From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Sunday, October 09, 2011

For What It's Worth

Fifteen minutes of fame, sort of

Wikipedia has at least three links to Prairie Bluestem articles:

All it proves is that those topics are so obscure, they couldn't find much other information online. Nonetheless, it entertains me. And, with those links and $5, I could probably get a Frappuccino®.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Short Feed

Thwarting the thieves

If you are an e-mail or feed subscriber, I apologize, but you'll have to click on the link and come to the blog to read the complete articles for now. Once again, someone has set up the Prairie Bluestem feed so it automatically posts to his blog. Every time I post something here, it's posted there, too. I don't like that, so until the situation is remedied, Prairie Bluestem will have a short feed rather than a full feed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning of the Blog

A general freshening

I installed a new blog template over the weekend. It is displaying all right with the browsers and operating system that I have on my computer, but if you have any problem with it, please let me know.

Particularly, I would like to know if anything is overlapped, oddly chopped, or not displaying. Also, I'd like to know if there are any dark lines in the header or anywhere else that seem unrelated to the design.

This design is a modification of the new "Simple" template. One advantage of the new Blogger templates is that pages can be added. I've moved a few things that used to be in the sidebar to their own pages, and I'll be evaluating how well that works.

I certainly hope the new blog design works out better than Buster Brown's housecleaning did!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why Prairie Bluestem Has a Short Feed Again

Genevieve vs. the thieves

I'm reluctantly reverting to a "short feed" for Prairie Bluestem. Subscribers will see that this post is cut short. To read the rest, you'll have to click back to the blog. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Let me explain. Just in the last few days, I found an Australian website that is republishing every Prairie Bluestem article I write. It's going to be a duplicate of my blog if they carry on. I also found a Russian website that was translating my Tree Notes blog feed to Russian and using the articles as their own.

I think the German web host of the Russian website has taken down the stolen Tree Notes articles -- possibly the entire website. (I get an error message when I try to go there.) I sent the web host a detailed, formal complaint about copyright infringement after getting no response from the Russian website. Investigating the theft, finding the web host, and compiling the complaints took five or six hours over a couple of nights.

I've spent nearly that much time trying to get the Australian website to take down the Prairie Bluestem articles they have posted. So far, no success. They are "investigating". I've written to their web host who is also "investigating." So, until the Prairie Bluestem feed is removed from their site, the feed will be truncated. They may publish it, but they'll only get an excerpt.

I wish I could say these are unusual incidents, but they're not. These are just the latest skirmishes in a long war with content thieves. Honestly, it makes me wonder if the "full feed" is worth the time and effort it takes to retain ownership of the content. I am interested in the thoughts of others on this topic -- both bloggers and readers. What do you think?

It really makes the smoke come out of my ears when I see my photographs and articles republished on another website. Invariably, every article is surrounded with ads. Thieves are jerks who don't want to work, and internet thieves are no different than the rest of the sorry lot. They steal content to bring search-engine users to their ad-heavy pages, because they don't want to do the work to create their own content.

How do I detect thefts like these?

A copyright statement is inserted automatically at the end of every blog post as it goes into the feed. (In Blogger, go to Settings >> Site Feed.) The copyright statement contains some distinctive words -- my name, the blog name, the blog address, and my e-mail address. I have a Google Alert set for each of these distinctive words. When they appear somewhere on the web, Google sends me an e-mail with the URL.

And now, something to balance the yin and yang of this post--

Isn't that a beautiful place? It's Eagle Falls, at Cumberland Falls State Park in southeastern Kentucky. Eagle Falls is about a mile from Cumberland Falls. Isaac didn't have any trouble with the climb up the hillside, but it was a fairly strenuous hike for me. He and I went camping at Cumberland Falls several years ago, when Dennis was still in Iraq. We really enjoyed that little excursion.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Blog Appearance


I'm experimenting with the layout tonight. If the blog looks strange, please check back in a few minutes, and maybe it will look better. At least, let us hope so. :)


And here is the new, modified layout -- posts on the left and a single sidebar on the right. Simple enough, no? It should be a little friendlier to people who have slow connections or who are trying to read the blog from hand-held devices. It should also make more sense to search engines.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Invitation to Join this Blog

Friend Connect added

Today, I added a Friend Connect widget in the right sidebar of Prairie Bluestem. Friend Connect is a fairly new application that Google has made available. I've decided to try it and see if this blog's readers are interested in it.

Joining Prairie Bluestem through Friend Connect is a great way to show that you are a fan. But beyond that, Friend Connect can help this blog's readers get acquainted with each other. When the readers know each other better, a community of people with shared interests can form around this and other blogs and websites that they enjoy.

As a member (follower) of Prairie Bluestem, you can choose (or choose not) to allow other Prairie Bluestem members to send messages to you. You can also choose (or choose not) to allow me to send you messages.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Computer Shenanigans

Acccckkk, blarg, and bleccchhh!

We've been having some strange computer problems lately. The so-called "good" computer thinks that the connector cable for some disk is missing. I've taken it to Keely's boyfriend Taurus to see if he can figure out what's wrong.

That leaves us with the little Linux computer in the back hallway. I use it often anyway, because Isaac ties up the other computer. Usually, it works fine, but not lately.

First, it could barely connect to the internet. I finally discovered that the network cable plug-in on the back of the computer was missing some of its little wires. I don't know why. Maybe they just got old and fell off!

While crawling around on the floor and fumbling with computer cords, I knocked the goose-neck lamp off the desk. Later when I turned it off, a big, loud spark popped, and the computer lost power. This electrical event fried the surge protector.

Meanwhile, I couldn't log onto Blogger or access any Blogspot sites, including my own blog! I kept getting a "Server not found" message. This was making me crazy!

The new network card had no effect at all on the Blogger/Blogspot problem. I finally changed the DNS (Dynamic Name Server) numbers, and that was the necessary magic. Here I am at last, happy to see with my own eyes that my blogs still exist.

The little computer is plugging along valiantly again and doing the best it can (much like its owner.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Plain Vanilla Blog

Illusion is reality

UPDATE: Well, never mind, at least for now. I had so much email about changing to the plain white format that I've decided to go back to the old template with a smaller photo at top.

I've been worried that my blog loads much too slowly. I've removed some feeds, etc., but I don't want to remove anything else. (I like all that stuff that appears in the sidebar and at page bottom, and I often use parts of it myself.) I also enjoy posting photographs, even though they increase the loading time of the page.

To give the illusion that the blog loads faster, I've moved the posts to the left of the page and made the page a single color. The posts will load right after the header. Visitors should be able to read the post(s) fairly soon after they arrive, although the sidebar and page bottom may not finish loading if they read fast and leave.

Isaac looked at this page and said, "Oh, Mom, that's so plain," and I could only answer, "Yes, it is."

I'll leave it like this until I feel like changing it again. I'm going to install a fresh template next time I make a major revision. I've tinkered with the current template so many times that it's time for a new start.

On a related subject, Blogger (ordinary Blogger) is running all the sentences into one giant paragraph when I publish a post. I've tried and tried to fix it. (Delete the cookies, empty the cache, restart the computer. Go to Blogger and save the settings page again with the option clicked for converting two line breaks into a new paragraph. Repair the paragraphs in the post and publish it again. Check to see if the post is still a single paragraph. If so, repeat process.)

Blogger Draft was doing it also, but I fixed it using the above-described technique. Ordinary Blogger still refuses to cooperate. Thus, I guess I'm now a permanent Blogger Draft user.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Old Van Has New Home

Bread truck to be refurbished

I don't know what part, if any, Prairie Bluestem had in the sale, but the 1954 bread truck apparently has a new owner.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Milestone on the Blog

1000 posts and still typing

1000 posts on Blogger

Blogger states that I've made 1000 posts on Prairie Bluestem. It seems an appropriate moment to pause and comment.

Blogging has had a few surprises for me. For example, I didn't know that blogging would be such a heart-warming experience. I could never have imagined the nice people who would visit here or the interesting comments and e-mails I would receive.

Every now and then, I have the nice surprise of coming across posts from this blog listed in the search engine results!

And I'm surprised that it's been fairly easy to write something, most days of the last 21 months. I like to imagine that daily practice is helping me become a better writer. Of course, I don't worry much about what my editor and publisher think, because they are me. Or, to say it with better grammar: they are I, and I am they.

Blogger at keyboardPrairie Bluestem has given me the impetus to record some personal and family stories that I hope will be passed on to my grandchildren's children. In other posts, I've added to the internet's body of information on various topics. Of course, there have been plenty of mundane posts, too, but I hope that even they have helped someone forget the cares of life for a moment.

At my current blogging rate, I still have enough photo-storage space with Blogger for about 11,000 more posts or about 17-1/2 years. Apparently the blog has just begun, so thanks for reading post #1001, and please stand by for #1002.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Google Custom Search Bar

New search bar on this blog

I've added a Google Custom Search that's available from Blogger in Draft. It's at the top of the page just under the Prairie Bluestem title. (You've probably noticed it already.)

This search is not a hack . You don't have to go into the HTML of the template and change anything. This is a widget that you can add to your blog in the "Page Elements" of Blogger in Draft.

The search is very cool. The results pop right into the main column of the blog. It searches 4 unique sources (just click the tab you want to display):

  • This blog
  • The blogs in my blog-roll (listed in the left sidebar)
  • Internet sites linked to by this blog
  • The entire internet

Please let me know if the search doesn't work right for you, or if the search-bar's position in the column looks wrong to you (maybe it's covering something else or it doesn't seem to be "all there"). It seems to be fine when I look at it on my system and in web renderers, but only you can tell me if it doesn't look right on your system.

Some may remember a similar search bar on Prairie Bluestem before I made the switch to the new Blogger. I got it from a different branch of Google, but it used the same AJAX technology. It looks like the Blogger development team intends to make this search available as a widget for every Blogger weblog.

Oh, one other thing. I've read (here's one place) that it's not illegal to remove the Blogger navigation bar at the top of the page, so I have dared to do it. Removing the navbar does require a small hack of the HTML, but it's very easy to do.

Technorati tags: , ,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Rest of the Story

Expandable articles

I've installed a Blogger hack that allows me to make some of the longer articles here expandable. That means that only the first few paragraphs of a longer article will show unless you click the link that says, "Read more of this article..."

If you read to the bottom of the full article, there's another link that says, "Collapse this article again..." If you click it, the full article will disappear and the page will again show just the first few paragraphs.

I know that I can be longwinded about mundane things of limited interest (except to me!) Now those articles won't dominate the page -- unless you choose to enjoy their full-length splendor.

I got this hack from Hackosphere, a blog of Blogger hacks written by Ramani, a software engineer from California. A while back, I used another of his hacks to change this blog from two columns to three columns. A link to his site is in my "Blogs of Note."

If the expandable posts don't work right for you, please let me know.

Technorati tags: , ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Spotplex "Popular Articles" Widget

Wondering if the widget is worth it

I like the idea of the Spotplex "Popular Articles" widget (in the right sidebar). It's a good way to get new readers to look at some articles that aren't on the front page.

I'm not happy with how it's working. I noticed last night that most of the links to the articles are wrong!

For example, if you click on the title "How To Patch The Knees of Jeans," you'll go to the article "The Community Remembers Miss Lorene." To read "How to Patch the Knees of Jeans," you'd have to click on the title, "Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at Nashville, TN."

I've written to Spotplex support and complained, but I'm not holding my breath on them fixing it. If they do write back, I think they'll just say that Prairie Bluestem's feed is messed up.

[UPDATE: This problem was fixed promptly when someone from Spotplex found this post through its Technorati tag. I'm impressed about that.]

I also don't understand how the list is compiled. It seems to ignore older posts that are requested just as often from search engines. I wonder if it compiles statistics only for posts that are still in the site feed.

[UPDATE: The Spotplex representative explained this in the comments.]

I think the widget has greatly slowed the loading of the page.

I'm thinking about removing it, especially if it doesn't start showing correct links! I'll give it a few more days -- but it's definitely on probation, so it had better shape up and fly right.

[UPDATE: I'm keeping the widget for now while I evaluate whether anyone seem to be clicking the links.]

Technorati Technorati tags: ,

Friday, July 06, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger ElisaRae

Girl Blogger Award

Much to my surprise, I was declared a "Rockin' Girl Blogger" a few days ago by Mrs. Mom. With this post, I'm passing on the award to very deserving blogger -- and yes, of course she's a girl. The blogger is:

ElisaRae of ElisaRae's World

ElisaRae has been blogging for over a year now. She has a refreshing point of view and she takes good photographs. (Of course, she does have a great photography teacher -- her dad, Rich Legg.)

ElisaRae roller skates, rappels and rock-climbs. So you see, she really is a rockin' girl!

ElisaRae, I think the rules are that you can pass this award to as many as five girl bloggers. Also, if you want, you can display the "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award on your website.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Map of My Readers

Blogs and Blogging...

Map of U.S.

Here's where Prairie Bluestem's U.S. readers came from, over the last two weeks. The darkest colors show the states that more visitors came from, and the lighter colors show the states where fewer visitors came from.

Of all the visitors that passed through here, about 91% were from the Americas. Most of the Americans were from the U.S, but a few were from Canada. Only a handful were from Central or South America.

European readers were second in number (about 5%. ) Those are my Irish, Scottish, British, and Polish readers and others from that continent.

The remaining 4% was divided between Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

This information and map are from Google Analytics, a tool chest that helps website owners better understand and serve their visitors.

Some of the components aren't very applicable to blogging, in my opinion, but other parts (like this map) are interesting.

Technorati Technorati tags:

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Personal Blogosphere

Blogs and Blogging...

PTG at Plains Feeder has a poignant Mother's Day post. What he says about mothers could well apply to fathers, sisters and brothers as well. Life is short and uncertain. If hard feelings can be resolved, it's good to do so because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

In the ongoing drama of The Heeler's Diaries, my friend James has recently attended the wedding of his feminist cousin Pauline. (Start at the bottom of the page and read up.) I try to read the Diary every day. It amuses me.

Sarpy Sam, author of Thoughts from the Middle of Nowhere has been posting some beautiful photos of springtime on the prairies of Montana as well as his usual commentary about events on the ranch, Montana, and agriculture at large. Here's a nice photo of a landscape with sharptail grouse.

Larry at Riverside Rambles recently posted an interesting photo essay of an old roadside motel with a set of cabins near Hannibal, MO.

I enjoyed Michael Leddy's post at Orange Crate Art about an old advertisement for Alka Seltzer. It reminded me of Fizzies, a tablet that you dropped in a glass of water to make a sweet, bubbly drink. Oh, what fun. They were around in the late 1950's, I think.

The Pondering Pig has been considering the top 10 worst song lyrics of all times. Apparently he doesn't listen to much C&W, because I'm sure that genre could offer some contenders for the list.

If you don't find something interesting to read in this list, feel free to check the links at my Bloglines account.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Blogs and Blogging...

The blog will be undergoing some maintenance. For some reason, the Elements page is not working correctly. I can't save any changes there, and the widgets don't slide around like they should.

After reading some help pages, I've decided that maybe the template has become corrupted in some way. I don't know how to fix it, except to take it back to the Blogger template (Scribe) from which it was modified.

So, the blog will undergo a series of transformations this afternoon, and since it's going to be a major revision, I'm going to take the opportunity to make it a 3-column blog. Please forgive any strange-looking pages as the process is underway.


Sometime during the whole process, I figured out that Internet Explorer could make the Elements page work, even though Firefox (my preferred browser) couldn't. So I guess it's a Firefox thing, not a template or widget problem.

I reinstalled Firefox and Java, emptied the cache, deleted the cookies, restarted the computer, etc., in addition to reverting the widgets to their original forms, and reverting to a new template and modifying it.

Now Firefox can make the widgets slide around on the Elements page, and it can create a new widget, but it can't save any changes to an existing widget. However, the widgets can be modified and saved with Firefox directly from the blogpage. I don't know what's wrong but I will continue tinkering because I want it to work right with Firefox.

At any rate, I'm glad to have a change in the blog's appearance. It's refreshing to me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back to Full Feed

Blogs and Blogging...

Those who keep track of this blog through a reader -- (Google Reader, Bloglines, Yahoo Homepage, Netvibes, etc. -- will notice that I've gone back to a full feed.

I am doing this so Technorati will pick up and list my tags again. My tags used to work just fine. Then they quit working. Now, I'm hoping that with the full feed and another tweak, they'll work again.

In case anyone else is having this problem, there is a link to your atom feed that you can put in the head section of the blog template html that might help, along with using a full feed.

Also, I read on the Technorati site that tags that are in the footer section of the blog post will not be picked up. For Technorati, tags have to be in the body of the post.

Technorati Technorati tags: ,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Prairie Bluestem, April 2006

Blogs and Blogging...

I wrote and posted these articles in early-to-mid April a year ago. I hope you'll find something interesting in them.

I didn't write the following, but reposted them from e-mail because they are amusing but true:

And finally, here's a photo of the Virginia bluebells blooming a year ago. I saw them blooming beautifully this year by one of the creeks as I flew by in my car, and I didn't stop to take their pretty picture. In the next few days, they were frosted, along with many other spring flowers. Was there ever a more perfect example of why you should stop and smell the flowers?

Virginia Bluebells - a Kentucky wildflower

Remember this song? The lyrics are by James Seals and it was recorded by Seals & Crofts in 1973.

We May Never Pass This Way Again

Life, so they say, is but a game
And we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun,
Should be dyin'
but it's only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead,
They don't see just where we're goin'.
And all the secrets in the Universe,
Whisper in our ears
And all the years will come and go,
Take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

Dreams, so they say, are for the fools
And they let 'em drift away.
Peace, like the silent dove,
Should be flyin'
but it's only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days,
We must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea.
Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go,
And take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.

So, I wanna laugh while the laughin' is easy.
I wanna cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again,
That's why I want it with you.
'Cause, you make me feel
Like I'm more than a friend.
Like I'm the journey
And you're the journey's end.
We may never pass this way again,
That's why I want it with you, baby.

We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.


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Friday, March 30, 2007

Blast from the Past

Blogs and Blogging...

Here's what I was blogging about at the end of March a year ago:

Playing the Piano -- This topic may return soon because they've been talking about starting a Thursday night service at church and they recently asked me to play the piano for it. Aaaaack! (I can do it. Of course I can. Or at least, I'm telling myself that.)

Kentucky Farmhouse -- Photo and a bit of commentary about a big old farmhouse that was looking rough but now has received some much-needed care.

A Big Flock of Wild Turkeys -- When I saw these turkeys, one of Isaac's Scout leaders told me it was unusual to see such a large flock in spring. I think he was mistaken because I've seen a big flock in this same spot this spring, and in another place along the river, I've seen big flocks several times in the last few weeks.

Mennonite Barn -- Photo and a few comments about a new barn that was being built. It's now finished and in use!

Maternal Instincts and Little Rabbits
-- A year ago, I was wondering if the big, not-very-wild rabbit we were seeing on the lawn might be Costello, a baby rabbit that our cat Skittles brought to us. We bottle-fed him until he was big enough to survive alone. This spring we're still seeing a big, unusually tame rabbit, and I'm still wondering if it might be my little rabbit baby. Here's a photo of him that I took a few days ago.

Could this be the rabbit I bottle-fed?Who is this almost tame rabbit?!
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.