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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tower Trail in Beulah and Stompin' Grounds Coffee Shop, Here we come.

Janet Altman and I decided that we were big girls and we could go hiking by ourselves, so the plan was made.  I would pick her up Friday morning at 8:00 AM and we would go to the Stompin" Grounds coffee shop in Beulah, which is owned and ran by my friend Jan.  We had a Green Tea Latte which I think is what it is.  She made hot green tea and frothed the milk in it and then we added honey.  First one she had made and it sounded good to us.  Course we had to add our own honey and she has this really weird honey thing which we had no luck at all with until she told us we were using it upside down.  Then it was good.
With the tea warming our bellies, we took our leave of Jan and the regulars at the shop.  Of course Jan had to give us parting advice about how to avoid bears and snakes and then told us that if she looked out the window and seen helicopters circling the mountain park and they were looking for us, she would come up there herself and get us!  OK, momma!  Not gonna get lost.  Well, I did get lost looking for the park, but eventually I found it.  Janet had never been up to Beulah to just kick around so I was the leader!  Imagine me a leader?  Well, here it is!
And here is the trail!
Might be a problem worth thinking about next time is the what to wear problem.  I, in my little mind, decided to dress to blend in with the scenery in the event there was a bear looking for a tender morsel before heading off for his long winter's nap.  I wore dung colored pants and a tan shirt and a tan hat.
She had the benefit of a boyfriend to give her advice.  He advised her to wear bright colors so the hunters would not shoot her.  I had definitely not thought of that.  I might have to get a boyfriend just to dress me for this hiking business.
Janet is atune to the earth and taught me a lot of things.  Like this is called "Natures toilet paper."  I was sure hoping I was not going to have to run around up there with my britches down looking for one of these plants. Luckily my luck held in that department!
She also found mountain sage.  She beleives that if you take from the earth you must replace it with something.  She was very careful not to pull it out by the roots. She said tobacco is a good replacement, but since neither one of us smoke,we had no tobacco.  She crumbled up a biscuit and we called that good.
I had to stop several times on the way up to let my body catch up with the altitude, but other than that, we were good.  When we got to the top I had that little thought in the back of my head that maybe this was not a loop trail and we were going to walk all the way to Westcliffe, so we turned around and headed back the way we came since we knew where that was.
All in all, it was a lovely hike and we not eaten by a bear, nor shot by a hunter and we were back home before noon.  I am sure looking forward to the next one.  It is so nice up there with no ringing phone and no one needing me for anything.  So, if you are interested, hit me up!  And if you would like to see my slide show, just click right here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lou Mercer Words of Wisdom: There is more than one way to skin a cat or a dog,...

Lou Mercer Words of Wisdom: There is more than one way to skin a cat or a dog,...: Soon after I lost my husband I decided to buy new furniture.  I opted for the microfiber, looks like leather, wears forever, and can hold ...

There is more than one way to skin a cat or a dog, for that matter.

Soon after I lost my husband I decided to buy new furniture.  I opted for the microfiber, looks like leather, wears forever, and can hold a dog hair against a jet engine vacuum.  Looked real good and is not foo-foo.  It was very soon that I decided I would need to cover it because the dog spent the day on it and left a pile of hair behind.  So I covered it.  Then I realized that I now had to wash the cover, dry it , and replace it every time I cleaned house.
I bought doggie beds for them.  That did no good.  Scolding, water bottles, and bells were no use what so ever.  I ordered 2 "scat mats" which are plastic runners with electric wires inside that shoots out a charge when the dog hops up there.  The only one that seemed to get any sort of reaction was company who sat on it and me when I forgot and put my hand on it.  You would have thought I would have remembered after the first 85 times.  When I watched dear Elvira walk the full length of the couch, yipping all the way, I decided that was a waste of batteries.
My next approach was the big sheets of bubble wrap with the big bubbles.  Decided on that when I stepped on it once and almost scared myself to death.  That method worked for about a year and I realized I had become known by visitors as "Queen of the red necks."  Frankly, I did not give a damn because the dogs were staying off the couches.  Famous last words.  Dear Daisy learned how to pull the bubble wrap off the couch and she could get white hair the complete length and breadth of the sofa.  According to my calculation and the amount of vacuum cleaner bags being used, that damn dog should be as bald as a billiard ball!
Bad Daisy!

I tried piling boxes on it which worked for a while.  When my patience was completely gone, I vacuumed one last time.  Then I stood it up on the arm and there it sets.  Either way, I can not set on it.  I get quizzical looks when company comes, but I am not a stickler for strange looks.  That happens fairly regular in my world!  
So here we have the couch that I can not set on, but smug in knowing neither can the dogs.  But as always in my world, I do not have the last word nor the last laugh.
This is dear Icarus, the calico cat that always has the last laugh!  Do you recognize where her new bed is located?

As for me, I will be perched on a wooden stool at the kitchen counter.  That is my place, until they change their minds and decide to share that space also!

You can not spinkle showers of happiness on other people without getting a few drops on yourself!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Life continues here on South Road.

The goose is history and life goes on around here.  I must confess that I was awakened by a strange sound in the night a couple times.  I wasn't afraid because the alarm system, the dogs, the moat around the outside and the solid core doors and deadbolts would slow an intruder down enough to give me time to jack a shell into the barrel of my 12 guage.  It was just something I had not heard before and I finally decided it was just a cougar and rolled over and went to sleep.  No sense poking a stick at something that can eat you, if you know what I mean.
So this morning I let the geese out and then packed my goodies and carried them out to the car to take to Hospice.  It was then I noticed a big horse standing in my yard.  I thought it was Ito who lives next door and eats all my carrots.  I started back to the house to get a carrot, thinking to lure him back to his pasture.  Whoops!  Ito was in his pen already.  I checked to see if his pen was secure and noticed the fence bent down in a couple places and the gate post bent.  Rascal was trying to lure Ito away!
So I drove down 2 doors since I already had the car running and would need it to get to town.  See out here 2 doors is not 2 doors.  It is more like an eighth of a mile by the time you figure my driveway, South Road and then their driveway.  Some kid answered the door and I told him his horse was over at my place and went back to my car and as I started for town I seen him picking his way across his driveway barefooted and I knew he was going to have  a long day if he didn't get his shoes on his feet.  Hell, we have goat heads out here bigger then McDonalds Big Mac.  Stickers are not our friends.
So, to the crux of the story, when I got home, the horse was once more behind his fence.  This made me remember the time when we first lived here and I planted Tulips out front.  I came home one afternoon to find a neighbors cow munching my Tulips.  It would have been their first year and as I stood looking down into the bitten off Tulip, I saw the colors they would have been had they not died an early death.  Red, Yellow, Orange and damn that cow.
Now this brings me to our lesson for the day which is "Good fences make good neighbors."  When Bill and Shirley lived next door, Bill had a bunch of banty chickens.  One rooster he prized very highly.  I had small part poodle, part something else named Sysnyck.  Sysnyck went over and brought the rooster to our yard to play with it.  Things got a little out of hand and Kenneth ended up beating the dog with the dead rooster to which Bill said, "The dog did not kill my rooster, you did!"  Things were tense, but if Bill had built a better fence my dog would not have been able to drag his rooster over here.  Right.
Clifford and Jacque moved in after they left and they had lots of dogs.  Cliff let his dogs run out back and one of my ducks managed to fly over the fence and right into the mouth of one of the dogs.  He should have built a higher fence.  Right?
The ducks were crawling through a hole in the fence and going up and playing in the ditch and upsetting Mr. Keys, so I had to re fence the whole place just to keep peace in the neighborhood.  That was right after Kenny passed away and the last thing I wanted to deal with at the time., but I know the rule about good fences and good neighbors.
The tomatoes are canned and cooling on the counter.  I visited 3 clients today and hopefully brightened their day. I took a walk earlier and walked up the ditch bank a little further then I thought and almost go stuck out in the dark, but now I am home, the dishwasher is running, the dogs have fresh water and hopefully all the fences are going to stay up and all the gates stay closed and I am going to sleep like a log.  Until next time....
Keep your powder dry!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A sad day here on South Road

This whole week was a real stresser, but today was the worst.  Wednesday I came home from sitting with a client for a break to find one of my geese upside down and paralyzed.  Since I had to go back and finish my vigil I put her in the goose house in a corner and closed her in so the other geese would not hurt her. The next morning she was still the same.  In the afternoon I carried her up to the yard and put her under a tree with water and grass.  Friday morning I knew she was not going to get any better and would need to be put out of her misery.  I made the arrangements to have it done the next morning.

Life is never that simple, is it?  Missed communications left me with no one to do the deed.  I knew I could not do it, but I still knew it had to be done.  I am aware there are those of you out there who would have been most willing to "chop her head off" or "wring her neck" or any other means by which to dispense the poor soul to the other side, free of her pain, but not me.  I held her and believe this or not, she let me.  She had the prettiest blue eyes.

I finally called a lady friend to see if her husband would do it.  Unfortunately they were in Telluride or Texas or some where that was not here.  But their son was here.  Of course he was here, he was no longer the little 15 year old boy I remembered.  He is now married with kids grown and gone and he would be most happy to help me out of this dilemma.  They were at a picnic and would come as soon as they ate.

And they did.  And he sent me inside and he took care of every thing and I was so relieved.  Now I am down to 9 geese.  Sammy assured me that he would always be willing to help me and I want you to know what a weight that takes off my mind.  He is a very kind man, but being a farmer he knows what needs done in the real world.  And he knows how I care for my animals.  That means a lot to an old woman living alone.

So tonight my heart is very heavy and only another animal lover can understand how I could care for a goose that is just feathers and poop mostly.  My geese hiss at me and stretch thier necks out like  they will attack me, but they won't.  And when I put them up tonight there was confusion, because they are creatures of habit and one of them is gone.  There were 3 Emidens in that hatching 3 years ago and now there are 2.  When the geese are all gone, I will sell the farm and move into town.  I now have 9 to go.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Plevna, Kansas, Grandma Haas and Great Grandma Hatfield

I know I have written about my Plevna years, but in case you missed it let me go there again.  Grandma Haas, who was Mother's mother, had a stroke mys last year of grade school.  Great Grandma Hatfield was pushing 100 and could not take care of her alone, so I was sent to stay with them and do what I could.  This meant I started my Freshman year in the little Plevna High School.  The whole high school was less then 40 kids.  Plevna was a farming community and all the kids in school were farmer's kids.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.  But it was what it was and there I stayed.  I do not remember any of those kids I went to school with.  There was a family named Smith that lived catty cornered from the grandma's and I went over there sometimes, but was under strict orders not to look at their television because that was the work of the devil!

The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and a whole bunch of girls.  I can recall 5 for sure.  I never saw a boy, so that may have been the family.  There may have been a son some where but I do not recall.  Mr. Smith had one blue eye and one brown eye.  That was something I had never seen before and have not seen since.  I see it occasionally in dogs, but never in a human.  Of course, I do not actually seek the phenomenon out, so it may slip by me undetected.

There were several things that amazed and intrigued me about the Smith family.  The first was the size of the house.  It was a two story that had never seen a coat of paint.  It must have been about 10 rooms and was lathe and plaster.  I know this because the ceiling of the foyer fell down and we were then relegated to using the back door because no one cleaned up the mess.  Later the ceiling in the front room would fall also.  That was more serious as Mr. Smith was napping on the couch under it when it collapsed and received a small cut.  We did praise God that it was not more serious!  One room contained a quilt frame which always held a quilt, but I do not know if anyone ever quilted or it was just there.

As in most homes of that era, the plumbing consisted of a privvy out back and a pump by the back door and usually one in the kitchen.  This was the other thing that amazed me about the family dynamic.  There were several wash tubs located in the kitchen.  They were there to hold the dirty dishes.  On Saturday, they heated water and washed all the dishes.  It was a bee hive of activity on that day as all the women folk were there and working feverishly to get the chore done.  When the dishes were all washed, dried, and put away it was time to heat the water and wash the clothes.  Saturdays were definitely work days at the Smith house!  Mr. Smith stayed in his chair by the window looking out at the back yard.  The dog stayed by him so it did not get stepped on by the scurrying women.  I did not go over there on Saturday.

Sunday I was expected to attend church.   Mom and dad would come for a visit about once a month.  They brought the 3 younger girls.  This was always special to me.  Dinner would be on the table when I got home.  It was always a feast and always the same fare.  Great grandma fried chicken and the rest of the meal materialized around that.   You know the comfort food thing?  Mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, homemade dinner rolls, butter, jelly and pudding of some sort or another for dessert.  Some times a cake or pie.  Celery stuffed with peanut butter.  Pickled beets and sweet pickles.  The poor table would be groaning from all the food.  Never went hungry at Sunday dinner.
As I recall we never ate after the sun went down.  Dishes were washed and back in the cupboard in very short order.  The men folk, which usually consisted of my father, sat in the rocking chair with his thumbs hooked together over his stomach.  Grandma died in January of my freshman year.  Aunt Mabel came from Coldwater and took great grandma back with her.  I returned to Nickerson and the bosom of my family.

My father.  As I recall, my father was a big man.  His skin was very white and his hair had at one time been mostly red, but not a bright red.  It was more like a reddish blonde with a tad of brown.  He had freckles on his hands which were very white and not calloused at all.  I don't remember his eyes.  He had a big stomach and always wore overalls.  He wore brown, high top shoes.  Funny the things we remember from our childhood.  I think he may have been English with a bit of Irish, but who knows.
I do not think he liked me very much.  I know Mary was his favorite, but Mary was everyone's favorite.  Mother kept all of us girl's hair very short, but Mary was allowed to let hers grow long.  We were all so jealous!  Dorothy was the baby.  Donna and I were just there as  middle children.  Josephine ran away and got married very young.  Jake forged his birth certificate to show his age as 17 when he was 15 and joined the Army.  That made me the oldest of the youngest kids at home.  I relished in that and was very bossy.

At night we played "kick the can"  with the neighbor kids.  That is a game of hide and go seek which entailed placing a can on the ground and the one who was "it" counted while everyone hid.  Then the "it" person had to find each one and bring them back to "base".  While the "it" person went to search for the remaining hidden, some one could sneak in and "kick the can" which freed the ones who were stuck in the "jail".  Game sometimes went on for hours.  In day time we had "clod " fights.  This required a freshly plowed field.  We usually chose small clods which had dried and threw them at each other.  They usually crumbled on contact, but if they had been baking in the sun several days, they tended to be a little harder and left marks.  As tempers flared, the clods got bigger and more then one tear was shed either from pain, frustration, or from an eye full of dirt!  Brother Jake decided at one time to pull out his .22 rifle.  Little shit!  The game was over for the day and he was the winner for sure.

More about Plevna later, but now I have to go tend to the geese.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Welcome to my world.

I forget that Debbie does not do the email thing, but does check in here pretty regularly for my words of wisdom.  So, Debbie here are all my endeavors and I sure hope you enjoy them.  The first one is the Stations of the Cross that I told you about.  Enjoy!

Click here for my youtube.