We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.







Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One of the faces that protects you.

This handsome man is Richard a.ka. Little Richard (our nephew) as his family knows him. Hard to believe the little boy I first met 13 years ago, is now married with a child of his own.

He leaves Thursday on his way back to Iraq. This leaves my stomach in knots over worry but, what can you do? Each person has to find their own way and destiny. Just wanted to let him and the world know, I appreciate the service to our country and know you are standing watch. And if you find one; will you send me a sand diamond?




Good Luck, Richard
Our prayers are with you & the others there.
Watch out for those Damned camel spiders.

Thoughts from inside the coop....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sniff Sniff! I am happy aaaaaaagain!

Do you see the little bud there to the right?


SNIFF SNIFF


IT'S a strawberry plant, I am so excited. With the drought, HEAT and severe windstorms here; I did not think these would take root.

I guess some TLC and nick picking over their care has brought forth a few little stragglers. The fuzzy outline is my viewfinder looking through deer netting protecting the tender buds. Seems our Feathered Locusts (chickens) are hot on the trial of anything GREEN or fresh since, our grass is having a tough time this year. Keep the deep south in your prayers because we have been in a severe drought and fire watch for a long time.


This little guy though is my favorite thing to eat in the whole world. This little bloomer is a muscadine grape.

I was told by the local nurseries this vine would not take hold here but, I have babied it and talked to this little guy. If you have never tried muscadine grapes; get your hind parts down to a WHOLE FOODS or similiar international food store. These are huge black globe grapes with a sugar content of 19%. My Maw Maw used to turn them into jellies, jams, juice and other yummy treats. I remember sitting under the grape arbor snacking on them right off the vine, with bumble bees buzzing about in the HOT ALABAMA summer sun.

What do you think this one name out to be?

MUSKY the HUSKY



Thoughts from inside the coop..............

Friday, April 24, 2009

Can't we all just get along?




































































Apparently NAWTTTTTTTTTTT! Alpha and Uno this morning.

Thoughts from inside the coop......about the world.

Dumped still there: Eye shine


Day number three.
If you double click you can see one eye's shine. We take the little dog (DUMPED) food and water twice a day or more. We have gotten barks but, no trust yet. There is no way to catch the dog because it is on someone's property. I will try to get in touch with the neighbor's this weekend but, in this economy; I am not risking a gun shot to my buttocks. I am still very much upset over someone dumping such a young animal out here. What were they thinking?
For three years now, we have seen the road littered with abandoned animals. Not all have had a happy ending. Only "Goldie," trusted me enough to allow us to take her to the shelter. She was adopted the very same day.
I will just keep trying to win over the little dog. See last blog for our first blurb on this sad testimony to mankind.
Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

No longer loved; just dumped



Hello Gentle Reader,

Let me introduce myself to you; I am “DUMPED.” Officially I have been down-graded in this cruel world from Family Pet to No Longer Needed. This place I was left to die has no water or food for me to eat. Some kind folks have brought food and water to my LAST KNOWN GOOD spot where I was left by my former owners. I want to go with one of the folks who come by and check on me, leave food and water, or talk kindly to me. But, because of you; I no longer trust my instincts about mankind and hide in the bushes. I do wonder how long these folks will keep trying to earn my trust. It is so hard to trust since you; my owner left me to die with a broken heart, spirit, and wasted body.

If there is a next time you choose to walk away from your commitment please, just take your next FAMILY MEMBER to a shelter. Please do not destroy the love of another giving soul.
Wasting away in the drought,
DUMPED


MY NEW HOME where trucks zoom by at 60 MPH.















Thoughts from inside a crying coop.......

Monday, April 20, 2009

What do you think?

By line: Photo taken at gas station near St. Louis


While I agree folks have a right to 'voice' their opinions via 'social protest.' I do not agree using a 1/2 ton device to get my point across. What was the owner of this vehicle thinking? Did they not look down the 'proverbial road' and forecast problems?


"Maybe this kind of display would incite or reduce other's attention to their driving and lead to an accident."

Another thing; we as Americans have long enjoyed and reaped the benefits of countless 'SOCIALIST IDEALS' with the following examples:


Public libraries, Fire Fighters, Police, Welfare, Social Security, Disability, Sports Arenas, Museums, Parks, National Monuments, Public schools, Hospitals, Health Clinics, Food Pantries, Post Office and many others.


Here I must say that while I did not agree with the Bush admininistration. I did not use a motor vehicle with an obstructed view to 'voice' my displeasure.

With our 'guaranteed rights' all I am saying is: Use them wisely, justly with a little thinking and in the right 'avenue.'

Thoughts from inside the coop.......

Fence Gardening Update:



This is garlic just poking through.


Planted ten days ago.













This is a Nest Egg gourd planted from seed.















And of course; cucumber purchased at Wally World on a whim.
We have to keep our plants, veggies and fruits away from our:
Feathered Locusts: CHICKENS

One of my reasons for a positive outlook


Each day, I am blessed with waking up Zephyr. He is so adorable while he sleeps. I can then touch his face and smell his 'little boy dreams,' in his bed warmed hair before waking.

What touches me most is knowing though there is 6 years difference in age between Saenz and Zephyr, they look so much a like. Some of their personality & traits are the same however, they are so very different. I am guessing the Butterfly Effect theory here is in play?

Either way, I am honored to have this beautiful soul in my life.

Thoughts from inside the coop........

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Daddy & Cubby

Every where Daddy goes:
Cubby follows --
Been that way since he was born.
Once Dad, is home......
Mom, disappears into the woodwork.
Til Dad makes cubby mad.



Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Mother, Daughter, Baby Cacti flowers

These flowers were found just on our fence line up front of our property however, the road ways are full of these blooms. If you double click on the images; the first one you can see the pollen on the petals.















My family is so blessed to witness everday the beauty found in nature just right outside our door. Thank you for everything Our Creator and especially my husband and boys for making my life feel so full and joyful.



One of my favorite pictures of the day! Start from yellow flower counter clockwise: mother, daughter and baby cacti.
Count your blessing and multiply them by giving MORE OF YOURSELF to others.
Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Driving Lessons for our Country Girl?

How much is Geico car insurance for teenagers? I see we have some explaining to do -- to the lizard. HEE HEE

































SURPRISES OUTSIDE THE COOP.............

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sad to report, we seen a dead:


Picture is from National Geographic here:

Coral Snake, someone had taken care to run over it in the middle of a country road. What is really sad is these animals will not bite unless messed with. Animals in captivity only live 6 or 7 years, have few offspring in their clutch which hatch from eggs. What is more sad to think of; in three years of traveling our country roads this was the first coral snake we have come across.
While, I don't want my boys to come across one of these; I do take the time to explain to my sons to not handle or panic around dangerous animals. I do not advocate the use of a motor vehicle to destroy such a beautiful animal that was minding it's own business forgaging for food. My husband and I have both seen folks in cars swerve to kill a snake on the road even it they are killing a protected species like the blue indigo. Sorry just a little saddened by the cruelty of people.
Thoughts from inside the coop.....
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/eastern-coral-snake.html
another website with a picture that closely resembled the snake we seen.
http://www.zo.utexas.edu/research/txherps/snakes/micrurus.fulvius.html

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Shartey's child looks like














mylegacy-treasures ( 793)
Thank you! for your advice on LED flashlights!

Paul, Just wanted to let you know; I found an LED light with 115 lumen power at Wally World. Awesome tool! My boys and I candled our eggs last night. We were able to see the SPIDER (veins) of developing embryos. Now we won't have any exploding eggs from blood spots hopefully. And we found one of our guinea fowl hens will be a mommy. First time ever, we are overly excited. What can you expect from a farmer in training wheels?

Thank you so much!




I chose black and white photography because I could not get a clear view with color. Shartey (the hen) will be a mom by the 3rd of May.



Hope you enjoy your slice of heaven.


Thoughts from inside the coop....

Making juice into cider


My latest project to see how easy making my own cider, beer, wine and soda. I just poured a half gallon of apple (unsweetened) juice, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/8th teaspoon of actived wine yeast in a two liter clean soda bottles.

Make sure the sugar dissolves in the juice before adding the yeast. Then I placed a special venting cap; called EZ CAPS I purchased from secure-transactions see link to seller here:

http://myworld.ebay.com/secure-transactions/

Or place the item number 250401245143

Into the search on eBay to get more information. After, I find a can of malt then I can
try making beer for my husband. Or, I can make Honey Mead once I buy an economy jar at the grocery store. Either way, in seven to eight days this brew will be fermented with the help of the yeast and vented by the EZ Caps. Will keep you posted.

Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I made Buttah! Step back Kiss Ma-self


I just wanted to prove I could after reading a book recently purchased. I had seen my other mom, Betty do this during power outages; just did not know the exact steps involved or ingrediants.
That on the plate is
BUTTER;
unsalted
-- no chemicals, preservatives, or OILS.
Wooo hooo, from 16 ounces of heavy cream; I got more butter than I could fit into the jar on the left all the way to the rim. The jar on the right is the left over buttermilk in the making; around 9 ounces of liquid to which I added vinegar to make it clot more and sour for baking use later.
Simply take a clear jar; add cream then shake til butter is formed; about 10 minutes. Then just let the butter drain, it hardens quickly in the fridge. Healthy alternative to the JUNK we buy at the store. Plus it is an excellent project for your children.
Enjoy
Thoughts from inside the coop......

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homage to Romeo, RIP


Seems racoons have been busy again. Romeo is no where to be found. This little brahma, cochin banty; never cooped with the hens. Last night, he paid the ultimate price for wanting to sleep alone -- with his life.
I saw a pile of feathers this morning while driving Saenz to school; before I left the drive way. Let me tell you -- It's never good to see a pile of feathers. This little monster (yes, he thought he was the meanest rooster around) used to bow up and try to protect his hens. He was an excellent watch dog for predators over head and would alert the hens, Alpha Male, and Uno when: vultures, hawks, falcons, caracara, OWLS, and eagles were about.
After a few scraps, he and I developed a mutual bond of respect when I had to give him doctoring for various wounds from fights. As long as I would not make his flock squawk; there was little need whack him away in prep of mid-spur. He would just walk the other way when I was feeding, egg gathering or administering first aid to an injured pal.
ROMEO, May you find a flock all your own over the rainbow bridge. You deserve it with all the lives you saved. Where ever your spirit resides; I wish you all the green lettuce, veggies, tomato and bread treats you can consume. If this next batch of eggs hatch well; I hope some of the chicks carry some of your determination and grit.
Good-bye my friend, may you rest in peace.......

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Country Past Time: Chicken Fishing


This Easter Sunday to keep busy; Saenz invented a new game. He tied a piece of bread to fishing line and tries to get our free range hens interested while dragging the line back in.


Let's just say now the game is becoming one of their favorite past times; and they both are experimenting with different items on the end of their lines to see what the hens like better. LOL

Zephyr here is giving us a goofy grin before he tries his luck at reeling in a whopper bird. I love to watch the boys outside with their dad. There is nothing better than getting to see your children and husband bonding over a simple yet, educational past time. I just wonder what they will use to catch Mr. Salad Fingers & Mrs. Loosey's appetite! Better yet, I wonder what they will use to lure the goats....

Can you tell it is a windy day? My little men are growing up so fast and changing everyday. I just wanted to verbalize thanking our Creator for providing as well as my husband for working so hard to keep his family growing.

Much love

Thoughts from inside the coop.......

Friday, April 10, 2009

Snake rescue at sunset

Late yesterday afternoon, my husband was out watering our muscadine starters when he found this poor racer caught in deer netting we keep around our plants. Of course, both of us are animals lovers so, he called me out to help him untangle this four foot long snake.

She was so tangled; he started using scissors while I, with one hand full of a towel with new hatched, wet chicks held its tail. After a few minutes with my eyes adjusting; I took the chicks back inside to get a better pair of scissors, knife and plus get boots on

-- why am I always in slip on shoes when things like this happen? So back outside I go while he is still trying to free her. Zephyr is there with us too, in his boots but little else and I am worried she will strike from pain and fear at anything near her.

Back outside it registers in my brain she has or was in the process of a shed because her body was slick. Yep, I held her bare handed and her dry cooling body texture registered. What surprises me is; our guinea fowl did not find her there helpless. With two free hands, I asked my husband to pull her straight and started cutting her out and much to my dismay we free her but, she still had some netting wrapped around her body. While she is free outside; I guess we freed her so she may die with some dignity and freedom. I must say not once did she try to snap at one of us but just wanted to get away. Saenz managed to come out just as I snipped the last strand holding her body down and she took off.


What concerns me most about this experience is Zephyr. Because we were so calm trying to help get the snake out of the net; maybe he will think it is okay to get close to all snakes. I can see we will have our work cut out for us as parents since western diamondback rattlers are plentiful in our area.

Can you see the moon peeking through the clouds in front of it?


Hats off to my husband! You have made great strides with learning about animals and being a champion of care. Each day you surprise me with small acts of kindness (JUST NOT TOWARD OBAMA -- you two are both so stubborn ~;>) and hard work.

Chick count this morning is ten inside the brooder with another ten eggs with PIP holes in them. Our cats, Topsy & Turvy did extremely well with not knocking over the incubator. I don't believe they want to 'willingly' harm the hatchlings but, want to play with them. Either way, they have to be kept separated. I hope y'all are well in your slice of heaven!

Thoughts from inside the coop....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

First Easter Chick is born!


YEAH! If you are wondering, the dates are on the eggs so, I know the last good date plus a method to keep track of the 4 times I roll them each day. Though sometimes this can be off like 24 hours with exception of guinea eggs -- 3 days.

I love the connection with rebirth and eggs with the Easter season. Let us all go about and renew our hope, faith, love in human kind.

Thoughts from inside the coop.....





Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Help Wanted: Female Friend

Person doesn’t necessarily have to be a SAHM, but someone over the dating scene and bar life.

Will not need to be well read but at least know the alphabet of some written language.


She will have to have a sense of humor at life and self with a penchant for listening instead of hearing.


New hire will have to know the difference of ‘living with faith,’ instead of cramming religion down my maw.


She will have to know what “WORK” means and yes, it is a four letter word.

New hire must like: rusty butt boys, chickens, men folk, guineas, cats, goats, kids, pigs, reptiles, insects, getting hands dirty, trying new things, music, books, and laughing like a drunken hyena when needed.


Traits that will not be tolerated: slovenly, racist, bigot, hypocrite, impatient, humorless, or home wrecker.

Monies to be exchanged will be none but, the rewards will be immeasurable for this is an exchange of ideals, ideas, knowledge, know how, want to know how, willing to do how; all while having fun through mutual respect.

Interested? Inquire within…...

PS. We can make light of men having “the appendage,” and not being able to multi-task beyond beer in hand and remote.

Starting a commune? ROFL ~;>

My friend Jennifer in Mississippi has asked this question to me several times since, we are becoming more self reliant. I often tell her and my adopted mom, Shartey of my adventures of rearing animals, vegetables, and other homesteading rememdies. I just sit and wonder about other folks cutting back and making due with their own gardens and seed gathering?

There is so much to add about our family coming together in the afternoons and working outside. Heck the boys have so much fun; they don't realize they are 'WORKING.' Strange but in three years here is our progression:

1st year: 20 chicks, -- to layers -- fresh eggs (collected dung for drying, fertilizer in 3rd year)

2nd year: 70 chicks, -- to layers more fresh eggs, 2 kid goats, guinea keets (sold 200 dozen eggs, traded 3 flocks) small garden

3rd year: 70 chickens, 17 chicks (we hatched), 2 goats with their 2 kids, 2 pigs, 8 guineas, and gardening, making our own hygeine products, and reusing all plastic containers for planters and gardening.

So while our goals are simple; 1. be totaly debt free in five years. 2. Become non-reliant through research to live with less store bought items: PAPER TOWELS, JUICE BOXES, TIDE, a pay cable service and other options. 3. Teach our sons how to work the land and raise animals for food, fun and profit. (Note we have the mortgage left) 4. Be financially sound enough for my husband to retire early and spend more time at home.

My next major project is learning how to make: home made wines, cheeses, butter, beer, cider, soda, breads, lotions, soaps, salves, and such.............

It is amazing to look back and see our progression knowing financially we are learning to live well within our means.

For Jennifer and others: This morning I found an article on MSNBC online that cements I am not the only person who is doing basically the same thing.

Article found here:

"Fighting the recession, armed with seeds
Home gardening experiences a boom as families seek to cut food costs"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30017483/

Thoughts from inside the coop........

Monday, April 6, 2009

Loosey & Mr. Salad Fingers Meet

Mr. Salad Fingers sniffing her rump. (DOUBLE CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE)








Here is the beauty Mrs. Loosey! I think she is very pretty. Mr. Salad Fingers is a lucky hog.....

Yeppers she is now a family member from Vance. Any time you want to see your beloved pet, stop by. Much love for working so hard as a medic. I can tell you, I already think of Mrs. Loosey as family and she will be well taken care of. When she litters stop on by for your pick.


THANK YOU!









Surveying her tempory digs until we build a pig condo love nest.

Does this article bother anyone?

While it appears NORAD and the American military are saying North Korea's launch was not sucessful. I on the other hand feel worried because from failures comes greater learning; later followed by success.

FROM THE ARTICLE:

<<<"Expressing great satisfaction over the fact that scientists and technicians of the [North Korea] successfully launched the satellite with their own wisdom and technology, he (their president General Kim) highly appreciated their feats and extended thanks to them," according to KCNA.>>>

This country is not known for its human kindness nor self-sustainment. Here I wonder just exactly Japan is thinking because N. Korea is only what 600+ miles from their coast? Just exactly what is the payload or 'satellite'? Either way, I am still watching the situation because next will either be a request for help to feed their starving, more military moves, and further launches under the guise of bringing them up to date in technological areas.

JUST MY OPINION:

Thoughts from inside the coop......


http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/05/north.korea.rocket/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7984254.stm

Mr. Salad Fingers gets a sow!


Yesterday, Honey (JoJo's mom) came over so I could explain how to make laundry detergeant and septic treatment on the cheap. We also gave her 17 eggs for incubation for her to add to her flocks. She was excited to tell us, Mister Salad Fingers (200 lb boar) would be getting a mate today. Wooo Hoo! She is also going to bring us a mating pair of rabbits once she finds some for herself.


I love the barter system! No monies to exchange and everyone gets what they want.

There is a picture of Mr. Salad Fingers with a Fat Bottom Girl.
Thoughts from inside the coop....




Friday, April 3, 2009

"Sign of the Times," not an ode to Prince

In the second fiscal quarter of 2007, I told my husband I believed this country was in the beginning steps of a recession. I watched some more and decided to shut down my flea market booth and store on eBay with a concerted effort to learn how to save money.

As I watch world events, I am glad I made this call. Not only are we now cutting out all frivolous spending (eating out), impulse buys, and pricey vacations to hot spots like Virginia Beach; we are growing some of our own food. In a few months, I have learned how to cut corners without depriving my sons of their favorite beverages and foods--I just make them at home.

This month we will cull and clean our first batch of 'freezer birds' to help defray food costs with a second batch ready IN THE WINGS (pun intended) and a third set in our incubator. I have been stocking up on the basics and especially heirloom seeds. Which if you are looking for great deals, on eBay I recommend seller Grocoseeds a link to their store http://myworld.ebay.com/grocoseeds/. The other company is Baker www.rareseeds.com and neither jack up their shipping costs to you.

I will give you some money saving examples:

I make our own laundry soap for $3 for 180 wash loads instead of giving TIDE $47.

Our cats used to eating 2 cans of moist food a day each; are now splitting one and dine on dried cat food. A savings of $32 dollars a month

Juice boxes for our boys: $12 a week (with landfill issues) now a cost of frozen concentrate or tea for about $3 another savings of $30 a month.

No More Paper Towels, (hand towels just thrown in the wash) saves $26 a month.

I hang out clothes to dry. Each load on the line saves us, $1.50 in electricity or about $45 dollars a month.

No chips, yes you heard me. My family used to consume 3 to 5 bags of chips per week at a cost of: $15. Their choices now are fresh fruit or vegetables.

Riddex for your septic systems runs for about $6 a box. My home made recipe without fillers, is .65 cents.

-----

What really bothers me is when I read of people doing desperate things like killing family members instead of working together to find a solution to their financial woes. There is no shame to losing a job because your company is downsizing. There is no reason to kill children so they will not be a burden on others financially.

However, if this trend continues with rising violence I will be forced to consider how to become a full fledged homeschooler. I have started taking more upon myself with learning how to make items my family needs to survive without Wal Mart. I am college educated and would not teach my sons just Texas Proficiency requirements.

I am wondering though;;;; WHAT DO YOU SEE?


Thoughts from inside the coop............

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 Years Outside

Happy April's Fools day!

This is my third year of freedom in regards to rules, regulations from military service and barely contained verbal restraint. On this day three years ago, I was officially relieved of duty, entered retirement after 20 years and five days of active duty, Air Force service.

There are some things I truly miss about being in the military: professional business attitudes with dealing with anyone as a customer, expectations of those to give their best at all times, a common language and goals, a mission, education, travel, esprit de corps, and family of peers. I still believe in the Air Force’s core values: Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do,

On the other hand, since I am BRUTUALLY honest and lack tact; I had a problem with watching my tongue. Especially when I was trying to support a system I did not believe in regards to Mr. Bush's administration and complete divorce from leadership. In my estimation, he allowed others to make hard decisions with disregard to future outcomes and had the 'good ole boy system' deeply entrenched in his party. Here I am three years later saying; I am relieved in some ways to see him go back to Texas where his scope will be minimized. Yet, he is only one man; I often wonder if one ‘man’ can change the world?

What I do know, following under this man did demoralize myself and many other in the profession of arms. Until he took office a second time; I had no plans to retire even though I felt Mr. Rumsfeld destroyed much of the military’s morale. It was hard to maintain my intangible belief in a system that no longer cared for its CORE resource----PEOPLE. Do I still see this same type of common disregard?

The answer is YES.

Not only was there a disregard in PUBLIC OFFICE but in the military, public forums and communities such as this one. People are very adept at ignoring others unless there is a DRAMA going. As soon as the drama (usually spoon fed by the media or muckrakers) has slacked; people settle back down to ignore themselves, neighbors, communities, the country, and the world.

Upon this reflection, would I go back? No way.


I love my life here in our slice of heaven. I resolve to make small changes in the three men in my life.

Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Aries and March---Day Two