Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Needed a little Mommy Boost this morning

In the Parent Trap:  One of my favorite blogs had a great pick-me-up this morning.  I needed this.  Maybe you do to - or you know someone who does.  Check out LiEr's blog, Ikat Bag.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I Have 10 Cats

In The Yard:  No, not in the field today.  This was at the house.  Yes, I have 10 cats.  And I'll continue to have 10 cats, maybe even more.  This is why:

My Love had just gone outside (about 10 minutes ago) to start work on the door for my cellar.  He comes racing immediately back into the house, grabs the .410 and the shells and heads back out the door.  One of our outdoor kitties had a rattlesnake charmed. 

This is how close to the house it was.  Talk about dangerous.  Especially for a sweet Baby Girl who loves to play outside.

And here's My Love holding the wretched thing after he'd blown it's head off.  A little over 3 feet long. Ugh.  Just gives me the creeps.  Makes my stomach churn when I think what could have happened had Baby Girl found it and not My Love.  I HATE them!

We're not sure where it came from as we are surrounded by dormant wheat fields.  Maybe the barn? The garden? 

Just a few years ago, when we were remodeling the house, look what we found when we removed the floor vents:

Thankfully it was about 8 degrees that day, so they weren't moving much.  There are a total of 12 in this box.  We found a lovely man who pulled them out and took them away for us.  Personally, I'd have killed them all, but he could sell them to places that make anti-venin.  Unfortunately for him, he left them outside in this metal box overnight and they all died.  No loss there.  Overall, we found a total of 25 rattlers that year. 

We've killed just a few in the last 2 years.  I've killed 3 on my own (God Bless that little .410). 

As much as I love being a farmer's wife, this is one thing I'd gladly give up.  But I definitely won't be giving up my kitties.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hay Bales and Harvest

In the Field: I promised you some pics from wheat harvest...just now getting around to looking at the pictures on my camera.  It's amazing what you'll find on there! 

Combining in the field behind our house.

Combining and the truck waiting to be filled (this is the truck I learned how to drive this year!)

Eating supper in the field.  This is the only time Baby Girl got to see My Love (the one with the plate on this lap) each day of harvest.

This was an exciting harvest for me.  I learned how to drive the truck (aka 18-wheeler for the non-farming folk) at wheat harvest.  I have to say, I really enjoyed it!  I only drove in the field since I'm not licensed, but it was still fun.  I didn't kill it once!  I'm so proud!  It's very similar to driving a standard, only with an extra set of gears.  Now, I'm no expert - you won't be seeing me on Ice Road Truckers!  I also got to drive it to help load hay.  My Love was driving the tractor and I drove the truck pulling the hay trailer.  It was killer on my thighs - that clutch is a bear!!!

And yesterday was another learning experience for me - I learned how to drive the tractor!  I have no idea which one it was except that it was green and it had air-conditioning!  It was a bit cramped as it had no "buddy seat" (passenger seat beside the driver).  My Love decided it was time for me to learn how to move hay.  He loaded me and Baby Girl up and we were off.  He drove for the first bit, showing me how everything worked.  (Side Note:  Baby Girl LOVES to ride in the tractor - she just chills out on Daddy's lap and watches the world go by).  After a while, I took over the reins. 

Now, tractor driving is much more difficult than driving an 18-wheeler.  There's no gas pedal, only an accelerator that you use by hand - meaning you can't just let off the gas to slow down - that was a difficult one to learn!  And there are 2 brake pedals - to stop, you mash them both.  Add onto all this, there is an A, B, C, D gear and in each gear are 1-4 gears - I was mainly in C-2 and R-1 (reverse).  Then there are all the hydraulics - forward and back, up and down, 3 different hydraulics.  It was mind-boggling.  And not much fun to learn with My Love and Baby Girl and I all crammed into a tractor cab. 

But I prevailed!  I even learned how to hitch and unhitch the gooseneck trailer (so much easier than a truck - no need to get out!).  My Love with with me as I loaded up each hay bale onto the trailer (I even double-deckered them!).  After I drove up to the house to unload the bales, he and Baby Girl climbed down and watched.  I ALMOST dumped one off the far side of the trailer, but I rescued it!  Here's a pic of my pretty row (mine is the last row on the left - and some of the bales at the front of the other rows).  I think I did pretty good!

Now, when I first got married several of the farm wives in our church cautioned me to never learn how to drive the tractor. They said once you learn, they'll have you doing it all the time!  One lady even told me that her first time to drive a tractor she drove it through the fence so she never had to drive it again!  LOL! 

I guess I'm just different.  Before My Love and I got married, my dream was to live on my family's ranch in the Texas Hill Country.  I wanted to raise cows and build a home out in the middle of nowhere.  Although I miss easy-access to great food and shopping, I don't miss the city at all.  I am living my dream life.  Except that I get a little stir-crazy every now and then.  I love being a homemaker, but sometimes Momma just wants to get out of the house!  I crave connection to the land.  I need the sunshine and the sweat.  I need to work with my hands and see what I've accomplished.  Farming isn't just my husband's job - it's OUR DREAM.  Not just his life - OUR life.  The life I want our daughter to love.  I want her to see us working together to make this dream a reality.  And if that means I "have to" drive a tractor and an 18-wheeler - bring it on!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Necessary Reminder

I had several "fun" things I wanted to post about today, but something happened last night that has been on my mind all day.

About 11 pm last night, lightning started flashing as a thunderstorm rolled in.  The landscape around here can be described with 1 word - DRY.  We had a little rain earlier in the spring, causing grass to grow - grass that has now died and left abundant fuel for wildfires. My Love is a volunteer fireman so I reminded him to put his fire pager by the bed (which prevents the obnoxiously loud siren call from waking up the baby).  About 2:30 this morning, the pager went off.  We both expected the call to be for a wildfire.  We were wrong.

The call was for a structure fire - something we rarely have out here because our population density is very low.  Thankfully, Texas Forest Service had given our volunteer fire department a grant for structure fire gear (very different from fighting wildfires).  So My Love dressed in this new gear for the first time and headed out to the fire.

At this point, we had had some rainfall (Praise the Lord for that .35"!), so the fire trucks had to go the long way around to get to the fire (you just don't drive on caleche roads during a rain!).  Unfortunately, it took our guys over 30 minutes to get to the site.  The other fire departments were already on site, doing what they could to put out the fire.

But it was too late.  A historical ranch home built in the late 1800s burned to the ground. All that remains of the home and it's collection of family antiques, paintings, and irreplaceable memories is the rock walls.

That is not the worst, nor the reason it is on my mind.  The owner never made it out of the house.  One man escaped, burned and scraped with smoke inhalation damage, but she didn't.  We guess she must have run to save some personal momento and lost her life.

My Love dug through the rubble and helped pull what what left of her body from the ashes of her home. 

He and the other firemen were able to rescue some heirloom dishes, but not her. 

Please take this a reminder to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.  Perform fire escape practice.  And LEAVE everything behind.  Things can be replaced but your life cannot.