Sunday, October 31, 2021

Our Last October Weekend in the Country.........

 It's been a chilly weekend here in the country and I have loved every minute of it!

I took this picture Saturday night.....loving that big red roof and matching carport!

We sat cuddled in our blankets in the front room gazing into the make believe flames of this little heater. It puts out a small amount of heat but a good deal of warm ambiance.
We listened to some music on my phone by way of YouTube....taking turns with old Willie Nelson songs for him and Toby Keith and Keith Urban ones for me.

This is my favorite Keith Urban song.
 It came out in 2004 and I married Louis Dean in 2005.
We had both been married for 41 years and now we were starting a new life together.
I remember telling him that we didn't have 'history'.....and yet I'm sure our paths crossed more than once since he and his family used to visit Irving often. Ellen's sister, Ruth Ann, lived in the same area I did and they ate at some of the same places I did and shopped garage sales and frequented some of the same stores. And now that we have been married 16 years.....we have, indeed, made 'memories of us.'
I love that.

I love this precious man with all my heart and I am so very blessed to know that he loves me with all of his heart, too. We are honored to be given the privilege to grow old together.

We are so very different - kind of like The Odd Couple!
I am Felix to his Oscar.....
He leaves his tools any and everywhere, hangs his overalls on nails and I am constantly, and I do mean constantly. picking up after him. He can make a mess quicker than any two-year-old!

But he has more charm than any man I have ever met and having lunch together on our side porch under the carport is as much a treasure as I could wish for.

As Louis Dean says at least once each and every day - 'We make a GOOD team!'
And so we do!

I've been painting rocks lately.....

and the tomatoes are my favorites!

It's popular to leave them places for others to find but I use them to anchor tablecloths on picnic tables.
And to hold my fabric when I am pinning a quilt together.
This will be for a soon-to-be-born baby girl.

I've also been painting!
I only have one more session on this one of Louis Dean watering my wildflower garden this summer.
I'm allowing it to dry before adding the spray from his hose to finish it off.

One last Christmas painting featuring a truck.
I think I shall be adding a truck scene to the Santa theme every year.
Next year's will feature puppies in the back bed of an old truck.

I love to see the progress of a painting.

Since I work in oils only, it has to dry a bit in between sessions.
I did enough to know that I can finish this one when we come back to the country in the middle of November.

So far I have 140 entries in the Santa Express drawing and I will do the 'random number generator' tomorrow - November 1st - as soon as we get home. And I will have it in the mail to the winner in the next day or two after that.

Tonight, as I write, we are listening to the Dallas Cowboys game with the Minnesota Vikings on a static filled and crackling radio! We just tied the game at the end of the third quarter. I'm ready to go out and sit with Louis Dean for the final quarter!

This is Halloween and it's only the second time in our 16 years together that we have not sat on the front porch sipping wine from our skull goblets and handed out candy.
Our sweet neighbor, Tamara, says she has had lots of trick or treaters!

I will close with the pic Amber sent me!!
A Greek Goddess, deer, black cat, and lumber jack and
Amber is Maleficent and Mike is a Safari guide!

Friday, October 29, 2021

The Winds are Blowing in Texas!

 You could feel the weather changing Wednesdaay morning.....there was a chill to the wind and the sky held the promise of coming rain.

I came out on the porch and watched as the train one of the staff had made drove it down the ranch road to load it up on a flatbed truck to go to its new home.

I wished I had taken close up pics of it when I had the chance.
It was made from all manner of interesting parts - a hubcap here and an odd piece of something there.
A real work of art.

I packed up the Annie Oakley cabin and Louis Dean loaded the truck.

We said our goodbyes and were ready to go.
Except the truck wouldn't start. Dead battery, he said. But the bells were dinging like it does when you leave the key in or the lights on. Dead battery? Didn't sound like it to me but Louis Dean explained that this big white truck had two batteries.......and yada yada I left him looking under the hood and clanking around on the battery.....

while I went off to sit in the swing and visit with Rayne.
Nothing would make that truck start. Thay tried jumper cables from another truck and then humper cables from a big John Deer tractor thingy. They cleaned cables and terminals and stuff like that. Still would not start - but it DID keep dinging! Next they talked about getting ot towed to a garage in El Dorado thinking it MUST be the starter, only they couldn't get it out of park. SO Louis Dean and two of the ranch guys started rocking the truck and I was in the driver's seat and asked to put it in reverse if possible. I did. No problem. Now I had been thinking about the extra safety do hickeyfeature on the truck - the one where you have a second place to plug in something down on the steering column base. Witout that, the truck would never start! I looked down and there it was - plugged in. I reached down and pushed it ALL THE WAY IN - and PRESTO! I turned the key and it started right up!
Louis Dean was so excited! So was I! No need to get a tow truck, find a garage as well as a hotel.
Now we could drive back to Texas - just a little later than we had planned.
Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit preventing us from a car accident if we had left at the original hour.

Off we went and this time we decided to eat in town before getting out on the highway.
We found an Applebees's and - better yet - a Hobby Lobby!
Louis Dean parked and let me out to browse the store while he sat in the truck and rested.
I've been painting some rocks to look like vegetables and needed a clear acrylic spray to seal the paint.
Did you know a can of that costs $9.99???? I shall take very good care of that can!
It had started pouring down rain while I was inside and the rain continued for a good while.

I had been wanting a margarita ever since we left Texas last Saturday and I finally got one and it was good!

 Louis Dean drove out of Arkansas and into Louisiana before the rain let up and then I took over at Interstate 20 and drove all the way to Toll Road 49 to Corsicana when he took the wheel again.
It was dark when we got back to the ranch at 8:30 but we made it just fine.
Louis Dean can see better than I at night and our direction (WAZE) had us on some pretty good roads.

He unloaded and I put up as is our regular routine before we poured the wine and lit the candle and had our 'AH' moment!
When we stopped for a bathroom break, I noticed the store featured a good many local Louisiana wines.....the sign said "Sold only in Louisiana".
I bought a bottle of Blackberry Merlot produced and bottled by Landry Vineyards, LLC in West Monroe, Louisiana. I checked their website and they have two cottages like an airbnb.....with wine tatsting and vineyard tours. Who knew??

It did feel good to be back in the girl bunk Wednesday night.
We both slept so well and it was after 9:00 when I got up and put on the coffee.
I walked the plowed up garden, checked on the pond flower bed and my fig tree and Chinese elm tree.
The rose garden is looking oretty and the roses are blooming, as is the lantana, autumn sage and plumbago and moss rose.

I had a solid hour of quality alone time before Louis Dean found his way out of the bed.
He's not a big eater in the morning so we just had those cinnamon sugar dusted things called Bunuelos with our coffee and then a real meal at lunch.

Neither one of us have ever read a Louis L'Amour book before but we are reading one now and it's pretty good!

Thursday afternoon I went into Mart to buy some pumpkins for the last four days of October and was surprised to find that Read's - the one and only grocery store in town - did not carry fresh pumpkins.
I was so dismayed that I turned around and left without even remembering the other things I meant to get there. I drove on down to Virginia's Vintage and Flea Market to see what treasures she might have and noticed she carries a good many of Louis L'Amour books - at four times the price of the other paperbacks. We may want to buy more of his books but right now we are just on chapter 2.
Next stop was the Dollar store where I bought the mouth wash I was meant to buy at Read's. AND I found some nifty self adhesive decorating squares. I have been looking at these for a few weeks now.....

Sherry gave us this fridge a few years ago and we love it!
Thing is - it gets rust spots like a leprosy on the front.
Louis Dean cleans it with steel wool and they still come back.
He says it's in the air.

I am the Queen of Cover Up and no air can get to the fridge front now!
My reading chair sits right across from this and now I can see something pretty instead of a rust covered dingy fridge door. Win! WIN!!

Dean and Sherry went to Canton on Thursday for 'First Monday Flea Market' and stayed overnight.

We were more than happy to take care of Rufus and do a little bit of Critter Chores today.
I do love letting the ducks out in the morning.

The geese do not need the protection at night like the ducks do.

For some reason the ducks marched out and then turned around and went in again!
Normally they go straight into the duck pond just like little soldiers.

I fed the mops aka Great Pyrenees, cats, and Rufus.

The mops do a good job here on the ranch.

I have spent the last two days reading and doing art.

I'm hoping to get this one done before Christmas.

Louis Dean has been playing music and puttering around on his projects.
He put down a wooden border around the perimeter of the rose garden to keep the grass from encroaching. He's always sorting tools and organizing things as well as his 'honey do' list!
I love that he can fix just about anything.

I've been working on this small sunflower painting since August!
It's looked good and then awful and back to good and then okay.
I have completely overworked it and have finally said STOP.

I started another one and am happy with it so far.
Hopefully the next session will finish it up and I am going to try my best not to make a mess.

The wind has been blowing here in Texas ever since we got back.
Two straight days of wind all day long.
I think most of the country is fighting the wind!

At Bar J Ranch, Sabrina is bundled up and everyone is wearing mittens and caps and coats!

Right here at the end of October,
 Fall is finally showing up in Texas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Back in the Saddle Again.......After 35 Years!

Happy Birthday to Summer!!
What a great place to celebrate this special day with her.

After breakfast there was another cattle drive.....and this time I chose a safer spot to video from.

Guess who went on this morning's trail ride???

I did! I DID!!
I joined Sabrina and Rayne, who have been riding every morning, along with our guide, Macon.

Look how happy Rayne is!
She's riding her favorite horse and his name is Neigh-kid!

I rode Rowdy and he was a great horse for me.

Sabrina is an acoomplished rider and rode Silas.
Our trail led down to a small lake and it was a beautiful ride.

I had such a good time and am so glad I decided to ride.
It had been 35 years since I was last on a horse. That was the time I rode down the Royal Gorge in Colorado!

We rode for about and hour and the time went back so fast that I could not believe we were already heading back!

We passed this abandoned house and Rayne rode up to the windows to look inside.
There was an old trunk, a cookstore, and other in a lot of debris.
Since everyone has a story, I believe every old house has one, too.
Wouldn't you love to hear what this old house would have to say if it could talk?

It was our last full day here and we loved every minute of it.
I watched Rayne train in the arena while she had a private lesson on doing barrels from Pastor Daryl.

After dinner tonight, we went on a different trail ride and came out of the woods just as the sun was setting and it was beautiful. The nightly campfire with singing and a time of testimony and sharing closed out the camp day.

We stayed outside to carve our last pumpkin for here in Arkansas and he made an immediate friend.
I'm still sitting by the campfire tonight as I write this journal entry.
We have had a great time here and I treasure the time I was able to spend with Summer, Sabrina and Rayne.

Happy Birthday, Summer Dee!!!
I love you dearly and am so blessed to have you for my daughter!

Monday, October 25, 2021

It's All About Horses!

  It is ALL about horses here at Bar J Ranch, as far as Sabrina and Rayne are concerned.
I was up early this morning - as in 8:03! and the bell for breakfast is rung at 8:30 and I was ready!
The guests and staff eat together family style but not until the guests are all served first.

And as soon as the meal was over, Sabrina and Rayne were saddling up for a cattle drive.
I could hear them do their cattle calls back in the area beyond our cabin so I walked around and found a spot in the shade by the fence and waited for them to come through.
Sabrina is such a natural horse woman and is at her happiest when she is sitting in the saddle.
I think she looks so pretty there as she is riding out of the trees.

Rayne is such a good rider!

These are the a few of the cows that had come down earlier.

Here they are - Sabrina, Rayne and Macon (whi is on staff here) heading down to get the cows.

I positioned myself right up next to a tree so I could get a good video.

Here they came!!!!
Pardon the panning of the camera as I was securing a safer better position beside the tree instead of in front!!!

Rayne does love her Buddy!!!
She showed me how to groom him.

Then we walked him over to the horse washing station.
Notice the way Rayne knows how to tie all her rope knots?

Buddy got a lot of love today!

I watched, helped and simply enjoyed being Rayne's biggest fan today - as well as being her Bella!

My Bible reading and journaling didn't happen until later in the morning.
Getting up early really does give you more hours to do things. Who KNEW??

Rayne is outside nearly every minute of every hour she's awake and is with the horses, kitties or dogs.
Can you play I Spy and spot the 6 dogs in this photo?
She knows all their names and who is the daddy dog and which pup goes with which mama dog and who is the best at herding cattle and who has been trained and who has not.

But when Rayne is not with the critters, she is with Macon playing music.

After lunch, she went to the ring to practice running barrels.

The dogs follow her everywhere she goes.

She is looking good!

Rayne is constantly doing something here.......

Louis Dean is enjoying himself!
I knew he would.
Me and Macon have played so much music together that Macon's fingers are hurting!

The dinner bell is rung at 5:30 and tonight we had chicken and dumplings.
No dessert as we were all invited to an ice cream social at Brother Stewart's home jut up the road.
Nearly all the staff and family live right on the ranch property.

I had just enough time to carve tonight's Jack before we left for the social.
That's Louis Dean's scared face!

I carved and he chose the place for the Jack 'o lantern - this time up in a tree.
It will show up well once it is really dark!

It was a fun evening eating ice cream and singing songs and fellowshipping with one another. 

Guests and staff were all invited!
Mr. Stewart is a great craftsman and made so many of the chairs, swings, tables and othere things used at the ranch. His home features furnishings he designed and made himself.
This table is one of them.

This has been a good Monday!
We have one more full day here before we go back to the ranch.
Summer, Sabrina and Rayne will stay until Halloween!

We have both encouraged others and been encouraged by others today!