Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden Over Board!

The first 3 rows of onions
 I think we went a little overboard with the garden planting in some areas... like maybe onions.  We planted over 800 onions.  How does one do this you might ask?  How does one know they planted that many? And ... Why?
Well, here is my story...
We ordered onion plants from Dixondale Farms, a wonderful company with excellent customer service.  I know this and shall explain as the story progresses.  I ordered 6 bundles, thinking there were 50 plants in each bundle.  The order was delivered the week of
the mountains of snow.  I use the term mountains loosely.  It was mountains to a mouse maybe.  We also had frigid temperatures.  I am not exaggerating, -12 or -18 is frigid.  Well, the deliverer (who shall remain nameless) left the box of onion plants, clearly marked "Live Plants" at the end of our driveway, next to the mailbox on the county road.  Now, our mailbox is over 1500 ft. from our house and not a straight line either.  They were left after we were home for the day, so did not know they were there.  The plants stayed outside all night long until I took the kids to school the next morning, the low temperature for that night had been -12.  Oh dear.  I emailed the Dixondale and the delivery firm when I discovered my package.  Dixondale, immediately sent us more onions and said, "Just throw those out."  Wonderful customer service.  I did not ask them to do this, I just told them what had happened so they would know and could discuss it with the delivery firm.  My husband, who it seems cannot throw anything away, said, "Let's wait and see what happens to them."
A couple of weeks later we now have 2 boxes of 6 bundles of onions, 60 plants in each bundle that is 720 onions or so we think.  We plant 3 rows and still have over 7 bundles to plant.  We make a new garden space and plant 5 more bundles.  My husband counts the onions in the first 3 rows we planted,  over 600 plants.  Oh my!  That is a lot of onions.  I think I overdid it just a little.  Oh well.
We also have garlic planted and we planted broccoli and sugar snap peas!  Yum!  Yum!
My husband warned me that I could only buy 60 tomato plants.  I just smiled.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to Freezer Camp We Go!

Due to our previous cattle herding, cowboying experiences, and the fact that I still do not own a Cowgirl hat and boots, and the fact that we have had a mega dose of snow, that has melted so it is muddier than all get out, we did not expect the loading of the two steers for Freezer Camp to go well.
We prepared, called in extra help, extra vehicles... we expected fence jumping, crazy steers running every where...
These are the suspects... two juvenile, teenage boys... rebellious ...

The cowboys

The Help, my brother-in-law James

We're a little restless

We are very suspicious of the cowboys.

We are thinking about the fence...

Let's go see what this is...hmm...

Cowboys:  "That was too easy."

Get in there you silly things.  Notice the farmer cowboy is hanging back...
Looks like cowboy ballet.

Loaded!  TaDa!  That was easy, nothing to it!

So how did it go...
Tomorrow the Steers will be at Freezer Camp!  Yeehaw!

Playing Farmer in the Snow

So, it snowed.  Actually, it was two separate blizzards with close to 2 feet of snow each time, a week apart.  That is a lot of snow, at least for us.  And the temperatures, brrrrrr.  -18 in the morning.  That is cold!  So, what does a farmer do?  Do farmers just shut down like everything else and stay home?  Noooo.  There are critters that must be cared for.  A bottle calf in the barn.  Twice a day, the farmer trudges through the knee deep white stuff to the barn to feed the calf.
The turkeys have to be fed and watered.  So, buckets of water are carried from the hydrant (because in -18 weather the hose is frozen) to the turkey pen.  Feed the turkeys.  Chickens, need feed, water, and gather the eggs.  The chickens quit laying eggs during the blizzard apparently, the few that were laid were frozen.  Bother!  More water hauling.  All the water everywhere is frozen.  The steers headed for Freezer Camp in a few weeks keep knocking the heater out of their water trough.  Silly things.  Trudge over to their feeder to feed them.  The rest of the cows have to have hay and feed.  So the tractor has to be started and hay put out.  Now, the tricky part... the water for the cows.  The pond is frozen.  The ice on the pond must be broken with an ax.  Not to bad, except for the hike to the pond.  In knee deep snow it seems like forever.  Then there are the dogs and cats, all need feed and water.  Now we are done... only to start again the next day. Phew, it is exhausting.
However, on a lark the female farmer wants to go take pictures of the pond.  Male farmer says, okay after he feeds all the critters he will walk with her.  She however is impatient, and can't wait that long and decides to go ahead.  About halfway there, she is thinking, "Phew.  Maybe this was not a good idea.  It is a lot farther in the snow."  Then she realizes she didn't bring her cell phone,  if she passes out, or has a heart attack she will just fall down and freeze to death.  So, now a prayer is issued, "Please God, let me make it to the pond and back.  I forgot my phone and will die a frozen death and my family will not even realize it.  Thank you.  Amen."
Upon arrival at the pond, pictures taken... she rests at the picnic table.  It is really cold.  Time to head back.  "Man, it is an awful long ways."  Falling in snow this deep and this soft is not a good idea.  Just for your future knowledge.  You can't get up.  There is no where to put your hands to push yourself up.  Bother!  Another prayer, "Please God, let me make it back to the house."  Finally there it is, made it.  That wasn't so bad.  She probably needed the exercise.  I don't know was it worth it...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Snow so delicate and white
Clean, so clean it glows at night
Reflects the sun, so bright
Sparkles likes diamonds
Beautiful and unique each flake
As it melts, its satisfies the thirsty trees
Cold, white, wet
Wash me white as snow
I am without strength and dirty without you
That I might glow to those in darkness
And show them The Way
Help me to Reflect the Son, so righteous
My worth to You, more than diamonds
Beauty is Yours, You meet each need uniquely,
Even if I am a little flaky
Satisfy my thirst for living water
Love, Faith, Hope

Friday, January 28, 2011

Family: Dodge

It's a boy named Dodge. He is our first born.  Dodge is named after some dear friends of ours, well really just one of them, but they come as a set.  Dodge and Lisa Pool.  It is rather a long story to be told another time.  This is about my Dodge.  He is twenty years old.  I can't wait until he is twenty-five, then I will know something again.  Dodge has been called by God to be a minister, specifically a youth minister at this time.  Which is good, because Dodge likes to play games and do athletic kinds of things. He likes to do stuff like play dodgeball.  You would think he would win.  I mean with a name like "Dodge" how can you not win dodgeball.  But he doesn't always win. 
When he was younger, a teenager, his dad could not walk by him without being tugged into a wrestling match.  It was constant wrestling at our house.  He is studying at The College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He loves studying Greek. 
He is a lifeguard and swim instructor, has a First Aid card.  Feels obligated to offer first aid to anyone he sees who is injured.  When I broke my toe, he stood there, looked at it, said, "It's not broken."  Guess what, Dodge was "playing" Tae Kwon Do the other day and kicked, missed, and Broke His Toe!  It was all I could do not to say something incredibly witty.  Dodge runs full speed ahead all the time.  The boy could run across the room at 7 months old.  He likes to talk, he talked in complete sentences by the time he was a year old.
At 6'2", he towers over most.  By the time he was 13, he was taller than I was.  I know that is not saying a whole lot.  He looks a lot like "Shaggy" from "Scooby Doo" at the moment.  Tall, slender, shaggy hair and beard.
He is a very serious, tenderhearted, thoughtful person. I know that doesn't really go with the playful side, but it is true.  He knows a lot about the Bible. Still has a lot to learn.
He helps out around the farm when he is home, which isn't very often anymore. Mostly, he runs errands for me when he is home.  He feeds the animals some, and occasionally likes to play "cowboy." 
He is famous for getting lost, even with a GPS and having a wreck on his first date.  His sister ran into the back of him.  His favorite meal is Fajitas.
Dodge is a special gift from God to a man and woman who thought they would never have children, after trying for seven years.   Love you Dodge!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cowgirl and Snowflake

A new baby calf was born the night of the snowstorm.  Go figure.  You would have thought the mother would have planned a little better than that.  The calf is cute, really little, so it seems to me.  Me, the experienced cowgirl of all of not more than 6 months.  We named the calf , "Snowflake."  We don't know if it is a boy or girl calf yet.  Snowflake is really cute, has a white spot on his back and part of his tail is white and his belly is partially white.  The rest of him is black.  Snowflake wasn't getting around too good, and the mama didn't seem to be feeding him and keeping him warm like she should.  How do I know?  That is a good question.  Facebook has the answers.  So, today my husband calls me from work and says he is concerned.  Maybe we should catch the calf, put it in the barn, and bottle feed it.  He says, have Jack go catch it and carry it to the barn.  Jack, being out of school because of the inch of snow we received two days ago.  So, we put on our coats and head out to play cowboys and cowgirls, Molly was out of school too, same reason.
Now there are a couple of things you should know about me, one I was raised in big cities.  Houston, Athens, Greece, London, England, I all call home.  Two, I am a girl.  I like girl things, pink, lace, sewing, etc.  Three, I don't however like to change clothes.  This morning when I got up, knowing I wasn't going anywhere due to the inch of snow on the ground.  I put on a denim skirt, knee socks, and knit top and a cardigan.  I know, I dress like a dork.  I am okay with that, however, my fashion plate daughters wish differently.  But oh well.  I am dressed.
Now, I have to help catch a calf, and who knows what else.  Well, we head out to the cows, which are behind the house on the far side of the creek, quietly eating hay and minding their own business.  We go through the gate.  The cows back away.  I send Jack to go around and cut them off.  The boy moves sooo slow.  I think there is something wrong with him.  That, however is another story.  Well, the cows take off.  Snowflake can not keep up, but is too fast for us.  So, we go back to the house.  We absolutely fail at cattle catching, herding, whatever it is called.
A little while later, I notice out the window that the cows are back.  Snowflake is all by himself.  So, I send Jack, in his Father's coat and hat.  That way the cows will think it is Jerry and just stand there.  I tell Jack to catch that calf and carry it to the barn.  I watch from the window.  Obviously, the calf is a little heavier than Jack's father led us to believe.  I go out there with the calf bottle to help.  There is absolutely no way, Jack and I can carry this calf all the way to the barn.  We did get him out of the pasture.  I send Jack for the wheelbarrow.  We put the calf in the wheelbarrow.  I am leaning on the calf to keep him from standing, Jack is pulling the wheelbarrow towards the barn.  We finally get Snowflake in the stall in the barn.  After stepping over, while carrying Snowflake, three lawnmowers, two gas cans, and who knows what else.  You have to understand our barn is full of stuff.  It has two stalls.  One is full of chickens, don't ask.  The other is empty, more or less.  It is also dark.  Very bad lighting in this barn.   But we got it done.  Now, if we could just get him to take the bottle.  So, I have to traipse up to the barn every so often to check on Snowflake and try to get him to take a bottle.  And yes, I did all of this in my denim skirt and tennis shoes.
 I really think, I would be so much better at being a cowgirl with a hat and boots.  Don't you?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cow Herding

We had to sort cows today.  We have two steers that are needing to prepare for Freezer Camp.  There were a couple of extra teenage boys here this weekend for Jack's birthday, so we made use of the extra help.  It was quite a challenge because they had never been around cattle before.  Cows are really big, especially when they are running towards you and a crazy man is hollering, "Don't let 'em through!"
So, me being the expert cow herder that I am had to give them a few lessons.  I tell them, "You must through your arms up in the air really fast and big.  Make yourself look bigger.  Then at the same time, holler, "HA!"  really loudly.  And take a step forward while doing that."  It was a lot for them to comprehend and coordinate at the same time.  However, it works so much better if you are wearing a cowboy hat and some cowboy boots.  It just really makes the cows think you know what you are doing.  And you can use your hat to wave at them and make yourself even larger.  Which is useful, when the whole herd is running toward you because they fear for their lives.  We really just wanted two of them to go through the gate. 
It is quite funny to watch.  My husband has a real bossy side.  I was unaware of.
I really think I need a cowgirl hat and some boots.  I would be so much better at cattle herding.