Thursday, September 30, 2010

'Today A Year Ago' Thursday Blog Hop

LOL .. here's what was going on exactly one year ago today, as posted on BYC in my "Building a Farm from Scratch" thread.  We were JUST starting the building process on the house.
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It's officially started. After they hydro-axe came through and cleared, the very wooded, brushy property now looks like this:





It's ubelievable how "park-like" it looks just getting the underbrush out of there .. beeeee-utiful!!


 
To our surprise, they had formed the garage slab!!




Some builders grade dirt was brought in just to level up the land a bit under the house, but in this pic, it shows how high the front porch will be off the ground at that corner .. we have a gully off to that side of the house that will be a great view from the porch.



Then we opened a bottle of wine and sat and looked at our "house" while the sun set ..  love



As we were leaving, I spotted Mr. Copperhead in my headlights and we stopped for a photo op ...  and then helped him across the road.




I'm sure all the activity has displaced many critters .. we still see tons of deer tracks, though.. so I'll be planting my winter "let's lure the deer onto the property" grass!




It feels good to see progress .. I'm sure things will change almost daily now..



I'm off to the electric company, to give them a check so they can hook up the electric for the builder!



Later!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Angels Unawares

Hebrew 13:2
King James version reads like this:

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

The Weymouth NT says:

"Do not neglect to show kindness to strangers; for, in this way, some, without knowing it, have had angels as their guests."
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This verse seems to indicate that angels can appear as people to do God's bidding.  Whether that was the case, or another example of the Lord using people to bless one another; I was without a doubt blessed with the provision of God on Saturday morning.

I was taking my motorcycle to a very highly recommended shop for her 1000 mile maintenance check Saturday morning.  They told me to be there 30 minutes early. It is located in a less-than-desirable area of town- an hour away from home -  and as it happened Steve wasn't able to go with me.  This meant not only was I going to be by myself, sitting in front of the shop early, but I was going to have to wait for the work to be done.

When I pulled up, I notice a Denny's Restaurant a couple blocks away.  Yay! Breakfast while I wait.  However, I also noticed the shops and stores in the area .. all with burglar bars and repaired windows and doors from previous break-ins.  Now, I'm not one to walk in fear, but crimes against women are in no short supply in this area and I was feeling a little vulnerable.

I phone Steve to tell him that I was there, but alone.  Before I could complete the sentence, another biker rode up on a bright silver bike and parked next to me and smiled. I told Steve I was ok now and we hung up.

As it turns out, this biker (whose name was Michael - go figure) was also a Christian and we chit chatted until the shop opened.  Ours were the first two bikes in the shop and they told us both that we'd be done in about an hour.

He offered to walk with me to Denny's - which was looking further and further away when I was thinking about having to walk there alone - and we had the most uplifting and lively conversation as we shared breakfast together.

One hour later, our bikes were ready and with a hug and a prayer for safe travel; my angel, Mike, went his way and I headed home.

Thank you, Lord, for your provision in our day-to-day lives.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Miracles .. continued.

Earlier this week while at Wal-Mart, I noticed a lady and her teenage daughter in the next check-out lane with 3 or 4 baskets full of groceries.  The sheer numbers of soup cans, mac-n-cheese boxes, canned milk and cereal told me that something was up.  So I asked.

It seems this young teenage lady was in the French club at her highschool and they individually raised money to donate to charities around the county.  This young lady raised almost 300.00 and was buying food for our local food bank.  And buying Wal-Mart brand products can get you a LOT of groceries for 300.00.

After a brief exchange with her mother, I walked over and told the girl how much I appreciated what she was doing.  We hugged and I walked away humbled and tearful -- with my basket full of fall decorations, candy, and an 8.00 frozen entree' for dinner.  How much more could I have done with that money?

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Miracles.

~The sun rising everyday .. keeping us not-to-hot and not-to-cold for human survival.
~A flower blooming, supplying nutrient to an insect, which in turn pollinates the flower.
~A perfectly formed chick hatching from an otherwise non-desript egg -- in just 21 days.
~The instinct of a well bred hunting dog!
~The kindness of strangers.
~No pain.

Miracles.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miracles.

Webster defines miracles as:


1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

The parting of the red sea?  Turning water into wine?  Raising Lazarus from the dead?

Do we miss miracles in our lives every day because they aren't of the biblical magnitude?  Oh, I've witnessed and experienced God's supernatural miraculous hand on more than a few occassions, but I'm talking about the things that we miss in our day to day lives.

I've witnessed two miracles this week that both made me weep with joy.  I believe some of the greatest miracles today are when God  USES PEOPLE to step in and change people's lives.

This week, someone very close to me had a little device implanted into his body with electrodes attached to nerves that send impulse that block the pain receptors to his brain.  Basically fooling his brain into thinking he has no pain.

He has been struggling for several years with debilitating pain in his arms and leg due to late-onset Muscular Dystrophy. Hours after the surgery, when I spoke to him on the phone, he told me that for the first time in years he had NO PAIN in his arms and legs.

Who dreams up these things??  Something that can change someone's life from incapacitating to functioning again ??
After we hung up, I sat at my desk wept with joy, thanking God.

A miracle and an answer to prayer  -- 

I love you Dad.

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Continued tomorrow ....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weight Watchers??

Yeah, well, I've been WATCHING my WEIGHT .. steadily INCREASING for the last 8 years or so.

Some of my online friends and I have decided to do a modified WW weight loss program together.  One of us is keeping track of our weigh-ins and they tried to explain the whole "point" thing to me .. ??  Sounds complicated .. but it's a starting point.

We are all wanting to lose somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds or so, so it should be interesting.

I really should take a "BEFORE" picture ...  but not sure I will post it until I have an "AFTER" picture.

I weighed in at 166.5.  There. I said it.

Let's go girls ..!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So, does this make me the "First Lady" ??

Sunday afternoon at 2pm, Steve and I attended our local Property Owners Association Annual Meeting.

Now, technically, I guess we've been members for 2 years, as we've owned the land that long, but we have been living out there for just over 5 months.

Sparing the details, we left the meeting with Steve having been elected President of the Association ..

Hmmm .. does that make me the "First Lady" .. ?  I wonder.

This wouldn't be so funny except that this particualy Association has a reputation for being a really really big pain in the butt and we've had our own issues with them.

However, with the folks that are now off the board and the new people elected to the board (Steve wasn't the only one) it looks like this could be turning around.

The Association is supposed to SERVE the owners, yes????

Should be an INTERESTING year!

Oh brother ..

I've been so derelict in my blog writing duties.

Yesterday I was thinking about my drive home everyday ..  from the city, past the lake, and home home in the country/woods.

So on the way home I took a dozen pictures of the trip and transition.  From 6 lanes, traffic, and redlights to rolling hills and windy two lane country roads that cut through forest, pastures, and creek bottoms.

This morning while uploading, I somehow managed to delete the pictures... not only from my camera, but from the folder I had just down loaded them to..

So THAT blog post is for another day.

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Today I pick up my new rooster ..  Shiner Bock's daddy.  We are far enough along on the coop that by the time he is done with quarantine in his own cage, the coop will be ready for him to become king!


When we were working on it this past weekend, one of my hens, Cocoa, was checking it out.  They have TOTALLY ignored it and suddenly NOW it looks like something she might want to own.  She IS the Alpha hen, but I got news for her ..  this rooster has seen worse than her.  She's going to be knocked right off her little Alpha-bits!







Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Special Delivery.

Eggs.  They are pretty special anyway.  It amazes me everyday that I can bring eggs from the coop to the kitchen.  You see, as long as the girls are IN the coop, they lay their eggs IN their nest boxes.

On the weekends, I let them free range while we are home and in and out of the house.  We have 5+ acres, but they mostly hang out around the house, grazing on the grass, eating bugs and hanging out in the shade.



When one of them feels the urge to lay, they run around frantically looking for a place to lay.  We've found eggs under the tarp on our trailer, on the workbench in the garage, in the corner of the garage ..  But I noticed that they like to come up onto the stoop, the closest door to our kitchen, and lay behind a potted plant. 

One day I took a couple 2x4s, nailed them together and just set them in the corner, adding some shavings.


Well, you should have seen the excitement.  The girls had to check it out, the rooster had to check it out and immediately it became their favorite place to lay when they are free-ranging.  When one hen is in the box, the roo and the other girls can come up onto the steps and cheer her on.  It's quite a show.



And the best part about it is when we hear the "egg song", we know we have just been given another "SPECIAL DELIVERY" ....  a perfect blue or green egg ..... right at our back door.



Thank you, girls~!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Patrick Swayze 8/15/52 - 9/14/09

It's hard to believe it's been a year since he died.  Who wasn't even a little sad to see him go. 

So well known for his roles in Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Road House and others; I prefer to remember him as a dedicated animal lover and Arabian horse enthusiast.

Known as "Buddy" on the Arabian horse circuit, he and his stallion, Tammen, were wonderful ambassadors for the Arabian horse breed.

The only thing he seemed to love more than his horses was his wife, Lisa, whom he met when she was only 14 and he was 18. 

Patrick, the world needs more people like you.  We miss your dedication: to your wife, to your career, to your love of Arabian horses.  We miss you Buddy.










Monday, September 13, 2010

That's a chicken ??

Chickens are a fairly new venture for me, but in typical "me" fashion I'm somewhat obsessed!  I have studied and read and lived chickens for about a year now.  I love getting farm fresh eggs and especially love the variety of colored eggs chickens can lay:


What I don't get are chickens that don't look like chickens.  I swore I would never own a Silkie, a Frizzle, or a Sizzle feathered chicken.  I don't like Turkens.  Chickens should look like chickens, right??

So how, when I went to pick up 2 rabbits from a friend, did 2 silkie chickens end up in my truck??  "Oh, Julie will LOVE these!" she says as she puts them in the carrying cage ..

What??  These are the most ridiculous excuse for a chicken I've ever seen!  They don't even act right.  They are DOCILE, QUIET, and make little "beep beep" noises.  They're SOFT and CUDDLY ..  and they are laying ..........

Are you seeing anything NEGATIVE about this??  Yeah, me neither.  They actually are pretty nice little birds .. 

Welcome home Silkies.

How 'bout them Cowboys ??

Oh brother.  I LOVE football.  I LOVE the Dallas Cowboys..  So after waiting all day, watching Thursday night, both day games on Sunday, the Dallas/Redskins game finally is here!

BLECH!  Are you KIDDING ME???  I waited the entire day for THAT??!!

Come on, guys!

But, ya know, if you LOVE someone you even love them when they disappoint you ..  and I LOVE the Cowboys!

This was the best part of the day:


Burgers ....  and grilled pineapple!  That's home style tailgaiting!

See ya next week ..  Let's go Cowboys!




Saturday, September 11, 2010

Little Biker Chick.

Steve and I decided to head out this morning for a little motorcycle ride.  Julie (13) jumped on with Steve and off we went in search of breakfast.  We rode to Navasota and had breakfast at a little Mexian joint.  Huevos Rancheros .. yum.

Then we took the long way home (isn't that how it always is when you're RIDIN' ??  Ended up in Carlos at Yankee's Tavern for a short rest and then back down the windy roads home.

I didn't take my camera ..  well, we were JUST going for breakfast, right??  Sorry.  I should know better..  Pics next time, I promise!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Year Ago ..

It was one year ago this week that we started the process of clearing the land and preparing for the building process on our house.  We had finally gotten our construction loan, and were going to have loggers out to take some of the pines off of the property.  Steve and I had already hand cleared a driveway:




It's been a LONG LONG year ....







Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What can happen in 21 days....

21 days ago my Salmon Faverolles rooster, Shiner Bock, was killed by a coon.



21 days ago I grabbed up 7 eggs and put them in the incubator. I could have cracked them open and made an omelet, but things had changed.  Shiner was gone, so these eggs held a promise that might be lost if I didn't at least TRY to incubate them.

In 21 days, a miracle happened.  Well, it's really no different than any other birth of any other animal, but no less amazing when you stop and think about it.

In 21 short days, a egg transforms from a potential poached breakfast to a completely formed and wired little chick that not only knows HOW to get out of that shell, but knows exactly how to eat and drink without the help of a mamma hen.  Who could engineer this, but Almighty God??

In 21 days, 504 hours ..  we have this:



Welcome to the world
 Amber Bock,
Ziegenbock,
Shiner Blonde,
Shiner Smokehaus,
and Shiner Hefeweizen. 

My latest additions to the "Brood with an Attitude."

(And, yes, I'm aware that Ziegenbock isn't brewed at the Shiner Brewery .. I just couln't help myself!)

RIP my little roo Shiner Bock. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Silence.

That's it.
Enjoy your day.
Give thanks to the One who made ya!

(Happy Happy Birthday Mom!!)


Saturday, September 4, 2010

My favorite view ...


......is any view between the ears of  my horse.


Regal Charm

How could they have possibly known when they named this long legged Arabian filly in 1991 that she would grow into that name in every sense. 

Regal:  aristocratic, dignified, elegant, excellent, fine, glorious, good, grand, imperial, kind, magnificent, majestic, noble, pleasant, proud, queenlike, royal, splendid, stately, statuesque, virtuous, worthy

Charm: allure, appeal, attraction, charimsa, enchantment, glamour, lure, magnetism



She knows how to flaunt it like a Princess.

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But has the class and wisdom of a Queen.

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The sense of humour of a Court Jester!

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She is ABSOLUTE ROYALTY to me!

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Robert Duncan wrote:

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride?
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?

Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined.

He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

England's past has been borne on his back.
All our history is in his industry.
We are his heirs, he our inheritance.

The horse.

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You never know what draws a young girl to love something so much that her heart still jumps at almost 50 to see pure beauty and elegance in one of God's creatures.  My eyes capture the image and emblazens it in my heart .. every move, every muscle, every hair blowing in the wind.  No tangible thing on this earth stirs up such emotion in me. 

I was born LOVING HORSES.

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I've owned so many, some for their lives, some for short periods of time.  But they have ALL left something special in my heart.  However, only a handful have captured my heart to the point that even the feel of their gait or the way they smell on and cool fall morning is forever etched in my brain.  My dreams of these special horses past are so tangible that I wake up KNOWING I have ridden them once again.

Regal Charm is one of those horses.
An absolute gift from God.

(Many thanks to Gene blessing me with this special girl!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fowl Fun Friday............

If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times.... TAKE THOSE EARPHONES OUT OF YOUR EARS WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!!!

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Do polka dots make my butt look too big??

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Hey, baby, slide a little closer ....

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Dude, do these shoes make my feet look big?

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Have an EGG-SECPTIONAL weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset ......


Who doesn't love the beauty of watching the sun come up, painting the sky with pinks, purples, yellows, oranges?  Then too quickly the beauty gives way to just the brightness of the sun in the sky, and another day in our busy lives.

Don't we also love to see the sun begin to sink into the horizon, lighting it up in much the same way.  And just as we watch in awe the patterns of the colors and the lights, the sun dips below the horizon giving away to the black of night.  And the magic -- as well as our hectic day -- is gone.

I was reminded yesterday of the parallels of this beauty and loss with the pattern of our human lives.Within just a few short hours I found myself at both ends of the Sunrise, Sunset spectrum. 

I was laughing and smiling as I listened to the DJs on our local radio station talk about the birth of a grandbaby.  A home birth.  Mom surrounded by family and the bouncing baby boy coming into the world with a powerful set of lungs.  It made me think of the birth of my own children and how they have grown, and the joy and pain associated with raising them.  I thought about this mom and the joy and challenges that will lie ahead of her.  Sunrise.

Within hours I was receiving a phone call from a friend and co-worker who was out of town and had received a call that her mother had unexpectantly passed away earlier that morning.  My friend was experiencing such pain and loss and I found myself crying along with her as I was telling her how sorry I was, at the same time reflecting on my own life and how we really don't have any guarantees of tomorrow. Sunset.

As much as we enjoy the beauty of the sunrise and the longing for the sun to never set, everything that really matters happens BETWEEN these two events.  Do we make the most of every day?  Living life? Loving people? Laughing together? Serving God?

Sunrise -- Sunset


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hummingbird Wars .. the fall migration is on it's way!


Ahhhhhhhhhhh, the peaceful, serene scene of a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird pausing for a moment at the feeder .....  right??  

WRONG!  The hummingbird wars are back!

While we had a few stragglers stay with us during the summer, there is nothing like spring and fall migrations of these little dive-bombers as they compete for feeders and chase each other around, chirping and kissing and telling each other off.  They body slam each other and then fly off in tandum with the precision of two military fighter jets... one slightly behind the other, rising and falling while weaving in and out of trees and bushes, many times buzzing through the porch past our heads.

We've added additional feeders, not so much for the numbers of birds, but so that "Mr. Bigshot" can't possibly control ALL of them...... oh, but how he tries.  Last nite he allowed only one other bird to feed to her little heart's desire.  He would fly down and circle her and then fly back up to his watchtower.  We determined that she must belong to him ... she is now "The First Lady".  

Fall hummingbird migration.  A sign of things to come.  Shorter days, cooler nights, fall gardens, a renewed energy, impending holidays ...  I love fall.