Monday, September 27, 2010

Motorcycles and Weddings and The First Days of Fall...

I deleted all the messages from my phone last night, even though I knew I would probably regret it. I deleted important factual information. My speedster brother was at the track again with his snarlin' Harley dragster and turned in some impressive times and speeds - he seems to be hitting the 108 and 109 mph range regularly, and his times are improving to the 10 and 11 second range. He also has the timing tree figured out already and actually hit the green in .001 of a second. Not bad for an old man. Not bad at all. If I had not deleted everything from the phone, I would have the exact numbers.

My son and I attended a wedding together Saturday evening. It was a lovely wedding held in the beautiful area of Lake Shawnee that hosts the annual pow wow, though I hardly recognized the grounds without the vendors and tents and people. Rain delayed the wedding but it brought everyone together inside. The bride was lovely in a white gown embroidered with red cherry blossoms. The maids of honor were dressed in beautiful red dresses, and the men were resplendent in black tuxedos with red ties. I do not know when I have seen a more beautiful bridal party, ever.

I have known the bride since she was chosen, along with my son, to greet emissaries from Russia in a ceremony at the Topeka Historical Museum. The treasures of the Czars were to be brought to Topeka for public display. A small collection of children of various ethnicity were chosen from my son's school. I believe the children were also chosen for their beauty. The bride's family tree extends to Puerto Rico and she has the long black tresses and exotic eyes of a princess. Always a beautiful girl, as a young woman, she was a vision of great beauty and happiness Saturday. Hopefully, her husband will always know to count himself as one of the luckiest men on the planet. I wish much happiness and good fortune to the young couple for all of their lives.

The bride's youngest sister and her brother are both members of their high school drum line, and they performed at the wedding reception. It was outrageous and marvelous! The best thing is that we can go to football games and other events to catch their performances again and again, though nothing will ever match being crammed into a small building within inches of the drums and cymbals, celebrating with two hundred other happy people....

Saturday night was wonderful, in every way.

Sunday afternoon I noticed that while the prairie is still tall and blooming with sunflowers and grasses and butterflies, leaves were beginning to fall. The plants are already diminishing, heading toward the ground for the winter and rest. All is right in my world right now. For just this small moment, it is perfect.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Aldebaran and Little Sophie - Mice Executioners

Little Sophie.

If you have lived on a farm, or come from farm people, you know that a "good mouser" is a cat expert at catching and destroying mice. Little Sophie is a good mouser, the highest compliment for a working cat.

The new kitten Sophie resembles my former, late cat Aldebaran in physical appearance and in personality. Aldebaran was the absolute ruler of her universe. When my daughter's cats were staying with me, safely quarantined from Aldebaran in the back bedroom, she cornered my adult daughter in the hallway with vicious spitting, growling and attacks. Aldebaran knew my daughter was the one responsible for those two interlopers. A good monarch knows how to maintain order in her realm, including demanding respect from humans.

Aldebaran kept this house free of mice. They may have ventured in, but once here, their rodent hours were numbered. With stone-like perseverance, Aldebaran would wait motionless for a mouse to come out of hiding. Once in the open, mice were caught and executed with laser precision, their carcasses deliberately and disdainfully discarded in the middle of the living room floor. This was calculated to strike fear into her enemy's heart, and serve as a warning to all vermin, including humans.

In time, Sophie may be better at catching mice than Aldebaran. Sophie has already caught adult mice. I do not think she has killed them yet. I have not seen any dead mice, or found any severed parts. Sophie is still an inexperienced baby and the mice must take their miraculous second chance at life to leave the premises. Soon enough any mouse in here will be a "dead mouse walking".

No life is complete without a cat, so I am happy to have another cat. Thanks to Sophie the Mouser Extraordinaire, the quality of life at Spirit Creek has improved. Woe to the hordes of mice. A new Executioner has arrived. It is just a matter of time, Mice.

The late Aldebaran, viciously killed by King the stray dog. She fought like the warrior she was until the end.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ginger The Terrible

My horse Ginger was in a terrible mood yesterday. The farrier arrived early, so I did not have time to call Ginger up and have her calmed down with grooming, carrots, fly spray, and lavish amounts of love and attention.

Ginger still comes when called, but she is no hurry. When Annie was here, it was a horse race to see who could thunder past me first at break neck speed. Now that Ginger is alone, the entire universe revolves around her haughty fat rear end. She AMBLED toward the barn, easily slipped away from me when I tried to get the halter on her, refused to lead, refused to move until I slapped her rear with the end of the rope. What a snot!

Then Ginger did not want to cooperate with Terrie (the farrier) by graciously moving her left hind hoof. In fact, after a mild struggle with Terrie, she signaled her defiance by actually kicking. She did not kick at Terrie and she did not kick viciously, but it was a kick - a huge indiscretion. She got clobbered for it, but Ginger is the type of horse that a mere slap from a human is about as meaningful as the flies she swishes away with her tail.

I am not sure why Ginger was behaving badly. Most of the time she cooperates with the farrier. I guess, if you were born to be the Queen, and there is no one to rule, you take subjects where you find them, and human beings can be pushed around easier than horses. I was embarrassed and worried. A good farrier is a valuable commodity. Terrie might cross Ginger off The List.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Possible Factors As To Why The Masters Degree Took So Long...

First, gather course materials and meet with your study companions. It is essential that everyone is comfortable. Check that your crackberry is in working condition. Text an announcement to all 732 friends and colleagues that you are now commencing to study. Tie up loose ends with friends and colleagues before beginning. No distractions.

Study companions should be familiar with your method of study. Their interest and support is invaluable.

At some point, study companions will signal their interest for getting to the task at hand.

Proceed with study session already!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Nine Second Motorcycle

My crazy brother traveled all the way to Baltimore last winter to purchase a Harley dragster from another crazy man. It is a time machine that can cover a quarter of a mile from a dead stop in just over nine seconds.

Last Friday, my brother rode this drag bike for the first time. On the maiden run, he reached a top speed of 81. I was relieved. 81 mph is not even scary. Each time he took this monster bike down the strip, he was more confident. He and his entourage of about a dozen men tweaked the machine and the fuel/air mixture, and who knows what strange knowledge they were wielding in the moving parts of that motorcycle? On the final run of the night, my brother clocked a top speed of over 109 miles per hour but he is just gettin' warmed up!

When he gets the machine performing perfectly - when he is comfortable and entirely confident rocketing down the track - he will reach speeds over 145 mph. Crazy!

Watch one of the first runs here.

PS: 9.84 seconds in the quarter mile = 148 miles per hour. Randy has not achieved that speed or time, yet. Pretty fast for an old guy.

My Harley Davidson

My 2006 Harley Davidson Street Bob. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Close of Another Story...

The Evil Roo - no longer handsome but still macho.

Tuesday morning when I stepped out the front door to feed the critters, there were pieces of one of my chickens. A foot - the flight feathers of one wing attached by the merest of tissues - the head, neck and a few bones of the body, stripped absolutely bare of flesh. By deduction I realized the Evil Roo had met his fate here in the bend of Spirit Creek.

I cannot say that I will miss him. He attacked me on a regular basis. He had the last "word". The deep puncture wound he inflicted on the back of my leg a couple of weeks ago is still healing. He was brave and kind to his flock, and I am just a bit sad at his passing. I doubt if he weighed much more than 16 ounces but he was not afraid to fly at the back of my head, attack my legs, or whatever part of my body he could reach. As far as chickens go, he was pretty smart. He was also a true gentleman to his babies and ladies.

He was once the smallest chicken in the flock and was pecked and pushed around and chased off by all the other chickens, but he survived and became the King, at least for a little while. He fathered many sons and several daughters. I do not know if he went down fighting during the day, or if some hateful, sneaking critter took his life while he was slumbering. He was a tough little bird. He survived without food and shelter for over 24 hours in the coldest weather in decades. Though no longer handsome, he wore his scars like a grizzled old warrior.

He was a true warrior king.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Day in the Mines

Time to get up and slog off to work... ugh. I am very thankful I am not one of the millions of unemployed Americans right now, but sometimes getting up to go to work is like eating the thousandth bowl of oatmeal. Can... hardly... force... myself... to... move....

My life is more valuable than this, I swear.

I think of all the fears present in modern society. If I leave my job, how can I afford health insurance? What if I get sick? Every day I read that financial advisers recommend at least a million dollars in savings before retirement. If I work until I am 115, I will not have a million dollars in savings. Do I want to be an old crazy woman eating cat food and living without electricity? I like to think I have more power in my life than that, but everyone believes they are powerful - right up until doom descends, either quickly or slowly.

I always believed that since I did whatever I ever wanted in my life, I would avoid a mid-life crisis. But now I know a mid-life crisis has nothing to do with what has gone before, but everything to do with what lies ahead, what I still want to do.

As soon as I get my son's college education paid for, I could sell out, saddle up the Harley and head for places unknown. Wonder where I would ultimately arrive?

Welfare line.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Late Summer on the Prairie

The grasses are producing their seeds now, giving the prairie a late summer golden hue.

Here come the sunflowers...

windblown and beautiful!

This photo is included for scale. As I was photographing these sunflowers, they were speaking to me. They sound remarkably like Al Pacino. "They're just gettin' warmed up!"

New Faces at Spirit Creek

Sophie, the new kitten. She is very tiny but already she has started chasing the mice. Look at those claws! Meeeeeooowwww!

Cherokee, the Japanese rooster.

Bambi and Thumper
If only I had been faster, I would have caught the moment this young buck and the escaped flop eared bunny were almost touching noses.

Baby Sister and her successful brood of six peeps. They have all survived because she is a smart little hen, but none of them have been stricken with whatever agent was killing all the babies earlier this summer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Good Stuff

I woke up this morning thinking about something good, but now I can not remember it. It was good stuff, though - something that feeds my spirit like leaning against my horse's neck, brushing her sleek coat shining like a new penny.

Rolling eighty on the open highway beneath a blue sky, all that Harley horsepower available at the roll of my wrist.

The comforting sound of distant thunder, as if the earth is murmuring to me.

Old friends, people who know my history and love me still. They think my jokes are funny.

Driving the country road toward home every evening, humble as it is, where the escaped bunny lives a free life and Duke, the great rabbit chaser, ignores her.

Good old Duke, that good dog - the good dog. He is good stuff, for sure.

Hot tea with cream.

Pay day.