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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

'Oklahoma' and other Mental Meanderings

I need to buy the original soundtrack to 'Oklahoma'. Can't believe I don't already have it, to tell you the truth. Surely, hardly a week goes by that I'm not singing, "Ohhhh, what a beautiful morrrrrrning; oh, what a beautiful dayyyyyyy . . . ." Such was the case this morning.

I know I love this place we've created here because, even though I was tired and I'm NOT a morning person, I couldn't help but be excited to get out of bed early (relatively speaking, of course!) this morning to go take a walk around ye ol' homestead. See, I've been gone. Yup, for two days and one night. So, naturally, I had to reacquaint myself with the place - see how the poultry was doing, what new wildflowers had opened, and how the garden was faring. :)

(I know, I know . . . pathetic.)

I nannied both Wednesday and Thursday this week, and there wasn't much sense in spending two hours on the road to and from home in between, so I spent the night - albeit an all too quick one - at our little cabin just outside of town. Silly me: I thought I'd have time to settle in with my book, glass of wine at my side. But, after a wonderful little catch-up with the peanut's nana & papa . . . and some computer work for my folks at their house . . . it wasn't until 11:00 PM that I stumbled up the path, unlocked the padlock, lit the oil lamps (no power or running water), and made a small fire to push the dampness out. I only made it an hour or so, reading. Sigh.

So, the first signs of fall are in the air. Ugh. No, not that I dislike autumn - on the contrary, I love it! But, I'm . . . not . . . ready . . . for . . . it! I still have WAYYYYYY too many summertime things to do!

Yesterday I took the peanut on a drive trying to find the new homesite friends are building on but had no luck (K & V, where IS the road / driveway?!). But, on that drive, I spied two displays of brilliant red and burning orange popping out on extended maple tree branches. Doh! It's too soon! (Although, in reality, I usually spy those early autumn harbingers at the end of July.)

The goldenrod is in bloom now, and the first buds of the summer's very last flowers - Purple Asters - are just beginning to open.

See the cows in my new header photo? Thursdays are usually the day I run to the dairy farm to get the milk & cream that I use to make cottage cheese & yogurt. These three calves have been kept in the same large corral this year. Dunno why, but I hope it's for a GOOD reason (i.e. not fattening 'em up to become veal!). Anyway, they're right next to my parking spot, so it's always fun to catch them doin' their thing.

Speaking of critters, not a day goes by that we don't see SOME kind of animal on our drives to / from home. At the very least, we'll see grouse. But, this year, the fox population has SKY-rocketed, and we see kits nearly every day we drive out. I am a bit worried, though, that their higher numbers will result in disagreements between them and me (i.e. Chicken Mama) come fall and winter when their natural prey might become more scarce . . . and the chicken yard provides an undeniable attraction for them!

The black bear numbers are up this year, too, and I haven't seen ONE that hasn't look absolutely, brilliantly (glossy black fur) healthy. A valley just up from the highway that boasts a nice little population of year-round folks was suffering from what they thought was one really bothersome bruin earlier this summer, but, after s/he was "dispatched", the problems continued . . . which explained the wide (physical) range of destruction. I haven't heard whether or not the 2nd culprit was caught. Anyway - knock on wood - we haven't had any problems up here yet from bears. But, on my way in to town Wednesday morning, I saw a large yearling pop out from the cool, wet ditch on my right and high-tail it across the road just about a mile from home here. Then, oddly enough, about two miles farther along, I saw a single little cub scamper across the road in front of me. Hmmm, where was Mama?? (But, generally speaking, you don't see two different families in such close proximity. Not up here, anyway. Could have been a coincidence, could have been illustrative of the current rise in population.)

White-tailed deer have been moving into our neighborhood, too, which is worrisome. Why? Because moose & deer don't share the same immediate forest, and so we worry that Global Warming is chasing the moose farther north and creating nicer habitats for the deer. And, we don't wanna lose the moose! Waaahhh!

But then, even though I've seen deer on both of my two most recent trips out, I was comforted to come upon a small bull and cow last night on my way home. The cow veered off into the trees almost immediately, but I followed the bull for 1/2 a mile or so until he finally turned off. It was lucky that I got ANY pictures, but these are poor 'cause the lens was open too long, and I was driving to keep up with him at the same time. But, at least you can get some sense of him in these shots. (Obviously, I had to tweak these to get ANYTHING to show, but at least you can kinda see him now.)

We're having dinner with dear friends tonight. She is pregnant with their first and can feel the babe move each day now . . . but we can't feel anything on the outside yet (although it's not for lack of all of us trying!) :) Baby is due around December 11th, and this "auntie" is awfully excited! Anyway, I've been asked to make my tapioca pudding, and I'll make homemade cottage cheese, too. A Shepard(ess) Pie that the mama of the (previously discussed) little peanut that I nanny for made us is coming out of the freezer for the ocassion, too . . . UNLESS I get the momentum to make something new between now and tonight. And, I need to get my jewelry-making supplies out . . . the little sister of the mama-to-be is visiting from Kansas, and this will be our last night to see her. She's a DOLL, and has completely taken to Tom. Or, should I say, "completely taken to PICKING ON Tom!" :) I'm gonna make her a pair of earrings or a bracelet to remember us by. We won't see her until her annual visit next summer.

Okay, I'd better get my rusty-duster up and movin'. Won't get ANYTHING done at this rate. But, for today, I'm just going to try to ENJOY living here at Swamp River Ridge and IGNORE all the "to-do" things! Right? Right. ;)


  1. Hey, we just watched "New in Town" as well. It was cute-very extreme Minnesota dialect, like Fargo, don't you think?

  2. Melissa, ohhhhh, yah, it vuz kinda ohhver dah top, vuzn't it? ;)

    Dunno why they couldn't have actually filmed it IN New Ulm, tho! That would have been neat.


  3. I'm glad you got to see a couple of moose, I saw on the local news last night that their numbers are waaaaay down.
    As for bears, well, that's just about the tastiest steak I've ever eaten, so let me know if a problem bruin ever shows up in your neck of the woods--I'll put my name in for the license and invite myself up with the bow & arrow for a few days.


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!