Thursday, June 28, 2012

Because life doesn't stand still

I have few words today. I think it must be the abominable heat. Or perhaps because for the last four days I have been beating myself about the head with a blunt object in an effort to make it come up with worthy story material. As it is, what pathetic sum I have scribbled is most unsatisfactory.
 And so, instead of writing you with words of things & happenings I am going to let photos do most of the talking. For while my pen may have been idle, Jackson and I were not.
All sleek and shiny in their summer coats. This might sound like bragging -- promise it's not -- but I have some pretty horses. Okay, so I'm a little me&mine-monster. Sorry. But every time I see them out in the sun, all glossy and beautiful, I get a semi-ridiculous smile on my face. 'cause they're my friends. :)
 Water fights + 103* = a mustmust. One sided water fights? Even better. As long as I'm the one with the hose.
 {And learning how to set shutter speed -- pure awesome sauce!}

 Spanish labels have taken over a large part of my room, peoples. Pillows, walls, boxes..... nothing is safe.
I think I'm learning.
 Lots of this. Because running the dryer is stupid when outside will get your clothes dry 10x faster.

 90's... 100's.... Who cares. When it's this dry it doesn't make a difference. It's a terrible year for crops all around. A dry winter and spring have totally butchered any hopes of surplus for anyone this year. As far as hay, this year we'll be lucky if we get enough from our fields to last us much past Christmas, so we've already bought up a bunch from a friend east of us to last us. A lot of people are going to run short.
 Farmer's who got up to four cuts last year are now hoping they can scrape together one. I know one man who raises hay who has 90 acres he won't be able to cut at all because the grass is only six inches high. I can't imagine how it is down South.

Mum and I went to town yesterday and got our hairs did, and I.... I am no longer Rupunzel. It's the shocking truth. After growing it out for a year & a half {ma hair grows fast, people} I whacked off 13 inches for a light bob {what a dumb name for a hairstyle, if I may say so}. I saw this photo, thought about how hot my mass of hair was, Pinned it, thought how I love my waves, reconsidered, decided not to do it, got to the stylists, told her to have at it.
 Regrets? Not yet.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

This week has felt like a a glimpse of the future; my summer in a nut shell.
skunk hunts, riding bareback lots, stealthy birthday shopping {level: nonchalant ninja}, hot and very dry weather, trading riding lessons for Spanish - el caballo, si?{that's about as Spanish as I get right now. Impressed much? ha, no.}, extensive garden watering, and a sort of passive mood {which is not helping my word count for tlos, bristé, or two feathers very much. boo.} 
Giving my Sunday school teacher's -- saying Sunday school makes me feel about five years old. BUT my class (population: me + two teachers) is not to be confused with the youth group that goes bowling on Saturdays. No, in my class we debate Great Philosophies.... or discuss crazy relatives, depending on our energy status at 9:30am. Either makes us about 1000000x cooler than the YG, which is for public schoolers anyway....
  Ummmm.... Oh, yes. Giving my Sunday school teacher's two little girls riding lessons {read: showing them how to steer and then leading the pony around for miles -- don't feel sorry for me, it's worth it just to listen to them try and convince me that we should jump the fence to see the kitty on the other side.} in exchange for a tiny chance that one day I might actually be partially bilingual.... is cake. The kind someone else makes.
Did I ever tell you about ma' little skunk encounter? I told just about everyone else so I really don't remember. So here's if I didn't.
  I was going to feed the ponies one night about sunset, my usual time. The sky was golden and the air was soft. I was about to duck through the fence to go in the hay shed, in fact I was half way through, when I looked up and not five feet away was a Mr Skunk of Skunkly-in-the-wold.
 I paused.
 Caught between a skunk and an electric fence, what could go wrong?
Skunk toddled over to the old overturned molasses barrel under which we keep the cat food {pretty high tech security} and snuffled around several minutes in search of stray kibbles. Then it toddled off out of sight. It took a lot of summoning-of-courage for me to go in and grab an armful of hay --  I ran, people. That's how sure I was it was going to come back and bomb the place.
 That was a week ago and since then we have learned that we have a whole family living in the rock-cliffs behind our house, and our neighbor has shot two in his chicken coop. Da was there for the second shooting and we're going to have to burn his clothes, I think.
 And as if to drive home the fact that we and surrounding areas are being overrun by these stinking devils, the little cat food eating bugger came back the night before last when my brothers and I were out just hanging with the ponies. We watched him lope {they have the funniest way of running} up the road and further making his way to the cat food barrel.
  Like the War General I am, I ordered Older Brother to run and get his gun while LB and I stood watch. However, information must have been leaked for the enemy retreated behind a hay bale before Older Brother {since demoted to Private for slow running} got back with his .22 rifle. That was another thing. I wanted this thing annihilated. I wanted to see a cannon not some petty schoolboy .22.
  But it wouldn't have mattered anyway, for all the waiting in the world that skunk did not come out.
So the next night we hatched a plan. LB laid out a trail of cat food leading off into the pasture and blocked off any route to the hay bales. Then we hunkered down on the tractor tire to wait. and wait. and wait.
  Just when the last rays of the sun had faded and we were about to call it quits It Came. Bumbling up the road and down to the cat food as before. But instead of following the trail for long, it took off toward our neighbor's pasture. Tracking it far enough away from civilization so as not to disturb the country air,  Older Brother fired three rounds and the deed was done. And it 'twas to the tune of Daniel Boone that we made our way home again, knowing that one more menace was trotting around the prairies of heaven and not our backyard.

I apologize for the lack or real photos, I'm writing from my mum's laptop so random Pins it is! And thus I own none of them.

Oh, and I have a question for those of you who are readers of Bristé. It has been like pulling heath these last few days to get anywhere with part V,  so I was wondering, would you rather have two short posts within a few days of each other or a single long post that I'm not sure when it'll be finished?

Till next time,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A capitol adventure

Alternately titled: The Longest Drive for reasons I will elaborate on in the near future.

If offered a chance to journey to your state's capitol building for a sculpture unveiling featuring your Da's work, and a chance to meet your Governor, would you take it? I did.
 Ooh but how it began! I vaguely remember being prodded awake at the crack of dawn by what I took to be at the time a pestering hen. It turned out to be my mother, who insists it was only seven o'clock. What she fails to understand is that time is relative -- and waking a ghastly experience for we owls of the night.
 Crumpets aside, we set out on the East Bound road, through true prairie that reminded me why I love my state.

 There is nothing out there but blue sky, waving grass, and sometimes a herd of cattle. And that is beautiful to me. The openness, the expansiveness, the freedom of it all. You look out at the green-soon-to-be-gold velvet speeding by, and it is not hard to imagine buffalo instead of cows, or even nomadic indians on their painted ponies.... Plenty of fodder for a story-teller like me.
 After several hours drive, through 'towns' along the way with populations ranging from 3 to 26, dodging suicidal pheasants, and surviving an outburst of Shenandoah from Mum as we crossed the Missouri river, we made it at last to the capitol building just in time for the ceremony to begin.
 The place was packed with dignitaries and people that didn't know we were family of one of the artists so we had to take the lift and watch from the balcony, which turned out to be better because the place, built in 1910, has no air conditioning. But it does have cool old radiators.
 The ceremony itself was all pomp and splendor, I suppose. Though after my Da finished his little speech, I confess I did abandon my post of Interested Observer to go and be an Explorer of the upper level, even sneaking a look 'round the Legislators' lounge.
 The Governor spoke too, though it seems that no one had told him the statues' bios would be given as each one was unveiled, so we got to hear everything interesting that ever happened to those men twice. Just incase we didn't get our notes down the first time.
 Afterwards it was tea on the terrace at the Governor's mansion. Well, coffee and lemonade anyway. And sweets. LB kept running back to the catering to snag us a few more lemon-raspberry cheesecake bars. And lemonade. The lemonade was wonderfully delicious. Very cold and very fresh, and it came in the cutest little glasses.
 My family eventually decided that cheesecake bars did not constitute a good lunch, so we packed up and drove around until we found a place to satisfy LB's craving for fried chicken and mine for mashed potatoes & peppery gravy.
By then it was getting time for Mum, LB, and I to hit the trail home so we could make it back in time before dark to feed the animals. We left Da behind to do further sculptural things and headed out, taking a brief rabbit trail to drive over Owahe Reservoir/Dam and about dying of laughter at the top, coming up with all sorts of hilarity {see Percy Jackson and the Olympians book 3}. Then we really pushed off....
  I kid you not: Not thirty minutes into the drive {about the time we pass the sign Last Gas 150miles} I was seriously regretting all that delicious lemonade in the adorable cups -- if you know what I mean.
 This is the main reason I don't like road trips, because where I live to get Anywhere you have to go through a million miles of Nowhere with, you guessed it, no rest stops.
 About an hour later Mum got tired enough to let me drive. I was all like, Okay, Mommy, don't worry about a thing, I'll get us home safely! until she sacked out in the backseat, then I was like LB, fasten your safety belt and zip your lips; we're getting home now!! 'cause there was no way in Hot-place I was pulling over to the side of the road. Because even though there were probably only five other cars on that highway, I can guarantee they would all pass by just then like a little parade for yours truly.
So, yeah. I chose the alternative.
 I won't go into details, but I will say I shaved a half-hour off our travel time. Aaand we arrived in one piece, which is always a plus when I'm driving. In fact, considering the circumstances of that day, it's a miracle.


Friday, June 8, 2012

I never claimed I could cook

Some people have great gifts when it comes to baking and cooking and making pretty things to eat.
 I am not one of those people.
If I ever do get married {excuse me while I go and laugh hysterically for a moment. [which, I might add, would be a lot easier if this suit's arms didn't tie in the back. How am I typing? with my nose.] The padded walls are nice, though.} ANYway, if I ever do get married and try a new recipe or something it won't be all "Oh, dearest! You're home! Look at this delightful creme de le creme I whipped up in my spare time!"
 No. It will probably be more like this: "Don't judge."

On this day, the recipe I tried was for moist red velvet cake. The recipe is absolutely sound, so if you'd like to give it a go you can find it here.
 Yes, the problem lies with me. It all started out pretty promising, I got all my ingredients and measuring devices out and lined up neatly on the counter. Pulled out my mum's big mixing bowl, turned up the Irish tunes, and tied my apron strings.
 It started to go pear-shaped about the time I realized my round cake pans are an inch larger than the ones called for. Well, I say to myself, an inch isn't much. and carry on greasing and flouring. This is where I usually get into trouble: Improvising & Estimating.
 Recipes, to me, are more like ideas than actual facts. Not because I'm experienced enough to do my own thing like Julia Child, but more because I have this subconscious {deranged & misplaced} hope that, whatever terrible and misbegotten things happen, somehow the outcome will be just like the picture.
Well, I'm always right about one part: misbegotten and terrible things do happen. After battling with dye shortages and exploding confectioner's sugar sacks, angry beaters that spewed butter and cream cheese across the walls, stove top, and myself, I got everything reined in enough to pour the pink batter and commence baking. Because I finished the frosting earlier I stuck it in the fridge while the cake baked. Or at least that's what the cake should have been doing. It took nearly 45 minutes to get it to where it wasn't sticky in the middle, and by that time I had opened and closed the oven door so often to check, that they fell and got dry on the outsides and looked like very sad red pink velvets.
 Feeling a little deflated, I must admit, I set the sad things out to cool and got out the frosting. It being chilled was not in the least spreadable, so feeling exasperated, I must admit, I shoved the works into the oven to soften. I then opened Photoshop and promptly forgot about it, resulting in the thin mush you see above.
 And that, really, is the end of my baking adventure for today. It definitely isn't the worst thing I've accomplished, but nor is it a shining success. It is simply me being eternally optimistic. Don't judge.

....Enjoy the following....

My radishes poking up at last.

We had an extraordinary thunderstorm pass through the other day, and I had fun capturing it as it formed, when it broke, and the amazing farewell it gave us. But I couldn't fit them all into this post so I rebooted my Big Sky blog because I have a lot of overflow now that I have Jack. Click here.

And speaking of rebooted blogs, I think I'm going to start writing for Bristé again, those of you that are interested.
 {To learn about Bristé and how you can read it, check out The Writing Desk page.}

Til next time,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To the wind

Dear Wind,

What. The heck.

Okay, perhaps that was a little strong to start with, but seriously, it's 1:30 in the morning and you choose to throw your little tantrum now?
 You've been unhappy all day, I've gotten the hints. Doing all that crazy stuff with the clouds, whooshing and sighing and thundering about, and generally making it impossible for two would-be marshmallow-roasters to have a campfire without giving Smoky the Bear a heart attack.

So what's all the fuss? Why all the sound of waves crashing on rocks? Why the huge gusts that make me stumble {and, yes, fall} out of bed to crawl to the computer and check to make sure a tornado warning hasn't been issued while we've all been lying in our beds, cursing your noise.
 The radar tells me nothing, by the way. Simply that tonight is "Clear". I tell it to get real.

Wind, I tell you this: If you murder my little defenseless plants tonight because of your little pity-party or whatever it is....... I'll find you. And feed you in little pieces to rodents. That's how tired I am.

 The red-eyed monster with frizzy hair and a bad attitude

P. S. Sunday when I wore that... buoyant... dress and you made my hair look awesome? Consider that another mark between us.