Every three weeks the whole valley has resounded with the frantic bawling of Daisy Mae the "wanting" cow. Wayne the AI (artificial insemination) Man has visited the ranch armed with helpful hormones and a "bull in a syringe" but all in vain. Daisy has been prodded, poked and declared obese in an attempt to resolve her hormonal issues..... but every three weeks our docile black Dexter turns into a wild wanton woman with only one thing on her bovine mind and it isn't a back scratch ! Much head scratching and searching of Google, Bing and Ask have only told us what we are sadly already aware.....and after yet another traumatic day of ear splitting cow calls, in desperation I resorted to scrolling reams of Craigslist in search of a suitable suitor to satisfy her lust. I found Pixie Forest Mulder, a VERY nice young man who clearly possesses all the attributes required to resolve Daisy's needs and to give our eardrums a reprieve. Ahhh, the wonders of the internet ! A quick call to the very nice man who owns the very nice black Dexter bull and I had leased Mulders "assets" for six weeks. Daisy is clearly enamored by the handsome newcomer in the cow pen, Mulder (unsurprisingly) is smitten by his lusty bride and.....nature is happily taking it's course. Misty Moo , our adorable golden Jersey heifer already into her second trimester and due in March is noticeably avoiding contact with the newcomer, resolutely keeping her tail to the wall and ensuring that she is always just far enough away from the unsavory" action" in the cow pen. Our hopes for a little Daisy in the Summer rest on Mulder's broad shoulders (shoulder steak !)....update in three weeks !
Greg (2) joined our family for Thanksgiving, over the past two weeks our young WWOOFER has really become part of our rapidly extending family. Big brother John and his new bride Jean arrived Thursday afternoon and just to work up a healthy hearty appetite helped us with the evening chores. It was a lovely evening spent in wonderful company. Quiet, enthusiastic and efficient Greg (2) can be found anywhere around the ranch. With his help, the cedar siding on the barn kitchen wall has now been completed, the outside bell for the telephone replaced, the electric fence repaired in the big pasture, the big cedar barn doors finished and, (to my horror) balancing on a scarily unstable ladder the drainpipe was re connected. Those being just a few of the projects that our visitor from Vermont has accomplished......my challenge has been how to make him take a well earned break. Thank you Greg (2 !
Well, it's still dark outside and it sounds like there is a storm coming in. Should make for an interesting weekend ! Time to go and start layering up.....these cold Winter mornings I'm never sure where I start I'm wearing so many outer layers !!Take care keep safe and warm. M
I'm blessed to have one amazing Greg in my life as a permanent forever feature but right now and for the next few weeks.....I'm even more blessed to have two great Gregs !!!
Greg (2) has fitted into ranch life as if he was born with rubber boots on and a pitchfork in his hand. He and Greg (mine) have been busy over the past few days as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw nearer. Sadly, the turkey pen is now almost unoccupied. Tom the Tom turkey ( original eh?) is now master of a harem of three hens. Why three ? We had the original pair of breeding turkeys and it was always our intention to keep Tom and Tilly.....unfortunately the turkey poults morphed into mini Tillys and as the poults grew, momma turkey blended into a sea of identical black brown and grey birds. Clearly this left Greg with a problem as the number of birds in the turkey pen declined. One hen ensured that she was not going to feature on a Thanksgiving dish, made a break for freedom and disappeared with a flurry of wings over the tree tops leaving Greg with just a handful of feathers. I guess she decided that if the President could pardon a turkey then she was going to survive the Thanksgiving and Christmas cull too. The other hen still under Tom's watchful eye was just very lucky that (1) Greg ran out of daylight (2) it was bitterly cold and (3) she was on the shortlist as a possibility for mom turkey. I guess we'll do well for turkey eggs in the Spring. The escapee wasn't really as smart as she thought she was.....it wasn't long before she walked back home and into the pen. All four have a reprieve....the President only pardons one !
We were fortunate to have Greg (2) Tyler, Carly and Joanna helping and I would like to thank them all for giving up their Saturday for the cause. We couldn't have done it without you all.
Over the past months, we have determined that we are going to lighten our load here on the ranch and ease the work for our ageing bones. This weekend has (temporarily) added to our daily schedule as we have added 6 pompom med alpacas to our livestock itinerary. The alpacas have been displaced from their home and needed sanctuary. Greg (1) has a healthy dislike for all species camelidae after a couple of unfortunate run ins with kicking spitting nasty Llamas and Greg(2) was quite obviously unsure about the strange hairy creature on the end of his leadrope particulary after he was told that they behave better if you don't look at them. GREAT....we were fine with that. smile. Loading the animals into the trailer was not without incident, increased Greg's dislike of anything llama like and ensured that we would never be adding another to our pastures. Secretly I think they are quite cute.....!
There is also another addition to the cow barn and yesterday the valley echoed to the bellows of Pixi Forest Moulder.....a VERY well endowed black Dexter bull. Daisy Mae has repeatedly declined to get pregnant and clearly Wayne the man with the semen straw just wasn't doing it for her. After much discussion, we have leased Moulder and his oversized assets. He appeared to be very interested in Daisy.....now we watch and wait for nature and testerone to take it's course. Moulder will be lumbering through our pastures for the next six weeks and the cow barn is once more resembles Jurassic park with all the electric fence wire.
Time to go, it's freezing and foggy.......again ! Take care, keep safe and warm. M
Yesterday was just one of those days ! Before we reluctantly tested the air temperature ( toe tip out of the bottom of the comforter) we could hear the rain beating on the deck and bouncing out of the overflowing gutters. Didn't sound good....so we snuggled down for another 10 minutes. Sadly, ten minutes changed nothing and as dawn broke we seriously considered building the second edition Arc or alternatively issuing snorkels and flippers. Down at the barn, the livestock were about as enthusiastic as us about spending time under a relentless deluge and with just noses appearing over the stall doors , clearly no one appeared anxious to leave their warm dry stalls. Our turkeys are paddling, our chickens have all taken refuge in the hen house, the sheep, evicted from their barn for the day ran directly for shelter under the nearest cedar tree and the cows moved so reluctantly down Cow Lane, we were going slower than stop ! Poor Bran the Border Collie, attentively sitting in a muddy puddle by the fence line perfected his most miserable impression as rain drops dripped off his tail and nose, only the heron fishing on the pond looked content. It didn't get any better as the day went on, the rain got heavier, the puddles deeper and the sky blacker. The tractor canopy collected water like a leaky bucket causing an unavoidable overflow each time the wheels rolled. I was not a happy farmer. Did I really long for rain in those long dry warm Summer months ?
The aroma of apple and cinnamon baking in the stove cheered me up as the rain still fell and the cuckoo clock advised me that it was 3.30pm and time to venture down to the barn for the evening shift. Simultaneously, the rain fell, the wind blew, sun down was early ( mainly because there WASN'T any sun !!!) our new WWOOFER volunteer, Greg, e mailed to advise he was on his way . Jerry the blacksmith arrived to shoe Player the gray gelding and proceeded to park his trailer in the front of the barn. Unfortunately the old farm tractor, no friend of the cold winter was parked just behind the barn door obstructing access for the blacksmith's trailer, just to add insult to injury, Jerry's truck was unknowingly blocking access to the ranch truck which was designated to retrieve the newest WWOOFER from Purdie Park and Ride. Just as my panic level reached critical.....Tim's little blue car appeared through the evening gloom to return Tonto the Peruvian Paso to his stall......which was currently blocked by the shoer, the tractor the farm truck and a big grey horse standing on 3 legs. Chaos didn't seem to adequately describe the barnyard dodgems as Jerry moved his trailer to give Greg's Truck access to the road, I moved the tractor to give Jerry access to the barn, Tonto was safely maneuvered into his stall..... and WWOOFER Greg called to advise he was currently waiting in the rain at Purdy Park and Ride.
All's good and back to normal on Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch, the rain stopped falling and Greg (no 2) has settled into life on the farm. It's actually quite ego building....I shout for Greg and I get two responses.....what more could I ask ? smile. Greg (1) has a new right hand man and Greg (2) from Vermont just looks like he was born to be a rancher. Together they continued to build the huge barn door s that have been an epic project, contributions to said doors have been made by several of our recent WWOOFER volunteers and I am happy to say that one door nears completion.
One hole ( that was dug and duly filled in, a ranch tradition) in the barnyard resulted in a broken irrigation pipe which caused (yes, you have guessed it !) yet another hole to have to be dug. The rusting old Case Backhoe rumbled out of extinction and Greg gave Greg (2) the opportunity to operate the bucket and help dig the hole to find the hole (?). Clearly Greg (2) was overly enthusiastic and the hole became a little (lot) larger than required or wanted. Happily the "no blame policy" applied and just meant that there was more to fill in !
We'd like to welcome Greg (2) to the ranch family and hope that his time with us leaves him with happy memories.
Time to get this entry posted but before I do, I would also like to welcome son Dean and Carly's baby, Gabriella Poppy into the world. Congratulations !!!
Take care and keep safe and warm. M
I HURT !!!!......I guess it was a hard way to remember (1) I can't fly...(2) I DON'T bounce and....(3) It's not the falling that causes the pain, it's the hitting the ground. Just to add insult to injury or bumps to bruises, walking into doors and wire brings suffering and this week I've done it all !! When a hay bale weighs more than me, I take on an uneven challenge. Said hay bale was on the top of the stack and the stack was on the end of the pile. The offending bale moved...a little...it moved a little more, I overbalanced and fell backwards. The barn/world looks a whole lot different from the barn floor and this morning I have resolved NEVER to do it again. My forehead is also looking a little lumpy and blue...mental note to self, solid objects don't move, give stall doors and wire fences a wide berth!
Robyn has been busy on the ranch since her weekend back in the city and several of Greg's ongoing projects have been making progress. With the onset of Winter and the increase in numbers of our equine residents it was noted that rug racks were in short supply. With Greg's spec to work from, Robyn set to work with the radial arm saw, drill press and staple gun and two new rug racks were the result of her endeavors. Fixing a light to Misty's stall has become a priority as the days become shorter and it is dark by 5pm. Fixing a light up means that Robyn isn't going to miss out on a Gentle Giant tradition.....she will, in all likelihood get the opportunity to ( you've guessed it !) ...dig a hole and fill it in.
Possibly one of the last lovely evenings of the year encouraged us to saddle Lady the big Shire mare up and take Robyn for a short ride off the ranch. I have to confess I have seen more elegant first attempts at mounting but once in the saddle Robyn was a natural. The sun was going down as a smiling Robyn and the lovely Lady clip clopped through the barn yard.
Time to go, the phone has just rung....England calling. Take care, keep safe, M
Gosh.......Sunday already !! It has been quite the week. Robyn our most recent and awesome WOOFER volunteer, a confirmed vegetarian ( which in itself is quite the challenge) has found herself on a livestock ranch.....at "Turkey Armageddon" time. Robyn has an amazing and inspirational philosophy and always manages to be positive and calm regardless of the challenges life on the ranch presents......and it HAS presented !!! This is a really challenging time of the year, even for those of us whose major issue isn't "meat" OR "veg". Personally, I'm a meat and NO vegetable kind of girl but having had a face to beak relationship with Tom (turkey dad) Mrs. Christmas (turkey mom) and their 50 something feathered and highly personable offspring , the realization of a Thanksgiving and Christmas (dare I say it ?)" deadline" has become a little (lot) overwhelming. My consolation I guess... has been that our turkeys have had a wonderful ...if not extended life. They are warm clean and dry. Each day they wait for the treats that undoubtedly find their way into their pen....breakfast and dinner have been timely and they have been raised from poults with kindness and respect. I guess even the turkey which will be pardoned by Mr. President may not have been so fortuitous.....and they DO taste SO good.
The chicks which were devised to hatch co- incidentally with the arrival of scores of children at the October Farm Tour event have come of age. The little chicks which are now evidencing the virility of Tux the Black Lacy Wyandot ( poultry aristocracy) and Ernie the Gentle giant Meadows Ranch Barred Rock/ mutt) roosters have graduated from the brooder to the nursery. The White Leghorn chicks who, due to their deranged disposition I'm quite convinced are closely related to the legendary Road Runner or Big Bird have been forced to share their accommodation with the less well bred and very voracious black chicks. On Saturday, Greg and Tyler rounded up the less than enthusiastic Tux/Ernie offspring from the nursery brooder into the Chevy truck for the short trip up the hill to their new juvenile "des res". Sadly, on route to the chick's new home, Greg paused to throw some cornbread crumbs into the mature hens in the "Roost with a view" henhouse...but forgot to secure the gate to the pen. Simultaneously, Sue arrived for her 4 gallon buckets of steaming compost, the Chevy truck, Greg Bran the Border Collie and Robyn the ranch volunteer disappeared up the hill to the chick nursery and the mature chickens found the open gate. DOH !!!! The escapees, red black and speckled hens were happily filing out the 6 inch space into the expansive vegetable garden which is clearly Nirvana for the domesticated chicken in breakout mentality . Fortunately Bran the Border Collie was busily supervising the chick transfer and was unable to contribute to the chaos of barn yard escape from the bed of the truck, even more fortunately, chickens appear to have a per chant for soggy corn bread. Greg and Tyler arrived just in time to see the red tail feathers of the escapees finishing up the last of my corn bread trail and heading determinedly for the garden, orchard...and freedom. Clearly the absconding birds have not been advised of the risks of life as potential chicken takeaway for eagles and hawks, lunch for raccoons and dinner for coyotes....and had obviously underestimated the determination of the ranch team to recapture them. Tyler instantly adopted a football catcher stance and the first chicken despite a foolish attempt to squeeze through a two inch hole was an easy first score for our young footballing volunteer. Only seven to go, scattered around the garden. The Greg and Tyler team worked the recapture and one by one ( with much less entertainment than I had hoped for !) the birds were herded right back into the pen. Nicely done boys ! . Sue was highly delighted with the contents of her buckets, Bran the Border Collie was distraught that he was not involved in the barn yard chaos, the ranch team were able to continue with a scheduled assignment and I could return to my stall cleaning.
Well, Robyn has been back in the city for the weekend and is due back to the ranch this morning. We have just watched a beautiful sunrise over the silhouette of giant cedar trees. Bran is asleep on top of the heat vent and Greg is asleep on top of his computer. Clearly all is well with the world. Take care, keep safe, M
Bullying isn’t reserved for the school playground, Face book or the NFL….all around the barn yard, in every pen or pasture there are the bullies and the bullied, the victor and the vanquished. Sometimes the bully achieves dominance with little more than flat back ears, bared teeth and a show of back hooves. Charm, the golden Palomino (aka beauty with attitude) for years enjoyed the dubious title of pasture bully. Not for Charm sharing the hay manger or the tastiest blade of grass, Charm required to be first out to the pasture…..and first back in for his supper. Within days of Starbuck’s arrival, Charm surrendered his claim to dominance. The Palomino gelding waits meekly for the black Appaloosa to eat his fill at the feeder, stands back meekly waiting for Starbuck to leave the pasture and surrenders without question a patch of grass that is coveted by his younger pasture bully.
In the hen house poor old Adolf the Rhode Island Red rooster, minus his previously flamboyant red gold and green tail feathers hides on the top perch or concealed in the depths of a dark nest box. Under siege from his former harem and not tolerated by Ernie and Tux the two younger and more aggressive roosters, Adolf has chosen to be a hen.
Yesterday Tom the mature heritage turkey apparently took a dislike to an adolescent broad breasted turkey. A cacophony of turkey calls and a crush of black grey and white feathers alerted us to the barn yard brawl. The poor embattled young turkey tried to escape the persistent aggression, tried to blend in with all the other birds…tried to disappear but Tom, snood elongated and his head colour ranging from white to blue, pink and red was not going to allow his more placid victim to avoid his unwelcome attention.
Tiger the little tabby cat won’t allow his larger sibling to eat first and even on the ranch pond the Canada geese have declared territorial rights over the smaller mallard ducks.
Fortunately the bullying doesn’t extend to the two legged occupants of the ranch. Robyn our newest WOOFER arrived on Sunday evening and has quickly made friends with the barn residents. Robyn will be with us for three weeks, hopefully during that time she will become familiar with the wide variety of skills that Greg is keen to share with her. Over the past couple of days she has been helping to build the second barn door which, with the door built by Greg and Christina will help to keep out the Winter wind rain hail and snow. Talking of Winter weather…..another storm is threatening the pacific North West. Another bad hair day, DOH !!!!
Take care keep safe and dry. M
Well, the wind chime wasn’t playing the Wedding March on Saturday ! We woke to the sound of huge cedar trees being lashed by powerful damaging winds, branches heavy with rain were lifted like matchsticks and thrown across roads and pastures. Driving into town was garbage can ( dustbin) dodgems, bin lids were flying through the air and empty bins were rolling freely down the road. I had an egg hutch by the farm gate, my clematis used to grow over the trellis Greg built in the dim and distant past when his “must do” list didn’t fill his little black book. The wind lifted and threw the hutch and the trellis….eggs ( when the “ladies” return from their annual strike action and eggs are once again freely available, we live in hope !) will now be available from the barn kitchen. It wasn’t a pleasant day, hopefully not an indication of the Winter to come.
Christina will now be back at school in Burlington Vermont, back in the real world where horses don’t come in x x large size and don’t give slushy prickly kisses. Where cows don’t like a back scratch and sheep don’t like peanuts. We loved having you here Christina, we believe we will see you again, one day when you have reached those goals you have aspired to and school is a distant memory. Come back and see us….till then your arrow in the barnyard will remind us of the time you spent here. Thank you Christina and good luck in the future.
Back at the ranch, it was very nearly “The Great Chicken breakout”. I had trailed out to the hen house (grandly referred to here as The Roost With A View). Swinging my little wicker egg basket I had little of any consequence going through my mind when I noted unusual activity in the chicken pen. Several of our scruffy red hens, currently going through the moult and not earning their daily grain ration were paying an inordinate amount of attention to a point on the fence line. Closer inspection revealed an escape plan under operation and very nearly operational. Clearly irritated that the great escape had been discovered and by my intrusion in the inner sanctum of the chicken pen the red hens began to squawk and the roosters began to strut around the “almost” exit holes…..which incidentally and thankfully pointed me straight to the most critical tunnels . Another priority found itself at the top of Greg’s “must do NOW” list. All around the inside of the chicken run, logs block the offending holes which give the chickens no access to the fence line….nothing can get in and nothing should get out. Sorry girls, no time for a chicken roundup…oh and it’s time to get back in those nest boxes. Soup is coming to mind.
Congratulations to brother John and new sister in law Jean. John and Jean were married yesterday in Gig Harbor. The day was not without event even before we got to the venue. For the first time in two years I put real shoes on….I took off my jeans and put a dress on….scrubbed up, I looked like a real city slicker. Before 10am we had our morning barn chores to complete at breakneck speed….at the last moment I changed my shoe choice….they fitted but I couldn’t wear them, Mrs. Tom Tom the GPS lady apparently couldn’t find the Key Peninsula and her estimation of time to reach our destination was unexpectedly AFTER the 11am service. Phew.
Welcome to Robyn, our new WWOOFER Volunteer. She arrived last night for a three week visit to the ranch and we hope that she is going to have a memorable (for all the right reasons) stay.
Time to go, Take care, keep warm (there’s a frost out there !) M
Mom has gone back to Albuquerque and we miss her around the ranch. Each morning she would venture down the hill to the ranch to report for duty in the barn. Wrestling with her cane and a sweeping brush Greg’s feisty Mom swept the stalls to code. No hay shavings or poop escaped her discerning eye and tidy little piles of sweepings awaited me when the big green tractor pulled up at each stall door. By the time the poop machine got going, Mom was already dragging the hose from stall to stall emptying and filling water buckets. “ Now what can I do ?” was the question that always followed……it seemed there was little she wouldn’t try. At the table in the barn kitchen Mom chopped buckets of apples and carrots, Spring cleaned the refrigerator and arms up to the elbows in bubbles washed whatever needed to be washed and…. some things that didn’t. She has sewn up splits in well used barn clothes, darned holes and replaced buttons…she can thread a needle faster than me …and why not, she is only 92. We miss you Mom. Stay safe.
Possibly one of the last warm sunny evenings of the year, we saddled up a not too enthusiastic Lady for a trail ride through the forest. The fallen leaves have created a rich and colourful carpet on the forest floor and the sound of Ladies hooves were muffled as we wandered through the sunlit trees. It was a beautiful evening for a magical ride and I was happy that I was able to share it with Christina. We have been blessed to have the young lady from Vermont here for the past three weeks and are sorry that her visit with us is drawing to a close. Christina is returning to her family on the East Coast tomorrow and we hope that she leaves us with memories that will be with her forever.
While she has been here our young WWOOFER has seen the beginning…and (unusually) completion of several major projects on Greg’s “must do” list, she has dug holes and ( again unusually !) filled them in, built an insulation box to Winterise the external faucet (tap), started building a huge door for the back barn ( several years on the “wish list”) laid cable, used the chainsaw and the saw mill. She has learned to make wine and yoghurt and is a master and uncomplaining “mucker-outer” Christina has been a pleasure to host and much has been achieved during her stay. Thank you for choosing Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch for your WWOOFERing experience.
Time to go, Take care, keep safe. M
Aristocratic grey thoroughbred Player usually spends his day alone, he doesn’t have to share his pasture, his hay or his time with another horse and has for some time appeared to be content with his singular bachelor existence…..but something has changed over the past week. At Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch we no longer allow pasture board for our equine friends partially to protect our grazing land but also to keep the horses out of harms way. Due to a series of unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances two very pretty little bay Arab mares have found a temporary home in one of our “resting” pastures. The arrival of our new four legged guests has not gone un- noticed by the other barnyard residents….in particular, handsome Player. Fitz and Raven arrived in the dark on a foggy damp evening and was for the most part a non event for the other horses sheep and cows who were more concerned with the sweet smelling hay in their manger than the arrival of two strangers but in the early morning light the two little bays became much more interesting. Player noticed the “ladies” as I led him down cow lane his ears pricked, there was distinctly flirty tail swish and a “look at me” tilt of his handsome grey head, clearly Player was interested….seriously interested. The two new comers in the adjoining pasture waited expectantly, shadows in the swirling fog. Player looked, acknowledged their undivided admiration nuzzled for his apple morsel …..and stood. Fitz and Raven waited. Player tossed his head, looked at his loaded hay feeder, looked at the enticing “ladies” still watching his every move and slowly…so slowly sauntered across the damp grass to properly introduce himself. Mr. Cooper, one of our two “senior” boarders wasn’t quite as unrestrained in his admiration. Close, but not close enough to challenge the younger grey for the ladies attention, Mr. Cooper had to watch from a distance but that didn’t prevent him from strutting his stuff posing posturing and prancing to attract their attention. Poor T Bone, way too unstable on his ancient old legs to worry about the alluring little bay mares in another pasture just enjoyed having exclusive access to the hay feeder without being harassed by his younger pasture mate. Daisy the black Dexter and Misty Moo the adorable Jersey heifer wandered down cow lane to introduce themselves and stood in awe as Fitz and Raven snorted snuffled and tried to make sense of the new ranch residents. Even Tiger the tabby barn cat left the manure pile (where he is either hunting or keeping warm on the cover of the steaming heap) to say hello. Welcome to the Ranch Fitz and Raven.
Greg and I would like to thank Christina for her help since she has been here but particularly for her help over the past few days. Greg has been down at the barn waving his walking stick and his crutches, he has tried to help with his swollen toes peeping out of the plastic bag with which he has shrouded them BUT if it hadn’t been for Christina….I would have been booking a nervous breakdown in the next week. Thank you Christina you have been amazing…..and fun.
Time to go, the cuckoo clock has spoken. Take care M
Around here there are many projects that are "in progress". Some are small enough that they can get finished soon after starting. There are others that will wind up having someone else finishing it. Life on the ranch is governed by the "well lets see what awaits us this morning" as we head down the hill to open the gates. Most of the time things are quite. Other mornings another surprise awaits us to refocus on something not in the days plan. Christina is not alone in taking part in this paradigm. She gets to add to the drainboard project for the barn kitchen sink. Malcolm started the project a couple weeks ago. We ran out of dowels, so it had to be put on hold until the stock was replenished. So now hopefully Christina will be able to have time to complete it and put it up in the kitchen.
Later, while waiting for the glue to dry on the drainboard, Christina got a chance to start a new project! Hopefully there is enough time for her to finish it. Oh well, if not I am sure someone else will have the opportunity to complete it.
Oh yes, my foot. Bummer!! There is a bit more pain than anticipated. Bandage is too big for me to slip into my fireman's boots. So much for any plans that involve water or pooh. I've had to readjust the "schedule" until I can slip into those over-sized boots. Hhhmmm, there are some large plastics bags. I'll bet that will work.
Maureen passes on her apologies for not preparing today's blog and having to put up with me. Maureen promises her return tomorrow. So till then, take care, stay safe, and please come back tomorrow for the real author. G