Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can I perform the funeral?

8/30/08 Saturday
There’s much on my mind. As you can expect my thoughts are on Eileen and with her family. The farmer’s market went well this morning though we were a little late getting there. It didn’t take long to sell out of the blackeyed peas. I took my woodcarving stuff and carved for the first time in a year or so. It was relaxing or at least meditative. Afterwards Cherie and I went to the Thai restaurant we both like so much and then came home.

Cherie went to check our mailbox in Stanton and I crashed out as I often do in the afternoon. She woke me up on her return to let me know that we received a surprise in the mail. It was a fair sized check that we finally got from the oil company after we did all the work that Virginia, the executrix of the estate, was supposed to do. She was happy to take over twenty five hundred dollars out of the estate as her fee when she pretty much didn’t do anything but left it up to us.

With the check we decided we could afford to donate five hundred dollars to Eileen’s funeral so I called her daughter, Suzie, to let her know. We talked for quite a long time as she explained all that was going on. She didn’t want to stop talking and I think she was grateful just to have someone to talk to that was a bit saner than some others around there.

In the course of conversation she talked about how hard it was to find a preacher to do the funeral. Her boyfriends foster father will do it for free and that’s a big help. When Suzie learned that I had been a pastor said “Oh, I wish you could be here. Of all the people I know you’d be the best one to do the funeral. We know you loved her and you know so much about her”. That really got too me. I would so much be honored to be able to say goodbye to Eileen that way and feel that it would be a privilege to do so. I brought this up with Cherie and we discussed the possibility. Itold her that if God wanted me to do so He would make a way. I had her check the flights available to get an idea of what it would take. It’s about four hundred dollars each way plus food and expenses. I can stay with friends no problem. Still thinking. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goodbye my old friend

8/28/08 Thursday
I went to the old guys place this morning and helped him hang a door. That went well except when I backed into his gate. Didn’t hurt it much, just bent it over a little. He wasn’t terribly concerned but I told him “That’s not a good way to start the day”. I did ok on the door. It works well when I have someone there to tell me what to do. That way I don’t get lost or sidetracked. I forgot to take a pain pill so was in pretty rough shape by the time we got done. He looked at me and said “I didn’t ask you how much you want to get paid when we set this up. How much do you want?”. I was expecting this and already knew what I would say. “You can pay me whatever you want. I’m really not worried about it” was my reply. “That won’t work” the old guy told me so I explained that since I woke from the coma I see life much differently. “I really don’t care, you can pay me five bucks an hour or anything you want. Fact is I’ll work for free just to help out”. “I’ll pay you more than five bucks an hour” he said and that was the end of the discussion. Later he asked if I want to get paid daily or at the end of the week and I told him he could pay whenever it was convenient so it will be weekly.

I’m sure this all set him back a little but it’s honestly the way I feel. Every need we have had has been met in one way or another, sometimes out of the blue. I remember when I was in St. Louis there was a time I had no food. The twenty dollars a week my brother gave me didn’t last long. No one knew this for I kept it to myself. I thought I heard a knock at the door but wasn’t sure because it was faint. Going down to check I found a bag of groceries sitting at the door with no one in sight. Cherie and I have been wonderfully blessed here. Despite my struggles with my faith I trust in God and do not worry about my next meal or any other thing like that. I worry more about my ability to get things done though I do have a concern about Cherie’s teeth and her need for dental work. She endures a lot of pain and has chronic infections. Her new job has good medical benefits but they don’t kick in till ninety days and I’m not sure about the dental coverage. That’s rarer in company medical plans.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
Suzie, Eileen’s daughter, called me while I was writing this to let me know they are moving Eileen to a different funeral home where it costs much less. She needs to have $1400.00 for them by Tuesday and only has $300.00 now. It’s hard when you are too poor to be buried. But the poor I know, the poor I’ve lived with, I’ve been poor but even when I had multiple companies and was doing well it was those who had little I preferred being with, or at least was the most comfortable being around. They are just real people with no pretense, down to earth and blunt in their speech and you knew where you stood. There will be a benefit concert at a bar to try and raise the funds this weekend. It will be run by a man whom Eileen was first with. I can’t remember if they were married but she lost the baby they had. He went on to Vietnam and they fell apart. We will send a hundred dollars to the funeral home when my check is deposited Friday.

If any of y’all wish to donate for her funeral email me and I’ll give you the funeral homes number. Actually, here’s the number. It’s the Sujkowski funeral home and the number is 419-666-1566. Make sure you tell them the donation is for Eileen Carter. I’m sure they can take a credit card over the phone as there isn’t enough time to mail a check. God I wish I could be there for the funeral and to help Suzie with things. We were so looking forward to seeing Eileen in five weeks when we are flying to Toledo.

With Eileen dies many of my memories that were lost with the accident. While we were in Toledo we would visit her and listen to the stories of what I’d done. You would often hear “Wow!!! I did that?” from me. We tried to talk Eileen into coming to Texas with us to get her away from the evils that lurk in that part of town, to help her escape to a more peaceful life. That she certainly deserved but she wouldn’t come.

Goodbye my dear old friend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Terrible news

I just got some terrible news. When I went to check my email there was a message from a name I didn’t recognize but the subject simply said “Eileen carter”. That’s the name of my former secretary who was the best friend I’ve had. Opening it up I found a plea to call her daughter with her phone number. I had a sinking suspicion of what I would hear when I called so hurried to dial the number. Sure enough, my worst fears were confirmed. Eileen died Saturday.

I talked to Sue, her daughter, for about a half hour but her phones kept ringing as you would expect at times like this. One of my main reasons for our trip to Toledo on October the ninth was to look Eileen up and see how she was doing. In fact it was my biggest motivation. I’ve lost contact with her as her life slid downhill because she could no longer afford to pay her phone bill and it was shut off. Without that she couldn’t go online so couldn’t check her email, that is if she still had a computer.

Most of you are not familiar with the culture that exists on the east side of Toledo. It’s the same culture and problems you can find in any working class big city neighborhood. A land where alcohol, drugs, fights, pain, and sorrow are an every day part of life. Sure there is happiness, love, and life there but it is always stained by the decay that permeates every pore of the city. We were there when Eileen’s husband died and helped her out as best we could but after we moved here to Texas things began to go bad.

Drug addicts and alcoholics are always looking for an easy mark. They are universally users who suck the life out of whomever they attach themselves to and Eileen was vulnerable. These leaches came out of the woodwork when her husband died. Most were people she knew anyway but when Glen died they saw opportunity. It’s a shadowy world where many hide from the law and the lines between good and bad are blurred. Merle is a heroin addict who had dated Eileen way back. I met him at the VOA when he first got out of prison in 2002. He was the first to weasel his way in. Then there was an alcoholic that came in after Merle was kicked out for stealing from Eileen. He stayed till he was extradited to Tennessee. With him gone Merle wormed his way back in. Eileen worked as best she could considering how bad of shape she was in physically but they sucked her dry all the while manipulating her.

Her death is labeled suspicious. Merle had brought her to the hospital with some outlandish story about her trying to commit suicide because she had a fight with her daughter by taking all of her pain medication, which of course was mysteriously missing. He dropped her off, left her keys and purse in the car, and took off. There was no money in the purse, he took it. Sue said the police spent a lot of time looking at the hospital’s surveillance tapes while she was there.

Eileen stopped paying on her insurance policies recently because she couldn’t afford to anymore so there is no insurance to help pay for the funeral or anything else. Sue and friends put a donation bottle up at a 7/11 where the many who knew Eileen could leave a donation to help with funeral expenses. Bobby, Eileen’s son, is an alcoholic and took the money out of the jar and went to the bar with it. Bobby used to work for me when I had my companies but was always a problem. I would give him work for his mom’s sake. He’s been stealing and taking advantage of his mom a lot lately. She gave him her house to live in while she moved into an apartment that she ended up losing. Now there is no money to bury Eileen and Sue is at a loss for what to do. She broke up crying a few times as we talked. She needs to obtain power of attorney to handle her mom’s affairs but can’t afford a lawyer. Merle still has the key to Eileen’s post office box so he can take her mail. The post office won’t do anything without Sue having power of attorney. I so wish I was up there but don’t know what I could do other than just help keep her calm. We don’t have any extra money but I will send up a hundred bucks out of my next disability check. This is hard. I didn’t get up there in time to see her.

Eileen worked for me for twelve years and knew me better than anyone. She was my best friend. This picture is when we took her to Red Lobster. She had been in the hospital with a life threatening illness and when I asked her what she wanted most she said to go to Red Lobster because she had never been to one. She was surprised when we picked her up to go.

Melon thief

8/27/08 Wednesday
Got out and got the tiller going shortly after Cherie went to work. After two hours I’m done for, the back pain is up there and I have a headache. Despite that I called the old guy to see if he was ready for me to come do some things for him. Fortunately he has an appointment in Midland this afternoon so wants to put it off till tomorrow. That works. I’ll take a pain pill and lay down till the back relaxes.

I had to change my email password again after I received a spam email from myself, evidence someone has gotten into this computer and got the password or something. It’s happened before. One time I was getting porn and it identified the sender as me from the bobcarver2 email address. This time it’s one of the Cialis pharmaceuticals spams I get so much of. Time to run the spyware to see if there’s a Trojan or virus in this laptop doing it.
Well it’s official, Gretchen is the melon thief. She’s been leaving them around the house and I discovered another this morning. It’s one of the heirloom melons we are growing. It’s so hard to work with Gretchen. When I held the chewed melon and said “Bad girl! Leave my melons alone, NO!!!” she ran with her tail between her legs like I was going to beat her. Then she stayed far, just looking at me with those sad, sad eyes, knowing I was unhappy and feeling so bad she did it. It was one of those “I was so glad to find a safe place and someone to love me, but it’s gone now. You don’t love me anymore. Please don’t beat me” kind of looks that just breaks your heart. I’m going to the grocery store in Stanton right now to buy some habanera peppers that I will put in the blender with vegetable oil and make some super hot stuff that I’ll brush on the melons. Hopefully that will do the trick. I’m working on fences but don’t find enough wire fencing at the landfill to protect all the patches. Gretchen is looking better every day and getting lots of exercise playing with Rascal and Trixie. They’ve become great pals. The yapper dog is getting more comfortable with them but still scoots off with just a glimpse of Cherie and I. Cherie’s calling him “scooter” now so that will probably be his name.

I’m kinda glad that the old guy didn’t want me to come in today for there is much to do here. I wish I felt comfortable revealing his name cause just calling him “old guy” doesn’t sound too complimentary and he’s really a great guy. But I worry that the gossips and whoever is poisoning peoples minds regarding me will cause trouble there. It’s probably not a valid fear but just part of the paranoia I must constantly fight. I recognize it’s part of the brain injury but that doesn’t make it go away.

I just downloaded these pictures of last night’s sunset. On this one (Click on it to enlarge) you can just see two oil pump jacks on either side of the sun.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

mowing weeds

8/26/08 Tuesday
It’s about noon now. I just came in to get some fluids in this body and allow the muscles to relax, thus reducing the pain. It’s not terribly hot out but I’m soaking wet with sweat. Been mowing weeds in preparation for tilling. I always want to mow to harvest as much green vegetation as I can to be used in making compost. On occasion I see piles of grass clippings at the landfill but wasn’t prepared to get it, didn’t have something to put it in. That’s good stuff for making compost. I found some more melons broken into. Now that the dogs have discovered how good it is they’ve developed a taste for them. I think it’s mostly Gretchen as she’s out all night. Her and the little yapper dog were barking late into the night and again at five this morning.

I’m going to try and work on building fences but may not get much done. There is lots to do today. At around two I’m heading into Midland to help a friend from our church. Her husband and she had adopted two girls years ago. They had both been abused so have the problems that often are the result of that. Our friend’s husband died a few years ago so she has her hands full now. Only one daughter still lives with her and she is just turning eighteen. Rebellious and stubborn (kinda like I was as a kid) she is wearing her mom out and emotionally tearing her up. The child has been gathering dogs and there are now seven in the house but she refuses to take care of them. As a result the house needs some serious cleaning so when I learned of it told our friend I would be happy to do it for her. So that’s what I’ll be doing in addition to poop scooping for Janie. Tomorrow I go to help the old guy. I know I don’t keep up with the things I need to do here but I have to help others. It’s just in my nature.

I think I’ll run into Stanton and pick up something for lunch. It’s nice to be able to afford a hamburger now. Real nice.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Time's a'wastin

a medley of vegetables we've grown here

8/25/08 Monday
It’s Cherie’s first day of work at her new job. She is real happy and enthusiastic about it, getting ready and out the door early. That’s unusual for usually she’d be rushing to be on time and running late. With her working I had Cherie make a list of tasks for me to do to. When we first got back together she worked full time, unable to work I was the house husband, doing dishes, cleaning, and other stuff. Back then even doing that was a challenge. I can’t remember how many times I flooded the apartment because I would be filling the sink to wash dishes and forget. I destroyed several pans when I left them on the burner. They were the kind with copper bottoms and the copper would separate from the bottoms. You can read about some of that in the early entries of this journal. I still have problems but am much better, having learned how to compensate for this disability.

So I’ve got a busy day scheduled. Cherie getting up and going early for work helps me get moving as well. Today will also be my first day of “work” so to speak for it’s the day I will be helping the old guy who needs a little handyman stuff done. I’m sharp and cognizant and the pain level is manageable so that’s good. I can never tell how long that will last but he is aware of that so it won’t be a problem. I did hurt my back pretty good yesterday moving the refrigerator Matt gave us. It’s pretty beat up so will go in the garage where I can store things like the organic pesticides and even seeds. That will keep them away from the rats and some seeds actually need to have reached a cold temperature to be viable. I can’t remember which one but one of the plants needs to be started at a cold temperature so I’ll plant those seeds in flats and keep them in the fridge till they come up, that is if I even remember that right.

The fall plantings are coming up very well so I am encouraged. There are still things I’ve yet to plant. Hopefully that will happen before it’s too late. The rye has seeded itself very well. With the rain there is rye coming up all over. That’s cool, I won’t have to buy and plant as much this time and should be able to plant the areas I wasn’t able to get too last year. The only problem will be getting water out that far for it’s the outside reaches of the five acres.

I finally got a picture of the little yapper dog that’s been running around here. We decided to name it “Yapper” just to have a name to use instead of saying “That dog”. Now I can print up some flyers and hopefully find the owners.

There’s lots to do and time’s a’wastin so got to get busy. Here’s a good sunset we had a couple of days ago.
3:28 – It’s been busy as expected. Between the heat and increasing back pain I figured this was a good time to take a break. I went to see about the handyman work and he showed me some of what needs doing. It’s carpentry type stuff and I’m not too experienced there but he will be there telling me what to do so that’s alright. Basically I’ll be the arms and he’ll do the thinking. Works for me.

I went to Stanton and cashed the rebate check from the Farm Bureau for the satellite internet set up. Then I got a hamburger at the drug store, which was great as it always is. Since then I’ve been working in the garden. I’m pretty tired so will write later. Probably need to take a nap.

I conked out for two hours, waking up just in time to start washing dishes before Cherie came home. Wouldn’t you know it, just when I write about flooding the apartment in Toledo pouring dishwater I did it for the first time here. Started it and ran outside real quick to make sure I didn’t leave the water on out there and by the time I got back in it was overflowing. Nuts.

Cherie loves her job. That’s always good for working at a job you don’t like is rough. They are letting her take part of the day off Friday so she can go with me to my doctor’s appointment at the VA in Lubbock. That will be good. It’s a long drive and I always do better when I have her around. She helps keep my stress level down a lot and that reduces the slowdowns, especially when I’m going to unfamiliar surroundings.

There was more I wanted to write about but it’s late, I’m tired, and I can’t remember what it was so goodnight.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cherie got a job

8/23/08 Saturday
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Cherie got a job. It’s a temp to hire type thing but she thinks she will like it a lot. A big selling point for her was she can wear jeans. OK. I also had an old gentleman approach me to do some handyman work around his place. I explained “I work slow and have days I’m unable to work at all” and his reply was “Sounds like a match made in heaven”. I made sure he understood the issues I have and he was fine with that. For some reason I felt a check in my spirit about saying who it is so I won’t. That’s not really relevant anyway. Basically I have the opportunity to earn a little extra cash on occasion and that is always welcome.

Yesterday evening I dug post holes to start putting fence up. There is more damage to the melons and some of it looks like it came from smaller critters than our dogs. Pretty much every melon we’ve grown has been destroyed before we can pick it. That works out to be a lot of money lost and it won’t get better. I dug holes till I had a hard time walking. When Cherie saw me shuffling in she knew I’d pushed too far and got me something to drink while I headed for the bed. This morning was one of those wake up and take a pain pill mornings.

6:45 PM – I’m having a slow down now. It makes me grateful I don’t have them near as much as I used to. There was a time I would have them daily and sometimes loose a whole day. This one is a medium one, dropping me down to a five on the bob scale. If you look back to the earliest entries on this blog you can get a good idea of how bad it was and that’s nothing compared to the early years after I woke from the coma. The sad part was that there was no one around to observe me so even I didn’t know I was having these seizures. My brother just ignored the hospitals instructions to observe me and get me in rehab and put me in a sleazy hotel for a couple of months and then put me in a run down upstairs apartment in a St. Louis ghetto. I would wake up with scratches and see the furniture knocked over and broken and not have an idea of how it happened. When I got into the Brain Injury Institute they asked me if I’d had any seizures and I said that I didn’t think so. Back then I thought that all seizures were like the ones epileptics have and didn’t understand about the type I have. I did have a grand mal (I think that’s how you spell it) seizure that put me in the hospital for three days when Cherie and I first got back together.

So things are much better now and I am grateful. Life is good and I am blessed far above what I merit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

cookin crap

8/22/08 Friday
It’s always catch up time with me. First I’ll look at pictures to see what I did or at least what I took. That always triggers memories.

Well, it’s cookin crap time again. That’s pretty much what composting is with the “hot” method I use. Always looking for ways to do things better I’ve come up with this to improve the composting bin. What I really want to do is find a large tank of some kind that holds a thousand gallons or so, something round that is easy to roll. With that I can compost on nearly a commercial scale and it will be much easier from a labor standpoint as turning the compost is a simple matter of rolling the tank. In the meantime I have this. Two of the key components of composting are moisture and oxygen.
The need for oxygen is the reason you must turn the pile on a regular basis so that fresh air is introduced and things are loosened up. I’ve read that one of the commercial methods of composting involve pumping air into the mix, thus it doesn’t need to be turned. So I took a some of the pvc pipe I scavenged from the landfill and drilled it full of holes. As you can see I ran them through the bin to help it breathe or something. Perhaps later I’ll plumb in some way to hook up the vacuum cleaner to blow air in. Plus I can pour water through the pipes to keep it hydrated. Hopefully I won’t have to turn this and it will compost much faster.

I think I’ll go back in this journal and see when I started the other batch. It’s the pile next to the bin and looks pretty good. With three sources of horse poop lined up and more available for the asking I have the potential of producing quite a bit of this stuff and can see ten or so piles of it by next spring. That in itself is a sellable product and my compost, made with horse manure is superior to what you can get at the store. The store stuff is often made from cotton burr and other plant waste. Then there’s the composted cow manure. Fact is that comes from commercial cattle factories where the cows are fed a diet of the cheapest feed available, made from all kinds of waste products. I just saw where reject M&M’s are put in the feed. What I have is a mix of green plant material I mowed down and horse poop from horsed fed good alfalfa hay. Hey, quality poop makes quality compost and it should help me grow quality crops.

Here’s another picture. Remember all the work and pain I endured to plant the next batch of blackeyed peas? For three days I painstakingly planted nice, evenly spaced out seeds at a precise depth of an inch. (Well, maybe not precise but close) So I go out and look a couple of days ago and what do I see? Thousands of plants coming up all over the place except where I planted them. When I had tilled under the old plants they still had lots of dried bean pods on them. I had started to pick them off but decided to avoid the pain it causes, figuring tilling them under would keep most from sprouting. Nope, not going to work that way. What I planted hasn’t had time to come up yet so now I have to go through and pluck this out. I’ll save some of the plants but must thin it a bunch or none of it will do well. If I’d known this I could have saved myself a load of work, just tilled the old stuff in and thinned it out later. Oh well, such is the constant education of farmer bob. I kind of like that moniker. “Farmer Bob” has a nice ring to it. From a marketing standpoint for this farm it will work as it is easy to remember and sticks in the mind well. That’s right, Farmer Bob says “Quality poop makes quality compost”. There’s the quote for the day.

We went to Robert Benjamin’s funeral this morning. While it is a solemn time the funeral was upbeat and positive. This is because Robert was a Christian and thus death is simply a transition to a better place where his primarily Christian family will see him when it’s their turn to pass on. Need I say more?

We were almost late because I helped Matt load and bring over a refrigerator he is giving us. I don’t yet know if it works well so will plug it in outside to make sure before we bring it in. It’s not pretty but if it keeps from freezing everything it will be an improvement.

The only other thing I can think of right now is I picked up a grill at the landfill. It too is not pretty and is missing the part you put steaks on. Do you call that the grill too? I don’t know but finding the right words is always a problem. Anyway, it’s better than the cinderblock contraption I pieced together last year and I can make the wire grill part from stuff I’ve got hanging around. It looks like there’s a smoker setup attached to the bottom of it. Perhaps it’s just an ash trap but I can use it to smoke the meat.

Time to go now. For some reason our television reception went to hell. We can barely get channel seven at all and twenty four if we readjust the antenna. That’s it. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last cool day

8/20/08 Wednesday
This is the last of the cool temperatures, at least for a few days according to the weatherman. Friday is supposed to be 99 degrees. Whoopee, I can’t wait. I finally got the last of the blackeyed peas planted. Pushed to get it finished yesterday but the pain won when I only had forty feet to go. I finished that this morning. Today will be busy as most days are. It started with a pain pill. Not the best way to start a day but you reap what you sow. That’s pretty much a literal statement for the pain is directly connected to planting, or “sowing”, the blackeyed peas over the last two days. Who’d think that sitting on the ground could hurt so much. As much as I dislike taking these addictive pills I am grateful for them for without this medication I would spend days immobilized and unable to get much of anything done.

Now that I’ve finished the peas I plan on getting another batch of compost going. I never did get around to building another compost bin. That is unfortunately typical for me, not doing what I planned. I cut down and pulled up weeds days ago to shred with the mower and use in this next compost batch so need to do that before they dry up. When they are green the nitrogen level is up there and when dry it is gone and contributes little to the composting process. There are lots of weeds I need to deal with and the rains we’ve had will multiply that a hundred fold.

Cherie has a busy day today. She has work to do at her temporary job and two more interviews on top of that. It’s not so much the pay she needs from work but medical benefits. Sure the extra money is a tremendous help but neither of us is getting younger. I’m covered as a veteran but Cherie has nothing, not even Medicare.

Time to whip up some breakfast and get back out to work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Planting peas

8/19/08 Tuesday
The rain is gone and the sun is back. It’s still going to be a relatively cool day by Texas standards, only going into the low eighties, if I remember right. I’ve been out since 7:30 this morning planting blackeyed peas. I was hoping to get a lot of that done yesterday but we ended up spending an hour or so trying to catch a dog that showed up. This one looked like a Yorkie or something. I don’t really know what a Yorkie looks like but my brain came up with the name so there must be some kind of subliminal connection. It’s small with long white hair though the hair is no longer white due to being very dirty. It has a collar on so we think it belongs to someone and ran off. It was walking down the middle of the highway and running all over but when I tried to coax it close it would just run. I watched it run around all day and when it started to get dark decided to try and catch it so it wouldn’t become coyote food or road kill. Cherie got in the car and tried to head it off as it ran from me but that didn’t work. After an hour of this I was huffing and puffing and the dog disappeared in the brush so we gave up.

The last time I planted the peas I used Matt’s seeder and it went quick. However this time I am doing it different based on what I’ve learned and looking at Matt’s garden. Because I’m making “hills” (or whatever you call them) the seeder wouldn’t work so I’m doing it by hand. It’s 11:00 now and I’ve been at it three and a half hours and am not quite halfway done. I tried using the little camp stool but even bending over from that was quite painful so I ended up sitting on the ground and scooting my butt down the row. It’s a pain day. I’m taking a break now to let the back ease up and take a pill. I’ve also got to take these jeans off and pull the stickers out of them and my ass. This sticker grass is a curse for sure and will be a constant battle. Eventually I hope to get them under control but am not terribly confident about it. In the meantime they are everywhere so scooting my butt across the ground isn’t much fun.
There is already lots of the stuff I recently planted coming up. The rain sure helped and I suspect that if the weather stays away from the hundred plus dry heat things will grow much better this time. I think these are green beans.

By the way, Stanton had a big event that got some national attention in the stupid criminal category. Some guy runs into the drug store that fixes those fantastic burgers I’ve written about, waving something wrapped in a sweatshirt around and telling everyone to get on the floor. Of course the fool chose to do this right a lunch time when the place is full. The newspaper article said that some thought it was a joke and one guy kept eating saying “There’s no way I’m gonna let this hamburger get cold”. The would be robber demanded pain killers from the pharmacist, who only gave him two bottles, and ran out. He had his car waiting right outside the door with the motor running for a quick getaway. Unfortunately he had locked his keys in the car so took off running. There aren’t many places to hide in a small town like this so it didn’t take long for the sheriff to find him. He evidently was waving his arms at the sheriff and got shot in the shoulder. It’s sad to see what drugs will do to someone, making them lose all common sense and the ability to even think things through. I know for it is a battle I’ve personally fought several times. By the way, alcohol is a drug too and just as addictive as others can be. Just had to throw that in because so many don’t recognize this because alcohol is legal.
More beans coming up

I just heard a commotion outside and that little Yorkie was just run off by our dogs, so at least it’s still alive. It’s too bad ours didn’t accept it for that makes it harder for me to catch the poor thing. I know, I’m a big softy but don’t apologize for it. I think I’ll run to the grocery store to see if anyone put a lost dog poster on their bulletin board.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The drought is broken

8/18/08 Monday
The drought is broken, at least for now. This is the third straight day of moisture we’ve had. This morning it’s coming as a heavy mist that quickly covers my glasses making it hard to see what I’m doing as I prepare beds for planting more blackeyed peas. It’s got me pretty wet but not much more than when I’m sweating profusely in the heat. But it’s cool out so over all a lot better than getting hot, sweaty, and stinky. I’ll be working out in this all day, or at least as long as I can. I must take advantage of this to get as much planted for fall as I can. There is lots to plant for sure. I finally built some trellises last week but have many more to put in.

Saturday we didn’t make it to the farmer’s market. Sure it was raining pretty hard but that wasn’t the reason. With weather changes comes pain as these broken bones contract and expand with the barometric pressure and Saturday was exceptionally bad. I got up, took a pain pill and crawled right back in bed. Cherie could see how bad it was so quietly let me doze. She said the dogs even could sense it and were unusually quiet and peaceful despite not being let out due to the rain. Normally they are bouncing with energy in the morning, wrestling and fighting till we hustle them out of the house so we can move around without getting run over. I stayed in bed four hours before feeling up to moving about. I can’t remember what I did but I am sure I went to work on the farm.

Yesterday the lesson at Sunday school was on conflict, discussing the problems Paul had with the Jews in Jerusalem who incited others to riot by spreading half truths and lies. The teacher talked about how easy it is to criticize versus encouraging and the results of that. It spoke to me and I shared how much we were hurt at the other church when it was evident others words were influencing those we sought to fellowship with. And, to be fair, I told of how my problem from the brain injury of speaking my mind without comprehending the inappropriateness or effect of my words contributed to that. I commended the class for their understanding and the love that they showed, thanking them for the acceptance. It was all we were looking for at the other church but didn’t find.

Yesterday I planted sunflowers and…perhaps beets and two kinds of lettuce but that may have been Saturday, I’m not sure. I know I had the tiller out and worked it hard.

Robert, the guy with leukemia I’ve told about here, died this morning. At least it was quick and not drawn out for months. How hard this time is for his wife, Vickie, but I know our class is a powerful and caring support for her. That is what the Christian family is about, caring, loving, and supporting in times of need. I don’t think we ever met Robert and Vickie so will stay out of the way for now. I’m sure she doesn’t need too many folks around, just a few to be close when she needs them. I really don’t know but think so. This is just another area where I lack the social know how on how to act.

The mist has cleared up and the sun is out so it will be a good but humid day to work. I don’t think the temperature is going above the eighties so that will be good.
I just came in from the garden. Almost every watermelon I had on this patch has been broken into and eaten. I don’t know if it was coyotes or Gretchen but there are dog prints all over and they are different sizes. If it was Gretchen then Rascal and Trixie got in the act too. This is not good either way for there is no hope of me having a sellable crop if animals destroy it. We’ve been told about coyotes’ ability to tell when a melon is ripe before eating it. I’ve always known we need fencing but we don’t have a thousand or two dollars to put one up. I did pick up the solar electric fence thing from Harbor Freight a month or three back and bought a spool of wire for it a couple of weeks ago but, like everything else, just haven’t had the time to put it up. It’s all so frustrating. Feels like I’m beating my head against a wall and it won’t give. Wally was complementing me on how I keep going despite my difficulties at Sunday school and while that's encouraging it sure doesn’t feel like I’m doing a whole heck of a lot.

So enough whining, I’ve got work to do. At least the animals don’t eat up my blackeyed peas and I’ve tilled up this area for them so time to put them in the ground.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The hard things of life

I'm sorry to be putting these depressing things on this blog, but the reality of life is that it is not all pleasant fun and games. This is an update on Robert, who has leukemia, written by his wife. I post it so those of you who pray might do so. It is my prayer that God miraculously heal Robert in such a way that there is no doubt He did it. That will let all know that God is. Like I said, life is not always pleasant but it's how you react that makes a difference. Vickie's strength and grace in this is incredible and inspiring, yet I know she must be just hanging on.

As you know, Robert has had constant ups and downs. Today is definitely a down.
When I got to the hospital, the kidney dr. was there. Without remembering half of the 'dr lingo' it basically comes to this. His kidney functions are getting worse each day. They cannot give him some of the medicines he needs because the kidneys cannot handle it. He said that he would need to be on dialysis long term, and may also have to be placed on life support.
He does not want that.
So, we waited for his dr to come in. After talking with Dr Borra on his condition with the kidneys and the fact that the leukemia has returned with a vengence and is terminal, Rob and Dr Borra decided that it is time for Hospice.
They will be moving him to the 5th floor (not sure if its today or not) for supportive treatment. They have to do that until arrangements are made with Hospice. Hospice House will come in to visit with him (us) and then work out all the details of going to the Hospice House itself. Because he will be on the 5th floor instead of CCU, you can all come and visit. Something that he needs so very much. (It is Medical Center Hospital in Odessa)
David Johnson (Minister from our church FBC Midland) came this morning and talked with us, read scriptures, and prayed with us. It just felt so good to see him! It gave us such peace. I know the visit with David was good for Rob and I both.
Thats about all I know right now. We do not have a time frame as yet. But the Hospice House is involved when there is 6 months or less. Of course we know that he has been given much less than that.
It is still in God's hands. I want what is best for Rob and I support his wants and needs. I don't want him to suffer or be in pain.
I will try to let you know the room number as soon as possible.

Love and Hugs Vickie and Robert

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zoie died.

Today's sunset

I just learned that Steve and Janie’s puppy, Zoie, was killed, run over in front of the house. Oh how I feel their hurt. Cherie and I have been privileged to be there since they first got her and watched her grow. What a lover Zoie was, just licking the beard off my face every time I saw her. I looked forward to poop scooping because I could play with her and Zack. We went there to do so yesterday and wondered where Zoie was. Hearing this just took the wind out of my sails. It’s easy to love and then hard when something like this happens. I know how much Steve and Janie loved Zoie and know their sorrow will run deep. There is little you can say at times like this but you want to, you want to reach out and help, you want to make it hurt less somehow, we want to…Janie and Steve, we love you guys and feel bad. Be at peace the best you can.

Unusually cognizant

8/13/08 Wednesday
It’s going to be a good day because I choose to make it a good day. That’s how it works you know. Sure things can happen that aren’t good, things we have no control over, but it’s how we react to them that makes these circumstances either bad or good. My accident eight years ago would be considered a bad thing by most standards one could use but it has turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Sure I have problems stemming from that, some of which will probably get worse as time goes by, but even they can be a blessing.

I’m unusually cognizant today, running a good nine on the bob scale, so I want to take advantage of that. Unfortunately I have lots of things that need to be done that are primarily physical work and don’t require much brain power so must attend to those first. Hopefully I will still be sharp when finished so I can do some creative writing and study the subjects I desire to. One of those is to write a thesis on the biblical concept of creation that I’ve been meaning to do for two years or so. There is also the business plan and that desperately needs to get done so I must focus on that before I go off on a tangent.

I’ve been out working on the garden but it’s 12:30 so I should get some lunch. I think I’ll run into Stanton and grab something as well as check the mail.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Got a lot done

8/12/08 Tuesday
It didn’t take long to get hot. I got a lot done yesterday, at least a lot for me. Planted three kinds of peas and some pole beans along with a whole row of bush type green beans. None of the peas and beans made it last time so we’ll see if they do any better being planted this late in the season. I made two trellises as well, one for the peas and pole beans and one for the Chinese noodle beans I planted in the spring. Some of them survived but require a trellis to grow well. The beans are about twelve inches or longer. I recovered seeds from the beans that managed to grow and will plant them today. They are really cool looking and will draw a lot of attention. Today I hope to till up the blackeyed pea plants that have died off and get my fall crop of them in the ground.

I went into Stanton to treat myself to one of those hamburgers you can get at the drug store. They are the best hamburgers this side of Pecos. Mary (who works there) asked about Cherie, remarking that she hasn’t seen her in a while. While I was eating Carol Yater came in with his wife, Lynn. Of course I didn’t recognize him but I heard someone call out his name so knew it was him. Lynn stopped and talked with me. I asked her if she liked blackeyed peas and her eyes lit up. She may come out tomorrow with a friend and pick some. I mentioned that I’ve been wanting to drop by and talk with Carol about selling some of my products in the parking lot of his building by the interstate. She said she would go and ask him.

Carol has had open heart by-pass surgery so isn’t always in good shape or good mood, thus you have to find a good time to talk with him. Lynn told me this was a good time so I went over to his table. We talked a little about the building and I offered to do some work around it to help out. He was keen on that. He mentioned that part of the steel roof was coming up so on the way home I stopped and looked at it. The wind ripped the sheetmetal right up so it will have to be replaced. I just might have just what he needs in the stuff I scavenged from the landfill so that will work out well. He said I could use his tractor to mow the area and I’ll be glad to take him up on that as well.

It’s poop scoop day so I’ll need to head into Midland this afternoon. While in town I’ll look for some of the organic pesticides I researched on the internet to combat the squash bugs with. It will probably be hard to find and certainly not cheap but it’s either that or watch what I plant get destroyed. I found a squash bug on the Chinese noodle bean plant so that’s not good. They are trashing the Charentaise melons right now on top of infesting the pumpkins.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This one takes the cake

I get these all the time but this one is just hilarious. It's at the top of the list now. I seldom open them but when I recognize the ones from Nigeria read them because they are a gas. What's sad is that someone somewhere can fall for this

WASHINGTON DC." Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division!
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 10:40:47 -0700

Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division
FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J.Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Nw Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
DATE: 21-08-2008

Attention Fund Beneficiary,

This is an official advice from the FBI Foreign Remittance Telegraphic
Dept, It Has Come To Our Notice That The C.B.N Bank Nigeria District
Released 15 Million Great British Pounds Sterling equivalent to 30
U.S Dollars Into Bank Of America In Your Name As The
Beneficiary, By Inheritance Means.

The C.B.N Bank Nigeria Knowing Fully Well That They Do Not Have
Facilities To Effect This Payment From The United Kingdom To Your
Account, Used
What We Know As A Secret Diplomatic Transit Payment S.T.D.P To Pay This
Through Wire Transfer, They Used This Means To Complete The Payment.

These letter serves as notification of the present transaction
confirmed in
your name, on our research and investigations as a mode of operation
with the
FBI Banking Commission, we investigated a fresh transfer what of
dollars as mentioned above in your name. The funds are undergoing
verifications to proof the legitimacy of the transaction, you are to
all the legal documents to back up the transaction and clear all
on your behalf.

They Are Still, Waiting For Confirmation From You On The Already
Funds Which Was Made In Direct Transfer So That They Can Do Final
Crediting To
Your Account. Secret Diplomatic Payments Are Not Made Unless The Funds
Related To Terrorist Activities Why Must Your Payment Be Made In Secret
Transfer, If Your Transaction Is Legitimate, If You Are Not A
Terrorist, Then
Why Did You Not Receive The Money Directly Into Your Account, This Is A
Coded ,Means Of Payment?

Records Which We Have Had With This Method Of Payment In The Past Has
Always Been Related To Terrorist Acts, We Do Not Want You To Get Into
As Soon As These Funds Reflect In Your Account In The U.S.A, So It Is
Our Duty
As A Word Wide Commission To Correct This Little Problem Before This
Fund Will
Be Credited Into Your Personal Account. The funds are presently on hold
further proof of the legal documents before releasing directly to you.

Due To The Increased Difficulty And Unnecessary Scrutiny By The
Authorities When Funds Come From Outside Of America, precisely Africa,
Bank Commission For Europe Has Stopped The Transfer On Its Way To
Payment Of 15 Million GBP. EQV. 30 Million US Dollars To Debit Your
Reserve Account And Pay You Through A
Secured Diplomatic Transit Account (S.D.T.A). We Govern And Oversees
Transfer For The World Bank And The Rest Of The World.

We Advice You Contact Us Immediately, As The Funds Have Been Stopped
Are Being Held In Our Custody ,Until You Can Be Able To Provide Us With
Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(Dist) Within 3 Days From The World
Bank That Authorize The Transfer From Where The Funds Was Transferred
From To
Certify That The Funds That You Are About To Receive From Nigeria Are
Antiterrorist/Drug Free Or We Shall Have Cause To Cross And Impound The
Payment, We Shall Release The Funds Immediately We Receive This Legal

We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper
and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive
fund, because of the amount involve, we want to make sure is a clean
and legal
money you are about to receive. Be informed that the fund are now in
State in your name , but right now we have ask the bank not to release
fund to anybody that comes to them , unless we ask them to do so,
because we
have to carry out our investigations first before releasing the fund to
Note that the fund is in the BANK OF AMERICA right now, but we have ask
not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and
verifications from you before releasing the funds.

So to this regards you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you
about to receive is a clean money by sending to us FBI Identification
and also Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(DIST) to satisfy to us
that the
money your about to receive is legitimate and real money. You are to
the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if
don't have it let us know so that we will direct and inform you where
obtain the document and send to us so that we will ask the bank holding
funds the Bank Of America to go ahead Crediting your account

This Documents are to be issued to you from the World Local Bank that
Authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don't
the document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain
document in United Kingdom U.K, because we have come to realize that
the fund
was Authorized by H.S.B.C Bank in London.




Final Instruction:

60-Credit Payment Instruction: Irrevocable Credit Guarantee
61-Beneficiary Has Full Power When Validation Is Cleared
62-Beneficiaries Bank in U.S.A., Can Only Release Funds
62-Upon Confirmation From The World Bank/United Nations.
64-Bearers Must Clear Bank Protocol and Validation Request

The FBI today is providing a warning to the public against an ongoing
involving jury service and internet/phones fraud. The public needs to
be aware
that individuals identifying themselves as U.S. court employees have
telephonically contacting citizens and advising them that they have
selected for jury duty. These individuals ask to verify names and
Security numbers then ask for credit card numbers. If the request is
citizens are then threatened with fines illegally.

The judicial system does not contact people telephonically and ask for
information such as your Social Security number, date of birth or
credit card
numbers. If you receive one of these phone calls, do not provide any
or confidential information to these individuals. This is an attempt to
or to use your identity by obtaining your name, Social Security number
potentially to apply for credit or credit cards or other loans in your
name. It
is an attempt to defraud you. Crime and fraud is real, so be careful.

Working closely with our partners in intelligence, law enforcement,
military, and diplomatic circles, the FBI’s primary responsibility is
neutralize terrorist cells and operatives here in the United States and
dismantle terrorist networks/money laundry and internet fraud
Although protecting the United States from terrorist attacks and money
is our first priority, we remain committed to the defense of America
foreign intelligence threats as well as the enforcement of federal
laws, all while respecting and defending the Constitution.

If you’ve ever watched one of those crime dramas on TV and heard the
“NCIC” mentioned in passing and wondered what it was, you’re
probably not

NCIC, which stands for National Crime Information Center, is one of the
unsung heroes of crime-fighting—little known to the public, but used
day by law enforcement officers nationwide and even across the border
to take
terrorists and criminals off the street, find missing persons and
property, and
save lives.

We’re very proud of NCIC’s legacy, but what’s most important to
us is
what it can do today,” says Bush. “We’re constantly trying to
make it
better and faster.” And we have, with a major technical upgrade in
1999 and
important additions of terrorism and gang information in recent years.

Include a scanned copy of your Drivers Lincense or any Valid
address for verification purposes when responding to this email.

Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Hurray! It rained

8/11/08 Monday
Hurray!!! We Got Rain!!! And lots of it. Plus there is a possibility of more at the end of the week so it all bodes well for the fall planting, which I haven’t started yet. That’s my focus for today and the next few days. Not having to spend three hours watering by hand today will help a lot. Three hours is a lot of time for me because I am seldom able to put in a full day of work, especially when it is real hot. The temperatures are just going to hit ninety degrees or so today so that’s a cool day for us. All things considered this will be an excellent day and I hope to get a lot done. I have a slight headache but that’s nothing to me. You know, everything’s relative so compared to the pain levels I often must deal with a mild headache is inconsequential.

That’s it for this morning. I can’t think of anything else to write though I know there’s lots of stuff, so it’s work time.
The price of rain is humidity. That makes the eighty nine degree heat pretty sweaty and the air unit doesn’t do more than blow air. The only way to cool down is sit in front of the fan. I got two kinds of green beans planted and am working on making a trellis for the peas. I never got around to making any trellises this year and some of the plants need them to grow well. So I’m going to try and get some made for the fall planting. But I had to come in and drink some fluids and cool off. It’s two o’clock now. Robert, the person we know with leukemia, was rushed to the hospital this afternoon. It not looking good and that is heart wrenching, especially when you know how good of a person he is.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Always lots to do

8/10/08 Sunday
First I should fill in the gaps of the last few days in this journal. Friday night I wasn’t able to sleep, my mind just wouldn’t turn off. I took one of Cherie’s over the counter sleep aids with no effect so about 2:30 in the morning I poured a glass of milk hoping that would help. Nope, not at all. I should have gotten this laptop out because what my mind was doing was writing in my head. I was designing a handout for Westbrook Farms to take to the farmer’s market. That’s just one of the things on my long list of what I should do and haven’t gotten to. It’s something I determined to do three months ago and haven’t even started. Also I want to design the company logo. Basically that will be the name “Westbrook Farms” with the two o’s being intertwined hearts and underneath it will say “The farm love is building”. It’s simple enough. All I have to do is draw the intertwined hearts, scan it into this laptop, tweak it on Publisher or MS Word (I think Word has a better program for that), and insert it. Actually, all I have to do is get off my ass and do it. There were all kinds of other things running through my head but I don’t remember them now. The last time I remember seeing on the clock was 3:30 and I was still wide awake. So I didn’t get much sleep at all.

The farmer’s market had some interesting moments. Our blackeyed pea plants are reaching the end of their life and not producing as much so that sold out quick. I have needed to plant another batch for weeks now but, like everything else, haven’t gotten to it. There were at least two people who came to the market just to meet me. They both read the blog, one of them my “What about Bob” blog, which gets into some political stuff. The other guy had a good sized dog on a leash and came straight up to me, held out his hand, and as he shook mine said “My name is ???? (can’t remember) and I’ve been wanting to meet you”, or something like that. He reads the blog a lot so could talk about things going on with us knowledgeably. It always amazes me to meet someone who reads the blog. I mean, I know many do but the fact that our lives are that interesting to others…I don’t know what it is or how to put it but it feels good that someone wants to meet us and likes us.

I was doing well that morning so was able to socialize freely and that helped. A young lady came by with her two friends and because I was comfortable and talkative I regaled her with the “Story” of how Cherie and I got back together. Come to find out she is a reporter for the paper and was there to do an article on the farmer’s market. Upon hearing our story she expressed interest in doing an article on us. This kind of thing makes me wonder. I don’t go out and seek this kind of exposure but it comes. I again wonder about an outside hand putting these things together, if God has a purpose in this, a plan of some type that has been orchestrated and is being put together since the accident, or maybe even before it. And I’m a mess, go figure. Why me? What can I offer when I’m plagued with doubts and problems? Only time can tell.

I will probably have to buy a new water pump for our evaporative air conditioner. The existing one has frozen up a few times and doesn’t pump well now. Yesterday was a hot miserable day and last night wasn’t too fun either. My pillow was soaked with sweat again this morning. But it’s been humid so the evaporative air doesn’t work good in this type of weather anyway, but it does cool the air down some.

Today will be another hot day. By the time we got home yesterday it was well into the nineties so I didn’t get much done outside. As much as I hate to we are going to skip church so I can get badly needed work done on the farm/garden before it gets too hot. A big part of that, a vital part, is getting fall crops planted.

I found a new organic insecticide online that I want to get. It’s actually been out for five years but still isn’t well known. It’s called spinosad. I’ll have to research the different names it is marketed under and figure out where I can get it. What I like is that it works quicker that the Dipple dust, which has B.T. (Bacillus Thuringiensis), and won’t harm the good insects like honey bees and lady bugs. It also lasts a lot longer, killing bugs up to thirty days after application, versus the three or four days for B.T., which washes off with rain also. Not that we have to worry about rain around here. Haven’t seen much of that this year at all. It’s big time drought in these parts.

So if I’m gonna skip church to get work done before it gets hot I’d better get off this computer and get out there.
It’s noon already. The morning seemed to fly by and I was surprised to see how late it was when I came in to get something to drink. It got hot fast. Fortunately the air conditioner is working well, I think that is due to the humidity being low. Things seem to be going awfully slow regarding what I’ve accomplished. Still have lots of watering to do. Yesterday I found that I had left the water to the soaker hose on one plot on all night and all day. That’s not good but unfortunately not that unusual for me. I try to check all the water faucets every night before I go to bed but often forget or seem to remember I did so when I didn’t. I can’t rely on this memory and must double check myself.

I got to thinking about what I wrote earlier regarding this unseen hand that is on our lives. Ever since I woke from the coma things have been happening and after eight years it’s hard to attribute it to coincidence. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of bad and unpleasant things happen but even they can serve a purpose, at least I think so. Anyway, Matt came up to us at the farmer’s market and asked “Do you guys need a refrigerator? I’ve got one I don’t use and when I looked at it I thought of you. Could you use it?”. Little did Matt know that our refrigerator has been on it’s last legs for as long as we’ve been here. The thermostat is bad and despite being turned down as warm as it can go it still freezes things. We’ve had pops blow up and lost melons and things that turn mushy after freezing. So we need a fridge and, without saying a word to anyone, one is provided. It amazes me how, when we need something I sometimes find it at the landfill. I didn’t mention it but a couple of weeks ago I found two really nice ceiling fans at the landfill. It’s not a need but we had looked at them in the store and they would be nice to have. Did God provide it? Beats me but they sure are nice.

I’m rested up and cooled off, had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch so it’s time to get back out there.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tomato worms

8/9/08 Saturday
There’s not much time to write as we are getting ready to go to the farmer’s market. Picked up sixty spaghetti squash from Chuck and Lillian to sell for them. Theirs sprang up from discarded seeds that came from the squash I gave them. Some of them obviously had cross pollinated when in our garden. A couple almost look like pumpkins. I’m more careful now and planted the different varieties of squash well away from each other.

Here is some pictures of the tomato horn worms (I think that’s what you call it) That have been stripping our tomato and pepper plants. Talk about fat and huge. Geeze, these must be some of the best fed worms around. They are almost perfectly camouflaged and hard to find on the plants. I have been busy looking after pumpkins as well as melon plants and because of that neglected the rest of the garden. It’s all part of not being able to keep up with everything. After seeing the damage done I ran to Aldredge nursery and bought some Dipple dust.

Here is a picture of the problem we have with our peppers. If anyone of you know what it is let me know.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Doing better

8/7/08 Thursday
I dropped this laptop last night and hope there is not too much damage. One of the keys isn’t quite right though it still works. I had a whole lot written for today when it just turned itself off. I think it over heated. I had just gone online to look up a bible verse and the firefox web browser I use was running the CPU at 100% slowing everything down. When I tried to restart the laptop again shut itself down so I let it sit and cool off before starting it up again. It seems to be working ok now but I lost everything I wrote. I suppose I’ll try to write it again but you know I can’t remember so I’ll just start over.

I am doing much better this morning. Lost a whole day yesterday with the headaches. It went away at four or so and happily I went to work. I got the tire off the tiller using my two wheel dolly to lift it up. After looking unsuccessfully for why it went flat I took it to the gas station to air it up. I suppose it’s a slow leak at the rim or something so I’ll have to keep an eye on it and air it up with the bicycle pump Janie let us have.

It’s only going to go up to ninety degrees or so today and that is cool by West Texas standards so hopefully I’ll get a lot done. Perhaps I can get some of the fall crops planted that should have been in the ground last month. It is so frustrating to always be behind. I need to be working on the business plan for Texas Rehabilitation as well as writing the goals we have to Congressman Mike Conaway. There is so much help available but it requires I do these things. I stay busy but don’t seem to get to doing this. These tasks just get lost as I wander through the day.

I suppose that’s all I’ll write for now. I did write before about how my thoughts have been on the things of God and the need to communicate with the Stanton church to clear the air. Can’t seem to get the hurt off my mind and need to deal with it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Headaches are back

Here I am wearing the type of helmet a Roman soldier would use around the time of Christ. Just thought it would be a good illustration for the headache title. I've also got some chain mail and four shields. All I need is a sword.

8/6/08 Wednesday
The headaches are back. I’ve been having them for the last three or four days and woke up this morning with one. It’s the kind where I am sensitive to light and even the sound of the fan is disturbing. Usually I stay in bed with the drapes drawn when it’s this bad but I didn’t have that option this morning. The plants don’t care what I feel like, they need water or they die so out I went. It sure would have been nice to have sunglasses, that would have helped a lot, but the glasses I had with the clip on sun lens broke and I had to get the free VA glasses because of our money. I spent the two plus hours it takes to water everything and came in. Been laying down since and it’s after 1:00 now. God I hate not getting something done. I will peel and core the apples Ed gave us so at least I’m doing something. Wish the headache would just go away.

Last night, after seeing thousands of squash bugs like a carpet under the spaghetti squash vines, I got the tiller out and tilled it all under. Unfortunately I got a flat tire and couldn’t tell because it was well into the night and pretty dark. The tire spun off the rim. This tiller is so heavy that it will be quite a job just getting the tire off. Hope I don’t hurt the back trying to get it off.

It’s 2:41. I’m still in bad shape but we can add a slowdown to the equation. I wasn’t aware of that till I called Cherie. Then I could hear it in my voice. Right now typing is a struggle as I work to find words to say and then work for my fingers to push the right buttons on this keyboard. I am sweating a lot despite staying in doors so wonder if there is something else going on, like fighting off a virus or something. I peeled apples for as long as I could but sitting too long can create back pain. Hadn’t needed a pain pill all day, which I like not being too keen on taking addictive pain killers, but just had to take one. Go figure, sitting down does that. Sometimes it sucks to be me. I went outside once to check on Gretchen along with Rascal and Trixie. They are doing fine but let me know how much they wish I would come out and play. I would rather be out but it’s just too bright and the headache is bad enough already.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Going to visit Toledo?

The whole gang when we were leaving to come to Texas.

8/5/08 Tuesday
12:34 – Man is it hot already. Just came in to take a break and fix a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Took my shirt off and stood in front of the fan to dry my back off before I laid down. If I didn’t the bed would get soaked with sweat. Not that it makes that much difference considering how warm it is when we go to bed. By morning the house is cool but with this humidity the evaporative air cooler doesn’t work as well as when it’s dry. Then it’s great and dramatically lowers temperatures. All in all it’s the best for us as a regular air conditioner would dramatically boost our electric bill. I was talking to Mark when I picked up the horse manure and he asked how much our electric bill was. When I told him it was only $112.00 he asked “how do you do that?”, because their bill was over three hundred dollars. I don’t know exactly because the house is now all electric because the gas pipes under the house leak. But I think using the evaporative unit instead of a regular air conditioner helps a lot. Other than that we are just frugal I guess though we did invest in those curly florescent bulbs that use less than a regular light bulb.

I’m beat now. Been out going through the pumpkin plants one at a time looking for squash bugs and their eggs. Found plenty of them and as I sat clearing out one of the plants I watched more of the squash bugs flying in and landing near enough to me that I could kill them too. It looks like they are coming from the spaghetti squash that was infested so bad. I’m going to till that under now.

It’s poop scoop day so I’ll be going to Steve and Janie’s. If I remember I’ll take my hoe to see if Eric can weld it. Right now I am working to keep from falling asleep as I write. I suppose it would be smart to take my nap now and get it over with. Otherwise I won’t be worth much later in the day. If I don’t fix a sandwich now I probably won’t remember to eat because I don’t feel hunger except on rare occasions.

It looks like we will be able to go to Toledo in October. It’s something we have both wanted to do and when Cherie’s mom called she asked about it. Yesterday I told Cherie to start looking into the cost of such a journey. Driving is out of the question because it will take four days, two each way, and probably cost about twelve hundred dollars in gas if we took the truck. So flying is the best bet. Cherie called our friend who travels extensively to see if we could purchase some of her frequent flyer miles. She called back and said we could fly for free. What a blessing. What a blessing. What a blessing. I suppose I can stop that now. What a blessing. Oops, that just slipped out. So all we have to pay for is a rental car and hotel stay.

Going up there will allow me to see the people I care about and in some cases cared for. On the top of the list is my former secretary whom I’ve lost contact with all together. Wayne I call on a regular basis and Allen I finally got a hold of. Dave, one of the people who saw me on the “Toledo’s John Doe” news article and called in to help, giving me a place to stay, was forced to move when his father sold the house. I don’t have a clue where he is now. Plus Cherie’s aunt and uncle are having their big fiftieth anniversary when we will be there and of course her entire family is up there. It will be good to see them again.

Monday, August 04, 2008


8/4/08 Monday
It’ll be another hundred degree day. I’ve been out getting as much done as I can before it gets so hot I’m only good for an hour or so before I must come in. Then it takes an hour or so to recover. There was a time this kind of heat wouldn’t bother me but that was thirty five years ago. I’ve been watering the plants, which takes three hours anymore. Still have the pumpkins to do but that will take a while due to the squash bug infestation. They have destroyed the spaghetti squash. Here’s a picture showing what they can do.

We are counting on the pumpkins to bring in a decent amount of money around Halloween so I must keep after them. I go through each plant one by one, checking the bottoms of each leaf for the eggs they lay. In the process I usually find a few adults, which I squash between my fingers. I know it’s gross but it’s pretty much the best way to do it. Mark, the friend we made when we met his wife, Pam, at the farmer’s market, told me a good way to get them. He said put a piece of wood under each plant and during the night the squash bugs will congregate under it. Then get out there when the sun is coming up and you can catch them and throw them in a bucket of soapy water. I haven’t tried that yet but certainly will. The spaghetti squash is pretty much done for and I am sure that the squash bugs are coming from there now that they’ve destroyed it. So I will go through all fifty pumpkin plants today. I had carefully mulched each one with the rye I mowed just for that. Now I must remove it all as I have learned it just provides a great place for the squash bugs to live in. In desperation I had sprayed the spaghetti squash with Sevin, despite my great dislike for using any kind of poison and determination to grow everything organic. It didn’t seem to have an effect at all. So it’s back to doing things the old fashioned way. I’ll put on a pair of the neoprene gloves and squash away. The squash bugs are related to stink bugs and you can sure tell it. When you squash a squash bug it puts out a distinctive unpleasant odor.

What else should I write about? Oh, Gretchen, our new dog someone abandoned here, is doing well in a heart wrenching way. She was so badly abused that even after a week she is afraid of everything. With much coaxing I can get her to come close and then slowly and carefully can pet her. It’s strange how she is sometimes not afraid and will come up playful and eager to get a pet, but then can become spooky in a moments notice. I’ve found that when she sees me petting Rascal and Trixie it assures her that I am safe so she runs in for her share of love. Trixie and Rascal are jealous and often will growl and bark at her when this happens but they are getting better about that.

When it gets dark Gretchen really gets spooky and afraid. I was able to give her one of the dog treats Rascal and Trixie love last night but that took a lot of cajoling. When it’s dark she won’t come close at all unless I turn the porch light on. I held the treat out in my hand and talked her in. “Good Gretchen, Good girl, You’re all right, I won’t hurt you…” I would croon but when she got within five feet of me something would spook her so she would run away. Then she got close enough to sniff the treat but jumped away again, running a safe distance of twenty feet away in a dark shadow where she felt safe. The second time she gave it a tentative lick before she jumped away. The third time she carefully picked it up with her lips and hurried away to crunch it.

In the morning we are always anxious to see if she is still here when we open the door and relieved to find her just as anxious to see us. At this time she is playful and will jump up on me for attention. I love to see it but Rascal and Trixie aren’t too thrilled at this interloper hogging my attention. Gretchen follows me everywhere, staying behind me about three feet. I hold my hand out behind me as I walk and can feel her occasionally get close enough to nudge it with her nose or give it a little lick. Training her will be harder because when you correct her it brings up so much fear it breaks your heart. She has a bad habit of rolling on her back on some of our plants and has taken out melon’s, tomatoes, and some blackeyed peas. I wish I had a shock collar because it would be the most effective way to train her with that. When I say “NO” she doesn’t comprehend why, just sees that I’m not happy and runs. With a shock collar she will get a shock when she gets in the garden plants and will quickly be able to equate doing that with the shock. I caught her rolling on the plants three times this morning.

Gretchen is becoming accepted by Rascal and Trixie and now runs and plays with them just a little bit. I suspect she has spent much of her time tied up or in a fenced in back yard because she doesn’t run very well at all. Plus she had no muscle tone at all and was a little fat when she first showed up. It’s great to see the improvement she has made in just a week. Her muscles are firming up and she is getting more active every day. Overcoming the effects of abuse will take a lot longer and will probably always be there. I think the reason I feel for Gretchen so much is the years of rejection and abuse I experienced as a child. Bruce Springsteen has lyrics in one of his songs that refer to the trauma of the Vietnam war say “till you end up like a dog that’s been beat to much” or something similar.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A snowflake in summer

8/3/08 Sunday
We learned another lesson regarding this farm. It wasn’t a pleasant one. As is often the case we learn from our mistakes. We were excited about going to the farmer’s market as there were more blackeyed peas than we had ever had. Picking them is a painful proposition for both of us so we have been doing an hour or so every day all week. Needing a place to store them we got this huge cooler from Janie. It was full to the top by Friday when Cherie started to package them up for sale at the market. I heard her cry of despair so ran out to see what was wrong. The top layer of beans were fine but under that the beans were moldy and rotting from the moisture that had built up. Now we know that the beans need good ventilation when they are stored green. I got up at sunrise Saturday morning and picked what I could for the market. Being in a hurry I didn’t use the stool I usually have to ease the pressure on my back so by the time we got to the market I was in pretty bad shape.

We bought a laundry basket today to put the beans in. When we talked about having folks come out and pick their own one of our friends said that was a really bad idea because they would tear up our plants. Fact is the two of us can’t pick them as fast as they grow because neither one of us is in good shape. Losing a few plants would be better than watching beans drying up on the plants and not getting picked at all.

So Saturday wasn’t a fun day. We left the market as soon as possible and came home so I could take a pain pill and lay down. Cherie went to do something and I tried to rest. It was hot. Real hot. After turning my pillow, that was wet with sweat, over I got up to see if the evaporative air unit was on. It was on but blowing hot air. I went out to see what was wrong and found the water pump had frozen up again. I also could see that the filters had become almost completely plugged from the hard water build up. I knew it was getting bad but when I took the panel off saw just how bad. Here’s a couple of pictures. The second one is the inside of one of the filters after I removed it. Had to use a pry bar to get it loose. We got replacement filters at Lowe’s and I’ve spent a couple of hours getting them in and freeing up the motor of the water pump. So we have air now. It was a hot muggy night but with the humidity high the evaporative unit wouldn’t have worked good anyway.

There are often things that happen around us that really put what I call problems in perspective. In comparison my issues are like a snowflake in the summer, real fleeting, and my complaints become the whining of a three year old. Vickie is in our Sunday school group and we haven’t had the privilege of meeting her and Robert, her husband, but I’ve been following their fight with leukemia for quite a while and think I mentioned them for your prayers. Her strength in the face of this has been inspiring and things were looking up, but we got this email a few days ago. For those of you who pray, Pray.

My precious family and friends....
As you know, we had a dr appt today. Rob was supposed to get another bone marrow biopsy and infusions today.
However, we got the full report on the previous biopsy and the XY test. The initial assessment was that there were some 'different' cells from the biopsy, but they only had a preliminary report. They had to wait on the other 2 reports.
So today, the dr came to talk to us. The results are heart breaking. The XY report showed a significant amount of Rob's cells (instead of all being his sisters cells) and the biopsy confirmed it all too...the leukemia has returned.
There are no more treatments that can be done. He had the most invasive, most radical, most aggressive treatment as he was a very high risk patient. With type M6, and the 5-7 chromosones, it was always a small chance that he would go into remission. We knew the odds were low, but we have been covered in prayers that he would be healed.
It may be in our will, but God's will is what matters and we accept his will in our lives.
Of course, we were devasted. We had really thought the leukemia was gone. I cried all day with Rob saying, honey please don't cry. My eyes are swollen and burn. And I just don't have any energy right now.
The doctor will continue to give him what he needs as far as medications, blood etc, to help prolong his life just a little more. And we will be seeing the cancer doctor in Midland I believe for a while. We don't have a 'time frame' so to speak. It could be several months or a year. Only God knows that.
We will be going home next week. Certainly not in the manner we would have hoped. There seems to be no joy in going home now. We have lots to do in preparation and Rob is very adamant about making sure everything is taken care of for me. He will try to work as long as possible. He is worried about me...and wants to make sure that all is in place. He talked about all these plans today and it was so hard to listen. Things like funeral services, cemetary plots, pall bearers, insurance, etc. Things I did NOT want to hear. I won't have insurance (health) either, I'll have to get a job with insurance somewhere as I have lots of medical issues myself. And I haven't worked in 10 years, so that will be a challenge in itself...and my age too.
He went over all this stuff today while he was getting his infusion.
So, I am mentally and physically exhausted. Please keep praying for a miracle in his life! We know God is in control, and if it's time for Robert's Journey to Heaven, then we will accept whatever he has planned for us.

Love and Hugs Vickie and Robert