Friday, February 19, 2010
Now let me take ya'll back a few weeks. The week the temperatures barely rose above zero. The week we had the dreaded Ozark's ice and nine inches of snow layin' on top of it. The week we had scheduled to take the Young Guns to market. The Young Guns were gettin' huge and the market was good. The plan was that we would load them on our twenty foot gooseneck trailer hauling them the the Teeny Town Sale Barn to be loaded on a big double-decker pot going to a larger sale barn south of us. This would take three trips with the long necked trailer to accomplish this endeavor 'cause these Fat Alberts were large in number and ahhhhum, a little chubby.
We started a little after seven that morning with the thermometer also sittin' on a whoppin' seven degrees. I had on my yoga leggins, jeans over the leggins, two pair of socks, at tee, a sweatshirt, a stocking hat, a Carhartt hoodie, Carhartt coveralls, gloves inside gloves and my barn boots. Ya'll worried about my undies? Didn't ya know underwear is optional here in the Ozarks? I was set for the task before me except it was still dark as oil on a tire and the cattle were black. Oh, did I mention I'm night blind? Looking like the Michelin Man blindly maneuvering the snow like a blundering klutz, I was a willing help-meet who was ready for action 'cause I had my big old yellow cattle stick in hand. Taking all factors into consideration Hubby and I penned and separated the cattle without the usual mishaps. Woohoo!!! Soon the first load was off and I was back in the house huggin' my warm fireplace.
Less than an hour later, Hubby was back loadin' the second batch of big boys also without calamity. Yippee!!! This was reason to open the freezer to pull out the leftover Christmas fudge and celebrate 'cause things rarely go as planned here on the Ponderosa. Then ten minutes later it happened with the ring of the telephone. I could hear,"..I.... nee...bring...ep.....and...ug....ak." Cell Phones!!! Ten minutes later the phone rings again after Hubby hiked to a house and begged the use a land line, "I need you to bring some ashes, I'm really stuck on top of a hill." Well, I had just cleaned the fireplace and I wasn't about to put blazin' red hot embers in my car. After pondering a suitable substitute for ashes, I grabbed up some Quickrite dry cement along with a couple bags of ice cream salt and headed out patting myself on the back for my resourcefulness. Instead of taking the blacktop roads that were brined and bladed Hubs took the narrow hilly cow trail country road because it was half as far drivin' the back way as it was to take the highway. I set forth to find Hubby discovering the glossy road was as slick as cow snot. Carefully maneuvering skinny twisted ice packed road, I finally reached 'the hill' immediately turning around to go back to the Ponderosa to retrieve a pick. I so wish I had grabbed my camera to capture the discombobulation that Hubby, his truck, gooseneck and Young Guns were in.
The big brown four wheel drive farm truck had slid wedging its helpless self against a mammoth gigantic tree. Good thing 'cause if it hadn't all would have descended and plummeted over the ledge and down the tall bluff. The gooseneck carrying the cattle had jackknifed just a bit completely blockin' the road. Hubby chipped the ice with the trusty pick, spread the dry cement around the buried tires and began to gun the vehicle's motor smokin' the spinnin' tires and shifting the cattle trailer toward the polar ledge with no avail. I could just see the Young Guns plunging to their death at the bottom of the ravine and there goes our bread and butter baby! Hubby get's out of the truck sayin', " I guess we need to go get a tractor." Well this farm chick knows what that means. My favorite sayin' around the Ponderosa is, "ya want me to do WHAT???" It means this chick is on massive farm equipment she's not confident operating pulling a 3/4 ton flatbed and twenty foot cattle trailer stuffed with obese bovine on an icy Ozark cliff. I could not see this ending well by any stretch of my very vivid imagination. This is when I heard Hubby softly said,"or call Big D." "Yes, Yes, oh please call Big D", I squealed like a cheerleader with new pom~poms. Big D drives an enormous bright-red wrecker that had pulleys, chains and all the bells and whistles for such predicaments. Man help, filled with muscles oozing testosterone and burly man spit. That's just what this job required.
Big D came to the rescue securing the liberating wrecker to the side of the mountain above winching the cattle train up and over the icy hill to the blessed blacktop road. The second load of Young Guns traveled safely to the waiting semi pot at Teeny Town Sale Barn but it was too late for the third load to make the journey. They would have to wait to make the run to market the following week. Just like the title of the 1959 Rogers and Hammerstein's show-tune song, this Ozarks farm chick was sooooo delighted she did not have to mount that big old blue tractor and help that cattle train "Climb Ev'ry Mountain!!!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It was one of those sticky sultry sweltering Ozarks ninety~ eight degree summer days. Ya, know the kind that makes the most proper woman break into a sweat just liftin' a tall glass of cold iced tea to her luscious lips. Mom was visiting, our children were young and the forecast was muggily humid but clear. A perfect day for Mom to entertain the kids while Hubby and I stripped the roof down to its bare necked bones to re-shingle our leaking addition. We had the tar paper, shingles and roofin' nails at hand. I was dressed in shorts, a cute little tee, ponytail and tennis shoes ready for the task with hammer in hand. Hubby and I play well together and we had the old roofing off in no time when out of nowhere like a sonic boom came the loudest clap a thunder this Ozarks farm chicks ears have ever heard. Yep folks, a thunderstorm was movin' in faster than a cheetah chasing a frightened deer. The sky opened up with a cloudburst creating a deluge upon our roof. There was an abundance of white lightning streakin' through the sky over our heads. No, not moonshine but firebolts of lightning discharging atmospheric energy with their vivid flashes. Busier than a couple stumped tailed cows swattin' flies Hubby and I tried to hammer down a barrier when we heard Mama holler like a stuck hog, "It's leaking in the house...BAD!" We desperately needed our shingles. Today I want to talk about another kind of shingles.
Shingles also known as Herpes Zoster is the same virus as chickenpox. The United States reports one million cases of this painful prickly rash a year. If you have ever had the poultrypox you are susceptible to gettin' shingles sometime your lifetime. The virus lives in the nerve roots just waiting like a cat to pounce on a mouse for your immune system to be compromised. It has many long term complications and once you have shingles they are never really gone. They wait patiently in the nerve line until you get sick, lack sleep, get stressed or all of the above and emerge like army of gnawing fire ants runnin' under your skin. This is a subject I have had years of experience with.
What I did not tell ya'll is that when I left for Texas after the big Thanksgiving Dinner , the trip that included the Red Tide, frigid temperatures, windy cold rain and parental duties, that climbing into the car to travel the long 1145 miles I was attacked with shingles. One of the first signs of the agonizing booger is " itchin' like a man on a fuzzy tree" and Elvis is not in the building. I have a natural cure for this nasty condition found in the Prescription for Nutritional Healing Guide. It's cured people who have been under doctors care and hospitalized without results. This chicks kinda like Karl Malden in those old American Express Travelers Checks commercials and I "don't leave home without them." I always mix some up and take it with me just in case.
You mix one tablespoon of sweet almond oil as a carrier then add 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil and 4-5 drops of lemon oil to it. You use the sweet almond oil to cut the other oil because they can burn you skin if used in full strength. Apply the mixture directly to the lesions at the first sign of and outbreak several times a day. In most instances, the lesions dry up and disappear completely within five days after starting this treatment. When you first start using it you'll think it's not doin' anything then it just starts drying up like grapes in the sun. You can use a cortisone cream between applications to keep ya'll from itchin' like a hound dog with fleas. I just wanted to share this with ya'll so if ya ever get caught with the shingles you won't be like a wounded squirrel in pain, sang by the drifters in 1962, "Up On The Roof!!! "
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
"Lettin' the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in," was a sayin' heard frequently from my Pappy Walden's soft spoken voice. "Well I am no thief, but a man can go wrong when he's busted," was what Nashville Songwriter Harlan Howard wrote in 1962 for Johnny Cash but the song "Busted" wasn't a smash hit 'till Ray Charles sang the soul version in 1963. Yep, that Charles was known for havin' a lot of fun with his songs and sang it from the prospective of a dirt poor farmer who could really use a government bailout. The floundering farmer couldn't borrow any cash 'cause everyone else was busted too! Sound familiar??? This song might have had a whole different meaning if Granny Walden had a hold of it. Ya'll did not want to be the one to fall in the wrath of my Granny Walden. Everyone in the county knew who ruled that roost and poor Uncle Wilbert was about to be busted as Dolly Parton.
When we pulled in the drive from our Albuquerque trip Mama saw her beautifully open back porch completely encased by lush gourd vines, the woman went off like a cannon during the Civil War. Well, poor Daddy thought he had done a good deed by stringing the invasive seedlings up and keeping them alive all summer. The Battle of You Did~~Who Did was on as we pushed our way with suitcases in tow through the dense green forage into the house. That's when this prosperous independent little farm chicklet had the let that wild kitty out of the bag and divulge my plans of attaining the affluent life of a three year old and how it came to be. I can remember Mama and Daddy shoutin' in unison, "you Uncle Wilbert told you WHAT???" I knew right then and there my bachelor uncle was as busted as a can of biscuits whacked hard against a sharp edged counter and my little heart sank as faster then a horseshoe tossed in a pond.
I had dreams of that new toy Singer sewing machine or a Mickey Mouse doll. I was quite smitten with that Annette never missin' an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club. Maybe I'd buy a bunch of socks so Mama could make sock monkeys for all my friends. My plans for adding some new red vinyl 45's to spin on the old turn table went out the window along with keepin' Mama in those Toni Home wave kits so I could have the curls of Shirley Temple she wished upon my board straight hair. Yes, the dreams of endless cream soda and nickel chocolate bars were no longer in my grasp......so I thought.
Swanked by my Granny Walden and trapped as a southern gal in a six~tier skirt, Uncle Wilbert was ordered to purchase my gourd harvest at the market price of five cents apiece. Nobody ever argued when the verdict came down from Granny. All's well that ends well. It was a rich harvest, rich as the black soil that propagated the seeds planted by my young enterprising fingers. This little Ozark chicklet laughed and danced on the porch that crisp autumn day as my cash crop was harvested and purchased by my Uncle Wilbert who was just soooo "Busted!!!"