Friday, August 31, 2007

the big huntin' trip

My husband is leaving me for two weeks. He's going elk hunting with two buddies from here, the previously mentioned shoppers, Lynn and Bob.

I'm not sure if they will come back.

This trip could almost be called the "Trip of a Lifetime" because it's probably the first and last time they can all go bow hunting for elk. Of course, if they get any elk, it might be the first of many trips. But if that's the case, I'm going next time.

I've pretty much stayed out of the planning of this trip. Right guys? See, they agree. I've stayed out of this. So, if they get up into the wilds of Colorado without enough clean underwear, or without any eating utensils, or a pillow to sleep on, or any towels to wash up with, it's not my fault.

Besides the previously mentioned $340 grocery bill, this trip has expenses that are...well, expensive.

We've bought a flatbed 16 foot or so trailer in order to haul all the crap they think they need, crap like two 4-wheelers, a deep freeze (and the generator to RUN the deep freeze), a toilet-seat-on-a-box, boxes of food, boxes of bedding, the tent, the barrel stove to heat the tent. Stove pipe so they don't die from the smoke from the stove (It's not packed yet, but that's not my fault either.) Let's see...carpet to put under their beds so their little tootsies don't get cold in the morning. Cots to sleep on. Ump-teen pairs of hunting boots...See why we had to buy that trailer?

We've bought licenses...out of state licenses....very expensive. Like $500 expensive.

We bought new camo clothing because you can't wear the same clothes everyday for 14 days. So we bought lots and lots of camo clothes.

We bought new boots for this hunting trip because, well, I guess because those boots we wear every year deer hunting just don't work for elk.

We bought new arrows. Lots of new arrows. Expensive new arrows. And new fletchings and wraps for the pretty new arrows. Now, think about this one. We bought 24 new arrows and the goal is to use one. I repeat, ONE. That leaves 23 other arrows to do...something with.

Lynn bought a new GPS system. But I'm not sure he knows how to read it, so if he gets lost, he'll still be lost. I think Bob knows how to use one, but I'm pretty sure that they guys won't be together when they are hunting, so Bob will be of no use to Lynn. Lynn's gonna get lost--with his new GPS.

I'm sure I've left out some of the expenses of this trip. And I'm not adding it up. Scares me to much.

The boys are excited and plan on leaving at 5 a.m. tomorrow. They might make it, but I'm not sure how they'll get it all packed, cause I won't be here to help. Yep, someone will forget their underwear. I wouldn't be surprised if someone forgets to pack their bow...but I'm stayin' out of it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The joys of shopping with...MEN

I've read lots of blogs and stories about the joys of shopping with children. Most are hilarious and true. I know, I have children and I've taken them shopping.

But, have you ever been shopping with three men who are leaving in 4 days for a two week elk hunting trip? Have you ever watched 3 men plan a hunting trip? It's quite similar to taking children shopping.

Our three main characters are my wonderful, loving, handsome husband, his best friend, Lynn, whom we often refer to as my second husband, and our somewhat anal-retentive and much loved neighbor and friend, Bob. In all fairness to Bob, he's only anal-retentive when it comes to food, cooking and shopping. In fact, in my mind, he was the most logical of the bunch.

Our story begins 3 weeks ago, give or take a week. Our three boys traveled to a town far, far away (100 miles!) to pick up their cabin tent and heat stove. I suggested that they plan their meals and get a shopping list ready while driving. They did. Sorta. Kev came home with a list. At least he called it a list. But there were mysterious items on this list, like "Quakers".

Mistake number one. They let Lynn write. Lynn has his own spelling rules. "Quakers" is in reality, crackers. That's just one of the mystery items. (I'll save the rest for another time, we just don't have time to go through them all right now.)

"Where's the menu?" I asked. "We didn't make one. We decided we'd do that later." Kev replied. I felt a little sense of doom. After all, how did they know how much hamburger to take if they didn't write down what they were going to use it for?

Bob and I visited. He mentioned that he'd really like a menu, so he knew what to plan for. I agreed. I promised him that I'd get the 3 of them together to get a menu planned. After all, I know that Bob will do the majority of the cooking. He's a natural cook. He's a damn good cook. He's an anal-retentive cook, but you forget all about that when you are eating his cooking.

So, two weeks ago, I managed to corner 2 of the 3 men. I had Lynn and Kevin. So, I got bossy and started quizzing them on their menu items. We went day by day and wrote a menu. To the side, I wrote ingredients needed. We left some leeway, I had 10 solid meals down and left a couple blank for things like leftovers, or sandwiches, etc. This menu is not written in stone, but it will give them an idea about what they can fix.

Last night, Bob came over and he and I wrote out a shopping list. (Remember, he's the anal-retentive one, not me!) Then he and I went to town where we picked up Lynn and met Kev at the store. Yes, I know, I'm married to Kev, but he just got off work and it was more logical for me to pick up the other two yea-whos.

So now, we are at the store. Anal-retentive Bob, Spontaneous-shopper Lynn, and Kev. I could relate best to Anal-retentive Bob. He was the most logical shopper. We started in the fruit and veggie section. You know, that stuff that will get smashed? yep, that's where we started. I don't know why, I wasn't pushing the carts. Yes, carts. By the time we were finished, we had three carts.

As we were going through, we (they) had to discuss things. Like... do we want deli lunch meat or do we want packaged stuff? They finally decided on the packaged stuff. Why? Because it was packed full of preservatives and would last longer. Then on to the hot dogs. I grabbed three packages of a common brand that we all buy for our kids. But, the guys weren't sure if they needed 3 packages or more. And, size. Lynn likes the big, manly sized hotdogs. Lynn decided they needed more "manly" hot dogs and got some bigger ones. Fine. Whatever. Then hamburger patties...We all agreed that patties would be best for a quick, hot meal. Easier than making patties themselves. But, which brand. Not too expensive, not too cheap. And, how many? Two summers ago, Lynn and I bought a lovely brand of cheap patties that tasted like cardboard when cooked. So we knew which brand to stay away from. But which brand to buy? After much debate, they found some.

Then Kev decided that I needed to make gorp. So he had to get all the ingredients for that. Then somehow, a large package of cookies showed up in the cart. I was informed early on, that I had to make two different kinds of cookies to take--two batches of each. So, then, why do they need another large package of cookies? And then I saw a package of English Muffins. And a box of instant oatmeal. And boxes of crackers with cheese and just crackers and then snack crackers. Then Sardines and Smoked Oysters showed up...

Just what are these guys doing? Bob and I did not have any of this stuff on the list.

Poor Bob. He had to stay and shop with these guys. I strategically wondered off, because they were driving me crazy. There is no escape for Bob.

Two hours later, the Final total was: $340.

That's more than I spend in a month. That's more than I spend in 2 months. But get this, we didn't buy any meat (other than hotdogs and hamburger patties) or any vegetables (other than potato's). They are taking meat from my freezer and taking veggies that I have in my pantry. They are taking eggs from my chickens. They are taking my sausage and bacon. I don't even what to think about how much the meat bill would be if we had to buy all of that.

They have enough food to stay up there over a month, maybe two. I know they are going to bring most of it back home. I know without a shadow of a doubt that those damn sardines will be back home. No doubt in my mind.

I think I'd rather shop with my kids than with three men who are going hunting.

Stay tuned...they aren't packed yet. I'm sure I'll have to vent before they are on the road.

No doubt about it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Senior Moments 1982

Thursday, August 23, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: Senior Moments From Cowtown Stacy...

In honor of the new school year, think back to your senior year of high school, and answer these questions accordingly

1. Who was your best friend? I had some really good friends, who probably were my "best friends". But my friends varied to where I was and what I was doing. Gisele was my school and 4-H best friend. Ranae was my wild and crazy/ornery best friend. Wendy was my rebellious best friend. Ranae, Wendy and I did a lot of fun and crazy things.

2. Did you play any sports? There wasn't much option. For girls, we had tennis, Basketball and Track. I didn't do tennis. I was the Basketball team manager and I did do track. My Sr. year, I threw the Shot. Wasn't a good year for me because, in practice, i routinely threw 36' to 38', enough to win meets. At meets, I'd throw 36' and then I'd scratch. So, I usually took 4th. There was tremendous competition in girls field events while I was there. In fact, the three girls in my school who did field events usually racked up enough points for us to win every single track meet that year.

3. What kind of car did you drive? Sometimes, Mom would let us drive her car. 1975 Ford Torino. Green. But Steve and I would fight over who got to drive. We also could sometimes take the Toyota. 1980 tan Toyota pickup. Some days, Steve would drive, and take his friends to town. Some days, I'd drive and take my friends. Some days, Steve and I had to ride together. Some days we rode with our friends when they drove. Quite often, we rode the bus. In fact, I think we only got to drive on Game days and only then if Dad wasn't coming to watch.

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? Duh. The games. Either the football game or the basketball games.

5. Were you a party animal? No, I wanted to be, but getting drunk seemed so pointless to me. I did spend lots of Friday nights--after the game--dragging main and goofing off with my friends. We often didn't get home until after midnight. There was some drinking, but I never got drunk. Besides, I got tired of the taste of beer long before I could get drunk.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Lord no. I knew everyone from the time we were all babies. No reason to flirt with guys you knew that well. I still don't know how to flirt.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? Band. Trombone. At times the only trombone player.

8. Were you a nerd? No.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? No.

10. Can you sing the fight song? "Go Ashland down the field, fight on forever. Catch, pass and make that throw we'll win fair or stooooormy weather. This is our battle cry, fight on forever. Ashland Bluejays go for the touchdown for our school...

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Man. There wasn't just one. I enjoyed most classes. If I had to pick, I'd pick Mr G.

12. What was your school mascot? Bluejay

13. Did you go to the Prom? Well, yeah. But without a date. Ranae was my "date." We went "stag" together. Those who had dates were only those kids who were "going steady." Since most of us didn't have a steady, there were very few kids who had dates. Prom was basically an all-school event anyway. Jr. parents cook the meal and plan prom. Sophomore students served the meal and provided the entertainment at supper. Then the dance was for all Jr's, Sr's, and Sophomores. The whole thing was in the school cafeteria. I wish more proms involved the whole student body.

14. If you could go back, would you? No. I'm not the same person. Or, I'd like to think I'm not the same person...

15. What do you remember most about graduation? Thinking I wouldn't cry and then I did. Hating the song we sang---"Tomorrow." My Grandma telling me how important it was for her and Grandpa to be there cause they probably wouldn't see any of Sandy's kids graduate. (Fer cryin' out loud, she was only 62, and she's still kickin'.)

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? We had a Senior Trip. We were gone a whole week. We went to Texas. Flew from Wichita to Dallas (my only plane ride) then we chartered a bus to San Antonio where we went to Lonestar Beer, the Alamo, the River Walk, then back to Dallas where we spent a day at 6 flags then we flew home a day early and went shopping at the Mall in Wichita. We flew home early because Texas still had the "blue laws" where no stores were open on Sunday.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? No. No one did. There was absolutely no where to work in Ashland or even in Englewood. I had worked harvest at the elevator during the summer and that money had to last me the school year. O wait, I did clean house for Mrs. Terry every Saturday. It took a whole hour to clean her house, and I made a whopping $5 each Saturday. And, I did sell Avon too... (How could i forget selling Avon. Dodo, forgive me.)

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? No choice. We ate at the cafeteria. But our cooks, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Theander cooked our food--from scratch. I know cause I helped them one week.

19. Have you gained weight since then? uh. Yah.

20. What did you do after high school? That summer I ran the swimming pool. Then I went to college and moved on with my life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


At this time, we wish to report the untimely death and mutilation of Ms. Set N. Hen and the presumed death of her young child, New B. Chick.

Ms. Hen was discovered on the floor of her home early last evening at approximately 5 p.m. Her mutilated remains were left carelessly and were in disarray. No visible evidence remained as to the fate of her child, New B. Chick who was 4 days old.

It has been reported that Ms. Hen recently changed her normal roosting activity to provide warmth and protection to her child. It is assumed that this abnormal behavior directly led to her brutal and unnecessary death.

A search for a suspect is currently underway. Witnesses reported seeing said suspect hanging out in a nearby window well prior to the murder. Suspect is reported to be wearing a long black coat with a vivid white stripe running down the back of said suspect. Suspect is also reported as having a distinctive odor. Suspect is considered dangerous and should be approached with extreme caution. Suspect should not be taken alive.

Funeral services for Ms. Hen, and memorial services for New B. Chick were held last evening at the local burn barrel. No autopsy was performed, as there weren't enough remains to perform said autopsy. The family has not yet established a memorial fund.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hens and chicks

I had a surprise waiting for me Friday night when I got home.

A nice surprise.

When I ventured outside to do chores, I found a baby chick in the hen house. One lonely baby chick. And I'm tickled to death!

During the last week of July, Andy mentioned that we had a broody hen and he couldn't get her out of the nesting box. We've had "broody" hens before, and have usually been able to get them off the eggs. Then, we'd gather the eggs and eat 'em. That's what we have chickens for, to eat farm fresh eggs. Today's chickens have had the "broodiness" bred out of them, in other words, we've bred out the pro-creation instinct in most of our chickens. They'll lay eggs, but not want to set a nest and hatch chicks. That means, of course, more eggs for us to eat.

Over the years, we've had 2-3 hens go broody. One sat a nest in the stock trailer, up in the feed bunk area. She had 12-14 eggs there and sat on them until one day, she just simply vanished. We think she became some one's lunch. So, we tossed those eggs far, far away. She was our last broody hen. Until this past month.

This hen decided to take up nesting in a nesting box, which is made to lay eggs in. Smart chicken. She was near water and food, her nest was safe from predators. But chickens aren't supposed to go broody in the late summer, so I really didn't expect any viable results from her broodiness. I anticipated that at some point, we'd have to throw away some eggs. But, since she was rather feisty and resistant to any bribes to forced removal from the nest, we left her alone.

Last Thursday evening, young master Tate came over to help with chores. Tate decided to gather eggs for me, a chore he doesn't usually do. He came running in the house with 16 eggs and was so thrilled. He handed me the eggs and said "I got them out of all the nests and there were 16 eggs!"

My brain stopped at the words "...all the nests."

"Tate," I said, "did you mean all the nests, even the one with that big hen sitting in it?"

"There wasn't any hen in any nest."


Kim, Tate's mother, and I looked at each other, because she knew we had a broody hen. So, we grabbed a flashlight and started candling eggs.

Candling eggs is when you shine a bright light through the eggshell to see if it's opaque or semi-transparent. An egg with developing chicks will appear solid. Fresh eggs, those that haven't been sat on are lighter and less opaque, you can see the light through the egg and the shape of the yolk. We knew the hen had been sitting on three eggs. We found three opaque eggs that were heavier and warmer than the rest. We sorted our three eggs that we really really hoped were the right ones, and Tate ran them back out to the nest. I know that Kim and I really didn't expect anything viable, we just wanted to make sure we gave the hen some time and we definitely didn't want to crack an egg and find an almost-mature chick in it.

Somehow, that just ruins your appetite....

Then Friday, I found a chick. A live, healthy chick on the ground. A chick who's momma was very protective of it, a chick who's momma was being a good momma and keeping everyone else away. A momma who would set on her little one to keep it warm and who would show it what to eat and where to drink.

I helped. I got out chick feed and got fresh water in a smaller waterer and put both in easy reach of the chick. Then, I sat back and watched.I spent several hours this weekend watching Momma and baby. I've also been spoiling them. Momma hen and baby get fresh cucumbers broken up and placed wherever they are. Momma hen and baby get extra scratch grain tossed in front of them. Momma hen and baby get chick starter tossed to them.

I've never seen a hen with chicks. It's been so fun watching Momma teach her baby and protect her baby. And I'm just tickled and thrilled to death. I hope this baby lives a long and healthy life. I hope that Momma tries to hatch more chicks in the spring.

Congratulations Momma hen.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation...2007

Long time no see! I know I promised to blog over the summer some...


well, I just didn't have time. Yes, I did come to town frequently, but I just didn't take the time to wax poetically and blog.

But, I did jot down some highs and lows of my summer of leisure which I'd be most happy to share.

  • All windows on my house are washed. Inside and outside. Most screens were replaced--by little ol' me. I only broke one. I do, however have two windows that need repair. Just waiting until air conditioner weather is past and I can go a couple of days without a window in place to get them repaired.
  • Andy worked full-time at Sonic. Good for him, bad for me. He was simply n.e.v.e.r. home. I missed him. He does chores and extra chores I give without whining, pouting, stomping off and slamming doors. He might gripe, but he minds his momma.

His sister, however, is another story.

  • It seems that each summer we have one large (over $3000) bill to take care of. This year's bill was for a new motor in the Ranger pickup that Andy drives. It seized up (and it was Mr. Andy and Mr. Kevin's fault). It's expensive to replace a motor, but it's more expensive to buy a new vehicle. So, it's fixed. Now, I just have to pay for it. Yes, Andy will be helping with the repair bill.
  • This is the best garden we've had in years. Right now, I'm struggling to keep up with the tomatoes and jalapenos. That's a good thing, because we were down to 2 lonely jars of salsa. Saturday's in September and October will see me in the kitchen, canning. We did learn that most plants can't grow in straight compost. It's too rich. We also learned that blueberries need more acidic soil than what we have. I'm thinking about planting those blueberry bushes into compost next spring. If they like rich, acidic soil, then our compost should be just about perfect.
  • We worked on our yards, front and back. Planted grass out front and re-configured the pond. The grass we planted out front isn't growing well, but the native buffalo grass sure is. I have a sneaky feeling that the grass we paid for and planted will be over taken by the native, free, Buffalo grass. Someday, we just might have something other than weeds out front. We'll just have to wait and see who's grass took over, Kev's planted grass, or my native grass.
  • We made two major purchases this summer--both happened before the pickup motor incident... we bought a tractor with a bucket. Kev is so excited and we've used the heck out of that poor tractor. We've put a whole 12 hours on it. That doesn't seem like much, but we really have used it a bunch, so it was a good purchase. Our other major purchase was a new flat bed double axle trailer. It was another "but honey, I NEED it" purchase, much like the tractor, but I've been surprised by how much we've used it as well. I know that Kev wanted it primarily for his up-coming elk hunting trip, but we've used it enough this summer that it was a good purchase. (And it's paid for!)
  • We added Rabbits to our menagerie this summer. We have 9 rabbits and 7 cages. 8 of the rabbits are male. Our goal was to raise rabbits for meat. But, we only have one lonely doe to procreate. Yes, we suck at sexing rabbits. But you have Rabbit Tales to look forward to!
  • Every summer, besides major expenses, we also have at least one major break-down. This year, we had more than our share. The pickup, then the air conditioner and then the ice maker. The pickup and air conditioner are repaired. The ice maker is not. For now, we're buying ice and using that. It takes up less room in the freezer than ump-teen ice cube trays... The AC was an easy fix, Kev took care of that. He might fix the ice maker someday. I'm hoping for a new fridge instead. I've already got it picked out...
  • We finally got our new pellet stove and just finished creating the tiled platform for it to sit on. Next step will be to put faux rock on the walls to make a fire barrier.
  • We didn't take a real vacation this summer, instead, we had lots and lots of BBQ's with our good friends and neighbors and even a couple of wonderful bonfires. We had visits from family which we always enjoy. We've relaxed and enjoyed our home. We've had bountiful rain and the pastures stayed green most of the summer. They're green right now! No, we didn't take a vacation, but we did enjoy life. And, in my mind, that's the best vacation of all.