Monday, December 29, 2008

Dec. 30, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
I hope that you had a bountiful Christmas both in gifts and family time. We had our daughter, Jennifer and her husband Giz along with Mom and Joe for lunch. We had a nice time together. We had gotten a 3-D puzzle of penguins and snowflakes to put together after lunch on Christmas Day. It proved to be challenging and I found it slightly irritating.
It was Jeff and Chelsea’s year to go to her family on Christmas day. One thing when your kids marry you must share them with the other side of the family. In our situation with both parents living close to together is makes is easy for the kids to spend time with both sides. Chelsea is very cautious that they spent the same amount of time with us as they were going to spend with her family- We told her that life is way to short to keep score. We are happy to get them when it works out the best- but it was nice that she wanted us to feel loved and not left out.
We had a nice time in the afternoon with my brother, Virgil, and his wife, Karen. They dropped by after they had a good Christmas meal with Karen’s mom. We caught up on their busy lives and heard stories of their grandbabies. Virgil and Karen think that having grandkids is one of the best things that have ever happened to them- I am thinking that I will think so too, when that day arrives for us.
Always when the holidays come along with the good there is always something sad that happens as well. This holiday season was that way for us- many of you have inquired about our dog situation- and have asked about our new puppy- I think that maybe I am not meant to have a dog at this point in my life- We were really enjoying our little girl- but she got really sick and even though we went to the vet we still lost her last night. I knew that she was not feeling a bit well and she was not eating very much. I am waiting to hear back from the blood tests that were taken on Friday. I just hate being home alone when Jim is at work and when I feed cattle, I like having a companion with me. But I think I should wait and let my heart heal up- before getting another little furry friend. I think that I have had enough death for a while.
Speaking of death- my mom keeps a tally of all the people that have died in the past year- that were close friends or others that were acquaintances - but her tally for the year is now up to 59 for the year 2008. I am ready to see the year 2008 behind me. I know that one way to tell that you are getting older is that when you get the paper one of the first things you check out are the obits. Maybe it is to see if your name is there-

Dec 23, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
By now I am sure that you have completed your Christmas shopping- I actually got mine done early for me- meaning before Christmas Eve. I was having some problems with getting in the Christmas spirit this year. I just could not face pulling out all of the Christmas decorations- while shopping I found a small cheap little fiber optic tree. I also found cheap small ornaments to decorate the little tree. It is great. One reason that I needed something a little different this year is the puppy is driving me crazy- Having her in the house is like having a very curious two year old turned loose in my home. I can remember when Jennifer and Jeff were little and got into everything and scattered anything they could get their little fingers wrapped around- Dad called the kids ‘thrashers’. Well, they pale in comparison to our little Jezebel. Dad would not appreciate our little Jezzie as she is into everything- she loves to find a book and rip the covers off and as many pages as she can until she is stopped. She loves trash and candy wrappers- I have forgotten what it is like to have a puppy in the house again. She just makes me tired. But I am not lonely or bored or sleeping or getting any work done while Jim is at work. Wrapping presents proved to be a chore in itself. She loves to run off with the scissors. I have told her not to run with scissors- but she is just like most kids - she must be told over and over. The wrapping paper she found lots of fun to rip and tear into many pieces. The ribbon was one of her favorites. I had problems finding where she had hidden the ribbon. I have enough trouble trying to find the things that I have misplaced with out having her helping me loose things.
We are going to have a small family Christmas this year. I love having large family gatherings, but having just a few is nice, too. You can enjoy everyone more than when there are so many that you do not get the chance to visit with them. But we are looking forward to celebrating Christ’s birth. I hope that you all have a wonderful and a very Merry Christmas!

Dec. 17, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
WOW!! Is it cold? When the wind chill is below zero it is cold - I do not care who you are it is cold. I can take the cold better if the wind was not blowing (duh- I am just like everyone else). The wind in this case is not our friend. It does not look like that it is going to warm up anytime soon. As bad as I hate to be hot and sweaty- being cold and frozen is not much better. I really do not have that much to complain about as I do not have to be out in the elements as long as some people. I do not know how they take the cold for hours on end. Those people have my admiration. The only plus to being cold as compared to being hot is that I am not as mean and grouchy. Probably still mean and grouchy just not as much. I was chopping ice out of the stock tank and my fingers got so cold so quick- I hate it when it hurts to bend my fingers- it is like they will shattered if I move them a lot. But you know that they will feel better if you can just get the blood to flow and they will warm back up. It seems that it does not take a great deal of the cold weather to get me to yell ‘calf rope’. I had always heard that fat people were warmer than thin people- I have found that is a huge lie- I have been both. When I was thin I could handle the cold weather better than I can now that I have many more pounds - some might say insulation- they would be wrong. There is nothing insulted about fat- I figure that all of my fat gets cold, it congeals and hardens and this is very hard to thaw out. Not being able to handle the cold has been a bitter disappoint to me as Dad could always take the cold. I thought maybe that came from his age- well-- that is another thought that was completely wrong. I do get warm in surges- from time to time but that is another story. We could be in the same place and he would be dressed for winter but so was I and I think that I had many more layers than he did. He never - well- hardly ever wore gloves. I had gloves and scarves but I could reach over and touch his bare hands and they would be sooo warm. I could feel the heat through my layers of gloves. Jim and Jeff can handle the cold they do not always were a coat- in fact- one time one of the Principals bought Jim a coat because he thought he did not have one to wear. Little did he know that Jim had a closet full of winter wear that he seldom used. I can tell you that as hardy as Jim and Jeff are they were bundled up this week. When they tell me that it is cold - that means I do not want to stick my head outside. I guess that it just means that all the men in my life are really tough and I am a weenie.

Dec. 9, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
Dennies just might put a disclaimer on this article so I will do it for him. These are certainly my ideas and do not in any way reflect the thoughts and beliefs of this newspaper.
Our government is in the process of trying to bail out the auto industry and I would not even try to tell the powers that be how to do such a thing. I figure that is not my department and I should mind my own knittin’. I would not attempt to try to tell someone how to do their job or even advise them on something I do not even understand. I think that it would be nice if others would follow suit. I also have decided that with all of our time saving devices it has given people too much time to think. After all busy hands are happy hands.
This week I have been unhappy with an article Jim was reading- he was telling me he read an article that the EPA thinks that cattle are giving off too much gas. Who could possibly come up with this ridicules idea? They must be joking- First of all can you imagine who they hired to meter the gas off of a cow? I would love to meet the guy who had that job. The EPA would like for all of the cattle owners to pay a gas tax per cow. It was quite a sum of money they were talking about charging us. Maybe we could cork the cows. Then take them daily to an air tight facility that we would have to build at our expense and uncork the girls and let it fly. This is almost as silly as wanting to the land owners to fence off the rivers and streams as a cow might once in awhile potty in the water. My feeling on that is that if they can keep the fish, who never leave the water,- the birds, ducks and geese from doing what they do best in the water then we will talk about the cows. Have you ever cleaned a fish tank? I rest my case-
If it is toxic gas that they are worried about- maybe they should be more concerned with a van load of kids who has just over ate on pizza- candy and junk food. Now that is lethal.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nov. 25, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
Last week was a tough one. I not only lost my female Dane, Josie, but my male, Jake died also. I know that they were just dogs- but they were my buddies. Jake usually slept in our bed and Josie slept at my feet when Jim left for work. In the past 3 years when Jim was spending weekend or two with his mom while she was in the Tulsa Cancer Hospital- the dogs were a lot of company for me. I am really going to miss them. I can not remember when I have been without a dog. So I am in the market for a companion of the canine variety.
Christmas has Santa Claus- Easter has the Easter Bunny- New Years has the New Years Baby- Valentines has Cupid- Thanksgiving has squat! I can not believe that someone has not come up with some sort of gimmick. The main thing is that we try to almost forget Thanksgiving so we can get to the commercialization of Christmas. The stores start their sales early in the morning after Thanksgiving- I mean really early- so if you want to get to the early bird sales and save some cash you need to get to bed early Thanksgiving night-this cuts into my visitation time with family. I guess that I am getting old and cranky. I do not like change or anything getting in the way of my time with my family.
Since Thanksgiving is here already I am busy getting ready for family. This year our family, which is the White Cousins, are getting together, but I do not have to fix as much of the meal as I have done in the past. In fact, I feel sort of guilty. But we have so many good cooks that we will have a good meal but more importantly we will be together.
I just love hearing some of the same old stories and the stories of cousins tell about their childhood- Some of my favorite story tellers are Jim and Mike Jesseph. They have some wonderful stories and I laugh till I cry. I wonder sometimes how any of us grew up. Most of the stories you hear, are not what you will read about in the baby books- If the stories were published it would probably put an end to the human race. Virgil has some good tales, as well. Vickie likes to get her yarns in, too. Mom always says that she does not remember any of our adventures. I think that she has blocked most of them out- probably a defense mechanism.
We also have many stories of the family members that have gone on before us. Janet Marsh is our family historian she has all kinds of pictures and is full of information. Virgil has quite bit knowledge on the Alley Family.
Sheryl White is our family pianist- I am hoping that we will get to do a sing a-long. We like to sing- and talk and talk and talk--
I sincerely hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving- if you can not spend it with family I hope that you get to spend it with friends- While we gather and have fun I do want you to forget to give thanks. This is a blessed country we live in and we need to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov. 11, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
One wonderful thing about living in a small community is that we help each other out. I have mentioned numerous times my neighbors have help us out time and time again. But the thing about residing in our area is that everyone is willing to help each other out. Years ago when Skeet Willard died, I remember his wife, Barbara saying that she could go down the phone book and pick a name at random and whoever it was would be willing to help her out. I have thought of that often- How nice it is to know that there is help. Many of us do not ask for assistance but we know that it is there if and when we need it.
What has brought this to mind was when I was thinking about the kindness we felt when Jim’s mom past away. The weather was not good for travelers as it was rainy and the roads were muddy. It takes quite a bit of rain for our sandy roads to be slick and nasty. Our road was washed out in a couple of places. We had family staying at our home and most of them were not used to driving on dirt roads. Some of them would not arrive until late evening. I called the county shop to ask them if they could flag the wash-out, so that no-one would not hit the large rut and damage their car, not to mention jarring their teeth out. It was late in the afternoon when I called- they said they would try to flag the hazard. Much to my surprise they not only flagged it - but they had come out and fixed the wash out. You can not imagine how much that relieved my stress. I am sure that if we had lived in a large community and asked for some assistance they would not have been so nice as to go over and above the call of duty.
Living on dirt roads most of my life is a normal way of living- but to those who have had the luxury of living on pavement- have problems traveling on the bumps, ruts, loose gravel that is just part of the charm of gravel roads. I feel that the roads are better than they were when Mom and Dad were married. They would tell stories of how after a rain they would plow mud up to the running boards of their vehicle. If it had rained a lot there were time that they would not go out any more than they had reason. But now we have ditches for the water to run off and some gravel to hold us up. I remember one time when we went to church and it was really muddy and the roads were bad, so we went to town cutting across pastures. I thought that was really exciting. Mother was not as enthused, but we made it to church on time. I can not think that we did the pastures any good but I can remember only doing that one time. I guess when we went home the roads had dried out some and was not quite so bad.
So we are grateful to the road and bridge crew. If you consider how many miles of road there are in the county, I do not know how they get done what they do accomplish. It is easy to complain about things- but with the price of fuel and other expenses, I am not sure how we afford to do what does get done.

Nov. 4, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
We have been busy just like everyone else. After I got home, I needed to get a pair of horses that I purchased. I am hoping to spend many hours in the saddle- and that might prove to be a little uncomfortable for a while - but if I live thru it - it will be worth the pain and agony to get back into shape and enjoy what I love most.
We gathered our calves last Monday, and Jim and I were so tired when we finished. We had trouble getting to sleep. I told Jim that I could not find a comfy position to sleep- Jim told me there is no comfort- just find a position that hurts the least and go from there. I was tried his method and it must have worked but I kept hearing a terrible noise- it was a whimpering and groaning sound and it was as if someone was in a lot of pain. I could not figure out where it was coming from- then I realized that I was sleeping and the mournful sound was me. Nothing pains me more than to admit that there are times when I might snore or make some sort of rack in my sleep. Now I guess there is no question that I am almost as noisy in my sleep as I am when I am awake.
After we finished getting the cattle taken care of, I decided to saddle up and try out my new mare. I am thinking she will be a really good old lady horse. She saddled up nice and did not give me any trouble at all. The one problem that I am having is getting my foot up high enough to get in the stirrup. I would like to blame it on my jeans being a little too tight. But, in truth I am just out of shape- even though round is a shape. I cheated the first time- I mounted her from the flat bed trailer. I know that was childish but you do what works for you. I rode around the barn a little then I thought I would go out in the pasture and check things out. That went really well- then I decided that I would go open a gate that had been shut while we were gathering the cattle. That was going very well until we rode though the little tiny flies. It is amazing what you forget when you think back about things, I had forgotten about the bugs. Why is it when it is a beautiful day that you have to have bugs? They were terrible- they swarmed all over the mare and me. She was trying to get them off of her while I was swinging my arms wildly at the flying insects to get them off of me. I just knew she was going to pile me when she ducked her head but instead she lifted her front foot and was trying to remove the bugs from her face. After we got through the bugs without anyone getting hurt-, I had to get off to open the gate. I must admit that it felt good to get off for a few minutes- but getting back on seemed to cause me some stress. I have found that the mare stands fairly well if she is in an enclosed pen, not so much in the wide open. Getting the foot in the stirrup was not any easier than it was when I started- but thank goodness, I was not where any one could see me - I finally made it back on to the horse. However, with all aches and pains it was worth it and I enjoyed the time I had riding maybe not like when I was 10 but grateful that I could still get in saddle. It will be easier next time.
After I write this article, I will go down to the polls and cast my ballot. I feel that it is a privilege to be able to have a say in our country. It seems that freedoms all over the world are getting fewer but we are still able to vote and let our voices count. I hope that all of you voted to have your voice heard as well. This election for me has been the most crucial election that I have had the opportunity to vote. Regardless of who wins, I think that our country is in for many changes.

Oct. 28, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
Life certainly seems to stay in some sort of chaos most of the time, well, at least in our household. I would like to say that it is organized chaos- but that is not even close to the truth. I have been in hunting camp most of the month. I had a very nice place to cook and the rooms that we stay in are nice. In hunting camp, nice means that you do not have rodents running over your feet in the night. It is not a five star accommodations but to some of the hunters they think that it is too comfortable to call it a hunting camp. I can not imagine what too comfortable means but I do know what uncomfortable is and I do not care for the experience.
The great thing about going away to cook for the hunters is that I get the opportunity to meet so many different people and all of the different types of occupations that gives them to means to afford an elk hunt.
I had for the first time in camp, a plastic surgeon, a banker and a man who owns and raises kangaroos. Actually, it was his wife who raises the roos. He made his living in investments. I have never met anyone who has actually raised kangaroos- I found that interesting and probably annoyed him with all of my questions. We also had two editors of two prominent sports magazines there to write an article on elk hunting- I wanted to know when one of the articles would be in print and he told me that it would in about two years as that particular magazine is that far ahead in their layouts.
There were also a couple of hunters who have their own television sport shows. They are very nice and easy to get along with. However, the hunters rarely do things to upset the cook. We do have our ways to getting even.
We had two sets of father and daughter hunters. It was nice to see dads and daughters together enjoying the same pastime. One daughter told me that her parents were divorced and since there was two daughters they split them and the mom took one and the dad took the other. She was the one who went with her mom. So this is what her and her dad share when they get to gather each year.
There was a group of three hunters who had come from Ohio. When I asked them what all they did - They were in construction and they told me that they raise Tennessee Walker horses. That was of interest to me as I have just purchased a Tennessee Walker. I asked them if the horse price in Ohio was as low as it is here. They told me that their show horses that are worth $10,000.00 -they were selling for $1,500.00. So I guess that means that horses are not worth much wherever you go. One of the hunters had an elk is his crosshairs and was ready to pull the trigger when his guide stopped him as he had heard a rumble. The rumble was not thunder or a rockslide it was the wild horses that run on this ranch. They were telling me that the wild horses cause more trouble than the elk. The horses run thru the fences and run the cattle and elk. Since we were talking about the horse prices and we are thinking that there will be many more horses turned out to the wild as there is no other place for the undesirable types. I would hate to ever turn anything out to fend for itself -but there are some who see it as their only alternative.
The sad thing about my return home was the news that Anna Lou Einsel had passed away- She was a wonderful lady and we will miss her. One year at Christmas she brought us the most beautiful tray of homemade goodies. There were little tarts and cookies and all kinds of Christmas treats. I think that she was a really good rancher's wife and mother. Every time that I saw Anna Lou, she always had a positive outlook on life. We will miss her here but heaven just got a little better.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell---Oct. 1, 2008

Christmas is not the only time a person is anxious. I get excited like a child when I think that I am going to get something new or different- it can be almost anything. I guess it does not take much to ring my bell. I am in the process of looking at a different horse. Horses are really cheap since there is an over abundance of our equine friends. I think shopping for them is more fun than actually making that final decision.
When I was growing up Mom and I went shopping sometimes Dad went with us. He would make us buy a pair of shoes even if we did not like them. This was the rule, only if, we had made the shoe clerk get out tons of shoes. This was the era of shoes stores and they had clerks who would help you purchase the correct size and the correct shoe for the occasion that had brought you into the store in the first place. I love shoes and have more than I probably need- but then I think most of us have more things than we need- not want - but need.
I enjoyed going to the auction on Sunday afternoon- It was a pleasant day and it seemed that people were really enjoying themselves- I had the opportunity to see a classmate that I had not seen in quite sometime. Kathy Adams was in my class at school and always had such a delightful personality. I must say that the years have been very kind to her as she looks wonderful. I do not think that it is fair that some people just wake up in the mornings and look good- while the rest of us have to spend hours to be presentable- if we do not, we scared small children.
A good way to spend an afternoon is at an auction. They are a good source of entertainment - at these kinds of sales you never know what things will bring- sometimes you just shake your head and think ‘what are they thinking?’. Usually things that are practical go dirt cheap and things that you can live a long and happy life without - the price is high. You never know what some people think is valuable- I can remember I was at a sale one time and a lady got really mad because someone kept out bidding her- I do not see why you would get upset after getting out bid it just means that the other person either wanted it more than you - besides after all there will be another auction.