The Conjunctivitis

PINK EYE or Conjunctivitis is funny, really funny –on somebody else.

Apparently, animals get it too.  They don’t have to spend $100 and two hours at the doc’s office to cure it.  Billy the Goat, Elsie the Cow, and Sea Biscuit trot on down to the local feed and grain store to pick up a BLUE bottle of PINK Eye Spray.  It is on the shelf right next to the Thrush-Buster and just down from where they display the half gallon “baby bottles.”

Real (and pretend) farmers frequent the Durand Feed & Grain Store for supplies: Purina Goat Chow,  Layena Crumbles for chickens (get it…LAYena–the name still “cracks” me up) and they have a nice selection of “Horse Candy.”  Everything is industrial strength and comes without warning labels.

Prior to embracing a farm life, the local pet shops would suffice.  Seeing a doggie in the window,  pushing a cart through the toys and treats aisle, and checking out the fish was the extent of it.  In my city slickers days I would get all horned up about going to the office supply store.  Well let me tell you, the feed Store and the hardware Store do it for me now.

The Feed Store doesn’t have a lot of fancy signs or displays; no shopping carts either.  You are supposed to know what you want.  You are supposed to know there’s a literal drive-thru (a giant barn) to get your big bags loaded.  Once you know these things, you feel like you belong.  If you want to know something, you just ask.  I like that.  Most are family operations.  I like that, too.

The Feed Store’s colorful shelves and shiny metal objects caught my attention today and I focused on the offerings.  Got Krud?  Spray on a little Cowboy Magic’s “Krudbuster” and no one will know.  Bleeding profusely?  Apply some Blood Stop Powder…a little dab will do ya. Stacked tall on wooden pallets are giant bags of pig chow, goat chow, horse chow, dog chow, and rabbit chow.  Did you know rabbits chowed?  I thought they nibbled.

 

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Big Nasty and The Turd

Big Nasty

(Unfortunately) we like to name our vehicles on the farm.  Big Nasty is the stuff road trips are made of.  She’s sporting lots of chrome and someone has “Bedazzled” her dash.  BN is a Peterbilt 379 EXHD  18-speed fuller with Georgia overdrive, complete with a sweet set of chicken lights on the front bumper.  Last week she was hauling boats from New York to Florida and this week she’s all ours.  
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Adam and I blew out of Flint on Thursday morning, running and gunning for the Jersey Shore.  (Slow it down now, Momma)   We made 700 miles in 12 hours with a couple of pit stops.  BTW… these people on the east coast need to take a Motor City driving class.  Despite several of their attempts to cause great bodily harm to us, the crash bar on my Ford Taurus sounded off just once, thanks to my superior driving skills.   After this experience, Adam and I made an executive decision to get a custom made image placed on the Ford’s rear window shade screen.  This screen moves up and down with the push of a button so we decided to leave it down until someone deserves to receive a message.
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The truck yard where Big Nasty was parked was near Manhattan so, as luck would have it, we got a two-for-one on this trip.  My oldest son, John, (Adam’s bro) has a NY apartment  close by so we bunked down with him on Thursday night after a pizza treat and some small talk.   I brought John the perfect gift…two drinking glasses that said “Little Joe’s, Grand Blanc, MI” on them and some fresh baked cookies.  Ok, I wanted to bring fresh baked cookies, but I didn’t have time to bake so I bought them and made them look fresh baked.  There, I feel better.

 

We said our goodbyes on Friday morning and met up with the seller, Frank, from Cuba, who speaks just like Al Pacino in Scarface.  Our big adventure just got better.  Oh-Em-Gee!   Big Nasty was owned by a guy who “would cut ‘em up real nice for a Green Card.”   He started her 550 Cat Diesel engine  and a plume of grey smoke roared out of the dual straight stacks as the engine loped.  Her sound did not disappoint.  After a quick tutorial and a thorough inspection, it was time to test drive her up to the pumps.  “Tony Montana” was happy with himself because she only had about 50 gallons in her when we arrived at the gas station.  700 gallons later, we were westbound and down, bobtailing across state lines.
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My Taurus averaged 29.3 mpg with BN as a wind break.   Adam is “The Green Hornet” and I am “The North Star”…our saweeeeeeet  CB handles.   10-4 back door.   TRIP REPORT:  We made friends with a Wiggle Wagon (truck tractors pulling two or three trailers –legal in OH), avoided getting any Driving Awards from Town Clowns in Plain Wrappers, and, luckily, all the Weight Watchers were closed.  We didn’t have to slow down in the Antler Alleys either.  We saw one Cowboy Cadillac going to the Pokey with a Smokey and Adam saw some nice seat covers from his elevated perspective.    We kept it between the ditches and put it to the floor, looking for more.   At 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning we rolled into The Buick.
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For more adventure, check out our YouTube video featuring “The Turd” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rYzbKdUotI
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Our motto:  If you aren’t laughing, you aren’t living.

Pearls Before Swine

IMG_2626

 

Icy north winds blew snow across the endless Iowa prairie and over the backs of huddled up cattle as I headed eastbound, through the corn belt on I-80, from Coon Rapids, Iowa–back home–to Flint, Michigan.   

 

The landscape was surreal.  Nothing broke the plain except for a few clusters of twisted, gnarled oak trees and weather beaten grain elevators.  The main industry along my route was ethanol production.  Every so often a small town sprang up around a silver nucleus of massive corn silos.  “Colder than a well digger’s arse” came to mind when I saw the exhaled breath steaming out from frosted calf noses and each time a hard shiver made me want to turn up the heater in the truck.  

Coon Rapids has a vibrant, historic downtown shopping district sans a Walmart, KMart, or grocery conglomerate.  These are family-owned businesses where grandchildren work elbow to elbow with grandparents.  After being in town just a few days, I stopped up at the Hardware Store for some parts.  The woman behind the counter asked, “You must be Kelly?”  A big, fat smile spread from cheek to cheek as it dawned on me that just being new here made you special.

I came to Coon Rapids out of “necessity”….my husband was deer hunting in “Macke Land” –with a family he has loved to hunt with for the past 12 years.  This year, however, a business meeting cut his deer camp week short so, anticipating the inevitable (he doesn’t lack confidence or optimism) he recruited me to drive him to the airport at the end of his hunt and to deliver his deer meat, antlers, gear (oh, and his hunting dog) all the way back home, a distance of 700 miles.  At first glance, it seems I was doing him the favor.  As it turns out, the gift was mine.

I’ve lived with this man for 30 years and have listened to all of his big swamp buck stories.  This year I was privy to all the camp lingo and the strategies that make blood brothers out of men. Stuff like:  Day two, dark-thirty…BBD.  (Just to whet your whistle and show off some tough guy swagger that I picked up at deer camp.)  Big Buck Down.

Finally, I was able to get into a stand of precious timber, see this Boone & Crockett buck down where he was harvested, and witness the respect for the game and the chase that our group of hunters has.  Then came the fun part:  watching two grown men sweat and struggle to drag this monster buck some distance down a ravine, then back up a ravine, and finally heave it into the bed of a pick up truck on the count of three.  I played dumb and watched while their antics tickled my funny bone.  John climbed up into his tree stand and relived the action for me, minute by heart pounding minute.  I could see Christmas morning in my husband’s eyes.  When I put my arms around him for our picture, I felt him still shaking like a little girl from the adrenaline rush.  I smiled at him, on my inside.

Our hosts prepared a MAN CAVE dinner with 2″ steaks sizzling on the grill to celebrate.  The area Game Warden (Title always  capitalized here in Macke Land) stopped by for a bite and a story.  Gus entertained him with stories about how he “influences” trespassers (pumpkin heads) who “no speak-a-da English” to master the language REAL QUICK once they are busted on his land.  The whole camp is on a “swat team” high alert for Pumpkin Heads at all times.

The next day the meat packer sent out a 9-1-1 call to us saying that we had to get over to his shop before dark thirty, a day early, because he already had 35 townies come through, taking pictures of John’s deer, and trouble was brewing. EVERYONE heard about this buck.  He knew that someone would help themselves to these antlers before dawn.  He didn’t want to be responsible.
This was our cue. We said our goodbyes, collected our things, our dog, and our memories and left town with our buck of a lifetime.  On the way to the airport and just
outside of Iowa City, a frozen ravine caught my eye.  I looked down from the bridge and saw five perched bald eagles!  My heart skipped a beat.

By 2 p.m. John was on his flight and I was eastbound and down headed for the Michigan line.  FAST.  After a testosterone filled week, I was ready to “git-r-done”.  600 more miles to go without heat in the car (we have to keep the processed meat frozen and the hide from reeking–which was incentive enough for me to follow the rules–this time).  I threw up the radar detector and set the cruise at 84.  In no time, I reached the world’s largest I-80 truck stop.  They have three giant semi trucks in there on display, a laundromat, a hotel, several restaurants, a parts department featuring CHROME and a wall of rig lighting–plus a Ginormous gift shop.

Shopping at I-80 Truck Stop
“World’s largest”

Boda-boom-boda-bing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far, so good.  I passed the three I’s without smelling any bacon.  Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  At midnight I crossed the Michigan line, making time.   Yes, I listened to Dr. Laura, XM’s The Highway, Fox News Channel, and Blue Collar Radio.  I admit it.  With 50 miles to go, my phone rang.  It was John.  He was at his hotel and thought to check on….his Dear…his Deer.  You decide.

As soon as I bragged about my speed, my time, and my total awesomeness….I was attacked by big flashing cherries in the rear view mirror.  Yep, I took my eye off the ball for a minute and Porky came calling.  What to do, what to do.

He came along side the window and I told him I had guns… and bullets… and dead animals… in my truck.  Arnold asked for my license, registration and certificate of insurance, all business-like.  Then I threw down the trump card.  “Hey, do you want to see my 14 pt. buck?  He’s a Booner”  With a wicked grin and a twinkle in his eye, he said, “Sure, hop out.  Show me whatchagot.” I buttered his bread on both sides, telling him he got me fair and square.  The clincher was when I asked him if he wanted to hold the antlers.

After checking the tags, my new BFF shot me “The Look”  (I see it every time I get pulled over and work my magic)  and he said, “Just slow ‘er down, na.”

AND SO… Stay tuned as I continue to be a legend in my own mind.

Food for Thought

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Getting Even

 

Two thumbs up to my sister-in-law, Kathleen, for posting this on Facebook.   It only costs a dime to get rid of the Michigan State Bird.

You will need:

  • Two Liter Pop Bottle (That’s right, we call ‘em pop bottles around here.)
  • Razor or Scissors
  • Glue
  • One Teaspoon Yeast
  • One Half Cup of Sugar
  • Some Luke Warm Water

 

 

Cut the top off of the bottle, invert it, and place it inside the bottom of the bottle so that both cut edges are up.  Glue the raw edges together.   Click your heels three times and add the yeast, sugar and warm water to the bottle.

The sugar feeds the yeast and carbon dioxide (mosquito crack) is released.

Babe, the Blue Ox and The Weenie Wagon

Ain’t she saweeeet, see her rolling down the street. You sang that, didn’t you?   Babe leaves a thick cloud of choking black smoke behind her each time the hammer goes down.  This is especially handy when passing innocents standing at a bus stop or rolling past folks caught in the act of putting their trash cans out on the curb.  Babe’s whole mission in life is to bring a smile to Adam’s face each time he “scores.”

The old girl just spun 200,000 miles.   She’s a 7.3 liter Diesel F250 long box with a five speed, manual transmission and leather seats.  I’m told she really only has two gears:  fast and faster.  Adam spruced her up with a $10 caution light from Home Depot, a borrowed tool box in the bed, and some new rubber all around.  She’s an Ox because her purpose in life is to haul Adam’s 14,000 lb. boat up north, survive getting whip-tailed by extreme loads on the farm, and she needs to keep her throaty, jake brake sound when decelerating .  It was love at first sight, the minute Adam laid eyes on his Babe, the Blue Ox.

Last month I left him and Bryce alone on the farm for two weeks while I went up north to aggravate some fish and build a campfire or two.  Thinking that Babe would be enough entertainment for the dynamic duo and thinking that they had enough farm work to do, I didn’t think twice about surprises.   Then my phone rang.

“Hey, Ma, I made a Weenie Wagon” Adam declared proudly.  I held my composure as he described his Weenie.  It was long, held about 1,600 gallons, and was strapped down safely.  Best of all, it could go 60 mph and spray with force because he hooked a pump to it.

A Thousand Gallons at a Time

In all candor, I’m pretty proud of Adam’s Weenie.  It’s purpose is like a pumper truck for fires…only it carries water to refill the spray rig.  We spray our fields for weeds with a truck rigged with 60′ booms and since many of our fields are 15 to 20 miles from our water supply, the Weenie Wagon saves us fuel and time.  I like the way he thought of everything…the ladder on the side, the water pump in its own housing up front and re-purposing our auto-hauler temporarily.  Somebody was using their noodle.

 

 

 

Last time I left town he figured out how to get his jon boat and four horse outboard engine down to the lake using “Saki-Saki”, our Mini Truck.  I have to admit if he is nothing else, he is a clever little devil.

 

 

Saki-Saki, our Mini Truck

Hitched up, ready to roll.

 

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