Monday, April 29, 2019

The Last Few Days......

  Friday morning I did my last school drop off and the kids and I were bound and determined to be not only on time but early!

I lined their backpacks up in the hall along with my purse.
We left at 7:10 and made such good time we couldn't believe it!
Trystan said, "I can see cars moving but there's not nearly as many as when we leave later."
I had the real time displayed on my phone and they were keeping track of how early we were!
13 minutes!
I was so excited.....that I sailed right past the drive into drop off!
I had envisioned us rolling up to the curb and the helper opening the door and the kids tumbling out calling out their goodbyes.....
Instead all four started wailing, "MeeMAW!!!! You drove right past our school!!!! Now we are going to be late!!! But we weren't. Instead of 13 minutes early, they were only 11 minutes!
I did hear someone grumbling under their breath, "NOW look how far we have to walk!"
I had pulled into the church parking lot right next to the school and we walked over.

I laughed and laughed and I still laugh every time I think about this!!
Not sure the kids thought it was funny.

It was just barely 8:00 when I got back to their house.
I used the next hour or more to do my reading and praying, catch up on my Country Diary and drink two cups of coffee.

Summer came over Thursday night so she and Amber were watching a movie while I wrote personal notes to Trystan, Kailey, Harrison and Logan.
I had a word of prayer before we left for school and asked God to bless each one and when I said Amen, Harrison said, "You prayed for us in birth order!"
Yes, I did! By name, out loud and on purpose!

I left Dallas, stopping by the house to pick up Louis Dean, and we headed over to Trail Lake Nursing Home. It had been nearly a month since we had visited Lillian.

Louis Dean sang some of his 'new' old songs - mainly Ray Price - and Lillian LOVES Jim Reeves.
I listened to a few songs and then went to pick up pizzas for us.
Lillian and Margaret both told me over and over again that they do not eat much.....
well, one large pizza shared by three ladies vanished into think air!
Louis Dean ate a hamburger on the way over so he wasn't hungry.

I changed Lillian's sheets and made a Walmart run for some groceries.

They have a nice little set up with their food and I am thrilled that they actually do eat more than they did. I told them I would be back Thursday and bring lunch.
I always ask them what they are hungry for and both ladies started saying nothing at all - until all of a sudden - Lillian called out, "CHEESE MANICOTTI!"
So that's what I'll be making next week - and I am wondering if anyone has a tried and true recipe? 
I found several online that I'm considering.
I'm also going to make Ruth Ann's corn salad recipe and a watermelon salad with feta cheese and mint leaves.

It was after 10:00 when we got home and we were tired to the bone.

So tired that I spent the better part of the day in bed and so did Louis Dean.

By Sunday morning, I had recovered some but he had I went to church with Amber and Mike. It was a special service celebrating the ministry of Pastor Doug.
He has recently retired due to health issues but is looking and feeling much better these days.

From church, we made a Costco run!! All of us!
Amber and Mike had been there Saturday and were leisurely doing their weekly bulk grocery shopping (the soon-to-be 7 year olds have big healthy appetites!)
An employee came up to them and said the store had closed 15 minutes ago!
Costco closes at 6:00 on SATURDAY??
They knew it closed at that time on Sunday but SATURDAY??

So they tried it again on Sunday afternoon giving them plenty of time.

Our lunch was from the Costco Cafe!

It was super busy so the kids did well entertaining themselves - and ME - while we waited for the food.

It takes a good bit of time to get groceries.
Especially when you count stopping at all the 'examples' the demonstration people give out.
That's what Trystan called the sample......'examples!'

Mike took the girls to softball practice and Amber, Harrison and I went to Target to get the rest of the things.

I had the best time! All three of us did!
Harrison got some treasured won-on-one time with his mommy and Amber and I got some time together. We looked at everything!
So nice to not be in a hurry.
Amber helped me get a few new cosmetics and I really appreciated her patience.
The blush, lip gloss were the brands and colors she uses. I read somewhere that older ladies should wear only matte eyeshadow so she found me some of that. Along with new brushes I picked up an eye liner - again - it's the kind Amber uses.
After I did my shopping, I checked out and set myself up in the Starbucks there to relax and people watch.

Amber and I had looked at jewelry and accessories and she pointed out how 'in' tassels are these days. So when I got home and noticed the new pair of gardening gloves I had picked up at Dirt Cheap - I took a pic and sent it to her. I had not noticed the tassels before.

Finally, I am up to Monday - today!

I had my yearly checkup with Dr. Abraham and it looks like everything checks out.
Blood work results will confirm but I am confident all is well.
I made my doctor laugh!
I mentioned that we lost Mother in January and when she asked, "What happened??" I said, "She DIED!" It's always a good thing to get to laugh with your doctor!
I've been going to her for over 20 years and she is the very BEST doctor I could have!

I got a pneumonia vaccine in the office and then went to the hospital pharmacy to get my first shingles vaccine. I am a wimp when it comes to needles so both times they asked me if I was okay.
They warmed my arm could be sore later but I said I'm not worried about soreness later - I'm worried about the needle NOW!
I should have paid attention.

I was in such a good mood all day long!
It was with a sad heart that I opened the dryer door and realized I had killed a gecko.

I washed a lot of fabrics from the gazebo and the poor little thing must have gone through the washer and dryer cycles. He didn't make it.
Louis Dean was, once again, my hero.
I couldn't bear to do it myself.

I meant to finish cleaning up the den after the carpets have been dried, treated and dried again.
But the only real accomplishment today was organizing this bookcase.

It holds all my Country Diaries from 1984 - 2018.
I missed getting a 2014 one and used a different book for that year. 
The one and only year I missed.
All my journals, prayer journals and sermon notes date from 1984.
My house burned in 1983 and I lost all the others....
but I have been faithful to write every day - or catch up - for the last 35 years.
I did not realize how many personal journals I had in addition to my diaries.

The vaccines have really done a number on me and I have had to go to bed yet again!
It's taken all day to do this journal entry and I have been working on it a little at a time since this morning. I hope I wake up feeling much better tomorrow!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Storms and Silver Linings!

Storms were rolling into the DFW area as we packed our bags and Louis Dean's guitar in the car and headed for Dallas to stay at Amber and Mike's house for a few days.

***Photo from At the Ranch Facebook page***
Dean took this photo and shared it on his ranch page today.

Amber had a procedure done on her knee Wednesday morning so Granddad and I were taking over the morning and afternoon school runs for the quads.
By the time we settled in over here I was receiving text messages from the power company saying that our electricity was out and would be back on by 10:00. The texts continued to come with the message 'We have discovered further repairs are needed and your power will be restored at such and such a time. Little did I know then that it would be off for 36 hours. Sometimes not knowing is a good thing. It stormed all night long and made for good sleeping weather.

We did so good Wednesday morning!!
I set my alarm extra early and was up before 6:00. As in the morning!
I estimated we would need to be in the vehicle and backing out of the driveway at 7:20 in order to get to school on time. And we WERE!!!!

We dropped the kids off at school and returned to the house where we had coffee and woke up.
Then Louis Dean and I surprised Amber by giving the kitchen a good cleaning.
He likes to wash dishes by hand and I like organizing so we made a pretty good team.
I left him doing his music and drove back to Irving to get my hair cut.

That magic moment of crazy needing to get your hair cut arrived over a week ago and I was chomping at the bits to get over here!
My hairdresser is the best and she pulled me back together!!
Since I was in Irving, I decided to stop by the house and check on things and pick up a few more clothes.

The outside looked a mess - the entire neighborhood did!
My gardening neighbor, Tamara, had a big old ash tree fall on her house and my next door neighbor had their basket ball goal fall across their car. 
I opened the font door and it didn't smell very good. Normally my house has a nice fragrance to it.
I walked around in the dark and through the back of the house and everything looked fine. I went through the sewing room to look at the gazebo and it had fared pretty well.
I started to relax. The sewing room ceiling had started leaking before we left Tuesday night and I had put a bowl on the floor to catch the water. The bowl was now full so I dumped it out .....and noticed the carpet was really wet. 
I went to the kitchen and discovered water had come in through the French doors and ran down into the den. The den was soaking wet - all over the entire room.
The laundry room has a rug and it was squishy wet. It was a mess!
What to do? There was no power so the sump pumps had not been on and the water had once again poured into the house!

I locked up and went back to Dallas.
Louis Dean was all excited about a new song he had learned and wanted to play it for me and he was just so happy. It made me sad that I had to tell him my news and then, of course, he forgot all about his new song for the time being.
We encouraged one another with the thought that it was so much better to have been over here when the storms were bringing all that rain and the power had gone out.
If we had been home - we would have been helpless to do anything but watch the water come in and we would have had to leave - knowing the water would continue to come in. 
It was so much better for all that to be happening without us knowing it at the time.
Ignorance can really be bliss!

Mike brought Amber home from the hospital and the surgery went very well.
She continues to take the next step toward solving the problems with her knees.

There was no sense in going back home until the power had been restored so I made the most of my time with Amber and we put on a really cute movie to watch!
Louis Dean and I did the school pickup and homework with the kids.
I started dinner and Louis Dean went to Home Depot for Odor-Ban and some things.
Mainly he wanted to think about what he needs to do so this doesn't continue to happen.
And he also wanted to get a hamburger!

Amber is reading The Box Car Children series out loud at night and we are all enjoying it!

This morning (Thursday) I got a text that power had been restored right after we got back from taking the kids to school. We had coffee and made our plans to go home right after morning traffic.
I would do what I could and then come back over here to Dallas while Louis Dean stayed home to suck up all the water, set up fans, and spray with Odor-Ban.

He felt a bit of trepidation as he unlocked the doors, turned on the lights and surveyed the situation.

The water in the kitchen had mostly run down into the den by this time.

I pulled the extremely heavy with water rugs outside and got them up on a bench to drip dry.
I pulled things out from under the kitchen table and pantry and anything sitting on the floor and mopped the whole kitchen.

One room was put back to rights.
The water had not gone all the way across the room so that one rug remained dry.

The den looked good but it was soaking wet.

Everything had to be picked up off the carpet and all my Christmas paintings under and behind the couch were pulled out.

Then the shop vac was turned on and the sucking up of water began.

Louis Dean is my hero!
I admit to being a bit blue at first but he reminded me that this is not anything new. We have done this before and we can do it again. And hopefully his plans will prevent us from continuing to do this!
I made lunch for us and then I went back to Amber's.

This time we watched......

I love it when a plan comes together!!

I did the afternoon pickup and it made me feel so good when the kids were so excited to see me!

They are such sweet children.....
Trystan - I call her 'Polly Perfect!'
Harrison - such a tender hearted little boy.
Kailey - she keeps us all in stitches!
Logan - my Mini Me!

We came in and the kids know the drill - empty their lunch boxes, stow away their back packs, get a snack and play a little while.

Aunt Summer called to say she was coming over and she stopped at Sonic to get drinks for us.
She called to say that after she picked up the drinks - she had been involved in an accident.
It was not her fault and the other lady gave her all her information and apologized profusely.
It was her first accident. The other lady, that is.
Summer was a little bruised and shaken up but her car was still drive able, so she came on over after Mike had gone up and helped her deal with the car.

Pastor Cindy brought dinner in tonight and it was truly appreciated.

She brought three chickens, triple sides and even a big peach cobbler hot from the oven!
We appreciated the food and even more than that - Pastor Cindy led us all in prayer. And we truly needed that.

I fixed everyone a plate before the girls had to leave for softball practice and then we all had another plate after they came home and had their showers.
I played 'Diner/Cafe' with them.
Two took their showers while the other two ate dinner at the Diner.
They sat on the bar stools at the counter and I was their waitress.
It was a lot of fun for all of us.
I even gave them their check and they paid me with real money.
Then I would slip it right back to them under the counter!

Amber read to us before they all went up to bed and I sat down here in the living room to catch up on my journal entries.

So now I am caught up!
I ordered my bee suit and it was supposed to arrive today but it didn't.
Maybe tomorrow.
Our bees arrive Tuesday but the storms have really done a number down there in the country.
I hope we can get in and once we get in - I hope we can get out.

If there's anything I know - it's the importance of being flexible.

"The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord."
Proverbs 16:33

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

From Wildflowers to Garden Flowers - We are HOME!

Three weeks at the ranch went by like the blink of an eye and all too soon we were locking the gate behind us!

Then just as Louis Dean got back in the truck I had to tell him I had left my phone in the camper.
So, we turned around and departed all over again!

We stopped in West at the Little Czech Bakery and filled three big bags full of delicious baked goods!! Some for us and some to share with Amber and the family when we go over there tonight.

Our sweet neighbor, Olga, had sent me a text and some photos of our rose gardens while we were on the road home.

Everything is looking so lush and green!

I love my rosemary and intend to grow some at the ranch.

Roses and honeysuckle - my favorite!

Louis Dean dearly loves his roses.

We sat out on the driveway just enjoying the fragrance of Home!

I planted this but I cannot remember what it's called!
It is growing profusely and has intermingled with the honeysuckle on one side and the Carolina Jasmine on the other.

But my favorite is honeysuckle and it is blooming everywhere!!!
The plants the birds gifted us as well as the ones I have planted on purpose - it's ALL blooming!

Louis Dean unloaded the truck and I started the laundry and put everything up.

I even cut some bouquets of fresh herbs for the kitchen and this one of roses and honeysuckle for his bathroom. It was a surprise for him when he went in to draw his sudsy hot bath. 
He's in there soaking now. I imagine he will be all relaxed when he gets out.
It just came up a big storm and poured down rain so I am guessing the grand girls softball game is cancelled. We had intended to go before going on over to spend the night.
I have unpacked and then repacked a bag to take with me to Amber's.
She is having a procedure tomorrow and we are going to do the school runs for them.

We are settling back down to our city life while fondly remembering how wonderful our country like is! We truly have the best of both worlds.

And now, please excuse me......I have got to go online and buy me that bee suit!

Our Last Weekend at the Ranch.......for April

The more we've done critter chores, the more we've learned how to do it.
This was our third weekend and I think the critters are used to us by now. 

The ducks are usually the first ones we feed and let out - possibly because they are the first ones we come to. I love the deep beautiful colors in some of their feathers.

The mean little rooster got loose when the wind knocked the hen house he lived in over and Dean couldn't catch him before they left town.
I'm back there to feed him and he still charged at me several times.
Ungrateful thing!

My two favorite things on Saturday .....

watermelon with a shaker of salt.........

and Chinese medicine.
Dean have me a patch to put on my left knee which is bone on bone.
I wore it under my knee brace and it has really made a difference.
The top bottle is some kind of ointment and I rub in on my hands and especially the joints that have grown so large and painful. After it dries, I rub a little bit of the cream in the tube (in the box) onto the really painful joint in my right hand. It was frozen stiff and I could barely bend it at all.
It has made such a difference.
Now the patch may not fix my knee but it has helped with the pain.
As far as my arthritic hands go - my doctor said there's really nothing much to be done about it so I think it's fair game to try anything that will work.
All the writing on the medicine is in Chinese so I have no idea what it says.
Dean is a martial arts master and uses a lot of Chinese medicines.

White Flower Oil is another thing I use.
One place Dean gets some of these medicines is Asian markets.
Irving used to have one and you could find all sorts of cool stuff there.
It's gone now and a thrift store is in its place - so I still visit!

Saturday night we sat around the campfire and talked of all the things we have done since we've been down here this time.

The ranch is a magical place for us.

The last few days are such special ones.

Easter Sunday morning I got up and made a batch of blueberry muffins.

We had one cup of coffee and one muffin before riding our bikes down to do the morning chores.

Oh, my goodness!
Those geese come running!

The pups are growing bigger every day!
They are good dogs but I spied one of them carrying something in his mouth that turned out to be a duck. I shouted at him to drop it and yelled NO at him. He minded and dropped the duck who then stood up and escaped. Sadly, the duck didn't make it. Casualty #1 on our watch.

When we went down to feed the chickens in the back coop, we could not find that mean rooster anywhere. We assumed the coyotes got him. Casualty #2.

I made an Easter Sunday dinner for two.

Potato salad using this seasoning makes it really special.
Plus the hard boiled eggs had such yellow yolks that Louis Dean thought I had put in too much mustard!

Baked beans, fresh corn cut off the cob, and a ham steak made up the menu.

After chores Sunday night, I worked on planning out the Texas quilt I want to make for Louis Dean.

I think it's going to be huge!
I may need to rethink this when I start sewing on it.
The blue squares were already cut out as well as the white ones but i had to cut out 84 red squares from a pair of red denim jeans and some Ralph Lauren denim curtains I have.


Mine will not look this neat and precise but this is what I am going by.
I think I have made at least two Texas quilts before. I know Amber and Mike has one of them and I believe I made one for a friend who wanted it for her husband's Christmas gift.
I have made a lot of denim quilts but this will be the first one I've made for Louis Dean.

Today is Monday and our last day on duty and our last full day here this month.

Just look who came back!
That mean old rooster!
Still, I was glad to see him.
Back to only one casualty!

These are some of the 'baby' chicks who are not such babies anymore!

They sure do eat a lot!

The peacocks and guineas are in a really big pen - so big it has three doors you can use.
The peacock was so beautiful I had to take his picture!
However, he has developed a real attitude toward me lately and attacked me as I was trying to feed them this morning! He's a really big bird and after the first time, I thought he would leave me alone so I was going to go ahead and fill their feeding pans. But, NO!!
He dove at me a second and then a third time. I got so upset I threw the feed I was carrying in two cans - straight up in the air! Unfortunately, it came right back down on top of ME! I had a little jacket with a hoodie on it over my sundress and it was filled with cracked corn and pellets.
I was shaking feed out of my clothes all the way back to the camper cabin!

Dean and Sherry arrived back late this afternoon.
They had traveled to Oklahoma for a wedding with Roy and Ruth Ann in their new motor home.

Louis Dean stayed at the ranch and took a nap while I  met up with them in Groesbeck at the RV park to see their new rig.
It is super nice with all the bells and whistles!!!

It was so good to visit with Ruth Ann again!
It had been a long time since we have even seen each other.
They sold their home in Irving and moved to their farm out west of the DFW area.
We didn't get to stay long because it was time for the critter chores so Dean and Sherry said we needed to get back. We got to the camper and they dropped me off and SURPRISE!
Louis Dean had just come back from putting the ducks and goats up!
He said he figured we had got to talking and he better go tend to the critters as there is a 'magic hour' when the ducks line up to march in their pen like little soldiers and it's always better to deal with the goats in the day light!

Sherry had left her bee suit up here for me to try on tonight.

I am ordering mine tomorrow and I wanted to make sure what size I needed.

I can't believe I am really going to be a beekeeper!
Of course, I am actually just Sherry's helper. We bought two hives but I know next to nothing.
I've never seen a thing that Sherry can't do so I am along for the ride!
The bee meeting is tomorrow night and we are going home in the morning so I will miss it. 
Once she learns when the bees will arrive - maybe we can make a flying trip back down here so I can go with her to pick them up. I have to be home for a doctor appointment on Monday morning so it would be a quick trip!

I spent a good while cleaning the camper cabin, vacuuming and sorting out the fridges.
It's always more fun to arrive than it is to depart.
These have been such wonderful days in the country.
3 weeks of nature and gentle living.
I like it here because I don't have to get dressed and leave the place every day like I do at home. 
No time restraints here. You sleep, eat, do this and that and repeat.

We will have coffee and reading in the morning before we leave.......
but we will be back!