Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Passing of a Great Lady

Born in 1923 in the little town of North Kingsville, Ohio, and growing up in the Great Depression. Irene E. Stewart went to a little school where she knew everyone for all twelve years. She graduated Valedictorian in a class of 13 students. She then went on to the Ashtabula Business College, the first woman in her family to seek higher education.

Her first job was as a typist. Then she worked as a secretary for a firm of lawyers until the firm dissolved during WWII. She married John D. Callahan in 1945. They had two daughters, Diane E. (Callahan) Moore a costume designer and Kathleen A. (Callahan) Jordan an e-book author.

Irene landed a job with the New York Central Railroad in the 1940's. When it merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1964, the Reclaimation Plant closed. From there she went to work for Union Carbide in their Linde` Division until she retired.

When the economy went south in the 1970's she bought and operated the Leeward Lounge. She married Roy L. Talbot in 1976. Irene and Roy Talbot were very active in the Harbor Restoration project and the Ashtabula County License Beverage Association, until they retired in 1988. They traveled in extensively an RV, where Irene began writing short stories. They finally settled in Kentucky in 2005 when they could no longer travel or battle the northeastern Ohio winters.

With the help and support of her daughters, Irene published several short stories on and Barnes & Noble under the name of I. C. Talbot. She was working on a collection of short stories at the time of her passing.

She will be remembered for her courage and common sense by all whose lives she touched.

She is survived by her husband, Roy L. Talbot, her daughters Diane and Kathleen, her grandsons Nevin & Carl and many other beloved members of her extended family.

She passed away on January 18th, 2012 of a sudden heart attack.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Sense of Place

The young mare wants a new bale of hay.

Vine Grove is a very small city and Rineyville isn't a city by any stretch of the imagination. What I like is the feeling of connection I have in these communities, even though I didn't grow up here.

Today was market day in Vine Grove. I went down to the Farmer's Market to see Dale and pick up a couple of the chickens I raised last summer. Since I was down there, I bought a roll of whole-pig sausage from Dan. When I delivered the poultry, a couple months back, I lent Dale my cages, so I picked up one of those. It was too cold to chat – wind-chills in the single digits will freeze off body parts.

Then I swung over to the Chinese restaurant where my friend Nancy had another cage of mine from when I sold her 3 ducks. She told me how much her family enjoyed the drakes – and how lean and tasty they were.

Once I got home I hitched up the trailer, so I could pick up another round bale for the horses. I talked to Glenn, and we found we had a couple of people in common. Daryl at Rineyville Feed and James Martin in LaRue county.

There is always the weather to talk about, I suppose a city person wouldn't understand that, but if you have animals your life revolves around the weather and if you're a farmer then the weather is the most powerful force in your life.

It took an interesting cut to back the trailer through the gate into the pasture. Hubby didn't think I could make it. (LOL – showed him!) The horses attacked the hay, so hungry I had to slip between their chests and the bale to untie the strings.

For dinner we had one of the chickens. Not one of my best meals. I've never cooked a bird that lean. The dark meat was VERY dark and there wasn't much breast meat. I knew which rooster it was – the skinniest of the lot. It will make good chicken soup, nicely flavored once it's simmered awhile. Next time, I'll know to watch it so the bird isn't overcooked – it has to be just right, can't be ignored while I'm off running errands.

I've made up my mind after eating it; I'm changing chicken breeds. The Barred Rocks are good laying birds but calling them 'dual purpose' is a joke. So I'm going to mail-order about 25 Light Brahma pullets. They are a heavy breed for eating and not bad for laying hens. My Brahma roosters will keep watch over a nice flock.

It's very easy to talk about 'eating local' or 'buying local' when they are buzz-words. Doing it – feeding my horses local feed, eating home raised chicken and pork, these are ways I'm connected to the community.

Like 'putting down roots' these connections make me feel grounded and 'part of' a community. It's a very good feeling.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What? No New Year's Resolutions??

Well - no - I'm not even going to pretend to make any, because I never get them done. I don't see any reason to drive myself nuts with unrealistic expectations.

What I've been working towards - my goals - are a totally different ball game. Those I can and do make, all the time.

So what am I working on for the New Year? I'm finishing up last year's 'to-do' list and picking up a slew of 'round-to-it' stuff that I didn't get done in the last few months.

So I'm afraid that I'm going to be a boring person, who doesn't write long retrospective posts or saddle herself with un-realistic expectations. My realistic expectations are modest.

I expect to get 'Swallow the Moon' into paperback.
I expect to sell more books.
I expect to buy tons of hay.
I expect to do a bunch of writing.

I want to keep doing what I've been doing since September, because I've gotten so much accomplished in the last 4 months. I went into the office this morning, and got right down to work.

Next week I've got some errands to run on Fort Knox. This will be a good time to get ALL KINDS of stuff caught up. I've got to make some contacts on Ft. Knox and I'm hoping this will be a slow time of year for those departments. If I can get the information I need, I can start working on 'Tempest in a Teapot' again.

I deconstructed an old unfinished novel today using Scrivener. I can see all kinds of mistakes just scanning for page breaks. I'm learning the software as I go. It does so many useful little tasks. Very Cool!

I was so pleased to be back at work.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow - OH NO!

I didn't mean it!

I went outside to let the horses out and it was snowing. I cussed a little bit - though it is January and this is to be expected after Christmas and all. But I decided to stay home for the day, and see what needs done here. I was almost out of baled hay and my round bale was a carpet of inedible mess in the pasture.

So I got on the phone to see if I could scare up a round bale of hay for the herd. Which is a major project! First because a bale can weigh up to 1200 lbs. Second because I have to trailer it home. Third because I have to get it out of the trailer.

I found one, got there with the trailer. The farmer, Glen, was carrying a big bottle, coaxing a calf out of the birthing area into a sheltered area for the calves. The little fella was 3 days old and a total 'squee' of cuteness.

Look at that face! At 3 days they mostly want to lay down and sleep. These are the offspring of dairy cattle, they don't get to be raised by their mothers. However, they tip-toe around looking fragile and too cute for words.

I should have taken a picture.

Anyways, I got my bale of hay, a dose of cute, and scurried home to give the 1000 lb bale to my horses. Meanwhile, it's still snowing. Hubby was home, he played ground guide to get the trailer into the pasture, then undid the dump bed so we could push the bale out of the trailer. (Ain't picking that sucker up for anybody.)

A few cuss words and a BIG push later, I was taking the twine off the round bale. I've got pictures of the herd around a hay bale before so I can post one. This is what I expect to see tomorrow when I leave for the office.