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.







Saturday, May 30, 2009

Playing On The Couch

Baby Man and I playing on the couch! LOL Kinda cool! I love my little pirate.






Thursday, May 28, 2009

With this; I hope!

Muscadine grapes are really starting to take hold. Way cool because not only did it take me two years to find the vine starters but, I was told these would not take hold here.

I am concerned since hurricane season is upon us again. Last year, our native grape starters were killed from having 'wet feet' for 3 straight weeks from Ike and Gustav. Though we did not get hit directly, the 'run off' weather & rains did in those finnicky plants.

Maybe if, we are lucky in two years I can make wine, jams, and better yet dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves). YUM YUM give me some Cretan Sun fun.

Tastes Just Like Chicken


Turvy is making plans to attend the


CLUCKING EATS CULINARY SCHOOL


this fall..........

once she gets past the chicken wire!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ebay Friendship Memorial

For the last two years, I have spoken to Shartey and feel she is apart of my family to which I add -- I love her as a mother. My boys love her too; while I believe my hubby has a serious not so secret crush. LOL

Yes -- we are drawn to persons with like minds here for I also care and value NBNB for she is a great sounding board for ideas. True, occasionally we fight like cats tied over a clothes line but what the hay, I still love her no matter what.

One seller I found by chance, mikeanddave is an excellent source of information and sold a wonder incubator. Which I treasure his insight and knowledge; we have continued our chats via email.

Mixednut, you know I feel as if we are soul-sister separated only by BITS and BYTES of the cyber world. Rockonaudi, you too are special and have a wealth of knowledge. Maggie, all I want to say is STOP SHAVING UNSUSPECTING Haggis pouches. Bushells, you are a serious instigator and I can respect that! ROFL

ANNA, I will just say. I love your comments and seriously believe you are a lurker extraordinaire but I won't tell anyone about your "trouble maker" tendencies. LOL I crack myself up! Yes -- Ladies and Gentlemen it is the quiet ones who start the riots.

To those who I did not call specifically by name, this note does not mean I care for you any less. All this note means is I was interrupted by my family as I typed. While you all are real to me; there is nothing like a CHILD fight over who should be torturing the cats. (Poor Topsy and Turvy are now hiding from my sons.) Or a hubby bellowing about lost clothing or a tool. LMFAOH

So, this MEMORIAL DAY, while the focus deserves to be on those in uniform, civilians, contractors, family who fight the GOOD fight in military service to our great nation. I choose to honor those who have honored me with their friendship.........friendship never dies it just morphs into great ideals and love.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look what I made!

Thanks Ms. Lori, Audi, Genegenejr and Bee-healty!

12 Lip balms using:
containers purchased from eBay seller
for .26 cents each or $3.12

2 ounces olive oil $0.39


1 ounce of beeswax purchased from
1 ounce of shea butter given to me, approximate cost is .50 cents for 1 ounce of the butter with shipping.
1 dropper of tea tree and peppermint essential oil. Approximately .50 cents.
Total for all $4.75 or .40 cents each and no chemicals.
Cost at Wally World with tax $12.99
Time for this experiment was 10 minutes from measuring, mix, melt, and pour.
New hobby for the boys to make family handmade gifts!
Thoughts from inside the coop......

The Joy of having a Boy or Two


I used to think I wanted to have a little girl but, in the infinite wisdom of Life and Our Creator:
We as a family was given boys to raise. Which is wonderful because I am a RUSTY BUTT, In Your Face, Try It To See If It Works, Tom-Boy kind of girl. For the most part, little boys are not emotional creatures but, hands on with no fear of failure. True, enough failure will bring tears of frustration but usually within a few minutes both at back at the helm of experimentation. LOL much to my dismay of keeping a clean home.
From morning to night; Saenz and Zephyr are busy working (playing) and discovering the world for themselves. It is our job to keep them safe while just letting them find out 'truths' for themselves. And while I feel like the zoo-keeper with a big shovel following a herd of elephants most days, I would not change any of it.
How many mom's get to:
meet their toddlers imaginery friends,
be a trampoline, build forts,
shoot chickens with water guns,
listen to their latest weaponry descriptions,
make dinner (experiments) together,
talk about body functions with a randy sense of humor,
referee fights between worthy opponents,
explain why girls are different and icky,
go chicken fishing,
kiss boo boos, give hugs after mistakes,
watch their first crushes on girls and flirting attempts,
Each day, my "little men" are turning into men and I feel blessed.
Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Pet Pevee: Indecision

YES, one of my biggest pet pevees is indecision. While there are other areas of behavior that drives me to distraction like LYING AND STEALING both are huge 'sins' in my mind.

Indecision cripples not only the person who chooses not to make a decision but -- also the folks who depend on the decision maker. NOTHING can go forward until a person "BALLS UP" and moves on down the road.

Instead of sitting on one's hands and doing 'nothing' just take a leap of faith once in awhile. True, occassionally a person will fail; those are the odds of playing this game called, LIFE. But not to take a chance or change direction is just as crippling. No matter what -- folks will survive and if not, big freaking deal, start over.

Without change a spirit dies,
Without the thrill of a hard fought and well deserved victory: a warrior grows old,
Without faith in self and those who love you -- Death is sure to follow.

There is nothing sadder than to see or know a person who lives with regrets.......

Take a leap of faith; we (family and true friends) are here as a safety net in case things don't work out as hoped.

Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WHY is it a problem?

Three weeks ago, I asked Saenz's elementry school principal to loan us his fifth grade books so, I could give him a few lessons over the summer. The first five months of this school year was hell for Saenz.

He not only had to adjust to:

new teachers
new school buildings with new layouts, multi rooms
being away from his trusted environment & routines
4th grade students are allowed many freedoms primary students are not,
homework grew exponentially and
add Saenz was targeted by another child bullying him throughout the year.

My intentions for the books were to glance through them and then 'teach' Saenz with my own methods and not actually conduct SIT DOWN classes here at home.

Another point, for giggles I often quiz Saenz on his current fourth grade math. He still does not know his multiplication tables though he has taken the TEXAS TAKS. In fifth grade, the TAKS becomes a pass or fail for the sixth grade with math on the cusp of adding calculus. How on this Earth will Saenz cope with Algebra and Calculus if he can not mulitiply 6 X 6?

The principal is under the impression that Saenz will need to 'decompress' for the upcoming stresses of the 5th grade. Makes you wonder why students hate school doesn't it?

Think of this: 180 student days of that the first ten and last ten are for transitioning in and out of each grade.

180 - 20 days = 160 student days Xs 7 (hours) or 1120 hrs to learn

of that subtract 160 for lunch or 960 hrs to learn

of that subtract 160 for recess & transition into other rooms or 800 hrs to learn

of that subtract 32 hours for pep rallies or 768 hours to learn

of that subtract 60 hours for subject transition and paper work turn in or 702 hrs

ON AVERAGE are you counting? that is 3.9 hrs a day out of 7.5 hours devoted to learning. OR approximately 50% of each school day.

Now think of this, I have not added in any distractions from students, weather, announcements over the intercom, fund raisers -- this is just off the top of my head. Is it any wonder why our children are bored with the current set up of our school systems?

Thoughts from inside the coop......

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brother Love and Power Outage

Bunny ears behind Zephyr's head.

Sugar cane in the dark.










Sneaking some beef jerky.












Saenz pretending to be asleep to lure in Zephyr.












AND THE GAS IS BEING FIRED UP!













NEED I SAY MORE? ROFL At least he got some jerky.










From sugar cane to beef jerky, from passing gas and making bunny ears. How they passed the time during the 2 hour power outage during the thunderstorm whilst on the couch.


A lovely rainy day from inside the coop.......

What a rainstorm on the way looks like

THANK YOU, OUR CREATOR for your gift today!









































NOTE TO MISS LORI



I just wanted to thank you for, JENNIFER the egg breaking dinosaur. I have been taking good care of her. I change her water every day to keep her big and mighty mean. Mom lets us play in the tub and she eats with me.

Though, I still think my Burger King Mr. Spock toy tells mom to "BUY LUNCHABLES. I think she is not going to take his advice. Again much thanks for my new pet, she is my favorite girl friend.

Signed

Zephyr

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Really Pissed!

DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: Began in 1986



http://www.dontmesswithtexas.org/index.php



I used to hear this campaign all over the place, television, radio, bumper stickers. While the website is still around and a few events are announced or reported by media outlets. I am thoroughly disgusted by all the TRASH on Texas roads. I have written to Senators Cronyn and Hutchinson about the benefits of 'taxing' plastic shopping bags to raise revenue for child health care programs. Oh it is okay to tax smokers and drinkers but, to take on another blight of this magnitude would take some serious committment.



I have so far received no replies or even courtesy acknowledgement letters from either "HIGHLY environmental friendly politicians." SHOPPING BAGS are made from petroleum and while both say they want to lower TEXAS dependance on foreign oil; they ignore 'oil spills (bags)' littering the roads.



Think about the revenues from a .30 per bag tax. A simple bar code printed on the bag under a store logo would allow cashiers to ring up the SALES TAX. I am sure in less than a year EVERY financially savvy TEXAN would be very aware and motivated to bring in recycled, reusable bags instead of the 'throw out the window' bags littering the roads, parking lots, parks, rivers, lakes, pastures and landfills.



In the 2 months my family and I have used these bags, I would care to wager our TEXAS ROAD TAX would have been approximately:



.30 per 6 shopping bags at $1.80 per reusable bag used



multiplied by 12 reusable bags a week = 21.60



for two months would have raised for TEXAS = $172.80



Senators Cronyn & Hutchinson, that is $1,036.80 per four member household multipled by households all across TEXAS. So, I will let YA'LL do the math.



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

A special hatch


Thanks very much Lori for this beauty. Zephyr helped his baby hatch while the little dinosaur's buddy watched from the rim of the tub.
Also, Zephyr floated his non-blown water balloons in water to keep them fresh. LOL! YOU ROCK Sister!
Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IN A PIGS EYE


I spy with my little eye!
BREAKFAST!!!!!

So Bummed!



I really don't like waking up to a scene like this; Alpha was killed last night through the coop. His body is on a roost about 4 feet off the ground.

This morning's talk with Saenz over the loss of our beloved feathered bad arse was hard. Saenz said to me with tears in his eyes, "Mom, I don't want to love any more pets because it hurts so much when one gets killed."

I told Saenz I will missed being chased by Alpha too and perhaps this evening at dinner we can tell funny stories about how he tried to kil each of us over the course of his life here. I said to Saenz my shins will never be the same or the tennis racket will have nothing to do now without Alpha around. I also explained to my son,

How important to realize that loving someone or pets is just part of growing up. And we all must learn to love -- not based on pre-set conditions. Because without learning how to love someone or something based on whether or not they will die is selfish. Each time you love a person, animal, pet or neighbor; your ability to love others grows; as well as growing 'the muscle' to be loved or to feel loved in return.

I told Saenz, we could now make up the legend of ALPHA MALE for all our other roosters to live up to because ALPHA had some big spurs to fill.

Saenz was still disappointed but, I to truly believe he was helped by knowing how much I would also missed the little WHIRLWIND of feathers trying to kill me at least twice a week.

Alpha, You will be missed. May you find your coop mates Romeo, Henny Penny and Butterscotch in the great coop in heaven. For you had the soul of a warrior and the heart to match.

Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wash Them! Love this button

Wash your and your child's hands with soap and clean running water. Visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1 for more information.

Please pass along and use an alcohol based santizer often. Especially when out at say Wal-Mart or grocery stores. Pay attention to clean shopping basket handles, child seats, and door knobs. Use paper towels to turn off facets, flush toilets and open doors.

This has been a public service announcement.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weasel Nuts: Happy Mother's Day


What a beautiful and funny family I have.
Mothers' Day a commerical endeavor but, one I use to make sure I inventory my blessings as the MOM:

Laughter: My sons and hubby are the best source of smiles.

This day my hubby was lip syncing to A BOY NAMED SUE while strumming a really big base and he had me really giggling.

Saenz called my lip balm sent to me by a dear friend: MOLDY JUICE.

Zephyr called hazelnut creamer by WEASEL NUTS.

Forgiveness: When I slip and curse instead of popping my hand. Zephyr kisses me instead.

Saenz will patiently show me how to wipe out my video game UNEDUCATION by showing me how to JUMP/KICK kill over and over until I get the move right.

Hubby doesn't take personally when I get pizzy over something small; which causes me to rant.

LOVE: On the mornings we share, everyone waits for my slow descent from upstairs when my achy joints are screaming because of possible rain.



Touch:
Morning kisses, hugs and smiles with recants of last nights dreams still clinging to their bed hair.


Tradition:
This afternoon as a family we will sit down and share this day like all others as a family.


Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!!!!!

OMG I LOVE this commercial! No need for speakers just read. Excellent all around. Reminds me so much of my hubby when he is playing with Saenz and Zephyr. My sons and I are so blessed.


Doing the Green Thing

Well seems our fence garden is doing okay. Here is our first peppers and cucumber. The chickens are none the wiser; poor feathered locusts. ~:>


We picked some green tomatos yesterday, which I will add to a salsa to give it a perky bite. These tomatos are small like miniature pears so, no frying them as I grew up with in Alabama. I will be planting some Beefsteak from seed once I find a 5 gallon bucket because that monster will need a serious root space to grow properly.

One thing that did surprise me here was; no local craftsmen or women who really homestead. I asked the nursery staff in Three Rivers if they knew of anyone who sold beeswax. No luck again.

I understand TEXAS gets RED BABOON BUTT UGLY HAWT (102 yesterday at 4 p.m. on my back porch) however, what did pioneers do?

I am using almost exculsively hot water and vinegar to clean surfaces in my country kitchen. It does not take long for grime to build up; I am convinced vinegar is just as good or better than purchasing commerical items. I also do not have to worry about residue left behind and it is a great deodorizer.


Thoughts from inside the coop......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My new toy; take a peek

This thing looks like a flattened soup can but, it is an Brower incubator. Which is more sturdy than those styrofoam egg incubators offered at stores today for folks learning how to incubate their chickens eggs. I purchased this from the best customer service Ebay seller ever. He gave me detailed instructions to help me set up my first hatch.

See his eBay account here: (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
http://myworld.ebay.com/mikeandave318/


The problem with the styrofoam incubators are (check my April & March posts for pictures):


A. HARD TO CLEAN or sanitize after a hatch

B. Narrow head height for chicks;
can burn themselves on heating coils

C. Window vents (plastic) can be lifted off with a fingernail

D. Cats can and will open the top

E. Temp adjustment knob has not lock; thus small fingers can ruin an
entire batch of eggs without realizing it.

F. Hard to control humidity

G. PRONE TO LEAK on whatever surface they are on -- another
humidity issue

H. Losing it's effectiveness with each use

With all that said:

Styrofoam incubators are great for those wishing to hatch one or two sets of eggs; after that move on to a more professional setup.

Thanks again, MikeandDave ---- You ROCK!

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

Great Plains Rat Snake


DOUBLE CLICK to see up close:

Hubby found this snake caught in the deer netting that protects our front porch. This one was approximately 4 feet long and had apparently just fed. He thought he had a copperhead because it was snippy and hissing at him.


After I confirmed it was not poisonous (copperhead bands are more around the body and not blothes plus this snake was too big); I cut the deer netting to free the snake. One thing we need to get is long work gloves because again since I am not a professional snake handler. I do not want to hold a wild snake where it can bite my fore arms readily. Unfortunately I left deer netting wrapped around it's body because hubby wanted to kill it for snapping at him. Poor thing was way stressed out, I would have bitten the hand that protects me.

Next project, get the deer netting secured to bottom of the porch and not the crawl space. I then found the snake in our Mountain Laurel tree so, I snapped some pictures of its head to make sure of the species.





















Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No MAGIC PILL

I have been thinking about this a bit in the last two weeks. This line of thought was mostly brought on by the ‘swine flu’, sexting, and gun-carrying-to-school media coverage. Have we raised our children to expect a MAGIC PILL to take away all their personal responsibility? Have we taught them to rely on commercial products, technology, and fast food instead of learning self sufficiency?

I would have to say a resounding, YES.

Now if a child screws up a parent either SUES the school, caregiver or technology merchandiser. If there is a virus going around; we rush them to the hospital for a ‘swab’ instead of just giving them simple home remedies. I have taken it upon myself to not only find HOME CURES for a lot of OTC illnesses but have resolved to stay out of the BOX, CANNED or Microwave isles. Yes, this takes time to do but is much healthier and my sons and husband is not eating preservatives.

With this said, I want my sons to know how to: grow their own food, cook said food, and know from where their food comes if not raised on our land. I will teach my sons how to make simple but very cost effective (GREEN) cleaning products for their personal use, homes and gardens. Each week, I am severing the umbilical to Wally World with more finality; it is awesome to look in a well stocked pantry and realize; HEY! None of this stuff is harming the environment or my family.

Sometimes the OLD ways are better.

Thoughts from inside the coop…..stepping off the soapbox.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thanks for the gifts


My playdate sister from over the pond. You flipping rock!
Not only did she send me a book; 500 Recipes Home-Made Wines and Drinks by Marguerite Patten
Inside the package were some broad beans, a collection of garden veg seed but see left.
These really cool Purple Beans. I just want to know will I have to catch the goose who lays golden eggs, chop down the beanstalk, or smote the Giant with axe? DO TELL!
Here is a link to her store on eBay.
Smooches


Just a stressful time

This Sunday, I woke up early though I could have slept in ------- the house was quiet at six. So, I tip toed downstairs to make coffee, turn eggs in incubator number 2, check hatchlings in incubator number 1, and feed the ravenous Topsy and Turvy.

This is when I made a horrific discovery not only had one chick hatched during the night but it's abdominal cavity contents had leaked on the other eggs set to hatch. Normally, this would not be an issue but since the fluids had contaminated the other eggs with a cook in time of whatever virus affect the hatched chick would spread to the hatchlings; I knew we had to cull the rest of our incubator 1 eggs. What a waste – 30 possible chicks gone to include two guinea keats.


Then I go outside to water and feed the animals, Because, I really wanted my first cup of coffee but feed and water our animals before self; I am in a rush. All seemed well until I noticed a month old chick outside the ‘baby’ coop. THINKING TO MYSELF:


Just how did that chick get out???????

I go over and see one dead chick and discover we have at least 6 missing chicks. I then think to myself they must have been scared outside the coop; chickens can manage to get out of confined areas. I caught the one way ward chick and place her back with her sisters. There was on dead chick on the outside of the coop sans head.

Hubby later went outside when it was cooler and ‘secured’ the possible gaps.

Fast forward to this morning……

This morning not only is there more missing chicks inside the baby coop but, one dead, head missing chick inside the coop. I mean the corpse completely inside, no blood splatter inside and there was no torn or dug under spot. On the outside of their coop is another chick……….half in and out, partially eaten. Not only do I feel sick to my stomach but, I have Zephyr with me and I decided to shield him from the view. (MIND you there are another 5 missing chicks in this coop)


Then on the way into the house our stilt coop (hospital) with convalescing Delawares instead there are now two chicks but, there were three last night. Again, something had taken a chick and bit the toes of the other two.

Just what in the hell is getting our chickens??????????

Either way, it was a stressful weekend because I cannot help but, to feel responsible for all the carnage. I have walked around the entire property to see if I can find tracks.

Nothing this morning absolutely nothing

Wigged out inside the coop.....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

You know you are doing to much WHEN


You lose a chick within the house after taking said chick from the incubator to place it inside the brooder. Between cleaning kitchen, filling ice trays, answering a 1,000 questions from Zephyr, doing 6 loads of laundry, turning eggs, feeding & watering animals outside, changing linens upstairs and checking an aution for Saenz.
I LOST A CHICK
YEP, I thought I placed it in the brooder: pic above left.
So, I look for it in brooder: NOPE not there.
I look in the laundry room; NOT THERE.
I double check the trash can: NOT THERE.
I check the laundry basket: NOT THERE.
By now, I am just chalking it up to having WAY too much to do before hubby gets home. After walking upstairs; I hear a really loud distress PEEP and back downstairs I go........look inside the brooder.

Other chicks are okay -- then I catch a movement.
Seems the second hatchling of the day found its way inside the cement block where we place their water and feed. This little chick is so tiny it will fit inside the holes of a concrete cinder block -- and could not get out; I only saw it because of movement since it is the exact same color as the pine shavings used as bedding.
Apparently, I have not lost my dang mind.
ROFLMNCBOH
Thoughts from inside a WAY TOO Busy coop......

.08 Inch of Rain for all of April



It is official -- second dryest April on record for the Costal Bend; with each passing day, the hopes of rain down in this area are very bleak. Though there was a few sprinkles -- just enough to spot windows; there wasn't enough to dampen grass. And while I want to plant huge gardens; it seem really irresponsible due to other's livestock may need the ground water from wells to keep their animal's from dying.

Also, I did not take my boys to the Farmer's Market in Beeville this morning do to flu spread. I just do not feel it is prudent because Saenz is more apt to get ill based upon his medical history.

Pray for rain

Thoughts from inside the coop.....

Here we go again!

It has been a busy week. Seems I have a few early arrivals, these guys were slated to start hatching tomorrow but, nope Mother Nature decided last night.



I have been watching the 'swine flu' spread with much interest. Simply because I remember Ft. Detrick's announcement in Feburary about missing 'equine flu' vials and possiblity other scientifically engineered illnesses.



Remember the anthrax scare with envelope being tainted and sent to members of political offices. Just where did 'anthrax' originate?



What does bother me is; public (media and government documented sources) awareness may be at least 3 to 5 days behing the actual spread of this illness. I know I am not a doctor or scientist but common sense tells my -- mother instinct; this puts those with weakened immune systems at risk.

Another thing, with our modern technology and abilities; why is it taking three days to confirm a flu? With all the words being thrown around: SUSPECTED, PROBABLE, LIKELY or CONFIRMED; doesn't this just over kill information -- peeps start tuning out because of all the 'hype' instead of taking precautions?

While I am not in panic mode, I do wonder if this virus will lay dormant since it does mutate (and has) until our fall 'flu season.) In any event, I am vigilant and have hand santizer and if need be will only go to Wally World and HEB when there are less chance of being crowded.

I do salute Mexico's government for having BIG CAJONES, and taking extraordinary measures to PROCTECT it's citizens with a shut down of non-essential businesses.

Thoughts from inside the coop......