Thursday, December 31, 2009

Heart Failure

I purchased a calendar yesterday.

In case you weren't aware, tomorrow is a new year. Therefore, it was quite a practical purchase.

I happened to be at Books-a-Million so the choices of calendars was almost overwhelming.
That was until I saw one that said...

Just Boxer Puppies

Ok, that made my choice easier. That was until I opened it up and had a heart attack.

Brace yourself....

Holy Moly. Oh, my fainting heart.
Oh soft wrinkling skin.
Oh sweet puppy lips
Oh paws and armpits of fur.

I tried to explain to Rodney that we should never be without Boxer puppies. There should be plenty on hand at any and all times. They should be in every room, around every corner, in my pockets, in my hair, and on my lap.

I don't think he understood.
For now, I will just swoon every time I look at my new calendar.
Happy 2010 to everybody!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


If you are not a follower of Pioneer Woman, you are really missing out on lots of smiles and inspiration. Inspiration is what us creative types are living for, it is our drug of choice. At least it is for me. I am a visual learner and I love when light bulbs go off in my brain, it makes me feel alive.

I love to read P.W.'s "confessions" because she blogs a lot about her dog, her kids, and her farm. It is life-affirming.

One of my other favorite things is her photography, because, she not only shares her own lovely photography but gives practical and very simple tips and tricks about how to create a beautiful and professional-looking photo.

So, today I am going to share my latest inspirational lesson with all 2 of my faithful followers.

Hi Mom!

Now, understand that I am an AMATURE photographer. I keep my camera close and I snap away at things that I think are pretty, cute, inspirational, or will make others gush and smile. If I like it, I assume there might be another person in the world that might like it too. I am not going to pretend that I know anything about apertures, shutter speed, or any other fancy camera settins, I just like what I like and push buttons until the picture looks like I want.

I learned a new photography word...ready?

Bokeh (BŌ -) the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.

In Jenni's terminology, it is those cool, out-of-focus, lit up thingys in the background.

It just so happens that Christmas lights happen to lend themselves greatly to this phenomenon.

If you love to look at beautiful, inspirational photography, I really encourage you to go to P.W.'s site and check out other peoples bokeh.

You can also visit Flickr to see thousands of breath-taking bokeh pics.

So here are my bokeh pics. Believe me, now that I have learned a little about how to create beautiful bokeh, I'll be in constant search of opportunities.
I am also thinking of leaving my Christmas tree up all year just so I can have this background

I haven't learned every secret but I figured one thing out...

you can use anything for your subject in the foreground
or you can have nothing in the foreground
just bokeh alone
big, soft, aesthetically pleasing bokeh
oh, then I remembered I had more than just white lights. It is just going to be a constant search for chances at bokeh photography, and I'm afraid this obsession may last for a while.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, here it is. Christmas Eve Eve Eve. Sometimes when I count eve's it makes me feel like I have more time, more Christmas time. It is this time of year that I wish I could make time stand still. Can't I just make it last and last?

Since I have no power over time, I have to become very present... make myself be in the moment. Something I really need to be doing all year long. Just be, simply enjoy the hour at hand. Make a memory.

Rodney and I are headed to the big city today to do the last of our shopping. When I woke up this morning, I was thinking "if I can just get this shopping done, then I can settle in and get in the Christmas mood". But then I thought "Wait, aren't I going to spend the day with my sweet husband? And aren't I going to be filled with thanksgiving for the family I am shopping for? Why rush through that?" Yes indeed, I must take in the air of this hour.

What I am praying for all of you is that you will be present this Christmas. I pray that you will make a memory that will warm your heart at even the coldest and hardest hours. My wish is that your hearts and homes will be filled with the love of God and of family. And when you are brimming with so much cheer, I pray that you will spill it out onto everyone in your path. If you happen to be short on cheer, I pray that you will give of yourself until you can't help but feel the love of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Tis the season and all I seem to be blogging about is murder and attack!

One of my great loves in life are babies! Baby humans, baby dogs, baby kitties, baby ducks, baby chicks, baby cows, baby goats and on and on...

But...I haven't found a way to keep them babies, they all grow up. Some of them grow up and are still just as cute and sweet as ever, like Eddie. However, SOME grow up to become monsters.
Take this one for example, this is Mo...You all know him by now, I'm sure. Look how cute he was, and I stress was.
This is where I like my goats to be. Grazing in the pasture, happy and content and away from my house and my yard. There is something so peaceful about watching a herd of goats grazing in the field. But it is a challenge to keep them there. They are social creatures and, for some reason, they like ME.
They like me A LOT.
Except this one.
Just look at him standing there, looking at me out of the corner of his eye...hating me, planning evil things against me.
Once upon a time he was sweet. He liked simple things like a scratch on the head, a hand full of goat treats, a stroll down the road. But, like all men, that evil poison called testosterone began to course through his veins, and he turned into a monster.
Could it be.... satan? (said in my best church Lady voice)

Now, I'm not a wimp and I rarely let an animal get the better of me. I respect them and all their weird antics but I am ultimately the boss and they must respect that about me. Most of the time, they respect me in return. I feed them, I make sure they are well cared for, and usually we all get along very nicely.

Everybody except for Mo.

So this morning, I was cleaning out the goat pen. How nice of me to make sure that those sweet little goats have a nice clean facility to live in. Mo usually will make it clear that he does not like my being there, but I go about my business and ignore him completely. We have had a few minor run-ins with each other. He will get a little too aggressive and I will have to make it clear that I'm the boss. Sometimes with a boot, sometimes with the water hose (squirting him with it) sometimes with my shovel (pushing him out of my way).

There I am, tra la la la, I'm cleaning my goat pen, when Mo starts pushing me around. Well, I've got a job to do and I don't have time to be putting up with this mean ol goat. I got him to follow me out of the pen and shut the gate where he would be out of the way completely while I did my work. The thing is, once I've filled my wheelbarrow with the soiled shavings, I've got to go back out of the gate to dump it down the hill.

Darn, why didn't I think this through!

Oh, he won't bother me, he's just a goat! I'll be fine. This is my farm and I'll do what I want when I want and not be detoured by a silly old goat.


When I went back through the gate, he was really really mad. I mean really mad. I barely got my shavings dumped when I found myself in a battle.

I tried to get back through the gate before he could follow me...that didn't work out.

I tried to threaten him with my shovel...not a good idea

Did I mention that he was mad?

He penned me between the fence and himself. OH, and he has big horns too!

I finally wriggled my way out of that and thought it was over


Have you ever seen a big, mad, mean goat with long horns rare up in an attempt to annihilate you? It's not funny.

So now, I run!

I run really fast.

Not fast enough. Goats are fast. (or maybe I'm slow)

When I woke up this morning, the furthest thing from my mind was that I would be running for my life from a goat.

Oh Lord, don't let this be how I die! I can see the headlines now WOMAN ATTACKED BY GOAT. I'll go down in the redneck hall of fame. My children will be so ashamed.

So, it was at this point that I started to scream. I was running AND screaming with a goat hot on my trail.

Go ahead and laugh.

Luckily Taylor is home from school today and heard my cries for help. After a few more laps and a few more horn-punches to my legs and arms, I made it to the gate that leads to my yard but the stupid goat penned me again. And then my hero arrived. Taylor showed up, eyes as wide a saucers, and assisted in letting me out of the goat pen.

Stupid goat!

I called Rodney and told on Mo. We are going to build a pen for him later down at the barn so he will be separated from my sweet little does. Incidentally, I've got one of my dairy goats locked up in the birthing room expecting kids very soon.

As for Mo...He is lucky I'm a pacifist.

Monday, December 7, 2009


WARNING: some of the images posted in this blog may be considered to be objectionable or offensive by some readers. Not for the faint of heart.

I have seen some gruesome things in my life. Calf-pulling, deer-gutting, road-kill, child-birth, toddlers vomiting in the toy box at 3 a.m. and on and on. Farming and parenthood is not for the squeamish.

This morning, I was horrified by what I found in my living room floor. Please be aware the the images you are about to see are quite disturbing
Oh, the massacre!!
The pure carnage!!
Oh, the facial lacerations!
Oh, the disembowelment!

...and who could have committed this heinous crime??
WHO ME?? Precious, sweet, darling, little ol' me?
Under that cute and lovable exterior, lies the heart of a killer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

If you feed them, they will come

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
tuppence tuppence tuppence a bag.
Come feed the little birds show them you care
and you'll be glad if you do
The young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare
all it takes is tuppence from you...

Pardon me, that song is in my head a lot, especially when one of my daily "chores" becomes feeding the birds. I have no idea what a tuppence is, but if I had one I would surely sacrifice it for bird feeding.

As soon as the leaves start falling I start putting out bird seed. The thrill of watching them congregate as the season presses on is very rewarding. Usually, most of the birds that gather on my porch are finches, cardinals, sparrows, and the occasional woodpecker. Once in a while I'll have a stranger appear, and then it's



Early this fall I had a little stranger appear and didn't bother to ask his name. Fall is a time for birds to migrate and I figured he was on his way somewhere warm and tropical and I didn't want to become jealous and then miss him when he left, so I tried to ignore his presence.
But he kept coming back. Again and again.

Not only did he come to eat, but he was quite inquisitive and would fly within just feet of me, cock his bright little eye my direction and do everything but introduce himself. I've watched him closely and observed his song and his mannerisms and assumed he was a form of woodpecker or sapsucker. He does that fascinating rowing motion when he flies as most woodpeckers do.

I decided that I wasn't THAT expert on bird identification and probably should find out his name since he seemed intent on staying around.
I thumbed through the woodpecker section in my bird book and he wasn't there! So, further I researched and
hot diggity dog I found him!
He is a white-breasted Nuthatch.

You know what my favorite thing about this information is? Nuthatch is way fun to say!!
Ok, so now I have a new friend and his name is Nuthatch. I've discovered that there is more than one attending meals around here too! I so hope that they stay and that they feel welcome. I try so hard to accommodate them well.

While I was reading about them, I learned that they are quite inquisitive little birds and are very tame at feeders...pssshht. I already knew that.

Mary Poppins

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Lovely Woman

My sweet little family traveled to Nacogdoches on Wednesday to lay to rest our YaYa. She became YaYa to me over 18 years ago when I married Rodney.

It is always so hard to say goodbye to someone who you love. I have learned that there are certain people whom God places in your path to make it brighter and more pleasant a journey and she was certainly one of those people. When they are gone from that path, it leaves you wondering how life will ever be so beautiful again...and then I remember all the things she taught me and feel a call to pass these things on.

She taught me so many things, not the least of which was that I want to be like her when I "grow up". She taught me everything from the proper way to put-up peas to secrets in quieting a colicky baby. She made me laugh a lot... and not on purpose which is always the most genuine laughter. This woman was a pillar of strength in a tiny woman's frame. The stories that she shared with me sitting quietly at her table will always be present in my heart.

She was the mother of 3 boys and she raised them well. This alone is a feat of endurance that I can't even imagine. She went on to help raise my husband to be the man he is today. The influence she had on him and the way he loved her in return is one of the sweetest things I've ever had the privilege to witness.

As Rodney and I were reminiscing and reflecting upon her life we both became aware that it would now be our turn to be the ones of influence. Now that she is gone, who will be here to carry on that flame of strength, of character and of wisdom? It is left to us to keep that spirit alive. To make sure that the generations to come will find honor in their elders and will aspire to be like us as we aspire to be like her. To live our lives in a way that will honor her and cause her to be proud of our accomplishments and our strength. Prayerfully and painstakingly we will raise our children. We will do it with great joy and laughter and make memories of our own.

God blessed us with this lovely woman. She will always be a part of us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snicker Doodles

We awoke this morning to much cooler temperatures and as the morning has progressed the temperature continues to fall. The warmer weather has been keeping me busy and I've been relishing every moment of it. However, the cold rouses in me that spirit of the holidays and I start to get all sentimental and mushy and my baking neurotransmitters are awakened.
Last night as I was browsing around on Facebook looking at pictures and reading what everybody was up to, I came across pictures of my sweet friend Tori baking snicker doodles. Tori once made me chocolate chip pancakes because I was having a bad morning. I was very pregnant with Kyle and not feeling well and my cat had gotten run over so she just showed up, with all the ingredients and whipped up a batch of the yummiest pancakes ever right in my kitchen. This contributed greatly, I'm sure, to why Kyle was born all cute and fat! I'll never forget that sweet act of kindness.
Anyway, Kyle is home this morning recovering from the flu and he said "Mom, you know what would really be good?" "what's that baby?" I replied..."Snicker Doodles!" It was at this point that I got a tickle in my tummy and wondered how he knew that I'd been thinking about snicker doodles since last night. They are magical little confections on so many levels, I'm sure Tori would agree.
Ah yes, the cold weather has definitely awakened my holiday cheer. I have half a mind to get out my Christmas decor and turn on holiday music. My home is filled with such a hypnotic aroma right now that I'm actually a little bit high. This cookie is not only magical but a little bit narcotic. I'm not sure if it is the crunchy yet chewy consistency, the perfect way they crack open at the top, the bouquet of cinnamon and sugar, or that glorious taste of buttery, sugary sweetness but they are heavenly...(and joyful and triumphant!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I spy

Autumn is so glorious and awesome that there are hardly words to describe it. The sun has been shining for nearly a week now which explains my neglect of this blog. You can almost bet that when I am not blogging that the weather is keeping me occupied elsewhere.

Autumn brings with her the thrill of the hunt. The meat that we eat here on the farm has either been raised on the farm or harvested from the wilderness that surrounds us. This brings me a joy and fulfillment that I can't describe. So as we get deeper into the season and as hunting season approaches, the scouting begins.
One of the awesome things about where my little double-wide-cottage is located, is that we are sitting in a prime location for hunting and spotting deer. My fearless hunters are usually more likely to bring home a deer from the woods than from my back deck just because, well, it's way more fun to hunt in the woods than it is to just open your back door and kill a deer grazing in the field. That's why it is called "hunting".
We do love to keep track of the deer activity out our back door. We see the same deer so many times that we begin to feel connected to them and actually start to feel a little bit hopeful that they make it through the season. No names have been assigned to them except for things like "the little eight-point" or "the doe and her yearlings" or "the big buck".

I love that we keep a pair of binoculars by the door. I remember my Mamaw doing this always and not really "getting" it when I was younger. Now that I'm older and have my own door that overlooks a pasture, I can't imagine not having binoculars handy at all times.
What could be more fun than surveying a large open field for wildlife I ask you? Maybe watching the two most precious men in my life standing there, scouting, planning, laughing, discussing and plotting this years hunt. I will forevermore be grateful for little things such as this. The quite moments that make me realize how blessed I am, for my family, for my life, and for the Creator who put this whole magical thing together.

Monday, October 19, 2009


There are very few things in life that sustain my existence. The love of God, the love of my family, and my dad's Etoufee (for you non-cajuns this is pronounced eh-too-fay). Dad prepares this life-sustaining creole dish a few times a year and I barely make it from one pot to the next.

The production of making Etoufee is quite an ordeal and requires a full staff of family members to pull the whole thing off. I mean you can make it by yourself if you want to but it isn't nearly as fun.
See, see how much fun it is.
The most important element in Etoufee is the roux (pronounce roo). Dad has figured out how to make the perfect roux with the least amount of effort. Add one cup of oil and one cup of flour to an iron skillet and stick that baby in the OVEN instead of standing over a hot stove for hours. If you want all the specific details of this recipe you'll have to ask him.
Chopping food in my mother's kitchen is another of my favorite things. It's amazing the things we find to talk about while cooking and drinking iced tea. Plus it always smells so lovely and it just feels good to be with family preparing a meal together.
So us girls chop and chop.
And here is the master chef himself, drinking iced tea and waiting. See, he monitors the roux and then after the women have spent hours preparing all the other ingredients, he throws it all in a pot and takes the credit. Not that I'm complaining.
and so we chop
and chop. We didn't have any shrimp or crawfish for this pot of Etoufee, so we settled for chicken and sausage.
and finally start the process of combining all these magical ingredients. This is bell pepper, onion and celery AKA holy trinity. I can't reveal all the spices or I'd have to kill you.
I'll pause while you wipe the drool off your chin. I so wish you could smell this stuff, or better yet, taste it.
Another staple for Etoufee nights, red wine.
Pretty soon the whole family starts showing up for the feast. This is one of my favorite parts. Oh and if you're wondering why Kyle is on crutches... he thought he was superman and was bringing in Granna's tropical plants for the winter and LIFTED them instead of scooting or rolling them and really hurt his back. He is better now.
This is how we serve people on the farm... buffet style. Fix your plate and go sit down.
It is at this point when Eddie puts on his most pleading pitiful face. With this many people around, he's sure to get a few morsels of that glorious food. OH PLEASE...could YOU resist??
Everybody's bowls get filled, and now my mouth is watering again.
I wish I could rewind the clock and eat this again.
I love my family and I love when we all get to be together.
Side note: This is my Mamaw's head. This is what Mamaw's head looks like on Saturday night. For as long as I can remember, she has gone through this little ritual of rolling her hair in those weird bristly rollers on Saturday nights. She is getting older now and suffering from dementia but those rollers still go in her hair and, one things for sure, the party is never boring when Mamaw is there.