Friday, May 23, 2014

Parenthood Finally Pays Off - BIG TIME!

This guy actually belongs to me. He is on the roof of my home, clearing the gutters - because I ASKED him and he agreed to it.

(And, maybe because he was already going to be at my house for Mothers Day.)

(Well, he did need to borrow a few bucks.)

(I doubt if it was because he was feeling regret for being such a willful teenager.)

(He still sprayed water on his poor, long-suffering mother from the roof - but it was just enough to hear me cuss.)

Some things never change.

I am glad of it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day

The view from I-70 early Sunday morning.

Spring is an amazing transformation from blackened hills to emerald green almost overnight.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


My children are grown. My son will soon be 28 years old. My daughter was a teenager when he was born. (You do the math!) I will soon be at the age when I can retire, if I want. Perhaps more specifically and truthfully, I can retire if I can afford to retire. The big dreams I have not accomplished by now are quite likely never going to happen: write a great American novel - build a self-sustaining homestead off the grid - ride my Harley in every state - make a significant contribution to this wonderful earth (aside from the two great human beings I brought into this world). Sometimes that realization is burdensome, other times I cheer myself up with the fact that apparently I am not a serial killer. I am coming to grips with the fact that my optimum years do not lay before me. So be it.

Maybe this time around, just maybe, one lesson is to simply love what is. Lying awake in the dark, between the two bedroom windows, the constant Kansas winds rise and fall like ocean surf. The only thing to hear is natural, organic - coyotes and tree frogs, owls, thunder. I deeply love the simple pleasure, the comfort, the peace of my life here in the bend of the nameless prairie creek. Maybe, in another lifetime, I already loved this place. Maybe a future self is right now hearkening to a remembered grace and peace of a prairie night in May, and longing for something she cannot even name.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's a Flippin' Miracle, Ma!

First attempt at mowing in this gracious year 2014, and my lawn tractor started! I put the key in, stepped on the brake, gave it one for gas, and kablooey! The machine started. I was able to complete all the mowing in one short length of time. There were no interruptions! No obscenities! No exchange of cash required! No waiting six weeks for Sears to send a poor guy out to the wilds of Wabaunsee county to half-assedly fix my machine! It was such a marvelous event that I was looking for an image of the Virgin Mary in the scattered grass clippings. Oh my gosh. No one can imagine how wonderful it was! Of course, it was not sex, drugs or rock'n'roll with Joe Bonamassa, but it was damned close!

I have to thank the mechanical genius of Tired Iron Farm who put some sort of voodoo on that tractor last year, and Stabil, a gasoline additive that casts out evil spirits from the carburetor. The tractor was parked in my wonderful new garage this winter, safe from the evil vermin that love to eat wiring. O, happy day! O, happy day!

Whangdoodles Resolved
If you recall, I wrote in this very blog about whangdoodles possibly hanging around my barn. On my way to visit the horses in the dark, I heard a strange, organic noise that I was hoping came from my horses, even though I have never heard a horse make such a sound. Oh, but on this very bright and beautiful spring morn, that mystery has been solved! I stepped onto the back porch hoping to locate a very vocal song bird singing to his heart's content. When I moved closer to the screens, I heard that exact whangdoodle noise, but this time in the fine bright yellow light of day. The creature that produces that noise is none other than the white tailed deer. She leapt into the middle of Spiritcreek, and ran toward the east. I must have scared her by being on the porch this time of day. And I thought whangdoodles made that noise...

In my defense as a lifelong Kansan, deer had been effectively extirpated in Kansas by the time I was born. I had no early natural exposure to deer as a child. I did not learn deer lore from my family of rugged hunters and outdoorsmen because they were busy extirpating other species.

The first deer I saw in the wild was in Smith County, the summer of my eighth grade in school. A classmate asked me to meet him at dawn to walk out to the Old Lake, a little swamp about a mile east of town. In the quiet of a dew drenched summer dawn, we saw two deer that seemed as amazed to see us as we were to see them. It seemed magical to me at the time. Now, all these decades later, deer are still amazing me.

(Read first mention of whangdoodles here.)

You can discern the deer trail on the far bank.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

That Knucklehead, Jake!

True to form - true to his irritating, aggravating misfit form, Jake the Bad Dog got himself run over yesterday. Luckily, it did not kill him, but it did severely break his leg in two places. The neighbor who hit Jake is also a very nice human being, who stopped his car to try to determine the extent of Jake's injuries. When the man could not get close to Jake, he commenced tracking me down to let me know he had unfortunately hit one of my dogs, and how sorry he was.

I left work right away because no one knew how badly Jake might be hurt. When I could not find Jake at all, and when all of my calling met with silence, I began to feel very bad. That sometimes means an animal has hidden itself away to die. After tromping all over the heavy brush around the old garage and the timber around the new house, I thought to look by the barn. I found Jake where he had taken refuge in the space between two bales. It meant I could drive the car very close to him, but I still had to drag him on a blanket. Thanks to handling heavy water bottles and hay bales, and 50 pound bags of oats, and chicken feed, and dog chow, I was strong enough to lift Jake into the back of the car, using the blanket as a makeshift sling. After seeing how badly his leg was damaged, I was almost sick to my stomach. Poor guy.

Once in the car, a mere 40 minutes later, Jake was in the caring hands of Dr. J. The good news is that Dr. J is confident that he can mend Jake's leg. The bad news, of course, is that it is not free - far, far from free - for a danged dog who barks at his own horse friends in their own pasture. For a ying yang who hides under the porch when strangers come on the property.

That is what happens when you have a dog in your life, even a ying yang like Jake.

Jakey, all bummed out at Anda's house when I would not let him chase The Cats.