Stuff Around the House

It’s that time of year at our house. The time of year when everything we own begins to fall apart. Yep. When it’s that time , there is no winning against home products. I have to admit this time has lasted a lot longer than previous eras.

Okay, so one day when everyone (read the whole world) was at my house, the Keurig coffee pot decided to quit making coffee. I have one of those small ones, red, if you please, not the full size Keurig. Our full size Keurig lasted about three years ,which is a record for me and a coffee pot. But, this little red Keurig I bought that day lasted only a couple of months. I would put the water and the coffee in the pot, turn on brew and nothing. I’d try again and it would brew. The next time, nothing, then, brew. This went on and on until I finally got an old fashioned (which not so long ago was the standard pot) coffee maker. Oh my! I was so spoiled by the Keurig. Perfect coffee everytime. Standard pot? Not so much. Either it was too strong (my husband loves strong coffee) or it wasn’t strong enough.  How did I ever survive with a Mr. Coffee pot? The world will never know, I’m afraid. At any rate, my Keurig finally just gave up the ghost. Or so I thought.

As I was preparing to write this  blog, I was looking for images of things that had broken around our house. I wanted this to be a pretty visual blog entry so everyone would know the chaos that has ensued at our house. What I found was a photo of a broken Keurig with someone sticking a paper clip in the orifice. I brought up the photo and there was, lo and  behold, an article about Keurigs you thought were dead. I read the article in hopes of reviving my poor little Keurig (and me). According to the article, I was to put said paper clip in the orifices and turn it round and round, thus dislodging any bits of coffee, debris, minerals from water, etc from the orifice. Then, I was to descale it with vinegar and water. I was somewhat sure nothing would help poor old Mr. Keurig, but to my surprise, when I put the water and vinegar in, it started  boiling the water straightaway. Previously, this step was skipped in the brewing process, and so no brewing took place. But, I had brewing going! Still skeptical, I let it brew with the water and vinegar, turned it off, poured out the vinegar water from the cup, filled up the Keurig and did it again. IT WORKED! But, I was still not convinced and ran it two more times before trying to brew a cup of coffee. The coffee was made and it was the perfect cup. Mind you, I’m still a bit skeptical that it is well and truly fixed. But, we’ll see with time.

So, my original blog post will stay in my head, but if you have a Keurig and you think it may be broken, get a paper clip, stick it in the orifice that punctures the coffee container, wash everything you can wash, use half water, half vinegar and wash that thing out!  For those who already knew that, no “i told you so’s please. I already feel kinda dumb that I didn’t know to do that, and kinda smart because I fixed it! I’m so excited.

Note to my husband: Honey, you make the best coffee when you know it’s for me, but when it’s for you, it’s just tooo strong for me. But, I love you!



Ringing in 2015

My visit with my daughter


came to an end in late 2014. Yesterday morning, as a matter of fact. We drove her to the airport a bit bleary eyed, but none the worse for wear. We all drug ourselves out of bed at 5 a.m.,tossed coffee down our throats and left for Dallas-Ft. Worth airport at 5.30. I had made an error when choosing her flight back home, thus making her have to leave at 7:05 a.m , arriving in New York for a three hour layover and then flying home to Michigan at 4. Bless her heart, she travelled all the live long day. I bet I’ll look more closely next time I make reservations. But, she was gracious and forgiving about it. It was a good visit with her and I hope it’s not a year til I see her again. We had a lot of fun and giggled quite a lot. She finally met her first and only niece and they look quite a bit alike! Pretty cool.

Later on, my husband- Stephen and I , watched a movie . He fell asleep. Today, he played Yahtzee with me- a big deal because he hates games. We then went to the store, bought  Lobster Bisque soup, sandwich stuff, pate and other things people only eat during special occassions. We then began to watch a movie and I fell asleep! I liked the movie- I just feel so tired. We have had a whole day and a half together and it has been bliss.

I hope you and yours have had a grand celebration of the new year- no matter how you may have celebrated. I have no idea how this year is going to pan out, but I’m hoping for a peaceful one for all. I am waiting for the day we all decide we have had too much violence and end it. I’m sure I’m dreaming, but wouldn’t it be nice? If it can’t be peaceful in the world, I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s peaceful in my neck of the woods. How bout you?

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night!

Chris- First to Come to Baker’s Acres-First to Go

Chris, on the left, went over the rainbow bridge today. We will miss him.
This Chris, on the left, went over the rainbow bridge today. We will miss him.

My husband fell in love with the donkey who lived in this house when we bought it. We wanted to buy Festus with the house, but the owner didn’t want to sell him. They had been together for a long time. Stephen talked about that donkey quite a bit and I had decided I would get one for him when I heard hay was so expensive, folks were giving them away. I waited til I thought we could afford it and I found two donkeys being given away . I snapped them up and they were both males.

Okay, I thought , “We’ll see how it goes.”

Stephen was on the computer when the donks were delivered . He’d stayed home from work because he had pneumonia. He wasn’t to go outside anyway, and since it was a surprise, I made him promise to stay there and not look. The guy finally got to the end of the drive where we were to let them into the pasture. First, Chris descended from the trailer and was happy to get into the pasture. Even though it was the week after Valentines, there was still grass for them to munch on.

I asked the former owner of these fine badonkadonks, “What are their names- do they have names?”

“Anthony and Chris, he said drably, I named them after mah brothers.”  I felt my eyes roll into the top of my head as I chuckled to myself.

While Anthony was fairly friendly, Chris acted as if he’d been abused at one time or another. He was very shy, didn’t want to be around people, didn’t want to be touched, and went as far as to walk off if one tried to pet his face.

When they were settled into the yard, I went to get Stephen and tell him he could come out and see his new “surprise”. Livestock! We were out in the country, after all . And didn’t he just love Festus? Here were some donkeys of his very own, I beamed with pride and a sense of accomplishment. I guess that was about 6 years ago. The years have been good to us and to the donkeys. Why, the next year, they got girlfriends, when Blanch and Bambi came to join our family. We had two foals, both males, both Bambi’s. The firstborn, Gregory, was from an unknown father- she was pregnant when she got here. Thirteen, though, was Bambi’s and Chris’s child-looks just like Chris. But, it was Blanche Chris loved . Blanche loved him back. However, Blanche lost a foal a couple of years ago and has never been pregnant again.

The boys have since been gelded, so there will be no more babies. That’s okay. We were up to six donkeys- each loved greatly. Why donkeys? Well, they are great guardians of livestock. Coyotes close by? They don’t come up where donkeys are watching. They know the donkeys will kill them if they get close. Donkeys have wonderful and diverse personalities. They are sure to get a laugh out of anyone passing by.

So, this morning- when I went to feed the animals this morning, my eyes burned with tears when I saw Chris lying by the barn door. I ran around to the door of the barn where he lay and saw he had passed away . Rigor mortis had not set in , so , I knew he hadn’t been dead too long. I pet him and walked to the house where Stephen met me bringing dog food.

“I’m sad to say that Chris has died this morning,” I hollered to him.

“What? What”

“Chris has died.” Stephen walked quickly to the barn, bending over to pet him just as I did. Tears fell from Stephen’s eyes  and mine. Now, we had to get busy, find out what to do.

In the meantime, I began thinking of how scared Chris had been when he first came, how untrusting he was. I thought about a couple of days earlier when we had both petted his face, hugged him , without any fear from him. A bit later, Stephen and I figured out why we have so many animals. We take the rescued, the unloved animals, animals who are afraid and love them while they live out their last days here.

Chris, the first donkey here, the most fearful donkey we had was the most loved donkey. He left this place knowing love. That’s our job- to love these guys for the rest of their lives. Thank you, God for Chris- a great blessing. We return him to you-a donkey who knew love and loved in return.

Why the Confusion?

Yesterday, I went to a new hair stylist to get my hair cut.  I live in a small town where there is an abundance of hair dressers, Mexican restaurants, donut shops, hamburger joints and pizza places.

My usual hairdresser and I had an appointment at 4:30 p.m. . She texted me at 3 or so asking if we could reschedule the appointment because it was kid’s homecoming today and she had so much to do. I’m sorry? We had an appointment days ago.So, after much ado, I decided to cancel my appointment and try the new hair salon aptly named “Southern Roots”.

As I have stated earlier and frequently, my mother was a beautician. I’ve had my hair done professionally all my life. I loved it until I was a teenager. From the time I was a little girl, I had this spray,that gel,back combing,hair rolling. Now, I don’t. My hair is quite curly -especially when it is humid, which it is wont to be here in Texas. I’ve spent my life hating my curly hair – straightening it by drying it at the air conditioner. No- for real. I would bend over the air conditioner, brushing madly while the compressor blew my hair as straight as pick up sticks. My mother hated it. I loved it. The straighter the better.

Having been born in the late 50’s, I was an impressionable child of the sixties and seventies. Flower power, straight natural hair with no chemicals in it is what we were all about. Consequently, I still do not use these products. Yet, my stylists are constantly- well, I’m not sure amazed is the right word- maybe the correct word is confused- as to why I don’t use gels and stuff in my hair. I figured out this morning the reason must be that I had all that goop in my hair as a child and I had my fill of it. So, don’t be surprised if you one day have a client who does not use gel, blow dry their hair, and let their curls roll free. It might just be me.

Telephone Etiquette? Say What?

One of the things my mother taught me was telephone etiquette. Remember, when answering and talking on the phone owned it’s own set of rules? I am not sure parents teach their kids that kind of stuff anymore. For one thing, it’s not really a top priority- not something we think about now. Most younger people would rather text than talk . Not me. I can type fairly quickly on the computer or typewriter (remember those?), but  a phone is too small and my fingers are too fat. Especially my thumb. Who are these folks whose thumbs can go 90 to nothing texting ? 

Nope. I’d rather call someone . It’s easier for me to dial a number and run my mouth for a few minutes or more. Not only is it easier, it’s faster. “State your business and get off,” is my husband, Stephen’s, motto. He talked on the phone all day, every day for a living. So, he never liked talking on the phone. As I remember (and quite fondly, I might add), he never liked talking on the phone. But, I digress.

Some kids I grew up with were taught to answer the phone thusly: “SoandSoResidence?”  At our house, a polite, “hello?” did the job just fine. After the person stated who they would like to speak to, one was to answer, “just a minute,please.”  Of course, after that, we kids screamed, “SoandSo!!!!! it’s for you!!!!!!” We knew better, but no one wanted to take the time to actually go get the designated person. 

I have to say though, my biggest pet peeve is for someone to call me and then talk to someone else in the background. Have you ever had that happen?  I’m in the middle of a conversation and suddenly, the person I’m talking to is mumbling and I can hear someone mumbling back. “Sorry? What did you say? Are you talking to me or somebody else? Didn’t you call me? ”  Pregnant pause. “Can you hear me? Who are you talking to? ” 


My daughter, Amanda, is the world’s worst! Oh my gosh! I taught her phone etiquette, but, maybe she was busy or tuned me out during the lesson. She’s good at tuning me out when she wants to. Obviously! She does it when she calls me! Okay, I might exaggerate a little- not much, though! I do tend to get quite frustrated though because I don’t want to listen to anyone talk to someone who is sitting right there. The other person knows the caller is on the phone, but seemingly doesn’t care. Or, it could be they are just nosy and want to horn in on the call.  

So, for those of you who are guilty of this mortal sin , stop it now! Finish your convos with the folks in the room with you before you make a call to – say – your mother, grandmother or any older person (who knows there is a sort of etiquette that should be followed). We are old. We get confused. Talking to someone else while we are hanging on the line really is kinda rude, crude and socially unacceptable.