Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm Picky!

I promised you a rant about two weeks ago. I got out of the mood, you know, I mellowed out
about it but it brought me to the boiling point again last night. I like Iced Tea. I find that while not exactly better than some brewed tea's, Nestea Unsweetened is convenient and fast for me and my preference. It is the 'Original' tea they started selling as instant. I think it superior to Lipton or any of the others. My tea has a dark green band around the top of the label. Nestea also makes the same label with a yellow band for lemon flavored and and light green band for de-caf. I don't want those, I want the original with the dark green band. See picture.
SO, about 3 weeks ago I was down in my supply and stopped in town at our local store. It's a small store but it's where I buy most of my groceries. I tried to buy some of my tea and found that while they had about six different kinds of tea including the Nestea yellow and light green labels that were all well stocked and full to the front, the space where the 'Original' was supposed to be was empty. I mentioned it at checkout. They would tell someone.
A week later, repeat the above. Only this time I talked to someone who was in charge of some of the ordering and she said she would order some, "It's my favorite too," she told me.
Last week, (MY SUPPLY NOW COMPLETELY GONE) same as above only two ordering people said "we have two cases coming in."
Our neighboring town has a big store and a medium sized store. I don't mind spending money in that town instead of my home town once in a while. Marilyn does get the biggest share of her business from there after all. Last week I stopped in twice at the medium sized store. Same as above. Plenty of every type of tea but mine is sold out.
Last night we stopped at the big one thinking that there is no chance of getting it at one of smaller more convenient stores. The big store was SOLD OUT OF NESTEA UNSWEETENED.
So we drive to the smaller store and lo and behold they've gotten in a shipment but have just two bottles left. We took them. Oh sweet victory!
This began about a month ago and Marilyn and I have had occasion to be together in three different grocery stores since that time, and have noticed one obvious thing. Any product that says 'Original' is either in low supply or completely missing while all of the other improved versions are always fully stocked. You can see three or four examples of this down every isle. If you need 'low salt', 'de-caf', 'no sugar', 'nonfat' or 'sweetened' then you are in luck.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

City Wide Garage Sale

Last weekend our home town held their first annual 'City Wide Garage Sale.' I'm sure this is old hat to a lot of you but the city wide concept was new to us. Everyone have a sale joined in on the cost of the advertising. It was a full page add in area newpapers listing directions to each sale, a map, what they had for sale, and the hours of operation on Friday and/or Saturday. Most of this junk is merchandise pictured is ours. We held our sale at my Mother In-law's garage in town. Believe it or not we took about 3 loads in and didn't bring anything back except our tables and a couple of those saddles. The saddles weren't going to be given away as some items were. Marilyn turned into quite the business woman on Sat early afternoon. She discovered the phrase that pays. She found that the words, "Oh just take it, it's free" worked very nicely. I think it was a huge success judging by the fact that it was hard to drive around town that day because of all of the traffic and parked cars. The parked cars wouldn't have been a problem with the motors running like that but leaving the doors open created a few problems.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Weekend Update

Everything went well last weekend. The two roasts almost did it to me again however. I put the 18 pound roast in at 5 A.M. as I was fearful that it might still be frosty in the center. It was. The oven was set at 350 degrees and when I checked it at 6:45, I found that the main control knob had been turned from Bake to Off. Cold oven. Mad cook. After this, Nobody is to touch my oven control knob. My wife won't let me cement it in place because we may, one day, want to clean the oven again.

Both of the roasts were judged edible and since it was a low turn out of people, we sent meat home with everyone. At least we got rid of it.

The Pine Wood Derby was Sunday afternoon. My Grandson got a 3rd place trophy for 'speed' and a smaller one for best design. The picture doesn't show the metal flake paint his Uncle Dan helped him put on the car. (metal flake is that gold sparkly stuff that makes the paint glitter)(sorry I got all technical on you there)

In the pic the clear coat comes out looking dusty. It really was shiny. You'll have to trust me on this one.
Here on the farm...the players are in the dugouts, the tarp is on the playing field, and we are in a 'Rain Delay.' My 'Day in the life' won't work until it dries out a bit.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We're Not Just Hangin' Around

Farming has begun here in Eastern Nebraska. I've put in one good day of planting. Out of three tries, that's not bad. I'm confident now that the planter should run the season in perfect order. I haven't ordered my diesel tanks topped off. I'll do that tomorrow. I must have been waiting for the price to go up. It's high enough now that I can order in 1500 gallons and be assured that it will have maximum economic devastation to the bank account.
Today is the dinner and business meeting at Church that everyone wanted me to cook for last Sunday. I have put an eighteen pound 'leg of pork' (aka fresh ham, aka green ham, {turns out a pigs rear IS made out of pork}) and in one hour will put a top sirloin block in with it. This will be just like the mission, you will need to sit thru a church service before being allowed to eat. The doors will be locked and everyone will be frisked for contraband. (not really, I made that up- I hate to break my string of never having told an untruth on my blog) ahem, cough.
Last night I was uncertain about how to spell a word. The spellchecker on Outlook said everything was OK. I changed the spelling 4 more times and each time it was OK. Conclusion: The spell checker program was not written by my mother in-law.
Yesterday my daughter took my grandson down to Lincoln to seek help from Uncle Dan in putting a suitable paint job on his Cub Scout Derby Car. I will post a pic when it becomes available. This might be good.
I have considered posting a 'Day In The Life' blog about me and my planting activities here on the farm. I'm having second thoughts though. I fear it may be used by you people as a cure for insomnia and I wouldn't want anyone falling to the floor with a thud and injuring themselves.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday Mornin Comin Down

I originally posted the following on Sunday and then I took it down because of the tragedy at V.T. One last thought on that subject. No amount of preparation, or planning, or laws present or future can avoid what happened at Virginia Tech. No blame can be placed on anyone but the man who did this. It's pretty simple, if you're willing to surrender your life for a cause, you can kill most anyone. Or save someone for eternity for that matter. Now on to last Sundays post:

My rant must wait.
This being Sunday morning and having various things on my mind like trying to finish various projects and needing to get ready to plant, and getting ready to go to church, my mind was swamped.
I was thinking earlier in the week that sometime in the next 10 days I will need to procure the meat that I am to cook for the potluck at church next Sunday. I always live in fear that I will arrive at something like this and forget that I agreed to supply the main course, in this case two large roasts. One beef and one pork. In this bad dream of mine there will be folks getting to the end of the buffet line just in time to be greeted by me. I will say "Hi, how about a nice piece of white bread to go there in that empty space on your plate." They will reply, "No thanks, I'm on a low carb diet and have reserved that space for meat." " I'm going to put a big portion of the roast beef they said you were bringing right there." They point to the spot.
Then I raise my voice and yell, "OKAY, I FORGOT THAT THE MEETING AND DINNER WERE TODAY, AND ALL I HAVE IS A LOAF OF BREAD FROM THE MINI MART...BUT AT LEAST THE BREAD IS AS HARD AS THE MEAT I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT HAD I REMEMBERED IT." I then become humble and quietly say "As it says in the scriptures it much better to forgive than to receive meat." or something like my voice trails off.
Well today at 8:00 AM I'm starting to read some of your blogs and the neighbor lady calls. A really close friend. She is someone I trust completely. Marilyn answers and says, "Oh we're going to eat out after church...(pause) that's next Sunday or at least I hope it's next Sunday because Cliff's supposed to provide the meat...(pause)... your kidding, (now yelling at me) Cliff, last weeks bulletin says it's TODAY?"
Right here I rise to my feet. " I now enter this phone conversation from my office without the use of the phone. I yell, "I know it's not until next week!" "This can't be happening!" My brain shifts into high but there's not really enough resources or blood up there to be thinking this fast. Questions flood my brain. Questions like, How many big roasts do I have in the deep freeze? How long will it take to thaw them? Is there enough time to first thaw them and still get them cooked by noon? Is the grocery store open? Would they have the big sirloin blocks I want? Theirs wouldn't be frozen...would they? "I could run in right now, grab the meat, run to the church and have it in the oven with 15 minutes to spare. Will they notice I don't have pants on?
I flew to the basement and amazingly found enough meat in the freezer. I grabbed my big pan and ran up to the kitchen with everything. I had been at the microwave long enough to realize that my oven has a defrost setting that only goes to 6 pounds of meat and I have two 10 ponders to do. It's then I start to pray and realize this won't qualify for heavenly intervention. The situation has reached emergency status. I just begin to think 'Bologna sandwiches' when I notice Marilyn walking toward me. She is talking to someone else from our church and says to them, "Wait a second, let me tell Cliff before he has 'the big one'." She casually looks at me with a smile and says, "You're right Cliff, it's next week, the bulletin was wrong."
Right here is when I notice that I have a razor sharp 10" fillet knife in my hand. I have a roast in the other hand and was apparently preparing to cut the heavy plastic off of the frozen meat. I then notice that I have sweat running down my cheeks, I'm short of breath, and that I must have carried those two roasts up the stairs under my arms because my underarm 'gel' was starting to set up.
After next weeks dinner I'm going to suggest that after this, we serve King Crab Legs cooked in the Baptistry during church. We'll have to fire the heaters up by Wednesday. But at least I can keep them frozen until Sunday morning.
Turns out there just may have been Heavenly Intervention after all.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

I have removed my most recent of blogs and will put it back in a few days. I, like you, have been saddened by today's events in Virginia. My thought and prayers go out to everyone involved.
I also was very perturbed as I listened to the first press conference this afternoon. The lead investigator was telling the reporters what the police knew so far. The stupidity of the main stream media shown through very brightly. Just like 9-11, the focus was on who's fault it was. And just like back then, the folks or individual who actually did the killing weren't mentioned in their questioning. It was all about placing blame on some official. I got home and out of my truck so I didn't hear the last of the press conference. I was waiting to hear a reporter from CNN or NBC ask, "Did the President know this was going to happen and when did he know it?" or "Do you have any indication that the current administration could have averted this catastrophe had they spent more money on something?
You and I and the rest of America will know in the morning the name of the man who's fault it was. David Gregory and Chris Matthews won't be able to figure this one out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Good Reads

For those of you thinking that global warming might be a hoax drummed up by Al Gore, go have a look at the PROOF on Terah's blog.

Also, if you're not a regular reader of LEE, you're missing out on some of the best writing on the net. Her accounts run in series. Check it out, you won't be sorry.

As you were.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Caller ID

Our big screen is hooked to Directv which means it has a phone line attached also. When our HDDVR was installed the first few minutes of viewing revealed that when the phone rings, the callers name and phone number appear right there in the middle of Boston Legal. Or which ever reality based show you may be watching.
Two nights ago a call came thru from a neighboring town. After reading the name, both Marilyn and Juli said, "She's a customer." The number was kind of foriegn meaning it was a cell phone. The conversation went like this,,,
Cliff: Hello
Her:(in her most secret and seductive voice) "Whair ya." Did I mention she was drunk.
Cliff: (Taking her lead and using my secret voice) "Home."
Her: "Wader ya dewin."
Cliff: "Watching TV."
Her: "Why nwot come on down." (the background noise indicates that Bubba has just sacrificed a virgin to the Bud Light God's)
Cliff: "Nah"
Her: alarmed now- "Are those kids voices I hear."
Cliff: "Yes. But they're just leaving."
Her: "Who are ya."
Cliff: (sensing the second verse just starting again I said) "A wrong number I think." "Hello" "HellOooo."
Marilyn: "Did she want to board her dog?"
Cliff: "Nope, she was just wanting to visit."
Look folks, when you live 9 miles from the nearest town, you use what you can for entertainment.
Next Up: A Rant.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Post Holes

Whenever we would get the post hole digger out, Dad would have me operate it but would still usually mention wanting to someday catch and train one of these animals. The North American Badger.

He thought, that owing to their speed and skill in digging holes, even in hard country roads, that they would be excellent post hole diggers if trained properly. He always said ground hogs dig diagonal holes that would be good only for fences in the hills. But Badgers dig vertically. Thus making them the obvious choice where flat ground like ours was concerned.
The question was then how do you train a badger, should you be unfortunate enough to catch one. The answer I think, is the same as to the question how do you milk a porcupine. Very Carefully.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


There are omens for everything where farming is concerned. One prediction my Dad would use went like this, "The badgers are digging their holes on the sides of the roads instead of in the fields...they must be expecting heavy rain."
Well I think I may have a new one for you. We have about ten pair of Canada Geese who seem to adore our lane. Every night near twilight, if we traverse our 3/4 of a mile lane, we will disturb them. One pair at a time. They are evenly spread out from one end to the other. Each pair will take turns scolding and barking at us as they march out into the field, their long necks stretched forward as far as they can reach. We roll our windows down and drive slowly so as to get the full effect of their displeasure. If they are, as I suspect, nesting, either on or near the lane, it must surely mean it's going to be wet around here. This could reach Biblical proportions. I think if it begins to rain I will go out, and pull the boat up to the front door and take the tie down straps off of the trailer.
The last time anyone boated around this farmstead was the spring of 1952. I don't recall Dad saying anything about geese on the lane before that flood though. A few catfish, but no geese.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Caption For My Grandaughter's Picture?

"Waitress!... You still haven't brought me a fork."
Your turn.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nora and Jerry Have Left the Building.

Assumptions should be avoided. I knew that. But Nora and Jerry can't play basketball even if they are from Indiana. They were here this past weekend and what a nice way for Marilyn and I to spend a few days. Nora flew into Kansas City, and was picked up by Jerry. (This was planned, it was not a chance meeting in an airport.) They've known each other since grade school. They got here in time to eat dinner with us Saturday night. We had invited my Brother and his Wife so they would have someone really interesting to talk to, and my Mother-Inlaw so they would know why I never get too comfortable.

They were made to suffer thru me singing a solo in church. (I'm not a soloist.) They met my son Dan and his family who came to hear me sing and add more pressure to Dad while he sang. They did get to hear Marilyn play in the bell choir and now know why I had told them she was getting a little dingy. (Nora thought I meant she was getting a small boat.) Our Daughter Juli was at the keyboards and they got to hear her play.
They were able to get a church bulletin to prove to the folks back home that they had indeed been to church.

We loaded up after church and went to Mahoney State Park for their all day Sunday buffet. The restaurant overlooks the Platte River valley and I-80. That's where this pic was taken. This is Nora -Cliff-Jerry. The look on Jerry's face is because he has just realized that folks might think he was with the Morrow group. Nora didn't care. She said "They'll never remember me at this restaurant anyway.
Dan's and Juli's were along and our youngest son Tom and his wife met us there and we all had a good visit.
We had many discussions about all of you bloggers and the consensus was generally good. We talked about how reading someones blog really teaches you their personality before you meet them. They really aren't strangers. Jerry and I had met but Nora was exactly as I imagined. A very clever, talented person. She writes for two different weekly papers. (they are the bottom two links on her blog) Her main job is running Second Helpings.

They prepare and distrbute 2900 meals a day for distribution to the needy in the Indy area. The food is 'rescued' daily from cooperating stores and food industry companies. She deals with a lot of volunteers, business's, and contributors and seems unflappable.

The second picture is a "View From The Porch." The dejected appearance was because I had just told them to leave. They both needed to be back to work on Tuesday morning and I thought they were avoiding the reality. Today Jerry is back to helping care for Mom and Dad and crunching numbers for Big GasCo and Nora is probably back to making all of her jobs look easy. I'm hoping they had as good a time as we did and that they return someday.