Monday, July 28, 2008

A whole lotta B.S.

Look who I spent my birthday with!! That's right. It was pure B.S. at the Adams County Fair with Blake Shelton!!
When he entered the stage, he came through a door in the floor and rose into the mist. WOW! And the crowd went nuts. At least I think they did. We were in VIP seating in the Clubhouse. In the air conditioning. With a waitress catering to our beverage needs. And a bathroom close by.
No, they were cheering loudly by the stage and so were the people in the clubhouse.
If I had to pick a favorite song by Blake, I'm not sure if I could narrow it to just one. I truly enjoy listening to him sing Home. But there's also Playboys of the Southwestern World, Don't Make Me, Austin, and Some Beach. Of course, The More I Drink, the more I enjoy listening. (ha! pun intended).
He's a fun entertainer and I appreciate his sense of humor on stage.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weird holidays - July 16

Wish someone could take over for you in the kitchen? Even for a day? Hire a personal chef today in honor of National Personal Chef Day. You can find one here. Unfortunately, I clicked on the map of Nebraska and it reports there aren't any personal chefs in the Cornhusker state.

But I know that is not true. There is a lady in Norfolk who has chosen this career path. I also clicked on San Diego since my sis lives there. A list of 33 possibilities popped up. That could be fun the next time we vacay there. :)

Since I'm Scott's personal chef - on a 3-meal-a-day basis - I'm putting in my order for dinner tonight, in case he ever reads this and decides to hire a personal chef. Let's start with a bowl of minestrone and a side salad consisting of a variety of greens, sliced strawberries, slivered almonds, and mandarin oranges topped with a tart blue cheese or lemon poppyseed dressing. For the entree, I would like a delectable pasta dish that is different from the same ol', same ol' that I can make myself. And for dessert, baked Alaska.


Hot Dogs . . . a gourmet food?

As a kid, I didn't mind when mom would serve hot dogs for a quick meal. I don't think it happened too often; maybe it was a fast Friday night meal before we headed back to school for an athletic event. And I certainly liked eating lunch at school when they served hot dogs because they also served mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and homemade hot dog buns.

Then I grew older and wiser and realize what comprised these logs of not-quite meat. So then came the all-beef hot dog phase of my early adult life when times were tough and children seemed satisfied with them.

And then, there was my all-out ban on meat or meat products. Not sure why I thought polish sausages and brats were still OK - especially grilled and served Chicago style - but I did.

Now, I found a company who produces all-natural hot dogs made from a variety of meats. Nice...but I'm not sure I could eat one. The folks at D'Artagnan have developed these dogs from natural meat from small, sustainable farms. There are no antibiotics, hormones, additives, fillers, nitrates or nitrates. The company boasts that these hot dogs are purebred quality.

Yeah, purebred what?

Four dogs pack a package and retail for $5.99 to $6.99. For a flipping hot dog? I can head down to my local HyVee and purchase 10 homemade brats from the meat case for $10. HINT - try the jalapeno brats from HyVee. They are de-lic-i-ous!

In all fairness to D'Artagnan, I would consider trying the beef hot dog. The beef used for this product were raised on small American ranches and were pasture fed. (I wonder if that is where our "Black Hoes" went yesterday. I know this little calvie went to market, this little calvie went...)

I might attempt a buffalo hot dog. I've eaten a buffalo burger before and it was pretty good. High in protein, low in fat. These buffalo roam on forage so it might not be too bad.

I'm not sure about the pork hot dogs. The company insists these pigs were raised in a free-range environment and foraged on acorns, alfalfa, and natural springs. Maybe grilled. With a lot of ketchup and relish.

But I have to draw the line somewhere - and I'm drawing it in front of the duck hot dog. The company says these ducks were raised on vegetarian feed on a farm in Pennsylvania and were never given antibiotics or hormones, resulting in juicy and plump duck dogs.

Now, that's just plain wrong.

Even with sauerkraut.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Storm Chasin', funnel clouds and thunderstorms

Everyone always says that if you don't like the weather in Nebraska, wait a minute and it will change.

At 6:30 this morning, I opened our bedroom drapes and saw a glorious thunderhead building in the southwestern sky. I pointed it out to Scott, and we both wondered if we would get any storms today. After watching a local station, the meteorologist there said we were only in the "slight risk" category.

Now, you know what that means, right? We're gonna get nailed at some point.

By noon the temperature had reached 93 degrees. I had to go to O'Neill to take some pics for a publication and run some errands. I left around 2:30 and when I reached O'Neill, I stopped to snap some photos of where the new O'Neill Community Center will be built along Highway 281.

And then, these two vans with massive amounts of antennas on top, whiz by me. The lettering on the vans say Meteorology Laboratory and College of Dupage. I jump into my Jimmy and follow them around O'Neill. Finally, they stop to refuel and I pull along side them, introduce myself, and ask if I can interview them.

They tell me to do it quickly, because as soon as they are refueled, they will be off in a flash. (Which they were!)

Seems they are part of a meteorology class which sends five different groups out for a ten-day stretch to chase storms. This is group #5. The two young men who talked to me were quite polite and told me they go wherever the storms are, and they travel across the U.S. and Canada.

On my way to town, I noticed a system building to the west, but the real storm clouds seemed to be located east of us. I asked them if they were following the eastern storm, and they said no, they were tracking the storm building here in Holt County.

And I didn't have much time to complete my errands!

Forty-five minutes later, on my way out of town on Hwy 281, I meet another SUV and a bolt of lightning reflects in its windshield. Amazing photo op! Too bad I was driving!

Heavy rain until Chambers corner and then light rain for the next 10 miles. Then nothing. Until I reach the farm and stop to speak to Scott. We can see the storm building. And it keeps building. By the time I drive the one mile to our house, it is raining heavily. And within a half hour, he's here telling me a tornado warning was issued for our area.

Take cover. Yeah, right. I'm too much like my oldest daughter Cassie. I want to watch the storm, although when I was talking to her and telling her what I saw - a funnel cloud rotating to the west of our house - she chastised me like any good child would do and told me I needed to take cover.

What, and miss all this?

Scott and I stood in the garage and watched the deluge. Puddles formed in our driveway. I said a silent prayer that our garden survive and I told Scott that I hoped nothing damaged the fields. (Reminds me of Amarillo Sky by Jason Aldean)

Heavy rain, pea-sized hail, and luckily, no damage to our garden our fields.

But I found a website sponsored by the meteorology storm chasers from Dupage that reloads every two minutes and lists storm warnings. Looks like we will be in for a long night.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I think I'm going to start writing an essay for the My Turn page in Newsweek, and it's going to be entitled One Big Not-So-Happy Family.

The idea came to me last night when three of the four stepkids sat down to eat dinner with us, although last night was one of the more pleasant meals we've eaten together. There was actually conversation that involved more than just me and their dad.

Long story short for anyone who happens upon this entry.... not such a happy life for those four and it's a rocky relationship between them and their father. Bottom line: you might not always agree with decisions people make, but you show them respect. It's the agree-to-disagree principle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Snakes in the treeline

I've never really cared for snakes, but I've always had the idea in my head that if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone. But as I've gotten older (and definitely wiser), I've learned that snakes are just plain gross.

Since moving to the farm, I've seen one snake in our yard; that was last summer. I went out on the deck and was going to look for something in my vehicle when I saw something slither from the flowerbed in front of the house. It was a snake. A long snake. A fat snake. A bull snake. And it scooted underneath my vehicle. I stopped in my tracks, retreated to the deck, and waited for the husband to return home and get rid of it.

I'm not sure what he did do with it though, because snakes don't bother him.

So a little over a week ago, when I was directing a camp, he calls and tells me that when he was walking through the windbreak to get to the cattle tank to turn on the faucet so he could water the garden, he found a snake. A long snake. A fat snake. A bull snake. Yes, this anaconda (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating) was approximately 8 feet long and about four inches in diameter. And worse yet, he picked it up. Yeah, like playing nice with the bull snake will guarantee that it will stay away from me.

Now, I'm mortified, because I refuse to walk into the forest of a windbreak just to turn on the water to the garden. No, I'm being realistic because I refuse to let the slimy creature hiss or strike at me.

I understand that they serve a purpose here. They keep the rat and mice population to a minimum and that is very important when you have tons of silage, hay, and alfalfa all over the place. But still, they are not pleasant to look at, and I'm not sure what purpose they play at our house. Except to scare the hell out of me!