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?

Monday, July 27, 2009

picking beans

Early yesterday morning, I went out to the garden to pick beans. It was a nice cool morning and I enjoyed being outside.

The cats followed me out, and as I was squatting there in the garden, minding my own business, picking beans, one of the cats decided that he needed a change of view.

I was busily searching for beans to pick when I felt claws climbing up my back. I didn't want to jump up, because then those claws would dig in deeper, so I hunched lower, thinking if it was an easier climb, there wouldn't be a need for claws. And, I hoped that I was simply an obstacle, or something fun to climb across and then the cat would jump back down.

I was mistaken.

Once up the back, he laid down across my shoulders. He laid down, stuck his head in my ear, licked it and purred like a motorboat. I'm squatting there in the beans, wondering how in the world I got to be so blessed to have this cat on my back. I still thought about standing up and dumping the cat, but his claws were still too close to my flesh for me to want to do that.

So I kept on picking beans.

With a 10 lb. cat wrapped around my neck. Who was not napping, but kept licking my ear, eating my hair, playing with my hair, purring in my ear, patting the back of my neck, occasionally wrapping his leg around my neck, thoroughly enjoying himself.

By now, I needed to move down the row, so I carefully straightened my back, hoping he'd take the hint and jump off.

He didn't, he just wrapped himself more tightly around the neck.

So, I reached up and dislodged him. He jumped down--without using the claws and decided to just roll in the dirt, quite proud of himself.

I finished picking beans without any further mishaps, instead of climbing back up my body, he decided it was more fun to hide in the beans and scare me.

Stupid cat.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rant on...

Can someone explain how a CEO, or President of an institution can justify a nice raise for himself, but tell his entire staff of over 150 people, that they wouldnt be getting a raise.



Cause sorry, I don't think that any CEO, or President of an institution is the only one there who deserves a raise at the expense of 150 other people.

And, I will say, that if I were a CEO, or President of an institution and my staff wasn't getting a raise; I wouldn't be getting one either.

Yeah, it just pisses me off.

Rant off...

Couch potatoes

Kev and I usually get quite a bit done around the house in the evenings. He'll go outside and do "guy stuff", like mess around in the garden, mow, run the weed eater, pull stickers, spray weeds, mess around in his shop, mess around with his smoker, etc.

I'll do supper, clean up the kitchen, yell at Miss Kat for leaving the kitchen a mess all day, pick up the living room, pay bills, go outside and water my flowers, mess around with the cats, yell at either Andy or Miss Kat for something, gather eggs, talk to my chickens, check on my lilac bushes and plants, cross stitch, etc.

But not this week.

This week, we've both been very lazy.

I mean, I haven't yelled at either of my kids all week! What's up with that?

No, we've been serious couch potatoes this week. We watched movies every night this week. And, if we're on the couch watching TV, we aren't outside doing all our other "stuff." I can't remember any other time when we've been so lazy for 4 nights in a row! That's insane!

(But, I haven't been as lazy as Kev...I've been cross stitching while watching those movies, so I'm not as much of a potato as he is!)

This morning, we discussed what all we want to get done at home this weekend. And, then Kev said, "Bring home a couple of movies."

We'll see how this weekend turns out...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gardens, Green Beans, and the women I love most

It's Green Bean season. Beans are ripe, and need to be picked and either canned or frozen, or even eaten fresh. I love home canned Green Beans. They are so much better than those you can get at the store. Much much better. Well, except the French cut beans...I like those from the store...

We had gardens at various times when I was a kid, and Green Beans were always a staple. I hated picking beans. They are (duh) green, and so are the leaves. They hide among the leaves. You have to bend over when you pick them. Rows are long. Your back hurts. You have to pick every few days....

I hated helping Mom pick beans. But, I liked snapping beans.

Mom, and Grandma B. snapped beans. Meaning, they used fingers and snapped the blossom end and the tip off the bean, then snapped the bean into 3 or 4 pieces. Grandma Woodruff cut her beans. Where we snap, she used an old paring knife to make those same cuts. I think she cut because she raised 7 kids and had a much bigger garden than Grandma Berends did or even my Mom. My Aunt Ruby also had a huge garden, and I remember seeing her 6 or 7 rows of beans and felt sorry for my cousins who had to help pick all those rows of beans. (And, I felt grateful that I didn't have to help!)

I can remember helping Grandma W. snap beans sitting on the front porch. The time I helped, they still lived on the farm, so I was younger than 10. I remember sitting there with her, bowls on our laps, beans between us, just cutting our beans and talking. I felt very grown up, helping my grandma and getting to use a knife! I can still see her sitting there, in her dress and sensible shoes, her beautiful white hair shining in the sunlight, snapping beans. I have the feeling that she was enjoying herself, sitting outside, enjoying the weather, watching the cattle out in the pasture and watching Steve and I play. I don't think I helped very long, I probably lasted a few minutes, but Grandma let me help, and when I was done, she let me run off and play. Just an ordinary day, but for some reason, that memory has stuck with me.

I spent more time helping Grandma B., because I stayed with her more often than I did Grandma W. So bean picking and snapping memories are more common and more of a chore. After all, you do get tired of doing beans long before the season is over. Grandma B. usually put a newspaper down on the kitchen table for the ends and bad beans. Then, when we were done, I took that newspaper outside and shook it off so the chickens could eat the parts we didn't use. Mom did it the same way, except we didn't have chickens, so we just tossed the tips and bad pieces.

None of my "womenfolk" let me help with the pressure canning. I could wash the beans, and help pack the jars, but working with the pressure cooker and hot water was something that the adults did. I was scared of the pressure cooker.

Now, I grow my own beans. I like to snap them in the kitchen, or sometimes in the living room, in front of the TV. We didn't plant enough rows that I get enough each time to can, so I'm freezing my beans this year. But, just doing this activity that I did with my Mom and with my Grandma's gives me a sense of belonging and tradition. It's a tie from my present to my past and to them; the women I love most.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The joys of out of town travel

I went out of town this past week for a business meeting. I left Wednesday afternoon because it was a five hour drive to Manhattan (KS, not NY) and I really wanted to have time to find the hotel, relax, find the meeting location, etc. I've been to Manhattan...4 times in my life, so I'm not familiar at all with the town.

I got to town around 5 p.m. Got checked into the hotel, and thought about supper.

I wasn't really hungry, but wanted to physically move around. I walked around, but quickly noticed that there wasn't anywhere to eat near my hotel. So, shortly after 6, I got back into the very nice 2008 Chevy car and drove down Tuttle Creek Blvd to see what sounded good for supper.

Saw a Dairy Queen, so decided that some ice cream would just hit the spot. You know, something light and healthy for a blizzard. I placed my order and returned to the car to go back to the hotel.

Except the car wouldn't come out of park. I turned the steering wheel, thinking that it was just locked since the tires weren't square. Still wouldn't come out of park. So I messed around, trying various things to see if I could get it to shift.


So, being the kind of person I am, I got the car manual out and read it. I found a paragraph that said...if you park this stupid car on an incline and don't set the parking brake, you can put torque on the transmission and it won't shift out of park. To fix this, have someone push your car to release that torque, and you should be ok....

Well, I'd parked on a slight incline, like a bump. So, maybe that was the problem.

But, I didn't know anyone in Manhattan. So, I went back inside the DQ and a couple of guys working there volunteered to push the car to see if we could get it fixed.

We couldn't.

Finally, I remembered that I had the phone number of one of the librarians in town. Called her. She wasn't home.

So, I ran across Tuttle Creek Blvd (5 lanes of traffic) and two blocks down to a Firestone dealership which was open.

But, only one person was on duty, so no one there could help.

I ran back across Tuttle Creek Blvd which provided me with plenty of exercise, but not any solution to my problem. In fact, I broke my shoe running back across the street. (Thank god for long toes which kept my flip flop under my foot while I ran across the street.)

At this point, D, the librarian, called me back. She knew someone who might be able to help, and they arrived a little while later.

We pushed the car, but still no luck. We even called a couple of mechanics that D knew, and they all said, "yep, that should take care of it."

By this time, I decided I'd had enough. D took me to the hotel for the night.

I called the "head of college cars" and got permission to have the car towed and repaired. The next morning, after a less than restful night, I called a tow truck, had the car towed to the shop.

The tow truck driver even picked me up at the hotel so I could talk to the dealership and the mechanics.

Another librarian, who happened to be staying at the same hotel, let me bum a ride with her to our meeting, and back to get the car that night.

The best wasn't my fault! There was a broken wire in the...something...that kept the car from shifting. Second best part...I had a school VISA, so I could simply charge the repair bill instead of having to pay for it myself and then get reimbursed. Third best part...I get to buy myself a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that broke. (The third best part is my personal favorite.)

But, for the rest of my trip, I made sure I parked on level ground, just in case it was my fault...

And, hey, I now can say that I know Manhattan a letter better now. I actually know where Tuttle Creek Blvd is, and which direction it runs. I actually know where the Firestone place is, and I know where the Hampton Inn is, and I know where the Chevy dealership is! Somewhere, in that town resides KSU. But I don't know anything about that part of town; I'm saving that for the next trip.

But I don't think that I'll go to DQ next time. DQ is dangerous for my waistline and for my car.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The temperature in my car last night at 5:30 p.m. 117.

The temperature in my car last night at 5:45 p.m. 113.

The temperature in Bucklin last night at 6:05 p.m. 95.

The temperature in my house last night at 6:07 p.m. 95.

Today, the new AC unit goes in. We've been without AC since the 4th of July.

It's been hot since the 4th of July.

Like well over 100 degrees every day.

The new AC goes in today, and the forecast is for a balmy 90. Shoot, I won't even have to turn the darn thing on!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Nasty surprises

Last night, I got a rather nasty surprise.

I was gathering eggs (15 thankyouverymuch) and I noticed that one of the waterer's was empty.(spell check doesn't like "water-ers, but...what else do you call them???) So, I grabbed the waterer to fill it up. As I lifted it off the cinder block that keeps it off the floor, 4 little mice ran out from the holes in the cinder block.

Fortunately, not one made a mad dash to my legs or feet. Two went up the wall by the nesting boxes the other two went somewhere else--but not up my legs. (You have my permission to shudder. That's what I did. Shudder, some fancy footwork and some noise, all while holding that waterer. If it wasn't already empty, it would have been after my fancy footwork.)

Once it was safe, I scolded the chickens. After all, they should have made a mad dash for that fresh protein! But, instead, they just looked at me as if to say, "Woman, it's 105 degrees outside, and I am not in the mood to chase my food today." (That's what I'd say if some wacko person told me to go chase down some food when it's 105 outside.)

Thinking it was now safe, I peeked down into the cinder block and saw little things squirming. Baby mice. [go ahead and shudder] Baby mice are not cute. They look like little pink and gray slugs with feet and a long tail. [you can shudder again if you want.]

Andy and I got the shovel and scraped these disgusting, squirming vermin and carried them outside (on the shovel) and deposited them outside for the cats to dispose of. Except, those cat's had just dined on succulent dry cat food, and they weren't any more interested in the mice than the chickens had been. Stupid cats.

Didn't matter. We deposited them outside and left. I'm sure they are all gone today. But I'm not going to look. My hope is that the chickens found them and decided that a breakfast of baby mice was just the thing. [take your final shudder now.]


lightening bugs

It was a beautiful evening last night.

I sat outside at sunset, enjoying the calm and watching the thousands of twinkling lights all across our yard, and the pasture. No one put up Christmas lights, but there were lots of twinkles and flashes of light anyway--from the lightening bugs.

Last night was the perfect night for them to be out. It was warm, and calm. No wind to speak of. And they were out in full force. It was very relaxing to just sit out by the pond, listening to the waterfall, and watching the light show.

The chickens were in bed, the kittens were frolicking in the drive and the lightening bugs were putting on their show. I could see twinkles of light for over a quarter of a mile. I think that next time, I just might take out the camera and try to get a picture. But, then again, I might not. It was simply too relaxing sitting by the pond and enjoying the evening.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Our 4th

Kev had the bright idea to pit BBQ a pig for the 4th this year.

He invited all his co-workers and their family's out, and he started looking for a pig. We picked up Ms "Pit"unia Thursday evening.

But, by then, all our guests had backed out. Well, all except one family of 4.

We had a 300 lb pig, and 4 guests.

We had a 300 lb. pig that we killed and butchered ourselves on July 3.

It was 100 degrees in the shade on July 3. And, we don't have any shade at our house.

It's not very fun to handle that much meat when it's 100 degrees outside. You have to work fast, and cutting up pork chops and hams and such isn't easy when it's 100 degrees.

It's actually rather gross to have a slab of meat, that an hour earlier, was a living animal on your counter. It's still warm, it's still bloody and it doesn't cut very well.

But, we got the pig butchered, and put most of it in the freezer. (We'll make ham and bacon again once it gets colder.)

Kev had his pit dug, and Friday evening, he started burning wood to get his coals. At 2:30 in the morning, he woke me up and had me come help him put the meat in the pit.

I wasn't sleeping very well knowing that he was sitting out there by the pit watching all that wood burn, so him waking me up wasn't that bad; but making me come outside in the rain to put the meat in the pit was rather annoying. (I don't remember promising in my wedding vows "I promise to help BBQ pigs in the rain at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. in the rain."And, I'm not sure where it falls in the For better or worse, in sickness and health part.)

We pulled the pig out at 4 on the 4th. It was good, juicy, tender, literally "fall off the bones" tender.

It went very well with the homemade BBQ sauce I made, and the cheesy potatoes that our guests brought.

Was it worth the work?

Ask me in a few days--after we eat some more of the 3 gallon bags of pulled pork that were left over...

(I need ideas of what to do with all this meat. Recipes anyone?)