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A Small Town Gal

Jake and His Toys

Mel Boone





My dog Jake loves his toys. One of his favorites is a small, round rubber ball. In fact, he has five of them: two blue, two red, and a green one. He can spend most of his day and evening playing fetch with one of them providing that I am willing to throw it for him. Honestly, I wish I had some of his energy. I seem to wear out long before Jake does.

Jake dressed up on St. Patrick's Day.

Once in a while, the ball gets thrown and lands inside of one of my stepdad's boots. It's a challenge for Jake to get it out, but given enough time he does. Jake usually ends up with the boot on his head and once the valued ball is retrieved, the boot gets left behind in the middle of the floor.

Of course, if you really want to see my stepdad go nuts, then let Jake play with his pink squeaky pig. Jake loves to chew on it, but the obnoxious squeak is almost intolerable! Jake doesn't care. He loves his squeaky pig. I guess Jake assumes that his humans will learn to love it, too.

I've yet to teach Jake to fetch a Frisbee. To him, it's just another chew toy that happens to be somewhat flat and round. I throw it, he chases it, lays down, and starts to chew. Guess if I want him to fetch, I'll use one of his rubber balls. When I get tired of throwing, I'll give him the Frisbee. Fair enough, I think.

Buddy, on the other hand, is the couch potato. I show him a toy and he just stares at it. If I want any activity out of him, I have to go into the kitchen and yell "treat time!" He will be the first one there.

So it goes with my life. That's OK. I'm content with what I have.

Hello Fall

Mel Boone






Fall will soon be here. If I'm not mistaken, summer turns into fall this coming Friday. The weather forecast here still shows summer-like weather well into next week, but I know that will soon change. Before long, I will be doing the dreaded: changing the clothes in the closet. Dragging my cold weather out of storage and putting my beloved shorts and sleeveless shirts into storage.

I do still look forward to many hikes before winter sets in. I'll have my camera with me when I don't have two dog leashes to hang on to. I do love the beauty that nature brings when the leaves on the trees change color. The only thing better is the nature's beauty in spring when everything is in bloom.

Buddy and Jake don't mind their fall walks, either. I think they enjoy running though the leaves. It reminds me of when I was a kid on my grandparents' farm. I had my grandparents' German shepherd, Tasha, as a buddy to jump in the leaves with. Of course, that was when we were not running around in the yard or pasture playing a game of tag. That usually ended with me on the ground, Tasha sitting on my back, and grandpa laughing his head off at us. I never stayed mad for long. After a few minutes, we would be playing again.

It's this time of year that you find pumpkin and nutmeg everywhere along with pecan and sweet potato pie. Everyone is in their "pumpkin spice" mode. If it smells or tastes like pumpkin, it'll sell like crazy during the next few weeks. That's OK. It's fall.

So, this weekend I'll be on my traditional lookout for pumpkins and gourds to decorate my porch. I think I'll add a few white pumpkins to the decorations this year. My camera will be with me, too. I never know when I'll see the next perfect fall picture, but when I do, I'll be ready to capture it.


Time on the Grill

Mel BooneOne of my favorite outdoor activities is being able to use the barbecue grill. I love it! I also have a smoker at home, too. And yes, you guessed it, I love it, too! But, alas, the grilling season will soon come to a close. The cold weather will be here soon.

My stepdad used to do all the grilling. I don't think he had as much fun at it as I do. He finally decided that since I enjoyed it so much, I could willingly take over "grill duty." I won't argue with that. Finally, I may have found something that I am better at than him!

Both the grill and smoker are charcoal burners. I've got nothing against propane. In fact, our first grill was propane. There are those who will use only one or the other. Honestly, I'll use whichever one I can get hold of.

The one thing on my bucket list now that I have a grill and a smoker in my backyard is to have a brick oven. I've always wanted to learn how to bake bread and pizza in one of those. I'd like to be able to build one. Of course in this day and age, you can pretty much Google anything. So I guess that's on my list. Perhaps I can find a DIY book on Amazon, right? I'm sure once I get it built, I'll totally have fun with it!

All in all it has been a great season this year for me to be outside using my grill. I can't complain. The summer hasn't been too hot or too rainy, thank goodness! I still should have a few good weeks left, but I shouldn't take that to chance. I never really know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve for me.

charcoal grill
Photo by Getty Images/Jag_cz

Greetings at the Door

Mel BooneWhen I'm away from home, regardless if it's a couple of hours or most of the day, It's always nice to pull into the driveway and be home. Of course, I usually hear my greeting party before I even get out of the vehicle. My welcome committee knows I'm back and they are waiting to meet me at the door.

They've got the best spot in the living room to watch for me. The couch sits right in front of one of the living room windows. By sitting on the back of the couch, they can see the driveway. If one or both of them are curled up there, you will be hard pressed to drive up or down the driveway without Jake or Buddy knowing about it.

Once in awhile, I do get a chance to sneak up on them. It's the rare occasion when they both have decided to take a nap on my bed. In that case, I'm usually just stepping into the kitchen before they realize that their human is home. Then it's full speed ahead to through the house to give me a lick on the face. Their expressions are like "oh we knew you were here the whole time!"

The one thing that never fails is Jake and Buddy's enthusiasm. They are always excited to see me. I can go out for five minutes just to take out the trash and they will still be excited to have me come back in. No matter how bad the day has been or how sad I am, they're happy to be with me. It's a nice, warm feeling to know that I've got a couple to come home to.

So it goes with my life. I've never been without a pet to come home to. Honestly, I"d just assume that it stay that way.

buddy and jake
Buddy and Jake relaxing on the couch.

Pets and Their Beauty Sleep

Mel Boone 

Pumpkin resting in bathroom sink.

I admire people and animals who seem to be able to a nap pretty much wherever. The pets do give me a laugh. Mainly because I can't believe that they can pick a spot, fall asleep, and be comfortable all at the same time.

Tang takes a siesta on the couch.

It's pretty much routine to find Pumpkin asleep in the bathroom sink. That's his spot. What a way to startle the guests when they ask to use the bathroom. "Oh sure, go right on ahead, just make sure that you take a bottle Purell with you so that you don't disturb the cat." Ironicly enough, Pumpkin has been known to eat and drink in the bathtub, providing the water is in a water bowl and not the actual tub. Talk about quirky!

Missy has claimed the kitchen sink upon occasion to lay her feline body for a nap. Tippy, her offspring, prefers the back of the sofa. Sofie, the back of the recliner, or the kitchen table if it means a head rub because she's in my way.

Like the cats, Jake and Buddy have their own spots as well. They jockey for position on the back of the couch to sleep in front of the window. I don't think it's very comfy, but it does mean that whichever one is there will be first to know that one of the humans have pulled into the driveway.

At night, I can't sleep without both of them under the blanket with me. It's really not my decision, it's theirs. They insist that we must sleep like we are sardines in a can. Once in a while when I get up from bed and come back, I find Jake on top of my pillow. Once in a while, he's under my pillow. I've yet to figure that one out.

Jake really enjoys sleeping on top of my stepdad. We're not sure why. It's funny, though. A life size human pillow. Jake must be comfortable since he does it a lot.

Jake uses my stepdad as a cozy spot to sleep.

And so it goes in the lives of our pets.

Sometimes Jake likes to sleep under the pillow.

The Life of Cats

Mel Boone



Perhaps it's just me, but being related to farmers, or at least coming from a farm family, can give you a unique outlook on life. Or, at least it differs somewhat from someone who has never experienced farm life. I can't say that I know everything that a farm kid does; however, even though I was a town kid, spending time on my grandparents' farm gave me some insight on life that I'm betting some of the town kids never got.

Missy and her kittens

One of those experiences was a firsthand look at where our food comes from. It starts long before it gets the the grocery store. Another experience is the life and death of the animals on the farm, along with the occasional surprise.

Just the other day, I was looking at the photos on my iPod. A couple of those pics were of Missy and her litter of kittens she had in March. Four little bundles of furry cuteness. One black, two tortoise shell, like their mother, and one yellow kitten that literally sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to the rest. Tang, as I call the yellow kitten, reminds me of another yellow cat that was on the farm many years ago.

When Grandpa was still alive and actively farming, there was a yellow cat named Tommy. He was a lovable cat that never met a stranger, and a pretty good mouse catcher, too. He would make an occasional trip in the house to curl up in one of the living room chairs for a nap. Many catnaps for him were on the Massey Ferguson seat or hood when there was a nice breeze. Tommy never missed a chance to ride on the carryall on the back of the Massey when Grandpa was taking square bales from one barn to the other.

One day, Grandpa went out to do chores and found Tommy dead. This was a sad day for all of us. The feline was a beloved member of the family. Grandpa managed to hold back tears as he buried Tommy. For about four days, the farm didn't seem the same without him.

After the four days passed, Grandpa, as always, was out doing morning chores. As he entered the barn and turned on the lights, he looked over at straw on the floor. It was bedding that he had left for Tommy to sleep in at night. After staring at it for awhile, he uttered only one word: "Tommy?"

From the straw came the response. "Meow!" Up pops Tommy out of the straw nest over to greet Grandpa. Yep, that's right, Grandpa buried someone else's cat without realizing it.

This is one of those memories that I can't help but to chuckle at. You don't get memories like that living in town.

Missy and her kittens

The Old Family Farm

Mel Boone

The old Roe farm

I guess you can say that there are two types of farms. There are big corporate farms, and then there are the family farms. I'm glad to have had grandparents who owned a small family farm.

There are so many memories of that farm that I couldn't possibly list them all. Even though I was raised in town, I spent many wonderful times out there. Big yard (or at least big to me), and lots of pasture to play in and to explore. I was never at a loss for playmates. There were always dogs and cats there that were willing to play with me just so that they could have some attention.

I grew up assuming that the farm would always be there and someday I would be the one to it over. Now I must admit that I have been proven wrong. Grandpa passed away from Parkinson's disease several years ago. My grandma, who's health is declining, is now in the nursing home. The farm, since the deed was still in her name, was sold in order to pay for the nursing home.

Nobody expects their golden years to be like this. My grandparents were no different, so planning for bad health issues was something that they didn't get around to planning for.

Stuff had been moved out of the house. Some to storage, some to an auction house. On July 16, 2017, the little knick knack stuff was sorted through. Mom went home and I made one last trip back to the farm by myself.

Don't get me wrong, I really do like the farmer who bought the farm. He's a great guy who loves the land and is passionate about farming. His daughter and her husband will be moving into the house. I am so grateful that these people are cat lovers and were willing to take grandmas cats. I'm glad the cats get to stay where they are. But it's still hard for me. Perhaps that's selfish for me to say. But what is done has been done.

As I pulled into the driveway on Sunday, July 16, I made my rounds petting all of the outdoor cats that I could find. I went to the east fence where the pet cemetery is and stood there for a moment. I walked to the pasture one last time. Then I went in the house. I found the four indoor cats laying in the living room. So I sat there with them and cried like a baby.

No one said that saying goodbye was easy.