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Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Beginning of the End

When I signed up for this gig, (i.e. got married) I knew that Dairy Daze wouldn't last forever; and it probably won't end any time soon, but this summer seems to have hastened the beginning of the end.

We had an awful drought back in 2012.  We started feeding hay in mid-July.  But in the 5 years since then, 2013-17, we had some really wet summers.  So much so that we had a bit of a stockpile of hay going on.  So this past year Gary decided to use up as much of our old hay as possible.  This leaves us this year with minimal hay on hand.

This summer has also been a drought.  We made it through July on what grass was in the field, and on a couple rainfalls of 2-3 hundredths of an inch of rain.  But Aug 9th Gary started toting hay to the dry cows.


A few days before he'd sold all of our open heifers in Windyville; about 16 of them. We can't afford to have dead weight around here; so to speak.

Then on the 7th, our hay guy from out western MO came and bought our little heifers:


And off they went.  I was sad.  I still am; though it does mean I will have a much easier job this winter.  Not as much feed to haul up the road, and fewer ponds to chop hole in the ice. 

That will be nice.

But we did keep our three little ones; one weaner and 2 still yet on the bottle.

And we kept Anne-Shirley, of course, and Wart Head:





I will leave it to your perspicacity to figure out which is which. 

Wart Head should have gone with the first batch, but as per her moniker she has a bad case of warts and we figured no one would buy her.  So she was forced to remain here. 

Anne-Shirley needs must stay here, she has become a big pet, and Ellen would have a breakdown if we were to sell her.  I am not sure what will become of her when we actually DO go out of the business.  It would probably behoove us to train her to be quite tame and all so she could become a family cow eventually.  But I dunno.  She has all the traits of becoming a pain in the hiney on down the road; pushy like.

At any rate.  Gary is not sure that we will go ahead and build our heifer supply back up; you know, not replace any of the milking cows as they retire.  It is all in God's hands, how HE will lead us.  I refuse to worry about it.

(Thankful:  Less work this winter.  A calf that likes to be petted and scratched.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Gone Fishing

Ellen has taken a notion to love fishing.  She wanted to go again, so yesterday Gary got the whim, loaded us up and off we went to a friend's very large pond.

Here are the photos from that trip.




In one of those pictures is the reason we didn't take any of the fish home to eat.  I leave it to your perspicacity to figure it out.  haha

(Blessing; I am thankful for Ellen learning to enjoy an outdoor activity.  Thankful for friends w/ stocked ponds.)

Burn. Down. The. House.

Today started off as a productive day; a little yard work, a little repair work up at my mom's place...you know.  Then a bit of random house work planned. 

Well, in the middle of the house work, as I was piddling around in the kitchen, Ellen wants to take Bella for a bit of a walk and then bring her in the house. I figure; sure, we hadn't played with her yet today.  Why not?

So in Bella came:





Every dog needs a set of bee antenna; right?

So Ellen played a bit with her, I made some laundry soap....etc.

Then.

I noticed something:


I looked closer.  On the floor, which I hadn't swept or mopped yet due to the coming and going, red smears.  Red smears of blood.








Gross.



I inspected the dog's paws.  They were fine.

Then I looked closer AGAIN at the floor.

Huh?  There were little black seeds all over the floor.  Hundreds of little black seeds all over the floor.

I got the broom and started sweeping them up.  But kept seeing more and more blood smears.

Uh-oh.

I looked EVEN closer.

The black seeds were MOVING!

CRAWLING.  ON.  THE.  FLOOR!!!

Seed ticks.

Bella was shedding SEED TICKS! 



Day before yesterday we'd taken her to the garden where she'd plundered in the weeds along the fence to her furry heart's delight. 

Now, this morning she was shedding engorged seed ticks and with every step we took we were popping them and smearing dog blood all over my kitchen and living room floor!


BURN! DOWN! THE! HOUSE!

To make a long story short:

Bella is back in her kennel; treated.

It still reeks of bleach in the house.

The End.

(What?  You think I should have a blessing to be thankful for here?  Hmmm....  I am thankful that Bella didn't get into the rooms with carpeting.  I am thankful for bleach.  I am thankful for friends to laugh with me.  There.  Done!)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Year 50

OR: 50 Reflections on Five Decades of Life

1:  Even after 50 years of life, I still intensely dislike gelatin; Jell-o or any brand.  If it's disguised, like in a poke cake, or one of those fluff salads, it's OK, but alone it's nasty.  My mom, when she still had her memory, said that even when I was a tiny kid she couldn't get me to eat it.  Said she would let the kids drink it sometimes, before it would gel.  But I wouldn't have anything to do with that mess either. 

2. I am a so-so gardener.  I love to garden, but now there are a couple of things that have taken the wind out of my gardening sails, as it were. For one thing, my time is so fractured between different pursuits, it's hard to devote the time I'd like to.  Second, every thing I do seems to turn into some sort of disaster, it's hard to stay positive about it.  But, at this moment in April, I have about 20 teensy pepper plants sprouting.  And there are sweet taters coming on in the kitchen window.  Hope springs eternal.
(Here is a pic of the west garden; in the 10 ft tall deer fence, taken late June)



3. I was not meant to have nice things.  Well, let me qualify that; due to my negligence, I cannot keep nice things.  For example: I remember when I was a kid at home we could never keep glasses...as in water glasses.  My mom would get sets of glasses for her birthday or Christmas or whenever.  They would last a year, maybe...if we were lucky.  They would break one at a time over the course the following months to a year.  It would appear that I am under the same...blessing...of getting new things every few years.

I headed off the broken drinking glasses curse from the get go; for every-day we use plastic "glasses."  I have a set of glass drinking glasses that I pull out for special events; like company.  But I thought I would be able to have nice plates at least.

No. No; no I cannot have nice plates last very long.  Last Friday...this being Friday April 27, 2018.... I managed to break 2 saucers and 2 of my nice Corelle dinner plates.  I'd broken one of the 4 saucers a few years ago.  Then a couple of days ago Ellen broke another of the larger dinner plates.

That is just the tip of the iceberg to this issue.  It is OK.  I am used to it by age 50.  LOL

4.  I like cats better than dogs.  Cats are more independent.  They are self-cleaning, and they smell better.  Here is Matilda.  In winter she is a pampered indoor puddy-cat.  In summer she is a wild hunting tiger wanna-be. 



5.  But I do like having a dog along on my walks in the woods.  It is fun to watch Bella enjoy herself out in the wilds...until she rolls in a particularly gross deer pile.  She prefers deer dooky over cow dooky; dunno why.  Here she is about to wade into the creek.  She used to avoid water, but now she will tolerate it.


6.  The woods, the creek, the spring, the trees and dead leaves.  The wind in the leaves overhead, the smell of wet moss, dry leaves...  All is like a siren song to me, calling me outside to the wild.  As I age I still hear this call; clear as ever, wild as ever.  I expect I always shall, though I hit my 90s and am no longer able to walk.  I pray there will be someone who will load me up and tote me out into the woods one last time to see the sun shine though the trees and hear the wind in the leaves.



7. I am a failure as a parent.  Just a few weeks ago, in April, I discovered that my daughter had no clue how to use a manual can opener.  Since that is the only type of can opener I have, it would appear I have been derelict in my duty in teaching her basic kitchen skills. 

This will change this summer.  We will see if things have progressed by the time I post this in July.  (Yes, it has....as of my birthday July 23, Ellen now uses the can opener and even heats up food on the stove....things are looking up.  Haha)

8.  I am a success as a parent.  My daughter is polite, is well-spoken of by all of her teachers, both in church and in school.  She has a fun sense of humor, is compassionate and is sensitive.  She excels in school and makes friends easily.

9. Dilatory is my middle name.  It always has been.  If I can put something off until later, I will push it off until the last minute.  It bugs me to think that Ellen has inherited this gene. 


10. But funny thing is that I am meticulous about being on time to an event, or to church or the like.  I can't stand to be late.  As far back as I can remember since I have been an adult and responsible for myself I have always made it a point to be unfashionably early; to work, to church, to parties...

11. At age 50, I am still phone phobic.  When I need to make a phone call I will put it off as long as possible, however long that may be.  Then when it is time I will get shaky, feel squiggly in my stomach and take short breaths.  Strange but true.

Gary on the other hand has no trouble calling random strangers out-right, especially when he is on a search for information.  And he makes friends and will yak with those random strangers about anything and everything.  But not me.  My tang gets tonguelled as it were and I end up feeling like an idiot.  Even when it's a friend or neighbor.  I avoid telephones as much as possible.

12.  My memory is wearing thin.  I had a duplicate item written here.  Sometimes I make notes and then forget to read them.  Or I will make a grocery list and, even when I DO remember to bring it with me grocery shopping, I will forget to double check the list.

13. I have never learned to swim.

14. It has been 32 years since I graduated from high school.  I have yet to regret not going to my senior prom.  Or any dance in high school, for that matter.  I did not go to one of them.  I think my sister drug me to a basketball game once.  And I went to a music concert put on by some local rock group they had perform at the school, but beyond that I did not partake in after-school activities.  It just wasn't my thing.  Maybe I should have been more outgoing back in high school, I probably would have made more lasting friends that way, made more memories; but overall, I still do not regret not doing so.

15.  Two years ago I started collecting irises.  I like them.  They have become my favorite flower.  A lady at church always has a lovely flower garden and has tons of irises.  She thinned hers and gave me a collection of them.  I planted them here and there and they all bloomed this year.  Lovely.  This one is my favorite. 

I remember back home at 4550 Woods Lane there was a clump of what Mom called "wild irises" that always came up every year.  I never remember her doing anything with them as far as thinning or trimming the leaves or anything.  They were just there.  I wonder if they are there now.  I doubt it.

16. I love my black elephant ear plants.  They grow up so big and are a real conversation starter when people stop by.

17.  I am not a decorator.  I can't make my house look good to save my life.

18.  I thought I'd outgrow it; but I am still a clutter person.  I try for a while to keep things uncluttered; and for a while it works.  But not for the long haul.

19.  Menopause isn't so bad.  A few hot flashes, even after a year or so, but here in Missouri there are only a few months where we DO NOT have hot weather, so it's hard to tell if I am having a hot flash or just am plain hot.

At any rate, I am saving on razors, my hair seems to be falling out all over.  But I know that's a bit TMI.

20.  When I get to heaven I hope they have cold ripe watermelon straight from the boot-heel of Missouri (without the e coli, or whatever nastiness is making folks sick this season).  I can't imagine any thing better than that.  Though I will concede that God is Lord of good surprises.

21.  It is strange how that as I age people start to resemble.  I mean that I will see people and they will look like someone I used to know in one of my past living places; CA or OR.  It reminds me of Miss Marple.

22.  If you are at all into mysteries and have never read a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot book; you ought to at least try one.  Really, I like Dame Agatha Christie's dry humor and her style of mysteries.

23.  In my humble opinion, there is no better character actor than David Suchet.  I can't think of an actor or actress who actually "BECAME" the part of a fictional character better than he did with the above Poirot in the PBS series.  Of course I have never seen him in any other role, so maybe it's just me. 



24.  Last year I started selling Paparazzi jewelry.  I didn't start in MLM to make piles of money; though it would be great to take one of their vacations they go on every January.  (I'd just take Ellen out of school and drag her along.  LOL)

25.  The reason I started selling Paparazzi was to get out to events and meet people.  It has worked.  I enjoy talking to people, hearing their stories, watching them find an item of jewelry they like.



26.  Funnily enough, I don't really care to wear much jewelry myself.  I like it, I like to collect pieces for myself, but I just don't wear it much.  I really need to start wearing it more in public.

27.  I didn't used to care for long necklaces; now I prefer them.   A long necklace is supposed to make you look 10 pounds slimmer.  haha



28.  One of my favorite book series now is by Ann B. Ross; her "Miss Julia..." series.  I think by now she has about 19 books in the series.  If you haven't read them you are in for a hoot.  They are about a Southern lady of a "certain age."  Try the first one, it's called: "Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind."

29.  I feel guilty for giving up my Sunday School class this month of June.  My wonderful neighbor lady has come along to teach it; she is great with the kids.  She and her husband recently began attending and then joined the church.  I am so glad they did.  But I still feel like I failed God or something.  I hope I can find another way to serve in the church; but I feel like I ought to do more for my mom.  And I figure I probably will end up doing more for her soon.

30.  Caring for a person with dementia or Alzheimer's disease is a great challenge.  It is odd how little my mom is like the person she used to be; but at the same time there is still quite a bit of her personality that shines out when I least expect it.



31. Most people would likely say I am a patient person.  They would be wrong.  I am a very impatient person.  I believe I have just learned to control it.

32. I love turtles.  Here is a picture of The Turkle when I first found him/her/it/whoknows.  Except he's much, much bigger now!  He almost covers my whole palm. 



33.  The older  I get seems like the more complicated life gets.  I'd always thought it would be the opposite.  When I was in my teens I thought life would smooth itself out and be predictable.  But seems like there are more bumps and curve balls and rough patches of weather...as it were, than ever.

34.  But through it all my faith in Christ sustains me.  I think as I get older my faith gets deeper and the God I serve becomes more real to me.  This is what gets me through the tough times.  Faith is what carries me through.

35.  At the ripe age of 50 I have developed a random interest in Michael Jackson; his life and times.  I only like a handful of the songs he did after he became a solo star, but since he was so popular back when I was in my teenage years they have stuck with me.  Back then I didn't really care much about any music star, with the exception of the occasional country/western star so I didn't ever really get attached to Michael Jackson.  His whole story is rather sad though, I believe.  I don't believe he was a bad guy; severely disturbed and way over-medicated, but not bad.  Fame always seems to take its toll.


36. A few years ago I also became fascinated with the Holocaust.  I don't know why.  Gary is of the opinion that life is sad enough without re-visiting the grief and woe of the past.  But it still interests me.  I found a book called "Hitler's Willing Executioners, Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" by Daniel Goldhagen and read it at least 3 times.  There is much that can and is debated about his views, but it still presented the whole horror to me in a different light.

37.  The only brownies I can make that are fit to eat are Ellen's almond flour brownies.  They are really good.  Any other brownies that I try just flop.  Dunno why.

38.  I really wish I'd been able to have 3-4 children.  Ellen is glad she is a singleton; but I think it would have been good for her to have a few younger siblings to deal with.

39.  Never  have I ever enjoyed hot weather; I still don't.  I never will.

40.  I miss doing art.  I have done two painting classes in the past year or so, and that was fun. But I would really like to do more drawings here at home by myself.  This occurs to me occasionally every year or two, but getting the proper supplies and the time to use them is what hinders my progress.  Maybe during this momentous year I will strive towards that goal.  Here is a painting I did recently at a painting party.

41.  I also miss poetry; though not to the same extent as art, since I do pick up a book of poems now and again.  Poetry is in my blood from my Grandmother Davis.  I have a couple copies of the book of her poems that she self-published; "The Jewel."  I really ought to write them all down in this blog, or make up a blog of her poetry, to have a permanent record.

42. Teaching the teenagers at church is something I really enjoy.  A gift from God is my only explanation for that one.  But at the moment my well of ability to do this has run dry.  Trying to run two households, more or less, and one of them being my dementia-afflicted mom's life, is just draining me dry.  Teenagers try my soul, but for some reason I can relate to them.  I pray that as time goes on I will be able to take over a class again; either Sunday or Wednesday evening.  The Lord will guide me, as He always does.

43.  Sometimes I have trouble motivating myself to get anything done.  This is one of those times; I just do not want to face what I really need to do, it's just too overwhelming.

44.  There have been things I have had to UNLEARN over the years.  Things my mom or dad taught me.  Or things I just had to learn over again, after a life of thinking one way, suddenly I see the other side and understand things differently.  One of these is that tomatoes should not be refrigerated.  I learned this in my 30s.  My mom ALWAYS refrigerated her tomatoes.  ALWAYS.  Therefore I used to do the same thing.  Then I learned that refrigerating tomatoes destroys their taste.  Thanks Mom, for the years of mealy tomatoes. haha

45.  Do not stir the salad with the knife you used to chop food with.  My mom always did that trick too.  I learned it was a culinary faux pas in cooking class in high school.

46.  Here's another mom thing I had to learn/unlearn; never ask Mom how to pronounce random words.  I learned THAT one in college during a speech class, her pronunciation of the word "papyrus" earned me a censure from the prof.  I also learned to resort to a dictionary if I had any doubt about spelling or pronunciation.

47.  Blood sacrifice is an Old Testament teaching, "an eye for an eye" is Old Testament teaching.  Tithing is Old Testament teaching as well.

48.  Back to normal random facts.  I think I have a normal sense of humor.  But I have never in the past, nor do I now have a tolerance for practical jokes.  I do not like them played on me, I do not like playing them on others and I have no patience for watching them on TV or on-line.  I don't see the point or the humor in them.

49.  Even if I am only a so-so gardener I do love canning, freezing, pickling and putting up produce.  It is very satisfying to hear the click of sealing jars!

50.  I am happy.  I am blessed.  Life is good.  I look forward to the beginning of the next 50 years.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Family Picnic

For the past year or two Ellen has wanted to go fishing.  I dunno why, she just has.  The main reason we haven't is mostly because of scheduling.  Everyone rather wanted it to be a family affair; to get us all together, including the grandmas, and make a picnic out of it.

This opportunity came when I gave up my Sunday School class this past May.

So we made big plans for last Sunday; which coincidentally happened to be Father's Day.

We packed a lunch, picked up Aunt Kathy and Grandma Davis (my mother) and off we went to Bennett Spring.

First thing we did was unpack the Grandmas:



The Rollator Brigade.

Then we ambled over to the store there, I dunno its official name, and got fishing licenses and day passes for Gary and Ellen.  After that the fun began.







I didn't manage to get a shot of Ellen actually casting or fishing.  The fish all remained safe for Gary and Ellen's part; though the lady a hundred or so yards down was catching them left and right.  Ellen actually snagged a fish skin, but that was all.

Now that they have licenses, maybe we will go fishing once again.

In any case we had a great picnic and a good time was had by all.

Especially my mom, who lives entirely in the moment and rarely ever gets too hot.