Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hot Dog Man

Ya'll are just gonna have to deal with my posts about my granddaughters because they are keeping me in stitches with their shannanigans. Nana might be a little slow and behind the times, but I'm learning. When I asked Ashlyn if she wanted her hot dog cut up or in a bun, she squealed "Hot Dog Man!" Here enters Hot Dog Man.

Yesterday while I slipped away to get a shower, Kenley decided to work on some personal artwork.

But this precious angel is always eager to help..
Happy Trails...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Texas women

I hope I don't offend any fellow Texans but I've just got to post about this. I come from a long line of family born and raised in Texas. Call it whatever, but when I was a kid growing up, I really thought Dolly Parton on the cover of True Confessions was to die for. She was always a lady..always had hair and makeup perfect. Now, as an older adult, I've learned she has gone off the deep end and looks purely plastic. Where did my idol go? But back to the point of this post.
Yesterday, while still in Dallas, I slipped out of the hospital and went down the road to pick up lunch for Theresa and her husband. They wanted Pei Wei, so off I went. Now, mind you, I live in a small town near a college town, home of Texas A&M, where it is not uncommon to see a lot of "kids" wearing flip-flops and pajamas pants or sweats. And, when I go out, I always have on makeup and clean hair, 99% of the time in jeans and a tshirt. But as I was sitting in Pei Wei, waiting for my take-out, I was blown away with the women coming in. The majority of them had something done to their hair...I've never seen such streaks and 'do's. And their makeup looked like war paint. And I don't know how they held themselves up with all that jewelry. Oh, and the Barbie heels...c'mon, do women really work in those? I've got to know... was this a freak sighting? I forgot about their purses..I guess you call that a purse..they were the size of an envelope. (Where do they put their gun? It couldn't be under that bodysuit...maybe it was hiding under all that necklace or tucked into all that cleavage...hopefully not there because if they needed it in a hurry, it would take them awhile to find it). I applaud women for getting up and dressing and looking professional but this was almost a joke.. when you got that many women together, it looked comical. Each one that came in looked just like the one before them. I do not consider myself to be leading a sheltered life. I know that not all Texas women look like that. I hope that folks outside of Texas do not think that is a true reflection of Texas women because it's not.
Happy Trails...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leighton Anne

I have been given permission to post her picture, so here is my newest blessing.

Dear Journal...

Where do I begin? I traveled to Dallas on Monday to be here for the birth of my seventh grandchild. Words cannot express how God has blessed me. We were patiently but anxiously waiting the arrival of Theresa's third daughter. Theresa's actual due date was Jan 31 but for reasons I won't go into, it was decided for her to be induced. Theresa picked the 29th to be the day. Her doctor thought otherwise and asked if the 26th would be a good day. Theresa mulled it over in her head and decided the 26th would be a great day to have her baby. You see, Jan 26th marked the 20th anniversary of her father's murder. That is a whole 'nother story that does not need detail. It has just been a sad day remembered in my children's lives.
Anyway, Theresa has been having some hard regular contractions for several weeks at night and has considered heading to the hospital on different occasions but they soon subside. All preparations have been made and everything is ready. I, for one, did not think she would make it to the 26th. But the night of the 25th arrives and no typical 11 o'clock hour contractions...hhhmmm... She gets up the morning of the 26th with cramping and some regular contractions. Off to the hospital we seems that scheduled induction or not, God has chosen January 26 to be the birthday of Baby Leighton. You cannot imagine how it made my heart sing when Theresa held her baby, crying and repeating "this is now a good day".
To God alone be all the glory...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's Working

No pictures on this post..just a quick note to say that all my efforts on cutting back are paying off. I was anxiously waiting for the electric bill to come in to see if there was any difference. Buddy told me not to be too disappointed because the heater ran almost constantly when the temperature outside never got aboving freezing for three days. But the bill came in and I was pleasantly shocked...we REDUCED our bill by 27%! It does work! I used to go in a room and flip on the light (in the bathroom we have two fixtures with three lights each) ...don't do that anymore. I have learned to function in low light or when I do turn on lights, it's only a few with those corkscrew looking bulbs. At night, we cut down the heater and put more blankets on the beds. During the day, just layered on more clothes. It's the little things adding up.
No, we haven't cranked up the wood stove's been in the mid 70's here lately. What happened to winter? We got our winter bunched up into a week!
Happy Trails...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Porch Garden

My porch garden is finally coming together. Awhile back we found the antique fence and put it up. Then Buddy found an antique gate on one of his job sites and the owner told him he could have it so it got hung today. Yipee! With the weather we've been having, it won't be long before I can go out there and start planting. Come on spring! I pulled the Carolina jasmine out of the barn and put it back. It's been living in the barn with the recent ice storm. Can you believe it? One day it's 16 and now today it's 76. I figured as much... we get the wood stove put in and we have a Texas heat January.
The chickens are loving this weather. I've got 20 chickens and I'm getting 15 eggs a day. I love my chickens. They are mixed sex links and 5 Ameracaunas. I get 4-5 green eggs a day so I know the schedule of the Ameracaunas but I don't know which, if all, of the sex links are laying.
In the meantime, I've got lots of eggs.
I've been out of it lately...I just got word from Mandi over at Herban Homestead that I need to get my seed potatoes in the ground. Yikes! We just need to put the tractor back together. We've had the starter in the shop. Thanks, Mandi, for keeping me on my toes!
Happy Trails...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Egg or a Fart?

Can you see it? What would you call it? I don't think it's an egg. Probably just a hard shell fart.

And what's with the little outy belly button on the end? That's just nasty.

Calling all meat rabbit raisers. I need some help. We're working on getting some meat rabbits and I'm trying to decide on cages or hutches or whatever you want to call them. We had them when I was a kid and we had wooden hutches. I know that's not the preferred hutch due to sanitary conditions. So, do I get wire cages and hang them or put them in a wooden frame? I've also heard that stacking is not the preferred way. I will have these cages under a shed with access to fans for summer heat. I'm tossing around which is the best way to go so any and all comments and suggestions are welcome.
Happy Trails...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Latest Addition

Remember a few days ago I was moving around the furniture? Well, now I will tell you why...

When we built our home, we put in vinyl flooring throughout the house because here it's either mud or dust. Some of that had to come up this week..

To put down tile...

To cut a hole in the ceiling...
(you can't imagine how this hurt..I thought I was going to be sick!)

To add our new Jotul 500 wood stove. This was the designated spot for it when we drew up the house plans but just now got around to putting it in. We missed getting it in before this record cold snap but feel fortunate to have found one. After doing all the reviews and deciding on this one, we learned that the middle man distributor will no longer be carrying them and it was going to be difficult to get one in..they are built in Norway. This is all in our big scheme of becoming sustainable. With our luck, now that we have the stove, we're probably going to get a Texas Heat Wave. I'm still waiting on the back heat shield to come in.. should be today. Coming out of Maine, we checked the other day and it was in Illinois with the temperature there at 0. Then we'll be able to crank up this lil' puppy and stay snuggly warm.

Happy Trails...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Escape the Cold for a few minutes

Climb aboard and let's continue soaking in the warmth of the sun and viewing the countryside.

Don't you just love old barns?

Oh, give me a home...

of blue skies and sunshine...

Happy Trails...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sending Warm Wishes Your Way

A few of us Texas gals got together and wanted to send some warm Texas thoughts and wishes to all you battling snow and below freezing temperatures. It's been cold here but nothing like what y'all are having to deal with up north.

So we're collecting a few of our pictures from the past in hopes of bringing you a little sunshine and hope that warmer days are ahead.

Take off your coat and take a walk through our orchard and feel the warmth of the sun on your arms and the sun glaring in your eyes as you walk through the field of flowers. Can you hear the birds singing as the fly from tree to tree chattering about their newly built nests full of anticipated little chirps?

Oops, watch out..don't run over the new litter of baby armadillos. Don't worry, they can't see you but they can smell you.

Keep on walkin'..the heat is turning up..can you feel the crunch of the drying grass under your feet?
And Jess no longer has her winter coat but a slick warm coat shining in the sun.
Don't go far...I'll be back with some more warm thoughts coming your way.

Warm and Happy Trails...

Friday, January 8, 2010

How to NOT do something

This is way too cold for Texas..and this is mid-morning after the temperature has gone up a few degrees. I went out this morning to feed and break up ice for the critters and had a pot full of hot oatmeal for the chickens and my camera in hand. Okay, I forgot my hammer to break up the ice. When all else fails, you use your trusty booted foot to break it up. I got the chicken's water broken and they were so cute..they had their fuzzy butts showing and one was even standing on the ice.

I've got Rooster Cogburn confined to a cage because he's always bothering Big Hilda. I don't know why but he picks on her and then the other girls start being mean to her and she gets isolated and won't come out of the chicken house or is off by herself to avoid Rooster. So, since Big Hilda is a favorite (yes, we play favorites), Rooster gets penned up. Maybe that's why we're getting so many eggs every day in the bitter cold. But I caught of picture of Big Hilda parading in front of the rooster as if to say "Na, na-na, na, na--na!"

Anyway, so I get the chickens taken care of and get the horses some hay...

Now, I need to go break up the ice in the horses' water trough...with oatmeal pot and camera in hand, I need to do this and not get my camera wet...hmmm, no hammer. Okay...I'll use my foot again. It works..but only a small hole. Mind you, this is a good size water trough. I really need to get my foot up and over and slam it in... yep, I did just that and ended up practically falling in! Wow! Ice shock! That's cold!

I've got on two thick layers of clothes and my boot is sloshing full of ice water. This is NOT the correct way to break up ice.

I can only imagine what these animals are thinking.....
Bridget seems to think it's funny...

and Cinch turns around to say "you stupid klutz!"

Happy Trails...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What d'ya think?

Do ya think I need a hat rack or what? Buddy comes in the door and this is where the hats go..even the nasty, stinky hats that he will not part with. And to think he just brought home a box, yes, a box of 20 new caps from our son's business.

Most of the furniture is getting moved around this week (for reasons I will disclose later) so something's gonna have to give. Aha!..stay tuned.

I don't know what's going on with the girls but we're getting about 16-18 eggs a day. For 20 chickens, that's a lot. I guess it's been because the sun is out. It's supposed to get down into the teen's here the end of the week. That's just not right for Texas!

I'm working on my frugal living..still baby steps. I went to the store the other day for a few things and ended up stockpiling on paper goods. I have concluded that I don't need a whole Kleenex to wipe off my face at night.. I tear off and use only half. Now, that brings up another subject...why do we use the universal term "kleenex" when they are clearly marked "facial tissue"? I could go on but won't bore you.

For several days now, Buddy and I have been smelling something like cooked cabbage every time we walk in the door. We have searched everywhere. My nose led me to the stove. I'm thinking.."what in the world could have slid down the side in the cracks?" I found my answer this morning. The temp was down to 25 so a bowl of hot oatmeal sounded good. I grab some water to put on to boil...aha! out of propane! How'd that happen? I didn't even think about the propane being low but that was the smell. When we moved in last May, we put a minimal amount in the tank thinking we would not use much in the stove and hot water heater. That's what we get for thinking! I did get a dual stove/oven...the range is gas and the double oven is electric. I figured that even if the power goes out, I can always cook...there I go thinking again...Well, better head out and prepare for this cold we're fixin' to get.

Happy Trails...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Now Comes the Hard Part

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe New Year celebration. We welcomed it in quietly with just the two of us and, yes, early to bed as usual. Buddy set the alarm for 12:01 to wish me a Happy New Year. I returned the gesture and then we rolled back over to sleep. Typically, I make the usual New Year's resolution of losing weight. Of course, it's the same one every year...ha! I'm still my own fat self. This year I had a list of resolutions..
This is where the hard part starts....I resolved to become frugal. I can't say more frugal because when I read the definition, I have been no part of frugal.

Frugal is defined: to be economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful; entailing little expense; requiring few resources.

This is going to be baby steps for me as I "prepare". I can't do this overnight. I was trying so hard yesterday to not be flipping on lights out of habit and functioning in low light. I made deviled eggs last night by the light of an oil lamp (and of course Buddy had on the tv). I said this was my resolution, not his. He thought I had gone nuts yesterday and just kept shaking his head. So, can you see how hard this is going to be? I think he will put in an honest effort eventually. But, anyway, back to the deviled eggs...I managed but it was sure different. How do folks to it? How did the pioneers of our past do it? I am so spoiled!
We built our home to be efficient but this is going to be a challenge. I read other's blogs about frugal living but most live up north. I am in Texas. I have no cellar or no ice house. We deal with humidity here.
So, please join me on my 2010 journey of learning frugal living in Texas. As I take this journey, I will share my trials and successes with you. I welcome any advice or suggestions. This should prove to be an interesting and educational year at RiverBend Farm.
Happy Trails...