Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
This is the perfect time of year to wear your Christmas Spirit where all can see. We wish you joy, love, and the Peace that passes all understanding this season. Merry Christmas everyone!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This year I've made the attempt to blog more, not because I need to document or express myself, but to give those who care another avenue to explore what is current in our life out here. Earlier this year, I found a neat little widget to add to my blog (it is in the upper left corner). By clicking on the icon, you get a 24hour snapshot of general locations of blog visitors. Surprise!!! There are apparently people I don't even know who have at least a passing interest in my little corner of Texas. (Hi! to all you unknown friends out there :). For the most part, visitors are quiet and never give any comments or feedback, and that's fine....as I said, blogging for me is not a narcissistic release.
However, I'd like to try something rather global. It may fail, but my hope is that it succeeds this Christmas season. Back in August, I made a brief reference to some dear friends who were moving to Honduras to begin a life of humanitarian mission work. Alex and Laura are the most selfless giving couple I personally know. They formerly had great careers in one of the wealthiest areas of the United States and have sold everything and moved to Honduras to assist with orphans in the most remote corner of the country. Did I tell you that Honduras is the 2nd poorest country in the world, and that this area is even poorer than that country's average? They have founded an approved 501c3 non profit called Reach Out Honduras to raise money and awareness for this group of forgotten people. (please click on ROH to learn more). Charlie and I are both directly involved in ROH stateside, and we believe strongly in what Alex and Laura are doing for people who literally have less than nothing. This Christmas season, ROH is attempting to raise money for some very specific projects to help people help themselves (think, gardens, chickens, education etc). Donations of any size are so appreciated to this worthy cause. Please consider making a 100% tax deductible donation to ROH, by going here or here . I think it would be an amazing miracle for ROH to have "their flipflops blessed off" by having donations made by people all over the world. In a primarily selfcentered society, isn't it the perfect time of year to give without the expectation of something in return?
If you happen to have popped in accidentally and are reading my blog for the first time, Welcome! I hope you come back. :). The world really isn't such a very big place with connections.
God bless~ Liz
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Some people even go so far as to call them a weed. A weed, however, is only a misplaced plant.....but I digress~ My Dad, ever the man to complete a task well done, provided me with THOUSANDS of Morning Glory seeds. If you....any of you, out there in cyberland.....would like some seeds from these beauties (or if you are interested in starting your very own pink spotted hawk moth sanctuary), please let me know, and I will mail you some of your very own. Just making the world a prettier place, one seed at a time :).
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Pigs are brilliant creatures, and can be taught pretty much any trick you could teach a dog (within their physiological capabilities!). I personally can attest to the fact that a pig can and does hold the ability to reason (I've seen it in action). However, while you CAN give a pig an education, you cannot take away their instincts. I will leave it up to your imagination what kind of damage a pig, whose natural instincts include rooting and nesting, could inflict on an apartment or house if left unsupervised. Heck, I guess you could say that about kids too...who am I kidding???
All this to say, we ended up with a sweet yearling piglet whom we renamed Piggy Sue (I honestly don't even remember her original name). And in the last 16 years, we have loved sweet piggy.
She's kept us laughing as she hung out with the other animals that have passed thru Ararat Acres' gates. In her younger years, she outraced Charlie in a footrace. (Charlie will never admit he was beat by a pig...he claims to have been tripped.)Piggy Sue learned to use the doggy door, could sit for a treat, and wore matching bandanas with her doggie peeps.
Piggy Sue can pick up on emotions almost instantly. When she was a younger pig, if a farm guest was afraid of her, she would puff up her hair and grunt menacingly (although harmlessly!), as though she knew she could convince the visitor that their fears were valid. Not! However, if a guest showed zero fear, she would be sweet as pie to them. Honestly, I think she got a kick out of making kids (and adults) think she was one big bad pig..... when she thought she could get away with it.
A few things we have learned about pigs:
Truly, given the option, they DON'T like mud, especially if it's cold wet mud. She would tiptoe out to eat and pee, and then go right back into her room.
Pigs have a large and distinctive vocabulary. Every grunt has a very specific meaning based on tone, pitch, and cadence. In a split second, I can tell you if she is happy, angry, content, hungry, territorial, in pain, or pleased with herself (just to name a few).
I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat a ton of meat. Living with an intelligent pig has reinforced my belief that all animals deserve to live a dignified life in the surroundings that they were meant to live (ie- in a pasture with fresh food and water. NOT in a feedlot). I've just seen too many irrefutable examples that animals do have feelings, which do include fear and despair.
Piggy Sue has terrible arthritis now, and she sleeps most of her days away. A couple of years ago, we had to move her to a bedded down stall (we always leave the door open). She had decided that no old woman should have to go outside on a rainy cold day to go to the bathroom. (This did not jive with our belief that one can have many animals and still be clean folks.) On a beautiful day, she may come out and sleep in the sun. I think she has three teeth left. Because of this, her daily diet now consists of small food pellets and bananas. She loves her bananas.
I figure, in pig years, sweet Piggy Sue is roughly 96 years old. That's pretty dang old.....even for a sweet loveable pig.
Friday, October 22, 2010
In June of 1960, my father graduated from the United States Naval Academy. The very same day, he married his high school sweetheart...my mother, at the Naval Academy Chapel. I have been told it was a very quick ceremony, as there was a que of midshipmen and their soon-to-be brides ready to also tie the knot.
Since then, they have lived in California, Wyoming, Iowa, and Texas. They have raised 3 kids, and are loving being grandparents to two sweet granddaughters. They have loved, laughed, cried, and travelled together. They have grown old together. 50 years is not easy all the time.....but the best things in life are usually not.
(The family: 3 generations all together in one place, celebrating the 50th this past weekend at the USNA Chapel)
As Charlie and I pass milestones ourselves (we are at 18), it becomes so clear that only the strongest of hearts can survive as a team. He is the the strength to my weaknesses, and I am likewise his. I know my parents would say the same of each other.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
After some serious sleuthing (brown caterpillars are extraordinarily difficult to identify), we discovered we were harboring the youthful precursor of the pink spotted hawkmoth. The only way we were able to identify the darlings was by way of their dietary preference: Morning Glories. The Pink Spotted Hawkmoth is an enormous moth that is frequently mistaken for a hummingbird because of its darting vertical and lateral movements.
By an odd twist of luck, a few days later we happened to see one, AND I actually had my camera in my purse and was able to get some decent pictures. Additionally, I accidentally had my camera on video for a few seconds, so I actually got a quick shot of what their flying looks like. Enjoy!
Monday, September 27, 2010
We called him "one of the girls" simply because he was the only guy in the pasture, and he was good friends to all of them. Don't we all know a guy like that :).
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
In the last week we finally received some much needed rain. Hay prices were rising due to lack of local hay production,and potential animal injuries were on the rise from the dry, cracked earth. Our pond was completely dried up. The grasshoppers appeared to be thriving on the lack of moisture. But then the sky opened up and graced us with about 5 inches of rain in the last week.
Another kind of drought. One year, 5 months, and 12 days (not that I've been counting). Charlie has received an offer for a job, building a large apartment complex. He begins October 1st. We are blessed. And we have survived the drought. Praise God!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
In the above pictures: Donkey Boy and Elvis race each other. Elvis and Murphy watch Donkey Boy (not pictured) hang out with me. Donkey Boy and Elvis in conversation.
Donkey Boy checks out one of the cat's lairs.
Donkey Boy and Leo The Wonder Kitty explore to the left........."Come On...I'll show you the right side too". (Doesn't this sound like the next super hero duo to conquer the world: DONKEYBOY AND LEO THE WONDERKITTY....TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! )
Currently (as of this post), the only place still out of bounds is inside our house. Hey, we do have our limits....at least for now. Charlie keeps threatening/asking about putting furniture protectors on DB's hooves so that he won't mar the antique wood floors we have. (And this, from a man who...in his former life.....was somewhat of a city boy!) We are still normal enough people to keep the donkey out of the house :). That's all I have to say about that...for now anyway.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This last week has been a flurry of activity, and I have so many entries I'd like to post, but not nearly enough time to recreate what goes on in my life. This one, however needs to be posted....at the very least as a public service announcement and as an apology to my husband for putting up with me.... his very own Ellie Mae Clampett (at least that is what he very recently called me).
The story goes like this: Last Friday was my day off. While heading out to run errands, I saw a blue heron standing by the side of the road on the edge of town. Hmmmmm....this is something blue herons typically don't do. They are usually seen in ponds and waterways, spearing frogs, crawfish, and fish with that long beak of theirs. Surely you've seen them if you live in Texas or other states in the south. They are about 3 feet tall. Long legs. Long neck. Long beak.
As I was headed briefly into the next town over, I made a mental note to come back the same way to see if the bird was still there. An hour later, I returned...and yes, in fact, the bird was still standing there. Well shoot. What's a person to do, but do a U-ie in her truck, grab a towel (kept for such emergencies), and try to catch a big bird who looks like it needs help. Upon close examination, the poor bird had a pretty badly broken right wing. My towel is big, so I was able to cover the bird including its eyes, get in my truck, and drive to our vet with it in my lap and its head tucked under my arm.
Our vet clinic doesn't work on birds, but gave me a phone number for the Living Materials Center , a somewhat local facility that will take in wildlife that needs rehabilitating. They agreed to take my feathery friend if I would bring him/her to them. Having not eaten all day, and needing a better way to transport a large bird in traffic, I called Charlie at home, and he offered to fix me a quick sandwich and then would drive with me down to the LMC with our heron. I got home, ready to quickly eat, put the heron in a kennel, and then head south. I walked into the kitchen with the (very quiet, very still, and very large) bird still wrapped in the towel with his/her eyes covered and beak held with my free hand.
Charlie greeted me and said, "Wow. That's some bird.", as I uncovered his/her head so he(Charlie) could get a better look (1st mistake). Then, (2nd mistake) I released the bird's beak while saying, "Watch out for the beak. It looks like it could do some damage." (3rd mistake..I didn't say this soon enough) The bird lays in my arms for oh, about 5 seconds, and then SQUARRRRK!!!! ....It unfolds its neck, and goes straight for Charlie.....RIGHT UP HIS NOSE!
OK, you can laugh now. WE can laugh now, but at the time...when blood was spurting everywhere, and I wasn't exactly sure which part of his face had been ripped off by a 3foot bird that I had invited into our house....we weren't laughing. I was trying to subdue an angry bird. Charlie was spitting blood out of his nose and mouth, and I was trying (mentally) to figure out how we were going to explain this type of injury to an emergency room that had seen Charlie about a month earlier following another run-in with a sharp object. I mean....there was ALOT of blood. ALOT of blood (and blood doesn't even bother me...but I really don't like seeing it coming out of my honey's face). It was several minutes before everything calmed down, the bleeding had subsided, and Charlie got near enough to me (and the bird) to realize that there was no visible wound, only 2 very very small scratches on the side of his face.....and one slightly swollen nostril. Exactly how many people in the world can claim this as a near fatal injury? Believe me, the obviousness of how easily that bird could have pecked his eye out, pulled part of the frontal lobe of his brain out of his right nostril, or left a serious life long scar on his face has not evaded either one of us. We can laugh about this now, when we could be crying (I had nightmares for two nights. Seriously).
The rest of the story is fairly brief. I ate my sandwich (with a queasy stomach, thinking about what I had allowed to happen. Yes, I knew better than to allow myself....even for one moment... to think that a wild animal could be trusted. I have handled too many animals to have permitted this type of thing to happen). We loaded up the heron into a large kennel (It remained calm and subdued for the remainder of its journey), and took it to the LMC. Unfortunately, the heron's broken wing had happened several days prior and infection had set in, and the bird had to be euthanized. I had suspected that this might be the ultimate fate of the heron from the beginning, but I could not with good conscience, drive by that bird and not stop to help. And yes, I would stop again, in a heartbeat. But.....I would hang on to that beak, no matter what.
Charlie jokingly calls me his Ellie Mae. (He doesn't know that she was one of my idols growing up....and that really...it's a compliment of the highest order!).
I'm nearing my bedtime....so stay tuned for part two!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Charlie managed to nail his toe with the nailgun = a trip to the emergency room (note: picture below is not for the squeamish!). This slowed us down a bit this past week.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
When you think no one cares......everyone needs one: