Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Scary Babysitting Story

 I was 13 and was babysitting my neighbors’ kids. It was my first time, so the parents walked me through all the rules about the bathroom and tv and food and bedtime, etc. Just as the parents were taking off for the night, the mom came back in and whispered to me, “don’t go into the basement”. 

As a teenager in the 80s, my mind went to all of the scariest movies that had basements. I avoided the door to the basement all night until I had put the kids to bed. Then I walked slowly to the door and put my ear against it. I heard what sounded like whimpering. And then it sounded like sad laughing. I ran to the couch and started watching tv to get my mind off of it, but then I heard something fall in the basement and knew someone was down there. I really don’t know how I got the courage/stupidity to do it, but I went over and opened the door. The whining instantly got louder.

 I went down just three or four stairs so I could peek down....and I saw.....

a goat. 

Not a ghost. A goat. 

As soon as the goat saw me, he started bleating loudly. It scared the crap out of me. I went upstairs and the goat was still bleating much that it woke up the kids. The oldest girl came out and said, “Did you open the door to the basement?” I said, “Yeah, why?” She said, “When you do that, Carlos thinks you’re going to feed him and he starts yelling.” Thank God I knew it was a goat first, because if she had said that before I went down, I would’ve thought Carlos was some kidnapped person in the basement who would yell for food. 

It became very funny to me. The mom came home and I told her what happened and she almost died laughing. They were repairing the goat pen and had to keep him in the basement for a few days. I still remember every moment of that night vividly.

(I would laugh harder at this girl's tale...except the people who owned our house in Castle Rock raised rabbits in the basement. A LOT of rabbits. The same people who kept an old schoolbus in the driveway, with tomato plants inside. For more weird babysitting stories, go here on Bored Panda. Thanks, guys!)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Hunting... He Did It!

      In case you didn't notice, hunting is very important to our family. 

     It's interesting that it actually started with me, not the Brick. I grew up, knowing that everyone (everyone, that is, that could be spared from farm and work) went hunting together. A large tent was put up, and men and women slept on pallets together (man/wife/woman/husband/man... and so on). After a hearty breakfast, people packed sandwiches and went out to their spots -- a few of the women knocked off early, to go back and make supper. And they did this into their 70s... I remember hearing about my grandma and great-aunt AE taking a thermos of tea, making themselves comfortable on a stump -- and waiting for the deer to wander by. (Invariably, they did.) 

Roy Buzzard's hunting camp -- Great-Aunt Ethelyn's (AE) spouse

     So when the Brick came into my life, it was just natural to go hunting. Over the years, we took our daughters, as well -- because that's what 'everyone' did. Right? 

     Now the girls are dedicated hunters. Daughter #2 married Son #1, an experienced sportsman in his own right. The Brick just finished his first day of hunting season:

     And harvested a 5-point bull elk yesterday!

He and friend Tommy were on the Kiowa Creek ranch, one of the best local spots in the area. (They normally charge for clients, but give out three permits a year -- and the Brick cashed in nearly 30 years of preference points to get one.) An estimated 400 elk were wandering around the Greenland Ranch section, as well as antelope...and the elk were bugling. (rutting season) The guide who let them in texted updates now and then.

                                                     Weird, huh...

But the Brick used his own initiative to find his target. 

The Brick climbed Larkspur Butte -- and heard bugling, but the scrub oak was too dense. He couldn't see a thing.

He did notice a pond down below. (The guides call these "dirt tanks.") Animals often come down at dusk to drink, before they bed down for the night. And lo and behold, a bull elk and his harem of cows trotted down, about the time the Brick made it down, as well.

They drank, walked away...

    And the Brick got his animal. 

          See the pond at top left?

One bullet dropped the bull at 250-plus yards. A very good shot. Dropped him right in his tracks, which is just how you want to do it. Don't make the animal suffer needlessly.

We have work to do, processing the meat. But we'll be eating naturally-lean elk meat all winter for supper, thanks to the Brick.

So proud of this guy.



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Decisions Made... We Think

      The Mama's health is worsening. 

     I had hoped she was improving since my visit earlier this fall. (Daughter #2 and Son #1 had cared for her before I got there, and were also sanguine that she might improve.) At the very least, I'd hoped she could hang in there until after hunting season in mid-October. After saving his points for decades, the Brick finally won a much-competed-for permit to a local guide ranch. We both wanted him to be able to take advantage of this. 

     He will...but the Mama is no better. She no longer trusts her legs when walking, and her fear of falling has made even trudging to the bathroom, leaning on the walker, a 30-minute nightmare. She would use a wheelchair more often...but she is nearly impossible to lift out of it. Even her bed has been moved into the living room, rather than make her struggle on the way to the bedroom. 

     Our family has been enormously helped by visits from family members -- plus a special cousin who has cheerfully stayed with The Mama most of her time off. (She works nights, then comes back to The Mama's to sleep and care for her.) Other cousins, plus the rest of the family, have stopped by to visit and help out. 

So grateful for them. 

      The maple and pear trees by The Mama's house

     After much talk, including reviewing options, it seems clear: the Mama needs protracted (and muscular) help. We've been so grateful for our cousin...but she needs to have her life back, too. Hiring 12- or 24-hour help is very expensive. So the answer is clear:

     A care facility. 

     Neither of us is thrilled about this. I worked in care facilities during college. Some are better than others, of course, but at the best, they're often just 'care' -- and that's it. Benign neglect. The local home, only a few miles from The Mama's farm, isn't bad. I've been there often to visit family and friends -- and we've volunteered there, as well. But...The Mama staying there?

    There is, quite frankly, not much choice. 

    She needs people who can respond 24/7 when she has problems -- or to help lift her in and out of chairs, bed, etc. There's more room for her to use a wheelchair, as well. She needs immediate help for medical issues. They'll help her bathe, cover her meals and do her laundry. The price per month is stiff, but not insurmountable. 

     Yesterday the family packed up furniture and helped Mom move in. (She's currently in a 'luxury' room, which was the only thing available. Maybe she'll move to a 'basic' room when it opens up -- maybe not.) Meanwhile, we'll clear out and pack up here, to get ready to move. I need to get every single appraisal report sent out, and finish up a restoration. If the Brick does get an animal (and we hope he does), we'll also need to process the meat. We'll take some with us, and leave some on our shelf in our landlord's freezer. 

    And then we'll head for Michigan. 


photo by a family member

 Plans are to go sometime after Oct. 19. We'll stay in The Mama's barnyard as long as needed this fall...and most probably winter. That way, we can look after the farm -- and spend days with The Mama while she gets used to this new change in her world. 

     Some good can come out of this. First and foremost is the fact that we CAN be with The Mama, because we can literally move our "house" nearly 2000 miles away. We could never have done this before selling the Castle Rock property. Second, because The Mama will be in residence elsewhere, we can bring the dogs. (They were banned before this, for fear of her tripping over them.) And finally, we'll be able to spend time with the Michigan part of the family, including several much-loved cousins. We've rarely had more than a quick visit -- now we should be able to see them regularly. There will still be a week or so left to enjoy Michigan's glorious autumn colors.

 These are all good things.


  On less of a bright side, it will probably mean living in the Mitten State during some of the dreariest months of the year. (I grew up there, and can handle it to some degree. But for the Brick, it is harder. We both had difficulty last November.) It means giving up any plans we had for the winter, including going back to volunteer at McNeal. And of course, we must leave our world here in Colorado: friends, church, activities. Our kind landlords haven't complained about their caretakers pulling up stakes for a while. (Fortunately, someone else can watch over the ranch until we return.) It means uncertainty -- we have little idea how long The Mama will need us to stay. I do not look forward to most probably missing the holidays with our children, either -- we've had to do it before, and I was really hoping we could be together this year. 

     But it seems clear that we need to go. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Huge Solar Flare Due Today!

 At least, that's what the pundits are saying for Oct. 11. 

All sorts of interesting things could happen, including communication mixups and weather changes.

 The best part, though, is that some areas will be able to see the Northern Lights. ('As low as New York from Wisconsin to Washington state.') 

     Darn, that still leaves out Colorado.

Take a look at this graphic, from the link.

More here, from a different source.

Update:  some nice Northern Lights photos, from around the world.

Christopher Robin, Where Are You?


Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Hunting

     It's finally arrived: the beginning of hunting season. The Brick sacrificed more than 30 years of credits to gain a permit for one of the local ranches. Normally these places sell guided tours to clients for incredible prices, but the state requires them to offer at least two or three permits each year to the unwashed masses. The Brick was lucky to snare this one. Our friend, who was able to hunt there last year, will go with him to point out some good spots. After opening day, Daughter #1 will be coming for a few days to hunt with her dad. 

     I'm so glad he can do this. It means long days apart, but I've got plenty of work to do. The flu, plus issues with The Mama, have put me further behind than I should be. Lots to do this week.


900,000 children hospitalized with Covid? Oops, New York Times...only 63,000. (Still too many.) Also oops -- Denmark and Sweden have stopped advocating the jab for any children. And Covid has "rascist roots," or so says this reporter (who won an award in 2019 for her excellence in 'science reporting').

'What do you think about the essential oils business?'  The Frugal Girl ponders this question.

Fall salad with maple dijon dressing. Yum. 

"Out of place artifacts."   Who REALLY discovered the Americas 'first?' Plus:

A paper on a possible Roman era carved head -- found in Mexico.  (The short version about this artifact, plus a number of others, is here. )

A U.S. submarine collides with an 'unknown object' in the South China Sea. (I asked the Brick, a former 'bubblehead,'  what he thought the object was. "A Chinese submarine," he said.) 

Some accidental discoveries that made people millionaires.

How much billionaires actually spend in a month.  Yes, the $$ amounts range all over...

French breakfast puffs.  Think muffins rolled in cinnamon sugar.  (Thanks, Betty Crocker)

Thriving At Rock Bottom, Part III -- making regular meals from very little. A classic from yours truly. 

What's it like to discover a whole series of hidden tunnels in your old family house? This guy knows.  (They apparently were easy ways for servants to go from one area to the next without being seen.)

Slumgullion. I got a yen for this after watching one of my favorite fall movies, It Happened on Fifth Avenue.  Basically, the dictionary says it's a "cheap stew," but it seems to be a thick sausage soup. This version is very similar to what The Mama made, and called 'goulash.'

If you enjoyed that,'s 100 top weekend recipes will have you drooling, as well.

"The call of the Koolickle." A weird but intriguing post about flavored pickles.  (From Donna Freedman's Survive and Thrive)

A whole list of incredible things people caught on camera.

The original inspiration for Bluetooth:  a Danish king named Harald. Really. Plus more oddball news -- a mummy parade! (Twenty roayl mummies were on their way to a new museum.)

The outspoken marine who was finally released from the brig...but still faces six charges.   (Here's the initial article, so you can see why.)

A 1500-year-old ski is found, under melting ice...the counterpart to another ski found in 2014 by scientists.  If you're curious about other items found underneath the ice, go here. Fascinating.

An underwater museum at Gallipoli. We went to the NZ museum to see a gripping exhibit on this during the world cruise. You can still see this! It's been extended to Anzac Day (April 22) in 2022.

'Soft and creamy' peanut butter cookies. You can freeze them unbaked, too.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

"Did a celebrity ever turn up at your door unexpectedly?" Some surprising answers here. (Thanks, Quora)

A meteor's trajectory gets caught on camera -- and it happened in our Castle Rock! (Brit friends from the cruise, take note.)

Who was named in the Pandora Papers? Some of the paeople, at least.

Some very funny (and very faked) school excuses.

Films considered to be flawless. including one of my favorites, The Searchers.

Ten odd things found in the bottom of the Great Lakes -- including a locomotive!  (From Listverse)

Use plastic bags to make your own creepy-large spiderweb.

Crazies at the 1893 Columbian Exposition. One of my favorite times for studying the Crazy quilt.  (From Barbara Brackman's Material Culture)

Finalists from the comedy pet photo competition -- and they're funny, too!

Dre, this batch of restaurant truths is for you...

The history of 'poison green:' yet another dye that was secretly a killer. 

A very strange photo essay of an abandoned house in Russia. 

Have a good week.

A Scary Babysitting Story

  I was 13 and was babysitting my neighbors’ kids. It was my first time, so the parents walked me through all the rules about the bathroom a...