May 21, 2013 • Dallas, Texas
Some days I feel really bad when my sister comes to visit with her kids. Our life sometimes is so hectic, that she ends up babysitting instead of visiting. Luckily she has more fun with our kids than us, so it seems to work out. Yesterday was like that.
Chris and I had to run up to Dallas for the day yesterday to oversee some bus work that was getting done to prepare it for a long tour. We took just the bus and ourselves up there and spent the day in a rental car running around Dallas looking for parts. We realized that it was going to take a little longer than we thought, so we called and told my sister we were overnighting. This required a trip to Walmart to buy toothbrushes, razors, a change of clothes, etc., because we had brought nothing with us.
We got to the hotel late and exhausted, and then turned on the television to watch the tornado footage from Moore, Oklahoma. This was especially troubling to us because we have a couple of acquaintances that live in that area. We heard from one earlier, but it was a short text that said that they got hit by a tornado. Did they personally get hit, or did they mean their area? After trying all evening to get ahold of them, we finally did, and yes, they personally got hit by the tornado with a lot of damage to their house, but they had just installed a tornado shelter a few days before, and they felt fortunate that their house was still standing. Just a few houses down, everything was flattened! And, we also finally heard that the other person was also okay. Scary stuff when nature decides to show its force!
Today was day two in Dallas, and we worked on the bus again all day until midnight, and finished just in time for it to be leaving on tour. Whew! Now the new dilemma was how to get to Houston by 6am to pick up the first round of Chris’s family that was flying in. We were supposed to also take my sister home in the same trip. We ultimately decided that it was best to leave my sister at our house and just drive straight to Houston in a rental car(4 hours) and maybe arrive in time to get an hour of sleep before having to go to the airport. It’s going to be a long night!
My sister and the kids had it much better. While we were scrambling, here's what they were doing:
May 18, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
Seventeen years ago today, I married a wonderful guy, which started this whole crazy awesome messy life we live. And three years and four days ago, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. How are the two related you may ask? They aren’t, other than that we are celebrating both occasions today.
McKenna worked for the last two days on a birthday cake for her cousin Eris. No surprise there, but this was the first time she attempted a fondant cake. She has been researching recipes and techniques for weeks, and I think the cake turned out pretty great. Not bad for a barely eleven year old. We were all impressed, and Eris especially loved the mermaid theme.
In the early evening, Chris and I decided to take off for a couple of hours to go into town for an anniversary dinner. Being a small town, our choices were limited to ummm... one white tablecloth restaurant. So, that is where we went. The service was great and the food was outstanding. We had a blast talking to our waitress about everything from the horrible pond flavored drinking water in Palestine, to gardening, and everything in between. And, we learned something new from her. There is plant that grows wild around here, called polkweed (or pokeweed) that is poisonous but can be eaten after boiling it several times to get rid of the toxin. It apparently tastes like spinach. After describing it to us, Chris realized that he had just cut some of it down near the barn a couple of days ago and that we have a lot of it on the property. If my Swiss chard decides not to grow, there is always Polk salad. Wait, I did plant the Swiss chard, didn’t I?
May 17, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
Today we had a full house again. My younger sister and her family came up for a weekend visit and the girls had a friend over. At one point during the day while I was hanging clothes on the line, I noticed some ripe blackberries on the fence line, so I went to check them out. I found a bush full of plump juicy berries and proceeded to eat as many as I could find, all the while relishing my good fortune all by myself. About ten berries into my feast, one of the girls popped their head out the front door and said, “Oh, there are blackberries?” to which I responded with a full mouth, “No.” It didn’t fool them however, and soon I had lots of company picking blackberries with me. We went all the way down one fence line and I was thrilled to find that we not only had blackberries, but we also had wild grapes growing in massive quantities. I see some jam making in my near future.
May 15, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
The last few days have been pretty relaxing. We are getting a quick break between company before the next round is here, and have been trying to get some things done around the property and the house until then.
Yesterday was a garden highlight. I was able to harvest the first things out of the garden for this season, which were some greens for a beautiful dinner salad. It looks like squash is not too far behind. So yes, Terry and Missy, there’s a chance you may get some of my monster sized yellow squash and zucchini while you are here.
We still have an ugly construction bulb left over on our back porch that has never been replaced even though we have had the new fixture for over a year. It seems that this particular bulb happens to be a favorite nesting place for the swallows. So this is how it goes every spring for the last several years. Chris: ”I think I’ll put that fixture up now.” Us: ”But there’s a nest on it.” Chris: “There’s always a nest on it. They can rebuild another.” Us: (Major protests)”No, you can’t move the nest. What about the poor baby birds. They may have eggs in there already.” Chris: “Whatever. You guys get to clean up the bird poop that’s all over the porch.” The ugly light is still there, the bird poop is still there, and so are the baby birds. But they are so darn cute! Maybe after the birds are gone, we will finally get around to putting the fixture up.
The girls had a girlfriend over today from out of town that they don’t see very often, so they had a blast playing with horses, putting on makeup for a photo shoot, running around the pastures, listening to music, and hot tubbing. It’s what I would call a well rounded visit. I think they did it all!
May 12, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there! It is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding jobs.
I got treated to some nice pre-Mother’s Day gifts starting yesterday. Chris and the girls went into town and picked up some window boxes, flowers, and sprinkler parts for my garden. The window boxes were to decorate the garden shed, and I think they turned out fantastic! Chris worked on the garden sprinkler system until dark, and now I have a functioning system that doesn’t require me to move a hose and sprinkler around anymore. What a great guy!
Today, my Mother’s Day morning started out with breakfast in bed, including fresh baked cinnamon rolls made by McKenna. They were delicious! That was followed by some nice gifts, a relaxing day by the pool, time spent playing with horses, and barbecued steaks, burgers, and stuffed peppers in the evening. A girl could get used to this kind of treatment! And all of that was so we could get to the finale of the night, which was one of Ciara’s flour-less dark chocolate cakes garnished with peppermint leaves and raspberries. It was to die for!!! Needless to say, it was a perfect day with good food, great times, and being surrounded by the people that I love the most. Too bad Mother’s Day only comes around once a year....sigh....
And the drum roll please.....
May 10, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
I swear that some days I am becoming senile! For the last several weeks, I have been anxiously watching and waiting for the seeds in the garden to come up. So far, everything has been growing just fine except for the Swiss chard. Odd, because it usually does so well here. So yesterday in town, I drove to several different stores to see if I could find any Swiss chard starter plants or different seeds. I had no luck with either, although I came home with a honeydew melon plant and some okra starters to fill in empty spaces in the garden.
Out to the garden I ventured to put my new plants in. While I was out there, I decided to check the package of Swiss chard seeds to see if I had any left to try to replant them. Ya, that would be this package right here. The one that is still sealed, that never got opened. I am such a space case sometimes!
So, here is the proof that I got them planted, just in case I can’t remember later!
Romantic evening take two:
This time was much better without the wasp spray, dirty socks, and the interruptions. The only downside is that we had mosquitoes. We never have mosquitoes (or muzzies, as the British call them). Cassie fixed the problem with one of her natural remedies of burning sage powder. Smelled great and no more pesky muzzies!
May 9, 2013 • Elkhart, Texas
I love the interesting ever-changing weather in Texas. The springtime storms are my favorite. Today we had a line of storms come in that broke up for the most part, just in our area. As a result, we ended up with some rain, but not much else exciting. The severe weather was just north and just south of us.
Then, just as the line was past us, it became very intense. The wind shifted in every direction and you could look up into the sky and see clouds moving in five or six directions, all in one area. It was pretty eerie. In addition to that, there was so much convection that the lower wispy clouds would quickly rise up into the towering cumulus clouds, and then entire clouds would drop just as fast. Looking straight up literally made you dizzy.
After looking at the radar, it looked like part of the storm hooked back around toward the back edge of the storm, causing all of the confused weather. Cool stuff!
We spent a couple of hours outside just watching the changing weather in awe, and as the sun set, it cleared enough that we could see the sun as a bright red ball of fire just at the horizon. What a beautiful display!