Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 28, 2019:
When I left you last week, David and I were both tired and sore from a week of climbing and crawling around on a ladder and porch railings to paint and to mount sheets of foam insulation on the ceiling of our new front porch. This week we had several days to rest and recuperate.
Monday we drove to Fort Worth to attend our grandson’s jazz band concert. An amazing performance was presented by all the students, especially by Mattias who I still can’t believe is in high school. We spent the night to avoid getting home well past the witching hour. It also allowed us to visit over breakfast and lunch before heading for home.
The schedule for the rest of the week was full, but by Saturday we were out of excuses. Well, I had one excuse – an online book event that required a bit of promo work. While I was on the computer, David put on his work clothes and headed outside. It wasn’t more than five minutes when I heard him calling me. (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 Tuesday, July 19, 2018:
Last week I wrote about our project to get the motor home road ready and about our less than successful beginning. Actually, we checked the first task off the list as a success when the new house batteries enabled us to turn on the lights. However, our first two attempts at finding LED bulbs to replace the halogens netted us two postage bills for returned items. This task was temporarily put on hold in favor of the generator.
You may remember that, although the new house batteries didn’t get the generator fired up, a new fuse did – but not for long. A magnet of some sort shattered into several pieces causing collateral damage in the process. When I left you last week, David was researching replacement parts.
He was not pleased when an RV dealer told him that parts for the almost twenty-year-old generator were no longer available. Since then, he has found that the dealer was either mistaken or dishonest. He has found the parts on-line, but as feared, they are not cheap. Now we have a decision to make: do we buy parts hoping we can find someone who will install them for us and hoping that fixes the problem; do we buy an entire new generator; or do we buy a portable generator. David doesn’t make decisions quickly, so he moved on to holding tanks. (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…)