Sunday, March 1, 2015

We had a surprise visitor at the farm.

Bruce called one morning from the farm, "You won't believe it but there is a wild turkey hen over here, walking around the shop like she owns the place! 

Last fall when we were chopping silage, I saw three hens at the Leo's pond but never saw them again. Later this winter, we were headed to town and saw a hen turkey at our neighbor's driveway, all by herself. 

I grabbed my camera and drove over, I didn't dare take the Gator and the dogs, they would not understand the concept of "Now be quiet." I found her out behind the shop, tiptoeing through the weeds into the grove.

I ran around the other side and we met up at the junk pile and I started snapping away, expecting to see her either fly or run and she did neither. I don't know if it was my "gobbling", hey, don't laugh, I have made many turkeys gobble back at me at the fairs, much to Bruce's embarrassment, or if she was just lonely but she started walking toward me.

She'd pause.....

....glance around....

...and take a few more steps.

I had some cracked corn with me to entice her but she paid no attention.

Either I wasn't saying the right things or she could tell I wasn't a Tom, but soon she turned.....

.....and strolled off into the grove.

Look how she blends into the background, they have very good camouflage. We've not seen her since, I think she is still looking for her soul mate and it wasn't me.

When Bruce's parents were still living, there were some wild turkey hens in the neighborhood and a friend knew someone who raised wild turkeys so we went up to get a Tom for the ladies. This guy had a lot of turkeys, along with some geese and ducks inside a good sized yard enclosed by a 4 foot woven wire fence. In the center was an old wooden corn crib. When we drove in and the entire time we were there, the turkeys paced inside that fence, back and forth, back and forth. 

"Oh, how I wish I could get out!"

At night all the turkeys went to the corn crib and flew 12 feet up in the air to roost on the rafters!

That was my first clue that they really aren't that smart.

We brought home a tom turkey for the girls and he quickly ruled the farm. We couldn't feed the cats when he was in sight because he would run them off and eat their food. 

Kaiza and her Aunt Susan

Kaiza was about this big when she came to visit the farm with her parents. We went over to see the turkeys, didn't see them so fed the cats instead. Suddenly Tom appeared on the sidewalk, puffing up his feathers, the red dangly thing, the snood, that hangs over the beak, getting longer and longer and he started the thumping in his chest to show us how tough he was.

"Step away from the cat food and no one will get hurt."

Kaiza shrunk against her mom and said, "Scares me!"

We know why that guy kept his turkeys in a pen because they like to wander, first the ladies moved on and we just had Tom, one unhappy turkey. He decided to go searching for them, our niece, Christine was driving up the blacktop toward home one night after a long day at work. She was on the phone with Janet and suddenly said, "Oh No! That Stupid Turkey!" BOOM! Tom came up out of ditch and tried to cross the road, instead it was the end of him and Christine's car grill.

I told you they aren't too smart.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

♫Oh, I WISH I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner....♫

Bruce and I were coming home from Sioux City tonight and right outside of Hinton, we saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile!!!!

So be alert, those of you on south, it could be coming to a city near you!!!!

Clyde - 3 -- Zoe - 0

We have been overrun with mice this winter, they scurry in the wall, run laps in the ceiling, visit under the sinks and leave their nasty droppings and sometimes come face to face with one of the three cats in the house.

If you were a mouse, who would you fear most? Zoe, who has all her faculties and keeps a sharp lookout for enemies who invade her domain?

Who believes the best way to catch a bird is to try to blend in on the roof of the bird feeder?

Who practices her wrestling moves on the other cats?

Who stays in shape climbing trees?

Who runs a tight ship keeping the dogs in line?

"You don't understand the concept of personal space, do you Mollie?"

Who does Yoga everyday?

This is called, 'Upside down Cat.'

Who practices her moves on the Turbo Go Round, perfecting the rabbit kicks?

And still manages to get several 'cat' naps a day to refresh her.

Or would you fear Clyde, who was accidentally poisoned as a baby and has suffered a severe case of palsy every since? 

Clyde spends his days searching out the best spot to nap.

While Zoe is patrolling the great outdoors, Clyde is keeping an eye on the back yard from the upstairs bedroom.

And spends winter days keeping the couch from getting up and walking away.

With a time out for a snack and another nap in the nearby rocker.

Well, if you put your money on Zoe, you would be wrong, yes, she can catch a mouse but can't do the dirty deed. All she wants to do is play with them and inevitably loses them. The last one was just a couple of mornings ago, Bruce and I were rudely awakened at 5 AM by a "Squeak, squeak, squeak!" By the time Bruce got the light on, Zoe was searching our bedroom, "He was here just a minute ago!" Oh, man, Zoe, not again. This is the third mouse that we have seen Zoe have and lose in the house and this one was way too close to our bed. I didn't want to wake up with a disease ridden mouse curled up in bed with us!

Clyde, on the other hand, gets so excited, "It's a REAL LIVE MOUSE!" The mouse doesn't stand a chance, Clyde chomps and dispatches the little vermin in one, swift, fatal blow. He makes the attempt to clean up the scene by eating the evidence but he just can't stomach the hind quarters. Luckily for me, Bruce is the first one up, found the evidence on the kitchen floor and gotten rid of it, much to Clyde's dismay.

"I was playing with that!"

And Ghost?

Where is she in the mousing department?

"I'm not eating no stinking mouse, I know where the bowl of cat chow is."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Things that make us happy

Today was the Spencer Ag show, something we go to every year, I woke up feeling like a new person so, after my daily shot, we headed north. There are speakers, agricultural displays, a great lunch and lots of giveaways. You have to be there to win so we stayed to the bitter end, they were drawing for 25# of meat from the Ruthven locker and drew two names, neither one who claimed it and the third time was a charm for me!


Even better was that the prize was not for 25# but 50#!!  Ruthven was only about 12 miles east of Spencer, we would never be so close, it was open until 5 so away we went and claimed my winnings in hamburger, about 10#!!!

See Brucie smile???

There isn't much Bruce loves more than a big juicy hamburger and we were getting a little low in that department in my quest to empty the freezer. I know what we are having for dinner tomorrow.

On the way home we came into the little town of Petersen and had to slow down for a herd of deer who were tromping through town as though they owned it. I didn't have my camera but did have my tablet and finally got a few pictures.

They were very cooperative and stayed around while I fumbled with the tablet and wished I had my camera. That's it, I'm never leaving home without it! They are neat to watch but I can only imagine how tough it would be to try and garden with this gang terrorizing the town.

It was just getting dark when we finally arrived home and I went to the chicken house to gather eggs and put the chickens to bed. The girls are really stepping up these days, I found all these eggs in one nest and not a one was frozen.

My two little Serama girls are finally laying.....

....these tiny little snack eggs.

 Hardboiled, sprinkled with Cookies seasoning, served on a Club cracker with mayo, celery with peanut butter, a few almonds, grapes and a glass of wine.....


And that is what makes me happy, tonight, tomorrow will bring a whole round of other things, stay tuned.

Feel free to tell me what makes you happy.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day musings

Valentines day is hyped up, to make people, mostly men, feel guilty if they don't get their significant other that giant, 6 ft. Vermont Teddy Bear, or that sexy lingerie, or at least run into HyVee and pick a ready made flower bouquet and/or a box of chocolates off the ample display right inside the front door. Anyone would have to be unconscious to miss it. 

I was asked once about how I felt about Valentine's Day and I said it wasn't as important as how you are treated every other day of the year. It's easy to feel warm and loving toward your spouse while vacationing on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai, golfing next to the ocean, without a care in the world.

Or feeding the collection of peacocks at a tourist trap where Bruce shelled out 50 cents for a handful of corn, all the while thinking of his bins full at home.

True love is when your hubby rises long before the sun comes up to get his chores done on chemo day, so he can drive me to Storm Lake and spend all day in a chair next to me while I sleep. 

True love is driving me to Cherokee every morning for my daily shot and then stopping at Casey's for a donut treat, even though he is on a perennial diet all winter. (Yes, he get's his own donut.)

True love is tending to my needs while I lay on the couch looking like death warmed over while recovering from chemo.

True love is when Bruce gave up his big TV in the living room on Saturday so I could watch a Hallmark  marathon of Signed, Sealed and Delivery, because I was laid out on the couch.

And true love is suggesting we celebrate Valentine's Day a week early at our favorite restaurant, Archie's in LeMars with our friends, Mike and Becky.

I think Becky needs to get out more.

So however you spent this Valentine's Day, at a fancy restaurant or home with a Casey's pizza, I hope it was with people you love or fond memories of those who have gone before us.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Even though I have managed to make some respectable Danish, croissants and caramel rolls, I struggle with bread and dinner rolls. They either come out not baked through or like hockey pucks and with each failure I became more despondent. I decided to give it one more try, carefully measuring all the ingredients, getting the right balance of liquid and flour - and when I pulled the pan out of the oven, I discovered I'd created BREADZILLA!!!

Evidently my dough was a bit too wet, the loaf rose and blew like Mount Vesuvius, bread dough cascading down each side and consuming the pan. It could have been molded into a bread wig. I was ready to give up, then heard that my friend, Eva, was making 30 dozen dinner rolls for a scholarship dinner at the school, all by herself and by hand. I asked if I could come observe, take pictures and learn from a master bread baker, I even offered my services of washing dishes.

Eva was hard at work with her first batch of dough, she measured, mixed, beat and kneaded, all the time giving me her tips.
 Don't use soft water to activate the yeast, salt interferes with that process - Eureka! I never knew that!
 Do use a thermometer to determine the correct temperature of the liquid, do not go over 120 degrees! 
Add flour sparingly and knead, knead, knead.
The final ingredients should be salt and fat, refer to tip #1. Eureka!
Eva said the sweeter the dough, the less it should be handled, now I know why I'm successful with sweet rolls. Pizza dough, on the other hand, needs to have the crap beat out of it, that is why you see these guys slinging it around in the air above their head. Which I have never tried but I'm up for the challenge.

Eva made 37 dozen rolls in one day, by hand, she's The Woman! I decided today was the day to take my new found knowledge and make a loaf of bread that was edible.

Eva mixed all 37 dozen by hand....

.....I believed that is why I purchased a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Moving from a whisk to a big spoon, Eva continues mixing flour into her dough....

.....while my Kitchen Aid's whisk goes merrily around and around the mixing bowl.

It's time to get tough, Eva scrapes her dough out of the pan, onto the counter and begins kneading....

.....while I switch out the whisk for the dough hook and let my Kitchen Aid earn it's keep.

You don't want to get in an arm wrestling contest with this woman!

It is still a crap shoot about how much flour to use but after the dough pulled away from the sides and formed a ball......

.....I used another tip from Eva, the Window Pane Test. You take a ball of dough and start stretching until it makes a little window pane, if it falls apart, it needs more flour or kneading. I think it's ready!

It raised for an hour, I punched it down, stretched it into a rectangle, folded in thirds and fit it in  the pan.

After another raising, I was getting my hopes up...... Mount Vesuvius this time!!

But will it taste as good as it looks??

Yes, YES, and YES!!!!!

I really should have made a loaf for Bruce too, Burp!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chemo #?, I've forgotten the number, underway.

Today was 4 weeks since my last chemo, where I'd received a higher dose in my quest to get done and I did pretty good, I thought. So I was pumped to ask Dr. Wender to up the dosage again to a full compliment of drugs, but he burst my balloon by telling me my counts were not high enough. I was barely able to handle a 3/4 dosage again and would have to have several more shots to build me up for the next time which is going to be stretched out into another 4 weeks. That came as a surprise because I have felt well enough, every though I came down with a bad cold last week and I'm still coughing.

"Well,", I told him, "That is why you get paid the big bucks!" I think he took a little offense at that, he said he doesn't get it all! But he didn't hold it against me and we left on good terms. It was very quiet at the 'Halls of Healing', as Bruce calls it, I had my choice, so went back to the solitude and privacy in the back alcove that holds three chairs. Bruce had some errands to run and I would soon be in La-La Land after the Benedryl IV so he left and I pulled out my tablet to read.

I have never seen any children there, until today. Soon an Asian mother came in with an interpreter and two little girls, one who was sporting a purple wrap on her wrist and she hopped up into the chair next to mine. The nurses pulled the curtain between us and I tried to concentrate on my book but kept overhearing the conversations. They were explaining to the interpreter the treatment schedule, every day after school for a week and then in home visits from a nurse. They had trouble with the IV that was in the little girl's wrist and had to re-do it, but she was very brave and didn't cry. It made me cringe. They ended up not staying long but I felt depressed for the family, how hard it would be to have to go through this with a child.

I like the back room because I don't feel like getting involved with any other patients there, if that makes me a selfish person, I'm sorry. It was still pretty quiet in the clinic when a man claimed the chair the little girl had left and he immediately started giving the nurses a hard time so I knew he was one of the regulars although I don't think I'd ever seen him before. When Bruce came back he talked to Mike a lot, found out he is barely 50, started out with throat cancer and then it developed into lung cancer, both sides. He has come every week for I don't know how long, for chemo. I was dozing most of the time, between being awakened to check vitals so caught some of their conversations. Mike seems to have a rather dysfunctional family and he knows he has a tough road ahead of him but is trying to make the best of it.

I took the girls at the clinic a Valentine's treat, cheesecake stuffed, dark chocolate dipped, strawberries, that I found on Pinterest and that made their day. Just before we left, my nurse, Shari, said she had something for me and brought a beautiful prayer shawl that was made by Loops of Love from a group at Albert City and that brought tears to me eyes. This is the second prayer shawl I have received, my niece, Anne from Gardener, KS sent me one shortly have I started. When I get down I only have to look around me at all the love that is shown, some from complete strangers, to pick me up and shut down the pity party.

And then there is Zoe with her favorite yellow birdie that was a gift from our friends Lisa and Jeff in the animals Christmas stocking a year ago, who knows how to cheer me up.

"I love my little birdie."

"I rub you against my cheek."

"Rub, rub, rub, rub....."

"....sniff, sniff....who have you been hanging around with?"

"Clyde?" "Ghost??"

"You need a bath!"

"Much better."

"Rub, rub, rub...."