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A Small Town Gal

My "Kids" Have Fur

Mel BooneEnergy. Sometimes I think that I need more of it. I've been told that is a sign of getting older. The truth is, having a couple of Jack Russell terriers in the house doesn't help me out much. If you've ever owned one, then you know what I mean; they are energetic dogs, and smart, too. With that being said, I don't think they realize how small they are.

I love Jake and Buddy. I don't think I could have asked for better companions. They have filled a void left by Stubby and Toby — a Jack Russell and Parsons Russell. Both passed on a few years ago, within months of each other. At 2-1/2 years and 4 years old, both Buddy and Jake still have a lot of life and energy. They wake up every morning ready to go. At times I find myself wishing for a skateboard or roller skates just to keep up with them on our daily walks.

In the house, they run circles around my living room chair. It's a swivel type chair. That pretty much means that when both aren't chasing each other around it, Jake will be in the chair while Buddy headbutts it to move it around in circles as fast as he can. I'm surprised that the chair has held up so well.

I know living in town isn't ideal at times. At one time, Buddy was a farm dog, able to run loose. Here, inside the city limits, it takes a few minutes to put a collar, harness, and leash on each dog every time we go out. Plus a double-check on my part to make sure that I have some clean up bags with me. It must be done, so it gets done.

At the end of the day, I watch them as they make their bed to my bed. When they sleep, they sleep like angels, even though they can be little devils when awake. I always find myself thinking, "If I could find a way to bottle that energy, I bet I could sell it."

Two dogs sleeping
Buddy and Jake after a day of play.

Happy to Be Irish

Mel BooneWelcome March! It's time for me to go to the grocery store and stock up on corned beef and cabbage. St. Patrick's Day is March 17th!

It doesn't matter who you are, everyone seems to get into being Irish for a day during this time of year. Green beer, green rivers, green stuff to wear, the St. Patrick's Day Parade ... thank goodness that it falls on a Saturday this year. For me, Irish for a day doesn't apply. I have some of my ancestors that came to America from Ireland, so I'm lucky enough to be Irish all year long!

With the holiday just around the corner, let me take the moment to share some trivia that I've managed to find online:

Erin go Bragh (Éirinn go Brách, in Irish) translates to "Ireland Forever".

Harry Truman was the first President to attend a St. Patrick's Day parade in 1948.

Popular folklore is that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. The truth is that Ireland is a little too cold for snakes.

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green.

The odds of finding a four leaf clover is 1 in 10,000.

Did you know that, for a while, St. Patrick's Day in Ireland was a dry holiday? It was considered a religious holiday from 1903 to 1970. That meant that the pubs had to be closed for a day. In 1970, St. Patrick's Day was reclassified as a National Holiday. With that being done, the pubs were able to be open for business.

Then there's my home state of Missouri. What does it have in common with Ireland? It's the only state (or at least the only one that I know of) that has a town named St. Patrick. St. Patrick, MO and the Shrine of St. Patrick is located in northeast Missouri. The shrine is on grounds that were originally purchased for the town church back in the 1830s. In 1936, Father Francis O'Duignan began raising money for the shrine. He was able to raise the money by sending a letter to people all across the country with Irish last names if they would like to have a letter stamped with the town's postmark along with a contribution. Once the money was raised, the Shrine of St. Patrick was built, and it was dedicated in 1957. Sixty years later, the shrine is still there. I do believe people still come to the shrine as it is a nice attraction, especially on St. Patrick's Day.

So go out on March 17th, be Irish for a day, and celebrate this year. Erin go Bragh!

Scarf with clover pattern

Crafting During the Winter Months

Mel BooneFebruary is almost over. Unfortunately, winter is still here and I have the dreaded "cabin fever." I hate it! I am an outdoor person that really doesn't like cold weather. By this time in the new year, I feel like I am going nuts. I try hard to keep myself occupied by catching up on reading my favorite books and magazines. Sometimes I need more than just a good book in order to keep the cabin fever at bay, though.

Yarn and knitting tool

I took up knitting hats a few years ago. I will be honest, I've never been one that really liked the idea of sewing or knitting. However, I found a set of looms at Wal-Mart that makes knitting hats rather simple and easy for me. I have even found that it can be a little bit relaxing. At least, it is when Jake isn't trying to steal the yarn that I am knitting with. Once he grabs it, he's off! Then I spend five minutes unraveling it from the chair that he ran around several times before letting go of the ball of yarn.

Then there is my pot holder loom. I've had that metal loom since I was a kid, and I still enjoy using it. Sometimes it's hard to find the nylon loops I need for it, so when I do find them I try to stock up by buying three or four bags at a time.

At this point I have quite a stockpile of homemade knit hats and pot holders. That's OK. They make great gifts. I've even donated a few of the hats to be sent to the troops overseas. I've also given a few of the pot holders to parents who have kids going off to college or just moving into their first apartment.

It makes me feel good to see my crafts going to good use. However to be honest, I"ll be even better once I can get away from winter. I have a garden spot calling my name!

Square loom in use

Life with Quirks

Mel BooneI must admit, I have quirks. Don't worry, I don't have anything that would be considered contagious and don't do anything illegal. My quirks are probably just odd enough to put me in the "weird" category.

Body butter and lip balm 

Hand lotion and lip balm, can you believe it? I cannot get through my day without either one. I have no real preference in brand, although my favorite seem to be Burt's Bees. I have got them stashed everywhere. Literally! If you don't believe me, just come to my house and take inventory. I have them stashed in the bathroom cabinet, nightstand drawer by my bed, kitchen table, purse, and the SUV. If I leave and don't have a travel-sized hand lotion bottle and lip balm in my pocket, it's back into the house to retrieve them.

I've got to be nuts, right? Really, who in their right mind acts like they can't live any amount of time without these two products? The only thing that I haven't started doing is making my own. Believe me, if I had the recipes and supplies to start doing it, I would. It's only a matter of time before I Google it. Perhaps I should start my own support group; however, I fear that I may be the only one to show up at the monthly meetings.

This is almost as bad as my addiction to antique tractors and trucks. There's already eleven tractors at home. I'm drawn to them like bees to honey. If I see one in parking lot, I've got to pull in to look at it. If I see one on a trailer on the road, I follow it in hopes that the driver pulls in someplace so that I can take a moment to admire it.

In a way, I'm glad that I do have these weird quirks. I could have chosen much worse; I could have chosen to start smoking and drinking like my biological dad did. With that in mind, maybe my quirks aren't so weird.

Dogs vs. Cats

Mel BooneWhich makes the better pet, dogs or cats? That has been an ongoing dispute for what seems like forever. Some love cats and hate dogs. Others love dogs and hate cats. I can't pick a side. I love them both.

Two dogs cuddling
Buddy and Jake

For me, I really don't have a preference. I love the companionship of a cat as much as I do a dog. As a joke, I tell people that my first babysitter was a cat. The downfall of that joke is that my mom has the pictures that show Bootsie the cat curled up next to me as an infant. Even though I barely remember her, I'm pretty sure I never got far from Bootsie sight.

I go out to the farm every morning to feed the farm cats. I feel like the Pied Piper of the feline world at times; they all come running to greet me as soon as I get out of the SUV. Then they all make a point of waiting at the back door just to follow me to the barn with their food in my hands. It's hilarious to watch me walk while trying not to trip over them. I've got the YouTube video as proof! (Just look up my YouTube channel: deeregal2)

Jake and Buddy are my daily reminders that dogs have a special place in my life, too. After I lost my first Jack Russell, Stubby, I swore that I would never have another dog. Well, Jake proved me wrong. When he was seven weeks old, Jake gave me this adorable puppy look, and I was instantly hooked. I'm pretty sure Jake knew he had me suckered. Now that I have my grandma's dog, Buddy, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with two terriers at the same time. They drive me nuts at times, but at the end of the day, when both are curled up next to me, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm pretty sure my mom would tell me that what goes around comes around. With as many times as I had my childhood dogs, Brownie and Inky, sitting at the kids' table for my "tea parties," Jake and Buddy must be giving me a dose of my own medicine!

Group of cats
Farm cats

Difference of Camping Opinions

Mel BooneIt's January. The weatherman is calling for really nasty weather this weekend. All I can think about is, "When is it going to warm up so that I can go to tractor shows and go camping?"

Super 8 motel 

My stepdad's idea of camping is usually referred to as the Super 8 hotel chain. A bathroom, a bed, with Jake curled up asleep next to him. Not to mention a TV for him to fall asleep in front of while the coffee pot on the desk is still half full. Go figure!

I do admit, I like to have access to a shower when I go camping. I've been lucky enough to camp at places that have public showers and restrooms. Once in a blue moon, when I find myself at a spot where there's nothing more than port-a-potties, I've made do. Up goes my portable, 10x10, pop-up tent. Then I attach a few blankets around the side for privacy, and out comes the 5-gallon "water bladder" with attached hose that I picked up from the camping section of Wal-Mart and a package of disposable washcloths that I can order from campingsurvival.com. Good enough for me to get through a couple of nights.

Outside of the shower issue, I'll camp in the back of the van, truck with a topper, tent, or a camper trailer. A twin-size inflatable bed will do, provided that I can remember to put a blanket over it so that Jake's claws don't deflate it. I think for this year I may invest in a cot so that I don't wake up in the middle of the night on a deflated piece of plastic.

As for the TV? Well, I can make do without the TV for a couple of days. I've made do without the internet for several days and it hasn't killed me yet, so no TV for awhile won't hurt me either. I've thought about getting a portable TV just for the heck of it. Then again, watching my stepdad be without TV or a day or two can be pretty amusing at times.

Welcome 2017!

Mel BooneHappy New Year, everyone! We're already four days into 2017, can you believe it? As always, I attempt to make resolutions — emphasis on the word attempt. Why? Well, it's because I'm lousy at keeping them!

This year I really want to try to do better. My mindset isn't "I will try to keep my new year resolutions," it's "I will succeed at keeping at least one or all!" I wonder how many times I'll have to remind myself of this? Who wants to place any bets on that? I mean, I really do have a poor track record!

One objective is in my photography. It's a hobby that I have had since middle school, and I'm glad to share my love for the hobby with my Grandpa Boone. Now I want to go a step further and see if my skills as a photographer are good enough for anyone to buy. I could start online, but I haven't worked up the nerve to go that far yet. I do, however, have 8x10 mounting boards that I purchased from Photographer's Edge. I would love to see some of my work in a local gallery. So, my goal for now is to get my 8x10's mounted and start looking at which galleries will accept my work.

Another goal is contests. At one time I wrote poetry. Although I never won a poetry contest, I do have three poems that have been printed in anthologies. Even if I never enter another poetry contest, I really should get back to writing my poems again. Perhaps I should Google photo contests?

Then there's Jake and Buddy. Jake — as those who have read my blogs know — is my Jack Russell Terrier. I now have Buddy, my Grandma Roe's terrier mix. They're both lovable dogs and they love to play with each other. They love to go for car rides but get a little too hyper at times in the SUV. So it's time for a little training, I guess. I thought one dog was a handful; now I have an extra helping of "energetic dog." If I can just get through this then trips to Long Branch Lake and State Park will be so much more enjoyable once spring gets here!

So all in all, I'm trying to stay optimistic. My resolutions are all doable, right?

Stack of photos and writings
Photo by Fotolia/Aleksandr Volkov