Friday, December 25, 2009

Holidays 2009

My holidays 2009 have been most unusual! I've spent every day more or less from Thanksgiving to Christtmas sick. Got the flu (probably H1N1) the day before Thanksgiving. Stayed home. The landlady brought me some turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans. That was the last meat of any consequence I ate for several weeks. Food became a chore to eat but necessary to cushion the meds. Still got sore digestive tracks. And cough! A necessary and uncontrolable evil, or was it God sent. The flu resulted in pneumonia. So much for pneumonia shot.

The only good thing to come out of it was to have my eldest daughter come and spend a week with me. Cleaned my apartment. Waited on me hand and foot. It was almost worth getting sick..... almost.

Finally managed to put in a few hours at the office over the last week. I had gotten so sick of day time tv. And I normally love tv.

I managed to get to youngest daughter's on the morning of Christmas eve before the storm moved in. Not sure when I'll make it back home. The big Chrristmas event here is that the 4-H gilts are farrowing. One litter on Christmas eve day and signs anotther will farrow sometime today, Christmas day. Grandson #1 is a very watchful hogman. Spends a lot of time in the farrowing shed. The smell comes in on the clothes and its not the most wonderful smell in the world. Smell of money? We can hope. We'll have to remember this at fair time. Its the boys first experience with farrowing so I'm sure it is worth it regardless of the financial outcome.

Christtmas eve services were canceled. The boys had speaking parts. They're to do them Sunday morning so I will probably stay until then.

I hope others are having equally unique, safe and entertaining celebrations of our Savior's birth!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Busy month

Goodness me! I see I haven't posted since the 12th of Oct. It has been busy, busy!

Mid-October I went to Cheyenne by way of Colorado to a college rodeo. The family and I stayed at The Plainsman Hotel, an old hotel in downtown Cheyenne. The younger granddaughters didn't like that it didn't have an indoor swimming pool but I thought the nostalgic atmosphere was great fun. I roomed with the granddaughters other grandma, who remembered there was a Jimmy Stewart movie about a place in Cheyenne, The Cheyenne Social Club. Seems Stewart was a cowpoke who inherited a brothel...... This couldn't have been the place.......

The granddaughter competed well, made the short go in 2 events and ended up placing 8th I think in the breakaway roping. She went for it and were it not for that calf being about 3 inches slower than you would want, she would have won that event. Rodeo builds great character!

Since then I went to Washington DC for the work convention. Spent my free day walking in the rain to see the WWII memorial. Also went to the new American Indian museum, part of the Smithsonian complex. Wow! It is most definitely worth seeing. They have a food court featuring foods related to native people in varying areas of the country. I ate salmon from the Northwest. One of my office mates ate buffalo sandwich from the Plains area, and the other had rabbit pot pie from the Northeast. Good food served in a beautiful setting.

My daughter BK, gd Annie and Annie's friend Mikki stayed with me 4 nights and saw a good portion of DC. Their favorites included the old post office building, Ford's Theater, and who knows what else. I met them at the airport the first night and we had a limo tour of DC back to the hotel. The only trouble was it was raining (rained most of the time we were there) and the windows steamed over.

Because I had to be in DC, I missed out on going to my sister-in-law's funeral. The other daughter attended for all of us. She took the youngest g-son who is 6. While at the cemetery she showed him his grandfather's grave (my husband). Bob was a farmer and a fisherman, thus his gravestone has a shaft of wheat and a leaping fish on it. Coy looked things over, then said, "So, a fish killed him?"

Its been an especially pretty fall here and I almost had time to enjoy it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ladybug and the Boys

The boys have a new little mare. She's been to some rodeos so we're anxious to see what she can teach the boys. And how much fun they can have learning! Hope she enjoys teaching, it will make it a better experience..... for her and for the boys!

The picure was taken the day they brought her home a few weeks back. Sure wasn't taken this weekend. That photo was a summer shot; now it would be a winter one. With coats and even gloves.

Anyway, welcome to the family, Ladybug!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homecoming Attendant

Went to see youngest grandson Coy serve as crown bearer at the Washington County High School homecoming last Friday night. He did his job quite well! His mama, dad and grandparents all almost busted their buttons they were so proud.

I called Colorado on the way up and Annie answered the phone. When I told her what was going on, she reminded me she once did that. I made her a blue satin dress for it. I didn't get to go see her do her thing back then but got to see a photo or two. Unfortunately, I don't have one at my fingertips.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

K-State Band

KSU Band Day is Saturday. My big strong nephew is one of the tuba players. There are 22 of those big things. The horns I mean. Most of the players are big, too, but some are sweet little gals who are also strong. You've got to be to haul one of those dudes around and do all the dance moves they do with them.

The tubas not only anchor the band with their big bass sound, they anchor it physically with those big horn bells above everybody else, turning and bowing and just generally making a big splash. Love em. When nephew-the elder was in K-State band, he was in the drum line and I thought the drum line was the anchoring force. I still do as far as the beat that guides everyone but for physical beauty, love them tubas.

The band has brand new uniforms this year so that is special. Number over 300 I think. They are a sight to behold and a sound to move you.

To kick off the season, the band did its annual breaking out party so-to-speak in Aggieville. After their marching in and playing in the street, they were treated to sandwiches or ice cream or something in Varney's. So the section lined their horns up on the sidewalk and took turns standing guard. My sister had the idea to take a photo of them with her cell phone and I became the copycat and took one, too. Quite a sight!

Go Cats!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wayne Dunafon, Ks Cowboy Hall of Fame

The Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Induction was last Saturday. Its held at Dodge City at the Front Street Museum. There were five inducted - 3 who are living and 2 posthumously. The categories are Rodeo Cowboy, Working Cowboy, Rancher/Stockman, Entertainer/Artisit and Historian.

I was particularly pleased to be able to support the induction of the late Wayne Dunafon in the Rodeo category as he was from my area of the state. Wayne, born in 1919, died in 2001 after a full life that included riding in the Turtle Cowboy Association, the Rodeo Cowboy Association and the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association over many decades. While most pro rodeo cowboys specialize in one or two events, Wayne did them all. He won a lot of saddles, buckles and the like.

Wayne's other claim to fame was what he did to promote the cowboy image to everyone, not just to the Western life lovers. An ad agency picked him out at a rodeo back East and made him a model. He represented Lee jeans but is more well known for being one of the Marlboro Man fellas. He also worked in the movies some. But back home he was a down to earth rancher.

Wayne was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2005 and is now in the Kansas one as well. I wonder how many other states have such a thing?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My trip to my other hometown

Seems I've been so-o-o-o busy, that I haven't had time to write. How can that be? I don't have a live-in family to take care of. Or a farm or any animals. Just me. My job. My couple of projects. Trips to the dentist, doctor.

Lots of weekend travel. I went "home" to Oberlin for an anniversary celebration and to see some friends. All was good. I only embarrassed myself a couple of times at the celebration by not knowing people I should have. And I didn't feel too bad since they didn't all recognize me at first glance either.

Staying with my good friends Mar and Jerry is always a treat. We have so many things to catch up on. Seems we talk non-stop from the time I walk in until I walk out. Mar keeps a beautiful home. Its like staying at a bed and breakfast. Always makes me feel guilty since its a talent I am lacking. I should also give Jerry credit because his woodworking talents are fantastic! He has redone both the kitchen and the bath to something akin to what you would see on HG channel.

We drove around and saw the sights.... who lives where and who's moved. The feedlot is much larger than the last time I looked at it. Not a lot of cattle in it right now but lots of space to put them when...... I am still in love with the wide open space. But they could use some of the trees we have in Manhattan area.

Looking over a small town makes me chuckle. When I moved back to Manhattan, everyone in classes and what-not referred to Manhattan as a small town. Give me a break! They don't know what small town is. Small town is where you know the names of everybody you see, who they're related to, where they work, and all the interesting (and boring) stuff about them. And they know all that about you. I'm not kidding.

When I first went to Oberlin, some people moved into town but didn't stay long. The woman didn't like that people spoke to her and called her by name and knew who she was. I took it as a compliment, she felt she was being intruded upon.

But some things are the same no matter the size of your small town. Manhattan has its development projects that have people supporting and people opposing. Well, Oberlin has the same thing. The similarities of town politics struck me as uncanny. I guess the same could be said for national politics right now. Its just the volume of the yelling that gets bigger!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sharon's school for student doctors

Doctor's appointment this morning! Nice new student doctor lady saw me before my regular doctor got to me.
Oh, how I'd like to stop these kids and say, hey, who do you think you're talking to? Someone who just got off the boat?
It went something like this.....
So how long have you had diabetes?
Forever! (I smile.) Well, since the '80s.
And what medicine are you currently taking for it?
I rattle off the list.
Are they keeping it under control?
My thought - you've got the records right in front of you, you can answer that as well as I can. But I don't point that out, I just make a nice comment about it doing pretty good. Then I make the mistake of saying the Byetta isn't working as well at controlling weight as it did at first. I see the flags go up. We'll have to look into why that is.
Next point - Do you exercise?
Not as much as I should.
What do you do for exercise?
How much do you walk?
From parking to my office every day and this on a campus with a major parking problem.
Could you walk some in addition to that?
Well, my back hurts if I walk too far. (It does. I wish it didn't but it does. And while I'm into no-pain, no-gain to some extent, I'm also into if it hurts, there must be a reason, so stop it. More often than not the second premise outranks the first... these days... for me...)
Do you smoke?
(Where the h... did that come from? Do I look like I smoke? Do I smell like I smoke?) No, never have!
Oh, that's wonderful, that's so good, especially for a diabetic! (She is practically leading cheers. Why does this offend me? This is no great accomplishment. Its not hard to never have smoked. Now, I believe it is very difficult to stop once you have but come on!)
Has anyone in your family had any heart problems?
(I'm beginning to get peeved. My doctor knows all about my family history of heart problems. I know all about my family history of heart problems. If you read the charts you would know the same thing. But why should you? You aren't my regular doctor.) Yes.
Who? What? (She is getting excited; she's made a huge discovery here. Like no one has ever explored this before.)
I explain the history.
She's listening to my heart, asking if I ever feel any chest pains. She seems quite let down when I say no.
Well, diabetics need to really be careful especially if there's any history of heart problems in their family.
Well, duh! I've never heard that before. Good grief! I'm thinking I probably know a lot more about this problem than my sweet little MD.
Next question: What have you been eating this summer?
I am completely dumbfounded. I sit with my mouth hanging open trying to decide how to answer that.
Fruits and vegetables?
I'm still searching for the appropriate answer to this. I may have muttered a Yes, when I'm thinking Yes, and anything else that comes my way.... Well, not literally. At least not everything that comes my way. But whatever is the food for the day. Its not that what I eat isn't important, but what I don't eat is also important and they never bother to ask that.
Do you check your blood glucose regularly?
Now we're into a touchy subject. Do I argue the point that it is my choice whether or not to live a perfect lifestyle and poke my finger every 8 hours to learn that I've been bad or maybe not so bad after I've already done it? Do I let her continue to push me? Or do I try to let her know that her patients, at least some of them (like me) will be more apt to poke their fingers if she cajoles or suggests or plants an idea rather than paint you as the dumbest person to have come to her office.
Student doctors need to be told that many, most of their patients know all the things they are going to be told. They could write the book. They are not going to take orders from a smart new whipper snapper. They actually are more apt to try to change their llfe styles for the better if they are treated with a bit of respect and empathy. As a promising young doctor is it possible they could have a lot to learn from their old patients?
Fortunately, my real doctor has lived long enough to know these things. But I suppose she once was a new save-the-world professional straight out of school too!

Post script to any student doctors who might read this: I'm sure YOU're not that insensitive! Sorry if I was rude!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The big week in Pueblo

Well, its been 5 days and I'm still not sure I can write about the week in Pueblo at National Little Britches finals. Partly because I can't do it without bragging and partly because its hard to sum up the disappointments! I know, a strange mix isn't it!

I traveled out with younger daughter, her hubby and 2 boys who lives in Kansas to see elder daughter and family who live in Colorado take part in the national finals.

First, about the rodeo! What a three-ring show it is! I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it. Some 800 kids (and their support teams- dad, mom, etc) brought upward toward 2,000 horses (I think they said) to town for 11 performances - 2 go-rounds and the short-go - over 7 days, and longer if you were in the queen contest which middle grand daughter was. The set-up is three simultaneous arenas at once being covered by a couple of announcers trying to cover all of it. If you sit high up in the middle of the grandstand you can watch it all.... sort of. You've got to stay on track to not miss what you want to see. And keep your head on a swivel. I'm thinking a regular one-arena rodeo is going to seem sort of slow after this.

Some heavy rain mid-week before we Kansans got there made for an uneven but interesting playing field. If you drew up on a muddy perf, you were competing against those who drew up on the fast ground that developed later. But that's what rodeo (and life) is all about. Luck of the draw!

My g-daughters had great hopes for the week, and it wasn't just based on wishes or pipe-dreams. Both the girls had proven themselves this summer and were not being big-headed when they dreamed of winning big! However, it was not to be. To win big against kids of this caliber you have to have a little good luck along with your skills, and this was not to be. But they gave it their all and were good sports and of course I'm really proud of them.

It wasn't all in vain! Oldest grand daughter won a buckle in break-away in 1st go and got to come back for Short-go. A barely broken barrier and a loop that jumped off instead of on stopped a couple of runs in the 2 second range. Wow! If only......

Middle grand daughter was name Miss Congeniality in the Little Britches Queen contest. She was so gorgeous! And that smile! How could she have not won the whole thing! But then I'm sure there are other grandmas who can explain to you why that was.

I didn't get my camera out.... I knew that others had theirs and I didn't want to miss anything because my eyes were behind a piece of equipment. However, for those of you who are still reading this, and really care, you can see proofs of the professional photos by going to Cowboy Images.
Put Moyer in the Search box. There are a couple of photos of the queen contestant from Kansas that are mislabeled - her horse has sunflowers - but the rest are my girls. Do you think I'm a proud grandma?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cowgirl Takes a Fall

This is my sister Char. She has been secretary of our local PRCA rodeo committee for so many years I've lost count. She loves the sport, and the people associated with it, but her appreciation of the animals is purely hands-off, visual, not physical if you get my drift.

Friday night during slack she was to one side of the back area beside where the horseback contestants come and go. The fans leave to one side and need to be reminded which area belongs to the animals and which is for pedestrians. So Char was there, in place, directing foot traffic and trying to keep everyone safe.

Enter a man on horseback. Who and what they were about we are still trying to discover but for some reason the horse exploded. Decided he wanted to be a bronc instead of a performance horse. Char says she ran, but couldn't run fast enough. After throwing his rider, the bronc bucked across the asphalt knocking our rodeo secretary to the hard surface. Result: a shattered right elbow requiring a plate and seven screws, two skinned knees and a sore rib area.

They didn't know it but Char took the bullet for a good number of fans she had just directed away from the area.

My hero.

For sure, it is one rodeo we won't forget.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

County Fair Time

I got my first taste of county fair for the season yesterday at the Washington County Fair!

I didn't get many photos - the ones I took during the livestock shows were too far away from the ring, and besides that, I haven't figured out all the settings on this little piece of junk camera that I bought. Still, I'm happy with this photo of GS and his commercial breeds heifer. Can't remember what he has named her, but while other kids' (not all of course but many) were trying to manage big animals that jumped and yanked and were generally a pain, GS had this sweet lovable little gal who just went where he wanted and stood and waited for him to set her up. In fact, the judge had to explain to him about keeping slack out of the lead (this was his first time showing a big beef). He didn't need to pull slack as far as control was concerned; she was controlled. The greatest thing about it is that he did all the taming and training of her himself. And she wasn't a bucket calf either but came off the cow.

The other first yesterday was attending my first goat show of any size. GS showed several Boer meat goats. They're trimmed sort of like a poodle leaving a poof on the end of the tail but taking most of the hair down for a clean look. They use a chain collar affair. GS did well on showmanship in both goats and beef, especially for not having too much experience in either. He's shown bucket calves but that's not quite the same thing.

Oh, and GS2 who is a Clover Bud showed one of the goats in showmanship. They don't get judged but have the experience of being out there. Needless to say they were beyond cute! But then, that's just GM speaking. I've worked over the poor quality photo of him so you can sort of get the idea. Photoshop to the rescue.... somewhat!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saddle Up, Cowgirl

No pictures, just braggin' words!

The past three weeks have seen my two oldest granddaughters each bring home a saddle from rodeo winnin's!
Memorial Day weekend saw Annie win All-Around over three performances at the Kit Carson Little Britches series in Burlington, Colorado! This was competing against some tough cowgirls, including her older sister! And she left no doubt as she was All-Around at every performance!

And speaking of older sister, Kaylee brought home the all-around saddle this weekend from a three performance series at San Luis Valley, South Fork, Colorado. This meant besting a whole raft of good cowgirls, including little sister plus a lot of competitve girls who usually miss Little Britches to go high school rodeo.

I'm being encouraged to come to Pueblo for the Little Britches Finals the last week of July. Think I'm going to have to consider it highly!


Attended a very memorable farm wedding on Saturday. The bride was absolutely beautiful! The ceremony was on a knoll up the hill from the homestead at the edge of the hay meadow in a walnut grove. Everyone was gathered there at four o'clock, when dad delivered the beautiful bride in her long white dress as she stood on top of a platform on the bale fork on the back of the John Deere tractor! It couldn't have been more impressive or appropriate!

The ensuing celebration was in the hay shed! The day was humid and hot with plenty of wind throughout the afternoon... in other words, typical Kansas! The groom's family were from England, Scotland and various other parts of the world. I can't imagine what they now think of our not-so-fair state but they were jolly good sports and honored the couple by making the most of the festivities! I'm sure its one neither they nor the happy couple will ever forget! And that's what weddings should be!

Congratulations, Sarah & Nigel!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Half a Century

Barbara, Wayne, Art, Wava, Willard, Sharon, Larry, Dick

It was a great week-end! I saw classmates I haven't seen since we graduated. Some I didn't immediately recognize, and some didn't immediately recognize me, so that came out even! Some of us had changed a lot, some not so much as far as physical appearance. More interesting, if you found it, were the stories of where we'd been and what we'd done and how that had changed our personalities and character. A lot of that hides deep and is not so easy to get to in just a few short hours. But there were enough clues to make it interesting. It was obvious to me that all had matured into fully developed citizens who have had very meaningful lives and who are still going strong. I think you could say we're still developing, right?

I was sorry I didn't get to see all my old classmates. Let's see. Of 17 who graduated together, 3 have died. Ten of us made it to either the small visit gathering on Friday night or the big all-school banquet on Saturday evening. An additional attendee on Friday was a girl (well, I guess we are now women) who attended with us for 2 years before moving away. One class member could not come due to physical limitations, another because his wife was to have surgery. One lives in Idaho and chose to go wall-eye fishing. (Humm.. stood up by a fish! Whatever!) But it is quite a distance to come. Never mind that the Sr class pres came all the way from the east coast, and another drove up from Texas. But probably most questionable was why the final remaining one couldn't be troubled to drive the 15 miles from Clay Center.

Still the ten of us who did gather seemed to really enjoy seeing one another. And its always fun to bring up the old memories. On Friday evening we met at a church for the meal, then went to the museum where we reminisced about old times; the teachers and the ball games were favorite topics. When we parted ways Saturday night, we were all saying we should do this again sometime. I hope we do, and not in another 50 years either.

Sharon, Barbara, Wava, Carol, Sandy

Richard S., Art, Richard"Dick", Larry, Wayne

Monday, May 11, 2009

More grandkid fun

This weekend saw me at a Swine show. Hog show if you like, but D2 says its a Pig Show since they are too nice and lovable to be called Hogs. And this coming from a horsewoman!

Grandson Coy started off the morning in PeeWee Showmanship. Try to imagine, some 20 or so little kids in a pen with the equal number of pigs going in all directions. At this level they are mostly concerned with keeping track of which pig is theirs and following them around the ring. Its called driving your pig but I can't say there was a lot of driving going on. Coy actually had that bored look on his face which surprised me. He sometimes gets into this pig thing.

The big deal of the day was Brody winning the Junior Showmanship Championship. He really did a nice job but I was a little surprised he won it because it didn't seem the judge looked at him that much. I'm not sure how many there were out there.... 15 or 20, maybe more. I think the judge was watching out of the corner of his eye. Of course I think the judge was really really good.

I did get a nice picture of Brody. I'll try to figure out how to post it here.

Coy's picture is not so good.... him and half his pig.

Next weekend its back to junior rodeo for the boys, with another pig show the following week I understand. I'll have to see what room is left on my dance card.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Owning a horse

One of the blogs I follow is Life at the Rough String Sorry, I can't figure out how to get the link to work.

She recently had the experience of putting a price on her horse, having someone take her up on it, then missing her horse big-time. The second chapter is that the colt didn't work out for the new owner, so Rough String got 'im back and was tickled to death it worked out that way. You got a be careful when you put a price on something you really like! Somebody may just take you up on it.

Caused me to think of some of the axioms I've heard / developed and maybe lived by over the years.
-It doesn't cost any more to feed a good one.
-Good ones lay down and die just as easy as cheap ones (maybe more so).
-If they think he's worth that much, maybe I should keep him.
-If they don't think he's worth more than that, why would I want to keep him.
-If they think he's worth that much, I'd better put it in the bank.
-Three- and four-wheelers don't eat when they're parked.
-He deserves someone who will make the most of his talents.
-It takes a good one to make up for what I lack in the saddle.
-I hate to waste a good horse with me on top.
-Horse version of the grass is greener concept - The horse over there must be better than the one I have here.
-Followed by - Should have kept what I had; I at least knew what I was dealing with there.
-And my favorite, I seem to follow it a lot! - Buy high, sell low!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Being a fan

Wow! What a week-end! Had a ball!

Thursday, I threw a few things in a bag, filled the gas tank and took off for Colorado. Got to an arena in northeast Springs in time to see my two youngest grand-daughters Annie and Laramie Jo take part in a Little Britches rodeo. It was cold, cold, and the girls weren't either one having a great night but it was fun jut to see them do their thing. I got to see son-in-law being the bull-fighter as he protected young rough stock riders. And daughter was high in the crow's nest announcing not just one arena but two, thanks to a walkie-talkie. I got to climb up there and it was worth it because the view was fantastic and it was not so cold, But the adrenalan rush of the whole weekend for this old fan was when I tripped on the top step of the stairs while looking down through the big gap between step and deck. All this while experiencing a bit of sway under hand and foot. Oh my! Who needs carnival rides when you can get spooked over climbing the crow's nest stairs!

Friday morning the five of us climbed in my trusty Rondevouz and headed for Laramie and the U of Wyoming college rodeo. G-daughter Kaylee is on the Eastern Wyoming College rodeo team at Torrington. Friday afternoon found her in slack in break-away roping. I thought for sure she would be in the top ten, looked fast to me, but her horse Havoc did a itty-bitty hesitation moment before she caught, hardly enough to notice but enough to keep them out of the money. Still pretty amazing for a self-trained girl (for the most part) on a family trained horse. Neither one is a finished deal in this event but are getting oh, so close.

Friday night perf had them in Goat Tying. Results: a smokin 7.5 seconds. I think she was in 3rd at the end of the evening. Following the Saturday perfomances, she was 5th and set to come back in the Short Go on Sunday. This meant we all stayed instead of going home. Seven of us in a nice motel room with two, yes two big tv screens.

Sunday morning we checked out of the motel, loaded up and got to the arena for the last half of Cowboy church. It drives me nuts to be late for church but when you have six girls and one good sport dad in a motel room, we did well just to get us all out of there before noon. I'm sure the Lord will know we were doing good to get there at all.

Kaylee's event led off the Sunday afternoon performance. The top ten girls were all fantastic of course. Kaylee's goat turned as she went for it and I thought for sure it was going to cost her too much time. But when all was done, she tied in 7.3 I think it was, and won the short go and the average, winning her first Champion buckle at the College level.

I'm so proud of her of course, but not because she won. I'm most happy because I know how hard she worked to get there. She decided to go the extra distance to reach this goal. Will winning make her a better person? Probably. But more important is the work ethic, the time management, the dedication, the goal setting that she exercised getting there. Those are skills she will use all her life. Even if she had not made it to the top, she would have won from the road she's traveled to try for it. And the smile muscles she got to exercise at the end were good too.

Way to go Kaylee.

The girls surprised me with an early Mother's Day present - a beautiful necklace and earrings set. I was so surprised, I don't think I did a good job of expressing my appreciation. It knocked me speachless.

We ventured back to the Colorado ranch Sunday night across Colorado backroads I'd not seen before, one of my favorite pasttimes. Monday I headed for home. Wish the distance was about half as far. But it was a good trip. I really missed being able to drive cross country when my eyes were bad. Thanks to a great surgeon, I can now handle long distance driving again. Its the greatest feeling, being that independent!

It was a great extended week-end. I must watch that I don't put off doing things like this. Life is too short!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to Blog about Finding Family

This will not be news to bloggers but it has become abundantly apparent to this writer that if you are having life experiences that might be worth writing about, you do not have time to write about them. And of course the opposite being that if there is time, what is there to say!

If you follow my blog at all, you can tell I have been having lots and lots of life experiences this spring...... or none at all..... since I haven't written about a thing lately.

I'll admit to being really busy but will try to focus on just one thing. Just got back from a business trip to Phoenix but was lucky enough to have one free day to pursue my own interests. And I chose to look up and visit some long lost relatives that I had never met in person...... my father's first cousin Gertrude who is 95, and her son, an amazing artist. 

First I'll talk about visiting with Gertrude. She has spent most of her life in the Phoenix area but did visit Kansas relatives for long periods of time as a young girl and young woman. She was able to tell me tidbits about my paternal grandparents (who were gone before I was born) and great-uncles and great-aunts of that era. Things you'll not find in old newspaper articles or the census reports. I was thrilled. And I hope it was a good experience for her as well. She lives in her own home but has some health issues so has an attendant person who was very friendly. Having artists for children, her house is a virtual gallery. My two hours with her were not nearly enough to take it all in. And of course I thought of more questions to ask after I left. Her hearing is not the greatest so I'm not sure how comfortable she would be with me asking them over the phone. Perhaps I can write.... an old-fashioned paper and ink letter, for a change.

One of the things she talked about was my Great-uncle Vernon who was a doctor and had a big house on the beach in California. I never met him. When she was a child she said the Arizona summers were so hot, it being before air conditioning, that they spent a lot of time visiting him and other relatives in California. Aunt Eddie Hines (my grand-father's sister) and her husband Frank also had a house there at that time. Aunt Eddie is one I've never know much about so it was like meeting a new set of people I'd never known. She talked about staying with Aunt Eddie in Manhattan as a young child but the household was uninspiring for a youngster.... no other children to play with.... restrictions to certain parts of the house. There were two staircases and Gertrude was not to use the front stairs. She much preferred to go to the farm where Aunt Bertha had children she could play with. And she said Aunt Eddie seemed happy to have her there as well.

She said others in the family didn't care too much for Eddie's husband, Frank, probably because he was very successful. But Uncle Frank liked Gertrude and treated her with a coin and a wink whenever they met. 

About Gertrude's son, my second cousin Ed Mell. He is a well-known artist in Arizona with a distinctive style that is easily recognized. His work is in large oils and in sculpture, and can be found in the galleries of Scottsdale's art district among other places. There are posters of his Grand Canyon Music Festival work available at art poster places. I stumbled onto his work when browsing thru a museum bookstore back in the '90s. Saw this art book with work I found to my liking but I didn't know the artist. While leafing thru the pages, what should I see but the mention of his mother Gertrude Sargent. While I did not know the person, I certainly knew the name, as my parents had talked of her and her brother when I was growing up. Closer inspection showed a photo that includes my great-grandmother who, to my knowledge, I had never seen in any photo before. Its taken me over ten years but I've finally gotten to meet Ed.... both a relative I didn't know I had, and an artist whose work I admire.

A bonus of the day was getting to visit Ed's studio and to meet a friend of his, another artist Gary Smith from Utah, a very nice gentleman as well. 

Ed's brother Lee is deceased and brother Frank is in ill health so I've waited too long to meet them.

I suppose there should be a moral or something to all this. I guess it would be.... if you're at all interested in the people of your grandparents generation, don't put off visiting those who knew them, back when. And there might be a bonus in meeting some very interesting relatives of your own generation as well. What a thrill it is for me... maybe it would be for you as well.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thinking 'Bout History

I'm mildly interested in local history, local being a lot of Kansas. I'm a member of True West's Blog Page or whatever they call it. I got there by way of following Bob Boze Bell's personal blog, which is a story for another day.

A lot of the blogs and entries there are in relation to Western history. Which has caused me to revive some of my own thoughts on the subject. I own land in northwest Kansas that was part of the site of Kansas' Last Indian Raid in 1878. 

When I first heard that Oberlin was the site of that raid, I envisioned the Indians (native Americans if you will) in a concentrated group sweeping down into a small little town. It wasn't that way at all. They rode down in small groups from the south following various draws to the Sappa Creek, southwest of Oberlin some 8-12 miles, attacking the settlers on their individual homesteads and ranches. I've often tried to imagine as I fixed fence or baled hay what it was like to be out working in your fields and lots (it was late September, harvest or late haying time I would suppose) and have riders come down over the hills. 

I understand some settlers escaped trouble by hiding in wild plum bushes on the banks of the creek and in brush piles.  At a ranch on the creek near my property several women were taken captive and "ravished" as the reports put it. One account told of choking the baby to silence it, not enough to kill it, just until it passed out, only to have to repeat it when it started to regain its ability to cry out. Not pleasant thoughts! But not movie plots either. 

Being out on the land where you can be removed from many signs of "progress", no electric lines or roads if you position yourself just right, you can try to imagine what it was like. All told, some 40 settlers were killed, but scattered out over a fairly large area.  

Two men were killed on creek hay ground I once owned so I was close to that happening when I baled. My big pasture which is further up Colvin's draw from the main creek was not noted for any killings, only the land below it.

I was told an interesting story about that place (my pasture) but have since been told it probably didn't happen. Still it makes such a good story.

There is a square 2-story stone house there, since falling down but still standing when I went to NW Kansas 40 years ago. Supposedly the man of the family was gone but the wife and children boarded themselves into the lower level kitchen. When she heard one of the party climb onto the roof to cover the chimney and smoke them out, she knocked the stovepipe aside and fired the rifle up the chimney, shooting him through the hand. They rode away.

I understand however that this story is told about raids in other locations. 

A bit of background as I have read it. This was a part of the Cheyenne's effort to return to their homelands from the Oklahoma reservation they had been taken to. I have heard but am not certain, that no settlers were killed until the Indians got to Sappa Creek. It seems that in 1875, one of their groups had been camped on the Sappa in what is now Cheyenne county, west of where my land is some 20 miles I think. They were attacked at daybreak and killed indiscriminantly including women and children. It was thought the attacks in '78 were in retaliation for that unfortunate incident.

Reading actual reports of those times that are available at the museum in Oberlin make it much more real, more so than seeing a movie I think. They are the words of people who were really there.

A recent comment in the True West blogs said a lot of places don't convey their history, that the old buildings and trappings of the West are swept away. Which is somewhat true I guess. But it seems to me you have to seek out history, study it, then try to find the spots where you can re-enact it in your mind a little. It won't be buried in the present day downtown where today's people are trying to make a living. But you can still find it out in those draws and hills.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thought for the day

Just read this in an e-mail...... 

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and duct tape.

God did it with nails.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Movies of note

Other bloggers I read mention favorite movies they've seen recently or in the past. Today, one was talking of dialogue sequences that she finds extremely romantic. 

An interesting piece (I won't go so far as to call it my fav) that I have in my small little library of VCRs, is an old old Richard Gere & Sam Shepard movie called Days of Heaven. Can't even remember how I got onto it, know I had to order it special order someplace, but I was not disappointed. And its not for the romance, or the characters or the plot. Its because of the setting. An old time harvest crew on the prairies supposed to be  the 1916 Texas panhandle, I think it was filmed in Alberta if I remember correctly. There are rolling fields of ripe wheat which are thrashed by hand using large crews of migrant European immigrant types that come in by train. Having been raised in the era of combines, I only heard about thrashing from the old folks of my time and found this portrayal of the actual practice, especially with crews that were not made up of only neighbors to be very interesting.  The plot is sort of disgusting but if you can get past that, you can learn a lot from it. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Workin' Cattle

My office mate is taking off a few hours next week to help work cattle. Believe it or not, I'm a little envious! Working cattle was something I took pride in once upon a time.  But we didn't do it cowboy style. It was a quieter get-er-done style.

First was the gathering and bringing in.  For the most part it wasn't done on horseback. It was more apt to be done with a pickup load of feed for bait and a few strategically placed people on foot or horseback (this was pre-four-wheelers) to block escape routes. The truck driver needed a strong voice to  call 'em in; every caller I ever knew had his or her own style but the trick is that the cattle have to know it means feed.  

Then once they were in the lot, you relied on gates and fences, plus a little more voice work and some instinct for thinking like a cow. Some of the voice work was calling, but more of it was encouraging the herd to move ahead of you. Stockmen I have seen vary on whether they use voice or not. Some don't like the voice cause it riles up the herd. But I always figured a little use at the appropriate time helped, just so you didn't over do it. And if the herd knew the voice was a plus. Some talking to 'em seemed to get them a little familiar with you and somewhat accepting.

Working cattle on foot works if the herd is used to seeing men on foot. I've seen cattle shipped in from the open range that had never seen a man off a horse, and they went plumb loco at the sight.  Kind of like sending a country boy to the big city - its a scary experience.

Styles of sorting cattle vary but I always preferred to work with one other person that was used to working with me. The two of us with an easy going dog (not a specially trained one) could do more with a little patience and some good body English than a whole raft of cowboys on horseback. Not that we didn't have use for those cowboys on occasion. For instance if a wily critter went to a neighbor's pasture, especially if it was a young bull, hiring a good cowboy on a good horse was worth it. But for the most part, our horses were more for our pleasure than for stirring up the herd. Course, that couldn't have anything to do with our cowboyin' abilities, could it?

Might change for the next generation: my 9-yr-old grandson has taken up roping in junior rodeo. Now when his dad has a sick calf in the pen that he can't catch, he goes and finds son to come rope it for him.  Way to go, Brody!

Even so, one of my favorite stock paper cartoons was of 2 fellas watching a pot-bellied old codger with a bag of feed on his shoulder leading some cattle across the pens. The caption: Joe can do more with a 50 pound bag of feed than 6 cowboys on horseback.  

Yes, there's more than one way to work cattle and I suppose whatever fits your situation is the right way. Right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christian Guilt

I heard somewhere recently (some tv commentary, don't remember who) that guilt is a Judeo-Christian concept. Which reminded me of an acquaintance I once knew who was lamenting having not spent more time with a recently deceased loved one. I said not to feel guilty and he said he didn't ever feel guilty; that was something for Christians. Which brought me up short. One, this meant he was not a Christian. How sad. But also, why should I feel guilt as a Christian? Wouldn't I feel guilt even if I didn't believe in Christ as my Savior? I didn't get it.

Now some years later I have a bit more insight into that concept. Not to say I completely get it but here's what I think. Because of the way we are taught as children and because of how we are wired as human beings, we think we should be "good".... better.... better than others, better than we are, just better.  And we kick ourselves because we can't get there.  And feel guilty.

Now we know from the Bible that we can never be free from sin. Or perfect. So we are beaten before we even start. Then we feel guilty because we can't do it.

I think this guilt keeps us from embracing the most basic of Christian beliefs. Christ died to take all those imperfections we can't correct. And He loves us, warts and all. And He won't give us brownie points for trying to be "better". So, if we really believe in Christ and our relationship with Him, are we not questioning His love for us if we allow ourselves to feel guilt for our imperfections? If we are to be Christ-like, shouldn't we love ourselves as we are instead of beat ourselves up for what we aren't?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure God wants us to try, just so we'll feel uplifted and so we can have others be lifted up as well. After all, if we are to love others as Christ loves us, we will want to make things as good as possible on His behalf..... for them...... and for ourselves.

But I also think we should be wary of going for "better" if it is going to make us appear to be better than our neighbors. God loves us just the way we are, and He loves them that way, also. So shouldn't our neighbors see that in us? Not see us trying to be "better" all the time? How can they understand He will take them as they are if we don't demonstrate we have been taken that way already?

Christ's love for me was the hardest part for me to get. I'm not going to let it be ruined by my guilt.

God, I know I'm guilty of sin, but I also know you took that sin. Thank you! Thank you for loving me just the way I am.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas Post Update

For those of you who may have already read about the Christmas decorations at our church, I've updated that post with an excellent picture of Grandma Elsie playing at Christmas time. I can say that because I didn't take it; a fellow church member did. I asked him to share it electronically and he graciously agreed. So I'm sharing it with all of you.

I'll bet she's playing a keyboard in Heaven!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Whenever I insert a photo, it goes to the top. Sometimes you want to talk about something and insert photos about it. So here goes. This is an experiment. I've been stumped at how to get a photo placed within the text of a post.

Well, I sort of get it. Not sure I quite understand but at least I got it moved.

By the way, this photo is a year old now but aren't they good looking! Brody and Ebony!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sedalia Church - Christmas

This is a photo of my neice's wedding ceremony one year ago, Jan. 5, 2008, at Sedalia Church. Note the Christmas decorations and the beautiful tree.

Jump forward one year:

Last  night we met to un-decorate the Christmas tree at the church. Only four of us showed up and none of us were the super athletes who might have more easily climbed the ladders and man-handled the big tree. But the four of us still managed to take things down and pack it up.  Hopefully, some others have put it all away.

We all were reluctant, not because of the work, but because we all hated to see the beauty of the season packed away for the year. My sister and I especially enjoy it since we used some of our mother's memorial money to buy the tall slender tree. Our church is a beautiful but small old historic church out in the country.  Check out a fellow church member's site - Sedalia. It has an interesting story which I'll save for another day.

Anyway we've always tried to find a live tree that was tall enough to look good in the front corner, yet not so big around as to poke the pianist in the back. My Mom, respectfully known by all as Grandma Elsie, when alive played for second service. And she had many a pine needle poking her at Christmas time.

So after she took those fragrent pokes all those years, my sister and I decided to finally find an artificial tree that fit the space. Too late for Mom to experience, this was the second season we have used it. We're all enjoying it. Thanks, Grandma E!

The tree came with a zillion lights attached and so far they have worked beautifully. The ornaments are a collection of primarily angel ornaments given in memory of loved ones already gone. Green swags w/red bows, log ornaments w/candles and lights, old fashion lamps, and several nativity sets complete the festive dressing. Only the alter candles are lit now days in respect for safety.  I loved it when we lit the oil lamps in the windows for Christmas eve but I can understand the concern. There's only one door and the minister always told us at the front of the church not to fear, he had a hatchet in the pulpit and we'd all go out the windows.

Grandma Elsie played for Sunday School and Bible School as well as for church for many, many years. The kids all loved her. 

We are a congregation of many descendants of local settlers but also include many newcomers; being near a large university and a large Army base means we have folks coming and going thru the neighborhood all the time. One little boy went to visit his grandparents out-of-state but after a few days told his Mom he wanted to go see his other grandma. Knowing there weren't any other grandparents besides the ones he was visiting, they couldn't understand what he meant until he said, you know, Grandma Elsie!

Yes, that tree and the beautiful decorations mean a lot to all the church family, but especially to me. Its like Mom is right there with us, only not being poked in the back!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a Tomboy

I commented at another's blog today that I'm a lifelong tomboy, then got to thinking. Maybe I should face up to the fact that's just wishful thinking anymore. I used to take the dust and the wind, some snow and some mud and (the worst) some heat to be outside doing farm/ranch things. Not always by choice but with a touch of secret pride. But anymore I have to fess up! I'm more of a wait-in-the-house or sit-in-the-truck kind of hand. Or at the least, sit in the stands and cheer. But I guess that's important, too! 

Several years back at a Junior rodeo I was given the job of holding a little POA pony. Well, granted the old pony had picked up bad habits as kids mounts will but still, I thought I could handle a 500 pound pony. Well, she wanted to reach for whatever green was just outside the radius of the lead rope and she didn't care that I was just as insistent she stay close by.  Long story short, she yanked when I had my back turned and I fell over a bale of hay! I fell flat! Now the fall wasn't all that bad although I was embarrassed I couldn't master this little minx of a mare. What was most embarrassing was I couldn't get back up.  Daughter gave me a hand and I still couldn't get it together. 

Yep! I'm a real tomboy..... in my memory!  Just tell me if I start to tell the same stories twice!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Knack of Blogging

I thought "Sure, writing a blog ought to be fun! No problem! Just think a thought and write it down, right?"

Well, I'm finding it not as simple as that. Its not that I don't have things to say. It's deciding if I should say it or not. 

There's knowing that the whole world can read it, not just the select folks you know will appreciate it or forgive you your errors or just shrug it off as nothing worth while or whatever.

Then, there's wondering if you will embarrass or trespass on your family and/or friends privacy and feelings. Just because I don't mind hanging myself out there doesn't mean that my associates feel the same way.

That experience can be good..... thinking about how what you say might affect others. For one thing it reminds you that you do not live alone... regardless of what you think. And it reminds you that you do in fact care for and have responsibilities toward others, even though they may have left the nest.

I'm a strong believer that the truth is best. Just maybe not too much of it all at one time and place?

If we are to be of use to our Lord, we may have to open up a bit and share instead of keeping everything shut in.  Still we may need to carry someone else's private life for them sometime; protecting our own might be good prep for doing that.

Lord, help me to select thoughts that will be of benefit to others who are exposed to my feeble attempts at blogging, either as inspiration or entertainment.