G.F. Ranch

The beginning of His vision

Learning the Hard Way

I am sure all of us could learn all we need to know the easy way, but truth be told, it doesn’t often happen that way.  And it’s not that we mind learning things the hard way, but we do mind when it cost a life.  We have had chickens for a bit less than 1 1/2 years.  We have learned so much through research, asking questions, friends & neighbors, and hands-on-experience.  It’s not for a lack of seeking, but we lost a newborn chick yesterday.

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Midnight

Midnight is one of our silkies.  Out of the four chicks we bought, 2 were hens and 2 were roosters. We were excited because the silkie hens had finally started laying; even though they are very small eggs.  Yet we were surprised when Midnight went broody so quickly.  Even in the beginning we continued getting an egg from Rosette (the other silkie hen), then they stopped.  We figured out Midnight was adding them to the pile under her.

My friend Em helped break some of my misunderstandings. I thought did not realize the eggs would be viable to hatch for up to a week after they were laid.  Looking back at the other two hens we have had go broody and hatch eggs, we had marked the eggs we originally gave them and would gather the others.

Our silkies don’t go up to the roosting bar in the coop, nor ever used the nesting boxes.  They gather, sleep and lay on the floor.  So we began just putting hay in the two insets )for lack of a better word) they used.  Those insets were originally put in to create nursing area, but hadn’t completed them yet.  Guess we will add it to our projects because of what we have learned this time.

We have 2 sections to our run with a door we can close when we need to separate chickens for whatever reason.  And this is what we had used when our other hens had hatched babies; which is why we had never finished the nursing areas (for a lack of another term) inside the coop.

Yesterday, Bug & Hubby come up from morning feed time for the animals and say we finally had a chick.  Bug was so excited! New life excites him and I love that about him.  He said how cute it was, gray with black spots.  But we had to get ready for church.  We didn’t get home until evening and Bug and I went down to check on the chick.  We went in the coop and Midnight was still sitting on eggs, but no chick to be found.  So we went out to the run and found a dead chick.  It hurt Bug’s heart tremendously.  It saddened all of us.

Honestly, from our experience with the other times, we felt we didn’t need to separate them until about day 3.  Maybe we just got lucky the other times?  Perhaps it was because the other hens hatched the chicks in the nesting boxes and the chicks couldn’t wander from the hens? Whatever the reason, I hate learning things the hard way when it costs a life.

So we decided when she hatched another chick, we would move them immediately to the separate area of the run.  Bug was super excited this morning as he came to tell us there was another chick, just as cute as yesterdays’.  So he went and put fresh hay in the portable nesting box Hubby created last year.  Then he carefully transported Midnight, chick and the rest of the eggs over to their new area.

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New Home

Sadly, it’s not going to well.  Midnight is not happy about the new situation!  She does go check things out in the box, but then she goes and runs along the fence line wanting to get back to the coop.  As I was in their side trying to get their feed set up, she snuck out and ran right back to her spot in the coop, even though her eggs and baby aren’t there.  It took a little longer for me to get her back to the new side since Bug accidentally locked me into the run.  So I had to wait for someone to come outside and free me.

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Baby Chick

Thankfully it’s not real cold out today, but it is very windy (as usual).  As I have been writing this post, I have been trying to keep myself in my seat instead of running back down there.  Want to give midnight a little time to see what she will do.  She may have nothing else on her mind but to get back to the coop.  But I pray she will start taking care of her baby.  Even if she does nothing else with the rest of her eggs.

But I think I need to get back down there and check on them.  I am pretty sure I will need to set the chick up in the house with a heating lamp the way we did with our first chicks if  Midnight is not tending to it. Also, Joy is laying in here with me with silent-but-deadly farts, so I need to escape.

So if you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for us, we would greatly appreciate and accept them!

 

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Carrot-Thyme Soup with Cream

I think Bug is officially souped-out!!  Pretty darn close to being there myself.  But at least he can say Momma cooked more than usual while Hubby has been gone, lol.  This was by far the easiest soup to make.  But it wound up in the category of ‘it’s good, but not our style’.

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Picture via The Pioneer Woman

I will probably serve it as a side dish to a main meal rather than as a meal in itself.  Perhaps I will get motivated to make mini bread bowls to serve it in.  Ha! Perhaps.

Yes, this is another recipe from the Pioneer Woman herself.  You can find the recipe HERE.  If you like this style of soup, I would bet you will love it.  Perhaps it’s just that we miss meat and are getting veggied out?

I know this is short, but waiting for the plumber to get here.  I won’t go into more details as it isn’t a pretty situation.

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It’s a Hold-Up

No, not really. But after talking to a woman who is very dear to me tonight, I realized I forgot to tell you I came up with names for our goose & gander. Bonnie & Clyde.

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Bonnie & Clyde

My cousin, Stinkie, had suggested Clyde for the gander and thought it was cute since we technically live in Clyde.  And what goes better with Clyde than Bonnie?
But now I know you’re wondering ‘how on earth did her poor cousin get the name Stinkie? I promise it had more to do with First Born’s butt than it did my cousin.

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Stinkie spent a lot of time with us and when she would change his diaper she would always say stinky! she was in college and for about a month before finals we didn’t see her. One day while we were playing on the playground, she walked up from the parking lot and as soon as First Born saw her, he screamed “Stinky”!
From that day forward she was affectionately called Stinkie. We even made her a necklace with that and she wore it with pride!

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A Gander with No Name

It is not uncommon to make resolutions at the New Year.  Many make them due to tradition, would like to think most people actually hope to complete them, yet many are broken.  I did make a resolution, but not for those reasons.  Think it was more for the sanity of Hubby.  I know you are curious about my resolution, but let me tell you a little story first.

This past November, my friend and I set up a spot at the flea market in Buffalo Gap.  Since she had chickens and rabbits for sale, as well as giving pony rides, we were set up in the ‘animal’ section. The weather was not very delightful so there were not a lot of customers. It gave me an opportunity to meet and chat with some of the other vendors.  One of the gentlemen I spoke with raised and sold potbelly pigs.  I shared the information later that evening with Hubby about why they are good to raise income.

The next day more vendors set up and there were a few more cutovers as well.  One of the vendors that had set up a few spots down from us had a variety of birds, chickens, geese, etc.  Never in my life have I ever been interested in geese.  Until that day.  It began by a few quick glances, but by later in the day I realized I was staring at them.  Just at the one set that I later found out were American Buff Geese.  They are a plain color, but I still can’t put my finger on what it is about them that has me so captivated.

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So I just ‘out of curiosity’ inquire about them.  I find out they are a rare breed; as well as a few other facts and their price.  She preferred to only sell them in a set of 2 geese & a gander.  When I asked my friend if I should get them, her response was “I would”.  Oh, that didn’t help me in my weakened state of excitement.  They are just beautiful and unusual.  They are one of the very few breeds that actually originated in the United States.

Yes, I bought them.  So later that evening I called Hubby.  We were having a normal conversation when it turned a little like this:

Momma:  So, if I did something you probably wouldn’t like, would you want to know sooner or later?

Hubby: (In a quick & completely different tone) Sooner.

Momma:  I’m sorry, what did you say?

Hubby:  Sooner

Momma:  Well, at the flea marker today….

Hubby:  You bought pigs didn’t you?

Momma:  No, I didn’t!  I bought geese.

Hubby:  Oh, okay.

Did he just say okay?  I guess the geese were a much better choice than pigs and made it easier to accept.

And if you read the other post about Gypsy, then you know this wasn’t a first for me to do. Bet it makes more sense how my resolution is truly more for Hubby’s sanity than for me.

My resolution is to not accept, buy or bring home any animals this year without Hubby’s knowledge and permission.

I’ve already been tested, and passed this month.  I did not come home with the Nigerian dwarf goats or the friendly & adorable miniature donkey that wanted to come home with me.  It wasn’t too difficult, so maybe, just maybe, I can make it through the next 11 1/2 months.

Unfortunately, we lost one of the girls a couple weeks ago.  The woman I bought them from had told me their names.  I am bad with names and remembered I didn’t like them, so I don’t even remember what they were.  The geese have gotten settled into their new pen and home.  The gander has really warmed up to me and would even say he likes me.  He starts honking when he hears my voice and will come to me.  This past week he even lets me pet him.  We’re bonding!  Naming animals has never been one of my strong-suits. But they both need a name.

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Do you know how hard it is to try taking a photo and petting a gander at the same time?

 

 

Our youngest pup Faith likes to sneak into the pen and eat the bread we put down for the geese.

 

So, if you have any suggestions for names, I would love to hear them!  Also, would love to hear the whats & whys of your resolutions!

 

 

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R.I.P Dear Friend

For the past 4 days I had been planning on posting about my GGBFF’s visit here shortly after we moved in.  Had been working on my thoughts and going through pictures to post.  Oh, what does GGBFF stand for?  God Given Best Friend Forever!  She and her husband are on my mind so much for numerous reasons.  One, because we love and miss them.  They are family to us.  Two, because Glenn had been fighting blood cancer for the past year and a half.  The first time he went to the hospital was while my GGBFF was here.  You have to understand, she is one of the most devoted wives (actually, plain devoted person) I know! It was so difficult for her to not be there with him.

Yes, I used past tense because he passed away 2 days ago.  Nope, not going to be able to write this post without waterworks.  So grateful we were able to go see them in November, even if it was only for 2 days.  Although we can’t go right now for the funeral, it meant more to see him while he was still with us.  Now, he’s with Father God and looking upon the face of our sweet Jesus!  That is amazing!  No more pain…no suffering…no sadness!  I truly look forward to my time.

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R.I.P. our dear Glenn!

I love this picture of Glenn!  He was a handful at times, but he was a good man.  I was thinking this morning that I wouldn’t have met Deb if it wasn’t for Glenn, and I wouldn’t have known Glenn if it wasn’t for Deb.  Crazy little paradox there.  Deb and I met through the VWF Ladies Auxiliary; both Glenn and my husband are Veterans.  It was one of those relationships that just clicked.

I could say things to Glenn that Deb couldn’t and Deb has such a knack of suggesting decorating ideas to my hubby that he goes for.  We are family in the heart and family in the Kingdom.  Glenn was not saved in the beginning, so I will never forget when Deb called to say Glenn gave his life to the Lord!  I was in the kitchen and I darted jumping up & down, hooting and hollering to praise the Good Lord!!!  We also had the privilege and honor of watching him get baptized.

It is that precious memory that gives me comfort right now.  I KNOW where he is.  Without knowing…well, I would hate to know how bad my heart would hurt.  We face eternity, the choice is ours where we chose to be throughout eternity.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.   John 3:16

Numerous times over the years, Glenn never hesitated to let us borrow his truck.  There was just something about that old truck that I loved.  So much, that last year I had an opportunity to buy one close to the same as his.  And I did!  Ecstatically!  Sitting here smiling as I think about us trying to move a 15′ trampoline from our house to theirs, without breaking it down.  It was pouring down rain and his grandsons getting soaked while trying to keep it on the truck.  That just stressed poor Glenn out.

When we visited them shortly ago, Deb told us he told her he wanted to take her fishing one last time.  Hubby and I did our best to make that happen.  Friends of ours gave us a big watering bucket, Hubby & Bug made fishing poles from branches and we bought a bunch of minnows.  We also gave him a super big hook for when he could take her to get the ‘big one’.  Unfortunately he was so ill that day he couldn’t get out of bed.  But it still gave them a memory to cherish!

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Get the fish close to the camera!  It helps it look bigger!

We love you Glenn!  You will be missed so much!  How we couldn’t wait for you to come out to the ranch with Deb.  To enjoy the reduction in humidity, sunsets and peacefulness.  But now you enjoy so much more.  And you know there are plenty of people her to care for Deb until you are together again.

R.I.P. our sweet friend!  Forever in our hearts and memories!!

 

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Corn Chowder with Chilies

Bug and I finished lunch shortly ago and all we can say is “YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!”.  Going through our recipes from The Pioneer Woman, I decided to make the Corn Chowder with Chilies before the corn-on-the-cob went bad.  Super easy recipe, especially since we had to skip the bacon step again.  Ohhhh, just stopped for a minute to imagine how much better it will be when we can add bacon.

My cobs were a bit on the small side and decided to add a drained can of kernel corn to it.  There is definitely a different taste between fresh and canned.  But I was shopping for them at about 10 p.m. while exhausted.  Didn’t think to get more fresh ears.

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The only other difference was I left out the can of diced green chilies.  After the 7 Can Soup fiasco, I wanted to play on the safe side.  The chipotle peppers did a fine job adding a little kick (but not too much), and I love the smokey flavor of them in the adobo sauce.

Bug really liked this one!  And I believe hubby will too, so this is definitely going into my recipe binder!

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Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons

I may be souped out by next week, but it’s okay.  We are eating for now plus have some in the freezer for a no-cook meal!  As I said before, Bug does not like tomatoes.  I will always fondly remember when he was around two; we stopped at a local corner store to get some local honey and they had a big display of tomatoes as you walked in the door.  As I was getting the honey, I hear’ewwwww’ and the sound of spitting…profusely.

The tomatoes were such a bright red that he thought they were apples.  Thankfully he was so young, otherwise I don’t think the clerk would have been as understanding about my child spitting all over the floor.  I cleaned the floor, paid for the honey…and tomato, then headed home.

I thought perhaps Bug would like this Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons (Pioneer Woman) since he will eat ketchup and spaghetti sauce, but nope, he didn’t like it.  So he chose to have a salad and some leftover Cheesy Cauliflower soup for dinner.

I on the other hand, very much enjoy tomatoes.  I was that crazy kid in elementary who had 13 stewed tomatoes on their tray because no one else liked them.  And my ex-Mother-In-Law looked at me weird as I would ask to have a jar of  stewed tomatoes she & Nannie canned.  She would ask what I wanted it for and I would say, ‘to eat of course!’ And I love me  some homemade tomato soup.  It is just delicious!  I followed the recipe for the most part with the exceptions of using dried parsley rather than fresh and I added some parmesan rinds I had into the soup as it simmered.  That was a tip I learned years ago about getting all the flavor out of them before throwing them away.

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I tried taking a picture of my bowl of coup topped with shredded parmesan, a leaf of basil and parmesan croutons that did not turn out nearly as pretty as Ree’s. But the lighting in the house is lacking and the pictures looked horrid.  Don’t know if I could have even photoshopped them to look decent. So, here is one of Ree’s pictures.  She is definitely better at blog photos than me.

 

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Sunrise

One of the first things we fell in love with when we moved onto the ranch were the sunrises and sunsets.  They are breathtaking!  We use to go on vacation to see them like this and now we live here!

We were fortunate to have one of our friends help us move out here.  We would sit outside in the evenings and just be at awe of the sunsets and then the sky full of stars.  I pray often that I will never take this beauty for granted!  Am waiting for our friend to bring his wife and kids out for a visit on the ranch.

In Mississippi, we had super tall trees around our property.  When we first moved there I remember telling my mom I felt like I lived in a national forest.  It was great…until fall.  I didn’t know there could be so many leaves on an acre lot! I could probably do a whole post on just that subject. But I won’t.

We have trees here, but they are much shorter and there is a lot of cleared land due to people ranching and farming.  So we get to see the whole sky.  From the sunrises, sunsets and stars, it can be very breathtaking!

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These pictures truly don’t do it justice!  My sister needs to come up and capture the true beauty of colors!

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Re-decorating?

Not that it will happen anytime soon, but am wanting to repaint inside the house.  Hubby made us a mantel!  Yes, there’s an exclamation point because I am so excited!  We have had a fireplace in both of our house over the past decade, but never a mantel.  And the fact Hubby made it…how awesome is that?  He found some wood in the utility barn and it was perfect.  He is such a talented man!  He will finish it his next time home by adding some supports.

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Beautiful mantle created by my amazing Hubby!  Temporary supports until he gets home again.  We have a mantle!!!!!!!!!!

I seriously want to paint the fireplace! The brick colors are just to dark for me.  So I am trying to plan a color pallet to redo it all when I get to it.  My best friend was always the one to pick my color pallets for me back in Mississippi.  I get too stressed on my own and she just has a gift for color schemes.

So I did a search for farm house color schemes.  Although we have been named a ranch, I prefer the softer colors of a farm house.  I really like this color scheme…

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Soft, yet warm tones that coordinate so well together.  When we moved in here I pretty much relied on some of the same colors I loved from our old house.  However, some of the tones are warm as others are cool.  They don’t clash horribly, but they don’t flow.  Know what I mean?  I want a flow!

I don’t like this color scheme…too bright.  I just laughed when I saw the open shelves.  We live on a dirt County Road.  That just wouldn’t work here.  Sure would love that stove though!

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This is pretty, but not us.  I do prefer more color.  Hubby would instantly veto the chandelier; not that I would want it.  But do you see that table?  Simple and beautiful!

Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s the color scheme I like so much or all the old mason jars.  Pretty sure it’s the mason jars! Definitely the jars! Again, a bit too bright on the colors.

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Not that this is a color scheme, but how beautiful is this for a chalkboard???  I could make this!2-rustic-cabinet-handles

And how cool is this for the kitchen handles.  Can’t even think right now what our pulls and handles look like, but these are so pretty.  Can’t help but wonder how well they would stand up over time.  If there is a way to seal them, yet keeping a natural look?

And what a pretty way to display photos?  I have lots of photos up and want to find a way to coordinate the frames better.  You know, so they flow.

Love this!!!! And I actually have an area this might work.  I see so many beautiful ideas that just won’t work here.  Even though this house is considerably larger than our last, we just don’t have nearly the decorating space as we did in the the old house.  And I just noticed the shutters.  Love them…and just might be able to make that work!

So it seems as my color scheme post has turned into a decorating post as well.  And I guess it’s fair to say this post is more for me than it is for you.

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SanDestin 2014

Got looking through pictures tonight and found a bunch from our trip to SanDestin, Florida, summer 2014.Hubby’s company does a crew session each year and allow the workers to bring their families.  For us it’s a vacation…not so much for them.  LOL.  But they put us up in nice resorts, the food is always good and they usually set up an outing that the families can also participate in.

We did SanDestin in 2013 as well.  Everyone loved it so much they chose the location again for the next summer.  Bug was at church camp the first year so I was kind of bored.  We had so much fun this summer though.

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While Hubby was in his boring informative classes, Bug and I hit the beach.  I’m not a big beach person, but have you ever seen the Destin area???? The emerald green water and white sand is breathtaking!

Hubby would relax after classes were over.  Can I tell you how much I LOVE this man!!!  He is nice eye-candy and funny too!  I love this mans’ smiles!!!!

Of course Hubby & Bug enjoyed some pool time too!  I actually got a lot of great pictures that night of them, but I don’t want to overload you with pictures.  And it was so pretty how the lights reflected off the water as the sun sat.

The year before Hubby & I chose to do the deepwater fishing charter but never got to leave the bay as there was bad weather.  Neither of us really minded as it was just so relaxing to be on the water.  Thankfully 2014 was much better water and we got to do some fishing.

The Captain and Mate were great!  They even let Bug go up and drive the boat.

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He is such a serious driver, whether it’s a boat or vehicle.  Of course this picture was after the first 10 minutes of him just grinning ear to ear.  Guess what all this excitement did for Bug….

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Yep, wore him out!!!!!

Destin is just a beautiful area!  I’m not a fan of Florida, but I don’t mind coming here.

The summer before I got bored and a little stir-crazy.  So Hubby took me out and we went to The Track.  We had so much fun!  They have numerous go-kart tracks including The Woody, a three story wooden track.  So naturally we had to bring Bug there too!

Honestly, I hate my picture taken!  For years I would get violently angry if my picture was taken.  Then I thought about it…when I’m gone, I want my children and family to have pictures to look back on.  Even before I’m gone.  These are our memories.  So now I just dislike it, but I do it.

And that night there was a beautiful thunder storm that hit just as we got back to the resort.  We watched from our balcony to begin, then went down to the patio to watch as it moved offshore. Wish I had pictures from that.  It was amazing.

Thank you Lord for wonderful memories!!

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