Thursday, November 27, 2014

Part two of the computer drama

I thought I might try to explain computers in OUR lives. We have two laptops (like in the bathroom - his and hers) I have an Asus and she has a Toshiba. They have both been great but are starting to get some age on them. However if we don't spill any drinks on them, they should last a good while longer.

They are a large "part" of our lives. Besides Fiona's blog, we use them for Internet research, emailing, photo organization and viewing, music collection and listening. Fiona does photo "things" such as cropping and resizing and adding on photo captions and calendar making and....(you get the idea, she does all of these things to astound me with her abilities - and she does a good job of that!!!) (Quietly - I was forced to say that, she will be reading this. Really, though, she does astound me with her abilities in so many areas - and in such a small, quiet package! She is my treasure - but don't tell her or I will never live it down!) My bread is now buttered and I can move on!

I'll go with RESEARCH first. That is probably our most important area, for us. We will be talking and a question will come up. My research assistant (her) will usually look it up for us. Sometimes hours later and much discussion on this and other subjects, we will move on. Sometimes, we just want to verify what someone told us or something we heard on the radio or on the computer. (We haven't had a TV for years.) We trust very little and verify a lot. She is wonderful at finding "things" for me. And we can be kept busy for hours on end learning this or that. And one subject leads to another leads to another leads... You get the idea. Our interests vary from travel to politics (slightly) to cooking to gardening to surviving to history to LEARNING. And, of course, computers, for me. We go a little bit of everywhere in our quest for knowledge. We enjoy learning.

As an aside on this, Fiona does me a couple of calendars every year. It has to be plural for her to get everything on them. She has all kinds of knowledge and trivia on them. She did one calendar that was just cider apples and facts and trivia on those apples. She did one on varieties of geese. One on the cuts of a goat carcass and its use. One on varieties of apples for household use. One on varieties of goats. One on chickens. You get the idea. Every month we learn and review our knowledge. I look forward to each new calendar page.

And the trivia: November Cider Apple Calender Trivia
New York is the second largest producer of apples in the US.

46% of people think cider is a great drink for barbecue.

Most ciders are a blend of different varieties of apples.

Cider apples are listed as: sweets, sharps, bittersweets, and bittersharps according to acid and tannin content.

Hippo milk is pink!

Armadillos can walk under water.

Honeybees have hair on their eyes to help collect pollen.

Cows can sleep standing up, but can only dream while lying down.

Sheep can survive up to two weeks buried in snow drifts.

President John Adams drank a tankard of cider every morning to promote good health.

If you visited Monticello, President Jefferson would have offered you some cider.

Turkeys have heart attacks. When the US Air Force was testing to break the sound barrier, fields of turkeys would drop dead!

Fiona finds all kinds of things to amuse and entertain me. She fills my life with laughter!!!

I am getting distracted. Back to RESEARCH. We each research things, but she is the main researcher - my research assistant! This has come in handy for our land research. She hunts out properties for sale in our land area of interest, size, and price range. She finds the property and photos on different sites. She collects the information for us. She will call the realtor for info. She will collect plat maps. She will gather info on the area. She gets anything and everything that we can find on the property, owners, and previous owners. And neighbors.

We had one property that was idyllic. Only a five hundred acre cattle ranch past it. End of the road. Hilltop. Fantastic views. Lots of wildlife. Nice mix of timber and pasture. Nice breeze both times we visited. Nice, older house freshly remodeled (and well done). Nice basement. Nice reports. Nice neighbors (down the road, but not in sight). Just what we were looking for. Perfect. Couldn't be much better. No sign of it, it couldn't be seen, but there was a large lake on three sides and the five hundred acre ranch was going to become about a hundred lake front properties. And the serenity would be gone. Research can be invaluable. And to top things off, two miles away was a quarry.

When someone passes us a pass-a-long (think forwarded) email with this or that "fact", we will often research the facts behind the story. Most of them are elephant dung (biggest pile I could think of). Don't believe them. My sister has quit forwarding me this stuff because I kept sending back rebuttals with facts. Unkind but true. Just because you "want" it to be true, doesn't make it true. If it is fact, pass it along. If it isn't fact or you don't know for sure, trash it or verify it for yourself. Desirability is not an excuse! You are responsible for what you forward and its accuracy, not the person who sent it to you!!! They are only responsible for what they sent you, not what you sent out.

We have been researching quality tools (not home depot crap). You pay a fortune and it outlives the grandkids. It is easier to work with because of the balance and quality. And they are not going to be loaned out!!!

Greenhouse was a great find. Heating mats, really good, large pots, marker tags, outdoor markers (pens), etc. Our tomato plants really enjoyed the large pots. They never did get rootbound. No transplant shock. Nice, tall, strong plants out of the pots. And the seedlings just took off, no shock. Prices were high, but so was the quality. This will be our third year for using the pots and they are still going strong. Buying quality is cheaper in the long run. To us, we feel it is better to wait a year to get more money to buy quality than it is to rush out and buy cheap and cuss and fight it for a couple of years before having to replace it. Quality lasts!!! Long after the grandkids have forgotten you for that new girl down the road!

As you can gather, I hope, computers can help in everyday life. They are much more than games and videos and chatting and emailing. They can help in everyday events and purchases. You might even get a "for an old person, you are smart". You can learn a solution for a homestead problem. You can learn from a person "down the wire". Think: Blogs!
One last trivia for today: (Fiona's little factoid) Women speak an average of 8,000 words a day. Men only get out 3,000 words per day. (We can't get a word in edgewise.) So, guys, it's a fact! Get used to it. Just shut up and listen and you will learn! And, who knows, she may appreciate it so much you will reap the benefits!

Until the next time, may God bless you more than He has me!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for being able to have a Pet

Now if you have read any of my posts here you know I used to have a small purebred cattle operation and I had lots of critters on the farm, from Horses to a Pot bellied pig, sheep, pigs and cows, turkeys and chickens, even rabbits and of course barn cats and farm dogs.

However now we live in town until we get a new place. We rent and not all places let you have pets but we found this little house and were so lucky they said we could have a cat. Ralph's cat to be exact...he had her in the Highway tractor when he drove truck and I first met him. Her name is Picassa and she is a delight and such fun.

I cannot imagine having no animals at all, they are such wonderful companions. I tend to be a dog person but this cat has won me over. Don't get me wrong I have always had a cat in the house but they were also working farm cats and hunted during the day...and yes at night as I lived in an ancient log house! I think log house = mice, especially in the fall!

Picassa is the oddest mix of pure elegance and absolute goof ball! She is a mix of Maine Coon and Ragdoll. It is an interesting cross as it gives her a triple thick layered coat that I have to brush a lot! Well, tonight was brushing night and she came running as soon as I got the comb and brush out! I also wear a set of Kitchen gloves...the ones that you use with knives! She is not mean at all but there are sensitive places she has a few issues over and the gloves help a lot! I happily set to brushing and she set to purring! She kind of zoned out and lay quite limp on the bed until I got to her tum tum! She just looked at me so disdainfully then took a good grip with her claws as if to say NOT THERE!

Well I continued on and soon had at least a half cat combed out of her....she knew I was finished and rolled over and promptly fell of the bed. She had quite forgotten she was near the edge. I had such a laugh at the look on her face and she just marched of, quite annoyed!

She is always nearby when Ralph is at work and she is amazing at how she can tell he is nearly home, I think she can tell the sound of the car. She will listen, then go to the door and meow and about 5 minutes later I hear Ralph drive up. When Ralph is home I am relegated to second string and she stays beside him like glue.

It is a simple thing but one I am thankful have a pet for company and entertainment. Everyone should be so lucky!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Phones and Computers...the Modern Dilemma

Just to let everyone know: This is basically an email I sent my family and close friends. It is copied to here as an introduction to what we are doing with phones and computers. The necessities of the modern world. I will follow up with more whenever I can get a chance. Now, to Quote:

Well, it's that time. The land line is dead. We cut the strings and retired the land line. We have two cell phones to handle things. Fiona handles the house and herself at her number. And I handle work and me at my number. I guess this is the way of the modern world.
No strings (or lines) attached. Both phones are simple smart phones, nothing fancy. We are using Straight Talk for service. We've used it for a couple of years. We don't do videos, etc., so I can't vouch for intensive use. But for $45.00 every 30 days, we have unlimited nationwide calling, text, data, etc. For $60.00, you can go international. We're happy with the service.

 I wiped my computer's hard drive over the weekend. I re-installed Windows. Not by choice. I still need Topo North America and it is a Windows program. I haven't been able to find a Linux version yet. If I can find a way to get it to run under Linux, then Windows will die, also. I can not see paying the MicroSoft tax to have a computer. The Linux operating system is free to download and use. The programs are free. The updates are free. The learning curve can be "different" because we have been programmed to Microsoft's way of doing things. I am thousands of dollars happier over the last few years. The Microsoft tax is why Bill is worth billions. And every couple of years, he dips into our well of money to replenish his well. And all of his tag-a-longs will get their share, also. Because their new programs don't work on the old Windows system. It took over eighteen hours to reformat the computer, install Windows, and get all of the updates. There were 187 updates. (Windows 7.) The download was 5.5 hours. As it went along, it slowed down downloading. Then, during the updating, it would error out and I would have to start again. I finally did the updates ten at a time to get them to work! 

 Actual message on Fiona's laptop before she gave up on Microsoft!
This photo has NOT been Photo Shopped. On her laptop Microsoft actually said 2 days to install "important" updates!

 After completing the Windows fiasco, I went to work on Linux. I repartitioned the hard drive to move Windows over out of the way. I reformatted the new partition, installed Linux Mint, did 399 updates (as one continuous update, not ten at a time), downloaded my programs (office, Internet, sound, photo, Google Earth, email, graphics, games, educational, etc.).  

The Linux and all programs were free (except for my time and the Internet time and the DVD it was burned to. I have 8 music/video players, 5 TV/video players, 3 CD/DVD burners, FreetuxTV and XBMC media center and others for Internet radio and video and TV from around the world, 3 e-book readers/organizers, 3 office suites (I didn't need one of them and deleted it), 2 email managers (this is being done in Evolution), 5 web browsers, a couple of Internet chat and torrent and other programs I seldom use (but I have them for the occasional use and they were free),6 photo programs for handling and manipulating my photos, 3 image manipulation programs (think Photoshop and above levels)(I don't use them - Fiona does - but I have them because they are free and just in case!), scanning programs, 2 planetarium programs for the skies, 2 Bible programs, a bunch of utility programs, etc. All are free, along with thousands more. Some are high quality, some aren't. But, they ARE free!!! Except for the Internet and your time. No CD/DVD needed, just download. Free updates. Oh!!! Comparisons!!! Windows (including 187 updates)- 18 hours. Linux - 1.5 hours (including 399 updates). Windows - no additional programs (costs up to  thousands more). Linux - about two additional hours of downloading additional FREE programs. Difference - hours and thousands of dollars. And thousands of more Linux programs are available for me to download for free at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE! I can change Linux operating systems and programs daily if I want (or sooner). Linux is like cars in a lot of ways. You can choose the size and color you want. They are all cars and they all work; but, yet, they are different. Some people like Fords, some Chrysler, some Chevrolet, some Cadillac, and some like Ferrari. I did not get a warm, fuzzy feeling doing Windows. But, I did get a warm, smug feeling after installing my FREE Linux system and realizing the thousands of dollars I potentially saved. I am still glowing warmly!!! As if you couldn't tell.

 Why do I have so many programs that do the same thing? Like Windows, each program approaches the job from a different angle. It just doesn't cost me $50.00 to find out I don't like the way a program approaches a job; hence, the deletion of the above mentioned program. Music/sound: If I am just playing some background sounds/music while working, rhythmbox handles playlists quite well (it is playing in the background right now with a 280 song, 14 hour, playlist). But, it doesn't have the ability to do an instant 10 second backwards leap to replay a phrase. SMPlayer does. If I am listening to a blog that I might want to replay a conversation (or word), I use SMPlayer. I can back up 10 seconds (or multiples thereof) to replay a conversation or parts of it. It does it for YouTube and videos, also. It will also advance multiples of 10 seconds at a time into the future. Playlists are not one of its strengths.

Enough soapbox. Have a wonderful day.



Thankful for Good Men

I am blessed with a good man in my life now but I have also been married to men that were not the Pillars of Rock that good men are... I can tell what makes a truly good man!

Men have been discussed in some bogs recently, How men are changing from strong quiet resources who lead by example and do whats right because it is right not because it looks good on a resume. Yes changing to something else. Bullies, liars, attention seeker's, men who do not respect women or laws or follow God's rule. Men who are not masculine or strong male role models.

Again I am blessed with a strong man, a masculine man, a man who is gentle enough to take care of a bee that has fallen into water or put out feed for the birds but who is more than capable of protecting our household should the need arise. He has strong opinions and can be stubborn to the point of mulishness, he knows what he wants and works hard to accomplish things. He is incredibly kind and generous, full of little surprises and is always teasing. 

He makes people laugh and can be there if you need to cry. He is however hard and determined and the leader in our home. He is also a mentor to some of the young men where he works, he often comes home with thoughts about how they seek advice on what they need from life, women and their future ahead. They recognize the strength and honest opinions he has for them. He is not afraid to tell them what they need to hear not just what they want to hear.

I think there are fewer men like this all the time. It is a huge loss to our society right at a time it needs more strong men to help boys grow up with the right attitudes. Too many young men have not had the right kind of male influence in their lives. Young women do not have the example of strong men either, how can they make good choices in a future husband if they have no frame of reference.

Yes I am thankful, I am blessed and I am appreciative of my good man. Give your good man a special thanks today...he is a rare thing in this age of the manicured metrosexual!


I write this as the decision is coming down from the Grand Jury in the Ferguson shooting case. The truth will out! It made me think of the  "Good" man Martin Luther King Jr..   How he would sorrow for the modern America.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful for Seed Catalogs

It came, it came...the first seed catalog of the year! 

This may seem pretty strange to be rejoicing over as observed by a non Gardener but to those of us who grow things for food and enjoyment the first catalog of the next season is a joy and delight. The garden itself is a drab, empty place right now and the wonders it grew are long off the vine and trellis. Everything is waiting for the spring but first we have to get through winter. Seed catalog's help us through tho cold and snowy days ahead as they bring the bright colors and new varieties to the Kitchen table as we plan.

They bring a sense of renewal to us as we go through the pages of vegetable seeds, marvel at the incredible flowers or debate the merits of a new variety of tomato. It brings old and new together in an interesting ballet of looking at the varieties you have tried and loved and wondering about the new things you have not grown yet, do you have room? Will it like the humidity? Does it like full sun? What kind of soil will it grow the best in?

In no time at all the gloom of winter has receded into the glowing hope for spring and the placing of the first order.

Yes we are very thankful for the arrival of seed catalog's, they signal the distant arrival of spring and hint at adventures to come!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thankful for Good Tools

Today Ralph was home and did not have to go in to work tonight so we spent the day doing things around the house and yard. We are renting and are lucky to have good landlords but....Jerry [husband/handyman] had his 72 birthday this year and when he called to ask how the gutters were we had a flashback to when he cleaned them last....a sad old bent ladder that wobbled horribly as he climbed it just scared us to death! So we said we would clean them for him this year. You could hear the relief in his voice.

We have a very good ladder, It was not cheap but as Ralph climbed up it it did not shake or wobble but stayed firmly in position. I wasn't terrified it would all come crashing down. We yakked away as he cleared the debris from the gutters and I remarked about how solid the ladder was. Ralph said well you get what you pay for. That led to a discussion of tools.

Our versatile Werner Ladder

Good quality tools make such a difference in anything we do and they pay off in durability and last a long time. We use tools a lot in the garden and over the years I have used a lot of tools on the farm. The worst injuries were from poor quality equipment that broke or failed in use. I learned simple things like a good hammer makes a huge difference in driving staples while building fence or a good shovel make digging a post hole a lot easier. Good heavy duty fencing pliers can save you hand and wrist injuries that come back to haunt you as you get older!

Estwing 22 oz Cribbing Favorite Hammer ever!

A good chainsaw, ax, or handsaw makes work go by easier and more safely. As we got the gutters done and continued our yard work we knew we were lucky to have good tools to make our work easier. Yes something to be thankful for.

A Husquevarna Model 61 with an 18" bar...a very useful chainsaw for farm use.

Now be safe out there!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankful for Our Little Blog Community

Ralph and I have been discussing “blog's” quite a lot lately.

Definition of the word Blog: *a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
We seem to have found some very wonderful places to visit and read. I am amazed at how attached I have grown to this little community we are building. There are interesting stories, humorous tales of life, touching saga's, hard facts and all sorts of incredibly helpful and sometimes even disturbing information.

We can follow sheep around their pasture, learn how to make colorful sauerkraut, see how to butcher a goat or even just smile at stories of a busy day gone awry. Ralph and I found the gas range of our dreams through a blog we love [yes thats you Frank and Fern]. I am going to be getting some wonderful roving as soon as we are moved, from Sandra at Clearwater Farm. The kindness of a big heart shows up at 'Begin Again' and the recipes from 'Mennonite Girls Can Cook' are pure heaven! Framboise Manor is simply a delight!

When Ralph gets home he has started to ask if I learned anything from the blogs while he was at work.

It is really quite wonderful to find people that have so much to offer, people that we can share some of our experiences and knowledge with. I have become so thankful for what Ralph and I consider “our” blogs!

Thank you all for your time and effort, your honest ways of getting your points across, your observations and ideas, your sharing of hopes and dreams and views of the world around you.

Yes we are very thankful for this community!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thankful for My Camera

I was going through my computer files today and I got sidetracked. I had started to clean out redundant files and documents and general clutter then I saw a photo. That led me to another photo and soon I was cruising along on a photo journey from the time we arrived here in Virginia to yesterday when I was taking better photos of the twig vase project.

The Twig Vase

It was remarkable to follow our adventures and travels through the seasons all seen through the lens of cameras. They are truly something to be thankful for. Sometimes I think we take them for granted, the digital age has made it so instant and easy to chronicle everything. The camera I arrived here was a little Fuji S700 and it was the first camera I had ever owned that was digital. It took photos all along the epic trip through the center of this country on our way to start this new life. It has been replaced by an incredible Christmas gift from Ralph, a Nikon Coolpix P510. 

 Open country north of Monument Valley, Utah.

As I continued along the photo trail, through seasons, snowstorms and rain. 

A heavy snow last February.
Past old houses overgrown and abandoned, along frothy streams beside the highway I realized how much a camera is more than a snapshot of a moment. 

It is a reminder of where we have been, it makes you think of other things as well...old homes make you think of who lived there. Did children grow up happy here? Did they go on to make their own way in the world. 

A marvelous old house showings its age

A stream captured for many trout have slipped around rocks and crevices while the waters found their way to the sea?

 The Salmon River, Idaho.

The photo journey made me realize how lucky we are and how thankful I am to have a good camera to capture time for me!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful for Our Dehydrator

I have been noticing something interesting as I make Ralph lunches for work recently. Well several things actually. I have a lot less packaging to throw out after I prepare a meal and I am using a lot more dehydrated foods. Our own dehydrated foods!

Ralph and I bought TSM Stainless Dehydrator two years ago but this is the first season we really have used it a lot. I also was lucky enough to have a friend give us a little 'El Cheapo” one temperature fits all dehydrator. They both worked hard to dry tomatoes, onions, peppers, herbs, okra, beans and squash. It has been such a nice change to be able to store and keep so much more of our own food. Stored in Mason jars it reduces the need for packaging that is not recyclable. The food reconstitutes very well and the tomatoes seem to be tangier than canned tomatoes!

After enjoying a meal with a lot of our own vegetables we knew we had to be thankful for the chance to have and learn to use a dehydrator for our food preservation! It has been a marvelous learning experience and the proof is in the stew so to speak!

The little “El Cheapo” died after running almost non stop for the summer and fall harvest and I miss it but the bigger 5 tray TSM has continued on trouble free with jars and jars of preserved food stored in the back room. It is currently drying peanuts I have brined so I can roast them. Yes we are very thankful for our dehydrators!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thankul for Early Evenings

Fall and winter are interesting seasons for so many reasons. The days shorten and evening comes earlier, dark and cozy, spent with winter craft projects. Out come the knitting needles, the glue gun, sticks, ribbon, craft paper, beads and the like.

Heavy knit bedsocks 

Twig Vase with dried roses

It seems somewhat sacrilegious to make crafts when the evening sun of summer beckons you to spend time in the garden or walking or just enjoying the wonderful warmth of a sunny season. Ahh but then the days shorten and it gets dark is perfect for making gifts and spending time learning new things. Yes I am thankful for the early evenings!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thankful for News from friends

This is simple and to the point...since Ralph I started our new life together I am far from my old life and friends. Yesterday I had a shower of emails and an actual letter from dear friends. It simply is something to be so thankful for!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thankful for An Adventurous Gardener

Whats this strange thing to be thankful for you ask? Well Ralph has a sense of adventure and lets me do some pretty strange things garden wise. Let me tell you the tale of the Ginger and a Blue Muck tub.

I love to use ginger in cooking, we both love the taste and it is an exceptionally good thing to eat for your digestive system, thats why your mother always gave you ginger-ale when you were sick!

I read an article on growing ginger online and it was interesting, the lady grew it in her solarium. I had just read this article when we went grocery shopping and as I was looking at hands of ginger Ralph noticed one had tiny sprouts on it...we both looked at each other and he grabbed it!

At the time we had a big blue muck tub that was empty, some good potting soil and a nice sunny window. Ginger is a tropical plant and need ages to grow. We really just wanted to see if it would sprout so we planted it in the tub...the hand broke into 11 segments which is what we planted.

It was the biggest pot for a house plant I had ever seen and it kind of filled up the space in front of the window.  This was October of 2012.

It was slow to times I almost told Ralph to throw it out but he carefully dug down and what to our wondering eyes appeared but a tiny but very healthy looking inch of new plant. We watched it grow and more come up,  by spring it looked like a jungle in the front window.

We let it grow outside all summer and but I couldn't stand it I asked Ralph to dig it in August.

The first tub of Ginger on Harvest day.

It was exciting to watch Ralph as he started to uncover the potential "hands".

You can see the faint purple tops of the bulbs.

They have amazing hairy roots!

It worked...we have Ginger!

Here is what the entire plant looks like...they have a long strange tap root below the actual hand of ginger.

Here is the main cluster of hands...they are beautiful.

Here is a good sized hand. I was both amazed and thankful at how it worked out, we actually successfully grew a tropical plant and an edible one at that!

We did have a number of small immature hands and we wondered if they would grow, they were only about the size of a quarter and the tops were very healthy so we thought we would give it a go. Ralph selected 15 of these and replanted the Blue Muck tub.

The Blue tub, refilled with fresh compost and potting soil.

 The harvested and re-potted ginger muck tub...three days after the transplanting the plants look good and they never looked back. 

Here is the final result of our first ginger experiment. We were pretty excited and yes 'Thankful' for the hands.

Now ginger is almost old hat....the replanted ginger spent the winter in the house again but it did something we had not went dormant and looked DEAD. Again I was about to throw it out when we spotted a tiny new sprout. By May when we started setting it out at night it was a healthy green mass of grassy plant life.

2014's Ginger adventure in August.

This year we did not really want a huge Tub in the front room so we let the plant die off as fall arrived.

Here is our sad houseplant at the end of October.

We harvested it and it just proved how lucky I am to have an adventurous garden and blue muck tubs...a wonderful second harvest is drying on the table!

2014 Ginger Harvest

Ralph holding one of the 2014 hands.

Yes there are so many things to be thankful for that are maybe non traditional things to think of as  something to be noted. Ralph and his sense  of adventure is just one think I have to be truly thankful else would I have ever had the gumption to try to grow a tropical plant?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thankful for Books

There is a cold wind here today and it just didn't seem like a day to be outside. So I curled up with a good book, even the cat seemed to want to read as she sat on the back of my armchair above my head.

We are so lucky here to have a wonderful library nearby and lots of books to choose from. Ralph bought me a Nook several years ago and I do enjoy it but there is still nothing like the feel of a good book in your hands. I cannot imagine a world without books they hold everything from romance to horror, Science to fantasy and every kind of information you would or ever will need.

Our Library in Salem, VA.

With all the modern tech gadgets it is sad to think some people think books are outdated and old fashioned. They allow your imagination to flow as you follow characters through adventure and peril. They keep your vocabulary in gear as often books use words you know but rarely use in day to day speech. They can make you think and wonder. Yes they can bring tears to your eyes or smiles of delight to your lips. What else can take you far away to times past or places in the future while you never leave you cozy armchair?

Yes I am thankful for books, it may seem something too simple for special thanks but they have brought a sense of wonder to my world, they have taken me far away to places I will never see and they have made many dreary days go by while I am engrossed in an adventure! Ahhh there really is nothing like a good book!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful for good neighbors

What kind of neighbors do you have? Ralph and I are blessed with good neighbors...not perfect but the kind of people you know would help you in an instant if you needed them. Yes they may play loud music, They may rev their truck engines at odd hours but they are honest, decent and hardworking! You just know they have good hearts!

I have had to deal with neighbors that  made the thought of a Range War seem a possibility. Neighbors whose bulls would break in to your farm then chase you and your horse away from your own cows. Neighbors who drank beer along the property line and threw the empties on my land. [I was wondering where the dog kept getting beer cans from]. Neighbors whose cows would crawl into my stack yard and demolish tons of hay and then they would complain when I called about the damage and needing some help to chase them out! I smile to think most ranchers fence to keep their cattle shorthorns loved home and it did not take a barricade of 5 tight strands of barbed wire to keep them in, I had to build that fence to keep the neighbors cows out!

Yes now we are in town and the neighbors are so close by it is a great thing to know we have neighbors of the best kind! We are thankful to have good neighbors  around us.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful for Simple Sunshine

I think the cat has the right idea! The sunshine patch on the floor is an ideal place for a toasty nap. I am being warmed by passive solar wafting though the living room window as I type. Warm and mellow! Thank you sun!

I think perhaps we take the sun for granted and should pay more attention to it in little ways. Like the first rays of sun slipping over the horizon on a cold crisp winter morning. Dust motes drifting in the air lit by the sunshine as it hits them. The incredible green of leaves as sunshine back lights them in the garden. Or better yet the color sun brings out in the first tomato flower of the season.

  The sun induced stupor new calves get in early spring when they lay in full sunshine is another wonder. Sitting on a porch watching the incredible majesty of a sunset as the great globe drops below the horizon! 

Watching a Child's delight as soap bubbles reflect the rainbow as sunlight  shines through them.  The cottony halo of a babies hair back lit by sunshine. The incredible sun brightened whiteness of high mountain peaks in full sun. The facinating track of a Sunflower following it namesake across the sky.

I am thankful for the joys of life giving its infinite variety. The wonders of the life giving heat and energy are often overlooked so go out and be thankful for  the joys of sunshine. Catnap in a sunny chair or walk along a sunny trail.  Yes be thankful for simple sunshine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day or Remembrance Day

Be thankful for ordinary men who when called to arms are prepared to give their lives to fight the wrongs of this world.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Lieutenant Colonel John McCraeIn Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium