Friday, August 31, 2007

This weekend!

Too young to drive?
Originally uploaded by Xena~
Well the kids are coming again for the weekend and continued cleanup of our devastated forest. Hmmm, what other words can I use to replace devastated???
wiped out
done for
"devastated." Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1). Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 31 Aug. 2007. .

Well okay so you get the idea. ;-)
I'm looking forward to having the kids around and doing some serious cleaning up of the woods.
Bring the marshmallows for the bonfire!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


This afternoon I took a quick hike to the back portion of our pasture woods to see how they faired through last week's ugly storm. People are calling it a Once in a Life Time Storm around here now. I hope they are right.
As I stood near where we once had a fence and looked down into the quiet 'dry' run creek, I wondered, where on earth did all that land go? I looked up at the surrounding woods and wondered, how could this small section of land get so devastated. They say it was straight winds. Do straight winds twist trees, split them, wrench them out of the ground in every direction?
Down in this section of woods, the trees are warped, twisted, and tortured. These were the only words that came to mind when looking at them in the late afternoon sunlight.

Then I looked down and there it is. This fungi growing eagerly on a fallen tree. Nature is already starting to regroup. For some reason or another, finding this made me feel much better as I headed back home.
This section of wooded pasture won't be useable for quite a while, but it will regrow. I saw a two inch oak tree seedling and thought to myself. Now the big OLD trees are gone, giving this seedling the sunshine it needs.
Oh yeah, you have to find something wonderful in even bad things.

I just wish Mother Nature would tell me in advance when she wishes to redecorate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Clean up and Sick Water

Yep we have 'sick' water. 4 days without power to the well and seepage from the ground have made us sick. Hopefully we won't get any sicker from it. We have to disinfect the well with bleach water then send a sample into the state.
The health dept. has said don't even boil it. Just find a source of fresh water.

Both of us began exhibiting stomach problems and headaches...I just called the clinic and am awaiting for a nurse to call us back. Man this is one more nightmare to overcome isn't it?

Of course being a tough old lady, I think I'll be able to fight this off, but I am worried about my sweetie...the guy I depend on for working farm machinery and the chainsaw.

On a happy note, we have sunshine and beautiful skies for the next week! We are contacting some pulp wood companies and our name was put on a county wide list for FREE Firewood.
I sometimes wonder if someone isn't testing my fortitude.

Oh for a laugh go HERE, for a youtube video on our Grandson having a good time.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The long clean up...

Our clean up will be a long time coming. Saturday a neighbor came over with his chainsaw and worked all day just in one small area. He completely cut up 4 locust trees and 2 oak trees. He worked in a very small area ... we stacked his firewood for him to come and get after the ground got a bit drier.
Three men with chainsaws worked all day. We ran out of room to stack things for burning, so started a bonfire this morning and dumped 17 truck loads of tree tops, branches and wood onto it.
I can see a portion of the yard now after hubby took his skid steer and pushed more brush and wood back into the now naked forest.
The only sad part is that we lost a feeling of privacy. Our once gorgeous place that was surrounded by a beautiful forest looks ravaged.
This is going to take some getting used to.

I did try to find something positive in this. My west yard which was always in the shade will now be in the sun. So if my laundry will dry much faster on the clothesline!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vernon County, the Imperfect Storm...

The lightening began to turn orange. A strange and awful growling came from outside the house. Between lightening flashes I saw trees dancing in our woods...swaying far beyond what I thought they could do before breaking. The rumble was non-stop, the flashes were like a like watching a bad film...
Then the popcorn and cracking began. Tops of trees became missles. I ran from the upstairs bedroom with Mr. Morris under my arm hollering at my husband that the whole woods were coming down upon us. I had the feeling of utter terror and panic.
I crouched down between the closet and the bathroom in the middle of the house [we have no basement].
I kept hearing things hit the house, fearing each time that I would have a tree come through. It let up for a moment so I walked to the back door and looked out in time to see several trees come down through flashing lightening...
I kept of a running string of cuss words. I was terrified for me and for our livestock. Opal, one of our molly mules was penned up near the house and I could see that her shelter had been crushed in one swift topple of trees.

Then all fell quite and the rain poured down. There was nothing more to do but go back to sleep and try to get some rest before assessing the damage in the morning light.
We had no phone and no power for 3 days. Thank goodness for an operational outhouse. We suffered no loss of livestock nor did we suffer building damage.
We were the lucky ones.
Our neighbors lost two vehicles.
Other neighbors had a tree fall through the house and into their bedrooms.
Today looks like the first day we won't have rain, so we will be rebuilding fence and just getting the sheer volume of downed trees cut so we can re-string the fenceline.
This is what I saw the next morning:
My yard...a portion of it.

As I said, we were the lucky ones.

Thank you my son for hijacking my blog and letting folks know I am okay.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

we interrupt this broadcast...

this is *not* Val posting, but her older son...

i've hijacked the old lady's account to post that they've had some major storms that knocked down all the power lines, so she may be MIA for a bit, but they're all ok.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain Rain Go Away,
Come Again Another Day...

The local radio announcer is suggesting that we follow the sheriff's directives on no travel on Vernon, Crawford, or Richland Center roads tonight.
Towns are being evacuated.
News reports that 75% of the roads in Richland Center are impassable due to wash outs and water across the roads.

10" of rain in 24 hours and more on the way, with no end until mid week.
Mother Nature is beautiful yet powerful. When I checked fences today and found that the flash flood last night took part of our fence that runs above the creek, I was amazed. The creek bottom was not as I recognized it from previous walks.
All equine were accounted for. Trees had toppled their roots no longer able to hold them to the hillsides...
On the home front we are okay.
I'm going to grow webbed feet.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How to not be a plumber...

So the faucet was leaking. Solution? After 6 months of annoying drip drip dribble dribble...hubby decides to take it apart and 'fix' it. I suggested a NEW faucet perhaps? Nope, can fix the old one.
While we are at it, the drain is slow so let's take this apart too! Oh, the drain seems fine, so let's take the plumbing out all the way down and clean the trap out. Hmmm, cleaned the trap, cleaned the drain, mostly stopped the drip from the dribble.
But then it got to be late. As in I'm tired, we don't want to work on this late.


I came home last night and things were put back together. Great, a real shower instead of a kitchen sink shower...wash up...sort of deal.

Imagine my dismay as the water drained out slowly and then stopped. And the faucet went drip drip drip dribble drip.

Hubby said. Well something's not right, I put the trap in wrong, so I have to take it out again.

He's gone and I'm watching the rain that is forecast for the next 3 days. The weather service has advised that trees and hillsides will start slipping away because we are so saturated. I'm tempted later to don my rain gear and go play in the rain.
After all it is drip drip in here...may as well enjoy the dripping outside!

Tomorrow we get to practice plumbing again.
Perhaps I ought to get my husband to read this Blog: Do It Like A Woman

He could learn something. But that would be like 'reading the directions on how to put something together!'
That is the wonderful way with some guys.
What fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Are You Balanced?

This is an article regarding riding. I know a break from my usual drivel. But I heard some discussion today at the office where I work. This particular person was claiming to be an 'expert' rider. Okay, I AM not an expert rider. I am a decent rider, but can always learn so much more. I was amazed when I asked him if he couldn't balance on the ground, how in the heck did he expect to balance on a horse? His answer...*Easy, you just sit on a horse.* So that gave me the idea for the following article.

Are You Balanced?

Think about balance for a moment and what it means as a rider. We all know the basics: heels down, toes up, one leg on each side of the critter. But what about your personal balance on the ground. Sure, you can walk, you can probably run, you may be able to hop, or skip…but think about it. If you are a more balanced person on the ground, you will be a more balanced person in the saddle.

If you are a more balanced person in the saddle; your mule will be much happier with you.

Can you stand on one foot with one leg pulled up? Easy. Now try it with your eyes closed. Not easy.

Can you squat with your feet planted approximately the width of your mule, and then raise yourself again (do this keeping your back straight and head level)? Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Yet those are the very same muscles we use when we ride to keep ourselves balanced on the bottom half.

What about your upper body? Do you slouch or stand up straight? Do you slouch in the saddle or sit up straight? Do your shoulders ache after a very long ride? If so, your shoulders need strengthening. If not, you will ‘fall’ out of balance to compensate for a weak upper body.

Then take a moment to think about how you ride in the saddle. Do you turn to look at something and wonder why your mule/horse turns also? You’ve probably turned your whole body to look. The equine is just obliging and turning with your body. I’ve found that if I want to turn my mule and not use any reins, I can just shift my shoulders in the direction I want to go and stiffen slightly through my hips. The mule follows my direction.

Are you soft in the seat? We hear clinicians talk about ‘soft’ hands and supple necks. A light touch can communicate so much. Think a moment about your seat. Do you flop like a sack of dead weight, or move along with your equine? Are your eyes looking at the ground, or between the ears?

These are things to consider if you are having problems with your mule too. Is it really the mule? Or is it the rider’s balance and positioning causing some problems. I wish I could say I was an expert. But these are some common sense things that I’ve noticed over the years. People who don’t balance well on the ground and have poor posture often have poor results when riding.

Yes, I do practice balancing techniques on the ground. I do strengthening exercises for my legs and shoulders along with my stomach and back muscles. I find that my animal is much happier if I am riding balanced and to the best of my ability.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stormy day, again...

Big storms again this morning! Thundery boomers, lightening flashing, rain coming in sheets...seems this is a weather pattern and I cannot wait for it to end. Of course it is good for the fungi growing in the woods.
I'm hoping tonight to capture Fred and take him for a ride. If not, Badger will do just fine.

I made it to PT early today but was late getting out. Wow Kim did a job on me, she is a tough PT gal! I'm sure she'll be reporting to Dr. L. on my progress tomorrow morning. I think I am doing better except for the shoulder does not want to move on its own independent of the scapula. Plus the 'tennis elbow' pain fired up this morning with PT.
When Kim tried one of her stretch manipulations this morning ... I literally came up off the table. I was sure she broke my arm ... she felt bad and says I sure am a difficult 'case' and I've got her thinking! I like her, she doesn't let me wimp out EVER! She is also very much for me riding. Good gal.

I'm relishing the ice packs I brought in the cooler from home. Ahhhhhh.

I actually got some orders on my cards that I made and posted on Flickr! Dang, I could make a few pennies. Does that make me a professional photographer then?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Morris, the dog.

Morris the dog, was actually named Morris the Cat after that very famous commerical icon. But I wanted to name him Charlie the Tuna after one of my Dad's best commercial campaigns. We got Morris the year before my father died and my husband wanted to give him a silly name.
Well Morris stuck and that is what he is ... a silly, funny, loving, Jack Russell Terrier who knows nothing about being a Jack Russell.

He'd rather play frisbee and ball than chase a squirrel.
He loves to eat.
He loves to hike with me.
He loves to pick his own berries [see above!]
He loves to ride in vehicles and play navigator.
He loves tractor rides...and takes every opportunity to get in hubby's bobcat.
Most of all he entertains endlessly.

He makes me smile each day.
Morris considered his own blog, but soon forgot it due to his sometimes limited attention span.

We don't have television [by choice since 1999] and Morris provides us with as much cool entertainment as we can handle.
When I come back, I want to come back as a dog like him.

He is yawning and watching me from his perch on the bed. He's pretty sure that it isn't time to get up yet, and he is comfy right where he is, thank you very much!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And so forth...

Just a quick addition to the previous post. Yeah, I felt crummy and had a bad day, but the world was set right with me this evening when I took Badger out and went to watch a brilliantly beautiful sunset with him.
It seems that I always find such beauty when I am with my animals that it touches my heart in such a way to make things right.

And right it is!

If you can't take the heat...

Get into the creek! That's exactly what Morris and I did today. Sultry humid hot...close...what other words do they used to describe heat and humidity?
It was a 'sanity' hike. Being off for surgery for a month has taken its toll on a few things. Let's just say it all came to a screeching boiling festering head this morning. I don't argue well with loved ones.
In fact generally I don't say a word. I can't get a raise out of a fella that can't make his monthly bills [meaning my boss...duh, that is why I am job searching].
That's all I'm going to say about it. Talk about a little stress.

So I couldn't take the heat, so I got out and into it. Much better. The woods are so soothing and calming.
Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Into the night...

Released to ride. It surely didn't take me long to get back up in the saddle.
First thing we saw when we came up and out of our valley was a gorgeous bright red young buck with a nicely shaped fork horn. He stood and watched us from a short distance.
I just sat on Badger and enjoyed. After a few flicks of the tail he walked off into the woods and we went on. We sat in the sultry evening air and watched the sun set while the crickets sang to us.
I felt whole again. So much of me had been missing without my freedom to ride.

In fact one may not think it is possible, but as I rode I sat straight and let my arm swing in time to Badger's sway and step. It was like a miracle massage to those 'angry' muscles in my shoulder.

And this morning while doing my exercises...I was able to go even farther on my own.
Incredible ...

Friday, August 10, 2007


I had a terrible night sleeping but it wasn't because of any pain. Just weird dreams.

I dreamt about werewolves.
Now where did that come from?
I dreamt I was in a tunnel or cave with Badger and Morris and had to save someone. I cut up pieces of my riding chaps and tied them on Badger's feet so he wouldn't make any noise.
We had such a long tunnel or cave to go through. I wasn't really scared, just was doing it.
Somehow I felt the urgency of getting through that tunnel or cave. I knew if we got to the other end everything would be okay.
I must have awakened many times last night, but each time I fell back to sleep I was trying to get out of that tunnel.

I'm thinking, I best get back to riding! I'm having strange dreams about it now!
Maybe I need a dream analyst too!

Well it is Friday and that means the weekend is here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Growing up.

I've never been a huge fan of growing up. It seems so wasteful to lose one's imagination and childish perspectives.
I mean I know I have to be a grown up, I've done grown up things be a mom and work at jobs, but there is always that little kid in my saying...
Let's go play.
If I put many hard hours in at a job or school, I have to literally take a break from it and do something fun and creative. Sometimes just taking a walk in the woods to me is play time.
Sometimes creating something is play time.

Ah, and we all know that when I ride, it is definitely play time.

Last Monday my orthopedic surgeon patted me on the leg after giving me a very painful frontal cortisone shot in the shoulder. I grinned up at him and said, *Hey Doc, I didn't even cuss at you this time!* [yes I did the last time and it wasn't pretty]
He quipped, *I'm so proud of you, you're growing up.*
My husband let out a huge belly laugh and said, *Oh Geeze Doc, she ain't never growin' up.*

The story got repeated to my physical therapist who has to review my progress weekly with Dr. L. She told me today that last week she told Dr. L. that she was impressed with my rapid progress and that I was a good compliant patient who worked hard and I seemed to be 'growing up'.

Dr. L. was completely amused [I guess normally he is a pretty straight forward and serious fellow]. He told my PT to give me a gold star if I was good this week.

Gosh, am I really growing up?
[I hope not!]
But I think I earned a gold star!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grandma Let's Live Outside.

*Grandma, let's go outside for a walk.* This from my Grandaughter Ariel who will be 4 years old in October. She has a lot of energy to burn and if she stays in the house 'visiting' and playing she just gets bored. She is a lot like me, she can only sit around so long before she has to move...even though biologically she is not my grand my heart she is!
She loves being outside.
So off we went into the rather muggy humid Sunday afternoon. We walked down the road and discussed the important things in life.

Colors of flowers



Getting Lost

More bugs...

We eventually made it back to the house after looking at field corn and its roots and the pretty beetle that was on the corn stalk that towered above us. She wanted to go into the field and walk in between the rows but she had pink tennis shoes on...not exactly 'mudding' shoes.
I walked up towards the door intending to go inside to get some relief from the heat when Ariel sighed and sat down on the front step.

*Grandma? Let's just live outside. We don't want to go in the house anymore.* [I was game for this conversation!]
*Okay Ariel, we just live outside then forever?*
*Yeah, no going in the house okay? We just live outside. I don't like houses* [I think that meant she didn't want to go back inside and listen to adults talk.]

*Okay honey, if we live outside-- we sleep outside, where do we go potty?*
She thought a moment and then stood up to where her dog, Sammy, had gone in the yard and pointed. *Right here, we potty where Sammy potties.*

*In the front yard?*
*Yep, right there,* she pulled my hand and took me to show the exact spot she had in mind.

I said, *Golly, would people see?* She shrugged.
*They won't look.*
*What do we wipe with?* if to say, it doesn't matter because in a 3 yr old's world, these are not important things.

I smiled. *So what do we eat, crickets?*
*Oh ... not the Jiminey kind, but we can eat bugs. I like hotdogs better.*

So we decided that we would live outside at least until it got dark or we got hungry for hotdogs. She was happy, I was happy, and we lay back on the cool concrete porch and discussed the world as a 3 [almost 4 yr old] would see it.

To tell you the truth, this was probably the best part of my weekend. [I can see those reading and saying...uh huh, she has the mentality of a 4 yr old?...No, it is refreshing to be with a child who can have great imaginations!]

Maybe, just maybe, I'll go live outside and eat crickets...but not the Jiminey Cricket kind.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Driveway is nearly done....

The bulldozer has finished, the road tubes are in, the work soon will begin in the area along the line fence to control water drainage at the bottom of the driveway.
The difference is remarkable, and during a day long rain yesterday...the tubes did indeed direct water! However, our driveway is mush now and presents a new problem until it dries out and we can pack the drive down more. Oh the joys of country living! We hope to get the Cav out and park it on the top and leave it there until things dry out. Rich said the 4 wheel drive might be too heavy and sink in...
I think mud is worse than snow!
Always a new adventure here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Tubes are HERE and more...

Seems everyone becomes an expert or an inspector. Badger took a walk with me to inspect the driveway tubes. He seemed not afraid of them, but rather curious. He was however put off by the fact that someone 'moved' the woods on him! He stood quite perplexed and stared at the dozer job.

Okay the guys are working on the driveway with their very manly machinery and I just got back from town.

While at therapy, I turned in a job application for VMH. Two therapists told me to run out to the veterinarian's office to see Dr. Lenay who would be opening her new facility soon. I'd used Dr. Lenay for years so she knows me well as a client until she got out of large animals.
So after driving over and shooting the breeze, Dr. Lenay handed me a job application and asked me to fill it out. No promises of course, she casually told me all the things they wanted in each of the positions that she had open.

Are wonders never ceasing?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hope Floats...I heard that

After having three nights in a row that I have slept soundly, things have begun to make some sort of turn around. I got a call from my student counselor today and we had a pep talk...or rather she gave me a pep talk. She wants to know exactly what my situation in after I see Dr. L on the 27th. I assured her though, that I felt I was getting remarkably better.

I found a job listing of where I want to work and spent the day working with my professor polishing my cover letter and resume. Can you believe a college prof would do that?

Last week sure had some bleak moments and I can feel the movement of an upswing now. I've heard the saying that *Hope Floats*. Well hope sure does help float me up.

That's my boring report for now.
Tomorrow the road tubes go into the driveway. Oh what fascination!