Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Good Ol' Truck

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."  I've got the 'early to rise' part of Benjamin Franklin's proverb down, but I guess falling asleep in the chair negates the 'early to bed' part for this to be true or maybe it just works for men.  You know I was on the move early yesterday when I had to literally wake up the goats to get barn chores done in time to make my appoint in town.  The looks I got:  "Wha-a-a??  What are you doing here now?  It's not even light out!"  It didn't help that it was pouring down rain, but we got through it.  I'd thought about not taking the time to change clothes, but the bibbies were soaked to the knee and even my socks were wet and I couldn't envision sitting in a waiting room in that condition.

I talked to Truck all the way to Diamond Springs.  "Kid, if you've ever behaved in your life, today is the day to perform well.  A lot (an awful lot) depends on you.  I know you can do this.  Make me proud."  We were all of five minutes late, but Brake Guy didn't hold that against us.  BG forewarned me that most vehicles didn't pass inspection on the first go-round.  Well, that bit of news make my heart sink.  After all, Truck is nineteen years old.  I handed over the keys, gave Truck a pat and whispered "Good luck," and took my book in to sit and wait, dollar signs flashing in front of my eyes.

Arden arrived and we took off, BG telling us to, "Take your time."  She needed to make a stop at the bead store, a place I absolutely haunted in the past when I was heavy into beaded projects.  There is a new owner, but not much else has changed.  We then dawdled over a "taco Tuesday" lunch before she dropped me off back at the shop.  BG informed me that Truck failed the light inspection because three dinky bulbs had burned out.  "Can you replace them?"  (I'm talking about a bulb in the door that is supposed to go on when the door is opened, and the other two were just as insignificant.)  "Well, yes, but I'll have to charge you."  (Like I'd expect anything less.)  "Please do."

Instead of the five o'clock BD had projected, he was done with Truck by one.  "And the brakes?"  The brakes had passed with flying colors!  Three bright new bulbs and a wallet much lighter, we headed for home.  Good ol' Truck!!

It is pouring rain again this morning, but my personal sun is shining.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lothario's Ladies

Lothario's powers of persuasion (or perhaps his dogged persistence) paid off.  He not only convinced the three hens for whom he spent days showing off, yesterday I saw he had added a fourth to his harem.  Once he had them in his thrall, now he must zealously guard the girls against would-be suitors.  The hens go about their business, paying no attention as Lothario follows them about the property, always making sure they stay together and away from competition.  The group was in the side yard yesterday as Bessie Anne was going down the drive to check the perimeter and get a breath of fresh air.  (Girl dogs mark their territory just as boy dogs do, and it always amazes me just how much piddle a dog can hold.)  As Bess approached, Lothario puffed up to twice his size and I was worried he might consider her a threat.  There was a big fight in the driveway the other day among toms and they can really do some damage with beak and claws.  Bessie pointedly ignored the turkeys and went on her way and he herded his personal flock down into the front pasture.

Rain and wind returned last night.  Aarrgh!  I'm not looking forward to today, starting with the fact that I'll have to do barn chores before first light.  Since there's no electricity in the barn, that will be a challenge.  A trip to town would not be my first choice on a rainy day (okay, any day), but Truck must be in the shop by 9 a.m.  A result of my vehicle being considered "totalled" is that I, through no fault of my own, must get a rather expensive brake-and-light check, re-register with DMV, and get new license plates.  Evidently the inspection is a very involved and lengthy process and will take all day.  Arden will meet me in town and we'll go to lunch together, saving me from sitting in the shop for seven or eight hours.  The way things are going, I'd probably be charged a baby-sitting fee, too.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Operator Error

I'm hoping Linda was the only one who caught my goof yesterday and found a single-sentence entry for The View.  In case there were others who might think I'd slipped a cog I'll explain.

The morning routine is this:  wake up and get up at o'dark-thirty, turn on the computer, make my way out to the hall and try not to step on cats on the way to the kitchen.  Ralph has a habit of running ahead and flinging himself to the floor like a speed bump.  In the kitchen, load the coffee maker.  Nothing happens until the coffee gets started.  Check the food dishes and fill as needed.  Bess has her own routine for the day.  Every day.  One milk bone for openers and then she stands in front of the treat drawer, waiting for one bacon-cheese chip, followed by one crunchy I-don't-know-what-they-are.  Dave gave her a package once and they became her favorite so I keep a supply on hand.  By this time, the coffee is ready.  I pour my one cup for the day and take it back to the bedroom where the only light is that of the monitor.  Log into The View and try to compose my thoughts.  Note:  no coffee intake at this point.  Yesterday I began to write, didn't like it, but in changing the title evidently hit Enter instead of Delete and it posted, hence the one-sentence entry.  Note to self:  don't attempt to write until the coffee kicks in.

That was about as much excitement as one person can handle.  The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Grey Skies

I wasn't sure whether or not to leave the play yard gate open for the girls in the morning when chores were done.  The sky was clouded over and I was glad I'd thrown on a light jacket.  Nah, it's not going to rain, but I did shut the big door to the coop.

Any excursion from home where bibbies are not appropriate has me changing clothes like an 1800s English Lady of the Manor.  Nightgown to bibbies in the morning.  Change to clean go-to-town jeans and top (sometimes, but rarely, a dress).  Come home, back on with the bibbies before putting the kids to bed. And finally back to nightgown for bed.  It's exhausting.

Spiffed up at last, don't you know it started sprinkling just as I hit the paved road?  Of course, I had not opened the play yard so all I could do was hope it didn't pour rain.  It didn't, and the drive down to Plymouth was uneventful.  Uneventful because I've memorized most of the potholes and was able to dodge new ones.  Once past River Pines, the road was in much better shape.  My friend Harold had invited me to lunch.  The choice of eateries in Plymouth is pretty slim; I think there are two.  The road to Jackson is the next best thing to a freeway and winds through lovely rolling green hills, dotted with oaks and punctuated by cattle.  Streams are flowing and ponds are full, a sight not seen for years.  I am rarely a passenger, and it was nice to sit and enjoy the scenery.  We enjoyed a leisurely lunch.  Harold is a glass-half-full kind of guy and good company.  Unlike myself, Harold loves to go shopping so our next stop was the grocery store.  He was a little disappointed that I had only three items on my list, and those because Harold and Pete are coming next Saturday for a belated St. Patrick's Day dinner.  The sun started breaking through on the way back, rays like spotlights on the hills.

Back home, change clothes, tuck the kids in.  It was a good day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Fling

I know.  I couldn't believe it either, but there it was, the first peony plant to pop up.  Bess and I had gone out to enjoy some afternoon sunshine when I saw live leaves among so many dead ones (guess it's time to do some raking).  Once I started looking, I discovered three more little fledglings.  I do love peonies.  They die back so completely in fall that it's like a treasure hunt to find them resurrected in the spring.

I feel so bad for the chickens.  They're a lot smarter than people give them credit for, and the flock learned their lesson well regarding the hawk.  The problem is that they're being held prisoner in the coop by fear.  Here we are with this beautiful weather when they should outside in the sunshine and there they are in the darkest corners of the room.  The ground squirrels are out in force so there's plenty of food available, but the fershluggen hawk has developed a taste for chicken.

I had previously made plans for today, so had to ask Pete to postpone a proposed visit when he called.  He reminded me that, unlike when he lived 500 miles away, he could come "over" anytime and accepted a dinner invitation for next Saturday.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Morn Til Night

Morning walkabouts are so pleasant at this time of year.  The forsythia has more blossoms than ever before, and the one pink anemone is a nice decorator touch.
The plum trees in the front orchard always make me think of lacy white dresses when they burst into bloom.

I had a most satisfactory visit with my radiologist yesterday and she's very optimistic.  It's hard to believe this cancer odyssey started a year ago next month.  So far, so good.

The drive to town was as colorful as my yard.  Salmon-pink flowering quince line the roads, and acacia trees in bloom are frothy splashes of bright yellow above.  Daffodils are everywhere.  Days of rain are predicted next week, and you can believe I had my eye out for a dogwood in flower.

 I had a moment of panic when I returned home.  There was not one chicken in the yard and not a peep from the coop.  It was so unusual that I went in to see and found the entire flock silent and huddled at the very back.  Evidently the hawk had made another appearance.  Poor frightened little kids.

I've got to clear out my cache of irrelevant downloaded photos.  Truly, how many pictures of sunsets does one person need?  It's an obsession.

It was a good day.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bits And Pieces

I'll say this for Himself, the local Lothario, he doesn't give up easily.  Sadly for him, the ladies remain unimpressed.  I find it interesting that the fanned-out tail seems to be on a swivel.  Standing perfectly still, he turns the fan left and right, showing off his attributes.  When none of the girls accepts his advances, Himself folds the fan and the tail droops like his spirits.

Yesterday was spent in a flurry of cleaning and, yes, dusting.  The chairs I'd ordered were being delivered days early.  The old pair were just that, old.  Old, and rump-sprung, lopsided and frayed.  The slipcovers collected every dog and cat hair and did not fit.  I was anxious about the sight-unseen new ones, particularly if they would be wide enough to hold me and the household menagerie.  Bessie Anne immediately gave them her seal of approval, and I'm pretty darned happy with them, too.

Going out last evening, I caught the murderer just after the act when I saw a hawk standing in the chicken pen surrounded by mounds of feathers.  I'd wondered why the white leghorn had died so suddenly recently, but there was no doubt what had happened to the sex-link hen.  In the eighteen or so years I've had chickens, there have been problems with dogs, coyotes, and even a skunk in the hen house once, but never has there been death from the sky.  I, and the chickens, I'm sure, feel so vulnerable to attack.

To end on a lighter note, my son Dave sent me this photo, saying that his buddies had sent it to him with a note that compared it to Dave riding his motorcycle.  Anyone who has met Dave knows that he is a big guy, 6' 4-5", and massively built.  (He was 9 lbs. 1 oz. at birth.)  This bear on a trike is a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm sure Dave's look of satisfaction is just the same.