Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shopping For Dessert

Update to this post: When we awoke this morning it was to the sound of very high winds, 1 inch of snow, and it was 2 degrees. The mud has disappeared.
We attended a cub scout cake auction last night. We drove thru rain and 2 " deep mud. The mud on our country roads was exactly 2 inches deep because that's how far down it had thawed. So we've got 14 miles of mud out and back, and 10 miles of pavement out and back. To buy a cake.
Our red Grand Caravan is now brown. We have two other white Grand Caravans that are now brown. We have a silver/gray Chevy pickup that is now brown. The cake we bought was white.
If you purchase a cake and pay more than fifty dollars for it, it's okay to pull a knife and plastic fork out and begin eating.
We did. We passed it around. We gave the person we outbid a piece. We sent the rest home with the Grand kids.
A good time was had by all.
On the way home Dan called from Lincoln. I said hello and he said, "today we have just hit a new low in the long and storied life of the Morrow Family." You would be surprised how many subjects can run through your brain in the matter of just about 2 seconds. I was immediately worried and said in a dejected tone, "What happened?" I was prepared for the worst.
"Julie made tofu nuggets for dinner tonight." I began to breathe again. He told of how their three year old wanted to skip the nuggets and go to the salad. She and Dad reached an agreement that one nugget eaten would get you the salad. She is used to this kind of bartering and grabbed a small bite of tofu chicken. She shoved it in and her tongue kicked it out. She grabbed it and shoved it in again and her tongue rejected it. Her Dad thought her brain was running her hand but her tongue was actually being operated by the laws of nature. That particular texture was not getting by the tongue. She got her salad for a good effort.
I think the dinner problem could have been corrected with small, $2.50 piece of cake.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Waiting For Spring

Heard on a local radio station: ~"In a perfect world, Elvis would still be alive and all of the impersonators would be dead. "~
In my opionion, we are being picked on. The news said it was about zero degrees this morning in Omaha. And just 50 miles north of there our car thermometer said it was -18 degrees here on the big bottom. The big bottom being the six or seven miles of flat bottom land between the Missouri River and the hills. The base of the hills is where Tekamah was settled back in the mid 1850's. I was driving Miss Marilyn as I am want to do on winter mornings when she needs to traverse to Blair to pick up dogs.
Juli was going to put the kids on the school bus and come down to the home place and start hauling corn to Blair. The truck was loaded, plugged in, and ready to go. It stalled half way up our lane. Jelled up. A term given to the jelly like, (parafin base) substance that developes in diesel tanks on really cold days. It can't make it through the filters and clogs them. I thought adequate precautions had been taken to avoid this but I guess not.
Now 7 hours later I have the truck running and warming the fuel tanks in my shop. Cold weather does this kind of thing to farmers. It changes priorities. What started out as plans to move 4 or 5 thousand bushels of corn the 25 miles from here to Blair soon became a goal to some how get the truck back to the shed. 80,000 pound trucks are hard to tow on ice covered snow which is what we have. I got it running once and got it half way home. I then was able to tow it to within 80 feet of the first plug in you come to when entering the farmstead. The brakes locked up on the cold truck.
I started my knipco heaters blowing under the hood and two hours after that it would run well enough to let me drive the rest of the way to the shop.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Right?
If you are planning on attending Blogstock '08 please email me and put the word 'Blogstock' in the Subject: line. My email address is in my profile. We are beginning to make plans. I will develope a BS list (tee hee) from the emails so that we can make sure no one is left out.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christmas Revisited

We've had an uncharacteristic coating of snow since before Christmas. We seldom have it start to pile up until about now. But this winter is beginning to look like it might be a long one here on the shores of the Muddy Mo. The sound snow makes when the car and truck tires run over it is a very loud squeak. When it squeaks you know it is near or below zero. It has been squeaking for several days now.Tonight we expect -10. The 'wind chill' was a way devised by the U. S. Weather Bureau to twist the handle on the knife already thrust into our mid-sections by sub zero temperatures. So with a 'wind chill' advisory of a -25 tonight we are tucked in for a long winters nap.
I was going to run a couple of summer views from the porch as a diversion but instead decided to show you a couple of Christmas pics from our house.

This is the shrimp about to be rescued from the boil on Christmas Eve afternoon.
I cooled it, peeled and de-veined it and then sampled it to make absolutely sure it was okay for my precious family to eat that night after services at our church.
It was okay.
I must say though that in my fervor to protect my family I became absent minded as it was just after this that I forgot to zip my pants up on my way to church. You may recall.

It takes a village to raise a puppy.
Marilyn's Christmas village.

And this would be Marilyn's Christmas present from her daughter/kennel manager.
The dogs name is Vixen.
This noble beast is expected to assume head of security here on the farm. That is she will start on her duties after she gets tough enough to move from her heated quarters at the kennel.
I know I feel safer already.
This calls for more insurance doesn't it?

This is Vixen in the arms of grandchild # 2.
When you come to Blogstock '08 I promise that this dog will have been trained to keep all fours firmly planted on the ground. Vixens owner lead a highly successful 4-H dog obedience club for 25 years and I'm guessing this dog will know some stuff.
But the dog will just ignore me like everyone else around here does.
Although if I tie a pork chop around my neck dogs will eventually warm up to me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Beware of United Parcel Service Insurance

Long story short. Marilyn sent some blades to be sharpened. The business was a few states away. Several hundred dollars worth of blades.
She paid for the extra insurance for the package.
The business had moved to a new location.
Now the blades are missing and a call to UPS gets a reply that we're stuck.
UPS tells her she needs to find out who is at that location (where they dropped the blades) and contact them. There are no signs of life there.
To me there are two steps to a successful delivery. Correct address. Correct business.(or person)
I wouldn't drop a package in the snow in front of a vacant building.
I generally don't fight. I quit doing business with those I think I need to watch. UPS needs to be watched. Our local UPS delivery guy (the best in the country) says to fight it because they owe us the money.
Nope, I'll find another company to deliver my packages.
I can't choose who delivers the packages that I get, but I can choose not to use UPS.
I do wonder what the insurance would cover if it doesn't cover the package not getting to the business named on the label and disappearance. Maybe it would cover hail damage.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You Might Like This

Over the Christmas holidays I had occasion to stop and visit an old friend who was back in town visiting his Mom. He is now from Phoenix and his sister lives in Des Moines. While sitting in his Moms house and visiting I saw one of those digital picture frames and noticed two wires coming from it and running along the wall.
I was interested because I've been thinking of buying one of those. I asked what the two wires were. I figured one was a power cord and was correct. The second was connected to a telephone jack. Al's Mom explained that she gets new pictures sent to the frame by her daughter in Des Moines. She never knows when they will appear and the phone doesn't ring. (she didn't think)
She said she might wake up in the morning and find new pics or maybe be gone for a few hours and come home to new photo's of the grand kids. I thought this looked like a neat idea and realize that I am probably the last person in the world to learn about this. But just in case that isn't the case then here it is. We think we might look into it. The company name is Ceiva and you can click and go to the website here.
I'm giving this product a two thumbs up. Next post I will be giving UPS a two thumbs down rating. And possibly even more digits than that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Merry Winter

During my lifetime the month of January has been kind of ugly here in the heartland of America. People will un-decorate their Christmas trees and drag them stump first through the front door, turn right, and then about half way to the truck give up and drop the tree right there in the side yard. It's there to stay. Now add to that dehydrated relic the lights on the house that have begun to sag because of the large icicles that they now must support and add to those, the string of outdoor lights that are still out there somewhere under the snow. The very string of lights that set that boxwood on fire last week. This scenario has been playing out for years but is now being upstaged.
As of late, mankind has made big improvements in Christmas by way of inflatable decorations. These are brightly colored, have lights inside of them, a blower motor, and some even have small pieces of Styrofoam circulating inside supposedly to look like a blizzard. And there can't be anything more heart warming than a giant snowman listing 22 degrees to starboard. Also nothing says Christmas to me like Santa's reindeer pulling a deflated Santa and his sleigh.
Don't get me wrong, I like beach balls. But as Christmas decorations they don't cut it out here on the farm. The biggest problem is that now, in the month of January all of the extension cords have been swiped to plug in the diesel pick-ups leaving the yards to look like poorly managed landfills half buried in 4 inches of fresh snow. And then there's the wind to contend with. The biggest problem out here on the Missouri River bottom is our visibility. Okay, it's not the visibility. It's the fact that our view is unobstructed. By trees. There is nothing to stop the wind unless a coyote pokes his head up out of his den. I don't care how well you anchor a Christmas inflatable, it won't survive. What started out as a meaningful manger scene complete with Peanuts characters, soon resembles a Christmas painting by an impressionist. "What the heck is that supposed to be?"
And who's going to put all of this away? I think it's awful the way our friends and neighbors fail to keep their yards picked up. Besides that, I have news for them, next summer, mowing into these Christmas beach balls or extension cords overgrown by 6 inch long grass will almost always trip a breaker on the electrical panel. And hitting grilling tools like brass brushes and long handled spatulas, or even lawn sprinklers will only serve to dull your lawnmower. And the mower could throw an object at the house and damage the new siding.
Not that I would know.
I always pick things up.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pauls Hats Blog

A picture of one of my Grandaughters has hit the big time. Pauls Hat's blog. Check it out.
Paul has a cool style of writing and shows it well. Read some of these entries. Good human interest stuff.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reverse Your Mind

Have you ever done something or had something said to you that made your mind go into reverse? Something like thinking, 'I was sure this shirt had a pocket on the chest' as you put it on. And then when you get home from the meeting and take the shirt off you find that someone had moved the pocket to the inside of the shirt and they also moved the tag to the outside. Your mind goes into reverse and you think of the people in the meeting and how you told them you were a 'detail' kind of person while you sat there with the back side of your seams showing. And you begin going over the recent past. The recent past would be since you put that shirt on inside out and headed into public to make a good impression.
I had a vivid 'reverse the mind' incident this past Christmas Eve. Let me tell you my thought pattern and what triggered it and that it took about 2.3 seconds to retrace the following steps, which were my recent past.
In preparation for our church Christmas Eve candle light service I:
1. Took a shower.
2 Got dressed in slacks, a new shirt, and a new sweater.
3. Traveled to town to a 4:30 PM choir practice before the 5:00 PM service.
4 I stood in front of my choir for fifteen minutes at that practice to direct them and just visit. We all like to visit.
5. I sat in the front row in the front pew directly in front of the choir. My wife sits in the front row.
6 I got up and directed a wonderful choir anthem during the service.
7. The pastor had two Deacons help with communion. I was one of them. I stood up front facing the congregation and holding a tray with the loaf of bread. The congregation came forward down the middle aisle to take communion. We were centered on that aisle.
8. At the end of the service I followed the choir as they processed out of the sanctuary. We were holding our candles, following the pastor, right through the middle of the crowd.
9. We were standing outside the main room in the Narthex when I greeted my wife who said the words that made my mind race back over my recent past.
In a whisper my bride said, "You should zip up."
One of my brothers heard this story on Christmas day and said that forgetting to zip up is much less embarrassing than forgetting to unzip. Man I'm really looking forward to that day.