Tag Archives: Chicago

Waking Up The Tractor For The Summer Grass Cutting!~ Or, Husband Who Play With His Wife’s Blogs! ~

Dis mornin’ I decidid it wuz time ta git du tracter grass cuttin’ reddy. First I had ta git disel fule.

The above sentence was fixed by Michael when I walked away from the computer, serves me right for leaving it up on the screen:-)

To open the over head barn door I have to flatten my hands against the door and push upwards. In theory that door should slide easily upward. Reality, the door sticks on the inside track and fights back. With a grunt I push upwards sending the door on its shaky flight up. I hesitate just in case it slipped back down on my head. It didn’t and I walked carefully into the barn.

 Hey, it’s not as if that’d be a first time it slipped back down without me noticing.  

The diesel five gallon plastic tank was sitting next to the still covered tractor. Last fall I had set the air tank behind the tractor after I filled the tires with air. Every year I say a prayer of thanks over those big tires that they are still connected and haven’t shredded. Every winter all four tires lose all their air and I have to refill them. They also need to be checked check constantly during the summer.

The empty plastic water jug was tipped over on the cutting platform. I didn’t see any oil or radiator fluid pooled anywhere under or around the tractor. There was a pile of dried grass along the right, along with a number of boxes I had tossed in that need to be burned. I looked up into the rafters; I couldn’t see the paper wasps, yet.

 Just getting the tractor uncovered, oil checked and changed-Oops! Note to self, need to buy oil- The cutting bed will need oil along with the wheels and around the motor. All that will take me half a day to accomplish. First, I have to move all the stuff out of the way and sweep the floor, before I can even move the tractor an inch from where she has been sleeping all winter.
Crippled husbands suck… note to self, trade ‘im in for a younger, healthy model. (Michael added this part I left it in He’s feeling sorry for himself today.)

Uriah ran up to me when I was taking a couple of pictures. I thought he was being very friendly. But when I looked down he gave me a big doggy grin and bumped me again wiping his wet fur against my jeans.  With the warmer air and the heavy winds, Uriah had gotten thirsty and warm, without asking he wandered off and took a dip in the pond. Nothing like the smell of toad water in a dusty barn! 

I shooed Uriah outside and grabbed the diesel container. I left the door open. I hoped to at least clean around tractor today.

I buy the diesel at the truck stop with all the truckers.  I use the first lane for smaller vehicles, but first I need to prepay inside, so I walk back and forth between the huge trucks.  After  having pumped the diesel I went back inside to get my change and receipt.   I took my place at the end of the line. Truckers are very friendly people and soon everyone was laughing and talking about the tornados heading our way.

When it was my turn I asked about the price difference from their sign by the road, which read $3.21 to the price on the pump, $3.28. The lady behind the counter told me, that they took off seven cents per gallon if you pay cash. I pointed out that wasn’t posted on their sign. She just shrugged and handed me my change. What am I missing here?..

When I got back, I parked in front of the Barn and dragged out the diesel can.   I had bought myself a candy bar at the truck stop and tossed it on the front seat.  I grabbed it and tried to hide it from Uriah. That didn’t work ‘cause he’s a dog and all he does is sniff out things to eat -try not to think about it- and then eat those things, regardless of what said things are or where they’ve been.   (Michael added this last sentence. He caught Uriah grazing in the cats litter boxes earlier today.)

 

I shared a small piece of the candy bar with Uriah. It made him happy.

I wasn’t able to clean up the tractor or the barn, because the winds shifted and the storm rolled in.  And I mean rolled in! The clouds rolled out over head, low enough I thought I could touch them. The sky turned dark grey and rumbled, and flashed, as the winds tossed branches and leaves at us.   

Uriah hates lighting and thunder! He can sense when a bad storm is coming and he would rather stand in the middle of the yard than come in the house. I don’t understand it, but catching him can be frustrating, especially when lightning is flashing overhead

This morning, the sun was shining bright in the blue, blue sky. White wispy clouds gently floated over head.  I stood out near the barn and listened to the frogs singing. They sounded similar to a person whistling with a warble. Their pitch rose and fell as if they were singing a song and only they knew the words.

I contemplated opening the barn and trying again to clean up the tractor.  Then I looked out over the sea of dandelions and tuffs of grass and decided this was just too pretty to cut:-)

At that moment a gentle breeze swirled over my head and Uriah spotted a rabbit and took off ..

Today is Oprah Winfrey’s No Phone Zone Day!~Or, Stick That Phone In Your…Pocket Day!~

Today is Oprah Winfrey’s No Phone Zone Day!

http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html

If you haven’t signed the pledge Please think about doing so. Driving and texting or talking on the phone is very dangerous. When you talk on the phone or text, which I don’t understand how anyone can text while driving! You are using your car as a weapon to kill someone.

My husband and I were in a car accident in 2004 that accident nearly killed him and now he has daily seizures and can’t work.

In McHenry county Illinois, where the accident was presented, we were told accidents happen…     And the case was never brought to trial.  We were told that if the case had been presented in Cook County it would have turned out differently.  We were screwed over royally!

That accident seemed to happen in slow motion. I remember the girl, who hit us was talking on the phone while she was driving. She was tailgating and her car went out of control and hit the cement median. Then shot across the express way slamming into the driver’s side door of our car. My husband saw her coming and made an attempt to move out of the way. He was turning the wheel to the right.  He leaned to the right as well, that move pulled him away from the door before his seat belt locked up. We were told at the hospital that move saved his life. If he had been sitting straight up his spine would have been broken when the door caved in.

I still hear the booming impact; the scraping metal, brakes screeching.

We spun around one and half times, coming to a stop and facing a truck coming us. Add in the sounds of that trucker locking his breaks, I thought that we were dead!   I stared at the PETERBILT logo as the truck stopped inches from the front of our car.

She never got a ticket!

I heard her taking to her father as she came over to our car.  I heard her say:

“Daddy, I had another accident and this time I think I hurt someone.”

That moment when she slammed into us changed our lives forever. I wonder if she even remembers us… I wonder if she signed Oprah’s ‘No Phone Zone’ pledge?’

I worked for a cell phone company, T-Mobile, they told their drivers they had to be on the phone while driving or they would be fired. Even if they were exhausted- all the Field Techs were over worked and extremely exhausted. (My time at T-mobile is a movie or novel waiting to happen..)

 I wonder how many companies have the same rules and threaten to fire their employees for not answering their phones while driving- past your kids, husband, wife, mother, sister, and grandparents! They put everyone’s lives at risk for the bottom line!

One of my dogs was hit by a car and killed.  I wonder if they noticed, or were they too busy talking or texting on a cell phone…

I could go on and on, but that isn’t what I want my Blog to be about. Even though this too, is my Walking Path.

Please, don’t use your cell phone while driving…

 Sign the Pledge!

http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html

Have you been hurt, or know someone who was hurt in a car accident caused by a talking on a cell phone?

no-phone-zone

Last Walk Of The Day~ Or Pull That Off Me With The Head Attached!~

The night air was cool with a sweet, smoky smell of a camp fire threading its way past me as I stared upward into the slowly darkening sky. There were very few clouds. The ones above were wispy and rolled like the scales of a fish. They reached out and  past me. I had the feeling someone was pulling the blanket of daylight off the bed and the narrow end was caught on the setting sun. While the horizon was a dull, peachy color with grayish blue, the color and clouds spread out over head and mingled into a dark bluish-grey.

Uriah whimpered. He wanted to take a walk in the tall grass. I did not.

“Go on, Uriah! Do your business!” I pointed out towards the pond and lengthening shadows.  

Uriah stood and watched me, then nervously shifted from one paw to another.

“Come on! It’s not a trick! There’s no boogieman out there waiting to eat you up..Hmm!’

I frowned and stared between the darkened branches of the Blue Spruce.

“There could be some horrible Ticks in there!”

Uriah whimpered then sat down.

I turned towards the front of the house.  Deciding that the ticks may not like to walk the slight incline up hill so I maybe safe if I walk around the house… I can hope!

Uriah followed. First, he peeed on a few of the taller tuffs of grass, as he passed by them, then he stopped to stick his nose in a chipmunk hole and to sit on the tulips. I never understood why he had to sit on my tulips.

 I really need to get some diesel and wake up the tractor. That thought crossed my mind as I stood in ankle deep dandelions, thick and dark leafy greens with yellow flowers.  Too tall grass is perfect for Ticks, they love it. I kept looking around hoping nothing jumped at me.

For a half hour last night, Michael tried to get a Tick to let go of my leg. The little bugger was covered in soap, then Vaseline, Michael tried to shock him by lighting a match, blowing it out and touching the bug with the hot unlit end. Still he hung on a death grip with his little foot and mouth pinchers. Finally Michael announced he got it off me and with its head still intact. -That really was an odd sentence, could be I’m tired.- I hate Ticks!

A robin yelled at me from the trees and Uriah let out a long loud yawn, time for bed.

Last night I took a picture of the moon. Here it is..

I took these pictures of the flowering Crab Apple trees when it was nearly dark.
 

 

Poetry-I Am Ticked Off!~ Or, Tomoe Stole My Pillow~

Last night I had washed my hair before going to bed. I was so tired I couldn’t wait for my hair to dry, so I placed a hand towel across my pillow. This morning I crawled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. This is what I saw when I came back to bed.

I was able to grab the camera and take pictures without waking up Tomoe. She slept for three hours before she had to hit the litter box. Tomoe owns the bed after I get up. It was very early and I wasn’t ready to get up.  She didn’t care.

Then Uriah needed to go.

 I resigned myself to the day starting very early and set off outside into the early morning sunshine. Birds screamed at me as I carefully walked around spider webs and newly opened dandelions. Uriah barreled under the pink crabapple blossoms and stepped on the greenish-reddish stalks of unopened peonies. I noticed the Lilac’s flowers were still in the small budding stage in a few more days I will smell their fragrant perfume. I probably won’t bring them indoors, Sano eats everything. I don’t believe they are poisonous to cats.  But he will make a mess of them.

When I came back in I noticed the coffee was already brewing. Michael had gotten up when I took Uriah out and set up the coffee pot. In a daze of complete coffee bliss I told Michael he was like a God to me. Bad move! He kept repeating that all day. Very irritating! 

Yesterday I had heard on the radio that the Tick season has started in Illinois. Great! Ticks love me! Any Tick, in a ten mile radius, will jump its way on over to me.

Michael thinks it’s hilarious, when Ticks leap from the grass and trees towards me.

We are not amused! Heavy sigh!

Well, yesterday evening I took Uriah for a walk and came back inside. Not thinking about Ticks at all… It was a cool evening, not summer cool but that spring cold where you’re wondering if it will snow by morning, definitely not insect weather. I walked into the kitchen to get a drink of water and noticed a slow moving black bug on my arm.  I brushed it into the sink and called Michael to tell me what it was.  I didn’t have on my glasses, so it could have been a spider or a piece of dirt.  I was surprised he said it was a Tick and quickly washed it down the drain.

I asked him if he could see any more. Arms out, I did slow turn.

Leer, leer!  Wink, wink!  

“Just look for Ticks!” I grumbled and rolled my eyes.

Michael announced I was Tick free. He was wrong…I was wearing black pants and Ticks love dark colors. I sat down and noticed a shiny little body crawling on my pant leg. Then another and another…Eeek!

i have been ticked!
does anyone have a tip
a tip
       to trick
                 a tick
i have used deep woods off
and worn lighter colors
i have smashed and brushed and flicked
those little buggers
                      into the trees
                                         the toilet, and
                                                              the sink
i have danced and screamed
ran in circles and swore..
april thru june
are the days of the tick
or so I am told
i have seen them in october…
little
       shiny black
                         vibrating bugs
go ride a deer, and
stay away from me!

*

*

If you’re interested here’s a site about ticks:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pccommonticks.htm

My Rat Is A Cross Dressing Opossum~ Or, Can I Get A Gun To Match My Shoes!~

This weekend was beautiful one of those perfect, mid-western spring days. The skies were baby blue with nary a cloud to be seen. The birds were singing. The winds were just a gentle breeze, and the trees were all budding lime green with a sprinkling of leaves waving as I passed by. The air held a slight chill so I had to wear my orange coat unzipped, I never broke a sweat.

Uriah ran up to me panting. He had his worried face on. His eyes bulging out as he tried to walk as close to me as possible, without actually jumping into my arms.

“Come on Uriah!  What’s wrong with you?” I patted him on his head and he paced then leaned into me.

I stood up and looked around not yet getting what the problem was. Then I heard it. The call of the, Warm-Weathered-Mid-Western-Gun-Owner and  my main reason for wearing a bright orange stylish coat all-year-round.  Avoidance of bullets! Add in the fact that I could be seen from miles off. Unless they think that deer, coyote and raccoons shop at Fleet and Farm, I should be safe.

The sound of a gun being fired caught my attention, along with the immediate high pitch ‘Peeeyuuu!” sound traveling behind it.  The bullet must have ricocheted off something then headed in my direction.

Sort of ruined that safe feeling of wearing my orange coat!

I continued on with Uriah around the back path, enjoying the warmer spring air, just a little more leery.

Yesterday when we took the same walk I saw one of my neighbors, standing in the farmer’s air field, at the back of the path. He and his two young boys were digging a hole. When I came close we exchanged pleasantries. Then he explained the farmer gave him permission to shoot the chipmunks. He then told me that the coyotes hunt the chipmunks and dig holes making it unsafe for the farmer to land his planes. Okay..

 Then he added. “You shouldn’t be walking around without a gun!” He nodded looking around.   “There are Cougars in Illinois that sleep in the trees! Just like in California and they will jump out at you. Or grab little kids, like my boys here,” He pointed to his sons and mimicked biting at the kids, “and then they’ll drag ‘em off” He hesitated for effect then added. “And there are Wolves here now. I know a hunter who saw their tracks just on the other side of town.” Hand on hips, he gave me a few seconds for that to sink in then he continued.  “And a Wolf pack will hunt you down if you’re walking alone!”  He pointed to the gun slung over his boys shoulder. “That’s why you should never walk around here without a gun.”

 I responded back.  “Wolves eat rodents! Rats, mice, rabbits, chipmunks… not people!’

“They will if they get hungry enough!”

There are certain points during conversations where I think of Lucy and Charlie Brown, the Peanuts Cartoon characters. This was one of those times.

 

Lucy had told Charlie Brown, the reason a Palm tree is called a Palm tree is because you can get your entire palm around it. Charlie Brown reacts by clutching his stomach in pain.

 

I know how he felt…

To be truthful he had me a little nervous. I remembered how Uriah was frightened a couple of times at night, and I mentioned that. (see  link #3 below)

“Yeah!  Probably a Cougar!”  This guy is good. He will nod yes, when he wants you to say yes. And shake his head adamantly when he wants the negative reaction. Right now he was nodding and looping his thumbs in his belt loops. ”Yeah! Cougars!”

Okay I have to stop here. I tried to call the county to ask them about this. But no one called me back.  Gee! I wonder why…

A couple of Cougars were sited a year or two ago and they were shot. Illinois doesn’t have cougars on the endangered species list because they are so few. Cougars were exterminated in Illinois before 1870.

As for Wolves, according to ‘Defenders of Wildlife’ site (see link #1 below) Wolves; “were killed in most areas of the United States by the mid 1930s”

The difference being, Wolves are on the endangered species list.  (See the link #2, below)

Back to my walk: Uriah was bored he wanted to keep walking he didn’t want to stand around and talk. He kept glancing at the guns, then looking away.

I had to ask this question.” How do you know that a coyote was digging those holes? Could’ve have been anything!”

He answered with a wave of his hand. “Well there are coyote tracks all over the dirt. They are really good diggers.”

“I was just wondering, because we have a lot of holes made by Muskrats.” I pointed behind me, about fifty feet away there was a visible mound of rocks.

“Muskrats? Huh!”  

After that answer I was wondering if he knew what a Muskrat was.

“We also have a couple of irritating rats near the outside kennel that dig a lot!”

“Rats! You sure it’s not a opossum?” He gave me that I don’t believe you look.

“No! It’s a rat. A nice fat county Rat!” I held my hands about half a foot apart.

“Could be a raccoon.” He mumbled.

“Coon! No it’s a rat!”

 He kept shaking his head, as if I would change my mind and agree it was something else.

“It’s a rat! I have a picture of it. Unless it was a opossum, and it dressed up like a rat!”

Luckily his phone rang and his wife summoned him to dinner.  Or he was bringing it with him. I don’t know!  I didn’t look at what happened to the chipmunks they had shot.

When I got back in the house, I told Michael we needed a gun to fend off Cougars and Wolves. He wanted to know what I was drinking on my walk…

#1: Information on grey wolf:

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/wolf,_gray.php

#2: Endangered species list:

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=A00D

http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/stateListingAndOccurrenceIndividual.jsp?state=IL

#3:

http://gerardinebaugh.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/something-was-in-the-fogor-take-bets-on-who-pees-first/

If I Were Kate Gosselin…~Or, Poem for Thursdays Jingles Poetry Rally!~

I am not Kate Gosselin

I don’t have eight kids

Really! I don’t!  Believe me, I looked!

My divorce was never on the internet

Or television, or in the tabloids

Could have been…

At one point I did a walk-on for Jerry Springer

I was working, installing a sign 

Across the street from where they were taping

Up on a building, standing on a ladder..

They asked me to be the jealous girlfriend

Does that count?

If I was Kate Gosselin

I would have a reality show

Dance across the screen

And hit the talk shows…

Wait!

I’m still looking for those eight kids

They have to be around here somewhere!

Uriah told me
To stop being silly and
Take his picture please

To Bee, Or Not To Bee A Headbutting Bee!~

The very first spring I lived here I had a problem with Bumble Bees. For some weird reason anytime I step outside they have to hit me on the head. Most people think I’m crazy. Now that may bee.. 🙂

All I can say is it is a very weird thing to watch. Most people can’t stop laughing when they see it. I really want to file a grievance with the Bee community!

I haven’t been headbutted, yet, this year. I will let you know when it happens…

This picture was taken this Monday afternoon.  Can you see what, or who is sitting in the corner of the outside window?

 I had walked away, then turned and took another picture. Can you see he moved to the opposite side of the window?

Here is a close up of Sano…

Here is a close up of who was sitting the window. Yes, I know!  This  window  need painting. I need a hard hat!

Strolling Through The Grass and Mud While Listening To The Birds!~ Or-Did You See Where That Mouse Went?~

 

The past couple of weeks we went from freezing your butt off,   to help me I’m melting usually, all in one day.

Sunday morning, when I stepped outside I was surprised by the warm air and hazy grey skies heavy with moisture.  Saturday night the weatherman had announced. “It would be cold in the morning and a warm-up was coming in the early afternoon.” I was glad he got it wrong.   It was gorgeous!

It was only eight o’clock in the morning.  The warm air and a barrage of happy birds flitting from tree to tree helped Uriah talk me into taking a walk out back.

The path had drained off, but that downed tree still lay across my path. I followed Uriah as he walked around it and closer towards the fence.

Along the northern side of the path, the older Blog Willows grew, with their dark brown tangled tops reached upward. Maybe in few days, when I can take the tractor out, I will be able to push that tree out of the way… Even as that thought skimmed by, I knew from experience, that once the ground was able to hold the weight of the tractor, those roots will be stuck in the ground like cement.

I carefully stepped over the exposed roots and tangled dried grass that held a death grip on the base of the tree.  I could see a hole underneath exposing roots and rich black dirt.  Pieces of moss clung to the roots.

I mumbled out loud. “There may be an animal’s den in that hole!”   

I watched as Uriah stuck his nose close to the hole then stepped back quickly.   Using his normal ten second thought process, he caught a different scent and raced ahead of me. I glanced back at the tree and promptly followed Uriah’s lead.

By the time I caught up to Uriah.  He was circling an evergreen. The fur on his back was straight up.  He was kicking dirt out behind him as he scrapped at the ground. From the corner of my eye I saw something move across the empty field.  I couldn’t make out what it was, possibly a deer.   The large animal disappeared quickly into a grove of Oak trees. Uriah made a move to chase, but first he looked at me. Now it’s not like Uriah to listen, or ask permission. He knew he would be in trouble if he chased after the animal.  Most days he didn’t care. Today, he hesitated. Hmmm!   Uriah knew that whatever that was would hurt him and he just wanted me to tell him no.  Which I did!  Saving face, Uriah happily pranced back to my side.  

By the time I circled the path I was heading west and home.  Uriah took off in the trees to my right. He never got out of my sight. He even stopped and waited while I watched a flock of starlings in the trees above me. They fanned out then regrouped in a wave of wings and chattering. As soon as they settled in the tops of the trees one bird would rise up and the rest followed in a massive flow of feathers. Red Winged Blackbirds, Robins, Doves, Sparrows, Cardinals, sang around and above me. The noise level was incredibly loud. 

The trees that hadn’t budded last week were budding green this week.  The grass was growing at odd heights. I sidestepped a fairy circle and headed to the dog kennel.

Uriah panted as he ran up. He stepped into the kennel for water and a mouth full of his kibble.  Which I was glad to see wasn’t touched by the birds, or that rat.  

Suddenly! Everything fell silent!  I checked the skies for signs of the Hawk.  I couldn’t hear the Hawk’s high pitch screech. I was positive a predator had to be nearby!  All the birds stopped talking…    Just as quickly, they started up again.  The bird’s voices rose once more to a manic pitch and the wave of sound rolled over me.

I watched as Uriah crunched his biscuits. He nosed around in the grass for every last morsel. My stomach growled!  Time for my own breakfast …

I wanted you guys to see; Kenshin and Sano are hot on case of, “The Mice in the Garage!” Will they catch them, or not stay tune!
Did you see where that mouse went?

The First Full Moon of Spring, Persephone Walks With Her Mother~

Roll me an egg across the fresh garden grass

Speckled with colors blues and greens, reds and yellows

Hidden among the daffodils, crocus and tulips

Set inside the stiffen arm of a tree

I move and stretch, warmth courses into my bones

I watch Persephone walk by with her mother

Passing on the light of color and warmth

Dressed in a ruffled dress of buds and flowers

Lilacs resting in her hair rose buds at her feet

Small hands collecting the painted eggs

Hidden beneath the dried grass and emerging life

Her touch awakening colors

That spreads like golden water ahead of her footfall

As her basket fills, so does the air

With sound and scents and vibrant warmth

Roll me an egg across the darkening sky

The first full moon of spring, hearken

Persephone walks with her mother

Thinking Out Loud~

 

Why is it

              when the air cools

                                          I can feel the past,

                                                                     I shiver and sigh…

The sun rose slowly, over a humid, cool and very clear moment. The air was still. I watched as two dozen Robins pacing out the yard. I was an interloper into their world, for this moment, they let me stay.

I gripped my hot coffee cup, held it close and stared out over the empty field. The sun was hidden behind the clouds that sat on the horizon, I looked up the sky was shifting to a sleepy blue above me, without a slip of a cloud.

This time of day holds loosely to a cool silence.  Where nature is kind and allows us to wake up slowly as nocturnal animals drift off to sleep.

I use to walk out in this quiet, barefoot. I would step easily around and over rocks and spiders. It is the spiders that are awake; they weave and repair their webs all night catching insects unawares in the darkness. Now those webs shimmer with icy dewdrops and I stay on the deck.