Sunday, February 27, 2022

Dollar Store Finds......

 It's Sunday night and we are closing up shop, cleaning and packing in preparation of going home tomorrow.  I meant for us to go back on Tuesday or Wednesday but I forgot about Election Day!

We brought a lot of food from homewith us when we came down here and wasted very little of it.
This was my cold breakfast on Friday: cottage cheese, boiled egg, avocado, tomato, thin toasted bagel with raspberry/jalapeno jam, and crispy bacon bits.

Louis Dean had a hot breakfast of the rest of oatmeal, bacon and toasted bagel.

It was potato soup again for supper.

The days have been cold and windy nearly the entire time we've been here.
I wrote for an hour on both Friday and Saturday but haven't yet today.
I may take Sundays off....

Friday was really cold and as I pulled my covers up over me, I thought of the dear friend who knitted this denim colored throw for me back in 2012 when we were about to move the camper from our driveway in Irving to the RV resort in Katy, Texas where we lived for 7 months while helping Amber take care of the babies. I've been praying for her and her daughter. They have had 3 deaths in the family in the last year. I sent her this photo before I went to sleep and told her how much I have enjoyed this cover and thanked her again for her friendship.

The ice melted on Saturday but then it rained. And the wind howled as it has been doing.
Louis Dean was working on a bathroom light and I did some art.
At long last I made chili dogs - something Louis Dean has been wanting ever since we got here!

It was so cold and gray that I never really dressed properly and when I did get some clothes on - I went back to bed for over an hour to warm up.

My flag painting is in trouble and I was working on it when at 6:20 (nearly dark!) Louis Dean got his truck keys and said, "I'm going to Waco to Home Depot! I need some wire nuts!"
Well,I certainly wasn't going to let him go alone so I put a cap on my bad hair day hair, drew in a couple of quick eyebrows, slapped some lipstick and blush on - put on some earring and sprayed myself down with cologne. I had camo legings on and fuzzy socks and wore my good houseshoes!
However,I wore a reversible coat that went down to my knees so that made me feel better!

We went staright there in the rain and the night with no misshaps.
He found wjat he was looking for and I went in **gasp** and tried to act invisible. 
I wanted to get some rose bushes since we WERE there and I wanted to get them to take back to Irving.
So I did. A LOT of them!

We were out of bread so we stopped at the Dollar store in Mart before coming back to the ranch.
HE stayed in the truck and I went in and had a good time.
They had just put out their spring things and I was there to see it all.

LOVE these little enamel country signs!
I have one stuck in the pocket of a denim curtain in here by the table where I am writing.
The other one is in the front room sticking out of some debris.
$1 each!

I haven't hung this sign yet but I will when I get through with this journal entry.


Now these Bee coffee cups were $3 each but I LOVE them!
You can't really tellfrom the photosbut the sides are pocked kind of like honeycomb!


How cute are these????
They may go out by the pond and herbal garden later.
$1 each!

3 more yard staked for $1 each!
They will live in this flower arrangement for the time being.

Love little signs.....$1!

I do believe I have as much fun at the Dollar stores as Amber does at Target's Dollar isles!

Would you believe we have used up one huge tank of propane???
Louis Dean had to bundle up and change it out to the other one in the cold.
But we are keeping it on low now and not acting like we have an endless supply!

Louis Dean was telling me this afternoon how much he's accomplished since we've been here.
That man does love a project.

We did have a bit of excitement this afternoon.
I saw Dean and Sherry drive past in a hurry and then stop on the road and get out and was doing something with the mops (aka Great Pyrenees) and then go out the gate.
Turns out, when we came in last night, Louis Dean didn't get the gate locked and a couple of dogs came in and the mops were on them! Dean managed to pull Rugar off and the other dog was okay but their truck door was open and the dog jumped in and stayed. And did I mention that all 3 horses got out and were going up County Line Road? That's how Dean found out the gate was open. He read a posting on Facebook about horses being out on the road.

All ended well but Dean and Sherry were pretty worn out before it did end.
Louis Dean and I had talked this very morning about how they don't have to look after us.
Oops. We spoke too soon.

I will close tonight with this sweet bee valentine from a friend.
It is professionally hung in the bathroom by my dressing table with a sturdy staple!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Finding My Father's Name .....

Tonight I am sharing the article I wrote for the Dallas Genealogical Society.
I added a few more photos here than were published because I want to have them in my printed blog book.

Discovering my father's name and his amazing family has been a truly wonderful experience!
We are so excited that Rita, Thomas and Buster will be coming to Texas for a visit in late March.

Finding My Father’s Name


by Linda Chapman


    As a child, I was aware that I was different from my three younger siblings. They were all taller than me, with brown eyes and dark hair. I was a petite, green-eyed blonde. Our mother had dark hair, as did the father of my siblings, and they all had similar features. They looked like they ‘belonged’ together, while I did not.

    By the time I was nine, the father figure in our family was no longer there. I began to ask my mother who my father was and when I was fourteen, she admitted what I already knew: that my siblings’ father was not my father. However, she refused to give me a name.  From time to time, she would tell me a few stories about him, but never a name, so I began to wonder if she was making the stories up or if she even knew herself who he was. 

    My siblings and I have always been close. Once we were in our 60s, they encouraged me to do a DNA test to see what I could find.  Without a name, I thought it could not tell me who my father was, but it would at least give me information about my ethnicity.

    I submitted my DNA to My Heritage in 2017. The results revealed I am mostly Northern/Western European with 10.3 percent Scandinavian. One of my sisters had her DNA done as well, and we shared 27 percent of our DNA—confirming us to be the half-siblings we knew we were. My sister was able to build out her family tree since she knew both of her parents’ names. 

    In subsequent years, both my brother and one of my sister’s daughters had their DNA testing done with My Heritage. They mapped out their family trees in the process, but there wasn’t any new information to be discovered. 

    By this time, our mother had suffered a stroke and was no longer able to speak. Even then, I continued to ask her about my father. She could still communicate a bit by writing things with pen and paper, so I held on to a small glimmer of hope that perhaps one day she would change her mind and relinquish a name. But that day never came. 

    My mother passed away in January 2019. She had given birth to seven children. Only four of us grew up together, myself being the eldest of that group. She had two other daughters with our stepfather, as well as a son who died shortly after birth. My mother abandoned those girls. 

The daughters later found my mother, through searching on Ancestry. My mother had never had any DNA testing done, but the daughter and her husband were both avid genealogical researchers.  Even though Mother had abandoned both of them—one while she was still a newborn and the other when she was two years old—they had forgiven her.  At Mother’s funeral, all of her living children were present—a true testament to our strong character, despite our upbringing. 

            One of these half-sisters had done DNA testing at 23andMe because she had a grandchild with celiac disease.  She asked me if I would do the testing too, because they were trying to establish whether it ran in the family. I put it off for a while, but in 2021, I finally decided to try my hand again at DNA testing, this time with 23andMe.

             On March 13, 2021, I received the report from 23andMe and was shocked to discover another half brother and sister, children of my father. I could hardly believe it! Never once had I thought about finding siblings, but it made sense. I wondered about and pondered on this new information for a day or two, and then decided to reach out to my brother—who is 10 years younger than me and a few years older than his sister.

    Knowing full well that it might come as a shock for them to discover a sister, I sent a message through the 23andMe program, assuring him I did not want to disrupt his life or to impose in any way, but I never knew who my father was and would be grateful to learn his name.

    My brother graciously responded and confirmed that I was quite a surprise. He had contacted his sister and she encouraged him to give me the name—Leo Everett Gage. At last, I knew my father’s name. 

              We continued corresponding through the program over the next week or so. Buster—that’s my brother’s nickname—sent photos of our father and a picture of his gravestone. Leo had died of cancer in 1969, at the age of 47. 

    I was overjoyed to receive a very special phone call on March 21, 2021. My newly-found brother and sister called me that Sunday, and I heard their voices for the very first time. We talked for an hour and a half. I had questions for them and they had questions for me.  Apparently, our father—who was unmarried at the time—had an affair with my mother over the Christmas holiday in 1947, and I was born on September 24, 1948. We seriously doubt he ever knew about me. I learned that I had another half-sister who had died a few years earlier. She had the same father but a different mother. This was before our father met his wife and settled down. Buster was the oldest, followed by a baby boy who died shortly after birth, and then two daughters, Rita and Lori.

    I exchanged phone numbers and background information with my new siblings.  I was overwhelmed by their kindness and willingness to give me so much information about the man who had fathered me. They invited me to meet them in person in Kansas City, Missouri, where I was born, and where they all live.

    My maternal siblings were so happy for me. One of my sisters and her husband insisted on driving me to Missouri. On May 21, 2021, I met my brother, Buster! It was a magical moment I will never forget. He and his fiancé parked in front of our hotel and I walked through the revolving door and there he was—fair skin, with hazel eyes and light-colored hair, and not much taller than me. Finally! A sibling that looked like me!

   I spent the entire weekend visiting with my brother. He took me to the cemetery and “introduced” me to my father. We prayed together as we stood at his grave. Buster showed me many of the places in Kansas City that had rich meaning for our father. 

    Buster still lives in the same house where he grew up. He bought it after his mother passed away. The basement was just as our father left it in 1969. Nothing had been disturbed. I was able to stand where my father had stood, even touch the tools he had used, while my brother told me more and more about him.

      Saturday evening, I met my sister, Rita, and her husband. My father, Leo Everett Gage, had married a woman of Hispanic descent. Buster and his youngest sister Lori look very much like Leo, but Rita looks like her mother. This caused her to wonder if she had a different father. So, Buster gave her a DNA kit for Christmas and that is how I finally found my father.

     I left Kansas City with a happy heart. My relationship with my newly found siblings has just begun. We keep in touch through phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook! We are making plans to continue visiting with one another. They will be coming to Texas soon and I intend to take my husband with me to visit Kansas City in the fall.

              I had spent a lifetime wondering and now, at the age of 72, I finally knew my father’s name.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Icy Day at the Ranch!

 It's been an icy cold day at the ranch!
I went out to the end of our carport to throw out some table scraps for the horses and was shocked to see all the ice. I went back in to get my coat and ventured back out to take a few pictures.

I saw Mr. Jackson's donkeys yesterday but I couldn't see any of his animals today.

Before I went out this morning, I heard a bird chirping outside.
I eased open the front door and there he was. I don't know what kind but he had a tuft on his head like a blue jay but he was a much smaller bird. I had pitched out some black eyed peas and he had found one and brought it up under the shelter of the big red roof to eat it.

When I looked out of the girl bunk window this morning I thought it was foggy.
Not so. It was all the bushes and ground is coated in ice.

We don't get cabin fever and I'm really glad since we can't get out in this weather.
Neither do we ever get bored. There's always something to do or a book to read or a note to write.
I never run out of things to clean or pictures to paint.

Louis Dean is the same way. He can entertain himself in all manner of ways.
Today he spent most of his time working in his shop room (right next to the bathroom to the right.)
He has cleaned and organized it and even put down the flooring - those inexpensive vinyl squares.
He is seeing the benefits of keeping his work area clean.He is forever looking for something and it's so much easier to find things when it's not all piled up with clothes, trash and debris strewn about.

I do most of the cooking down here and today I made BLTs for a late breakfast.
We usually eat two meals a day and since it was perfect weather for soup .....

that's what I made.
I had plenty of potatoes since Louis Dean bought some - twice.
Potatoes, onions, red bell pepper, frozen green peas, fresh broccoli, a can of corn, milk, and a big hunkof Velveeta lots of seasonings. We had little packets of red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese from the pizzas we ordered last week for Lillian and I tossed those in for good measure!

I saved some crisp bacon to put on top!

I did my hour of writing in my book today.
The time goes by quickly but I think it's wise to limit myself to an hour.
I find I am thinking ahead about what is happening in the time I'm writing about so when I sit down to write, I already know what I'm going to say.
Yesterday  I wrote about my life in 1981 - 1982 and today I wrote about the house fire on June 11th, 1983.  I am thankful that Summer and Jesse Jr. - who were home that Saturday morning at 3:00 AM - were able to get out through a bedroom window. 
God is a God of redemption and He has redeemed so much for me.

I ended my day with an art session.
I'm having to let Louis Dean's face dry in my other painting project.
I had really messed that up and had to do a lot of 'surgery' with brush and oil to restore the basic shape of his face!

The water has started to flow a little bit in the camper and I am hoping the weather warms up enough to get outside some tomorrow.
The Bells are planning on coming to visit us here at the ranch during spring break and I want to get the deck all cleaned up and the windows washed. Right now we are in a burn ban but I'm hoping that is lifted by then as we have a good supply of fireworks we've been saving for when they come.
We go back home the middle of next week so we need a few good 'work days' to get some stuff done!

That's been known to happen!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

2/22/22 was a 2's DAY!!!

 My friend Carolyn had this on her Facebook page yesterday and I thought it was so cool!

And it WAS a super good 2's DAY!!

My all time favorite step son Dean - and he seems more like a son in law to me since I  never had a step son before - came down on his way to work and repaired the water line in the camper bathroom.
Win! WIN!!!! It only took a few minutes but he had to think outside the box since this is an older RV and most 'fixes' have to be done through the RV service places. Dean figured out how to do it with a new product not made for RV's and it works!

I am at Chapter 22 in my memoir and have purposed in my heart to finish writing my book this year!
I've asked God to help me write one hour a day until it's done. It's not easy this going back in the past but it's the only way to write one's history. I have to live it again and it is painful.But knowing that I have a happy ending makes it easier. I wrote from from 1:05-2:15 before I closed up my computer and went out to the front room to do some art.

At 3:00 I cleaned my brushes, took a hot shower and got ready for our bee meeting.
Sherry got off early at 4:30,  picked me up and we headed for Waco!
This is my new outfit from the Farm and Home Store!

We were meeting up with Rosie at El Conquistador in Bellmead and we were just a tad early.....
early enough for me to order a frozen margarita with SALT!!

Sherry and I neraly always split the potato nachos!
With guacamole and queso - it makes for a full meal!

I rode with Rosie from the restaurant to the bee meeting and we caught up with what's going on in our lives. It was at one of our bee meetings a few years ago that I noticed Rosie.....she is such a beautiful lady and she was sitting by herself. I introduced myself.....and we have been fast friends ever since.
Rosie is retired from the army -  a patriot and salt of the earth.
I can't tell you how much I admire her!
She has an amazing life story!
We ALL do when you come down to it.

I seldom take pictures at the bee meetings.
It's not photogenic for the most part but I need to get creative about this.
I cropped this pic but it did leave a lot of beekeepers out.
We meet at a college and everyone tends to spread out......

The weather is Texas has been on a roller coaster and we took another dip and roll last night and today.

Louis Dean has kept the Dearborn heater going all day today.

The cats have made their beds near it and that's where they have stayed all day long.

I made a good breakfast of oatmeal,bacon and toast for our midday meal.
Louis Dean has been working in his shop while I have read, done some housekeeping, did some art and wrote for my allotted hour. This session was even more painful than the last but iron has entered my soul and I am going to DO this thing!!

It's COLD in Texas tonight as I write!
The camper water froze last night and we have struggled to keep the water on in the bathroom.
Tomorrow looks like a day much as this one was.

Yes, it WILL!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2022

A Busy BEE Kind of Monday!

 It's been a good Monday!
I was up earlier than Louis Dean and enjoyed some quality quiet time and coffee.
Sometimes I just need to have some alone time to think, pray and ponder.

This was our bits and pieces of a meal I served for lunch - as that's usually the first meal of our day.
We're trying to use up our food and not be wasteful - and it helps to be creative!
Thankfully, Louis Dean is easy to please and will eat just about anything I serve him - except for raw cabbage!

Louis  Dean had projects to do outside while I stayed in and worked on my denim.

Every time we come down to the ranch I bring a bag of jeans to whack up, trace squares with a marker and cut them out. I always have someone to sew a quilt for.

It turned out to be a warm day in Texas - it got up to 79 degrees here at the ranch.
I took down all the colored lights we had strung up on the fence line around the yard and we put up white ones in their place. We got half way around so I will need to look for more lights when we get home. I try to only buy the LED ones now but we will use up the others on things like this.

Sherry and I suited up to check on our bees after she got off work.
Tomorrow night is our Waco bee meeting and it will be good to have something to report.

We have gained a hive or two and lost a hive or two over the winter so we are now at six.
We checked on four and put a paper plate with sugar candy on top of the frames. We need to fix one more for the 5th hive.....which we plan to do this weekend.

These are the Speaker Box Bees Dean and Sherry rescued.

Once the weather warms up we will move them into a regular hive.

Can you see the golden pollen these bees are bringing in?
We're not sure where they arae getting it since everything still looks dead and brown.
I need to research what pollen is out there right now.

As Sherry and were sitting on the deck - we saw this beautiful sunset.
That's why we call that one the Sunset Deck.

The wind has been blowing all day long and after the sun set, it began to cool off.
I nearly had to turn the AC on in the camper today and tomorrow it's supposed to be even warmer at 83 degrees!

Louis Dean and I sat outside and had our own Happy Hour with white wine, sparkling water and a fresh raspberry and blackberry.

Dean stopped by for a short visit after he came in from work.

Sweet Rugar wanted him to know he was outside waiting on him!

I do so love a good Monday!!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

A Sleepy Weekend and Muddy Roses.......

 I'll start off  tonight's journal entry with a photo from Friday night.

Louis Dean played his guitar and sang to me for a few minutes before we went to bed.
He loves playing and I am looking for someone for him to play with. Or perhaps a jam session in the Waco area that we could join. He misses having a group to play with so maybe there's one around here.
If you are local and know of any - please let me know!!

We were in bed before midnight on Friday and I slept until 11:15 Saturday morning.
By 3:00 I was back in the girl bunk and slept until 7:00, got up and did a blog post for Friday and went back to bed. I just can't seem to wake up and I stay sleepy all day long.
May be this country air!
I accomplished next to nothing as far as projects and housework go.

I didn't even cook a meal!
Thank goodness Louis Dean is happy with cheese, turkey, crackers and pickles for a late simple supper.

Of course we ate by the Dearborn heater!
Can you see Louis Dean's right eye?
He has some broken blood vessels in it and it's completely red.
Not sure if he got something in it and rubbed it or what.
Then I got to thinking that he went to an eye doctor who prescribed drops to use twice a day to treat the elevated pressue in his eyes due to diabetes. I dropped the ball in monitoring him.
I found the third vial of drops in my medicine bag we brought with us so now I am going to be militant in seeing that he takes his medicine AND drops!!

I slept so well last night whileLouis Dean was restless.
He was up at 2:30 fixing a baked potato.....the smell woke me up but as good as it smelled, I stayed in bed.

Sunday morning coffee and watching Fellowship Church online.

Pastor Ed started a new series on prophecy.
It takes us two years to read through the Bible and we are now in the first few chapters of Revelation!

I made a big country breakfast for Sunday lunch today!
If the wind hadn't been blowing, I would have used the burner on our grill to fry up the potatoes and eggs. It's slow going when you cook on a hotplate!

I bought this jar of jam at the Farm and Home store on Friday and it is seriously good!
The lime green colored jam is jalapeno also!

The horses came up to pay me a visit this afternoon.
I just so happened to have sugar cubes for them....and a few table scraps.

This one was literally licking his lips with those sugar cubes!

Louis Dean says the Samantha is the prettiest cat he's ever seen and throughout the day he says, "Linda, you need to take a picture of this!"

I still do not have water in the camper so I am at the bathroom sink a lot these days doing dishes.
It's a laundry sink so it's plenty big enough and I love the view from the window.
This is where I hung the string of honeybee lights a friend sent me last year.
They are solar and turn off and on automatically.
I love seeing them twinkle on at night!

Louis Dean planted roses today. 
2 yesterday and 7 today.
We already had three rose bushes in my little garden to the left of the bathroom window.
I had planted a trumpet vine up in one corner of the garden and some perennial bsushes that flower along the fence line. Honeysuckle and a couple of others purchased so they would get established and climb on the fence. I pointed them out to Louis Dean and said to leave them alone! They will come back and I broke off a piece to show him there was green and life in that plant.

When I went outside to check on him - he had plowed up the entire small garden that is supposed to be MY flower and herb garden.

I could not believe it! 
I had to talk to myself and to God before I could talk to HIM!
And I did not say much but he knew I was upset.
He proceeded to plant the rose bushes.

I went inside and scrubbed the bathroom floor as therapy.
I say SCRUB because he had dripped some huge gray colored drops all the way across the room from his shop door to the other door and probably across the red and white rug as well. I couldn't bring myself to look at the rug just yet.

Then I went back outside - now calmer and looked at the garden.
I had told him to give me the wrappers the bushes came in as I am keeping the cards that tell about each rose in my gardening notebook.
Alas, I nearly cried.
He had put a wrapper beside each plant and then dumped a shovel of dirt on top of it.
WHY???? Why in heaven's name would he DO that??
I asked him to get the wrappers and I went back inside where I vacuumed the dickens of of the front room.

Then I went back outside......muddy wrappers all still there.
SO I got them myself!!!

He had made a huge mud garden!!!!
I accidently stepped into a deep hole and it took all my strength to get my foot out!
My cute honeybee socks were now filthy and my nice gray sweat pants muddy.

I rinsed the wrappers off and pulled the picture cards out, wiped those off and put them in my notebook.

Then I stomped myself BACK in and took a hot shower!
I used up every single bit of NICE that I had today and am now looking forward to getting a fresh load in the morning. Another work for NICE is GRACE and I am asking God for a larger portion of it!