Monday, April 30, 2012

Days of GoodBye

Buddy's uncle passed away last week after a long illness so we traveled to Dallas to the DFW National Cemetery for his funeral.  If you've never been to a Veteran's Cemetery, you owe it to yourself to go.  It was most impressive and absolutely beautiful.  I was pretty amazed at how they continually run services through there.  We had 30 minutes before another funeral was scheduled for the pavilion.  I believe I heard it said while we were there that close to 1000 veterans die a day.  I'm telling you, we were on sacred ground. 

We finally had to "let go" of Bridget and send her on to Rainbow Bridge where she can run through the sweet green grass and breathe easily.  The Cushings had taken it's toll on her.  She was a good one!
Happy Trails...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Turkey Poults

I've been on the "waiting list" for my little turkey poults.  Well, the day finally came...they were hatched out on Sunday and I picked them up last night.  These are the Heritage variety -Bourbon Reds.
This is what they'll look like when they grow up...depending if they are male or female.  I tried sexing these little guys but they were all just alike...probably, my luck, they'll all end up being toms.  I was easily able to determine the sex of his chicks but not these turkeys.  Time will tell.
This is a first for me having turkeys.  I might be calling on you turkey owners out there for some assistance.  I am so impressed with these guys.
Happy Trails...

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Rise Bread

I apoligize so much to the blogger who initially posted this recipe to give you credit but I didn't write it down and I can't remember.  I have tried this once before but it didn't turn out so great.  I used one of those silicone loaf pans...I do not like them for baking (to put it lightly..)  I had these that I wanted to do a little comparision test.  My everloving spatterware pan and a Wilton pan.
 So here's the original recipe-

One rise bread (makes 2 loaves)

In a large mixer place:
2 1/2 cups hot tap water
1 T salt
1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. sugar or honey
2 T yeast
1 egg

Mix together a little and then add 6 c. flour.
This can be any combination of wheat and white flour.  For white bread use all white flour and for wheat bread use half and half or more wheat if you want.

Mix flour until it "leaves" the sides of the bowl.  Then continue mixing 10 minutes.
Pour dough onto an oiled countertop.  Divide in two.  Form into two loaves and place in bread pans sprayed with Pam.

Turn oven on to 350 degrees and set bread to rise on top of it for about 30-40 minutes or until it peeks over the top of the pans.
Pop in oven for 25 minutes.
Remove yummy bread from oven and from pans.
Beam with pride while you butter the tops.
Let cool completely before slicing.

But wait.
You can also make these into cinnamon rolls!  Or make one loaf of bread and one pan of cinnamon rolls.
To make cinnamon rolls:
Roll out half of the dough on an oiled countertop to form large rectangle about 9x12. 
In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar & 1 T cinnamon with 2 T softened butter. 
With a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into sugar & cinnamon until it forms a crumbly mixture.
Spread out on top of rolled out dough. 
Roll the short side toward you to form a log. 
Cut cinnamon rolls about 2 inches thick and place in cake pans sprayed with Pam. 
Rise for 30-40 minutes. 
Bake for 12-18 minutes.  
Glaze with powdered sugar mixed with milk.
*I had to let mine rise longer than the recommended time. 

I think both pans did equally well.  I'm just pretty partial to my spatterware.

I also used sugar instead of honey.  I also used 5 cups of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat.  This recipe is okay in a pinch but I still like the ol' fashioned double-rise bread.
Happy Trails..

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rain Barrel

I went to Lowe's early because we had rain forecasted to hit in the afternoon. I decided to go with a commercial brand trash can because I don't think I'm too gifted to be able to work from two small openings on top of a barrel. Until I find a barrel that the lid comes off, I'll stick with this. It's pretty heavy duty plastic...and a little more money than I wanted to pay...$30.
Then the clouds start rolling in so not sure I'm gonna get this done in time. We were originally forecasted a 30%, then increased to 40%. By last night it was updated to 50%. Now I hear it's 80%. Yikes...I better hurry....
Of course, I have no power tools here at the house that I can much for drilling a nice hole in the top. This ol' girl uses what she's got...a box cutter. My right arm and shoulder may never be the same but, hey, it worked. Under this green grate on the pvc reducer, I added window screen to keep the mosquitos out. You'll see on the last picture the hose sitting on top. I'm not sure if I want to leave the drain or have the hose more properly fit into the white pvc.
I then cut the hole for the spigot. I used a marker to outline the inside diameter of the fitting and, again, cut the hole with a box cutter. I used a washer on the inside and outside and used silicone to seal.
I also bought a couple cinder blocks for this to sit on. Now to take down the gutter so I can put on the flexible hose.
See how the hose sits on top of the drain. I need another flat block or two to raise the barrel and might leave off the green grate.
So...mission accomplished. Do ya notice the black clouds are gone and the sun is out? Yep, rain went right around us...not a drop. Now that's another story...
Happy Trails...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicken pen in the Making

In the past, the chickens were in the very back corner of our property that backs up to a farmer's crops. These are commercial crops so it's acres and acres of flat land either full of corn or cotton. The drought last year brought an influx of coyotes so we moved what was left of the chickens up inside the yard where the house sits. Well, duh, it just brought the coyotes up close to the house and, along with the dogs, my chickens were finished off. Now, we are moving the chickens to another corner of the yard and building a sturdier, coyote and dog proof pen. I wrapped poultry netting around the existing fence on the two outside perimeters of the pen. I had to hurry and get it done in one sitting so I could cut the netting off the roll and get it inside the yard before Button, the longhorn, had a chance to "play" with a roll of poultry netting. Oh, Lordy, that would have been a wreck! This weekend we work on building the rest of it. As much as I hate doing it, we're going to run an electric strand around the perimeter of the base to keep dogs and coyotes out. Hopefully, the only predator we will have to remedy is a chicken hawk.
This weekend is Poultry Trade Day over in Giddings and want to go check out what everyone has but we might be working on the pen instead. I've got my name on the list for Red Bourbon turkey chicks to be hatched this Sunday. Gotta get those when I can!
Well...gotta get back to my to-do list...rain barrels are on the list this morning..stay tuned to see if I can master this task.
Happy Trails...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Around the Farm

Are there days when you can find nothing to post about and then others when you have too much for one post? Or maybe things are just so busy around here that if I took the time to post each day, I could for sure have something to post about. It seems I have a lot of irons in the fire right now with much on my "to do" list. Especially since we had 4 days without water last week...ugh. How much we rely on that good ol' stuff called water.
Here's Buddy hauling water for the horses last week (with a little help from one of the granddaughters). Fortunately, we had some rubber water troughs that he could pick up and haul. Yesterday when I was out working on the chicken pen (that's another story), I heard a commotion and looked up and saw that silly Longhorn "playing" with that trough like a toy. We keep a big blue plastic barrel out in the pasture that she usually plays with but she decided a very large trough was more fun. I wish I had my camera...
I did have it with me to snap some pics of the horses... this is Jess and Cinch. Poor Cinch...Jess won't leave him alone. Every picture I have of them is just alike because she is along his side every step of his way.
And here's sweet Bridget. She has classic Cushing's Disease. Cushing's is usually seen in the smaller breed horses and ponies but not limited to them. It's when the pituitary gland is not functioning properly and puts out abnormally high levels of cortisol in the blood. Among some of the signs is excessive thirst and urination and a thick wavy coat. They typically have weight loss and develop respiratory problems. She's there! It's pretty sad because we've seen this beautiful animal go downhill despite a variety of medical and dental treatment. Pretty soon we're gonna have to "let go"...
Well, back to a better subject...chickens! I'm in the process of moving the location and building a new pen. I'll get pictures up soon. I can hardly stand being without my fine feathered friends.
Happy Trails...

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's All About Water

This past Thursday the wind came roaring through here and we lost power to the water! The power line to the well is still temporary and strung through the pecan trees over to the well. The electrician we had been using wanted an arm and a leg to run it underground. Right now, I really don't want to give up an arm or a leg for something that seems to be working. Long story short, it wasn't an electricity problem...kinda. The condenser had gone out and, my sweet Buddy, got it fixed last night. But...until diagnosed, we didn't have water for three days and four nights...yuk! My kitchen was disgusting to say the least. It took me all morning and a gas mask to get it clean.
I'm one of those who is slowly making progress to being more self-sufficient and storing up for emergencies. We have a water well that is powered by electricity. I would love to be able to not be dependent on that electricity for our water but I also know that it will most likely cost at least a couple arms and a couple legs for other sources, but will check into wind and solar. Our water is down 400+ feet. I would love to know how others are preparing to be supplied with water in case of an emergency.
Happy Trails,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Art of Buying Boots

First of all, yes, these boots are on my kitchen table. Here at the farm, there's been worse on there..
Is there a perfect boot out there? I see some women with so many different boots in their wardrobe. Personally, I would love to have a closet full of them but, I think, I would still pull out ol' favorites to wear. This has been my dilemma...finding a pair that look good and are comfortable. What is a girl to do when you find that pair that jumps out at you in the store "pick me, pick me!" and then you look at the price tag. Yikes! Back on the shelf they go. I have gone from my George Strait Justins from Tractor Supply....these are the ones I ride in..they are not fashionable but they do fit in a stirrup. And very comfortable. They have lasted me for years. Yep..they're keepers...especially with George's name on them..
Then I got these when they were supposed to be oh, so comfortable. I love a short top boot. Well, as it turns out, they are not so comfortable. Too much of a round toe and they are too big. But they are good for keeping at the back door and slipping on to go outside.
Okay, so Buddy says I need something that looks a little nicer for church. Now, mind you, he's the pastor at our cowboy church. Yes, I wear boots to church...whether I'm in jeans or skirts, I still wear boots. I get online and do my research... I find the Boulet boot. Originally made for the Canadian Mounties but now available to the public. Plus, Buddy tells me to get a square too boot. I tried on a pair of Anderson Bean boots at Cavenders and fell in love...but the price tag was outrageous. Back on the shelf..yes, I'm still drooling over them. I opt for the Boulet boots..
Of course, they are very comfortable when I try them on...get them home, wear them for a bit and they're too big. Why? What am I doing wrong? I know they are going to stretch some but this is ridiculous! Why can't they be what they are? I've bought kid insoles to put in them and they help but they're still not the perfect fit. Boots are way to expensive to be doing this. I really wish these fit better because I love the tops on them. See how low they're cut? But I feel like I'm wearing clodhoppers!
Okay..wanna know my favorites?
Muck boots!
Happy Trails,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ducks and Longhorns

We had a deluge of rain last month and water is still standing in the low spot just outside the fenced yard. A few years ago we had a couple ducks fly in but they left right away. Now we've had 5 ducks fly in and they've been here a few days. It is so much fun to watch them. There's three drakes and two hens...not sure what kind. We're familiar with ducks but not these. (Maybe once I post this, you can click on the pictures and enlarge). The drakes have a black rump and a white patch and a white crescent that comes up from under the chin right at the beak. We thought they were gadwall but a gadwall doesn't have the white crescent on the face. Regardless, they are fun to watch. Eventually, when it dries out, Buddy is going to knock down some trees and officially put in a pond for me. Yay!!! Then the ducks will have a permanent spot.

I have to share some pictures of Button. I hadn't realized how much her horns are growing. This is her last year...
And this is her now... she just turned 2 so she still has lots of growing to do.
Buddy has created a monster! A longhorn should never be a pet. She really is a sweetheart and I'm very careful of her horns but this cow was raised with dogs and now she's thinks she's a dog and wants to run and play and chase trucks. Not good!
Here's a little Longhorn trivia -- it's the steers (castrated males), not the bulls, that have the longer, heavier horns. And Button is a free-martin - a condition which causes infertility in cattle to a female born twin to a male. So, Button will never be able to reproduce. Finally, there are seven different bloodlines of the Longhorn which give them their distinct characteristics. That's why some have horns that curve and go up or out and some that go straight out. Button is of the Butler lineage...that's why her horns go straight out. I don't know this for sure but we're wondering, because she's a free-martin and has more influence of the male hormones, if she will produce larger horns. Time will tell...
Happy Trails,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's Been A Long Week

Jasper looks the way I feel. It's been a long exhausting week. After two funerals, last night's 50th wedding anniversary party was a welcome celebration. We thought we had the "groom" fooled with a surprise party, but the joke was on us when we found out last night that he was going around town yesterday morning reminding folks to come to his party. Regardless, it turned out great!
Isn't this a sad little chicken house? It's so empty and lonely. Soon it will be moved to another location in the yard with new fencing. I'm eager to get it done and get some new biddies ordered. I miss my chickens. If I can find some healthly young pullets, I'll go ahead and get them too so I can have some eggs sooner than 6 months.
I've got so many projects on my to-do list. One thing is getting rain barrels in place. Ha! By the time I get them up and ready, it'll be drought time again! If anyone has any excellent ideas or rain barrels that work for them, I'd love to hear from you.
I pray that everyone has a very blessed Easter.
Happy Trails,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Morning, Sunshine!

After a day of storms, especially up in the Dallas area, the sunshine is so welcome. We didn't get near the storms here that were expected. My daughter, on the other hand, was so very close to the tornados in Arlington. The youngest was in a building across the street from St. Barnabas Methodist Church which was hit by the tornado. Pretty scary. My daughter was in a storm shelter while all three girls were in different locations. All she could do was pray for their safety. God is good. No one was killed during these storms. There was a lot of damage to homes and trees. The storm path literally was around the corner from her home. She was finally able to call and tell me everyone was safe. After it was all over, she said she was uplifted seeing everyone out helping those whose homes were damaged and cleaning up downed trees. She said trees that were three feet in diameter were literally plucked out of the ground, roots and all.
We sat last night in the dark for only a few minutes. But the light from the lantern was so nice, we left it on for a while. The lightning was so bad, the lantern light was very calming.
This morning, as I sit and write, the skies have already become overcast. Hopefully, the sun will come back out and stay. It's gonna be a beautiful day.
Happy Trails,

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Time of Reflection

I really do enjoy reading other's blogs and have been wanting to sit down and post but haven't devoted any time to doing it. I have every good intention of keeping up with this blog because it is a source of journaling for me. It helps me keep up with what's going on here at RiverBend Farm and also a means to keep family and friends informed for those that are at all interested. When I was a kid, I used to keep a diary...oh, yes, the sacred girl's diary of personal ramblings that were kept under lock and key. To this day, I have no clue where it ever ended up. So, I will once again try to keep up with this blogging or journaling of mine.
Since I've last posted, I have no chickens left...the coyotes and dogs have wiped them out. I'm waiting very impatiently for a sturdier more critter-proof pen for chicks before I order any new peeps. I've been buying farm eggs but they're just not the same. I love having my own chickens and miss them terribly.
Spring seems to be in full bloom around here. Today was one of those days where motivation is at the bottom of the barrel. I did walk outside and, literally, stopped to smell the roses...
Yesterday, after we got home from a wonderful church service, covered dish lunch and Easter egg hunt for the kids, we got a call that one of the guys from our church had taken his life Saturday night. He had been attending our church off and on with his young sons after his wife informed him she wanted a divorce. She attended another church in town so "he" had been attending her church for the last several Sundays in hope of reconciling their marriage. Small town that it is, everyone still talks daily. Of course, this came as a blow to all of us. Suicide always does. Three years prior to this, his niece (a cheerleader at the local high school) committed suicide. This has taken it's toll on the family. With Buddy being the pastor, his presence was needed at the family's home and he wanted me to ride with him. Not easy. It took everything in me to arrive at their home...I was flooded with memories of when I was "invaded" with folks at my home to inform me of my first husband's murder. The delicate privacy of informing my children was taken from me as the sheriff's dept where we were living proceeded upstairs to wake my children. It was a hell I never want to relive. We will never understand what goes through someone's mind when they consider suicide. I truly believe that someone is ill when they think ending their life is the only alternative. Ephesians 1:13 tells us that if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. I know this man loved and knew Jesus Christ. My heart breaks for the two boys of this man. I had these boys in Sunday School and they loved and admired their daddy. Unfortunately, I do understand the anguish of losing a dad that these boys will live with.
I can say this.. everything happens to the glory of God and miracles still happen. Last Wednesday, we lost another dear friend in a plane crash. He will be buried tomorrow. The miracle is that his nephew (an almost son-in-law of mine) was the pilot of this two engine plane and he survived. There was nothing left of the wreckage but Dustin managed to be found walking around the crash site and had no broken bones and no internal or head injuries. He had severe burns over the front of his body from the top of his head down to his legs. He will require surgery on his arms but it is truly amazing the progress this young man is making and even more a miracle that he survived.
I do not understand any of this but I do know that everything happens for a reason. The Bible tells us that. I also know that God's love for us is strong and He is beside us in this walk if we just reach up to Him.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory. Eph. 3: 20-21.
Happy Trails,