Even though I prefer Blogger, since Blogger and Wordpress don't work well together, the content of this blog is also at Wordpress at Marti's DIY.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Taking a Blogging Break

You probably figured that out already though.

I'd like to say it's because I've been so busy building and farming, but that's not the case. I've just been tired, tired to the bone as they say. I've been tired for a long time but it's been getting worse the last few months and the heat makes me wilt like a cut flower. Then, I started feeling weak and shaky and decided I'd better get myself to the doctor for some blood tests. Turns out, I have hyperthyroidism. As the PA said when she called, my numbers were off the charts. Well, no wonder I didn't feel good! I need to see an endocrinologist next week and then decide a course of action.

In the meantime, I'm drinking kale and spinach smoothies three times a day to try to lower the amount of hormone the thyroid produces and hopefully reduce some of the symptoms.

In front of the watermelon, it looks pretty good, and I can almost drink the whole glass before my tongue refuses to taste anymore. It kind of smells like fresh cut grass. I've never eaten grass, so I'm not sure how the taste compares. A few more days of this and I'll be mooing with the cows next door.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

How's the Weather?

It rained yesterday! At least drops of water hit the ground but they dried instantly. My mother would say that it rained a foot - every drop was a foot apart. But it's the first moisture we've had in weeks, so it's worth noting. The best part is that it was overcast all morning, which made for a cooler day. It rained sprinkled on and off for about an hour, and between the drops, it was often misty. I'll take it. But after the sun came out, it quickly became hot and muggy. The evening news weatherman said the high was 92° and with 52% humidity, it felt like 103°. I'd rather not take that.

Today, a local Wunderground station says it is already 96° and shouldn't get much higher.  But the heat index (shown here as FEELS LIKE) may be a lot higher.

I worked in the garage yesterday and it felt hot even with the door open. Usually, we get a decent breeze but not yesterday. I took apart a sink table that hasn't seen much use, and built a dutch oven table out of the pieces. By late afternoon, I was so hot and sweaty that I could barely hold on to the hammer. Finally, when I was just about finished, I walked around the corner of the trailer and saw that the two big windows were closed. No wonder it was so hot in there all day! Hubby thought we might get a heavy rain so had closed them before he left for work. I opened them, which didn't help much with the heat that had built up in the garage, but it did come in handy later.

After dinner, I started cleaning up my mess, and the mess that the cat made with his cat food, and eventually Hubby went in to take a shower and go to bed. I finished up and took the cat carrier outside to empty it and the door shut behind me. You have to know this door to fully appreciate that sentence. The door isn't the problem, but the door knob is a problem. It's the kind that doesn't really unlock when the inside knob is turned. The button in the middle doesn't pop out unless it is turned and then the door knob is turned twice. I bought a new door knob but it wouldn't fit. Hubby said we have to have a whole new door, and that just hasn't made it to the critical to do list. I had unlocked the door earlier and had been in and out all day. But someone locked it before he went to bed, and I didn't notice until I turned around to come back in.

Good grief! Now I had to pound on the door until Hubby heard me. But there were two things working against me: Hubby's hearing isn't very good, and the air conditioner in the trailer was on. If you've ever been in a travel trailer with the a/c on, you know how hard it is to hear over it. I had turned it up to 85 while I was working in the garage, so I knew it wasn't going to shut off for a long time and Hubby obviously didn't hear me pounding. So I picked up a stick and went around to the two, big windows and started pounding on them. They are only a few feet from the trailer's bedroom window which would make it easier for Hubby to hear. I pounded and pounded and FINALLY, I heard the trailer door open, so I shouted, "Unlock the door and let me in!" and then the trailer door shut.

Even though Hubby doesn't usually mind walking on the dirty garage floor, I thought he might have gone inside to find some shoes; I walked back to the demon door and waited. And slapped mosquitoes. And waited. And waited. Finally, I started pounding on that door again and when he still didn't come, I went back to the window and pounded on it. Then I heard the trailer door open again and Hubby shouted, "Where are you?"

To which I replied, "I'm outside, I need you to unlock the door!" And I went back to the door just as he opened it.

"What are you doing out there?" he wanted to know as I picked up the cat carrier and brought it back inside.

"Locked out, and I was just about to break a window to get back in. Why didn't you unlock the door the first time you came out/" I wanted to know.

"I thought you were on the other side of the trailer hammering on something."

"I was hammering on something - the window! Why you didn't call out or come around to find out? You didn't hear me yell through the window to unlock the door?" I was indignant.

We have got to get a new door. And soon. It is way too hot to be locked outside.

Six Sentence Story June 20

The cue word today is polish. Or maybe it is Polish.

Just Look For It

I studied the polish on my nails before I gave a reply.

"No," I said slowly, searching for the right words, "happiness is not hard to find."

"You just have to work on it as much as you do cost anaylsis or playing games on your phone."

Allison shrugged, "I don't want to work at it, I just want it to be there when I want it, like an automatic teller machine."

I smiled and shook my head, "I think you need to recognize happiness when it happens to you, like right now with your new manicure."

She looked at her nails with the sparkly crescent on each one and looked at me in surprise, "You're right, that did make me happy and I didn't even realize it!"

Linking to:
Six Sentence Story Thursday at Girlie on the Edge

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Six Sentence Story Thursday

Thank you Girlie on the Edge for the warm welcome. I have always enjoyed this kind of writing; it reminds me of Weekly Readers in grade school that had a sentence starter like "It was a dark and stormy night..." If there is a way to comment on your blog, I haven't been able to find it, so let me just comment here that your Six last week was so touching.

Last week and this week, when I saw the cue word, a story instantly played out in my mind. A couple of hours ago, I asked Hubby read the one I wrote for this week and he finally said, "Gee, that's kind of dark isn't it, especially for you?" And yes, it was. In light of that, and not wanting to offend anyone, I have been trying to come up with something else. Nothing really clicked with me, but running short of time, this is what I finally settled on.

Jealous Bellus

Cassie was thrilled when her husband gave her a little ball of fluff named Corkie the Yorkie; her cat, Bellas, was not thrilled and watched from atop the refrigerator as Corkie was petted and pampered.

A stuffed, brown monkey with floppy arms and legs soon became Corkie's favorite toy; a spotted giraffe with squeakers was a close second, but one day neither could be found.

That afternoon, she heard Corkie barking hysterically in the kitchen; Cassie called but Corkie didn't come and when she went into the kitchen to investigate, she saw Corkie barking at Bellas who was sleeping on top of the refrigerator.

The offending puppy was thoroughly scolded and put into her crate and the mistreated cat was petted and given some treats to make up for being disturbed.

The next day, Cassie heard Corkie barking again in the kitchen and she ran angrily toward the sound; when she rushed around the corner, Corkie was standing on her hind legs with her front legs pawing the refrigerator while the stuffed monkey dangled over the top edge in Bellas' mouth.

Bellas froze when she saw Cassie, and then dropped the monkey to the excited dog on the floor; Cassie cleared her throat menacingly and Bellas dropped her head and nudged the giraffe over the edge too and walked meekly to her crate.

Linking to:
Six Sentence Story at Girlie on the Edge

Monday, June 11, 2018

Kids Tractor Pull

At the tractor pull we went to a couple of weeks ago, there was a kids event as well. These tractors ran on kid power. There were two pedal tractors for the smaller children and a pedal go cart for the bigger ones, and like the big event, they had to pull a weighted sled as far as they could. I just love this little boy. He put everything he had into it.

This boy and girl didn't get very far but they had big crowd support.

Linking to:
Tuesday Fun at Comedy-Plus

Until Blogger and Wordpress work out all the problems with comment notification, I'll reply to your comment on your blog if there is a link on your profile.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Six Sentence Story

After seeing this on MessyMimi's Meanderings, I've decided to give the Six Sentence Story a try.

The rain was pounding on the old metal barn roof, dripping through holes to the fresh straw below where a heifer was struggling to give birth for the first time.

Each contraction wrung a moaning bellow from the heifer followed by heavy panting, and I could do nothing but watch and wait.

Finally, two tiny hooves appeared and then disappeared, causing both heifer and man to groan; when the hooves appeared again, I caught them and pulled gently, guiding the calf into his new world.

Another push and a bellow and I had to dodge the flailing hooves of the heifer as she tried to get traction; suddenly, the calf was born and lying motionless in the hay.

The cow rose to her feet and I backed out of the way; she began licking life into her calf who gave a squeaky mewl and rose shakily to his feet and bumped his head along his mother's flank until he found warm milk.

It was past midnight as I trudged wearily through the rain to the welcoming glow of light from the kitchen window; I pulled off my boots, shed my coat, and sank into a chair as my wife put a cup of steaming coffee in my hand and listened as I told her about our fine, new bull-calf.

Linking to:
Six Sentence Story Thursday at Girlie on the Edge

Wheat Harvest

Linking to:
Wordless on Tuesday at Image-in-ing
Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday at Comedy-Plus

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Small Town Texas Tractor Pull

Friday night, the weather man advised people to stay in Saturday and avoid the high temperatures. So what did we do? We went to a tractor pull! Overnight, a hay field becomes a plowed dirt track, with parking, covered bleachers, food tents, and kids events. And of course, tractors, mostly older tractors.

Some were fully restored.

Some were extremely modified.

And some looked like the aging classics that they are.

We've never been to a tractor pull and wanted to see what it was all about, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the action setting on my camera. And you know what? It was fun! In case you have never heard of tractor pulls, it works this way. Men (if there are women who do this, they weren't at this one) bring their tractors together to see if they can pull more weight than the next guy's tractor. The weight is a big trailer-like thing called a sled. A tractor hooks onto the sled with and pulls it as far as it can across freshly plowed ground. At least it was freshly plowed in the morning, as the day went on it looked like it was packing down. Check out this Wikipedia article for more information.

Before the tractors could get on the track, they had to weigh in.

The drivers were all ages too, and some were real crowd pleasers.

It's hard to show action with still photos, but this tractor was pulling so hard the dirt was rolling.

I think it was this little boy's first time to compete, in fact, he was the only boy I saw driving. It was so fun to watch him; he was so serious. First he had to get on the scale. He missed it the first time and his dad coached him around for a second try.

Then, it was off to the track; dad coached from the sideline although I don't know how the little boy heard anything over the tractor engine and wearing that helmet. But he pulled the sled a way before he misunderstood what dad was telling him to do next and he stopped the tractor. I love that the dad was teaching the little boy and I hope I see him driving again next year.

This guy was giving us a good show. I think he was the host of the event too.

This old cowboy pulled the sled further than most in his class.  The further he pulled, the heavier the weight, and his front end started rearing up.  Nothing bothered him though; I could tell this wasn't his first bucking bronc.

But this guy was my favorite. He pulled the sled a long way and as the sled got heavier, his front wheels began to lift off the ground, but it didn't stop him. He just pulled the sled with only his back wheels! The tractors have added weights to the front to keep them down, and it helps, but doesn't completely stop the lifting.

Linking to:
My Sunday Photo at Photalife
Sunday Snap at JibberJabberUK
Our World Tuesday
Sundays in My City at By Claudya

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Whatever Happened to Fountain Pens?

I saw the end of a tv show yesterday that ended with someone writing a letter with a fountain pen. When I was in grade school, or maybe it was junior high, we had to use a fountain pen. They say it makes it easier to learn cursive writing, which wasn't even taught in school when my girls were in grade school. What they didn't say is that using a fountain pen isn't as easy as using a ballpoint pen.

I remember a girl named Susan who used to doodle on her book covers with her fountain pen. It was graffiti before graffiti had a name. Usually her name was in big puffy letters with zentangle-like designs spiraling around it. I thought that was pretty cool, so tried it on my book cover. Here's where the part about knowing how to use a fountain pen comes into play. If you turn the nib at a slight angle, and hold the pen lightly, ink glides across the page as you write. But if you hold the nib parallel to the direction you are writing, the nib separates and a big blog of ink covers your page. Same thing if you press too hard. And that's what happened to my book cover when I crossed my t. That didn't look cool at all. So I tried to disguise the blob by making it look like a sun on the end of my t. I drew a circle around the blob and made little rays all around the circle. Then it liked more like an eye than the sun, and not a pretty eye either. It was kind of creepy looking. I tried making it more eyelike by making it bigger and bigger, and finally I had a giant creappy eye covering my book cover.

Since book covers weren't sold in stores then, and we were only issued one book cover per book by our teachers, I had to carry that book around with me for months. It became known as the cyclops book and my friends would turn it over, eye down, whenever I forgot to hide it against another book. One day when I had the book open, reading along while the teacher talked, she stopped mid-sentence and asked what that was on my book cover. Everyone turned to look at me, which was embarrassing, but later one of the boys asked if he could trade covers with me. I did. I'd rather have a book cover that said John Phillips than have a big eye on it. I didn't try to embellish my book covers after that.

Getting back to fountain pens though. The kind we used had ink cartridges. The cartridges were clear plastic cylinders about two inches long, filled with ink. To put in a new cartridge, the pen was unscrewed in the center, and then the old cartridge was pulled out. There was sharp point inside the pen that pierced the end of the cartridge and let ink flow down the nib. If the cartridge wasn't put in with a quick, hard push, ink would spill out of the cartridge inside the pen and then leak out around the nib. We always knew when someone tried to ease the cartridge in because the hand that was holding the nib end of the pen was covered with ink.

Most of us carried the pens (we had a blue one and a red one) in a zipper bag in our notebook. Sometimes the pens leaked, but the zipper bag contained it. But sometimes, a boy (I say boys because girls had to wear dresses then) would put one in his pocket, and the pen would leak, especially if they put it in a back pocket of their pants and sat on it. Then, they had an ink spot on their pocket, and it it was a full cartridge, the leak would go halfway down their leg. Ink did not wash out either. Once on a dress or pair of pants, it was there forever.

On this tv show I watched yesterday, the woman writing the letter had beautiful penmenship. Her pen floated across the page. It almost made me want to write with a fountain pen again. Until I remembered the cyclops.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Blogger Problem with Comment Notifications

I check my email several times a day, and I had just about decided that having a separate blog for stitching was not a good idea because I haven't had a comment since May 24 on either blog. Then I thought to look in my dashboard at the comments, and there WERE comments! I know I didn't change my notifications but I thought I must have done something when I backed up my main blog to move it here and to wordpress.

But then I checked my barndominium blog, and did a test comment, and didn't get a notification. To check further, I checked another blog I set up when I was trying out a new idea, and it has a yahoo email while this block has microsoft. Nope, no notifications from it either.

If you are having a problem with notifications, would you comment here? And if you are having a problem AND find a solution, would you definitely post that here? I've posted the problem on a blogger support forum but so far no response.

Several bloggers have posted that they can't post on blogs with embedded comments.  However, with embedded comments, you can check the box to have comments emailed to you.  With a popup comment box, you don't have that option.   I hope Blogger and Wordpress get this figured out soon.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Gifts for Buddy

Yesterday's mail brought a package to Buddy. He would like to write today's post.

I want to thank Dianne for the wonderful gifts. Mom tried to take a video, but she touched the record button when she set the phone down to open the box. I was busy grooming myself and not looking at all respectable when I noticed the phone pointed at me. I froze, one leg in the air, staring at the camera. No, I thought, she wouldn't do that. But yes, she did. I immediately demanded that she delete the video. So all we have now are photos.

The first things out of the box were balls with bells inside. Mom placed them all around me but I feigned disinterest. I remember having balls like this once before. They are so much fun to play with in the middle of the night. Mom and Dad will never hear them now that that they sleep in the trailer. Then there were a couple of little fish filled with catnip. I love catnip and I snuggled against my little fishies.

Next was a little wand with streamers on it.  Mom or Dad has to play with it too and that makes it more fun.

 The last was the best.  It is a big feathered toy on a string. I love, love, love feathered toys!

Oh boy!  What is this feathered thing?

It's a pink and blue bird and I am the mighty hunter.

Got it!

Game over.  I won!

Thank you Dianne!

(By the way, I didn't delete the video.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cat Training

Anyone who has shared their home with a cat knows exactly how concrete is made: three parts cat litter to one part cat urine!

I don't know about you, but I dread cleaning the litter box. This is how it goes. Grab the plastic scooper, take a deep breath, and slide the scooper across the bottom of the litter box until it come to an abrupt halt when it collides with the cat concrete. Exhale as I step away to take another deep breath and ram the scooper against the mound until it either gives way or the scooper handle breaks. It's only lately that I started using the metal garden hoe to break things loose before starting the ordeal.

Not two minutes after I have cleaned the litter box, Buddy feels the need to make more concrete. Every. Single. Time. And if I have just filled the litter box with new litter, he won't get into the box. Instead, he straddles the edges of the box while he does his business. When he thinks the litter box needs to be cleaned, he gets my attention by pooping outside the box. If I catch him in the act, he feigns contrition and pretends to rake litter over the offending matter.

I thought about getting a self-cleaning litter box and mentioned that to a friend who has a cat. She gave me a dubious look and said she has one if I want it, but that her cat didn't like it. Her cat didn't just dislike it, she was terrified of it.  After using it once, she tore out of the litter box in a frenzy, climbed Sheila's brand new curtains, and left a trail of liquid fear behind her. Apparently, those litter boxes are activated by the cat leaving the litter box. Leaving, but not quite out. That litter box cost her $1500, which was the cost of the litter box and replacing her curtains. I decided to pass. Buddy freaks out when we roll the trash can near him, and it doesn't have a motor.

So I've been thinking, why can't I train Buddy to use a toilet? Not just any toilet, certainly not a toilet that we use, but a specially made cat toilet. It could even be a composting toilet. Best of all, it wouldn't require scooping, just dumping, and without clumping cat litter, it wouldn't form mounds cemented to the bottom. But first, Buddy has to be trained.

There comes a time in every cat person's life when they realize that it's not so much us training the cat as it is the cat training us. Then we have to work that to our advantage. Take Buddy for instance. When he first came to us, it was obvious from the beginning that he craved human affection. At first he would only let us scratch the top of his head, and when we quit petting him, he slashed out in a cat mini-tantrum. I stopped that behavior by growling an ANKH sound at him. When he was behaving, or at least not misbehaving, I would tell him what a good boy he was in my most soothing voice. Soon he came running any time we were outside and raised his neck for some scratching. Then he would become limp as a noodle and fall to the ground. Literally, he would topple over like a fainting goat, yet he still wanted us to scratch his neck as he lay there.

Bending to the ground got old fast, so I started snapping my fingers over a chair or something and then picked him up and placed him in the chair. Eventually, he started jumping up when I snapped my fingers. That made petting him so much easier, and eventually, he quit falling over from the sheer joy of being petted. He also began training us. When we quit petting him, he squeaked out a little meow, and it was so pathetic that we began petting again. When we figured out that trick, he reached his head up to our hand and began petting himself against the hand, or he lifted his paw, wrapped it around a hand (without claws) and pulled it to him. Now he walks up to one of us, usually Hubby, stands on his hind legs and pats the arm with hand on the keyboard. That's his signal to stop typing and start petting. He is totally in control of petting time now. The only time it is useful for us is when we need to take him somewhere. We know that as soon as we sit in a chair, he will run to us so we don't have to look for him.

Dinnertime is another area where we seem to have lost control. When he was an outdoor cat, we fed him a bit of dry food every day. He probably didn't eat a quarter cup every day, and no matter how much or how little we fed him, he always left a bit in the bowl. Looking back, I think he was leaving some so he wouldn't starve later. Now that he has been a house cat for awhile, he seldom leaves an emergency ration. We were keeping his dry food bowl full and giving him a spoonful of canned cat food in the evening. Then I made the mistake of giving him some leftover tuna one day at lunch. From then on, he was at the door at lunchtime and wouldn't leave us alone until he had something to eat that wasn't dry cat food. He knows that if there is a plate in our hand, it means a treat for him. Heaven forbid we carry our lunch across his doman to eat outside. His plaintive meowing gets positively frantic if we pass by his feeding spot without putting down the plate. The good thing about this is that all we have to do is put his food in his carrier and he won't fuss about going in it. Shut the gate and we are off to the vet.  If you've read my previous posts about Buddy, you remember that getting him into a crate used to be a nightmare.

Now he has figured out when we have been out to eat and have brought home leftovers, or as he considers it, a kitty bag. He knows what a can of catfood looks like, and he can tell the difference between a bag of dry catfood and a bag of anything else. He is pretty smart. But is he smart enough to jump up to a toilet and stay there?

A couple of years ago, I thought he could learn to jump through a hoop on command. He already knew to jump at the snap of fingers, how hard could it be? Cats on tv do it. Not having the fancy hoops that motivate tv cats, I used a wire wreath form.  At first, I held it up just off the ground with him in front of it, and snapped my fingers on the other side. He walked around it. I tried again and blocked the sides with boxes. He sat there. I finally pulled him through, and then gushed praises over him and gave him a treat and petted him.

A few hours later, I tried it again, without the boxes. This time he went through the hoop and demanded his treat. The next day, I raised the hoop and he stepped over it to get his treat. But when I raised it high enough that he actually had to jump through it, he tried to go under. I wrapped some strips of cloth around the wreath and tied some so they hung to the ground. After that, he jumped through the hoop. But I must admit he didn't leap through the air the way tv cats do it. Even with a running start, he will slow to a walk, fix an annoyed expression on his face, and hop half-heartedly through the hoop.

Still, it was a start. I tried putting a box in front of the hoop so he had to really jump, but he only climbed the box and walked through the hoop. Then I had the idea to have him jump onto a bar stool. I didn't even need the hoop. The first time I snapped my fingers, he leapt onto the bar stool. But then he jumped right back off. The next time I gave him a treat as soon as he jumped onto the bar stool, but he knocked it off and jumped off to get it. But over the last few days, he is waiting on the bar stool until he gets his treat. Jumping onto small seat? Check. Balance on the seat for thirty seconds? Check!

Wonder how do I get him to poop on command?