Monthly Archives: March 2010

Straight run ducks

   Ahh, sweet mysteries of the country life.  Well, we’re *close* to the country life.  There are a couple of farm stores here in Corydon, and we’ve explored them to choose the myriad items we’ll require when we get moved.  Kate is still making noises about raising chickens or pigs or horses or wildebeests or something, but I am trying to dissuade her.  I did point out that ducks or geese aren’t an option since we don’t have a pond, but I’m afraid she’ll now think we need to install one.

   We went out exploring some of the backroads again and have found a few interesting spots that are well off the beaten path, to coin a cliche.  In our journeys up and down Highway 135 (which is our route to visit her mother in Kentucky) we’ve seen road signs which indicate turnoffs to small  communities, one of which sounded intriguing, so we took the road less traveled and went to New Amsterdam, Indiana.  I was disappointed at the lack of  windmills and canals, but still enjoyed the little town.

  We decided to go into Shaffer’s General Store (since it was the only business there) and visited with the nice young lady behind the counter, who introduced herself as Melissa.  I had gone in alone and Kate was outside with KD doggie, but shortly Kate came in, having found a willing dogwatcher outside.  The dogwatcher was Sarah, Melissa’s 9-year-old daughter – she loves dogs, so it all worked out.  We explored the aisles and chatted with Melissa, then decided to indulge in some home-made vegetable soup – very tasty!    Trivia – at the last census, New Amsterdam only had ONE resident.  We’re pretty sure that’s not right!   🙂

   Melissa had the old potbelly stove going to take the chill out of the air, and it was quite pleasant sitting near the stove while we enjoyed our soup.  There was a full-size loom at the back of the store which still saw occasional use to create rugs – I think she said her mother used that one, but there was another smaller loom that Melissa occasionally used.  She might have been making sails or Arab tents or something, I forgot to ask.  During our visit Melissa told us to be sure to plan to come back on April 17th for “Remembrance Day” – there’s going to be a parade and vendor booths and maybe even some festival food.  It’s already marked on our calendar, so we’ll see you there.  New Amsterdam is right on the Ohio River, and with the parade and festive atmosphere I should be able to get some nice photographs.

   We finished our soup and chat and pressed on, enjoying the beautiful day and the warmer temperatures.  We came across this old country church over by Laconia – nice quiet part of the world.

    The daffodils are in bloom, and are scattered all over the place.  I thought they grew from bulbs and that the only places you would expect to find them would be in people’s yards, but we were seeing them just everywhere.  There must be some other propagation method at work here, but I don’t understand it.  Might have to research that little mystery.

    And, about those ‘straight run ducks’ – well, when you decide to go down to the farm supply store and buy yourself some ducks, you can save money if you get straight run ducks.  That means that they are not ‘sexed’ and you just take your chances on what you get.  So, if all your purchases wind up being ‘lady ducks’, you may have problems increasing your flock.  🙂

   Good luck with that duck thing. 

Toodle-oo, Caribou!

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More rambles

    We went to the moom pitcher (moving picture) last night, saw “Crazy Heart” with Jeff Bridges.  No car chases, no explosions, but we found it very entertaining.  Jeff sings a lot of the songs in the movie and does a really good job with the country and western music.  I was never that much of a Jeff Bridges fan, but this movie might have been made just for him – it worked very well.  I had to go to the lobby for a minute while the previews were on, and came back a minute later to find that Kate had already spilled half the popcorn on the floor.  Oh, well….  🙂

   We are SOOOO excited about getting our own place.  Most of our conversations these days start with, “We’ll definitely need a ____________ “.  So far, that little list includes a full-size tractor, welder for the garage, patio cover, 600 flowering plants, 85 ornamental trees, patio furniture, on and on.  Nah, not really getting a welder or a full-size tractor, but the rest of it *could* happen if we happen to come up with an extra $15,000 or so.  I exaggerate, of course, but it is fun to think about all the possibilities.  We want to have a vegetable garden, lots of flowers – wouldn’t it be nice to line the driveway with daylilies?  I sound like Martha Stewart.

   We went to Home Depot in New Albany today, and I did discover one thing – never let Kate go there by herself!  She was sprinting up and down the aisles, pointing out all the things we just *had* to buy for our place in the country.    While at Home Depot we did see a few things we could actually afford when the time comes, so that will be fun, getting those lined up.   I’m sure Kate will enjoy having some potted plants out on the deck, and we’ve talked about maybe having some grapevines on the deck trellis – we’ll see. 

    We’ve been trying to think of a name for our plantation – some of the names so far: “South 40”, “Sweet Haven”, “Poverty Row”.  Click on ‘comments’  at the bottom if you have some suggestions.

    We’ve turned the corner on Spring, temperature-wise.  Most days now are hitting in the low 60’s with occasional showers (it is the season, after all), but at least we don’t have to grab a heavy coat when we head out.  According to the preacher, it must be Spring because Polyfreeze just opened (we had to ask – apparently it’s a small icecream place over by Lanesville).   Pastor Tim is a fun guy, you just never know what tidbits are going to be included in the message.

   Our loan officer called a little bit ago, things are still progressing, so maybe I should throttle back on my worrying.  But, I’m so *good* at worrying, hate to quit now.  Now then, should I buy a full-size pickup, or a 1-ton flatbed – maybe I’ll need a road grader, just in case.  The madness continues, but it’s fun!  🙂

The house game

  Yep, we’ve been playing it, and a frustrating game it can be.  Everyone who presently owns a home had to suit up and go out onto the field to take their turn,  hoping not to get knocked down by the other team.  The ‘others’, of course, are inspectors and loan officers and all sorts of record keepers at banks, credit unions, whatever.  Somehow we all get through it, they let us have the house (usually), and the tension subsides.  Generally speaking, the only thing that gets us through all this red tape and allows us to remain sane until we cross the finish line is……. the wonderful anticipation of finally getting the keys and filling out that official ‘change of address’ form.  Wowsers, what a long difficult obstacle course it can be!

   One of the attractions for this area was the lower cost of owning a house and/or land compared to Colorado’s Front Range.  For what we will be paying (owing?) on this house, you could just about buy the mailbox and front walkway on a place back there.  Not saying that I don’t love Colorado, just pointing out the land value differences.  Of course, when the hot humid summer arrives we’ll *definitely* wish we were back near the Rockies, but sometimes ya just gotta move on. 

   So, now we’ll be Land Barons (Baron and Baroness?) – 2 acres can be either large or small, depending on what you want to do with it.  If you want to MOW it, it can seem pretty big, I’m sure.  We have 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths, so that can come in handy for enticing folks to come visit.  Kate would kind of like to put in a small flower garden or two – so far, it looks like we’ll only need about 10 acres for the flowers.  Any gardening I do will be of the vegetable variety, with a much more modest sized plot.  My most recent gardening effort was destroyed by hail in Colorado – we’ll see what Mother Nature has in mind here, wouldn’t want to get her peeved at me.  Maybe I’ll attempt a few of the basics here – corn, basil, beans, squash, melons.  We’ll see.

   I’ll include a few snapshots here and there to show what the place looks like. 

Our driveway is the second road on the left (approaching from the north)

 Shiloh Road is a nice paved road and should be ok for Kate’s commuting, with easy access to State Highway 135.  We’ll be south of Corydon, which will add a few minutes of drive time on her commute to Louisville, but makes us a little bit closer to Kentucky for visits to family.

The driveway is gravel, as is the parking area next to the house.  There’s lots of parking for guests, and we’ll probably hire someone to stand out at the main road all the time to help direct traffic just in case of drop-in company.  Some retired geezer, maybe.  Maybe me  🙂   (come see us!)  

The gravel driveway

Some of the features of the house will be new – never had to deal with a septic system before, but it’s only 5 years old, shouldn’t give us any grief.  It’s an all-electric home, might want to check into getting a generator, just in case.  And, it’s going to be difficult to get used to all that noise – birdcalls, wind in the trees, all that. Then there’s the constant traffic noise – actually about 1 car every half hour would be a good estimate.

The house has a nice deck out front that wraps around to the garage side.

  The front of the house faces west, and I think we’ll be appreciating all those tall trees out there for some shade. 

front yard

Out back will likely be the location for the vegetable garden plus whatever flowers have overflowed from the front yard – again, we’ll see how it goes.

Now, where shall I place MY stuff (trebuchet, catapult, major telescope)?

Cross your fingers that everything goes well at closing – no fistfights break out, etc.

part of the back yard

Life with Kate

   I dearly love Kate, and she has been a blessing in my life.  To quote a ‘chick movie’ – “She completes me”, and it’s true.  And, as Jack Nicholson’s character said in one of his movies, “She makes me want to be a better man.”  Also true!

  But…. I’ve had to realize a few things about Kate.  Loveable as she is, loved as she is, she has not quite achieved perfection (who has?).  So, here are a few observations (no, not complaints – observations).

   She is a Registered Nurse, and holds a position of great responsibility, literally taking people’s lives in her hands, making real life-and-death decisions for them, and I know she does it well.  Her heart is SOOOOOOOO big, she just can’t help doing all the best things for her patients, and she’s SMART SMART SMART!!   I know that important  daily tasks at the hospital are made possible because she is super-organized (at work, I’m saying).  All of the medications are logged and managed, everything is exactly where it should be (at work, as I said), everything goes like clockwork (at work).

  

There is another Kate  

Yesterday we were out enjoying the spring weather, exploring the square in Corydon, taking care of little errands, and stopped in at Butt Drugs ( http://www.buttdrugs.com/ ) and I happened to notice that the weekly paper had been published on that day and that they had a nice stack of crisp new papers on their counter, chock full of local news.  “Hey, let’s get a paper,” I said, looking forward to savoring it when we got home.  Well, the paper didn’t make it home unscathed.  Someone in the car (not me, not little KD dog) completely disassembled the paper, randomly back-folding some pages, re-arranging the sections, possibly wiping her shoes on other parts, then apparently wadding the whole thing into a large ball then driving over it with the car when I wasn’t looking.  Upon arriving home she tossed the whole mess on the couch.  Papercide I spose you’d call it – unthinkable!  Sigh….

   Kate and I both have a tendency to set things down, then forget what we did with them, but I think she MAY be the queen of that.  She’ll ask, “Have you seen the ___________?”  After we have turned everything in the house topsy-turvy, the usual result is, “Nope, can’t find it!”  Later, the item will surface, right where we first looked – I think maybe there’s a time-shift going on here, things tend to fade in and out.  I may have to attach remote-controlled klaxon horns on her keys/phone/badge/lunchpail, etc.  On occasion, I’ve had to let her use MY keys, and I cringe each time.  Oh, the things we do for love  🙂

   Our car has taken on a whole new look.  I think it might be called the ‘smorgasbord’ look.  Apparently, Kate eats/drinks in the car – a LOT!  I may need to install a dining tray right above the steering wheel which can help capture some of the crumbs and general spillage.  I never knew how sticky coffee creamer could be – if I was to remove the steering wheel I think I could then stick it to the side of the car.  I’m exaggerating some, but I think you get the picture.  Come ride with her some time, but bring a car-vac.

  I’m loving “Life with Kate”, just need to make a few adjustments in how I do things – I’m pretty sure *she* won’t be changing!   🙂

Last of the Titanic

   We went to the Louisville Science Center yesterday (March 7th) to see the Titanic exhibit on the last day of the show.  They had numerous artifacts from the shipwreck on display in plexiglas cases (each with its own alarm system – quite sensitive alarms; several were set off while we were browsing).  There were large storyboards on the walls behind the display cases, many with passenger quotes, some with excerpts from writers.  There was nothing on display that was in itself amazing but the whole thing brought home the human side of the tragedy and put faces on the list of names, some saved, some lost. 

All aboard for the maiden voyage of R.M.S. Titanic

 When we purchased our tickets we were given boarding passes, each with the name of an actual passenger with a small amount of biographical data about that person – near the end of the tour we were able to compare the names we were issued against the ‘Saved-Lost’ lists.  The complete passenger lists (1st, 2nd, 3rd classes) can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pbnjsu .  On this same site you’ll find a lot of other facts about the ship and its demise.  

    After we left the exhibit area we strolled around to see what else was to be seen.  There were numerous hands-on displays that demonstrated laws of physics and other phenomena.  There were many kids running around turning cranks, pulling on ropes, etc.  In the health area we learned all about our bodies and how they work.

   Around 4:00 we went to the 3rd floor to enter the IMAX area for the afternoon showing of “Ghosts of the Abyss”.  This was a film of an expedition in 2001 to re-visit the shipwreck site.  The director was James Cameron, and Bill Paxton (from the movie “Titanic”) was along to provide his impressions and it was  him we heard for much of the narration.   The whole thing was very well done and we really enjoyed the showing.  They showed how they descended in submersible crafts for human viewing and how they launched 2 miniature robot craft to explore the tight spaces within the wreck – the robot craft (dubbed ‘Jake’ and ‘Elwood’) were launched from docking areas on the deep submersible craft.  During the explorations by the small robots we could see various parts of the ship, from common areas to private cabins (including Molly Brown’s stateroom), and live action re-enactments were blended with the deep sea shots, very effectively done.  All in all, a very enjoyable presentation. 

   After leaving the Science Center we strolled along Main Street in Louisville, marvelling at the well-preserved old buildings and then we went into a newly-opened small restaurant for some nice sandwiches and restorative beverages.  We’ll need to go back downtown when we have more time to see what else there might be.  We did see some more museums in the immediate area, so those might be neat to explore.  Upon leaving the restaurant we headed down to the Ohio River, barely a block away – I wanted to take a few photos while we still had the light.  Of course, it’s quite difficult to capture the River in just a few photographs but maybe you’ll get some of the feel of it.  An interesting fact about the river at this point in its course – they had to build a lock at Louisville to compensate for the 37-foot drop of the river there.  They call this the Falls of the Ohio, and the lock is the McAlpine Lock – quite a deal to take care of the huge barges that ply the river going upstream and down.  I always enjoy coming to the river – so peaceful and awe-inspiring.  Looking forward to picnic weather, just around the corner on the calendar.