Monday, February 27, 2023

Celebrating Family in Kansas City on Saturday and a Visit With Kimmy and June on Monday!

 I have been SO looking forward to Saturday, February 25th!
Sister Rita invited me to join the family at the baptism of her two youngest grandchildren.
ALL of her children and spouses and grands would be there as well as Buster's two daughters and their families.

I was honored to be included and excited about going with my son.

Jesse arranged for us to fly up on Saturday morning and back on Saturday night.
Summer stayed here while I was gone and she and Louis Dean had a great day together.

I felt like a movie star for flying up for the day!!!!
It was so much fun!
I love flying and it had been a good 10 years or more since I have gone anywhere by air.
The last time was when Summer and I flew out to San Francisco for my birthday back in - I can't even remember!! We did the whole Napa Valley Wine Tour thing and had the best time!!

My brother-in-law Thomas picked us up at the airport - they live just 8 minutes from there while I live 7 minutes from DFW Airport! If we had arrived just two days later - it would have been at the new airport just about to open!

My brother Buster and other family members were already at the house with Rita.
My handsome brother!!!

I have to say that I was a little shy about taking pictures so I don't have a lot to share here in tonight's journal post - but more will be coming soon.

Rita had been up early baking the best strawberry bread for which she is famous as well as a big brunch of breakfast casserole, potatoes, biscuits, fruit! Thomas made the gravy and it was ALL absolutely delicious.

Their son, Joe, and his beautiful wife and two children were there as well as Danielle and her daughters and Megan their beautiful daughter. 
Let me just say right now - EVERYONE was beautiful!!!
I'm serious!!
And they were all so kind and welcoming that I had a hard time not tearing up.
We ate and visited and then it was time for Buster to take us to his home and pick up Anna Marie before we all met at the church for the baptism service.

While we were at Buster's house, he took us down to the basement so Jesse could see his grandfather's workshop. My children never had a grandfather in their life and I believe Jesse was touched to see photos and the things his grandfather had touched and made and where he had spent so much of his time.

This is Anna Marie and she is SUCH an amazing lady!!!
She is a performer, a singer, an entertainer, and just the most sensitive kind soul and I love her dearly!
She is unexpectantly shy in a group but I insisted on getting a photo with her and thank you, Danielle, for taking it for me.

This is Ashlee, one of Buster's daughter's holding her sister Brook's new baby girl.
This is who I'm making the baby quilt for and I did not get it finished in time!
I appliqued fabric hearts on the front using the floral backing material and it really needs pink rick rack around the hearts. I hope to get that finished and in the mail early next week!

The babies were as entertaining as they could be during the baptism and they had a photographer that got some amazing photos, I'm certain of that!!

From the church we went to this restaurant Em Chamas.
I so wish I had snapped a few photos!
Elegant and delicious and so much family that it took up a complete dinning room.
As good as the food was - the fellowship and visiting with one another was even better!
I met Rita's cousins and best friend and many others.
I'm still trying to get names straight!!
A few family members read my blog and that just about blew me away!
How blessed I am to be a part of such a wonderful family.

This is my niece Nicolette, son Jesse, and niece Megan!

Everyone loved Jesse and he was happy to meet everyone.

Our return flight was delayed by a couple of hours and that gave us more time to visit as several of us went back to Rita and Tom's house.

I wish I had taken a video of all the happy talk and conversations we all had together.
We mixed and mingled and I truly feel like I'm getting to know my family.

How shall I describe them to you?
They remind me of the TV series Blue Bloods.
They are close and happy, supportive of one another and laugh and love the Lord with all their hearts.
Every single one of them welcomed me with such grace and charm.
You know, when a family suddenly finds they have a sister/aunt they have never known, you could certainly understand if they were a little skittish at meeting her.
But not mine.
It is an honor and a rich blessing to be a part of this incredible family!!!

Saturday was a magical time from start to finish and I loved getting to spend the entire day with my son.

Since our flight was delayed, it was midnight when Summer picked us up from the airport and 1:30 on Sunday morning before we got to bed.

My going on 75 years old body decided to rest all of Sunday.
I had made plans to go to church and later to visit with Kimmy and June....
but instead I slept and rested and spent time with Louis Dean.
He and Summer had fun while I was gone and he took her out to eat - however he still managed to escape while she went thrift shopping. He high tailed it to the grocery store and bought LOTS of things while managing to get back before she did!
I haven't looked online at my bank site to see how much he spent yet but whatever it was was worth it.
He is doing so well and what's a little $$ when it makes him feel good?

So Sunday was a rest and recover day for me and real life started this Monday morning!

I started coffee off in the KC mug Rita gave me - I always save the last cup to drink mid afternoon.
Rita also gave me the KC goblet the first time we met and I use it for my tea.
Spring has sprung in Texas and when I went out to cut mint for my tea - it was everywhere!!!
I rue the day I planted mint IN THE GROUND!
One should always plant it in a pot or a plot of its very own.
One time Louis Dean tilled up the mint bed and you know what it did?

Summer is still here for the next day or two and we shopped ALDI this afternoon.

Oyster crackers were over $3 a bag at a recent trip to a regular grocery store.
$1.35 at ALDI.
I wanted to make dilly bits which I love to use in place of croutons on a salad or a topping for cottage cheese.

It takes so much dill that I buy it on bulk.

I made two batches for me and Summer bought four bags so I made those up for her.
She is living at the Bar-J Ranch in El Dorado, Arkansas and has her own little cabin. 
She often entertains and serves meals or has teas with a charcuterie board and such.
These dilly bits will be a big hit when she goes home.

I also made a HUGE fluffy salad!
For this version I used strawberry Jello, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, broken pecans, canned crushed pineapple, canned peaches diced, fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
It is seriously good!

Summer drove us over to visit Kimmy and June tonight.

I sat in June's walker but my feet couldn't touch the floor unless I stood up!

I had meant to come visit as soon as we got back from the ranch - but that didn't work out.

I promised to be back soon and June promptly asked, "WHEN???"

As soon as I close tonight's journal entry, I will take the last remaining Christmas tree down from here in the sewing room. Tomorrow I hope to bring in some Easter decorations and certainly some spring 'debris.'

I forgot to mention my grand niece, Sylvia, who is 11 years old.
She loves Fall every bit as much as I and I think I have found myself another Mini Me!!!!
I still have so much to share about my Kansas City family.
Louis Dean and I plan to drive up there in early May as he has only met Buster, Rita and Thomas.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Back to our City Home Again and Friday Fun!!

 We enjoyed a leisurely morning at the ranch on Wednesday before we started packing up for home!

I cleaned out the fridge and found some celery to  feed the horses.

I split it with them saving some for salads.

The camper was all clean and ready for our return in March while I did not fret about the front room since I will do a deep clean of that when we come back.
There's absolutely no way to avoid dust in the country although the camper doesn't get nearly as much as that front room.

It was a pretty day to drive home!

We stopped at El Conquistador in Hillsboro for dinner so I wouldn't have to prepare a meal after we got in.

The sun was setting so underestimated our travel time to avoid arriving after dark.

And it was already dark-thirty when we drove through Dallas!

I love our routine for coming home.
Louis Dean unloads the truck and carries stuff in while I start the laundry and put things away.
I like to have everything unpacked and back in place before we go to bed.
Makes me sleep better!

Summer drove in from Arkansas and visited with her for a little while before we called it a night.
It was so good to see her and it always blesses my 'Mother's' heart to know one of my children is asleep under my roof.

When I woke up at 8:00 Thursday morning, the room was slowly revolving around.
I think it had something to do with my inner ear.
I wear earplugs at night and I wondered if that may have been my problem.
The room moved even when I was being still in bed - so I just stayed there for a few more hours.
I rested most of the day and by bedtime I was feeling more normal - but I went to sleep WITHOUT the earplugs! I just turned the sound machine up higher!

Friday I woke up ready to do all the things I meant to do on Thursday!

That afternoon we met Jimmy Albert whom Summer and I have known since he was a little boy!
He had told us about this restaurant in Bedford called  Macarena Taco Shop and Margarita Bar.

Macarena Taco Shop & Margarita Bar is a restaurant located in the city of Bedford, TX, within the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We serve traditional Mexican dishes inspired and rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions while celebrating local and seasonal ingredients from the Tejano culture. Macarena's main beverage selection focuses on artisanal Margaritas and spirits that reflect the Texan and Mexican heritage with emphasis on their bold flavors.

It was SO good and such a great price menu!!

The fresh pork skins was the biggest hit for us along with the Jalapeno margarita!!

We will definitely be going back there!!!

I got a little behind in my journal entries so I will catch up tomorrow!
I've printed all my blog posts up in hardback books from 2010 to 2021 and I really want to do justice to the amazing trip I made up and BACK from Kansas City on Saturday to visit Family!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Feeding Bees, More Baby Goats, a New Friend, Country Food and our Bee Meeting!

 I rolled out of the girl bunk Monday morning at 10:00 to see a text from Sherry.
She was going down to feed the bees on her morning break from work and wanted to know if I'd like to join her!

I threw on a hat and some clothes and was sitting on the front deck waiting for her barely 15 minutes later!

She's set up a pretty good feeding station!!
A kitty litter box with a thick layer of wine corks and she pours in a mixture of sugar water.
The corks allow the bees to get the water without drowning.
The whole thing is set up inside a dog kennel cage that sits on cement blocks to keep it off the ground.

Sherry stuck her head inside the kennel and zoomed in to get this great photo of one of the bees carrying some serious pollen!

I think this is such a great way to feed the bees without feeding any other critters.

She set it up in the front pasture instead of down by the mud tank since the bees kept going past the feeding bucket on to their house!
Bees send messages to  each other by their 'waggles' as to where the feed is located.
Sherry said they must have only given half a waggle instead of a full one!

We drove back across the pasture and stopped at the apiary to watch the bees and then drove on around to the goat pens.

I thought we were checking on the two new babies - until Sherry told me two MORE babies had been born early that very morning!!!
This is mama Elsmay and the other mama is Edith.
I can't believe I held those sweet babies!!
Talk about having a GOOD day!!!

Another blessing was going with Sherry to visit her friend Grace.
She lives about 10 miles from the ranch and her husband passed away recently so she's reached out to Sherry and Dean to see if they would want their beehives.
We had such a nice visit!
Grace has a warm and cozy home - my very favorite kind!
I was admiring her pigs sitting on top of a China cabinet - and she gave me one!
My little piglet is named Gracie and she's also a piggy bank!

Dean cooked a big pot of beans for supper last night and Sherry made cornbread!
She found the beehive baking pan at an antiques store for just a couple of dollars!!

Sherry makes the best pepper poppers!

Such good food!
It was an early to bed night for me and I was in the girl bunk by 8:30!

As sleepy as I was - I was still awake an hour later.
I gave Louis Dean his medicine before I went to bed - and when I say 'gave it to him' - I mean I sat it down in front of him and told him to take it.
I got up and checked to see if he did - and NOPE!
I think I didn't fall asleep because I kept wondering if he had or not so I insisted he take it right then while I was watching so I could GO TO SLEEP!

And that worked and I had a beautiful dream!!!
Let me tell you what I can remember of it.
It was a movie of my life - or part of it anyway.
Diane Lane played me and Louis Dean was Harrison Ford.
How cool is that??
Some scenes I was Diane Lane and some scenes I was watching her and in one of those, I leaned over to the person next to me and whispered, "Her ex-husband was Richard Gere!"

I woke up feeling like I'd just watched a really good movie!
Then I stayed awake a good while and finally read for over an hour before going back to sleep and dreaming some more!

This morning I changed sheets on the girl bunk and the bedroom and started the process of getting ready to go home.

It's been a short visit to the ranch this month but we got a lot done.
Yesterday Louis Dean and his son got the toilet totally unclogged  (it was still being sluggish when flushed) by going down the vent with a water hose full force and Dean inside plunging away!
Now we can gleefully flush with wild abandon!!!

Tonight Sherry and I drove to Hillsboro to our bee meeting.
We had a pot luck supper and a guest speaker spoke on Hives for Heroes.

We have several veterans in our Bee Fellowship and we sat at the table with Jennifer who is in that program. She is such a cool gal. She's a biker and fascinating to talk to! We discovered that we both found family we didn't know we had through DNA testing.

I think Sherry will be a perfect mentor to her!

It's been good for us to be here these last few days.
I'm going to bed with a full and happy heart tonight and am already looking forward to coming back soon. We have all the doctor appointments behind us so we should be able to go back to spending half our time in the city and half in the country!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Baby Goats, Ducks, Honey Bees and Great Pyrenees! We are in the COUNTRY!!!

We managed to leave Irving along about 1:00 on Saturday afternoon even after me accidently letting Tabitha waltz out the open front door. I only THOUGHT I had shut it firmly!
Louis Dean isn't the only one who lets them escape!

Getting her back in took the better part of an hour!
It felt really good to get on the road again.
It had been 48 days since we were last at the ranch.

It is exactly 98 miles from our house to the ranch gate and we usually stop in Hillsboro at the Lone Star Cafe so Louis Dean can eat their chicken fried steak with EXTRA gravy and French fries with GRAVY and EXTRA gravy on the side!!

Our waitress was not only super sweet, cute and efficient but she was clever, too!
She asked, "Yes, SIR! Would you like a STRAW with that??"
You should have seen his face!
She got him good!!

I always have a margarita to celebrate going to the country!!!

When LD thinks the service and food has been great he tells me I can 'send them through college' meaning I should give them an extra good tip!
So I did!

We made one more stop at HEB for milk and eggs and sandwich fixings along cat food and litter and then it was on to the ranch!! 

YAY! We are HERE!

And I documented our arrival!
Dean sent me a text saying, " I see you!"
I think they were watching for  us.

The mops were up at our place to greet us!

I came right in and walked right down to Dean and Sherry's place so I could meet the new baby goats!

Mama goat gave birth early Friday morning!

Both boys!

There's a 5 month gestation period for goats Sherry told me.

I'm so happy we got down here to see them less than two days old!

They are so sweet!!

I can't even look at  this pic without smiling!

Sherry pitched fresh hay in the igloos so they can stay warm.

Last year there were two new baby goats but that frigid freeze we had killed both of them.

We sure have missed Dean and Sherry!
They came up and helped us unload and we visited for awhile.
While we've been gone, Dean has done a lot of work on our place and finished the plumbing for his dad replacing the PVC pipe with Pex.
He put the hot water heater back in place and hooked up the shower so it's all ready to use!
He had put the sink and cabinet back in bathroom and hooked that all up except for the peat trap ? is that what it's called?

After they left Louis Dean went in to study it and after some time he remembered how he had hooked it all up! So the sink is now back in business with hot water and everything!!!

I went to bed before Louis Dean did and when I woke up at 2:00 in the morning - he was still up piddling in his shop which is by the bathroom. He was just so happy to be here he didn't want to go to bed - but I INSISTED!

This morning I got him up shortly before 10:00 as son Dean had arranged for a mobile mechanic to come replace the actuator on the truck fan motor. Now we can use all the settings from low to medium to high whereas before we have just been able to use FULL BLAST only!

The mechanic is a young girl and she really knows her business!
She's grown up tinkering with vehicles with her dad and granddad and we were so grateful Dean set this up for us!

God is good and Dean and Sherry are such a blessing to us!

Sherry and I drove over to the apiary to look at our bees this afternoon.

We didn't suit up and open the hives but we observed plenty of activity and it looked like they were carrying in a healthy amount of pollen.
Out of four hives, we may split two of them this spring and hopefully we will be enjoying a good honey harvest come summer time!

Sherry had brought us down salad fixings and I added some gouda cheese and ham for our Sunday Salad Supper tonight.

Remmy  and Rugar the ranch mops Great Pyrenees!

Before I close tonight's journal entry - I would like to brag on my step son!
He just received the highest level teaching certificate for Karate.
He has 50 years of achievements and continues to train and teach.
His beloved mother Ellen was an amazing  teacher as well and Karate has been a family tradition for the Chapmans. But Dean is a master among masters and I congratulate him for his dedication and hard work!