Published in the Rains County Leader on December 11, 2018:
The invention of the GPS or Global Positioning system was a wonderful thing for those of us who are directionally impaired even when we have a map in front of us. The system was first used by the U.S. military, but it was released for civilian use in the 1980s. It’s accessible to anyone that has a GPS receiver, and now almost all smart phones and newer cars come with GPS receivers. Many of the younger generations have no idea what a Rand McNally Road Atlas is for or how to use a Mapsco, but they can put an address into a GPS with their eyes closed.
David has always been interested in electronics – always reading all the latest release stories and consumer reports so he can make an informed decision when he decides to make a purchase. A GPS was on his Christmas list in 2007, shortly after we bought our motor home. He thought it would be invaluable for locating remote RV campgrounds and not-to-be-missed points of interest that are off the beaten path. The GPS lived up to his expectations – most of the time. It had its moments, though. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on October 30, 2018:
I think I gained about five pounds this weekend. Besides our regular Friday night Home Group that always includes a delicious dinner, we had a family fish fry on Saturday, and a chili cook-off at church on Sunday. I may never eat again!
Home Group met at a different home, and we had to negotiate washboard ruts and water-filled pot holes in the caliche road, but everyone arrived with a smile and was greeted with many hugs. We welcomed a new couple and re-welcomed a couple whose work schedule only allows them to come occasionally. The menu was heavy on desserts, and lively conversation and laughter accompanied dinner. A sweet time of shared prayer followed, and when we finally settled down to Bible study, the discussion was lively and educational. The evening ended as it began, with smiles and hugs and promises to “see you on Sunday.” (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 25, 2018:
Besides sharing a booth with Tennille Case, another fun part of the Fair was visiting with those of you who stopped to tell me how much you enjoy reading my column each week. One gentleman specifically mentioned my Spike stories, so I thought it was time for an update. Conveniently, we’re staying with him this week, so I have news to share. Spike hasn’t been well the last several weeks, but he’s improving. In fact, he was feeling well enough to give me a hard time the first night we were here. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 11 2018:
Although there seems to be some difference of opinion about the exact wording, Bette Davis is credited with having said something like “Old age is no place for sissies.” The older I get, the more I recognize the truth of that statement. Each morning begins with an inventory of body parts to check the pain level of existing physical ailments and to check for any new pains that may have popped up overnight.
Along with new ailments come new limitations. Arthritic thumbs mean that playing the piano and typing are painful and that opening pickle jars is difficult if not impossible. A painful knee marks running off the to-do list – not that I’ve ever been a runner, but if someone wanted me to start, a sore knee would be a good excuse not to. On the other hand, it’s hard to squat down and retrieve the cast iron skillet from the back corner of the cabinet, and even harder to get back up. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 26, 2018:
One of the first things I learned about living in the country is that there is no shortage of critters – four-legged, winged, large, small, and in-between. Many of my columns have been devoted to my issues with gophers and moles, wild pigs, and bugs of all sorts.
During the years when I planted a garden, my most successful crop was garlic. My neighbor Dirk, who I long ago christened the Garlic King of Rains County, grows garlic that is both huge and delicious, and he generously shares bulbs for planting. With his expert advice, all my bulbs sprouted, grew tall, and put out buds that promised beautiful, orchid-like blooms. Unfortunately, in order to produce the healthiest crop, I had to clip off the buds, but the mild, tasty results were worth it. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:
The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.
This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.
The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great
Spike surveying his kingdom
Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. (more…)
Published by the Rains County Leader on May 15, 2018:
Can’t Someone Else Do It!
I hope you’re not as tired of hearing about pigs as I am of dealing with them, but there’s not much else going on around the Brendle homestead. When I left you last week, the visiting swine were showing their disdain for our trap by mooning the game camera before going on to tear up another section of the yard. The night after I submitted my column, they took it a step further.
Sometime after midnight, David shook me gently and said, “There are eleven pigs in the front yard.”
I rolled over, pulled the covers a little tighter around me, and mumbled, “Well, go shoot ‘em.” (more…)