Do you ever come up with names for you neighbors? – The ones, in this day and age, you never (or rarely) meet? I do. Dan gets amused whenever I refer to a particular property by my personal name for each one of them.
When we first bought this house, the man across the road immediately got a name in my mind. He is “The Farmer” to me. The man has a bull, cow, mule, dog and some chickens. The dog is the livestock's constant companion. I think there are baby chicks as there were little moving black specks among the flock. Let me tell you, the hens and the rooster are HUGE! Anyway, the cow gave birth last year and I believe he sold it sometime within the last month. I am assuming the cow is pregnant again and will give birth again sometime this fall. The name “The Rancher” would be more appropriate considering he does not farm (garden). But, “The Farmer” is stuck in my brain.
The next neighbor to get a name is a man who introduced himself to us one day while we were doing yard work. He lives next door. He is actually the assistant pastor or a youth minister of a local church. So, it is “The Preacher” for me.
The next neighbor to get a name is the one straight across the road from us. He is “The Welder”. He does welding work from time to time and you can see sparks flying. Once in a while, I am fortunate to hear the ringing of metal from being pounded with a hammer.
Then you have “The Gardeners”. When I first saw one of them, he had the biggest red tractor and was giving rides out back on his land to one of his grandkids. They also have a huge greenhouse on the land. We met them one weekend and I actually think it is the lady that is the gardener and the man just supports her efforts. They have lived in this area for years, were schoolteachers, are childhood sweethearts and significantly older than us. Even though I now know their names, “The Gardeners” is stuck in my mind. Not only do they own a business selling plants, they also have free range chickens (allowed to roam all over the property) and goats. Their goats gave birth to a total of 17 kids (so far) this spring. Eeeps!
The last person to get a name from me is the neighbors who live on the other side of us. “The Clothesman”. Seriously. But, the dude living there apparently likes to hang his clothes on a clothesline. It also appears that he does his own laundry as I never see the lady’s or the kids’ clothes hanging on the line. So, it is “The Clotheman” for me. Ha! We have not personally met them; but, they do seem to be nice folks.
Do not get me wrong. I am just naturally observant. I think it is just part of being deaf. If there were anything to be out of place, then I would know something is majorly wrong. Also, I am naturally interested in the livestock and the gardening going on around me. I am learning all I can before actually diving into the care of livestock and gardening. It is obvious that no one gardens around here and I now know why. It is hard work fighting against critters. Plus, it is much easier to hop in a vehicle and go down the road to HEB (10 to 15 minute drive) for all your vegetables, fruits and herbs. However, I have to say that there is something satisfying about growing a garden even if you never harvest anything. At least, I am trying and am determined to keep on trying until I succeed.
So, there you have it. You have just learned something new about me. Yes, I know I am weird. Ha!
Has it really been a month since I last posted? I thank all of you readers for hanging in there with me. I am not sure what I will do in this blog in the future. There may be changes due to the fact that I just do not have the time or the inclination to blog these days especially since it is now summertime.
- Weather and Gardening:
The weather has been fabulous here. It has been a very unusual spring. It is usually blazing hot by this time of the year. But, most days, it has been cool. It is even cool this morning; although it will get into the high 80s (F). But, reports indicate a cool front is coming through and temperatures will be low once again. A high of 77 (F) is indicated for Saturday – extremely odd for where we are living.
I am thankful for the cooler weather I mentioned because it is giving the major plants we planted over a month ago a chance to establish itself before the blazing summer heat strikes. I have mentioned before that we have two apple trees and a lemon tree. All of them are doing well. I also have a blackberry bush that I planted and to be honest, I am surprised it is doing well. It even produced a few measly blackberries!
As for my garden, it is not doing well. We are fighting critters (most likely gophers) eating our fragile plants. We will build several screens to protect future plantings. I am determined to try again in the fall in spite of my disappointment with the spring gardening.
I do believe that laying down hardware cloth in the ground has worked. The critters cannot come from below the ground. However, they are coming from above ground and eating off the tops of the plants. I have lost all my cucumber plants which I wanted so badly for pickling. I also lost quite a few pea plants not to mention the carrots. I had planted garlic; but, critters dug into the ground and destroyed them.
I do have strawberry plants thriving; but, the berries keep getting eaten. I also have bell pepper plants growing and they seem to be doing well. The herbs are thriving too and so are the marigold plants that I put in the middle of the garden.
We are making very slow progress on the house. Dan is currently working on transforming the kitchen lighting situation. I looked for something to replace the current light; but, I did not find any that I like and would work. So, Dan and I came up with the idea of ripping out the current framing (trim/molding) and replacing it with a design of our own. Actually, I designed it from memory of something I seen in the past and he is doing the wood work. I think it is going to look very nice. We shall see when he is done with the project. And yes, I will take after pictures. (The above picture is a before picture).
I have so many ideas floating around in my head and many of them are projects that will both functional (for us) and a good thing for the cats. For example, I have seen modular bookcases; but, most are not aesthetic pleasing to me and/or do not fit in with our current design/architecture (ranch/craftsman) not to mention they are mega expensive! So, I went a searching and found something that I think would work with a few modifications and Dan will build them. They will provide a way to showcase my Krystonia figurines and allow the cats to get up high.
I still take pictures regularly. However, I have not really challenged myself in this area. It takes time to process each picture and make them blog worthy as they are shot in RAW format. But, I am planning on sharing them with everyone soon.
Since my last post I had not really suffered a headache or migraine until several days ago. I discovered that emotional distress will bring on a migraine almost immediately. My one personal fault is that I am too hopeful, naive and forgiving. I need to deal with a few issues that are both past and present related in order to heal.
In the meantime, I am doing better than I have before. I think I am ready to get back into walking and general exercising once again. We shall see how well I do when I begin again.
This is just a small update. I may return to blogging in May. In the meantime, I am doing well and have kept myself busy. I got really sick once and I was frustrated with several things causing me to want to give up on life; so, I called a break on most things online including blogging.
I mentioned in my last post that I accidentally discovered nitrates triggering migraines; so, I tried eliminating them from my diet. I have been steadily improving ever since. I have not had a migraine in approximately three weeks now. All I have had were low-grade headaches. What is amazing to me is that I have been steadily feeling better and I am able to accomplish more these days. I am still not 100%; but hey, I am happy being 70 or 80% these days! I haven’t felt this good in a very long time. It is amazing to think that nitrates affected me that badly. So, no more ham and such unless they are nitrate free. There is some delicious bacon that I can have that is preservative and nitrate free and I am extremely thankful because I do love me some bacon. Ha!
- Home (House)
Dan has steadily working on putting down baseboards and shoe base. He only has a little left in the den to do and then we move onto caulking and touchup. We will then move onto the exterior of the house before doing the bedrooms.
I have been steadily unpacking boxes in what would eventually be the guest/gaming/exercise room. But, for right now, it is my sewing room until we get the garage conversion done. While unpacking, I have dreamed up plans to convert one of the closets into something functional I can temporarily use. As a result, I dragged Dan to Habitat for Humanity Restore to look for a few things. We found another solid door for $13 which will be used when the garage conversion is completed. I am thrilled with that purchase. I looked through used countertops and found one that would work for $15. I also looked for some things to set the countertop on; but, I will have to build something with Dan’s help. I plan on taking before and after pictures of the work being done in the closet.
This place is like a little bit of heaven to me. I let the cats out every morning and it is just teaming with life out there. We have hummingbirds visiting us daily. And, I have seen house finches, swallows, a pair of gorgeous scissortails and some red winged black birds. Wildflowers are all over the land. The bluebonnets are still around; but, most have gone to seed. We have only seen a few paintbrushes. I am hoping to see more next year. There are thousands of false dandelions all over the land. Some sunflowers have recently sprouted and I call them happy faces. We also have what I believe are milkweeds. As a result, I am hoping to see some Monarchs (butterflies). Speaking of Monarchs, I am seeing plenty of butterflies fluttering about and bees too!
The weather has been very unusual here in Texas this year. It got so warm that I pulled out my shorts. This is typical of Texas where we live. We have a very short spring and then it is summer (blazing hot) for seven, eight or nine months. Yesterday morning, while the cats were out exploring, I noticed a wall of dangerous clouds in the distance coming our way. So, I went outside to keep an eye on the situation. It was interesting watching the storm system get closer and closer; but, I was shocked with the temperature suddenly dropped about 15 degrees and the wind became fierce. I was immediately chilled to the bone. I had to dig out some warmer clothes! So, we are currently having a short winter in spring. The temperatures should return to normal early next week (90s F).
I have had two wonderful weekends of feeling rather well and accomplished a lot with Dan’s help. I was sad when each weekend ended. We purchased topsoil one weekend and filled in the garden bed. The following weekend, we purchased some plants. We currently have strawberries, three different herbs and some bell peppers planted in the garden bed. I have three different kinds of potatoes planted in a special tall pot. I also planted some Marigolds in the middle of the garden bed in hopes it will keep some pests away. And, I planted some seeds in a special little greenhouse. I am hoping to have carrots, peas, and cucumbers. We shall see if they sprout. If they do, I will transplant them into the garden bed.
The new trees we planted are doing very well. The Granny Smith is actually thriving and blooming. The Dexter Golden is slowly getting in new leaves. The lemon tree/bush is also doing well. All of the plants that I have planted several weeks ago, with the exception of a lavender plant, are doing well. I am pleased with my efforts. I just hope this summer will not be so harsh; but, knowing where we live, it most likely will be a tough summer. But, I am planning on pampering every single one of them plants.
I still have health issues that give me grief from time to time. Most of the time, I think I am getting better and then wham, I get sick. But honestly, I think the episodes are getting farther apart. At least, I feel like I am able to accomplish more these days. Also, I accidentally discover that nitrates can bring on migraines BIG time for me! So, in addition to avoiding HFCS and MSG, I am seeking to avoid nitrates. Ugh!
Dan and I went to see Mother for her birthday the first weekend of March. While traveling to see her, we got a message that she was being sent to the hospital. She had a severe infection among other issues and her dementia seemed worse. We went straight to the hospital. She knew who we were. However, it was humorous to hear that she said we were from Canada!
We split our time with one of my brothers and his family and with Mother at the hospital. She was released four or five days later and went straight into hospice care. The final stage of her life. I grieve in my own way.
Currrent Odd Desire
For some odd reason, I want to learn how to dance. Why? Mother has always wanted to go to a ball; but, never got the chance. Years ago, she once mentioned that she wanted all of us to dress up in tuxes and ball gowns and dance at her funeral. At that time, I was shocked and said I would not do such a thing. I told her that I might dress up but there was no way I was going to dance at her grave.
As time passed, I realized that she was trying to tell me that she wanted us to live and enjoy the littlest and biggest things in life at least once. So, even though I am not big on dancing and have no desire to go to a ball, I think I would like to learn how to dance (a waltz).
Spring is officially here. Well, we are under a cold spell at the moment. I am very glad our apple (Granny Smith and Dorsett Golden) and lemon trees that we purchased last weekend are in the ground. I insisted on staking a space where the garden shed and chicken house will go before planting the trees. I wanted the trees to shade the chicken house in the future; so, we needed to do a little figuring and plotting before planting the trees. It was extremely windy while we did this; so, I nearly froze to death. I had to wear modified ear muffs because my ears hurt so bad from the biting cold winds. I am so glad I (we) staked everything because I can now envision what I would all look like on the land.
Anyway, the trees would do better in the ground instead of pots as it is going down near freezing temps in the night. I also planted Rosemary, which I originally thought were Lavender. Sheesh. They look so similar that I am not surprised I made that mistake. Anyway, when we were at a Home Depot this past weekend, I found Lavender and purchased a few pots. So, we now have Rosemary and Lavender planted along the back of the house.
The work on the house is going slowly; but, it is getting done. I wish I could help; but, I am extremely scared of power tools and I have no patience for painting. Dan is a much better painter than I. He gets it on right the first time. Moi? I tend to make a mess! Anyway, the work could get done quicker if Dan worked in the evenings; but, there is no rush and honestly, I rather he rest in the evenings after he has worked (for a living) all day. So, weekends are the only time work is being done on the house. Dan would buy stuff he needs for the weekend on Fridays before coming home from work. This way the cost of supplies is spread out over time.
The casings on the doors and windows in both the hallway and den are finished. The baseboards are being put down at the moment. I am going behind him filling in holes with wood putty. He has taught me how to sand them once dried. So, I will be doing that also. I am real pleased with how they are looking at the moment. When the casings and baseboards are done, Dan will do the caulking. And then, we will paint and touch up.
We will move onto the office when the hallway and the den is completed as it is more or less unpacked. Dan just needs to decide on colors. When I first asked Dan what color he wanted for the walls, he immediately said Red as in the classic Ford Mustang red, white and blue colors. I was shocked. Bright Red walls? Ugh! I had thought it would be green because that is his favorite color. Since it is his room, I am trying not to interfere; but, I may have to get to nagging him in a couple weeks because we should paint the walls before putting up the casings and baseboards.
I am thinking of moving to the outdoors instead of doing the office. The house needs some minor repair work anyway. I am wanting to paint the house (shutters, porch, siding and trim). I think now is a good time to do this before it gets blazing hot. We have the paint. We just need a few supplies. Also, by doing this first, it would give Dan a little more time concerning the office.
Disclaimer: I am still a novice (amateur) photographer; thus, colors may not ring true. Unlike majority of people taking pictures at the show, I did not use the flash. Most quilt shows forbid the use of flash; so, I am practicing taking pictures without the flash. Overall, I think I did rather well.
I'm still on a Blogging Break; but, I finished processing these pictures and wanted to share these asap with my readers. I snapped pictures of quilts that captured my interest. Many of them did not even win a ribbon.
This quilt show is not without its controversy. The guild has one of the most rigid definitions of what they feel constitutes as modern. I honestly believe many quilters who entered the show did not bother to read the guild's definition and thus were crushed by the criticism of the judges. One other controversy lies in the fact that there were only two judges for this show. This is very unusual considering most shows have three or more judges.
Nonetheless, I found the show interesting in spite of the fact that I am not into modern quilts or quilting. I'm more into traditional quilts. Modern quilts can be extremely interesting and/or beautiful. Enjoy the pictures of the quilts and the descriptions following each quilt.
- ▼ 2013 (29)
- ► 2012 (150)
- ► 2011 (177)