Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blueberry Peach Crumble Muffins – Gluten-free, Vegan and Refined Sugar-free

I saw this post I wrote a year ago, and I thought to myself "Wow, that would be a good muffin". So I adapted the Chocolate Cherry Muffins that I posted in June, as follows.

Blueberry Peach Crumble Muffins

Prep time: 10  minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

3/4 Tbl flax meal
2 Tbl and 1 tsp water
2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if your mix does not have xanthan gum, increase to 1 tsp)
1 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened non-GMO soy milk)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup and 1 Tbl canola oil
1/4-1/2 tsp liquid stevia*
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped peaches (each piece should be about 1 centimeter cubed)
1 1/2 Tbl Earth Balance 
1/2 c oats
3 tsp cinnamon

Combine the flax meal and water in a small bowl. Let sit for five minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with oil.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients (including flax mixture) in a medium bowl. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more milk. Stir well, then fold in blueberries and cherries. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. 
In a small bowl combine Earth Balance, oats, and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon. Place a rounded 1/2 tsp of this mixture on the top of each muffin.
Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

*These muffins are not very sweet. If you like your muffins sweet, add the full amount of stevia.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Classics Challenge: A Tale of Two Cities (June)

I have so much I could say about this book. First of all, I LOVED it. The only Dickens I'd read previous to this was A Christmas Carol and a Great Illustrated Classics Oliver (yes, Author, we owned an abridged book). I'd mostly heard he was paid by the word, and therefore longwinded, dry, and dull.

Ohhhhh no. Was he ever far from dull! Did I already say I loved it?

Lucie Mannette from the Broadway musical. There's also a ballet of TOTC!

The audio book was almost 17 hours long and it has been my companion during many loads of dishes, several batches of laundry, and a fair amount of laundry. I even considered listening to it while driving [in our new car!], but since I've had my license only a few months I decided that was a bad idea.
I'll greatly miss Doctor Mannette and Mr. Lorry and Darnay and Pross. Even Jerry Cruncher.
Anyway. How to explain this wonderful book without spoilers is tough.

The first paragraph describes well the French Revolution:
"IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

And then there was the haunting repetition "Buried how long?" which really intrigued me. I really appreciated that I knew nothing about this book because I was very confused at first, but it made it so hard to put down. The plot is long and complex and I was so curious to know what would happen next! *SPOILER* I will say that I did predict was Carton would do at the end, and also I guessed who Solomon was before he identified himself. But don't let this make you think it was predictable! Personally I like books where you can figure out a few things if you're paying attention. *END SPOILER*
The plot is, as I said, very complex. Everything that is ever mentioned is tied back in somehow. A character barely mentioned will return, I assure you. Something that happened years ago will come back in.

It's also a really funny book. I liked it when Mr. Lorry (I love him!) keeps insisting "A matter of business!" when you can clearly see he cares.

I found it very difficult to find a picture of Mr. Lorry. He has spectacles, people! But I like this one of Miss Pross.
Then it's filled with food for thought. Comparing Darnay and Carton (more on that later) is an obvious one, but also think about the two leading ladies, Lucie Mannette and Madame Defarge. They both have very good reasons to be bitter towards a particular character, but their actions and choices are so different!
  *HUGE MAJOR SPOILERS* Granted Lucie didn't know this about D. before she married him. Still, if she DID know, perhaps she wouldn't have married him, but it's clear she would have still acted in forgiveness (it wasn't his fault to be born into his family) rather than being consumed with vengeance like Madame Defarge. *END THE TERRIBLE SPOILERS*.

I like Doctor Mannette too. He seems weak, at first, but of course this isn't so. He's incredibly brave and strong, but years of suffering take their toll on a person. I love how his relationship with his daughter restores him. He's so selfless, this man. He always thinks of his daughter (and we only learn the depth of this at the end). *SPOILER* I like how we get to see him being the strong one at the end, cleverly using his influence and his popularity for the sake of those whom he loves. When we walks in at the end of Chapter 12 ("Darkness"), oh, OH! :( *End SPOILER*

I liked Charles Darnay from the beginning. I mean, anytime someone is put on trial for his life you kind of feel bad for the guy! 

"The Jackal"
I was at first confused about who Sydney Carton was and confused Stryver and Carton (audio books do that kind of thing to you). *SPOILER* But by the end I was enamored with Carton and frequently whispered to myself as I switched laundry and listened enthralled, "I love Carton!" It's rather fascinating how he, who at first appeared to be a random confusing lawyer person, really becomes the hero of the book. I started out thinking Lorry would be the main character, then Dr. Mannette and his daughter.  *BIG HUGE MAJOR ENDING SPOILERS* Then Darnay enters and it's kind of easy to say "Love interest" and I rooted for him. But really? Which of the "twins" is the more heroic one? We can't say whether Darnay would have died for Carton (though really, Carton died for Lucie, not Darnay), so perhaps that's not answerable. What we can say is that Carton is a lot more complex than Darnay, who's basically just "the good guy". I don't think he's as clever as Carton (but then, one could argue that he came to France when he did not because he was stupid but because a poor innocent servant required his assistance, and he was going to help whether his life was at stake or not). Also Darnay puts Carton down (after the latter had left) to Lucie and Dr. Mannette, which was unkind too poor Carton. Personally, I would have preferred that Darnay died and Carton married Lucie. (No, not really, because Carton was so wonderful in giving his life for love of Lucie, so that she could be with the husband she loved. Oh, Carton. :( ) *END ALL SPOILERS*

It was much harder to find a satisfactory picture of Carton than Darnay. I think that's telling.
"Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away."
(Sob sob)

Of other characters, we mustn't forget Miss Pross, Lucie's companion/nurse/servant. She's so devoted and strong, and also provides a lot of the humor of the book with her high standards for her "ladybird". Nor Mr. Cruncher, whom I disliked a lot at the beginning. I felt so bad for poor Mrs. Cruncher! Yet even Mr. Cruncher was dear to me by the end, and I think some consistent hardwork in the company of such kind people like the Mannettes was good for him. *LITTLE SPOILER* He did promise to stop interfering with Mrs. Cruncher's "flopping, you know. He improved. *END SPOILER*

No summary of characters would be complete without speaking of the Defarges.
Though shown in a much less favorable light than the Mannettes, they are definitely main characters also. They're well-developed. At first I thought Madame Defarge was just a random lady who was always knitting and I found that hilarious. Of course that was the last of the hilarity we got from her, as she's a woman with horribly twisted femininity. Bitterness and a desire for vengeance has consumed the gentleness and beauty that ought to have been hers. "We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!" she shouts to other women at the forcing of the Bastille. Though just as lustful for blood as she, Ernest Defarge is less awful. Maybe because she is a woman, and therefore what her character has become the antithesis of her God-given nature.
  *THIS IS A BIG SPOILER* As awful and twisted as Madame Defarge is, when we learn her history it is easy to feel sympathy for her, if not acquit her of all her crimes *END BIG SPOILERS*
 Side note, I loved the showdown between Miss Pross and Madame Defarge. *VEILED SPOILER* But I was shocked by what happened afterwards. It wasn't Miss Pross's fault, after all, so that was a sorry reward for her loyalty. *END SPOILER*

Another thing I really liked about this book besides the witty writing, the well-developed characters, and the enthralling plot, was how Dickens shows both sides of the Revolution. I'm a person who believes there's two sides to every thing, and I don't like it when people assume one person or set of persons is the "good" group and the other is the "wrong". Though the Revolution is rightly shown to be a terrible thing and a horribly unjust time, Defarge is still a realistic human and one we can empathize with. The Marquis St. Evremonde is a consistently awful person, whose crimes no one will condone. We understand that the aristocrats weren't just poor innocents wrongly accused who need rescuing by The Scarlet Pimpernel. Did that happen? Oh yes it did, as this book also shows many examples of. But it's not just "the evil Saint Antoine people" vs. "the poor aristos".

Although I'm not sure that Charles Dickens was a Christian (he believed in God but hated "dogma" and was really rather more of a Deist or a Unitarian; plus he had a mistress for a time), his characters are, and the Bible is quoted on more than one occasion. I love reading about other people's faith in times of trouble, and this was no exception. (Particularly Carton's at the end...)

Random fun fact: France is on their fifth republic, and their motto is STILL Liberty, Equality and Fraternity! That just shocks me. And you probably already know that they still celebrate Bastille day. It just seems very odd.

Do I recommend this book, and to whom? Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone I see who can read. Ha. Probably 13+, because there is a little violence (it's the French Revolution, after all). I think d---ed is used a few times. But yes. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Little Letters July 2016 ~ or Vacuum Cleaners, Limeade and 90°+

It has been a while since I've written about my life, and so I thought I'd do another "little letters" post to elucidate my state of affairs.

Dear CPU-2T,
I love you. I could just leave it at that, but you deserve more. Your energy, your trim figure, your cheerful color... There is much to admire about you even from a stranger's persepctive, but few can understand the relationship we share. It is unfortunate that there is no legal basis for a marriage with one of your kind. Let me simply say, that there is no one I would rather clean an office with.

There once was an office housekeeper,
Whose vacuum was just a sad peeper.
She was given a CPU
and is no longer blue,
For her new friend's a magnificent sweeper!
Dear Summer,
I have heard you are a pleasant companion in England, Kalaalit Nunaat, and Nova Scotia. There are even some parts of the United States where you are no bad friend. But here, in the Midwest, let me just say that you are abominable. We have had over a month of constant 90°-100° weather, with only half a dozen days of 85° and one blissful weekend of 68°. I. Do. Not. Like. It. I do not like this weather in a box, nor with a fox, nor in a train, nor in the rain (if there's going to be rain it ought to cool the world, not just add to the humidity! One feels cheated!). Please get a hold of yourself.

Dear Limeade,
On these very hot days you are my one consolation (other than my mother, cold black tea, air conditioning, books, and babies). I've never really seen the need for you, since lemonade is so delightful, but when the need arose for a lemon-free and sugar-free drink, I thought I'd give you a try with a bit o' stevia, and voila! You're delicious.

Dear Fleas who reside in the basement,
Get OUT of my house so my poor kitty can come upstairs. You could not be more unwanted if you tried. Just die, every last one of you. (Yes I know I'm a vegetarian and I love killing bugs and I'm a contradiction. Be quiet.)

Dear Tale of Two Cities,
I have heard many poor reviews of your master, Mr. Dickens, but from my personal experience I can now refute them. Your characters are realistic and interesting (with the exception of Lucy Mannette...), your plot is anything but predictable and your writing is witty. Though I am only half done with you, I heartily applaud your maker.

Dear Drama,
It is so strange and sad that this will be my last year acting, and equally strange and exciting that I will get to direct a one-act play. If I could only FIND a one-act play, that is. Directing I'm not worried about, casting I'm just a little nervous for, but finding a script is very trying. 

Dear Breakfast at Tiffany's,
I am so confused. I have so many reactions that I have no idea if I even like you.

My dear, dear, Arthur,
You have reached 91, 530 words, or approximately 366 pages, and yet in all likelihood you will need 8,000 more words before being finished. I am half amazed and half horrified. But there is no "halves" about it when I think of finishing this first draft. Do you believe we've been working together since January 2012? That's over four years. Crazy. There have been ups and downs — goals met and goals failed. Favorite characters who are killed and moments of uncertainty if this work would ever come to fruition. But my dear, I no longer fear that end. 8,000 words seems a large amount to write before I reach the end, but since we've been doing 1000 a day, that's really a very short amount of time.

Dear Future Car,
I would be so pleased, tickled pink even, if you would just get a move on and show up. To say that my sister and I are eager for your arrival is an understatement. 

Dear Tolkien,
I write you yet again because Lord of the Rings is just awesome. The fact that I am STILL reading it, yes, three months after starting it, has nothing to do with the quality of the book. It is neither boring nor hard to read. It is lovely and I regret that I have so little time for pleasure reading, or I might have been finished long ago.

Dear Classics Challenge,
Never mind.

Dear Nineteenth Century,
I love doing school in the summer when it means I get to study history. You're no exception to the fascination I have with bygone eras. Napoleon, Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Beethoven — and that's just the first half. I am eager to learn more of the second.

Most sincerely,
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Daily Quote Challenge Day Three

I am once again nominating no one. So sue me.  Instead I am posting TWO favorite quotes:

I'd like to think this will satisfy all you sticklers-for-the-rules, but maybe it's just disobeying doubly.

In any case, I remain,
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Beautiful People: Geraint

I am doing Beautiful People for the first time in almost a year. And ironically, the last one I did was a combo-edition with Geraint and Kay.
Today we're featuring just Geraint. I'm really very fond of Geraint. Despite his hard, even harsh exterior, he can be very gentle and compassionate. Suffering bothers him more than it bothers, say, Kay.

1. Do they want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?
Yes, Geraint wants to get married. Or it might be more accurate to say wanted. He was once in love and he's relatively fond of children, so getting married was obviously on his to-do list, so to speak. But the girl married another. He would not marry without being in love, and he doesn't think he could fall in love again after her. (But we'll see about that.)

2. What is their weapon of choice?
Bow and arrows. Geraint is a fletcher.

3. What's the nicest thing they've done for someone else, and why did they do it?
I don't know about the very nicest. As said above, he has a very harsh exterior but he's really a softie. He's kind to children and thoughtful to other people when they're hurting.

4. Have they ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?
In training to be a knight, which he did, learning how to be physically violent is part of it. Outside of his training, not much; he isn't a violent man. He and Kay have fought before, though.

6. Are they a rule-follower or a rebel?
Geraint used to be a rule-follower. He's not a rebellious person, but he has grown cynical about those who make the rules in his area of the world and therefore he does not follow their rules.

7. Are they organized or messy?

8. What do they eat for breakfast?
Ordinarily, just bread; on occasion, bread with fish. He has the latter more often than some, because he lives by a river.

9. Have they ever lost someone close to them? What happened?
Geraint's mother died in childbirth; his father did not remarry so he is an only child. His father died of old age a few years ago. When Lady Enid decided to marry Sir Erec instead of himself, he felt that he had lost her. He hasn't seen her for years and he and his cousin Erec have a very uncomfortable relationship as fellow Knights of the Round Table.

10. What's their treat of choice? (or how else do they reward themselves)
Geraint likes poached pears with honey and ginger, when he can get it.

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Daily Quote Challenge, Day Two

Today's daily quote is really rather a random one. In studying the various states a year or so ago, I learned the state mottoes of South Carolina and North Carolina and liked them both. So today you get two quotes for the price of one!

North Carolina:
Esse Quam Videri

South Carolina:
Dum Spiro Spero

(I could just quit there and either a) pretend I knew Latin and force you to look that up, or b) make you assume that there is something in the sounds that is inherently eloquent. But I won't.)

Esse Quam Videri means, "To be rather than to seem."

Dum Spiro Spero means, "While I breathe, I hope."

Both very simple, but I like them.

Okay, I'm going to take a beef with the next part of the challenge. Nominate three people every day? I don't know "people". So with my humblest apologies and sincere regrets, I shall break the second rule of the challenge.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Daily Quote Challenge

My dear Author has nominated me for a Daily Quote Challenge. This challenge has three rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Thank you for the nomination, Author!
Nominate three new bloggers every day.
This will be the hardest part...
Sky Hoffert from Ink Castles.
Melody from Regency Delight.
Post a new quote every day for three consecutive days.
Today's quote:

I like this quote a lot because it reminds me I don't need to feel guilty that I have all the blessings that I have, such as a vacuum cleaner, air conditioning, and education. What I should feel convicted for is simply thanking God for what I have and not doing anything for the people who have not.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Muffins (Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Sugar-Free)

I've nothing witty to say about this recipe. It's good. Make it. Eat it. Enjoy.

Chocolate Cherry Muffins

Prep time: 10  minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

1 Tbl flax meal
3 Tbl water
2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if your mix does not have xanthan gum, increase to 1 tsp)
2/3 cup milk of choice (I used rice milk)
1/2 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp liquid stevia
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1 cup tart cherries, fresh or frozen

Combine the flax meal and water in a small bowl. Let sit for five minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients (including flax mixture) in a medium bowl. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Stir well, then fold in cherries. Scoop 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

I find it helpful to use the same cup in measuring the oil and agave, so the oil comes out quicker (assuming you have a one-cup measuring cup with 2/3 and 1/2 markings).
If you've had problems with your cocoa powder clumping, push it through a strainer. It comes out beautifully fine.
This recipe is loosely adapted from this one:

Bon appetit!
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The Varied Stages of My Bedroom

A while back I posted this about the remodeling/redecoration of the room I shared with my middle older sister (that does make sense if you think about it), after posting several things about the remodel. On the first of January of this year, we stopped sharing a room, which saw me moving into one of the two guest rooms. Except for nine months spent at a rental house, in 2009-2011, this is the first time I've had my own room. While I loved sharing a room and I definitely recommend it, I very, very much enjoy living alone (haha - I'd actually hate to live completely alone, but a room of one's own has its perks).
When we first moved into this house, it was decided that while my sister and I would continue to share a room, we could each decorate one of the guest rooms and be in charge of keeping it clean, and etc. We called them our "havens" because the idea was that we could go there if we needed our own space. It has become even more of a haven now that is is my room. To avoid confusion, I shall continue to refer to this room as my haven in this post.
My haven has gone through very many stages of decoration and rearranging, as furniture is stored there or moved elsewhere and I have change my mind. In hopes that this progression may be interesting to some, I here provide a look at it.

To start way, way back:

This was late March 2010, when we had first bought our house. The room above (with my tiny pink crocs, and and a motor cycle poster) is our bedroom. Below, my haven:
 (Taken from the hallway)

Complete with weird blue curtains on only one window, and disgusting carpet.

A year later shows my haven looking much nicer — clean carpet, blue walls — but the mattress is still on the floor and has a twin-sized quilt. Obviously I was also not as tidy then. And is that a sheet serving as a curtain?

The pictures below are of our bedroom in January 2012. A royal mess, perhaps, but decorated with some taste.  Multicolors (and clutter) ruled the day.

 This picture below was taken about the same time. Mattress still without a headboard of any sort, but things are arranged a little neater, and there are actual bedclothes and curtains (plus a dying plant beneath the window).

And my very... unique form of a closet doors.
Between now and then I am sadly picture lacking. But you can see my haven live in October 2012 by watching the video here, which displays my lovely medievalish headboard and my closet curtains. (I also had a four-poster at one point...). It does not show the desk I acquired about the same time, but as I still use it you will see it shortly.

Late in 2012 we got rid of the desks and acquired a loveseat.

So as to not duplicate photos I shall say that in summer 2013 we repainted and drastically repopulated our room (furniture-wise), and you can see that here:

About a year ago I got a new headboard, because although the other one was very medieval-ish, as I said, it didn't actually fit the bed (it was only leaning against the wall) and would have required too much work to fit it. When I decided to movie into the room last fall, I moved the desk from against the wall with the door (where my bookshelf is currently) to beneath the window, and put the chest at the foot of the bed so I could store things in it and not have to constantly take plants off.

To the pictures:
Looking in from the hallway...

...and looking back at the door. You may remember the white peacock (Gertrude) from our other room.

If you read my bookshelf tag you'll notice I have a new bookcase. Although it doesn't match the rest of my furniture so well it fits nicely in the corner. And apparently we've had it in the family for twenty or so years, which is cool.

Featuring another piece of furniture which has been in the family for years — the little rose stool (which again, doesn't really match the rest of my furniture, as it is white and the other three things are dark wood stain, but who cares? I like it). On the desk you can see my large seashell disk with random things in it, my vase/pen cup, a random bust that my mother snuck into my room for fun, and my plant. My book plant has actually survived and not died like the other plants I've had before. (If the planter inspires you to go be crafty and make one, I'll say that tutorials were difficult to find, and this was the best I saw. )

I'm making this extra large so you can see my NIECE. And can you spot the pegasus?

Over in the corner there is a J.W. Waterhouse painting you may recognize, plus a random bust my mother found.

I have a trunk at the foot of my bed, and since I moved into my haven I keep clothes in it. It's very Anne-of-Green-Gables-type romantic and it's thrilling. (Plus another Waterhouse over the bed.)

And because I am a would-be citizen of the United Kingdom:

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rancher Artie: Part One

Note: The following will be much more amusing if read in a hick accent. This will also induce some cringing and may be highly annoying. Read at your own risk.

Head Rancher Uriah “Lizard-sticking” Kingsly didn’t have a son. Leastways there was no young’uns about his place (making exception of the time Lucy Grace’s girl set a spell). Though no folks thereabouts believe him much, he told Ray, his head of ranch security and right hand man, that he was sure he did have a young’un somewhere. “And if it be, then he’ll have hisself the best pistol I ever done own. I called it “Acero”, which means steel, and I never missed a shot when I used it, ner lost a fight, neither. It had a shiny white handle which jist fit perfect in my hand, and a steel barrel with gold flurishes and my name engraved in it. My old friend Merle, an Indian, gifted it ter me. When we was in love, I gave it ter Nora Mae, and if I knowed her a bit, she’d ‘ve given it ter ar son.”
But when Uriah died — it was sudden like, he warn’t above forty years old —no young’un had showed hisself. Now Rancher Kingsly had quit a bit’er property thereabouts, and piles o’ gold besides. His name might’er bin prophetic-like, fer he was jist about the king of the ranchers. So his havin’ no son made a piece o’ talk fer the town folks to chew on. They were started ter hear that Uriah didn’t make Clay, his sister’s boy, his successer, but Ray Crawfish. Ray told the blunt farmers, when asked, that Uriah gave hm the persition in trust. One day soon Uriah’s boy would show hisseln, and he’d take over tuh ranch.
Will, that got folks’ tongues waggin fer a spell. It also started the biziest years of Ray Crawfish’s life. Folks of all descriptions said they was Uriah’s young’uns. Uriah’s ranch was so expansive, even folks from out er state cem ter see Ray. But each one was terned away, fer not one had a gold-engrave pistol. Ray never told nobuddy what he was lookin’ fer, but palightly insisted they go back home. Eventually even folks as was needin’ the money real bad got it through ter their brain batter that they was tryin fer nuttin, as things settled down real quiet like.
But this didn’t satisfy Ray. He always insisted he was holdin’ the persition in trust. He told his cowboys, “You know I cen’t handle a herse tuh way I used ter, but whin I stay at home from tuh cattle drives, I’m jist about et up with worry about you boys and my cows. If I warn’t duty-bound to watch over this ranch fer Uriah’s he-ir, then I would be fixing to retire. Mebbe try sumtin peaceful like raising beans.”
“Ray, even Uriah knowed he didn’t have no young’uns,” they said. “It was jist his way of leaving ya the ranch. Being direct warn’t his way. The idear of a son were jist wishful thinkin.”
Ray stayed firm. He would not pass the ranch ter Clay, or ter any of the ranch hands. Instead, he finally compromized by announcing a contest. It had been siven years since Uriah’s death, and he had not once even heared about the pistol. A shootin’ contest oughta bring it out, though. He still didn’t tell no one his real reasons fer the contest; he simply announced he would select an he-ir from the winners.

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