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Monday, October 8, 2018

Play Dead.

A long time ago we decided to go to a store every one of our friends had told us about.
     It was in the middle of nowhere. The directions went something like this Take the road that goes to Conway. Turn right at the grocery store. Go until you see a farm on your left with a sign at the end of the fence that says Meat Packing  1 mile. Turn left there and go down that dirt road until you come to a fork. Take the fork to the left and go until you see the store on your left. The road gets worse and worse, but keep going. You are in the right place.
       This is part of the explanation of how we ended up with 9 dogs and six cats. 
     One Saturday morning we got in the old Suburban we used as a farm vehicle. Can't drive it in the rain because it has some holes in the side and we don't want it to rust. Can't drive it in the freezing weather because the only heat comes through the vent and there is not enough to defrost the windshield.
    Can sell it because it has 4 new Michelin tires that are worth more than the SUV. We also use it to take small animals to the vet.
    Ah, I am going in the wrong direction. We got about six miles down the road and a Bassett hound was laying in the middle of the road. We stopped the car to see if it was hurt. That dog did not move a muscle. 
    My passenger jumped out of the car and ran to the dog. I sat in the Suburban with cars honking and going around while she took a look at the dog.
     As soon as she got to the dog and leaned over to check it out, the dog up, ran to the open car door and jumped in. She didn't stop there. She went over the back seat and the third seat and ended up in the cargo area.
      I was so busy sitting with my mouth wide open in utter amazement that I almost missed the other two dogs who ran out of the tall grass off the shoulder of the road and followed her exact path.
   We now had three dogs in the back of the car.
    We needed to move off the road and assess the situation. 

    My idea was to leave the dogs and if they were there when we came back we would pick them up.
     The answer was. "I couldn't live with myself if we came back and one of them was actually smashed on the road."
     I left all the windows down in the car while we were in the store so if they wanted to leave, they could. 
     They didn't,
      The Bassett hound had just had babies, the Rat Terrier was an intact male and the puppy looked like you would expect that match up to look like.
       I wanted to add a picture of Odie, the youngest one, but it is too dark outside.
      Zoi, the Bassett, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last year. Jack is sixteen and follows my every step. Odie is twelve. 
      Sometimes the seemingly most unhandy events turn out to be a  big blessing.
Come back and visit me again, There is always something going on at the farm.
Leave a comment here or you can reach me at susankeenebooks@gmail.com



    

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Meet Kay, the Halflinger Mule



Meet Kay the Halflinger Mule
Kay, affectionately known as Kaybo, is going on twenty-eight years old. The good news is the lifespan of a mule can be fifty or more.

I am sure most of you know what a mule is, but for those who don't, here's a little lesson. If a female horse and a male donkey get together, the offspring is a Mule.  If a male horse and a female donkey get together, the baby is called a Henny. A donkey is a donkey.
We bought Kay and her younger sister, Bec from a man in Joplin who was too old to care for them. They were twelve and thirteen. 


Bec who was a year young is no longer with us. She is in the great pasture in the sky. I know dogs cross the Rainbow bridge. In my heart, I don't think any type of animal is turned away and not permitted to cross.

When Kay began to look thin, we brought her out of the horse pasture and gave her free reign of the entire place  (except for the horse pasture). 
Since it is apple season and we have an orchard, we had to close the gate to it for now. She would go out and eat every apple on the ground and it wasn't beneath her to pull the ones off the low hanging branches. We were going to have to go from fattening her up to putting her on a diet.

She is both funny and a pain in the butt. Today when I tried to take her picture, she followed me so close she pushed me back to the yard.



One night I took a golf cart down the lane to get away from the light so I could watch an eclispe of the moon. 
I got out of the cart to get a better look at the sky. When you get away from the light of the house and outbuildings,  turn off the lights on the vehicle, it is pitch black. You can't see your hand in front of your face. 
I was there a few minutes when something touched my shoulder. I didn't know I could still move so fast.

It was Kaybo. She came up behind me and rested her head on my shoulder. If she had been a person I bet she would have said, whatcha doin'?

There are sheep in several of the places she can go. For the first six weeks, they ran from her. The only protection sheep have is to make a circle like a wagon train, stretch their necks to the ground and don't move. They get so close together, you couldn't put a hand between them.
 If we see that from the house, one of us runs out
to find what is causing them to be afraid. To realize how helpless they are upsets me when I see them in that position.

Thank goodness they have learned to walk around her. As with most animals, Kaybo lives for food. We keep treats in the golf carts and tractors for the horses and donkeys. Kaybo knows where every can is stored in every machine. If you don't give her one, she will get her own. 

 Come back and visit me again. Lot's of things happen on a farm.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Apples, Apples, and more Apples


  

Here on the farm, we have five varieties of apples-Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Jonagold, and Arkansas Blacks.
Seems like each year one variety takes the spotlight. This year it was Fuji. 

Due to the draught, our apples were small. When I sold them at the Farmer's Market next to a man who had 5000 apple trees (we had 154), he would laugh and say my apples were too small. His fruit looked as if it came out of a catalog. Of course, it looked like that because it was sprayed every month, twelve months a year.
 We are all natural. We use no sprays or fertilizers other than chicken, sheep, and cow manure.
 The Farmer's Market is where I learned how few children and adults in a certain group eat fruit. 
Diggitty the Dog at the Farm (The Adventures of Diggitty the Dog Book 1)
I took a wicker basket and filled it full of apples and pears. Every child who passed my truck, I offered a piece of fruit. At least two children a week ask - which is the apple and which is the pear? Kids were familiar with applesauce and apple pie, but not real apples. Most had never seen or eaten a pear. My goal the first year was to educate children about fruit.  Now mind you, it wasn't all the kids. But the ones who didn't know fruit belonged to the parents who visited the pie lady, the cookie lady, and the guy with the honey sticks.

I was so upset about it I wrote a children's book about how apples are grown in an orchard, Diggitty Dog on the Farm.

Do you know stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, and nectarines
bloom first and then leaf out? Fruits like apples get their leaves first and then the blossoms. Many peach crops don't make it in the colder regions because of it. We only get a peach crop here at the farm about every five years. 

 There are so many stories to share about the farm. Come back again soon. 
You can email me at susankeenebooks@gmail.com or leave a comment below.
Peace.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Susan's Musings: Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter

Susan's Musings: Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter: My favorite time of year is fall. I love apples, pears, fall festivals, Halloween, and cooler weather. I detest spiders. When you live on a ...

Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter

My favorite time of year is fall. I love apples, pears, fall festivals, Halloween, and cooler weather. I detest spiders. When you live on a hundred acres in the middle of nowhere, bugs are a huge concern. 
I came up with an organic spray for spiders. It doesn't kill them. They hate the smell and run away. They would rather live at the neighbors than to smell this concoction.  You must spray it every ten days, and don't spray around the animals. I sleep with my best friend Chili, I close her out of the room, spray around the baseboards, heat vents and windows. Leave the door closed for several hours and then allow her back into the room.

When I spray the rest of the house, I do it while they are outside on a potty break. An entire house has enough circulating air to keep pets from inhaling it. When I spray their beds, I keep them out of the house for an hour or so.


Recipe
Get a plastic spray bottle. You can buy a 16 oz. one in the laundry section at Walmart for around a dollar.
You will have to buy an essential oil. The ones that work the best are peppermint, lemon, and lavender. It is around $6.00 and it lasts a long time. I use peppermint. Put 10 drops in the bottom of your plastic container. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Fill the bottle nearly to the top with water, and then add four or five drops of liquid dish detergent. Put the sprayer on it, shake it and you are all set.

All those times you had to scream for someone to come save you from a house spider are over. But don't get overconfident. They won't stay away forever because the smell will fade and they are tenacious fellow critters. Mark it on your calendar so you can keep your space spider free.
Drop by next time and we'll talk about apples. I raise five varieties, three different kinds of pears and two of peaches. 
If you have any questions about my spider remover, leave your question below or at my e-mail, susankeenebooks@gmail.com

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Where do you have your morning coffee?


Where do you have your morning coffee or tea? I see all of the beautiful patios and decks in magazines, but I have neither. My little corner of the world is behind the backyard tool shed and across from the greenhouse.
If you look closely you will see the swing  I sit each morning after the last frost of the spring and before the first frost of winter. 
The plants come out of the greenhouse and take their summer homes in the sunshine. It doesn't start out 
this way. They come out a few at a time depending on how fragile they are. I'm not the one with the green thumb. Thank goodness someone here can grow things.

I was always taught, or maybe it is folklore, that before we all wore shoes we were healthier. In ancient times people didn't wear shoes and contact with the earth helped with common medical problems.
Is it true? I haven't a clue. I do, however, sit in the swing and let my bare toes rest in the grass beneath me, and wiggle them like a child.
If you look closely you will notice there are veggies mixed in with the flowers and plants. There are peppers, tomatoes, and even a pineapple.
The farm is quiet in the morning. The sheep are still sleeping in the barn and the cows have not yet started bellowing to see if it might get them some grain. I guess hay gets boring. 
It would be nice to know where you spend your coffee time.

Something that is fun is to get a pineapple from the grocery store and save the top. Set it in water until it roots and then plant it. 
Hint: It takes awhile.

Take a moment and leave a comment about your morning ritual. I will sign off now with a few more pictures. 

Have a marvelous week. 


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Follow a Butterfly

Butterfly, Blossom, Bloom, Painting, Oil, Canvas, ArtFollow a butterfly. Did you know every culture beginning with the ancients believed the butterfly to be the sign of a human soul?

Aristotle named them psyche which means soul.

I believe children, if left to think their own thoughts, know the truth about many things.  Last summer we went on vacation with the Grandkids.  Everywhere we went, a swallowtail butterfly tagged along. 

When we swam in the lake, the swallowtail fluttered about the deck. As we took a boat ride, it sat on the bow. Later we spied it on our walk. It flew in front of us four or five times and rested on a nearby bush and watched us have a picnic. Was it the same winged angel who covered great distances to follow my granddaughter? Maybe it was two or three or even ten who covered the activities of the day.

She said she didn't know where it stayed while she was in school, but it greeted her daily at her home, the soccer field, or her girl scout meeting in the evenings.

I listened but didn't say much. Who am I, I thought, to say what is real and what is imagined in his magnificent mystery we call life?

It didn't matter how many places we explored or miles we covered, Sydney's winged companion followed her.

"That butterfly is my mommy watching over me." She told us more than once. 

Being a realist, I asked her  "...in the fall who will look after you in the winter when the butterfly has gone away?"

Her answer-- "A cardinal Grandma. They are visitors from heaven."

I never see a butterfly that I don't remember my Molly who left us last year or the love I feel for both of them.

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. 

a quote from Richard Bach.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hunningbirds and Spring

There are lots of things I love about spring. I live on a farm and no matter which way I look something is renewing itself. 
My favorite is the hummingbird. I can set my watch by them. Each year on April 15, they begin to scout around where the feeders were last year in hopes they'll find them once again.     With a temperature of thirty and a  windchill of seventeen, the feeders bounced around too much to keep the nectar in. I hope I didn't starve them. The feeders went out this morning, four days late. 
Did you know that most nectars other than that from natural flowers and one you can make yourself will hurt the tiny little bird?
It makes me wonder why companies make packets and bottles of un-natural juice for them to drink.
Hummers need a nectar made of pure cane sugar, here is a hint. If you buy sugar and it does not specifically say CANE sugar on it, it is beet sugar.
Beet sugar will not hurt the birds, but it doesn't have the nutrients of cane sugar and it will break down sooner in your feeders. 
The best way to make nectar is one part sugar to four parts water. In other words, one cup of sugar to every four cups of water.
Boil it, stirring now and then. You need only bring it to a boil for fifteen or thirty seconds.The object is for it to last longer in the feeder and in your refrigerator, 

It doesn't matter where you put your feeders. They prefer a little shade so if you put them in the sun you will need to change the liquid more frequently because the sun breaks it down faster.

Happy spring finally and enjoy your hummingbird friends.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Inside Story -- Audiobooks

Do you like audiobooks? It seems they are the most popular thing in publishing at this time.

Some authors and publishers are bypassing ebooks and paperbacks in order to go straight to the Audiobook.

Audible and Itunes are the two best selling applications for Audios. 

Audiobooks are convenient. The reader can listen while as he drives, does chores or gardens. It is a great tool for the multitasker.

So who reads your book? My first audiobook is for sale. Audible lets you pick the producer. For my novel Tattered Wings, I chose William Reese. 
Bill has been in radio for years and knows how to make a character come to life.

His voice is rich and inviting. I closed my eyes and listened to him read. 
To hold the attention of the author is no easy task. We have already read our work many times.There is when we write it, rewrites, (at least two, but more likely three), then it reaches the editor to go through first, second, third edits as well as line edits, and last but not least, it must be proofread.
Such is the way it was with Tattered Wings. I put my headphones on and prayed I could keep my mind on this story I knew so well.
By the end of the first chapter, I was drawn into my own novel.
Thanks to William Reese, it was easy. Bill has done five books for Audible this year, and I look for him to do many more including any adventure I have that calls for a male reader.
Did I mention I feel like I've made a new friend?
Anyone can download a book from Audible free. I did, and I can see how it could be addicting.


.Image result for william reese To learn more about the talented Mr. Reese, drop by his website http://reesevoices.com 
Watch for the rest of my list to reach Audible in the near future.

Monday, March 26, 2018

INSIDE STORY THREE


I am sorry there are not pictures today. I have lots to show you yet the hospital won't wait.

Hope you all had a good week. While you’re reading this, I am having my right knee replaced. They scare the bejeebers out of you a couple of weeks before you have the surgery. I bet they told me how bad it was going to hurt at least twenty time.

But I want to talk about something more interesting than my surgery. INSIDE STORY 3


It’s about a Pentagon in the barn lot. One day while reading a copy of Backyard Poultry, yes, I read a chicken magazine, but only for the articles.

The most interesting thing about the book is all of the cool stuff you can buy. I could spend thousands of dollars buying the things I see in farm periodicals.

In this particular issue they had star-plates. A star-plate is a five-sided piece of a steel that is fashioned in such a way a two by four fits into each side.  According to the article, you put an eight-foot board in each point of the star and fit them all together you would end up with a Pentagon eighteen feet tall (honestly, it looked much easier in the pictures).

My, not always practical mind, came up with a better idea. average thinking. If I made the boards ten feet long instead of eight feet like the pattern said, I would have a five-sided building twenty feet high.

So now I had $85 invested in the plates and about $150 in wood. I thought it was a small price to pay to be the only one around with a pentagon in the backyard.

Things went along great until we got ready to attach the top plate. It took everyone we knew and the tractor to get it together.

So now, I had a twenty foot high, ten foot five sized structure with no floor and no roof.  
It didn’t take long to realize this was all a huge mistake. First of all, no one was going to get up there and deck it so we could put on a roof, the star plates set everything on a bias so there was no way to side it.
It was too late to back out.
As luck would have it, there was a storm and we had to replace the roof on the house, the backyard shed, and the gazebo.

I asked the construction crew to deck and put a roof on my folly while they were there. I have never seen so many men stand around with their hats in their hands scratching their heads.
For a couple of years we put tarps around the sides of it and used it for a sheep shelter.
It broke my heart.

There came a time when we had to separate the ram from the ewes. I bet you can figure out why.
The ram was not happy. To show his distaste for the entire set up, he began to butt the side walls with all of his might.

He knocked on side loose and all of my dreams plus the roof were going to hit the ground. They propped it up with a four by four. It was either do something with it or tear it down.
No, I couldn’t bear to have it destroyed.

We decided to turn it into a studio for me.

The pictures are of the construction. I will post more photos when it is all finished. Winter came before the back and the trim was painted.




Monday, March 19, 2018

The Inside Story , two



Tomorrow is the big day. My second book in the Kate Nash Mystery Series is to be released.
I wrote the books so they will stand alone. In other words, if you didn't read Finding Lizzy Smith,
you will still be able to follow the second one, Who's Roxy Watkins? without feeling lost or that we all have a secret you don't know.

Of course, with each  book, you learn a little more about the characters, their likes and dislikes,  favorite foods, clothes, and who thinks what about who.

Readers are asking when book three will be done. Honestly, I'm not sure. I have a title, The Untimely Death of Ivy Tucker (I've been known to change my mind).

My brain is still swirling around Murder in Madison Woods, so for the first time I am writing two books at once.

Since I can't buy groceries without a list, remember where I put my glasses, car keys, or the TV remote, this will be a serious challenge.

How many of you read my crime book, The Twisted Mind of Cletus Compton?  I guess that was a silly question since I can't see a show of hands. Anyway, the two most popular characters in that book will make another appearance in Murder in Madison Woods. Can you believe no one wanted to run into Cletus Compton or his brother Warren again?

Okay, two of the characters everyone seemed to like, or from the comments, loved, are Tony Massey, the six- feet -six dark haired shy and single sherrif of Ash County and Dr. Boo Jordan, retired FBI profiler and phychiatrist. Yes, her name is Boo. Want to know why?

When my daughters were in high school the quarterback of one of the local teams was named Boo Champange. I decided if I ever had the opportunity to use the name Boo, I would.

Until we meet again, turn off the TV and read a book. It's impossible to think about all of your problems, politics, the laundry and most everything else if your mind is in Africa, chasing a bad guy, trying to figure out who the killers, finding out the neighbor next door is a spy, or spending the night at the Scary Inn.



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Inside Story Part One

I began writing a new book. I'm about 17,000 words into it. It's about an eighteen-year-old who has been living alone in the National Forest.


The working title is Murder in Madison Woods. I might change it.

I don't know anyone else's writing process, but mine starts with a small idea. Sometimes I can write the idea down in one sentence or a couple of words.Then it festers and grows. People walk through my mind. Some I keep and some I tuck away for another novel.


I go to my writing space and write until what has brewed and materializes is gone, then I do other tasks writers must do.


Believe me, If writers only had to write, I would be prolific. The problem is, they want you to have a Twitter account, an Instagram page, and a blog. Did I forget the newsletter and the Author pages on Amazon, Audible, and maybe iTunes; I'm not there yet?


I forgot my Website.


During the afternoon and evening, more of the story presents itself to me and I write it down the next day.


Meanwhile, other stories fill my head and I have a dozen or so notebooks I make notes in to keep it all straight.
We will talk more about this in the days and weeks to come. If you are a writer, tell me your writing process. If you are a reader, what draws you to the book? Is it the cover or the blurb on the back? Something else maybe?


Let me know. It is very easy to leave a comment here. If you are shy and don't want anyone else to read what you have to say, send it to my email

susankeeenebooks@gmail.com

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ALL LEMONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL


Image result for lemon pie

 ALL LEMONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Image result for meyer lemons

It's Meyer Lemon season. The season runs from November to March. The lemons you see in the grocery store are called Real lemons. A Meyer lemon is the marriage of a Real lemon and a Mandarin orange. They are smaller, rounder, and more orange in color.

You probably won't want to eat them plain. They are still a lemon, but they don't have the pucker power of a 
Real lemon.
To take advantage of their diversity, squeeze the juice in salad dressing, make lemonade or add some punch to a cocktail or tomato juice.

Here are a couple of  places to get wonderful Meyer Lemon recipes. 

Foodie Crush
100 Things to do with Meyer Lemons- LA Times

Image result for meyer lemons
DO YOU HAVE A GREEN THUMB?

These lemons are extremely easy to grow. 
Keep the biggest seeds out of the lemons and put them in a small pots with potting soil. Set them in a sunny window. Keep them moist. If you grow more than one, you could give them to your friends. A lemon tree is not actually a tree, it is more the size of a Peace Lilly or a Schafferla.
When your newly planted tree reaches about 6 inches tall re-pot it.
 Our tree is in a ten inch pot.
Put it outside after the last frost and bring it in before the first frost.
Our tree bares 8 to 10 pieces of fruit at a time.

It is my goal on this segment of my blog to teach you to broaden your eating horizons and how to grow most of the food I write about.

Please leave a comment below. 

I'd love to hear what foods you are most interested in. 

We won't be able to grow all the foods .