Monday, June 30, 2008

Taking Time For Fun!

Tomorrow I am going to take Mike to Rapid City. We need to go to Sam's to stock up on stuff - and it is three hours away.
Now, I HATE to shop, and I hate to leave the farm for any reason. We might go to the Big City (Pop 2800) of Valentine once a week. I have too much to do here and not enough time to do it. Makes me crazy. BUT, if we have to go, we might as well enjoy it, right? So... the Interstate that we access to go to Rapid takes us right past the Badlands. Mike didn't get to go with Tammy and me when we went in March. He has never seen the Badlands. So we are going to take the extra hour and go thru the Badlands, just so he can share our amazement.

Since we get up at 5 around here, we can leave by 6 and get well on our way, and still have plenty of time to goggle like tourists at the sights. The sun doesn't set until 8:30; so 14 hours for a three hour one way trip ought to be enough time to goof off a little! And I won't have to search for Sam's, I know exactly where it is - when we stayed in Rapid, it was off the Interstate, seven blocks from the motel, in a town of 40,000. Sam's is, well, Sam's - it takes me 2 hours to do my shopping there, no matter what. So no 'wasted time' there.

The weather here is still fairly cool, too - highs of 80. The weather won't be like the ice/frost storm that happened the night before the "kids" (Tammy, Thomas our son, and Amanda his wife) and I did our tour Easter Weekend, and it won't be hot and steamy like it is in SC. It should be a pleasant drive - and we're taking the truck; not just because we are getting a LOT but in case we want to do a little off roading. Grin. Love my truck!

I don't really expect crowds. It is funny how people's inclinations change - the Badlands is a long way from everything, and not exactly a fun place for kids to play. Well, younger kids, anyway - my "kids" of 31 and 25 loved it. They were raised to appreciate not only history, but natural history. Hell, I couldn't get them OUT of the Mastodon excavation in the Black Hills; we spent four hours in it alone! Not that I tried too terribly hard to make them go - it amazed and tickled me, too. Better than Disney World for people of our inclinations!

Hope I get some more wildlife pictures, too - the pics of the prairie dogs was simply not enough. Maybe get some shots of the buffalo and antelope. And for Tedward, maybe more weather pics! LOL Although it isn't supposed to storm tomorrow, one never knows in the West just when and where something will pop up...

I am FAR more excited about showing Mike this great countryside than I am about going shopping!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Holy Crap it's COLD!

OK, not really cold - not for here, anyway. It is 60 deg with a 30 mph wind, clear and sunny. But damn! It's an outside sweater day for digging in the garden.

No bugs. Like they could hold on to the fine body hair in this wind!! LOL There's a mental image.
There are no 'sand gnats' even though there is plenty of sand - no noseeums any where at any time. If it ain't a skeeter - and they are tiny here compared to the striped hawks of SC - don't worry, it doesn't bite.

Like yesterday, I'll throw on a hoodie and work til 11, then the sun gets too hot for the sweater and I peel it off and keep working. Since there's no humidity, as long as one stays hydrated, s/he can just keep right on going. In this wind it might be fun to sand down the fence for painting - no sawdust to deal with afterwards! And the paint will dry so fast one has to close the can when one takes a break...

I'll have to transplant that apple tree; it was planted in the shade three years ago and is merely staying alive (without the benefit of the BeeGees or disco). I'll put it in that spot near the cherry tree I just planted last week. My own little protected fruit orchard (I hope) included with the scrounged blackberries put in a very cool flower-shaped tire-retread pot that was left behind. Next spring I am determined to put in gooseberries, too - haven't bit into one in over 20 years, and they are one of my favorite fruits. Maybe even an apricot tree; another one of my favorites.

Planning the greenhouse layout - the underground one with the polyglas one in front - where and what and how much the flats and seeds will cost... gawd it sounds boring but so much fun and so interesting for me.

Gotta get cracking this AM - I bought 5 lbs of Blueberries to make minimuffins for the town picnic on Saturday. Yes, an Independence Day picnic that everyone attends and brings something extra to share, rather than expecting everything to be provided for them. They don't require entertainment or "something for my children to do"other than the fireworks show put on by the fire department - they just take the day and use it to hang out and enjoy each others' company. Of course, Friday night - the actual 4th - there is a demolition derby and fireworks show at the county fairgrounds in Valentine.

Every time I turn a corner around here I expect to see Norman Rockwell sitting there, painting... So muffins first, pop them into the freezer, then into the yard again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jackass Love

OK, had a busy day planned again today; and, as usual, something interrupted. Lake wandered up this morning - very unusual; she usually comes up in the evenings.

But this time she had a surprise for me. She didn't look too pleased about it either. Seems she had picked up an admirer...

He was following her around, and shall we say that his passion was very self-evident? Now, this sorta reminded us of the time when our Chihuahua Wolfie fell in love with our Spitz, Prissy... a lot of unrequited love (we thought) until Prissy ended up pregnant. All we could figure was that Wolfie had found a stepladder. Not much chance here - we hope - Lake is a 26 year old mare, and, well, there are no stepladders in the pasture.

Still, there he was, passionately trailing her, making advances, and narrowly avoiding her disgruntled hooves. Where did he come from? There goes my morning, shot in the ass, as I now have to go put on my boots and walk the fence line to find out where the little jackass got in. Dammit.

So I go down to the west gate. This gate backs onto the westernmost road in town; I was hoping he was a townie ass, and didn't come from the property that backs up to our back forty. Lake likes to hang out at the West gate; I don't know why. Sure enough, there in a backyard was the prettiest little jenny, looking at me and crying. Her man had left her alone. I walked down the shared fence line and found the spot where the little jack had wormed through; he had even left a knot of his mane on the barbed wire. So I called Mike on the walkie, and he drove down to the gate with his wire and fence cutters. We repaired the fence. The whole time little jenny was crying next to us, seeking comfort. Lake and her ass were nowhere in sight, but we fixed the fence. I left a note on the door of the house that was in front of the yard, telling them about their ass, and that we had fixed the fence and they could get him any time. I hope that they get home soon and take the little jack off.

He is wearing a halter. If they come back together this evening for supper, I'll close the corral gate and snag him with a longue line and walk him home. Little ass took two hours out of my day, and probably ruined Lake's!!

ROFL Ok, this was too funny NOT to share. But every word of it is true, I swear!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

There was a Shooting Last Week

And the whole county is up in arms, trying to find the perpetrator. An innocent, harmless young mother was shot and killed, for no reason that anyone can see, leaving her poor young baby to fend for itself. It is in the paper and on the radio, and rewards are being offered, and folks are asking their kids to keep an eye out, and more folks are riding the roads in the evening, looking to catch this totally inexplicable killer and to keep him from killing again.

Oh, did I mention the murder victim was an antelope? Yes, shooting an animal out of season - especially a mother in the spring - is a serious crime here. It is not tolerated - not by adults, not by teens, not by anyone. The perp will do jail time. Several people have been heard to say what they would like to do to him before they have him formally arrested. Life and the taking of it is serious. You might not think so, when you see the hunters come out this fall - but that's different. I can't even imagine what they would do to a person who killed another person here - these people all have guns and a healthy respect for what they can do. I wonder if s/he would even make it to trial. That said, it DID used to be a wild town and a wild county, but that was a long time ago, and folks are more or less calmer now. Peerhaps its because there are so few of them, and they depend on each other more here than in other places.

Well, we are getting close to the end of the unpacking; some stuff is being repacked in different boxes - like surprise! - Christmas stuff found in with the board games. How did THAT get THERE? So now we have empty boxes that, as we unpack the last 20 or so, are getting things tossed into them. Winter coats and woollies getting mothballed into tubs and storage closets. Finally we got the front room with the bay window emptied down to just the things we wanted in there. Next step - put up the vignette for the bay window. Well, of course, it will change for Halloween - lightup ghosts, pumpkins, and ceramic moons - and for Christmas - the Winter Village with the train running through it. But for the summer... Aw, well, you know I HAD to do it...

After all, Mike has found himself a chess partner in this town already; might as well make it fun. I made that set for him seven years ago, and he has never used it. So now the Nawth and the Souf sit armed and ready for battle atop Fort Sumter in our bay window. And the picture of Scarlett at Melanie's party behind it just adds that special note, don't you think? How grateful I am to Glenn McConnell, an old friend and history buff, who helped me get the 'knights' right for the Nawth. Who else but General Custer? Grant and Lee were easy for the opposing bishops, of course, but I was stuck on the Nawth... just didn't think about Custer.

Just a little bit TIC today... all day long... Grin.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pictures and Participation

I can't help it; the sky here is so changeable and amazing, I have to post the pics.

This was the morning of June 18th; the sky was going to storm, but the sun was determined to come up anyway.

This was this evening at Merritt Reservoir; I went there today for my first meeting of the Jackrabbit Society of the Sandpainters - an artist's colony in the heart of the Sandhills. What an eclectic group! There is a potter in the group, and even though she is West-Coast educated (which means our styles and approaches are VERY different), we hit it off immediately.

A very different third Thursday from what I am used to. No makeup, no heels, everyone in jeans and talking about things that really mattered to them - teaching art in the schools, the three tornadoes last night that hit Ainsworth, the rain and cool weather and what it has done to crops, painting light, shading, and color and negative space interpretation, and the various life stages of butterflies and spawning of fish (of which two of them had copious pictures on their laptops). Trumpeter swans caught on a lake in a sudden snowstorm. Using masking tape to guide one's painting of trees, to make the bark outlines more rough and natural-looking. How to do batik and silk painting on greenware and bisque.

The schools here are very different; volunteers teach art and drama and literature and other things - and the kids are eager, sign up to come to school early, stay late, or come to the school on weekends (at their own expense) to take the classes and be a part of the groups. All this and they still help out to maintain the family businesses or ranches, or rodeo, ride and train their horses to barrel-race or rope and tie cattle, in the afternoons and evenings and on the weekends as well.

Quite a few differences in many things, not just the scenery and the topography. I've already been signed up as the drama coach for the high school across the street when school starts again; a local nurse has written a Halloween play she wants us to put on... and yes I am getting involved again. But this time it isn't just one or two people putting forth effort for the parents who don't show up except to complain, or the kids who couldn't care less about their own lives and futures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chilly Morning

The weather report says "fog" - well, if you want to call a blowing rain and quietly rumbling thunderstorm blowing in from the North, "fog", I guess you can. If you are the Weather Channel or Weather Underground! 57 degrees and windy this AM. High today only in the 70's. We don't normally get storms from the direct North, except in winter, supposedly, but it has been weird weather this year for everyone. It can't flood where we are - between living in a bunch of hills, and the sandy ground, the water dissapates swiftly. But it should be in the 80's this week, and it isn't. A lot of gardens have just given up - too chilly and too much rain.

Imagine living in 'flyover' country, where the planes are so high you never see them, not even their contrails. It was so quiet last night that the ceiling fan in the next room was making a 'click, click' sound - softly, not aggravatingly, but it was the only sound. We walked the dogs last night at 10 AM, and the full moon was glorious - surrounded by wispy clouds and a large cumulonimbus bank underneath that just glowed. Paul was coming home late, and stopped his truck to chat a minute. The few streetlights we have in town don't disrupt the black sky, full of odd sized 'pinholes' of stars.

I must have taken hundreds of pics of the sky here; it seems close enough to touch, and changes constantly. One minute it is dank and cool with a deep fog rolling across the hills - the next, the sky is clear bright blue, and the sun is burning every drop away. The other morning, the leaves were black against a red and gold sky. Sunrise is just as magnificent as sunset.

Found some fire ants - the big ones - yesterday evening in the overgrown garden we just recently, finally mowed. Need to get some poison quick - don't want those buggers ruining my garden. The seeds I planted last week are already popping their heads up; I want to rototill the garden and get things started. A little late but the weather has been just too wet and cold - like an early spring elsewhere. They had snow the first week in MAY, here, after all!

Yesterday was a long day; took Mike in to get him registered with the local docs, renew his meds, get them to do bloodwoork and so forth. I had met the PhyAssistant when Tammy and I were here in March and she had her migraine. He was very professional then, and yesterday too. We are off to a good start.

Sasha demanded to go out with me yesterday evening to meet Lake. She is fascinated by horses; can't figure out what they are. Large dogs? Prey? Playmates? So she was in the corral with me when Lake came in for supper. They both stopped, and stood, and stared, and sniffed for several minutes. Lake snorted, Sasha jumped, and Lake fled the corral, stopping outside the gate. I took Sasha out and left Lake to her supper. Sasha is still not sure what Lake is... and I don't think Lake has ever seen such a big dog before!

It is supposed to rain here today, off and on all day. I prefer to garden in the rain; makes weeding and watering so much easier. So I am off to begin my day... a lot longer day than when I worked for others, because now I am doing it for ME. No one else. By the time sunset comes around at 8:30 tonight, I'll have put 12 hours in...

I got up at six and went to Photobucket and made a movie of our property - from the next-to-the-last hill, I did a 360 deg circle. Everything you see in the movie is our property; except of course the water tower for the town. We are directly in line with it and go backfrom there, outside of town and around it. Then there are some shots of the house, too... if you are interested...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well, I've Been Pretty Busy

I'm still unpacking, still arranging, still figuring out where everything will go. Some things I knew before they were ever packed exactly where I wanted them to be; other things - well, when you move from a 1,000 sq foot home to a 1750 sq foot home, the choices are endless! My only question is - how did I fit all of this stuff in that first house to begin with?

Our daughter is busily redoing the old house to suit her and her boyfriend. She and I call and IM each other; she tells me of all of the new color choices and designs she is instilling, what she is doing to the yard (putting in a LAWN! Imagine that!) - what she is doing at work, etc.

I went Sunday to a graduation party for one of my new friend's daughters. While there, I met the Community Development Director for the county. He was so amazed to find someone, especially a newcomer, who spoke his language! We chatted for two hours. He was thrilled to discover that Mike and I are not merely retiring, we are starting a real business, have real goals and a real plan. Gotta admit it was fun - but I was glad to get back home. Lots of work still to be done.

The rain, thunderstorms, and tornado warnings have finally stopped. Please, folks, don't worry - where we have located doesn't get the tornadoes normally; the topography is too hilly and is not conducive for anything but wind... lots and lots of wind! Today it was a lovely 73 degrees, with 37% humidity and a 20 MPH wind. Brisk and sweet with the smell of growing things, the breeze blew over me in the yard as I hung clothes on the line, blew into the basement as I worked down there unpacking and getting the rooms set up for their purposes. The wind blows here all of the time... few people even have air conditioning.

Got so much to do that I don't have time to chat much... the phone never rings unless it is a relative. And the silence and stars at night are peaceful and glorious. I work from sunup to sundown every day, just like everyone else around me. Occasionally we go down to the Hub and sit and talk with our new neighbors, east supper and popcorn, have a few drinks, and drive the three blocks back home. We would walk but of course Mike can't... so we drive.

The word 'idyllic' comes to mind... except somehow I always thought that idyllic circumstances wouldn't leave me quite so tired! LOL