Thursday, September 13, 2018

Small update on life

This ancient oak has weathered many a storm, and I shall weather this one.
Some of you out there have been wondering where I've been.  Well, life has turned somewhat chaotic of late, and we have decided to sell our home, and downsize.  Most of my time lately has been spent packing the house up into storage units (again!), and cleaning and painting anything that doesn't move!

As things progress, I will try to keep folks updated when I can.  And if you have my regular email, you're welcome to email me.  Take care, my friends!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rain at last!

It's been a hot, dry summer here.  Not unusual in Texas, but this week we caught a break.  Since Wednesday, we have had 1.75" rain, most of that falling today.  If the current band of rain would just drift about ten miles east, we'd probably get another 2-3"!

Still, the Silverado Sage is blooming like mad, a good indicator of rain incoming.  I'm both ecstatic over the rain, and the cooler (relatively speaking) temps.  I find I am secretly hoping for an early Fall.

My current home project is to get some of the rooms here repainted.  We had originally thought to go with a shade of blue, but since we decided not to replace the laminate, we changed our paint plan, and are just using the regular Navajo White color which is already in most of the house.  It's simple, attractive, and I already have a couple gallons of it.





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hard to believe it's August in Texas!

After the unexpected and much needed rainfall this week, where we got almost an inch, I was surprised to step outside in the dawn, to find it actually COOL!  Yesterday dawned at 67*, and today was even better!  66*F, and much lower than normal humidity!

Since the summer solstice has come and gone over a month ago, I feel I can safely say, Winter Is Coming!  Oh, I know this mild glorious weather won't last long, a couple of days at most, but it is the hint of days to come.  And it gives hope to those of us who live in the South, that one day, perhaps soon, we will enter the second season of the year, Not Air Conditioner Season!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Indy turned 7

Indy on adoption day

Indy now.
My eternal puppy, Indy, turned approximately 7 yesterday.  By most accounts that makes him a new "senior dog".  His true birthday is unknown, being a rescue from the Collin County kill shelter.  However, we rescued him on June 8, 2013, so that became his birthday for all intents and purposes.  At the time we got him, we were told he was around 2 years old.

The Monkeys persuaded me to take Indy, and Shiloh, who with an adoption/birthdate in mid January, never gets to go to DQ for ice cream.  (too darned cold in January even in Texas!)

Shiloh looking cute
So I loaded up the kids and the two dogs into the truck and off we went to the local DQ.  

Indy knew right what to do with HIS ice cream!  He dove right in, and started tongue-polishing that serving dish.
Gee, Indy, that went quickly!  Happy Adoption Day, ya big lug!
Shiloh wasn't so sure what to do, despite being the Dairy Princess.  Eventually though, she decided it was a treat, and despite Indy trying desperately to steal her soft serve, she finished it without assistance.
I AM the Dairy Princess!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Weekend musings

More storms popped up here late yesterday afternoon.  Not a lot of rain at the casa, but in town there was minor flooding.  Of course, town has minimal runoff infrastructure, so it always floods if it rains.  But the cloud-to-ground lightning was impressive!  I'm glad I had the foresight to put Indy in his Thundershirt and give him 1.5 K9 Calming treats before the storm got to the house. 

Lots of work to do today around the place.  Yard needs mowed if it dries out enough.  House needs swept and vacuumed.  Time to slay the regenerated Laundry Monster.  Chickens and chicks need time in the chicken tractor too.

Then there are the town errands on payday.  Time to get more chicken & chick chow, grease for the mower transmission, steal DH's car to get new tires on it while he is at work, and groceries to feed three teens and the two of us for a couple more days.

On the bright side of things, the Santa Rosa plums are turning a lovely shade of red.  I just hope the birds and squirrels don't ruin my harvest!  Otherwise, it might be squirrel stew for dinner!

I'm still slogging away at my 187# lifts for the Lifting the Stigma Challenge. (www.liftingthestigma.co.uk)  Currently at 4505 reps to go.  I am hoping to have time today to get another set done on this.  I know I'm probably losing strength on my other lifts, because this challenge is wearing me out on the days I do it, but it is the first time since I started lifting, that I've prioritized volume over adding weight to the bar. 

Our unexpected wheat "crop" is almost ripe!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Golden Hours

The storms rolled in around 04:00 this morning, though I think it was the screaming sinus headache that woke me.  The kind of headache that only coffee and being vertical will alleviate.  I had hoped to sleep in a little this morning, with DH having the day off, but it was not to be.  Even the dogs, disrupted by the thunder, had to contribute their cold-nose alarm to the mix.

I staggered out of bed, downed a couple Vitamin-I, and head toward the kitchen for the juice of the blessed bean, knowing IT will be the thing that mostly removes the pain in my head.

Seated in the breakfast nook, at the little table that looks out over the back yard, sipping java, the light begins to change, even as the storms continue.  Dark initially, when I came out for coffee, slowly a pinky yellow light crawls over the land.  I know it is the storm clouds filtering the rising sun.  But it is beautiful.  I also know the camera won't do it justice, so I must make do with my mind's eye.

I know this time is called the photographic golden hour.  I've seen its effects before, but seldom have captured it with a camera.  Wiki defines it thus:  In photography, the golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. This is the opposite of blue hour, which is the period just before sunrise or just after sunset when light is diffused and even.

As the light brightens, I see rain splashing on the water out back, I see the hens huddled underneath the coop--the storms and the sun having driven them awake and outside to their run to forage, even though there is a feeder in the coop for them.  The world outside, and my aching brain slowly come awake as the light changes.

Time, coffee and verticality all serve to ease my headache.  I see a finch perching on the downspout, searching for bugs to eat.  The squirrels come out, and the storms move away east.  The golden hour is past...

The Golden Hour light


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Upright, or Upwrong?



Ouch...it's been 9 months since I rode anything other than a carseat any distance.  But this week, Monkey3 kept asking me to take her on a bike ride.  As it was somewhat cooler this morning I conceded.  The kids prepped the bikes, and off the three of us went, to ride the neighborhood.

Even after living here just over two years, there were a couple side streets I had never been down.  So since I was ostensibly leading this ride, I decided to explore.  We ended up riding down all the roads in the neighborhood. 

It was fun...and mildly painful.  I rode my Specialized Roubaix, an upright, not my Encore recumbent.  The roads here are a bit narrow, and the Encore has a relatively large turning radius.  And I'm just a wee bit out of practice.  The Roubaix makes my hands hurt, my shoulders hurt, and my sit-bones hurt.  The sit-bones would stop hurting if I rode the bike enough, but not the hands and shoulders.    But for short rides, it can be fun.

Seven miles later, at a ridiculously slow sub-10 mph, we made it home.  No flats, only one minor crash for Monkey2, and zero traffic.  Maybe, just maybe, I will start doing the Gate 2 road ride.  It's just a little bit longer, and the roads are generally in better condition than those in the neighborhood.  It would be good to get back on the bike again, even if it is just for 10-20mi rides.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Belated Mother's Day fishing trip

A bit of a family tradition here from my husband's side of the family.  On Mother's Day, the family takes Mom out fishing.  My mother in law loved to fish, and so do I.  As it happened, it was not convenient to go fishing until last evening.
Submarine Cow

We hit the farm ponds by 5pm, so the sun and heat were not killer.  There was a decent breeze, and we saw submarine cows in the pasture.  The burro herd even decided to do their own version of the Belmont Stakes, with one braying beast, chasing another around the 90 acres twice!  Those little buggers have some stamina!  Sadly, I was laughing too hard, and having too much fun fishing, to try to take any burro race photos.

#1, on my tackle box

After landing fish #1 in about 15 min, the fishing sort of slowed to a dead stop.  Or at least the catching stopped!  Eventually MonkeyBoy hollered "Fish On!" and brought in a fat bass.  He was too far away to get a photo though.

I wandered over to the second smaller pond, which DH had tried unsuccessfully earlier.  I too, had no luck in the small pond.  This was a little odd, as that pond is usually good for a couple large bass, like 7# sized!

I returned to the large pond, in the corner by the dam, where there was a tree shading the water.  I've had success in the past, fishing the shadow-line on hot days.  Yesterday was 90* at 5pm.  It didn't take too long, and #2 was on shore.
#2 with obligatory toe in picture.
Shortly after that, #3 and #4 decided they wanted a chance at a plastic worm.  Their wishes were granted, and they were released with the others.  Next time we go fishing there, I'll try for the morning, so we can bring some bass home and fry 'em up for dinner!
#3 the smallest of the bunch

#4, probably the biggest, and at least 4" linger than my size 8 boot.
I gave up my hot spot after than and went to sit in the shade of the truck.  Not too long after that, DH came up, somewhat overheated, so we packed up and stopped at DQ for a soda and shakes for the Monkeys. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Flying Tiger Airport fly in 2018

Navy Trojan
This past Saturday, we were treated to a visit to the Flying Tiger Airport, west of Paris, for their 2018 Fly-In.  It was in celebration of the nearly complete restoration of their AF-2S Grumman Guardian.  She'll be in flying condition in another month or so, and will be the ONLY flyable one in the world.  Here.  In the middle of almost-nowhere Texas!
SNJ Texan
The owner of the airport has several warbirds of his own, including the SNJ-Texan, and others.  The event was free as was the food!  There were bounce houses for the little kids, and a ton of other aircraft to look at.  They had a great turnout, both in fly-ins and car traffic.
Radial engines are just cool!
We had fun, looking at all the planes and hearing various stories of this place back in the 1970's and 1980's.  Apparently it was quite the place to see, and fly warbirds!
Tail of the Guardian 

The 404 Martin

Mini Mustang!


Canadian, I think, and in need of work

Stearman


This is the Guardian!  


The Texan again

This looks fun!

The Army was represented 

So was the Air Force

Guardian
I hope next year, there will be more old warbirds to see, and maybe watch them fly! 
Even the Marines made an appearance!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Babies!

Waffle
Our backyard flock has dwindled some, since inception.  Now, despite it being high season for eggs, we aren't getting enough to be able to share them with friends.  So off to Atwood's to see the baby chicks.
Huntsville
Atwood's gets chicks year 'round, and today they had some standard pullets (girls), and some rarer breeds in straight run (unsexed).  We got 2 Barred Rock pullets, and two Buff Orpington pullets, and then it got interesting.  The stock tank full of straight run chicks clearly had some interesting birds.  We opted for a total of three, all in the same breed family, the Hamburg chickens.
Firefly
We are supposed to have a Gold Penciled Hamburg, a Gold Spangled Hamburg, and a Silvered Spangled Hamburg or maybe a Silver Penciled Hamburg.  I'm not totally sure!  They are supposedly a docile breed, if a bit flighty (sounds like our Brown Leghorn!).  We might need to clip their flight feathers in the future...and hopefully, they are all hens!  I really don't want to deal with a Roo.  But if we did end up with a Roo in the bunch, I should be able to trade him for a hen.
Nike
Since none of our hens went broody, we have to raise these new birds by hand, in the workshop.  Less convenient, but not our first chicken rodeo at least.
Athena
Yes the Monkeys have already named (with some editorial input from yours truly,) all the chicks.  The Buff Orpies are Cookie and Waffle.  The Barred Rocks are named after penitentiaries (because we nicknamed the Barred Rocks as jail birds").  And the tiny Hamburg chicks are named after missiles from the US inventory (past or current), Nike, Athena and Firefly.
Cookie
Yeah, I know, we're an odd lot!  But it is rather fun, giving them names.  Hopefully the names will fit, once they're grown.  And if any of the Hamburgs turn out to be Roos, then they'll briefly be known as Hercules or Ajax (also from the Nike missle program).
Leavenworth

Monday, April 30, 2018

Lifting the stigma

Last week I ran across a video from a man in the UK who had started a project called Lifting the Stigma. It was started because he wanted to raise awareness of male suicide, in hopes of preventing men from taking their own lives.  Pete is a suicide survivor.

He was diagnosed with a mental illness, and medicated.  Yet this did not fix things for him.  He eventually found relief through powerlifting, in tandem with medical treatment.  Well, DH and I also do "The Big Three" lifts in our own training routines.  That means Squats, Bench Press, and Deadlifts.  We also add Overhead Press, and Bent Over Rows.  We both feel better mentally and physically when we lift.  Much like we did when we were cycling a lot.  It was pretty clear to us too, that physical activity is GOOD for the mind as well as the body.
The challenge from Lifting the Stigma is simple.  Do 6000 repetitions, at #187 (85kg).  Use the hashtags #6000reps and #6000lives when you post to social media.  Take as long as you need to work through 6000 reps.  Use any lift you are able to make weight on.  It doesn't matter.

For me, there are two lifts that allow me to get enough reps to make progress.  Deadlifts and squats.  I could add chin ups, but my reps would not be high enough to make progress....so I stick to the two I mentioned.  Right now I am doing 50-60 reps a day and trying to go at least 5 days a week.  Its proving to be a large increase in volume for me, which isn't necessarily a bad thing!

I'm not a guy (duh!) but I have known men who were suicidal at various points in their lives.   I care about them.  If through this challenge, and posting about it, someone is helped through a tough time, especially if they started lifting to help themselves, that would be fantastic!  The more folks who join the challenge and share their experiences of it, the better!  We can reach more people.

Will you join me in 6000 reps?

You can share your progress with Lifting the Stigma, on Instagram and on Facebook

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mothra lives!

Polyphemus moth


This is Mothra.  DH found this in the parking lot at work this morning.  That's a parking lot stripe it is sitting on.  Yes, it really is that big!  Based on the extra 'furry' and large antenna, we believe this to be a male of the species.  They only live a short time, appearing like this for their breeding season.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Baby Fruits!

Blueberries
Well it looks like this week's freeze did not get cold enough to damage our fruit crop!  So far, we are seeing the blueberries set fruit pretty heavily for their second season in ground,
Santa Rosa Plums
Then we get to the plums!  Yay!  Lots of little plums all over both the trees.  They are growing fast too, as I saw them in the middle of last week, and they were much smaller that what you see above.  If the crop survives to maturity, I'm thinking plum jam sounds wonderful.
Peaches
These are my two peach trees.   I thought I had a better picture of the little fruits, but I guess not.  The set is fairly heavy, especially on the eastern tree.  The western tree lost a main branch over the winter, so it has less branches available to set fruit.  I might cull the fruits on the western tree, to give it more time to recover from the winter damage.  I'll just have to see how desperate I am to have fresh fruit!

Sadly the apricots, though they fared well over the winter, did not bloom much at all and set no fruit this year.  Hopefully, next spring they will get up to speed and bloom heavily and set lots of apricots.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Learning curve - Minor remodel

For the last year and a half, more or less, DH and I have suffered with a "naked" reading room, aka bathroom stall.  It was once covered with wallpaper.  We are not fond of wallpaper.  One evening, DH was sitting there, reading, and began to pick at the wallpaper.  Unfortunately, some of it was put up with the wallpaper equivalent of Gorilla Glue!  We picked, and peeled, and ended up stripping down INTO the drywall.  Oops!

This is what the walls looked like for over a year!
Eventually we decided we would skimcoat the walls with drywall mud.  It's difficult to impossible to match texturing, so we thought smooth walls (like I grew up with) would be better, and couldn't be that hard to do.  I mean, you just mud the walls, smooth it out with a knockdown knife, sand it when dry, prime and paint...right?

Yeah, right.  Apparently there is an art to skim coating drywall, and neither DH nor I have the skill or artistic ability to achieve anything close to a smooth surface.  We applied so many skim coats of mud I swear the stall was shrinking!  Well, rather than pay someone to come skim coat the walls (and we have a much larger area that needs done in the entryway to the house), DH decided to go ahead and try his hand at texturing.  We already owned the necessary gear.  He just had to practice on some cardboard.  So practice he did!  Then onto the master bathroom.

He had some problems with the mud being a little chunky, which left lumps on the walls.  But then we realized we could lightly sand the mud, and get a nice surface.  The walls were all sanded, and it looks pretty darned good.
Textured!
Then we found the main wall color in one of the paint cans we inherited with the house.  It's a pale yellow, and looks good.  And we like it better than the paint we used on our old house, which Monkey1 has dubbed Excessive Beige (Accessible Beige was the real name).
Painted! (different camera gives different wall color)
And finally the important hardware was added!  We've been without a roll holder since the wallpaper was peeled off!  But at last we were able to mount the one we've had in storage for 2 years now, and only just have been able to install it.  DH was even able to add a new electrical outlet, one with dual USB ports, so you can sit, surf and charge all at the same time. 
Reloads are on the back of the water tank.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Warm human on a cold day

Yesterday it was a bit chilly.  DH and I were both cold, even in the house.  So I lit a fire and grabbed a blanket, dozing off quickly.  Suddenly I was awoken by a gently applied weight...Indy decided he wanted a warm human to warm him by the fire!  He was very comfortable and we both dozed for a while.