Sunday, February 18, 2018

Off Kilter

Ralph's timing is definitely off kilter.  Just about the time I look at the clock beside my chair and think I've got to get up and get moving on some project or other, Ralph appears on my lap as if by magic.  "Ralph, honey, I've got to get up now."  "No, you don't," and he settles in.  Far be it from me to throw this sweet boy to the floor.  Oh well, few of my chores are that urgent anyway.

My own sense of timing isn't that great, either.  Almost every night between 9 and 10 I make the sensible decision to get up and go to bed.  That's just before I fall asleep in the chair.  Either stiff and/or cold, I wake up about midnight and then go to my room.  That's not too bad, but waking up about 4:30 in the morning (as I did today) is off kilter and sets me up for a daytime nap.  I hope I won't owe Clay an apology today while we're watching NASCAR.  Zzzz.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Red Letter Day

It wasn't February 14th, but my friend Harold made yesterday a Valentine celebration anyway.  He had invited me to lunch.  Sometimes we meet at the Fair Play Pub, but he wanted to go to a "real" restaurant so I drove down to meet him in Plymouth.  The drive from here and then down to Martell was beautiful through vineyards, rolling green hills with grazing cattle, and scattered fields of wild yellow mustard.  Being a traditionalist, Harold gifted me a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a tiny pot with a miniature red rose in bloom.  All that and a very good lunch/dinner, plus fun company made it a great Valentine's day.

Camille and I had rolls of barbed wire that we were never going to use and wanted to get rid of.  She made her fingers do the walking and found a buyer.  The guy came yesterday and not only bought everything we had, he paid a bonus!

Missy now wants to be petted before she eats, and seems to crave affection.  I was able to pick her up and determine that she is, indeed, a miss and not a mister.  I think she is very young.  I hope it doesn't ruin our budding relationship when I take her soon to be spayed.  One barn cat is one thing, a herd of barn kitties is quite another.

I have today to catch up on chores before my social whirl begins.  I'm booked solid for the next three days with people I love.  Yesterday wasn't the only red letter day on my calendar.

Friday, February 16, 2018


Once upon a time not too long ago (my Kids aren't that old, but before Pete and Larry were born), two pre- and early teenage boys whose parents both worked lived across the street.  One day, there was a knock on the door and there was Mike.  "May I borrow a cup of sugar, please?"  "Of course."  A short while later, knock knock knock.  It was his younger brother.  "Could I please borrow two cups of flour?"  "Sure."  When there was another knock and a request for a couple of eggs, I had to ask, "What are you guys up to?"  It turned out they wanted to bake a cake and didn't have any of the ingredients.  (Okay, it was long, long ago because this was before boxed cake mixes; sorry, Kids.)

I had a flashback on this scene yesterday.  In Pete's goody bag, he'd brought a large bunch of asparagus.  There are so many things one can do with asparagus, but I fixated on a dish from my childhood, creamed asparagus on toast.  All vegetables were seasonal then and we anticipated when the next crops would come in.  Creamed asparagus was a staple in spring, especially on meatless Fridays.  Ohmigosh, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it.  Just one problem:  I had no milk and I had no bread and it's darned hard to make cream sauce and toast without them.  Drat!  Nothing for it but a trip to town.  It's a good indication of my craving because I got in the truck and made the trek for a cup of milk and two slices of bread.

Back in the day (and I have no reason why), the theory seemed to be that green vegetables should be cooked until grey and mushy, in fact all vegetables were overcooked.  Last night, I lightly steamed the asparagus before putting it into the bechamel and, truly, it was better than my mother's recipe.  I darned near foundered!  Ahh, satisfaction.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Mystery

"Birds of a feather flock together," so the saying goes and it's true for the most part.  Once in awhile I'll see a crow or two riding the thermals with the vultures, but for the most part all the species keep themselves to themselves.  I get used to a particular group behaving in what becomes a characteristic way.  For instance, turkeys are pedestrians.  They are certainly capable of flight, but prefer to walk everywhere.  Woodpeckers peck, dinky birds hop and scurry, hawks soar; it's just what they do.

I see vultures all the time, either circling in the air (in flight, that's called a kettle) or sunning themselves on posts, poles, or in the trees (a group is called a committee).  That's what they do.  Yesterday, all the vultures in the photo, 16 of them, were on the ground just inside the goat pen.  Not only that, they didn't take flight when I walked closer and closer.  Believe me, that is unusual for these huge, elegant birds.  Also, when they did take off, the whole flock flew together to the dead tree over the barn.  Again, they stayed put as I came forward.  Normally they disperse to other areas if they've gathered in the morning when I approach.  I'd love to know what caused them to behave in such a different, unexpected way.  Ah, the mysteries of life sure keep it interesting.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cold Feet

I don't know if Ralph is becoming more affectionate, needy, or just has cold feet.  I do know that every morning lately, including today, Ralph sits on my lap while I try to work around him at the computer.  I wear a thick fleece robe and it seems to feel good to his toes.  On chilly days when I'm in my chair, I use that oh-so-soft afghan Deb made.  Celeste used to claim the prime lap spot, leaving Ralph to fit in wherever he could.  Now Ralph pushes her off, period.  Last night he crawled into the cat cave three times.  Down in the low 30s, I wasn't going to complain about that warm, soft,  snuggley companion under the covers.  There's just one small problem:  Ralph's purr mechanism is faulty.  He doesn't purr, he snorks.  No, that's not a typo, that's the sound he makes.  Oh well.  Come summer, I expect this all will change so I'm just enjoying it right now.

Lest anyone think Celeste is lacking attention, let me say that I go nowhere in the house without Celeste being right there.  (She's the cat I tripped over.)  We go down the hall together, into the kitchen together, and especially into the bathroom together.  Animals learn from the git-go that bathrooms are the best place ever to get petted when their Person sits down, and Celeste never misses that opportunity.

I'm glad I put that cat bed down in the barn for Li'l Miss on these cold days and nights.  She doesn't miss a meal now, breakfast or dinner, and is hovering over her bowl when I come in.  Feeding Missy first seems to be working out.  Either that, or the girls are becoming accustomed to her presence.  At any rate, they aren't so panicked anymore.

Sunny or not, Stove is keeping busy these days.  I don't want cold feet, either.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Something In The Air

It is technically still winter, but the warm weather of late has tricked the wildlife into thinking it's spring and love is in the air.  The tom turkeys in the breakfast club are dressed to impress and they fluff up and strut their stuff in front of the hens, who, as always, pointedly ignore the parade.  A pair of sparrows were duking it out down in the goat pen, undoubtedly for the affection of a female.  Even the girls were feeling feisty.

Nature is her usual capricious self.  The morning was cold and windy, but sunny.  After chores, lighting Stove seemed a good idea before the chill settled in the house, and I had a sit-down while waiting for the fire to catch.  I wasn't the only one thinking that because the smell of wood smoke wafted by outside.  Suddenly there was a change and hail was in the air!  It didn't last long, but was a pointed reminder that it truly is still winter.  The sun came out again and Bess and I went down to the feed store for gas and bird seed (and two cookies).  Unfortunately, I did not unload the bird seed as soon as we got home, because I had barely brought another wagon load of wood to the porch when it began to rain.  That didn't last long either.  Nature was just showing off the tricks in her repertoire.

Once again, Celeste wandered the hall last night, crooning to Waldo.  It must be the equivalent of baby-talk, because the voice she uses is reserved just for Waldo.  It's really rather touching.

It's down in the 30s again this morning.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Good Evening

As so often happens after a spate of company, I took a day off yesterday.  Yes, there was a twinge of guilt when I passed the now-open door to The Hole, not strong enough to make me go in and work some more, however.  I hadn't watched any of the Olympics, but got hooked while flipping channels, and there went the day.  Oh well.

This was the evening sky on the way down to put the girls (including Missy) to bed.  I make no apologies for my fascination with the sky.  Sometimes it's just too beautiful not to share.

About the time you think it couldn't get any better, it does.  In the short time it took to tuck the girls in, sundown had burst into flame.  Bess Anne, with her unruly hairdo, also turned to look on the way back to the house.

Sunset wasn't the only thing that improved in my life.  Having the Kids here this weekend was a gift, and then Clay sent a text that he was coming up to watch the Daytona 500 (the opening of NASCAR season) with me next Sunday, and then Dave called in the evening and invited me to meet him and his biker buddies at Bones on the 19th.  My cup overfloweth.