Monday, October 31, 2016

Soggy Sunday

Back in the '50s, Fats Domino used to sing "Blue Monday."  Somehow Soggy Sunday just isn't as lyrical, but was more appropriate yesterday.  Cole Porter's "Night And Day" came to mind with the "...drip, drip, drip of the raindrops...."  And drip they did, until Nature imposed a penalty for her show of weakness and sunshine the day before and opened the floodgates and we were deluged to the point I wondered how big was a cubit to build an ark.

It was a good day to stay inside and watch Jimmy Johnson win his 9th grandfather clock trophy at Martinsville and get one step closer to a chance to tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. with seven NASCAR championships at Homestead in November.

It was also a good day to finish a book I'd been carrying around in the truck to read while waiting for doctor appointments.  That plan hadn't worked so well because the offices are much more efficient than in the past and there wasn't much waiting in the waiting rooms.

Nature ended her fit of pique with a flash of lightning and one huge bang and roll on the kettledrum and the storm was over.  Even the reverse sunset was beautiful.  I was grateful not to have to slog through the rain to the barn to put the girls to bed.

Tucking the chickens in for the night, I discovered that Runaway Rhonda had gone walkabout for the last time.  There is a circle of life, and I imagine she made a good dinner for some coyote cubs.  Rhonda will be missed.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Light And Dark

It did not rain once all day yesterday, and the sun came out to play now and again.  The girls were so happy to be out in their pen and ran, not walked, up to the corner for their alfalfa.  Inga was up on the stand when I heard the first snorts of alarm.  When they continued, I got up to see what was so scary.  All of the girls were at the connecting fence line between the two pastures, all heads turned in the same direction.  Following their line of sight, there it was.  A single coyote was in the big pen, nosing around under the big oak like he was reading a menu.  I yelled like a madwoman and banged the half-door like a gunshot and Coyote took off running.  It was easy to tell when the panic was over because the girls went back to munching alfalfa as if nothing had happened.  Milking went on as usual.  That is, until it was Tessie's turn.  "No, thanks.  I'm busy and I'll come in when I'm good and ready."  Well, that happens sometimes and I go about cleaning stalls while I wait for Her Highness.  She usually figures out that she'll miss out on breakfast and so she'll appear at the gate or door if I just ignore her.  Not yesterday.  I yelled, I pleaded, I threatened, all to no avail.  That little twerp would come within a foot of stepping inside, but would not come in.  Trying to grab her collar only made her back away faster.  I did explain that she'd be very sorry and she'd be hurting, but it made no difference to Tess.  So be it.

My only concession to Halloween this year was to buy one candy bar at the store instead of a bag.  We've never had a single trick-or-treater in all these years and I didn't need that temptation on hand.  Then I remembered that Beau and Katie have little kids and there might be a possibility they'd show up.  So I baked cookies yesterday, just in case.  Naturally, I had cookies for dinner.  That's it.  Just cookies.

The evening sky was a beautiful study in light and dark on my way to put the kids to bed.

Just when you think it couldn't get any prettier, it does.  I couldn't decide which of these two sunset photos was better, so here they are.

It was a good day.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ha Ha!

I was ready for the old girl and her tricks yesterday.  Nature thought she'd get me again by stopping the rain before I had to go the barn, but I'm on to her sneaky ways by now and dressed for the worst.  Even the goats were better prepared and dealt with the rainy-day program much better.  That's not to say they liked it, but coped, just the same.  Nature threw a hissy fit and poured water from the sky while I milked, but the girls dashed through the rain to shelter when let out and barely got wet.  Her tantrum was almost over by the time I was done and headed back to the house.  She got some satisfaction from my soaked jacket and cap, but I'm sure it wasn't as much as she'd hoped for.  Ha ha!

Her timing was off because I did have to make a run up to the grocery store in the afternoon.  I made it to the truck during a break in the rain.  She caught me on the road and gave the windshield wipers a workout, but missed my going in and coming out of the store, and looked the other way while I brought bags of groceries into the house.  Maybe she was getting tired of the game.

Yes, living up here we have a very personal relationship with Nature.  As with any member of a family, sometimes we get along, sometimes not s'much.  She has a definite influence on our lives.

It was a good day.

Friday, October 28, 2016

She Did It Again

Nature obviously has it out for weathermen, too.  I realize that forecasting weather is not an exact science, but my weather guy was so confident that the rain would hold off until afternoon yesterday that I believed him and made plans accordingly.  Went out in a light jacket and no hat to let the chickens out and trundle a bag of goat chow down to the barn.  Silly me.  With her exquisite timing, Nature started spitting on me on the way and by the time I was ready to bring the girls to the milking room she opened up and poured.  Rain thundered on the roof the whole time I was in the barn.  Rain throws our well-rehearsed routine into chaos.  Esther and Tessie refuse to step outside and so stay in their room until I let them in one at a time through the connecting door for breakfast and then I push them out.  They put their heads down and make a dash for the covered play yard.  Poor Cindy is the omega in the herd and she sometimes has to go around to the other little shed alone because the others are mean to her.  I was soaked by the time I got back to the house.

It rained all day long, through the night, and it's still raining.  Evidently the old girl wasn't satisfied with how wet I got yesterday and is going to take another shot today.  This hasn't been a cold storm, but if Nature doesn't give us a break I may have to light a fire in the wood stove just to take the dampness out of the air.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Outside In

 Celeste was totally fixated on the curtain (somewhat in disarray because it's Ralph's favorite hide-and-go-seek curtain) yesterday morning.  She crept closer and closer, finally darting forward to pounce.  Whatever was playing It in this game was pretty good.  Celeste looked behind the curtain and in the corner, batting here and there.  Ralph got interested and came to help his sister.  What in the world could It be?  Obviously another uninvited guest.  After a quick tussle, Celeste ran by with something small, dark, and limp in her mouth, headed for the dining room.  Not sure I really wanted to know, I followed.  It was a very small lizard who had come to the wrong house.  Celeste guarded her trophy from me and took it back to the living room.  She played with the carcass, as did Ralph, and even Bessie joined in.  They finally tired of this new toy and all went to take a nap.  Imagine my surprise when, after lying belly up and still for the longest time, Lizard moved, trying to turn over!  Oh, good grief!  Hoping it hadn't been mangled, I picked it up and headed out to the deck.
Opening the door, I glanced down and thought my mind was playing tricks.  One small lizard in my hand, yes, but there in the corner was its twin.  It was a home invasion!  I put Lizard #1 outside and went back for Lizard #2 (in the photo).

Having raised three boys in the hills of Chino, I learned early on to check pockets before putting their pants in the washer, and to exclaim with pride when they showed me their latest catch(es).  As I remember, they even had a place they called Lizard Valley where the hunting was best.  You don't want to know what else they'd bring home.  A mother of sons knows never to show fear.
The day ended as it had begun, with Celeste hoping for a rerun of the morning's adventure and staring at the curtain.

Yes, the pig is still dressed in a Santa suit and that is a bag of unclaimed Christmas presents on the floor.  Late for one year, early for the next.  Like Celeste, I never give up hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I was singing along with Judy Garland on the way back from Cameron Park yesterday afternoon when I crested a hill and saw a perfectly defined rainbow that spanned the Sierra range.  "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" seemed so appropriate.  That moment in "The Wizard Of Oz" when black-and-white suddenly switches to technicolor was repeated when I hit the stretch of Highway 50 through Placerville.  One side of the road there is lined with Pistache trees and at this time of year those trees simply blaze in red and gold and make the rest of the world seem lackluster.  The speed limit through town is 40 mph and it gives one more time to enjoy that burst of color and beauty.  Rainbows are normally such ephemeral things, but that one yesterday lasted all the way from CP until I stopped to take care of an errand on the far side of P'ville.  It was a gift.

I've a bone to pick with manufacturers of women's jeans.  Why, I wonder, do they put such dinky pockets in those pants?  Compared to the capacious pockets in bibbies, the pockets in my go-to-town britches aren't worth spit.  Where am I supposed to put my important, don't-leave-home-without-'em stuff like my pocket knife?  I suppose I could put it in my purse, but my purse is like most women's and it would take a major excavation to find the knife in an emergency.  Manufacturers, please take note - bigger pockets, please.

Back from yet another visit to the doctor, I got curious.  So far in the last seven months I've logged almost 1,500 miles to various doctors, etc., this for a woman who hasn't put close to 3,000 miles a year on the truck for years.  A far cry from the 40-60,000 driving miles when I was a consultant.  Yup, I'm now a stay-at-home stick in the mud and I prefer it that way.

Calling on Judy again, "There's no place like home."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Screeching Halt

Ever have one of those days when you think, "If I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all?"  Yesterday started out so well.  I was moving pretty well and got a lot done in the barn that I'd had to ignore the day before.  One thing about "bad" days, they sure make you appreciate a good one and I had high hopes.

Back in the house and after my sit-down, stripping the bed, I threw the linens in the washer and headed for the kitchen.  My milk customer was due and I needed to wash and carton his order of eggs.  The little girls have upped production so he's getting eggs that may be only three days old and less, but I never wash off their natural protective coating until the last minute.  That done, my intent was to clean up the kitchen and that's when everything came to a screeching halt.  There was a moment of disbelief when I turned on the faucet and water.  I looked around.  Yes, we had electricity.  Even if the power had gone out there would still be water in the pressure tank.  If there were a break in the water lines, there would have been symptoms prior to no water at all.  Running back to the laundry room to check, sure enough there was a half-full tub with nothing going in and I hurriedly turned the machine off.  In a panic, I ran scenarios through my mind, none of them good.  Had the well pump gone dead?  Had the pressure tank failed?  Even with the recent rain, had the well gone dry?  Taking a moment for several deep, calming breaths, I put in a call to Jim Hammonds, my go-to water guy who has saved my metaphoric bacon more than once.  "I'll be there," said my man on the white charger (okay, it's a pickup truck, but it's white).

The day had been damp and overcast and I desperately needed to be outside, events in the house were too depressing.  Deciding to take a chance, I fired up John Dear and we took off for the backyard and side slope.  We both needed exercise and I needed the practice.  John is going to take some getting used to as he is an automatic and speed is controlled by the gas pedal just like a car.  Fu Manchu had a lever to set speed and we could tootle around without thinking.  Mowing the slope was good training and I quickly learned not to brace both feet on the downslope because John responded by racing faster down the hillside.  Yikes!  Alrighty then.  We had finished the backyard and a good portion of the hillside when Jim and Debbie drove up.  She and I left Jim to play detective.  It seemed (to me) it took forever before he found the problem and put a temporary fix on what turned out to be a broken electric line to the pressure pump.  Go figure.  Since I once again have water, finishing the job in a couple of days is fine with me.  I turned the washer back on and went to bed on clean, dry sheets.

After a long, hot, dry summer, a sundown sky filled with the promise of rain is every bit as beautiful as one of those red-gold sunsets.

All's well that ends well.

PS:  Omigosh!  One of the last things I do every morning is check the statistics and today the number of "hits" (how many have read my blog) reached over 100,000, 100,032 to be exact, in the six years I've been writing.  Wow!  Thanks to everyone who has and/or is following the adventures and misadventures of Farview Farm.  We are honored.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Some Plans...

There are those days when the best laid plans go astray.  I got slammed early on with what, for lack of a better term, I call my "bad days" when leg pain is severe and barn painting was out of the question.  I had to call Cam and beg off, but told her I'd be near the phone and to please follow Plan B to keep in touch when she was using the ladder.  Back up from the barn, I waited to hear.  And waited.  Worried, I called her, hoping she wasn't face down among her chickens.  Turned out that her plans had also gone awry and painting was not going to happen yesterday.  Some days are like that.

On the bright side, my grandson Jake completed his training as an Airborne Mission Systems Operator at Lackland AFB, Texas.  Not only that, Jake took top honors in his class.  It is so nice to see someone's plans fulfilled.  I am very, very proud.

The rain began last night and once again brought out the rain beetles.  Attracted to the lights, their tapping at windows and screens freaked out the cats and, I'll admit, startled me until I realized the source of those sounds out there in the dark.

I have no plans for today.  Just as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

For A Change

Just for something different, this was sunrise yesterday morning instead of my usual sundown photo.  Can't say the sky doesn't put on a spectacular show up here.

A good soaking rain followed by a couple of days of sunshine makes a terrific change in the scenery on the ground.  This photo was taken up in the corner by the water trough in the smaller goat pen.  It gives a pretty good idea of my daily hike down to (and up from) the barn.  It sure didn't take long for green to appear in the brown landscape.  I'm glad John Dear and I are at least on speaking terms because I have a feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time together come spring.

Camille called in the afternoon to tell me she was going to tackle finishing painting one side of her barn.  I was in the middle of something and couldn't go down there just then.  In a different version of Neighborhood Watch, we agreed that she would call me every half-hour and that if I didn't hear from her, I'd jump in the truck and go over, just in case she'd fallen off the ladder and needed help.  It's what we do.  Happily, she finished the last three panels without incident.  I'll be helping her today after barn chores because rain is predicted in the next week and it's a job that needs to get done.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lost In My Own World

I so look forward to Fridays, not because the weekend is coming (there is no such thing as a weekend when you have milkers), but because I DVR a couple of favorite, wildly divergent programs on Thursday night.  I give myself an hour of R&R after barn chores and on Fridays I watch "Father Brown," an Agatha Christie-type of English mystery on PBS.  It lacks blood and gore with civilized murders and is full of nice people.  "Father Brown" could not be farther from "The Blacklist," in which there are few to no nice people and mayhem abounds, but I like it too.  They're my Friday treat.

I made a mistake yesterday when, instead of getting up to tackle the To-Do list after my respite, I picked up "End Of Watch," the last in a Stephen King trilogy I'd been enjoying.  I'd been so good about doling out chapters instead of starting and finishing a book in a day as I've been known to do so I was only halfway through.  With good intentions, yesterday I thought, "Well, I'll just read until noon," and then, "Okay, maybe until 1."  And, "I'm already late getting started, so I'll stop at 2."  When King hits the mark, he writes a page-turner for sure and he sucked me in on this one.  I turned the last page at 2:30 and let out the breath I'd been holding in a long sigh.  Bessie Anne had been patiently waiting for me to take her outside on a beautiful day, so I came out of the world of imagination and we went out together to enjoy the real world.

Funny thing, all those chores on the To-Do list are still there waiting.  I sort of hoped the book fairies would help me out there, but no.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fait Accompli

The deed is done!  Hooves on all five goats are trimmed, neat and tidy.  The girls were dancing on air on a bright, sunny day and I went back to the house to rest my back.  That chore won't need to be done again for a couple of months.

Ran a couple of errands, sat outside with Bess for awhile, and invited Arden over for a drink in the afternoon.  (The house was dusted and I hated to waste it.)  Talked to Camille and since she was going to be out and about, invited her over, too.  In the meantime, I got an idea for dinner and started throwing things in the pot.  It turned out to be a creamy, spicy chicken stew of sorts that was ready about the time the ladies came in and I was so glad they agreed to stay for an impromptu dinner.  After all this time alone, I still have trouble cooking a "little" of anything for one.  The ladies saved me from a week's worth of leftovers.

I'm a little concerned about one of the chickens.  It is the same breed as BF Betty, but has a much larger comb which normally indicates a rooster.  Betty has continued to ask to be picked up and carried for a bit, but this other questionable-gender bird has started that same behavior, stopping in front of my feet, but squatting down with wings akimbo in a rather obvious sexual advance and surrender.  He/she/it becomes pretty demanding, pecking at my shoes if I don't comply.  Like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction," said bird says, "I will not be ignored!"  I don't know if this chicken is a jealous female or a confused male who has fallen in love with the wrong species.  If I'm not holding Betty or a handful of eggs, I pick up HSI and listen to its soft clucking, almost a purr.  I'd give him/her a name if I knew which way to go.  Maybe something like Billie or Tommie, non-gender specific in case I guess wrong.  In the meantime, I just enjoy Chicken's company regardless.

It was a good day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Done And Run

Fifteen hooves done, five to go.  I was so pleased yesterday because the girls hardly fought having the last back hoof trimmed.  I think I may have helped the procedure by hiding the shears until the last minute before picking up the foot.  I hate to be sneaky with the girls, but hey, whatever it takes to keep them and me safe.  All that's left to do today is their left forefoot, the easiest by far.  Trimming the right forefoot is an exercise in gymnastics because I'm nearly standing on my head and the shears have to be held in my left hand (I'm not left-handed).  Explaining anything to the goats is like teaching a pig to sing, but I've told them how much better they'll feel after the job is done.  The hoof walls fold under as they grow and it must be like walking with rocks in their socks.  With even three out of four feet trimmed, they are tripping the light fantastic in the field now.

I tried one more time without success yesterday to get John Dear's cooperation.  Nothing for it but to take a big gulp of pride and ask Beau for help.  Bless his heart, he came over shortly after receiving my text (I wasn't brave enough to actually call).  I had the trickle charger and extension cord at the ready, but he got on the tractor, fiddled with this and that, and that booger John roared to life!  It must be a guy-to-guy thing.  Just as I hadn't pressed hard enough on the brake pedal to get the key to turn, I hadn't pushed the throttle lever past the "click" point to get the engine to turn over.  As glad as I was (am) that it was something so simple, I really wanted to slap John's face for putting me through such embarrassment.  I'm also pretty upset with the instruction manual for not mentioning these fine points of operation.  Beau was very compassionate and did not further my humiliation, and said he would come any time I needed help.  Bless his heart.

Later, long after Beau was out of earshot, I went out to practice with John.  Satisfied with himself and his shenanigans, he cooperated fully and we tootled around, going faster and slower, backing up, and did a trial run with the blades down in the center of the driveway.  By that time, the wind had come up and the weeds were drier and I didn't want to take a chance on a stray spark starting a fire by doing a real mowing.  It was enough to know I could get John to run.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

That's A First

Probably fifteen years ago Steve was going to town and asked if I wanted anything.  I asked for a persimmon tree.  That man would shop for anything.  He just loved shopping, it didn't matter what.  He came home so pleased with himself as he took a pomegranate bare-root tree from the truck.  "E" for effort as he did get the "P" right.  Oh well, pomegranates are good, too.  I thanked him, never pointed out his mistake, and planted the tree-ling out in the fenced garden.  The tree survived and has grown and has even put out blossoms now and then, but not once in all these years has it set fruit.  Therefore I didn't believe my eyes as I walked past the garden yesterday on my way to the goat pen and caught a flash of red.  Going to check, I found this pomegranate, as well as one that had been too long on the tree and gone bad, one that the birds had feasted on, and one not quite ripe.  That's a first and shows that one should never give up hope.

Still in the process of trimming goat hooves, yesterday I moved on to the right rear legs.  Trimming hooves does not hurt anymore than clipping fingernails, but the girls do not like to have their feet messed with.  The back feet are the worst.  The girls are incredibly strong and kick like mules while I'm trying not to trim too close to the quick and not get slashed or punctured by the sharp, pointed shears myself.  It's a procedure I approach with caution, so yesterday it came as a great surprise when every one of the girls let me pick up their feet and trim the overgrown hooves without (much) protest.  That was another first.  I can only hope today is more of the same.

John Dear and I are not in sync.  It was a perfect day to mow as the sun was shining, the earth was damp, and the star thistle was just dry enough.  After John's months-long vacation, I got out the instruction manual for a refresher course before going out to the shed.  Thing having done what Thing does best, I had to dig mounds of dirt away from the feed barn in order to get the door to the middle section open just in case I needed more gasoline.  John's tank was full and I climbed aboard, turned the key, and...nothing.  Mentally reviewing the manual, I pushed this, pulled that, turned the key, and...nothing.  Bess had come out with me and she followed me back to the house so I could read the manual again to find out what I was doing or not doing right.  Turns out I wasn't pushing hard enough on the brake pedal.  We went out again for another try.  Wow!  The engine turned over but didn't catch.  Again.  Rrrr, rrrr, rrrr.  And nothing.  Boogers!  Thinking I'd flooded the engine, Bess and I went back to the house to give John a chance to recover.  She was a little slower to follow me out again, but she came.  Rrrr, rrrr, r-r-r-r.  Oh crum.  The battery was getting low.  Admitting defeat (for the moment), I headed back to the house, Bessie Anne giving me questioning looks as she followed.  "Why are we doing this, Mom?"  Now, I have to admit I'm phobic about batteries.  I'm pretty good with AA clock batteries, but I'm scared to death of car and tractor batteries, sure I'm going to blow them up if I get the red and black connectors wrong, and absolutely sure I'll get them wrong.  The only available male in the neighborhood is Beau, but after the fiasco of the other day, I couldn't make myself pick up the phone to ask his help.  I'll have to get over that or else plant flowers in John's cup holder and call him yard art.

Totally frustrated with my lack of success with John Not-So-Dear, I dusted the living room without provocation.  That's a first.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Sun Shines Bright...

No, not on "My Old Kentucky Home," but on Farview Farm the sun shone all day long.  Washed clean, the oaks were hurt-your-eyes green.  Parched plants perked up in the herb garden, and I'm here to tell you that there were five very happy goats in the pen in the morning.  I got a start on giving the girls a pedicure.  Walking on wet/damp ground had softened their hooves enough to cut.  I don't have the hand strength anymore to trim them when they're rock hard in the summer.  It's a four-day process as I trim one hoof in rotation on each girl each morning.  It lets them off the stand quicker and is much easier on my back.

After days of being shut in the gloom of the coop, the chickens ran about scratching and busy on a bug hunt.  (One thing about rainy days, with nothing else to do, the bored hens settle down and lay more eggs.)

Our DCG  (decomposed granite) soil drains quickly so there were few of the standing ponds of the day before, but I considered it still to wet to mow, not wanting to put ruts in the ground.  It did take self-restraint not to gas up John Dear and spend the day outside.  Bess and I cheated just a bit and sat out on the deck after chores and later under the shade of the front yard oak.  It was just too nice to stay inside.

I've given up on the house as a major project, but whittle away at the To-Do list every day.  Believe it or not, it's a full moon again and time is quickly slipping by.  It will be Thanksgiving before we know it.

The sun went down as it had come up, a blazing ball of fire.  It was a good day.

Monday, October 17, 2016


It rained yesterday.  Boy, did it rain!  I'd let the girls out into the pen and had Inga, first in line, up on the stand when the clouds started to drop their load.  No soft opening, Nature turned the faucet on full blast.  The girls have a small shed for shelter even if the play yard gate is closed, but they still moaned their distress, a sound I'd not heard from them before.  As soon as Inga was finished and I'd brought Sheila around, I couldn't stand it any longer and shut the door to the back stalls and let the girls into the play yard.  That put a crimp in the schedule as I couldn't get through the huddled goats to clean the stalls and fill the feed bucket, but one night wouldn't hurt them and I could not, in good conscience, leave them out in the downpour.

It rained without let up almost all day long, hard enough at times to wipe out the satellite TV dish.  Taking a chance that the power would stay on, I made Russian Pie for dinner.  Certainly not difficult, it takes a fair amount of fussy prep work, shredding cabbage, slicing onions, mushrooms to saute with a lot of herbs, and peeling and slicing hard-boiled eggs to spread over a layer of cream cheese in the pie shell.  I thought I had it timed so that it would be ready to come out of the oven just before Camille and Honey were due, but the top crust wasn't browned yet.  Knowing dinner would be somewhat delayed, I dashed out to put all the critters to bed while it was still light, sure I'd beat Cam to the house.  Yeah, well.  It was a mob scene down at the barn and difficult to let one at a time into the back stalls.  The chickens had enough sense to stay indoors, but I wasn't about to move fast in the slush in their pen.

Honey and Bess ran to meet me when I headed to the porch and I'd scared Cam when I didn't answer the door.  Living alone out here in the boonies, we are both aware of dire possibilities and she'd gone in to check on me, which I greatly appreciated.  By then, the pie was done.  I dried the soggy dogs, gave them a milk bone each, and we ladies enjoyed that flavorful, rich pie before going in to watch a little television and listen to the nonstop rain.

We've been asking and waiting for the badly needed rain, but I think we should have refined our request so that it didn't come all at once.  It was a very wet day.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's About Time

In this digital age, I still depend on two battery-operated clocks.  Chores are dictated by sunup and sundown, but there are occasions (occasionally) when I actually need to know what time it is.  When the batteries get low, the clocks slow down.  For a while, it was kind of fun to convert slow time into real time, but then the batteries in both clocks died almost simultaneously.  I wasn't in a hurry to perform a resurrection as there are glowing digitals everywhere.  The clocks in the living room and kitchen hang high on the walls and are a challenge to take down and more of a challenge to put back.  They hang on little nails in drywall instead of studs and so if the clock isn't centered just so, the little nail slides into the wall and must be pulled just far enough out again.  And again.  This weather, days of rain combined with strong winds, is when we lose electricity from trees and branches falling on power lines and so yesterday the time had come to put in new batteries, just in case.  No power, no digital clocks.  It was as expected, an exercise in patience and repetition.  Both clocks make a ticking sound as regular as a heartbeat, reassuring on the silent, dark nights when the house has gone black, letting me know I'm still in touch with the real world.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

As Expected, Or Not

With her usual evil timing, Nature waited until I stepped out the door for morning chores to start dropping water on my head yesterday.  This time I was ready for her and had put on a heavy jacket and a beanie.  I was prepared, but the goats were not.  They never are and they never like rain.  There was a lot of grumbling as I turned them out into the pen, and no hesitation at all when it was their turn on the stand.  In fact, they were banging on the door to be let in.  Even though we're due for several days of rain, it is too early in the season to nail the covers on the window openings.  The girls are in and protected, and the temps are not dropping far at night yet.

I'd been invited to lunch by my friend Harold, who lives down on the outskirts of Plymouth.  It was raining pretty good by the time I left the house and I crossed my fingers, half expecting the new wipers to fly off.  Ta da!  They stayed on and did a great job of cleaning the glass.  Harold likes a captive audience and usually opts for somewhere farther away in Jackson or Martel, but the weather being what it was, we went to a Mexican restaurant in Plymouth.  Chili verde hit the spot.

As expected, rain had put the deer on the move and I had to brake several times to let them cross the road, usually in pairs.  It doesn't pay to see one and keep going because there's usually another in the underbrush waiting to follow.  The road in the hills was fairly slick due to pine needles, thick enough in places to pile in drifts.

At sundown (had to guess on that one as no sun had been seen all day), the girls were more than ready to go to their rooms.  A large puddle had formed in front of the gate into the barn and after they were tucked in, I had to dig a trench to let it drain.  Once again I cursed our ignorance in building the barn at the bottom of the hill.  I'm always on the lookout for leaks in the barn roof.  So far, so good on that score.

What I did not expect was a leak in the feed barn, discovered when I went in to get a nighttime treat for the hens.  Water on the floor, water standing on the shelves, water pouring in a stream from a rafter.  Aarrgh!  Nearly dark, there was nothing to be done about it then but put a bucket under the waterfall and hope for the best.  I'm not sure how I'll deal with it today.  Another of life's little challenges.

After dark, back in the house and warmed by cats and dog on my lap, it came as no surprise to hear tapping at the windows.  It had rained enough during the day to bring out the rain beetles from their underground burrows where they live most of their lives.  Evidently they have only a day or two above ground to mate and lay their eggs.  They are big and clumsy, and Ralph is fascinated by their banging around and whirring and he runs after them from room to room.

It is raining again as I write this morning.  I expect today to be a rerun of yesterday.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Tried

The predicted midnight rain is behind schedule this morning; it's still dry outside..  Yesterday was spent trying to be proactive.  After that totally embarrassing start, calling my neighbor at 4:30 a.m., I needed to do something to renew my self-esteem.

I'd received a call from an inspector for the new home insurance company I've been assigned.  That is a whole saga in itself and the thought of losing insurance had me in a panic, but that's another story for another day.  Anyhow, the gentleman had explained it was an outside inspection only and that he was, by law, not allowed to step inside nor accept so much as a glass of water, as that could be interpreted as a bribe.  I didn't need to be present, but I preferred to be here and so we made a date for yesterday morning.  Insurance Guy and his little pug dog, Bruno, drove up.  "I understand I'm permitted to give you nothing, so here you go," and I handed him an empty coffee cup.  Thankfully, he laughed.  "If you want seconds, just ask.  I've got plenty of nothing," I said.  Bessie went to say hello to Bruno, who was still in the car.  When I told IG that he could let Bruno out if he wouldn't run off, that cocky little dog with a big-guy attitude jumped down to greet Bess and run around leaving his mark everywhere.  Bruno was not under the same restrictions as IG, so I went in to get a few milk bones to share.  When I opened the front door, Bruno trotted right along to supervise.  IG did his thing and I held my breath for the results.  We passed with flying colors!  He even said the place is in great shape.  Whew.  When IG was ready to leave, he told his dog to get in the car.  "No, Dad, that's okay.  I think I'll stay right here.  The nice lady gives me cookies and I like her girl," and Bruno stood in the walkway and wouldn't go.  IG finally had to pick him up and deposit him on the seat.  IG left as he came, laughing.

Discovering that I was not yet on the schedule for alfalfa, Bess and I went down to Mt. Aukum for a gas fill-up on the truck and grain (and Bessie's two cookies).  I needed to get the feed down to the barn before the rain came.  I also was reminded that I desperately needed to get the new windshield wipers installed.  They've been behind the seat for months.  There is a small auto shop by the store and I decided it would be worth it to have somebody else put the wipers on.  The shop was closed.  Okay, I can do this.  No, I couldn't.  I tried and tried to figure out how to get the old ones off.  In desperation, I put in a call to, you guessed it, Beau.  He didn't pick up and I couldn't blame him, but I left a message anyhow.  Giving it the old college try one more time, I successfully removed the shredded wipers and put on the new ones.  So easy once I learned how.  Quickly putting in a "disregard all messages from the crazy lady" call to Beau, it was time to make a run to the grocery store to stock up on supplies before the storm.

All missions were accomplished.  It was a good day.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Just Not Here

Got a lot done yesterday, just not here.  We got six panels of T1-11 painted on Cam's barn.  That might not seem like much, but each panel was trimmed separately with aluminum and there was a lot of cut-in work.  T1-11 siding is a booger to paint.  It has a very rough surface with narrow channels cut in and if there is any water damage, the wood checkers and it is nearly impossible to paint.  There's a lot to be said about working with a friend.  We talked and laughed the entire time and three hours went by quickly.  We both decided it was quitting time when we started making mistakes.  Cam had been up and down on the ladder, and I was bent over painting trim.  We stopped while we could still walk semi-upright, neither of us being spring chickens anymore.

I fear my name is Mudd with my neighbor Beau.  While waiting for my coffee at 4:30 this morning, I decided to clear "recent calls" off my cell phone.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Swipe, delete.  Swipe, delete.  Imagine my horror when I touched a name and it didn't delete, it started ringing Beau's phone.  In a panic I tried to hang up but the bloody thing kept repeating.  Aaargh!  I hoped against hope that he'd left his phone in a pants pocket in another room, but no such luck.  Bless his heart, he called right back, his voice thick with sleep.  It was very reassuring to know that if I'd had an emergency, help was just up the road.  However, I groveled with sincere apologies and I hope he was able to go back to bed, probably and rightfully calling me very name under the sun.  Just because I get up before the roosters, it doesn't mean the world has to.

If the weather guys are right, this may be the calm before the storm.  A pretty good rain is predicted for tomorrow through Sunday.  I am so hoping for an alfalfa delivery before the skies open up.  The crew is good about adding grain to the truck for me.  If they can't come today, I'll have to go get feed myself.  I got rained on the last time I had to unload, and would prefer not to do that again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fits And Starts

I might as well get used to the fact that if Project Cleanup ever gets underway, by the time I finish I'll have to start over again.  One of the frustrating things about housework is that it is an endless loop.  Like an old-time movie projector, I move along at a herky-jerky pace, getting a start and then an interruption.  Camille has been in the same situation and now she's hitting the panic button.  After a month of nonstop company at her house, for a week she's been saying she needs to paint her barn and then everything would go kerphlooey and nothing got done.  We are due for rain tomorrow or the next day and welcome as the rain will be, it would spell disaster for a paint job, so today's the day.  As soon as I finish with the girls this morning, I'm going down to help Cam.  I told her I'm not going up on a ladder, but she can go high and I can go low and maybe between the two of us, we'll get something done.

I logged some miles on foot yesterday.  I average over a mile every day just going down to the barn morning and night.  My milk customer had said he wanted the "end product," as it were, and come to get a load of manure.  There is a brief window of time when that is possible between tall, dry weeds in summer when there is danger of hot exhaust pipes starting a fire and wet, slushy mud in winter when a vehicle puts ruts in the field and now is just right.  "Just let me know early for sure so I don't let the girls into the big pen (where the dung pile is)."  Not hearing anything from him in the morning, I opened the gate between the yards so the girls could go over to graze in the shade under the big oak.  And then, of course, when I was back in the house he called and said he was on his way.  So I hiked down and coaxed the goats back into the smaller pen and shut the gate.  I asked him and his friend to open that gate before they left and save me that extra walk.  They loaded up their little trailer and did as I'd asked and all was good.  A little later in the afternoon, he called again and said he was coming back for a second load and we did it all over again.  Dang, that hill gets steeper on the way back up!

At least I'll have a good excuse not to get anything done here today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Regardless of whatever happens next, you know it's going to be a good day when you get a phone call first thing from your doctor with the message that the recent CT scan showed no sign of the bone cancer he'd thought was the source of pain.  Dodged that bullet, whew!  I sent out the word to the family and received such loving words of encouragement from them all.

The next caller advised me that the document I'd lost to the attic of the wind wasn't required after all.  Big sigh of relief.

And then I received a third terrific call, this from my son-from-another-mother, Clay.  We text often but, as he said, we don't talk "face to face" as much and it was nice to have a catch-up chat.

Later, I called my friend Tinka to wish her happy birthday, and mentioned that Clay might be coming up soon.  "Now, which one of your sons is Clay?"  I will admit that my family tree is a little convoluted, what with blood kin and those who are children of my heart.  I explained that Deb is the only girl, that's an easy one.  Dave, Pete, and Larry (in that order) are Deb's natural brothers.  Clay is an add-on who came into my life and our hearts when he was barely in his 20s.  He was one of Steve's best friends, in the truest sense of that word, and he is now, as the Kids say with affection, my "good son."  Craig, Deb's husband, is the latest addition to my crew and I've thanked his other mother for the privilege of sharing her boy.  Deb and Craig have been happily married over 15 years and I'm thrilled that he calls me Mom.  My family is a combination of ethnic backgrounds, religions, political or apolitical views, and careers.  The glue that holds us together is love, kindness, and mutual respect.  And laughter.  Oh my God, can't leave out the laughter.  They're a rowdy bunch, and I'm proud that they are my rowdy bunch.

It was a day that began well and ended better, and it doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Okay, I got a few piddly chores crossed off the list yesterday but not the full-court press I'd hoped for.  Weather had delayed the Saturday NASCAR Sprint Cup race until Sunday and so, of course, everything came to a screeching halt when that came on.  I love game days because I'm almost guaranteed contact with most of my Kids.  Deb and Craig keep me advised of race times and channels, and we root for each other's drivers.  Congratulations or sympathies are also shared with Clay and Dave and yesterday their guys did very well.  I can't wait until Clint Bowyer changes teams next year when I'm hoping he'll be given a car worthy of his talent.  Now that football season is upon us, I try to catch any Steelers game for Steve and Clay and every Vikings game for Dave and myself.  Both of those teams, by the way, are going like gangbusters this season and many "Woohoo!" and "Way to go!" flooded the text world yesterday.

An early dinner of leftovers seemed like a good idea before tackling the list again.  I'd no more than put the fork down when Cam and Honey arrived.  We sat out on the deck to talk while Honey and Bessie checked out the yards, and then the second round of presidential debates came on and, for us, that was a must see.  The dogs were tired and wanted to sleep, but I fear our loud cheers or hoots kept them awake.  Camille and I are of different political parties, but we are united in our passions for the candidate we feel is the lesser of the evils offered in this election.

I'm going to try not to get sidetracked today.  My list awaits.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Tomorrow Is Here

"I'll do it tomorrow.  For sure."  My propensity for procrastination has caught up with me and it's time to pay the piper and suffer the penalties.  (How's that for alliteration?)  What with one thing and another, heat, health issues, disinterest, etc., things that needed to be done just didn't.  As Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow."  It's so easy when one gets behind to let everything slide until the tomorrows start piling up.  And then comes the day of reckoning.  Yesterday was that day for me and I got at least a start on neglected chores.  Shame mingled with satisfaction as I crossed some items off the list.  I again promised myself, as I have so many times in the past, that I would never put anything off again.  Hmmm.  We'll see.  I have to get caught up first.

After a day of plugging away, it was nice last evening to pull one of those mini-meatloaves from the freezer to put in the microwave with a potato to bake and have a no-work hot meal.  It was also nice to know that sometimes I can be proactive.  Hey, I'll take any credit I can get.

I had to laugh at Bess this morning.  My stumpy-legged little dog can't jump up on the bed by herself, so after she gives me the clue she gives a little hop to get her front feet on the mattress and I give her behind a boost.  Today she caught her nose under the overhanging comforter and it covered her face so she couldn't see the edge of the bed.  Unable to figure out what had gone wrong, she tried again and again.  With a little help from her friend who tucked the blanket out of the way, she made it to her most favorite nap site and now she's snoring behind me.  I hope I'm as successful today.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Lost Cause

There is a book called  "Attic Of The Wind," that place where all lost things end up.  I wish the book had provided a map to that magical place because some critical pieces of documentation I needed have obviously gone there.  I swear I have looked at every single piece of paper in this house (and it looks like Hurricane Matthew passed through here), and that paper is gone.  Ah well, time to move on.

There is something so, what?, hard to describe when I pick up a still-warm egg fresh from the hen.  This latest batch of pullets are almost the only hens to use the set of laying boxes Steve built.  He also built roosting bars over in the corner, but the dumb clucks use the boxes to roost on instead.  The older hens drop their eggs the corner under the boxes, here, there, everywhere.  Go figure.

It's just another example of how I wish I had better insight as to how creatures think.  I understand the primal instincts for sex, food, survival,  but why does the pair of tom turkeys hang out every morning in the goat pen instead of going to the meeting of the tribes under the oaks?  They are often right in among the girls up in the corner and I have to look twice when I count too many "goats" there.  I understand why Thing lives in the feed barn and even why he chewed through the lid of the scratch barrel, but why all the destruction?  He throws everything moveable off the shelves, tears wrapping off stored packages, and creates havoc wherever he goes.  Evil tempered creature.

Time to try to play catch-up with chores left untended while I messed around with paperwork.  It doesn't take long for things to go to pot and sometimes it's overwhelming.  It's a lost cause.

Friday, October 7, 2016

It Must Be Catching

Sitting for a cool-down after chores yesterday, I felt a tugging on my shoe and automatically thought it was Ralph.  The poor guy gets blamed for everything, but I was wrong this time.  It was a little like watching Eleanor Roosevelt or the Queen of England rolling in the dirt, it was so uncharacteristic to see sedate Celeste going through ecstatic contortions.
If I didn't know better, I'd think I'd walked through a patch of catnip.  (I don't want to think about what I might have stepped in to have this effect.)  It could just be that Ralph's silliness has rubbed off on Celeste.

It was a perfectly gorgeous day (mid 70s), and how did I spend it?  On a trip to town.  I almost called ahead to make sure the ink I needed was in stock, but nah, Walmart would surely have it.  I took it as a good omen when I hit the three traffic lights in town green and there was an open parking spot right in front of the door.  Picking up a cabbage and some extra onions (insurance) on the way, I headed to the electronics aisle.  Imagine my sinking feeling when I saw the shelf where my ink should be was bare.  It took two older helper elves and one young one to decide that they were, in fact, out of stock.  Young dude offered to go in the back and double check.  I got an exercise in patience while I waited.  And waited.  About the time I'd decided that perhaps Elvis had left the building, he came back with not the single black I needed but a combo pack with color ink also.  Desperate, I thanked him for his effort and snatched it from his hand.  And went to wait, and wait some more, in the checkout line.  A simple one-stop shopping trip took three hours.  Aarrgh.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Else?

I learned a long time ago never to ask, "What else can go wrong?"  Sure as shootin', as soon as those words are spoken, something else goes wrong.  I do, however, ask many times a day, "What else can I do while I'm doing 'that'?"  I don't like to backtrack or make unnecessary trips while tending to chores, etc.  There's a joke about an old person who, while bent over tying their shoes, looked around and wondered, "What else can I do while I'm down here?"  I understand completely.  The point of all this is that yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and do paperwork that I'd been putting off (typical).  Nearly finished, I needed to print off some critical information and discovered to my dismay that the printer had run out of black ink.  Aaarrgh!  Dastardly machine had given no warning that it was getting low or I'd have bought more on my last trip to town.  Too late to leave yesterday, I spent time trying to think of what else I can do to make the forty-mile-plus trip more productive today.  Well-stocked on everything else, I fixated on getting a cabbage.

Why a cabbage, you ask.  The pullets have kicked into gear and I'm getting four to five eggs from them a day and they're starting to pile up.  The other day I made egg salad for sandwiches, but only needed six or seven eggs from the basket.  Some years back, Linda gave me the recipe for Russian Pie that uses hard-boiled eggs, cabbage, onions, cream cheese and other goodies and I've had it in my mind to make it again, but I need a cabbage.  I certainly wouldn't make a special trip just for that, but as long as I have to go to town anyhow....

Here's a handy hint for the day when hard-boiling eggs.  Don't.  Put the eggs in a pan, cover with cold water, bring just to a simmer, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan.  Let sit for ten minutes, then run under cold water.  It's a surefire way to avoid that ugly grey-green around the yolk.

What else can I say?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Missed Opportunities

My mother was an excellent seamstress.  She was also an insomniac and many were the times I'd wake in the night to hear the reassuring whir of her sewing machine.  Mother made most of my clothes up to and including high school.  Do you think I let her teach me?  I did not.  My sewing experience was limited to one dress made in the then-required Home Economics class my sophomore year.  I could have learned from the best but had no interest.  When my daughter was born and money was tight, and patterns were a quarter and material fifty cents a yard, I finally taught myself to sew out of necessity.  At first, I didn't even have a sewing machine and so when I said a dress was homemade it literally meant sewn by hand.  Later, in a rented house, someone had left a treadle machine in the garage and I learned to operate that rocker panel by foot that moved the needle up and down and I was thrilled.  Later still, Mother gave me her console machine and I used it for years before passing it on to Deb.

Mother tried to teach me how to crochet, another of her talents.  I never got beyond sitting on the front porch and crocheting yards of chain stitch.  Boring, when I'd rather have been climbing trees in the orchard.  It was something else I had to learn the hard way by myself as an adult.

As a child, my only contribution to the hours spent in a hot kitchen while my mother and sister canned fruit and jams each summer was to skim the foam from the boiling fruit.  I must have absorbed the knowledge through osmosis, because I've certainly done my fair share of canning through the years.

I did learn her crafts by example, if not by her teaching.  Missed opportunities, for sure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Resident Nutter

I've tried so hard for several days to get a photo of Ralph, the resident nutter, as he amuses himself at his newest game(s).  I've heard "thump, thump, thump" going down the stairwell.  Ralph isn't exactly quiet, but this was different.  I discovered that Ralph has found a way to carry a tennis ball to the top of the stairs and then push it over to let it bounce down so he can chase it.  Pretty ingenious, I'd say.  With a basket of toys, some of which he does use, his favorites are pull-strips from packages, etc.  The floor is littered with these remnants that he bats around and chases.  Once in awhile Celeste will wander over and give one a pat, but she can't see the fascination.  The best, however, in my opinion is his latest version of hide-and-seek.  "Brrupp, brrupp, brrupp," Ralph is chuckling to himself, and I look over to see movement on/under the slipcover on the big couch.  It's not new that he hides under the dust ruffle to spring out and surprise Celeste, but he's found that he can work his way under the slipcover up onto the seat and really hide.  It's Ralph's cat cave.  Even if I'd been able to catch a picture, that lump on the couch would need an explanation.  Woe to the guest who sits down without looking for lumps.  What a nutter.

No rain yesterday, but overcast and cold.  From the high 80s of a few days ago, it was in the 40s and mid 50s all day long.  Definitely a morning for hot cider instead of a cold beer after barn chores.  Turtleneck and jacket yesterday instead of a tank top.  I went around closing windows and trying to stay warm.  My milk customer gave me a funny look when I opened the door with that pig neck warmer Dave gave me around my neck.  Sometimes it's more fun just to let 'em guess than try to explain.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Nature has a wicked sense of humor and she played a mean game of Gotcha yesterday.  The morning was cool, sunny and bright.  I should have seen the old girl lurking behind the few white puffy cotton ball clouds in the blue, blue sky, but I went on about chores blissfully unaware.  Throughout the morning, I put the electronic servants to work washing dishes and doing laundry while I settled in to watch NASCAR.  Speaking of laundry, I now have four sets of bibbies and can get about a week's wear from each unless there is a barnyard disaster.  Unrolling cuffs from the three sets in the basket was like going on an archeological dig.  In addition to the alfalfa stems and leaves and the accumulated dirt, I could trace back three weeks of weed seeds, from burrs to foxtails.  Each set had something different.  Brushing out the detritus has to be done over a wastebasket because of the mess.  At any rate, I left the washing machine chugging away and went to watch the cars go round and round.  I had plenty of time to go to the feed store later.  That was probably the thought in my mind as my eyes closed for the obligatory nap.  Waking about a half-hour later, yikes!  Nature had snuck in, marshaled her troops, and dark clouds covered the sky.  "Come on, Bess, we have to boogie!"  One or two raindrops hit the windshield on the way to Mt. Aukum and I had my fingers crossed.  Yeah, how'd that work for you?  While I was paying for my purchases and the poor guy was loading the truck, the skies opened up and it was pouring.  Ratchafratch.  Bessie Anne and I hustled home through the hills and I was reminded that I was carrying new windshield wipers in the truck.  A fat lot of good they were doing behind the seat.  Pulling up in front of the feed shed, I struggled to pull slippery wet sacks, the seventy-five and fifty-pound varieties, from the bed of the pickup and into the shed as it continued to pour rain.  Huffing and puffing, I parked the truck and Bess and I made a dash for the house.  Bess ate her cookies on the porch and I went to change my soggy jacket.  And then, of course, the rain stopped.  I swear I could hear Nature chuckling as she murmured, "Gotcha!"
I thought she might have another go at me at sundown, but she only waved goodbye as I put the goats to bed. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Try To Keep Up

Zero to sixty in no time flat!  It's hard to keep up with the quick-change weather these days.  Blistering hot one day and then socks on in bed the next.  A suddenly cool morning brings out a crazy reaction in the goats.  Normally they are pretty placid while waiting for their turn on the stand, but a quick snap and they are running and chasing each other like little kids let out for recess.

Yesterday I saw the tiniest mouse baby ever.  It's whole body was smaller than an adult's head.  Mini-Mouse was lapping at a puddle of milk on the ground (guess I over-sprayed the wipe).  I'm wondering if it had just emerged from the nest and missed it's mama.  It literally toddled away when it was full.  Unbelievably cute.

In accordance with the weather, acorns are dropping like bombs on shed roofs (or rooves, take your pick) as well as the truck and dry leaves are piling up on the deck again.  It's time to start thinking about wrapping the pipes for winter.  Golly, how time flies.

Why is it that even after I know I've drunk the last sip of coffee I always look to see if there is just one more in the mug?  I do it every day.  I don't want another cup, just one more sip.  Sigh.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beam Me Up, Scotty

Well, that was interesting.  I'd never had a CT scan before and it was a very Star Trekky experience.  The machine was similar to but much larger than the one used for the radiation treatments with a tunnel and a table that moved in and out.  This big brother spoke.  "Breathe in and hold."  The machine whirred and lights flashed, then the table moved out.  "Breathe."  It was a very officious voice and one is inclined to automatically obey.  The procedure itself took only fifteen minutes or so, but the prep time was nearly two hours, and that was with what was termed a "quick prep."  Afterward, the tech told me to drink lots of water to flush the radioactive iodine and other stuff from my system.  I told her that I preferred my water flavored with hops.  She looked at me for a second and then said, "I'm looking forward to one of those hop waters after work, myself."  The flush must have worked, because last night I found I didn't glow in the dark as I thought I might.

Arden ran away from home in the afternoon and came to my door.  In my mind, I could hear her calling, "Sanctuary, sanctuary!" a la Quasimodo in "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame."  Things had gotten a bit chaotic at her house and we were due for a chat anyhow.  We had a nice visit and it was a good finish to my day.

Boy, coffee sure tasted good this morning.