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.







Thursday, December 20, 2012

Look At This Beautiful Fish

Since finishing a refinance that allowed us to purchase a fishing cabin; we go there every chance we get up at Point Comfort. 

Look at this lovely black drum hubby pulled in and of course he let this lovely fish  go back in the water for our next trip.

I will post more updates when I find time.  I would like to wish all who pass here a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Going Fishing For REAL.......

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Look At My Handsome Boys (Men)


This passed quarter has been quite busy with both our both moving back into our home.  Junio (top) has found work in the oil and gas industry working for Lufkin.  Sid sporting really sharp pink shirt in support of breast cancer awareness is working for Arrowhead.  They are both clocking around 50 to 60 hours a week which is nice for a paycheck -- them being gainly employed leaves us missing them at home. If I hear one more person say that Texas is a great place to work; I think I will scream.

Yes, Texas has jobs for those whom wish to work in dangerous industries.  Texas has a plethora of low wage jobs that do not offer full time hours and of course no health benefits.  Both boys took minimum wages jobs until they were picked up in their new positions.  I am so proud of Sid and Junior for stepping up and learning new trades.  We just have to keep praying for their safety.

Can you believe it is only one more week until the national elections? I am so tired of the hype on the airwaves these last 6 (yes, I said SIX) years.  Personally I have a hard time believing anything thing put out by the media about how close the race is between Obama and Romney.  How in the hell does the GOP get people to vote against their own best interest?  Would someone try to explain it to me without getting nasty or rude.

I hope all of ya'll are safe and happy!
Stoking the homefires and lighting jack o'lanterns.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The 47% Who Are Really The 96%

We have all benefitted from government basically except for some children who's parents have not gotten them into the system yet.  Why is this a bad thing -- or perceived as a bad thing by the uber conservatives. 

Personally, I do not believe it is a bad thing to have Pell Grants to educate our masses. Those educated join the work force in a myriad of jobs to include the social net of helping others.  Tax credits to help parents ease the financial burden of raising children does just that: help parents to keep children in a safe secure environment in which they too will eventually join the work force. There are millions of veterans (myself included) who have taken advantage of veterans programs especially college tuition/grants. All these forms of 'government' hand ups just keep the economy moving and people working.  These 'hand outs' are not a form of social welfare Republicans are touting as a killer to our economy but, an investment in America's future.

What was/is killing our economy was living above our collective means as nation was running up credit card and buying into weak mortgage markets just to have the American dream.  Our economy is going to have to pay for the ridiculously high cost of health care and higher education.  Also sending our manufacturing jobs overseas to push corporate profits higher just because we wanted cheaper goods. (think Wal-Mart, steel jobs, car makers etc)

Finally, banker barons or wall street executives driving profits in the name 'stacked' investments and then payrolling the whole scheme through multiple layers of ponzi schemes.  Basically they were robbing Peter to pay Paul.    

Really the whole economic picture is a lot brighter or dimmer than one thinks.  It all is just a matter of prospective.  I am happy to leave you with this:
This is Sid, working his hind parts off in Eagle Pass (3 hours from home) building a casino hotel.  He is part of the 96% who is striving for a better life working 60 hours a week plus continuing his education at the same time. 
And,
I am proud of him!

////signed Momma Hen////

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Voting for Romney,

ONLY KIDDING

Yesterday, I listened to Romney's speech at a fund raising event held by Mark Leder.  I just wanted to slap the taste of arrogance right out of his self-serving mouth. Here is the link to the full transcript:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video

First, let me tell you being Mexican is no joke in America.  My husband has to work harder (actual labor) to support his family than I did serving my country. Our adult sons labor at jobs well below their intellect since, here in Texas we only have menial hand-to-mouth jobs to offer in our area or jobs out in the dangerous oil and gas field industry.  Our sons took jobs making $9 an hour when unemployment would have paid them more.  We are all living together under a single roof because $9 an hour does not support a single person let alone a family needing food, transportation, housing, and child care.  While this is a blessing to be together it also adds to sterotypical multi-generational close knit hispanic homes.

Hubby and I are going on 17 years of raising children in a society who feels it is okay to disparge immigrants because it makes the situation of racial bias comical.  Hell,,,,,, even my own mother has uttered horrible racists comments about the myth of 'lazy mexican' to me.  This 'only kidding' comment of his is maddening because he is basically saying President Obama was elected by minority voters because he is a black man.  What a load of bullshit. I am sure there were voters who did vote for him to CHANGE the tide of HOPELESSNESS for those living in the fringes of the 'eeking by' in this economy.

For another thing Romney the jackass does not acknowledge is even the poor pays taxes and usually up front in the form of: sales tax, federal withholding for social security & disability, gas tax, plus others forms of taxation I may have forgotten.  Hell even those paying rent are paying for school tax just it goes in a lump sum to property owners who in turn pay property tax.  No one but the wealthy can afford to ask for an extension to 'jury rig' our federal taxes or defer payment until another year. 

How is Mr. Romney any different by taking 'Capital Gains' as income than say the elderly who paid into the systems for 50 years and is living on less than 14K a year?  Seniors still pay taxes just like everyone else.  Those who are on disability usually have a pretty damned good reasons for getting the stipend to help meet their financial needs. For example, our 21 year old daughter who had a stroke on her 13th birthday and has had medical issues since.  Trust me, that $400 a month helps but does not meet all her needs under her mothers roof.

AM I TOO A VICTIM dependant on government 'handouts?'  Because I take a retirement check after serving my country for twenty years.  That is a bunch of bullshit to me as well.  While I am a staunch 'work for what you want and need' advocate.  I in good faith could never vote for the GOP this go around.

Voting for Romney
ONLY KIDDING
///signed///
pissed off Independent used to be Republican

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Some Silly Pictures

Mrs. Lily visited us this week.  We love her visits because it gives us an opportunity to sit and talk.  When she left she gave us some tickets to the Al Amin Shriner's circus in Beeville.  YEAH! We took Sarah and Zephyr who had never been to a circus and this is what we did in the bleachers before the start of the show.



Thank you Mrs. Lily!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Traditions, Closer Family

It is a blessing to have our sons back in our home.  Each night after having a family dinner we sit out back and watch the sun set for those who are not working a shift.  Nothing better than building tighter bonds and memories.  What is happening in the coop:

Each son has found work though temporary in the service industry, Diary Queen in Three Rivers for Junio and HEB for Sid in Beeville.  Sid is trying to find work as a 2 year plumber's apprentice but was picked up HEB as a cashier in the mean time.  Junio is a cook until the next real estate course begins.  Junio is a natural salesman.  Can't wait to see where their futures lay.

We have been in the middle of a refinance.  Let me tell you, jumping through hoops is not easily but, well worth knocking ten years of mortgage payments for hubby and I on our current home.  He is only three years from retirement from civil service; with this economy there are no guarantees his job will be here that long.  I fear after elections no matter who is elected this economy will tank again with a focus on military related jobs and civilian cut backs.  All signs are pointing to a massive round of BRAC (base realignment and closures). 

With all that nonsense nipping at our heels; we are cutting back and learning how to play instruments.  Sid and Junior will be teaching the kiddos how to play guitar.  I found a beginner's violin and guitars on eBay and will start using Youtube for lessons.  I am currently looking into curriculum on how to read music.  On the nights we don't sit out back due to bugs or scorpions; we sit and play or listen to each other.  Like I said; we are blessed to be a family.

Our other pass time is taking the kids fishing at state parks since we invested in a year's pass.  Nothing like being in the outdoors for a change of pace.  What is happening in your coops?  Anything interesting......

Take care,
Mal and extended family

Friday, August 24, 2012

New School Year and Other Jetsam

 We celebrated the start of our third year of home schooling by going to the movies to see Para Norman.  The kids loved the idea we go to movies as a field trip.  Here Sarah & Zephyr (3rd graders) are poised before another advertisement at the theater.  Don't you think Zeph is adorable in his 3D glasses?
(image gotten from Amazon website)
Our family has been investing in electronics this year to ease our dependence on cable television.  I am happy to report we are streaming our television through the net using the AppleTV.  Netflix is awesome as well as HULU.  No more cable bills or commercials; we are definitely getting off the tether of modern television.  One of the best investments we have made.

(image gotten from Amazon website)
The next item I chose was this 10" Coby Kyros tablet.  Let me tell you, I am enamored.  Now I can check my emails where ever I happened to be since, we have WIFI setup in our home.  So far, I have gotten Saenz a similiar version just smaller.  Next, Sarah and Zephyr will have their own to use for school and appointments out of the house.  These are definitely worth the price.  I would not suggest the smaller 7 inch version for those with poor eyesight.  There are keyboard covers that actually make typing a breeze.  Also, Amazon and other sites have free apps (games, music, ebooks, etc....) that are easy to load basically making the laptop & desktop obsolete.  These tablet devices are the certain 'Killer App' of the future.

Now on to so personal thoughts and musings.  We now have welcomed both grown sons back into our home.  The economy is tough; they looked for work for six months in San Antonio while on unemployment.  Even fast food jobs that were available did not afford them the ability to live on their own.  Rents and housing has doubled the last year or so due to the oil & gas boom.  It is nice though after dinner to sit out back and watch the sunset as a family.  Both boys are employed and are contributing to our household.  So while our home is now quite busy and noisey; we don't mind.

What are ya'lls thoughts on the economy? I still say this is no longer a recession but an actual fiscal depression begining with the down turn in 2007.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't Know About Ya'll

But I think this world has gone off its rocker. I just don't understand this society because I grew up in a world of folks worked their tails off with little time for play or wrong doing.

Here are some things that chap my arse:

1.  Romney doesn't have to release his tax returns because he doesn't have to by law. I will not however support a man that is not open and honest about his personal finances. Why you ask?  Simple, after 20 years of living under the rule of law that encouraged my financial responsibility at risk of jail time, loss of rank, loss of job, and loss of benefits.  I just can not support a man who would hide behind the guise of being a private citizen when he is trying to become the leader of the free world. 

2. Chic-a-Fila: Never liked their sandwiches to begin with but, I will not go to a staged sit in or protest kiss in because really we are missing the point.  The owner of that business does not support gay marriage.  That is fine and good; I do not support a business that denies everyone equal rights.  I spend my monies where I want.

Now, here is where I have another problem with this controversy.  I worked in a industry that denied rights to gay peoples for 20 years.  I am fully aware because of all those who served silently because I too kept secrets for the good of a few.  The gay and lesbians I worked with, it is their good deeds that lead to the military being an all inclusive workplace now.  However, the military will almost certainly still discriminate against other persons due to some idealogical or physical reason.  That is just the nature of being in the military.

3.  I fully support the right to own or carry a weapon legally.  I do not however, think we as a whole have the right to arm ourselves with weapons capable of killing and injuring dozens of people who are exercising their right to: worship, attend a rally or entertainment venue.  What the hell is wrong with our folks?  I know there are many arguments to be had on this subject.  I just feel that if our system of mental health care system was available for all citizen then; maybe we would not be having 8,000 people killed a year by gun violence.   I see how those in Syria are being slaughtered by their government.  How is this any different than the people who lose their live in the United States every day?

4.  Personal responsibility or the lack thereof:
This is what I see when dealing with folks today.  No one understands that -- the mistakes or judgements one makes in his/her 20s and beyond, will follow him/her forever. I keep telling our older sons; what you do now in your life will follow you everywhere.  It seems our society has forgotten this concept.  Personally, I am taking it upon myself to break this cycle and teach Saenz & Zephyr to do things right the first time, work hard, expect nothing for free, follow the rules, question authority respectfully and admit when they screw something up.

So what do ya'll think?
///Steps off Egg Crate///
Chicken Momma

PS.  It is nice to be back!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So We Went Fishing

Seems our life has been a little hectic around here with adding another child to our homeschool.  Who knew adding a child so close in age to Zephyr would upset the jealousy apple cart.  LOL Now I have two children following me from room to room but, I love it.  I am the Pied Piper and never feel alone. Sarah's dad came to get her for summer break down on the coast and I miss my second shadow.  I can't wait for her to come back on the 5th so we can start summer school.  

 
We took three day trip down to Corpus since, I had to see a knee specialist.  Yep! This chunky ole farmer has a torn meniscus.  JOY JOY JOY!  When I do something seems like I do it up big like injure myself! :O) I am guessing sometime after the MRI on Monday; I will be scheduled to get it repaired.  The thought of surgery doesn't thrill me as much as the idea of being able to move because I have been packing on the pounds after I fell in November.  I want to get back in shape something fierce. 



So I leave you with a few pics my hubby took of the boys enjoying their mini-vakay.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Love Being Here

By that declaration, I mean my station in life.  I am the 'regular stopping place' for my family members to fill their hearts or unload their baggage.  It is quiet an alarming thing to realize you are the fulcrum in other peoples' lives especially children. Today I realized not only am I a grand mother but, have settled into the role my own grandmother had in my life -- balance, security, and open arms.

Each day I am the one responsible for setting the tone of our family.  I really don't think I could have done this in my twenties. I was just too self-centered to give to my full attention to rearing an emotionally secure child or being a part of a successful marriage.

There is nothing better in life than to have a home life (station) that completely meets my once wandering soul's drive for adventure.  

On a separate note: this morning we had a visitor.  Do ya'll love finding critters at your homesteads?  I know Saenz and Zephyr are nature lovers; I hope they continue far into the future to love the natural world. 
 This little garter snake is simply gorged on a mouse.  Zephyr found it behind one of our gardens in our inner yard.  I could have actually reached out and picked it up.  But, since its belly was full; we left it alone.
Have a glorious week in your slices of heaven!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Welcome to Hoe Hen Inn: Sarah, Tex & Mex

Meet Sarah and Mex. 
Tex is on the left. 
 Tex is heavier than Roux by a pound or so.
At six weeks they are already bigger than our little diva Roux.

Grand daughter Sarah has joined our little homeschool; she is 8 and will be doing Sonlight curriculum with us.  Here she is with Zephyr on the back porch with puppies Tex and Mex.  The pups are Blue Tick Coon Hound and Labrador mix so, I am guessing they will weigh between 40 and 50 lbs when grown. 

Today I will be finding out if my bp meds are working.  Let me tell you, each time the doc changes or ups the dosage; I have to get used to it.  The first couple of days and I feel wiped out.  Plus I will be finding out if I need surgery on my knee.  Yep, I fell back in November; it has given me trouble since.  Fingers and Feathers crossed will ya.........?

So what will ya'll be doing for Easter?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Do You Remember...

When you first started reading?  This year's main focus has been learning to read for Zephyr. Mrs. Jana (fellow Texas homeschooler & blogger) told us about The Well Trained Mind . I agree with the author's suggested use of literature to teach Zephyr and Saenz. 

We have also used: Hooked on Phonics, Reading Eggs, Reading Rabbit, McGuffey's, migratory flocks of primers, and sight word flash cards. 

The lovely thing is one afternoon we got my WALKING DEAD: Compendium 1  delivered and Zephyr realized he could read the words.  Mind you! He did sound out an expletive but, I was just so happy he connected his past lessons into actual reading. PHEW! I feel like I have done my job as a teacher.

Now Zephyr is reading whatever, he gets his hands on and has the confidence to tell me (SSSSSSHHHH) it is his turn.  Plus now I have been looking for movies with subtitles in English to help his fluency.  So this year we will be ordering Sonlight Multi Core C (2nd grade) plus more readers for him at 3rd reading level. 

http://www.sonlight.com/homeschool-curriculum.html?type=grade&grade=2&tab=multisubject

So let me invite ya'll to do a happy dance.

We have a new reader in the chicken coop!
Happy Easter to All who pass here.
Mal

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Want to Apologize to Mr. Obama

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/racist-don-t-nig-anti-obama-bumper-sticker-162917634.html


I just ran across this story on Yahoo.  What the hell?  If this does prove to be an actual bumper sticker, I am so sorry.  I don't want to believe some Americans have no respect the highest office in our nation --  let alone a human being who does have our best interest in hand.  I am literally shaking as I type this blog post.  I really did not want to believe we still have this evil here; in the country who's uniform I proudly wore for twenty years.

President Obama,  I apologize on behalf of of these folks who would do such a thing.  I am just so very ashamed and will go dry my tears elsewhere. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Another Day

     This morning, my friend Mrs. Lily came over to take me into town for blood work.  (Remember I no longer have a car.)  We caught up on all the latests family news between us. 

Let me tell ya'll something.

     Have you taken a look around?  Spring is breathing life into us here.  While I did not stop to take pictures of the fields of wildflowers especially now with blue bonnets blooming in mass. The entire countryside here is now green with grass up to a foot high.
 
Meet Yolandra; she took the required vials of blood. 
Next Tuesday, I will find out if I am living or not.



     I am loving this new med for bipolar it is called Symbyax.  This has been the first time in my adult life that a medication has not made my brain feel like it was floating away from my body, made me jumpy, caused suicidal thoughts, or so hyper (just what a person with rapid cycling needs) I was climbing the walls.  I know it is supposed to take 2 weeks for one of these types of meds to build up and help the patient but, I noticed a difference after four days.  Especially now, I can sleep regular hours and feel like cleaning house.  

     Some folks with bipolar can not function well because of lack of sleep. No joke, I could go 4 days or more some times back in my 20s with sleep (I was single then). Those times were not bad if; I was doing something like crocheting a baby blanket which I would finish in a night or say read a book or two.  One of the best things I have learned and I will contribute it to my mom's form of discipline was/is how to compartmentalize emotions, thoughts, anger, anxiety, or energy -- and just do tasks.  This was how I functioned at work.

     I could be doing my work but, inside my head, I would literally being doing or thinking a dozen things not even aware my fingers were moving.  Bi-polar helped me acutally 'copy' Morse code, listen to music, read and talk to peers all at the same time.  I credit my bipolar with my uncanny recall because I remember most things or conversations and have a rigid sense of right and wrong.  What helped me most besides medication was working out, going dancing in clubs, and then later having children.  These things would draw me out of my head focus on my own selfish ideas, dreams, and inner conversations.

     If a person with bipolar can get out of their head and silence all the din and inner turmoil; he or she will find they can function. Any ways, that is just my opinion from personal experience.  I do not have a medical degree.

     I did want to pass on a website I have come to love because the writer is seriously fuuny about politics.
http://thepoliticalparent.com/

And thanks Mrs. Lily!  I enjoyed our visit and the ride into town.  I am off to hop around some blogs now.

Take care all who pass here.
Mal

Friday, March 9, 2012

Have Ya'll Noticed Spring Has Shown Up Early?

      Back in early Feb, we noticed our mesquite trees already budding along with some other of our fruit trees that made it through last year's drought.  I find it worrying how the seasons seem to be all messed up with climate change.  My heart goes out to all those who were harmed by such early tornados and then snow right after.  This leaves me wondering if this summer the United States will be plagued with hurricanes.  La Nina has been doing some really crazy things with our weather pattern.

What do ya'll think?

      I want to thank those of you who have inquired as to why my posts have been greatly reduced.  Seems, I have been in a bi-polar funk after my knee injury back in November.  I did not go see a doctor simply because after 20 years of being poked and prodded by doctors who were adept at treating symptoms.  I just did not want to waste my time listening to lectures or theories. I was just happy to be alive and able to stay with my boys. 

     Two weeks ago, I had to go to the emergency room because I was having muscle spasms so hard; I could not move or turn my head. Let me tell you, when spasms hurt worse than contractions, you have issues.  There the doctors found my blood pressure (BP) to be far too high at 240/120.  Even though I was in pain after a shot and flexeril, there was little reduction in my resting BP.  Basically, I could have 'stroked' out at any time.  The kind doctors there gave me meds, told me to rest, and make an appointment with my regular; which I did.

     This week's visit with Dr. Beasely was wonderful.  She actually listened to my concerns and complaints; asked tons of questions.  She told me I had a middle ear infection plus my BP was still too high at 180/110. The next thing she did was doubled my dose of BP meds, ordered a ten day dose of azithromycin, and put me a Symbyax which is a med for bi-polar disorder.  Let me tell you; this med has made a HUGE difference in my ability to function as a human being.  Just after four days on medications I am back to zooming around taking care of my menfolk and not over or under sleeping.

     This leaves me to wonder about all the other 'care-givers' out in the world.  How often do we put others first so much in our lives; we in effect forget to nuture ourselves? Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen.  Heart diease is the number one killer of people in the US.  Ya'll get your cholesterol and bp checked.  High blood pressure is a silent killer and gives little to no warning. 

For you homeschooling parents,

     Have you tried Reading Eggs grades K-3 or ages 4 through 7?  It has been such a sucess, the company is going to expand to other grade/age levels with ABC Reading Express. Also the site allows a trial offer of two weeks to try it free with no use of a credit card. Zephyr adores the online reading program.  He doesn't even realise he is working.  Homeschoolbuyerscoop is having a 25% off special for an annual subscription.  I will be writing more later about our choices this year in curriculum.
     So now,  will leave ya'll with a picture of Roux, going on 4 months at a hefty 5.8 lbs.  She is such a funny puppy, follows me everywhere, chases her own tail, loves to chew dirty socks (dog chewing gum?), and still falls asleep in the strangest of places.  As you can see, she is sleeping on my crossed legs, head down and body up. 

Take Care,
Mal

Saturday, February 25, 2012

4.3 LBS of Energy, February Update

Here is Sid talking to Roux.   She just loved to comb his chin hair every chance she could.  This month, Sid and Junior came down to spend Saenz's 14th birthday with us.  Both boys live in San Antonio and are financially struggling since neither have a job due to lay offs.   This economy is just not kind to 'blue collar' workers. 
Hubby was given a clean bill of health after a few tests.  Saenz, Zephyr, and I stayed outside in the parking lot when dad had to show up at 6:30 in the morning.  We had quiet the drive and could not believe how much traffic there is on the country roads now that the oil industry is DRILLING like crazy in South Texas.
We took the boys to lunch at Shorty's in Beeville after  their doctor's appointment.  Zephyr was impressed with all the animal displays there but, not so much with the quality of the food.  I have to say, I was disappointed as well and we are marking this one off our 'frequent list.'
Little Roux is growing up. This month, I tried giving her a bath in Dawn dishsoap to get rid of her fleas. Not only did it not work well but, she still smelled like a wet dog.
So I tried Listerine, and WAAAAA LAAAA! Success, those fleas just died on her pelt and then I washed her with Dawn --- no wet dawg smell.  No chemicals sprays or gels because she is just so tiny. We keep her indoors with us and until she reaches 6 lbs; I will not be allowing her around other dogs or to wander about in the yard alone. 
We put Banjo's old jacket on Roux to take a special picture for our friend Jennifer.  This week Jennifer had to put down her 15 year old Nimbi.  Nimbi was such a wonderful friend and diva that we are honoring her by dressing up.  May you find joy over the rainbow bridge Ms. Nimbi.  I am sure your sister Minki and humans Walt and Jennifer meet you there some day.

R.I.P.  Nimbi

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Little Boys & Puppies

These two go together like fries and ketchup doncha think?  Zephyr and Roux spend their days running from one end of the house to the other.  Roux is a mighty 3.5 lbs now, tackles toes which invade her territory, and barks at the ghosts in our home. (Well at least I don't see what she is looking at.)
She is still small enough to take naps in my desk drawer which, just cracks me up.
Now for our year in review; we no longer have goats or pigs.  What we did not sell or giveaway found their way into our deep freezer.  Yes, we eat goat ( to include only castrated or really young male kids).  It just was begining to cost more to keep them as pets than to be able to feed, breed, and sell the goats due to the constant hunt for quality hay, grasses, and supplement feed.  This was true of the pigs as well, no one wants to pay what it actually costs to raise a pig to maturity especially since we do not give our animals feed with antiboditics and other chemicals.  

We are still raising chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl.  With all the snakes about; keeping birds is the best way to warn of impending reptile visitors.  It never fails, if there are birds in your yard -- be it chickens or wild birds; they will let you know if there is a snake near.  All you have to do is watch the birds; if you see them swooping about one area in your yard, on a fence constantly moving and fussing then you have a snake near.  I have no idea other than the explanation of our dire drought as to why so many snakes in 2011 but, 2012 will be about the same with the La Nina weather pattern.  During spring to late summer, I was constantly finding a snake or two each week; luckily only a few were rattlesnakes.

Any gardening this year will be strictly container due to La Nina.  Our water well is all we have; we can not have a large garden.  Kinda sad but, just a country fact in deep, HAWTER THAN HADES Texas.

The boys and I are still homeschooling.  It was the best decision we ever made as a family.  We made the choice of working mostly from workbooks instead of buying from Sonlight this year.  The cost is the biggest factor but, also because Sonlight is a literature based program.  Saenz's dyslexia makes it tough for a reading based curriculum and I had to modify the lessons plans to better match his learning style.  Zephyr on the other hand is really taking to reading Dick and Jane books I found on eBay; I could not afford the originals but found reprints. 

It is funny, both our boys are learning mathematics at a faster pace. Since being at 3rd grade level in April 2010, Saenz is soaring with me into pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry.  Zephyr has been learning his times tables before learning to actually read as a first grader.  I make sure each of them understand the use of budgeting and definitely the power of couponing.  I think they learn math more quickly because I have a knack for numbers so I am a better teacher in mathematics.

This year has been economically tough on our older sons.  We sold Sid our farm truck for work since he needed it for his construction, plumbing job at Lackland AFB.  Junior on the other hand has just been having a tough decade with the break up of his marriage and becoming a single parent to Sarah.  His car basically died on him; with no way of getting to work without the kindess of others; we made the decision to give him my 31 year old Volvo.  I miss having a working vehicle but, that is what you do for family; you scarifice.

Lets see what else can I tell ya'll?  In November, we were surprised when my mom and dad, Jerry, (Stinky Toes) drove up our drive way towing my first vehicle, Bubba Junior behind them.  I bought Bubba a small Ford Ranger in 1995, can you believe it has less than 100K miles on it?  Well back in 2002, we were assigned to rotate overseas to Portugal; we dropped Bubba off at my mom's house and there Bubba sat.  It was quiet a shock to see my mom and dad; they only stayed long enough to see our home, drop off the truck, talk to the boys, and then said their goodbyes on their way back home in Alabama.  Again, that family scarifice; what a wonderful gift. Thanks Mom and Stinky Toes!

Now hubby, Saenz, and our other sons are working to get Little Bubba running again.  I think this is a wonderful way for Saenz to learn mechanics and eventually it will become his first vehicle.  LOL! Yes, I have a tendancy to hold on to things for a long time.  Heck, my livingroom television was purchased in 2000 and until it dies will continue to stay just where it is. Any way, that is basically it for our year; I haven't had the time to write as much as I had been. 

I miss all of ya'll and will be popping in to check on my cyber neighbors real soon!
Take care,
Mal

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meet Roux, She Came to Us on Friday

She is part Dashund and Chihuahua.  She weighs less than a full soda can and has just tiny little milk teeth which she uses on our ear lobes or finger tips.   Right now she is sleeping wrapped in an old towel in my desk drawer as I type.  LOL That won't last long but, I forgot how much work babies are to have in the house.  I need to nap when she naps eh?
 Babies can sleep any where?
On Saenz 
 In an Easter basket.
She sleeps every where and at a moments notice.  We have no idea how big she is going to be when full grown.  I don't think that matters; she is a full fledged family member now.

Hope ya'll are having a wonderful weekend.  Will be back for more farm updates coming soon since we have been downsizing quiet a bit.

Take care,
Mal

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Never Realized Just How Much

I would hurt.  Last year when Banjo was killed right in front of me; I was ached all the way down the core of my being.  He was basically my baby.  I had a premonition about going outside with him and just felt something awful was going to happen no amount of tears, screams, or calling him to me stopped the event.  It took me three days after he was killed to get any sleep, a full month to stop expecting him at the door but, I still look for him as soon as I step on the back porch.  I loved him as much as I miss Toad (a stray I raised from bottle while stationed in Greece).  Some pets just have a way of working their magic on your heart.

This morning our son called to tell us of a possible puppy in need of a home.  Of course, I jumped at the chance because I am ready to love another pet again.  I am chalking that need up to Banjo because, he brought much joy in our lives.  So say a little prayer that our family will soon be blessed with a fur baby.
She is six weeks old and very adorable.  We here are all crossing fingers and feathers in anticipation of this lovely little creature's arrival. 

Thanks Sid & Patricia, she will be well loved.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Okay, Have Ya'll Been Looking Taxes?

I know I have! I have been knee deep in reading on the IRS.gov and organizing our own reciepts.  No major changes so far this year (2011) though, I believe many changes will be implemented with killing some 'deductions' and 'credits' on individual family' tax bills in or after 2012.  Like the child tax credit will go away or be cut in half for those with children under 17.  I will let ya'll know if I find any major rehauls of the tax code as I discover them.

Who knows with the dragging of congressional feet in the attempts of getting President Obama kicked out of office.  It has been stated since he won the election in 2008 the WHOLE GOAL of Republicans was to make him a one term president. I find this incredible because our leaders were hired to work for their constituents.  Instead Republicans block all attempts Obama tries even if it was a Republican goal. 

Now this pisses in my cheerios because I have long voted for Republicans as a Libertarian minded person. I believe folks can stand on their own feet for the most part but, firmly support Social Security for those over 62.  I also believe in Medicaid for children, the aged, and those with disablities who can not work.  Sure there are those who need a hand up when losing a job  or some other event in the event of medical necessity but, it should not take 2 years to find a job.  I do not believe in permanent welfare for those 'choosing' to pump out children.  I also do not believe minimum wage is what the economy (the rest of us) should advocate tossing those on public assistance onto low paying jobs as a solution.

http://documentaryheaven.com/occupy-movie/
http://www.occupythemovie.net/

For my new friend Moonqueenfashions,  I have a book for you if interested.  It is called 'Nickel and Dimed,' by Barbara Ehrenreich just email me for details. 

I know of your displeasure of seeing folks whom you feel are gaming the system of entitlements or government hand outs. Personally, I too know of a couple of people who have used those gov programs to live without putting in a honest days work.  It chaps my arse too.  However, I have to let that angst go, press on, and teach my sons about the need to support themselves & plan for their future. 

For the 2 or 3 people who 'game' the system; I believe there are 100s who really want to work and do what is necessary to support themselves and family.  I also have a stinking suspicion that the deck is stacked to keep the general populace ignorant, quiet, out of touch with their leaders and too busy to notice the mayhem swirling over them.  Who has time in this busy world to question the non-sense spoon-fed by media outlets? 

Next point,

All I do know is, the squeaky wheel gets oiled first.  Those who are protesting in the Occupy movements have the right idea.  They are just demanding their government listen to them.  I do not agree with some of the ideals protestors espouse but, I do believe in their rights to assemble to get their voices heard without being violently peppered sprayed or deadly force used on unarmed citizens.  I have looked at my belief system and ideology; it is the soldier in me that will consistently defend those whom my inner voice says is weaker and needs support.

I am my brothers' keeper. 

This is what I teach my sons and will continue to do so.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

To Answer Moonqueenfashions

Hello Gentle Readers,


I am hoping all is well after the Christmas holiday season.  We have been busy here and are now just getting back into our homeschool groove.  So this morning, I came to check in on those who I follow during our vacation.  To find a commentator who asked questions.  This to me is a blessing because she allows me to further explain my rationale.  Thanks Moonqueenfashions for allowing me to opportunity to reach a more diverse audience.

"Okay, so I do agree with most of your post. I have two questions. 1) Do you consider people who spend aggregiously without consideration of what they are doing not at fault for their own poverty (i.e. people who run up massive credit card debt on non-essentials, buy a house way bigger than they need in an area they really can't afford, have to have a new car, won't buy used or generic anything, etc)? 2) Were you really complaining about making almost $40k with free housing, $300 a month for food and free medical care..PLUS a second income? Those benefits, based on what I pay for a house payment, utilities and health insurance (alone I might add), would equal almost $14,000 a year. That's a low estimate as I live very frugally, have a low house payment and only pay for one person for medical care (i.e. the benefits you are actually receiving for a family in that area may total to even more than $14k). Which brings your salary to nearly $60k or over. Some career teachers don't make that and they have to have one or two college degrees depending on the state. I have two college degrees and would never make that at my current job without becoming management or working here for 15 to 20 years. So yah, consider the less fortunate indeed. My parents fed, clothed, and housed two kids and themselves on less than $25k a year and we always had a car, tv etc. It's all in how much you are willing to live smart with what you have. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of unforutnate people, particularly people who become poor through forced unemployment or long-term illness, but there are a lot more that think they deserve to live outside of their means. Just because people on the tube have fur and diamonds, drive fancy cars, etc doesn't mean we are suffering if we don't have that life. At some point people forgot about the basics of getting by and started worrying about keeping up with the Jones. by Moonqueenfashions."


Moonqueenfashions,


1. No Ma'am, I do believe in personally responsibility especially fiscal. I do know from the experience of buying our first home at the ripe age of 39, the process is set up to confuse / bind people who are not ‘educated’ properly in personal finance, budgeting, and legal terminology to fail on their mortgages. For example; when my husband and I set out to buy this house our own lenders told us we could afford a house over 300k or calculate the mortgage payment to equal roughly 35% of our current income -- this made my head spin.

This is just not feasible because there are many factors our lenders did not figure in: we were moving, I was retiring, Hubby was not going to be employed, the lack of jobs in our immediate area we had purchased in, the upkeep of a home, the repairs needed to be done in the home, the repairs needed on the property of our home, and transportation to work when we found a job.

See, this is where lenders do not properly counsel first time buyers; a mortgage should not be anymore than 20-25% of a families' income because of factors such as I mentioned. We bought our home as a foreclosure that had been on the market empty for five years.  Fortunately, I told the lenders to calculate our net income to less than third of what we were earning back in 2005 to get a more accurate picture of our financial ability to meet our obligations.  Also, I knew if all came to worse my retirement check would at least cover the mortgage, insurances, car payment, credit card bill (at the time), and electricity as our basics.  Plus I know how to shop, plan, and use coupons effectively for food. 

2. Secondly, I was not complaining about my salary; I was merely stating numbers. What folks do not realize is at the time, our daughter had suffered a stroke on her 13th birthday and we had accumulated some debt not covered by the military health system. We had to float some debts on a credit just to get through the process of moving her from a remote hospital from Portugal to Germany and then to Washington DC. Then we also had to cover expenses not paid by the military to move our family on such short notice. We were able to emergency housing on base because of our daughter’s medical needs and hubby found a job luckily six months after we relocated.

I am forever grateful to the US Air Force and the medical personnel because without them; she would have died. We were lucky to only be 15K give or take in debt by the time she was able to get stable enough to be in physical, educational rehab, and back to semi-normal. There would have been no way she would have survived in the civilian sector with our limited income because her medical care would have cost us millions with repeated surgeries, air ambulance, rehab, and like.


3. All I am saying is; folks are desperate out there. There are people who spend unwisely or on foolish things. Those folks will always exist because they were not taught better or frankly they don’t give a shit. The world is a different place than when your parents brought your family up and the opportunities are much different for the working poor – middle class. For example, student loans will be the next bubble to hurt the US economy and I am expecting this burst to come in 2012 or 13 just like the housing dive back in 2008 to now. There is no way students will do as well as their families’ did because of accrued debt from student loans. There was a time when education was affordable or nearly free and those days are almost over. Without a degree, job experience, and lots of luck many of those students will be paying on those loans until their death. Student loans are the one area that will follow a person to the grave with accrued interest just rolling over and over.


4. I came from the back ground of a single parent struggling to make ends meet in south California and she worked two jobs. I later helped her by turning over my own paycheck when I turned 15 -- yep I started early.  There were many times we had nearly bare cupboards. I am one of the fortunate ones who had a mother drill into me about not spending what you don’t have. Yet, she got into financial disarray over my sister’s medical bills by the time I left to be on my own. Because I had seen her worry; I made it a point to learn about budgeting once I joined the Air Force.

I currently do not own any diamonds or furs (it is way too hot for them here) but, I have multiple degrees which do not matter. Why do the degrees not matter? Simple, there are no jobs around here for 100 miles that pay more than $10 an hour and we have decided to use my talents to home school our sons. So, that is a win – win situation and outcome in my book.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions. Mal

So how are ya'lls slices of heaven?