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Holy smokes you guys!

Friday, February 1st, 2013

How long has it been? I’ve gotten so busy with things like writing Windchill’s book that I’d forgotten to come back here and update you on life in general! I’m so sorry. How are you all doing? Is anybody even visiting? I’m betting I know a couple of people who do regularly…  But for those friendly and nice – tell me what you’ve been up to?

Me? Well…writing the book. Received a couple of awards at work – Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, Top 23 Names in Healthcare… bought a new place. It’s a beautiful log home overlooking rolling hills filled with oak and maple trees and a 48 x 96 foot barn that has room for all my dreams and more! I get plenty of exercise chopping wood for the outdoor wood furnace and the indoor wood stove. Stepping into the place is like walking into a warm hug – it’s wonderful!

That’s all I have time for for now. I’ll try and get some pictures uploaded here soon. Hope all is well friends!




Monday, June 4th, 2012

Summer is pretty much here! It’s been an awesome start with my youngest graduating last Friday, family parties, and some big changes ahead. Life sure takes you in lots of new directions, doesn’t it? Loving the ride! Hope you’re having a great start to your Summer.


President Jefferson said it best to those without the pride or desire to become self sufficient and depend on hard working folks like me to support them…

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

“The democracy will cease to exist
when you take away from those who are willing to work
and give to those who would not.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Shining a light…

Monday, June 6th, 2011

By now, most have heard that Kathi and I are divorcing (and as of 12/19/11 – officially divorced). In the end, I found the only way for both of us to live the lives we want and pursue our differing dreams and goals was to part ways. Each of us will be remaining involved with horses I’m sure. We each will remain involved in horse rescue and fighting equine neglect/abuse and carry on the mission we began with Windchill and his Legacy though on different paths. There’s been lots of talk, lots of emails and of course, emotions have run high. Thus I wanted to set the record straight here. We did have the annual Windchill BBQ last year, you are all our friends – and have become friends with each other and we didn’t want to lose that bond. At some point I’ll start posting blogs again here, I have years of notes of life on the farm to write about and had a separate blog I used to post all these thoughts. For now, I’m always around via email and always around for a cup of coffee and some good conversation or just plain quiet contemplation.


PS – my original post, posted in response to the various talking going on behind the scenes – I leave it here to show that I can respond in kind if necessary, my desire to try to have handled things as mature adults should not be interpreted as weakness but desire to be productive and peaceful: Contrary to what is being spread by somebody, I’m not going to respond in kind. The pettiness that resulted was because of my request for a divorce. I’ve made attempts in the past to avoid this course but in the end found it was the only way for us both to live the lives we want and pursue our differing dreams. If you buy into the pettiness without independent validation, you deserve whatever comes of your relationship. As I’ve said from the beginning, we can handle our business privately – but somebody’s public statements have made that an impossibility. I stand by the rest of the sentiment I’ve expressed – I wish the best for all involved. Always have, always will. God bless.

Even Echoes Fade…

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

I went to Gander Mountain today, Jord. Our birthday tradition. I took the same path we always ended up taking. I looked at rifles. No, I still haven’t bought a 30/30 yet. Always figured we’d do that together on a someday that never came. I looked at those trail cameras you liked. They’re the same price. We shudda just bought you one. I never gave you a budget. It never occurred to me that wouldve helped you look for stuff. I was just happy to be there with you. I learned from you. Today I turned my cell phone off. Just like you did. I was in the moment. Like you were. I looked at all those fishing lures, like we always did. But this time I couldn’t hear your voice. Even the echoes have faded.

I tried so hard to remember what you told me about what they all did. I tried to hear your voice. But it’s gone. I walked the same aisles. Searching for you…desperately listening. I looked for you in the parking lot – the last place I saw you alive. I remember you trying to choose between that deer shirt and the bass one and telling you to get both. I remember telling you that you should get a job at Gander Mountain as we stood in line and laughing when you said you’d work for store credit. You said you’d look for a job after hunting season and I agreed it was better to wait. I found the fishing lure you were so excited we bought you. They’ve moved them and I still found it. Just like I found it next to your bed after you died. The same one that’s on top of your ashes on my shelf.

There was just as many people here this year but the store was so much emptier without your voice explaining to me what all this stuff is. I don’t know if I’ll come back here next year now that you’re not here. I didn’t realize the echoes would fade too. I’ll still remember each and every birthday Jordan. I just don’t think it will be here.

November 30, 2008: Make Your 8:32pm Count

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

November 30, 2008: It’s been a long holiday. Fortunately my brother stayed here until this morning. He was a constant companion and distraction, making sure to stay near when Kat was at work or in between chores, etc. We’re all doing about as good as can be expected given that Jordan wasn’t with us. We had big plans for this Thanksgiving. He was going to come visit for the weekend. We were going to play XBox 360 until our eyes were blurry. He spent his time after school most days in his deer stand. He was hopeful he’d get his deer by the time he was going to come visit and we were going to turn lots of the meat into jerky for him – most likely to have with then when he spent his days after school ice fishing. And our tradition since he was a little boy was late night turkey sandwiches. I’d always ask if he wanted mayo – he’d always politely tell me he liked his plain. I’d always tell him “you don’t know what you’re missing…” He’d always tell me he was fine missing it. We’d take our sandwiches into the living room and inevitably he would put his favorite movie in – “The Santa Claus”. We’d watch it for the thousandth time that visit. No matter how big and tough he got, he never lost the magic. He loved the outdoors. I didn’t get to see him much as he got older. Our schedules were insane, he was always busy. And now that I’ve seen all the people in his life, how loved he was…I understand more why now.

Jordan learned something I wish I had learned earlier on in life. I didn’t really learn it until the last couple of years, maybe even the last year or two. What Jordan learned early on was to live the moment you’re in. Live it fully and experience it. Be happy and just enjoy this moment. Most of us don’t do that. We say we do but we don’t. We’re busy emailing, texting, watching commercials, mentally somewhere else. Wherever we are, we’re anxious to get somewhere else. We rush the moment we’re in to get to the next moment where we impatiently wait to jump to the next. Thursday, November 13, 2008, at 6:15pm, I sat across from Jordan Lee at Outback Steakhouse. He had just turned 18 that Monday – and just gotten his grad pictures back which he brought for me. He talked most of the time, I listened. He talked of which colleges he had narrowed it down to. Asked what’s good here. Talked of ice fishing and hunting. How he was going to wait to get a job until hunting season was over. He asked about the farm, deer hunting in Wisconsin, this and that. He laughed, smiled and kidded. Never once did he look at or take out his cell phone for what must have been a zillion messages and texts waiting for his reply. He was living this moment. We went to Gander Mountain to buy his birthday presents – he chose ice fishing supplies. We shopped and talked. He was going to let me know if his ice fishing tent was warm enough with the small heater or if he needed that larger one – that was going to be his Christmas present. As we checked out, his gifts came to more than the ‘limit’. He suggested he put one of the two shirts he couldn’t decide between back. I told him to keep them both and it’s his birthday.

Not many can point to the exact time of their last communication between themselves and a loved one. I can. It occurred on November 13th via cell phone text messages, shortly after a father and son finished birthday shopping. Jordan was heading back to his home in Cloquet, and I was on my way back to my farm in Wisconsin. It went like this:

8:20pm: Happy birthday again Jord. I’m very proud of u and glad I got to see u
8:31pm: Yeah thanks for takin me shoppin. I had fun
8:32pm: Good i’m glad. Me too.

One night later and my son would no longer be here to text. I know that because I have checked my phone a thousand times. That last conversation is saved in my phone’s inbox. There won’t be any more texts from or to him but I still check. Just in case this was a horribly bad dream. So my advice to you is to fill somebody’s inbox right now. Say you’re sorry, say you miss them, say you love them, say hello. Make sure your last message sitting in someone’s inbox at 8:32pm or whenever is something you’re glad you told them.


Jordan\'s last voicemail letting Barb know where he was that afternoon after school, 11/14/2008

Ode to Eilene – Come on Eilene!

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

August 11, 2010, 9:32am: Wow, it’s been more than a month since I’ve been on here. Time just flies, doesn’t it? Particularly the Summer months. In honor of one of our guests coming to the Windchill Memorial BBQ this weekend – with the help of Judi Ross who provided the pictures below we welcome a friend to everyone – Eilene W! Eilene has already checked in at the airport in Florida even though her flight doesn’t actually leave until tomorrow! So Come On Eilene…!
(you have to go to the Raindance site in order to listen to Eilene’s song)

Raindance in the news…

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Kathi and newborn foal in a gaited horse magazine

Jordan Tucker Environmental Scholarship – to be awarded this weekend

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

This weekend is the weekend the first two students receive scholarships from the Jordan Lee Tucker Environmental Scholarship fund I set up in my son’s memory. It will be presented by his sister, Amanda. It will go to two high school seniors who have shown a love for and desire to help the environment. We all hope the fishing’s good in heaven Jord…and we miss you terribly…Jordan Lee Tucker senior soccer photo, November, 2008

Becoming my parents

Monday, April 5th, 2010

My dad used to listen to a narrow selection of music. When we’d go for family rides in the van, he’s blast the same two cassette tapes – Kenny Rogers and Neil Diamond. They both have songs that to this day if you sing them it makes my brother, sister and me cringe and run screaming for alcohol. It’s not that I have anything against these two gentlemen, but having listened to their tapes non-stop every weekend of our adolescent lives it could explain our actions if we ever ended up in a clocktower with a sniper rifle shooting at cassette tapes. Mom used to listen to nothing but country. Which we all hated. Riding to the mall in her Chevette we’d be subjected to non-stop Country – not like today’s Country, it was the really twangy stuff. We liked rock and pop so Country was the antithesis, the enemy. But…we were the kids, the minions, the prisoners of the war of music. It was hard to imagine worse torture. It existed – it was called chores. But that’s for another discussion. At night dad would turn on classical music on the hi-fi. Now I know that that is a parental weapon, used to keep child vermin out of the living room. I do it now.

We of course rebelled and showed our musical independence with Walkmans once they came out. Suddenly we were able to take back the world and strike a note at the injustice inflicted upon our hearing by our parents.

But it happened. I caught myself telling my girls to turn down that pop crap. I enforce this by singing along with their music, which seems to be comprised of electronic instruments, words blurted out in rapid-fire style and lots of breathing. The breathing part is my favorite, I do that now throughout all their music.

I rarely listen to rock anymore. And when I do, it’s 80’s music which at the time (my high school days) I took for granted. Now I listen with that look of nostalgia. Though I must say my kids love 80’s music as well so I don’t get the joy of inflicting the same musical torture on them when it’s voluntary on their part. And there’s the classics that bridge generations. Who doesn’t tip their hat in respect and either dance or crank it up when “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on? Probably the same people trying to kill Christmas for the rest of us. Led Zeppelin, Elvis (still The King!), Louis B. Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr. oh man, so many that I think cross generations that I should stop because I won’t do justice to those I don’t list.

I listen to my generations ‘classics’ as well – remember when John was still Cougar but became Mellenkamp? Turning the stereo up for “Jack & Diane”, “Pink Houses” and his other music with attitude? The Boss when he was still good and not off the political deep-end and on again, off again with the E Street Band? I’d blare “Born in the USA” – just like I do now. Michael Jackson was pretty much always strange but at least back then he was strange in a semi-cool way. Now he’s lock-up-your-kids strange. And I listen to country. I use the excuse that it’s not my mother’s ‘country and western’ but a new generation. I have a pile of country CDs in my truck. And oddly enough, once I started listening to it, it was like coming home. Just like that first ride on a horse my 36th year, not all that long ago. Now I have a bunch of horses and a bunch of country music. I also listen to jazz, Big Band and music that to me defies categorizing like New Ireland Orchestra and Norah Jones (another CD coming out, woohoo!), Jane Monheit and Renee Olmstead. Blues and orchestral music. Eclectic to say the least. And I find comfort in classical music late at night as an escape from the world.

I don’t wear polyester like my dad so clearly I’m not at all like him. Actually I’m not even sure where you get that much polyester or why it wouldn’t register with you that it didn’t work – the polyester foray into fashion coolness died dad, give it up. Stop wearing socks with sandals and I find it hard to believe that you can’t find a good pair of jeans that go all the way down to below your ankles. He’s also big on generic stuff because it’s cheap and cheap is good even though cheap usually equates to crap in my book. I wear Levis. Apparently they make my butt look good according to female review. I don’t really care, they’re just plain comfortable. Anyway, good thing I had this morning muse to realize I haven’t become become my parents. Whew. Dodged that bullet. Go back to your lives citizens, coolness crisis is over…