Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All the pretty horses.........gone!

They were beautiful horses that lived here. And it has been pointed out to me that they were somewhat cultured, as they listened to the National Public Radio station that played constantly in the barn. I believe the proper term for NPR listeners is "elitist", which around here means anyone who doesn't listen to country music.
And is is true that those horses have been exposed to classical music for several hours a day and it only stands to reason that it somehow affected their manner and appreciation for art and culture. I wonder if the new owner of the horses has noticed that.
At any rate they are gone. We are horseless. That condition has not existed for the eighteen years we have lived here on a bluff above the Gasconade River. It will take a little getting used to. We have our reasons for going horseless, but sometimes they don't seem quite good enough.

If you have been around horses you can guess the things we will miss most. What about the smell? (OK, odor for you elitists.) I have loved the smell of horses since I was a child. That odor will gradually diminish now. And we will miss the sight of them in the pasture. Often their mutual exuberance had them running with the wind or kicking and twisting with the joy of movement.

We grow older and priorities change. Seeing that the horses were cared for became a problem for the times we were away and traveling. And, there are other reasons: Aches and pains (some of which were given to me by horses) have kept us from using the horses as much as we should. They need more attention than we were giving them.

But they were beautiful. And we had a good run with equines here for many years. Delivering new colts was always a favorite thing. Then watching them develop.

Our last two horses have gone to live with a couple who operate a riding school and boarding stable near Cole Camp, Missouri. We hope to go visit them sometime. Mister Big, our Percheron cross will be groomed to carry the heftier students of the riding school and perhaps will also get some harness time. And, truth is, even as beautiful as he is, Woodrow will have to find his own niche at his new home. He was part of the deal. "You take both of them or none," we said.

Well, here's to a good rest of your life guys. We will miss you.

Your Pals, The Hired Man and Missus.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We danced at the Fox in St. Louis

It wasn't much, not much more than a wiggle, and it was dark up there and,of course, the audience had left, but I can still say that I danced on stage at the Fox Theatre.

And so can Kathy. She did a couple of steps and didn't even hurt herself.

It was Wednesday night and we were on the town, together with Paul and Heather (daughter & son-in-law) as well as sis-in-law Cathy. A Chorus Line was playing at the Fox and we were gussied up to go see it.

The real draw was that niece, Hollie Howard, and her boyfriend, Colt Prattes, were in the cast. So we all had dinner at an overpriced restaurant near Union Station, then it was off to the show. It was wonderful, lots of dancing and singing. It made me recall a time when I just might have been able to to that. Or, something like it. But mostly it made me kinda sore just watching it.

Afterward we all trouped backstage where Hollie and Colt showed us the ropes and led us out on the darkened stage. Hollie explained how they use seams in the stage and bold white numbers under the lights at the front of the stage (that's upstage) to keep their places during the routines.

That's when we did our little wiggles.

For those who have not been to the Fox Theatre, I can tell you that it produces almost a sensory overload. It is truly an amazing venue. And, as a sometime performer, I can say that it ain't so bad to be onstage either.
The Hired Man www.rockeddy.com back from the big city into the green hills.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Favorite Magazine

I owe it to our pal and long time guest, Amy Gutowski. One day it arrived in the mail with a little notice that Amy and Tom had sent a subscription.

There is was, a slender little rag, printed in one-color. Nothin fancy but wonderfully, no advertisements at all. I spent the first night with my new copy of The Sun in my ritual nighttime read-myself-to-sleep session. That did it. I was hooked.

I'm not gonna try to explain the magazine, except to say that I think.....I hope...it will touch you. It is quite varied in content. Let me go find a quote -- what they say about themselves. I'll be right back.
"The Sun is an independent, ad-free monthly magazine that
for more than thirty years has used words and photographs to invoke the splendor
and heartache of being human. The Sun celebrates life, but not in a way that
ignores its complexity. The personal essays, short stories, interviews, poetry,
and photographs that appear in its pages explore the challenges we face and the
moments when we rise to meet those challenges.
The Sun publishes the work of
emerging and established artists who are striving to be thoughtful and
authentic. Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize, been published in
Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, and been broadcast on
National Public Radio.
The Sun invites readers to consider an array of
political, social, and philosophical ideas and then to join the conversation.
Each issue includes a section devoted entirely to writing by readers, who
address topics as varied as Telling the Truth, Neighbors, Hiding Places, Second
Chances, and Gambling."

OK, that's a start. Want more? Go to this website http://www.thesunmagazine.org/ There you can look over the past issue and see if it suits you. (Don't know how they make any money that way.) If y0u like it, it is worth your support as it struggles financially sometimes.
I'm keeping my subscription paid up.

Thank you Amy, The Hired Man and Missus

p.s. I ain't making no money in case yer wondering! But sometime I want to tell you how doing what we do allows us to meet some pretty wonderful people at Rock Eddy Bluff Farm.

Friday, May 15, 2009

International Innkeeper Exchange

A few years ago a fellow from France introduced us to international exchanges between innkeepers. Since then he has become our friend and in many ways, our soul mate.

The idea was totally Philippe's and he has exchanged with perhaps twenty or more inns on four continents. By contrast, we have exchanged with only two international inns: one in France and one in Scotland. Click here to see a list of the inns Philippe has visited.

The photo shows the Hired Man and Missus with Philippe and his mother on a beautiful French day.

After returning from France a few years ago, I wrote a web page about our experience and visit with Philippe at his Gite in La Bastide in the south of France. Poking around the Internet this morning, I found that page translated into four languages on Philippe's website.

The page has lots of photos and links to interesting French things. So, for today's reading material, I thought I could just send you to that web page. http://www.etoile.fr/fr/sejour6.htm (If you want to read it in English, just click on the British flag.)

Philippe is a wizard with web pages, so if you want to follow any of his many links from the page you will find loads of interesting stuff. And, if you ever want to his gite, L 'Etoile http://www.etoile.fr/, in the Cevennes region of France, let us know and we will help you plan your adventure.

The H.M.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is wrong with the French?

Boy, do I flop around into different topics.
But if you know me you know that I have spent my whole life -- now 67 years-- flopping around.

Well, maybe I can get some sedate controversy going here. Here goes:

Why are Americans always complaining about the French? In my view they do a whole lot of things better than we do. A whole lot! I think they live better. Consider this from a recent survey reported by Arthur Frommer the travel guru. "According to a study published in Gadling.com "The French enjoy an average of 35 days a year of paid vacation. They sleep an average of nine hours a night, an hour longer than us, and also spend two hours a day on eating -- twice the time Americans spend eating. Read more: http://www.frommers.com/blog/? "

I suspect, when totalled, this likely indicates that the French enjoy life more than do Americans with no vacation but lots of toys and little time. We live pell mell. They live leisurely.
And, they have one of the best free health care systems in the world. On the other hand, we have....... Oh, surely you know what a perfect mess we have.

I know, they don't support us in every military incursion we decide on. Are they smart or just lucky in this?

I must be feeling like I want to stir the water a little this morning. If you agree or disagree let me know in a genteel manner.

The Hired Man needs now to earn his breakfast. Vive la France!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The wanderer awoke this morning

I am still afflicted. I want to wander the countryside. Heck, I am only one week back and I catch myself thinking about how things might be in some of my more popular places.

I believe there is new grass carpeting the Flint Hills of Kansas. It is a deluge of green with praire flowers and small tidy towns tucked down in the cottonwood draws. I would like to see it again....right now.

Another vision that surfaces is of the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The rolling hills, as if huge waves stretched onward on a sea of grass. Ranch houses and barns lost in the swells of green, down little track of roads, miles and miles from little "necessary" towns.

These are just my spring visions; they will change as the year progresses. I will think of other favorites in the summer. And in the fall I will move to the mountains, New England, the lake country.

In Maine, where a little me still lives, the winter is being forced out grudgingly by the gentle persistance of spring. And I can remember enough that I think I could still avoid the tourists running up highway 1 and locate some of the pictures that still swim in my mind.

And there are so many more that I will not discuss this morning. It is just that the wanderer in me just schook in his traces enough that I had to acknowlege him this morning. Ain't that typical! I should be discussing Mother's Day. Kathy is getting Mom's Day calls this morning while serving breakfast to the guests and I am back in this messy little room with the computer. I am sure it ain't right. I am certain that a more refined fella would do things differently.

Happy Mother's Day, The Hired Man http://www.rockeddy.com/

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back from the south now and meeting new people

We are back from our vacation in the south with our camper. We are now back in harness and have a complete complement of guests this weekend. Computer problems while we were away stopped this blog in its tracks.

We had a wonderful time while we were away. Here are a few of the things we did:

We slowed down. For most of the trip we did not get over 50 mph. That is the speed limit on the Natchez Trace and we maintained the same speed up thru the small ramshackle towns of the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta.

We resolved to get some exercise. Before we left we purchased a Wii Fit game. Yes, you actually do get exercise. And it is fun!

We immersed ourselves in the western theatre of the Civil War. Kathy was really excited because she is such a CW buff. In her words she "had a rosy glow" as we visited CW sites. I will include some photos taken at the battle site at Shiloh.

The siege of Vicksburg was quite interesting also.

We met some interesting characters. I think I have already written about one of them. One lady at a small Civil War center was starved to talk. She is 88 years and talked about her early life. While we were their her son, who is my age or older brought her lunch. he said, "Here is you lunch Mama!" She was married at 15. "We didn't have ANYTHING when we got married. Well, we had a little bit of food." Her husband has been gone for 22 years.

Spent family time with daughter and family. That is another topic.

We riffled a few antique stores and flea markets. We found that there are an inferior species of fleas at those places in the south. Found a few things that are truly unique.

I'll try to do a better job now. The Hired Man http://www.rockeddy.com/