Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Day Daybook

Outside My Window.... 
Birds are singing and it's foggy.

I Am Thinking....
Do you have any exciting way to celebrate this extra day of 2016?
I'm planning to spend some special time with each of my children to let them know how much I love them! And do some grocery shopping.

I Am Thankful....
For this day. For this life. 

  I Am Creating....
The garden, to be a safe place away from all the animals we have. 
The fencing is 6' tall, and has two inch cross sections. You'll have to fly over, I'm sure the peacocks will figure out. I'm wondering if the plastic garden owls that scare away seagulls will scare away garden fowl. All animals have checked the border.

 All fenced, now just waiting for good dirt and raised beds.
77 strawberry plants planted!
Trellises for the blackberries and raspberries.
I like Craig's design so there aren't support wires to trip anyone up. Plus we need every inch of the garden space.

The strawberries want to fruit, but for the first year we I'll clip off all blooms to help establish the root system. Hoping for great strawberries in years to come. 

Some baby asparagus- aren't they cute! 

I Am Going....
To the rodeo some day this week. 
Nick and Euly signed up to participate in the Houston Rodeo Calf Scramble.
I'm excited and nervous. I think it will be an experience to remember. I pray they will be safe. I wonder it they will catch a calf, and then wonder about the work that will follow for the next year of raising and showing a calf! 

I Am Reading....
Life of Christ. By Fulton Sheen to kids
What Jeses Saw From the Cross by A. G.Sertillanges

A Few Plans For This Week...
I am attending a class on Master Gardeners, hoping to learn all about fruit tree pruning and care and other ideas for gardens. I still need to plan out herbs, plant the starter plants and then maintenance begins. The kids have a meats judging competition. Euly has a last wildlife practice for the contest next week.

I Am Pondering and Praying....

"Who except God can give you peace? 
Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?"
  — St. Gerard Majella


Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States of America, please help our country.  Help us to return to what is decent, right, and proper.  Help us to return to respect for ourselves, and others, to truth in dealing with ourselves and others; to self-control and self-discipline; and, especially, to a deep love for your Son and His teachings.  Protect us from those who would destroy us from within.  Our Lady, we place ourselves, and our country, under your mantel.  Pray for us and help us.  Amen. 
(from a prayer card)

One Of My Favorite Things...
Watching baby chicks

She's trying to come to terms with the fact five chicks are meat chicks. 
Craig said he might want to try them as layers, but I think we got them, let's go for dinner! 

And nature walks...

Happy Leap Day!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Baby chicks are pretty.

We girls picked up five Barred Rock and five Sex Links.
And Nick and Euly picked up five Cornish Rocks and 15 pullets.

And hoping some of our own will hatch.

Last year's group of twenty chicks were pretty successful, we lost a couple to predators, which will be a factor since we free range our layers. Happy chickens = happy eggs, or something like that. 

We eat all we can and sell the rest, like Blue Bell, and have a clientele requesting and preordering eggs, mostly friends. So, we want to keep this project going.

I wasn't ready for meat chickens, Cornish Rocks. Craig has a grand plan, as with every aspect of this farming venture. He has an old trailer which will be converted to a chicken house for the meat chickens. He wants to range them separately and securely. We raised a few meat chickens, White Rocks we called Fattys, back in Georgia. They were not only a failure but in one of the grossest failures we have had in chicken experience. No, you don't want the details. And they are my least favorite animals to watch after they grown out of their adorable chickness.

Euly is all in with her dad's plans and thinks she will be happy to help when the time comes for a fresh chicken dinner. Ceci said we can NOT tell her any thing about it, especially when! Sweet hearted girl. 

We started making garden markers for our vegetable garden out of wood shims. I labeled, the girls created an image of what they hope will be growing and we will mark what we plant; soon.

The garden loves the green house effect going on in my bedroom, but we need pollinators and more dirt.

And we need to finished the rest of the prison high garden fence.

Nick asked me which animal was my favorite to watch. We live in an inside out type of fishbowl, with the animals running around outside the windows on parade. 
I considered the dogs: mostly lazy, sometimes busy, always predictable. 

The cats get boring when it's sunny and all they do is soak in the warmth of the sun;
a good lesson of what we all should do on sunny February days.

The peacocks are interesting with their slow, regal movements and they are always so curious! They spy in on us in the den and kitchen. They love each other, it is interesting to see them look out for, wait for and snuggle each other. 

The sheep and goat are always entertaining. Some days they just mosey along and forage; but other days they are on high art and start running at any sound and seemed chased by imaginary predators. The babies are fun to watch as they hang around their mamas and then start off with the rams as if they are big kids; just to run back to mama.

Chickens have different personalities and cliques. They scream when they lay eggs like they don't know what's happening to them and then regain their composure like nothing every happened once delivered.

But my favorites are the noisy guineas. They are spastic, vain, mean, greedy and highly energetic. Always in movement, many times like a flock, other times independent and aloof. They yell all during the day, and night. My cell coverage is spotty in the house, so I have to check to make sure the guineas aren't around when I step out to make a call, otherwise I can't hear a thing over their yelling. You can sense their enjoyment of irritating others.
They taunt the dogs with their yelling just out of the dogs' bite range but know better than to bother the cats.

We have one with a broken leg and he is determined to regain status in the flock. The animal world is very cruel to other animals less than perfect. There is a pecking order. Survivability determines association, status or even admission into the group.
Broken leg is my favorite to watch. He hated people until his accident, and now he waits for me to feed him. He is getting stronger to hang out with the flock around the property. He still can hop or fly into the trees to sleep at night. 

We put up with all this bad behavior because of their effectiveness to eat all the bugs, at least that's what we are hoping with our garden going outdoors soon.  

Major deep cleaning going on here after a sickness that spanned into two weeks. Lent and spring cleaning go well together, don't you think?  I finally put the last of the Christmas items up and set up a Lenten table with a (much needed) sacrifice jar. 
My younger girls have been quarreling more than usual, and a dear, old priest friend always told me to keep them busy when they were tempted to fight. So I  have had great helpers dusting and washing and organizing right along next to me. 

My car had been in the shop on and off five weeks since Christmas! I thought it might have been the end, since many shops couldn't find the problem. And 255,000 miles! It would start and sometimes it wouldn't. Apparently it just needed stronger powered batteries. We will see. Welcome back old friend of 15 years! 

Calming down to a sense of quiet and order for the rest of Lent. Looking forward to Friday to our annual tradition of meeting friends and praying Stations of the Cross and taking in a local parish's fish fry. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cotillion Time of Year

This year was Cecilia's turn to take Miss Susan's Etiquette Class studying refined manners and ballroom dance, ending with a four course dinner at a country club and a ball.
Nick, Euly and their cousin John Philip joined the fun. They knew many others there which added to the fun. Their partners and table assignments are decided by Miss Susan and are a surprise to them. They dance with their dinner partner for the first and last dances of the evening.

Molly was home and helped the girls with hair and make up. And I always like a photo shoot while they all look so pretty.

Last week the kids competed in San Antonio meat judging and won 10th place team. JP won 8th individual. It was a good lesson of how a contest goes in 4H. My sister wanted a photo while they were all together again to put in the local newspaper.

Texas A&M Ross Volunteer Honor Guard come to have the cotillion guest enter announced and under a sabre arch. They were there at the Texas Governor Greg Abbott's inauguration. A pretty cool honor.
The A&M Ballroom dance group also came to showcase some of their dances. They were very fun to watch and had some great choreography by former students of Miss Susan.

They dance many dance styles they know and have opportunity to learn more dances at the ball.

Lilly and I stayed for the fancy entrance, and returned for the awards and final dances. Lilly danced with Nick and Ceci, and the last dance Nick saved for me. I wish I had learned the waltz before so it would have been more fun for him.
I am so in awe of each of my kids' dance skills. I am thankful for them to have this opportunity.

Last year's cotillion here.