Saturday, October 29, 2022

Decorating for Christmas at the Ranch!

 Louis Dean has been out all afternoon taking down the white lights and putting up the multicolored LED lights along the fence line. He got a little over half way around!

I really appreciate him doing this because he is so much better at than I am.

He had a supervisor......

or three!
I went out and fed them some flour tortillas!
I love feeding critters! Dogs, cats, horses, possums, chickens, goats, and ducks.....
it just makes me happy.

 I took a lot of the fall things out to the deck box on the front porch and hauled in the Christmas things.

The cats had a ball today!
Every ribbon and new thing got their attention!

My goal today was to clean and decorate the front room and I did just that!

Christmas cookbooks can be used as decorations!
My chair is right beside the tree so I can reach over and browse through the pages finding recipes to make this season.

Magic happens when you put a Christmas tree up.
All of a sudden, you feel more at peace with Life, knowing God's purpose is still working in and through you.

It's really not so much magic as it is God's grace given to us to experience all of His goodness.

This is my 4th day not to cry.
Instead, God has brought to my mind so many wonderful memories of time spent with my precious sister, Nita. I sent cards this week to Deanie and Lonnie - I want them to know just how much they mean to me and how much I love them. It's important to me that they know this.
I have no regrets with Nita. I believe she knew how special she was to me and how loved she was.
I know she loved me, too, just as she loved Deanie and Lonnie.

I rescued this beautiful hand made stocking from a thrift store here in the Waco area.
It hangs year round by the girl bunk. I moved him out here for the holidays.

I had fun decorating today.

May I be the very first to wish you a Merry Christmas!!

As Louis Dean was finishing up a section of lights, I took my carving tools and a pumpkin out to the deck.

Due to the rain and muddy roads, we opted to place this Jack #29 up at the gate to the ranch.

We had perfect timing to get this pic.....
only I knew Jack would not last long on that gate post.

We had a hard time getting the lock off the gate and by the time we did - the light had changed.

I set him down at the entrance and the truck lights were on so I could see if there were any critters about.

Without the lights, this Jack shows up so well in the dark.
Our neighbor, Amon, told Dean he and his kids have had so much fun finding the Jack-o-lanterns around here. 
They have gone out looking for them every night.....and I hope they find this one at our gate just down from their place.

Good night from the ranch......

Friday, October 28, 2022

Okra Pod Santas, The Trolley, Jack #28 and Another Santa Claus Painting!

Last year Nita's sweet Master Gardener neighbor, Sheryl, gifted me a ser of hand knitted washcloths and it was wrapped so pretty in tissue paper with an okra pod painted Santa tied to the package.

We grew okra in our garden here at the ranch - in fact- okra was just about the ONLY thing that grew this year! Since we weren't here often enough to pick them, they grew long and dried out with that intense 100+ summer we had.

The okra is STILL growing now!
Next year I hope to paint all the okra that is on the plants now.

I woke up at 7:30 this morning -
Sherry and I had planned to work the bees and treat for Varroa mites - but that didn't happen. 
I checked the weather and radar and rain was arriving in the next hour - so I went back to bed and didn't get up again until 11:30! Louis Dean slept that late, too!

This was a good day to stay in and listen to the rain as it came down steady nearly all day long.
I did a lot of art and Louis Dean busied himself with small repairs and this and that.

Sherry and Dean had gone to 'town' and they called close to 5:00 saying they were headed into Mart.
I quickly carved tonight's small Jack--o-lantern and we headed in to meet them.

There's a pub in town called The Trolley and we decided to try it out.

I'm not sure what these drinks were but they were pretty.
Sherry's was a kind of pina colada and mine was like a lime popsicle - but not! 

I gave Louis Dean a taste.....and he then ordered a Shiner.
Still - it was fun and we had a little something to eat before heading back to the ranch.

Sherry and I dropped off Jack #28 on the railroad track underneath the caboose on Texas Ave.

The Mart football team (Panthers) are like famous around here and tonight they were playing Dawson.
I just checked the score and saw the congratulations to Coach Kevin Hoffman on his 100th win tonight! I'm thinking this Happy Little Jack smiled back at a lot of smiling people as they came through town heading home.

I finished another Santa tonight before I packed up my brushes and oils and cleared the table.
Tomorrow is our last day here and I am going to clean the camper and cabin and then decorate for Christmas. 

I have all the Christmas decorations I bought for Lillian down here (I must have gone by Fort Worth and undecorated before coming down to the ranch) so I will be putting up a Christmas tree and making things merry for when we come back next month right after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Cats, Santa Paintings and Jack-o-lantern #27!

 The cats are loving their time down here at the ranch!
While they are visitors and are not allowed to mingle with the residents here -

they do watch one another through the screen doors and windows.
That's Tarzan outside on the deck. He's brother to Samantha and Tabitha and is the only cat from the two litters of two years ago plus the two mamas that are here at the ranch.

Tarzan hissed at Samantha and she didn't bat an eye.
After a minute or so,  she did a long slow hiss at him....and he didn't bat an eye.
Then Samantha sauntered off and left him there.

She's such a pretty girl.

Tabitha is living the life here - basking in the sunshine at the window.

I really and truly finished 2022 Christmas Santa.
I realized that I had not painted in the bench he was sitting on!
NOW, he's DONE!!!
Just dry and glaze!

This Christmas truck painting has a Santa behind the wheel and what I have based in so far looks more like an elderly Mrs. Claus than Santa Claus!
No worries. Once it's dry, I will rework that face!

I've loved being down here with Sherry and sharing my Great Pumpkin Project with her!

This is last night's pumpkin # 26 and we relocated him just a short ways down the road from the cemetery. This is where Amon lives who helps with the goats when Dean and Sherry are away.
He is also an assistant in a special ed class at the local school. There's quite a few children who live here - and so we set Jack here for them to find when they come home tonight.
Since it's dark when they leave for school in the morning - I am certain they will see him!

This sweet dog lives at Amon's place and so does his brother.
Reminds me of our Remmie and Rugar!

Jack-o-lantern #27 is sitting on a dark bridge as we came back from Amon's.
I didn't set him on the concrete curb there because there's a deep ravine below.
No falling Jacks tonight!

We admired this beautiful sky on our way back to the ranch tonight.

It's been good to be here in the country.
It is my Happy Place and I am feeling more rested and calm day by day.
My medicine is working because I did not cry again today - two days in a row.
Not that I didn't FEEL like crying - but I didn't.
I'm glad to feel my feelings without all the exhaustion that comes with meltdowns and crying jags and sobbing.
And it's been good to be with Dean and Sherry.
I love them dearly and they are always looking out for us.

Back in 2020 when everything froze - it was a nightmare for the camper and front room with the plumbing. Every single line froze and broke and we lost water and the water heater and even the water reservoir in the camper.
For over a year I didn't have any water inside the camper and for awhile not even in the bathroom off the front room.
I'm grateful all the leaks, breaks and problems with the plumbing have now been repaired - and I DO have water inside the camper - for the kitchen sink and the bathroom.
It's just cold water but I am grateful for it!
As a surprise for me, they have been working on getting HOT water in the camper before winter!
Rosey gave us an inline water heater and Dean has got it installed and ready to go once the electric part is done.
I am beyond excited at the thought of hot water IN the camper kitchen and bathroom!
It's the little things, folks, that make mean so much!!
Thank you, Rosey and Dean and Sherry!!!

They seem like BIG things to me!!!
Thank you!!

Catching up With the Jack-o-lanterns!!

We woke up Monday morning to RAIN!!!
It was glorious and made good sleeping weather which may account for the fact that Louis Dean slept in even later than usual.

I got up and got busy getting things ready to leave. Our routine is - I pack it all up and drag it to the foyer and he loads the truck. He loaded some of it on Sunday so it was mainly the food and books and his music and my paintings!

After Saturday's meltdown and Sunday's quiet recovery, I was still feeling shaky.
I left a message for Doctor Abraham through the patient portal telling her about my circumstances and that I was crying every day and depressed.
She wrote back within the hour and suggested we do a video visit Tuesday morning since we were about to head down to the ranch.

By this time Louis Dean was up and we hauled all our trash to the curb even though they don't pick up until Wednesday. It's a once a week pick up now so we couldn't just hold it over for next week.

When it came time to kennel the cats - we couldn't find them!!
Finally I pulled Samantha out of the cardboard cat house in the den and found Tabitha underneath the chair in front of the den closet. Clearly they knew something was up. Neither one of them uttered even one peep when I  put them in their carriers.
They know the game by now and that they are going somewhere they will love - the country or the Bells!

We stopped by to vote early on our way our of town.

The rain had continued and cause quite a few accidents so we decided to stop for a late lunch at Cheddar's.

I love a good margarita and they do have good ones here!

I eat a lot of salads and this one came with the vegetable plate of FOUR veggies!
I only ate the salad and took the rest with us for lunch the next day.

You'll never guess what Louis Dean ordered!!!
Chicken fried steak, of course, with EXTRA gravy! 

The traffic had unsnarled itself by the time we were back up on the road.
We stopped at HEB so I could pick up a few things and then we were on the country roads to the ranch!

Louis Dean drives better at night than I do so he didn't have any trouble getting us here and Dean and Sherry met us at the camper/cabin and helped him unload.

We had our 'ah' moment! We are HERE!!!

I got right to work on my nightly pumpkin project!

Jack #24 is a tiny pie pumpkin.
HEB prices were higher than I've been paying so I  only bought two big ones and three littles.
Since it was late and since it was dark, we stayed on the property and set this Jack out by the little pond. On my way there, I walked through some stickers!!
We don't normally have stickers here and Louis Dean will dig these up so they will be GONE soon.....
but it did bring back memories of stickers when we were growing up.

A storm blew in shortly after we arrived and the wind blew hard all night long.
There was a tornado watch issued and I wonder where we would go that would be safe if we did need to take cover. We have a 31 foot travel trailer with a room built along one side and a bathroom and workshop on the end. There's a structure next to the camper side. Not sure what we would do other than pray and hang on. You remember a tornado did come through here two Easters ago tearing its way up from the meadow and missing both Dean and Sherry's house as it came up the road toward our place and skipped over across the field missing us and going on over to Mr. Jackson's where it did do a good bit of damage. We weren't here at the time and it happened so quickly that Dean and Sherry slept right through it!

Happy Tuesday morning!

I had my video visit with Dr. Abraham and she and I talked for about 15 minutes.
She called in a prescription for an antidepressant to the Walgreens in Waco.
Since it was Bee Meeting day, Sherry and I picked the Rx up on our way to meet Rosey for dinner.
I immediately took my first dose of half a tablet which is what I'll take for the first week and then go to a whole tablet every day.

I'm relieved to get something that will help me. I could feel myself sliding into depression - I've been there a number of times in my life. 

As it was on Tuesday night however, I was still in crying mode and Sherry and Rosey were such a blessing and comfort to me. I cried off and on all through dinner at Trujillo's on the Circle.
The food was excellent and our visiting together even better.
Dr. Abraham had asked me earlier that day, "Who is YOUR support group?'
Sherry and Rosey, for sure.
Sometimes you just need to talk and it's best to talk to people who love you and aren't judgmental.
I am grateful to have so many 'sisters' in my life including all of you who read my words.
I truly appreciate you.

We took Jack #25 with us to the bee meeting and left him out front beside the flag pole on our way in.

I'm wondering how many noticed him on their way out?

It was dark by the time we made it home on Tuesday night and Louis Dean was already in bed asleep.
He's loving being here and couldn't wait for me to leave so he could get out and mow.
There's nothing wrong with that now that it's not hot - but he still feels like he needs to sneak around about it! Silly man!

Our kitty cats are having a good time down here!
We don't need the AC so we are leaving the door open from the camper to the front room and they are loving going back and forth exploring everywhere.
I still say,  "Watch for the cats!!!" every time LD goes in or out the two doors in the front room - but honestly they don't seem to be in escape mode right now.
Their brother, Tarzan, who is the only cat here on the ranch other than the two mama cats, has been hanging out up here on the front deck where I give him 'free' food - food he doesn't have to hunt and kill! We don't let Tarzan inside though. Not sure how all three would get along.

I set art up on Monday night and did get some painting done Tuesday afternoon before we left for Waco. 

This morning (Wednesday) the first thing I did when I got up was to take the antidepressant.

I've been going through a box of old cards - ones y'all sent to Lillian as well as cards I've received.
I'm cutting the fronts off if there's no writing on them and using them to send notes to friends and family.

I found this card to Lillian from Nita in the stack.
She would always bring Lillian a chocolate milkshake every Sunday afternoon when she got off work.
That was so Nita - She was a blessing to everyone who knew her.
I'm so glad I have these cards and memories and photos of her.

This was 4 years ago and our last sibling trip together.

So today - October 26, 2022 - is Summer's 59th birthday!!

We were together this time last year at Bar-J Ranch in Arkansas.
I talked to her on the phone today and reminded her that this year she is STILL the 'old age' of youth while next year when she turns 60 - she will then be the 'youth' of old age!

Happy Birthday, Summer!!!

Sherry and Dean came down this evening just as I was beginning to carve tonight's Jack.
Dean suggested we take this pumpkin right down the road to the old Oklahoma cemetery.

We went while it was still light enough to see where we were going and what we were doing.
The cemetery is down a bit from the road but you can see the lights of a passing vehicle in the photo.

Jack #26! 
Sherry carved this guy and then gave him okra pod horns!

We placed him and drove on down the road a piece before going back to see if he can be seen.
Yes, sure enough!  He will be there smiling all night long.
Sherry and I may relocate him to a neighboring place where there's a 'passel' of kids living.
They will get a big kick out of seeing a lighted Jack-o-lantern on their way to school on Friday.

It's so beautiful in the country.
These telephone poles remind me of the crosses on Calvary.

I didn't do much but rest and read and do a little art today.
Ragweed is in full bloom and my allergies have kicked in.
I thought I had grown out of these allergies but it seems they are back.

Sherry brought Chicken Coconut Soup down for our supper and it was so good and perfect for this chilly night.

I had an art teacher who told me once a long long time ago -
'Stop one stroke short of being done.'
Sometimes we can overwork a painting and then ruin the whole thing.
So I stopped. I took the photo.
But then I went back and resized and toned down the gold gift box there by Santa's foot.

He's up on a shelf to dry before I glaze him and then I'll be ready for Amber to take a picture of him and I can order my Christmas cards! And a canvas print for a Giveaway  on the blog.
I guess the drawing will start on November 1st.
Wow! Time is flying by and it's almost time to decorate for Christmas!

I'll close tonight's journal entry by thanking you for the love and prays, kindness, compassion and comfort y'all have given me.

Today I didn't cry.
It's not that I won't cry again sometimes, but I am grateful that I am feeling more normal than I have in quite awhile.