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Tennessee Adventure

I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams.  Wooooo Pig. Sooooie!  Goo Lady Bears!   It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be.  Oops.  Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman.  The only real issue would be traffic and parking.

It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background).  Uneventful trip and check in at motel.  Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter houses.  This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich.  It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.

Thursday morning we headed to Nashville  the area around the Nissan Arena was blocked to traffic   We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day.  We checked out the Johnny Cash museum.  Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ?    You can check it out on you tube  we are a sandwich and for dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster.   They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry.  They are also good   Then we went to the Patsy Cline Museum   Also fun   Then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman   Gatlin brothers were good  but Ashley Campbell was amazing.   Daughter of Glen Campbell.   The night opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman.   I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.

We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena.  Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident


Ice Ice Baby

Freezing rain was coming down steady by 10 AM on Monday.  I didn’t think twice about skipping my Culture & Conflict class.  The freezing rain turned to sleet followed by almost an inch of snow.  The wind kept blowing so it was hard to tell how much snow there was.  I was grateful no branches fell and we kept our electricity.thumbnail_IMG_2912

Tuesday started sunny and 10 degrees but didn’t get much above 20.  Not much melting happened.  Today started at 20 degrees and has gotten up to 46 degrees.  Things are thawing out, but there’s still snow in the leaves, especially around the tree trunks.

Needless to say, I didn’t get out much Monday or Tuesday.   I huddled inside with a good (library) book (if you like being scared) The Birdbox.   I haven’t seen the movie and hope it is still available on Netflix.

This morning I started reading My Antonia.  It’s fun to reread these books since visiting Red Cloud and seeing the places Willa Cather wrote about.  The Cather Foundation had recently acquired the house where Annie (nee Sadilek) Pavelka (after she married) lived.  They haven’t had the time or money to start restoring it to the way it was (relatives lived there until recently) when Annie lived and raised 10 children.

Tonight I’ll have a serious assessment of the “state of the house” and make a plan/list for having everything in good order for Thanksgiving.   Then it’s just a matter of maintaining until Thanksmas.  Except for putting up the Christmas tree and decorations.  Also finishing a few projects and wrapping some presents.  There may be a few more gifts to buy…



O Deer!

All the squirrels are safe but early Friday morning Larry shot a deer in our back field.  He gave us a “back strap” from it.  He said it was a fairly young buck and it should be tender.  It was.  I sliced it thin and soaked it in buttermilk for an hour or so.  Then dredged it in seasoned flour and fried it.  I made mashed potatoes & gravy and baked a squash casserole I froze this summer.   My parent came over and enjoyed the feast with us.  A great way to start the weekend.

Saturday was sunny and in the 60’s.  It was still cold when we went to the Farmer’s Market, but you could feel some warmth from the sun.  We found some small turnips and bought more Orleans sweet potatoes.  We also talked to the couple who sell goat cheese.  We have their phone number and plan to make arrangements to get a load or two of goat manure from them.  Details still need to be worked out.

Brenda and I enjoyed the warm temperatures and sunshine when we walked Saturday afternoon.  I wore my sunglasses and didn’t need a jacket (flannel shirt & jeans).

Today is another sunny and warm day but that all ends tonight.  Temperatures will fall and it will rain.  A wintery mix is predicted for Monday morning.  I read my assignment for class, but if the weather is bad, I’m staying home.  We are reading Patriots: the Viet Nam War Remembered on All Sides.  Author Christian Appy interviewed 135 men & women who were involved in the Vietnamese/American war.  Viet Cong, American soldiers, politicians, doctors, nurses, pilots, and ordinary citizens whose life was involved in the war.  It was a difficult time for me, not believing the US should be in this war while my dad was a career military man actively involved in it.

Dennis is trying to get a BIG grass/leaf catcher hooked up to the John Deere Mower so we can chop the leaves in the yard for faster composting.  Last time I checked on his progress, it didn’t look like good.  I was hoping to get it started while the weather was nice, but that probably isn’t going to happen.  On the bright side, this next rain and freeze will get the last of the leaves off the trees, so we’ll only have to do it once.  Yeah, right.



Look Out Squirrels!


We have a lot of squirrels in our neck of the woods.  They like the big oak trees in our front yard.  They really really really like the bird feeders we hang in the trees.  I’m not fond of squirrels.  We have one squirrel who is particularly brazen.   You have to literally shake the feeder to get him off it.  I’m sure you could just reach out and grab him by the neck.  If you didn’t mind being bitten and scratched multiple times that is.  About 25 years ago we watched our border collie Rockie chase and catch a squirrel by the tail.  In a split second the squirrel  had latched onto her face with all four sets of claws and was viciously biting her nose.  Rockie yelped, shook her head and banged it against the ground trying to get rid of the squirrel.  The squirrel finally turned loose and went through the fence into the neighbors yard.  This entire event only took a few seconds, but it made a lifetime impression on me, Dennis, the kids and Rockie.  We all have a deep respect for the amount of damage an angry squirrel can do in matter of seconds.  A solution to the squirrel problem was recently published on Marica’s blog “Big Food, Big Garden, Big Life”  in her November 4, 2019 post  “Recipe: Brunswick Stew of Old Dixie”.  There’s a link to the recipe (in an old cookbook), complete with the chef’s comments on the virtues of squirrel rather than chicken being used in the stew.  I shared this information with Dennis.  I told him if he’d kill the squirrel, I would clean it and make Brunswick Stew.

It was 34 degrees when we got up this morning.  The rain stopped at some point during the night but the skies were gray and the wind was gusty.  Things haven’t improved much since.  The predicted low of 22 tonight has been dropped even further to 18 degrees.  Then miraculously we’ll see temperatures in the 60’s on Saturday and Sunday.  How is that even possible?

First thing on Dennis’ agenda today was a trip to Urgent Care.  He woke up with a bumpy red face and his left eye almost swollen shut.  Poison ivy.  That will teach him to clean up the fence line.  Two hours later, he returned home.  Steriod injection plus a “Prednisone pack” to take for a week.  His eye was already less swollen.  We celebrated by having lunch at El Venero restaurant in Willard.   It’s next to the grocery store and I had a few items to pick up (since we were already there).   A nice outing to break up a dreary cold day.

The Great Horse Escape

Our neighbors horses have a lot of interest in the pasture and fence line clearing that Dennis has been doing. IMG_0883.jpgJust a few days ago I took this photo and asked Dennis if he thought the horses might try to come across the fence and graze on our new grass.  He didn’t think so.  Yesterday while I was babysitting Jax & Zane, the horses found an open gate and made their escape.  Their first stop wasn’t our pasture, but Larry’s front lawn.  I missed all the exciting cowboy skills of Larry and Dennis as they tried to round up the horses but only suceeded in getting them to run up and down the road.  Getting them into our pasture required them going through a gate and they wanted no  part of that.  Finally Aaron showed up with a couple buckets of grain.  The horses eventually followed him (and the grain buckets) back into their pasture.  Aaron said someone had opened the gate on their pasture and that was how they got out.  Just one more reason why it is better to know someone with horses than to have horses.

Jax, Zane and I had lots of fun hanging out Tuesday.  Here they are riding “motorcycles” in the living room.  I think kids universally build forts with blankets and couch cushions, but turning couch cushions into motorcycles was new to me.thumbnail_IMG_2897-1

Monday and Tuesday afternoons were sunny and in the 50’s.  Today started with a hard rain and the gray skies remain.  Rain is supposed to resume later in the afternoon and last through the night.  Unfortunately Thursday starts at about freezing and then the temperatures drop.  What happens at that point depends on whether the rain has moved out before the cold front really settles in.  But because it is Missouri, temperatures will be back into the 60’s on Saturday and Sunday.



Fall Back

It was wonderful to wake up before (the new) 7 AM and it be light out.  I’ll not be so happy when it’s dark before 5 PM tonight.   Our afternoons have been sunny and in the low 50’s even though it drops below freezing at night.

We went to the Farmer’s Market early yesterday morning.  Dennis bought 2 types of sweet potatoes to use for “seed” in the spring.  He got the usual Beauregard and also Orleans.  The Amish family prefers Orleans because the potatoes tend to be smoother and of a more uniform size.  Sometimes Frequently the Beauregards produce one gigantic sweet potato and a couple of small ones rather than 4 or 5 good sized potatoes.  I got some more turnips.  Only one vendor had them and they looked pretty sad.  Next year fall turnips will be on the priority list.

Brenda, my mom and I spent the later part of the morning going to craft fairs and a nursery open house.  We didn’t spend much money but we had a good time.  I got a couple ideas for things to make for our fall festival craft event next year.

Dennis mowed off the remains of the garden and marked the area he wants to expand the garden.  It was too wet to till but he picked up several buckets of rocks that had come to the surface in the current garden after the rain and freeze.  We plan to cover the entire area with the mowed leaves and grass we collect from our yard and my parents yard.  My shoulders and back hurt just thinking about it.  This afternoon I’ll pull up the zinnias and drag them back to the burn pile.  I was going to leave them for the birds to eat the seeds from the flowers but they are just too ugly.  Plus I haven’t seen any birds paying attention to them.  Maybe the seeds in the bird feeder are just too easy.

Last night I fried some crappie that Larry caught (about a month ago) and froze for us.  It was so delicious.  I added some horseradish to my usual slaw dressing and it might have been as good as we’ve had from Bubba’s BBQ.  I still need to work on the hush puppies.  Since it was the weekend, we had one of Dennis’ homemade beers to complete the celebration.



Will it Rain?

Will it Snow?

I live in Missouri.

I don’t know.

Actually we got a freezing mist here because the actual rain stopped before the temperature dropped below 32.  If there were random snowflakes during the night, I didn’t see them.  It was 28 degrees when I got up.  It’s gray and cloudy right now but the sun should come out and get up to 40 this afternoon.  Glad I’m not going to be out trick or treating tonight.  Temperatures drop quickly into the 20’s after sunset.

Monday night we had a great time with family.  Everyone claimed to enjoy the meal and there were hardly any leftovers.  The pumkin spice rice krispie treats had good flavor but weren’t as “crispy” as I expected.  Don’t know if it was the gluten free version of the cereal or if the pumpkin that was added made them a bit soggy.  They were eaten, so they weren’t that bad.  We discussed how cold it was going to be on Halloween.  Both the boys were excited about snow on Halloween.  Jax wanted to go sledding.  Zane wanted to build snowmen.  Hopefully we’ll get enough snow in January for the boys to get their wishes.  The last time it snowed on Halloween was the year we moved to Missouri, 1993. I remember thinking that a couple hundred miles north of previous home in Arkansas was a lot further north than I realized.  I’d left the south and landed in the midwest.

I finished American Princess and enjoyed it.  Now I’m reading Everything I Never Told You.  It’s dark and painful but still I continue to turn the pages.  Set in the 1970’s, there are the issues of racism and sexism in society as well as the early decision of Marilyn and James to not discuss serious issues facing them.

We finished our class discussion of Womanhouse yesterday.  So far it’s been my favorite “section” of the class.  Monday we will discuss “The Kitchen Crisis” by Verta Mae Smart-Grosvenor.  It’s a lot more than just about food.  Then we move into the Gay Liberation Movement.

Today’s a day to spend inside.  Once the minimum housework is completed, I’ll figure out my next craft project.


Blinded by the light

After the fog burned off late yesterday morning, there was the sun!  So bright!  It seemed like forever since I’d seen the sun.  I wore a hat and sunglasses when Brenda and I walked yesterday afternoon.  The temperature was in the upper 60’s so we didn’t even need a jacket.

Unfortunately Sunday was the only sunny day for a while.  It’s cloudy and 45 right now with rain predicted late in the afternoon.  Then it turns cold with 20’s at night, starting Wednesday.

My parents and I are co-hosting Thanksgiving this year.  We’ll all eat at our house but my mom and dad will cook the turkey & dressing and bring it over.  I’ll deal with the “sides” in our kitchen.  I was happy that everyone was willing to drive the extra miles to Willard (compared to where my parents lived in AR).

I’m reading American Princess by Stephanie Marie Thornton.  It’s about Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice.  She seems a bit shallow at the start of the book, but as she matures and takes an interest in politics, the story gets interesting.

Aside from time spent in class, my day will be dedicated to making sure everything is ready for Matt & family and my parents to have supper and hang out with us for a while.