Sunday, February 22, 2009


Hey Y'all,

Well, it's that time again...Christmas has come and gone, it's the new year and Valentine's Day has even passed...I guess it's time to send out our infamously late Christmas Card.(The one that Dyke calls, PROPAGANDA!) We loved receiving all of the "on time" holiday cards and photos...Thanks for showing me up, guys!
Let's see, what has happened in the last year...Jake and Zack are sprouting up like weeds. Jake is in the first grade and is soing very well (takes after his mother). He presently lacks his two top front teeth, one of which his father tied floss to on one end and a heavy object on the other. By merely dropping the object, PRESTO-CHANGO...the tooth hit the carpet! Weekly spelling tests and reading tests keep us very busy. When his father helps him with his lessons, any misspellings warrant 5 push-ups per word. He has quickly learned to remember the spellings, however, he IS the only 6 year old I know that can do 20 good push-ups without stopping!! Either way, he benefits;stronger muscles or stronger memory! His free time is consumed with legos, bike riding, wittling, drawing, playing with his brother and playing ball with his dad. Jake and Zack are close and USUALLY enjoy each other very much! Jake's eagerness to please, fills him with a very sweet aura and it saturates those around him. Our shining star!!

Zack's polarities, at times, don't compare to the "angelicness" of his big brother. At 2 1/2 he continuously keeps us on our toes. Built like a Hummer, he is a near DNA clone of his father. Strong willed, independent, with no pain threshold and always parroting his brother. Zack has pleasantly chiseled out his place in life. He likes his school and the friends he has bonded with, but everyday, I wonder how he has been when I pull up to the school...His response to most everything he is told is, "Yes, Ma'am", but somedays that is just a facade. From biting the teacher on the bottom, kicking 2 girls in the eye at naptime, and tearing away skin on the hand of a fellow student...he has had his share of timeouts! Some days are better than others, and every morning that he is dropped off, we "conference" before I leave, talking about how Zacky is going to be a good boy, take his nap and be nice to his friends. Of course he replies, "Yes Ma'am". He is quickly learning how to say what you want to hear...The priviledge of an evening bubblebath and a story comes in handy as leverage! Mmmmmm...what will I use when he hits Jr. High? It is amazing how different and alike 2 siblings can be! He's not as bad as he sounds and can be a real comedian, reducing all of us to deep belly laughter! Our shooting star!

Dyke is well and stays busy on the land and sea, trying to uphold the law in what seems like a losing battle. Things are pretty quiet during this time of year for him. The boys love to be with their "Deeds" as they call him! Shooting bows, playing ball, working in the garden, shredding on the tractor or riding the 3 wheeler. On one such adventure, Dyke was left in charge while I went to a meeting in town. They decided to ride the 3 wheeler down to the creek to look for alligators. Upon seeing a couple of them under the brush of the overhanging bushes along the creek, he put the 3 wheeler in what he thought was reverse. When he gave it the throttle, he immediately knew the truth. The three of them were shot off the bank into the murkiness. Before making contact with the water, Dyke threw Zacky away from the ATV, not wanting it to turn over on him, pinning him under the water. Jake already knew how to swim. When Dyke and Jake surfaced, Zack was no where to be seen! Frantically, Dyke turned and scanned the surface behind him and spotted Zack, trying desperately to keep his head above water. They all made it safely and quickly to the bank to safety...There were many angels that day and it is God to whom we give our greatest praises.

Teaching is going very well this year. I created a neat opportunity where my kids are involved in an "ASK AN EXPERT" program. They can go on-line to ask experts in any given field, questions that they may have on topics from entomology to physics. They love receiving their answer via the computer and it has broadened their perception of what type of jobs are out there. As a new addition to our science curriculum, I had a former chemistry teacher from the high school, teach them the beginnings of the periodic table of elements and atomic structures. It really added to our discussions of energy nad electricity and prepared them for future science classes. We are even having an "energy project day" where they make something that is powered by some form of energy. They have chosen ideas from burgular alarms to a bicycle powered oven. We will see how it turns out! I began teaching square dancing (sparked by the fun that I used to have on Friday nights in Tin Cup, Colorado) to interested 5th graders. We scheduled a spot in the anual 5th grade music program. Our practicing finally paid off in February when they performed in the show. It was a total of 40 kids (boys and girls)...enough for 5 complete squares...dancing to Garth Brooks' Calling Baton Rouge. It was a HIT and the kids had a blast swinging their stuff!

Working cattle for a local rancher is still a big part of my time away from school, when I can get away. I just worked 250 cows and 160 calves in February (see the newspaper clipping at the top). I am due to work again in May. I just can't seem to get enough!! My heart will ALWAYS be in the saddle!

I have added 2 longhorns: T-Bone and Sloppy Joe - to our menagerie. Coming from the local sale barn as 350 lb. bull calves, Dyke roped and held them while I did the castration/vaccination and antibiotic injections. Everything "pulled through" just fine and they have become spoiled 600 lb. babies! They don't know how good they have it! They are rather docile and eat their share of sweet feed every evening at 5:00.

We are presently boarding a mare for Dyke's partner's wife. She is a sweet horse, but needs ALOT of work!

We incubated and hatched 4 duckling eggs that we gathered from around the edge of the pond. The babies are now happily paddling with the others - 10 ducks total!

Several red-tailed hawks have preyed on our pen of 15 chickens, so we are down to 3 now, with basically no egg production! I think the hawks scared them so badly that they'll never lay again! Even when I stretched a big shrimp net over the top of the pen to keep them from getting in, they found a way in!

We hatched 17 guineas last summer and over a 3 day period, all but 1 disappeared...(The lone survivor now hangs out with the 3 misfit hens.)

A wild cat took 2 of our young cats, leaving the 2 older, battle scarred ones behind.

The goats are doing well and love to roam free during the day.

So...Noah's Ark has been somewhat pillaged, but with the Spring coming, we hope to make up for the losses.

We are getting a lab puppy soon. Her name will be SKEET (short for mosquito). Dixie is remarkably well for her 11 years and I know she will just "love" a bouncing, biting puppy to keep her quiet days from being quiet! Hope all is well with everyone. Stay in touch and remember the gate's always open! God Bless!

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