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Friday, December 24, 2010

Night Before Christmas--Art vs. the Rooster

'Twas the night before Christmas; no peace in the air.
The rooster is coming; Art waits in his lair.
The broomstick is hung, waiting there by the door,
While Art listens quietly, waiting to roar.

The clucking starts coming from under our feet,
Antonio's coming, to the rafters to sleep.
Why can't this rooster sleep over the porch?
He paints the things under him; Art's language will scorch.

Antonio the Rooster, last name Banty-deras,
Has found the best way the humans to harass.
He's painted the trash cans and Art's very own truck,
My husband says words that rhyme the sound  "Cluck."

Last season the rooster spent a night in the rafters,
He painted the washer and dryer, and for afters,
He painted the workbench, the sink and the stove,
The porch is off limits, no rafters can he rove.

Roosters don' t come encased in Depends.
Art's waiting to ensure this activity ends.
There's flapping and clucking, as the bird lands on deck.
He leaps to the rafters and settles to rest.

Art bolts from the door, brandishes the broom
While 'Tonio freaks and decends from the gloom.
He's left a deposit, but Art doesn't care.
The deposit has missed Art's shiny white hair.

The first lap's accompanied by the pounding of broom,
And the screech of the rooster as they both lap the room.
Art's shouting quite strongly as they start the next round
Till the rooster leaps shrieking from the porch to the ground.

"You idiot rooster! You'd just cover a cracker!"
While inside the house I explode in loud laughter.
"Go sleep in your tree, you're too stringy to eat!"
Art did exclaim as Antonio beat feet.

The banty kept shrieking as he sped out of sight.
Clucking and ranting from his tree in the heights.
Husband returned with a smile and the broom,
He'd saved our porch from "excremental doom."

As Antonio clamors outrage, a pain to the ear.
We wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, December 20, 2010

Technology Tirade

Phone Manners? Where’d They Go?

Phone manners sickened when computers came into vogue; multi-tasking sent them to the hospital. Computer gaming added a nail in their coffin. They died when texting became a national past-time. I long for the return of phone manners as I suffer confusion when someone with a “thingie” in their ear addresses the air. I think they’re talking to me. It’s embarrassing for me; poor manners for them.

I’m on the phone chatting with a friend and I hear “tappety-tappety-tap.” A bubble of offended feelings begins to rise. What? I’m so boring you need to do something on the computer while we talk? The tapping continues, and so do my hurt feelings. Maybe I should hang up if I’m interfering with your project? I’d like to feel what I have to say is as important as what you’re saying to me. Am I old-fashioned? Is the home training drilled into me in childhood passé?

The next offender is distracted by slashing an elf in some alternate universe when I call with a question. Can’t let the evil elf spoil your record as a warrior-mage? Pu-leeze! I wouldn’t have called if I didn’t need to know how much paprika to sprinkle over dish from YOUR recipe. Can’t you pause the game? Should I hang up? Nuh-Uh, I need the info. I hope the “Elf of Evil Legerdemain” has a pack of nasty friends who kick your mage-y butt! Pardon me for acting like a two year old, but I need your attention.

Hello??? We’re in a meeting, and a junior staffer is busily texting under the table. He must be moderately concerned with the reaction of those speaking to be so covert. Another is texting right out in the open showing the speaker how valued his/her input is. I’m squirming in my chair, embarrassed by the impression they’re making. You’re both reflecting poorly on everyone else here! I want to corner them for a lesson on they’ve missed, but then I might offend.

The flashing blue light in a stranger’s ear disturbs me. Is she a Borg? Does she address the Collective, or perhaps the Hive? What’s said makes no sense, but I’m the only person nearby. I answer, and the Borg has the nerve to glare at me. I was being polite, thinking she’d spoken to me. “ Bluetooth? I’m invading your privacy? I think not; if I can hear you it isn’t private.”


The technological distractions of others certainly annoy me. However, this week I found myself on the computer when the phone rang. Did I devote my entire attention to the call? No… I played a game.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two Men and a Bulldozer

Who else but Art could borrow a bulldozer? Memorable? You bet, especially when two men get down to work with one of the kings of men's toys!
In  the picture, Matt is moving my office building/guest house to a new location. Anyone can get guys to move furniture; I want buildings moved!

Vehicle trails through the woods needed clearing. The rumble of the diesel engine could be tracked over the property as the dozer crunched over small trees and dodged the larger ones.  After several days, however, Homeplace had as many trails as it really needed. According to me.

When it threw a track, the guys had to buy some esoteric pry bar specifically designed to muscle the track back on to the bogies. As they worked, the rise and fall of cursing turned the air smokey until the track was snug in place again. The local hardware store made more money when a mysterious glass bubble shattered as Matt backed up into something. More elaborated language. More diesel fuel. More reciepts for taxes.

 Testosterone levels rose as the menfolk regarded the driveway. “Needs scraping,” Matthew said. "One day
Mom's going to high center on that puppy!" He roared down the drive and back, blade lowered. 
 “You left bumps!” Art pointed out. “Let me do it the right way!” Down the drive and back he rumbled in a cloud of dust. 
“You call that smooth?” asked Matthew. He hauled himself into the seat and growled down the drive  and back again.
“Hah!” said Art as he climbed up once more. They traded insults and turns on the dozer all afternoon.  Good thing the headlights didn’t work.  They’d have spent the evening turning the driveway into a canyon.

The dozer has returned to its rightful owner. I have a pile of reciepts and memories of two men and a bulldozer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gifts Worth Giving

Think of some of the favorite annoying toys you received from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Was there a hidden message to your parents?

Toy flyers and catalogs stuff your mailbox while holiday commercials on TV blare in the air. Make this holiday season the best ever for children by buying toys, but consider the most important question of the season: What is your motivation for giving this gift?

Ah, motivation! Is this gift a pure expression of your delight in and love for the child, or is there a hidden agenda included?

One year my fourth grade class had driven me crazy the first semester, so I bought the loudest slide whistles I could find. My husband handed one to each child as they left for Christmas Break. I had “plausible deniability”.  I gave candy; he gave the whistles! Smiling, I tracked their progress home by the screeching and wailing through the neighborhood. I hope their folks enjoyed the chilling sounds of fingernails on a chalkboard sliding up and down the scale! Those gaudy plastic whistles were one of the finest inspirations I had as a teacher. Revenge cloaked in holiday colors!

Perhaps your own children have done something incredibly stellar in their childhood causing angst reflected in the grey hairs on your head. Remember the old adage: “Revenge is a dish best served cold?” Now’s the opportunity to get some of yours back!

Why choose a computer game sure to keep the child in question quietly absorbed for hours? Get something exciting with flashing lights and sirens! Nothing says love like a full drum kit, without batteries to remove to quell the noise. A cordless microphone would encourage the child to exercise their natural talents in singing or oration! Please use your innate craftiness; give these presents at their house, not yours. You know why!

Remember, when giving loud, thrilling gifts with hidden meaning, slip the child some extra batteries on the sly … just in case the ones included disappear! Planning ahead during the holiday season is critical, after all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Poor Bunnies

Brown-Eyed Susan had her first litter of bunnies and instinct didn't take over. The six didn't survive 24 hours. We'd gone to get kitten milk replacer (useable for bunnies), but the last four were cold by the time we got back. Depressing.

Worse yet, I remembered Butch telling me people sold "pinkies" that died to pet shops to feed snakes. I saved the babies in the freezer. Opened the freezer today, and feel even sadder. I know this is a business, and some income is better than none at all, but it doesn't help. Gotta put them in a paper bag cover until I call the nearest pet shop. The tiny paws and teeny ears are heartbreaking to see.

Time to breed some more rabbits. New babies thriving are bound to help me feel better.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home After Working

"You're" not your!!!  O.K., I'm feeling better!

This expression of delight appeared on the faces of my kitties Monday night after my first day of subbing this month.

Tuesday I was punished by being conspicuously ignored. Ock sat nearby with his back turned and ears flat. The others didn't bother getting up from their naps when I came in. No cats on my lap for hours; I felt so lonely, until I fell asleep from exhaustion! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Screen Porches for Plants

Frustrated to tears over the last grasshopper depredations on my newly transplanted fall garden, Art came to the rescue. He took some rabbit cage wire, clipped it into a cylinder, cut some screen, and turned the parts over to me for sewing. I whip stitched the screen onto the "sides" and top, and stitched the bottom edge around the cylinder.

Pushed into the soil around the plants, it's a hopper-proof covering that lets sunshine, air, and water through for the plants. It will hold up sheets when the weather gets cold, so the plants aren't crushed when they are covered on freezing nights.

I love this idea! The screen porches look tidy and keep those wretched grasshoppers out. This is a project that will continue as we cover various gardens to protect those lucious, tender plants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goldie, the Watch-Duck

Goldie, previously referred to as an exotic woman, has found her role on the HomePlace. She's the assistant to Bear Dog. He barks at the meter reader; she quacks raucously at the meter reader. A car pulls up, Bear barks, and Goldie joins in. Obviously we needed a watch-duck for the farm.

She's louder than the dog, and more persistant. She just needs Bear to get her started. She goes on and on and on. Do ducks get laryngitis? Apparently not. I like the warnings, and don't want to hurt her feelings by yelling, but we need to figure out how to stop her after five minutes or so.

The racket is upsetting the chickens she rooms with. They're already angry about her swims in their water dish, and  this noise has affected their laying. The chickens that came with Goldie have picked up the slack, but the Cornish Gals need to get with it. I'm hoping they'll get used to the new regime soon. Goldie has started laying and I'll put up with a lot of quacking for yummy duck eggs!

She takes such joy in quacking and she's quite good at it. Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


 Went to the "County Seat", Marlin TX, found a place to park at a very busy courthouse, and entered the basement where the voting booths are set.
I wanted a paper ballot, as I don't like dealing with the computer. The paper ballot makes it feel more real to me somehow. Did my duty as a citizen, and filled in those boxes. Fed it into the computer that logs the votes. Can't seem to get away from computers, can we? The computer ratcheted, rattled and gave me the OK that my vote was logged.

Picked up my sticker on the way out, and wore it proudly for the rest of the day. I don't care who you vote for -- just get out and VOTE!

Monday, October 18, 2010

32# of Meat ; This IS a Farm, You Know!

Down twelve rabbits, who are now frolicking in an afterlife meadow. Thank you, rabbits, for your sacrifice. As Juniper McKenzie would say, " We take in need, not in wantoness."

Half to go in our freezer soon, and the other half  went with Hangman, who is one of the quickest processors I've ever worked with. Whew! A good days work. Thanks!

Feed bill will go down, and room is made for the next generation of rabbits -- larger, and some new bloodlines. Good things for the winter season, and the following spring.

Transplanted turnip greens and kale this morning, tough winter greens for the critters. Delights for their tastebuds and ensuring those egg yolks stay deeply colored. Now greens will stretch  farther, too. Humans will also enjoy the kale. I can't get next to turnip greens for some reason. Probably don't know how to cook them.

Tomorrow I'll transplant more broccoli, kale, onions, and parsley. The winter garden is picking up! Astounding number of green tomatoes on the vines; hope they'll ripen soon!

The seasons turn and we enter cooler weather after summer's blistering heat. I am meant for cool weather, just like the rabbits we raise.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Letter to Politicians at Halloween

Dear political candidates,

Your costumes above are appropriate, reflecting your  actions in Washington.  Holiday appropriate garb, but let's get serious! No tricks, no treats, folks. 

This is not a partisan comment; both major parties are treating this campaign as a joke. Lies, half truths, arguments, and my particular favorite : voting both sides of an issue.

Can't be done you say? Let me explain. The first vote on an issue you vote" for", the second vote you can vote "against. The third time? Your choice! You can claim to have voted the way best determined when the time comes.

Don't worry though, the country is watching, and I'll be out there on the second voting after doing my research.

 Oh, and don't tell me the Health Care Bill was too long to read. Take the time, people. That's akin to signing a contract you never read. Stupid, in a word. Quit sneaking in secret ammendments and attachments unrelated to bills before congress.

OOhh! OOhh! I have an idea! Let's repeal some legislation on the books and become sensible, fiscally responsible people. Whatta ya think?

Love my Constitution, Love my country! Get out and vote! Early voting begins today. Vote the clowns out of Congress

Friday, October 8, 2010

Green Tomato Jam Disaster

Confident green tomato jam would be as good as green tomato pie, I decided to use up some of those tomatoes hanging around stunned into non-ripening by the heat. I picked what I could find and hauled them to the house in an ice cream bucket. Tomatoes rinsed and draining in a collander, I set off on an internet search for a recipe.

Green tomato jam with cinnamon? No, I don't think so.
Green tomato jam with allspice? Nuh-uh.
Green tomato jam with citrus?  Maybe, but not orange.

Searching, searching, searching...

Green tomato jam with lemon... Maybe? I don't have enough tomatoes for this one, and where's the pectin in this recipe? How will it thicken?

I know! I'll make up my own recipe! Please note the directions with the pectin powder specify to use the exact amount of sugar to cause the jam to jell. Seven Cups?

I must follow the directions, I must follow.... Gads! This stuff tastes like 100% sugar! Maybe if I add more lemon juice? I trickled in  1/4 cup, stirred and tasted. Marginally better. More lemon? I poured in another 1/2 cup of lemon juice and tasted. Much better, but still too sticky sweet. One whole cup????? Glup! I dumped in a full cup of lemon this time. Ahhhhh, perfection! Tangy, fruity and delightful!

I packed and processed the batch according to package directions with the help of my hubby. We removed the jars to cool overnight. Such beautiful emerald beauty gleaming in gem-like jars, standing on the towel.

The next morning I lifted one of those stained glass beauties and tipped it. Did it remain in place, even across the jar, fully jelled?

Did I follow the recipe?

Eight half-pints of green tomato syrup leered at me from the towel. Looks like I'll have to get more tomatoes and remake the whole batch. The directions say to do a sample test  before redoing the entire batch.

"Begin with with one cup unjelled jam...." 


Friday, October 1, 2010

Exotic Woman joins HomePlace

An exotic woman lives here in a cage. The Russian Orloff roosters told me so.

"She speaks a foreign tongue! Her feathers are golden and smooth. She has no comb, and her feet wear water waders. No wattles, no clucking; we've never seen the like. But female and quite attractive.!

"There's no roosters in there, we looked. We can handle her and all her friends, too!"

Fat chance boys!  She's a duck, and you're staying where you are.
 I'll get a replacement picture ASAP. This'll do for now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Man and His Cat ( Post Gout Attack)

You  may sing songs of a man and his dog,
 Companions in work and in play.
But consider a tale of a man and his cat
Together for hours each day.

The man is book-writing, his cat's in the way.
 She's hungry for notice, just won't let him be. 
 Fluff-Ums needs petting and now would be best. 
"Pet Fluffs, Sir, and I might just cease."

"Fluff-Ums, I'm busy, I'm writing," he grumps.
"I'll pet you when this chapter ends."
"Now," she says, " Now, I simply can't wait!
I thought you and I were best friends"

Fluff-ums attaches herself to his shirt.
A wet spot appears on his chest.
She's nursing for comfort, and smacking aloud,
When kitty needs solace, this man is the best.

They dream of a time when Fluff was quite small,
 An orphan who needed his care.
When life gets too hard, and the stress is too much,
Fluff knows that her man will be there.

If her man is dead tired, is hurt, or not well,
She's busily kneading his chest,
Repaying his kindnesses present and past.
  She's purring him better, then best.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fan Season Almost Over -- Impending Cold Front

Pure truth, that!

Get ready to celebrate! Pack those fans away (OK, not too far away yet), because Mother Nature is sending us a gift this weekend. A cold front is on its way. Weather guy says nights will be in the 60's for a few blessed days. Not really too cool,though, he reports.

Hah! I'm cheering for a Blue Norther. I want a 30 degree drop in temperatures in a few minutes! I want it all! I'm willing to cover the gardens, willing to winterize the animals!

Fall has arrived; let's show off some fall temps, Please. I know heat will return, but thrill to the thought of steadily declining numbers until maybe the 70's in the day.

Come on home to Momma, cooler weather! My sister sent me some sweatshirts I'd love to try out!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Farmers Almanac Swimsuits / I Am Soooo Tired

I'm glowing like ladies do (not sweating); I think I could use one of those swimsuits pictured above! I changed into dry clothes and put the "dewy" ones in the wash as soon as my breath steadied down to normal. Gloriously cool out, but when you weed, shovel dirt, pick veggies, collect critter water bottles, and pick up recycled cans that were strewn all over the place, you raise that old heart rate.

Then walk a little with the dog! I'm logging my progress on Route 66 on the AARP site. Today I reached Springfield, Illinois. One mile credited for every minute of exercise logged in; the gardening counts too.

Has anyone out there developed an allergy to fire ants over time?  I know the stings are painful, but now they itch and swell, too. Took some store brand anti-histamine tablets. Waiting for my left palm to stop itching -- am I allergic or going to get some money (per superstition)? 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For (from Cats)

The porch cats did their Keystone Kats routine underfoot when we returned from the Brazos Writers meeting. Usually I think it's funny as they race about crashing into each other and the porch furniture, but tonight I glared at them and snarled. It was eleven P.M. and I had to sub for a teacher the next morning. I wanted my bed, they wanted fresh cat crunchies, not the stale crumbles in their dishes.

Soooo... I said," Why don't you supplement your food yourselves? Shouldn' t somebody teach the rest of you to hunt?" The two momma cats must have taken the advice to heart. Especially after I closed the front door.

On my way to their food dishes this morning, I saw something like a hairball atop a storage box, except it wasn't exactly like that. I leaned over for a closer look. Hmmm. Soggy,furry, disheveled looking....

I sucked in a gust of air and jerked my hand back.  I identified dainty pink feet and a naked tail just before I poked at it. Three-quarters of a mouse,  proof  that the hunting lessons had begun. The cats "Keystoned" their way to the food dishes and chowed down eagerly. Who needs rodents when you have crunchers!

I praised their mouse-catching, in case the cats could hear me over the crunching. I left it in place though; maybe they'll snack on it later. Besides, varmint disposal is a manly job. Art can make much of  them  again when he does the rodent removal. I don't want to cheat the cats from their due.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Woman Seeking Employment

She's big, buxom, and has applied for a position in the Federal government. What will she do? I have an idea, but think you might come up with something better. Let me know! Is she a new Czar perhaps? A unique cabinet position just created?

Continuing to be Blessed with Pears

Update : HE-HE-HE! We are DONE with pears! Except to eat fresh ones  until they're gone. The post I wrote last week when I was still working on pears follows.

Pear and Honey Preserve           
Orange Nutmeg Pear Butter
Frozen Pears in Juice
Cinnamon Pear Sauce
Pear Nectar

Looks like two more pickings of Asian pears to go, maybe one more from D'Anjou tree. We're down to freezing them to turn into delecacies later. Such bounty due to unusual rains in June, I'm sure.

Think I'll mix some pears and berries to make some more jam. Apple and berry turned out lip smackin' good.

Back to the store for more jars and pectin soon.

Melons will ripen soon; wonder what I can do with them. Watermelon pickles anyone?

Next year I want to plant ground cherries. I found several intriguing recipes. Maybe Honeyberries, too?

Planting fall seeds; planning spring garden;  canning, canning, canning; and freezing whatever I can. Selling and saving, the farm gives us as much as the work we put into it and more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Gotta Get One

Small fan blowing big wind. Electric or battery powered. Price no object;weather too hot! 

Will this summer ever end?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

O Watermelon Divine!

Oh, watermelon, apple of mine eye!
Hiding 'mongst the leaves so shy,
Waiting for a passing shower
Lurking in your leafy bower.

Hauling water, pulling weeds,
We cater to your daily needs.
Gazing daily as you grow
Time does pass exceeding slow.

We turn you gently seeking yellow
Upon your belly, jolly fellow.
A thoughtful thump. Listen! Hark!
You'll be chilled before it's dark.

Ma-Moo's old tub, galvanized,
Holds you, drawing all our eyes.
You're cradled, tubbed in icy cool,
Crisp and sweet, provoking drool.

Hurry melon, we await!
We yearn for you upon our plate!
A flash of silver; you split apart.
Green, and white, and sweet red heart.

Crunching, slurping, spitting seeds,
We worship summer in the weeds.
Friends and family, smiles divine. 
The day we pluck you from the vine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm making dewberry jam today, from the bumper crop of berries picked from our HomePlace bramble. An unusually humid (and always hot) July in Texas, I work out in the porch kitchen so I don't heat up the house. A real sense of accomplishment to see the jars set out to cool, glowing purple-black; a reminder of things past.

I learned many things from my mother as I grew up -- needlework, cleaning, cooking, freezing and canning food. All valuable things I hope to pass on to my "Grands."

Mother was a difficult person to deal with inside the family walls. I left home carrying a whole lot of baggage. She had gone on (to paraphrase Janet Evanovich) to "the great casino in the sky"  two weeks ago. Mother did the best she could with what she had. We were estranged , but I have enough distance now to appreciate the things she taught me....

The jars on the towel sparkle, and sound softly as the lids seal. I swipe a finger along the side of the stainless steel jam pot for a taste, then toss it into the soapy water. I stand, scrubbing the pot, staring out into the woods, as memories roll across my mind.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bringing Up Kittens

Boat and half of her kittens gobble breakfast with Pepperoni. Sadly Pepperoni lost her kittens, but she's taken to wet nursing Boat's brood. Boat couldn't be happier, she'd already weaned the babies, but they try to mug herfor milk. The babies are overjoyed because milk still flows, just at a different dairy bar.

Peppi has taken to protecting the kittens, much to Bear-dog's dismay. Now two irritated female furies clean his clock when he tries to play with the kittens. Puffed up and growling in their protection mode, I'm even put off at their displays for Bear. Today he ignored the Momma duo and was beaten roundly until he ran away yelping. He can't understand what happened to his friend Peppi, she used to bat at him without claws, now she's developed sharp edges.

Boat generously shares her kittens with Peppi, for which I'm glad. Nothing's sadder than a Mom-cat calling for babies that are gone. I'm happy Peppi has some babies to mother. No doubt the kittens will grow to enormous size with all the extra milk.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ice Cubes

 Ice cubes have been my constant companions for three days.

It's an involved story starting with me out chopping fresh grass for the rabbits and a dog that won't come when called.

I let Bear loose as usual when we're outside.
The porch kittens had finished eating breakfast and went down to the ground to play in the jungle. Bear proceded to chase them up a tree for their first time. I yelled. Bear ignored me. 'Boat, the Momma Kat, rushed to their rescue. I'm still shouting, and throwing down my Ko Gama, I go for the dog, now under the porch being whupped on by 'Boat.

The two explode out from under the porch and shoot across the ramp. Yelling more, I turn and my foot slips into one of the holes Bear has dug when he's bored. Of course I end up on the ground, no longer yelling because the air's been knocked out of me.

Ok, on the ground isn't my favorite place; it's hard to get up on my feet. Stupid dog comes to see what I'm doing on the ground. I seize his collar and give him a good shake. Deciding I wasn't hurt enough to cry, I pick up on the yelling where I left off.

 Art found me, head resting on the steps, dog by the collar, feet in the hole, fuming. I can't bear to be helped to my feet, so I have to do it myself. It wasn't pretty, but I did it.

Three days of ice on my knee and I'm up and at it again. Still some pain when bending the knee, but happy to be up. I found my exercise bands and am working on building upper body strength. This is the second time I've found myself on the ground since spring.  I don't like it, but I must be really relaxed (or incredulous) when I hit the ground. Fortunately, I don't get hurt much. Getting up needs to be easier -- I need to be stronger. Or maybe I shouldn't have put the crutches down to chase the dog.

Stupid dog! When we go to town next, he's getting a training collar. Momma needs to teach Bear to come when called -- especially when he's in trouble.  As for Momma, where can I get an old fashioned ice bag?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

HomePlace critters wish you a Happy Father's Day. Feed us-- NOW!

You hug us, kiss us, make us cry.
You think you are a funny guy.
We sit our butts where you rest your head,
and cough up hairballs on your bed.
The House Cats

You bring us "Viennas" for our snacks.
You rub our bellies and our backs.
We love you, Dad,without a doubt.
Let us in, and the other cats out
The Porch Cats
(We love you best!)

I am your dog, I love you dearly, 
Even when you yell so clearly:
" Stop chasing chickens; no stealing the cat food!"
I'll come to your call if I'm feelin' the mood.
Bear Dog

"Bring me food. No! I am first!"
" Hurry, water me; I thirst!"
I'll have a tantrum and throw my dishes
If you don't cater to my bunny wishes.
The Rabbits (all 37 and counting)

Lean down and reach for eggs, we beg.
We'll peck you sharply on the leg.
Feed us now and make it snappy,
Kitchen scraps might make us happy.

The Roosters and Hens
(You know better-- chickens aren't ever satisfied!)

Have a busy, yet happy day.

The woodland creatures decline to comment! Too much with the shooting and traps!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Summer roared in early this year on tongues of flaming temps. Usually late May and most of June are moderate. Too may days in the 90's already. Working up a sweat in the garden daily, slugging down plenty of water, but...

Planting Jubilee watermelons was yesterday's chore, to ensure a ready supply. Nothing soothes a parched mouth like watermelon, chilled to perfection. Most everyone enjoys the fruit that embodies summer.

These geese-of-the-past (found while browsing pics in an old file) loved their melon once they decided it wasn't an enemy. We had so many melons that year we could sacrifice half a melon for our Embdens' enjoyment.


Never trust poultry around melons. Ever. This Silver Dorking
 hen convinced me to either eat melon in the house or
 pen up opportunist chickens before eating melon outside.

I looked away for a moment to talk to Art. When I turned
back, I faced beady, glaring chicken-eyes. She was standing on
my watermelon slice, on the plate on my lap. GAAAH! I know where chickens walk! Those feet were sunk claw deep in my melon!

Reflexes propelled the plate, melon, and attached chicken into the air. I was done! Finished!

Took me nearly a week of 100 degree plus temps before I could look at watermelon again without feeling queasy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beer for Callie

Bought  a beer yesterday to kill the slugs in the garden; it was Callie's favorite brand.

Callie, a Spanish goat, lived at HomePlace for many years.

Some of you met her here, and knew she was sometimes amusing, occasionally aggravating, destructive when unsupervised, and always her own "person".

Frequently stolen from a living history museum to attend frat parties in Waco, her owners gave her to us before she decided to join the fraternity full time.

At those parties she developed a taste for beer (and cigarettes, which she ate). Free grazing one day she discovered Butch visiting us. He liked beer too. She snuck up and stole a long-neck off the ground by his chair. Tipped it up and finished it, before he knew what happened.

He became a special friend as long as he let her have the dregs from a bottle. Providing it wasn't that cheap, nasty beer. She had her standards, even though she was a goat.

Age crept up on her, and she's been grazing in Heavenly pastures for almost two years. She's been eating their gardens and dancing on the tops of their cars, too. But, as the old song goes "In Heaven there is no beer...."

After we fill a pan in the garden to exterminate those slugs, I've asked Art to pour the last of that "barley pop" over her grave. I can see her licking her lips, and flicking her tail, working to get those last few drops from the bottle. Enjoy, Callie!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Orphan Kitten Update-- The Gift

"Boat" gifted us with four kittens three weeks ago.
They're chow hounds just like their momma. She used to grab onto the bottle fiercely when we hand fed her and her sisters after their momma, Halloween, disappeared last year.

Poor Boat, thinned out badly from kitten nursing, breathes a sigh of gratitude as babies learn to eat Kitten Chow. KC works well for Momma Kats, too.

Quite mobile now, babies try to help humans do laundry. Perhaps they search for scorpions, a favorite snack of our older cats. Small kitten-people need to be bigger before they try hot and spicy snacks!

"OOOOH! This shirt smells like the lady who brings the food!"

Another generation of porch cats joins the HomePlace. Invincible mousers, they work to clear the farm of rodents, keeping the number of snakes down, so "The Lady that Brings Food" will be safe. Thank you, Boat, for these beautiful and useful children.

P.S. Should anyone desire to adopt one, we would not stand in the way of a kitten's life of leisure in someone's home.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

One Last Video ( of THIS Event)

One last video of the Cops and Robbers Event at HomePlace, on May 8, 2010.

My first full legnth Animoto video! I am so Proud!

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Explosion of Heavenly Sweetness and... YOW!

I couldn't resist. I looked over at the berry bramble while harvesting veggies, and I heard the siren shout of ripe dewberries. Usually Art brings them to me to savor, so I avoid the thorns, weeds, and other hazards. Not today; I was out early, and my usual impatient self decided to get them on my own. On crutches.

Carrying a plastic shopping bag, I picked my way through the obstacles mentioned above. The bag tore, but I stubbornly knotted it instead of going back to the house for a berry bucket or an obliging husband.

Collecting berries in bag (and belly), I discovered a few just past the glossy prime of fully ripe. A shame to waste them, yes? Distracted by a batch of berries just out of reach I popped an overripe one into my mouth as I stretched to pick the last few ready-ripe berries.

A heavenly burst of musky sweet flavor flooded across my tongue and...YOW! PAIN! FIRE!

If you're a Texan, you've already figured out what I did. I didn't look before I reached for -- or ate-- the berry with a fire ant garnish.
It had me by a single taste bud and wasn't letting go! I scraped my  garden grimed T-shirt hem down my tongue. ARGHHH! It held on tightly!

No other options available, fire ant stinging viciously, I clawed my tongue with dirt encrusted fingernails. The ant came away in my fingertips, clacking its mandibles at me as I peered at it. It rared up, ready to latch onto my finger to punish me further. 

It didn't stand a chance; I wiped the fire ant remains off my fingers onto my jeans. Standing in the bramble, I selected one perfect berry from my bag, scrutinised it closely, and placed it on my poor, injured tongue. Ahhhhh! Heavenly!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farewell Festiva!

This Ford ferried me to my education job daily until she gave up due to a frozen engine. She sat inthe woods for several years until her swan song last Saturday at our event for writers: Cops and Robbers. Folks learned about weapons of the 1920's and '30's. They got to try some, too.

After the writers finished decorating the Festiva, The M-37 hauled her to the shooting range.  Set into position the old car gave her all for the winner of the raffle for the first shot.

Jean-Marie took aim...

...and blew the windows away!

More shots followed, delivered by eager writers.

"STOP! STOP! OMG!!!! Where's my cell phone?" Stacy searched while writers waited. "I dropped it when I was steering the car into place!" Despite the hail of bullets earlier, the phone was rescued intact from under the driver's seat.

 Proudly, JML shows the results of her shooting.

What can be learned by "tagging" and shooting up a car? Writers discovered:

* spray painting cars is FUN
* side windows shatter more easily than windshields
* hiding behind a car in a shoot out might not be a good idea
* bullets penetrate both sides of a vehicle at a 75' distance
* cell phones lodged under the seats are protected from gunfire

I'm hoping to see some of this information incorporated into someone's novel someday.

As for the Festiva, it's off to the recycler to become something new, but she'll live in the imaginations of the writers and their readers.What more could any teacher's car want?