Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Tractor Equals Big Work Day

We have a new addition to our homestead...THE TRACTOR!!!  It arrived last Thursday and everyone was excited.  Charlie and I would wink at one another and say, "It's Tractor Day!"  We may have said it 20 plus times before he even left for work. :)

A new tractor meant we could actually take care of the grass and brush on the back portion of the property and around the pond.  We decided to skip church Sunday morning (shame on us :)) to make sure we could spend a entire day mowing and shredding.  And it was literally the entire day!  I think Charlie and I put in a solid 11 hours and the kids helped for at least 9.  They were such troopers and super helpful.  It is so nice that they are at an age where they can really help lighten the load.

 Getting his first tractor lesson

There are many perks to being the size of a 12 year old when you are only 9!!  He was a bit disappointed that his legs aren't quite long enough for the big tractor, but still enjoyed driving the riding lawn mower.

She put in her time by riding the big tractor with Daddy, the riding lawn mower with me, and raking big piles of sticks.  I also drove the big tractor (insert me clapping and feeling very proud of myself)! :)

We have several mesquite trees around the pond that are all over grown.  He was determined to move this huge branch on his own.  It was so heavy!

Following after her big brother's example.

The kids were super excited to climb the tree once it was cleared out.

So what do you get for your treat after 9 hours of yard work?  A ride in the bucket of course!  Just to clarify, they were at a much lower level while the tractor was moving.  This was the end of the ride after it was parked.  :)

Who's having more fun? :)

We are no where near finished.  It is going to take months of clearing everything out, but we definitely made a small dent.  PROGRESS!

Chicken Update!!! We now have two chickens laying eggs.  The third chicken sits in her box but hasn't done anything.  I am not sure what her issue is, but there's hope!  :)  We also have two coyotes stalking our barn and chicken coop.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fence Lines and Walking with Dixie

If there is one rule that I have heard over and over since we have moved out here it is to keep our fence lines mowed and clear.  The main reason...SNAKES!  Well, when it comes to anything reptilian, I only have to be told once.  Mark my word, our fence lines will stay mowed and clear!

In order to keep an eye on these fence lines, I have started walking the perimeter of the property.  Well, I walk the front 1/3 of the property.  The front 1/3 has already been mowed and cleared...the back 2/3 has not, therefore, I am not walking that part. :)  At a brisk pace, I can walk around the front 1/3 in about 7-8 minutes.  So, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone - check fence lines and get in a good walk.  I can make 4 rounds in about 30 minutes.

A nice surprise has been my walking companion.  Dixie has decided that I should not walk alone. :)  She trots out in front of me, constantly monitoring the area at all times.  It really is adorable; she's my protector. 

Always out in front :)

Standing at attention from a strange sound.

Now this is just random but I have to share.  The below picture is the trophy left from a Loggerhead Shrike.  Shrikes are the cutest little birds, but what they do to their prey is downright wrong!  My sister-in-law posted a picture on FB about a month ago.  Her kids had found a small snake impaled on a tree branch.  Apparently, it was the placed there by a Loggerhead Shrike.  I knew if she had them we were sure to see one on our property, since they live about 15 minutes from us.  These adorable birds impale their prey on fences, trees, etc.  Then bring female birds to view the said trophy.  If she likes what she sees then we get baby shrikes.  Oh brother!!!!  Needless to say, we now have two Shrikes that fly around together.

You can see where the barb is coming right through the middle of the bug - YUCK!  The kids and I actually witnessed a shrike push a spider onto a barb.  It was rather violent.  We just stood and watched from a good distance.  Once it left we rushed out to see and sure enough...

Dixie sticks with me until she gets too hot.  Then she paces the porch until my walk is finished; never letting me out of her sight. :)

Our oldest definitely pitched in with the fence line clearing.  He sprayed weeds with the backpack sprayer.  Let me just say, this thing is HEAVY!  It is 32 pounds of liquid weed killer and then the weight of the pack.  I was super proud of him for working so hard and not falling over backwards! :)

Our tractor arrives on Thursday!!!  We are all super excited! :)  I guess that means we will be clearing and mowing the back 2/3's.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Basically Drove to Austin on a Tiny Tractor

Ummmm, okay so that title may be a bit of an exaggeration, but let me explain.  This past Thursday my husband and I completed our first round of yard work at our new home.  When we purchased the home, the previous owner left the riding lawn mower.  This is what I refer to as my tiny tractor.  It's even a John Deere! Lol

We really need a real tractor for much of the back portion of the property, but as of right now, we only have smaller lawn equipment.  I braced myself, knowing full well that this was going to be a long process.  I dressed in a long, white sleeved t-shirt, black sweat pants, my trusty, camo boots (pants tucked in of course), and a ball cap.  I wanted to make sure those mosquitos knew who was boss!  I immediately jumped on my "tiny tractor" while my husband ran between the regular push mower, line trimmer (that is a really big weed eater), small weed eater, and backpack sprayer for weeds.

AND..... we got it done in record time... 5 hours 41 minutes....(yes, that one minute matters).




That wasn't even all 7.85 acres!  WHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Now if you have never been on a tiny tractor while mowing uneven ground, you may not realize what type of ride I endured.  Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I dramatically bumpity bumped all over the place.

1.  It started with, "Oh goodness, this isn't has smooth and easy as I originally thought."

2.  "OH MY WORD!  My bladder is going to sustain permanent damage!"

3.  "It sure is a good thing I am done having babies!"

4.  "Chapstick is not a good idea."  I cannot even begin to tell you how much dirt and grime I had stuck to my lips...so gross!

5.  "I'M. NEVER. GETTING. OFF.  EVER. - This is some type of life sentence!"

6.  "I'll just wave to the kids as they leave for college..."

7.  "I want my mommy."

8.  "What did I do to deserve this?"

9.  "Is it even possible to hold your abs in on this thing?"

10.  "This is not making me feel attractive."

11.  "Oh crap! I just ran into the barn..."  I looked around to see if anyone witnessed that "little bump", and decided to play it off and just keep going.  I did fess up to it later, only to hear laughter from my husband.  Thankfully, things like that don't ruffle his feathers.  Speaking of feathers, the defective chickens still haven't laid eggs.

At the end of the 5 hours and 41 minutes (that minute still matters), my  behind was completely numb.  The muscles in my back were on fire and waving the white flag of surrender.  We both looked at each other and laughed in complete disbelief of the events that played out during our little yard sessions.

It was after 8 o'clock, we still had not made dinner, we were beyond dirty.  The kids were starting the circle us waiting for some type of meal.  When they began to grow a bit impatient, my husband came to my defense with, "Look at your mother, have you ever seen her look like this?"  I think he was beginning to think he broke me, that the country shook me violently for 5 hours and 41 minutes and then spit me out...into the dirt.

We showered, ate delicious steak and potatoes (thank you, Honey) and then fell asleep on the couch.

But those sunsets...totally worth it!

Oh!!! So my point about driving to Austin on a tiny tractor.  I was on the riding lawn mower longer than it would take to drive from here to Austin.  :)  AND I received a honk and wave from two men in a pick up...LOL

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Girls' Weekend, Boys' Weekend, and an Update to the Blog

 Hello Everyone! Just a quick post and short update.  Over the weekend, the boys (the big and the two littles...who aren't so little anymore) went on a camping trip with our Boy Scout Troop.  Without any boys around, my little shadow and I did all things girly.  :)

While both of us girls love camping and being outdoors, we very much appreciate mani/pedis and shopping.  This was her first experience for a professional manicure and pedicure, and I think we have created a monster.  She was in love with every part of the experience.  :)  I guess it is a good thing that I rarely go or this could get expensive.  We also watched 4 Barbie movies, 1 Tinker Bell movie, and Moana (which I loved).  She spent a LOT of time soaking in bubble baths while I caught up on the latest People magazine.  She happily took over her dad's side of the bathroom, as well, as his side of the bed. :)  Plus my mom was able to spend time with us on Saturday, such a nice bonus.  We loved our weekend together!!!

** While working on this post, my laptop stopped charging and is completely dead.  I am trying to finish this post on the iPad, however not all of the pictures are showing.  I took adorable pictures at the salon while we enjoyed our pedicures.

I don't have all the details of the camping trip since I wasn't there.  But from what I hear, it went really well.  They encountered quite a bit of rain, and everything came back soaking wet and smelly!  I have several other pictures that my husband sent me, but they all include other kiddos (so I didn't want to post them here).  I had to color dots over the faces in the below picture.  Many of the pics showed the boys WAY down inside of caves and crevices.  I am extrmemely claustrophobic, so just the sight of the pictures made me cringe.  Needless to say, the boys didn't inhereit my issue with small or even medium sized spaces.  

(leaning forward from such a steep incline)

It wouldn't be a post without a sunset picture.  This was Saturday night after a lot of rain.  It just amazes me how many colors are displayed in one sunset.  Stunning!

*** One last thing, I am making a change with how I link blog posts on Facebook.  I tyically link to both my personal FB page which I share with my husband, as well as, the blog FB page.  After this post, I am no longer going to link to my personal page.  If you would like to keep up with the posts please do one or all of the following. :)

or you can subscribe by email  

Happy Monday - go to bed early and try to catch that hour of sleep we lost.  By the way, our coffee on the porch this mornign was in dark - pitch black - not cool. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Chickens, My New Shoes, A Tree, and the Sunset...Of Course

 Well, we have been here almost 1 month.  It feels completely like home.  Just about every box is unpacked, walls are mostly decorated, and our list of projects has begun. :)  However, more than the gate discussion, pictures of sunsets, loss of water pressure and septic upset, the main topic of conversation has been THE CHICKENS.

We inherited three chickens and who knows how many fish with our little piece of the country.  We had no idea the chickens were going to be left, but here we are and here they are so.... I am now a lady with chickens.  I really never saw that title coming!

But here is the deal.  These chickens won't do what chickens should be doing.  It doesn't seem to matter what I read, discuss with friends who own chickens, or try these chickens will not lay eggs!  I am feeding them the right food, changing their water, laying golf balls in their boxes to show them where to put their eggs (yes this is a legit technique), and greeting them in the morning with, "Good morning, Girls"!  And what do I get...NOTHING!  In fact, the one chicken that actually laid on her golf ball liked it so much that she wouldn't get off.  Apparently, she was trying to hatch it!  Oh come on!  If I do the above then they should produce - this should be simple.

Sunny - she does nothing but walk around

Popcorn - this is a rare site that she is out.  She is always hiding up high.

Drumstick - yes, we named our hen with a male name.  Why?  Because I was insistent that she was a rooster because she has the red flappy thing on her face...  But after the name had stuck we figured out he was actually a she with a he-name.  Oh well!  She is actually my favorite and shows the most promise for laying eggs.  In this picture she was trying to hatch her golf ball.  We raise'em smart around here!

In other news my footwear has changed drastically.  What was once cute flip flops and sandals (10 months out of the year) has been replaced with these rubber camo boots.  I have them on most anytime I am outside.  Totally fashion forward, completely time-less, and very much all weather. :)

This is one of the trees that surrounds the pond.  My husband nick-named it the "Love Mesquite".  The reference makes me want to sing "Love Machine" every time I walk passed it.

Here is a super cool cloud that I saw Monday night when we were leaving for Scouts.  Oh yes, we drove all the way into to town only to realize there wasn't a scout meeting...  Mental note:  Check calendar EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. REGARDLESS.  This pretty much made me stare at my gas gauge and morn the unnecessary loss of go-go juice.  May it rest in peace...sniff, sniff, sigh...

I can't seem to write a post, make a status update, or send a text without including a sunset picture.  It is my new love language.

Well, I will keep you updated on the chickens.  Hopefully, one of them will figure out how to lay an egg!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Welcome to the Country...Consider Us Initiated

Oh my word!  Our weekend.... I'm not even sure where I should begin.  We knew it was going to be a hectic weekend.  Charlie works Saturday's so we really do not like having plans other than church on Sunday.  But this Sunday was filled with kid commitments.  It actually started Saturday night with our youngest son's Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet, then Sunday morning for Scout Sunday, followed by a long meeting for our oldest now that he is quarter master for his patrol in his Boy Scout troop.  As a parent, you are excited for you kiddos and support them in their activities.  But as an adult who wants a break, you silently morn the loss of your lazy weekend.  :)

Our Saturday morning started pretty much like every other morning since we have moved...coffee on the porch.  It is truly wonderful.

Before I go any farther, I should mention that when I took my shower just moments before our coffee, I mentioned to Charlie how low our water pressure seemed.  We knew they had been working on a water problem earlier in the week, so we just assumed this may be another set back.  I told him I would call the water company when he left for work. 

We quickly jumped back into our routine of coffee, the porch, and watching the sunrise, when suddenly we were interrupted by the most awful sound of an alarm.  We both bolted out of our chairs, not sure where the alarm was coming from.  Then we noticed to the right of our property the light on top of our septic system was glowing bright red.  Yep...that was also the source of the alarm.  Let me tell you, that sound accompanied with that red light...not something you ever want to hear.  My stomach immediately started to flip (my stomach is always sensitive to stress or the unknown...lol...which is not funny...but is...but is so not!).  Anyway, it was as if the sound of the alarm and the color of the light sent my tummy right into panic mode.  Within the next few minutes we silenced the alarm and had the septic company on the phone.  Charlie and the gentleman on the phone started to troubleshoot.  Unfortunately they weren't able to fix anything without being there in person.  It was at this moment that Charlie looked at me and very seriously said, "Only flush the toilets in an emergency..." I am standing there with a stunned look on my face, thinking, "You mean the whole day!"

Oh no...my stomach...it was so confused...  I tried to ignore my tummy.  I tried to convince myself that it was just a knee jerk reaction.  The same as when you have to stand still but instantly you have an itch on your nose.

From here, Charlie had to leave for work, mentioning that he would call often to check the status of the red light, if the alarm re-triggered, and the lack of water pressure.  I had myself pumped that this would be okay.  After all, we are from Corpus Christi...we are very equipped to have water issues (that part may only make sense if you are aware of our unfortunate city water issues).  The rest of the day carried out as normal.  The kids and I did a good job of NOT flushing the toilets.  One of my children was absolutely, beyond excited to have full permission to pee (sorry) outdoors - he was literally giddy (insert boy mom eye roll).  We went to the Blue and Gold banquet that evening and then drove back out to our wonderful little peace of the country.  When we went to bed I mentioned that the water pressure seemed even lower...

By morning, the water pressure was basically a trickle.  Ugh!!!  We had church and not our church.  We were asked to attend the church of our Cub Scout pack for Scout Sunday.  I was already a bit nervous because, lets face it, unfamiliar churches are a bit intimidating.  I know they shouldn't be and that should not be my focus when I am at church, but...  Now we were going to a church we weren't familiar with and we weren't even going to be clean, showered people! 

As we were getting ready, Charlie sprang into full water emergency mode (remember, from Corpus).  With our slight trickle, he began filling the tanks in one of the three toilets.  Because we had all forgotten our no flush rule, the toilets were all flushed first thing in the morning.  It took him 10 trips outside, to the spickett (it had the best flow), filling up a 1/2 gallon pitcher, back inside, through the house to the bathroom, to the tank on the toilet.  10 TIMES FOR 1 FLUSH!!!  I don't think I have to tell you, but there went my stomach.  Complete panic.  I looked at my husband on trip number nine, and with a sheepish smile said, "Ummmm, Hun....my tummy doesn't feel too good."  And in that moment, he said one of the sweetest most romantic things, "Okay, you can take this tank and I will wait to re-fill for myself."  In that very moment I fell in love with him a thousand times over.  It truly is the little things, like taking 10 trips to fill the tank with the intentions of the flush being for you only to give the flush to your spouse.  :) :) Thankfully, my tummy had performance anxiety and there was nothing to worry about.  Hehehe....false alarm.  Sorry, my sense of TMI (too much info) has pretty much gone out the window.

Fast forward, we packed everything we would need to take showers at our parents' while we were in town.  We made it to the church service which was lovely and everyone was super friendly.  Also, the church bathroom had amazing water pressure!  I've never enjoyed washing my hands as much as I did in that moment.  After church we went out to lunch.  We had taken separate cars into to town, because we knew we would eventually be going in two different directions.  Charlie and our oldest took off in his truck for errands and the meeting, while myself and the other two kiddos left in my car for our own errands and then showers at my parents'.  Once we finished with our showers we headed back out of town.  When we got home we were thrilled to turn on the sink and have full pressure back!!!  I called Charlie and told him not to worry about showering in town and to get home!!!

So...the water was fixed but the septic was still on the fritz.  But hey, I will take washing hands over flushing the toilet any day.  At 7pm we noticed someone at our gate.  It was the septic company ready to take a look-see at our little issue.  I was shocked that we actually had people out on a Sunday evening at 7pm.  They realized that the brand new sump pump had burned up, went to the shop to pick up a new pump, came back out and began replacing everything (at no cost).  Now, just when things were starting to turn around, we were told one more time to absolutely NOT flush the toilets.  You know what happened next...

Our youngest got hit with a stomach bug...no lie!!!!  After about two hours of the bug we were finally able to flush all toilets.  She proceeded to be sick until about midnight but at least the last couple of hours our plumbing was working at top notch speed. 

So there you have it...that was our weekend.  At one point my dad chuckled and asked, "So, why did you move to the country?"  My response, "For the sunsets!"

I am concluding that this was our little initiation.  We made it through without water, septic, and a stomach bug.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Gate and a Few Other Tidbits

Well, it has been 1 week since we moved to "the country".  We are about 25 miles and roughly 30 minutes outside of town.  However, there are a couple of smaller towns that we are closer to.  Either way you look at, we are definitely not in the city. 

As many of you know, our first week has been consumed with the transition (or lack thereof) of our dogs.  They are having a VERY difficult and stressful time trying to adjust to our new home, land, territory, whatever you want to call it.  After multiple and very violent fights between our three dogs, the new protocol is muzzles and kennels.  It is definitely not what we want for them, but it is the only way we can keep everyone safe and allow the injured dog to heal.  We are praying this works out.  Our family would be devastated it we had to get rid of one or more.

Now in other news, we have had a few new things to get used to.  The main one being the gate.  It is actually quite comical because this gate has been involved in most conversations this week. 

We have a large gate leading into the property.  The previous owner used a heavy duty pad lock to secure the gate when he wasn't home.  Since that was his method, we just continued because well...we have been too busy wrestling dogs to question something as "simple" as the gate.  Here are a few tidbits about this gate of ours.

1.  Everyone that comes over has an opinion about the gate.  Such as, but not limited to:
  • Why are y'all using a pad lock?
  • I can't believe you are actually locking your gate?
  • Why don't you just dummy lock it....(ummmm, that was new vocabulary for me)
  • You should get hooks....(ummmm, hooks....puzzled look comes across my face)
2.  All technicians and service people who have been out this week seem to understand the rules of the gate.  They pull up to the gate, get out, undo the "dummy lock", pull through, get out, re-do the dummy lock, proceed onto property.  Then repeat as they  leave.  This gate gives one lots of exercise getting in and out of the vehicle.

I should restate that...all technicians and service people but one...  The Direct TV guy must not service this area because he pulled up to the gate and stared at it.  Then he got out and the second I saw his shorts long enough to touch his ankles, yet belted under his butt, it was quite clear he was not use to "the country". 

Our Internet technician was actually dressed in camo....

3.  The kids and I seem to have a gate deficiency when trying to enter or exit the property.  The main problem is that my gate keys are on my normal key ring.  I really need to put them on a different ring but I am too afraid to loose the darn things.  So, this means I have to drive to the gate, TURN THE CAR OFF, get out, walk up to the gate, wrestle with the ridiculous pad lock, then walk back to the car, get in, turn it back on and then pull forward....

Did you notice what I missed?

Re-read and see if you can find the very crucial step that I keep forgetting.

The kids have to patiently remind me.

"Mom, you have to open the gate..."

Ugh!  Right!  Open the gate, pull through the gate, get of the car, walk back to the gate, CLOSE the gate, walk back to the car, get in the car, situate all my clothes for the 10th time, turn the car on, all while trying to look cool, collected, and country-fied!

So, my goal for the weekend is to find a really large key chain, one that cannot be misplaced.  I am going to put the gate keys on the huge key chain, leave them in my car, and have the kids run the gate.  It's obvious they have a better handle on it.

And finally, a few other tidbits after our first week.
1.  I thought I would cry with happiness when I saw the UPS truck drive down our road!!!  My friends!
2.  Knocking daddy long legs down off the ceiling has been added to my list of evening duties.
3.  I learned what a bait box was and what it holds.
4.  I am learning how to take care of the three chickens that were left by the previous owner.  Poor chickens, I am sure they pretty much hate their lives right now.
5.  I freaked out when my interent wouldn't open after the 3 hour installation.  I ran out the door flagging the technician down.  He asked what the problem was, so I showed him.  My voice was panicked when I explained to him that the Internet was not opening on my phone.  He looked at my phone for what seemed like forever and handed it over when Google appeared.  Charlie looked at me and said, "Hun, it was like 10 seconds...." 
6.  I will end with the best one.  I have never seen a more beautiful sunrise or sunset.  God's beauty and grace right out our door.

No filter!!!

That is all for now.  I have to go make sure the gate is closed. :)