Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cookie Monster

Finley has started asking for cookies with his foot, a signal he's always used to show that he likes something. Cookies (alfalfa cubes) definitely have his stamp of approval!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'll take that as a compliment

Yesterday I was called in at the last minute to substitute at the school. There were no more spaces where the faculty usually park, so I parked over among the high school students.

It wasn't until I was halfway home later in the day that I looked into the rear view mirror and realized my car had been decorated! (Click to biggify).

Your Hot

Bad grammar aside, I think I'll take it as a compliment. (Especially since the weather was cool!)

It's been incredibly windy, with gusts strong enough to blow large sheets of roofing tin off a stack and around the yard. After a slight frost last week, the weather has continued to be unseasonably warm but a real freeze is predicted for tonight. We tend to forget Winter does eventually arrive here in the land of Summer.

There will be plants to water in and cover, other plants needing to go from the house into the greenhouse, and chicken coops to close in with plastic. Some dry wood will need to be cut and moved into the house for the fireplace. But it's only an afternoon of work. We don't have to drain or store hoses, as it will be back up into the 70's-80's again soon.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

National Hug a Sheep Day

Finley, did you know it is National Hug a Sheep Day? I thought we'd do some hugging!

But I don't like hugs! Not even for cookies!

It would make your Aunt Sara very happy if we could participate. She's launched National Hug a Sheep Day in honor of Punkin, who was my godsheep. If I had never known Punkin I might not have you today. What do you say?

 Isn't being cute...enough?
 How about we pretend it's National Skritch a Sheep Day instead! 
I have quite a few itches needing skritches.

{skritch, skritch, skritch}

Ahhhh.....that's more like it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

We are grandparents!!!

Lillian (Lily) Elizabeth arrived on Wednesday, October 27, at 4:59 a.m. She is the first girl born into Farmer Rick's side of the family in 150 years! She such a little cutie pie! It will be so fun sewing for her!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hill Country anniversary trip

We took a little day trip to Enchanted Rock--where we got married--on our anniversary this year. It's too bad I forgot to charge the battery of my loaner camera overnight, but it actually ran out of space before it ran out of juice.

On the way we stopped to take some photos of things we've passed by a zillion times and always meant to photograph if we weren't rushing from here to there. It was nice actually making time for them.

This little hobbit house in Hunt, Texas, is tucked into the woods and sits right on the river's edge. It has a sign that says 'Toad Hall' but an quick online check says that's for two cabins they rent out, so I'm thinking this must be their residence, as photos of it do not appear anywhere on their website.

Just down the road there is a unique fence that keeps some horses off the road. (Click to biggify).

The cedar posts are covered with used boots, some of them quite colorful. I've heard this started in the old days as a way of recycling old boots and protecting the ends of posts from absorbing rain and rotting. But cedar posts are very long-lived even without boots. I have the feeling the owner started it, and then people passing by have just added to it over the years. I've certainly watched the collection grow over the past decade.

On the banks of the river we saw this very large, rubbery Evening Primrose species. The flowers were at chest height and I'm fairly tall. I didn't get enough details to key it out, but it's definitely water-loving and day-blooming so that should narrow things down a bit. Unlike others in its genus, it doesn't seem prolific as this is the only one we saw.

We took a back road through the ghost town of Crabapple, and stopped to photograph the ruins.

This building was the old school until the late 50's and is now considered the Community Center, although the Census does not show anyone presently residing in Crabapple. The next two images I processed to give them a vintage feel.

This building was the teacherage, where the teacher lived.

And this was the church, built in 1897. These are all great examples of the stonework that is so predominant throughout the Texas Hill Country done by the early German settlers.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area can be seen in the distance from the highway approach to the south. The main dome where we were married is the tallest one on the right. Although sedimentary limestone is the predominant rock of the Hill Country, here there is a giant pink granite batholith pushed up from the depths of the Earth.

Along the trails there you will find many interesting rock formations, many of them sculpted by the wind. It is a mecca for rock climbers.

Here is Moss Lake and a view of the back side of the main dome on the right. In my younger days I took up rock climbing for a year and I climbed the steep, back side of Enchanted Rock twice. It is the equivalent of a 20 story building and takes about 7 hours. They say if you can learn to climb granite you can climb anything. I learned a lot about strength and courage but I could never, ever, say it was fun. Eventually I took up whitewater kayaking which I found more to my liking.

We continued around the loop trail, cut through Echo Canyon and made our own trail to the top of Enchanted Rock from a side with a more gentle approach. It was a blustery day similar to our wedding day, sans double rainbow. It was unfortunate the camera conked out at this point, as the view, as always, was spectacular. We caught a bite of Mexican Food back in Fredericksburg before heading home after a very nice day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Stills: Shoes or Boots

We traveled to Bandera, Texas "Cowboy Capitol of the World" today--just an hour over the hills from us--for some Labor Day festivities that were sure to involve boots.

Here's a lovely cowgirl boot in a shop window, surely created with a cowboy wedding in mind.

At a  re-enactment of a west Texas town in the late 1800's by a group called "Cow-ology"  there were lots of little girls in cowgirl boots in the audience. I wore river sandals and got fire ant bites.

We ate some nachos and watched a couple of boot-scootin' senior citizens who were much more entertaining than the rather average band that was playing.

The town has some very nice cut out metal banners.

(Click to biggify)

The scenic drive was the best part!

For more images of shoes and boots, check out Sunday Stills.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yellow bird

This little bird knocked itself out on my office window this morning coming to the seed feeder, presumably. Fortunately I made it to the bird before Cody, the teddy-bear eared backyard dog who would've seen it as a protein supplement.

After a few minutes of nurturing in my hand it regained consciousness and flew off. I am thinking it is a juvenile of some kind of vireo or warbler, but I will ask some of my expert birding friends for an ID. It has an unbroken white eyering, no prominent white bars on the wings, is small, with olive on the top and yellow below. If you think you might know, do tell.

Since I already have a rooster temporarily in the house--who we've named Orville by the way (to go with our Ameraucana hen Kitty Hawk)--I'm relieved not to have a wild charge at the moment. This is the best kind of rescue, where the happy ending comes quickly!

My friend and birding photographer Larry Ditto, has kindly identified it as a Mourning Warbler in fall plumage. You can see his fabulous photos here. Thanks, Larry!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New roo

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Joan saying she had a cockerel in need of a home (read: her husband was going to eat him if he wasn't relocated soon) and that my husband already said I could have him if I wanted him. I found this 'preauthorization' process sort of interesting.

Apparently she and Jim had picked up four Ameraucana pullets, and recently discovered one was, in fact, a rooster. Once he started crowing their rooster decided to get rid of him, and fighting ensued.

I have been without an Ameraucana rooster since my beloved Avo's untimely demise back in December. (Although I did rescue Mr. Blue from the eventual frying pan of Dos Bubba's, the plumbers, he's not 100% Ameraucana.) Kitty Hawk, Alzina, and Desser Mae have been in need of a beau for a while, since Avo's preference had been the company of sheep.

This fellow has more black flecks on his chest than Avo (in my banner head) and his comb is a bit frilly, but otherwise he looks line a fine bird for the breeding program. No name has surfaced yet, but I'm sure we'll think of something as his personality becomes more evident.

I can tell he hasn't been handled much, so he isn't very friendly--yet. He tried to peck my hand this morning. But he will be in quarantine (the utility room) for two months and I'll work with him. He's certainly got a set of lungs on him as he woke us up at 4 a.m. Farmer Rick couldn't say too much about it on account of the preauthorization and all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby couture

September is here, and as I promised I will be blogging more often. Having spent most the summer fighting a respiratory infection I didn't really have the energy to do much of anything. But I am feeling myself again, ready for new adventures in creativity and homesteading.

I am working on a baby quilt for our first grandchild due in November. Since this project won't be ready in time for the baby shower, I whipped out a little quilted baby vest over the weekend.

It was a lot of fun! I used a store bought pattern as a size guide to design my own. I discovered that creating for little people has its rewards--like being able to complete an entire project quickly!

I used images from a turn-of-the-century illustrated Mother Goose songbook that I copied onto fabric along with lots of playful cottons. Being musicians, naturally we want our grandchild to grow up surrounded by music.

We also want to be near to his/her heart! So in the lining I tucked my label and a photo of us.

Speaking of babies--today we unexpectedly added a new member to our animal family. More on that next!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Stills: Statues and Figurines

When I was very young my father took up sculpting and made two statues which are sadly in dire need of repair. The geisha, plaster on a wire armature and light as a feather, has lost her head. The laughing Buddha, Hoi Toi, is solid concrete and has lost a foot. His patina is almost indistinguishable from that of the old cactus behind him. I keep telling myself one day I will fix them. And, one day, I will.

For more images of statues and figurines, visit Sunday Stills.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Stills: Metal

Sprinkler detail, garden gate hinge at sunrise this morning, and a gate chain. I've been very busy and promise to post more come September!

For more metal images, visit Sunday Stills!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Stills: Clouds

With luck we actually had some interesting cloud formations on Saturday. I decided to take a little artistic liberty on this challenge and process my cloud images with multiple filters.

Here's a bee's eye view of clouds from the prickly pear cactus in fruit and some dessicated Navajo tea flowers. I like how it looks other-worldly, like martians with antennae.

These two are of the clouds over the old historic school ruins as seen from our short grass prairie. I like how the black and white brings out the swirling of clouds in the first one. The second one de-emphasizes the clouds but I like the mysterious, ominous feeling in this one.

For more cloud images, visit Sunday Stills!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Stills: Grafitti

Unfortunately for the past six weeks I've not felt up to blogging. I contracted some resistant sinus infection that led to bronchitis and asthma, but am finally on the mend.

I've also been without a working camera. I find it difficult to blog without photos! Mine decided not to turn on after eating two sets of batteries in 24 hours. So while I contemplate whether to repair or replace it, my friend Sara over at Punkin's Patch is loaning me her old Sony. I'll be picking that up at the PO on Monday! Yay!

So for this week's challenge I had to dig through the archives, back to our New Mexico trip last summer. Unexpectedly, this street art was not in a city, but on a wall around a farm in a rural area, which made it all the more interesting, showcased in nature rather than the competing hubris of a human constructed environment. I would have liked to have known more about it.

For more images of grafitti, visit Sunday Stills!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Stills: History

Over Memorial weekend we attended the 65th--and only--class reunion of our ghost town's historic Rio Frio school, the ruins of which are next to our short grass prairie.

 Laurie's Class of '39 ring

Although we don't own the school, the children--who often rode up to six miles alone--tied their horses to trees in our creek. The school also used our land for Easter egg hunts and as their dump; we find all kinds of interesting things when we dig around in our butterfly garden.

I am friends with many of the students, now in their late 70's and early 80's, who still live around here--Willis, Molly, DeLois, Lora B. My friend DeLois--who's pictured on the left--gave me some images taken around our property. The large wooden building in the background was the original school, and was torn down to build the final one. This is the wooden bridge that used to go over our creek. That would be our future property on the right, before the school.

Here it is today. The bridge is gone and large culverts have been installed, with reflectors warning of the steep drop off. You can see our circular drive entrances on the right. DeLois' dad owned the phone exchange and the road grading equipment. This was taken at the end of our future property.

Here's the same spot now. I am struck by how few trees there were back then, and how many we have now.

One new thing we learned was during the summers our place was used to show movies. Everybody came from miles around. A traveling family named Shultz used to set up a tent in the clearing where our house is now. Their little boy, Loyo in his homemade 'car' was photographed on the corner of our property. Behind him is the historic school, and Schoolhouse Mountain. To the left is the historic church, and to the right the school outhouses that either bordered or were on our short grass prairie.

Perhaps one of the greatest surprises was meeting George who lived in our house for 31 years. Our house is still known by his name. Here he is with his daughter.

We had been told he was dead. Not only that, we'd seen his headstone in the pioneer cemetery behind us. As it turns out that belongs to his father (whose front porch has become our greenhouse). George preached at the historic church on Sundays and ran the post office out of the front room in our house (now my art studio) during the week. I inquired about his wife Laurie (who was also rumored to be recently dead).

But we found her very much alive! It just goes to show you cannot believe everything you hear. She attended the historic school which only went to grade 11. But she loved school so much she convinced them to let her attend school one more year. Thus, she is the only student who attended for 12 years. The first photo is of her hand and class ring.

This is my friend Lora B. Her family built the historic church. She once made hats for Lady Bird Johnson, my former employer. She's traveled all over the world and is an excellent historian, storyteller, and writer. She served on the board that renovated the Alamo, and is active with the DAR and Rock Art Foundation. When I was still a visiting botanist to the area she put me up, several years before I would someday come to live in this small community.

Just 22 more years to go before our house might be known by our name. Until then, we'll still honor George.

Ruins of the school at sunrise taken from our short grass prairie

For more historical images, visit Sunday Stills!
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