Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to the Country

Yup, that's right, last weekend this cowgirl stuck in the city was able to get back to the country to spend some quality time with her parents (and her cowpony!) Saturday morning we saddled up and headed out.

As we headed out to round up the heifers, I was struck once again by the sandhills. My parents have only had the ranch there for a few years, and I'm always how amazed about how green it is, about the fact that there is NO rocks anywhere. Now, just a little ranch terminology here, which you might already know if you read Pioneer Woman's blog, but a heifer is different than a cow. Yes they are both girls, but cows are older, usually with calves, or they've had at least one calf already. A heifer is a young cow-- only about a year and a few months old, basically a teenager in cow terms. These heifers have never had a calf before, and they still act a lot like calves. It's always a bit of a challenge when we have to roundup heifers, because they like to run, they like to play, and they love to chase each other. Here I am sitting on my horse, watching the heifers line out and trail along. We hardly had to push them at all.

Wow, they're really good, look at them lined out and trotting along like good heifers! Wait a minute, I think they are going too far. And now one is there to stop them and turn them back towards the fence. Where is everyone? Oh... wait, that's my job. I'm supposed to turn them. Shoot.

After an exhilerating gallop across the flat, my Aunt Tammy and I were able to stop the heifers at a pond. They milled around, went for a swim, and forgot why they were running.

And then one heifer decided to cannon ball into the center of the pond, her splash caused the rest of the heifers to jump, and they started running again.
We finally got them bunched up in a corner of the field so we could sort out the bulls. That was the purpose of this ride, we wanted to get the bulls sorted out of the herd so the bulls would fatten up as they didn't have to worry about the girls anymore. We ranged out in a human/horse fence around the herd, working to keep the heifers standing in the corner so my dad and grandpa could sort the bulls out of the herd, through a gate, and into the next field.

See that good looking guy in the middle? The one with the purple earrings? He's a bull, and those are his girls. He's a little bull, part Lowline, which means he won't get very big. Which is good for heifers as they have enough stress trying to squeeze out a calf for the first time, they don't want to worry about having a big calf which could weigh between 80-100 pounds.

Dad and Grandpa in action sorting bulls. Dad is working the bulls out of the herd, and Grandpa is guarding the gate, not letting the heifers out and guiding the bulls through.

After a struggle between man and beast, man won, and the bull left the herd to join the boys on the other side of the fence.

Like all women, the heifers complained and wanted to bolt the herd when we were trying to hold them in a corner, but as soon as we left, they wanted to come too.

"Hey! Where are you taking our men?"

We still had to herd the bulls back to ranch headquarters, but more about that later in another post.

Organizing...

I have a ton of pictures to post of my long wonderful weekend I spent with my parents on their cattle ranch last week. However, we're moving this week, and I'm afraid I'm in a bit of shell shock thinking about packing everything, moving, unpacking, painting, reorganizing... shudder. I want to weep just thinking about it.

But I have been thinking a lot about organizing recently. I’ve always wanted to be like my grandma Marge, whose house was always immaculate, her closets and shelves organized and sorted, her floors spotless. She was always busy puttering around the house and her gardens, and God certainly blessed all of that dedication and hard work because her gardens bloomed and her house glowed. I want to be like that, but the only time I’ve come close is the days after I found out she’d passed away and I scrubbed our kitchen floor four times in three days. That was grief, but what I want is to make a lifestyle change, to be the disciplined, organized, energetic woman my grandma was!

Here is some inspirations photos I found (how sad am I?).

Seriously, I was sitting at my desk at work drooling over these closet pictures.

We need to do something with the master bedroom closet in order to get all of The Chef and my stuff in it. We don’t want to already spill over into the other bedroom closets, I mean what will happen when we have kids or guests! So we’ve decided to get an organizational closet unit. I’m SO excited. I’ll post before and after pictures once they let us have the keys to our new house Monday (!) and we get moved in.

Look at this slideshow about closet organization.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Heart Pioneer Woman

I'll admit it, I love the Pioneer Woman. If you haven't read her blog before you have to go there now! I mean it, now! Don't read the rest of this blog, don't wait for your boss to leave the office. Read now!
Trust me, my morning isn't complete without curling up at my office desk at 8:05 and reading this blog. Love it, love it! LOVE IT!

I'm not a stalker, really. I just love this and wanted to share it with you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kitchen... the before

Okay... here's the promised picture of my dreaded new kitchen. Because of the Chef's profession and the fact that I love to bake, the kitchen really is the center of our house. We are hoping that we can entertain a lot in this space, and currently have a myriad of ideas about how we can change this kitchen to suit both of our styles. What do you think of it now. Do you think we might want to put painting on the top of our list?

While I have dreams of clean glossy white cabinets, the thing that's giving the Chef nightmares is the sink.

It looks fine right? But the split sink is very shallow and impossible to wash big pots and pans in it. The chef is eager to replace it with one of the following...



What do you think? The undivided sink is currently The Chef's favorite, I like the sink with the half wall, so we still have a bit of division, but still can wash pans and pots easier than the full divided sink. I really would love to read suggestions that you might have!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Plates

The Chef and I have a dream to someday own 1000 plates. I love the patterns and the variety and the option to "switch things up" while The Chef is more concerned with culinary things like presentation and the possibility of possibly feeding 1000 people without washing dishes. Hmm...

But anyway, we are very slowly working our way to that goal, and unfortunately, we currently have only three sets of plates :(. We need to work on that. The reason for this very random post is that I've been reading a lot of blogs recently and several have been showing pictures of their plate patterns, as a sort of let's get to know one another thing and a glimpse into people's personality.

This is our everyday plateware (is that a word?). I've never LOVED them, but when Rama and I were registering for china, towels, kitchen stuff, this was the onle plateset that we could compromise on. I wanted blue and white patterned flowers and geometric designs, he wanted square black and white plates. We comprised on the below.


I've never really loved flowers or floral designs, however the older I get the more I like them. In my early twenties, for my first house renting experience, I begged my grandma Marge for this set of plates, and because she loved me, she caved and bought them. I love the funky handpainted designs, I love the fact that each of the four plates and cups are different, and I love the big hefty feel of them.



Finally, our china. Waterford Lismore Platinum which we registered for and no one bought us any, but just months ago I was able to buy 15 placesettings for 85% of retail value! That's right! And they're brand new! I heart these so much!


Unlike some people, I love the simplicity of the matte cream design on the white background with the simple platinum rim. Love it! Isn't it darling? Very classic, and easy to mix and match with other china that I will collect over the years.

And my favorite plate of all time, even though it is one plate and not a whole set, I have to show this to you. It is a wild rose pattern that I painted (yes, I have an iota of artistic ability, about as much as mother has in her little finger, but I'll take what I can get!). During my middle school and early high school years my brother and I were homeschooled (more about that later). The townspeople of McD. rallyed together to do as much for Thane and I to make sure we didn't turn out "weird". Thus every one of my grandmother's friends invited me to do things with them. I attended monthly Homemaker Club meetings with my grandma and mom, one lady taught me how to shoot and develop black and white photography, one lady taught me how to quilt, several others gathered to teach me how to china paint. That's right, my mom and I and two women in their late 50's (or older) would gather and paint on china. At the time I didn't realize how odd it was, but now I am SO grateful for their time to love up on me and take me under their crafty wings! So anyway, this plate I painted, and whenever I look at it I think of those wonderful women of McD and how much they loved me!


Be sure to click here for a link to a free giveaway! Sweet Simplicity: GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Nest


There is is, the Nest. Future home of Mr. and Mrs. :) I know the quality of this picture is bad, I had to scan it off of the property brochure we got when we first looked at the house. So far everything seems to be working out great. We're under contract. We had the inspection, asked the seller to do a few things, which he did. Now we're just waiting on the FHA inspection to make sure it meets FHA standards. So it seems pretty safe to say that we're getting the house. Our new home!

Trust me, the picture makes it look good. It's definately a fixer upper. When we went to see the house the first of July, there was no lawn, just dried up weeds and dirt. The "landscaped" back yard was in fact a bare weedy patch with a lower area fenced off by broken down fenceposts and wire for a garden. Hmm... talk about advertising hitting only the highlights. It says that it has custom paint throughout, which basically means painted by a person who has no eye for color. The kitchen cabinets are a combination of baby blue and royal blue framing. Normally I would like those colors a bit, but since the open kitchen is right next to sage green walls of the dining room it's pretty horrifying. But it's home! I can't wait to show you all before and after pictures. (and trust me, I will!)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Best image of the day

This morning when I left the apartment to visit my dear friend Kate and her new baby Ella, I saw a wonderful thing...



Yes, this is our apartment building, and I was thrilled to see our landlord had posted an Apartment For Rent sign out in front of the house... yes, that's right, it feels official, we're moving out into our new dream nest.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not a Feather to Fly With...

So the big news is… we’re buying a house! We’re actually under contract, and hoping and praying that everything will work out and we’ll close successfully on August 25! While my husband and I are super excited and thrilled with the idea of home ownership, the whole thing has been very sobering at the same time. Wow--- we’re going to owe a lot of people a lot of money!

Recently as I was reading a novel (a pastime that you’ll learn is very common with me!) a character was talking about the impoverished state of the heroine, saying that she’s so poor that she “doesn’t have a feather to fly with.” It’s such a charming old fashioned saying, and I love it! It’s stuck with me, and throughout the week as I’ve browsed different blogs, I found this one, The Nesting Place and the feathers and nest images hit me again! Hubby and I are two love birds, finally moving into to a nest we can call our own. With God’s blessings, we’ll have more than just a feather or two to fly with, but they are certainly not of our own creations, but all of God’s!

As we start to feather our nest, you’ll see frequent (and hopefully not boring) posts about our experiences as first time home buyers, as we settle into a house that we pray will be our home in every sense of the word. Stay tuned!

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