Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

There's just something about cap guns that brings out the kid in me. Instant childhood.

As soon as I opened the box I got this strange urge to run around the house firing them off. But since my buddy and I have a gunfight planned for the Halloween party at the bar tonight, I need to conserve ammunition.

But gee whiz it puts a smile on my face to pop off a few. So if you're feeling old or down or just want a little bit of that youthful joy back, go get yourself a cap pistol and some caps, and go nuts!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Well, with the usual perfect timing we seem to have come down with a case of the flu. I say "we" but I really mean Farmmom, Farmdad, and Mamaw.

So far, I think my fall allergy sinus congestion has been protecting me from the bugs. If I can't breathe in the germs can't get in.

Farmmom's been down the longest but she seems to be improving. Farmdad caught it from her, and Mamaw came down with it after he did.

I'm just hoping that it clears up in time for me to sanitize the house, because we've got a lot of company coming in about ten days.

So cross your fingers and send healthy thoughts, guys. Otherwise, with my luck, I'll be miserable for the big weekend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Really Gone

It's that time of year again when I start to realize that yes, summer is really gone. For one thing my allergies go nuts as every plant in the northern hemisphere starts throwing off whatever it is that they throw off as they die or go dormant for the winter.

Whatever it is, my sinuses hate it.

For another, the grass goes brown and dry, starting to sound more papery underfoot than lush and swishy. The sunshine and air take on a different quality, too. I don't ever feel like I'm really warm all through from the first frost until the clover starts to sprout, even when I'm working up a sweat. Fall and winter have their charms, but it's just not the same as baking in the summer sun.

I'll readily admit that I'm a summertime girl. In the summer the days are long and there are more hours to hang out with my large four legged children, of whom I suddenly realize I don't have nearly enough pictures.

I've been talking quite a bit lately about the three pasture ornaments, thanks to the nice folks who were running through our fence, necessitating me leading them back in, so I found some pictures of them, and summertime, because dagummit I miss the sun!

Here you can clearly see how wild they are. On the right is Muffin, my beautiful, built-like-a-brick-shithouse girl. Looking at this picture, most horse people would be thinking "Why is she not broke to ride?!?" Well folks the answer to that is: When Muffin was just a bitty foal, she ran through a barb wire fence, and cut up her right fore. She healed up and did great in pasture, but when we tried to have her saddle broke we discovered that the damage had made her lame with the added weight of a rider. I'm going to get her bred, though, because I want her baby! In the middle is Roanie, who you can't see very well, but who has lived a very long, contented life, throwing a few colts and generally bossing everyone else around. On the left is Dusty, my beautiful blue eyed boy. Like so many blue-eyed animals, he's developed cataracts and doesn't see very well anymore, but in his pasture, with the girls to help him, he gets around just fine.

Well enough to find my car and see if the paint job is tasty, anyway.

I know I've mentioned that Muffin is shy. She's just not a pet me kind of horse, but we've come to a working understanding. As you can see in the first picture, I pour the grain on the ground and don't hover over her head, and she comes close enough for me to look into those beautiful brown eyes. We're still working on the touching part, mostly because every time I'm out there with them my fingers itch to stroke that velvet coat.

But really, who wouldn't want to spend a couple of hours out in the pasture with this? Whether they let me love on them or not, they always come to say hi and see if I have a treat for them. Roanie accepts her wither and neck scratches regally, or stands blissfully under the curry comb in the spring when I help her shed out of that sweaty winter coat. Dusty sniffs at my fingers and my pant legs, or just stands hipshot near by with those lovely eyes half lidded in the sun, soaking up its warmth. And Muffin? Well she gets in on the action too, occasionally sneaking up behind me to see if I've stuck some extra special treats in my back pockets or down the waistband of my pants.

To me, that's summer. A couple of hours in a pasture, getting grass stains on my knees and horse slobber on my shirt, all for the sake of the briefest of moments, that brush of contact from a whiskery muzzle on my skin.

The contact may last an instant, but the contentment and joy that I feel thanks to these wonderful creatures that have no reason to love me, beyond that I am kind to them and respect them in turn. They're not trained, they don't work. They've never developed that age-old partnership between man and horse. But every time I step out of the pickup, they come running, without fail happy to see me.

And that thought, friends, warms my heart as sure as the summer sun that I won't see again for months warms my skin.

Hooray For The First Amendment!

It seems that President Obama's people (of not the big O himself) attempted to bar Fox News from an interview with the Pay Czar, Mr. Feinberg, while allowing the rest of the White House Press Pool.

This attempt backfired when the Main Stream Media system finally woke up to the fact that hey, they're trying to mess with freedom of the press!

All of the networks that were "invited" so to speak, refused to conduct an interview if Fox wasn't allowed the same chance.

So, although I never expected to say this, I'll give kudos to the MSM for seeing the right thing and doing it.

Article here and here.

(HT to Breda for the second link)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The House

Well, we've continued to work on my house, although at times it seemed we were moving backwards rather than forwards.

Progress is being made, however. There is just a bit of crawling around in the attic left to do for the wiring, as we only have two more lines to run to the breaker box, and the drops to make in the office/tack room/laundry room.

First I have to finish tearing out the plaster and lath in the office/tack room/laundry room, so that we can get the boxes for the plug-ins and light switches put in, and the wire drops from the attic made. Then it's just actually installing switches and plug-ins, and tying everything together at the junction boxes, which I can now do. Once all of that is done, it's time to call in someone with a little more skill and confidence than we have to actually install the breaker box, and get everything up and running.

Once the electrical drops are made and all of the attic crawling is finished, I'll be going to the other extreme and making my way underneath the house to do the plumbing, water and gas. Yes, we have to re-run the gas lines as well.

Meanwhile once the pipes are run as far as the wall between the kitchen and office/tack/laundry room, and all the electrical drops are made and the exterior plugs put in, it'll be time to throw up the insulation on the outside walls and transfer a large amount of my crap into that room, so that it will be out of the way.

Because once the plumbing and electric are working in the bathroom and bedroom, I'm going up with the remainder of the insulation (the bedroom is mostly insulated and drywalled, but not completely) and drywall, then texture and paint, and flooring.

Followed by the installation of the necessities of life: the tub, toilet, and sink, as well as the water heater. And the most important bit: my bed.

As soon as I have a functioning bathroom and a finished bedroom, I'm moving in. I can always borrow a kitchen, and I love Farmmom's cooking anyway.

But, it's finally beginning to feel like things are getting accomplished, which means I'll find something in the office/tack/laundry room that requires being completely rebuilt, because that's the way it goes. On the other hand, it is the only room that we have to pull the ceiling down in, so perhaps that's enough for Mr. Murphy.

I'm not counting on it, though.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I've been working on Jane, I swear. I've pretty much decided to choose a cadre of beta readers, some of whom have already been chosen and received what I had to date, and save the rest of the book for publication instead of posting it here. Sorry guys, but when it comes right down to it, the more new stuff is in the paper version, the more likely it will be that you fine people will buy it and stuff my pockets with lots of lovely royalty checks.

What? A girl can dream, can't she?

The latest scene still needs work, of course. For one, I have to remember that my character has knives in both hands before I have her picking something else up to run away. Especially something live.

I'm setting myself a goal, at least four pages a day of new writing, and at least three edited to what I consider suitable for others' eyes. It's a minimal goal, but more is always acceptable, and it ensures that I make some progress every day.

And the more progress I make the sooner I'll be collecting those lovely royalty checks, right? Right.

Some People Have All The Luck

Recently, one of our county commissioners who has an addiction to scratch-off lottery tickets finally hit the big time.

He bought a twenty dollar ticket, and won $250,000. Yes, that's two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Went to Pueblo to cash in the ticket, bought a new truck on the way home, and stopped in at one of the c-stores when he got back to town to show it off, buying some more scratch tickets. Won another $100.

A few days later, at the other c-store, he bought another twenty dollar ticket, and won another $253,000.

After taxes he got about $160,000 on the first one. I don't know what he got out of the second one, I stopped listening.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Lottery will be funding a new park, and I believe they'll be naming it after the man who won all that money, because everyone in the county has been going crazy buying scratch tickets thanks to him....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where's The Beef?

At the Old Homestead, of course!

Two weeks ago we dropped off two steers at Duncan Meat Locker. (If you're within hauling distance and have animals that need processing, give them some consideration, the place is well-established, right in down town Lakin KS, very clean, extremely courteous, and they do both beef and pork. They'll even process your deer, all at very reasonable prices for excellent work.*)

Today we picked them up in boxes. Over a thousand pounds of beef, now spread over four households. And for a damn sight cheaper than that much meat would cost in the grocery store, even accounting for the cost to raise the cattle.

Oh, there will be steaks tomorrow night, my friends, there will be steaks.

* I did not receive any compensation from Duncan Meat Locker in cash or other valuable considerations for talking them up on this blog. I simply admire work done well and cheerfully, for a reasonable price.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Get Porked!

Bacon and sausage patties. Potatoes onions and bell peppers cooked in the grease from the pork, with crumbled sausage mixed in, eggs fried in butter over medium.

Because sometimes, a girl just needs to get porked.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time To Celebrate!

Peter is doing well, and back online!

I must admit I leaked a bit reading his post about the whole incident. And then giggled, because I can just see him arguing with the nurses about cutting his pants off.

Welcome Back, Peter. You had us worried there for a bit!

Somebody's About To Go Behind The Woodshed...

And get a whuppin'.

Twice in a week someone has run through our gate, and the second time they made a loop back to run through another section of fence.

Cows out, horses out, and me out there in the dark, the cold, and the wet mist fixing the gate.

It's enough to make me contemplate the best tool for beating some sense and courtesy into their thick skulls, if I could just find 'em.

This last time, the cattle had been out, but we got the call about the horses. The three horses that aren't halter broke, are fairly distrustful of strangers who aren't with their people, and hate pickup trucks trying to herd them.

By the time I knew anything about it and got out there, I could see that the cattle had been out, and I assumed that the neighbor had eased them back home. They know where they're supposed to be.

It was also getting dark and the cattle were eyeballing the hole where the gate used to be like they might just wander back out, and I couldn't spot the horses in the dim light. So I fixed the gate by the headlights of mom's truck, hoped that the mares would have enough sense to keep the half-blind stud horse away from the roads, and went back in the morning.

Found 'em across the road and behind our pasture on one of the neighbor's farm fields, luckily fallow for the winter.

I took the grain bucket and talked sweet to the ponies while Farmmom went to open the gate and fix things right, since I'd had to make do the night before. A little sweet talk and rattling of the bucket and they came right along, and we hiked our way around the fence and back to where they were supposed to be.

I could have saved myself about a hundred yards on the walk by leaving them in the pasture across the road, as that gate was closer, but with Dusty as blind as he is, I prefer to keep them on the territory they're intimately familiar with. He's good about sticking with the girls and he's more likely to spook towards one of them if something startles him, but I'd rather he know where the gullies and drops are himself.

It was surprising to me yesterday that my buckskin mare was the first to come a-runnin when she figured out I had grain. Usually she sticks with the others, keeping one of them between people and her at all times. She's so shy, I've only touched her once or twice.

She's taking over the lead position from the older mare, though. Poor Roanie is getting so old that she's just breaking down. I'm not sure she'll make the winter, but she's still got a spring in her step and she'll kick up her heels yet. I don't want to put her down while she's still enjoying life, just because she's not holding weight like I'd like. If I ever find her down and unable to get up, then that's it, but she's still loving life right now.

Especially since the weather started to turn cold and we started bringing her and the other two a measure of grain every time we're out there.

She is letting the buckskin mare make more of the decisions, though. Yesterday morning Muffin came loping up to a beautiful stop about ten feet from where I was kneeling down on the ground waiting for the other two. She stuck out her neck and sniffed towards the bucket and then stood there shifting her weight back and forth. She knows if she comes up to me and follows me, she gets grain. She's seen Roanie walk right up to me and get a bite from my hand before we started walking, so she knows that could happen, but she's so shy of people she can't bring herself to eat from my hand.

Maybe taking over the lead mare position will make her more bold. Roanie always treated the attention and scratches like they were her due as head honcho, so perhaps Muffin will let us get a pet in now and then. I'm not going to push her on it, but if she asks, I'm not going to disappoint.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bayou Renaissance Man...

Is in the hospital after a nasty brush with a heart attack. The prognosis at the moment is good, but he'll be there for at least a week, I'm told.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers and maybe drop by his blog to give him your well wishes.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Sunday, I posted a bit of a rant about a different twist on a haunted house, and in the comments, a bit longer rant about organized religion in general.

It never ceases to amaze me, how many people email me on a subject rather than comment on a post.

Not complaining, mind you. I get a little warm fuzzy feeling each time I look at the email account for this blog and see that someone has written me. It means people are paying attention, and going to the effort to look beyond the front page for my email address.

But some of the emails regarding Sunday's post weren't exactly flattering. And a couple contained exactly the sort of "Come To Jesus" posturing and bullying that I was complaining of in the first place!

So I'm going to clear up a few things.

First off, I don't hate god, God, Kali, Buddha, Apollo, Pan or any other deity. Regardless of what one of my more vehement emailers may think, I do have a quite healthy relationship with deity. I just don't feel that I need someone else to guide me in my beliefs.

As for why I use the term deity rather than God, well, it's a case of having far too many people assume that I am their particular stripe of invisible-being worshiper, and poke and prod at me when they figure out that I'm not.

My issues with organized religion come from bad interactions with said organized religious types, be they congregation, parishioner, or leader. I don't believe that any god would approve of some of the things done in their various names, and thus far have not found an organized belief system that I can agree with totally. I honestly don't feel that a deity cares whether you are in a church, temple, or sacred grove or not.

I'm not saying that I haven't met great people who believe very firmly in the tenets of organized religion. For one, an insightful and caring retired pastor from South Africa whom you may know as Bayou Renaissance Man who is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of what faith should be. During hard times, he has offered an ear, counsel, and simple loving friendship to me, and it has been much appreciated, even though most of the time I just can't bring myself to burden someone else with my worries. I respect and like Peter very much, and more so because he doesn't push his beliefs on others, simply makes sure that they know he is there if they do wish to talk about something.

Another is a Born Again Christian preacher who has that black-church-with-a-choir passion about his beliefs, who I had the great fortune to meet while I was at school. He felt very strongly about his relationship with God, but he never pushed. We had several religious discussions over the two years I was at the college, and I have no doubt that we'll have more. The great thing about this man is that with all of his passion for his faith, he never once made anyone feel like they were wrong if they didn't believe the same things he did. He would listen, and discuss, and think about the things they said. He has the kind of generous heart that is all too rare in this world. He smiles when he preaches, because his faith makes him happy.

Far too few people in this world can truthfully say that their faith makes them feel happy.

Is it so wrong to feel that my beliefs are no one's business but my own? Who does it hurt?

For that matter, who does it hurt if your neighbor worships at an altar in their living room rather than one in the church on the corner?

Or if someone wears an Ankh rather than a cross?

Good people are good people, regardless of what name they call their higher power. Everyone believes that they're right about the organization of the afterlife, but no one knows. That's why it's called faith.

Let your neighbor have theirs.

Linky, Much Thinky

Just a link today, but it's not the usual linky-no-thinky, because the post will make you think quite a bit.

For those of you who don't already read Bayou Renaissance Man also known as Peter, he should definitely be added to your daily trek through the Internet.

Today he honors a fallen friend, and in the process reminds us that honor, courage, and great leadership are sometimes found in what, to us, might seem the unlikeliest places.

Go Read and remind yourself that great men still walk among us.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Judgement House

I was in the big college town this weekend for the rodeo fun, and noticed a sign on the front of the apartment building for older folks.

It said Judgment House. The painting on the window says "Tour your final destination! Bring the kids!"

Wait... wha?

So, haunted houses are bad because they're scary and make people scream and cry, but you can put on one of these Judgment houses and tell folks they're going to hell to try to scare them into doing more what you think they should do and that's OK??

I don't think so.

I'll tell ya what, folks. The day someone crawls inside my head and examines every decision I've ever made from MY perspective, that's the day they can judge me. Until then, unless I invite discussion of religious matters or my decision making process, keep your nose out of my business.

It aggravates the piss out of me that they've set up this thing and are running it, but there were radio spots all over the place last year (haven't been listening to local radio this year) about how your haunted house shouldn't be TOO scary because it's supposed to be fun and the children cry and then it's not fun anymore and besides it's not nice to make people cry ok now run along and play, love, City Council.

Or something like that.

Don't jump out and say boo, tell them they're going to hell, instead. Fabulous. Just fabulous. That won't scar the children for life anything like Uncle Randy jumping out of a closet with a scary mask on. Instead of being embarrassed for screaming like a girl, little Tommy is going to believe that God hates him.

Let us pray:

Dear Jesus,

Please save me from the things that people do in your name.