Saturday, July 29, 2006

Abraham Blog

Today is the second best day of Faith’s life - ever. She not only has a horse, but out neighbor, Terrie, took Faith along with her when she went to do her job, which is taking care of horses. A little while ago Faith informed me, in very precise language, that she was “Going out to take care of MY horse, now.” She spends a morning working with our neighbor and it appears is now ready to train thoroughbreds for the Derby. She is being very patient at this point and seems to realize that it will be several weeks before she can ride him as he is very week.

Abraham is the name of Faith’s horse. Houston was his name when we got him, but she decided to follow a Nelson family naming protocol for freely received farm animals. Back in November we were given, on the promise of payment when she sold, a black baldie heifer. We named that cow Sarah as Sarah was the mother of God’s chosen people. The first of many. That same idea is behind the Abraham name. His descendants were to be more numerous than the stars. We’d love to have a couple more horses, so we are aiming high.
This is Abraham. He is still in pretty sad shape even though we have been feeding him for a whole day now. He should be all healed by tomorrow. No, I am not that dumb. Our neighbor, Terrie, and Faith gave him a shower this morning. Used some medicated shampoo to take care of the ‘rain rot’ along his spine. His food is a mixed up watered down blend of Senior Horse feed and alfalfa pellets. It smells pretty good but looks like a badly neglected pond.

This is a picture of Abraham neighing at Melissa while she took the picture.

Abraham and Sarah
Here is Abraham with Sarah nuzzling up to him.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Faith Nelson, Horse Owner

If you track back on our little blog to May 23rd there is the story of three horses that showed up one morning as we ate breakfast. The blog begins with how Faith’s prayers were answered, but that was all tongue in cheek as the horses were our neighbor’s and we could not keep them. Melissa told the horses’ owner, Terrie, how Faith had been praying for a horse and we had teased her that she needed to be more specific about praying for a horse she could keep. Terrie took this as a personal challenge and put the word out to her contacts that she was looking for a horse for a little girl and the price had to be right – right at $0 to be precise. On Wednesday she rang the doorbell and asked to speak to me. Turns out that one of her contacts had come across a 22 year old gelding that its owner was willing to give away. That horse, Houston, is now in our stanchion.

Terrie said that Houston was a little poor looking and when she got there she let me know that he was a lot poorer than she had expected. We know squat about horses and he looked bad to us. At the same time, he will be a great classroom for all of us as we figure out how to deal with horses. We now know squat plus one about cattle and squat plus a half about sheep, so we just have a new mammal to learn about. Thankfully he is a ruminant, just like the cows and the sheep, so we already know a bit about his digestive system.

Houston is a good sized horse, I do not know about ‘hands’ as a measurement, but I can tell you that he is about 5’4” at the shoulders. Very, very skinny though and in need of some cleaning up. Tomorrow he’ll get a bath and a brushing and we will get some fattening up food in him. In the mean time, we have a new set of friends in Terrie and George and will be providing them with milk from now until the end of time.

We will have a picture or two of Houston tomorrow and I would bet that Melissa will have an insightful, thoughtful post about all this. If you are counting on me for deep, you have made a terrible mistake.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bad week, but not in a good way

This last week was the toughest for us since we moved a year ago, but very little of what was tough about the week had anything to do with farming. A week ago Thursday hospice was called in for my mother as she was finally reaching the end of her Alzheimer’s journey. I went to Dallas Friday and came back late Saturday night. We did Children’s church Sunday morning and got ready for vacation bible school to start on Monday.

Monday came and VBS went pretty well. Mom passed away Monday afternoon, about the same time that I was in a meeting about an economic development venture. Then, Monday evening, I found out one more plum tree was dead in the orchard and later in the evening one of our lambs died from what appeared to be bloat. We were off to a roaring start. All week we worked until late into the night (or early in the morning) on VBS stuff, in addition to Mom’s death stuff, farm stuff and job stuff. On Friday we hustled butt home from VBS, cleaned up and sprinted to Dallas for visitation and then the funeral the nest morning. The service was performed by an old family friend that is, perhaps, one of the best preachers and ministers I have ever been fortunate enough to know. It went very well.

Then it was back to town so that we could do our VBS wrap-up for church and serve spaghetti as a part of a Juniors’ Camp fund raiser. I took a long nap this afternoon and Melissa went shopping with some friends. It sure is nice to be out here in the country where life runs at a slower pace. I am learning that the reason things take longer to happen out in the rural areas is because there aren’t as many people to make them happen quickly. Everybody is every bit as busy as city folks, we just have to do it all our selves. This is fine as the trade off is that I do not have to deal with long commutes to work, neighbors right on the other side of the fence and smog.

I will get more stuff in this week than last, not hard to beat out last week’s posts, all none of them. Or, I could my favorite new word, in a sentence no less. “I posted to the blog exactly nonce last week.” Nonce is actually a word that means “for the present time” but I am using in it an manner found in no other place than my own dictionary here at home where we feel free to add new listings all the time. Nonce [nunss] – a singular event that has happened no times. “It only happened nonce.” Use it for yourself and set a new trend.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Melissa played with the camera today

sunsetA sunset. And if you look closely toward the right side, you can see Sarah, our calf, grazing.

GraceThis is Grace, our 10 yr old daughter.

Samuel, our 2 yr old son, lounging in one of our luxurious pools.
And Joy, 3 1/2 yrs, cools off in the other pool.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

%#&@*~@^# HOUSE

Stinking piece of crap house planning. We were looking at round, but it got way too much troublesome so we went to steel roof over a stone/cordwood house. Ordered the roof, rented a backhoe and dug footings and did some leveling and then the roof fell in. Turns out they blew the estimate and when they recalculated what we were to pay it was $1000 more than we were planning to pay. Now we are back to square one, sort of. Still going to use the rocks. Still going to build a house. Still going to pour concrete. Just not sure what the thing will look like or anything.

On the bright side, I have not hurt myself in over a month.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Insect Observations

I've had a lot of opportunity to observe insects lately and thought I'd share a few things I've observed.

Ants like warmth. They seem to cluster around the stove/oven after it's been on. I kept thinking they'd go away while I was cooking because it would get hot, but they seem to increase their numbers instead.

We'd noticed the kids get grouchy when the house reaches 86, but they're fine when it's 85. So we set the a/c to 85. Well, it never kicks on until it hits 87. Finally the other day I turned it down to 83 and it kicks on at 85. The ants don't seem to like it cool. They've been gone for several days. But we just got home from church and there were a lot of ants in the kitchen. It got hot while we were gone. So I guess we like it under 85, but the ants like it over 85.

Ants don't like any brand of poisoned bait.

Wasps like milk and honey scented soap. I've had a bathing buddy for the last week. I don't know if it's the same one, but there's been a wasp (or some wasp-like creature. maybe a mud dauber or yellow jacket. It has a wasp shaped body and it's black and yellow. . .) in the bathroom with me every morning when I take my bath. I just ignore it and it ignores me. But today I used a different soap than I've been using. I grabbed the milk and honey scented bottle today. I poured some in my hand and right then this wasp comes buzzing down at me. It kept coming at me for the rest of my bath. As soon as I was dressed, I went to get Stephen to kill it. So I guess tomorrow I'll get to find out if there's a new one in there.

Ants can be useful. Have you ever woken up at night and seen a bug in the bathroom? I'll kill it and sometimes leave it till morning because I don't want to get all grossed out in the middle of the night. Then in the morning it's gone. I thought someone else was cleaning them up or there were Dead Bug Fairies that did it for me. Well, a couple weeks ago I caught the Dead Bug Fairies in the act. They were ants! They were coming and taking away the dead bug bit by bit. We're hoping that's where the dead spider from last night disappeared to. Either that or it was just playing dead. Creepy thought, huh?

Wolf spiders can get as big as my hand. Enough said about that. I'd rather not think about it.

Have you heard you're never more than a few feet away from a spider? I believe it now.

Also it seems the ants carried away the broken glasses. Maybe it looked like a pair of magnifying glasses and they thought my kids were going to use them to burn ants. So they carried them off and hid them away. Or maybe they looked like dead bugs and the ants were trying to be useful to thank us for all the food we "provided" for them. All we really know is the glasses are gone and many ants hang out where we saw them last.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Relax and enjoy, it's the 4th of July

Good morning! We are headed out to my in-laws today. The weather here is very nice, unseasonably mild would be a good description and my look at the Granbury forecast tells me it is even milder there. So, the swimming we had planned to do is looking iffy. This may turn out to be the 4th of July when we didn't do anything. We were going to go to the big fireworks display that a gentleman in the county puts on for the community each year, but the kids aced themselves out of that. You know how you tell your kids if they don't behave you're going to pull the car over and then they'll be sorry? Usually they respond to this. Not Saturday. It was one of those days where everyone went bad and they called our bluff. We don't bluff. I love fireworks and the kids knew that, but we had to stick to it with them. No fireworks, probably no swimming. Bummer.

On a positive note, the plans for the house are firmed up and we are at work. There is a picture of the site from last week when it was cleared of trees. Over the weekend I rented a backhoe and it is stripped clean with the trench for the foundation's footings dug. We will try to get a picture up later as we are going to work hard to document this process all the way through as we plan to live in this house the next 50 or so years.

The roof is a metal building roof and has been ordered. The walls will be a mixture of rock from our property and what ever other property we can get them from and cordwood. The cordwood idea just wouldn't go away and I kept thinking it would be a big pain in the rear until we finally peeled off some bark and it was pretty easy. So we are using that upstairs. The cost of the exterior of the house will be the mortar and that's it.

We had developed round house plans as this is the most efficient way to build a space, but it is also a bear when you get to things like joist layout and building curved interior walls and doing a roof that is shaped those umbrellas you get in drinks at Trader Vic's. The house will be a combination house and barn. When I was in Switzerland I got to have lunch at a dairy farm and they lived in a house/barn. I always thought that was a great deal and now we will do that for ourselves.

Insert your own "raised in a barn" joke here.