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.







Monday, January 31, 2011

You Know a Frigid Cold Front is Coming When?

It is flipping in the 80s, and bee scouts keep you from your winter garden or hanging clothes on the line.  Yeppers, Ladies and Gents each time I have went outside today.  I have been kamikazied by bees; they are taking sore advantage before the next artic front is supposed to move in tomorrow -- dropping temps to the 40s tomorrow and in the freezing range later in the week.

Can you believe South Texas, has a possible chance of snow?  I wanted to bring in the broccoli  for dinner to go with some cauliflower and left over grilled chicken.  Those little winged monsters keep chasing me in the house and away from THEIR FOOD. LOL

We have been busy this passed weekend.  Do you remember we bought hubby's new car the day after Christmas? Well seems the dealership held up the issuance of the state license plates because; we did not give them two titles (we only had one).  So, if you ever buy a car, and trade one in with an original Maryland title. (It was registered in Texas yearly since 2006.) Remember you will need two titles.

Who knew? I will say this; those folks wishing to buy from GILLMAN HONDA in Selma, Texas just a -- note their customer service is lacking nor are they proactive in completing their transactions.  This meant, we had to drive back to Selma, 1 1/2 hrs each way to sign a form.  I had to tell them which forms they needed and the website the forms are located. 



On the way home from there we stopped at Texas Pride Barbecue, which has been featured on Food Network's 'Drive-ins, Diners and Dives,' and had lunch.  I loved the antiques with all the enamel signs and items it reminded me of an episode of American Pickers.  However, none of us really liked the barbeque, the brisket was kinda greasy with a salty rub and the chicken was cooked dry.  We did eat all the beans and homemade mac n cheese though.  We watched Zephyr play at their play ground and then came home.
Cubby's new trim his poppa gave him.  

Cubby is hard at work.
Banjo supervising, He says, "HEY GIL you missed a spot!" 
Sunday, hubby pulled out the tiller to prep the first of our garden beds.  So far, we have a small area winter garden that our broccoli and cabbage have, it measures 10' by 15' and this will become our herb garden in a few weeks.  The bed he is tilling in the picture is 15' by 45' and will contain our primary vegetables that do no vine. Lesson learned from the first year, do not put in watermelons or squash near other beds; they take over and make the garden too snakey especially in this area. 
This is how I encourage fire ants to leave my garden beds or planters.  I make them mad and then pour corn meal on the angry mound.  They eat the corn meal and take it to their nests; after drinking water.  No more ants. Simple treatment which may have to be done a couple of times but, effective and green way of controlling fire ants. 

Off to enjoy the rest of this lovely sunny day with the boys outside.
Take care Ya'll

Friday, January 28, 2011

What We Have Been Doing?

Well I got to really thinking about survival, food prep and storage and just being prepared.  I like MD Creekmore's The Survivalist Blog and he does a post asking his followers what they have done to become better to take care of themselves in case the need arises. 

I got the idea to buy a book for each (same title) of our boys on a topic they both love to encourage more free time reading. Not only will they learn more information on the specifications on weapons but, I will have them write about their findings.  Though Zephyr will have to dictate his until he learns to write.
 Zephyr is taking the birds out of the brooder so, I can clean out the dirty bedding.


This week we got our 25 Ameruacana chicks in to replace the layers who have become lazy.  Once I teach myself how to slaughter the older hens; I will use a pressure cooker to make lots of items for our pantry.  I love reading Melissa's blog http://kidsandcanningjars.blogspot.com/ and will be using her blog as a reference. 

We also went to Mrs. Lily's house yesterday to have lunch with her and her mom, Ms. Gefford.  The boys love Mrs. Lilly to pieces -- she is the nicest lady ever.  Saenz was able to see one of his beloved cats we had to give to her; after we found out he was allergic to Topsy and Turvy.  What a tough year it was to not have our crazy cats but, both are outdoor moms now. 

 This morning, we went to Mrs. Lily's flea market booth to stock up on items I needed for our picnic basket and camping items.  Yeppers, Saenz even found a knife and it is safely put away from his little brothers nosy hands.









So we have been busy outside the house this week.  There is a front coming through that is supposed to drop the temperature and bring lots of rain to middle Texas.  Let me tell you; it has just been so flipping gorgeous outside once school work was finished completely on Wednesday off in Sheikh (the Volvo)for adventure and fun.  Homeschool is working really well for both boys. Saenz only has 37 more lessons to complete the fifth grade math and long way from where he was at third grade level just last May.  Zephyr even picks up on some of the drills Saenz and I practice. 

Our next major hurdle will be Zephyr and reading for Saenz will be a focus on world history, spelling, grammar.  Little does Saenz know that I have had him keep a daily journal as his language arts. Sssssssssh don't tell him okay?

Our next adventure will be in cooking and baking since, my books have come in with recipes in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Soups, One Pot Meals, and many more. Plus we will be have many attempts at baking breads, rolls, and flatbreads.  Wooo Hoo, I just love science and math that we are allowed to eat upon completion.  Oh yeah, can you believe both boys love sushi as much as I do?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That Is What I Am Here For

"That Is What I Am Here For"
January 26, 2011

Sometimes you ponder the why’s of what I do
Or ask “What exactly are you about?”
Well my hubby and sons I will tell you
What I am here for
I am here to comfort your wandering mind
To wipe away tears, kissed scrapped knees, and boo boos
To sit watch over you in your feverish sleep
To hold you when your dreams are bad
To encourage you when you want to try something new
Soften the blows from life when you fail
To hold your hand on your first or millionth step
To push you when you want to hide

I am here to make you smile because I am a tad loony
To be your memory in case you need to learn from history
I am here to make sure your home is clean and pantry full
Dishes are washed with dinner on the table

Yes, I had a life before I was blessed chosen to be a wife
But that was then, I've lived many lifetimes; 
I achieved my wildest dreams, fulfilled my destiny as soon as
As soon as I held you (my boys) in my arms;

 
To be here for you; that is what I am here for.

This poem is dedicated to Saenz and a conversation we had three nights ago.  He wanted to know if I was bored being a wife and mother; that perhaps I had not gotten the chance to live a fulfilled life.  It is funny how folks will think, women who choose to have children or be a wife; have no prior life or are unhappy.  I guess my place now doesn't seem as exciting to him as when I wore the Air Force uniform.  It is hard to explain to a mind that is slowly opening up to grasp the meaning of life; how small things are important. 

Yet, I am happier now than I have ever been in my life.  I am so truly blessed to have the responsibility and joy of being their mother and wife to their father.  To me being 'Mom' is just as scarey (exciting) as holding an M16 and standing guard at a entry control point. I never know what is going to happen nor the outcome from our shared experiences.  It is definitely much more thrilling to be on the roller coaster ride of the day to day with my menfolk. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ahhhh Normalcy

Finally, both boys seem to be on the mend from some kind of nasty virus.  We just kept passing it back and forth -- lucky for us; it seems to have gone away for now.  PHEW! I don't know about other parents but, when my boys are ill; I am not a happy camper.

Saturday, we sold a male hog and two bucks which is awesome since two of our nannies look about ready to pop.  I am worried about Ms. Aries' knees since she suffers with some kind of joint injury she was born with and I have been keeping a close eye to be there for her when she kids.

Let's see this passed weekend, we attended a birthday party at Mrs. Sobrina's for her one year old son and three year old daughter. She made the cutest cupcake birthday cakes I have seen -- with fondant icing.  I had a great time and met some nice ladies to boot.  We could not go to the homeschool family meeting on Friday since, Zephyr had a fever.  However, he will graduate kindergarten in May so YEAHHHHHHHHH!

Hubby went to the dentist yesterday, the boys and I tagged along because they were supposed to be seen.  Yet, their appointments were stacked and it took 2 hours for dad's exam.  We had to reschedule the boys; we have to be home for evening chores.  It is not easy to schedule appointments around farm chores in the morning and then evening plus; all the other things I have to do.  March they will been seen at the same time.  Sooooo Hooray!

Today, I placed an order for broad breasted turkeys only six to start for our freezer and 20 silkies.  The silkies will be the boys project to take care of and they will be required to take care of their own birds.

Hubby will be busy this weekend building a new coop for the turkeys and stilt coops for the silkies to be housed.  Later on in April, I will be ordering some Bourban Red turkeys for myself to raise and breed along with Cuckoo Marans. http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGK/Marans/BRKMarans.html

We have 25 Ameruacana, 2 day old chicks in our brooder.  I try to add a fresh round of chicks each year to keep our bloodlines strong.  Another thing I feel truly blessed is how helpful the boys are with the animals.  I enjoy watching them grow familiar with raising animals; and believe the process just makes them better human beings to have critters to love and enjoy.

It is hard for Zephyr not to pick the chicks up during the first week because; I don't allow the new babies to be handled much until they are two weeks old.  Our hens seem to be in the middle of molt and I find that a strange time of year for the process.  Again, I believe the weather just have the critters upset biologically.  It is hard on them to have freezing cold one and a couple days later be in the 80s. 

In a few weeks, I will be the mother of a teenaged boy. Saenz will be turning 13 on the 11th of Febuary.  I want hubby to take him camping with his older brothers --- like a rite of passage.   I am so blessed to have them both.  I am such a lucky mother to have two boys that want to be around me.  One day soon; they will find themselves wanting to start a family and will move away; I just hope not too far.

As the says going:

'Once a daughter; a daughter for life.
Once a son; only a son until he finds a wife.'

Tiz alright though as long as, I can share some of their future.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Friend Kat Is Back!

Wooo Hooo after a full month stateside, Ms. Kat is back on the island.  I am so happy to see you my Hawaiian Connnection. 

I love you my over the pond sistah!

Throws Confetti in the air,
Dances to Dion's The Wanderer.......

Click on this blog's title to take you over to Kat's blog.  She doesn't post often but when she does your hair will be blown back.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Been Surfing Over MD Creekmore's The Survivalist Blog

I have been blog surfing again by using the tag word ‘survivalist,’ and up pops this The Survivalist Blog; that I have found to be quite useful. At first I noticed all the sponsors on the right hand side of the blog but, don’t let this be off setting or make you click away. The ‘Emergency Seed Bank’ ad link offers information about the storage of seeds for future use, sweet deal. Then I got into the down and dirty of looking at MD Creekmore’s website and archives. His homestead is only two acres and he lives off the grid full time; can you believe that?


Now I know most of you are just scratching your heads wondering why I am looking at such information. Simple, I have two boys that absolutely love hunting, fishing, and being homeschooled. They loved the books in My Side of the Mountain trilogy so much; I went looking for a role model with similar skills as the main character found in those books. Basically I found a male similiar in character with the proper information and preparedness skills. MD Creekmore actually likes living in nature away from the bustle and din of modern living but, does so reasonably. So far this links has been my favorite:

http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/uncategorized/8-tips-optimize-time-prepping/
(I totally agree with using family time to accomplish more when prepping.)

http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/category/survival-gardening/
(many articles on gardening, food prep, and storage)

http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/survival-resources-2/
(every resource under the sun)

I fully understand living off the grid is not for everyone; especially those with mortgages and other numerous bills each month. However, learning how to grow food, hunt, and take care of oneself through say a lengthy power outage is crucial. Can you image say being in Los Angeles during a major earth quake or living well after a hurricane? MD Creekmore’s blog is a very worthy read, and does contain a little adult humor or language.


Click the title of this blog entry or the red letters to go to
The Survivalist Blog.

Enjoy,
Mal

Two Giveaways I am hoping to win. :O)

First is Texan's Goat Kid Coats.  I will probably wind up purchasing probably about a dozen of these adorable fleece coats she makes.  I believe the cut off for this giveaway is on the 31st of January.  So click on her name up there and it will take you to the giveaway instructions. She has many colors; I just love the egg plant purple but, I am not sure hubby will. LOL

The other giveaway is on Homestead RevivalAmy is promoting a new seller who just starting selling the soaps she makes for her own son who has eczema.  Since both my boys suffer from allergies and eczema; I will probably being trying this hand made soap.  Same directions just click the link to take you to the instructions.  Or you can click on the pictures I have posted to the right column on my blog. 

Now for this morning's news.  Zephyr woke up with a slight fever this morning.  I hope it breaks soon because I wanted to go to the home schoolers meeting this evening.  Unfortunately unless he is better; we will have to stay home.  For one thing, I do not believe in taking sick children to events.  Secondly, I can not see well enough to drive at night.  Third, I just could not stand the idea of passing on a virus to anyone with a compromised immune system. 

So, we will see how the day goes, go check out the two giveaways.  Who knows maybe you will get lucky?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crystal Garden, Broccoli Flowers, Banjo Super Dog!

Hour 5 we have a few more to go. 
 Hour 7, I can't wait any longer off to bed.
 YEAH! It was full grown this morning when we checked on them.  Thanks Mr. Larry you are the best.  We always have a great time using the items you send for our experiments.

These are really puffy, and can be reused just by adding water and putting the pieces back on the water soaked cardboard cut outs.  Mr. Larry has sent us a finger printing kit and we will use this later today or tomorrow.  The weather is so icky that I did not take the boys out.  I had wanted to take them to Story Time at the Three Rivers library but, both woke up with a cold.  That is the breaks when you go out in public; someone seems to always bring home some kind of crud. 

 Next, we will try Ms. Judy's experiment with sugar water in a dixie cup and string.  I am going to add some food coloring to watch sugar crystals grow.  I bet the boys will get a kick out of watching the crystals form on the string over a few days.
We left this one broccoli top to flower so the bees in the area can have something to pollinate.  We don't have to weed very much since, we use the leaves from the one tree in our front yard to keep the weeds from growing next to the cabbage and broccoli plants.  I have been sorting seeds to start for our early spring garden, I have picked out 20 vegetables to start with hopefully some tomatoes and peppers to boot.  Spring usually comes a month earlier here than in zone 7 so, next week will be a great time to start with seeds in dixie cups.
 MOM It is a little windy out here today.
WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?
I Can't See In This Wind.... 
STOP Pointing that camera at me.  THSSSSSSSSSSSPT!
Take this raspberry.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beeville Art Museum

Well the boys and I took off again for a local art museum.  I wish had lots of pictures to show you but, I was limited to taking pictures outside the museum -- no cameras allowed.  The house's (museum) inside architecture was pretty darn cool and I would wager the house was over 80 years old before conversion. So here is a picture of the boys outside with a few of the sculptures.  Zephyr got a kick out of the bull with the three people who appear to be throwing themselves over the horns much like the ancient Greek males did in arenas long ago. 
While this one looked like a flower stamen.
We had a tour, and I asked the boys lots of questions to hear their opinion of the artwork.  The art museum is very small less than 40 pieces of artwork were displayed a few each: oils, water colors, acrylics, photos, and scuptures.  However, the boys and I enjoyed ourselves and we learned about some local artists.  In few months, there will be an artist who will offer some classes in the use of water colors so, I have to keep a watch out for that.  I do believe taking the boys for lessons will prove to be a valuable because each of them are highly creative.

After the tour, I took them to the park just up the street to allow them to burn off steam since, being polite and well behaved is such hard work. :O)
 Okay can you see? There is actually a hole in this tree; thought it was kinda neat.



 At home, we started a crystal garden and tree from kits Mr. Larry sent to the boys.  This is not a project for small hands or those with lack patience.  LOL However, I managed to get them set up and will take pictures of the items as they progress.  The whole growing process takes about 10 hours.  This was our science / observation project of the day.  I will post photos tomorrow of the finished projects. 



Will see ya laters......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On The Road Again

"The life I love is learning and teaching our young men.
I just can't wait to get on the road again."

(Lyrics from Willie Nelson with some para phrasing, Sorry Willie.)

We are officially street legal with Sheikh.  Mr. Volvo was so happy too; he treated us to the park where we noticed the mesquite trees had some lovely green frond-like leaves.
I literally just tilted my chin up for this shot sitting on a bench. 




The boys were thrilled with our new found freedom. On our way home we took the long way to go to the refurbished Oakville town.  This is where I explained all the tools, old fashioned items, and how the United States used to be the leader in manufacturing goods like tools and cars. 

The boys were having fun running about asking me what the rusty old tools were and lucky for me; I actually knew.  We will go back and tour the Oakville jail house that is now a bed and breakfast.  They were in awe to learn that prisoners were actually hung for their crimes right out side their second story jail cell on the hanging tree.
 Did I ever tell ya'll that I love Heavy Metal?  This car is just stunning in my opinion.
The marker found at the bottom of this link is only ten feet away from this bumper.  How much time and effort the new owners have spent recapturing the beauty of these buildings.
 I absolutely adore this light fixture.  

Zephyr looks into the well here.  He learned how folks used to have to lower a bucket maybe a hundred feet into a well just to have water to drink.  I even explained to him about there not being any faucets to turn on; folks had to carry water to their homes.  
Saenz, Zephyr, and I discussed how tools for everyday use were usually made of metal, wood, or cloth.  I also told them about the Industrial Revolution and how Americans worked in factories and made almost everything for the country like: cars, tools, kitchen gadgets, machines, and just so many items.  How their great grand parents had to pick food from fields and kill their own animals for meat.  Then later, one of their grand mothers worked in a textile factory and made clothing for a large business to sale. 

I explained to the boys while plastic is a wonderful item and has made tools affordable and available to just about everyone.  There are still places where people have to live without the convienance of having electricity, heat, or water inside their homes. 

If you ever find yourself traveling on highway 37; take a detour off mile marker 65.  You will be happy that you did.  We had a beautiful day just learning about the history, culture, and the  world just right outside our door.  Tomorrow who knows where we will end up visiting but, I can't wait to show them a little bit of what I find fascinating.