Archives For Life goes on.

Help From a Friend

January 9, 2016 — Leave a comment

I have been struggling for a while to find a really interesting topic to write about. I think all the recent celebrations, Christmas, New Years, and getting a year older this week may have had something to do with what I think is called “Writers Block”. I have started 2 or 3 pieces but they just have not developed into anything useful. Then today I received an email from a friend that says a lot of what I feel. So I’m going to let my friend say what I feel hits the nail on the head very squarely!

I introduce to you my friend Kurt Hass. I hope you enjoy his post as much as I have! Thank you Kurt.

Richard,

I have become increasingly aware of people who complain constantly, who
have nothing to complain about and it is a thing that “Pisses me
off!!!!  I remember an adult saying to a crying child “stop crying
or I’ll give you something to cry about.”  I am not talking about
children in this instance, but adults who need to hear that message.  If
you have not lost your house, or lost your health, or lost a close
family member or you do have food or clothing, you have nothing to
complain about.  In addition, if these misfortunes are due to the loss of
a job due, to a natural disaster or some other malady that you don’t
have control over then you should shut up!!!! If in fact you have all of
these things the Lord has truly blessed you!!!!!   Happiness on the
other hand is usually something you can control!!!   Who knows of a poor
soul who you feel has nothing to be happy about and yet they are!!!!
They are thankful for what they have even though it may be meager
compared to you or to people who have financial wealth.  My Boss (Janet)
found a set of “House Rules” that are embroidered on a piece of cloth
and are in a picture frame in our kitchen.  I believe the My Boss
(Janet) purchased it because of the artwork, the colors and because she
thought I would like the message.  First, I think everyone should read
this every day!  It might change your attitude!!!  Second, if you are
truly one who has something to complain about, these words may make you
feel better. Third, take what God has given you and do what you can.  If
you do not know where to begin ask people until you find the answer.
This may take a while, but don’t give up. The answer is out there and God
will show you the way, but you have to do the work.

House Rules:
1. SMILE!
2. BE HAPPY – at least try!
3.  LISTEN TO OTHERS – even to your Boss, even though it may not come
naturally.
4.  SPEAK KINDNESS – the more you do this the more kindness you will
get in return.
5.  BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!   This does not mean that you should
not have goals or try to improve you state.  It just means complain
less, do more and thank God for what you have!!!!

Just a thought!

Kurt

 

Thanks for listening.

Richard Isley

Reprieve

May 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

My last post I talked about Foxy and her condition that appears to be on the decline. She has been in declining health for over a year but this week she took a direct hit with a seizure and an almost refusal to eat.  This morning the boss and I talked about Foxy’s quality of life and maybe it was time to say goodbye.  Foxy was in the room during that conversation and from that moment on she followed the boss thru the house never leaving her presence.

When we arrived at the vets Foxy didn’t seem too interested in walking. In fact I picked her up and carried her into the vets waiting room. All the time in the waiting room Foxy could not get close enough to Linda (the boss). Even when moved to the exam room she remained clingy. Dr. Brichler came in and did a through exam and lots of question about Foxy’s behavior.  We talked about causes and effects and what ifs. Finally we talked about end of life and quality of life and the Dr. said “I can’t find anything wrong with her and I think we should try a couple more things before we give up on her.” He prescribed a pain med and said” Let’s see how she is doing in a week or two.”

We paid the bill and left the building. Going to the car Foxy had a spring in her step and a wagging tail. She, I am sure, had heard the word. Reprieve!

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

My step-son Chris says he likes the stories of my past. Interesting history he says. So this post is for Chris J. of the Washington Post.

Chicken Leg

When I was 12 we moved to small farm just outside Greenwood. Both my parents grew up on farms and thus began my farming life. I joined 4-H and that began my “career as a sheep farmer.”  But, also a great experience as a chicken farmer.

My dad was the manager of a feed and livestock mineral company in Indianapolis across from the Indianapolis stock yards. He was a real chicken man. Each spring his company sold thousands of baby chickens to farmers in central Indiana as well as all the “colored chicks sold in the various stores at Easter time. About 1965 keeping layers in cages was beginning to become the industry we now know as the predominate method of producing most of the eggs we enjoy today. Dad decided that we should have a chicken/egg business. So, we built a pole building and assembled and installed cages for 500 chicken. Layers if you will.

We had quite an operation. I fed the chicken and hauled the manure and gathered the eggs and washed the eggs and candled and sorted the eggs by size and packaged them. Somewhat later even my brother helped with this. We sold eggs from the house to friends and neighbors as well as to a few restaurants in the area. For my work I received I think $20.00 a week which made me pretty well off.

Laying hens will produce eggs very well for two years and then their production falls off and they must be replaced with young layers called pullets.  These older chicken were usually sold to the Thompson poultry processing plant in Indianapolis. This was a major project to remove the hens form the cages and put them into chicken crate to transport to the processing plant. I was very glad we didn’t do this often because it was serious work.

One year My Uncle Ralph, mother’s oldest brother, wanted to buy some of the older hens and so one evening dad brought some crates home and we loaded, I think, 50 hens to take to Uncle Ralph and have dinner there. We were in a hurry and I broke one of the chickens leg. I showed it to dad and he said put it back and we will mess with it tomorrow.  I said no! Hold the chicken and I will be right back. I ran to the house and found two Popsicle sticks and some adhesive tape and went back to the chicken house and promptly splinted the chicken’s leg and put it in the crate swearing everyone to secrecy. I did however add another chicken because I didn’t think the hen would survive.

It was almost dark when we arrived at Uncle Ralph’s and we unloaded the chickens in his chicken lot and went to house and had supper and visited awhile.  Everyone kept the secret and when we left we laughed the whole way home.

A couple of weeks later mom answered the phone one evening and started laughing and finally said to me that she thought the call was for me. When I picked up the phone my Uncle started ripping me for selling him a chicken with a broken leg.  It didn’t matter when I told him it was an extra chicken. I had sold him damaged goods. A chicken with a broken leg! I remember telling him that I could not believe it took him two weeks to find it, but that didn’t cut any ice.

To end the story you must remember that my Uncle Ralph was a really neat guy. I loved him and have wished many times I had been able to spend more time with him as I grew up. He was unique and was a great horse man and kept work horses almost till the end of his life. I guess that’s why I really miss not have the experience of working/farming with horses.  So to conclude, until his dying days every time I was in his presence he had to raze me about selling him a chicken with a broken leg even though the chicken lived.

Thanks for listening,

Richard

A follower asked me the other day if I was always in a bad mood. The answer is, only when I see people do what I call stupid things. That being said I have observed that this has been a weird spring. This week it has been cool with an almost cold wind which most day made being outside uncomfortable.Even the Dandelions are having a tough time this week.

I was reading a new book, for me anyway, today, The last novel written by Charles Major published 7 years after he died. I am always on the look out for the last book I need to complete my collection of  his 11 novels. However, while resting my eyes I watched a goose take a running “swan” dive into the pond and do a flip under water and come up appearing to be totally refreshed. As the goose preened his feathers I remembered a story I’d written last winter on a cold and sunny day, about 40 degrees colder than today, inspired by the geese and ducks bathing and preening in the cold water. I hope you enjoy.

Billy and the Bath

Billy is a sad 5 years old today. He has a cold and had to stay home from school (kindergarten). Colds are boring. Mom says it is too cold to play outside especially with a cold. He knew it was cold because there was ice on the pond behind the house and mom also said that with the wind blowing it was almost zero!

He could tell just by looking at the surface of the half frozen over pond. He shivered. But, the sun was shining and the glimmer of the pond gave hope that it might warm up enough to go out. As he looked out the window with despair he noticed the geese, at least 200 of them, on the other bank of the pond sunning themselves and some even swimming on the unfrozen part of the pond.  He remembers seeing them earlier when they flew in and some even tried to skate on the frozen part of the pond.

He watched in amazement as some of the geese were diving in the cold water. Some even going completely under and staying for a while it seemed. Billy could not understand how they could be getting wet when it was so very cold. It was almost like they were bathing.

Billy did not like baths. Billy really did not like baths. Billy did not like baths so much that he sometimes tried to hide from his Mom and Dad when they said, “Bath time”.

Billy ran to his mother and asked how could the geese be getting wet on such a cold day and seemed to enjoy it? She was busy cleaning the kitchen after her world famous pancake breakfast that Billy had enjoyed so much. But, she said, “Let’s go Google it”. And off they went to the computer. What did Google say?

Geese along with many other birds need/must preen their feathers every day to stay healthy, warm, and dry, especially if they spend a lot of time on the water. The bathing helps to remove the dirt and parasites and the preening resets the feather barbs.  Most birds, especially water birds like geese coat their feathers with protective oil, as a water proofing, they get from their Uropygial gland. Besides the need for cleaning and preening to stay healthy the geese seemed to really enjoy taking a bath.

Imagine that!

Wow thought Billy, so many new words. What do they mean he ask his Mom. “Well”, she said,” maybe you should learn about the dictionary”. Dictionary! Another new word to learn. So Billy’s Mom got the large red book from the book case and sat down with him and she started to show him how the “book of words” Dictionary works.  Billy was amazed at all the words in the book, words and words that he had never heard or seen. His Mom showed him how to read the definitions (another new word) of the new words.  She told him that as her grew older the dictionary would become a real friend as he learned to read harder and harder books. They looked up the words they had read about the geese on Google and this is what they learned.

“Barb” a sharp point sticking out backwards like a fish hook.

“Parasites” an animal that lives on another animal, usually with harmful effects.

“Preening”   to clean and trim (the feathers) with the beak.

“Protective”  to cover or shield from danger or harm.

“Uropygial Gland” or also called the preen gland or oil gland that produces an oily substance that the birds , using their beaks, coat their feathers to protect them from water and parasites.

They also learned from Google that some birds do not have “oil glands” and the clean their feathers by taking dust baths.

How lucky could you get!

But, Billy learned that taking baths was important for birds to stay not only clean but healthy.  Maybe he thought that is why Mom and Dan want him to take so many baths. So the rest of the day was spent what any other 5 year old would do. Play and explore and the dreaded nap. It was soon time for Dad to come home. He is a police man and he work very hard protecting us from the bad guys.

They sat down for supper and after Dad said the blessing for all the wonderful thing in our lives they began to eat Billy’s favorite, Mac and cheese. While they ate Mom and Dad talked about their day and what they had done and who they had seen and talked to. Finally it was time for the question that all Dads ask their kids every day. “Billy what did you learn today?” he ask with a smile.

Well, I learned lots today! Did you know that geese take baths and they clean and preen each of their feathers and oil them to get rid of parasites and water proof them.  And you know what else they really seem to enjoy taking a bath! I also learned about a special book. It’s a book of words call a dic- dict- dictionary. Mom showed me how it tell all about words I’ve never heard of. Dad was greatly impressed as Billy continued to tell of the day’s events.

Soon supper was over and they family settled down for the evening. Before long the dreaded announcement came. Bath time! Billy sat there watching TV and reluctantly stood up to start the dreaded march to the bathroom. Mom was running the water and Billy thought as he undressed that he was sure glad he was not a goose. Imagine getting into that cold pond! Gee, I sure am luck to be a boy!

Into the warm water he went and started to soap up and wash his face and body. He was sure lucky he did not have to preen his feathers and look for parasites. How much fun would that be? Maybe taking a bath was not so bad after all. It sure does make you feel better!

Pajamas on and kisses goodnight he said his prayers and crawled into the nice warm bed. As he nodded to sleep he thought, it is really nice not to be a goose!

Cracklin’s

April 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

A friend and I were talking the other day discussing the reality that kids today probably don’t really know where their food comes from except Krogers. This conversation started a long thought process about what kids today and perhaps their parents as well have missed because everything they need comes from a store. It is time, perhaps, for enlightenment.

As a youngster, I was blessed with having both full sets of Grandparents and a full set of Great Grandparents and a step-Great Grandmother who lived with us for about 8 or 9 years.  They were all farmers so it is no accident that my roots go back to the soil. I have wished many times that I had been a farmer, but it was not to be!

My parents were kids, 6 &7, when the Great Depression struck. They were lucky that they lived on farms. The kids in the cities and towns did not fare so well. Time were hard and the old saying “waste not want not” was lived every day. Shoe laces were sewn and socks were darned because there was no money to buy new ones. My Grandpa Isley burned ear corn in the stove because a bushel of corn would not buy a bushel of coal.

Like most farmers, both of my grandparents had milk cows, pigs, chickens and a huge garden.  Summers were full of time spent canning vegetables and fruit and making pickles and jelly. The women worked as long if not longer than the men practically every day.  And, my grandmother Sandifur had Gooseberry bushes.  And, as part of the Isley lore I love Gooseberry pie!

In the winter and always it seemed the coldest day you could pick, they butchered. All the kids and grandkids came home as well as the neighbors to help with the butchering.  Butchering beef was a week long process because the beef carcasses had to hang and “age” to firm up the meat so it could be cut up and packaged. Before freezers, beef had to be consumed rather quickly. Pork, on the other hand, was completely taken care of in one day. The hogs were killed, scalded, scrapped, cut up, and processed.  The hams and bacon (Pork bellies) were rubbed with salt and sugar and other spices (trade/family secret) and hung in the smoke house and the fire lit to begin that process. The other cuts of meat were salted in crocks to eat much later.  I remember Grandma scrapping and turning the intestines to be used as the casing for the sausage. The women would grind the meat by hand and mix the spices for the sausage (again a family secret) and then stuff the casing and tie off the individual sausage links and these were hung in the smoke house also.

Now there was one part of this whole process that only a few could and do well. Render lard. Today no one uses lard except cake bakers because lard makes the very best icing. However, 60 years ago everything fried or baked used lard. The hog fat was cut up into about 1 inch squares and that was my job when I got old enough to be trusted with a sharp knife. Then these squares of fat were put in a large kettle with a fire underneath, too hot and the lard would catch on fire, too cold and the lard would not melt from the fat. Also, if it got too hot the lard would not solidify when it cooled. Then at just the right time (this is where the expertise came into play) the pieces of hog fat were removed from the kettle and put into the, guess what, lard press and squeezed to get all the lard out.

We are now at the crux of the story, what remains are called cracklins. Fresh hot cracklins made the cold fingers and feet seem to go away. I don’t think there is anything that tastes as good as fresh hot cracklins on a freezing winter day! Nothing! They were so good!  I remember my dad telling me over and over again year after year, “now don’t eat too many of those because they’ll give you the runs” The “runs”? In today’s speak it’s diarrhea in case you didn’t know.  You know what? I didn’t care. You know what? My dad was right! You know what? I didn’t care. And if I could get some fresh hot cracklins today, you know what?  I wouldn’t care!

It has been a long time since I have enjoyed fresh hot cracklins and I probably never will again, but these memories and experiences have helped shape me into what I am today.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

ONIONS

March 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

I really dislike onions! I cannot stand onions! I do not want onions in my food! Raw or cooked I do not like the texture of onions when I try to eat them! I won’t eat them if I have a choice but, that being said, I do like the flavor onions give to food dishes. And, when I cook (which is not often. Just ask the boss.) I do use onions. I really cook the hell out of them trying to make them disappear because if I see a piece of onion in my food I will pick it out! I really do not like onions!

I have learned when dinning out to ask, “Please, leave the onions out of my salad” or when at Appleby’s and we both order “Bourbon Street Steak “(it comes with onions and mushrooms) I ask for all the onions on one and all the mushrooms on the other. The Boss dislikes mushrooms for about the same reason I dislike onions. It works perfect! But, if I forget to ask then I gently remove the onions rings from my salad and give them to the boss and when the steaks come we try to be as nonchalant as possible as we exchange onions and mushrooms. Doesn’t always go as planned, last week I ordered a salad and forgot to ask to leave the onions off. Not a problem, the onion rings can be set aside and people probably won’t notice. The salad came with chopped onions. Bummer!!!

I look at recipes in magazines and newspapers. I even watch the “Pioneer Woman” and her cooking show. Add one cup chopped onion! Chop one large onion! Sauté two finely chopped onions! Enough! I don’t like onions! If those of you who like onions really like them you will eat them raw or eat them with your liver but leave them out of my food!

Now, I must admit that I do like the flavor onions give to food.  And, you really must use the real thing because onion salt or onion powder just ain’t the same. So like I said before I cook the hell out of them and try to make them disappear.  We all know that confession is good for the soul. My very favorite resturant fare in the whole world is “sesame chicken strips” at TGIF.  I try to convince the boss every time we go to Greenwood that we should stop at TGIF. I fail most of the time because she says it’s not good for me. I really do love the chicken strips so much that every time I go Krogering I check the frozen food freezers to see if TGIF has added the chicken strip to their frozen entrée selections.   Finally after many years I asked one day what I had always thought to be raisins in the “Jack Daniels” sauce really were and to my surprise ONIONS! WOW could it be true? After all these years I have been eating onions and enjoying them. I guess everyone and everything is allowed one exception.

I really don’t like onions!

Thanks for listening.

Richard