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Down on the farm

Down on the farm
Out of the woods.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My great grandfather Matthew Nettle, owned the farm Uncle Orville purchased just before he retired from the St. Louis Post Office. He was an Anderson and Aunt Hazel (Campbell) was my mother's oldest sibling. Both families had and still do live in Franklin County, Missouri.
The farm is 500 acres that would probably double in size is you could iron it out. With hills, gullies, creeks, dry creek beds, forests, bluffs, caves and a few tiny fields and ponds, it is beautiful and more than a little dangerous. My uncles killed wolves in the woods above the house. Coyote dogs killed and ate a flock of ducks. Lambs and calves disappear entirely on occasion. The family pony, April wandered down the hill, never came home and was never found. The sheep kill rattlesnakes in the old barn every day.
But there has never been a smell like that of the cedar woods at any time, but especially after a rain. There's fresh washed odor with an ancient tang at the back of your head that says heaven is very near here and has been, forever.
The stone in the shelter of the towering cedars is carmel colored, and so smooth and beautiful you want to taste it like candy. A shelf of this stone forms part of the old road down to the cabin. Chips from horse shoes and cuts from iron wrapped wagon wheels can be seen when you know what you are looking for. Cool and smooth on the hottest, dustiest day, I think it must be God's footstool.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fine lines the timeline

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 12:33pm | Edit Note | Delete
I have always known that there was a fine line in a timeline, but only recently was told that it is two separate entities. No more gazing into the future, no more glances at the past. There is simply time and also line.
I want to go back to when I was quicker, stronger, slimmer, and time stretched out in front of me in an endless line. My past was short and my future long. I had an unbroken timeline.
But now, in the interest of saving time, I e mail instead of dropping a line. I use the saved time to line up appointments, then lose it in the grocery store line. I snap time saving digital photos and store them until I have time to line them up and weed them out. I get to the movie on time and wait in line. I fix time saving meals, then hurry back to work on line.
Some day there will be time to make scrapbooks and study geneology to find where we hang in the family line. Was ours a clothes line or a party line or a boundary line? The family lived just north of the Mason Dixon Line. The family farm has passed to another line, but theirs goes back to meet ours, not too long ago in the way of timelines.
My husband's line was measured in picas and they used california job cases. There was a typo here and a line dropped off the page there. They lived near the Illinois/Indiana line. Most of the lines are recorded in sepia tones and charcoal and local news clippings. Most have no date. No time. Just a line.

Travis drew a line in the dust at the Alamo and 179 men stepped into history's line. Caesar's most famous line "Et tu, Brute?" still rings, and Brutus steps out of time to "bury Caesar, not praise him".
I want to get a line on some more time. I need to stretch out that line of hours and make them last longer, work harder, do more.
Without the line, time gets away from me. Without the time I fell, hook, line and sinker. Do you remember the line "I had the time of my life.."? How many lines have you memorized? How much time did it take?
Broken, cut in half in the time of its life, a life line broken.

He's nice enough, but he's got quite a line. I haven't got time for that.
I have a line on something good, but haven't had the time to check it out.
These are laugh lines, not laughed at lines. Attitude lines and latitude lines, I'll wear them all on my face in time.
How much time do we have? Keep it in line.
How come the mouse has all the good lines?
Sam was walking Baby, a 10# Westie who is generally afraid of her shadow and/or yours.
Baby was getting into her excited mode, little woofs that indicate friends are coming to play. She did a little dance as 4 raccoons came out of the woods.
Bob, the12# white male cat who owns the Westie (according to him, anyway) had been hanging back, guarding the rear as he usually does. Like a streak he was beside Sam, back arched, hissing at the invading patrol. The coons hesitated, but another raccoon appeared on the far side of the road.
Four,The Bob could handle, but five was too many. Bob looked up at Sam, says "MEOUT!" and stretched out, racing toward home. A few yards down the way, The Bob stops, looks over his shoulder, and rowrs at Sam and Baby, and takes off again, stopping every few yards to hurry up the stragglers.
When his little troup was safely home, he stalked to the door and demanded to go back out.
Maybe he was going to have a talk with a group of raccoons. He is, after all, THE Bob.
We have a guest pooch this week while sister Kate is up north. Shaggy is a male yorkie who weighs about 6 pounds wringing wet. The rest of the cast you know.
This morning Dick was walking Baby and Shaggy. Sherry came around with Scooter (regulation size Airdale), who doesn't like male dogs.
Scooter went into attack mode and ol' Shaggy squared off with a dog about 50 times his size. He wasn't backing down either. He was going to have a tiny little piece of that monster!
Sherry was trying to control a crazy dog who probably matches her body weight and has a lot more muscle power.
Then Bob came flying out of the shrubbery, hackles raised, hissing like a live wire in water. Bob the Lion Heart, Protector of the tiny. Scooter didn't know which paw to use to bat the mosquitoes off! Bob probably aimed for the throat but I think he bounced off a knee.
Dick wrestled Baby and Shaggy back into the house with much cursing, barking and hissing. Scooter went on his way. A not so sure winner in the battle of the Bob.
Baby trying to bully Bobcat into playing.
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The Bear under the chair game. Add to the story.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 12:49pm | Edit Note | Delete
"Grammers," said Sammers, "there's a bear in there."
"A Bear?" said Grammers, "in there where?"
and Sammers replied "He's under a chair!"
"Oh, Sammers could it be the chair by the stair?
Where its so cold, dark and drafty," Grammers declared
"Yes," Sammers said, "it has two eyes that glare!
And two ears, a nose, and claws that can tear
If anyone comes too close to his lair."
"Well, Sammers," said Grammers, "the harder I stare,
I see a nose, paws and tail, but absolutely no hair!"
"Grammers," said Sammers, "that bear there is bare!
He is red with embarrassment and blue with despair."
Grammers replied "A bald bear is rare!"
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New Bob the Cat story
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Friday, July 3, 2009 at 8:45am | Edit Note | Delete
Dick was walking Baby (Westie) while Bob the cat alternately lounged road center or lurked in the swales. They met one of the early dog walkers, Jan with Peanut (medium adorable mutt). While the humans talked, the dogs nosed, nudged, circled and Bob lay watching just out of reach. Then Sherry turned the corner with Scooter (a tall sweet tempered, bouncy wire haired terrier...Airdale I think, runs about 100 pounds at a guess).
As they approached, Baby started out to meet her buddy Scooter. Bob circled the group and got between Peanut, Baby and the approaching Scooter.
Hackles raised, white fur upstanding and hissing madly Bob the 10 pound white American shorthair prepared to defend his Baby from the giant. We should rename him "David".

A Bob Cat Tale

We have a guest pooch this week while sister Kate is up north. Shaggy is a male yorkie who weighs about 6 pounds wringing wet. The rest of the cast you know.
This morning Dick was walking Baby and Shaggy. Sherry came around with Scooter (regulation size Airdale), who doesn't like male dogs.
Scooter went into attack mode and ol' Shaggy squared off with a dog about 50 times his size. He wasn't backing down either. He was going to have a tiny little piece of that monster!
Sherry was trying to control a crazy dog who probably matches her body weight and has a lot more muscle power.
Then Bob came flying out of the shrubbery, hackles raised, hissing like a live wire in water. Bob the Lion Heart, Protector of the tiny. Scooter didn't know which paw to use to bat the mosquitoes off! Bob probably aimed for the throat but I think he bounced off a knee.
Dick wrestled Baby and Shaggy back into the house with much cursing, barking and hissing. Scooter went on his way. A not so sure winner in the battle of the Bob.

Forgotten history

Those who came to America willingly and first, who moved here before there were ports and railroads, came here for the opportunity to worship God as they chose, in freedom. When these wise men wrote the constitution, their intent was to keep any church out of the government, not to keep God out.
They made some mistakes. They did not emancipate either slaves or women despite pleas for both.
Nonetheless they created a document that has served to keep us free and stable while other governments collapsed. For more than 200 years we have been the land of the free and the home of the brave, the land of milk and honey, with enough for everyone willing to work.
Each incoming group in turn was castigated and set apart, the Irish, the Jews, the Germans, the Swedes, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Africans, but they learned the language, they learned to be free, and became Americans. They brought their customs, traditions, morals, and ethics, but they added them to the mix and became Americans.
And all had the same desire. To work, raise a family and worship in freedom. They benefited from the wisdom of those who kept all churches out of the Government but kept God at it's heart. This is what is forgotten. That any government without God at the center will be a government such as we have today.
Have you seen the whitecaps in the toilets at the top of the John Hancock Building? Watched the lights come up in Lincoln Park and leap outward, burb by burb?
Ordered the most expensive drink in town just to watch the sun slide out of the sky from the 94th floor?
Suffered through another Taste of Chicago in Grant Park just for the barbeque?
Caught the bus in front of the Museum of Art to go to Wrigley Field?
Ridden the El in from O'Hare?
Can you get off the train and walk underground most of the way to Wacker Drive?
Catch a water taxi to the train?
Did you take a small child to see the Thorne Rooms and stay, salivating, long after the child lost interest?
Have you seen the boulder of jade at the Museum of Natural History?
Have you gone from blues to jazz to dixieland to Irish folk in an evening?
Toured a gallery on the Mile that has your name on the sign?
Have you been to the Loop?
Have you been to Chicago?

Streets Lite

*My theory is that the developer of this area was so cheap he bought up all the prisoners' mistakes, giving us such as Cannolot Blvd. Of course it could be a tribute to great grandma's preserves. Alborado Road might be a misspelling of EL Dorado, but what about Decorore Drive?
*Damfiwill and Damfino as street names are amusing but can't you just hear a judge asking for your address?
Saying you live on Damfiwill  just might get you thirty days!
*Is Cazenovia a lover who cannot spell his own name? Did the same person name Randyparr Street and Notson Terrace? If he is not your son why did you name a street for him? Drude Court could be a contraction of Rude Dude and may have been named by the person who chose Taunt Court.
*Malarky Lane, Glee Avenue, Bacchus Road and Revell Lane are on the party side of town. Doe Street and Lark Drive, Minnow Way, Dog Court are rather prosaic compared to Catspaw Drive. Is Dobell Terrace something you answer or a jingly thing around Bambi Terrace?
*Most would avoid Abrade Avenue, but might be curious about Antofagasta street or Condmn (not MY misspelling) Point. Couples longing to be parents may want to live on Concepcion Drive, but would you buy on Pessoa Street or Mamora Drive? Sandspur Street is every street in town! Sandrala Drive and Santarem Circle have appeal, but Winding Vail doesn't and isn't.
*Bail Court, Bank Court, and Bar Court are truthful, but Bill Court is waiting for a vote. Someone living on Cockpit Lane probably wants to be in the pilot's seat of Cessna Court, but Confound Road is hard to follow.
*There's Ebb Road, Ebb Avenue, Ebb Circle, Bayswater Road and Edgewater Drive. Most of the them are signed with flood warnings. Hopefully they are close to Afloat Drive and Barge Lane. Beaver Lane, Beaverhead Ave, and Beavertone Ave are nowhere near the woods.
*In a nod to elevator music we have Bee Gee street. Authors are honored with Cervantes. Pirates give us Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. Those are neither streets, boulevards, avenues, nor lanes, and they avoid courts!
*Yule Street, Silverbell Drive and Wassail Lane take care of Christmas and for class we have Duchess Avenue and Duke Lane.
*Empire Street, Factory Avenue and Enterprise Avenue pay homage to industry along with Edsel Drive and Cadillac Avenue and plain old Car Street.
*I walk my dogs along Windswept, by Winning Way and Wonder Win, follow Barksdale around to Corfell and down Rickardway Avenue. How can it be both a way and an avenue?
*Aback street is, well, alone.
*Happy Hollow would be a fun place; It is probably near Kidon street and Omie Avenue. For more fun you could visit Carousel Lane and or Drive.
*Cattle Dock Point and Road sound earthy, but would you live at Slipshod Manor?
*There's Hesta Misty Court, Robat Terrace and Silage Circle. We've no Alpha Street, but there is an Omega Lane which brings us to Ycolt and Zorn Streets.
*The streets could be named A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 but wouldn't that be boring?

The Doggie Gazette

My dogs have always been better reporters than I. They have no compunction about getting down to the nitty gritty filth of it all. They revel in it, and as a team they are incredible.
Billy, the slightly scrufty older reporter has seen it all, mostly twice. He never met a bone he couldn't worry down to the marrow or a smell he couldn't put a name to. Cautious and slow to make decisions, he waddles with all glacial speed down the block.
Baby leads at the end of her tether. She appears to be a mini sled dog, tugging and pulling along to the next sniff, the next and better story. I am stopped short by 20 pounds of stalled Westie male newshound and jerked forward by 11 pounds of Westie girl reporter.
Baby bounds ahead. Cat, cat, cat, racketycoons, dog, cat, cat, BOBCAT! Dog, dog, turkle. SNAKEHOLE! Bounce, bounce, bounce, tug.
One sniff at a time, Billy follows, accessing the facts. Mommy and 2 kittens, family of racoons. Bad dog, stay away. The old tortoise, cat, Elisabeth's cat, Billy's own Bob the cat. Mozart, and Rascal are good dogs, friends. Our old friend Grampus the turtle whose tunnel must be visited each and every day. Stay away from the snake hole. Slow down!
The owl hoots in the 11 acre jungle across the road. It is growing dark and I can barely see him in the top of the tree. Both reporters become wary. Billy in front, on guard, he'll take on anyone or anything that threatens his story or his family. Baby slides behind me, taking on the better part of valor. She will let the big dogs handle the big stuff.
Billy swells to an amazing size. His shoulders widen as he plants his front feet in warrior fashion. His usually placid face takes on a ferocious grin. He has gained 15 pounds of sheer attitude. I don't think the owl is impressed, but I am. Billy can handle it. He is Baby's hero. We proceed along the street, Billy slowly subsiding to normal size. We walk on into the dark.
At the corner Billy stops to peer down the dark road. He parks his backside and makes it clear that he is not going down that path.
Wisdom says not to go where Billy does not want to go. We turn back toward the lights at the far end of the woods. Home, with stories to report for the doggie gazette.