Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Be More Like Labs

Earlier today, Karen at Baking in a Tornado left a comment on my last post 

"Hmmm, a black, a brown, and a white chicken coexisting peacefully (OK, mostly peacefully), how we humans could learn a lesson from them . . ."

Reading her words, I immediately thought of the meme that occasionally makes the rounds. It shows a group of Labrador Retrievers (black, chocolate, white, and yellow) posing for the camera. The wording suggests the dogs can coexist and suggests that humans do the same thing.

That's an excellent idea.


Monday, June 5, 2023

Fine Feathered Friends

Last November I started my job cooking for a church. The weather had already turned chilly by then. I walked around the grounds a couple of times, but for the most part just hustled from the car into the building.

When spring came the pastor told me he was excited that the chickens were laying eggs again. The fact there were chickens was news to me, but I found out the coop was a feature of the school's outdoor classroom. Some time later I figured out where that coop was located. 

It was fascinating to watch the chickens and listen to their clucking and vocalizations. When I made cooking scraps I would Google to see if it was something 'the girls' could eat. Now, most shifts find me walking across the parking lot with a bowl of goodies for the chickens. I distribute the food and talk to them for a little bit before heading back.

I'm not sure, but I suspect they now know who I am. There are three chickens left from the original flock of six. Each is a different breed, but they seem to coexist nicely. Except for the time I brought some pork fat cut from the chops I was cooking. Then it was every hen for herself.

Enjoying some watermelon

Five years ago:Interesting New Dog Breeds

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Parking Lot Boogie

This morning I was driving to a volunteer event. Right before I got to the venue one of my favorite songs came on the radio:

I cranked the volume up. 

When I pulled into the parking lot I saw a friend, who stopped and waved to me. I rolled down the windows and turned up the music even louder. For the rest of the song we danced-me in the car and her outside. The song ended and things went back to normal.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Old Cat, New Tricks

Jackson the Cat's 21-year old body doesn't work as well as it used to. He has to work really hard to get up on the couch, and can't jump onto the bed at all. He still wants to take his morning nap there, though, and has a system to insure that happens. Jackson waits until either Hubby Tony or I come into the room, then goes into an elaborate pantomime where he looks at the bed, then at the person, and back at the bed until we pick him up and deposit him on the mattress.

 But our old cat seems to have learned a new trick. A couple of days ago Tony asked if I had put Jackson on the bed. I told him I had not. The next day the same thing happened. We figured out that Jackson was climbing onto the bottom shelf of Tony's bedside table, which cuts the distance to the top of the bed in half.

Five years ago: Am I Right, Or Are You?

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Movement

Back before the trees leaved out, on Sunday mornings when I was on my way to work I would see cars parked on a road paralleling the highway. One day Hubby Tony and I decided to figure out why they would be there, and ended up finding a trailhead for Emmenegger Nature Park. We walked through the park, and on the way back we saw an entrance for the new I-44 multi-use trail bridge that went over the Meramec River. We said we'd have to come back and use it some day.

Today ended up being that day. Normally Monday afternoon finds me at the church to make dinner for the two priests that live there, but I have an arrangement with the pastor not to come in on civil holidays, so today I was completely free. Tony and I decided to take our bicycles out for the first ride of the season. After breakfast was cleaned up we got the bikes out of the storage area. I had to put the battery on (you may remember that both Tony and I have electric bikes), air in the tires, and find my helmet.

We left the condo and made our way east, then south. Most of the roads didn't have a dedicated bike lane, but traffic was light. Our first stop was at Emmenegger Park for a bathroom break. There was so much cottonwood fluff flying through the sky it looked like it was snowing, and the fluff covered the grass in a thick, unattractive layer.

We left Emmeneger and turned onto the trail. It was cool to be next to, but safely separated from, the highway traffic on the left. On the right I could look down and see the river. At the end of the overpass a cloverleaf led down to ground level. We crossed the road and headed south. The flat, shady greenway paralleled the Meramec River. There were very few people using it.

Ten seconds before I took this photo there was a duck convention on the asphalt. They quickly moved to the grass, then flew away when I got closer.

Ultimately the greenway meanders through Old Town Fenton. We went east and crossed the Meramec again, this time riding directly on a two lane bridge and turned into Minnie Ha Ha Park. At the back of the park there's the start of a trail that parallels the other side of the river. We rode until the park ended, then doubled back. We passed by a lovely nature area, where I saw flowers that were white but looked like bluebells. When I got home the Missouri Department of Conservation told me I was right in my assessment.

 Since we were already on the correct side of the river we came home a different way. The first two roads didn't have bike lanes or even much of a shoulder, but once again traffic was light. Thanks to my bike's electric motor I didn't feel like I was holding up the cars.

When we got home I did a rough estimate on how far we had ridden. It was close to 20 miles. Don't be too impressed, though. Unless I was coasting down an incline I always used some type of battery power assist. The steeper the hill, the more assist.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Walk Through History

Hubby Tony and I are trying to get as much out of the three-day Memorial Day weekend as we can. I saw an announcement in the Things to Do section of the community paper about a hike taking place this afternoon called Walk Through History I asked Tony if he wanted to go (and if so would he call and make the reservation). The answer to both questions was yes. Just like that we had plans.

The walk started at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and promised "fun, fitness, and history on a three-mile walk through Grantwood Village". Tony and I knew a little bit about Grant-he was the commanding general during the Civil War, led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy and the 18th President of the United States. We had visited the Grant site before, where we learned how he fell in love with and married Julia Dent and received farmland from her father, but neither of us knew anything about the surrounding neighborhood.

We were to arrive at the visitor center 15 minutes before the tour started. I was afraid we would get caught up in the traffic to get to Grant's Farm (an animal preserve owned by the Busch beer family), but there was no problem getting into the parking lot. In the end there were several dozen people on the tour.

 White Haven Farm map National Park Service

 Before we left the visitor's center the tour guide laid out the itinerary. We would walk through the Grantwood Village subdivision and learn a little about its history. We would cross one fairly busy road (Rock Hill) on our way to the place where Hardscrabble, the log cabin Grant had built by hand had been located, then take an alternate way back. He said we should walk against traffic on the left side of the road and look out for cars and stressed when we reached Rock Hill not to cross until we got the go-ahead. 

Every couple of blocks the guide stopped to let the stragglers catch up and share some history. I learned that after Grant lost his fortune in 1884. He turned the land over to William Vanderbilt to settle his debt. Luther Conn, a former Confederate Officer acquired the property in 1888. Conn had became so impressed with Grant while owning the property that he renamed the place "Grantwood". The first houses were built in the early part of the last century, but the section we walked through was developed in the 1950s.

Once the group got across Rock Hill our guide pointed out the memorial for the site of the Hardscrabble cabin. The cabin was moved several times and now is at Grant's Farm, but there was a plaque to commemorate the original location.

By the time we returned to the visitor's center I was hot and thirsty. The guide offered a tour of the inside of the White Haven house to anyone who was interested, but Tony and I agreed we didn't need to see it a second time and headed back to the car.

Five years ago: Rearview

Friday, May 26, 2023


This morning my horoscope in the newspaper said:

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Today is an 8 — Discover unexpected serendipity along the road. Your research turns up a treasure. Luck follows initiative. Savor truth, beauty and goodness. Make a lovely discovery.

The Cambridge Dictionary told me that serendipity was "the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance". At the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend with a forecast of beautiful weather and not many plans the concept sounded wonderful. I wondered what interesting things would be revealed. For the rest of the day I tried to find them.

In the morning Hubby Tony and I went our separate ways, but we were both back home by noon. He fed Jackson the Cat and I took a cat nap. After I got up we talked about what the rest of the day would be about. It felt like we were both looking for an adventure, so while we ran essential errands we tried to sprinkle in unique experiences along the way.

Tony was the driver. First we did the have tos. Tony dropped off some checks, we went to a discount club, came back home to drop off perishable items, then headed to a food distributor store for an item the discount club didn't carry. 

After the have tos came the want tos. Tony parked in a far corner of a parking lot next to the trailhead of the Deer Creek Greenway. As the weatherman predicted, the weather was lovely--upper 70 degrees Fahrenheit and low humidity, with the sun warm enough the shade felt really good. 

We came across a double air walker exercise machine installed just off the path, stepped on, and tried it out. A couple of minutes later I saw purple splotches on the path, evidence of nearby mulberries. I looked around until I found the trees and picked a couple of ripe berries to eat. They were small but flavorful.

When the park trail ended Tony and I looped around on subdivision streets to return to the park.  We both enjoy observing different neighborhoods and this was a good one, with a nice variety of houses and landscaping. 

Back at the car, Tony drove around until he saw The Piccadilly at Manhattan restaurant, one that's been on his list to try. Even though it wasn't 5:00 yet we decided it would be okay to get dinner. We ended up splitting a pork steak special, which came with baked beans and cole slaw, and added a house salad.

When the food came I was too busy dividing up the 24 ounce pork steak to remember to take a photo. The meat was an inch and a half thick and covered half of the large platter. It was fork-tender and coated with a perfectly sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. The sides were obviously made in house. The salad was acceptable, but I found myself wishing we had added more beans and slaw instead. We ended the meal with a piece of key lime pie.

Five years ago today: Watery Closet

Thursday, May 25, 2023


A man was flying from Seattle to San Francisco, and the plane had a layover in Sacramento. The flight attendant explained that if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in one hour.

Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman, who was blind.

Another man had noticed him as he walked by. He could tell the gentleman was blind because his seeing eye dog was laying quietly on the floor in front of him. He could also tell the blind man had flown this flight before, because the pilot approached him and said, "Keith, we're in Sacramento for an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?"

The blind man replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs."

Picture this:

All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw a pilot wearing sunglasses walk off the plane with a seeing eye dog. People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were even trying to change airlines!

Five years ago: Let's Dance

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

You Almost Fooled Me!

My email Inbox is set to Exclusive; only addresses I've whiteboarded show up there. However, the system isn't perfect, so I still look at the Spam folder to make sure nothing was directed there by mistake.

This morning I was deleting all the spam that showed up overnight when I came across a message from Best Buy Customer Support. Normally I wouldn't think twice before sending something like this straight to the trash. However last week we purchased an appliance from the company so I took a closer look.

When I saw the subject was You have won an Lenovo Thinkpad the message quickly joined its unsolicited brethren in the Deleted Items.

Five years ago today: Is There A Space For Me?

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Present Production

Earlier this week I looked at the calendar and realized Hubby Tony and I missed the window to get a birthday present mailed to Granddaughter Gee so it would arrive by her third birthday.

It's really hard to have kids living halfway across the country in California. Between the two of them and their families there are ten people, each with a special day. We've cut it close once or twice, but this is the first time we've completely disremembered. (And hopefully the last.)

After thinking about the present prroblem for a while I came up with a solution. Envelopes travel faster through the mail than packages, so Grandma and Grandpa just needed a present that could fit in an envelope.

Tony and I went to the craft store and bought a package of six coordinated balloons-some plain, some decorated. Then we swung by the drug store for a card. Back at home home, I blew up one of the plain balloons and asked Tony to hold the bottom closed while I wrote a greeting with permanent marker.

After we were sure the marker had dried Tony deflated the balloon. We signed the card, put the special balloon inside, slid the card into its envelope, and then slid that and the rest of the balloons into a manila envelope. Tony took the envelope to the post office the next day.

The present showed up right when it needed to. Today we received belated photos and videos showing the birthday girl (and her little sister) with the balloons. Their mom wrote that they "had a blast" playing with them.

The next family birthday (for twins Dee and Ell ) is at the end of June. Tony and I are already throwing around ideas for their presents. 

Five years ago today: Downright Departed