Author Archives: Than

Grandma’s Iris

Nothing says, “I’m a grandma” to me like an iris.


My great-grandmother had iris and lilacs.  My grandmas had iris (and lilacs).

I tried to salvage some iris bulbs from our old house, but only a couple survived.  I am trying to keep them alive.

The iris bulbs were from my grandmother- overflow from her patch on the ranch.  I had them in our old flowerbed for 3 years after she gave them to me.

The iris never bloomed in those early years.

My grandmother passed away in January.

And the irises bloomed that spring.

Some may call it a “sign”.  I know I teared up when I saw the buds for the first time, as if Grandma was tending to my flower bed from heaven.  (Which I need all the help when it comes to flowers and lawns!)

I always think of grandmas when I see an iris bloom.


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Plant of the Week- Gromwells

The grass is green and the forbs are flowery.  I have no excuses.

It’s time for “Plant of the Week” again.  Say “hello” to my yellow friend, the Gromwell.

One of the first yellow flowers in the Sandhills.  Gromwells (also called Hoary Puccoons).

One of the first yellow flowers in the Sandhills. Gromwells (also called Hoary Puccoons).

The Gromwell flowers early in the spring- it (and the mustards) are usually the first shot of color.

The flowers are rich and saturated in their yellow.  Each flower has 5 petals.  The dark green leaves are rough, like a cat’s tongue.  In the fall, the leaves turn brown and curl.  At the base of the leaf (where the leaf attaches to the stem) a small, white, and hard seed will form.

Scientific name: Lithospermum canescens.

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Shot at and…

“Shot at and missed….


Sh!t on and hit.”

It’s been one of those days/weeks/month.

History to this great quote:

My friend lived in the country and the place they bought came with an outhouse.  (An outhouse what you use when the water pipes freeze, or the plumber takes forever to visit your extremely rural area, or when a Sandhiller tries to fix the problem himself.  It’s a small building over a hole that substitutes for a real toilet.)

Her outhouse was used by many a bored (and witty) persons.  They would scratch in toilet related poems and sayings.  This great saying came from that outhouse.

You’re welcome.  Now you can put into words when you have a really, bad day.

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Friday Thoughts

Thought for the day:  Does recycling the cardboard out of your Reece’s peanut butter package make you a better person?

My Dad driving Angus Herd

If so, I’m a really good person most days.

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Branding Buns

Instead of “Branding Buns” I should have named this post, “I am So Sick of Baking Bread!”

Newt has over 50 people coming to brand in a couple weeks.  Since I still work nearly full-time, I have to make the branding meal as much ahead as possible.

I have 3 cheesecakes in the freezer.  And now I have 83 buns.

I made 5 batches of the Quick Bread Recipe.  For the buns, I prefer to use bread flour that has extra gluten for more strength in my buns (aka Buns of Steel).

This recipe made 16 rolls each, give or take.  I also decrease my yeast down

Great homemade bread recipe used by my grandma and mom.

Great homemade bread recipe used by my grandma and mom.

to 2 TBS which I mixed ahead of time with 1/2 cup of warm water and a couple tablespoons of the sugar.  Then the yeast reproduced like crazy in the warm, energy packed water and fluffed up.  After that, I added a couple cups of bread flour (mine was unbleached), 1.5 cups of hot tap water, and 1/2 cup of oil.  I also added the rest of the sugar, and 1 TBS of salt.  (It sounds like a lot of salt, but if you skimp the bread tastes flat.  I used sea salt, but I’m sure the NaCl in your salt will work just fine.)

I turn my dough out to knead by hand for 10 minutes, to get the right consistency.  I also keep the dough a bit on the sticky side, because at branding we will thaw these and grilled them with butter (like the hamburger buns on “Dinners, Drive-ins, and Dives”).  Too much flour and overcooking the buns will make them tough, dry, and too crumbly.

The reason this recipe is “quick” is the fact you doubled the amount of yeast.  So don’t leave the dough unattended.  Batch #3 exploded through the saran wrap I placed over the dough to “rest” (or “take a nap” as ReeRee calls it).  I let the dough rise once (lack of time), but if you let it rise twice the yeast/bready flavor will be more intense.

I have a new electric kitchen range and I had to experiment on the temperature and convention.  In the end, I toasted the buns for 15 minutes at 335 degrees with the convention fan on.  (I hate to admit it, but it cooked better than my old gas stove.  I can’t say the same for the cooktop- I miss my gas range.)

After Batch #2 I noticed my buns were too thin to be sliced for a sandwich, unless you like flatbread.  So I tried making my dough look like a poached egg (flattened around the outside of a fat yolk).

This was the best way to proof the rolls for a nice round bun shape.

This was the best way to proof the rolls for a nice round bun shape.

The yeast will continue to reproduce and belch gases, causing the buns to raise (or proof).  Once you bake them, this funny shape disappears.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Be glad you weren’t around to smell the wonderful smell- neither Newt, nor I, nor ReeRee got a single one.

Now I just need to cook 7 roasts, caramelized onions, make 20 gallons of tea, peel and slice 4 pounds of carrots, peel and dice 20 pounds of potatoes, cook the corn, and make cheesecake toppings.

Brandings are like weddings.  You enjoy other people’s more when you went through the work yourself.

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Ever Had a Bad Bloodsugar Day?

Diabetics: have you ever had a really, really bad day?  That finger stick reveals sugars in the 240’s.

You bolus.  The next hour you are 289.

You exercise.

You bolus.  The next hour you are 312.

You stop eating for the rest of the day to try to figure out what in the world is going on.

You rage bolus.  Eat a bowl of ice cream and the rest of the Easter candy.  And take a nap.

You are 114.  Yeah!  You feel the numbers level out.

The next hour you are 280.  You feel the ketones cause the neutral pH of the blood to sway- proteins start to unravel, losing their quaternary and tertiary structures.

When you pull your infusion set, everything makes sense.

Usually, I have blood in the tube, or a slight kink when bloodsugars go astray.  Surely a 45 degree kink in my infusion tubing would have caused havoc…

Infusion setThe crazy thing is- I didn’t have any problems with this set.  My bloodsugars responded to boluses.  My basal was fine.

But seriously, how did this ever happen?  Maybe my six pack made the needle bounce back (harhar!).






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Starting from Ground Zero

I have been working with my old diabetes educator who moved shortly afterReeRee was born.  Like 13 hours (one way) away.

I was in a bubble by myself- dealing with my diabetes.

I was sick of not being able exercise for fear of the lows (50-) followed by the extreme highs (300+).

I was physically tired from the brutal swings, it was (and still is) exhausting.

I have been stalking Marcey for a while, because she is the only person who can make sense of my numbers.  After 30  years of living with the disease, it wasn’t getting any easier.

She is now doing distance clinics!  Perfect for me who dreaded (but considered) the 13  hr drive one way.

Marcey, for whom I love her positivity, sounded thrilled that “I was motivated”.

Hmmm, I thought to myself.  I thought I was at the bottom of the hole I had dug myself into.  Looking up towards the sky…


  • to stabilize bloodsugars to avoid the up and downs (we are getting closer on this- with just evenings to figure out)
  • deal with my stomach emptying slowly (diabetic complication- you’ve heard of diabetics with nerve damage in their feet.  I have it my stomach… and maybe my brain.)
  • add exercise.  I haven’t broke a sweat in years.  Thinking of breaking a sweat is making me go low.
  • have a sick and broken pump plan.  What to do when the flu hits?  What kind of shot units do I give?

Looking into my crystal ball, I see a lot of work cut out for Marcey and I.  Problems?  Marcey would call these challenges!

I now have two people in my “diabetes bubble”.  Not being alone is a wonderful thing!

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Some of My Favorite Pictures

Back when I still rode.  Roddy, the buckskin gelding, looks over the herd of horned cows.Roddy and Horned cows


Back when I still had chickens.  I hope to get new hens next year.  I also hope for an established blue grama lawn and a garden.

Rooster and hens


Back before it rained.  The drought of 2012.  A calf drinks milk from his mom.  We didn’t get a single drop of rain that day.Horned cow

The “I’m Done!” picture…I’m tired and hungry and I don’t want my picture taken ANY MORE!Enough!

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Adhesive Capsulitis- Frozen Shoulder

I always thought old people were crabby, because they were old.  I was wrong.

I have been meaning to write about my “frozen shoulders” for a while.  My arthritis flared up last night, and “Frozen” the movie makes all things frozen popular. LET IT GO! LET IT GOOOOOoooo!  (ReeRee can really blast out this song.)  LET THE SUN SHIIIINNE ON THE SNOOOOOOOW!

It has been about 2 years since I had the symptoms.

  • sudden pain
  • sudden loss of muscle contractions in my arms (like when I was pushing myself up from playing on the floor with baby ReeRee & I would fall into a heap)
  • eventually, I couldn’t reach up.  The cups were too high to put away in the shelf.  You could have taped a million dollar bill to the top of a door frame, and I would have had to get a chair to get it.

I went to the local physical therapist (a mere 45 miles away).  She moved my arms around (or as much as she could, because I would finch and muscles would tighten down).  Then she left the room and called a doctor.  When she came back, she confirmed the diagnosis “Adhesive capsulitis” or frozen shoulders.

Adhesive capsulitis is an auto-immune disease that attacked the cartilage in the shoulder joint, causing it to become a tight, tangled mess of scar tissue.  Your once fluid joint is tightened down until movement stops.

Go figure- my body already destroyed my pancreas, why not my shoulder collagen?

For 10 painful sessions, the PT tried to break out the scar-tissue by stretching my arms.  By this time, I ached all the time and I started feel mean.  If I hurt this bad, why shouldn’t everyone around me feel the same way?

Then my insurance had maxed out her visits to ten and she suggested seeing a doctor.

To make a long story short, the doctor knocked me out, then physically broke out the scar tissue so my arms were able to rotate again.

Two non-cutting surgeries later, my scar tissue has been broke out.  The doctors warn that this disease has a tendency to come back every 3 years, so I am due for it back next year.

I try to ignore the fact I have a type of arthritis, but when weather systems move in (like these rain storms), my joints are painful and my bloodsugars tend to run higher.

So if you have the symptoms of frozen shoulder, don’t wait (for 9 months) like I did, thinking I had pulled a muscle.

Old people are crabby because they have arthritis and they hurt.  Not because they are old.

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Rain, Glorious Rain!

The driest March on record meant lots of sand blowing.  I was regretting the dirt work to get our “new” house in.  Sand has been blasted through the doors and windows.

Luckily we missed the fires that started across the state.

FIREonHill6509Thankfully, we have had a week of wet weather.  Rain, rain, and more rain.

Back when the grass was green and tall and wet stuff called "rain" fell from the sky.

The parched hills have filled up & turned green.  The spring flowers have exploded.


The morning sun shines through the pure white and baby green plum bushes.  The road ditches are alive with the new blooms.

The morning sun shines through the pure white and baby green plum bushes. The road ditches are alive with the new blooms.

One of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring- the purple cow peas.

One of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring- the purple cow peas.

The grass is greening up.  For now, we can enjoy the rain and the peace-of-mind that the cows will stay put.

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