Technology….can you not make me feel so stupid?

There used to be a time when the computer world was a simpler place…a kinder place. A place where PC screens were black and mono-type letters were green. There was a time when coding was simple. Each line of code was transferred to punch cards. One line for one card. The cards were fed into a mainframe computer and, wallah, your program was created. If the program didn’t complete you could tell on the printout what punch card line of code caused the error because that would be where the program stopped. Fortran, oh how I miss you. You were a simple language and I got you. I was 16 and probably the last kid in high school the teachers and vice president, Ms. Willie, thought would ever be in a data processing class. It was the one class I didn’t skip.

Let me put it to you this way….most days, if I was in school, I was in Ms. Willie’s office because of an unexcused absence in one or more classes the day before. But my data processing class?? I loved it.

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Ahh…the ole punch card.

Fast forward 29 years. In computer advancement that is 290,000 years. When I worked at Texas Instruments several years ago I created my department’s website. I wrote html (it’s very simple folks). There wasn’t Wix in those days. I wrote Java; dabbled in a bit of Perl. I coded. I was decent. In a nutshell, I may not have known everything about programming but I could figure out what I needed to know.

Punch cards found a second life for awhile.

Punch cards found a second life for awhile.

Today, a nutshell does you no good. And why on earth did I not pursue programming as a career choice? Other stoners of the 70’s did and made a lot of money. Steve Jobs. Steve Wozniak.

stick cryingWhich brings me to the point of this post. I had the bright idea of moving my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Is there a difference you ask? Yes. Yes there is and I want to be on the .org bus. Using .com is easy peasy. Like with most tasks computer related these days we can be as ignorant as a bug. It’s all done for us. But I welcomed the challenge and excitedly went to the .org website and clicked on the download button. And my hell began.

There are two choices:

1.)  You can use it like .com. Create all your posts on your live server and publish immediately. But!

  • What if you want to test out background themes….all the pretty stuff.
  • What about widgets and plugins….all the useful stuff.
  • What about columns and categories….all the organizational stuff.

If you explore all these things you must publish your site to see how the additions and changes work. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t work then you go back to the drawing board. The only thing is everyone else sees these changes too if they’re keeping up with you and it gives your site the appearance of inconsistency, looks disorganized, and you might have parts of your site not working. That’s where….

2.) creating a behind-the-scenes platform comes into play. It is the preferred choice of programmers. I thought I could squeak by as a programmer.

Option 2 requires:

  • transferring my domain name. Buying space with a new hosting company
  • downloading a WAMP server to run the WordPress.org software
  • installing/upgrading C++, C++#$%^@* coding software on my computer
  • access to my cPanel
  • creating an FTP account
  • downloading a program to run said FTP account
  • setup phpmyadim
  • setup my sql
  • creating a database
  • creating a migration database
  • setup ability to use localhost
  • uploading, downloading, migrating, creating and keeping up with more usernames and passwords than the law should allow

With Option 2 you’re working with the same WordPress software so to speak except you get to do everything you want and see how it works before you migrate it over to your live website. Option 2 requires you to get into some files and make changes. You have to program. And you had better keep track of what you do because there aint no deck of punch cards or printout to show you where you screwed up.

Note to all who post instructional videos on YouTube:

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS IMPORTANT IN THIS UNIVERSE, REHEARSE FIRST, CHECK YOUR LIGHTING AND FOCUS, PUT THE DOG OUT, PUT THE CAT IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, TAPE YOUR VIDEO WHEN THE BABY IS SLEEPING, CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR, AND FOR GOD’S SAKE TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. AND STOP SAYING THE WORD ‘LIKE’ SO DAMN MUCH.

Whew, like, I feel better.

stick slaying computerOkay, back on task. My first post using Option 2 is about the Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament that was held in my ‘hood this past weekend. It’s a great post, full of clever and witty dialogue, photos, and my first ever video clip…which in itself was a chore because I had to learn how to increase my file space capacity. Yep, I changed the program. I wrote it on my localhost working platform. I found a wonderful, logically organized, clear pics, website to help me with the final migration from my localhost to my live site. No transferring errors….no popups saying WTF did you do. But when I went to my live site to look at this fantastic blog entry it was not all there. Half of it did not transfer.

To complete my personal breakdown I went back to my localhost and could not access my working copy. As far as I know the migration is more like a copy than a cut/paste situation. I’m hoping this is the case. As of right now most of my witty and clever dialogue is gone…gone to who the heck knows where. I don’t know what I did. Don’t even know where to look. And because it’s programming, I’m fearful of making any changes suggested by people who don’t know how to produce a decent YouTube video.

What to do? First, I posted what happened in the Comments section of the website I used to make the migration. I was pleasant and did not use any cuss words so I’m hoping they will respond. Second, we have a neighborhood online site called NextDoor where people post anything from asking for a good plumber, to traffic situations, to looking for Fluffy who snuck out of the back yard. I’m going to ask if anyone has a teenager who knows programming and has a blog and can they help me out of the mess I’m in. I betcha I’ll get a few names. Do you?!

In closing, one of many lessons learned is to write my copy in Word and save the doc. Clever and witty comes in spurts in my mind and I have to strike when the iron is hot. Another is to have a neighborhood brainiac kid on speed dial.

This post is being written using Option 1. I may have to own up to the fact that technology is on the Bullet Train and I don’t have a seat.

Thanks for reading!

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One last thing….If you are a programmer and want to pick apart my usage of computer related terms feel free man. You just show me your YouTube videos and I’ll decide if I want to care or not.

 

Disclaimer: I have no first-hand knowledge the two Steves were stoners. It was the 70’s. That’s all I’m sayin’…

Spring….don’t you toy with me

We are enjoying beautiful end-of-winter weather here in northeast Oklahoma. I mean shed your jackets and long sleeve shirts kind of weather. It was 66 degrees yesterday and I’m tellin’ ya, it felt so warm. Has Spring come early?? My answer is: I won’t hold my breath. I’ve seen too many cold spells arrive at the end of March and even in April to announce: Spring Is Here!!!

But you wouldn’t know it from a trip to Lowe’s yesterday.

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Whitebud and redbud trees, native to Oklahoma are blooming all over the place. You know what that means don’t you? I’m guessing you do not so I’ll tell you. The white bass are running! According to my husband.

 

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Springtime means get your bulbs and fruit bushes in the ground! Unless of course we have a Spring freeze. Then you may have wasted some cash.

 

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Ahh….daffodils. A sure sign Spring has sprung, right? This is a good time to comment on my photography from yesterday. When we have unseasonably warm weather it means one thing….a southern wind is blowing hard. I mean whip-the-life-out-of-you hard. The fact that you can even tell these are flowers, much less daffodils, is pretty amazing as they were blowing all over the place.

 

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Soon these shelves will be packed with all kinds of herbs, all varieties of tomatoes, ditto with hot peppers, squash, bells, the usual suspects. I will be buying any number of the above mentioned vegetables for our garden. I always do. I always say, “This year I’ll do good. Our garden will be lush with green plants bursting with colorful fruit.” It starts out well enough. Then the spider mites attack. I don’t know what it is. Those suckers refuse to die. No doubt there will be a future post dedicated to my warfare with these unruly arachnids.

 

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Lastly, gotta include lawn mowers as a sure sign of Spring. Another slightly blurry photo. The mowers weren’t moving around. I was. My camera was. With the wind, I could not have stood still if my life depended on it. Well, maybe the mowers were moving now that I think about it.

So Mother Nature….don’t you toy with me lady. The humans have voted. We want Spring even if it means near tornadic winds. Please do not let winter come back until it’s supposed to. Like December.

 

Beauty in New Mexico

The original post date for this entry was December 04, 2015. My bright idea to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org resulted in my most recent posts not transferring. After hours of thinking I could wear a programmer hat produced nothing but cuss words and the realization the high tech world is passing me by, I was forced to go old school and re-post manually. Without further adieu…here is Beauty in New Mexico, republished.

When my dad was in the hospital between September and October I made several trips to southern New Mexico….Alamogordo….home of the first atomic bomb test….White Sands National Monument….and killer sunrises and sunsets. It’s a long drive from northeast Oklahoma. 10 hours with a radar detector.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods but in these parts there are long stretches of….I was going to say, “nothing.” But that’s not true. There is such beauty in the west Texas plains and the New Mexico desert. I put my life in jeopardy talking many photos while driving. The use of a radar detector means one thing….ya don’t drive the speed limit. One day I’ll post those pics but this post is about a single house near San Patricio, New Mexico. I’ve driven by it for years and never stopped. Until I did.

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A true blue adobe house. Abandoned long ago. Mere feet from the road.

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It’s beautiful.

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I’m standing at the guardrail taking this photo.

While snapping pictures playing professional photographer a truck pulled up and parked in a clearing just out of the picture to the right. An older lady got out and I’m waiting for her to ask me just what the heck am I doing on her property. We starting chatting, she telling me that she’s lived in the area all her life and this home has always been empty. When the highway was expanded several years ago it was mandated that no building older than 50 years could be torn down and sacrificed for the sake of two vehicle lanes. The expansion had to work around this old house. I would say it’s 15 feet from the road.

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I did think twice about going through the front door but I had finally stopped and took the time to marvel at her beauty. So I went in.

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In the house looking at the front door step.

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This plaster was nearly an inch thick. This distressed look is often copied around the southwest but it always looks fake. You just can’t beat the real thing even though I wouldn’t want it in my home for obvious reasons.

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There was a cellar. My balls weren’t that big. No way was I going to peer down the hole.

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Can you imaging waking up to this view out your back door? My photography doesn’t do it justice. The colors were much richer in real life.

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Crazy the juxtaposition. Desert out the back door and fertile pasture out the front door. I wonder….did they farm this pasture?

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Had to throw in a pic of my Camaro….because I don’t have it anymore. In a moment of being practical I traded it in for a Toyota Highlander a few weeks ago.

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Look at this old old clay brick. Based on my new friend’s age it has to be closing at least 100 years.

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It’s not unusual to see abandoned homes in the rural areas of the southwest. When I drive by I always wonder who lived there. Were they happy? Was a bride carried over the threshold? Were babies born there? Did they have a good life?

Now that my dad is gone I doubt I’ll ever drive by this house again. I’m so happy that I stopped when I did.

And, in yet another interaction with someone to remind me of how small this world can be and how we are all connected, the elderly woman who I chatted with stopped at this house to meet her daughter and pick up her grandchildren. They were then headed to Alamogordo, where I lived for a time and my dad was still there. After the weekend she was then headed to Amarillo, where I lived for 13 years. Of all the towns between Tulsa and Alamogordo, 730 miles, she had family in the two where I had lived.

And now for an Alamogordo sunrise…..here you go.

NM sunrise

DONE…..

Life sure has a way sometimes of doing it’s own thing regardless of any plans put into place, you know? I was on it…plans written down…checking them off….movin’ man. But then…

My absence from my blog is not because of anything good. Shortly after my last post I got a call about my dad having fallen. I felt from that very moment that it was the beginning of the end for him. The fall strained his back but no broken bones. You see, at 81 years old, he was pretty much done and at peace with it. He loved me enough to tell me how he felt and how much he loved me. Tears rolled from both our eyes but he wouldn’t go without saying something.

Dad and ZoieDad never met a mean dog….they just loved him.

What can you say?? Aw it’s okay dad….you’ll jump back into life. No dad, don’t leave. Everything will be okay when your back heals. I really think, truthfully, in two weeks at the most you’ll be driving again. I told him all of that except the second one. He wanted to go but he would have tried to stay for his kids….and would have continued to be done.

He said he was tired of playing bingo, tired of playing poker, and tired of being lonely (mom passed in ’07). “Why not move to a retirement village?”, he was asked often. He replied, “Old people live there.” He did live in a very nice retirement complex but did not mingle much with the neighbors. Dad spent years owning restaurants so he was always around young people. Though he dealt with teenage angst from hundreds of employees more than any adult having raised seven children beyond teenage years should have, he preferred the company of younguns…..in relation to his age anyways….30’s, 40’s, 50’s. The 60’s age group was pushing it.

Dad and meDad and me

So on October 14 Roger Groce, Sr. passed away because he wanted to. I’ve heard stories over the years of the elderly dying with no real medical reason. My ex husband’s grandmother fell and broke her collar bone. A fairly minor thing as far as broken bones go, but she was done, having survived the deaths of her husband and her only child, my ex’s father. My grandfather went to the hospital for bowel obstruction. Not a minor thing but definitely survivable even for a stubborn 83 three year old. He kept asking what day it was knowing that my grandmother’s birthday was coming up. He wanted to be with her so on the day before her birthday he fell asleep and never awoke. He was done.

I have chosen to respect my dad’s feelings as they were his alone. I’m not 81 yet so who am I, at 55, to judge it. When your parents reach those ages you know, of course, their days are numbered. It’s a fact of life as we all lose our parents and our children will lose us too. But, I’m hear to tell you that that truth doesn’t give you comfort….not in the beginning anyways.

Dad Nick and meThree generation selfie

So it’s been hard to get back to Etsy. Doubt has filled my thoughts. But my dad is why I had the balls to start down that path in the first place. He made his own way and was his own boss for most of my life. His entrepreneurial drive and spirit has touched all his kids in one way or another. He really liked what I was doing. He’d call me up…”Cin, I think you should make <his idea>. I think it will sell.” He would know.

Bye daddy….I love you….and thank you so so much.

THE BEST LAID PLANS…..

My blog has been weighing heavy on my mind because if you have one you gotta post regularly right?

A handful of kind people have read my blog and I’m certain y’all are wondering where the heck I’ve been. Yeah right!

Two weeks ago I worked every day at my job that actually puts food on the table and funds my Etsy passion. I’m a surgical-technologist-wanna-be-successful-etsy-entrepreneur. Working in surgery is pretty cool. The only two things that gross me out are removing finger/toe nails and teeth. Mafia hoodlums can have it. Let me tell you….I have seen some things. And I take great pride in being a part of helping people in their moment of need.

But that is all I can say about my job. I take HIPPA laws seriously and cannot speak about a specific surgery even if I don’t mention any names.

Another time I’ll post some important observations in regard to female cancers as I’ve scrubbed in many of them.

Scrub girl

Scrub girl — with no makeup and after working very late into the night

My next post catches you up to today. I know you can’t wait!

Thanks for reading….

The Last Birthday in August

August is a month of birthday’s for us. My sister’s is the 2nd, mine is the 9th, my mother-in-law and brother’s is the 23rd, and Kelly’s is the 27th. I love birthday cake!

Every August Kelly says, “Let’s not do birthday cakes.”
Me: Whut? But I love birthday cakes.
Kel: We don’t need it.
Me: And?
Kel: (silence…he knows he’s defeated)

Seriously, there is one day out of 365 days one should eat cake. Am I right or am I right? Don’t get me wrong we didn’t eat five cakes because yes I would have a cake for my brother and mom-in-law even though their bday’s are on the same day. And my sister lives in Wisconsin so I can’t stretch the “But I love birthday cakes” to that extreme.

Kel’s mom celebrated her birthday with us this year…so three cakes….and ice cream. We did good. It was three of the small 5×7 cakes. The trick is to invite enough people over to finish the cake that night.

Kelly turned 50 this year. We did not have a big blow out party. We had the next best thing. Our good friends Shane and Tara came over to celebrate along with their daughter. My son came too. Kel and Shane used to work together and go back a bit farther than the four of us as a group. They are “our people”…as good of friends as you’ll ever have.

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While we didn’t have a big blow out party….we did have 50 candles on a little itty bitty cake. The word ‘birthday’ is edited because these candles took up too much real estate. You ever try to put 50 candles on a 5×7 cake? Look closely…the A in bday is missing. I broke the stake off the wax. What to do?? This:

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I started my professional career in quality control inspecting laser systems built for the military. It honed my skills and beliefs of doing things right and with quality products…it’s what you see and will get when you purchase a product from my Etsy shop: sheislivinoutloud.etsy.com. (a shameless plug!) But I also learned this Universal Truth from working in manufacturing:

There is an adhesive for EVERYTHING.

The blue in this pic is Loctite. I’m telling you….never think all is lost. My only concern was how flammable is the Loctite. After all, we were about to have a mini bon fire on the kitchen table as it was.

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Fiddy candles.

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The boys had a couple of drinks…Eagle Rare bourbon (a gift from Shane). But Tara and I had a carafe of home made wine: green apple Riesling. The smaller bottles are peach ice wine…a very sweet, potent, desert wine that we were going to make spritzers with. But like I said, the two of us drank this carafe. On a Thursday night with one more day to go and be productive. Enough said.

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Mini bon fire. No time to stage the shot by getting all the phones and keys out of the way. Or, figure out the settings on my camera to take a better shot. This cake would have a layer of wax very quickly.

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Yep….he blew them all out at once. I don’t think he had time to make a wish.

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Happy Birthday honey! I’ll photograph you in a better light next year.

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He is most happy on the water….

Killing time on a Saturday

We are enjoying unseasonably cool weather in Oklahoma. Typically, August days are an unrelenting high 90 degree temp if we’re lucky. Unlucky is 100 degrees with an even higher heat index. Dead grass follows this weather pattern and while it kills my husband to see dead grass on our acre lot, we praise the high heavens for dead grass at the ranch. This year….no dead grass dang it (for the ranch!). We are on course to have the most rainfall on record this year.

Saturday was wonderful. Clear, clean sky; and not too hot. We had a heavy rainfall the day before and man the heavens opened up again Sat night. Grass is green.

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Yep. Green. And beautiful. Look to the left of the camper. We have a vineyard!

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There is a row of white grapes and a row of red. They are wine grapes but I don’t remember the variety. We make wine (and beer). It’s a fun hobby!

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This is Kel’s pride and joy. He built the supports, strung the wires, and keeps it tilled. The vines were little sticks when he planted them during the Spring.

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We were afraid the amount of rain this year would kill them…and it almost did. But they are thriving and now are long enough to be attached to the lower wire so they’ll grow along it. We cannot harvest grapes until the third year. Kel is the one who is becoming the expert. My only job is to keep the spider mites away. Those suckers are a real problem around here. Neem oil to the rescue.

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Years ago I went to a wine tasting event while living in Dallas. It was really fun and you should do it if you get the chance. The sommelier was educating us on how a vine absorbs the different elements from the ground as it ages and the roots extend deeper and deeper. Our micro vineyard is planted next to a pond which is not the best place. Think….arid Sonoma or Napa valley….that is not our climate. Amazingly our vines are healthy. But I can’t help but think about the flavors our grapes will absorb as the roots grow to the center of the earth. Hints of pond scum? Won’t know for three years.

Bye!

A Day At The Ranch

Guess what I’m fixin’ to do?

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Mow. And I don’t mean a typical yard. My brothers and I inherited our grandparents place near by. Not quite 23 acres. After they passed, because I moved to Oklahoma, it became my responsibility to care take. And it’s a chore let me tell you. My grandparents kept the place so pretty but they worked nearly everyday on it. And they also had the help of good friends on a near daily basis too.

Then there was little ole me. My son helped. And when I met Kel he helped too…quite a bit. So this has been going on for 11 years and it’s fallen on me the entire time save for 7 months when a brother thought it’d be cool to live at the ranch. Ha! It’s work baby. He soon found that out.

So off I go. First stop: gas. Only I didn’t grab the gas containers from the garage.

So off I go back home. Good thing. Not only did I forget the containers I forgot to lock the front door…water the dogs….and take off my jewelry. The yard has several single earrings hidden within the blades of grass.

Thank you Eggberts for being next to Quik Trip and having a Starbucks cuz this girl is not towing a mower behind a truck and going to the main store!

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Have coffee will mow. This is a bad a** mower. Commercial grade. Zero turn which is a little tricky when you want to take a drink. You will not see the coffee stains on my tee shirt. !!

We used to mow…oh…say seven acres of the property. The remainder is hay, two ponds, and buildings. How do I know seven acres? I don’t. I just pulled it out. Now we mow five acres. How do I know it’s five acres? You got it.

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It’s hard to tell but the foreground is mowed and the back ground is not. It’s at least a foot high.

This is a good time to touch on my MYR where I decreed that I will do things when I say I will….something like that. I was supposed to mow two weeks ago, then last week, then this past Monday, Tuesday for sure, Wednesday I promise, not even going there on Thursday. Now it’s Friday and if I don’t do it my husband will and that’s not right. So the grass grew. And then there was rain and the grass grew more. Off topic: how can I expect myself to follow an exercise and diet plan if I don’t do what I say I will as a kinda normal behavior in my life in general?

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The south lawn looking toward the barns. It looks like hay was cut and ready to bale. There are three huge crape myrtle trees on the left. If only I could dig them up and transplant them on our puny one acre homestead.

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This is a beautiful old oak tree in the front yard. She survived the Ice Storm of ’07 but lost a couple of branches so looks a little misshapen. But she’s lovely. If only I could dig it up…

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Ice Storm of ’07. I will only say this: over 100 truck loads to the city wood chipper place and to burn piles on the property.

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Don’t let the pretty orange flowers fool you. This is poison sumac cleverly disguised as trumpet vine. I found this out the hard way. I call them unruly sons-a-bitches. It’s the devil’s plant. It grows along a fence line that’s a couple hundred feet.

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Me. No, I do not have a mustache. It’s dirt. I’m covered in it. That’s how it goes mowing the ranch.

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My savior after a day of mowing. Every inch of exposed skin gets slathered with this stuff.

This property is a gift to my brothers and me. It’s worth quite a bit of cash. I have to remember that it’s a gift and truthfully I don’t always do so. It’s a hassle….a day of work every week if Kel and I do it like we should. We mow grass in the summer and mow leaves from 60 year old trees in the fall, winter, and spring. There is a ton of weed eating and we’ve let that go. The house is barely holding on but the value is in the land so I cannot justify repairing house things because it will be torn down. It’s up for sale and one day it will be sold. Will I miss it?