Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ouchy

This morning started like every other fine country morning. Run around in the dew and get our fur wet and me beat up Morris while the Grannma picked green beans in the garden.

I got Morris on his back a few times and made him squeak and growl. Such the inter-active toy that doesn't need batteries! He got up, smiling his JRT smile at me and we ran and played very hard.


Then we had to go and water the big animal type things. Morris kept hinting that I should NOT touch the white wire that was next to the water tank. In fact the Grannma yelled at me a few times for going under the wire.
Hmmm

What do the Grannma and Morris know anyway?
Humphf.
So I went back and forth under the wire while the Grannma stood holding the water hose into a big water tub. Morris wouldn't come with me, he looked very worried. I walked right up to the white wire and showed them!

I stuck my nose on it!

OHHHHHHH OUCHY! I yelped as something punched me in the nose and made my toes curl. I ran to the Grannma and put my feet on her. She cal
mly reached down and petted me, I even shook hands with her. I was so upset I didn't know what to do.
The Grannma tried to explain what an electric fence was but I only understand now what Morris was trying to say...don't go near the white wire, it bites!

I wouldn't get more than a foot away from the Grannma and Morris for the rest of the morning.

When the big thunderstorm came we went inside the house and my paw got stepped on by the Grannma when she was trying to hurry and shut windows. I yelped again.

I feel better now, I took a big nap on the couch and ate Morris's food. I hope we can go for a walk today and play some more in the yard. Morris felt really bad for me and stayed right beside me for the rest of the morning.

Life in the country is tough on a city dog.




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hot and Humid

This morning is very warmy and sticky, the grass is wet and makes my fur damp. I chased Morris around the yard and then met a horse thing called Little Richard. Morris told me that Little Richard is a small pony and doesn't mind dogs.

I growled at him and then followed Morris up to the pony thing. He was pretty friendly and we got to smell his horse apples. The Grannma wouldn't let me eat them though...
She said *Yucky!*

She doesn't know very much. Morris and I may sneak out there later and catch a chew.

This morning I was sure I heard something 'dangerous' in the Grannma's flower garden next to the house.

Morris and I had to investigate. I don't know why he likes to put his nose up where he does. Morris is an odd dog.

But I guess I'll put up with him during my stay.

video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Tes Day


[Tes is still highjacking....]

I slept in very late this morning. Being a country dog is very difficult.
You have to follow the Grannma around when she waters the big monster animals that she told me were 'mules'.

It can get very hot.

Then you have to follow the Grannma around when she picks beans in the garden and onions and stuff. I don't like the onions.
I got yelled at bad when I went under a white wire and into a sandy place where the big mules were at the top of the hill.

I don't get it, I was just sniffing around, but I came back and got petted on the head until I decided to walk through the tomato plants, and then I chased Morris and knocked him down a bunch of times...

I felt better.
He is fun to knock down and he squeaks when you bite him on the neck. I didn't do it hard ... really I didn't, and he liked it cuz he came back for more.

When the Grannma had to leave for a while, I got tied up in the yard so I could enjoy the country air. The Granpa man didn't want me wandering off with Morris while he drove around the yard on a machine that spits grass.

So now I've had my big meal and I am ready to go sleep on the couch. I've been dreaming of chasing squirrels.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Teslin's Day

Teslin is my son and his wife's dog, who often comes to visit our place. It is the better alternative than spending time in a kennel.

This is Teslin's narrative...she is hijacking my blog for a few days....

Grannma is a nice people. She let me sleep in bed last night and I cuddled right up on her pillow. I think she is an okay human.

Our day was super hot, I spent the morning wrestling with Morris, it was fun, but we got pretty hot and went for a walk to 'chill' out.

Grannma put us inside for a while and made us take naps, but I decided I'd like to read instead. I found a really good book, it was very very strange. I think the Grannma person brought this from Big Berthy's house. I learned alot about human behavior.
It is very odd.
Tomorrow we should go rock climbing and play in the woods some. The Grannma person has to run errands and I'd like to ride along. If it is too hot I won't be able to.

Morris got sent to his crate to sleep and I am making sad eyes at the Grannma. I think she'll get the idea that I am a pooped out puppy.
Goodnight people.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

More about Morris

Here is Morris 'reading' a Harry Potter book. It did eventually put him to sleep.

Morris is always doing something that gives me a chuckle. He is such a help in the garden that I'm sure I wouldn't know what to do without him!
[I say that while laughing of course!]

He is getting doggy company later today. Her name is Teslin and she is a character also. Morris and Tes are about 1 month apart in age and get along famously. Of course there is the usual running, chasing, and rough housing, but at the end of the day, I have TWO tired dogs.

Teslin belongs to my oldest son and we love having her visit.

This is Morris helping out with the gardening. YES he is eating a very small beet that I gave him.


video

And here...he takes a green bean and eats it!
Ahhh, Morris, what would we do without your entertainment!


video

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hazard Trail

Badger stopped and stood stiff legged. His ears and eyes turned towards the old coyote den. I couldn't see what had disturbed him.
But he is a mule, his hearing is much better than mine, his senses are sharp, and because of that, I listen to him.

So I sat and waited.
Soon enough, whatever had bothered him had moved on. He sighed and stepped forward.
We were headed for the 'Lost Valley'. The 'back' valley as I've always called it.

However today I'd chosen to explore the Lost Valley by using an old trail...one that hadn't been kept up for the 4 wheelers. The trail in years past was very difficult, I expected it to be impassable after last year's storms and this year's repeated flash floods and winds.

We wandered down into where the entrance to the trail used to be. A large oak tree had fallen, twisted and wrenched from its roots. We bypassed the fallen oak and edged near the fence. The trail was nearly washed out in one spot.
Badger calmly found his way around.

More trees down, more detours. I was half way 'down' the trail when we got to a portion that was literally overgrown with berry briers. Badger refused to go through them.
I sighed nearly ready to give up.

We edged up towards the fence line again and I found another detour around the sharp brush.

Suddenly I was on the old trail. It looked clean and brush free, in fact it looked as though it had been mowed.
This trail gives 'steep' a whole new meaning. I was grateful that I'd used a britchen on Badger instead of the crupper. We slowly made it down to the 90 degree turn and over the huge slippery rock.
I got down and checked my saddle and gave Badger a rest. The most difficult part of the trail was yet to come.

[No pictures!...I was watching what I was doing!]
We made it to the trail end...it disappeared into a huge rocky washout that was impassable. We used to be able to cross the small wash...it was now 6 ft deep and about 6 ft wide. The rocks were large and to attempt to take Badger across it would guarantee a broken leg.

Hmmm.
Well I looked around and spotted a deer trail. I asked Badger to take it.
He smelled, he bobbed his head up and down to look...then...

We took a 'mule slide'. Badger dropped on his haunches and used his front legs to steer himself as we slid.
I must admit, it was a rush.

We were in the Lost Valley.
It had been two years since I'd been to this part of the valley. The stream had changed course from repeated flash floods.
Mother Nature...redecorating.

We moved on carefully as the valley floor was sandy and 'unknown' territory. Some landmarks where familiar and some were new.
We crossed through an area that I call the dead place...all the trees are dying, the valley floor is deep white sand and rocks. All the undergrowth is gone, except for some straggling weeds.[after crossing the 'dead place...looking back]

Once, while weaving our way through, Badger encountered a 'hole'. Soft sand...he lurched out of it.
We carefully worked our way through, he checking the footing, me checking for other hazards.

I am enthralled by riding such a wonderful animal. He is so careful. He is so wise.

Our little trip down 'Hazard Trail' to the 'Lost Valley' will be replayed over and over.

And yes,
we will do it again soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flash back

I started making the jam---mash berries, measure out berries, measure out sugar, get the jars sterilized...add the pectin, boil,
skim
pour into jars
hot water bath....

As I pulled the jars out of the hot water bath, they started to make 'plinking' noises. The sound of the jars making a seal.

Flash back to being a child. Sitting in the kitchen in the little house near Half Moon Lake, my instructions were to count the 'plinks' as the jars cooled.
Hot nights
Hot days
No AC

But the sound of jars sealing as the result of hard work.
Yep, it sure brought back memories.

Oh...yeah...
the jam is awesome!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More on Berries



I think we are done picking now. Three days in a row and I've done a batch of freeze jam [delicious!], and enough for a batch of cooked jam!
As you can see I did this last picking with the aid of Badger, the wonder mule.

He was content to graze while I picked. Morris took refuge from the heat in the creek whenever possible. I used a coffee can with a string over my shoulder to pick into. It worked rather well.

The mule was invaluable in getting us from one berry patch to another. I may take one last shot tomorrow with the mule in hopes of finding some berry bushes that are not in the direct sun and are set back in the shade of the woods. The ones in the sun are just about done.

The heat, humidity, and the heavy dew make for a rather wet picking. If you wait until later in the day it is nearly intolerable with long sleeves and all the protective clothing you need to wear.

But having the mule along did make things much more fun. In fact I'm sure I've got enough to make some dandy jam!

Yum.
If I can't find work right now, I may as well put my talents to good use and put food up the 'old fashioned' way.
Tuesday I will be harvesting my beets and freezing them to have this winter.

My hubby sure is surprised and enjoying IT!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wild Berry Pickin'


I can remember as a kid getting up predawn [perhaps it wasn't but it sure seemed very early to a young kid] and going 'berry picking' with Grandma Lind.

We would get silver Lard Cans with twine string 'straps' so we could put the Lard Cans over one shoulder and thus pick with two hands. We wore bandanna kerchiefs over our hair and ears, long sleeved shirts, long pants and tennis shoes. I recall that we would get soaking wet from the early morning dew.
Plus we smelled strongly of Mosquito Spray.

I know why we went so early in the morning. Wild berries ripen around the middle of July depending on where you live. July is HOT. Plain and simple. Ever walk in woods that don't have trails and push through the undergrowth with berry briers ripping at your clothes, the sun beating down on you,...humid air...no wind...bugs, and HOT HOT HOT?
Yeah.
That is why you go early in the morning.
Everything happens to you but the HOT.

I took Badger last week and we got some berries. Today, Morris joined me.As you can see we both decided that literally standing in the creek bottom was much more comfortable than standing in the HOT sun.
[we went at 8am and it was still HOT in the sun!]
In fact we walked the creek bottom to avoid the long tall grass and to keep cool.I was wet to my knees from the dew and the rain anyway. I had to chuckle while picking. The berry briers tugged at my old shirt, tore the back of my hands...
and I
was
having
fun.
As I dropped my berries into the 'Blue Bunny' ice cream pail that had replaced my childhood Lard Pail, I smiled.
I hated it as a kid!
So why was I doing it today?
What was wrong, was I purely mental?

Nope. Nope.
Not at all.

My hard work paid off with 2 1/2 pints of freezer jam.

There was my Grandma Lind's madness defined. You picked the wild berries in horrible conditions...and in the middle of winter, you spread delicious wild berry jam on your breakfast toast while looking at the snow blowing and listening to the wind howling.

...and you remember being utterly hot and miserable. But somehow, when that wild blackberry jam melts in your mouth...
you
are
ready
to do it again the following year.

Yep.
Now I understand.

It isn't the getting...it is the eating.

Doctor Visit...


Dr. L came into the room and looked at me.

'So, what's the problem?' [I laugh a bit, he has read my notes from Occupational Therapy and he knows what is going on, but I understand that for his notes, he needs the patient to *tell* him exactly why they are there]

I indicate my elbow which is pretty painful at the moment. 'The darned elbow from last year that hasn't gotten any better.'

He scoots his chair closer and does and orthopedic exam. He moves my hand and presses against the 'funny bone'. I keep jumping as he makes movement with my forearm. I know he has to do it.

He leans back and seems to contemplate things.
'Well we have three choices here.'
He ticks them off on his hand.
'One: Do nothing
Two: Cortisone shot, but that didn't work last time, so I don't believe it'll do anything now.
Three: Surgical release of the tendon.'

He sits back, 'What would you like to do?'
I smile and say, 'Well Doc, that is why I came to see you!'
[I know the patient has to tell him]

He goes on to tell me the risks which are minimal. He sighs, and says, 'The recovery time after surgery is the worst part. You will have a 3 month time where you cannot lift anything with your right hand and arm. By this I mean water buckets, hay bales, and things like that. You will be able to dress yourself and write, but no lifting.'

Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

'You will be wearing a 90 degree brace immediately after surgery. What I do is make a small incision into your elbow and take a small triangle out of the extensor tendon, this should relieve the pain you are having. The biggest risk to the surgery is that it may not totally take the pain away. But that risk is very small, I've had great success with it. Infection risk is very small less than 1%, I've never had any infections in the procedures I've done.'

He looks into my eyes.
'You look pretty miserable.' A statement not a question. And he is right, I am pretty miserable. During OT my loss of strength from left to right was measured. 50lbs of squeeze in my left hand and 8 lbs in the right.
I can't turn a doorknob without pain, I cannot type for more than a minute or two without pain...brushing my teeth has become a new and interesting experience.

We agree, surgery is the option.
There is another experimental procedure called Prolotherapy, but of course experimental procedures are NOT paid for by most insurances.

3 months of NOT lifting.
Dang. August 22nd through November 22nd.

This could get interesting.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A visit to remember



video
First there was the half marathon race in which my son placed 3rd in his age group...no easy feat. He also placed in the top ten overall.
The race morning began with horrible lightening and hard downpours of rain. We worried that it would be called off.
It wasn't and the rain let up in time for the racers to start in a light drizzle.

I of course brought my camera and was so excited to be there and cheer Ed on! The advantage was that he had multiple loops that lead him past us and we didn't have to chase him.

After the race we had a picnic in the back yard and lazed around while our dogs frolicked together. Again, I enjoyed this so much, it felt good to be with my son and his wife...and their friends.
Just kick back and relax. I liked it...no worries.

In fact it was much like a vacation.
The next day we had brunch with some of Ed and Joy's friends they are a wonderful bunch of people.
We took a walk to Lake Michigan afterward and did some doggy dunkin'.
Doggy dunkin' is where you toss your dog into the lake and let them swim back. The dogs were hot, the lake water was cold...
They got cooled off.

When I got home I looked through my videos on my FlipVideo and found the dancing toes.

Hmmm. Dancing toes.
It was too cute to resist.

Travels With Morris

One of my all time favorite books off all time is John Steinbeck's, Travels with Charlie.

So Friday, I left Viroqua and headed towards Kenosha with my dog Morris. Hence~Travel's with Morris.

It was probably one of the most bizarre trips across the state of Wisconsin that I've ever taken.

Here is a link to some of what I saw driving through Spring Green, WI. Apparently the waters have not yet gone down from the floods in the begining of June. With more rains it has gotten worse not better.
Twice along Highway 14, I saw turtles leaving the newly flooded area and heading towards higher ground.

As I traveled out of Madison and towards Jefferson County, I was amazed again as I saw farming field--one after another--flooded. It seemed more as if I was driving through an area that resembled northern Wisconsin where ponds and swamps are common place alongside the road.

As I came out of Cambridge, WI, just outside Lake Ripley I saw a huge and magnificent turtle climbing up onto Highway 12. If I hadn't had traffic so close behind me, I would have pulled over and taken some photos. He was HUGE!

Today I am heading back across the state. I just clicked on the National Weather Service website and read that there are flood warnings again in my local area. The rains from Thursday and Friday night are causing flooding yet again.
I looked at the road closures and I can get home.

This will be an interesting trip back also.
More about my Kenosha weekend in my next post.

So today I understand the expression 'take the high road' much better!





Friday, July 11, 2008

Let it Go...

Last night I woke up [not unusual, I wake up a lot in the middle of the night] with a thought.

I considered what had happened to me -- being let go. I considered how angry, upset, and full of disbelief I'd been. I considered my feelings and the stress it must be causing my body. It sure couldn't be doing me any good.

So I mentally pictured sitting down with my former boss and thanking him for the time I spent working for him. I thought about the good and not the bad.

Strange as it seems, in a blip, I felt better than I have for a while.
This means I can let go and move forward.
No need to look over my shoulder and be angry.

So after changing the serpentine belt in the car this morning, I'm headed to see my eldest son and watch him run a half marathon tomorrow. It looks like another fun weekend.

Morris is already quite nervous. He knows we are going somewhere, he sees the suitcase and bags lined up.
He is pacing....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

This one's for DR...

video

This one is for DR, 'Papa's' right hand guy when it comes to skid steers.....

Vrroooom
Vrrrooooommmm

Papa misses his grandkids something fierce [that goes along with his sweet daughter and son in law...ok the son in law isn't sweet...he's very nice, okay?]

Oh and Grandpa misses his sweetie Ariel too.




Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saturday Nite Funnies

video
We live in probably the most exciting place on earth. Not much goes on around here, we can entertain ourselves pretty easily without television.

Some nights we just watch the mules play tag.

Some nights we listen to the crickets, or watch a beautiful sunset.

We've even been known to swat flies and see which one of us got the most. ...I usually don't win.

Then of course we have Morris.
Morris the entertainer.
Morris the comedian.
Morris the happy Jack Russell.

[who thinks he owns the bed in the spare bed room...he can be found there when he is tired in a 'nest' he's made for himself.]

So what did we do Saturday night?
We 'watched' Morris, our resident clown and entertainer.

You see living in Folsom can be exciting...

Friday, July 04, 2008

One Person One Mule Parade


So how many people make a parade? Good question.

I don't like parades, usually they are hot, noisy and very busy. Okay, I do admit I was IN 2 parades one 4th of July in Missouri. They were hot, humid, crazy, and noisy.

I announced to my dear hubby that I wanted to dress up Badger and go on a one person parade for the 4th of July.

He cocked one brow and nodded. He is a wonderful husband, he doesn't usually oppose my hair brained ideas unless they are possible cause for bodily harm.

So I braided ribbons and made a red, white, and blue beaded necklace for my mule the night before. I made sure I had snacks, and all the essentials packed....---read camera----and ready to go.

This morning I carefully brushed Badger and sprayed him for bugs. I even slathered his ears with Mentholatum® Ointment to protect those big ears from biting bugs. Yes it does work.

I decked him out in the finest flag blanket I had, donned my flag shirt, and off we went on our
One Person
One Mule
Parade

Along the way, I listened to the birds sing, the hoofbeats clip clop against the gravel, and admired the way the ribbons flitted in the light breeze from my mule's tail. I went 3 miles before I saw another human.
This person was driving a crop sprayer down a very narrow back road. I heard him coming long before we saw him and found a nice place to pull off to the side. Badger was more interested in eating than he was the MONSTER machinery. I've learned to settle in the saddle, breath deeply, and think calmly.

Yes it helps, Badger felt no danger from me tensing up, and was relaxed enough to give the crop sprayer a curious glance.
I waved and we went on.

The scenery was beautiful, the bugs--pretty darned horrendous.

I did stop at a lady's house and we talked for a while. She admired my one person parade and then picked some flowers to decorate Badger's bridle with.
She thought he might be embarrassed or not like it.

I laughed.
I told her that Badger was used to all of my silliness and didn't mind at all.
I had a great parade.
Even had a calf who thought about joining us.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tomorrow is Independence Day...

Independence day means a lot of things to many people. To me it is a way to celebrate my personal independence.
I have a hard time explaining it. I've worked many years to become and independent person. A person who can 'depend' on me.

Tomorrow I am doing a one woman, one mule, parade on the back dirt and gravel roads of Wisconsin. I am making the trek with my favorite mule, Badger. He will be decked out with a flag blanket and patriotic baubles.

I am doing it only for my own satisfaction and adventure.

I told my husband what this ride means to me [since I've been advised not to do the endurance ride scheduled for this very day...medical issues]. I am making the ride because I CAN. That is pure and simple.


I'm sure I'll stretch this adventure out and see what fun things I can come up with tomorrow. What perfect weather is predicted.

I AM Independent.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Success is the best revenge....

Sometimes things happen to you that you don't understand and cannot comprehend. I'm not going to go into details about it here. But when I opened my blog tonight to write a tidbit, I glanced at the words 'Success is the best revenge'.

I smiled remembering that once when I was really down about something perhaps it was while I was going through my divorce, my father uttered those words.

I found that those were words that made me grin inside and to learn to surge ahead and don't look back. To learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

At least that is what I think he meant.

Here's to you dad.
Thanks for those words of wisdom.