the ones who helped folks in our area talk to one another on the telephone, the switchboard operators.  Anyone who had a long distance call had to talk to my mom (or sometimes my dad) and she would get them to whomever they needed.  People were considerate, and my parents seldom had to get up in the middle of the night unless it was an emergency... or some drunk guy calling his girlfriend, but that was rare.  Anyhow, my mom would pay some high school girl to sit at the switchboard when we went to church.  But I digress.

At the Gospel meeting we had sung a couple of hymns and had a prayer, hearing distant thunder.  The preacher started preaching, but he didn't get far.  It wasn't long until we all ran for cover, heading home.

We got in the car to drive the four blocks or so to our house.  Mother paid the girl who had been babysitting the switchboard, then she sat down and took over.  I stepped out on the front porch to watch the rain coming down, and I remember hearing my mother sitting at the switchboard, singing this song at the top of her voice:

Ever since then, when we get a much-needed rain, I am reminded of my mother's joy at the sound of rain.  It's one of my favorite memories.

By the way, I went out with the flashlight at 4 A.M. today.  There was over an inch and a half of rain in the gauge.

I've told this story here before, but it makes me happy in the telling of it.  

Just a little piece of my childhood.

Friday, June 07, 2024

We are eating well

I'll list the things we have taken from the 2024 garden so far:  Lettuce, strawberries by the gallon, radishes (I don't care for radishes much, but Cliff loves them), peas, and as of today... green beans.  I have several small rows of green beans sowed at different times so I'll have some all summer.  I'm not much of a mind to do canning any more.

Some things we are looking forward to eating:  corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, cantaloupe, and cucumbers.

Asparagus was planted for the first time this spring, and the plants look like little Christmas trees blowing in the breeze.  Next year we should be able eat some.

I planted parsnips early on, but the seeds failed to do anything.  They need a pretty long season, so I decided to try again next year.  That was my only total failure.

With the first corn seeds I plant, I use the hill method:  The corn will grow in a tight clump all summer. When the corn starts to tassle, the 6 plants will be close enough to each other that all the ears will be properly pollinated! This is a never-fail method for growing a small amount of corn.  If you have a small garden, you can still probably find a place to plant corn by this method.  Here are the two hills of corn I've planted.

Here's the second, planted 10 days or so ago:

The third crop is in two actual rows, and just came up two days ago:

Look at the crack on the right and you might see the green of another corn, barely coming up

Just for fun, I have flowers around the inside of the fence surrounding my garden.  The irises bloom first.  Next, the daylilies.  And finally, The gladiolus
.  That gives me flowers to enjoy almost all spring.  I planted five sunflower seeds near the fence this year, just to keep things interesting.

I love having my garden right outside the back door of our trailer house.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Lucky me

Every once in a while the Kansas City Star will offer a one-month subscription for a very low rate.  Then after the month is over, of course, they raise the price.  I usually tell Alexa to remind me when the month is over.

This time, when I went to their site to stop my subscription, I get an offer:  $200 for a year.  I declined.  Oh, I should tell you it's the digital version of the Star they are offering.  I wouldn't want the actual paper anyway, because from what I've heard, out here in the boonies folks don't get their paper half the time.  But somehow, for some reason, I was asked if I'd take the digital Star for $1.99 monthly.  

That's like free!  I know I will have it at that price for at least a year.  I'm going to have to learn how to find everything on it, but I've already seen there are several puzzles to put together and a lot of other games to do online.  I can work the daily crossword right on my computer.

I've still been watering the garden, and I've planted more green beans, corn, carrots and beets.  I pulled the pea plants up this week, and we ate the last of the peas today.  I want to make my Russian friend Meesha's recipe for borscht, but I'm going to have to look at the recipe to make sure I have what I need.  I'm not even sure I have enough sour cream.  I guess I'll go look and see what I have.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Been busy

We are back into a drought again; same old story.  So I am once again moving soaker hoses from one row to another, pulling up weeds or hoeing them down.  I make Alexa the timer for how long my soaker-hose does its job, so I don’t forget.

I pay for my time in the garden with pain, but thank God for Tylenol.  Here’s the thing:  I don’t have to have a garden.  But I have all the time in the world to do what I love to do, even if it hurts.  It makes me happy, seeing so many tomatoes on the vines.  I have found some signs of blight on the lower limbs of some plants, but I’m sure I’ll get some tomatoes off those plants before the blight goes too far.  I planted far too many tomatoes, but they are the prime reason I garden at all.  I come inside and start telling Cliff all my trials and achievements outside.  He told me once he can see how happy I am when I come in the house after gardening.  

For many years my Jersey cows kept me happy in the same way a garden does now.  I loved everything about milking cows, and they were real pets.  When they were lying down chewing their cud, I’d sometimes sit down on the ground and lean back on their belly with my eyes shut, until the flies that bothered them in summer decided to bother me too.  

Sunday evening a lady on Facebook said she was selling her goats because her daughter wanted to show goats, and she had to sell the ones she has to buy registered ones.  She mentioned some of them were milkers, so I messaged her.  I’ve had goats before, and I milked one of them long ago.  I told her I’d like a pregnant goat.  She showed me pictures of some of them.  The price seemed right.

However, she wanted me to by a wether (a neutered male) also, because the pregnant goat would “get depressed” without another goat; goats are herd animals, like cows.

I was halfway interested anyway, although I really didn’t want to pay $75 for a male goat I didn’t want.  But I told her I had to talk to my husband, and I’d see what he had to say.  He was sitting right beside me watching TV.  He has never really been a fan of goats, but he has told me at different times that if I wanted one, he’d put up with it.  I showed him the picture of the goat I would like to buy.  

When all was said and done, I decided to pass.  I’m smart enough to know at this time of my life, not everything I want is what I really need.

But I’m still laughing, thinking about someone worrying that a lone goat would be depressed.  Yes, goats and cows are herd animals;  but I’ve bought cows from a herd and brought them to a home when we had no other farm animal around.  They will spend maybe three days mooing and walking the fence; then they are just fine.  Goats are the same.  They miss their friends, then get over it. 

Saturday, June 01, 2024


 I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but that  that’s supposed to keep scammers out of your comment section keeps me out too:  I was told to check all the cars; then they made me check all the motorcycles.  Then I had to check all the traffic lights.  Next, it was bicycles, and finally, busses.  I finally gave up.  Usually they put me through two or three before I’m allowed to comment, but it just wouldn’t let me.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

And so it goes: Good dog, and pruning tomatoes

As I said in yesterday’s blog, I did not take anything to the garden to put strawberries in, because I told Cliff to tie me into a chair if I mentioned strawberries.  The berries are few, and mostly small.  And we’ve had plenty of them.  However, as I was hoeing weeds around my sweet potato vines this morning, I happened to look toward the berries, and there was a bright red strawberry calling me.  I immediately took off the stem and stuck it into my mouth, dirt and all.  I’m sure I ended up eating over a cupful, but this time there was no sugar on them, so it was a healthy treat.  Windows were open and I could hear Cliff talking in the house.  I knew it would be with his sister, Charlene, because most Thursdays she calls and talks to him all the way to work.  I found a handful of delicious berries and took them to him.  I was nice enough to give his berries a bath, before putting them in front of him, though.  

Cliff reminded me I haven’t planted any okra yet, so I may get that done today.  I really want to plant a couple short rows of corn soon.  The two hills of corn will suffice for maybe six to eight meals, but I like having some in the freezer.

I’ve talked about how the garden hasn’t really done so well in a lot of places.  A week ago most of the cantaloupe plants looked rather puny, and I wasn’t expecting anything would come of them.  Three days ago I glanced over there and they are vining out in fine style, so maybe I’m in luck.

Gabe is seven years old I think… maybe eight in August.  I don’t want to get up and look at his papers, but it’s somewhere in there.  And he is finally turned into a “good boy”.  I can go the garden now, and if he disappears, he will come running when he hears me.  He seems to try to stay closer to me than he used to.  Also, he seems to have gotten over his gland problem that made him smell bad so often.  Knock on wood!  I haven’t had to give him a bath in almost a month.

I have never pruned indeterminate tomatoes back when I had those varieties, but I thought it would be fun to get two indeterminate plants, Big Boy and Better Boy, and try pruning them.  There’s no wire around them; we tie the plants to a metal post as they grow.  Actually, Cliff does the tying because I make a mess of it.  Here’s the Big Boy; it will be tied again today, a foot higher.  I am managing the pruning part of it.  My husband’s only part in it is the tying.

The Better Boy is right beside it, partly in the picture.  I haven’t tried to raise Big Boy tomatoes for at least thirty years because it started having blight so early that the plant was dead before I could eat a tomato from it.  In the sixties through the seventies  I had never heard of or seen blight on tomatoes.  Then came 1980, and I’ve had it ever since.  So far, so good, this year.

I’m anxious to see how this works out.  


Wednesday, May 29, 2024


I picked my first strawberries this year on May 9. Since then, not a day has gone by without picking strawberries. I had occasion to share a lot of the strawberries I picked with friends and relatives, but I think I'm done. Most of the strawberries are tiny, although this morning I picked at least two quarts. I told Cliff that if I say I'm going to pick more tomorrow, he is to tie me up to a chair and not let me out of the house. I think this is the longest strawberry season I've ever had. As of today, we've had strawberries on our cereal every morning for over three weeks.

 Cora, the girl we used to babysit for her first five years, will visit us one day every other week while school is out. She was here yesterday and wanted to pick berries, so we went out and did that, then took them to her grandma in town, because we didn't need them. She also helped me shell peas.

We’ve seen several good movies on Netflix lately:  The Judge, with Robert Duvall and Robert Downy.  Worth (What is life worth) is a mostly true story starring Michael Keaton.  It’s about the problems people had with the victims’ compensation fund after 9/11.  And last evening we watched the first  episode of “The Bomb and the Cold War”.  It was scary and sad.  We’ll probably watch the next episode tonight.

Cliff and I have been watching Bill Maher on Max, too.  He’s a comic who has a foul mouth, but he is my favorite person to listen to when it comes to political things.  It’s easy for me to put up with someone who talks about the failings of both parties.  But here’s a thing that surprised me the other day.  I was playing around on Facebook and looked to find him (he is there, of course), and found two old Facebook memories, things I had said about Maher in 2012.  I barely recall knowing who he was back then.  Anyhow, at that time I was griping about him being a know-it-all, a smug person… wish I had saved what I found in that memory, because I can’t find it again.  But I do understand why I’ve changed my mind about him: Neither the Republicans OR the Democrats are what they used to be, and it seems the biggest changes have come since 2012.  He's talked about how everyone is so easily offended these days, and it's true: I can't say anything without wondering if someone is going to correct me for it.  Can't you just have your opinion, and let me have mine?     
I have Bill Maher's new book on hold at the library. He has the same trouble understanding the same things that the rest of us dummies have difficulty with in this upside-down world, so I will listen to him... a comedian.  That's what it has come to at our house.  The world is now a circus.

That's why I spend so much time outside and in the garden. where everything makes sense, good or bad.