Saturday, March 19, 2005

Remembering Dad

I am thinking of Dad today. It was a year ago that he died. I have not dreaded this date, nor did I actually remember this was the exact day until I checked the obituary. I knew Dad was very sick on St. Patrick’s Day. It is just that I prefer to remember him on his birthday, Mom’s birthday, Christmas, planting, harvest, black walnut harvest-- anytime his spirit is with me.

Dad was nearly 96 when he died. His age was a source of pride for him because he did not look nor act his age. He had a lot of friends. I often wondered if he kept notes somewhere and studied up before family came to visit because he always knew the right questions to ask. And, ask questions he did. Visits were about what we were doing. That is not to say he didn’t have a hard time with growing old and loosing physical abilities, but he never lost his interest in family, friends and the farm. Of course, with that interest, he had lots of advice on how things should be done and pretty much believed his way was the right way. As I grow older I find often it is.

Growing up on a farm is a unique experience as far as relationships with parents. Dad was always around so we saw a lot of him. Of course, often that was working with him, not playing. I don’t remember Dad throwing balls, just hay bales. I don’t remember Dad at picnics, but sitting by the grain truck at harvest with fried chicken, potatoes, fresh green beans and pie. I don’t remember lying by the pool getting a tan, but hours on the tractor, in my swimsuit, baling hay with Dad yelling at me from the trailer to pay attention and quit stopping and starting so fast.

If there is one trait of my Dad that I hope I have inherited is the ability to laugh long and loud. Dad had a temper, no doubt about that, but we always knew that he got over it and we would hear that laugh again. It was only about two weeks before he died that he got so tickled about something that he laughed until he cried. Now, that I truly miss.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Smoky Hills

The burning has started. As I drive my route, I can look just about any direction and see smoke. There are many native grass pastures in our area and unless they have been heavily grazed through the winter, most are burned between now and the middle of April. It is a beautiful sight to drive I 70 through the Flint Hills at night and see the meandering lines of fire moving over the rolling hills.

Fire is a powerful force. We have native grass pastures we burn each year. They are small acreages but it is still a time of concern. We live over 20 miles from the high rise KU dorms, but it was students from the top rooms that called 911 one year. They thought it was a wild fire according to the police. Another year a motorist at least ten miles away called the fire department. The township fire truck arrived with sirens, volunteers and water truck. Even though our county does not require a burn permit, we have learned to call everyone when we plan to burn.

It is interesting to watch the process of starting the fires. Dan soaks an old pair of jeans in diesel fuel, hooks them with a wire to the back of an ATV, lights the jeans and takes off across the pasture. There is the “line of fire.” Of course we always back burn into the wind near our pine trees and buildings that are too close to the dry grass. We start the fire close to the trees and let it burn away from the trees and into the wind. Then when you start the entire pasture, it can burn with the wind and will not blow fire into the trees.

Before the Great Plains were settled and broken there were huge expanses of grass that burned often started by lightening. I cannot imagine how it would feel to be out on those plains with a family in a wooden wagon, all worldly possessions, with the tall native grasses all around and see smoke and glow in the distance.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Once again I had a long list of things to do this evening. At the top was to fill out my NCAA bracket. I am putting that off because I can't decide if Kansas is going to kick it in or fall to North Carolina.

It is the music that really got me side tracked, though. As many of you know, the first of February we visited friends in Phoenix. I took lots of great pictures and am putting them on a CD. It is fun to pick music to play over the pictures. I found that Buy.Com lets you listen before downloading. That is a time consuming deal.

The songs I am considering are: By the Time I Get To Phoenix (I can't decide if I should go with a Floyd Cramer piano version or the classic Glen Campbell), Recollection Phoenix by Willie Nelson, Desert Blues by Leon Redbone (a favorite of mine), Walk Don't Run by the Ventures (just because I know Kayzie would like it), and possibly Desert Rose by Sting. I was thinking there is a song by Neil Young called Desert Highway or something like that, but I can't find it. Any suggestions for a desert or Phoenix song are appreciated. Nothing is set yet and I probably have around 10 minutes of pictures.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Beaver feeling the fever Thanks Chip
Posted by Hello

Knock Knock
Posted by Hello

Spring Fever

Spring is less than a week away. We are starting to call every odd behavior "spring fever." Last week our Boxer, Skye, (the one on my web page) and our kid's, Belle, decided to take off for an adventure--two different days. It was thanks to a kind neighbor that they didn't end up at the dog pound as they were two miles down the road. The next day I saw two dogs in the field three miles from home--sure enough the wayward Boxers again. This is the first time they have ever left our place. They are spayed females so the only explanation is Spring Fever.

I am posting several pictures Chip has taken recently. It seems our Boxers aren't the only animals enjoying the longer, warmer days and feeling the spirit.

I'm Back!

We live in the country. This is not news for family and friends. It is an explanation of why I have such a hard time with the internet. I used dialup for a number of years, but since we live so far out it was a very slow connection. Last fall my neighbor convinced me a satellite dish was the answer.

The satellite has been wonderful! Once it is set up, it isn't that much more expensive than cable or dsl. The problem is Starband changed satellites and my dish needed to be repointed. It just took time to get that done. I am now good to go! It did make me realize again the wonderful age we live in--where I can sit down here and have a little instrument pointing at the sky and it is connecting with a orbiting satellite & in the process sending and receiving my computer messages.

I have lots of things to post--I hope I haven't completely lost my friends that checked in with me. Later this evening I will post some wonderful pictures.