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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplating Maggie's Date with Death

No, she's not dying! That is, though, what this post is about. WARNING: If you want to read a happy, upbeat story about a horse, click one of my other posts.

It's been on my mind heavy for a couple of days now... ever since I got the letter. It's funny... most people would be worried about where they will live, what they have to get rid of... I guess you're lost. The letter was from the PBGC, better known as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. It's that government entity that takes over when the company you gave your life to, defaults on your pension plan.

Whenever life throws a punch at us, the first thing out of Hubby's mouth is the expense of keeping horses. The goats clear out the woods, the chickens give us eggs, the cats keep the varmint population in check, Sadie supervises all the projects, but the horses do nothing for us... except give me the most awesome joy!

Of course, I would give up my horses to save our home, if it came to that. I don't worry so much about Buddy and Nekoda; they are great horses, still young enough to find a decent home. It's Maggie that troubles me. She's in great shape for her age, but she's her age. There are no guarantees in life, even a horse's life. As great as she is today, tomorrow could prove different. I don't know of anyone that would truly want a horse like her. She is a magnificent horse, that next week could be a liability. If someone readily took her, I would fear the worst... Mexican slaughter house. Yes, I know there are laws against transporting the horses across the border for slaughter. There are also laws about people crossing the border.

Seriously, I doubt anyone would even want Maggie for slaughter; not much meat on an almost-thirty-year-old horse. I haven't a clue what I'd do. In Kentucky I know of an area where people turned their horses loose because of the drought and sky-high hay prices. So the horses run wild. The herd would probably not except an old mare. She be kicked, bitten, run out of the good grass. She also requires lots of extra calories that she couldn't get in the wild. No, I'm afraid it would come to a choice I hope never to make.

I'm not a callous, cold-hearted person, but I do find it easier than most people to let go. I've buried my share of animals. It's sad, but when I know they've had a good life, I accept it as just another part of the journey. I always picture being with Maggie until the end. Once I got her back, I vowed to never let her go again!

I'm not wishing for Maggie to die soon; but I am hoping that when her time comes, it will be here, on this farm, with me by her side. I will cradle her head and tell her over and over how much I love her; and she will know it.

We will bury her here, under the pasture where she ran in the breeze and napped in the sun.


I've read this story before; it circulates through the e-world periodically. I thought I'd share it and see what comments you might leave. It is an interesting story to ponder.

In a small Texas town, a new bar/tavern started a building to open up their business. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers. Work progressed, however right up till the week before opening, when a lightning strike hit the bar and it burned to the ground.

The church folks didn't have much to say after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means. The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the buildings demise in its reply to the court.

As the case made its way in to court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't.

As I read this story again, I wondered how my church might respond in this situation. Let me state for the record, I've never been involved in a church praying against a bar. I do believe, however, that a community has a right to set moral standards. It's just my opinion. If I were in this situation, I would have to take credit. If I pray and something happens... Well, it is what it is. I'd like to see the judge's opinion in that situation!

So, if you were the judge, and the congregation took credit for the destruction by prayer, how would you rule? Remember, if the destruction was a direct result of the prayer, it truly was an act of God.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farmer's Market Challenge

My Farmer's Market

Squirrel Queen, over at The Road to Here, is hosting another Farmer's Market Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness for purchasing locally produced foods. Be it fruits, vegetables, dairy products or related items we want to know what's available where you live.

I've been under the weather again or I would have taken some photos from around my 'neighborhood'. I'm a country gal. We live on a mini-farm just outside of town. Up the road is a farm market. He grows peaches, strawberries and a lot of the usual fare... corn & tomatoes. There are lots of farms around here that sell their excess produce.

Here's a look at our usual bumper crops... These are bush beans (stringless!) and of course, my cucumbers. Hubby grows them just for me!

On some past posts, I showed pictures of our tomatoes. Heirloom Brandywine is my favorite! The cool weather we had here in July really hurt the tomato harvest. We also raised our own hens from day-old chicks to layer. The babies are just now starting to lay on a daily basis. We have over fifty hens. We sell our excess eggs, too!

Here is our typical set-up for when we have surplus to sell. Last year we sold bush beans, white half-runners, tomatoes, cucumbers, & corn. Notice the garden in the background. That's Hubby, a.k.a. Farmer Ray, under the 'big top'.

This is our raised bed where we grow our Tennessee Muskmelons. They grow oblong, like a watermelon. I'm fearing the weather has really taken a toll on the melons. I do hope a few mature on the vine.

We put 250 ears of corn in the freezer this past week. This year Hubby went back to growing my favorite... Golden Jubilee. It is the yummiest, most tender corn ever! I eat it right out of the garden.

For more on our farm fresh vegetables, check out my my other posts for a previous Farmer's Market Challenge: Part I and Part II ...or just scroll through all my posts and see the chicks grow!

Please visit Squirrel Queen's Farmer's Market Challenge to see other Farmer's Markets from everywhere. There are usually lots of participants posting pictures of fabulous markets from all over the world!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Splish Splash Award

I have been honored by Rae at Weather Vane with the Splish Splash Award! She is such a sweetie. This is a very unique award and I will treasure it. According to Rae, it is given based on mermaid lore qualities: alluring, amusing. bewitching, impressive, and inspiring. Gee, I never thought of my blogs as bewitching; but I do hope that someone finds amusement or inspiration from them.

I am to pass the award on to nine other blogs that I feel possess the qualities listed above.

A Walk In My Shoes
Timeless Romance
Mille Fleur
A Florida Writers Life
A Christian Romance Writer's Journey
Jan Mader Ignite to Write
The Character Therapist
On The Path
My Days and Night
Being a mom, wife, grandma and student!
Musings from the Texas Hill Country
Steph in the City
Challenge Venus or advance your worth
Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer

I know this is more than nine, and I've been keeping the practice of only choosing one recipient to make it more special; but it seems that I'm falling behind in the blogs I wish to recognize. I have a long list of people I follow and that follow me. If you are on that list but not mentioned here, please feel free to take this award.

I do not have time to visit each one today to tell them about their award... We just found out that our next grandbaby (due in Jan) is a BOY! (We have four granddaughters.) Daddy and Mommy are coming for dinner with pictures from today's ultrasound. So THERE! Is that a good excuse?

I hope these bloggers forgive me for not noting specifics about them... Just know that they are warm, friendly people with interesting things to say. I enjoy reading their blogs as well as reading the comments they leave me. I hope you will take the time to visit them.

I also have yet to pass along this award that I received recently from Rae. (Am I always too busy?)
According to Rae: The award is given in recognition for sincere and positive blog interaction. The best part of the award is there are no rules. If I choose I can pass it on to someone else who is positive and sincere.

Anyway, without further ado...

I would like to present the Silver Shoe of Sincerity Award to....

Da dat de dum....

Al at Burnt Chicken Republic and Caramel Macchiato. Al, you are very deserving of this award. I enjoy both your blogs very much; but I especially enjoy the heart felt comments that you leave me. Your sincerity shines!

Please friends, take the time to visit and get to know Al. You will enjoy her blogs and her friendship!

Foul Humor

What is the difference between
Bird Flu and Swine Flu?
For bird flu you need tweetment
and for swine flu you need oinkment.

OK, if that didn't make you smile... dance along with this bird: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Minorest Minority

Just for the heck of it, I Googled, "how many Portuguese immigrants in US" to see what would come up. Have you any idea how many sites track that statistic? I tried, "number of obese Americans," then, "cigarette smokers." I should have majored in statistics. Evidently, there's no shortage in that job market. Finally, I typed in "number of short-waisted women."

Nada. Zilch. Big zero. Oh yeah, there was a list of sites to click, but none indicated a tally for my select group. Am I in such a small minority that there are not even statistics? (I will go back and check out some of these sites... They had tips for dressing to camouflage our 'disfigurement', and places to order special clothing.)

Wait a minute! Did I hear myself correctly? Camouflage? Gee, do they have sites with tips to camouflage being an immigrant or a smoker? Should I be ashamed of being short-waisted? Isn't it punishment enough that we grown old before our time? You didn't know that? Yes, we do.

For most women, they feel old when their breasts sag to near their waist. For us, our breasts are there when we start high school! Do you know what that means when we get love handles? We can practically tuck them under the sides of our bras! Do not laugh! It is not funny!

As if that isn't bad enough... We short-waisted women are of normal varying heights. My BF is 5'10". I am 5'5". We share this hideous deformity. What this means is that we both have legs longer than average for our height... Translation: Pants are always too short!

Refer to this diagram:
You will notice the pants are identical. The figures are identical in height and width. Which one appears more attractive? Which one looks short and chunky? Which one has saggier breasts? Which one should legally be allowed to appear in public? Strike that last question!

The nearest category to short-waisted in the average department store is petite. I am not petite. In my dreams, yes; in reality, no way, Jose! In that same department store, they have outfits designed for ethnic tastes; they have business attire; they have sections for teens and old ladies. Why is there no section for us? How long must we take this? We have a mixed-race President, yet no short-waisted clothing department!

ALF-CIO, are you listening? Is there a short-waisted Supreme Court Justice? How many short-waisted women make up the Senate and the House of Representatives? It's time we stand up and be counted!

Murder at Hedgeapple Creek

...or was it?


1. Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).
2. Slang. something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!
3. a group or flock of crows.
–verb (used with object)
4. Law. to kill by an act constituting murder.
5. to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

Depends on how much you want to stretch the definition. OK, it wasn't a human being, but it was calculated, and it was extremely difficult. Well, no... it was physically easy; but it was mentally difficult. It's always difficult, but it's part of life on a farm. It was not a flock of crows. Yet, it was definitely not inhumane or barbarous!

If you don't want to read about the downside of life with farm animals, then stop here; but if you've ever fancied having a mini-farm with a few chickens, then you might as well be prepared.

'Angel Wings' is what I called the chick. She was so beautiful - light red changing to brilliant white. When her wings were spread in the sunlight, she looked as though she was ready to soar through the heavens. If ever a chicken was beautiful, it was Angel Wings. (dirty, nasty birds)
She was one of the tamer birds. Angel Wings stood out from the others, as she grew more beautiful every day. She stood out in another way though, that wasn't a good thing...

Hubby was out gathering eggs when we heard a ruckus. One of the black hens was screeching. Hubby looked to see Angel Wings' rear sticking up from a nest. She sat up and looked at him with egg dripping from her beak. She was eating the egg. She had already acquired the taste. According to the books Hubby has studied, once a hen acquires the taste for eggs, there's no turning back. It must be destroyed. I'm not going to tell about that.

Reality isn't always pretty on a farm. You must keep in mind the purpose of raising chicks. If you want them as pets, then have them. Fine. On the other hand, if you want them for eggs, then it's a whole different thing. Luckily, I'm not fond of birds. Oh sure, the finches at the feeder are pretty and fun to watch; but as pets?

My mom has parakeets. They're nasty. When I'm over there, I do let them hop onto my finger and I talk to them. I'm not an animal hater... but I would never have them in my house. If something happens to Mom, someone else better take the birds. OK, I've gotten off track...

We have a lot invested in the chickens. Selling eggs will never pay for it all. (Hubby went a little overboard on the chicken house. He tends to do that.) We do hope that selling the extra eggs will pay for the daily expense of keeping the chickens. We prefer to eat things that are not tainted with hormones and pesticides. Aside from dusting for mites, our chickens are all natural and cage free. That's the ironic part...

Chances are, if our birds were caged on a big poultry farm, Angel Wings would have never had the chance to taste an egg. She wouldn't have access to them. I imagine there is a mechanism to roll the eggs away from the cage as soon as it is laid. Nobody's going to reach under thousands of chickens all day long checking for eggs!

With free range chickens, they share nests. Even with empty nests available, we've watched one hen wait until the other hen is finished and vacates the nest; then she jumps in for her turn. Then go in and out as they please. They roam the fenced area looking for bugs in the ground and whatever else chickens do. We feel they must be satisfied with the size of the area, since we know they can fly out anytime they please. (No, we haven't clipped their wings.) The entire area under the ten-by-twenty house is elevated and open, so they can go under for shade or to get out of the rain without having to go back inside. We feel our chickens have it pretty good; but like I said, in a caged environment, Angel Wings would still be with us.

So, if you've thought about raising a few chickens in order to enjoy your own fresh eggs, does this make you reconsider?

On a much happier note... Hubby's final count on the corn: 250 ears in the freezer!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stars of the Family

I couldn't resist sharing this video. I do hope the link works. My daughter posted this one on her facebook page. My two youngest grands, Grace and Melody, are performing their original hit song in a local pub they call The Basement.

The lyrics aren't quite as deep as Dylan, but for their age... Hey, they're having fun!

Today at Hedgeapple Creek Farm

That's what Hubby calls the farm... Well, that's what he calls it for the present time. First it was Triple Creek because technically you can count three creeks. Then he called it Crooked Creek. I liked that name. We have absolutely the most winding creek you ever saw. You probably cover several miles if you walk it vs 1000 feet as the crow flies. It flows all four compass directions! Depending on his mood, he's had many names for the place. Someday I'll paint a sign.

Anyway, today he picked corn with his dad. Good corn! Last year he switched and planted some type that didn't have as much silk, so was easier to husk. Yeah, so! It didn't have much flavor and the kernels were tough. Now that he's back to growing Golden Jubilee, I can speak to him again. A lot of people love Silver Queen corn, but not me. He used to grow both... Golden Jubilee for me, Silver Queen for himself and his folks. However, when I'd cook the Golden, they'd all remark about how much better it tasted. Well, yeah... That's why I like it.

They're not finished picking yet, but there's already over a hundred ears in the freezer... and we had some for supper tonight. Here's a picture of the corn from the kitchen door. They're in there somewhere.
They didn't do as much weeding this year as normal. There was quite a bit of morning glory vines growing through the corn. This ear had a vine wrapped around it as it grew. Makes for an interesting pattern.
I thought I'd check on the Tennessee Muskmelon patch. Hubby raises them in a raised bed. (Pardon the pun.) Sadie decided to inspect them a little closer. These melons grow oblong, like a watermelon. The strange weather we're having might interfere with the melon harvest.

Today was a beautiful day for stretching out on the deck for a little sun. That's what Little Bear thought anyway...
Here is some vary rare footage. Chubs and Squeaky are partners in crime (chasing off Mickey), but I've never seen Chubs do this before...

Background: Chubs and Little Bear are siblings. Squeaky is LB' s son.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Goats in the Rain

The other day I had a post called Fair Weather Goats where I talked about how the goats will not stand out in the rain. Today I caught them on my camera. This was taken with my zoom at max; so even though it looks like it was pouring down rain, it was a very light sprinkle. (I was standing outside with my camera.) As soon as they feel the first drop, they head for shelter. The opening for them to get back to their house from where they are is about 30 feet down the fence in the woods. I don't know which are more timid... the goats or the chickens. Probably the goats.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A New Award for ME!

Rae, over at WeatherVane, has made my day! She was so sweet in honoring me with this Silver Shoe of Sincerity Award. I hope this doesn't sound boastful, but I am a sincere person. If I leave you a compliment on your writing, photography, humor, whatever... I truly mean it. One of the things I love most about being here in Blogville is all the sincere, caring folks I've found. I have made many new friends that I truly adore!

According to Rae: The award is given in recognition for sincere and positive blog interaction. The best part of the award is there are no rules. If I choose I can pass it on to someone else who is positive and sincere.

This award was created by Susan at A Walk In My Shoes. You can read about the award here. I really don't have adequate time right now to figure out which of my lovely fellow bloggers I'd like to pass it along to, so for now, I'm just going to savor the moment. Thank you Rae. You know I love you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Geriatric Strippers

Come on... Tell me the truth... Did you click on this post because of the title? You sick puppy! I'm not here to talk about senior citizens performing a pole dance. No, think more 'Granny sitting around in the too-thin nightgown'. That's my mom. If you stop by her apartment anytime after five, she's sitting around in her night gown. I'm going to be her someday...

Remember when your kids were little and there was always at least one that you had to keep an eye on for fear of them stripping down in public? When one of my grands (won't mention any names here) was small, I didn't know she had any clothing besides panties. Mommy and Daddy could not keep her clothes on her! I'm not sure whether it was about restriction or temperature; but obviously she was more comfortable naked.

Most of us are not so comfortable naked, especially in public. As a matter of fact, we're quite comfortable in our clothes. Of course, when we have to dress up for special occasions, we often slip into something more comfortable when we get home. I've found that what I think to be comfortable changes through the years.

When I was in my thirties, as soon as I got home from work, off came the shoes! I've always been a barefoot girl. Even during my six-inch-heels days; at home I was barefoot. In the cold season, I'd slide on my favorite slippers. Comfy.

In my forties, came the bra... When I got home from work, I kicked off the shoes and took off my bra. I'd grab an nice cold glass of tea and plop down in my T-shirt and jeans. Ah... then I was comfortable.

Now, I'm in my fifties , retired, and living on this little farm. If you read my farm blog, you know my life is very casual. Dressed up is putting on something with sleeves. But I'm no longer comfortable sitting around in T-shirt and jeans. For one thing, I'm at that point in life where a T-shirt is just plain too hot! For another, jeans are no longer comfortable. Hard to imagine? I don't know why, but I'm just never really relaxed until I've slipped into my jammy pants. As a matter of fact, there are days that I don't get out of my jammy pants. My horses don't seem to care, so might as well be comfy.

Now, I'm not the person you see going to the grocery in their PJs... yet. But I am the person standing in the funky jammy pants beside the mailbox on that country road. I'm starting to get worried though... It seems I have a few pairs of jammy pants that just aren't that comfortable. Maybe I'll ask Mom where she gets those night gowns.

Another Day with Horses

Aside from it being a life-long dream of mine, there is another reason I so want to be a published author... I own horses. Horses cost money. Authors make money. If I have to work to afford the horses, I'd rather it be doing something I love for a change. I worked all my life at jobs I disliked, or even hated, because they paid well. Now, it would be great if I became a best-selling author and could afford the finest things in life; but all I really need is just enough money to keep my three horses. How much is that, you asked?

Well, if this cartoon where reversed...
it would come close.

I don't know of any horse owner that hasn't laughed at this cartoon, but then said, "Yeah, ain't that the truth!" I shared in a past blog about some of the expenses involved in horse ownership. Today was one of those regularly-scheduled, get-out-the-checkbook days. The farrier came to visit.

It was time for the horses to have their hooves trimmed. Buddy has had some trouble with his feet requiring a little extra attention for awhile. Last summer we had to put shoes on his front feet. I prefer my horses to be barefoot, but sometimes shoes are a necessity. When we had two horses trimmed and shoes on just Buddy's front feet, the bill was $85. Once they improved enough to drop the shoes, it only cost us $60 for the trim. But while we were working on his problem, we scheduled the appointments closer together than the average trim. Today it had been seven weeks since the last trim. Buddy's hooves look pretty good! I'm thrilled that we can wait eight weeks for the next trim, especially since now there are three horses. (That's $90, if you're keeping track.)

So if you're dreaming of owning your very own horse, add this to your info file for future reference. Lots of horse owners board their horses, so they don't have to think about the price of hay or grain; it's included in the board. But guess what? Trims are not. Vet bills are not. Supplements are not. There's just no way around it... Open your wallets wide!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ten Guidelines From God

I received this in an e-mail this morning. Thought I'd share it...

Ten Guidelines From God

Effective Immediately,
please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines

Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem.. I can't help you until you turn
it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all... God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of
all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends
and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend..

I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just
because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND :
Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only -- to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me.

Don't ever forget......