Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Oh, goodness...it's been quite a while since I have posted...I think we need a new computer...it has taken me 4 days to upload these photos (at least it has seemed that long)....

Things on the farm have been great - the arctic weather was swept out of here in a hurry and we have even had days that reached 80 degrees!!!! Zack, of course, was lovin' every waking moment of that! Jake went with some friends from college, to New Mexico (3 hr drive) to snow ski at Angelfire. They had a blast, but he had only been skiing one time in his mere existence on this planet and that was when he was 7!! The second day, he shucked the skis and strapped on a snowboard, with which he has never done! He said that 6 people told him that he should be wearing a helmet! When I delved deeper into more details of this winter adventure that he survived, his response was, "You only live once, Mother!"

Ohhhh, the worries!!!

Anyway, here are some updates since the last posting!

A good friend who goes to Mexico at Christmas time to visit her relatives, brought me this bottle of "REAL" vanilla! Oh, it is SOOOO not the same as the Walmart version! You outta try it sometime if you can find some!

I have blogged since 2007 and wanted so much to print each of my postings, for posterity purposes...well, I could never figure out how to print and I thought all of those memories, stories, photos and happenings were just going to be lost in computer space...until.....I.......happened across........this AMAZING website.....where you can..................PRINT YOUR BLOG!!!

Woo-hoo! It's called www.print2blog.com

After a few clicks, a hard cover (or soft cover for less mulah), bound, book is created!! Here's the front cover of mine...

My blogs, (yes, all of them), compiled into a near 300 page book, complete with a table of contents, page numbers, color photos and ALL of the blogs that I have ever posted!
Here's what the inside looks like! OMG...IT IS FABULOUS! If you are a blogger...YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE ONE! Check it out on line!
Changing topics, quite drastically....Dyke and Zack have been minnow-seining in the rivers and have been catching gallons upon gallons of "minners" for their catfish bait (punch bait/stink bait...wickedly nasty, grotesque, vomit-inducing, stain your skin and clothing for God's eternity concoction.)

You start with live minnows. (Yes, that's my water trough that has now become a bait tank!) Make sure you have an aerator to provide enough oxygen to keep them swimmin'.

Next, you dip them out of the trough with a strainer, spread them out on something flat (An old rusted water trough works great!) and let them suffer, flop and bake in the sun 'til they draw their last breath.

Poor minners!

NEXT - scrape them into a 5 gallon bucket, add some menhayden oil and let the mixture cure for a couple of weeks...

BE SURE TO PUNCH AND MIX WITH A STOB. (that means, mix it well with a stick) Once the minnows congeal as one glob, add some "cheese" and some beef tallow...mix some more, wait a few more weeks and VOILA!


Switching gears.........

After school last week, we went out to fix a turkey feeder at our friend's hunting lease on the Red River. It was a spectacular afternoon and the views were astounding! When you can see 360 degrees, a camera just can't capture the sight! (but here's a try at it....)

scrubby pasture land

Red River Flood Plain

Zack and Dyke standing on the bluff, looking out at the Red River bottom land

Scouting for wildlife!

Fixing the turkey feeder

Another afternoon last week, as I was driving home, the sun was setting and it was absolutely amazing...again, the colors that God paints His sunsets are certainly not able to be captured by camera.

Almost home...

Friday, February 4, 2011


The View From My Bed

Nanook from the North!

I can't believe we don't have school AGAIN!!!4 days off? I don't think this has ever happened at VISD!!! Now it's Friday and we have the weekend tacked on as well! A big WOO-HOO!!!!

It's been basically the same routine - wake up, put coffee on, bundle up, feed & break ice, then come inside, start the fire, spend time in my daily Devotional and God's Word, surf the web, and hang out until the evening feed. WONDERFUL CHANGE, yesterday: Nancy and I went over to Stephani's for lunch! The roads were extremely icy and I had to stay in 4WD the entire way to town. What usually takes 15-20 minutes, took almost 40 minutes! Stephani had made hot Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, which were out-of-this-world! We had fun visiting, laughing and marveling at how crazy the weather had been. As we started to watch a movie, it flashed across the screen that Vernon ISD was closed on Friday as well!
Not long after our celebration about Friday's closing, my phone rang and Dyke said that we had a busted pipe by the barn and that I had to bring some plumbing supplies...great...So, our little adventurous jaunt to town came to an end. I was glad that Dyke knew how to fix it, or we'd be without water until someone could get out there to repair it.
Supper Menu: Venison Stew and Homemade Bread

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Woo-Hoo...another "free-day" off of work. Well, it's not exactly "free"...we'll be regretting it over Easter when we lose extra days...I'm a "live-for-the-moment" kind of gal though, so being off now is just fine with me!

Blinding whiteness, tissue-freezing air, clear visability and a slight north wind, is what I awoke to this morning. I lay in bed, covers up to my chin, wondering how the cattle made it through the night and if the new calf was still alive. The fire was out in the stove; although, the house was not too cold. As I usually do when I get up, I check to see if I can see any of the cows out...first I checked north and sure enough, there were about 8 that I could see. Huddled at the horse pens. Glancing out the east window, there were several more - pawing through the snow to get to the small strands of green wheat. I knew I better get out there and tend to things...I didn't even stop to put the coffee on. The frigid air stole my breath as I stepped outside. There were 4 strange dogs out by the barn. As soon as they saw me, three of them barked and took off. All except one that was all white and very thin. She had her head in a large silver pot out by the horse trailer. She wasn't stuck in it, but kept putting her head down in the pot. Of course, Penny and Jess went bounding over there, their hair standing in tall ridges down their spines. They ignored my call. By their agressive stances, curled lips and barred teeth, I knew I better get them in the barn before a fight broke out. It reminded me of the movie, Call of the Wild! My lungs and throat were strained and almost paralyzed, as I hollered at them through the arctic air. I had to cover my mouth with the flaps of my rabbit fur bomber-style hat, in between hollers. Finally, they listened and I was able to coax them in and shut the barn door.

The white dog was friendly and quickly realized that it was Chris' goat dog that lived with his goats to the south of us. She was uncontrollably shaking, thin and whining as I petted her. The snow had balled up inbetween her toes and was frozen.

The mystery of the silver pot attraction was solved when I looked in and saw the frozen remains of the last deer that was killed - supposed to have been hauled off by Zack a week or so ago...I couldn't budge the frozen meat, but she had been ripping it with her teeth and was somewhat successful.
She followed me to the horse pen while I fed, but being so timid she didn't get out of the way when Biscuit tried to stomp her. She yelped as he pawed his front hooves at her, finally forcing her to squeeze under the pipe fence. Mules are known to be quite protective and will not allow a dog to get in their space. Some ranchers use them with their livestock, to keep the coyotes out.

I fed the horses, broke ice and threw some hay over the fence to the cows who gathered around and then headed to the barn. I had to get the 4-wheeler out of the barn to haul the cubes to the pasture for the rest of the cattle, so I put the white dog in the horse trailer, so that Penny and Jess wouldn't fight. Loading the 4 wheeler with the sacks of cubes, I headed over the frozen ground and snow mounds toward the lower pasture. I had to push the 4 wheeler out of the snow drift, realizing that I better choose a clear path if I wanted to get there quickly. The cows followed right behind me, trying to bite through the feedsacks that were stacked on the back of the 4 wheeler. I had to keep shooing them away with one hand while I drove with the other. Finally, I was able to make it to the troughs, unload the feed and get the gates shut. The cattle were hungry. It made me smile to see the new calf shuddering at her mama's side. At least she was alive and with the herd. One of the syrup lix that the cattle had chewed through the cardboard casing to get at

Checking the henhouse was next on the circuit...all was well - except their water that, of course, was rock solid. I hauled a bucket of warm water from the house and they were glad to get a drink.
As I crunched my way through the snow to the house, I looked at the sky and thanked God for our electricity, the strength to get my chores done and that the animals were ok through the night.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


They were right...the storm arrived in the night and we awoke to a white-out. School was cancelled, like we all predicted yesterday. As I lay in the warmth of my down comforter, looking out the window at the swirling snow and the knee-deep drifts that had been born in the night...I was greatfully thankful to God that we had electricity. The chimes sang their 7 o'clock proclamation. It was warm in the house, but I knew that I would have to get out there and tend to the animals. By the time I got ready to go out, I couldn't even see the barn - visability was probably 10 feet. I put the coffee on, so it'd be ready upon my return, pulled on my coveralls, wrapped my wildrag around my neck and mouth, and zipped up my Carhartt. The wind was biting cold. Someone could die in weather like this. I trudged out to the barn through the nearly knee-deep drifts, the snow packing up under the legs of my coveralls. Ooooo, it was cold as it melted against my warm skin. The dogs ran wildly, chasing each other, until they became submerged to their ears in the snow. It made me laugh! As I got to the barn, the horses' shivering was very obvious. They were covered in snow and balls of ice, the size of silver dollars. Even with protection under the barn, they were very cold. As they chomped on their sweet feed and then hay, I scraped the snow and ice off their coats. Their shivering seemed to lessen. I had to rip a iron fencepost from the frozen ground to break ice in the trough. The water was solid in places, and slushy in others - at least I could get some water released.
Making the rounds, I turned my back to the wind and made my way down the gap to check on the cows. The drifts were nearly head high in places. I rolled under the hotwire and kept moving. I was really concerned with finding the new calf, but only a handfull of cows were at the hay, backs turned to the north, just standing like statues. I tried to look for the rest, but the frigid wind was freezing the tears in my eyes. I could sort of make out some black cattle standing down in the dry creek bed, out of the wind, so I decided if they weren't smart enough to seek cover, there was nothing I could do, and headed back up to the barn. The chickens were next on the list. I nailed some burlap sacks to the window to keep some of the snow out, but it still blew in. It was warm-ish in the henhouse, but their water was an iceblock. I could tell that there weren't 12 hens, even though I couldn't see all the way up under the nesting boxes. Again, there was nothing I could do. I closed them in and headed back to the house - all of my footprints from earlier, had been erased by the wind. Grabbing the cats from the barn, we pushed with the wind toward the house - the cats were glad for the warmth of the laundry room and some Friskies. I shucked all of my snow covered clothing and stood by the fire. Dyke had gotten up, remade the fire from the night before, and was watching the news. My cheeks burned with the instant warmth that touched them. I walked to the window to see how tall the drifts had gotten and saw something orange under my cactus. As I tried to focus my eyes from the blinding whiteness, I realized it was one of my hens. She had been out all night, sought refuge under the cactus and just huddled there in the drift. I ran outside, snow crunching under my slippers, sounding like I was walking on a pile of broken pieces of styrofoam. I scooped her up and could feel the packed snow and ice under her wings and tail. Wrapping her in a towel, I sat with her beside the fire. She was unresponsive. The snow began to quickly melt and drip and I was able to remove the slabs that had frozen up under her wings. As I unwrapped her from the towel, thinking the heat from the fire would warm her faster, she opened her eyes. I placed her on the towel and she just hunkered there. Her toes were caked in ice. I knew she wasn't going anywhere soon, so I poured another cup of coffee and went up to wake Zack. I crawled under the covers with him and we visited. He was glad that school was cancelled. After I finished half of my mug, I headed back down to check on my hen. What I saw completely amazed me! She had laid an egg right there on the towel! It was so egg-citing! I knew I had to put that in my blog! It was warm and oh so fresh!
I went to the south windows again to look out and noticed a pick up in the driveway, so I went to the back door and a large Mexican man stood shivering at the door. He asked for Dyke, so I invited him in out of the cold. I quickly had to explain why there was a chicken sitting by the fireplace...that was a bit awkward. He started talking when I did, so I don't even know if he heard my reasoning about the chicken. We stood by the fire and he told us that he was getting some hay from a farmer out here, and his truck had high centered down the road. He said he walked to a nearby house, where no one was home, borrowed a pick up that had keys in it and drove it to our house to get help. Why would someone be out on the roads? He didn't even live out here, but he said that a year or so ago, he had worked for a farmer out here. It was mysterious and I was skeptical. He continued to warm up while Dyke and Zack got ready to help him. Then, he was gone and I pondered why he was out here in this part of the country on a day like today...strange!
The rest of the day was spent inside - until evening chores, watching The Horse Whisperer for the 100th time! Don't you just adore a movie that you've seen more times than you can recount? Hot, fresh, buttered popcorn, and a cool drink, a classic, bracing film by Robert Redford,warm antique quilts to bundle yourself - still clad in your pj's and hours of time left in your "free day off"! Perfect!