Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goodness Snakes!

This was on our back porch this morning:
It was a baby rattlesnake. (The way I cropped the picture sort of makes it look larger than it was.)
I heard the dog yelp and went to see what it was. They cat was smelling the snake. Robby got a shovel and took care of it. The poor cat didn't have a clue what it was and kept trying to play with it after Robby cut off the head. I should have laid it over the fence belly up; that is supposed to bring rain.
Thankfully we saw it before all the kids were here to play today. The little ones are what scare me, you sometimes don't hear them. Some people say their venom is more concentrated and therefore worse if you get bitten. I hope we don't find out. We're on high alert today, there's a mama to that baby around here somewhere.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Our small town has an incredible Memorial Day service each year. We gather in the cemetery around the area where the flag pole, our historical marker and the angel sculpture are.

The angel was carved from the trunk of a tree that had died.

Our cub scout troop raises the flag. Ministers or representatives from each church give an address (they rotate from year to year whose turn it is) and offer prayers. Members of our 4-H clubs present a program, and most importantly, our veterans are recognized.

Sadie presented the Navy flag as part of the program.

It is a time when our community comes together to honor those who have sacrificed and gone before us. It's a time of reunion and homecoming. It's a time when we visit family members' graves and show our kids who is buried where. It's a time when we tell stories and remember all of those who have been part of our lives.

T.S. helped mom put out flowers this year. He was quite pleased with himself. Sadie used to talk mom and Nonnie into letting her take the "old" flowers home. She wanted to help, but she needed to find out what her role in the program was.

This year there was a good turnout. Our population of World War II veterans is slowly declining. It was neat to see multiple generations of families sharing in tradition that makes our town unique.

My sister wrote a beautiful post here; she pretty much said all I wanted to say.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What I did today (so far)...

Today has been a fun day for me. Robby and the kids went to play golf, so I have gotten to do the following:
  1. Visit Nonnie (my grandmother) uninterrupted and even share lunch.
  2. Transplant my tomato (20), broccoli (4) and jalapeno pepper(4) plants.
  3. Search for and find a sprinkler that works and start the water on some dry spots in the yard.
  4. Work on Bible school stuff.
  5. Put the cages on the tomato plants (note to self: 20 cages=40 posts to hammer in; maybe make sure Robby is around for that next year)

I enjoyed my time in the garden--listening to birds, a Bob White quail, and thunder in the distance. The day is still young and there is still much to do. I believe I'll go sit on the porch, watch the sprinkler and listen to the thunder.

Everything else can wait.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The View from the Kitchen Sink

I was standing at the sink yesterday looking out the window. I realized how much I love glancing out that window to see what is happening outside.

I can see the garden. Right now the potato plants are really growing, we're still waiting for the newly sprouted seeds to take off. Soon, I'll look at the garden and want to be out in it as other chores keep me in the house.

I can see the kids on the trampoline. Often, I can watch them without them even knowing I am there. Last night, they were playing "Tramp Ball." Robby chips soft golf balls towards the kids as they are jumping on the trampoline. The kids' goal is to catch the ball. There were smiles and giggles all around.

Petunia, the dog, sometimes realizes I'm at the window. She will stand outside looking up and in at me--silent conversations that unfortunately may be ending sooner than we'd like.

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to glance out when our covey of quail is on the move. Last summer they had a very predictable schedule.

Out the window, I can see cats sunning and playing, chickens scratching and plants and kids growing. The window seems to frame all of these happenings and make them into photographs in my mind.

What's your favorite view?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Things to Do

The end of the school year is approaching, and with each passing day, the to-do list seems to get a little longer: 4 sets of firefly wings for 3rd grade musical, VBS supplies, summer Sunday school curriculum, plant tomatoes in garden, hoe the garden, mow the yard, flower beds, attempt to schedule time to visit family over the summer....the list keeps growing and growing.

So am I stressed or panicked? No. Rather than be overwhelmed, I've decided to tackle this one item at a time. Each task, when looked at individually, is really quite simple. We'll just keep plowing away, one thing at a time, until the list is completed.

Unfortunately, I've found out that a mother's list is never completed. Items just keep getting added to it.
Anyone want to come fold and put away laundry???

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where Have We Been??

I just realized I had not posted all week. Usually I have so much to say. It's not that I don't have much to say, it's just that I seem to have lots to do. This week has been a busy one at our house:
dance pictures and rehearsal Monday, UIL contest Wednesday, dress rehearsal Friday, and life in general on the rest of the days. It seems that this time of year is always busy. As a mom, I sometimes think we are over doing with all the activities. But, we all seem to be making it okay, and it gives me an excuse for the state of my house.

Today was a day of rest--literally. It was very chilly and rainy today, so the plan to go see the 4,000 year old horse bones at Lake Mackenzie was put on hold, again. Robby and I watched TV in our room most of the morning, then I slept most of the afternoon. What were the kids doing? Cooking, art projects, movies and getting along (I think I should try the sleeping all day more, they don't get along when I am awake. They also seem to be much more self-sufficient without me).

Do I feel guilty for doing nothing all day? Yes Not really.

Should I???

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Yesterday, mom treated us to supper at El Camino. When we returned back to Nonnie's room at the nursing home, we took this picture:
The picture isn't fantastic, but the quality of the picture isn't as important as who's in the picture. There are four generations in this picture. Growing up, I knew two of my great-grandmothers. I spent time with them and have vivid memories of time spent with them. I've been blessed to know both my grandmothers and make many memories with them.
Sadie had the opportunity to know my Grandma Gracie for a little while. She was very young when Grandma passed away, but she vaguely remembers her. Unfortunately, Parkinson's had set in and Sadie didn't get to know Grandma like we did. My children have been very blessed to know both their grandmothers and even more blessed to spend time with their great-grandmother, Nonnie. Sadie can still remember helping her make biscuits. T.S. and Sadie both enjoy going to visit Nonnie at the nursing home. They are making memories there now.
Sadie and T.S. love spending time with my mom, their GeGe. They are always ready to help her with farming. They know exactly where the popsicles and microwave popcorn are at her house.
I just wanted to capture four generations of our family together, I'm sure Sadie will someday understand what an incredible thing that was/is.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Look what came in our house last night...

Every time I think I need to remove the large wooden door between the kitchen and dining room (we rarely close it and it takes up space) something like this happens:

Robby stepped outside last night to see what Petunia was barking at, I looked up to see this lovely mud swallow perched on the curtain rod. By the time I got my camera, it perched on the picture--for those of you who recognize the frame, rest assured, the picture was not harmed. Anyway, it took Robby quite a while to take care of the situation. AsI stood holding the front door open, I tried not to laugh.

Mud swallows have been the bane of my grandmother's existence for as long as I can remember. Now that we live in her house, I am a little more understanding. They like to build their nests in the most inconvenient places. And, they make a huge mess under them. The awning at our back door still has measuring spoons and remnants of plastic bags hanging from it--all attempts by my grandmother to ward off the birds.

I remember once when one got in, it wouldn't go out--you'd have to know my Nonnie to appreciate the site of her chasing it around the kitchen with a broom. Needless to say, that swallow didn't make it out alive.

I looked up some information about mud swallows, supposedly they eat thousands of insects, most notably, mosquitoes a day. Based on my mosquito bites, I'd say these guys around our house aren't doing the job. I also found this interesting site that offers animal and bird control. For a small fee they'll come to your house to help with anything from rats to alligators and birds to coyotes. They'll even give you help over the phone for a nominal fee--maybe that should be my next job: professional animal control.

I guess for now we'll just keep the door between the kitchen and dining room.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stay-at-Home Mom, P.I.

Today I had a mission: to find where the chickens were laying their eggs. We'd been having a low egg count lately so I knew they were hiding them somewhere. I waited until later than usual to let the chickens out of the pen for their daily outing. Two of the Rhode Island Reds immediately took off towards the pens. I followed them, but couldn't find a nest.

The dew was so heavy that the chickens and I left footprints in the wet weeds.

I finally found the nest in a pile of tumble weeds. The hen was sitting on 6 eggs. Since I didn't know how old they were--either 3 or 6 days, depending on if both chickens had been laying, I had to get rid of them.

I went back out later to check the nest in the pens. To my surprise, the Reds had come back to their house to lay. I did get the chance to stalk Wild Momma Cat this time. She is the mother to the three cats we bottle fed. I knew she had babies, but hadn't been able to track her. When I went outside, she was eating the cat food. (One drawback to bottle-feeding cats, if you don't teach them to hunt, they are dependent on you.) I was able to follow her to the old chicken house--now a storage room for lots of junk--that is on the back end of the shop. I looked in the window and saw three kittens. At the time, I thought I only saw two, but much to my surprise, the first picture I took caught a second kitten in the lower right corner.

I'm not brave enough to go in and investigate further--there is a good story about my sister and looking for cats in there that I'll have to share sometime.
T.S. can't get over how much they look like our cats. I've tried to explain that they all have the same mother, but he doesn't seem to get it.
Who knew that a morning of chicken stalking could turn into so much fun discovery?

Picture of our Day--Today

I didn't mean to have multiple posts today, but sometimes more things happen in one day than others. We woke up to heavy fog and dew today. It is incredibly wet--you'll see more of that in my post later on stalking chickens. Anyway, when I was stalking the chickens I took the above picture of "wildflowers." I want to point out that I used no photoshop--it's straight out of my point and shoot camera.

Picture(s) of our Day--Yesterday

Run, Bob run! there is a giant trying to get in!

These need captions (I tried on the first one, but it is too early for my brain to work). Feel free to leave one in the comments.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Despite the scare of contracting H1N1 (formerly known as swine flu), Robby and I travelled to the big city today to see a touring production of CATS. I had seen it in Spanish in Mexico City and didn't want to pass up the chance to see it in English in Amarillo. It was a fun afternoon--lunch, a theatrical production and a little shopping with your husband all made for a pretty good day. I've had more culture in a week than a usually get in a year. My reading list is growing longer I've added T.S. Eliott to the list with Maya Angelou.


Every year I make the kids' birthday cakes. We've had everything from a star to Lightning McQueen and a golf course to Dora the Explorer. This year T.S. wanted an "army cake."

So, I tried my hand at "sculpting" a cake. Here's what we ended up with--T.S. was thrilled with the end results.

The pictures aren't great--my camera doesn't seem to be taking very good ones, and I haven't gotten used to the one my sweet sister is letting me borrow.