Saturday, December 27, 2008

TrackHoe !!!

Sheila eat your heart out!!! hehe Love ya!!

The neighbors behind us have rented this BIG trackhoe through New Year's to dig themselves a pond. He has loaned it to all of us who need any work done-He's done all he can do. Unfortunately-it started raining( go figure!) AGAIN and now it way too wet to do much. Jeff's older brother, Curtis,Jr. is a whiz operating heavy machinery and he is gonna dig himself a pond. Curtis got the drainage ditch dug for the culvert the county put in the road in front of our house(and put it in at the wrong angle-the water was draining into Jeff's shop). He also got the sweet gum tree pushed around and off the fence that fell during IKE . We were hoping to get some work done on our pond-but with all the rain-it's just to wet for that heavy a piece of equipment in our back pasture. Sure don't want to bury that thing out there!! We got another cold front in this afternoon and the temps dropped 20 degrees in about 20 minutes with rain and thunder.

We're going up to our friends-Sheila and Alfred's-for the evening. They are having some family over for fellowship and snacks-always a GREAT time! With the weather cold and drizzly-we'll probally have to stay inside instead of out around the fire :( We all really enjoy just sitting around an open fire and talking.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And The Stockings Were Hung........

...And there's NO ROOM for more!!!! Our family continues to grow-which is a blessing-but I told the kids I have No more room for any more stockings-That means that even though I LOVE my grandkids- Everyone needs to just slow down on that page for AWHILE! There are currently 14 stockings hanging and there ain't room for even 1 more!!

Our typical Texas weather's been at it again!! It was nearly 80 degrees on Saturday, only to not get over 40 Sunday and yesterday. Then we got our normal sleet and freezing rain over night on Sunday. Today it's raining and will be in the 60's-low 70's tomorrow and low 60's for Christmas Day. Then another cold front for the weekend. We've had NO sunshine for what seems like weeks-and it's really starting to get to me-I need my vitamin D!!!!

I started some Christmas cooking yesterday-until I ran out of butter-What's up with that? I'm always stocked up with all I need-So I had to call Julie at Wal-Mart and have her bring me some home. She was glad to be reminded-she was nearly out and would need extra to bake her Buttermilk pies! I made No-Bake fruit cake (which is the ONLY kind we'll eat!) and No-Bake Cookies (OH-is there a pattern here-I thought I was BAKING!) yesterday and will BAKE the Christmas Muffins, Pecan Pie, and Christmas Tree cakes today-I think.
Well, in case I get too busy over the next few days and don't get back here-MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone-Have a safe and happy time!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Wood Heater!

Rascal wants to know where in the heck are we taking HER heater????
Jeff setting up the new heater-with his consultants-Jordan & Kaytlynn-looking on.

Rascal trying it out for the first time-I think she approves!!

We finally broke down and did it!! Sunday morning we decided we'd had enough of all the smoke coming in the house and called Tractor Supply to see if they had one in stock. Of course they did!!! I dearly have LOVED the heater we have-We traded 2 pigs and $20 for it from an old friend-it had a glass front and I could watch the fire burn-which I love to do!!! The only problem was every time you opened it to put more wood in-smoke just bellowed out of it. We tried everything to stop it-even rerouted the stove pipe up through the ceiling and roof(leaving a most beautiful hole in the wall behind the heater). Anyway, the new one is a little smaller-but has a blower attached to the back and is lined with firebricks-which the old one had neither of. Rascal has taken to this one, too, but I haven't caught her underneath this one yet. She is SO cold natured-we had to take her harness off for fear she'd get trapped underneath the old heater. She seems to be content to just lay beside this one on the tiles-the blower must be helping! Now if we can just get past all the burning paint and curing smell we'll be fine!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Shopping!!

I think I'm finished with my shopping!!!! WooHoo!!! For a family that wasn't gonna do a big Christmas this year-it sure took alot to get it done!! The weather has turned off cold and dreary again-our typical East Texas weather!!! The fog was so thick when Alana and I left Livingston yesterday-but I'm now finished shopping-OH-durn-I just remembered 1 other thing I have to pick up :(
The kids are almost through with school, too. Jordan's last day is tomorrow and Hailey has a half day on Friday. I haven't worked yet this week and really would like to-but no openings are available!! Jeff has to work next week-he's off for Christmas for 2 days-then has to go back on Friday. Then his vacation starts -he won't return to work til after Near Year's. He can't wait!! We are gonna try to get down to the beach and get some work done on the lot-weather permitting. And we have some fences that need to be worked on around here-so as usual-lots to be done!
I didn't start the Amish bread the other day-I counted up and I'd be baking Christmas day-I have enough to bake that day!! So I'll start it in a few more days I think! Sheila-Congrats on your truck-How bad did Alfred's head spin putting on the part?? hehe Everyone have a great day-Stay warm!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Slow Weekend ?

I was thinking that we had a pretty slow weekend (probally 'cause I got a nap in each day-WOW!!), but when I got to thinking about all we had done-we were busy. Went to Conroe on Saturday morning - after I had an hour & a half phone call from a dear friend that had the beach house next to us. Pat-I SO enjoyed talking to you and Congrats again on the first grandbaby-a little girl!!! Got a BIG roll of hay in Conroe-payed too much for it-but it's REALLY good hay. Also picked up Jeff's beehive-they didn't have the top or bottom boards-but he can easily build them. We went to the outlet mall-with a HUGE roll of hay in the back of the truck!!! You wouldn't believe the questions we were asked about it!!!. Anyway-I needed to go the Kitchen Store to get a peel and a bread stone to try out a new bread recipe. Then when we got home-I took a nap-after breaking out in hives-go figure! Later we got ready to go to Jeff's Christmas Party for work. It wasn't a very good party this year- not many people showed up-it was catered with fried catfish-it was alright-I didn't care for the DJ at all. Well, Sunday, we got busy around here trying to get some clean up outside done-It's been in the high 60's to low 70's since the snow the other night. We got the chicken tractor moved closer to the big chicken pen and the old layers-who are laying better than the young ones right now-put them in with the other hens and put the bitties in the chicken tractor so they'd have more room. And got the new rabbit cages hung in the rabbit shed. I should have 3 litters due in the next month. I tried out the new bread recipe-I really liked it. Jeff took some to work with him-so I guess he liked it too! It's an artisan bread thats REALLY easy-and it makes 4 loaves-the dough just stays in the frig for up to 2 weeks. I'm gonna make up the Amish Friendship starter today-I think. My Grandmother gave me some 20 years ago or more. We loved it! I still have the original instructions she gave me with her handwritten notes on it-it'll be the one I use and give out with the starter to friends.
I was hoping to get to work today-but no phone call this morning :( This 4 1/2 day week is the last to go on next months paycheck-I've only worked 3 days this time! And Alana wants to go do some last minute shopping without the kids-she's babysitting today-so no go today!
The weather is changing YET again!! The temp has dropped 6 degrees since I sat down at the computer! It started out at 60 degrees and is dropping to 39 by early afternoon-East Texas weather!!! Shorts yesterday-Coats today!!!! Have a great day!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Day!!!!!

Never say NEVER!!! We got our first REAL snow in more than 30 years! I remember getting snow when I was 12 years old-but it wasn't anything like we got last night!! Like I said earlier-We usually get ice/sleet storms here. Randy got to make his first ever snowman-Isn't he proud??!!!
Hailey stayed home from school-I hated it 'cause she messed up her perfect attendance. But I know I would have kept my own kids home today so they could play in the snow. It could be YEARS before we see this again!

Snow on the brocolli.

Snow on the cedar logs in the pasture-These will be fence post before too long!


Snow on a pile of firewood.

Hailey standing on the firewood.

Snow on the ground.

Snow on the Century plant coming into our driveway.

And snow on the wagon wheel coming into the driveway.

The weather man says it would melt by 8:00am-But it's almost 8:30 now and still about 29 degrees. It shows no signs of melting yet!! It looks So different outside-I'll hate to see it melt away. The traffic in Houston is just awful this morning(we're an hour or so North of Houston) with all the overpasses iced over-We're just not used to this kinda weather!! But, boy-I'm gonna enjoy it while it's here!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We NEVER get snow in our area of East Texas!! It gets cold and we might get a ice storm every few years-but nothing like what's happening tonight!! 30 degrees at 4:00pm is a little cool even for here!
This is the sleet that we started getting about 4:30 this afternoon.

Then by nightfall-there was enough ice for the grandkids to really start playing in it. They thought it was snow!! They aren't old enough to ever have seen this kind of ice storm before!

Randy thought he'd get in on the fun, too!! He ran and jumped up on the trampoline with the kids-only managing to fill his pants with sleet pellets!!

Madyson is not sure about all this cold stuff everywhere!

Jordan, Cayden, and Hailey on the trampoline.

Hailey making her first ever snow angel.

The snow that had accumulated on the bbq pit in the back yard-This is before it really started snowing!

Randy catching snowflakes on his tongue. By this time-the snow was REALLY falling!! Some of the flakes are as big as 50 cent pieces!! We've NEVER seen snow like this in our lives!

Kimberly and Mady-Kim's lived in Colorado and she said she doesn't ever remember seeing snow fall like what we are getting right now!!

I'm sorry to just be going on and on about this-BUT S-N-O-W is something we haven't really seen in like 40 years around here. Like I said-we get ice storms where everything freezes over and power lines snap. Can't wait to get up in the morning to see what everything looks like!!! It is sticking now and should look just beautiful in the daylight!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jerky and Milk

I made 2 batches of deer meat jerky for Randy-One on the right is already done-The other is just starting to dry. This stuff doesn't last long around here-It gets eaten like candy -better for you, too.

Jeff milked again tonight and the onorary old cow put her FRONT foot in the bucket just as he was finishing up! Dang her~~ Had to give the milk to the pigs!!! And it looked like at least a gallon tonight!! Maybe I should start looking into buying a milking machine-sure would be easier on Jeff's back!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Jeff with the fresh milk-not much for the first time-but it'll get better!
Jeff, Alana, and Hailey Suzanne-He had LOTS of helpers this morning!

Jeff and Wyatt-Wyatt had never milked a cow before!

Cleaning off her bag to get ready to start milking.

We separated the calves from Mama Cow yesterday-so Jeff milked for the first time this morning in a year. We dried her up on Thanksgiving week last year cause it was cold and we were going out of town every weekend to the beach and no one wanted to come over and milk for us. Anyway-Jeff got 3 quarts of milk-He hasn't milked yet this evening-we've had a crazy kinda afternoon. I got 5 more rabbits today-so I have to decide where to put them-they came with cages-but don't fit right in my shed. I need major overhauls on ALL of them!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Tree Farm Visit

This year's tree-the last from our favorite tree farm!!Jeff and Mady cutting their tree.
Jeff and Hailey cutting our tree.

Jeff and CayCay cutting our tree.

Jeff, Julie and the girls at the tree farm.

Well we made our annual trip to the Christmas Tree Farm in Tarkinton yesterday afternoon.

Only thing-it was so SAD!! There were hardly ANY trees there!! WE did manage to pick out 2-then took them up front to be shook and bagged. While talking to the owners, we found out that this is their last year-OH NO!!! We've been bringing our kids and grandkids here for YEARS now!! It was the end of a tradition!! We left so depressed that something else is now gone from our lives.

Mom's heart tests all came back fine!! What a relief!!!! She had just about worked herself into a tizzy over it-but she's OK!!! We did a little shopping afterward and she was great!!

I get to babysit today-Julie's 2 youngest-Cayden & Madysen. It'll be a fun day-Trying to keep a 22 month old out of the Christmas tree and all the decorations-Maybe I'm getting TOO old for this!!! I love them to death-BUT they can be a handful!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cold Outside!

Well, the old saying around here goes-If you don't like the weather today-Wait 'til tomorrow!! When I got up yesterday-it was warmer than when we went to bed on Tuesday night. It stayed warm all day-off and on little showers-of course after I put 2 loads of laundry out on the line to dry! They did manage to dry-then right after 9:00-the cold front ARRIVED! The temps started dropping FAST. Now this morning its 40 degrees and not expected to get out of the 50's all day-now that's pretty cool for this neck of the woods!
Randy shot his first deer in over 10 years on Tuesday (actually only the 2nd one he's ever got!). Talk about one excited big ole boy!! He was still shaking even after him and his dad got it cleaned!! So we had fried deer steak for supper last night! YUMMY!
Mom will be here in a few hours-I have to take her back over to Conroe for her next heart test-this time echo with the dye. Tomorrow we go back for all the test results-she is so nervous! I told her if she didn't just calm down-she's gonna make herself sick!!
I'm gonna stop by one of the feed stores over in Conroe today to see about picking up Jeff another bee hive. All of our old ones have just about rotted away. We did manage to scrap together an old one last week-he's trying to capture 2 different hives from trees. One is behind Mom's house in a neighbor's yard-and the other is in a tree at his brother James' house. This tree was blown over during IKE and is just full of honey and bees!! So Jeff's gonna try to lure them into the hive body and bring them home. We haven't had hives in years and he really wants to get started with them again!! Wish him luck!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Green Things!

Here is grandson, Jordan, bringing in the GREEN STUFF from the garden and chicken pen yesterday. Jeff cut the biggest of the broccoli-I picked 5 more snow peas to add to my collection in the freezer ( I should have enough to cook in a week or two ! ) and the 1 and only egg (what's up with that !) we got yesterday-a green one. I meant to cover up the remaining squash plants-there are a few small ones left-because it's really cold out there this morning-29 degrees @ nearly 6:00 am. Frost all over the windshields-which reminds me-gotta go warm up the Jeep so I can go to work. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday ?

This is the same beach where the picture of Jeff and I was taken that is posted on our about us page at the beginning of our blog. We were sitting with our backs to this part of the beach -although that spot is now under water. You used to be able to drive down the beach quite a way from the dunes-what is left of them in this picture is the black hump with the waves crashing off it. Homes were built right up next to them on the left side.

Sheila and me standing in front of what's left of the beach house. It just looked so much worse this weekend. I'll say it was because the weather was so gray and gloomy.

We have been home so little these last 4 days- it seems like home is a Bed & Breakfast!!!! Thanksgiving was wonderful-the weather was warm enough that we basicly stayed outside in the yard visiting with everyone all day. That meant we never left to go see anyone else either :( Alana and I got to Wal-Mart - and home without any problems-but it was a mad house. Couldn't believe the news later that someone had been killed in the mass going in the one in New York!! That's just horrible!! No amount of money saving is worth someone's life!!! WE came home-Jeff and I took a nap-then headed to Livingston. We stood in line for over an hour to check out in Baskin's. I know Jeff's back was killing him!! We made a few more stops-then ran by Mom's-then by Sheila & Alfred's. We later met them in Cleveland for supper. Before we found a place to eat-their son Jeremy called-they were admitting him into the hospital in Conroe with blood poisoning in his hand. So we ran over there and checked up on him. They kept him over night and released him Saturday night. We met them again on Saturday morning and took a drive down to the beach-they hadn't been since IKE. It just seemed SO much worse this time-maybe because it was overcast and windy. We found a few more things buried in the mud in the yard. And we drove down to Crystal Beach for the first time-MAN-It looks like a bomb went off down there!!! It's just awful! There is debris everywhere. Nothing that we saw was even open and doesn't look like it will be for a long time. There are still abandoned cars along the sides of the road and ruble is everywhere. It is just heart breaking to see. We decided we were blessed to have all of our stuff gone-than to have to deal with that kind of cleanup!! Sunday morning it had turned out REALLY windy and cold-And of course-the greenhouse is coming apart-AGAIN!! Jeff says now we need more of the clamps that I found at the dollar store-the same one we had bought at Lowe's! Yesterday was the first day I had been able to even check on it-I needed some green onions for the seafood gumbo I was making-which turned out great-and the beets are coming up! Still waiting on the lettuce and the spinich. We had to go up to Mom's and load some logs of Shorty's to take to Alfred's sawmill and to get a roll of hay for the cows. Again it was right at dark by the time we got home to feed. So the whole holiday I've had just enough time to load the dishwasher and wash a few loads of clothes. My house is a WRECK!!! I think I might could fill up a new vaccumn cleaner bag with just the dirt off the carpet in the livingroom floor!! And all the kids are wanting to go to the Christmas tree farm and get our trees-My house has to be cleaned up first-I can't start dragging all those decorations out with the mess in here! Guess I'll just have to get in gear today and get busy!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

My broccoli has just gotten SO beautiful! Almost ready to cut-YUMMY!!!!!Aren't these just 2 of the CUTEST things you've ever seen??? There's 2 more just like 'em!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!!!! We'll leave in a few hours to go to Jeff's parents house to eat with his family. With him being one of 6 kids and their kids and now grands and great grands-we usually have a big crowd. But with other in-laws to visit-very rarely is EVERYONE there at the same time! It will be open table for the rest of the day with family coming and going at will. I'm gonna fix a banana cream pie, pasta salad, corn casserole and deviled eggs ( great way to use up all those eggs!) Oh-and we only have to go about the length of a football field-we live on family land-Part of the original 80+ acres Jeff's grandfather owned.

Alana and I had a really nice day yesterday. We went into Conroe and got Jordan's and my hair cut. I knew that the last one I got was bad-BUT-little did I realize that there was a 1 1/2 difference in the sides!!! I'm really happy with it now-I've got to go and try to fix it-so we'll see. Then last night we went back to Conroe with Randy to pick up a few things he needed for a surprise he's putting together for Kimberly! I think we'll just stick around here today! Gonna do the Black Friday thing tomorrow-Just at Wal-Mart-I think. Jeff will sit with Julie's kids-She has to be at work there at 5:45am-So Julie, Alana and I will try to pick up the few things that are on sale and then me and Alana will come on back home. Hope it's not TOO crazy-I've had some bad experiences in the past and just started going again last year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekly Update

OK-I did it again! Just was busy again last week-So I decided to just do a weekly update today! Here goes:

Tuesday-Nov. 18- Started out VEERY early today-Mom had to be in Conroe at the hospital @ 6:00am-so we had to leave here by 5:00. Praise God-everything went well-She has more than 40 % blockage but less than 50%. We were back home by 11:00. She'll have to have more tests to confirm this-but all is well right now!!
Worked for Ann today at the Annex office. All went well-but-boy I'm not used to working a 10 hour day!!
Thursday-Nov. 20-
Worked for Ann today also-And I finished with all the data input I was doing for her @9:00am-that made for a LONG day!! Randy came by the house as soon as I got home-He invited us over to have squirrel dumplings with them for supper. He did a WONDERFUL job cooking them! We ate outside around the fire and just talked and watched the cold front blowing in. Started getting cold-so we came on back home.
Friday-Nov. 21-
Jeff had a follow-up Doc appointment this morning @ 9:00-What a waste of time and a vacation day! The Doc could of told us his chlolestrol was a little high-but not high enough for meds over the phone! But Mom also had an appointment @ 1:00-so we did a little Christmas shopping then took her back-She had to have the first echo-without dye. I'll take her back on the 4th of Dec. for the one with dye. And boy is it COLD-the wind will cut you in two!!
Saturday-Nov. 22-
We went up to Mom's today to get our little trailer. Jordan and Kaytlynn went with us. Shorty took Jordan fishing in their pond-I don't know who had the most FUN!! They caught 2 small brim and the duck ate them. Later that evening-we went and ate Chinese food then did little more Christmas shopping. ANd the Doc told Jeff to start drinking red wine-we aren't drinkers-anyone got a good red wine-we've tried 2-we don't like them-they are bitter or leave a coating in your mouth.
Forgot to mention that the cold front on Thursday night did my greenhouse in!! I give up-but Jeff still had another idea up his sleeve. He but some 45 degree angles in-we made it a little smaller-and bought different plastic for it. It looks a lot better-the next storm will tell if it'll hold. We went and visited this evening with a friend that used to work with Jeff-she'd been battling breast cancer and WON!! She's cancer free!!! We are so happy for JoAnn~~she's having some trouble with viens in her legs-but she's gonna be OK!! A friend from the beach called tonight to check on us-Jeff and Duanne had a good talk. He gave us the phone number of the guy who inspected his sewer system-which you have to get done now to even get your lights turned back on!
Ok-back to today!! I called the guy about the inspection-he said he'd do it today!!! Just sent him the money and he'd send us the certificate!! Finally-something seems to be going right!! I thought I'd have to drive down there to pay him-so this worked great!! I'm cooking a big pork roast for supper in the crock pot-gonna add potatoes and carrots this afternoon and make a loaf of bread in the bread machine. Sure is starting to smell good!!! School is out this whole week and the county office is only open 2 days this week-so I doubt I'll work any at all this week! Maybe I'll get some stuff done around here-might even drag out the Christmas decorations-the girls already have their lights up. We'll probally get the trees this weekend or early next week. We've been going to the same Christmas tree farm for YEARS now-the guy who owns it is always SO friendly!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Hog Killin' Details

Ok-Farm Mom-this is for you!! Tough things first-Jeff does shoot the hogs. That is the one detail that I don't help with-big chicken-I stay inside til the deed is done. I'm fine with all the helpin' out afterwards-just don't want to be there!!! This hog was 10 months old and was born here on our place. Now the smokehouse-It's about 8X8 and is basiclly a metal shed. It has boards across the top like rafters that we tie material strips to, then loop the sausage links through them. We smoke them overnight over a smoky fire of either hickory or red oak wood. The casings are store bought-but we have cleaned out the hog intestines ourselves when we can't find them in the store. We purchased this grinder last year and it's bigger-and FASTER-than the one we had before-And before that one it was the old fashioned hand cranked one-boy did that take FOREVER!! We usually butcher 2-3 hogs a year-we tend to give alot of the meat away to family and friends-Share the wealth and goodness!! There is a guy Jeff works with that wants him to make sausage for him, too. I just love your enthusiasm-wish you were closer, too-We love to share!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Here is what the link sausage looked like this morning after Jeff took it out of the smokehouse. Took us several hours to get it all packaged up and in the freezer-but it's done!!!! WE've got the greenhouse put back together AGAIN-the high winds did it in yet again. We tried to reinforce the bottom to keep the sides down-just have to wait til the next storm to see if it'll hold. I did transplant 3 more tomato plants and 1 of the pepper plants inside of it. We had our first freeze last night and it did a number on the squash-didn't upset me-the plants are beautiful-but haven't got 1 squash from them. Shorty said I planted 'em at the wrong phase of the moon. I never really payed much attention to that before, but maybe I better from now on!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hog Processin'

Cuttin' up the meat-The smokehouse is the green building in the
Runnin' the meat through the grinder with LOTS of help!!

Two of the BEST helpers in the WORLD!!!

Hangin' the links in the smokehouse

Still gettin' help or maybe advise!!!
Well-Jeff and Randy ended up with 130 lbs of sausage!! We left about 40 lbs in pan sausage and the other 90 is in links that are now smokin' in the smokehouse. We'll take them down in the morning-package them and put 'em in the freezer. The pan sausage I use for meatloaf and spaghetti-it's already seasoned!!! The first batch of the goat jerky is in the dehydrator now and will also be ready in the morning. Good eatin' and NO PRESERVATIVES!!! HOME GROWN!! Good fer ya!!!!

Hog Killin' !!!

Jeff & Randy

Jeff cutting up the goat

Well-Jeff did it!! He killed the biggest hog before 7:00 am this morning. It was quite a bit bigger than he thought once it hit the ground(but that's usually the way it happens anyway). Ang-I'll try to post pics throughout the day for you and let you see how the process goes-the East Texas way! We'll have link sausage in the smokehouse by this evening! YUMMY!!! And thankfully, Randy's here to help out-really he just wants to be able to take a load of sausage home this afternoon-hehe!!! We did get the goat off the bone. Jeff cutting it up-we got a few packages of steaks and we'll probally put some pork with it and make some pan sausage. We'll make jerky out of it, too. Ever eat goat jerky? It's REALLY good stuff!!