Saturday, June 27, 2009

Girls & Horses!

What most girls dream of - having a horse! Our girls grew up with a lot of animals, but I think their best buds were their horses. They would spend HOURS outside with them; grooming them, feeding and riding. When the girls first started riding, they were not allowed to ride out of the yard, then it moved to the pastures around the farm yard, and after both horse and girl trustworthy, they could ride to the neighbors, etc. We always knew where they were going because if we didn't see them back in the yard when they were supposed to be, we got nervous that something may have happened, and we'd have to get in the car and go look for them. No cell phones back then!

Picture above is Leah helping Stephani. The horse is Curly Jo that Leah got when she was about 11 or 12 years old. So that makes Steph around 6 or 7. The kids probably remember their exact ages! Wish I would have written more information on pictures, as my memory is so bad now! Curly Jo was bought from one of our local vets that raised horses. He had a lot of appalousas, and that is what Leah wanted - her own Appy!

Leah's first horse was a pony that she got for Christmas one year. She couldn't have been older than 7 years old. The pony came from a neighbor to the south of us that had alot of ponies, and he gave it to us for Leah that year. We put a big red bow around her neck and this little pony walked right in through Grandma and Grandpa Nilson's front door. That was a great Christmas! The pony looked like a little buffalo because she had been outside so had a good winter coat of hair. Her hair on her neck and chin was long, and she looked pretty funny, but Leah was one happy little girl! She kept "Tinker Bell" in one of the old sheds behind Grandma's house and Leah always did her chores; winter and summer. After Tinker Bell was big enough to ride, Leah would ride her to the barn hay-mow door, get off the pony and Tinker would just stand there waiting, and Leah would run up into the hay-mow and roll out a bail of hay. Then down she would run and then Tinker Bell would have to carry her own hay to her pen. Leah did this all the time, and we would laugh and feel sorry for the pony! The memory is such a cute sight. I don't think we have any pictures of it, which is a shame. We just didn't take pictures then like we do now.

Later years Stephani rode Tinker Bell. Stephani had her share of falling off Tinker Bell. It took her awhile for her little legs to get long enough so she'd learn to stay on using her leg muscles. Tinker Bell really was a good pony. You would have to use your big voice and horse whip pretty good to make her trot!

This picture of Stephani is also one part of a Super 8 mm movie we have. Tinker Bell stands still, and Stephani is about 15 feet away and runs as fast as she can, thinking she is going to jump right on, but in fact she always came to a complete stop before she tried to jump on. Well, she'd kick her legs a lot before she'd get the momentum to get high enough to get her leg over the pony's back and getting on. Then she'd sit there and whip Tinker Bell, and hardly get the pony to move. The movie clip is really cute, and we need to get it and all of our movies transferred someday to a DVD.

Through out the years we've had quite a few horses at the farm, but there are always those few special ones that live on in all our memories. Tinker Bell, Curley Jo, Joker, Shu-B, Little Texas Jack are a few of them. These pictures were taken when Jessica was still too little to ride, but she had her time later.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road Trip Home

Made it home safe and sound. Left New Iberia, LA at 6 am on Thursday, the 18th, and drove north on Hwy 90 out of New Iberia, which changes to Interstate 49 going north of Lafayette to Shreveport. There I missed the exit going around the city, so drove into Shreveport connecting with Interstate 20, then west to Interstate 220 north to Hwy 71. I decided to drive Hwy 71 north to see a little different scenery, going through the Ouachita Mountains to Fort Smith, and then took Interstate 540, which parallels Hwy 71, through the Ozark National Forest.

I thought I would see more antique shops going this route, but I didn't. The few I saw weren't open, but I did pass a couple of outside shops that had tables of rocks and now wished that I would have stopped. There was traffic close behind me, and I would have had to stop rather quickly without much warning to those behind me; so I quickly looked as I passed them by!

It amazes me that each part of the country has it's own type of road kill! Armadillo's seem to be the choice of "road kill" in Arkansas and Louisiana. They also call the armadillo, the "Hillbilly Speedbump"! I didn't hit one, thank goodness, but was tempted to stop to just look one over good! Can you see that - short old fat lady stopped and outside staring at road kill! The thought was too funny, so decided not to do it! I understand that armadillo sleep about 16 hours a day, and are out early in morning and in the evening hours digging for beetles, ants, and other bugs. Mike (of Mike and Cotina) said they don't have teeth, and that they have been digging holes in his yard to get to the bugs at night time. Using their claws and snout to dig, and their sticky tongue to get the bugs. He is trying to figure out away to do away with them without having to stay up all night!

Can you believe that there is a "Roadkill Cookoff" each year in Marlington, WV. They added that feature to their Autumn Harvest Festival in 1991. People come from all over to tri Deer Smear; Bumper Brused BBQ Bear; Pothole Possum Stew; Smeared Hog with Groundhog Gravy and other good tasting recipes. I hear that you vote by putting quarters in jars at each tasting site and that there is a winner each year. One guy had a sign "You Kill It - We Grill It"! Now that might be a place I would like to go to some September.

Then as I got further north, in Missouri, there were little racoons that made the road kill list. I only saw one (live) deer my whole trip home, and that was in Missouri. Didn't have stinky skunks on the road until Minnesota! South Dakota had quite a few deer on the road kill list on Interstate 29, and two road kill that looked like fox. Betweem the radio that I had to keep serfing for a good station or checking out the road kill, it'd be a toss up as to what was more entertaining! That's the only problem of traveling alone; no one to talk with, or play goofy road games. I did use my cell phone, but there were quite a few stretches where that didn't work well.

I stayed on Hwy 71 until Kansas City and then took Interstate 29 to St Joseph, Missouri. I stayed over night at Mound City; finally calling it quits about 10:30 pm = 16.5 hours. That was enough - had a tired butt, and needed to walk a little. It didn't take me long to get to sleep after a shower that night. Slept in until 6:30am, and was on the road just ater 7 am on Friday.

Got to Sioux Falls, SD just in time to have lunch again with Stephani. We went to Subway, as she was busy and only had about 20 minutes free. It's getting easier to find my way around there now. After leaving Steph back at work, headed north on 29 again. There is alot of construction on 29 and one way traffic. I felt like it was slowing me down, and I was getting bored. I made a stop at Brookings, SD, stopping a Runnings for a couple of baby things, and then after getting to Fargo, stopped at Mills Fleet. The air started to smell different as I got to the East side of Fargo. Getting away from the city and the big farming areas to the lakes and trees. Smells like home! Of course a good rain makes it smell good just about anywhere. It rained all the way from Fargo to home and as I was coming out of the Smokey Hills there was a rainbow.

Pulled into the drive about 7:15 pm on Friday, with total driving hours equaling 26 hours. We had been getting rain showers, so the grass and dogs were wet, and jumping all over me. I was a pretty muddy site, playing with Odda and Hooch. Happy that neither had forgotten who I was. Steve was in town at the Cancer Walk serving pork bergers and he came home about 9 pm.
Now back to getting yard work done this week. Checked with Jessica today, and all is well. They had company on Saturday, and a quiet day today. When I talked to her awhile ago, she and Floyd were playing computer games with Georgia and Vern.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Remembering 3 years ago!

June is a busy month for weddings. Daughter Jessica was married in Stephani's yard on Father's Day weekend 3 years ago today in South Dakota. Her wedding had been planned for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, however, Floyd's orders to send him overseas was moved up, so their wedding date was moved ahead. They had a lovely wedding with family and friends from Louisiana, North Dakota and Minnesota. Most of the relatives brought campers, some stayed in motels, and some of us in Steph's house and some in tents. Leah, Amanda and I had been at Stephani's for a couple of days to help get ready, and Germ and Sue came early too. We girls went to Sioux Falls for lunch one day and had alot of laughs - our mini bachelorette party at a Mexican restraurant!

This next picture shows a bunch of us all piled on a bed, laughing and having fun having watched Jessica try on her dress and listening to Stephani singing and practice the song she was to sing for the wedding. She sang "Baby You Belong" (a Faith Hill song). Of course Steph and Jess had to share the mike - we all love listening to them sing.

The weather was warm and it tried to rain, but it just came down as a drizzle most of the day. We had tents set up and everyone brought folding chairs. Amanda, Cora and Marcus came down the isle first, then Leah, and then Steph; then Mike (best man) walked me in and Floyd walked his parents in and then Grandpa and Grandma. Steve (a little teary eyed!) walked Jessica down the isle with the tune of "Jessica's Theme" in "Man From Snowy River" playing (our family favorite). With the change in wedding date and location, some of the bridal party couldn't be there. Bridesmaid dress orders got canceled and groomsmen cloths canceled, with money returned. We were thankful that money was returned to everyone. It was casual dress for all but the bride and groom!

Steve sang "The Lord's Prayer" during the ceremony and Uncle Vern read scripture. Everything went smoothly and it was a beautiful wedding. One picture I didn't get that I now wish I had, was after the ceremony and we were all getting our cake and mints to eat and walking to the grassy area by the barn, there was a huge beautiful rainbow that hung in the air over the end of the barn and the horse pasture. It was so pretty! We all enjoyed eating tons of shrimp, crab dip, and egg rolls that Hoa and Sandra had brought with them from Louisiana. We also had pork tenderloin and all kinds of other food, as everyone shared a dish - a "wedding potluck" meal!

There was a DJ set up on a flat bed close to the barn, and that evening we had a wedding dance on the grass! Floyd and Jessica had the first dance, and then a Louisiana tradition was done with Stephani having to dance with a broom. This is done when a younger sister gets married before an older one!!! Of course we all had alot of fun with that, and Steph did it in good humor!

Jessica sang "Moma, He's Crazy" (a Judds song) for the song when Floyd danced with his mother. So the dance went on without any rain and we also had a fire in the fire pit. Guys were playing horse shoe, a couple of bean bag games were set up and it was a perfect evening. It turned into a late night under the stars!

On Sunday the Jess and Floyd opened up gifts, and all the little kids had fun playing together. They got to pet a fawn "Bambi" that had been orphaned.

Then everyone had to start packing up and travel back home.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Egg Specialities!

Today I was boiling eggs and potatoes to make potato salad. As I drained the eggs, I asked Jessica if she wanted some "Eggs in a Cup". She was excited to have me fix that for her. Warm hard boiled eggs all mashed up with butter, salt and pepper. This was considered a Comfort Food at our house when kids were young. Something easy to fix, tasted good and was warm!

I used to also fix "Eggs in a Basket". A slice of bread, with a cutout center. Buttered on both sides and the center circle, and put in the frying pan. As pan was heating up and toasting the bread, we added an egg. Flip the egg/toast over and usually your egg ends up with a soft yolk that you dip your toasted circle in and eat it all. I remember that the kids loved it.

Then there is the "Sandy Scrambled Eggs"! That was Jessica's specialty that
she made for 4-H one year. She was about 9 years old, and she had practiced making scrambled eggs for us at home. We had to take pictures of her plate of eggs after she would make them because after a day at the fair some foods would have to be thrown away, and then fair goers could at least see the picture that would be on the shelf with the ribbon that was awarded. This was before digital cameras, so she had to practice making scrambled eggs several weeks ahead of the fair entry day. It would take at least a week for the pictures to get developed. As usual, getting all projects ready for entry day is nerve wracking and can test everyones nerves. That year I was unable to take off work on 4-H entry day, and our friend and neighbor Barb hauled her 3 boys; Jason, Justin, Adam and Jessica over to the County Fair with all of their non animal projects - and she had a car full! This was when her boys and our kids would have anywhere from 10 to 18 projects each!!!!! They needed to get there, unload and get lined up to talk to the judges to explain to the judge about their project. How they made it, what they learned from making it, and if they enjoyed the project, etc.

Our County Fair is about 36 miles from where we live, so once everyone is in their assigned seat and all projects accounted for, off Barb drives! Jessica is sitting in the front seat next to Barb and holding her plate with scrambled eggs. The plate has plastic wrap over it, taped to the bottom. Barb had to brake for some reason, and off the plate the scrambed eggs slid! Onto the floor! The dirty, sandy floor of a farm family van! I can imagine what happened next - Barb trying to keep kids in control and the van too. Stopping to scrape up the scrambled eggs back onto the plate, and to make it presentable! We laugh at this now, but it was devestating for Jessica. She was so nervous because she knew that when the judge was going to judge her project, that the judge was going to taste her scrambled eggs. Jessica remembers that she kept looking at Barb, because she was afraid the judge would bite into the gritty sand and then she'd have to fess up what had happened to the eggs. Well, the Judge didn't pause at all; chewed her bite of eggs and swallowed it. Jessica didn't have to make the choice of fessing up to what happened to the eggs, or to tell her that she had used a lot of pepper on her eggs, (not sand)! Much to Jessica's surprise, her project was awarded a Blue ribbon.

Pig Tales N Trails!

I know Steve and I have talked about some places that we'd really like to see. A road trip - stop when and where ever we felt like it. I think I'd like to that for a month. We'd both have to give and take, because I know that he'd want to stop at hog farms of the many friends that he has met in the years that he has raised hogs and gone to state fairs and national shows. For me, he'd have to be willing to stop at antique shops and state parks - or other things of interest that would come up along the way. Even stop to visit relatives that we haven't seen in years. I'd like to go to the "Grand Canyon", "Yellowstone" and I know we'd both like to get to Alaska some time, and the North East coast/New England area. How we get to these places we haven't planned.

Earlier years my traveling was limited to going with to hog shows occassionally. Several times, we did go as a family, and it was fun, except if anything was done other than being at the hog show, I did it with the kids. No way was he leaving the hog show, which I understand - that's why we went. It was business on his part. But looking back on that now, that's okey. Leah, Stephani, Jessica and I had fun in Milwaukee WI where we went to the zoo and toured the brewery there. Kids thought the underground tunnels were cool and drinking the sample of non alcoholic beer was great! I got the real stuff! I don't have a clue how we did at the hog show - if we had any winners, or sold any for good money.

Another time, Bert Huinker and I had a blast when we ventured out for a day trip to Charleston SC leaving the guys at the hog show inland. Can't even remember the town where the hog show was at. We drove the "pig" truck to the city and parked it and walked all over the streets that had open markets - went on a short tour of old stately houses; saw the first fire station that was built - spent a little money and then as we were walking across a street, I spied a wool, burnt orange colored knee length coat with a fur color on a lady (her back was to us) and called out the name "Susan"! Would you believe, it was none other than Susan Ritts that I'd gone to junior and high school with. I didn't even know that she lived in Charleston. She was on her lunch time, and we visited awhile. Her husband was stationed in the Navy there. Oh what a small world! I'd have known that coat anywhere! Probably because I have a similar one in blue. Think it's still in Georgia's (sister) closet! I remember that I'd bought each of our girls something and bought a couple of hand woven baskets. I wonder if Bert remembers our little trip, and I wonder if Sue still lives there. Now that's a city I'd like to go back to. There was so much there we didn't get to see.

One time Steve and I were alone on a hog trip going through the Appalachian Mountains, and had truck trouble, stopped at a very small gas station. We were really with the hill people. I went inside and there were a two local guys there, already on the two only chairs, so I sat on the old fashion coke bottle machine. (remember the kind were the little old bottles were upright and you slid them to the left to get them out!) Anyway I learned about cremation ashes that night, as these two older men were trying to spook me out with a box of cremation ashes that had been delivered to the station and the relative of the deceased was to pick this box up the next day. They learned about Minnesota. They had never heard of Minnesota! Had no idea where Canada, North or South Dakota was. They knew nothing outside of their little hill billy world. At least the guy that worked there could help Steve get the truck going again. Bet that guy couldn't help these newer vehicles now.

Another time we had Stephani, Jessica and Daryn (nephew) with when we went to a hog show and sale in Indiana. Stephani was on crutches - had broken her ankle or foot. Kids rode in the back of the pickup (that won't happen again) - we had mattresses there and we had a window through to the cab of the truck. The kids had a great time, making sock puppets, singing, being goofy and then swimming in the motel pool (except for Stephani and her cast). I completely missed the hog show because I was watching kids swim.

When we'd go to these out of state hog shows, we would buddy travel with other friends. So there'd be 3 or 4 trucks with stock trailers going down the road together. Stoppng for gas, tail gating with water mellon for everyone, lunches together, and staying at the same motels. It was fun. If you only were going to show a few hogs (say less than 3) you sometimes just had them in the back of the truck that had a topper. One time, a pig lifted the topper door with its snout and fell out. We were behind that truck and that poor little piggy just bounced and rolled down into the ditch. He got up like nothing was wrong - just skinned up a little! Poor thing. Needless to say, they didn't show him or sell him. I'm sure he must have gotten stiff after that little episode.

Men that haul livestock can tell you alot of funny stories of mishaps on the road! We even have a son-in-law and grandson that have a good tale to tell about some 4-H pigs that went for a ride and got out at a intersection when they stopped at the stop sign. The pigs had a good ol time rootin around peoples yards close to that intersection. I think someone forgot to properly latch the trailer door. The guys didn't miss the piggys until they got to the locker plant approx 15 miles down the road. The police had been called by someone and were also out looking for these pigs, so that no one would hit one with a car. Oh, we don't let them forget this - it comes up quite often with alot of laughs! Steven even got rassed at the MN State Fair!

So our family trips have always had extra passengers following behind in the trailer!
We may not have been the traditional family or had traditional family vacations, but they still are fondly remembered. More piggy trip tales another time!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Movie night

Get out the pop corn and cold drinks - settle in and watch a movie!

Jess and I watched a movie tonight that I thoroughly enjoyed. I remember seeing advertisements when it was coming out and knew I wanted to see this one. It starred Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. "New in Town" - a film about a manufacturing plant in New Ulm MN and it portrayed us Minnesotans about as bad as was done in "Fargo"! It was about a large company sending one of their reps to a small town because they are going to restructure this manufacturing plant. Big city girl to small MN town and a bunch of small town, real people. A good entertaining movie.

Jess and I had a few good belly laughs! Especially when the star fell off the porch in a drunken stupor! - I couldn't stop laughing - Jess had to stop the movie to hear about the time I did the same thing. Think it had been a New Years party up at the Kivi's - opened the door, stepped out, fell off the steps and laid in the snow! I don't even remember getting out of the snow - terrible huh? Spose Steve had to help my sorry ass up! Plus he tells me I was sick all the way home - 9 miles. Yuk, that must have been terrible. If it wasn't New Year's, we must have been up there to play cards, etc. We haven't been in that party loop for a long time; maybe it's because I basically don't drink any more. Jess said she hadn't heard that story before. Your kids just don't need to know everything - right?

I could relate to several other things in the movie as well, but don't want to tell you all in case you haven't seen this movie. It was a hoot!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Feelin The Pain

Yesterday Floyd was working on this old John Deere 180 riding mower that had been given to them. I understand it has been a "work in progress" project. Doing something to fix it up each time he uses it. He had already mowed the grass, and I thought it looked really nice, however, he said the belts were loose, blades were cutting uneven & they needed sharpening. Before long, he had pieces of this mower laying all over the car port. Seat was off; the front hood; the mower deck = all off! I was reading a book, and occasionally peeked to see what he was doing! Noticed he had a little trouble getting the blades off (two) and with some lube or WD40; muscle work and a little bad language they finally came off. He had to borrow his fathers power grinder to sharpen the blades and got the job done. The grinder looked like it came over on the Mayflower, with the electric cord so terribly chewed up and worn I was surprised it worked. But it did. Eventually he started putting things back together again, and when he was tightening up one of the blades, the socket slipped off the nut on the top side, and his left hand that had been on the bottom side, of course jumped, hitting the sharp blade. He cut his third middle finger on the top side between the two knuckles above the fingernail - pretty nasty. He ran over to the hose and was running water over the blood coming out, and not looking at it, so I grabbed a clean shop towel and looked at this good sized cut flap telling him "hold this with pressure - I think this needs stitches"! He was starting to get a little sweaty - clammy - and white! So after a cool wet towel to wipe off his sweaty bald head, and telling Jess that I was now taking her hubby to the emergency room -- off we go. But not before taking a few minutes to find the correct insurance card for him to show them. Anyway, we got to the hospital in New Iberia and I waited for him. He got 7 stitches, his finger wrapped in gauze and in a finger guard. He said the worse part was the doctor giving him novicane shots in the finger two times. He didn't watch the doctor do any of this. (boy it's good these guys don't have babies!) I shouldn't give him such a bad time, but he is fun to tease.

After we got home, he did get the lawn mower put back together with the help of his little brother Peter. Peter and Sandra had stopped over to see how Jessica was doing.

He also put a new cord on the grinder - good job! Hope his dad likes that.

Now today I noticed that the mower has a flat front tire! ! ! ! !

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On The Road Again!

Because I was upset with airline rates, I got brave and drove myself 1541 miles, from home in Minnesota, to our youngest daughter's home in Louisiana to spend time with her while she is confined to the couch/lounge chair or bed for the rest of her pregnancy. Actually she has been home and off her feet since Feb, total to be 6 months-with 3 left to go. Due date is Aug 24, 2009. I had flown earlier in Feb and then came home in April. Now she is having more health problems, and I felt the need to be with her -- plus she did want me to come! Jess had been in the hospital earlier in the week with spotting, contractions, etc. Now the doctor says all she can get up for is to go to the bathroom.

My trip was uneventful and the first day I drove 14.5 hours, and the second day 12 hours. I would not have driven myself if I had not had a newer car. Our 2008 Toyota Rav4 drives wonderful and gets great gas mileage. I stayed the night on the SW side of Joplin MO, so it was easy to navigate thru town traffic early the second day. I stayed at a Super 8, and found out that dogs can stay there, so maybe next time I'll bring one of the dogs if I'm traveling alone.

Arrived here at 6 pm on Thursday and found everyone ok, Floyd, Jess, dogs Cora & Jack. Jess had gotten home from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, Floyd's mother Sandra stayed with Jess so that she wasn't alone. When I got here, the dogs were all over me; so must be really happy to have me back!

However, the next morning, Friday June 5th, (Jess's b-day) it was a different story. She wasn't feeling well; backache (which a back rub didn't help), spotting blood, etc. and then ache coming around to the front. We called the doctor and she was told to go to the hospital. So Floyd came home from work and off to Lafayette we went. We got there about 11:45 am and had to register. I get so uptight with registering a patient that is obviously in pain and it took about 15 minutes. I was not very polite in the background. Then the girl was going to have her walk, and Floyd and I got a wheel chair from the lobby and the girl started to wheel her, but Floyd took over when she got the chair jolted on the carpet, and I could see it was not helping poor Jess. Finally got her into a bed and there could only be one person there with her, so I found a waiting room. Doc came in to see her and with urine testing, etc. and checking if baby ok, they determined she probably had kidney stone or stones. Then we went with to do ultrasound on the bladder and that was interesting. We watched it as they checked baby out, tried to see the kidney, but couldn't; and then zoned in on the bladder, and watched the left kidney spill into the bladder, with the color of yellow & red (looked like fire). Watched for over 20 minutes with no action of the right kidney emptying out into the bladder.

She was in a lot of pain, and she'd been given a shot for the pain. Her doctor said she had the option of staying o'nite in the hosp until the stone passes or go home with some pain pills and tough it out at home. So home we go. Got home after 4 pm. Got her settled in and teased her that if she really had wanted drugs for her birthday, we could have done something else besides going to the hospital! The pain pills helped her through the night and Saturday she felt pretty good. Today (Sunday) she is in pain again, so they are moving, but it isn't as bad as Friday. With all the water she is drinking, we are hoping that she will pass the stone soon.

I am very relieved that her little "Renee" wasn't coming into this world just yet. She needs to stay where she is several weeks yet!!!!! And grow bigger and stronger. When Jess was in the hospital this last week, she did get 2 shots to make Renee's lungs stronger in case she comes this early. So we are thankful that Jess and baby are doing fine and will take one day at a time. Hopefully this kidney stone will soon pass!!!!!!!!!!

So comparing the cost of flying one way at $540.00 versus my gas expense of $148.00 and the motel at $62.00; I'm glad I chose to drive. My round trip driving will be cheaper than one way of flying!