Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 13: Wednesday What's It?

What's It?



This is challenging. 
I'm not sure that I'd even recognize it out of context! 
Do you know what it is already? 
Do you own one of these?
Better question, do you use it if you own it?

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Need a hint? 


This is a gadget that is supposed to do whatever it does inside 
with the same end results as 
that which a bigger object does outside!

Now, wasn't that helpful?!!
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Although it looks like a wheel, it doesn't go 'round and 'round.

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The Surgeon General would approve of this.
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We bought it at a fair. 
It was being demonstrated.

No.... it isn't a spinning plate for a juggler!

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A source of heat is required.

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Some sort of liquid is required.

Nope... it's not a colander!

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It smells good - well, the end result smells good!

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Do you know what it is?

Are you tired of clues that haven't been all that helpful?

OK... here's the answer...

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(Photo courtesy of Google image results)



This is a smokeless indoor stove top grill!




Last year we went to a food festival in Denver. There were many booths from restaurants with yummy, tempting treats to sample. There were vendors selling everything from cream cheese spice mixes to trail hammocks. One vendor had a large crowd around his table. He was demonstrating the smokeless indoor grill. We stopped and watched. We tasted a piece of chicken. We debated about buying a grill... You know, it was one of those fair specials. The man was hawking his goods, "...  usually retails for $40, today, and today only, you can buy this marvelous grill for only $20. Step right up, pull out your cash..." We bought. I thought we might have "SUCKER" tattooed on our foreheads!


What a surprise. This was one of those purchases that we regretted, not because the grill is terrible, but, because  it's great and we didn't buy more for gifts!

We use the grill at least once a week. To use it you put a half-cup of liquid in the bottom tray's moat. We usually use water, but one could use juice, wine, beer, etc. Then, you preheat it over a medium burner on your stove. We've cooked beef, chicken, fish, barbecued pork, shrimp, and vege's on the grill. It does a great job with portabella mushrooms, too!

The top of the grill has a non-stick coating and the bottom is a fairly sturdy grade of stainless steel. (The grill pictured on this blog is not my grill... mine is at the other house). If you decide to purchase one, do be cautious as it appears that there are several manufacturers of these grills and some are not as sturdy or easy to clean as the one we lucked into.

We can't wait for the fair to come around again... guess what our family will find under their Christmas trees this year?!!

Do you have a smokeless indoor grill?
What is your favorite way of cooking?







Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tucker Delivers

I didn't think it was possible, but I believe that Tucker may have had a puppy. A very fuzzy puppy! Well, at least the equivalent of a puppy!


This is the second night in a row that I have gotten a puppy's worth of fluff out of our dear boy. I think he has at least two more to come! Not to mention the piles that have been harvested over the past few weeks. How can one dog have so much fur?!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Project: Week 23 - Finishing Egypt with the Textbook

This week we are finishing Egypt with the textbook. What? ... say you?! Whenever something seems to drag on forever with little progress seen,  I have adopted that phrase.  Why, you might ask? The statement evolved many years ago when I was teaching on a team with 3 other teachers in a technologically advanced Middle School. We were each given a new thing one fall.... a voice mail box! (That kinda tells you how long ago all of this occurred!) Instead of managing our own voice mail box, we pooled the numbers we were assigned and each number provided the parents and students with different types of information. One number gave daily homework assignments, one listed special events for the week, a third listed contests we were conducting and the last number provided an overview of what the students would be learning on any given week. Every Friday afternoon the teachers on my team would huddle around the phone and make our new message for the week. So, the message might go something like this: "In Math we will be working on multiplying decimals and there will be a test on Thursday. In Language Arts we will be reading several short stories and writing our own, so don't forget to bring your idea journals to school. In Science students will investigate population changes in predator and prey relationships and in Social Studies we will be finishing Egypt with the textbook. Our Social Studies teacher recorded this comment for two or three weeks. On the following week she was absent on Friday. We didn't know what she would be doing the following week, so we continued the pattern and recorded on the message that students would be, "Finishing Egypt with the textbook!" For some reason we repeated that message the following week. It became a joke to us, and we probably said that students would be finishing Egypt with the textbook for 3 months.
So, the project has been going on forever.... just like "finishing Egypt with the textbook"! But... as I mentioned previously, we are getting very close. We could actually move in any day! Woohoo! I can't believe it!

So, in addition to finishing Egypt with the textbook, this week we:

  • watched Sebastian and Libre tear siding off the east and south side of the house. They wrapped the house in Tyvek and began putting up the cement board siding.
  • moved tools down to the "workshop" area of the basement
  • did some touch-up painting
  • installed more of the dog fencing
  • began to prime the doors

Saturday, June 25, 2011

AFB

Away From Blogger

I've been away from Blogger. Did you miss me? Didn't think so!

So, what, why, where, who....?????

My hubby left Thursday morning. No, no, no... not to worry, he's coming back - he just went to visit his mom, who turns 89 today.  His departure was a bit hasty as we received a call that the alarm on our project house had gone off, and the house is on the way to the airport. It turns out that the vibration from the hammers of the workmen working on the siding had set off the sensors that detect broken glass. Well,  based upon the time of the call we know that the workmen did begin work around 8, as they had said they would!

I set to work on projects at our current home: some packing, some cleaning, some painting and sanding. I began with sanding the deck. Uh oh.... guess I can't do any more until I get a new belt!



I had the chance to ride shotgun... twice! On Thursday and Friday I went along for a drive with a friend who has so many Haffies - I can't keep them straight! On Thursday we went out with Midas and on Friday we were hauled around by Maestro. Maestro is the smaller of the two Haffies, but he has twice the go! Riding with others has really bolstered my confidence. 

I lost my phone. After our drive I reached to my back pocket to get it.. and it was gone. It was an awful feeling. And strangely stupidly,  I kept feeling my pocket, desperately hoping that maybe the results would be different. We backtracked our steps to the barn and down the driveway to the road. We hopped into the car and retraced our path over almost 5 miles. No phone was visible along the dirt roads. Luckily, they are lightly traveled, but apparently someone had come along and picked up the phone or perhaps a vehicle had ground it into the dirt.  The hollow aching spot in the pit of my stomach changed frequencies. My friend pulled out her phone and dialed my number and surprise! Someone answered! A fine upstanding citizen had found my phone on the road on his way to the Firestone Tire store in town. Guess where I was headed next?! I arrived at the tire store, thinking, "No, sweat. There won't be that many men in the waiting room." Well... I was sort of right. There was no one in the waiting room.... there were about 200 people right outside the door, however! The tire store had recently opened and they were having their Grand Opening celebration, complete with food, a band, face painting, dignitaries, and a quartet of kids on woodwinds playing the National Anthem.  Eventually an employee helped connect me with my phone - I was complete again!

I drove into the city to the tool repair shop and purchased a new belt.  

I spent so much time away from my projects this week, I'm thinking I need to buckle down and get some things accomplished. I guess it's time to tackle that deck before the sun turns it into a frying pan!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! What plans do you have? I bet they are a bit more interesting than sanding and painting!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week 12: Wednesday What's It?



What's It?



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So, do you know what it is?
Could you guess?




 

This would be Blogger being fussy about letting me upload pictures!  
I'll try again later... maybe I'll have to do a
Thursday Thingamabob!
   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Killdeer

Squaaawwwkkkk! Killdee! Killdee! Hey, you! Look at me! I'm over here....

Oh my God, Killdee! Killdee! Come quick. I've hurt myself. You can catch me so easily...

No, no, no... Killdee! Killdee! Come here. Look, I'm walking in the road. I can't fly...

No, Killdee! Killdee! Come this way. Oh, ouch, aachhh.... I think I'm gonna die. This is your chance to catch me...

Ma was right. A bird ought not to play in the road. Killdee! Killdee! Aachhh, I've been struck by a car....


Mom and Dad sure go to great lengths to keep us safe.
They should win Oscars for their acting!

Shhhh! Don't move. Those people are looking for us.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Project: Week 22 - Huzzah!

In  recognition of the Renaissance Festival near here and in accordance with the manner of that time, (sound of horns - horns draped in colorful scarves in the colors of the King) I now decree and announce to all assembled here (more horns to mark a big announcement) that with only a few exceptions and some odds and ends, WE ARE FINISHED with the main floor of the house!

Yes, you heard that right: 
Huzzah! 
Yippee!  
Hallelujah!
Hot diggity dog!
Wowie Zowie! 
Whoopee!
and
Amen!

Now we are turning our attention to the exterior and the grounds. We have a ton of work to do at our existing house and need to get going on that, talk to Realtors, and get that house on the market.

Moving is exciting. We love our new house and it is in a much better location as far as distance to shops, my dad and 'things'. But... we have a wonderful set-up at our existing house with lots of land to ride on, lots of people with horses right around us and fantastic neighbors. We will really miss that. We've met several of our neighbors at our new house and they seem really nice, but since we will no longer be on a cul-de-sac, our houses aren't as close together, so we probably won't have impromptu coffee chats on the front steps nor sit around enjoying a cold brew in the late summer evenings.

These Google satellite shots clearly show the difference in 'neighborhoods':

New


Old


This week we:
  • cleaned out the garage.
  • had the dumpster taken away.
  • received a new, empty dumpster for the guys working on the exterior.
  • mowed the area for the round pen and had a 6 tons of sand delivered (needed 6 times that) for footing.
  • killed the battery on the tractor - got a new one now.
  • tried many different color combinations on the Sherwin Williams Visualizer site. We bought 5 different colors in trial sizes. For $5.49 you can get custom color quart of paint - it sure beats the little 2 ounce samples at other stores. 
  • had a load of siding delivered.
  • began to paint the siding - we figure it will be easier to get at least one coat on the boards while they are on the ground. Ideally, we'd like to get two coats, and then just have to touch up once they are in place... but with our schedule that isn't likely to happen. 
  • gave up on painting the siding on the ground after doing 108 4' X 14" pieces of cedar shake siding and 45 pieces of 8 1/2" x 12' regular siding. It was just too much moving around and we didn't have the drying space... and it rained!
  • pulled out and cut more thistle and mowed some thistle spots in the pasture.
  • finally planted two evergreens we bought over a month ago!
  • had a Father's Day visit from our son - who brought his dad a new mailbox for our house with pretty brass numbers. He stayed to help Dad get it installed.(Son is very thoughtful - he called to get the color of our house, got a paint chip close to what it will be, and then looked at mailboxes trying to decide what color would complement the house! He chose dark green - a great choice!)
Dumpster on Week 2

Dumpster at Week 22
Hey, there's still some room left!
(We did add more after we closed the door)

Siding being delivered.
It's hard to believe that this will cover our house.
It doesn't seem like enough.

108 pieces of fake shake painted and drying
on the porch.
I can't wait to spend some time sitting
and relaxing on this porch!







      Sunday, June 19, 2011

      Looking Up To Dad

      Looking up to Dad
      ... or ...
      On Being Like Dad
      ... or ...
      Always Learning From Dad
      ... or ...
      A Father's Day Ramble

      I can't say that Dad was 'always there for me'. He was a busy executive with a strong work ethic. He'd leave the house early in the morning and return about 12 hours later. He would often catch up on the news, reading the paper at dinner (which drove my mom insane) and this meant there was little conversation , other than growling at me, "Did you spill your *&^%&^$ milk again? When will you ever learn...." ! Weekends were often a whirlwind of activity; mowing the yard, working on projects around the house or catching a few moments of fun. On rare occasions Dad would come along to watch one of his kids doing something we loved, but I don't think he really invested himself in the event or activity - he was a spectator and probably had his mind on the zillions of things he'd rather be doing. But, Dad is Dad. He is the big guy. He is the one who could make me cringe with one stern look. Yet, he is the one we tried to emulate. I was motivated to excel in school and sports, and later in my adult life, not solely because it was what I wanted, but because I hoped it would bring approval from my dad. Being the youngest, maybe I also felt I had to jump higher through those hoops to be noticed.



      Dad made this contraption to watch sports car races.
      This picture was published in Sports Illustrated in 1957!

      I had one of those "slap me in the face" "Ah, hah" moments as an adult when my grandfather happened to come visit my parents. My dad, who at this point was in his mid 60's, had recently purchased a painting. Like his father, my dad thought it important to collect nice art pieces. My grandfather made some comment about where the painting should be hung. The words had barely quieted into nothingness when Dad jumped up from the dining room table and moved the painting. Oh my God... my dad is just like me! He will do anything to please his father. My dad is still in awe of his dad and still works to seek approval from him. Dad is always dad. The dynamics don't change.


      But, they do change, and it is bittersweet. Recently, my dad, who is 89, has been looking up to me. It feels very strange. I often wonder if it feels as strange to him. Dad's memory lets him down and he has "opened the door and invited me in" to help him. I am beginning to help him manage some of his day-to-day activities and I am the one who gets called to bail him out when he can't recall how to do something on his computer or can't remember where to find something. I see where the roles are sometimes reversed. I am the one asking if Dad remembered to bring his phone, or suggesting that Dad may want to wear a sweater out. Yet, still, at an age when I could be a grandparent myself, I often check things out with Dad to see if he approves. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same!
      I am fortunate, indeed, to have these opportunities to do things with my dad. Happy Father's Day, Dad. Love you, bunches!

      Saturday, June 18, 2011

      One Potato, Two Potato....

      Perhaps it's time to do something with my pantry. 
      The aliens have taken over!


      Apparently this thing has grown legs.... 
      And what looks like looonggggg fangs!
      I don't think I'd particularly care to find it walking across the kitchen floor some dark night!

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      Tucker Talks: Boring


      Hey there. I'm over here, lying in the cool grass behind the iris. Do I look impressed? Ab-so-lute-ly not! I think the lady that feeds me has lost her ever-loving mind! Couldn't she just paint blobs of color on the wall to test which color combination she likes the best? I mean, what will the neighbors think? Geesh, people can actually see this from the road as they drive by. I will be the laughing stock of the neighborhood. I will never have any dog friends. Good grief!

      Ya know, they say we dogs can't see color - hah, that's crazy. Just look at the colors we see:


      The lady that feeds me has painted cutesy little houses in varying shades of tan. B-O-R-I-N-G! And besides, she has been doing this for what seems like hours and hasn't played with me once. That's boring, too! Oh, and, she has me tied up. so I can't even go play with the horses that live next door. Soooo bored!
      Yawwwnnnnnn!

      Wednesday, June 15, 2011

      Week 11: Wednesday What's It?

      What's It?





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      Maybe it will help you figure this out if you know that nope, this is not some sort of new cooking spatula! I have used this at the Parker house. I just got it a few weeks ago, but wish I had owned one all along. It has made one of my jobs a lot easier.

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      I have found this useful when I've been putting in tile. Others use it when they are finishing sheetrock.

      Do you have any ideas?

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      When I went to find a picture of this tool online, I was most flattered when it came up saying:

      You see, I misread the label and thought it was talking about my skill level. I was thinking that because I used this tool I had moved from the beginner's to the advanced level! Oh, my, how funny! Oh, how prideful of me!



      OK... give up or do you 'got it'?

      Answer:

      This tool is a bucket scraper. I use it to pull up gobs of mortar to slop onto the floor before I use the notched trowel and put a tile down. 

      Before I got my new tool I used a a paint scraper:



      There is only one problem with my original tool... it's kinda like a square peg in a round hole. Getting the mortar out of the bucket used to put me in a foul mood. I couldn't get much on the scraper. In trying to scrape mortar off the sides of the bucket I'd end up with morter up to my elbows... I hated it! Now... I love my new tool! Oh, well, sometimes we are pleased by the silliest of things!!

      Tuesday, June 14, 2011

      Pippin's POV: HESF = Hungry Equine Seeking Food


      Here I am in all my glory - decorated in mud dapples. My Mrs. Owner wasn't impressed. I don't think she understands just how hard it is to splash mud up onto your rump when we've hardly had any rain! After all of that work, darn if she didn't brush them off. Geesh!


      Anyway, I am seeking food - always. You know, I have to keep my 'apple rump' in shape... and that takes groceries!

      I think this new house thing is getting to my Mrs. Owner. She's been acting kinda strange. You know how important R-O-U-T-I-N-E is to horses, don't you? Apparently she hasn't read that chapter. Just the other day things were going just like normal. Shortly after it got light I began staring at the house, willing my Mrs. Owner to come to the barn to feed me. She finally came, dragging that stupid little predator with her. I snorted at the predator when he stuck his nose in my stall, and then turned my rump to him. He doesn't get it. Some day I'll have to show him what THAT is all about! I got my measley morning pile of hay. Then later my Mrs. Owner came down and gave me the pittance that is supposed to last me all day. Hah! If she only knew that within minutes of her being gone that hay is almost as gone as she is. Then I waited. I swatted flies with my tail. I waited. I chewed on the trim of the barn door. I waited. I got on my knees and stuck my nose under the fence as far as it would go to try to get a nibble of grass. I waited. I played with Doc. Now, here is where things went awry. Finally, my Mrs. Owner's car came down the road. And, like always, down she comes to the barn. This is the time I love. This is when my Mrs. Owner lets me and Doc out to the pasture. That green grass is so wonderful. You have no idea how painful it is to stand in a sandy pen and stare at that grass all day. So, my Mrs. Owner puts on my halter...that's a bit unusual, but sometimes she does take us to Mr. Ben's pasture. Then she takes me into the round pen; again, a bit unusual, but sometimes she lets us go out of the round pen into the pasture beyond it. She lets me go. Yippee! I'm free! I run and run and run. I am looking for the door to the pasture. The doors are all closed. Surely if I run some more I will find the open door. There isn't an open door. My Mrs. Owner is making me do some work. ('work' IS a four-letter word, you know!) This is NOT part of the routine. I do not do work when I am supposed to be out grazing. But my Mrs. Owner had that string on a stick thing and she kept insisting that I do things I didn't particularly care to do. What is wrong with that lady?!!


      Oh, my Mrs. Owner wanted me to point out that she has two new followers, whatever that is. 

      First is Minus Pride. This lady writes a blog about her experiences with her new horse, Sugar. Both Minus Pride and Sugar are younger than my Mrs. Owner and me.


      Our other new follower is Linda Benson at Equestrian Ink - Writers of Equestrian Fiction. Linda writes all kinds of things about horses. She even writes books. Maybe she'll write a book about me!

      Hay, followers, could you make a call to the Human Society(sic) and tell them about how badly my Mrs. Owner is treating me!

      Oh, and don't forget to vote on the best house color for the new house (see the post below and the poll on the right).

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      The Project - Week 21: A Breath Away


      This week we:

      • Had the bath counters installed and we set the sinks, after installing the faucets.
      • Planted two shrubs and some flowers. Two of my favorites: Hopflower Oregano and Kentzley's Ghost honeysuckle. Then, we found another beautiful honeysuckle and a peony...yup, we had to buy them. They are waiting to be planted.
      • Dipped the paint brushes in various colors to touch up walls, doors and baseboards.
      • Put up three shelves in the master closet.
      • Put back the switch covers on light switches and outlets as well as grills for air returns. I also reinstalled the blinds in the master bedroom and bath.
      • Had our master bedroom carpet installed.
      • Found 'way cool' mirrors for the Master Bath and put in some pendant lights.
      • Sprayed weeds and pulled weeds...again!
      • Took time off to play - woohoo! I got to ride in a carriage for a fun day, watch some eventing and play with my ponies - I forgot what it was like when we didn't work almost 24/7 on our 'project'!
      • Installed the toilet...but I may have broken it. One of the bolts connecting the tank to the base was dripping. I tightened it... it made a bad sound. I've turned the water off and will probably take it apart this week to see what I can see! Oh well, we I wanted a new toilet anyway!
      • Met with the guy who will be redoing our exterior. The house has masonite siding which has begun to take on moisture and swell in some areas. Other areas are fine. But, the bid for residing just the bad parts of the house was just about the same as residing the entire house in cement type boards. We are having the gable ends sided with a cedar shake look. We are also putting in one large garage door instead of the two too small ones. The work will begin on the 21st of June.
      • Decided that we would take on the job of painting the exterior of the house to cut back on the expense. My practical hubby figured out that we can do the bulk of the painting as the boards are on the ground - then just touch up nail marks, smudges, etc. So..... yikes! We have to decide on colors, and soon! I want to get some samples and try painting the gables with different options so we can stand back and look - I almost feel like soliciting 'votes' from folks driving by the house!
      • Found a fantastic "color visualizer" program at Sherwin Williams. It allows you to upload a photo of your home, mask different areas and change the paint colors. So, below are some samples. Which one(s) do you like best? I put up a poll on the side bar. I would love it if you took a minute to give me your opinions!!

       This is the house as it currently exists:

      Here's the house in a putty color:

      Here's a smokey blue version:

      I call this one clay:

      This is the green option:

       Here is our finished bedroom:

      And part of the finished bath.

      Catch a Ride

      Catch a ride.....

      and you're sitting on top of the world....

       Don't be afraid to try the greatest sport around (catch a ride... catch a ride)

      Think Beach Boys.... change the lyrics a bit!



      Our local driving club had a fun day yesterday. I had the opportunity to ride with Bob and his lovely Morgan X Friesian mare. Nicky has a wonderful free-flowing trot, which she demonstrated in the arena and out on the cross country course.

      Friday, June 10, 2011

      Fledgling

      Today I watched a fledgling fly,
      Furiously flapping as he conquered the sky.
      Proud speckled mama was standing by,
      Chirping encouragement to her little guy.


      This isn't my photo because, as so often happens, the camera was not with me. But three different times today I happened to see young robin(s) on his/her first flights. It was so much fun to watch as he launched himself, chirping madly all the way. I think he was saying, "Look, Mom! Look, Dad! I'm flying. I'm really, truly flying!" He had the flying part down by this afternoon, but landings were still a bit precarious. This morning Dad was on duty, watching the proceedings from the top of a fencepost. This afternoon it was Mom's turn. She was on the beam of our barn, watching proudly as her youngsters practiced take-offs and landings.

      I don't know about you, but moments like this warm my heart and make me know that all is right with the world, at least for that second!

      Thursday, June 9, 2011

      Ctrl Z

      So... I'm kinda busy this morning week . I haven't posted in a few days. I want to throw something up on the blog,  So... I go into my list of "Drafts". Perhaps you are like me in that you have started dozens of posts and they are waiting in your draft pile to be tweaked and put on the blog?

      Well, I pulled up one of my favorites. It needed a bit of work. Of course, I do want it to look right. I clicked to add some description. The 'click' didn't go where I wanted. I used Ctrl Z to 'undo' my move. I hit Ctrl Z one too many times and POOF my post was gone! Blogger, with it's marvelous auto save feature saved the blank page. Oh no! Well, that wasn't that great a post anyway. I'll go find something else. OK. Here's something that will work. Let me make a change. No, I don't like that. Ctrl Z. Let's undo that edit. Ooops. Did it again. I hit Ctrl Z  too many times. Here is my blog post:


      You know, Ctrl Z is mighty powerful. I wish it worked in other ways:
      • leaving the barn door open; Ctrl Z
      • burning the peas; Ctrl Z
      • driving too fast and having a chat with the officer; Ctrl Z (just kidding!)
      I bet there are a few folks out there who wish THEY had a Ctrl Z function, most recently,
      • Anthony Wiener tweeting 'the' picture; Ctrl Z
      So, when might you have used Ctrl Z?

      Monday, June 6, 2011

      Pippin and Doc's Excellent Adventure

      Hay, Doc. Will you look at this?
      Our Mrs. Owner left the stall door open
      just a bit while she came into the
      paddock to give us some hay.
       

      No kidding. Let me see. 
      Move your butt for a minute. 
      Hay.... will you look at that? 
      Not only did she leave the stall door ajar,
      but the barn door is open too.

      Let's go take a look.
      Nom-on-nom-on-om .... mmmm .... grass!
        

      You're in my way...AGAIN!
      MOVE! I want to eat some grass too.

      Uh, oh. We've been discovered.
      Here comes our Mrs. Owner.

      She doesn't look too happy. 
      Should we go back inside?

      And give up all of this grass?
      No way... I'm out of here....

      I'm right behind you.
        
         



      And so, my dear readers, a lively chase ensued. 
      Mrs. Owner had grabbed halters and lead ropes. 
      She found the boys in the front yard.
      But....no matter how calmly and quietly she approached
      they weren't going to be caught!
      They were having none of that.
      They were enjoying their excellent adventure.
      So, off they ran, out the driveway and down
      the street (luckily it is a dirt cul-de-sac)
      and into Miss Vicki's yard.
      Tails in the air and blowing snorts to the wind.
      Ahhh... they made a tactical error.
      Miss Vicki's yard is a dead end!
      As they were racing around Miss Vicki's  house
      to the back yard, along comes Mr. Ben and Miss Vicki
      to help round up the recalcitrant ponies.
      Because the back yard is fenced, the ponies can only
      exit where Mr. Ben is standing, waving his arms,
      or where Mrs. Owner is standing spinning a lead rope.
      Oh well... the grass is nice - they ate.
      Then, tactical error number two.....
        
       

      Pippin, it's all your fault.
      If you weren't such a food hog we
      wouldn't have gotten caught.

      Wait a second... 
      you were the first one to stick
      your nose in that bucket.
      I think it's your fault!

      Well, it was fun while it lasted.

      Yeah, you're right.

      What kind of excellent adventure shall we have tomorrow?!

      Sunday, June 5, 2011

      The Project - Week 20: This 'n That

      This week we:

      • Really, truly entertained! A High School friend and her husband were in the area. They wanted to see our project house and we treated them to brunch: yummy quiche, rhubarb cobbler and fruit salad. Oh, we did take up two more chairs so all four of us could sit down at one time!
      • Grouted and sealed the master bath floor. The tiling in the bathroom is finished. There is no one quite so happy about that as me!!!
      • Installed the shower column. Because of the configuration of the 2x4's in the wall we couldn't install a shower system with body jets, different sprays, etc. unless we tore out the existing shower and started over at great expense. But we found this unit.  We also have installed the shower doors. My hubby couldn't wait a day or week longer. He brought up some soap, we had towels and he tested the shower. He said it was heavenly!
      • Transplanted my blackberry lilies. The original plant was given to me by a very good friend over 25 years ago. I successfully nurtured children and grandchildren of the first plant. At the last-minute I grabbed a shovel and a plastic pot and dig up one of the plants before we left SC. Little did I know that the plant is very adaptable and can survive here! So, after three years in the ground here, I dug it up and planted it at our new home.
      • Coerced our son to help us put up dog fence and a gate. Only a few hundred more feet and another gate to go! (But the dumpster has to be moved before we can finish that project... yet another example of to do A you must do B, but to do B you must to C and C can't be don't until A is done. Arghh!)
      • Finally finished cementing the fake stones back onto the fireplace surround. When the house flooded I guess the water weakened the mortar and some stones fell off. We are still missing a long stone that I will need to find - that will be a challenge for the future.
      • All of the baseboard is in place, except for the front foyer which still needs to be tiled. I spent a good part of the weekend on my knees caulking, filling holes and painting the baseboard. Have I mentioned that I hate baseboard!
      • Cut the yard. Hubby's self-purchased Father's Day gift is a self-propelled lawn mower for trimming the hilly areas and small areas where the tractor can not go. We also sprayed more thistle, cut more thistle and dug up more thistle. The root system on the thistles is amazing! It will take years before we finally discourage it from growing!
      • Bought bunny fence and began to fence off some roses that the bunnies won't leave alone. Maybe now they can grow and not have all of their new leaves mowed down by hungry bunnies! (We have at least one bunny living in our downspout drain. He's about the size of a very small guinea pig, or a big hamster. Cute! I haven't been able to get a picture as he darts back into the drain the minute he hears any unusual sound...like the whirrrrr of a camera focusing!)
      Blackberry Lilies

       The yard is mowed.
      It is hard to tell, but there is a very
      steep bank on the left of the driveway.
      Most of the grass in this area was left long because it
      is a bit too steep and too large an area to mow and
      we will be turning the horses out there occasionally.


      Tucker approves of the stones I replaced 
      on the fireplace surround.


       This is the nifty shower unit and glass doors.
      The unit has body sprays, a rain sprinkler
      and a hand-held sprayer.


      Here is our dining room with baseboards.
      Now, I have to touch up the paint where the
      caulk smeared above the baseboard.
      Of course, then I'll have to touch up the
      baseboard where I slop paint on it.
      It's a never ending circle!

      I hope you all have a great week. 
      What projects are keeping you busy?

      Saturday, June 4, 2011

      Missing Kitty

      A coyote got one of my cats this morning. Ever since acquiring two barn kittens last year I knew that life expectancies are short for barn cats on the prairie and I worked hard at not getting attached. So, emotionally, I'm OK I think!

      There are a few curious things about all of this that I find interesting (hindsight being 20/20):

      First, I have a neighbor who called me to tell me the sad news. What a wonderful woman. That couldn't have been the easiest phone call to make. But I really appreciate it. If she hadn't seen the coyote leaving our pasture with something black in its mouth, I would have been looking for the cat and then wondering. Sad as it is, it's nice to be able to know the end of the chapter. We had a cat wander off years ago, and I still wonder about what became of him!

      When I went out to set the horses up for the day Doc was excited. He is normally a very mellow fellow, but this morning he pranced into the extended paddock area and snorted a few times. He was mesmerized by something to the west of us, in the open area behind our house. I didn't see anything. Pippin picked up on his cues and also looked, but didn't tarry... I had just put down a bit of hay and food is food! My neighbor said the horses were really carrying on when the coyote was nearby. I'm betting that Doc was watching the coyote - long before he came into the pasture.

      The cats, Thing 1 and Thing 2 (or alternatively; Kitty, Kitty), were litter mates. Thing 2, the one I lost, was the bolder kitty. She would let me pet her and occasionally pick her up. Over the past few weeks Thing 2 has become bolder with Tucker. She used to run and hide from him, but recently has been standing her ground. Probably not a good thing in coyote country. This morning Thing 2 was happily hunting something in the pasture when I left. She was stalking whatever it was and pouncing. She did this over and over again, so I'm thinking it was some sort of insect that she was intrigued by. That behavior caught my attention and most likely caught the attention of Wile E Coyote as well.

      Thing 1 is the reserved, quiet cat. She rarely speaks. And she most often stays out of sight. This afternoon I went down to let the horses out for a bit of grazing before I got the phone call. When I went into the barn to do water and evening hay Thing 1 was talking to me. I immediately had my suspicions. Something like this had happened about a month ago with Thing 2 (the cat I lost) trying desperately to let me know that I had shut the barn door and her sister wasn't inside yet. As soon as I opened the door and called, the cat came flying in, and Thing 2 settled down - she had gotten her message across. I guess that Thing 1 was trying to tell me that something terrible had happened, and as I said, it was very strange. So when my neighbor called, I wasn't all that surprised.

      Poor Thing 1 won't have anyone to cuddle with tonight. It is sad. I just hope that Thing 2 didn't suffer and that the end was quick and painless. RIP kitty, you will be missed.

      Welcome New Followers & Weekend Plans

      Welcome to my blog Deanna and Marina.

      Deanna writes "My Country Genes". She honors her grandfather with her blog. He immigrated from Norway in the early 1900's and farmed on the border of North Dakota and Montana. His house is pictured on Deanna's blog - imagine the stories it could tell! I love that Deanna has a Norwegian Fjord! How perfectly fitting!

      Marina is from Belarus and sells Real Estate. Her Real Estate site is at: Весь спектр предложений недвижимого имущества  and can be translated using Google translate. I must confess that it did take me a few attempts to figure out what language that was!

      I love that we can connect to people around the world so easily. Wouldn't it be fun to visit blog friends in other countries some day?

      I have been having trouble leaving comments on some blogs. If I've missed commenting on your's, I'm sorry - it's not for lack of trying! Last week I was able to fix the strange login request that left me anonymous. This week, I can see the comment box or space, but can't click in it to write anything. Anyone else having this problem? Is my blog that way for any of you? If so, please shoot me an email at iteachcerra at gmail dot com.

      The weekend is here - Hooray! So, what will I be doing? Hmmm...sinking nails, puttying nail holes, painting, planting, painting, putting up blinds. B-O-R-I-N-G!!

      Hmmm, maybe I should paint the ponies...

      My son painted Doc last year....
      I have some leftover paint....
      I have some brushes....


      So, maybe you have more exciting plans and I can enjoy the weekend vicariously through you! What will you be doing? Anything more exciting than my plans?

      Thursday, June 2, 2011

      I'm Dreaming of a Green Pasture

      Last week we hired a fellow who had more boy toys than my hubby to overseed our pasture. I was intrigued by the equipment, the process and the anticipated outcomes.

      I had heard of seed drilling before, but was clueless as to how it is done. Luckily Mr. S. Driller was a friendly sort of fellow and took the time to describe the process and tell me how his equipment operates. His particular seed drill is fairly small; he explained that you can see drills operating in agricultural areas that are 4 or 5 times the size of his machine. His machine has three hoppers so you can plant three different types of seed, either one at a time or all three at the same time. We were planting a blend of grasses that make up a dry land prairie mixture.


      The guys engaging in man talk.
      Is that tractor envy I see on Hubby's face?

      The first wheels of the drill, the ones with the "ripples", cut into the soil. The next discs are mounted on axles at angles. The seed drops into the wider area at the top and and as the discs rotate they deposit the seed in the cut groove as the discs come closer together at the bottom. As the drill moves along, there are wheels that roll over each groove, in effect shutting the cuts made by the first wheel and the planting wheels.  Thus, the newly planted seed does not blow away in our strong Colorado winds (today we had to put up with enjoyed average wind speeds of 25mph).



               
      Colorado high plains soil is notoriously poor. There is very little organic matter in it and the soil is easily compacted. Seed drilling helps break up the soil and incorporates what few nutrients may be found, dried horse manure, for example. The machine acts like a core aerator introducing oxygen into the soil and breaking up suffocating mats of grass (in a Colorado pasture? Surely you jest Mr. S. Driller!)


      "Who, me?" sayeth Mr. S. Driller, "speaketh an untruth?"
      What do you think... can we believe this guy?

      We are hoping that we will continue to have some rain to help the seed germinate and flourish.  However, Mr. S. Driller did caution that our pasture will not suddenly grow thick and lush  This year we can expect to see wimpy wispy blades of grass along the seeding paths. Over the following two years those plants will expand and thicken as long as we have adequate growing conditions and as long as the horses do not overgraze the land.

       This is one cool machine!
      Don't you think?

      To see other farming dreams and activities, visit Farmgirl Friday!

      Almost Home

      When we left California it seemed that our trek across country would never end. Now, as we approach our final destination in southern Florid...