Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day in the Warm Sunshine

Our little chicks are two weeks old and growing so fast. The black ones are developing slower than the others but are just as active and healthy. The weather here is predictably unpredictable - hot one day and cold the next. The chicks are still in their brooders at night but we couldn't resist coming up with something for them to get out in the sun. While heading out the gate to the lumber store to build them a run, Buddy had a brilliant idea of converting the dog kennel into a day playpen for them until their house is ready, which should be no later than two weeks. So we stayed out til dark:30 finishing it up so they could go out today. I put them in there after it warmed up a bit and I wish I had a video of them. They were happy to try out their wings..I had little chicks going every direction.

Now, here comes the kicker....I have to round them all up tonight to put them back in the barn in their brooders. That's going to be a sight! Keep in mind, I cannot stand up in there..it's only 4 ft tall. This should be interesting...
Happy Trails...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another End of Year Upon Us

Here it is almost the close of another year. It's the time that most of us sit back and reflect on all that has happened this past year, those new little babies that joined our families and those loved ones that have left us and gone on to their ultimate walk. So much has transpired on my own journey and I look forward to a year of making new memories.

We finally got moved out to the orchard and are looking forward to building our new home. Hopefully, I'll be able to capture the progress in pictures and post it to my blog. Santa was so good to me and brought me my new camera. Now all I have to do is figure it out. I was able to snap a couple of these pictures the other day while I was out where Buddy is working. What a view, huh?
Update on the chicks - all are doing extremely well. We're still keeping a close eye on Big Hilda; "she's" looking more like a rooster every day...uh oh!
Everything around the orchard has been in sort of a lull with the holidays. I'm actually looking forward to getting back to some sort of schedule again. The weather here has been typical, crazy Texas weather..one day it's hot and the same afternoon it turns cold and dreary.
I'm looking forward to the opening of our online store right after the start of the New Year. Don't give up on me - it's in the works.
Happy Trails...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Christmas Eve was a day of preparation. Buddy and I had a list of errands to run to prepare for businesses being closed and tying up loose ends with the builder before the holidays. We had to go buy hay and feed for the horses, separate the chicks and move them out to the barn. We even made a quick run through the grocery store. Then home again last night to a very quiet little RV to do my last minute baking and watch some more Christmas movies. Yes, I seem to watch the same ones and cry at the end of every one of them. My Christmas Eve's have changed over the years. I'm not complaining. I thoroughly enjoy our quiet evening but it gives me time to reflect back over the years. I remember making sure that everyone had their gifts ready, wrapped to perfection and that all the stockings were filled and hung, waiting for the little ones to run downstairs with excitement that Santa had indeed arrived. Now it is time for my children to be filled with excitement as they make preparations for their little ones. Oh, the joy of parenthood at Christmas time.
When I could hardly hold open my eyes, I waited for my movie to end and then bundled up to head for the barn to check on the chicks to make sure they were fairing okay on the first night out in the barn. As I walked out under a clear starry sky, I could not help but think of how Mary had to feel as she traveled to Bethlehem, trying to find a place to deliver this wonderful moving little creature in her belly. How scary that must have been. What faith she must have had. As I entered the barn, I again thought of how Mary must have felt as her belly began to contract with labor and the only place they could find for this miracle delivery was in a barn. There was no one around to help her. It reminds me that when we sometimes are at our lowest point, feeling all alone, we are really never alone. God is always with us to comfort us and see us through all our troubles. And what a gift we've received. Our Father's Son, Jesus, sent to save us all.
So on this Christmas day, I wish everyone a very blessed Christmas.

Happy Trails...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Hilda

Surprisingly, all 24 chicks are doing very well. Buddy comes home at night and talks baby talk to them and is naming them. This is Big Hilda. She's the lightest colored of the yellow sex links and she towers over all the others. She's got the cutest little tail and her wings were the first of the groups to start feathering. At three days old, they are all now starting to get their wing feathers.

Because some of these are sex links, it is known immediately after they're hatched if they are pullets or roosters. Either Big Hilda is going to be
a big hen or she's a rooster! Aha!..time will tell...

Anybody got any good hen names?

Happy Trails...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peep Day!

I trekked over to Cameron this afternoon to pick up my day-old chicks from Ideal. At first, they had misplaced my order but they soon came out with my little box of chicks. This day has been long awaited.

Are these not the cutest little chicks you've ever seen? Okay, all baby chicks are cute...just little puff balls of soft down. The little black ones are sooo tiny. If you're wondering why the picture has a pink cast, it's because they're under a red heat lamp.

After sitting and watching these mice in my kitchen crawl out of the stove and hop in the plastic live trap, eat the baited peanut butter cracker and turn and get OUT, thumbing their little nose at me....I resorted to calling my friendly exterminator ...."HELP!" He advised me to find the hole where they're getting in...are you kidding me?! Other than that, out comes the black box baited with poison (no more peanut butter) and snap-traps. The black box sits outside so, hopefully, they will go off and die and then the snap-traps are right next to my stove. And, of course, just as soon as I crawl in a nice warm bed last night...SNAP!..okay, out of bed I go, get dressed and go out and pitch the little sucker. This is gross but in the last 24 hours, my pitch pile is getting big. Yuk...

I have to show you this picture of Gretchen..she's a very mini dachshund. Last week we had cold weather with sleet and snow and she just couldn't warm up. I went looking all around for her (keep in mind, there's not too many places to get lost in an RV!) and she finally stuck her head out of the dirty clothes basket. Aha! There you are!

Isn't she cute? I went out and bought her a little pink sweater with pom-pom's on it. What you don't see in the picture is the fact that she really doesn't like it. She's just not a sweater-girl!

I guess I'm gonna have to get with the program and put up some Christmas lights or something. Everybody's been posting some wonderful Christmas thoughts and pictures. My friend, Robin, has her house completely decorated with a Christmas tree in every room in her house. She could give Martha Stewart a run for her money! Your house looks awesome, Robin!

Happy Trails...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cowboy Up!

Now I consider myself a country girl but when I met Buddy, I was introduced to a whole new world of "rodeo" lingo...some descriptive phrases I can do without but one that makes a lot of sense is "cowboy up", meaning that when the going gets tough, you get up, dust yourself off and keep trying.
This past week I have been telling myself repeatedly to "cowboy up" and persevere. First of all, I've been trying to get my online store up and running but I guess December is not the month to think that I'm going to find some quality, undisrupted quiet time to work on computer stuff that takes my undivided attention, especially in tight living quarters in a fifth-wheel RV. I'm not real computer savvy but can usually figure stuff out if I can have time to concentrate and be very patient. Unfortunately, it is not happening right now. I am still working on getting it up and running so please don't give up on me.

Speaking of living in tight quarters in a RV - as I've mentioned before, we are in the process of building our house out here at the pecan orchard and are living in the RV next to the house site. Well... I think every mouse in this county has moved in with us and are breeding right here in the walls! Yuk!! I sit here at the table, trying desperately to work on my computer and off to my side is a mouse coming out of the stove and staring at me like I'm irritating him for being here! Please... he has no fear! It is amazing how something so small can make so much noise. Being the creature loving person that I am, I decide to go with the ol' technique of putting out cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil to make them leave. Ha! I think they are using them to build their nests! So next I go out and buy some of those little plastic no-kill boxes that traps the mouse and you take them out and let them go. First, they go in and take the peanut butter cracker and somehow keep the trap door up and get out! ?!?! These little guys are so prevalent, I sit here and watch them! They could care less that I'm sitting here. So.... I've mastered setting up the traps...aha! Now I'm taking handfuls of little plastic boxes full of mice out far away every morning and letting them go. I think I'm going to start doing like those zoologist or animal behaviorist or whoever they are and tag these little guys because I think they're circling around and coming back in...they look mighty familiar!

Okay, I'm open for suggestions...can somebody recommend a webhost with an easy tutorial for the website design? I'm not giving up. And if anyone has any suggestions on getting rid of these mice, please leave your comments. If I thought they could be trained, I have enough for a three-ring circus with backup!

Happy Trails...

Monday, December 8, 2008

On The Run

Okay, folks, like everyone this time of year, I've been so busy running back and forth between San Antonio and home, trying to help out with the older boys so their mom can concentrate on taking care of the new baby and doing some healing herself. When I got to San Antonio last night, Jacob was working on a school project about The Battle at Bunker Hill. I thought it was so cool, I have to share a picture of it. I'm also including some pictures of Texas that I snapped while on the road...probably not a real good idea pulling over and taking pictures, but ohwell..

I love taking pictures of old houses and barns and this old stone home is over 100 years old..

Texas longhorns

Please....don't fence me in...

Happy Trails...

Give-Away Day #3 Winner!

Per a random number generator, congratulations go out to Donna from Texas for winning the food carrier! Thanks to everyone that stuck with me and added their comments. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing from everyone.
Don't give up on me. RiverBend Farm Store should be up and running in the next day or two so don't go far. Come back and visit!

Happy Trails...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give-Away Day #3

Here we are at Day#3...hasn't this been fun? Today I'm offering this insulated food carrier. It will keep foods hot or cold. It measures 12 x 18 and can easily accomodate a 9 x 13 pan.

For a chance to win, leave me a comment with some way that I can reply to you if you're chosen. I'm going to leave this give-away open til noon Dec 6th, CST. Thanks to everyone for being so patient with me until I get my online store open. I'm enjoying everyone's comments so much that I'm thinking I should do a weekly give-away until Christmas...what do you think?

Happy Trails...

Give-Away Day #2 Winner!

Congratulations go out to MaryAnne at Thrifty Craft Mama to all who stopped by and left comments.
Please come back and visit and check out my Give-Away Day #3. I'll post it shortly.

Happy Trails...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big Give-Away Day #2

As promised, here's another chance to win something handmade. It's a set of four quilted Christmas coasters. These are great for gift giving or keeping for yourself for the holidays.
Please leave me a comment for a chance to win and one lucky person will be drawn by a random number generator after midnight tonight, CST. International participants welcome. When leaving a comment, make sure I have some kind of email to return a reply if you're chosen. Good Luck!

Happy Trails...

We Have A Winner For Day#1

First of all, I want to say thanks to the folks over at Sew, Mama, Sew for hosting the Big Blog GiveAway Day. That was fun! And second, I want to thank everyone that stopped by and commented on the Male Apron. There is one lucky winner of the apron but I was the winner in this. All your wonderful comments made my day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

By a random number generator, the winner of the Male Apron is Hannah from Tampa, Florida. Congratulations!

Don't miss out on another opportunity to win another one of my handmade items to be posted soon on GiveAway Day #2. I should have my online store up and running in the next few days; if anyone is interested in purchasing a Male Apron, just send me an email by commenting to this post and I will get back with you. Thanks to everyone for participating in the GiveAway.

Happy Trails...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Big Give-Away Day #1

Today's the Day!
Here in Texas we love to cook...and eat! Both my boys grew up learning how to cook and are now culinary delights. Joe is more the gourmet cook that can just about match any chef out there while Luke is the master of some barbecue that will melt in your mouth. In our homes, the kitchen seems to be where everyone hangs out. So I thought I would make this 100% cotton twill men's apron with a zipper appropriately placed in just the right spot. I have to give the credit to my sister for this idea. She's made these for years and they always seem to be something fun for the master chef. Thanks, Judy!
If you would like a chance at winning this apron, please leave me a comment along with your email and/or blog address so I can contact you if you're chosen. International participants are welcome in this give-away. Today's give-away will end at midnight tonight CST and a winner will be announced tomorrow on Dec 4th. Come back tomorrow for my Give-Away Day #2. Good Luck!

Go over to Sew, Mama, Sew for the master list of all the participating blogs.

Happy Trails...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tomorrow's the Day!

Don't forget! Tomorrow is the Big Blog Give-Away Day started by the folks over at Sew, Mama, Sew! http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/ Be sure to check back by tomorrow and leave a comment to enter for a chance to win a handmade gift.
Since I'm still working on getting my store online, I've decided to give away something for the next three days starting tomorrow. So now you have three chances to win. One lucky winner will be chosen at random each day so please come back and leave a comment along with your email and/or blog address so I can contact you if you're chosen. You must leave a comment each day for a chance to win. International participants are welcome in this give-away. See ya tomorrow when I post my first gift. I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Trails...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End to a Thanksgiving Holiday

Yum, yummmm....

I hope that everyone had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. I did manage to get my pecan pie baked and indulged in a slice and it was wonderful. There's nothing better than homemade fresh pecan pie. Well, okay, there's homemade vanilla ice cream or a 1 lb box of Whitman Samplers. Now who doesn't like chocolate?

It's been a busy four days going back and forth between Caldwell and San Antonio so will leave y'all with some pictures.
Harley, the one on the right, seems to have a daily vigil watching the sun come up. This morning I had to catch a picture of her out the window. Jasper is trying to get her to come play but she is steadfast on her vigil.

I am thrilled that so many of you from around the world have stopped by to visit my blog. I thought I'd take a few pictures out my truck window as I was driving today and share with you some pictures of this great state of Texas.

Happy Trails...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving
from RiverBend Farm

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endureth forever. Psalm 136:1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet Baby Girl

Here's a better picture of our sweet baby girl. Is there anything more precious than a sleeping baby? They are a true gift from God..a little person given to us while on this earth to guide, guard and direct toward the love of our Lord and Saviour. God bless the little children.
Happy Trails...

Give - Away Day

As my family and friends know, I love to sew and quilt and make handcrafted items. I am in the works of opening an online store and will kick it off with participating in the Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog Give-Away Day. I invite you to stop back by on December 3 to leave a comment for a chance to win something handmade. I haven't yet decided what it will be so I'll put on my thinking cap.
Check out Sew, Mama, Sew! at http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=647. It's a great way to check out other's blog and maybe even win something!

Happy Trails...

Happy Birthday, Jule

Juliet made her big arrival yesterday at 12:52 pm, weighing in at 8 lbs, 1 oz, and 20 1/2 inches long. God has blessed this family with a beautiful little pink girl. Everyone is doing well. What a special Thanksgiving this family is having.
This is not the best picture but it's taken through the nursery window as they're giving her a first bath.
Jacob and Zach are thrilled to finally have their little sister to hold.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A New Gadget

I came across this kinetic pecan cracker last year but have been waiting to get it til this season. I broke down, ordered it and we tried it out this afternoon. It's great! Much better than trying to crack them one at a time. This thing can crack more than 1500 pecans an hour. It took a few minutes to get the hang of it but I love it.

Aren't they pretty? I can almost taste that
pecan pie...

Happy Trails...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beauty Day

Wednesday morning started off with a fresh pedicure for the girls. Then it seems like I've been off and running and haven't stopped yet. The past couple days have been super busy meeting with contractors so I can get bids on building the house. Then with that, I've been looking at windows, doors, fixtures, etc. so that they're bidding "apples to apples". I'm trying to get all this done before I leave next week for the arrival of my new granddaughter. I can't believe it's been nine months since the grandboys called to tell me they were expecting a "new visitor". Well, I think she'll be staying awhile. After two boys, my son and daughter-in-law are being blessed with a little girl. I know God has big plans for this little one. I can't wait to see her and hold her. I love my grandbabies! This will make #6 and I love them all. My cup truly runs over.

Happy Trails...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthday Celebration

May you truly know today
The love of Jesus Christ
And know He's smiling down on you
For you are His delight
The Lord joyfully celebrates
This special day with you
And as you grow up year by year
He's with you as you do

© By M.S.Lowndes

Happy 1st Birthday, Angel Baby
Nana loves you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Fence

The fence around the yard is now complete. The guys got here early yesterday morning and worked until after dark using headlights on the tractor to hammer in the last nails. This morning I went out just before sun-up to introduce the horses to it. They were just so happy to get out of the catch pen. Anyway, we're very impressed with the work on the fence. It looks awesome! These are views of the side that will run along the master bedroom windows.

I just had to go out yesterday and take a picture of the guys putting up the brace for my walk-thru gate. I'm sure they thought I was crazy for taking their picture but each and every little bit of progress out here is exciting to me. I thank my Lord all the time for all His blessings. We have big plans for this place.

Here's the finished walk-thru gate going back to the barn. Don't you just love this tree? All this will be out back off the porch.

And here's the drive-thru gate. The road you see that turns off to the left of the gate will eventually be moved once the house is built. The road will go straight through the gate back to the barn.

Yippee!! I just got a call from the draftsman that the final houseplans are ready. I'm outa here to go pick them up. Stay tuned...I've got some exciting things I'm working on for my blog.

Happy Trails...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Full Wheel Deal

Finally..pecans! Last Friday I finally had a chance to go out with my wheel and gather up some pecans. A norther with strong winds blew in last Saturday night and sent the pecans and the leaves falling. Most of the trees have absolutely no pecans but then there are some that have quite a few. Don't get me wrong.. I wouldn't exactly call this a harvest this year but we are getting more than a few pecans. Between the coyotes and the squirrels, it's slim pickin's. I think this is the first year we've really had a problem with the squirrels. I go to pick up pecans and find that a squirrel has eaten the end off! They're cute but they can sure be a nuisance in a pecan orchard. I'm not real crazy about going on a squirrel hunt. I think I'd rather put out a live trap and relocate them. Now, come on.... what's my choice? Squirrels or pecan pie? Or... pecans or squirrel pie? I'll go with the pecan pie.

We're in the process of fencing in what will be the yard around the house. It will not only keep the coyotes out of the yard but also the horses. Keep in mind that we are living in the 5th wheel RV while the house is being built and sometimes when I go to open the door, the horses are standing right there! The fence man should be back tomorrow to finish. I'll post pictures when he's done.

Several people have asked what kind of pecans we have here. To give a little background about the orchard, a prominent businessman and a professor and extension horticulturist from Texas A&M University started this orchard about 25-30 years ago. It has been told to us that one of them wanted to leave something that would keep on going long after he's gone. From what we understand, they planted a variety of pecans out here. We get all kinds including Choctaw, Wichita and natives to name a few. They are sized like a small sweet potato to a small pumpkin shape to the size of a peanut and also long and skinny like a bullet. We are continuing to learn everything we can about the orchard and hope that we will make Ol' Army Lou proud.

These days I don't go out without my little pecan wheel so I don't miss picking up a pecan. I love picking up pecans! It's so relaxing; it's my quiet time to walk through the leaves and do some serious thinking. I tend to get in a bad habit of walking around with my head down constantly looking for pecans. This time of year we end up with pecans everywhere. There's usually a few in my pockets or in my truck or on the kitchen table. I even see pecans in my sleep.

I'll leave you with a tip about storing pecans -
Place shelled pecans in an airtight container or plastic zip-top freezer bag. Label with date of purchase. Store in refrigerator for 6-9 months or preferably in the freezer for up to 2 years. Pecans can be thawed and refrozen and not lose their quality.

Happy Trails...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Behold, A Wish Come True

For all of you out there that have some sort of crazy life-long dream that you might not want to admit to, listen up. Mine finally came true. Throughout my childhood into my adult life, I have always been mesmerized my big 18-wheeler trucks and could only imagine how cool it would be to ride in one and sit up high, looking out over the road and countryside. It might sound weird to some who know me but then again, to some who know me well would not at all be surprised. Last week I finally got to ride in my cousin's truck when hauling the dozer. What a blast! First of all, I about wet my pants climbing up in the seat. The 'ol gray mare ain't what she used to be. Wow! But big mama made it, mission accomplished and off we went. How cool is this?! I have to admit riding in the air seat, bouncing with every bump in the road felt like trying to stay in the saddle of some wayward horse. With every huge wide turn that Buddy took, I felt like I was on some sort of amusement ride...I felt like we were going to hit the ditch every time but he knew what he was doing.

I took some amazing pictures along the way but most of them didn't turn out. I've put a request into Santa for a new camera for Christmas. That'll give me a good reason to go for a ride again.

I had to put in this picture of an old barn
of my cousin's. I love old barns and this
one was begging me to take it's picture.

So for all you that have some sort of dream or wish list to do in your lifetime, don't give up. It can still happen.

Happy Trails...