Thanks Dear Friends

Please accept our heartfelt thanks for all your kind words regarding the loss of Bear. It was so wonderful to read your soothing words at such a time, especially when we are so busy with all the last-minute doing of “things”. The list seems ever to grow.

Yet, we are almost there. The last of the major packing was done yesterday, and the POD is fairly brimming. We have just enough room for the last few things that we must leave until the morning of the leave-taking.

Yesterday was the big push and were we exhausted, running pretty hard from about 7 am until about 5. We literally fell into bed, which was not a nice fall, since the bed frame is gone and we are down to the box springs and mattress. We have a couple of plates and I baked up a ton of chicken to munch on over today.

We’re ready to be on our way, and at the same time, there is a decidedly melancholy afoot. We are in that “doing X for the last time,” whether it be feeding the birds, or something as mundane as doing a load of wash. I’m not sure how universal that kind of thing is, but it’s a staple of my “going”, though never a part of my “coming”.

We are taking our cats to their new home later today. We were blessed in finding a perfect place, on a dead-end road with almost no traffic, along the Wapsie, with lots of  places to hunt their mousies, and enjoy playing in woodpiles. Our friend Steve will take good care of them, and they can live out their remaining years much the same as here, albeit not with the “house time” they usually enjoy as they desire.

We looked at many options including boarding and having them shipped, and it was simply too expensive for us to do. The kennel fees alone were upwards of $1000 per month. And that life would be no life for them at all. So this is vastly better, though we will miss them so much.

So we leave Iowa,  just the two of us, and that is hard to accept. We are so used to our menagerie. It is decidedly quiet without the dogs and now there will be no more feline antics to make us laugh. On the other hand, there will be no more shrieks of anger as one comes prancing in with a beautiful chickadee in its mouth, nor the headless mice that Spencer was noted for.

Again, thanks for all your kindness during this exciting, sad, trying time. Everything seems set for a ETL of Tuesday morning. Bless ya all until the next time I have a moment and a connection!

To Hell and Back in One Life Time

How stupid was I?

I thought it would be a fun day.

Oh, was I wrong.

Let me ‘splain Lucy.

We had to go to town. We had a long list which included titling the new car, getting a registration and plates (so we wouldn’t be arrested as felons in New Mexico), getting a spare key for the car, (cuz we lose everything at least once), getting a padlock (for the POD so our stuff stays in), getting a thermos (must have already packed it), getting a GPS (to find our way to New Mexico), getting a cell phone (for when nothing else works), getting luggage (for our undies), getting a new purse (cuz I wanted one), getting potassium (cuz the Contrarian was getting leg cramps), getting another travel cup (cuz we only had one), getting food (so we won’t starve and never be found in the woods), and well, anything else that came to mind.

There is a DMV located near to where the Wal-Mart and grocery are, and the lock smith was not too far away, so I figured hey, we can have a rather fun time once the car business is concluded. So that morning as we are readying ourselves (takes time to get old people oiled up), he starts commenting about how to get from the “Courthouse” to the locksmith.

“Whoa there partner, what is all this talk about the courthouse?”

“To get the title and registration and plates.”

“Hey, the DMV is on Collins?”

“You get your license renewed there, not the title and registration. Don’t you know that by now?”

“Uh, no, that makes no sense. It’s the DMV DE-part-Ment of MOTOR V-Hickle see? Stuff to do with motorized contraptions is handled there.”

“Not in Iowa it’s not.”

“It is in Michigan and Connecticut–that’s the norm!”

” ‘Fraid not, sweets.”

Now the courthouse is in the mall in the southwest quadrant of Cedar Rapids. It’s in the mall because nearly 4 years after the flood, they still haven’t dried out something and moved back. So they are in a MALL.

Now let me ‘splain further.

Cedar Rapids is (I might add they are rather proud of this fact), laid out in a grid, which is split by a river called “the Cedar”. (catchy huh)?  So there is the northeast, northwest, etcetera. So when you take down an address, such as 215 Candle Street, you are offering nothing worth a damn if it runs through more than one quadrant unless you have the appellation SW or NE attached.

And because it’s bifurcated by a river, it’s a migraine because not all streets cross the river, because of course would be prohibitively expensive to build all those bridges. Now numbered avenues run north and south, or as close to that as the blind man who surveyed the land could get it. Numbered streets run east and west, with the same proviso. Memorize those that cross the river, and those that don’t.

So we shop mostly in the northeast quadrant, which I’m familiar with to a degree. I stay away from the river. Now as far as I can remember, I’ve never even been in the Southeast quadrant, and I doubt it really exists. The northwest quadrant has a few things of minor interest such as a garden center (the plants usually die within a month of bringing them home, so don’t go there), and Wal Marts in a strip of giganto stores like Sam’s Club and Lowe’s.

So the southwest quadrant is no-human’s land. The blind surveyor became schizophrenic by then, and things went to hell. Streets and highways bifurcate each other at angles that you didn’t know were possible, and there is barely and up from down. Roads suddenly change into others and even massive stop light arrays are canted at angles to the roadway, serving three roads instead of two, and all in all it reminds one of trying to drive in Hong Kong. The only people who frequent the area regularly are geeks with protractors and slide rules who get off on all the geometry.

Needless to say, every time we go over to the event horizon, we get sucked into a loop of unending wrong turns, and hopeless entanglements of parking lots, and turn lanes that could not be achieved even if your car had a hovering capacity. Of course we have to go there regularly, for the courthouse thing, the Social Security office (they lose a lot of old people who simply die on the way) and the VA regional office. We get lost every time, every time.

No worse place can contain the Contrarian and I than in a car when we are lost. We  disagree on which way to go. It’s awful. It’s simply awful.

 But we found it, we did it. And finishing the car business,  we proceeded to the lock smith. That only took roaming the side streets and finding it finally, after four turns,  not on the street address but around the corner on another street, which runs perpendicular to it, but hey, they liked the other street’s name better, I guess.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to set the clock in the new car. Why does every car company have its own unique series of voodoo machinations to set the clock? Push the volume, and push the set button at the same time, then cross your eyes, and punch AM with your nose until the desired number arrives.

After giving up in frustration, the Contrarian offers this sage piece of advice.

“It’s easy babe (he’s not calling me babe actually because he’s still steamed from my last piece of advice of where he can put the last stop sign he almost missed which craning his neck to locate the lock man), just get a post-it note. How many hours is the clock off?”

“Three,” I eye him suspiciously.

“Okay, write  subtract 3 on the post-it note and tape it just below the clock. Easy to know the time then,” he smirked.

“We’re returning to civilization dude, no more farmer-functional for me!”

And somehow we got the rest of the crap we set out to buy, and got home. Today we programmed all this stuff. That’s a whole ‘nother level of insanity.


In Iowa, We Call It: Embracing the Crazy

There is a method to the madness. Of that I can assure you.

Iowa is beginning to be the butt of a whole lota jokes around the nation, and believe me, there are states in our fair union who have a lot of nerve, given their own goofiness. You know who you are!

But one can hardly deny that things are weird here during this election cycle. We give new meaning to the world “surge” as each of the clowns in the GOP circus have had their moment in the spotlight.

Are we fickle? Or crazy? Or both?

I have lived in this fair state since March of 1999, and I know a few things now. Even though we live in what can best be termed a unencorporated hamlet, where “everybody knows your name”, that is till largely not true for me. When we go to vote, all the fine ladies and gents who work the polls, people by the way that I recognize, they all holler, “hey Parker, how’s it going with you?” To me?  “Name please?” They still have no clue who I am, nor do they particularly care. I am simply “not Troy.”

Knowing this helps a lot in understanding this state. One of the first things my darling Contrarian explained to me is that Iowa is the fairest and bestest place in all of the planet earth in which to live. I pondered this, and thought, that well, I didn’t know it well, so perhaps he was right.

You see, it matters not whether you agree or not–they believe it. And all is understandable given that.

All these GOP morons have tramped the state, some for months now, shaking hands, babies (err holding that is) and eating battered butter on a stick. If a farmer tells them that the sky should be purple, they endorse purple skies, and if a lady with blue hair says that only people of age 65 or better should vote, they are for that too.

Fully four of them have glommed onto the fertilized egg being a person, which has scary implications if you really think about it, but it hardly matters, since these pledges only last until next week when the “vote” comes. Then the losers will tear up their set of promises, move on to the next bunch and try to figure out what they want them to say.

Now, to keep it interesting, Iowans engage in an elaborate game of “keep away.” They dangle the prize of frontrunnership before each of the sycophants until they get the scent, and follow around the “people” like puppies following a ham bone. They jump and spin, and find themselves saying the most god-awful things to please the ringmasters.

Then, slick as an otter down a water slide, they hide the bone and look to see who they can favor next.

Over the months, each and every one of the GOPer wannabes has had their turn. Each has danced a jig worthy of Bojangles. Each has been discarded in turn.

Some suggest the Iowa GOP voter is a fickle beast. No, not in the least. This is all planned.

Money is pouring into the state, and even Mittens have been seduced into coming here and spending his dough. Our unemployment is somewhere around 6% and frankly, housing prices are high, compared to most.

If you look historically, Iowa has only a 50% success rate in “picking” the ultimate GOP candidate. Remember they picked Hucky and Buchanan before him. In actuality, they simply close their eyes and throw a dart at a board. They could care less.

Get this straight. There are two Iowas. One is in the East (where the sane people mostly live) and the other is the West, where Steve King lives with his bunch of slow-wits. We are hemmed in by two rivers, which caused people in this region to cling to the flat earth theory for some three generations longer than the rest of the country.

And look around. Do you see anything on our borders that is the least bit encouraging?

You can now see the problem?

Or don’t you?

We get no attention. We are smack dab in the middle of  B O R I N G. In fact, there may be no more boring section of the entire lower 48 than Iowa. It is the center of boring.

You ever heard of  “playing the fool”?

We get attention by acting this way. People come here and grovel at our feet, begging for a vote. They whine, placate, promise, and cajole. They in a word–grovel. And it’s fun to watch rich folk grovel, the richer the better. We dress them up in hunting suits, and give them sticks to drive the pigs around in a pen, and watch them consume phallic-looking crap food that we would never touch. And they drop money EVERYWHERE.

And then, we pick a “winner” who is nothing but a real joke to most of us, and we pocket the cash and return to our idyllic life, safe and secure, knowing that we have put on such a show that no self-respecting sane person would ever consider moving here. So we get the whole place to ourselves.

Which is the objective.

Except for me. I still find it boring. But then, they don’t accept me here yet anyway. Takes twenty years I’m told. Which is five more than it takes in Maine.

The welcome mat is not extended.

Addendum: My Application for Sainthood

Dear God:

I have been looking every morning in the mirror for my halo, and so far, well, you obviously know it has not arrive. Unless of course, you have some angels that are behind or a little slow.

I’m assuming that it will not arrive by mail. Am I wrong in this?

Well, I thought I might as well bring you up to date on more reasons why I’m sure you’ll be wanting to gift me with one soon (along with all kinds of nifty new powers of course–I’m particularly fond of teleportation if I get a choice, but any of them is fine.)

Well, as you know, I live with the Contrarian and we were duly married in the state of Iowa by the local judiciary nearly 12 years ago. Twelve  l o  n g  years ago, if you get my drift. I don’t mean to say the guy isn’t lovable, but he is, as you remember, the basis of my application.

Anyway, I want you got get a sampling of the INSANE world I inhabit here with this man, and that is 24/7, I don’t have to remind you surely.

Okay, please add these items to my application:

Last night, we decided not to watch the way-to-long Dancing with the Stars, so we watched Upstairs Downstairs, and let the tape run. This allows, as you well know, being able to fast forward. In this way we can stick to the dancing and skip all the crap. The Contrarian handed it to me (the remote that is) and I proceeded to, well, you know, fast forward.

“Stop! You’re doing it all wrong!” he shouted. “You don’t extend your arm and you don’t do it overhand with your fingers! Look at how your wrist is bent? “You’ll have arthritis in no time!”

“I’m doing just fine, leave me along,” I warned.

“Well don’t blame me when your wrapping your wrist and whimpering. It’s all thumb action, keep your arm close in and underhanded, grasshopper,” he bellowed.

“I said, leave me alone, it’s working just fine,” I steamed.

“Okay, we are at a commercial, now hit the lower right with the two little arrows, that will fast forward at 30 second intervals,” he instructed.

“I’m using two buttons, and I think I’m getting it done, so just quit badgering me.”

We finished the show in 30 minutes, saw all the dances and all the scores. I handed it back.

“It’s all hot! What did you do to it?” he wailed.

“I’ll get you another blanket.”


“You’ll need it sleeping out here tonight!”

You said that if I died before you, you figured to have me cremated, right?” he asked.

“Yes, I thought I would. Carry you around with me, place you on the mantle, talk to you when I needed to.”

“Well, okay, but if you change you mind and bury me, make sure it’s the highest place in the cemetery,” he said thoughtfully.

“Why do you want me to do that?” I asked dumbfounded.

“Because I’ll be closest to heaven there. You know how I hate to walk.”

As we were on our way to the store today on our monthly shopping excursion:

“I very nearly didn’t make it today you know,” he said softly.

“Why?” I innocently asked.

“I nearly had my toe broken by a big frying pan,” he pontificated.

“Wow, really?” I asked.

“Yes, you fault once again!” he spouted arrogantly.

“How so?”

“You refuse to place the dishes properly in the dish rack in the sink, and the pan fell out when I was being so kind in putting away the dishes for you.” he pouted.

“Grow up!” I retorted.

“Grasshopper, one of these days soon, I’m going to show you how to properly fill the dish rack.” he said superiorly.

“Well, let me suggest we do it on the eighth day. When that day of the week rolls around, let me know and I’ll be there.” I smugly replied.

“You said you had a blogger friend in Albuquerque?” he asked.

“Yes, his name is Jerry.”

“Well contact him, and have him send us a copy of the TV guide from there,” he mused.

“Why in the HELL would I do that, if I may be so bold?”

“It’s gonna be MOUNTAIN TIME in New Mexico,” he said in utter exasperation.

“So what?”

“Well I won’t know if Big Bang is on at 7pm or 8pm, or whenever! I need to know these things in advance, so I can practice. My God, we will have a new cable company too. ALL the numbers will be different.  I got to get in remote shape BEFORE the move, for God’s sake!”

“You are freakin’ insane. You know that of course.”

“And get ready to sign up for NFL on our cable. Cuz I know these crazy New Mexicans probably don’t watch the Packers. Come to think of it, that could be a deal breaker,” he warned.

“Not having any wood work to do is gonna present a problem in New Mexico. I mean no trees to fell, no wood to chump, no splitting and piling, no tending the fire day and night. No working my fingers to the bone any more,” he sighed.

“Yes, that working two hours a day, two days a week was rough. However will you manage?”

“Well, I’m thinking about a hobby. Hard to find the right one. But I think I might have just the right thing,” he smiled.

“Really?” I said with as much droll as I could muster, rolling my eyes.

“Yes, I’ve decided to be a dance judge,” he smiled triumphantly.

“Ahh, I see,” I laughed, if you can imagine with even more droll than before.

“Yes, I figure I can start out at the local exotic dance bars in Las Cruces. Ya know, work my way up. Start slow, take my time, learn it from the bottom up as it were.” He was grinning, from ear to ear, like the most precious 14-month old who had just left a magnificent poop in his diaper and then plopped down, just for emphasis.

“Uhuh, right. You know you are insane don’t you?”

That should be enough don’t you think God? I’ll be sure to wake up early. My halo is ON THE WAY!

your loving servant,



       American Psychiatric Society (inclusion as the standard of human ability to remain sane without benefit of drugs under the most trying of circumstances)

       Guinness Book of World Records (for staying sane for longer than anyone else similarly situated)




Did Anyone See My Elf?

I read recently that people dream of being rich, only to find that once they attain whatever level of wealth they envision, they learn that they indeed have no time to enjoy those things they expected money to bring them.

I say, “give me the money, and I’ll let you know.”

Seriously. Send me the money. It’s Christmas after all. Don’t you have any spirit of giving? I’m standing here with open arms, ready to receive I tell ya. I’ll surely send you a thank you card. You can count on it.

You see, I have a lot of wishes. Mostly for having my own team of elves to do all the dirty work. Clean the house, bake the goodies, do the shopping, buy the presents. (I’ll wrap. I like that part.)

Weather-wise. Not  so bad. We may get a 1-3 inch little storm come Friday, but the temps, until Saturday are in the high 20’s (remember when 60 was cold?).  We are (not actually we, but we in the sense that marriage makes us a team, so what the Contrarian does, I get credit for) stacking up wood in these nice days. (Stacking up means cut down dead trees, wrap a chain around them, drag them to the splitter, chump them up, roll them to the splitter, sit down, split, throw, and then throw again, and then stack on the cart that comes in the house! Phew.) Just talking about it is really tiring!

I’m cooking hearty meals to sustain all that work. I made sugar cookies yesterday. I have truffles to make tomorrow, and nut clusters on Friday. Then comes the ham and all the goodies for Saturday. So I’m doing my part. I mean we, we are doing our part.

I so hope you aren’t in a place in America where the snow is 15 feet, or the rain has been falling for days. I hope it’s not too cold, too hot, or too anything. Lot’s of folks are really hurting now, sleeping in airports and stranded in shelters. Houses are knee-deep in water, or buried under snow. Lot’s of folks probably won’t make it home for Christmas. It’s a sad ending to a sad (mostly) year.

But we hope in the future don’t we. So maybe January might be better. Maybe 2011 will be better, and people will get jobs, and save their homes, and have a little extra to enjoy a few things. You know, not jets and ski lodges, and diamonds, but maybe a trip to the lake for a weekend, or a patio set to sit and enjoy the yard. A second car, used of course. We hope anyway.



Go over to Ree Drummond’s blog (Pioneer Woman) and leave a comment and get in the running for 3 KitchenAid mixers she is giving away. You have until Noon Thursday, Pacific time.


Picture this: me doing the happy dance. I, after long years of suffering, have been proven right once again. (I figure in an infinite universe I’m likely to be right on everything given enough time.)

Okay, I used to say with great sincerity, that the collective IQ of a jury was below that of the lowest member of it.) Meaning, that the average jury is incredibly stupid and makes its decision often on the most bizzaro ideas (most of which they glean from TV shows like Perry Mason).

Well, a new study from MIT suggests that group IQ has little to do with the IQ’s of its respective members. It doesn’t even follow the smartest person in the group. It’s an independent factor.

I think they suggest that having brainiacs is less important that group think on problems, implying I guess that groups collectively equal one awfully smart person, but heck, I think I’m still right in my initial theory, and I’m suspicious that MIT has somehow picked up on my “research” of many years past. Which means, I’ll be searching their research for mention of my name, and expect my share of the Nobel prize next year.


I just realized that its been a couple of months now since I employed my new “monthly menu planning” scheme. First evaluation is that it’s working pretty good. I start with my “menus” page here and then count the Fridays and Sundays off, since those are leftover days. Then I choose menus until I’ve filled up the other days.

Then I create a full menu for each item. In other words, with the choice “Pork Chops” I would then add, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, salad. I print this off, and create regular calendar, adding the main choice for each day. These are both posted on the fridge.

From the full menu, I create the shopping list, first from a “monthly” list of almost always need items (including cleaning and pharmaceuticals), and a separate list for specifics for the meals. So I take two lists to the grocery store.  I shop for all non-perishables for the month, including meat, which I freeze, and two weeks worth of fresh veggies.

I also have by menu, listed all the ingredients,  for each  menu item: Pizza would entail yeast, flour, pepperoni, tomato sauce, etc. These are put in a folder. That will eventually be finished, and it’s a good way to not forget the “mushrooms” or “red onion” that is essential to a dish.

So far things have gone really well. We eat up our leftovers much better, and I don’t have a lot of fresh vegetables dying in the fridge from lack of use. We’ve not thrown out lettuce for instance in the last two months. Amazingly, I have used up celery each month so far too.

I allow for changes of course due to unforeseen circumstances. I think I’m spending less and managing our food much better as well as eating more balanced meals.  And I don’t have to rack my brain trying to think of something to make. It’s already decided!

Do you have tips for how to manage the food in your budget?


What’s on the stove: skillet mac and beef, salad, rolls.

The Cow Incident

Troy Mills has always been a strange place, as most of its inhabitants would attest to. Those of you who read The Great Air Hose Incident, know it as well.

Having lived on the outskirts of it for close to eleven years, I too am aware that the very air carries an aura of mystical eeriness. It is, in a word a creepy little town.

A few nights past, the Contrarian and I were cuddled up in our respective lazy-boys, our pinkie fingers laced together in mutual wedded bliss, as we watched another episode of something or other. They all run together in a phantasm of entertainment delight.

Suddenly, as the sun was about to depart to the netherworld, a throaty whiny gurgle yelp emerged from the throat of Bear, who along with Brandy, had been sleeping sharing watch over the meadow. Following was a scrambling of paws as the two departed, Brandy joining in with her high pitched yowl that always is interpreted as “Wonder dog to the rescue!”

We both bolted from our leisure. Well, given our arthritic bones, we hobbled to be honest, and made for the front door. Before I was able to get my knees bending properly, the Contrarian advised that there was nothing to be seen from that vantage and he proceeded to the kitchen to look East.

Before I had got more than a step or two, I heard a common refrain, “Jeeeeesusssss Christ!” I knew, life as I knew it was about to be upended.

I got to the window in time to see that we had company. Indeed, our neighbors were a bunch of nearly market ready cows of mostly Angus ancestry, who had been sauntering down the lane toward our hearth. The dogs were keeping a safe distance as they made inquiries, and the cattle (more than one cow is always accorded the appellation of cattle by the way), were milling uncomfortably within the confines of the narrow lane, unsure of what to do next.

Another “Jesus Christ” this time with more emphasis on the Christ burst from the Contrarian. “What are Wayne’s cattle doing down here! The fence must be breached.”

I pondered this, all the time wondering why Wayne’s cattle weren’t home with Wayne and his lovely wife Pat, since we were seldom blessed with their rude bawling (the cattle!) until August in any other year. The Contrarian exited the house and made for the Bronco, calling the useless dog specimens to the vehicle.

With some ginger maneuverings, he managed to turn the Bronco around, all the while the milling herd kept counsel with each other, not sure apparently what to make of all this goings on, and wondering no doubt whether this was some ritualistic manner of hospitality on our part.

In any event, they soon realized that they were being nudged ever so gently back from whence they had come. Upon the hill, so the Contrarian related to me later, they walked confidently and seemingly knowingly to the gate which was fully wide open. Swinging a lariat out the window of the Bronco, he was able to get them all to enter back into the pasture (read grassy field if you must), but for one recalcitrant and non-Angus interloper who may well have been picked up along the journey as a hitchhiker.

Returning home, all sweaty and breathless from his chasing of the cows of Troy (not to be confused with the running of the bulls in Pamplona), he put in a call to Wayne. Wayne was not at home, but even here in the rural hinterlands, we do have answering machines. A curt message was left!

The following afternoon, Wayne returned the call. “Those weren’t my cattle, I just wanted you to know,” he said. “I thought they might be Joe’s, (who lives a might closer to us than Wayne does), but they weren’t his either.”

“We went up there last night. Figured you must have heard us, whoopin’ and yellin’ and trying to herd them damn fool animals back into the pasture.”

“Nope, we didn’t Wayne. I got all but one in the pasture, guess there was more?” the Contrarian plaintively noted.

“Nope, but they busted through the fence and were in the corn.”

“Ahh,” spoke the Contrarian.

Now, cattle are not usually this sort of creature. They say you can leave a cow in the middle of a field and next day he will have traveled all of three feet. Horses on the other hand, are wanderlust critters with a mind to see the sights, given the opportunity. Leave one in a field and the next day it will be three states over.

In any event, apparently there is good reason why most fences, to be worthy of the name fence, are electrified. Cattle is seems are no respecters of either post or wire. Hence, they were in the corn.

Now plenty of things get in corn. People, or more particularly skeletons are found most every harvest time. We never knew why they were in there wandering until we found an old copy of a playbill, “Field of Dreams” it was. So we figure they are searching for the field, or Kevin Cosner (goodness knows why since he is one sucky actor in my opinion), or angling for a bit part in a sequel.

Well, Wayne and Joe got them back into lockup, and then called the sheriff. That may get you to wondering too I guess. But out here, we call the sheriff any time we don’t know what to do next. Could be anything from wondering if you can substitute Splenda with brown food coloring for brown sugar, to reporting that a particular tree is looking peaked, and should we operate?

Such nonsense, in some big city would get you locked up in the nearest loonie bin, but out here, it’s par for the course. And doncha just know, that someone had reported cattle being missing? Yep, they sure had.

Well Wayne, says “I got 12,” and the sheriff said, “well must not be the same herd, since the report said 13. Odd that TWO herds had gone missin.’ ” Then Wayne recalled that the Contrarian had mentioned that one had not joined the rest. So he related that to the sheriff and all agreed, that it probably was the same herd. (It might be noted here, that the qualifications for being sheriff are low. Having a working vehicle with a mount for a sireeeen is about all that is required.)

We never did find out exactly who had lost the herd, but they are somewheres around hereabouts. The twelve were returned, with no apparent injuries noted. We don’t know if any charges have been levied against the incompetent farmer or not. Losing animals is a fairly common occurrence around here, so I guess little effort is made to correct the problem.

One of those cows is still missing of course, and nobody has seen hide nor hair of it, or so they relate. The dogs have lifted a nose now and again trying to pick up a scent. But it seems mostly for show.

We’re just glad that we suffered no untoward damage to the hydrangeas or my petunias, though the Contrarian now wishes he had waited a while and let them eat down the weeds in the front yard and saved him some weed whacking.

The sheriff did call and ask what we were doin’ buying a new big old deep freezer. “Why just to store what promises to be a bountiful garden harvest this year, sheriff,” the Contrarian related in all seriousness. “Yes, a fine harvest is in store, don’t you think?”

**From mostly a true story, although the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

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