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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


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Mower Fun

Chores around the farm are becoming more pressing. This afternoon I mowed. It’s the first time I’ve mowed but my dad and Dennis mowed last week. I let the lawns grow at least a day longer than they thought I should. Hopefully it won’t happen again. I’d hate to get fired from my job as grounds keeper.

We got found a used stock tank to water our future cows. We picked that up this morning. Then Khloe and I walked with Brenda and Leo. Brenda wore shorts and a t-shirt. I wore jeans and a light weight shirt. I sweated. Brenda didn’t. Thunderstorms are rolling through tonight and temperatures tomorrow will drop back down into the 50’s.

We saw some turkeys on our walk. 3 young hens strolled across the road in front of us, followed by a young tom. We were too far away to get a photo with my phone, but he strutted around in the road and spread his fan a couple times before following the hens into the woods. We found it entertaining.

A few canning supplies are starting to appear on shelves in big box and grocery stores. Jelly canning jars, Sure-Jel, big water canning pots. Sugar has not gone on sale but there seems to be an adequate amount. Unfortunately canning flats are not to be found. I still have some from my big canning flat adventure last fall, but probably not enough. I hope to figure out a better solution this summer and avoid a crisis.

Today I picked one of the cabbage plants that was still hanging around from the end of the summer planting. It was bolting rather than making a head. I pulled all the leaves off and tossed it into the chicken pen. We planted more cabbage and broccoli this spring, but I’m not optimistic about a good harvest. We’ve had a couple 80* days interspersed with usual cool spring weather. It doesn’t take much to make them bolt.

Our asparagus beds look great. Next year we will be able to harvest a small amount. Peas and lettuce are looking good. Onions are up but not the potatoes. It won’t be long before the weed and bug challenge begins.

He is risen!

It was a wonderful Easter service. Dennis and some other men went in yesterday and put the chairs back into their original configuration, allowing people to social distance by leaving a chair or two between families. Everyone wore masks and social distancing was mostly practiced. I suspect most of our congregation has had both of their covid shots by now. It was nice to see a larger than usual number of people. I wore a dress. I’d forgotten exactly how miserable pantyhose were. There were more women wearing dresses than pants today, and there were several wearing hats.

After finishing “Schitt’$ Creek”, we watched “Crip Camp”. It was interesting and I learned a lot. I knew about students occupying buildings and offices at universities, and the Native Americans who occupied Alcatraz. I never heard about the handicapped people who occupied the 4th floor of a federal building in San Francisco for 25 days in 1977. It was a good blending of the campers at Camp Jened and the later Disability Rights Movement. The subject is serious but the campers manage to show their lives before and after the ADA with a sense of humor.

I finished The Law of Innocence and have moved on to Obama’s latest book, A Promised Land. Next on my list is Kamal Harris’ The Truths We Hold.

Dennis is moving forward on the garden and orchard. We planted 3 apple trees, a lot of elderberry bushes and 4 more blueberry bushes. We are also moving the potted plants outside. Hopefully we won’t have to drag them back inside again. The 3 “free” strawberry plants we got with a plant order last year are blooming. In spite of past disastrous history of squirrels destroying strawberry beds, I’m tempted to try again. Plus we have Khloe, the squirrel chasing dog. She caught and killed her 2nd rabbit. Good dog!

Mother Nature

I woke up about 6:45, before the alarm went off. Not a cloud in the sky, the birds were singing. No wind. A beautiful, sunny spring day. I step outside for Khloe’s morning constitutional. April Fools! It’s only 30*.

We went to Aldi’s. They’ve rearranged the store. The expanded fresh produce is the first thing you see as you walk in. I’m impressed with the larger selection of fruits and vegetables. The refrigerated and freezer areas remained the same, but the canned goods and non-perishables were all located in different aisles. It was a bit disorienting but I’m sure I’ll adjust in a couple of weeks.

I’m loving The Law of Innocence. The main character is Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, but Bosch makes an appearance (though he remains a minor character) by about page 50. I’m about 3/4 through the book and a mysterious virus is coming into play. People are wearing masks and there are a lot of unexplained deaths in nursing homes. The book was published in October 2020. Michael Connelly has his fingers on the pulse of the country.

The wind and sun of the past few days has dried things out to the point that Dennis could do some tilling in the garden this afternoon. Freezing temperatures are predicted again tonight and tomorrow morning, so we may not plant anything until Saturday. I’m sure we’ll discuss it over supper.

What a week it was

The week Hannah and Junior visited flew by too fast. Lots of great meals, laughs, games of Tonk, dancing in the basement, visiting alpacas, birthday parties, and being together with family and friends.

After a day of moping around the too empty and quiet house, Dennis and I are starting our early spring routine. Today is sunny but too windy to enjoy being outside, so we are focusing on starting seeds, some house cleaning, laundry and catching up on neglected activities. The wild violets are blooming in the front “native” flower bed.

Family and Friends

Saturday we picked Hannah and Junior up at the airport. It was great to see them again. The airport wasn’t crowded but there were more people there than in a long time. It was sunny and the perfect first day of Spring.

Khloe gave her seal of approval to the visit.

That evening we grilled out. My parents, Matt, Sara, Jax & Zane joined us. It was great to have almost the whole family together. We surprised Junior with a birthday cake, card made by Jax & Zane and a Mizzou t-shirt. His birthday was in February, but it seemed like a good time to celebrate it here in Missouri.

Sunday afternoon we went around Springfield getting supplies for Alyce’s surprise birthday party in St. James on Monday. Hannah and Alyce shared a lot of birthday’s growing up, including their Sweet 16 and their 30th. This year we celebrated Alyce’s 32 on her actual birthday. Judy, her mom, was in on it and got her there without raising too much suspicion. 15 friends and family were able to join the party. Hannah rented the conference room of the GreenStay hotel in St. James–which is where they also celebrated their 16th birthday.

It was a long day by the time we got back to Willard. It was cloudy and rain, with a chance of storms, is predicted overnight.


The weather people were right. We had thunderstorms last night. It’s not confirmed, but suspected that a tornado went just south of Springfield and did quite a bit of damage. It was bad enough that I lit candles in rooms and Dennis put flashlights by the candles. I unplugged all the electronics I care about. We kept our power and aside from branches down, no damage. Standing water everywhere. And then it snowed.


It was 30* but soon got above freezing. The ground was wet and not frozen, so there wasn’t any accumulation. The wind was harsh and from the north, so it wasn’t a day to be outside.

We started the morning at Aldi. When we arrived, we were the only customers. A few more wandered in before we left. There was peanut butter on the shelf but still no frozen raspberries. The kind of Aldi brand corn chip that looks like Fritos was also not in stock. This very bizarre and random “missing” items on our usual grocery list continues.

Our next project was getting Khloe groomed. Shawn at PetSmart did a C+/B- job on Khloe the first time we took her. We discussed clipping her a bit shorter and letting her ears grow a bit.  Khloe was a bit hesitant to leave with Shawn this time. I thought it might be because we were bonded more now than we were at the end of January when she was groomed the first time and she had a bit of seperation anxiety. Shawn e-mailed me instead of texting me. I didn’t see the e-mail until 20 minutes after she sent it because I was just checking texts. She was gone to lunch when we arrived to pick up Khloe. At first glance she looked good. It wasn’t until we got home and I really checked her over that I realized her front legs hadn’t been cut at all. The bottom half of her back legs were kind of raggedy. This grooming would be a C-. Next time I’ll be very specific about having Khloe’s hair cut the same length all over. If that haircut isn’t a solid B, I’ll be taking Khloe to someone else. I know. First world problems are real.

A Stormy St. Patrick’s Day

Yesterday our planned “dinner party” for tonight was cancelled, due to dire warnings of thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes tonight. We got rain off and on during the day and now the tornado warnings and thunderstorms are headed our way. The frogs (a chorus ranging from peepers to bull frogs) and birds were noisy all day. Khloe & I managed our usual walk between rain showers.

Dennis took advantage of Monday & Tuesday’s dry and semi-sunny weather. He got a new hops trellis built on the west side (back) of the man cave. Last year’s hops did not do well on the basketball hoop on the east side of the man cave. I blame limited sunshine and poor soil, especially considering the pole was set in concrete and had much gravel in the soil. So 2 new and much healthier hops plants now have a new chance at survival. At some point beer will be made.

Dennis also fenced a secondary, semi-temporary chicken run on the west side of the chicken palace. The chickens appreciate the new terrain and are rapidly eating all the available grass and scratching for any bugs they can find. I suspect by the end of the week this area will be as muddy and barren as the permanent pasture. I see several “chicken tractors” in our future. Aside from the threat of predators, we can’t let them free range because of our small fruit trees, the asparagus patch, rhubarb, and berry bushes.

The crocus are blooming. The jonquil leaves are up but no blooms. That’s probably good because there’s a good chance of hail tonight. Temperatures will drop down to about 30* and there might be snow in the morning. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Normal Feels Great!

I was in bed by 8:30 last night. I woke up about 3:30 with only my L. arm hurting. That, compared to how I’d been feeling, was great. I got back to sleep and slept until almost 9. Aside from a twinge in the left arm when I raise it, I feel like my usual self. WooHoo! Who knew feeling old felt so good.

Dennis is in charge of the rain measuring. At lunch he said we’d had 6″ since Thursday. The back yard is a moat. In spite of much filling in of low areas in the fields, there are at least 2 streams running across them. The chickens insist on going out into their pasture and look for any green tidbits, which makes them muddy and bedraggled. They must feel better than they look because they continue to lay eggs.

It feels like a new phase of this whole Covid19 situation is about to begin. Next Wednesday we’re having 2 fully vaccinated friends over for our first Cocktails with Chickens evening of 2021. The weather doesn’t look promising for outdoor dining, but we can safely dine indoors if we must. Which reminds me, I need to clear off the dining table. In the past year, our dining room became the favorite dumping ground for things we weren’t sure what to do with…

2nd vaccination

I’m definitely having side effects from the 2nd shot. We drove 2.5 hours, in the rain, to arrive a bit early for our appointment. There weren’t nearly as many cars there as there were for our 1st shot. We got our shots and were back on the road in about 30 minutes. My arm was starting to get sore by the time we got back home. It was still raining. I got soaked getting the eggs and doing a quick walk to see if we had run-off going across the back pasture. I was glad to see everything looked good. I put on my PJ’s when I came back in (about 4 PM). I was feeling tired and it hurt to move my L. arm. I heated up leftovers for supper. Dennis and I were both exhausted and I was feeling achey. We were in bed by 8PM. I woke up feeling terrible about midnight. I took a tylenol and drank a glass of water. I slept fitfully the rest of the night. It also rained most of the night. About 8 I decided I didn’t feel up to our planned grocery trip to Aldi’s. After coffee and lunch, I had enough energy to go get our groceries. In spite of my parents saying they were “fine, just fine”, they looked anything but fine. They were as tired and achey as we were. I’ve heard that it is better to struggle through the discomfort if you can, but Tylenol is ok if you need something. My body is definitely reacting to this 2nd vaccination, which gives me hope that my old immune system still works.

We have nothing but rain in the forecast for the next several days. I don’t like feeling lousy and getting nothing accomplished, but at least the weather is appropriate for feelings of gloom.


Monday Khloe and I met our friend Laura and her dog Duke at Bennett Spring Park. We walked along the trail on the fish hatchery side of the park before having a picnic lunch. It was sunny and there was a nice breeze. After we ate, we went to the spring side of the park to walk different trails. Things are still mostly brown, but it was nice to be outdoors and enjoy the river. It was warm enough we could walk around in a t-shirt and jeans.

Tuesday Brenda, Leo, Khloe and I did our usual walk. It was too windy to be a pleasant walk. I planted some peas in a raised bed. Dennis put in some fencing for the peas to climb on. He and Larry spent most of the day hauling trailer loads of compost to our garden & rasied beds as well as Brenda’s garden and raised bed. Even my dad got a load of compost for his raised bed. It’s much nicer compost than we usually get.

Today is cloudy and unpleasantly windy. Dennis was kind enough to weed around the garlic this morning. I cleaned out the flower bed by the driveway. The sage is starting to put out leaves. One of the parsley plants looks like it survived all the freezing temperatures. I set out some buttercrunch lettuce plants along one side of the raised bed where the peas are planted. I noticed some signs of life in the cabbage that we left to see if it would “over winter”. I had written it off after several nights of below 0 temperatures, but we may get cabbage after all. The broccoli plants turned to brown slime and today I got that mess cleaned up. I also picked up another bunch of trash that blew from Aaron’s yard into ours. He had bags of garbage in his yard and the dogs tore open the bags. About a month ago he told Dennis he was moving out, but it hasn’t happened.

Tonight we are suppposed to get thunderstorms and rain. It looks like one of those training systems where it will be wave after wave of storms. A lot of rain is expected, along with flooding. It could make for an interesting drive to get our 2nd Covid shot tomorrow.