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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Behind The Eight-Ball . . . As Usual

When I posted the August picture on our Seasonal Changes At Swamp River Ridge blog, I said that August is the last completely green month we'd enjoy. Wrong, wrong, wrong! The yellows and early oranges are EVERYWHERE, and I guess I needed to be reminded that we only have two truly and solidly green months up here: June and July. The rest of the shoulder months are either spent getting ready for summer or getting ready for fall!

Another one of those little "things" about living The Simple Life up here in the sticks . . . folks who see us around here will have noticed that I've been driving the 1-ton pickup everywhere instead of my zippy little Subaru. The reason is more than the fact that it has yet another flat that needs to be patched . . . but it's directly related.

Our own research has shown that my car - due to the size of the tires - cannot take a truly heavy-duty tire
. . . the kind that are required for our gravel roads (unless we wanted to throw off the odometer, mileage, etc. - which we don't). Tom's car - his wheels being just a bit larger - CAN take a small truck tire . . . and therefore, a much stronger tire. What I'm getting at is this: we have decided that, in the summertime, I will drive the truck and park my car. Once the snow is on the ground, I will go back to my beloved little Zip-Zip (although I also enjoy driving the truck) and the 1-ton will again become the plow truck (the reason we bought it).

Many things led up to this, but two of the biggest factors were that I just wasn't comfortable driving the alternate routes home that I wanted to drive . . . for fear that I would get a flat TRULY out in the middle of nowhere completely off my normal route (and Tom wasn't thrilled with that, either, for obvious reasons). My tires were new at the beginning of the year, and they are already completely beat to hell. Not good. The other deciding factor was talking to a friend who also lives on these same slate & shale covered dirt roads (although not out as far as we are). I'd been wondering if all the flats were "just me" and so asked him how many he'd gotten. His "best" was 7 in a single summer - and TWO in one day! That clinched it. I would start driving the big ol' truck. So now, I wheel around wherever I want . . . only really missing the heated seats in my car . . . and flinching every time I fill the truck up with gas. But, I only go to town one day a week, so it's really not bad. And, peace of mind wins out over all those negatives! :)

Now on to the overdue Questions of the Day. Last Tuesday, the 14th, was a special day for many reasons. It WAS the 3rd wedding anniversary of dear friends (now new parents) who we haven't seen in ages. They live in the Cities but got married in historic Red Wing, Minnesota, and their reception was held in one of the few round barns built way back when (it was MASSIVE and gorgeous!). They promised a visit up to us this summer, but I'm thinking it might be fall now by the time they get up. We're anxious to meet that little peanut!

And, it wasn't the 60th birthday of my favorite uncle on my mom's side LAST Tuesday, but it was on the previous Tuesday, the 7th. I was just a little (everybody, now!) "BEHIND as usual"! Anyway, here is the birthday boy - my mom's brother - and his lovely wife at the celebratory b-day dinner. They still live in northern Illinois . . . "the Motherland" to both sides of Chicken Mama's family (and where she/I was born).

Finally, last Tuesday was, yes, as everyone who voted correctly guessed, the ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF TOM'S NEW JOB / LIFE living and working up here! No more Corporate America! No more traveling 300 miles - one-way - every couple of weeks! Maybe reminiscent of his driving days, Tom spent the day driving the 9 hours home from visiting his dad in southwestern MN.

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