Thursday, December 17, 2009

The dirty 30's

I just finished reading the above I have to spell out the title, or can you figure it out for yourselves?

Growing up, I frequently heard the phrase "in the 30's, we..." or "during the depression, we didn't..." even "we were poor, but so was everyone, so we didn't know we were poor."

My Woodruff Grandparents were in their 20's and 30's during the depression, raising 6 of their 7 children (my dad was born in 1943). My Berend's grandparents were growing up during the 30's. (Yes, my Woodruff Grandparents were old enough to be the parents of my Berends grandparents.) Anyway...I heard the '30's referenced quite often. I even asked my Woodruff Grandparents if they remembered "Black Sunday." They did, they were at Church when the storm hit. But...somehow, we never got around to what they did during that dust storm...

I heard stories about no money, sleeping together in one bed to stay warm during the winter months, eating wonderful concoctions like onion gravy. Having nothing to eat but eggs, having two pair of pants to wear, etc. I know my Grandad W. left home for a while to work with the CCC, leaving Grandma at home with the kids. I'm sure if I think about it, I can probably remember more stories because I loved listening to my elders tell stories about when they were young. I still do love hearing people's stories.

But, the 30's in Western Kansas and Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle were worse than what was even shared with me. Worst Hard Time tells about the settlement of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, and concentrates primarily on Cimarron County Oklahoma and the Texas town of Dalhart, both in some of the hardest hit areas. Both are further west and south of my home stomping grounds.

The book starts out explaining the settlement of this area at the turn of the 20th century. Until then, it had been left to the Indians and cattle ranchers. West of the 100th meridian, this area averages 16 inches of rain each year. Not prime farm country. And yet, farmers came to the area, plowed up the native prairie and planted wheat. The twenties were wet years, and farmers plowed up more and more ground to make more and more money. And then, the price dropped and they couldn't sell their crops, and then a drought hit. A 10 year drought. Droughts are not that uncommon, but with the ground plowed up, there was nothing to hold the dirt down when the wind blew --and it did. A couple of storms blew the dirt clear to the East coast.

Washington didn't do much to help the "dusters" until 1936. They did buy up livestock prior to that, starving livestock, but no one tried to stop the dust storms until late in the 30's. Then, people started plowing differently and the CCC came out to plant trees--shelter belts--to try to protect the land. Soil Conservation began in the late 30's. The government also bought out many farmers in the far western regions and planted grass to try to restore the prairie. (The Cimarron National Grasslands is a reserve made up of former farms in far Southwest Kansas and Eastern Colorado.) Some ground is still sterile in parts of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. No one knew what to do with this environment.

I didn't know that people actually died from the dust. They'd get lost in dust storms--just like they would in blizzards. Instead of freezing, they'd choke on the dust. Dust pneumonia was a common cause of death for babies and the elderly. Eventually, folks had to leave. Most who left the Panhandle areas did not go to California. They tended to go east.

I have to say, that I really enjoyed reading this book--yes, it's non fiction, but it's very entertaining reading. The author tells a story and he doesn't bog it down with facts and statistics or even footnotes. (Yes, there are notes in the back of the book, and yes, there's a good bibliography, but the book reads almost like a novel.)

Dust storms didn't disappear after the 30's. This is a photo I took at our place in Colby of a dust storm coming in. It was May, 2004. Once the storm hit, it got pitch black outside and was dusky for about an hour or so. This was a little storm, lasting a couple of hours. We were in a drought. And, as well built as our house was, we had our share of fine dust and silt in the house.

An older couple (in their late 80's, early 90's) stopped at our house when they saw the storm coming. They said it was just like what they had day after day after day in the 30's. And, visiting with them, I knew that they were remembering their youth when they fought to survive during the 30's, and I knew that their experiences were something foreign to me.

After reading this book, it's an experience I hope no one had to endure ever again. Pick it up--I think you'll find it a good read.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Huntin' with Shell...Episode 7

By now, I know you all realize how great of a hunter I am. Why, the Outdoor Network is on the phone with me daily, wanting me to sign a contract and film all my wondrously exciting hunts. I rank right up there with their female hunters--I'm young, sexy, cute, and a good hunter too. Right? Right? (ok, stop laughing! I was ONCE young, and sexy, and maybe even cute!)

Unfortunately, If they ever contacted me about a show, it would be titled "How not to kill a deer." Cause that apparently, is all I'm good at!

But, in my defense, don't the deer have to come close enough to shoot at? Don't the deer have to cooperate? Man, maybe these stupid deer are related to my kids, cause my kids don't cooperate with me either.

I'm doomed.

I've got three more weekends to get a deer. And, since I have two weeks off from work over the holidays, I guess I could go out every day if I wanted to...cept I'd have to go alone and I really don't like to go alone cause it's more fun to share the excitement. Whoo hoo! It's so exciting to sit in the pasture day after day, hour after hour and see...

nuthin. Why, people are lined up wanting to do that!

This weekend was a perfect example.

I was by my sagebrush before 7. Since it was cold (finally) I was wearing 40 extra lbs. of clothing for warmth. (And I could feel it too! I haven't waddled this bad since I was 10 months pregnant with Miss Kat!)

At 7:30, I scoped the area, looking for those pesky deer. And, Lo, there were 2 does. Over at the tree row. The tree row in which I sat last year. The tree row where no one came to visit me last year. Oh, sure...that tree row wasn't good enough last year, but this year, they like it.

I think it's personal. I think that I must have one of those flashing neon signs above my head with an arrow pointing down to me. You know, those signs that magically appear in cartoons? Yep. One of those points at me and flashes "Here's that female hunter. Go somewhere else." The deer see the sign, read it, and go somewhere else. And these two does? They saw the sign, and never came close to me. In fact, after seeing the sign, they turned around and walked in the opposite direction.

And, that's all I saw.

It's getting rather discouraging.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Today the temperature is something like 6 degrees. Windchill is -20 something. When it's that cold, does the specific windchill temperature really matter? I don't think so.

Today, while driving slowly to work, I saw

2 cowboys

on horseback

moving cattle.

I'm not sure who I feel the sorriest for, the cowboys or the horses.

Stay warm everyone.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hunting with Shell Episode...6?

For all the serious deer hunters, I apologize this week.

I didn't go deer hunting. Instead, I partook of that female ritual that involves shopping malls and big cities full of rabid women looking for a good deal.

Yes, I went Christmas shopping.

My Mom, my Aunt Sandy and I took off early Saturday morning to shop in the big city. Except for most of urban America, the big city where we shopped is a small town. But to us rural dwellers, it's a big city. Any town with a population over 10,000 is a city. BIG cities have a population over 30,000. Gi-normous cities are those with populations over 500,000. Those cities, I avoid whenever possible. I'm pretty good at avoiding those cities. Makes my life much less stressful.

So, we went the Big city, not the Gi-normous city. We braved the crowds and the crazy bargain hunters. It wasn't too bad. I got most of my Christmas shopping finished. Still need to get something for my nephews and one gift for Miss Kat and one for Andy. Well... that and their stocking stuffers which are usually candy for Miss Kat and Sunflower seeds for Andy.

The best part of the shopping trip was spending time with my Mom and Sandy. I like both of them--even if they weren't family! We spent the night at Sandy's house and I have to say that I'm jealous of her ability to incorporate all of Grandma and Grandpa's stuff into her decor. And her house is clean! It's a very comfortable, homey house, and I've always felt comfortable there.

So, while I didn't bag a deer this weekend, I did bag some important gifts and even some "girl time."

Hunting season is winding down. Kev has pointed out that I've only got 3 or 4 more weekends to get out there and get a deer. He's such a slave driver :) So, stay tuned for next week's episode when we'll once again return to the wilds in search of that trophy deer.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This week on Huntin' with Shell

I do realize that today is Wednesday, and I went hunting three and four days ago.

Which should really be a clue as to how my hunting weekend went.

But, before we hear about this weekend's hunt, we need to update you on the previous weekend's hunt...Kev's hunt.

We were going out of town and my goal was to leave Saturday morning around 10 a.m. That would get us to Hutchinson around noon, right in time for Bob's home cooked lunch. But, that was not to be.

Kev just had to go out hunting. He didn't figure he'd see anything, but he had to go out just in case that monster buck came through the draw. He left at 5 a.m. At 7:30, I decided to get into the tub and then get the kids up and ready to go. The phone rang about 10 minutes later. It was Kev. He'd shot a stupid deer.

Now, I'm not upset that he got a deer, but dang, the timing wasn't optimal for me. (and it's all about me.)

Kev needed Andy and I to drive over because he thought his deer had gone down into the draw and he was afraid we'd have to track him, or worse, drag him up out of that draw which is rather deep and steep. So, Andy and I got dressed and ventured out.

It was foggy. Extremely foggy. Since Andy wasn't sure how to get to the ranch, I had to watch the road and give directions. We got there fine and walked the half mile to where Kev was hunting.

Once we got there, Kev said that he saw the buck head down toward the draw, and a few minutes later, saw him come back up to the wheat field. So, Kev was concerned that he didn't die quickly and that we'd have to track. So, we started following the blood trail (and it was a good trail) and quickly found his buck.

He didn't kill the Monster, but got a nice 200 lb. Mule deer--3 x 4 antlers. The deer died quickly, and we decided that the buck Kev saw after shooting was a second buck who heard the commotion and came to investigate. (It was so blasted foggy that you couldn't see 50 yards.) The menfolk gutted the deer, and then we started back for the pickup. Dragging that stupid deer.

Let me tell you...dragging 200 lbs of dead weight, through a wheat field for half a mile isn't fun. It's hard exhausting work. And by the time we saw the pickup appear through the fog, we were three happy exhausted people. It took us a good 30 minutes or more to drag that deer out.

At that time, Kev and I decided that we were buying a 4 wheeler. No ifs, ands, or buts.

We got home, hung the deer up in the shop, and went on our trip. Which brings us back to the real star of the show...ME... (remember, it's all about me!)

Saturday, Kev and I went to the Hill to hunt. I really would like to get a deer at the hill...for me and for Grandpa...

We sat there until 9-9:30. Nothing. We did see three deer about a mile away, but they wouldn't come play with us. Before we left, we walked up around the house and the tree row. Found lots of little trees that have been destroyed by bucks polishing antlers, and we found lots to scraps. So, we know they are there (we've even SEEN them...just not today.)

As we left, Kev asked if I wanted to take the long way home and go up by the farm. Fine with me, so we headed west and then north. And, then we decided to just venture further west and further north to a small town with a Polaris dealership.
And we bagged this....

We got a great deal too. So, we loaded it up, and took it home. It's sitting in the garage (and the cars are outside...we have our priorities....)
Kev's excited, the kids are excited. Me, I'm scared of the darn thing! But, this does mean that I won't have to drag out a 200 lb. deer ever again. And that's exciting.


It's Basketball season. Miss Kat is playing this year. She's starting B team and usually gets a couple minutes in at every A team game. The A team girls are really good. I expect to see them go undefeated.
Kev loves Basketball. He was so excited about his daughter playing BB, but before the season, she announced that she was not going out. Her dad was disappointed. So...he bribed her. He told her that if she played BB, and really tried, he'd pay her $100. That was to tempting to Miss Kat, so she went out. And, Dad gave her $50 at the start of the season and the other $50 will go into her savings account.
I can't say that Miss Kat will ever be a Basketball star. She's not hating the game, but she doesn't really enjoy it either. I'd guess that this, her 8th grade season will be her last. Her dad will just have to adopt some other girl and some other boy to watch.
I will say that if she wanted to, Miss Kat could be a really good player. But...I don't think she wants to be a really good player.
I guess it doesn't matter if she's the best player or not because she does have the coolest Basketball shoes. And at our house, having the coolest shoes is really all that matters!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The sweet smell of...

My house stinks. Literally.

Evidently, early yesterday morning, we had a nocturnal visitor. The perpetrator was never seen, but left evidence in a most olfactory way.

I smelled him when I woke up.

I smelled him when I took my bath.

I smelled him in the kitchen.

I could really smell him out in the shop.

One kitten was killed--by the odour by a personal assault, we're not sure which.

We were still smelling him last night.

This morning...not so much. Either the scent has wore off or we got used to it.

Stupid skunk.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Episode 3 of Huntin with Shell

I'd like to say that in Episode 3, we see a successful hunt. But we don't.

Miss Kat and I spent Friday night at Mom's house. Miss Kat was going to do the jewelry thing on Saturday while I was going out to hunt and leave the house by 6 a.m. Miss Kat and I shared a bed in my old bedroom. I wasn't terribly concerned about sharing a bed with her, because she used to sleep with me every weekend--at least one night every weekend.

But, at home, I have a King size bed. At Mom's, we shared a Full sized bed. And Miss Kat is bigger now, and she's more used to sleeping in the middle of the bed and she kicks and talks in her sleep and, well, it was a rather sleepless night. But, when Dad got up at 5:30, I did too.

I drove out to the hill to try for one of the Whitetail bucks that we know live and bed down in the draws amongst the sagebrush. I parked at the house and cut across the CRP to the pasture. Not a bad walk at all, but let me tell you, it was DARK. I used my red headlight on my headlamp to see. Supposedly, the deer can't see red light, making them safe for hunters to use to navigate dark pastures and fields.

I took a chair in with me because I couldn't see down the draws if I sat on the ground. The chair is a burnt orange in color, but Kev thought it would work because it would be hidden by the sagebrush. Whatever. I decided to give it a try. (Just a reminder, it was one of those camping chairs--folding, lightweight. I'm not a complete idiot and would never carry in a heavy chair.)

I got settled right in front of a big 5 foot tall sage. All I had to do then was wait for it to get light and for the deer to decide it was time to come to bed. There was a storm front coming in, so we figured the deer would be up and moving trying to fill their bellies before the storm hit.

At 6:55--maybe 6:57, I looked to the south, from whence I traveled, and there was a stupid little spike buck following my trail. He had his nose down, sniffing my tracks. Now, I know that Lynn once shot and killed a deer by shooting it in the nose; but that's not recommended. My target could have been his chest or his nose and I was really surprised to see the idiot. I hadn't heard him at all until he snorted. By then, he was 10-15 yards away. He looked up and saw me, sitting there in my chair. He jumped and took off, stopping on the other side of the draw. I probably could have shot him from that distance, but he was so young and really, to be honest, I was amused that we surprised each other. (And, I was somewhat relieved that he wasn't a Rabid Killer Deer.) He then jumped the fence and took off.

But, it made me think...that maybe I picked a bad spot to sit. So, I relocated to another sage brush, a little farther back from the trail that I could now see--which I inadvertently followed into my spot.

And, I sat there for 2 more hours--not seeing another deer. Instead, I composed a blog--a rather poetic blog about the beauty of the morning and the colors of the sage brush and the imaginary deer that I could see and create from various sage plants and shadows as the sun came up. I imagined how I'd wax poetically about the scent of sagebrush, and the colors and textures. and, maybe, someday, I will write about how pretty the prairie is and how many different colors there are out there.

By 9 a.m., I was cold (the wind was coming up) and Mom's bathroom was calling my name. So, I called it quits and walked back to the car and then to town. Once in town, I visited with Mom and the bead junkies as they got creative. It was a nice, warm, and dry way to end this episode of Huntin' with Shell.

Note: We'll have a 2 week break for episode 4. We're going out of town next week and won't be able to hunt. Stay tuned for another "exciting" episode!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today, the shoes are cool. Yep, "everyone" loved the Basketball shoes.

They are the coolest shoes ever!

so, all is good...

for now...

Teenage girls...gotta love them.

Monday, November 09, 2009

revenge...I can't wait

Someday, I'm going to print out all these "Miss Kat" posts and give them to her. I think I'll wait until she's a mother of a girl though. Revenge...yes, it will be sweet revenge.

I love my daughter dearly. I do.


And yet, she can frustrate me like no other person in the world. sigh. And, yet, I understand her...most of the time. Her father doesn't have a clue, but I do.

Saturday I took Miss Kat down to Mom's for a jewelry making extravaganza.

See, Miss Kat has always had an artistic bent. She writes stories (watch for her someday to be the female Stephen King.) She draws. Yet, she hasn't found that artistic outlet that she's passionate about. We've tried painting, ceramics, glass etching, sewing, cross stitch, crocheting, knitting and lots more and yet, we keep searching for that one thing that she can be passionate about. Jewelry was next on the list.

My Mom has discovered the art of jewelry making, and I asked if she'd show Miss Kat how to do some. It was a Grandma/Granddaughter day--not only for my "girls" but for one of Mom's friends. Three girls, 2 Grandmas and 1 Mom who observed. ( I am not remotely interested in making or wearing jewelry.)

It was a slow start, because the Grandma's have lots and lots and lots of beads and wire and string and beads and other... ... stuff. However, once they got started, the girls went to town!

Miss Kat had a ball. She wants to go back next week. She wants to make more and more and more jewelry. Which is great! I loved watching her work and really enjoying herself. She needs that outlet.

On Sunday, Miss Kat, Kev and I went to Garden. Kev and I needed things from Home Depot and Miss Kat needed Basketball shoes. Kev had to work at the hospital for an hour or so, and while we were waiting, Miss Kat and I ran to Walmart and got a few beads and tools for her new passion.

Then, on to Garden. We had a nice lunch at Applebees, ran by the Crazy House to look at some cowboy boots and shirts, but they weren't open yet, so we decided to go ahead and get Miss Kat's basketball shoes.

Went into one store, and they were out of shoes in her size. Went into another store. The sales clerk wanted to measure her feet. They've grown again. She's now a perfect 10. Except she's not happy being a perfect 10. She hates having big feet. Then, the sales clerk noticed that she's flat footed. So, he got an insert and had her walk around. Her dad instantly noticed the change in her gait. Me...not so much.

She said the shoes were ok. I paid an astronomical price for them, and out the door we went. We decided it was time to run to Home Depot. Once we got there, Miss Kat refused to go in the store and she was crying.

And, she wouldn't tell us why she was crying.

So, we left her in the pickup, and went inside assuming she'd be right in soon.

But she didn't.

When we got to the pickup, she informed me that she hates the shoes and wants to take them back. She hates them so much, she'll just do without basketball shoes. And, then she started crying again.


I knew what the problem was--it was the SIZE of the shoes. It was the fact that she thinks her feet are so big that they are all anyone will ever see.

But, she didn't want to admit this, instead, the shoes were evil. They were ugly. They weren't what she wanted. It was the shoe's fault. It was my fault.

Her Dad blew up. (and that is NEVER a pretty sight.)

He drove us back to the shopping center. We pulled into the parking lot so we could return the shoes. And then we heard this small little voice say...

"I'll keep the shoes."

Dad blew up again while I burst out laughing. Which made Dad blow up a little more.

But, Saturday was so great! She found something she truly enjoyed and can be passionate about. She was so happy. And then, yesterday, it started out great, but crashed so quickly and so badly. Emotions from ecstasy to despair. High to Low. Happy to the most miserable person in the world.

It's frustrating.

And, someday, I'll get my sweet revenge when I print this out and give it to my daughter who is the mother of her own teenager. It's something to look forward to!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I'm not in a very good mood today.

Miss Kat is home "sick" today and is skipping school.

Except, I don't think she's "sick" enough not to go to school.

But, I decided, she's almost 14, and is old enough to take some responsibility for her own decisions and their repercussions.

But I'm really annoyed with her because I think it's allergies and sinus drainage again.

Not something serious like H1N1.

And, somehow, I feel like a bad mother for not believing she doesn't feel well, and for thinking she should go to school and I feel bad because I think she should be just like me and go even if she doesn't feel 100%. I have no patience for "sick" people...especially when I don't think they are really sick and should just suck it up.

Gee...maybe I should make a career change and become a nurse...I have such empathy...want me to be your nurse?

Monday, November 02, 2009

This week on...Hunting with Shell

This past Saturday morning was a much better hunting day for me. No fears of rabid deer, elk or cougars plagued my mind, nor was I distracted by pesky sunflower pods or grass seeds. Nope, I was intent on the hunt!

We got into our positions before 7 a.m., and let me tell you, it was dark! Kev and I decided to walk in on the south side of the fence which made for much easier walking. The south side of the fence is a pasture, "virgin" grass. It's never been plowed. It's so much easier and quieter walking in a pasture than it is wading through weeds or a wheat field. Our only difficulty was the 3 times I stumbled into old barbed wire that was on the ground. (Kev also walked into his share! It was DARK people!)

I hadn't been sitting/kneeling long when I heard a deer snort. It was too dark to shoot, but I could see his basic shape and knew he was a nice sized Muley buck. He walked by me--about 15 yards away. Nice shooting distance, if it's light enough to see what your shooting at! He walked to the edge of the draw where Kev was sitting. He stopped, snorted, and turned around and trotted off. I think he caught Kev's scent.

About 30 minutes later, after it was light, I saw a doe being chased by a buck. They were about 250 yards away. At the same time, I heard a deer snort below me, in Kev's draw. I couldn't see any deer, but I heard them snort as they tried to catch Kev's scent. My deer, the buck and doe, also heard the snorting. The doe ignored it, but the buck stopped and listened. You could tell he was trying to decide if he should check it out...but, the lure of the doe was greater and they went on their way, staying well out of bow range.

A little while later, I saw two does come down from the north. They walked towards me, and then cut down into Kev's draw. I assumed they'd stay down there, but nope, next thing I knew, they were 20 yards away! They'd come back up into the wheat field. I picked up my bow, but the doe saw me move and they took off, hell bent for! Right down the hill by Kev, and then up the other side, over the fence and through the pasture. Darn deer were Whitetails! What on earth were they doing in Muley country?

Shortly after their rapid exit, it was time to go. The snorters that Kev had were 4 additional whitetail does. He's wanting one particular buck. so he didn't shoot. I would have, because I want meat, not necessarily antlers, but he wants a big boy.

We had a nice walk out, the sun was out, shining, it was a beautiful day, and the deer had cooperated...somewhat, all in all, it was a good morning...even if we didn't bring home a deer.

Note: No deer, elk, cougars, birds, sunflowers or weeds were harmed or killed during this weeks episode of Hunting with Shell. Tune in again for another exciting episode!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The 1918 flu

I was just looking at a book we have about the 1918 flu epidemic. Now, let me immediately remind everyone that I personally, was not alive in 1918. And, yet I personally knew people who were alive and who's lives were affected by the flu. They were old by the time I knew them, but I heard their stories and think that a few of them need to be remembered.

I'm to young to know about the fear that epidemics brought to parents in the past, but I know my parents and others of their generation talk about polio scares which was "their" epidemic. Those of us born after 1950 or so, have never experienced that kind of fear.

I've said before that I like to walk through cemeteries and look at the tombstones. You can track epidemics there by clusters of death dates. In local cemeteries, you see young adults--from 18-25 years of age dying in the years of 1918 through 1921 or so. Many of those folks died of the flu.

My Woodruff Grandparents were born in 1900 and 1906. The flu epidemic was very real to them--as were other epidemics. But this one struck the healthy and killed quickly. I remember Grandad telling how the school in Fowler closed one winter, and maybe two winters to keep kids from getting the flu. He graduated from High School a year "late" because of the school closing.

And, there were Jim and Grace G. I remember Jim and Grace only as little old people, but... they had each been married before. Jim's wife died of the flu, and Grace's husband died of the flu. Each had children to care for, and married each other shortly after the death of their spouses. They had a child or two together, and lived a long life together. And yet, how different their lives might have been if their first spouses had survived.

I also remember we kids talking about Walt? McKinney--who died of the flu. (Mom, was he George's son or brother, or am I mixed up?) But, I remember we kids talking about him dying, and how devastated his parents were. Even if this memory of mine isn't accurate; it does demonstrate that the flu epidemic of 1918 was something that impressed we kids who grew up in Big E.

I remember people talking about friends and family who died of the flu. I remember them talking about it and just shaking their heads as they remembered. To me, it was always a puzzle. What was it about the flu that made this generation have conversations like:

"What ever happened to his son "JOE'?

"Oh, he died of the flu back in '19."


And then, they'd both simply shake their heads in a mutual ritual of remembrance for something that needed no further explanation. Having never experienced that, and not really truly understanding that bond, it's something that's always fascinated me.

I hope I never do understand that bond.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

embroidery floss

The last two nights, I've been busy organizing my stash of embroidery floss.

I've been embroidering or doing cross stitch for over 25 years, and over the course of time, I've accumulated lots of floss.

When I started, there weren't many options for storing floss. Grandma Berends had this old metal box that she used to just toss her floss skeins into. They became a tangled mess. (And, yours truly has that box, with floss...and it's still a mess.)

Mom and I found these bags:

And I've used them ever since. I can't tell you now many metal rings full of floss I own. I haven't counted them. However, a couple of years ago, Mom gave me her floss collection, so I had many duplicates.

Since I'm ready to start embroidering some tea towels, I decided it was high time I organized and combined our two floss collections.

What was I thinking?

I started out be taking the bags off the rings--in DMC numerical order. Then, as I'd find Mom's bags with the same color of floss, I'd remove one and put it in the bag that was in the best shape. I can't tell you how many duplicate colors we had, but between the two of us, I'd say we had over 600 bags of floss. And, yes, I threw 1/2 of them away! Some of my bags were over 25 years old and were falling apart. It was time.

Right now, all my floss is finally in numerical order and is in two boxes. I'm trying to decide if I want to put all those bags back on rings--or if I want to simply find a box big enough for all 350+ skeins of floss. And, hey! Maybe Grandma's antique metal box will hold all my floss...

I've toyed with switching storage systems, but I think I'll keep this system, I'd really hate to invest in all new things. And, in some bags, I have 3 skeins of floss! But, it's organized, and now I can start stitching again.

But...I still have all that "speciality" floss that isn't in my blending filaments, and my linen floss and my florescent floss and my jewel tone floss and my metallic floss, and my candlewicking thread, and my pearle cotton....oh dear...I think there's more organization in my future.

Monday, October 26, 2009

hunting when the deer don't cooperate

So, how do you pass the time while hunting and sitting on the ground early in the morning when the deer don't cooperate? The following is a shortened version of what my morning (Saturday morning) was like...

I like to watch and listen to the world awake. I'm, being quiet so as not to alert the deer, and being quiet, I get to hear the birds wake up and start chirping. I try to identify the various ones. There's a whip-er-will. Doves. Pheasant... I watch the sun rise and marvel at how light changes. The windmill that is behind me is pumping. The rhythm of the rods moving up and down is comforting and familiar. I think about this being a good spot, because I could see lots of tracks moving my direction toward the windmill and toward bedding areas. I sit and watch diligently for a while, but after a while, it's hard to concentrate on listening for deer and watching for them.

So, being bored, because there weren't any deer around, I began to play with the dried sunflower pods and picked off the seed heads and scattered the seeds while wondering how the Indians ever got sunflower oil out of those things. Then I wondered if maybe the Indians planted domesticated sunflowers for oil, because these wild sunflowers are sure dry and the seeds--well, these sure don't seem at all like oil seeds, or even the kind you eat. Man, sure wish I'd brought some of those to snack on.

So then I take a seed and stuck it in my mouth to see it tastes like other sunflower seeds. It doesn't. Just tastes dusty and dry. So I spit it out, and took a quick look around at the field and the pasture to see if any deer are around. (They aren't.) So, I shred another sunflower and wonder what time it is. Dang, left the phone at home. No watch either.

Then I admired the whiteish grass and wondered what kind of grass it is. I ran my hand up it, pulling the seeds off into my hand and wondered if I could gather enough to take some home to the chickens. Then I pulled more seeds off the plant because it's fun. Oh, dang, I'm supposed to be watching for deer, so I quickly take another look around.

Shoot, wonder if I'm in a bad spot...maybe I should move over there, closer to the edge of the weeds...but if I move, will a deer see me? hear me? Dang, this grass is sure wet. My thighs are cramping up. Funny, my knees don't hurt, and they aren't cold either. but, Can I really sit here on my knees for two hours? Yeah, I'm just going to set down. Well, crap, can't see anything...better get back up on the knees....There are sure lots of sunflowers over there's kinda fun pulling all the seeds off. Wonder if I pull all the seeds off if the birds will eat them off the ground? Maybe the birds only look for seeds on the plant...maybe I'll actually kill several birds just by pulling the seeds off these dang sunflowers. Ok, don't pull the seeds off...but it sure is fun though. Surely, surely one dang sunflower plant won't be the end of the stupid birds.

What's that sound? Dang. Just some stupid Pheasant hens... but, man, they make neat sounds as the wind whistles around their wings. Oh, look! A Hawk! He's sure pretty. Wonder if he sees me? How cool is that? Play with more of that white grass. That's cool. They sure pull out of the ground easy. Wonder what it is. And, what is this plant right here. It's still green. Is it Ragweed? If it is, will I start sneezing? No, it's froze, the pollen is gone. Sure is kinda pretty though...leave it alone.

Sigh, better look for deer. Stupid deer. Wonder if Kev saw one? Maybe he shot that big buck...that would be nice, to be done and have meat in the freezer. But, I don't want to cut it up today, with Uncle Dale and Aunt Jo's 60th anniversary thing this afternoon... Hope that a buck doesn't see Kev first and think he's competition for the does. Man, that would be awful if he was being attacked by a deer, and I didn't know it...

Wonder what I'd do if a deer snuck up on me. Would I scare him, or would he attack me? Crap, is there a rabid deer behind me? Nope. Good. Stop thinking about stuff like that. That was a cool article about the Cougar they found...of course Dad says they are around here...what would I do if a Cougar came up one me? Wonder if I could stab a cougar with an arrow? Crap, is there a sneaky Cougar behind me? Ok Shell, time to change the topic... Wonder what time it is?

Ooooo, listen to those coyotes. there must be pups with them. Now that sounds like Dad coming in to feed....

Wow, listen to that steer bellow. He kinda sounds like an elk. Maybe I'll just tell Kev that I heard the elk. Oh, cool, wouldn't it be cool for that elk to come by? That would be awesome. Crap. I hope he doesn't, I don't have my camera either. And, what if I startled him and he decided to attack? STOP that! He won't attack you.

Wonder what time it is? Will Kev whistle? Man, my knees are wet. And they hurt. It's got to be 9 or so. I think I'm going to stand up. I can't see any stupid deer, and I don't care. My knees are sore and wet.

About that time, Kev whistled, so I walked back to him, and we walked out. And that, my dear friend, is what I do when I'm hunting uncooperative deer...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Need a good laugh?

Last night, I informed my children that they were now responsible for their own laundry.

I have always done our laundry on Saturday or Sunday. The kids, until recently, have been really good about bringing me their dirty laundry to be washed. But, since we moved, they really haven't been very good. Miss Kat will bring me a few things, but will not bring up her important laundry (like underwear) until she's been out for several days.

Andy used to do that too...I'd be doing laundry, and find 2 pair of underwear to be washed. Either he wasn't changing them, or he was using both sides before bringing them to be washed. And, believe you me...sometimes they looked like they'd been worn for a week or two.

What is it with my kids and underwear???

Then there's the deal with jeans. For many years, we simply didn't have the money for the kids (or we adults) to have more than 2 or 3 pair of jeans. So, we'd wear them a couple of days and then put them in the wash. That worked well until Andy got an "Outside" job and got very dirty. Which was fine, because by this time, he had 4 or 5 pair of jeans...

He just wouldn't wear them because he didn't like them. (And they say girls are picky.)

Miss Kat is almost as bad. She has several pair of jeans now (thank God for hand me downs). However, she'll take them off and they'll disappear in the dark recesses of her room; never to be seen again. And, then suddenly, they'll reappear, all in a laundry pile, needing an emergency wash because someone "doesn't have anything to wear."

The last couple of months, I've begged the kids to bring me their laundry to wash. I've demanded that they bring me their laundry, I've threatened, I've gotten on my knees, begging to do their laundry.

Until now. Dang it, they can do it themselves.

Which led to me telling them they were responsible for their own laundry. At which point, Miss Kat said, "That's good. I've been doing my own laundry for a couple of months now anyway."

After I picked up my jaw off the floor...and after I stopped laughing hysterically, I simply said


Footnote: She hasn't been doing her laundry, because I have yet to 1. Hear the machine run. 2. See her carry laundry up or down the stairs. and 3. There's usually something of mine still in the dryer that I forgot to get folded and we all know that a teenager won't fold any laundry that isn't her own and can't even use the dryer if there's something in it... and 4. well...yeah, as her mother, I know better!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cross stitch--what's next?

I've been working on this picture since this summer. Cross stitching of course. It's almost finished. All that's left is to do the back stitching. Once finished, it's going to hang in my dining room. I should be able to finish it this week. And I'm excited to finish! I love finishing a project, but then, I immediately am ready to start another project. In fact, I'm itching to start on a couple of different things, and I can't figure out which one I want to do first.

I'm dying to do this one...
It's called "Mom's Kitchen". Kev and I saw it stitched up at the Kansas State Fair this year. I fell in LOVE with it--because it has all the colors in my kitchen, and it has a lot of the "old crap" that I use for decorations in my kitchen. I'm not sure where it will wind up when it's finished because my walls are almost full of "old crap." But, I'll find a home for it. I really want to start on making this for myself. But...should I do this, or should I finish the other 3 or 10 kits that are patiently sitting in my To Do box?

Then there's this project. I bought these transfer patterns--"Happy Gadgets" last year along with...

These tea towels.... or wait...maybe it's....

THESE tea towels... I need to look. But, they would be a break from a BIG project, and would go really fast and might even be a good thing to whip up for a Christmas Present...
Anyone have any suggestions? Cause I really need to decide quickly on my next stitchin' project. And, who knows, I might even take your advice and stitch what you suggest!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Lake Charles

There's a "Lake" on the campus of DC3. I use the quotes, because in MY's a pond, not a lake. But, hey, it's name is "Lake" Charles, so there ya go.

these two guys--above live at the lake. There are several geese that winter over, but this guy/gal stayed all summer long too. The white fellow is a duck, not a goose. He and his mate also live at the lake. Unfortunately, his lady love died about a month ago. Since then, this duck and this goose have been hanging out together. The duck is not nearly as shy as the goose, as the duck will walk right up to people hoping for a handout.
This view is of the "lake" from my building. Not a bad view...not bad at all! And, this shot was taken mid September--a time when the grass is normally more brown and dry looking. But, with all the rain we've had this summer, it's still nice and green.

It was a crystal clear day the day I took pictures of the lake. No wind--which is rare in itself in Dodge City...the city that is windier than Chicago. (Look it up if you don't believe me.)

This tree I's a big old Cottonwood that grows right on the edge of the Lake. No bench under it, but it's still a nice spot to stop and watch the geese or ducks or even just enjoy the water.
It might not be a true lake, but it's pretty cool!


The girls have been laying eggs for 4 or 5 months now. When we had 23 chickens, I averaged a dozen a day. Then, we lost a couple to some idiot stray dogs.A couple of weeks ago, I sold 5 hens. I didn't have to sell the girls, but a friend of my Mom wanted a few hens and I decided that we'd do fine with 15 hens.

Plus, the roost was a little full with 20 girls on it, so I did need some space.

And...I wanted to get a Rooster or two to help out my girls who continually hear their biological clock tick. So, I got a couple of Roosters. I lucked out and got two roosters for free from some friends. Best part, they are the same breed (Buff Orpington) as the girls!

No "randy" behavior yet...the boys aren't really quite old enough to be interested in that sort of thing...yet. But, Henny or of broody again. Not sure if it's because the boys are there or what, because it's really not the right time of year to be brooding. I'm sure in another couple of months tho, the boys will be thinking about that and will be ready to assist the girls in their broodiness... That's what I like about matter what species, they are always ready to lend a ...err...hand when it comes to procreation.

Here's a shot of some eggs we gathered last week (on a day when someone forgot to get eggs the day before.) There's more than 8 eggs here. 13 and 1/2 or there bouts...
The 1/2 if for this little fella--below.

(Splotches are from my wet fingers and are not to be considered a flaw or imperfection in otherwise perfect and beautiful brown eggs.)

He's just a wee bit small. First time egg layin' size. What's up with that???

Not sure what happens, but occasionally, we'll get a really small, pullet sized egg. When you break it open, the yolk is about the size of a pencil eraser. Not really worth anything except to scramble with other eggs. But they're cute!
So, that's an update on the girls. Stay tuned for another episode of "As the Egg Turns"
or "News from the Biddies"
or "Cheep, cheep, cheep, pick a little, talk a little..."
or "Adventures of Randy the Rooster and Henny the Hen "
Ok, ok, I'll stop!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

and Riddle me THIS...

Why do ranchers, farmers and hunters get up at an ungodly hour each morning when all they do is go to the local coffee place and sit there for 2 hours drinking coffee?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Riddle me this...

How on earth do one's eye glasses get so stinkin' dirty so fast.

With fingerprints?

When I don't touch them?


Thursday, October 01, 2009


Yep, it's been THAT kind of day. Three toilets...3 of them left "un"flushed.

Just drives me absolutely


That is all...

Echo in the bone

I finished my book last night.

And now, I'm rather sad. There won't be another book in the Outlander series for another 3 or 4 years. I won't know what's going on with Jamie and Claire, Ian, Jenny, Jem, Roger, Brianna or Buck. Dang, I hate suspense--and now I have to wait for 3 more years! (Echo is the 7th book in the series.)

I love books that pull you in and keep you involved. I've been reading this series for 18 years. These characters are members of my family! And I won 't know anything new about them for several years...

And that makes me sad. I won't talk about the plot or what is bugging me or what I loved...cause I know there are some who haven't read it and don't want me spoiling it for them. But, when y'all me :)

But, never fear. I'll wait a couple of months, and then read Echo again. It's what I do. And, for a week or so, I'll be right there with the Fraser clan enjoying their exploits, laughing and crying with them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rah Rah Ree, kick 'em in the knee...

Believe it or not, this is my baby girl. You know, the one that I tried to give away last week, but no one would take? Yep. That's her.

Know how I can tell it's my little girl? Cause her mouth is open. The smile is foreign though. Well, I take that back...we do see it occasionally.

These are the Junior High Cheerleaders. They all look pretty good. But, what's with that one girl, looking off to the left? Maybe she's watching those hot Jr. High Football players.

Is there such a thing as a "hot" Jr. High football player? A couple of those boys are so small they have to tape their pants to their legs to keep their pads in the right spot.

Maybe she's not looking at boys...maybe she's really into Football and is watching the team to see if they should start their "first and 10 do it again" cheer....yeah, that's what she's doing.

Oops, she watched too long, and now she's out of step. Or maybe she was never IN step. Maybe she's totally uncoordinated and can't get in step with the rest of the girls...

Holy cow! Is that MY little girl up on top of that pyramid? What happens when they drop her? What happens when they fall? O dear...

Friday, September 25, 2009 13 year old girl...REALLY

FREE to a good 13 year old girl. Cute, blond, big eyes. Housebroken. Doesn't eat much. Requires only a computer and constant care and attention. Has short term memory issues. Doesn't cook, clean, or do any chores willingly. Can throw frequent...I mean occasional temper tantrums. Within 60 seconds, can also be quite the charmer. Would be a good addition to any home.

It's a long story.

Short version:

Kev and I will be home late tonight, we have a "date" with another couple. Andy will be out of town for the weekend. Miss Kat has plans to spend the night with a friend. Tomorrow, Kev and I plan on getting up early and going hunting followed by chopping wood. We don't intend to be home till sometime in the afternoon. Miss Kat is supposed to work a concession stand at the Youth Football game at 2, but, she can stay at her friends till then.

Sounds really good, doesn't it.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

This morning, on the way to work, I received 2 phone calls...

"Mom, I need money for the game tonight."

My thoughts as I heard this statement: What the heck! Haven't we had these conversations before? Crap kid, I'm 1/2 way to Dodge! 15 miles away. How on earth am I supposed to give you money? Can't you ask the night before? Don't you know how to plan ahead? Fer-cryin'-out loud. Who is your mother and why didn't she teach you how to plan ahead? SHE does...why don't you. Sheesh a Pete KID.

What I actually said was: "Well, just how am I going to get you any money? Is there any in the egg money jar? O, wait. Dad says he has a 5 in his dresser drawer. Get it."

Ten miles further down the road, my phone rings again...

"Mom, I just remembered. I have to bring cookies to sell at the concession stand tomorrow."

My thoughts as I heard THIS statement:

sorry, I can't print those thoughts...

Actually, I thought. FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD. Can't anyone do anything without me doing it for them? Do I have to solve every one's problems? Can't I have a life? Can NO ONE tell me anything BEFORE it's to late to do anything? What in the world am I supposed to do about stupid cookies? I suppose I can bake stupid cookies tonight. And, if I could, how would I get them to you--I'm leaving the house at SIX IN THE MORNING. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

What I actually said was: "FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD. What am I supposed to do? I'm leaving the house at 6 in the morning! There's a pan of Lemon bars on the counter. Take them to school with you today so you'll have them tomorrow."

What she said: "MOM...Those are yucky. I can't take those with me when I'm going to be running around at the game tonight! Can't you just BUY some?"

At this point, I just started banging my head against the steering wheel.

If you are interested in the free girl child that I'm giving away, please call...SOON. Otherwise, I can't be held responsible for her health, welfare and future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

what to do...what to do...

I'm torn.

In the evenings, after the supper dishes are done, and the house is back in order, and I have time to relax; I like to either stitch or read.

But, right now, I'm torn.

I have, in my hot little hands, Echo in the bone. (It's the book that was counting down to it's release date.) I've waited 4 long years to read this book. I've read every excerpt that Diana has posted on the web. (Diana's the author. We go wwwwwaaaaaayyyyy back. So, I can call her by her first name. We're tight, Diana and me...even if she doesn't know me from Adam.) I've read spoilers, interviews, hints, everything I could about this book. Cause, see, Diana is a wonderful writer.

She writes the "the smartest historical sci-fi adventure/romance ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting Uncle Scrooge comic books." (Quote from That's the best endorsement I've seen!

So, I have Diana's nice thick book to read but I also have a stitching project that I've been working steadily on and I'm making real progress. It might just be finished by Christmas! And then, it is premier week on TV this week. I could watch TV. I usually watch TV and stitch...but there's that book... I could read during the commercials and watch TV, or I could read during the commercials, watch TV while stitching...

Can I juggle both? All three?

Oh, what to do, what to do...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall's arrived

Yesterday afternoon, Kev and I ran down to Mom and Dad's. We kidnapped them, and went cruising around in the country. We went up to the Sand Creek Ranch to check it out for hunting. Kev was given permission to hunt it, but he just wanted to look it over, and since Daddy knows that area pretty well...we drug him along. Mom too.

Then we went by the farm to check out our tree stand there--to make sure it was in good condition, and that no critters had chewed away any ropes holding it in place. All well and good. A few branches need to be trimmed, but all in all, it's in good shape.

Then, we checked in the trees for some scrapes and rubs. Didn't find any of those, but did find hundreds of Monarch Butterflies. When Kev and Dad walked through the trees, Mom and I just stopped and watched the butterflies fly around. We counted at least 40 resting on branches, they'd move around and fly all around us. They were beautiful! Sure would have been nice to have a camera, but of course I didn't have it.

Imagine...hundreds of butterflies flitting around your head. It was a wonderful sight.

We decided that Fall must be here as they had to be migrating south. Which fits. The roads have been full of migrating caterpillars and tarantulas. Fall has arrived a few days early to SW Kansas.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What I want, what I need, and what I'm actually going to do.

This weekend, I want to stay home and clean my house.

I want to clean my carpets, get the floors mopped, the bathrooms cleaned, sheets changed, all laundry caught up. I want to get the jalapenos canned and out of my refrigerator. I want to pick more jalapenos and get them canned too. I want to bake. I want to actually cook a good meal for my family--one where we are all home, and where we can all sit at the table. I want to find time to read my book (Dan Brown's new one, The Lost Symbol) and I want to embroidery.

I need to get my bow out and practice. I need to sight my bow in. I need to get out and get a salt lick made. Archery season starts next week. I am not ready. I should use this weekend to get ready!

Instead...Andy has a trap shoot tomorrow that will take all day. Since Kev will have to work this weekend...I'm the parental representative. I like watching Andy shoot, but dang, we've been busy for the past few weekends, and I just want a break!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prayers please--UPDATE

My BIL, Steve has been missing since Monday morning. He left at 5 a.m. to serve as a guide for a hunter. The pickup with all the gear was found yesterday? Late Monday? I'm not sure of the details (Kev talked to my MIL, not me, and you know guys and information...)

Anyway, It's now Wednesday. He's still missing. Search & Rescue have been called in. Steve's pretty Mountain savvy, and finding the pickup with ALL the gear is worrisome...

So, if you are so inclined, please, say a prayer that Steve is found.

(And, remember, this Steve is my BIL, not my brother, who is also named Steve.)


The lost have been found, safe, whole and tired, but healthy. Basically, the hunter Steve was guiding...well...he wasn't one to listen to his guide. His guide, Steve, stayed with the common senseless hunter and well, that's why they were lost. But, they walked out yesterday afternoon. Safe.

Thank you all for the prayers. It was pretty scary for the entire family. I'm sure that today, Steve is being lectured by his wife on how to keep himself out of trouble!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A day at the State Fair

We went to the State Fair on Saturday. It's the first time Kev has gone to the Kansas State Fair. Last time I was there was 4 years ago, one week after Andy got out of the hospital from his scary bout with Pneumonia. And before that, it had been 20 years! I used to go to the fair all the time when I was in 4-H.

This time, Andy drove up with his girlfriend, while Kev, and I drove up with Miss Kat and one of her friends, Gen. We met Kim & Bob and family at the fair since they live near there. The kids spent their time (and my money) on the Midway, while we adults cruised the commercial exhibits. (Does this mean that I'm getting old, that I'd rather not be on the Midway?)

Kev and I did go in the Domestic Arts building, which I probably enjoyed more than he did. I saw one cross-stitched picture that would look perfect in my kitchen. I just need to find it, buy it and stitch it up!

We looked at domestic solar water pumps (which we could afford), and wind generators (which we can't afford.) We looked at PTO stuff for tractors (which we don't need) and we looked at campers (which we don't need, and can't afford) and we looked at 4 wheelers (which Kev is seriously considering.)

We also walked through the commercial buildings, watching the vendors hawk their merchandise. (How many different kinds of waterless cookware are there? I saw at least 5 vendors!) My favorite vendors? The locally grown honey and the Watkins booth. I dropped some cash at the Watkins booth and stocked up on Clear Vanilla, Double strength Vanilla, Butter flavoring and Almond extract. Now, I'm ready to bake.

We also made a point to go see the Butter Sculpture. It's beautiful, a horse being shod, and the horse just bit the farrier's patootie...but I can't help wondering what happens to all that butter once the fair is over. If they just throw it away, well, I wish they'd call me then, I'd use it! Don't know where I'd store it...and I can just imagine the comments I'd get when it was time to use the butter from the horse's "hindquarters", or the farrier's patootie...

One thing we planned on doing, but didn't, was to ride "Ye Old Mill."

Ye Old Mill is the oldest ride at the fair, built in 1917. It's one of those water rides where you sit in the boat and ride around viewing different vignettes. Some nice, some scary. I wanted to ride it with Kev, cause it's one of those "love canal" rides, and I wanted a smooch on the ride. I got the smooch, but we were just too tired to stand in line for a chance to ride "Ye Old Mill."

Ya know, back when I was in high school and college, I could walk around all day long, and far into the evening at the fair and be ready to go for more the next day. Not anymore! I was pooped by 7:00 when we left! And I was still tired yesterday too. Man, I must be getting old!

All in all, we had a great time at the Kansas State Fair.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Words of Wisdom...learned the hard way

Never have a big 'ole bowl of Watermelon for lunch on the day that the City turns off the water main to the campus.

Let's just say it makes for a rather long, uncomfortable afternoon.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


There are times when I'm really not sure that my daughter will become a good adult.

Heck, there are times when I'm not sure she'll become an adult. There's a good reason why some animals eat their young, and at times...I've been tempted myself! And then, at times, I get these glimpses of the person she's becoming; and I think to myself that maybe there is hope after all.

Last night, I got several of those glimpses.

Miss Kat and I had appointments with the hair dresser. I arrived first (she was in town already at a friends house.) I was sitting there in the chair, getting my hair cut when I caught a glimpse of this pretty, young girl walking by. Long legs, easy confident stride. Then she stopped by my car and threw something in the back seat. Oh! It's my girl!

My mental image of Miss Kat, the one I carry with me, is not quite what I saw, and seeing her look more like a young lady than a young girl is quite a shock to the system. Then she saw me, and smiled. She's got a beautiful smile. One of those heart stopping smiles that makes you warm inside.

She came in, and was just bubbly and chatty and happy. And, she stayed that way all night long. No mood swings, no temper tantrums, no anger. She was just so full of life and light.

It gives me hope for the future seeing this glimpse of the woman that my daughter will someday become.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The garden

The garden is winding down.

Kev and I went out last night and picked the last of the green beans and all the cantaloupe. Kev found 2 final cucumbers for us to enjoy. There are still some peppers, and the carrots are still in the ground.

And then there are the tomatoes.

The vines are beautiful. But, it's the first of September, and we have yet to get to eat a tomato. There's fruit there, it's just greener than green. With the cool weather we've been having, I'm not sure we'll get to eat any tomatoes from our garden.

I was so looking forward to a Bacon Tomato Sandwich made with home-cured bacon and a home grown tomato.

Maybe I can have summer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Don't ever play Memory with Miss Kat.

She cheats. No, she doesn't peek at the cards, she just rearranges them.


She likes her rows to be even and neat and uniform, so as we'd remove cards, she'd rearrange them to keep those rows full and neat and tidy.

Which totally defeats the purpose of the game Memory!

Which is probably why she won.

And, I can't help but wonder...

If she has to have neat and tidy rows of cards...

Why isn't her room neat and tidy?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shopping with teenage girls

On Saturday, I took Miss Kat to a nearby city to shop for some school clothes. I also asked my Mother if she'd join us. Not for her pleasure, but for me to have some moral support. Shopping with Miss Kat is not something I enjoy. (Shopping is something I don't enjoy, but it's worse when you add a teenage girl to the equation.)

I like this, she likes that.

She wants this, I don't want to spend the money on that.

If I say the sky is blue, she says it's green.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it.

That's why I asked Mom to join us. She can be the peace keeper, and she can remind me that "this too will pass". Cause Mom has been known to just laugh at Miss Kat and I and remind me that she and I didn't necessarily shop well together when I was a teenager. While it helps me keep things in perspective, I really don't want to be reminded that I was once a snotty teenager too.

Our shopping trip could have been worse. And I think there were two reasons it wasn't worse,; Mom was with us, and Miss Kat's Colby BFF, Miss Jenna, and her Mom joined us. Miss Kat and Miss Jenna are both just about the same size, except they have different shapes. Miss Kat is pretty lean and long and Miss Jenna is curvier, she has hips and boobs--as much as a size 0 or 1 girl can have hips and boobs... But, the girls could try on clothes together, and squeal together and they would tell each other what looked good and what didn't. They didn't even get mad at each other like they each would have with us Mom's. Having four other people looking at what they bought/tried on, and getting four opinions are always better than one Mom's opinion--even if she's the one with the checkbook.

I had planned on looking some for myself, I need some new shirts, and bras and I thought maybe I could even find a couple of shirts for Kev too. I never made it to the "adult" section of any store. Straight to the Junior section and then to the cashier. (Thank god for Target and Home Depot though, I did get a few things--other than clothes--at those stores!)

We left tired and broke, but I think it was a successful day. After all, at no time that day did I want to personally strangle my daughter...or my mother.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

100 top books

Books in bold are ones I have already read... and, me being me, I'm giving my opinion on many of these.

1 To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee No, I haven't read this. Yes, I should be ashamed.
2 The Secret Garden (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
3 Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen Regency thank you!
4 Twilight (2005) by Stephenie Meyer yeah, I read it, but seriously? This is considered one of the "best" books? Whatever. Twas Ok, but not worthy of being on a "best book list."
5 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Ronald Dahl
6 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey
7 1984 (1949) by George Orwell but now I think it should be retitled "2009"
8 Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë
9 The Richest Man in Babylon (1955) George S. Clason
10 The Catcher in the Rye (1945) by J.D. Salinger no, I haven't read it. Yes, I realize that I'mprobably the only person in America who hasn't read it. I don't care. It just hasn't appealed to me. And, yes, I did get through High School and college without having to read this!
11 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1947) by Anne Frank
12 Little Women (1868) by Louisa May Alcott
13 Gone With The Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell
14 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C.S. Lewis
15 The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry I loved this book. But, my take on the ending was very different that that of some of my friends.
16 The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini Sorry, it's not my kind of book.
17 A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens
18 The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
19 The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) by Alexandre Dumas
20 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams
21 Ender's Game (1985) by Orson Scott Card
22 Anne of Green Gables (1905) by L.M. Montgomery
23 Crime and Punishment (1866) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
24 The Time Traveler's Wife (2003) by Audrey Niffenegger I really liked this one, after all, the Time Traveler is a librarian!
25 Les Misérables (1862) by Victor Hugo
26 The Little Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
27 Mein Kampf (1925) Adolf Hitler Adolf, Adolf, Adolf, dude, maybe you should have learned the art of tatooing while you were in jail. Dude, you needed help.
28 One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa (Translator)
29 The Alchemist (1988) by Paulo Coelho
30 The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman
31 East of Eden (1952) by John Steinbeck
32 The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck Confession time: I skipped all the chapters that were social commentary, and just read the story of the family. So, I kinda read the whole thing...if you leave out 1/2!
33 Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell No, I know I'm awful. What sub-standard schools did I go to that let me get by with not reading so many great "classics?"
34 Memoirs of a Geisha (1997) by Arthur Golden
35 A Million Little Pieces (2003) James Frey
36 Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov
37 Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding stop making gasping noises, I haven't read this "classic" either! And, yes, I really DO have a college education.
38 Walden (1854) by Henry David Thoreau
39 A Wrinkle in Time (1962) by Madeleine L'Engle read it, didn't like it.
40 Anna Karenina (1873) by Leo Tolstoy It was ok, but I had trouble remembering everyone's names, Russian names all sound the same!
41 Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller
42 Life of Pi (2001) by Yann Martel Well, I STARTED it, but bleh--didn't finish it.
43 Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut
44 A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens
45 Watership Down (1972) by Richard Adams Read it years ago--in High School. Didn't understand it, so didn't finish it. Maybe I'd "get" it now?
46 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (1865) by Lewis Carroll well...I read the poems...
47 A Thousand Splendid Suns (2006) by Khaled Hosseini
48 The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver
49 Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë Why do people --"soul mates" have to be so stupid? COMMUNICATION people. sheesh.
50 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997) by J.K. Rowling I happen to Love the entire series. Very inventive, very creative, very well written. You won't go to hell for reading Harry Potter.
51 Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert
52 The Odyssey (600) by Homer
53 Water for Elephants (2006) by Sara Gruen
54 Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley
55 The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy
56 The Fountainhead (1943) by Ayn Rand
57 The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890 by Oscar Wilde
58 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain Yes, I know it has the "N" word. So what?
59 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith I really like this one, and I've read it several times.
60 The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (1983) Shakespeare...yawn. Sorry, I don't like Bill's stuff.
61 Angela's Ashes (1996) by Frank McCourt Lord love a duck, this has got to be the most depressing book I've ever read. I forced myself to finish it just because it was so heart-wretching.
62 The Book Thief (2005) by Markus Zusak
63 The Da Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown I found the idea intriguing...whether you believe the premise or not, it was thought provoking.
64 The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again (1937) by J.R.R. Tolkien
65 Night (1958) by Elie Wiesel
66 The Pillars of the Earth (1989) by Ken Follett
67 The Giving Tree (1964) by Shel Silverstein
68 Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon All of Diana's books are wonderful! I'm so glad that someone put her first on a list of "best books." She's one of my favorite authors.
69 The Brothers Karamazov (1880) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
70 Atlas Shrugged (1957) by Ayn Rand
71 A Prayer for Owen Meany (1988) by John Irving
72 Don Quixote (1605) by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Why do people insist that I should read books written 400 years ago?
73 Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker vampires...ick. O, wait, that's not politically correct anymore, is it? Vampires, yum.
74 The Lovely Bones (202) by Alice Sebold just not my cup of tea. Doesn't even sound interesting.
75 Sense and Sensibility (1811) by Jane Austen
76 The Iliad (600) by Homer
77 Moby Dick (1850) by Herman Melville cough cough, hack, hack, bleh. This has GOT to be the most boring and most worthless book ever printed. I absolutely hated this book. This book gives books a bad name.
78 War and Peace (1865) by Leo Tolstoy,
79 Of Mice and Men (1937) by John Steinbeck
80 The Old Man and the Sea (1952) by Ernest Hemingway
81 Middlesex (2002) by Jeffrey Eugenides
82 Lonesome Dove (1920) by Larry McMurtry Really? Lonesome Dove was written in 1920? Wow. It's on my list to read, so maybe someday, I'll read this one.
83 The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath
84 The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1983) by Milan Kundera
85 Siddhartha (1922) by Hermann Hesse
86 The Handmaid's Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood
87 Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) by Zora Neale Hurston
88 Emma (1815) by Jane Austen, Fiona J. Stafford (Editor)
89 On the Road (1957) by Jack Kerouac
90 The Glass Castle: A Memoir (2005) by Jeannette Walls
91 All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) by Erich Maria Remarque
92 The Master and Margarita (1966) by Mikhail Bulgakov
93 The Red Tent (1997) by Anita Diamant Hey! another one I really enjoyed! And, it's on a list!
94 Pygmalion (1914) by George Bernard Shaw
95 A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
96 The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999) by Stephen Chbosky
97 Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1888) by Thomas Hardy
98 The Name of the Rose (1980) by Umberto Eco
99 Eat, Pray, Love (2006) by Elizabeth Gilbert
100 Romeo and Juliet (1595) by William Shakespeare now, why on earth does Bill get two books on the list? I mean, isn't this one included in "The complete works?" Somebody either couldn't come up with another book, or they got tired at lazy when they got to #100. Sheesh!

33 books. out of this list, I've read one third. Not bad, but I'm not sure I agree that all of these are worthy of being on a "100 top books" list.

just so you don't forget me...

1) Right now I want: My backache to go away. It will, in about 5 days. (The headache will go away in about 5 years, when she turns 18.)

2) I wish I knew how to: Walk gracefully and elegantly, never tripping over my own two feet.

3) When I want to indulge myself, I: Take a book into the bathroom, fill the tub with bubbles and hot water, and turn on the jacuzzi, and stay in the tub for as long as I can.

4) You’ll never see me: in a bikini.

5) A childhood memory that I love: Driving to Grandma and Grandads--standing up in the backseat watching the water splash as we crossed the creeks that run across "Old Highway 160". As the car splashed water up, Steve and I would cheer.

6) 2 things I do every single day: Check my email, and take a bath...except yesterday, it was lightening-ing, and I didn't want to get electrocuted.

7) Happiest moment of 2009, so far: Andy's graduation. My chest hurt because I was so proud. And my eyes hurt because I did so much crying.

8) Describe yourself in 3 words: ogre, klutzy, dingy

9)What's your favorite type of Frog: Any frog that doesn't live at my house, or didn't hatch at my house, or doesn't come anywhere near me.

10) You have $40 that you MUST spend on yourself – what do you do with it? Bath stuff? Something for the kitchen? Maybe buy an antique? A book? Embroidery stuff? New shoes? Don't try to pin me down on just one thing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm still here!

I haven't forgotten to blog.

I've just been super busy.

Reupholstering and refinishing furniture.

Spending money at work

Spending money at home.

Getting kids ready for school (Both started today).

Getting the library ready for school kids.


Trap shoots

Family gatherings



Vacuum sealing...well, not so much, I had to return that machine, as I got a dud. It makes me sad.

But, I'll find something cute and cleaver to write about soon--or not.

Today was the first day of school for Miss Kat, and Andy's first day of college.

Couple of minor meltdowns...

But, I think we all made it!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Henny & Penny

This is Henny.
And, this is Penny.

Or maybe the top one is Penny, and this one is Henny...

It's so hard to keep them straight when they look so much alike. Anyway, these are my two broody girls. They've been sitting in these nesting boxes for about a month now. Every night, I reach under their little hot bodies and steal those eggs they keep trying to hatch.

I'm not very popular with Henny and Penny. In fact, last night, Henny, or maybe it was Penny, stabbed me with her beak.

It didn't hurt. I didn't even need a band-aid.

After all, I'm a tough old, country girl.

These guys have absolutely nothing to do with Henny or Penny, or even me. But, they and several of their best friends landed in the field next to our house last week. Aren't they pretty? As they flew over my head and circled to land in the field, I was worried that one of them would leave a deposit on my head. But they didn't.

If Henny or Penny could fly; well, they would probably leave a deposit on me, just to get even.

Stupid birds...

The Cat on the Back

Doesn't this title sound like a Dr. Seuss Book?

See the cat, on the back.

See the gray hair on the lady with the cat on the back?

See the cat lick the ear of the lady?

Stop licking the ear of the lady, cat.

You are not a nice cat.

You look like a pain in the butt cat.

Boy does that lady ever have a lot of gray hair, cat.

Somehow, I don't think "The Cat on the Back" will be a best seller.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

my dehydrator

Remember this? It was on one of my "I want that Wednesdays" list.

I finally ordered it last night. We got a flyer from Cabela's over the weekend, and these were on sale! So, I ordered it along with 3 meat tubs and a new vacuum sealer, which was also on 1/2 price! Oh, and, with our awards points, I got a great deal. Very little money out of my pocket! That's even better!

Hunting season is right around the corner, so we'll need these to process venison.

My garden produce is producing and I want to try dehydrating some potatoes and onions and garlic and mint and maybe even a few tomatoes. (If they ever turn red, and if the chickens stay out of them!)

So, now, I'm eagerly awaiting delivery so I can start playing with my new toys!

Monday, August 03, 2009

chickens and cucumbers

I'm not sure I'm going to be allowed to keep my chickens.

They have discovered that cucumbers are rather tasty.

Unfortunately, they prefer eating them off the vine. To be more accurate, they eat half, and leave the other half for us.

Except, Kev, doesn't really appreciate their spirit of caring and sharing.

My solution, a fence. But I think I'll wait a day or two to mention it to Kev...he's not really in a listening mood at the moment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The big fishing trip

Kev and Andy are leaving me (ok us, since Miss Kat is staying home with me.) The menfolk are going on a fishing trip this weekend. They're meeting up with our former hunting buddy and my "other" husband at the Glen Elder Reservoir in north-central Kansas. This trip is something they used to do quite frequently. Gene, the hunting buddy used to take his little boy, and Kev would take Andy and Lynn would take himself, but Lynn is the one I used to worry about. He just can't be trusted not to teach little boys things that Mamma's don't like.

Like how to put out the fire without using water, but using another readily available liquid. (Think of boys spelling their name in the snow.)

And to think, that I call Lynn my "other" husband. There must be something wrong with me...But anyway, Andy's grown up and Lynn doesn't teach him any bad things least I don't think he does.

Back to the trip. They're leaving Friday morning. And Kev's been working fairly hard these last few days at getting them ready. He's checked out the camper, he's checked out brakes and lights and gathered up umpteen fishing poles, other manly things like that.

Me...I'm getting their food ready. I'm not going, and I still have to cook for this trip. Where's the justice in that?

Last night, I made two batches of Enchiladas for the boys to take. See, Kev only married me for my Enchiladas, and the "other" husband likes them almost as much (but he hasn't offered to marry me yet...what's with that?) I made a double batch. Four or five men...20 should be enough for one meal.

20 tortillas, 4 cups of homemade chili sauce, probably 4 lbs of deer burger, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, two large onions and two pounds of cheese. That's a lot of food! I was tired by 9:30 when the last pan came out of the oven.

Tonight, I get to make corn flake chewies for the boys. I think those cookies will be the last thing I cook for this fishing trip. But somehow, I don't think my involvement in getting ready for the trip will be finished tonight.

I wonder, why does a fishing trip require so much work from someone who isn't even going?