Friday, January 31, 2020

Our Last Two Days at the Ranch....Thursday and Friday

We are savoring our time here this month.
Every day seems special to us.
Thursday was slow and easy.
Louis Dean did odd and end projects and I worked on my art.

Mid afternoon we took a break and watched our campfire.

It was a damp chilly day with the high just in the 40's.
The fire burned big and glorious for only a few minutes before dying down to a slow steady burn.
Louis Dean burned that little Christmas tree we bought at HEB when we were down here in December.

I never get tired of looking at Mr. Jackson's cattle.

I traipsed over to the fence to get a plastic bag that had blown off and caught on a thorn tree and this cow started coming over to see what I was doing.

Then the resident kitty cat came down to explore.
I need to get and keep some kitty treats down here.

I left Louis Dean out on the deck keeping an eye on the fires while I went back in the front room to paint. That small fire to the left is what he made to burn up a dead root that he had been tripping over.
Easier to burn it than dig it up - except Sherry has this super duper tractor that would make short of one little root! Still, he enjoyed getting rid of it the Indian way.

I was just inside the window behind Louis Dean painting.

Based in the background for Winston......

And I am trying to use up some of my old paints!

Then I worked on the background for Elsa......

and finally, the background for Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

I cooked while I was painting.....onions and celery simmering in butter smells so good!
I made chicken and dressing......

candied carrots, and broccoli with cheese sauce plus a 'made from a box' cheesecake.

Dean and Sherry came down to visit for a few minutes after she got off work.

We popped the top off the small bottle of mead Leah and Patrick gave us.....
filling four small glasses evenly for our taste testing!
We have a winner! 
All four of us liked it although it is a really sweet wine and I am not usually a fan of sweet!
When we go back home, I will start researching the recipes and we will soon be starting our own batch of mead!

This was a good way to end our Thursday!

Friday morning Louis Dean and I BOTH woke up early!
 First time since we've been here!
It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you get up early in the morning!

This is one of our favorite Roger Miller songs!
He was such a great singer and song writer!

It was a wonderful day. 
Louis Dean accomplished a lot. I know this because he told me.
I have NO idea what all he did but he seemed happy.

I did some Susie Homemaker chores.
Cleaned sinks and reorganized a set of shelves out in the front room.
Watched a few episodes of a new to us program called Justified.
Dean loaned us the first season and I am hooked.
I did my thing and Louis Dean did his and we reconnected over the fire pit late this afternoon.

We are out of  'joy juice' - aka Charcoal Lighter!
This one he started and kept going all by himself!

We do love a good campfire.
We found a fire pit at HEB on Monday and would have bought it if the truck had not been full.
It would be perfect for a campfire and for grilling.....but it would not take the place of this one.

It was cold today! And will be 34 degrees tonight.
I love it!!!

The first art I did today was the red barn and cardinal.
I have painted this one before. Twice.
So I decided to do this one in a different style.....using a palette knife.

Maybe I am growing in my art because this was a challenge and it was fun!
Maybe I will move from Santa paintings to Christmas Cardinals for 2020.
One of my friends suggested that and I like that idea.

I reworked the background on Winston and then based him in.

When basing in - it's important to not get into too many details. 
Those come later......

I worked on Elsa next.
She is our long ago and much loved neighbor's dog.
As in we loved the Carroll's and Amber and Benjamin grew up with their children.

Elsa is nowhere near finished and I sincerely hope I can capture her personality.
Both Winston and Elsa will go home with me and once they are dry - I will continue to work on them. Our return to the ranch for February will be right after my next follow up appointment with my surgeon for my knee. That is on the 18th so we will be back down here on the 19th.

Summer was to have her trial surgery for the spinal stimulator on the 3rd of February but that has been pushed back to the 17th, which is perfect as I will be able to take her to the hospital for that procedure. If the 10 day trial is successful - she will have the big major surgery 2-3 weeks later.

So.....we had planned to leave here tomorrow so I could be home and rested before getting up early to take Summer to the hospital. Since that changed.....while Louis Dean and I were sitting by the campfire tonight ....after I had packed away all my art supplies and paintings......we decided there was nothing keeping us from staying one more full day and night here!

Yup!! That's me doing the Happy Dance!
That also means I will be here to help Sherry check on our bee hives.
She got the coolest new tool in the mail today from her daughter that will allow us to check on our bees without even lifting the top off!
I am so excited!

Every single day we have been here I have felt myself grow stronger.
The last two days I have rested in the afternoon but not actually napped.

Another day .....and another night.....and we still get home in time for the Super Bowl!
And I can't wait to see the commercials!
They are sometimes my very favorite part of the Super Bowl.
We will slide into town in time to pick up Little Caesars Hot Wings and watch the game.
Then real life starts for me on Monday.
My dance card is full for the next week or two ....but I am so ready.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Monday Ranch! Tuesday Bee Meeting! Wednesday Art! We Are IN the Country!!

Monday we left the house and decided to stop for breakfast at Joe's Coffee Shop even though it was 12:30 before we headed south to the ranch!

Joe's is an old fashioned coffee shop and we fit right in with lots of elderly people that day.
Only one table had two young people sitting at it.

It was a fine feeling eating and drinking coffee knowing we were going to the ranch!
I admit, once we got on the road, the getting here was harder than I thought it would be.
Louis Dean needed my help navigating so I couldn't very well close my eyes and rest.
Once we got on I35 I tried to nod off but I was so uncomfortable I couldn't.
I was so glad to get to the HEB in Belmead!
We didn't need a lot and it didn't take long but it still wore me out to the point that on the way to Mart, Louis Dean asked me if I okay because I kept moaning. I preferred to think I was breathing heavy. I just felt like I was going to pass out but I was already sitting down!
I wasn't just about to prop my foot up on the dashboard as I have done in the past.
Not after seeing an x-ray on Facebook of a passenger involved in a wreck who had done that very thing. I have thought about that before and I have decided to not do it anymore!

We get real excited when we get past Waco and onto the country roads!

That's our turn down there - at the silo and lone tree.

We are here!!

It's our favorite moment!
Our time here has just begun!
Five glorious days and nights!

Louis Dean helped me in and I settled down on the little sofa seat where I spent most of that first evening recovering from the trip down. Worth every bit of the discomfort, though!

The camper was all snug and dry - Sherry and Dean keep an eye on it after heavy rains so we won't have any big surprises.

Colored lights are still on the perpetual Christmas Tree in the front room but I'll be taking of that pretty soon.

Dean grilled T-bone steaks and Sherry cooked the best potato medley in cream sauce and seasoned green beans, garlic bread and pepper poppers for our welcome back dinner!
It was delicious and Sherry did the dishes afterwards and left the extra food for our lunch today.

She and I sat inside the camper and visited while Dean and his dad sat out in the front room.
I think sitting around and just talking is something of a lost art.
Mother used to love to sit and talk.
We would tell and retell our 'war stories' and such and it was nothing to spend a couple of hours just talking. Louis Dean and I do that over our evening wine many a night.
Brenda and Billy are another couple that we can sit and talk to. 
Louis Dean often tells me how much he and Ellen enjoyed driving in to Comanche  from wherever they were teaching and spend  some time drinking coffee and talking to Ruby Nell and Jerl - Ellen's parents.

We went to bed last night with full hearts as well as full stomachs!
And to make it even better - it rained all night!

But all that rain for muddy conditions down here today.
Dean drove their Durango to Waco to have some work done on it this morning and the mechanic drove him home. Dean told him to let him out at the end of the gravel but he decided to try and drive on down. Naturally he got stuck.  Dean got the tractor and pulled him all the way up to the gate!
Dean knows how to drive in the mud.

The wind howled all day long sometimes even rocking the camper a little bit.
This helped dry the road out enough for Sherry to drive us out for our bee meeting Tuesday night.

We have ordered two new hives for April delivery!
And we are mentors this year!
Actually, Sherry is and I'm her helper.
All the new beekeepers went down to the front after the meeting to sign up.
I looked them all over wondering who would be assigned to us.
We have a new sister beekeeper friend - her name is Rosy and she also volunteered to be a mentor.

All three of us went out to eat together and we had the best time!
We planned an activity using the progressive dinner concept.
Our plan is to gather a group of beekeepers in our area and going from one place to the others during the course of a Saturday or Sunday. The goal is to develop relationships and also see how others are doing their bee activities and learning from each other. Maybe start out with coffee and cinnamon rolls at one place and then sandwiches at another with mid afternoon snacks at the next and maybe drinks and appetizers at the last place. This should be fun! Hopefully we can pull this together for April or May.

I was so excited when Rosy ordered fish tacos!
I've always wanted to see what they looked like.....not that I ever wanted to taste them!

It was a good Tuesday and I slept like a baby that night.

Today (Wednesday) has been such a nice relaxing day.
I puttered around doing this and that. I added some red and black tablecloths to the front room and set up the new to us toaster oven, crock pot and pop up toaster we bought at Goodwill. That involved moving a few things around and tweaking what goes where.

I have continued my exercises and can tell my knee is healing up nicely.
The steps up into the camper and down to the front room have proved to be good exercise.

This afternoon I went out to feed carrots to the horses.
I had looked out the front windows and saw them running along the fence line.
That's such a pretty thing to get to see.

This horse is skittish and won't let anyone cut the bridle off of her.
Slowly but surely it has been cut a little at a time and is about to come off on its own.

I haven't been down to see the other critters yet.
 Still protecting my knee.
Sherry said she might take me around on the four wheeler on Friday to see everyone.
Louis Dean says he has seen the wild peacock fly several times.
We can watch the 'mops' aka Great Pyrenees patrol the property from here as well as watch the geese.
There are only three geese now.....

I'm gearing up to paint tomorrow and Friday.
It will be my first art to do this year!
I have several paintings I have promised people and I want to get started on them.

This is Winston - Deanie's grand dog!
It will be her birthday gift - and her birthday was in December!

This is Elsa.....and I am painting it for one of my favorite neighbors from years past.

Then there's Miss Pepper!

She belongs to our Canadian friends.
They are planning on visiting us this fall and I want to have Miss Pepper's portrait done by then!!

There are other paintings to do as well.
The Northern Lights for my niece, Leah and a Christmas painting for my blogging friend, BJ.
And another Christmas one for Kimmy - and I need to have it ready for her birthday in July!

I'm having a good time here at the ranch.
It truly is Our Happy Place!!!

Monday, January 27, 2020

My Favorite Hockey Mom!

This was a hockey weekend for us! 
Two Games!

The first one was Saturday in Farmers Branch.
This is a really nice facility.
I love watching Amber.....I always have.
She was a synchronized swimmer so that made me a Synchro Mom.
I loved everything about synchro and went to all the practises, meets and traveled as a team mom to all the competitions.

Now I watch Amber be a Hockey Mom!
Water is still involved - just frozen!

We watched Logan......

and Harrison play. They are on one team and Trystan and Kailey are on another.

Synchro Mom and Hockey Mom!

Kailey and Granddad have always held a special spot in each other's heart!

The game was at 1:00 on Saturday. 
We came home, ate a sandwich lunch and then I went straight to bed.
I can do something or go somewhere but then I have to go back to bed.

It was dark when I got up and went to the kitchen to make some cookie bars.
Sherry gave me this cookbook using honey and I wanted to make something to take to the bee meeting on Tuesday.

They turned out pretty good but they are a bit crumbly.
I packed up some to take to the meeting and some to take to the next hockey game.
The crumbs would be good sprinkled on yogurt....but I'm not sure I'd make this particular recipe again.

Today (Sunday) was the second hockey game and we were right on time!
That's THREE games we have been to and been on time at all three!
Even watching them skate out onto the ice!

Kailey skated right up to the glass because she knows her MeeMaw so well and knew I would take her picture! She waited patiently while I fumbled for my phone!

She wore bright pink shoestrings and was easy to spot.
Trystan is #13 and had a pink scrunchie on her pigtail.

Look who else came to the game!!!
I had not seen Summer in two weeks so I was so happy!

Speaking of Summer.....
she is scheduled on February 3rd for a 10 day trial with the spinal stimulator.
It's not the full surgery - they just insert the wires I think.
If it works - and we are praying that it does - they will schedule the far more serious surgery of implanting the stimulator. I'm speaking in mom talk because I don't fully understand all that's involved but I do know it is serious surgery with two weeks of terrible pain after before it gets better.
Summer is desperate for relief from the constant pain she has been in for going on four years now.
I am amazed by her. As bad as she feels, she still keeps going. Yes, she goes down for days at a time but gets back up and pushes on. 

Today she brought these cookies for after the game!
She rocks being an Aunt!

Once again, we came home straight after the game and I went back to bed.
Louis Dean kept coming in to check on me and was glad when I finally woke up.
That's why I'm up so late tonight.
I did some laundry and housework.
 Packed up my art tub as we are getting things ready to go to the ranch.
Louis Dean has already loaded the truck so we may get out of here earlier than usual tomorrow.

I did get out my Country Diary from 2008 when I had my right knee replaced.
It was in August that time....another good month to be down if you're going to have to be.
I did well on that surgery but not as well as I have done on this one.
Tomorrow will be 3 weeks out and I have not had to take pain pills past the first 10 days.
 Last time I still had to take one from time to time at this point.
The common factor in both of these knee surgeries is the fatigue.
I reread the diary for August and into September 2008 and I repeated over and over again how tired I was. That's my main problem now. Fatigue. There's no hurrying the process. It takes time and it's not wise to overdo things. Louis Dean says he's very proud of me because I have been taking very good care of myself. I don't want to do anything to mess up my new knee.
Sometimes I just lie in bed - not reading or sleeping or anything.
Just too tired to do even hold a book.
But then I can get up and putter around the house doing a few things.
Because it's my left knee, I was able to drive sooner than when it was the right one.
I am so grateful this surgery was possible and it's a small thing to spend some weeks and months sitting life out a bit so that I will have two good knees going forward!
I have never been a strong person and yet here I am recovering faster than is usually expected.
Perhaps I am stronger than I thought!!