Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ya know it's hot....

Ya know it's hot when the chickens are walking around with their beaks open, panting, and their wings held away from their bodies. Ya know it's hot when the horses are all sweaty from doing nothing more than standing around eating, and the cows in the field are either standing in the pond or clustered under any tree that might provide a bit of shade. Time to go to the river or lake! A week of 100 plus degree weather will drive ya there.

We drove about 45 minutes to a campground below the dam at Langley that we have visited for about 40 years. Of course, then we had a truck that would barely make it and a tent to stay in. At that time boats could be rented there, and we had a little outboard motor. Now, that's our pretty little motorhome parked with utility hookups ( must have air-conditioning!), and we have our own flat-bottomed boat and motor. Not many fish to be caught in that kind of heat, but we can get out of the boat and float along side a while. Larry did catch enough catfish for dinner!

On another note, stalking the crazy bird goes on with no success.
This is what I get when I try to sneak up on it. The crazy bird is a painted bunting, a beautiful bird with a blue head, red belly and green back. He really is gorgeous, but you'll have to look one up to see what he looks like because he won't allow a photograph. The doggone thing has been around for a month or so alternately eyeing or attacking his reflection in the glass. He just will not hold still! The other morning I tried again, missed him again, and came in from the sunroom all frustrated to get ready for work.

"What's the matter?" Larry asked.

"I just can't manage to get a picture of that crazy bird!"

Into the bathroom I went to prepare myself to meet the public at Walmart.

A few minutes passed. "I got it," Larry said, smugly offering the camera to me. He had stood at the door to the sunroom, used the telephoto and snapped away.
I took the camera to review his photo, then proceeded to laugh my head off ( well, not literally; but you get the idea). "Did you look at these?" I asked when I caught my breath.


"Are you thinking we have world-class camera equipment here? 'Cause what we have is an 'el cheapo' easy-share. You got a lovely picture of the sunroom, but no discernable bird!"

Well, maybe we'll keep trying; but ,seriously, find a picture of a painted bunting elsewhere because it's not looking so good here.

Blackberry season is here! It's looking better than mushroom season was. No mushrooms this year... must have been the erratic temperatures. It was crazy, warm then cold, twenty dgrees or more variation day to day. The berries a little smaller than I would have guessed after the spring rains, but they'll do. Wild berries tend to be smaller than domestic ones anyway. Yep, ya get domesticated, then ya get big and fat. Happened to me! Time to make cobbler...Yum!

Still no blooms on the big-leaved plant in the backyard, but they've got to bloom sooner or later, right? Meanwhile, God's garden along the road is doin' pretty well. If I could just get stuff to grow where I want it!

I have finally gotten a little bit from the vegetable garden! A few peppers and some green beans! Before long, tomatoes, cucumbers, cantelope, okra, eggplant, and squash! In the meantime, thank goodness for grocery stores!

The green beans are sitting on my latest recycling effort. I bought the table about 20 years ago at a garage sale. I just kept a tablecloth on it, but about 8 or 9 years ago, I painted it. It was just kind of beige with some oak leaves stamped on it. Fine for years, but started looking kind of yucky. I stripped off the paint thinking I would just stain it and poly the top. So, stripped off the paint and then remembered why I painted it in the first place. A couple of black rings on the top that I just couldn't remove! Well, so much for stain andseal. Here's the result... Different, huh?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Officially Summer

Summer and Father's Day arrived on the same day. Brian and the boys came out for some "guy" activity. A new .22 rifle had to be sighted in. Larry insists that only two shots needed to be fired in order to sight in the gun, but, hey, it's a .22-- cheap bullets! What about the fun factor? Fire two shots or shoot the heck out of a cardboard box? No contest.

When Brian finished throwing bullets, Gage helped me bring the ponies back in from grazing. I lead the biggest one, and the two smaller ones generally follow. Sometimes the smallest, Dezi, needs a bit of encouragement to come in. Enter boy on four-wheeler from the rear. Fun for all! Well, not so much for Dezi. Next, time to go fishing at a nearby farm pond, clearly more enticing than fishing in our pond. Larry's job was to take photos. Maybe photographer school would be a good idea. Everybody caught something, but Lane caught the only turtle. They had fun anyway, despite the heat.

It has been a tough season for gardening so far. The spring was so wet! When I managed to find some time when the garden wasn't too wet to plant, I would get a few seeds in; then a downpour would come and beat down any seedlings or wash out any seeds. A neighbor brought over a few squash and cucumbers, but we haven't gotten anything out of our garden yet. I finally have a place in the backyard to plant flowers. You wouldn't think that would be a problem with ownership of 33 acres. That would not take into consideration the goats, chickens and assorted wildlife. I now have an area surrounded by cattle panels and chickenwire. Eventually I hope to cover the less than attractive fencing with greenery. This year, though, I put out a few bedding plants. I also got a box of hummingbird mix seeds. Attract hummingbirds! Sounds good, right? Well, I cleared an area and broadcast the seed. Soon there were all sorts of things germinating. Problem... no indication of what was coming up from the broadcast seed and what was just coming up on its own. Soooo.... the only difference between a flower and a weed is cultivation, right? Right??? Maybe not. Some plants seemed to have stickery stems. Ooooh, don't want those! Pull them up! May have gotten a little carried away. Ornamental grass would be grass that you don't mow, right? Got some of that! And I have a bunch of these big-leaved plants. They're sunflowers, right? Time will tell.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Do Rural people blog?

Maybe I am one of the remaining unconnected rural people. Maybe it is more a result of age than locale. As I approach 60 years of age, I feel more and more out of it. I watch kids texting their little brains out and wonder what I'm missing. I retired from teaching high school partly because I felt so out of touch with students. It could be suggested by some that small school rural students are out of it anyway, but that would make me twice as out-of-it. I no longer listened to the same music, watched the same movies or television programs, and was totally not a gamer. Anyway, it's time to try something different as my mind now has the time to wander.
I know that many people think that teaching is almost "banker's hours" or even better because of all the holiday breaks and summers off. I must have been doing something wrong for thirty years then because I didn't get that sense of leisure. I found myself with no life outside of teaching. I felt the need to retire to find something of myself, if there remained much to find. I feel that sense that "there's got to be something more," but I have no idea what that might be. The paltry sum left of my teacher's retirement check (over half of the net goes to health insurance--as bizarre as that is) does not leave much for exploration financing despite the fact that I am debt free. So... what to do, what to do.... Maybe the only sort of exploration left as a viable option is virtual exploration. I have the means and ,finally, the time.