Friday, April 30, 2021

A Beautiful Friday!

 It was such a beautiful spring day here in the DFW area!
Soft showers fell throughout the day and the air was as soft as the showers!

I flung open both French doors as soon as I got up this morning - because I could!
Louis Dean will be anchoring the left one down in the next few weeks and repairing both doors.
But for today - they both stood wide open!
The sounds and fragrance is wonderful!

Happy Friday Morning!

Since it was wet outside, and the pillows were damp, I sat inside the kitchen, having pulled a chair up to face the door.

I spent my coffee and prayer time right here.
You can see I turned an old pot upside down to use as my footstool.

I stayed home all day long!
I would work out in the gardens and then come in and clean in the den.
It has been a couple of months since I had cleaned that room.
For whatever reasons, we simply haven't been in there much lately, now that we don't watch much TV.

It was nice to alternate activities!

As I worked, I binge watched this series......or at least several episodes of it.
Not sure what season it is...
Oh, my goodness! I just looked and there's like 22 seasons!!
I have so much to look forward to seeing!

I have had the tub with my spring tree decorations sitting in the den for at least 2 months!
At long last they are ON the tree!
If I had waited much longer, it would have been time to decorate for Patriotic and I would have missed the spring tree altogether!

Somehow I managed to clean the foyer and living room, too!
Win! WIN!!!

My doors are still open and we are about to grill some hamburgers on a new charcoal grill Louis Dean bought at HEB recently. I'm putting together a potato salad....and we have a nice bottle of my favorite wine to share.....a Sav Blanc from Sunshine Bay in New Zealand.

It's Friday Night everywhere.....
I hope you are enjoying yours as much as we are!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Goodbye to the Country, Visit With Lillian, Fresh Hair Cut and New Glasses! Busy Days!

Tuesday I worked on my art for the last time this trip. 

I had more fun painting this canvas than any other I can remember!
While I did sign my name, it's not really finished. I think one more session will do it and then glaze it after it's dry.

The Christmas Train will require many more sessions but I'm having fun with it, too.

The last Tuesday in the month is our Heart of Texas Beekeepers Association meeting.
Sherry and I met up with Rosey for Mexican food and margaritas in China Springs an hour before the meeting so we could still arrive in time. I ordered a margarita on the rocks instead of a frozen one since that takes so much longer to drink. See my shaker of salt?

After we got home, Louis Dean and I sat out with our evening wine and watched the sky.
That pink moon was gorgeous and it was just like watching a light show.
Our last night here for the month of April.

I love this little LED lantern. 
I want to go back to the Homestead Heritage place and buy another one!

We woke up to the sound of air compressors and welding equipment!
Cheyenne and his crew were there and they finished up the Big Red Roof project!
He will have a ton of the finely crushed stone delivered next week and we are DONE!

Louis Dean was so excited! 
He watered the garden using the recovered rain water!

I harvested my lettuce before we left.
There's enough to share with Summer and Amber and there will be plenty more when we come back in May.

It's always more fun to arrive than to leave......that little dog is named Tina and she lives next door.
She gets treats from all the people who live around there.

We were anxious to get on the road so we could make it home before the storms hit.

Stopped on the way to pick up a pizza for Lillian.

It was fresh and hot - and all mushed up from the way Louis Dean carried it in.
But we still ate it!

Lillian was sad when we arrived but she perked right up.
I took her donut holes which she graciously shared with Louis Dean, along with packages of mini muffins to go with her morning coffee.
She is very frail and thin. She had a doctor appointment today so I brought her a new pair of cute pants and a new top to wear and she really liked that.
We had to scoot out so they could do a chest x-ray but we had a nice visit.
I promised her I would be back next Wednesday and I'm going to hang all her pictures. Her things are just stacked in boxes against the wall right now.
I'm also going to buy an all new set of bedding for her.

I'm relieved they let us in to visit!
There's a new sign saying visiting hours are from 8:00 - 5:00.....and it was nearly 6:00 when we arrived.
I told them we had just come from out of town and stopped to see Lillian on our way home.
You have to wear those hard to get on masks but it was worth it to see her!

Summer has been staying at the house the last day or two and she and I sat up in the den until really latelast night catching up and talking. It was good to spend some time together!

The rain washed pond area smelled so good this morning.
I sat outside on the deck for my coffee and quiet time.
It was fun to see Summer so excited!
Her car was all organized and packed perfectly!
She left early this afternoon to pick up Rayne and Sabrina at the airport and then they were going on to a place on the river to stay for a week or two.
It's good to have them back from Puerto Rico!
They will be here until the middle part of July.

Last week at the ranch I had that awful moment when my hair was NOT working for me.
It was all I could do to not at least chop off the long bangs!

Yulisa was proud of me!

She does such amazing things with my fine thin hair and I'm grateful to her!

From there I went down the street to Aldi!
I bought the makings for Texas Trash and some perishables for us now that we're home.
But just look at this coffee!!!
I had to buy the Honey Lavender!
And that Wild Blueberry Crumble smells delicious!
Guess which one I am making in the morning!

I barely had time to put up the groceries and grab a bite to eat and it was time for my appointment at First Eye Care on Shady Grove. Kimmy recommended it to me and I am excited to be getting some good glasses. Last year I bought two pair from Stanton Eye Care in Waco. It was during Covid and I didn't even see a doctor in person. Instead they was a video screen up on the wall and the doctor was on the screen.....and not in the USA! And I could barely understand her.
No wonder my glasses haven't been working for me.

I'm starting to have cataracts which explains some of my vision inconsistencies.
Bottom line - I loved the doctor and his wife and satff.
It's a family owned and run office.
Once you try a pair on - you leave them on the table and a staff member will clean then before putting them back. Last year - during all the lock downs and closings - I was allowed to try on glasses as I wished and put them right back in the slots!

I fell in love with this pair and the lady said I smiled every single time I put them on.
But I didn't get them. Maybe next year.

I chose this functional looking style for every day......

and this one with a little bling for dress up.
I'll get them in 15 days or so!
Just in time for my sibling trip to Kansas City!

Tonight I have been finishing up laundry and working in the rose gardens.

Summer took all these pictures for me before we got home.
I dead headed the roses and pulled up grass and weeds, filling a tub completely full!
Tomorrow I hope to finish those beds and move on to the beds along the driveway.
There's always so much to do and so little time to do it!

Summer and I shared Bible verses last night and this morning she sent this to me.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Busy Bee Kind of Weekend!

 Friday was a busy day around here - Cheyenne and his worker, Rusty, was working on the gutter and rain recovery system and they found a problem with the original roof that another guy had put up for us last summer, when we started this Big Red Roof project. 
It's hard to find a contractor who will come in and finish what someone else has started - complete with problem solving the mistakes and the fact that you have to think outside the box to make the whole idea work. Cheyenne is a master at resolving problems and is a total professional. Plus, he is a good man and has become our friend. He felt so sorry for Louis Dean and the awful time he was having with that toilet that he left Rusty to the gutter work and he helped Louis Dean with the bathroom problem.
Bottom line, he left here Friday saying he would be back on Saturday with a new commode.....or the part to fix the one we have.

Louis Dean was more than happy to leave the plumbing to Cheyenne and he went on to work on finishing out one of the bathroom walls. You can see the welding rig behind him. It will finally go home on Monday!

The Bobcat had spread the gravel for the road and Sherry had used it down at their place to move some serious dirt. Now it was being loaded up to take to the next job.

We had some rain on Friday but the guys worked in between the showers.
Our garden is growing nicely.
Louis Dean has a good number of cucumber and more tomato plants to set out pretty soon.

The rain recovery system will allow us to use mainly rain water for the garden instead of the municpal water you have to pay for.

Have I mentioned that our car port is BIG??

Still lots of space even when the big white truck is parked on the other side.
Friday was full of activity, but even so, my heart was sorrowing.
Amber and I lost a dear friend who passed away peacefully in her sleep Thursday night.
She meant so much to us. We loved her and she loved us and she loved the quads and we called her their Cyber Grandma....we visited with her and met her family when they came to Texas.
Her daughter sent me word Friday afternoon, knowing we would want to know and it made me cry to think of how kind she was - with her heart breaking at the lossof her mother - and still thinking of others. That's the way Donna was, too, so it's no surprise her children do the same.
I am thankful God brought Donna into our was a blessing and privilege to know her.
That's who I was thinking about, sitting out on the porch under the big red carport.
I'm sorry we lost Donna and I am so grateful we knew her.

Friday night was a good time for comfort food.

Beans, fried potatoes with yellow peppers and onions...
I made pepper poppers and Sherry sent us down some cornbread because she knows how Louis Dean loves it so.

Later Friday night, son Dean came down and he and his dad were sitting outside and he asked, "Did you get the sink in?" Louis Dean told him he was having problems and Dean jumped right up and said, "Let me look at it." In practically no time - I had a sink with HOT water!!! Cold water, too.....but HOT water!!!

I was so happy I nearly cried.
Step by step.....
it's the little things, folks.

Saturday morning I took my coffee out to admire my herb garden and to pick salad greens for lunch.
I could live on salads!

Cheyenne came back from getting supplies (Rusty was already here working) and he said he had two options for our toilet problem. One - he bought a $170 American Standard toilet for just $97!
Or we could order the part we needed - for $54 - but it would be a week or two before we could get it.
That was a no brainer!! And then guess what??? Cheyenne installed the new commode for us!
Louis Dean asked, "What do we owe you?" and he said, "$97!"

So I now have a fully functional bathroom!!!
Tomorrow Louis Dean will finish the wall in there and I can go in and clean and decorate!!

After the guys left - they will be back Monday to finish up - I went inside the camper and went to bed...for several hours. I just did not feel well. Another UTI showed up on our way down here Monday but I could not believe I could have another one since I had just finished the antibiotics for the last one.
Azo is my friend until I can get back to town and contact the doctor.
Sherry was tired, too, and had gone down and taken a good long nap.

We both rallied in the late afternoon and took all of our honey supers out of storage and cleaned them up in order to put them on the hives. We had stored them in plastic bags with crystals to protect them from wax moths. It was wonderful to open them up and they were all in such good condition!
She and Dean went off to pick up their ATV where they had taken it for repairs and Louis Dean and I had a quiet evening sitting outside listening to the wind chimes before I went to bed early.
He stayed up and played music.

I got up from the girl bunk this Sunday morning just in time to catch the 9:30 service online from Fellowship Church.
Sherry came up to the porch on her four wheeler an hour or so later and asked me if I wanted to ride with her to the back of the property! WOULD I???
It was so much fun!!
She even let me drive some!
I whopped and hollered so loud you probably heard me!

I think I made even more noise than the geese!

We did a pretty full day of bee work.
First, we prepared the supers to put on top of the hives.
This year we invested in some of the Ross Rounds and we put one super with these on a hive.
The end product will be a cylinder of pure organic capped honey in the comb. Once the bees fill them, we will lift the frames out and pop a clear plastic cap on both sides - and end up honey untouched by human hands and as fresh as you can get - since it is capped and you will scrape the wax off as you drip the honey out onto your biscuit. How cool is that??

We suited up and went to work.
Dean took this pic from up on the gravel road.
Can you see the bees flying around Sherry?

I took this one with our place in the background.

Our apiary is in such a pretty location.

Lots of wildflowers and a good water supply just beyond the hives.
Overall, the bees looked good. There were lots of them and we found the queen in one hive and she had a good bit of brood. Some hives next to no brood and some hives with little brood.
We pulled a few frames out of the best hive, shook the bees off and placed it in the one with little brood and evened out the situation. Our bee meeting is on Tuesday evening and we will get some advice there about what to do. Since we are still new beekeepers, we have much to learn!

Tonight I am pleased to tell you that Lillian called me on Friday. I had been calling her but her phone mail box is full and I couldn't leave a message. The nursing home never returned my calls and I sent a text to her granddaughter. Lillian was crying...... she called at 7:30 in the morning. She had been down to get her shower and she asked me if I would bring her some cream sodas. I explained that we are at the ranch and I would be there to see her on our way home Wednesday but that I would call Nita and she would bring her some in just a little while. And she did.
Today Lillian's granddaughtet called me and we had a really good conversation. Louis Dean and I will pick up pizza and eat supper with Lillian on Wednesday. Thursday she has a doctor appointment and her granddughter is going to take off work so she can go with her.
I admit to being blue about Lillian and feeling like I have let her down but I am feeling much more encouraged after talking to Tara.

And now I have a beautiful update on Devin from his grandmother......

I spent the day with Devin today! It was wonderful and I am so proud of his hard work. To say he is daily overcoming obstacles is ridiculous - it's hourly!
So, so proud of him - he sends his thank yous to everyone that has prayed for him and hopes they will continue as he has now gotten into the healing portion of his journey. Still a long way to go, but he is pushing himself and his doctors!
Thanks from me, a very grateful Mimi, for all you've done and continue to do.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Bees and Country Life and Update on Devin......

Wednesday was a blustery cold day!
It looked like spring but it sure didn't feel like it.

I cooked up a big pot of oatmeal - the perfect breakfast for just such a morning - along with a couple of the frozen dinner rolls Louis Dean had made for Easter. I split, toasted, and served them with pumpkin butter! And bacon. Oatmeal is even better with bacon. Most anything is better with bacon!

I did some writing in the morning .....

and art in the afternoon.
I am layering in colors and shadows on this scene taken from one of Pam's famous snapshots.
She visits such beautiful parks and lakes where she bikes and camps....and she never fails to get some really good photos. This one will have a black silhouette of a figure standing up on a paddle board off center to the left.

I whacked up all the denim I brought and will be tracing my squares on it and cutting them out.
Going for larger squares this time. Maybe that will make for a faster quilt!

This morning (Thursday) Sherry and I went to assist a fellow beekeeper in splitting his four hives.
Dean and Sherry spent a marathon of a day a few weeks back helping another beekeeper split FIFTY hives before coming home and splitting ours.

It's always interesting to see where other people keep their bees.

This is Sherry on the left and our friend, Calvin, on the right.
Notice he is wearing jeans instead of a full bee suit.

He has Italian bees and they are pretty mild.
But we still wore our suits.
See that smoker in front of the hive?
Sherry and I are diligent about keeping a smoker handy just in case we need it.
That's about the only way you can calm down a bunch of truly angry, aggressive bees once they decide to attack you. No need of that today - but we never work our bees or anyone's bees without at least one smoker. Today we had three and barely used them.

Man, that's a lot of bees!!

The first order of business is to find the queen.

He is taking 4 or 5 frames out of the box and putting them into a new one with a new queen.

They are working hard to fill those combs up with brood, pollen and nectar.

That white worm looking thing is a developed queen cell.....

where the hive is forming another queen.
You don't want that when you have a strong queen already in residence, so Sherry just used her bee tool to open it up and in no time, the worker bees were hauling it out of the hive.

When you split a hive, you must trade out some good frames of healthy brood, pollen, and nectar or honey to start the new hive. Calvin had new queens for each of his now four new hives. You place new empty frames in to complete each hive. They will continue to fill those up and hopefully all the hives will be chock full of busy bees very soon.

Lifting those hives are heavy - especially in the harvest season when they are dripping full of honey.

We will be opening our hives up this weekend and placing supers on top and thus begin the honey production. We never take honey from the brood boxes because that's what the bees eat.

It was late afternoon by the time we got home, having stopped at HEB and Home Depot on our way.
Louis Dean had been working on the plumbing all day and was ready to put a new shower head on.
He told us to buy several - he's paranoid since he broke the one last night - but we just bought two 'no frills' basic shower heads.

I accidently left my book in Sherry's car so I went down there to get it.
It's plenty cool to see a wild peacock strolling around the place.
He was showing off in front of a chicken coop.

Then he pulled his fan of feathers in and walked away.

Sherry's buttercups and her maple tree - kept safe from horses and goats inside a fence.
I came in and tucked myself in the girl bunk and rested and read for several hours.
Now I have a second wind and am about to go out to do some art and denim work.
I am so pleased to announce that we now have a fully functioning shower with decent water pressure AND hot and cold water! Louis Dean took a nice long hot shower and put on his Sunday overalls to celebrate! Tomorrow the sink and toilet may be up and running! 
I can hear him out in the front room playing his guitar and singing Farmer's Daughter.....but before I close tonight's journal entry....I want to give you an....

Update on Devin.......
The surgery lasted 11 hours with each team of doctors coming out to give updates as the next team went in. The tumor was huge but all went exactly as planned. Last night was very busy with doctors and nurses in and out checking on him. After that long surgery, they were planning on getting him up today! Amazing, He still needs a lot of prayers as he goes through this journey. My heart goes out to his parents.....and I pray for them and his MiMiG and Alex and the entire family....
It's hard to see someone so young go through something like this and praise God he IS going through it! Just a few years ago, this surgery was not even possible.

On a personal note, I well remember when our Kailey had open heart surgery when she was just four years old. God does give peace and confidence and strength. He led Amber to find a good pediatric cardiologist and would not rest until they found that huge hole in her heart and scheduled surgery.
I remember so many people prayed for her and all of us at that time. I can relate to my friend, Mary, in what she's going through.

"....who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:4