Monday, May 30, 2022

Sunflowers and Country Days......

 The weather is moving into summer kind of far it's only been in the 90's but next week it will reach 100 and then plus.

Our camper AC has been dripping inside ever since Friday and I have been very concerned about this. The camper is old - as in 22 years old - and fragile.
The ceiling is holding water and bulging out and I seemed to be the only one of us who was worried about it. The bedroom ceiling held water in years past and that required a major repair - of which Louis Dean did a fantastic job. But do we want more 'major undertakings' at this stage of the game? I think not!

Enter Dean and Sherry as they were out in their garden working on Friday morning,
I had prayed in the night and again when I woke up.
Louis Dean had worked on the condensation line and unstopped it - but that didn't stop the steady water drip inside the camper.

I am so grateful for the hospitality of Dean and Sherry inviting us to keep our camper down here at their ranch and encouraging us to put down some pretty deep roots!

They are always here for us and between the three of them - Louis Dean, Deean and Sherry - they figured out the problem. 
The camper is old and the roof is a fragile fabric at this point.
Praise God for the great big red metal cover over the entire thing or the camper would most likely be uninhabitable by now.

Long story short - Dean and Sherry concocted a permanent solution using guttering material to keep the water from even touching the delicate skin of roof.  But before they could install that - Louis Dean devised a temporary fix using some metal flashing. Win! WIN!!!

I walked away from the edge of my emotions and was able to use the camper AC as the dripping grew less and less since it now had a place to flow off the roof. 
Apparently, the camper roof has a dip in it and the water was pooling there and flowing back into the camper.
I do not do HEAT very well at all and if I am sleeping HOT - it will not be good for me!
There is no way I can be here without working AC. Period.
And praise God and thank Dean and Sherry - that will not be a problem!

But I admit the stress of getting Louis Dean to even realize and then confront the fact that we had a problem and finally addressing it took a toll on me.

I escaped into the girl bunk Friday afternoon and when I got up, Sherry was on the front deck visiting with Louis Dean and she had cut a bouquet of sunflowers for me!
What an absolute blessing Sherry is!

My world shifted back into focus again.

I am not a master gardener or even an armature one but I did plant a lot of sunflower seeds last fall and in the early spring.

Saturday the dripping was less and less and still I was a bit blue.
That happens to all of us at times and we simply have to deal with it and take care of ourselves.....and ask God to lead us on to whatever He has for us.

I am still writing in my book and am now on chapter 25. It's been an amazing thing how God will bring memories back to me as I write and I suddenly realized - right in the middle of the chapter - that I was recording the happiest time of my life. It's from September 1983 when I am in the depths of despair to September of 1984 when I realize I am at the happiest time I have ever been in my entire life. Jesse and I are actually in love again without the hostility I have felt from from him for so many years. He has redeemed his relationships with Summer and Jesse, Jr and we are embarking on being new parents again.

So this week here at the ranch has ranged all he way from some exciting highs to some serious lows. And isn't that the way Life is??

I love this photo I took on Saturday afternoon. 
it reminded me that no matter what - I should be reaching for the in SON.

My goal here for my part of the garden is to have sunflowers for our bees to feast on as they make delicious honey.
And we watch them every day as they swarm over the looming sunflower plants right in front of us as we sit on the deck having our morning coffee.

Saturday night I went to bed with my glass of wine and the Summer Book my friend Jutta gifted me.  I read it every summer while I am down here at the ranch.

Sunday morning coffee and church - Fellowship online.

In the country we watch things.
Car lights up on County Line Road.
Dean and Sherry as they work.
Critters as they come and go.

Neighbor Steve brought his trailer and took home the red truck to use as parts for the matching one he has. Country folk trade things out.....

Monday morning ......

We brought food from home when we came down here last week and have not been to the store since so we are using up what we have and that's been kind of a fun adventure.
Sherry gave us some fresh eggs and a half dozen sourdough rolls.
Along with the ham and Gouda cheese I had - we had a good brunch this Monday!

I've been cleaning like a madwoman in anticipation of our going home tomorrow.

This evening Louis Dean and I did some more planting in our garden.....
I planted a row along the stone divider between HIS garden and MINE. 
Mine being wildflowers and a small field of sunflowers.

Just a guy looking at his garden.....

We planted and he watered.

For dinner tonight I grilled some smoked sausage and some sliced sweet potatoes gifted us from Sherry's parents.

This is my beloved step son Dean.....out in his amazing garden.
He is a rock in my life. We all need rocks to hold us when we are weak or fragile.
He and Sherry are rocks for Louis Dean and me.
I think we are ALL a rock for somebody.

My friend, Jutta, in Finland is another rock and I am hers.
If we are really blessed - and aren't we all? -  we have so many rocks in our lives.
Children, friends, neighbors, siblings, and so many others.
I'm thankful for those who love me and encourage me when I am down and I hope and pray that God will use me to lift other of my friends and loved ones as he has sent those who have blessed me.

Isn't that the truth??

We are going home tomorrow and I am going to be taking a huge bouquet of sunflowers!!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Country Days! Family, Cats, Art, Bees and a Walkabout.......

 Mama Kitty has been visiting us daily ever since we arrived!

I'm happy I brought some food cat food with us!
They are happy about a free meal they do not have to work for!

Speaking of meals......
Roy and Ruth Ann paid us a visit here at the ranch on Wednesday afternoon.
We all sat on the deck and talked and laughed and had a good time together!

Louis Dean made us his famous 'goulash' aka 'hamburger stew!'
I thought goulash has pasta of some kind in it.
Not his!
Hamburger, onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans......
Sherry brought deviled eggs and garlic toast while Ruth Ann brought a cake for dessert.

I made the salad and pepper poppers!

It was a good meal and we all ate out on the deck.

I love hearing everyone talk.
It's like my favorite sound!
Guys talking to guys and ladies to ladies and then everyone together!
There was Roy and Ruth Ann, Grandson Robert, Dean and Sherry and US!

Even the cats had dinner with us.
Roy has such a soft heart for critters.
They may have had the broth from our soup tonight!

This is the boy cat from the litter Amber and I got our sweet kittens from.
He was big and fat last time we were here so we are thinking he got locked up somewhere because he is skinny now! But not for long because we are feeding him every day now!

This was my view on Thursday morning!

O'm determoned to get caught up on some of my art projects!
Those sunflowers block the view to the garden.

Here is Louis Dean tending to his plants.
He had to pull up several rogue sunflowers which had invaded his space!

At last!
I finished this painting for my friend, Tim!
When I told him about it on Facebook, he said he could use some prayers right now....
he loves the Lord and we love him and are asking God to take care of whatever his needs are.

I based in the hummingbird painting for Louis Dean and this encouraged my heart so much!
I was beginning to think I forgot how to paint.

I am embarrassed that I can NOT get Louis Dean's face painted!
I've prayed and painted and wiped it off and prayed and painted again.
Now I am giving up and will hang this canvas high on a wall at home and perhaps the day will come when I can take it down and finish his face.

I'm calling this one done!

Lots of new projects are being planned as in this bluebonnet landscape,
I do better with landscapes.

Tonight Louis Dean and I took a walkabout the ranch during the Golden Hour.
We walk down this road until you come to the junction.....

and turn left toward the apiary.

All the foragers are bacj home by now except for the last few stragglers.

I dearly love to hear the HUM of a good healthy hive.

We have four gives right now.

All four full of happy healthy bees producing some sweet honey for our summer harvest!

We walked around the duck pond and I got some cracked corn from the feed truck and put the ducks up. Dean and Sherry were out and about collecting bees from a rescue situation.

Sherry has such pretty chickens!!

The amazing photo above is from a friend's Facebook page and the photographer gave me permission to use it here on the blog. It's so perfect!

So...Sherry told me yesterday that the 'Speaker Box Bees' - which she and Dean had worked so hard to rescue and all three of us had worked to get them into a hive last month - had absconded. They went out to check them three days after introducing a new ($40) queen and they had totally accepted her - and then another few days later they checked on the hive and no one was home! No dead bees. Just NO bees! They were GONE!

We are learning all the time and the more we know - the more we know we NEED to know!
Sherry said next time she'll use a queen excluder.

So last night and again tonight - she and Dean were out rescuing another hive.
Someone had already been out and taken the queen bee and a cluster of others.
But the guy took them early in the afternoon while all the workers and foragers were still out.
The homeowners were NOT happy when all those bees returned!
That's when they called Dean and Sherry and that's where they went tonight to set up a swarm box to catch the rest of the bees.
They will be out again early in the morning before the bees wake up so they can close up the swarm box and bring those bees back to apiary and add them to one of our existing hives.

Beekeeping  is not easy. It's actually a lot of trouble and very time and energy consuming.
You have to have your wits about you and you need to plan things out.
But it is worth it all when you harvest the honey and open that honey gate on the extractor and see all that golden honey flow into the honey bucket!

We are hoping and praying for a good honey harvest this summer!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Starting Off a New Week!

Monday was a busy day as we wanted to get a bit more done on putting the dining room back together. As I was working in there, I went out through the sewing room to get some things I'd stored in the gazebo - and the door would only open part way. Louis Dean had propped the overhang up with a sturdy post some months back but now it really needed some very intentional repair work. And Louis Dean got right on it and worked pretty much all day using hammer and nails and that hard putty stuff with the strong man's arms on the front of the can.

He did it and the door opens now and he repaired where the wood had pulled away from the house! We will paint it when we get back from the country!

The living room was already done and it's my favorite room to sit in right now!

I think the doll cases look so good!
Everything is so clean it sparkles!

Starting with the doll case on the right......

These are Louis Dean's I Love Lucy dolls - purchased with Granddaughter Chandy in mind.

Still in the box!

The Indian doll collection.....

featuring Little Reaoma in the front and center!

The two lower shelves hold the Karate Gis - all embroidered by Ellen.

The doll case on the left has all his Little House dolls on the top shelf.

Amber and I barely got them all in there!

Then the Victorian dolls of which the one in blue velvet was Amber's - she has dark hair and blue eyes.

Finally the Oriental collection!

Louis Dean dearly loves looking at all of his 'dollies' as he calls them.
He has the papers on all the Little House ones.

We needed Monday - he to fix the back of the house and me to rest and recover.
I didn't feel well and went to bed at 7:00!

I woke up Tuesday feeling much better and we managed to pack up and get on the road by 1:30!

We had been away from the ranch for 3 weeks and 3 days!

It was so good to be back!

While I love them, they are in front of the deck and block Louis Dean's view of his garden.
They may not be here much longer! 
Plus some sunflowers are growing smak dab in the middle of his garden and they will need to be removed! We weren't here 10 minutes before he was out mowing and pulling up weeds.

I went out and took a few pics......I think these are his black eyed peas.

Some kind of squash which we did not plant but apparently they blew over from Dean's garden. Win! WIN!!

I'm a bit discouraged about my gardening abilities - or lack  thereof!
I planted sunflowers around the perimeter of the garden - and they did not come up where I put them but seem to have wandered all over the places coming up here and there.

The fig tree our master gardener friend, Sheryl, gave us is looking wonderful!

Bits of wildflowers growing here and there......

I love the flowers!

Look who is here visiting!!
Roy and Ruth Ann drove down last Thursday from Breckenridge and have their RV over at Riesel in a RV Park.
Grandson Robert arrived earlier on Tuesday and is visiting with Dean and Sherry.
So we had our own mini-reunion!
Roy and Ruth Ann were going back to their RV and Louis Dean was staying at the ranch  while Dean, Sherry, Robert and I went to out Waco bee meeting.

There was a little trouble with a tire on the way so our beekeeper sister Rosie met us at the junction of Highway 31 and 84. She and I went on to Bellmead to have dinner at El Conquistador while Dean and Sherry and Robert dealt with the car trouble.

It's not a Tuesday bee meeting night without Mexican food!
Margaritas are a given!
I had lots of compliments on my hair from where I posted on Facebook and I really appreciate the kind words. I have been working through this thinning hair situation and have purchased a couple of wigs and several 'hair toppers' that I used to call 'wiglets' back in the 70's.
The wigs are hot and I tend to keep pulling them down but they do look nice. 
Probably best worn in cold weather.
I have a lace front 'topper' that works well and a couple of others I wear from time to time.
The one I'm wearing here is now my favorite.
While not a dense hairpiece, it has enough 'extra' to blend in.
It features a honeycomb base where you pull your own hair through with a crochet hook.
When it arrived I had just had my hair cut super short - all over!
I had to wait a month before I had enough hair to pull through the cap!
This was the second time I've worn it and I am loving the feeling of hair again!!

Do any of y'all follow the glamorous 97-year-old grandma named Doris?
She's Sassy Gran Doris and I have so much fun watching her!
Her grandson has made her famous!

Well, Rosie and I had a good time talking and catching up with each other before we went on to the bee meeting and met up with Dean, Sherry and Robert.
They ended up having to drive back to the ranch and getting Robert's car.
A storm blew in and Robert did a great job driving us home!

Louis Dean and I sat outside on the deck watching the storm in all its glory!
But when lightning struck first to the right and then straight down over at Mr. Jackson's place - I said it was time to go in!
So we lingered a little longer in the front room listening to the wind and the rain before calling it a night.

I do so love a good storm!!!