Monday, September 19, 2011

It's not over yet!!!!!

DROUGHT:  I just read the following excerpt from an LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) Bulletin:The 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. This summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history, according to the National Weather Service.

This is what we've experienced over the past 6 months!!!
This WAS our 'Stock Tank' when we moved here - we actually have two on the property, but this is the larger one which is stocked with bass and catfish and has NEVER gone dry!!
Here it is today - a big mud puddle!!!  I don't know how many fish have survived, but some have died, and they're now fair game for hawks and racoons and coyotes.
If it doesn't rain soon, there'll be nothing!!!  We've had a few showers in the past week, but the rain is just enough to wet the driveway.  The most we have had is a quarter of an inch, and that's like spitting in the tank!!!!!  The whole community is praying for rain!!! 

No rain, no grass, no hay to feed livestock for the winter!! This picture was last October 2nd followed by a picture taken just a few days ago:

Then there's our yard!!!!
The trees have taken a huge hit!!!  Last year the Crepe Myrtles along the sidewalk bloomed all summer!  I'm only seeing blooms right now and unless we get more rain, I'm afraid they'll drop and we won't get flowers.  We've been having to water them just to keep them alive, and as you can see, the shrubs at the base of the crepe myrtles aren't looking too good!!!. 
 The huge tree beside the house has lost lost of leaves and there used to be grass to mow at the base of the tree in front of the fence!!
 In the back yard, we've had to drip water the apple trees.  One looks OK, but the other isn't looking very good although I'm seeing some new leaves since we've watered.
The leaves on the ground are from the BIG tree in the back.  Even though they have deep roots, we've had to water it.  I'd hate to lose those big beautiful trees!!  Everything is brown except weeds and mesquites!!!

Aside from the drought, Mike was trying to reclaim some grazing land from the Mesquite trees, which are like "tree weeds" as in they constantly reseed and grow fast.   He hired a 'dozer to come in and remove most of the mesquite.  Unfortunately, I have looked through every picture album and don't have a decent before picture.  The closest is this picture of our first little calf kicking up her heels... if you can check out the background, you can get a sense of the overgrowth.

Now there are just SOME trees!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flag with a Mission

Since Travis deployed with the Special Forces out of Hunter AB near Savannah, GA in 2007 to his present day deployment from Aviano AFB, Italy to Afghanistan, the meat department at our local Stewart's Food Market right here in Olney has been selecting and slicing beef for jerky which Mike smokes and processes, vacuum packs and sends to wherever Travis is deployed.  John also benefitted from some of Stewarts jerky beef during his deployment a year ago and more recently our niece, Chrys, currently in Alaska received a surprise package of jerky.  Travis carried this flag aboard his F-16 for a recent mission and sent if to express his thanks as well as that of his Special Forces friends and his F-16 colleagues who have shared in his bounty

Pictured above are:(L to R) Me and Mr. Mike, Jason Pack (manager of the meat dept), Paul Garcia and Joe Cameron (meat dept staff), Homer Molina (store manager) and Danny Stewart (owner).  We are missing Robert Stewart, Danny's brother who we shook hands with on our way out!!  For a small town like Olney, we have a very nice grocery and folks come from all around for their meats.  Now their meat has even been eaten abroad!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wow! So much news!!!

Life is busy, and one day to the next there doesn't seem to be so much change, but little events mount up.  The previous blog entry comments how the THREE little calves stick together.  Well since then here's number 4 calf (with #3 mom - we call her 'White Face'):
We haven't figured out how he got to be that color since the daddy is all black.  He's a nice little bull - healthy and full of energy.  He now has an eartag (#10) and is a 'steer'... no bull!!!

Then last week our last heifer, #5 (we just call her 'Cinco') blessed us with another little bull:
A new addition draws a lot of attention around here once it's discovered!  Here the new little guy is between his mom and #7, our first calf (a 4 month old heifer), and the legs behind him belong to #9 (first little bull).  The little guy is less than a day old.  And the daddy (Numero Uno) is always interested in his progeny:
He has greeted every single one!!  So now ALL our heifers have had their first calf and Mr Bull is now a proven bull.  He was young when we got him, but he's good at getting the job done.

When the 2 little heifers get a little bigger, we'll be trading them with a good friend of ours for 2 of his same age heifers.  That way there will be no inbreeding and we don't have to sell and buy.  He'll be getting 2 very nice heifers.  So we've grown from 6 to 11 cattle!

Then I looked at the little chicks we got in March!!!  You won't believe how they've grown!!!!  Those little white chick have grown to look like this:
They must weigh at least TEN pounds!!  One chicken will feed us for at least 2 meals and still have a little for some chicken salad.  Now that I've experienced these Cornish chickens, I have noticed they are not the brightest chickens in the hen house!!!  They are clumsy and pretty messy birds.
The other new little chicks were my little Americaunas and Production Reds.  They are growing nicely but are welter weights compared to the Cornish chickens.  They may be laying eggs soon.  In the picture (right) the 3 in the middle are Americaunas and their color varies quite a bit.  The one standing has pretty light grey tailfeathers  compared to the others.  You can see how different the second one from the right looks.  Then look at the next picture to see the 4th Americauna - it's the grey, black and white one.  The Americaunas will lay blue and green tinted eggs!!!
 The other four are the production reds and are all hues of dark red.  All of these are very fast and run like roadrunners all over the yard.  The reds lay brown eggs.
Just after I got these new chicks, our chickens started sitting on eggs.  That's been an education.  Sometimes I would see 2 hens squeezed in the same nest.  Turns out, some hens just sit on the eggs.  When some hatched, the hen switched to caring for the chicks and another hen sat on the nest.  Pretty soon I had 3 nests with 'sitters' and 3 hens caring for chicks.  One was good about taking new babies - an excellent surrogate.  So now we have our own baby chicks.  I guess Mr Rooster has proved himself too!!!  AND I've noticed he will help feed the babies sometimes and the mom's let him while they chase off the other hens!!!  Now we have 10 chicks out with the hens and I have 5 more in the grain room under the light.  I'm hoping a hen will adopt them.

Things are ever-changing!!  So gradual you just don't notice until the changes are BIG!!!  Lots more coming on the blog, so keep an eye out.  I'm off work for the summer and can keep up now!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Record-Breaking Day

AND a pictoral update.....
For the first time today, my 13 hens:
laid 13 eggs:
and just a few days ago, we added some baby chicks to our menagerie:
Chicks to be laying hens - 2 kinds:
4 Americaunas (little striped heads) - they lay blue and green eggs!!!  and
4 Red 'something-or-others' . they lay brown eggs
and for Rancher Mike..... Cornish Chickens for dinner:
The place looks like a real ranch now.  All the horses, donkey, cows,bull and 3 calves were in the orchard just below the house:
Those 3 little calves really stick together.  Miss Whiteface cow should have her calf within the next month.

And one more ranch addition ..... a new tractor!!!  The old blue one went to auction.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Awesome Texas sunset & Number 8

After looking at the Texas pics on the Wilson Chronicals, I must add a sunset shot right across the road from where Cheyenne took her sunset shot... When I learn to photoshop, I'll crisp it up and make it even more striking!!!  Check out all the mistletoe!

Our little herd of brangus cows has now grown to eight!!!  Number 2 cow gave birth on Saturday at 5:30 pm, almost EXACTLY 3 weeks (to the hour) from our first new calf... and this one is also a strong and beautiful little heifer! 
She's less than 24 hours old here, and it amazes me how they tolerate the frigid winter temperature and vicious winds we've had lately.  I thought we moved to Texas where the winters were mild, but we were snowed in for almost 5 days last week with single digit temperatures and a wind chill that easily made it below zero.  Very hardy animals!!  We have one more that is ready to deliver.... maybe on Saturday.  Don't want to break the pattern!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Kodak Moment....

With Cheyenne's help (a Cheyenne Tutorial), we photoshopped this picture after looking for a local photo op!!!  This is a nearby old outhouse.  I think I may do a blog on 'Things Remembered from Long Ago'.  This is just a sample of what's in our local area!!!  Pay particular attention to the detail.  The first picture is fine, but with a little sharpening and intensifying of color, it's spectacular!!!  I can be a local Ansel Adams!!!!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011


In this case, Quatro y uno = Dos!!!  Bad math, you say!!!  All of our cattle are ear-tagged.  Mr Bull is Numero Uno!!!  And the heifers are 2-6!  That's the extent of our herd!!  BUT now we have SEVEN!!  Number 4 gave birth Saturday evening to a very sturdy, healthy little heifer who will soon wear ear tag #7. 

INTRODUCING  our FIRST calf (here, 12 hours old):
and it turns out, she has a lot of vim and vinegar and she's only 48 hours old:

Her mom keeps a close eye on her at all times and hustles about to keep up with the frolicking little #7.  She kicks her heels up like a bucking bronc and she runs like the wind. As you can see she's a very cute furry little baby.  She will soon have playmates to frolic with as I think Mr. Bull has proved himself x 5.  Even little White Face (above), the youngest of our heifers, looks pretty pregnant though she won't be second to give birth.  We should have one or two more in the next couple of weeks

This afternoon, Mr Bull was checking out his offspring!
Check out her beautiful long eye lashes!  I'm jealous!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pirogies anyone??

I've had this pirogi maker for several months with the hope of making some pirogis or fried pies to try it out.  I'm now glad to say .... it works!!!!!  It makes pirogies that look professional!  Check 'em out!!

To the right is the simple hinged maker, into which you place a circle of rolled-out dough and fill the little pocked with potato and onion mixture with some herbs and spices added and some cheddar cheese or you can fill with sauerkraut and potatoes.

When done they look like those on the tray - every one picture perfect.  I am so impressed with this little gadget!  It comes in 3 sizes - this is actually the smallest one. At this point, I froze several for a later meal.

For dinner right away, you plop some in salted boiling water until they float, then move to the frying pan. 

In the fry pan, I melted butter and sauteed some onions, then added the pirogis.  When they started to show a little color, I took them out and served them up with a dab of sour cream on top.  Boy, were they good!!!  Pam, I think you'd love one of these!!  It really did make it easier, and not a single one fell apart in the water.