Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Passing the Baton / Challenge

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Rev 22:21)
(new readers: free offer at the end of this blog post...keep reading!)

Almost one year ago (360 days to be exact), our Pastor, Phil, issued a challenge that I took personally. Well, maybe it wasn't a challenge......maybe it was encouragement, or a recommendation..... definitely it was advice. I don't remember all of the context of the sermon (Sorry Phil, it was a year ago!), but his words spoke to me, and given that it was the beginning of a new year, I decided to add it to my list of New Year's resolutions for 2010. I can't remember any of my other resolutions this year (so I'm pretty sure I didn't keep them :)..... but I did keep one that I will finish today: reading the Bible (cover to cover) in one year. Amen.
Coincidentally, Charlie and I were given The Chronological Study Bible last Christmas, so God was definitely "giving me the nudge" to Do This.
On January 3rd, I started my journey with this FABULOUS Bible. In addition to actually reading the entire Bible, I also got an enormous dose of World History, Christian History and Middle Eastern Archeology and Anthropology. I mean, WOW. Not to say it's been easy all the time. Truly, even with interesting facts and tidbits imbedded thruout this NKJV study Bible, there are tedious sections, so perseverence is key (Even tho lineage is terribly important for the history and birth of Jesus, reading about who begat whom can get to be a little dry........). I am content and joyful with regards to this milestone in my life, and a little sad that I've ended this journey. The good news is that this past year has piqued my interest in a number of Biblical subjects, so I have some investigative work to complete in 2011 and beyond :).



Yesterday, I decided that I wanted to celebrate the completion of my journey by "passing the baton" and by being an encourager for someone who is just waiting for this challenge to cross their path at the right time in their life. So, I have purchased a new Chronological Study Bible (the same one I've just completed), and I would like to give it to someone who has serious intent to rise to the occasion.....to be part of the 10% of Christians who have read the entire Bible. Everyone who leaves a comment on this blog and expresses an interest will be entered in a drawing for this Bible. I don't care where you are in the world....I will mail it to you if you don't live in our area, or deliver it in person if you do :). Make this YOUR New Year's Resolution for 2011. I will be drawing the winner on January 1st and will get your Bible to you ASAP.......I can promise that you won't regret this. With love and blessings~ Liz

PS- Charlie has told me that he is accepting this challenge in January 2011 too.....with our copy :)....I am very proud of him for this as he doesn't find reading as enjoyable as I do.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Little Donkey Carried Mary.......


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!


Brought to you by Donkey Boy.....
("whew.....I'm going back to the barn....lose the wreath, and grab another cookie. The things they make me do around here....")


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Connections

Recently I have grown deeply grateful for the ability to connect with friends, family, and new acquaintances on the Internet. I have relationships with so many people who live internationally, and without email and skype and somewhat inexpensive phone calls, I doubt we could (or would) remain close. With this ability, I am able to give and receive support as friends and family do in times of need.



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

Gobble!

From our turkey (George) and the rest of us at Ararat Acres to yours this happy Thursday......Happy Thanksgiving to all!

**note: George is especially happy because he is out in the yard, and not on someone's table today. He is an adoptee here, of course :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Giving Away

A couple of weeks ago, we began our fall cleanup of annual plant debris. My dear Dad helped us tremendously by taking down the brown and withered vines of this year's crop of formerly glorious Morning Glories. I asked him to save me a few seeds to pass on to some of my friends who have admired them in summers past. These viney lovelies are grand, beautiful, and bountiful!

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

Oldest Pig on the Block / Ode to Piggy Sue


I was reading in the Dallas Morning News earlier this week that the "Oldest Pot Bellied Pig"(documented by the Guiness Book of World Records) had passed away at the ripe old age of 21. Turns out, Oscar lived just 1 & 1/2 hours away, in Dallas. Who knew??? In the article, the writer also mentioned that the normal life expectancy of a PBP is 12-15 years. This I did not know, and apparently, Piggy Sue doesn't know either :)....and I'm not going to tell her :).

Piggy Sue has been known as our "Grandma Pig" around here for the last few years. She is roughly 17. Piggy Sue was our first rescue when we moved up to this area 16 years ago. She had been living in an apartment with a well-meaning young guy who had followed the "trendy pet of the year" gang, and had bought her.....and had also bought in to the misconception that pigs make great apartment pets. Uhh, right.

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

Then and Now

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.


(the newly wedded couple, circa June 1960)


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.



Happy 50th Anniversary to my sweet mom and dad!

1960- 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quoted

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which as been opened for us.
~ Helen Keller

Monday, October 4, 2010

On A Lighter Note.....

This summer we've had some interesting interlopers on our porch. Charlie first noticed these amazingly enormous caterpillars that appeared to feast on the morning glory vines that wend their way around our porch railings in the summers. These fellas are huge..almost as big as Charlie's thumb, and certainly larger than mine. They caught our attention and our curiosity antennae perked up, so of course, we went to work trying to identify our porch guests.

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!

video

Monday, September 27, 2010

Again

Sometimes it feels like I just get over grieving for one animal, when we lose another one. I know you must think I live in an animal cemetery given the number of animals we bury. And yes, most of them rest here in their earthen plots. They all have their own stone markers.... it is a peaceful place. I love them all, and I hate hate hate hate hate this part of my life where I have to say goodbye to my sweet friends. But I'll never stop loving and never stop rescuing because of it. Charlie says (and I so agree), the goodness of our helping animals and the joy in our lives because of it so outweighs this pain we feel when we lose one.

Sweet Earl. Earl the Pearl. Uncle Earl. Earl...aka Baby Huey. I believe he is nine this year. My how time flies. Earl was born at Ararat Acres. One of the few furry family members that has that distinction. He was born with a club foot, a structural deformity, that while not immediately life threatening, was a definite future threat to a long life.

See, there is this old saying: No hoof, No horse. Beginning when he was just a foal, we started managing Earl's condition. He wore glue on shoes (because his feet were too small for regular horseshoes) for probably a year. His structural defect lead to bouts of laminitis (for more info on that, click here) which got worse and uglier every year. Summers have been the hardest. Inevitably, he would abscess on a front hoof. We would go thru (every summer) a month of wrapping, soaking, doctoring, changing stall bedding (for he had to become an indoor horse during this time), etc. I can make the best duct tape horse boot on the planet.

Earl has been ever so patient with all of this, although he sorely misses his friends as he spends his days in isolation. This summer has been the worst. His episodes of pain have been so obvious. Clearly, we have been fighting a losing battle with a structural deformity that has finally gotten the best of all of us.

Regarding the Obvious (that was his APHA name). Earl. My mom always thought we had named him after my Great Uncle Earl. I never had the heart to tell her differently. We give all the boys their barn names of country music singers. Earl = Earl Thomas Connelly, Earl Scruggs, Robert Earl Keen, Goodbye Earl (that was actually a Dixie Chicks song, and our Earl was a much nicer person than the one the song referred to).

Sweet Earl. Always quick to befriend a new horse. Even Donkey Boy.

Earl. My problem child who frequently found unique ways to hurt himself. Doesn't every mother have one?

A redhead, our Earl. Being a lightskinned sorrel paint means sunglasses and protection for the sunburn prone areas. I am an expert on prevention of sunburn on horses now because of him.

Earl. Who was so sweet with all the foals we've had. We never had to worry that he would hurt them, despite their youthful antics. Frequently, he would join in their "reindeer" games. A great babysitter, our Uncle Earl, during weaning season.


Young Earl, who managed to almost scalp himself by running into a wood fence when he was less than a month old. He lay with his head in my lap while tears ran down his face. It hurt, I could tell it hurt as we waited for the vet to come sew him up. Proof that horses do cry.

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 :).

He only unseated one of us one time.....( it was Charlie)....and when you step on a live electrical wire, it's only natural to buck, right?

Have you ever been licked across the face by a horse? No? Well, you should have spent some time with Earl. He was loveable like that.

Soft peppermints. Yes, it's wrong to give a horse too many sweets, but he sure does like them on occasion.

Sweet Earl. You were a tall man with a big heart. You are missed by all of us and you are loved.


March 2001 - September 2010












Sunday, September 19, 2010

Melons Are Alot Like Life

(Today's post is brought to you, in its entirety, by Charlie)

It is always better to pick a side, rather than to straddle the fence of life. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ending the Drought


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

A Heron In The House and A Donkey On My Doorstep - (part 2)

After last week's harrowing event, I thought I'd lighten things up with a pictorial update of Donkey Boy. I'm not sure exactly how we've managed around here these last 15 years in the country without the love, companionship, and complete adorableness of Donkey Boy. He has moved in and made himself at home. Although we "put him to bed" in an enclosure at night (for his own safety), for the most part he pretty much has the run of Ararat Acres. He has proven himself to be trustworthy and liked by all the animals....although Murphy and Elvis (aka- "the boys") are by far his favorite running buddies. He has managed to sneak into their pasture at least 3 times, and all 3 times, The Boys appeared to be delighted by his presence. What makes this unusual is that Murphy is still a stallion, and therefore should not be all that friendly towards testosterone toting equines (other males). Such creatures could be considered a threat to his manhood, if you get my drift.
















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.
Additionally, Donkey Boy has mastered every set of stairs on our wrap around porch. At any given moment during the day, we may hear "tip tap tip tap tip tap" as he wanders around the porch, looking for someone to scratch his ears, face, back, belly, etc..... Heaven forbid that our windows be open and he hears us inside the house. Then, we may get a donkey serenade until we go out and do some obligatory ear scratching.



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

A Heron In The House and A Donkey On My Doorstep

(Author's Note: The following is a true story. I couldn't make this stuff up....even if I tried. Really.)


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

A Planned Life


Driving to and fro, from home to work, consumes quite a bit of my week when you think about it. Living in the country definitely has its perks, but losing 2 hours per workday driving is not one of them. I usually listen to talk radio and spend most of my time pondering, musing, and wondering, and (to be truthful) occasionally ranting and complaining to myself and to God. We've had some interesting conversations. I am very much a "type A" personality. I like to plan. I need plans in my life. I like to organize and to be organized. I like to know what is approaching on my horizon. I am not a risk taker. I (think) I do much better in my comfort zone of "knowingness". I believe that this last year + is teaching me some things about myself that I don't think I like too much. I find myself wanting to have a childish fit and throw myself on the ground and pound my head because ......... "it's not fair!" that I have PLANS that just aren't working right now, and I feel mightily selfish for having such thoughts....because really, under our circumstances, we have it pretty darn good.


One of my favorite personal sayings is: life is what gets in the way of what you had planned. (It is waaaay easier to tell someone ELSE this, than to tell yourself, by the way....because it's not "your plans" that have been altered or interrupted).


So, in my hours of driving and watching other drivers and listening to talk radio, I think:

*I'm sure that person didn't "plan" on having that wheelchair rack on the back of their car.

*I'm sure that young wife didn't "plan" on spending the rest of her married life taking care of her soldier husband who now has a traumatic brain injury.

*I'm sure NOBODY "plans" on being unemployed for what seems like an eternity.

*I'm pretty positive the people on the van for the mentally ill didn't "plan" to have chemical imbalances that would disrupt their entire lives.

*I'll bet that the driver of the remnants of the car I just passed didn't wake up and "plan" to have a wreck that morning.

*I would bet everything I own that nobody "plans" on having a severely disabled child that will depend on them for all eternity.

*Cancer. Now, who "plans" that?


The list could go on forever.


Then, I started thinking that maybe my plans are just assumptions. Mathematical equations......... A + B = LIFE, exactly the way we think it should be. That's not planning. That is presumptuousness of having a life near perfection, and that is embarrassing.


Funnily enough, this week I am nearing 70% completion of my year of reading the Bible chronologically. I have a set path on this, so I am not picking and choosing my verses that I read. And this week, true to form, God throws me a bone to go with my ponderings:


Job 2:10 -- Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?


I will always be a planner, organizer, and forward thinker and I don't think I need to change that. But, I need to remember that while I am wired to work this way, I am still not "The One" whose plans ultimately control or dictate how, where, or why my life turns out the way it does at the end of the day. Knowing that....I need to be more accepting of where the current takes me and what the wind and rain brings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey, Nice Asp!

I've been waiting for the end of this little story to emerge from its cocoon, and received word today that it is over. Our toxic little asp is dead. What!?? You may ask? "What?", as in... What is an asp?...... or "What?" as in.....Should we mourn another loss at Ararat Acres? I am here for you....to educate the general public about this bizarre creature in the insect world.


Lest you think we live in a scary world out here in the country (believe me, I think those of YOU living in the city are living in a scary world of a different variety.....but I digress!), an asp is just one of those things out here that you learn about and then watch out for. Nobody's ever died from one (that I know of), but countless people have ended up in the emergency room because of one.
Setting the Stage: So here I was, minding my own business, picking the evil bagworms off of a bush, when what should I see, but just about the cutest little caterpillar you could imagine. Why, it was so cute you'd just want to pick it up and cuddle it. The common sense side of my brain said, "something that cute can only mean trouble". So, with my gloved hand, I picked up the little bundle of cuteness, put it in a jar, and set about trying to identify it on the internet. It took awhile, but when I finally stumbled upon the right website (you really must go to that website to learn everything you ever wanted to know about these guys), I was VERY thankful I had not stroked its cute little furry body like I really wanted to (I am very texture oriented, and I really really wanted to!). See, one little brush with this little guy/gal, and you could end up in the emergency room. (Go here and here to see more pictures and information.)



I called my caterpillar expert friend, Michelle, and told her what I'd found. She raises caterpillars as a hobby of sorts (I think she might try to housebreak them too), and then she turns the butterflies loose when they emerge from their cocoons. It really is quite interesting, and she knows an awful lot. She was so interested that she raced 40 miles over here to "rescue" it. Only she would say, "Hey, nice asp!" , and really mean it. She put little asp in a caterpillar incubator, and within the week, it had finished its lifetime as a caterpillar, woven its cocoon, and was ready to think about being a moth (because, technically....it will grow up to be a moth, not a butterfly). There is very little information known about the latter part of the life cycle of an asp, so this was a biology experiment. I understand that the moths are really quite beautiful, except for the part about laying eggs and procreating more little asps.

Almost a month later, Michelle emailed me: the little asp had emerged as a cute moth, and then had promptly died, she feared, of neglect. She said it was so small that she didn't notice it for a couple of days, and by then, it had died. None of us are so sad about this ending, however. While it was a good biology lesson, we weren't sure what we were going to do with an asp moth. I'm sure even Noah had his limits on the ark.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Musing

Does it mean anything if you find "the bluebird of happiness" dead inside your woodburning stove? (aside from the fact of HOW did it even get in there?)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (aka, A Week In My Life)

Sometimes I look back, and the beginning of the week seems like a month ago.....so much crammed into only 7 days, especially when you realize that,........why yes, I do work full time in addition to all the "extras" in my life.

Exhibit A:


The apple tree, laden with apples = picking said apples and then making 4 batches of apple butter and canning the goods (that was an after hours weeklong activity). The fourth batch was actually pear butter with a hint of apple and all are Dee-lish! Canning too, appears to be a success. I am testing the waters and hope to do more of this in the fall.





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.


Driving our friends, The Waits, to the airport in the wee hours of the morning so that they could make their life transition to Honduras. Happy and sad all rolled into one ball of emotions that early morn. Oh so proud to be able to call this sweet family our dear friends. We cannot wait to see them again.

A trip to the lovely dump with my beloved. Note: the first picture is what the North Texas Municipal Water District wants you to think the dump looks/smells like. The second picture is a better rendition of what we saw as we unloaded a trailer load of debris. I have a rant (regarding what we saw), but I'll save it for another day....I'm thinking a letter to the county might be in order. Anyway....please notice that I WILL follow my hubby pretty much anywhere, even to the dump. I made note that I was THE ONLY female at the dump proper. (Can I see a show of hands, ladies, if you've been to the dump at least once). Being a true farmgirl, I have now been there at least 4 times.













I won't even mention getting a new pasture access ready for our "boys", Donkey Boy getting the big sniparoo (ie- gelded), or Charlie and I doing an incredibly thorough job of getting this house clean. My man is a great vacuum-er even with a hole in his toe :).

How in the world anyone could be bored with their lives is beyond me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dog Days

It's definitely the dog days of summer......too hot (105 is hot!) to do much of anything in the afternoon except sit on the porch and yawn.....



...and nap. Especially if you are a dog. There are definitely days I wish I was a dog, sleeping on the porch. I mean really, how hard can that be?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Strange Thing

Yesterday, I found Hope on aisle 9 at Target. You just never know when and where Hope will show up. It was instant sunshine.... lovely, hope.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyone needs one......

When you have a really rotten day at work, and you know you want to frown..... everyone needs one (we'll talk about how good Donkey Boy is at giving donkey hugs sometime soon):

When your life feels stinky, and you feel worthless as a pinky (toe)......everyone needs one (or a handful):


















When you think no one cares......everyone needs one:



When you need a smile, you should come visit us at Ararat Acres. It's hard to be down for too long when you have animals that can make you smile no matter what. And that's a fact.