Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Morrow Bloggers!

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we invited about thirty relatives to the farm. We had a lot of children here. I guess all of us were children that day. It was grand. We made a bon fire to sit around and work on. It's amazing how many men it takes to keep an open fire burning correctly. Some of us watched Nebraska unexpectedly beat Colorado on TV. I asked one of the children late in the day what he had done. He said he rode a horse, shot a bow and arrow, shot a shotgun at blue rock, shot a pistol at a Lincoln NE telephone book, ate 2 hotdogs and 3 s'mores. He was worn out and I'm guessing the smile is still on his face. If I had known they were having that kind of fun outside, I should have stayed out there.
The picture, you ask? Well it took about 40 hotdogs and so we loaded the contraption in the picture up with 20 dogs twice and then we all stood and gave cooking tips to the one who was doing the actual holding of the dogs.
The picture is of "The Kill". The men you will recognize as having links on my blog. On the left is Dan. (my son) Next is Marty. Marty is my nephew and Blog Father. Marty started all of this cursed blogging in the Morrow Clan. Next is me, Cliff. The good looking one on the right, Ralph, is not actually a blood Morrow but was recently adopted by the family for being a friend to humanity, and darned handy to have around. That's the story we've told him anyway. Really we wanted his lovely wife in the family and thought about how embarrassing this would end up being if we didn't include him.
So this is a special edition of blogs. Please drop by the others and see if their version of the same picture is better than mine.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Last Friday

I've always lived here on the farm. Part of my years were spent up the lane at the smaller house and the rest here at the home place.
When Mom and Dad invited everyone here for Thanksgiving and other holidays, my siblings and their children would come. At least the ones who could make it. The group usually ended up at about 40 people.
A niece and nephew, who used to come and spend the day on the farm back in those days, are no longer with us.
Both have been killed in car wrecks. The passing of my niece was oh so sad in that she was home on Christmas break from her first year at college. She didn't get to experience what those of us who have grown old, have gotten to taste of. She would have made a great Citizen, Wife, and Mother and Grandmother and the list is endless.
The other, who is no longer with us is Marty's brother Steve. Most of you know how recent that was.
We met at Marty's parents in town on Thursday and came out to the farm on Friday. It seemed surreal. The activities were the same as the old days but the kids from way back when,, brought their own kids. Steve's kids were here along with their Mother.
Marty's family and his Sister and family were here. Our good friends from Colorado were here.
I guess there is no organized group of thoughts here. Just some points. My parents, aunts, uncles, a niece, a nephew, all exited this world, and yet we go on. We must.
Can we be Thankful! YES. Even though Steve couldn't be here on the farm, he sent a couple of replacements. The next generation. Excellent young adults who have been so positively influenced by Mom and Dad, that I have no doubt as to their successful outcome. Steve was so young to have made such a huge mark on life. His accomplishments were far reaching and so very worthy of note. His greatest achievement however, came to the farm Friday along with their Mother. I look at my children and all of my nieces and nephews, and their children, and the farmer in me can say without reservation, "it looks like a bumper crop on the way".
I gain a great deal of pleasure and sense of calm knowing things will continue 'on course' well into the future, with or without me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Light In The Kitchen Is On
By Cliff Morrow

As children we'd rise, when first we were called,
Our life back then wasn't charmed.
We'd stretch, and scratch our way down the stairs
Time for chores out here on the farm.

We'd turn to the left, and then down the hall,
To the bathroom, relief met us there.
Then a bend at the waist, and a splash on the face
As our reflection came up, we just stared.

Then it was back down the hall, we squinted a bit
The smells were both subtle and bold.
The bacon sizzled, the coffee perked
"Hurry up or the eggs'll get cold".

I often think back, on Novembers of yore
Filled with the good smells at dawn.
That drew us down stairs in anticipation
To where the light in the kitchen was on.

Soon after school, on cold winter nights,
We'd head to the barn to do chores.
To 'pail' the cow, and feed the sows,
We were frozen right down to the core.

Inside it was warm, where a pie had been born,
And Mom pounded steaks so tender.
And diced potatoes to swim with some peas,
Oh the smells that woman could render.

We'd leave the barn, milk pails in hand,
The warmth and our daylight were gone.
To the welcome sound of silverware spread,
For the light in the kitchen was on.

I now live in that house, it's been fifty plus years,
Since I first had occasion sit,
And dine on the food that was second to none,
It wasn't fancy, with candles lit.

Mom just knew how to cook, and make folks feel welcome,
It's an art that's been lost by most..
Sometimes without warning, visitors would come,
"Have you eaten"? She'd ask as their host.

We've since raised our family on that same fertile farm,
They too have been heirs to good food.
We've gathered together around table spread,
With love, that's well understood.

The kids have moved on and so has life,
And the chilly winds still blow at dawn.
But I smile to myself, when I look at the house,
And the light in the kitchen is on.

I wrote this a while back and have been saving it for Thanksgiving. We are thankful for many things and hope you are as well. Have a Blessed day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I love the internet. I just got my email this morning. In just three emails, I got very exciting news.
One, I can buy a cream that will eliminate wrinkles and sags. I keep my wrinkles 'filled out' but I sure do have sags. Only $35 for a month supply.
Two, I can get another credit card. Man, finally, someone offering a low interest credit card.
Three, is some kind of pill that will grow body parts by two inches in a month.... I have been thinking of getting bigger ears. But, what if there's some kind of trouble and the wrong thing gets longer by mistake. That's exactly what I was thinking, my nose is already too big.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Holiday Gone Bad

I'm inviting the bloggers who read here, to give us your best, Holiday Gone Bad story. Here's my first.
About ten years ago we invited relatives to Thanksgiving dinner here on the farm. We probably had twenty invited. My bride was going to be in Denver with her family and so I was going to entertain 20 people and run the kennel.
The plan was to smoke one fifteen pound turkey and bake one.
I was up and at it early. I needed to put the two turkeys on and get to the kennel to do about 45 minutes worth of chores and get back to watch the turkeys and work in the kitchen. What a great day. I love Thanksgiving.
I was set with the smoker. Water, chips, rack, turkey, put the lid on and plugged it in. (it's electric)
It kinda sounded like someone was welding underneath the bird. The heating element burned in two. Butterball, we have a problem. What to do?? I'll put it on the grill. Good thinking. I used a lot of coals. No time to mess around outside with all that company. Okay, coals on one side of the Weber, turkey on the other. The recommended 'indirect heat' method. (The pamphlet comes with every grill)
I went to the house and slid one turkey in an oven bag, and put it in the oven.
I went to the kennel. Did 45 minutes worth of chores in, oh, about an hour and ten minutes and raced back home to make sure the coals hadn't gone out. They hadn't.
Note:Cut back on the coals, or air, or something.
The turkey was done. One hour and fifteen minutes. It had diminished in size a bit. Okay, at least the bones hadn't fallen thru the rack.
Note: a fifteen pound turkey will yield approximately six pounds of jerky when cooked in this fashion.
Now how to keep it warm for three hours while waiting for dinner. Note: if I open a restaurant, as I've always wanted to, I need to work on timing.I took the jerky to the house, where the relatives are starting to get up. I try to act like I'm in control. The next 3 hours are spent putting my finger in various dikes that had sprung leaks. Finally dinner time was near and the turkey in the oven in that new fangled oven bag surely must be done. It was. As a matter of fact, it had apparently gotten done about the same time as the one outside, three hours ago. I slit the bag open to discover what looked like an archeological find. My proud robust turkey was done. So were the bones. It stood at least 3 inches tall in the pan.
Note: When Marilyn's going to be gone over a holiday, practice the following line, "I'd love to come over, can I bring anything"?
This is why men always cook the meat. We can't handle the other forty things our wives usually do and cook the meat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yes Deer

About 2 years ago, we had to cut down the last 10 cottonwoods, (circa 1917) that surrounded our house, . We've spent a lot of time and money and water on their replacements this summer. It's been a record long, hot, dry summer. The trees made it thru the summer, lost their leaves, and have wet soil to sit in going into winter. Success, UNTIL whitetail breeding season. Two nights ago, a buck apparently came to visit our yard. The fifty acres of trees and forty acres of wetlands, on our farm, isn't BIG enough for him. He comes to our yard and rubs the bark from one of our young red maples. From the bottom up about four feet, bare, on a six foot tree. He was marking his territory. He doesn't know it's already mine. The tree will die. So hopefull will the deer.
The deer take the first thirty feet of our fields, fine. They get hit by our cars because they stand there like deer in the headlights. (sorry) They eat big holes in fields and then lay down to make a mini-crop circle. But this is war.
I have eaten venison. It is okay but I'd rather have some sort of beef. For this reason i've always said I don't hunt deer, because I was always afraid I might get one. These 'timber rats', as I call them, are very destructive. They all have twins and many have triplets.
All of this brings me to the joke of the day. What do you call a deer with no eyes??
Answer: No eye dear.
My favorite sound, a knock at the door. "Mr Morrow, would it be okay to hunt deer on your place"? "Yes, but I have a new policy, shoot two and pick one". Oh lighten up folks. I'm just trying to cut my herd to about two hundred.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Veterans Day

Friday evening there was a Veterans Day program in our little town. About four to five hundred people filled our auditorium. The reason they all came, was to witness a production of Bob Brodersons Diary. Bob is a highly regarded local farmer, who by the way, has had to reside in a 'care home' for the past couple of years, and who had piloted 37 missions over enemy territory in World War II. The Brodersons, (pronounced as broaderson)are an old Burt County family and you'll not find their enemies here. There aren't any that I know of.
The show consisted of period songs sung by a quartet, mixed with readings from the diary he kept during the war. An actor played his part. They carried on five or six large black and white photos of him from the combat zone, during the show.
When he went over, he was promised that all he had to do was fly twenty five missions, and he could go home. When he was more that half way to that number, they extended the number to thirty. At about the twenty five mark they extended the missions to thirty three. When he got over thirty missions flown, his commanding officer 'asked' him if he would fly four more missions out of Russia. "No hard feelings if you won't". Part of his crew were to finish with him, and part needed the flights out of Russia to finish. His crew begged him to fly with them so they could all get done together. They had no desire to fly with someone else. So he did. They finished.
There is no bravado in the diaries. There is none in Bob's life. He is plain spoken, quiet, and if you'd ever talked with him you'd get the idea he hadn't done anything in particular worthy of note in his life except to raise a fine family and become a good farmer. In my book, both worthy of note in these times.
The diary just told of the struggle of keeping a B-17 bomber in the air that was continually being shot at and hit. It told of the planes from his squadron they lost nearly everytime they went out. Of constantly being under attack as they flew. Of one of his buddies who began as the pilot but had a sort of mental melt down and couldn't take-off or land the plane anymore.
Of he and his buddies who had a job to do and just did it. Of the first plane they lost. "She was a good ship" Bob said. Of some humorous things that happened like the night he and buddy won a lot of money playing poker and bought a horse and buggy to take back to the base. These same two dated a couple of local gals from near the base in England. Only to find out they were dating a mother-daughter combo.
We laughed with him as he tried to divert his mind while off duty, we struggled with him to endure all of those missions he detailed so eloquently, and we cheered and cried for joy when the plane crossed the channel into English territory after the thirty seventh mission. He described the jubilation in the plane as they shook up a bottle of beer and sprayed it around. He wrote that it was the end of what he knew would be a part of his life he would never forget.
In the end he simply wanted to come home to Burt County and farm. He did.
A lot of his friends never made it back to America alive.
The frail little man was there in a wheelchair. I'm not sure he knew why he was there, but we did. He represents the men from Burt County, from Nebraska, and our Nation,who went to battle, in this war and others. Without these plain spoken heros, America doesn't survive. Thanks to you Bob, and to all the others. We too must never forget that part of Bob's life.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sweeps Week

A combination of Rachel feeding birds in 'Just Call Me a Knothead', and Paul asking us to rerun some of our favorites, has started me down this road. I'm going to rerun one of my favorites from last January in an attempt to get in the running with Paul AND maybe get you to look back thru the archives at what was shakin before you met me. From last January, here's Birdseed.
Ralph's latest blog about "it wasn't funny at the time" got me to thinking about an incident that happened in our home when my youngest son was still attending high school. Like now, we had bitterly cold temps and the ground was covered with snow.
It was supper time (dinner time to you city slickers), I was in my Lazy Boy reading the paper when my wife walks in, half frozen, but gleefully holding a large, empty birdseed sack. She dangled it a while and I said "what". She said,"I felt so sorry for the poor birds that I bought this big bag of birdseed and all the way from the highway to our house, (some 7 miles), I kept throwing out a handful at a time, all the way to here. Ten pounds, gone". I thought that it sounded like a noble and generous thing to do for these little creatures. Not something I would do, because I think that as a farmer, I already scatter corn and bean millings and weed seed over a thousand acres. I not only support the birds but about 250 head of deer. Her effort was never the less, noble.
Thirty minutes later, my son drove in from basketball practice. He burst through the door, slammed it and half yelled, "Stupid Birds"! I lowered my paper and said "What"?
He said, "they wouldn't move tonight, they always move when a car comes along, it's like they all decided to die today". "I must have hit 10 of them"!
I said, "go find your Mom, I think she's in the basement, she'll want to hear this story". He went down, and then they both came up and entered the living room and stared at me like this was somehow my fault. I lowered my paper and said "what"?
Today, you will find the birdseed in two large feeders, in our yard. It wasn't funny at the time, but, well... yeah, it was funny at the time, that's why they both came up to stare at me. I was laughing. Okay, I'm a sick person.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Driver. Story Below!

Dragon Slayer

My Grandson above, is as big hearted as they come. You couldn't make him say anything bad, about anyone else. He overheard Grandma once, who was looking in a mirror at the time, say she "looked auwful". He immediately jumped up and got in her face to scold her. "Grandma you are pretty, don't say that".
He's a big kid. He's a first grader who looks like one of the fourth graders. That will get you picked on at school because you look big and tough but your mind is still only 7 years old. Eye-hand coordination is just now starting to take off. I'm his male influence here on the farm and we've been working on trying to ride a bike. All of his classmates have been for a year now. We've had a lot of obstacles to overcome. The threat of stitches, if you fall over, being one of the leading ones. And of course whether or not stitches really hurt when they're put in.
We had maybe ten sessions. It started out hopeless. But after about a month of alternately trying and then letting it rest a few days,, SUCCESS!!! All he needed to do now was practice.
I was working on a tractor last evening. It was just about dark but I looked up to see him over by the barn riding this way for a bit, and that way for a bit. He was getting good.
He'd gotten off the bus last night in a bad mood because of what an older kid had said to him. But after doing something he'd never been able to do before, ride his bike, he was on cloud nine. I took him home for dinner. He jumped in the car. Clicked his belt without being told and asked, "Where we goin Granpa?" "Your Mom wants you home for dinner now". Big smile now "Yeah, pizza, I can't wait to tell Mom about riding my bike". He continued, "I like your daughter,,,she's my Mom."
He jumped out and started to the house skipping. I'd never seen him do that. It's hard to break into a big smile and still have tears running down your face.
Yesterday I had chaired a county meeting that was packed with concerned and some agitated citizens. It was the end of a lengthy process we had started to change our zoning and increase economic developement. The meeting had me worried for weeks and it turned out the way we had hoped. Possibly the most important thing to take place in my first four years as a supervisor. A major milestone. But however important that meeting and the events leading up to it were, they pale in comparison to seeing my Grandson on his bike. He slayed a lot dragons that day the bike finally stayed up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Day is Done

The Nebraska plains. Weeds and dust rejoice in this 'sailors delight'. OR it so dang dry the earth itself may be on fire. (It's really hard for me to wax poetic for more than a line.)

Blogger of the Week

This is my new weekly, and possibly never to be seen again, Blogger of the Week feature. This week RACHEL has been nominated, seconded, and after a bit of discussion, has been elected. She is faily new to the blogging world (or at least this blog is) and meets my standards of a good blogger. She pays attention and isn't just diving around for readers. You can bet I look forward to her comments and she is interesting to read. She follows the discussion from blog to blog and is very clever. The best part is where she lives, it's a lovely area near a lake, I know that, not because I've been there but because I read her blog. You'll be missing one of life's pleasures if you don't start reading Rachel. Good job girl.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


For those of you faithful readers who got so worried about my wife Marilyn when that young lady came for a sales call, I have a message. Really an analogy.
Marilyn didn't mind me meeting with this sweet young thing for the same reason she would let me stop at a Ferrari dealer in Kansas City. Even though I couldn't afford one payment and I certainly would never fit behind the wheel, she'd pat me on the head and say "you go look at your cute little car, I'll just wait here in this Dodge Caravan until you're ready to go home".

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Someone's Gotta Do It

Yesterday, I was discing and also helping my brother who was cleaning and winterizing my combine. I had told him that Cargill was sending a 'grain merchandizer' out to go over some of my old contracts and sign me up with some new ones. I said "It's just something I have to do every year".
I hung around helping Ed because the meeting was here on the farm at 9:30.
The meeting happened and went well. We talked about the future movement in the basis, the corn futures, and a lot of subjects I don't understand completely. I listened but it was hard to concentrate. This merchant has a wealth of information and easily swamps my brain when the talk turns technical.
Did I mention it was hard to concentrate. Did I mention the grain merchant was a young lady. Did I mention she looks like Kelly Ripa of Regis and Kelly fame. Did I mention she could be Kellys 'better looking' little sister.
I think I retained some of what she said.
We stood in front of her SUV with papers spread over the hood. After she left I heard my brother waggle his head and mumble "just somthing I have to do every year".

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Pane

I've posted a picture or two of myself. Most of you know I'm,, well, "fully developed" as a suit salesman tactfully once said. So tell me why, the one fly in the house, can't see me. It's as though I were a pane of glass. Invisible.
The only light in the house, is on, here in the office. It's past my bedtime. I'm ready to write something witty, and bam. Attack of the housefly. He's trying to fly through me. He hits me in the cheek, nose, ear, forehead, gets behind the lens on my glasses, then tries my lips. I swat, regain my train of thought, then round two. Last night I got so angry I started trying to swat him in mid air. I think I tore a rotator cuff AND knocked my glasses off and they hit the fax machine before they hit the floor. I've seen flies act this way in a window. WARNING TO FLIES AND MICE. Build your own %#@%& house to get into in the fall.
Any guesses on why our wire handled fly swatters have bent handles? I suppose picking on a fly makes me a bully. But while I may still have the strength, I'm going to continue trying to drive them thru tables and chairs. I've never done it yet. But I'll keep trying. If flies could communicate, they'd say the same thing my kids used to tell their friends. "Just don't make him mad".

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hey Grandma, get your face down here real close

The Kids in Kansas

I have some young friends that I haven't had occasion to meet yet. I will meet them someday, I am confident. My nephew Marty got me started reading them. They are John and Terah Goerzen from Kansas. Marty and John worked together at one time. Terah blogs about many and varied topics. She's a social worker, and her husband John is a geek. At least by Terah's standards. I can't tell you what John does for a living. Not because it's Top Secret, but because farmers can't explain this kind of stuff. He works with computers and programming. Go take the GEEK TEST on Johns site. I scored 2.something.
John probably isn't a geek as I think of them. He is able to talk down on my level. Some of John's blogs go right over my head however. When I say right over my head I mean I never even saw it, it was going so fast. John is famous in the computer world. (google John Goerzen)
My point here is John gets lots of readers on his blog because of his expertise. He has a 'reads' meter on each blog and when he writes stuff I can understand it may only hit 100 reads, most of his tech stuff gets hundreds and one I saw got up over 5000 reads just on one blog. Check them out. You'll enjoy.