Monday, April 25, 2016

Animals, Nature and Illusions Daybook

Outside my window...sunny, breezy, nice. The ground is still saturated.

I am praying for..families dealing with flood clean up, people in search of employment, health of loved ones, and intentions for future events. 
I'm praying for people who suffer from personality disorders, especially to find balance and peace. 

Prayer to St. Dymphna
Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders and Spiritual afflictions. She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession.
Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray. (Here mention those for whom you wish to pray).
We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf. Grant all those for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will. Please fill them with hope, and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden. Amen

I am thankful...our little plot of land to cultivate and enjoy.

In the kitchen...Ceci made 48 cupcakes for our 4h fundraiser. We bought brisket at the bbq and had to freeze wrap lots of what we don't plan on eating soon, my fridge is full of yummy Bbq for the moment.

In world of 4h...we had our BBQ fundraiser which included a live auction. What a blast. Our autioneer was so fun to watch and listen and made me nervous when I was bidding on things I wanted. It went fast. He would encourage us to keep bidding, getting very animated! Many things I wanted went over my budget quickly, but it was fun to be in on the action as long as we could. We did "win" a few items, the kids had gambling fever for the bidding process on the silent auction items. All in all for a good cause.

Saturday the kids participated in the district meats judging competition and all three of my kids and my nephew all did great! Ceci, Euly, John Philip won their age divisions, Nick came in second, and first on the senior team, which qualifies them for state competition in June. 

This coming up weekend Ceci and Euly have a few more competitions. 

I am going...on a trip with my oldest daughter next month. I need to start planning details. It will be the first time to leave my littles without my husband. He stays in charge at home to let me have this special time with Molly,... surreal.

I am reading... When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
Millet Tilled The Soil by Sybil Deucher and Opal Wheeler

We finished A Long Way From Welcome by Echo Lewis, a Bethlehem Book. Overall I guess I liked it ...BUT!! ...Why do Catholic authors include kids sneaking out as part of a heroic act? Looking at you too, Regina Doman. Is that really a thing out here in Catholic worlds? Not here in the country, I can tell ya. It annoys me and sets a bad example. There is no justification to the lies behind sneaking out, oh,  but the heroine helped in a way she couldn't have had she not snuck out. Not ok with me. Another annoyance with the book, sometimes I see in newer Catholic books, the author feels the annoying need to mention other books or movies just in case the readers live in a illiterate hole in the ground and never heard of Gone with the Wind or Jane Austen, distracting, unnecessary. Stop it. It doesn't flow with the story, it feels lectured to and is a distraction. 

I am watching...Belle on Amazon.
I really liked it.

I am listening to...Sonos songs the kids have playing their favorites. Lilly is motivated to write her own songs. She sings them and I have to write them down as she sings, cute!

I am looking forward to...seeing Max again after his many days off shore.

I am learning...everything I can about these gals.
And about snakes around here than may be poisonous.
From our walking path:

Around the house...I started painting my bedroom. I have insisted it's a project I want to do alone ( sans children). Lots of window, lots of cutting in. Lots of dedicated alone time, although the girls take turns keeping me company and chatting away while I work. Painting is satisfying work with instant gratification. 
The room is huge and will take a while. I was planning a reddish glaze, but Craig says he likes it as it is. We'll see how I feel when it's all done. Hopefully next update I'll have a wall completed.

We have so much to do in the bedroom that it is our 2016 project. Craig will have tub repaired and finally working for the first time in the house' life. Original tags still on the tub. Looking at a tankless water heater.  The sauna in the shower needs to be hooked up and a glass panel replaced. Lots of fun cosmetic work too. He's looking to adding tin panels on the bath ceiling and hanging our new doors to add privacy to bath area. New windows, doors and flooring are not on the plans this year. Of all the house renovation,our bedroom was most neglected over the years, it's largest space and most need of attention. The foundation problems in the bedroom hit the hardest. It's so nice not to be in a hurry, letting the repairs evolve and happen when we feel like investing in it. 

A few plans for the rest of the week... 4h, 4h, 4h stuff.. And school, Two May Crowning events and a little more 4h.

In the chicken yard...I take too many photos of our silly fowl. We all love to watch their antics.

First round of babies to join the adult chickens.

And the ducks...
We let them out with caution. They aren't smart, follow each other blindly, eat wood shavings, but somehow have survived their first few days in the big world.

Lilly tried to show them the pond, but they wanted nothing of it! 

What's up with Hope...
She still thinks she is queen of the front porch. 
Now that we have cows...Our friend at church anxiously wants Hope to join her at the church property. Kids are around all the time to pet and enjoy her. I'm not quite ready to let her go.
I'm not sure how she feels about it.

Houston's 500 Year Flood...
Dumped so much water, it's unimaginable. We are on high ground. Our road was washed out, but that has happened since before we bought this place. We had made great progress on the road, but now, huge set backs. 
Honestly I am not complaining. When you have a road over a creek, wash out is expected in a flood.
So many people we know are dealing with major flood damage.

There is a Go Fund Me set up for our friends, a sweet Catholic homeschooling family of 12! hit hard by the flood. Water destroyed so much of the home and belongings as well as totaled three cars.
If you want to help them, they humbly appreciate donations.

In the garden...with the rain, everything. Is growing, weeds faster than I can rid them.



With quinoa and lettuce below.

Peppers and herbs



Spaghetti squash

Footprints in the garden...optical illusion when turned upside down.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Now We are Ranchers

Well, we found some cows! 
Now, I feel as though we have up sized  up scaled the whole farm thing to call our endeavor a ranch.
Why does that word carry more importance? Probably my imagination. 
But now, we should be legit in all areas. 

Six heifers, two may be expecting...
Future excitement!

Daybook April

Outside My Window.... Cloudy, threatening rain, we have not had enough rain yet. 

Oops... Update:

I Am Thinking....all the appropriate and common thoughts about taxes because of tax day and wondering why we can't get together as a country and take back how we run it, especially the finances! Sigh. In my past life, (tax Cpa),  I thought for sure Americans would have had enough by now. Add up what percent of your income goes to taxes including all: sales, income, property, gas, state, Medicare, and not including the effects of the health care law because it's convoluted... It is too much. 
I know many people don't like Cruz, but if people look at what he has done to preserve our liberties, everyone would know he'd be great. Plus, I really like Heidi. 

I Am Watching... Fixer Upper on Netflix. The girls love it and watch with me. Ideas... And maybe a trip to Waco someday.

I Am Thankful....for this country and a good debate.

I Am a parish party celebrating our recently confirmed and to a recital that Euly is participating in. I don't like our Sunday's getting busy and splitting us up. 

I Am Wondering....about my new neighbor's house. They are building on the large tract of land behind us. Dump trucks brought in dirt for days. I am not sure why they chose to build so close to the back of our property and our existing neighbor's property.

I am praying for...people who struggle to make it through each day and for strength, wisdom and charity to help when I can.

I Am Reading:

Lois Lenski's Strawberry Girl
Ceci and Lilly both enjoy it. I love reading about farming stories of a different time. It gives us a different perspective and ideas.

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
To Ceci for Greek History condensed version of the Iliad. I notice Nick always hangs around when I'm reading this or has an excuse to stay and listen. Haha he could listen to it over and over again, it is a good retelling. 

Trouble at Timpetill by Henry Winterfeld
A fun, fast read about children in a German town who awake with parents gone, they left because of the children's bad behavior. Fun to see how the children behave and handle the town life on their own.

The American Cause by Russell Kirk. It should be required reading by every American citizen for a reminder of what makes America America. Justice, order and freedom and how they are all necessary to work for civilization and how our founders Got. It. Right. How our country is based on Christian values, and how it has functioned because of it. Straightforward, clear. 

Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves by Regina Doman. Quick read, good for high school students. Much like others in the "series." The characters are Catholic with normal flaws. I would suggest older high school girl, not the type of book my boys usually go for.  

But Not her book:
Repunzel Let Down:A Fairy Tale Retold
Oh my! Where were the warnings? Sadly I didn't see any. We liked her other books, and some how missed this radical and unexpected adult fiction classification, which, who knew what that would contain anyway. Sigh! Big fail. Unnecessary and not worth having on a shelf with her other more appropriate titles to be innocently and scandleously be preread by an anxious and innocent reader. Sigh again.

So skip that one! 

I Am Learning....about cows. I'm having a crash course in breeds and ages, weight, cost, marketability, care...  I met a  rancher about Angus and Brahmas and a mix of the two. I'm trying to do as much research before Craig comes back in town so we can shop cows at the sale barn and neighboring ranches when he is back. 

In The Kitchen....the girls have been helping me cook meals and clean up. We are so busy running and going that cooking isn't always on my mind when the day is wrapping up. Euly has been pushing herself to try more meals which are gluten free. She made a dinner of shrimp and rice lettuce wraps.

Evening walks...avoiding spiders, frogs, and all kinds of scary sounds. 

One of my favorite things... When the girls find something fun to do together. 

A Few Plans For This Week....Euly's concert, church reception,  science day, tour of a Catholic coop, refile for our Ag exemption and meeting with county, coffee with Carol, get wheel chair to mother in law, look into process to enroll Nick in dual credit. (These things seems to change quickly). 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Busy Busy as a Bee

Bees have been on my mind. I really want to get into bee keeping and I have researched and talked and questioned and still can't get past the danger of African-ized bees. When I do jump in, I found a source for bees with a pre mated queen (promising no African mates). Bees used to be more gentle but since the western expansion of the African bee invasion, many hives have become more aggressive. 

The most pressing project I have before me is switching our herd. We just can't keep enough sheep to satisfy the county agriculture board, they decided we need 69 more sheep for their quota. Else loose 18 wooded acres of AG. We already have 21, on a wooded 25 acres. The math doesn't work. It's sad news for the kids, we will miss the sheep,  but we need to stay in Ag. 
So that means 5 cows. The math still doesn't add up for me, but sheep are rare in our county, and apparently don't want to have them on the rolls, so we need to get on cattle ranching and conform.
So I've been heifer shopping, wishing I had Ralph Moody with me. Leaning toward Herefords.

But we would miss Cody toooo much!

After freshening up the chicken coop, we have shavings everywhere.

The second project pressing is attention to our fruit trees. Some are having difficulty adjusting to the soil and some of our grapefruit lost all their leaves and looks like we might have lost the plums all together. We aren't alone, the county Master Gardener reported others had problems as well, so the grower may swap the trees for us.

The chicks and ducks are growing well. Some may be old enough to move in with the year old chickens, but, I've hesitated due to a raccoon and opposum  sighting by the coop.

The garden had a slow start with the cold snaps, but now is taking off. Rain today will help.  Need to plan weeding into my schedule.

We took a day trip to Austin and split the visit with my parents and my mother in law. My MIL has a great view of Austin from a balcony at her home. 

We enjoyed a visit from friends on a beautiful day which called for a nature walk.

We past a house fire coming home the other day. A sad reminder of risks and problems of living in the county. There was one fire truck there, but it was too late, looked like they were just letting it burn itself out. The little girls were with me and decided we needed a fire evacuation plan. 

4H has also been keeping the kids busy. We have our district roundup at the end of the month, with various competitions. We have our county BBQ fundraiser this month too. They are working on projects that will be up for auction to help fund future projects.

The kids took time from construction projects for a good game of tug-of-war. Lilly's team won.

Teenage boys can be lots of fun for five year olds.

We had some friends from church over for Sunday dinner. A sweet, precious family with six young children. They enjoyed the farm animals. They played with the baby chicks, went swinging, ran around. Great visit!

Sharing a secret after mass.


Have a great week!