Monday, March 30, 2009

Farming on Memphis Streets

That was one long trip and I'm not sure I ever want to do it again. I surely wouldn't want to do it during a big traffic day. There was hardly any traffic on Trigg street and down Florida Street.

Servicing the tractor at the Presidents Island farm before starting the trip through Memphis to take it back home to Arkansas via Mississippi.

READY, SET, GO! Matild and Poncho ready to pull out behind us.

Bare streets and run down warehouses on Trigg St. There were a few dilapidated houses here and there on this street that were occupied. There were several that weren't also and should be torn down cause I saw lots of gang signs spray painted on the sides.

Just a few blocks to Florida St. It's almost a straight shot home down this street. Florida merges into Kansas Street which turns into New Horn Lake Rd. That road bisects Hwy 61/3rd St. in SW Memphis and that's where we turned to continue going south.

Continuing down Hwy 61/3rd ST. The shoulders weren't very wide here but the tractor was narrow enough it only took up one lane.

A blurry look behind at the tractor and planter following. Our top speed was 20 MPH and often we were traveling much slower.

We followed Hwy 61 across the state line into Mississippi. Just a few miles (15 or so) we started passing all the Mississippi casinos. Casinos, cotton, and soybean fields, that's what you mostly see in eastern Mississippi.

Imagine this scene with the fields planted with cotton or soybeans. Redneck Vegas!

We poked our way on south through north western Mississippi and then we turned west towards Arkansas and home. I sure was happy to see the Helena bridge that spans the Mississippi River. It meant Arkansas was on the other side!

After crossing the bridge we're greeted with the familiar signs that home is nearby.

After turning off of 49, just over the bridge, we turned south again towards the farm which is only a few miles past Lakeview. Matild knew his way home from here so we were able to speed ahead to the farm to wait for him there.

The 65 trip from Memphis took 5 hours. We were in that truck from 7 A.M. until 2:15 P.M. except for a couple of quick stops and the little while at Presidents Island readying the tractor for the trip. We only saw one police car in Memphis and he was on the Island and that was strange cause the part where he was there is nothing but farm ground.

I was almost sad that I didn't get to document the Man getting cuffed and arrested. :-) I really thought it had the potential of being a really interesting day but I was mostly bored. I did take a few scenery pics that I'll post tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Monday!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Birthday MeriKate!!

Happy Birthday MeriKate!! 9 years ago you showed your Nanaw more about birthin' babies than she evah intended to learn!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rainy days in Arkansas, in the country, in the company of Rednecks, is always an adventure. Even if you have no intention of having an adventurous day, you'd best be sittin' on ready just in case. It's been raining; not constantly, but just enough to make it too wet to be in the fields and too wet to work in the shop yard on the farm. When it's too wet to work I have the privilege of being irritated aggravated aggitated entertained by my Redneck hubby. Being entertained by the Man is not always something the weak of heart can handle,,,for sure.

He went to work this morning around 6 a.m. after waking me up. I did the morning wrangling job of getting the Terrorist up, fed, and ready for school. The bus came for the kids and I went back to bed. I'd been up for the second time for about 1.5 minutes when the Man came back home cause it was too wet to work and before he even got in the door good he remarked,

"You haven't had time to brush your hair yet, huh?" "I'm hungry, whatcha got to cook in here?"

I just stared at him as walked past on his way to the kitchen with the TV remote in his hand changing channels as he went.

Later on, one of his buddies shows up with a tax return for me to do and our neighbor, Jeffrey, comes over too. They're in the living room, I'm in the kitchen doing something, when the phone rings. I heard the Man answer it, and then I heard laughter, so I asked what was going on.

Apparently it was someone calling for the Man to do a farm survey. The Man tells it like this:

Caller: Is Mr. "Man" in today?

the Man: No, he's not here today.

Caller: Are you one of the farmers?

the Man: No, I'm just a man who's here seeing the farmer's wife while he's not home. (this is the part where our two visitors started laughing)

Caller: Oh no, that's just not right! (laughter)

the Man: Oh Man, you're not going to tell on me are you?

Caller: (laughter, laughter) Noooo, of course not, I'm in New York!

the Man: Well ok, have a good day! (hangs up)

By this time, both the guys visiting are laughing their butts off. I told them they weren't helping a damned bit by encouraging him! I'm thinking that survey group won't be calling again for awhile. I swear, it's like being with a 5'11" toddler around company; every time he opens his mouth you hold your breath cause you don't know what might come out.

On Sunday we're going on an adventure.

The man James is working for now has farm ground strung out from Southern Illinois, down to Missouri, on down to President's Island in Memphis, and now even further south to here in East Central Arkansas. The adventure on Sunday will be to go to Memphis to take one of the Mexican tractor drivers to President's Island to drive a tractor and planter back here to the farm.

Presidents Island is just off Interstate 55 after you cross the Mississippi River in Memphis. The route we'll take is almost straight south, right through the southern half of the city. James asked me if I'd go with him to navigate as he leads the tractor through town; I told him I sure would, and I'd take my camera too cause if he gets stopped by the police and they cuff him(we have no idea if it's even legal to drive a tractor on big city streets; the boss said do it so he is), I'm damned sure going to document the moment!

We'll come off the Island, right to the left of the A up there and follow the pink line out of Memphis on down into Mississippi. (click to enlarge the maps)

The trip from Memphis to the farm is about 75 miles or so. It should be an interesting adventure. I'll be sure to take pictures.

I'll be glad when they're back in the field around here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty

I'm ok,,,well mostly ok,,, Just been busier than a one-legged kick boxer doing some tax returns. Tomorrow will be a for sure full day cause this client has a federal return plus 2 state returns and I also have to file the spouse's state return separately. The main problem with this is the extra is an LA out of state return. I don't do enough LA tax returns to warrant paying for a tax program to do them with so I do them with a pencil and a calculator.

This requires more use of the brain cells that would really prefer to stay in hibernation. All because of all the extra BS that I must wade through to get down to the brass tacks part of these durn returns.

LA's nonresident returns are 6 pages long with 18 pages of instructions. Then you have to attach everydurnthing but a sample of your toilet paper to their danged returns. They give me a headache really quick.

Like I really need something MORE to cause headaches around here (ya'll remember that I'm trying to quit smoking; I'm down to less than a third of what I was smoking by the way; and I'm taking Chantix which has been trying out a few of it's side effects on my system.)

Anyway, I'm still here, I'm still breathing (and much better too), and except for a little cussing going on around here, I'm fine.

I have been trying to take enough breaks to keep up with what y'all have been up to, so y'all better be good or I'll know! :-)

Hopefully I'll have some stories to tell once I come in for a landing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brenda Photo Challenge : The Eyes Have It

It's photo challenge time again! The theme this time is "The Eyes Have It" and I've been looking for eyes everywhere over the past couple of weeks. Please hop over to our Brenda Photo Challenge Blog and click on the names in the comments to view all of the wonderful challenge photos by our very talented challengers.

Zach's chocolate brown eyes peeking at me from between his fingers.
Zach's buddy, Michael, striking an "eye" pose for me.
Mrs. Giraffe looking all shy when I pointed the camera at her.
Pinkish Pelican Eye
The green glimmering eyes of the tree spirit in the tree house room at the Children's Museum.
Goofy, crossed eyes and silly grin of the birdhouse in my oak tree.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Memphis Children's Museum

Zach's flying a jet in the area where the big Fed-Ex plane cockpit was. There was also a flight simulator program on a computer for the kids to try.

Jerri and Beans in the section about China. They're on a little stage performing a Chinese opera.

A close-up of one of the rooms in the doll house mansion. Such exquisite detail!

Abby in a Chinese classroom. They had mirrors, enlarged photos, and videos surrounding the area so that it made it look as though they were in a classroom full of children.


Oh yeah, before I forget, It's not too late to sign up in the comments over at our Photo Challenge Blog for The Eyes Have It Challenge. Just follow the directions to leave a comment and post your pictures for viewing tomorrow and we'll all come by to visit.

Shoot and have fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Play Day

The Children's Museum is a great place for kids and the grown-up kids who go with them. We had a great time looking at everything and of course the kids all did some major playing. My favorite exhibit was the Magnolia Mansion doll house (below) except that all I could do was look at it cause they had it all behind protective glass. I would love to have a doll house like it that I could fix up with furniture and fixings, isn't it just the cutest thing?

There was a full sized cockpit area of a Fed-Ex plane in that place as well as a full sized fire engine, police car, and Toyota cruiser. There may have been more big stuff but there was so much to see that I'm sure I missed a whole lot of it. Our kids loved the Kiddy Kroger and as you can see below, they did some serious grocery shopping.

Zach, manhandling the produce. All that squeezing and looking who'da thought it was plastic? It looked good enough to eat.

Notice the expressions of the girls as they stand in the check-out line. I've seen those expressions before, haven't you?

The few pictures I took of Zach were all from behind. He was much too busy to bother with me and the camera. He told me soon after we arrived to "go away from him so he could explore", so I mostly did.

The wildest part of the day was following Jerri in Memphis. I'd never been to the museum but she had so she led the way. We had to turn around a few times and missed our exits more than once, but we made it there and back and the extra driving made for an adventure. There may be a few drivers across the line over in Tennessee who were glad to see the car and truck full of kids with Arkansas tags heading back across the Mississippi River this afternoon.,,,,Maybe, just a few. :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break

The kids have been on Spring Break here this week. Zach went to work with his PopPop the past two days but tomorrow we're going with Jerri and the girls to the Children's Museum of Memphis (or "Kid's Museum as Beans calls it). I've never been but Jerri takes the Chick and Beans pretty often and they just love to play there. For a look at some of the exhibits you can go here, and they even have a blog here.

I think it will be a good day to take pictures.

And hey, it's almost Spring! Do you feel it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.
May the grass grow long
on the road to hell for want of use.
As you slide down the banisters of life
may the splinters never point the wrong way.
May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour
before the devil knows you're dead.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Farm Use for Blow Dryers

Zach and his buddy are sacked out on the couch and recliner watching a "Freddie" movie, I'm enclosed in the bathroom with a Good Housekeeping mag attending to my morning constitutional, when the front door opens and the man starts yelling for Brenda!

I'm thinking, ",,,alright sucker, this had better be good, " as I head to the living room.

There he stands, in the door, cause his boots have mud and water dripping from them, with dripping papers in his hand.

"Can you zap these in the microwave for me? Or how about the oven? I need em dried and I need em quick as I can get em."

I told him No on the microwave idea, and No on the oven idea, cause these were drenched papers and papers will burn once they're dried and I was in no mood to fight a fire today. So I dragged out my trusty blow dryer and we went to work carefully peeling the sheets apart to dry them enough so that they would no longer be sticking together in a dripping mass.

The Man had been to pick up a new Flex Harrow and the wet pages were the instructions for putting it together. I really think the pages have plenty of time to dry cause the Man usually doesn't read the instructions until After he's put it together wrong at least once.

Ok, I'm outta here to go run a few errands. Hope everyone is having a super Monday!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm not sure I can do this,,,,

It's hard. It was hard the first time I tried, harder the second, and even harder the third time I tried to quit smoking. I have had this love/hate relationship with cigarettes for 40 years now and I know they're probably killing me. I don't know how to explain this addiction but I know without a doubt that I have one.

Tuesday I went to my doctor, the one who has the assembly line patient care going on, and was able to spit out in my 2 minute allotted time that I wanted a prescription for Chantix. The only thing he said before writing the prescription was, pointing to his head, " are you sure up here?" I told him that I hoped so, and that was that. I paid, I left.

Tuesday evening I went to my first support group session for smokers who want to quit. After I attend two sessions, they will provide the Chantix to me free of charge so that sounded like a good deal since I don't have insurance.

My first homework from the session is to cut my cigarette use down to 20 cigarettes a day. I did this on Wednesday although I had to go to bed twice to calm down. On Thursday I did ok too but two naps helped me through then also. Today hasn't been good, no naps and I'm a bit stressed; when I'm stressed I reach for my crutch; the smokes.

I think I'm willing but I'm weak. I love those nasty things but they're killing me. I start the Chantix next week, we'll see.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photo Challenge - The Eyes Have It - March 21st

“The eyes are the mirror of the soul”

“You never know how you look through other people's eyes.”

“The eyes have one language everywhere”

Got those cameras ready? The new photo challenge topic, chosen by yours truly, will be "The Eyes Have It" on Saturday March 21st. Most anything is allowed; artistic or realistic. Use your imaginations and have fun!

I've always been fascinated with expressions and the eyes are the most expressive of all. A wonderful photo taken by National Geographic photographer, Steve McCurry, has stayed in my mind since the first time I saw it back in the early 80's. There was so much to see about the young Afghan girl by looking at her eyes.

Many of the photos that I take of our babies I've focused on their eyes and have ended up with some very pleasing shots.

Please go over to our photo blog, courtesy of Miz Donna, and follow her directions to sign up for this challenge. Grab those cameras and go out and have fun!!! Remember, it's in the Eyes!

Many thanks to Miz Cindra for all of the fun we had last time with her Photo Editing challenge topic!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Doing the Zoo

MeriKate, the Chick, and Beans in the Northwest area of the zoo.

Zach with Budda.

DIL, Jerri, and my son James (aka Bubbie) looking all cute.

The temps were in the mid-70's on Saturday so we loaded up some snacks, loaded up some kids, and went to the Memphis Zoo to celebrate what we hoped was the beginning of Spring around these parts.

It was more crowed than I've ever seen it and we've been visiting there for many, many years. I guess everyone else was celebrating the beautiful weather too.

About half of the animals decided to stay inside and I had to dodge around people in order to take a quick snap of any of the critters. It wasn't at the top of the list for great zoo adventures but it was a nice day out anyway.

I was watching the weather this morning and that man on there said the temps will be back in the 40's about mid-week. I sure hope he's wrong.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Photo Challenge - Photo Editing

Miz Cindra was kind enough to host our challenge this time and she decided that we should all try our hand (and brain cells) at photo editing. With all the inexpensive and FREE photo editing software out there, there's no reason we for us not to give it a go.

So I did.

And I hope y'all did.

Click the photos below to enlarge to see more detail.

By the light of the Moon

My mouse had taken some bad bytes of something when I started my photo combinations so I forgot to put the 2 original photos for this creation where I could easily find them. I finally gave up the search. I used a shot of the foliage right around sunrise and a shot of the moon; both originals were in color.

Original of Zach wearing PopPop's straw hat.

Same photo after applying a pencil sketch effect and fiddling with the contrast.

I took some photos of an old, abandoned, house on one of the back roads earlier this week and thought it would be fun to make it haunted. A zoom shot of the window and a shot from google image combined to give me somewhat the effect I wanted. The original photo of the lady I used to make a ghost is on the far right; then I inverted the photo, made it more transparent, used a black and white effect for the house window; then cloned the hell out of photo to try to make things blend together.

The end result: Haunted

The originals are a photo I took of the Chick one day while she was wearing my straw hat and squating down in the yard to inspect Zach's Game Boy. I have the color original somewhere but I had used the septia effect on this a long time ago and decided it was the effect I needed. The house is the same one from above; another photo I took earlier this week. I used the septia effect on it also and then combined the photos, did the clone thing again to blend the backgrounds.

At Play

I don't even know how I did this one. It just happened when I was trying to follow an tutorial about combining photos using Paint Shop Pro. I took these photos for an earlier challenge; Patterns.


I've learned more about photo editing this past 2 weeks than in the past 5 years that I've been using photo editing software. Thank you Miz Cindra!

Please go over to click the comments at the Brenda Photo Challenge blog to see all the other editing creations from other challenge participants. I guarantee that you'll love what you see.

I'm going to be here early to see as many blogs as I can before we leave to go visit the Memphis Zoo for the day. If you haven't posted yet, or I run out of time, I'll for sure be by to visit as soon as we're home.