Sunday, July 20, 2014

County Fair 2014

Whew!! Thank goodness this week is over. I feel like I have been ran over by a train, and guessing from the kid in his bed, sleeping at 12:51 in the afternoon, and the other 2 men flopped on the couch, they are feeling the same way!

Here are our results from the fair!

For level 2 foods, Tristen made a German Chocolate Cake, Orange Chiffon Cake, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.  He was awarded Champion level 2 with his German Chocolate Cake.  This is his Dad's favorite cake, and we've now tried several different recipes. This one, though, is a keeper and the new favorite!  He got to take it to the auction. His other goodies got state fair blues.

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He also entered a flag case, and got reserve.  This flag case will be given to my mom, to put the flag in that was on top of my dad's casket.

Rabbits he was awarded both Grand and Reserve with Tort Dutch.
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And his steer got a blue.  The steers are a long and dramatic story, but I'll just say we are all kind of glad to be done for a while. He also got a blue in Beef showmanship.
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Jacob took a rocket this year. It was a level 5, and about half way though I wasn't sure he would be able to complete it! Things flying across the room usually are not a good sign!   (There wasn't even a level 5 to mark on the report you have to check in into the fair. Only through 4. It was pretty wicked!)  He did, and flew it successfully. Despite a few problems, he was still awarded Grand Champion with it.

He made fishing pole holder for our house, and got Grand on it. He's run out of places to put things for his room..his mother may or may not take this to her advantage with "suggestions" on projects to make!

He took 3 rabbits...2 which were really really young, and one that was really too old. He's been working hard on them, just doesn't have much show wise right now. Those that he took got blues.

His steer also got a blue, as well as blue in Beef Showmanship.  Jacob was awarded the small animal herdsmanship award.
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 I entered 3 pictures, one receiving a red, the other 2 blues. I took a plate of pretty green peppers from my garden, and got a blue, and took 2 jars of Monster Energy Jelly. I was hoping for a blue, figured I would get a red, because its just really a strange thing, but couldn't believe it when Tristen sent a text saying they had slapped a grand champion ribbon on my jars! I also took 4 rabbits to our fair. My Havana doe got Grand. I have been itching to get her to a show. She's a senior now, but hasn't been able to get to a show because she was born at a weird time. Too young for this show, out of coat for this one... I'm not sure I'm going to keep her to show, or if I should just get her bred. Hmmm. Anyway, the reserve went a a little chocolate mini rex of mine.

All and all, it was a good fair. I think we just have so much going on, both on the schedules, and in our hearts, that we just weren't all there this year. I usually love fair week.  I also think having a fair board member in our family adds to it. Though the drama doesn't really involve me, I KNOW about what goes on or what issues come up. I think people would really be surprised and shocked at some of the things these guys deal with.

On to next year!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Real Update

I thought it was about time to update about this little family.

Our biggest and most exciting news is...I will have a new kitchen soon! Ours in in major need of updating.. And I'm not talking about new paint or hardware. All the existing cabinets will be ripped out, as well as the floor.

I also should tell you...Melanie and Sara..close your ears...I hate this stuff. HATE!!!  Where most girls get excited over picking out all these fun things...I can't stand it. It overwhelms me.  I think I've made all the decisions on things--except for our new wall color.  This stuff is really hard for me for some reason.

So, the wood, the crown molding, the bead board, are all ordered. I've picked out counter top, back splash, pulls and knobs, and flooring.. to be picked up next week.

I need some wine.

I also should mention that I don't do well with mess and disorganization of my life...this should be interesting! 

Our area has been blessed with rain. Not enough to break us out of the drought category, but enough to surely help, and to make the plants and grass super happy.  I am once again doing containers for my garden, and tripled what I had this year. I haven't been disappointed, and I'm not sure I'll ever want to put a garden in the ground again!! I added 3 pots of sugar snap peas, which are about done now, but did fabulous, watermelon.-we've got 5 set!-- spaghetti squash, jalapenos, cabbage, and corn. I repeated the banana peppers, green peppers, okra, as well as several pots of herbs.  My tomatoes I stuck in the mineral tubs. Last year I put them in little pots. They did ok, but are doing really well in the tub! I also grew cucumbers for the first time ever. My dad had a giant metal pot he always tried to grow them in after he was unable to do a garden. I say tried, because he never could get them past a certain point. My mom gave me the pot early this spring and I figured out I'm pretty sure Dad's problem was a water issue.  I always water them for about 5 seconds past what I think is good...that pot is hot, and dries out fast.  Anyway, I've picked 5 now. They make me smile, and reminds me of him.  He's probably really happy, or really irritated with me! ;)

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Jacob has had a busy summer so far.  Every morning he runs out to care for 4-H steers and the bucket calf. And then checks his string of traps. He's licensed with the State of Kansas as a nuisance wildlife controller. Its one of those things you probably wouldn't think of being too much of a need, but the kid stays really busy.   He recently snagged a 45# beaver and has even trapped a few at our local lake for the city.  He recently went to a 4-H camp as a counselor, got home, did laundry, packed and left the next morning for our vacation. And works part time at our local grocery store. I hope he still has this energy when he's my age! ;)

Tristen is in full summer mode, and has the tan to prove it!! Still undecided if he will play HS football in the fall.  He's loaded up on Dutch babies at the moment, all in the super cute bounce around stage,but are starting to crap in the water bowls, so the cuteness is about over. ;)  Still trying to finalize fair plans, which is coming up fast!

Danny is nursing  what I think is a mean case of whiplash at the moment. He was was helping halter break 4-H steers, and Jake's steer kinda went one way, Dan pulled the other, and then they both kinda released into each other. I thought they had actually bumped heads, but they didn't. Dan immediately knew he was going to be sore, and sure enough. He's kinda doing the whole body turn to look to the side.

Thanks for checking on us!!! It feels good to be blogging again! 








Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vacation Weirdness

I'm not sure I've ever confessed this before on here. So here it is: I love cemeteries. Ok..yes. That DOES sounds really bizarre..and creepy. Not just ALL cemeteries...Because, you know THAT REALLY would be weird.  I love the the really old ones, or the old sections of cemeteries. To me, if feels like a history lesson.  I love to just wander through and read the dates, and how detailed they used to be with the stones. Such as: Aged 35 years, 2 months, and 3 days. I often wonder what happened to the family. Do their ancestors know they are here?  What killed the person? Was it an accident? An outbreak of something we are now vaccinated against? A defect that is considered a routine procedure to fix today?

While vacationing in Galveston Island, we had drove by one that  had caught my attention, and I later stumbled across it on a tourist page...did you know you can actually pay to TAKE CEMETERY TOURS?? Anyway, I finally convinced my family to stop.

**Insert sarcastic humor from Jacob: "Hey man..what did YOU do on your vacation? "Oh you know..the usual...walked around a creepy cemetery."**

This is Calvary Catholic Cemetery, and has some of the most amazing headstones I have ever seen. And I also found it very sad. Due to flooding from hurricanes, a lot of the stones are broken and fallen over. Some have been moved in flood waters and just left where they landed when the water receded.   You will be walking around and there will be a random stone. Some are just laying in the walkway, or they would be toppled over or just part of a broken stone. We also saw stones just laid flat down together and clusters of stones propped up against other stones.

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There are also quite a few mausoleum's, which I had never seen before.  Some are sloped inwards on both sides towards the center from the floods, with cracks in the stone, and it seems any moment they will fall in. You almost don't want to walk close to them.  Some of them I found just weird. They were so short, with  roofs sticking out of the ground and little round 4ft wooden doors that would have been perfect for a garden gnome.  I read later...These doors would have been 6 to 7 feet tall but the level of the island was raised after the Storm of 1900. So, the rest of the mausoleum is buried. (Obviously some of the mausoleum's were either built after the raising, or manually raised up with the raising of the island,  but others were just left buried.)  Many of them had broken windows-- gone for many years, and if one gets enough nerve to peer inside, you can see the vaults where the people rest, and beautiful old ornate stone floors...and birds nesting inside. (An estimated 6 to 10,000 people died in the Great Storm of 1900. Google and read about it sometime. My great-great grandmother survived this storm. My mom said my great grandmother would tell the stories she had heard from her mother. Terrible stories. Imagine--had she taken shelter in a different place, she may have been one of the many who perished...and entire generations of people in my family, wouldn't have even been born-- myself included.)

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Because of this raising of the island, this means this cemetery is "layered."  After the storm, another layer of coffins was just added on top of the other. Weird, huh?


I hope the creepiness of this post didn't cause me to lose some readers! ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Galvestion Island 2014

About a month after my Dad died, I quietly obsessed in my mind about going to be the beach. One random morning, Danny sits down for coffee, and says "Let's go back in June. Book it!" We didn't really have the extra money, nor did I feel like I could take any time off work since I had taken a week off just in December, but by the time he came home for lunch that day, I had the process started for staying in the exact same house we had the year before.  It felt a little like we were going home, and that is exactly what Tristen blurted out as we turned on Seawall for the first time.

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I find it a little funny how a born and raised Kansas girl can love the beach so stinking much. But I can tell you for the first time in 6 months, I felt like I was at peace. Total, beautiful, much missed, peace.

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The seaweed was high. I read that its the worst its been for 10 years. And they were not kidding. Some find it gross and annoying.  I don't really mind it. It kinda fascinates me, and it helps the ocean Eco-system. It makes fishing from the shore a bit tricky though. Every night there is a crew that comes through in the middle of the night..like a street sweeper, and scoops it into giant piles away from the shore. It will dry out and disappear. Its so important to the ocean life it is illegal to take it OFF the beach.

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On the trip up there, my guys had decided a stop in Dallas was a must to Gas Monkey garage,(From FAST AND LOUD, a show on Discovery.) and then on to the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill.  I was a little out of my element, and  I'm pretty sure the waiters were reading lips taking our orders, because it was LOUD,  but everyone had a lot of fun and the food was fabulous!(I may need to wax my chest...I think I spouted some chest hairs while there!!) We also stopped there again on the way back for lunch.


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The boys had the Gas Monkey Burger, which they claimed as the "BEST BURGERS-EVER!"

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I skipped the burger and had a Backyard Salad. Yum!

Every morning found me up early and on the top deck with my cup of coffee. I watched sun come up, storms roll in, sea gulls looking for food through the seaweed, and pelicans flying overhead. I went on a walk one morning, just as the sun was starting to light things up. Just me and my thoughts and the water..oh..and the seagulls.
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One of the "must do's" on our trip this time was to fish off of a pier. So we headed to Galveston Fishing Pier around noon on Friday

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  It was pretty slow for a while, but then....

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We ended up catching 20 fish while were there, which included 3 Black tipped sharks, several cat fish, a couple of croakers and some sand trout! I am THRILLED to be able to say this Kansas girl has caught a shark! =) We ate dinner at a place called Jimmy's on the Pier, with a breathtaking view of the water.

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BTW--Jake's not sick..he's texting. ;)

Saturday  a friend I graduated with came up and ate lunch with us.  Nothing fancy..I made us sandwiches, but it sure was good to see him!  Later that afternoon we went into Seawall and tinkered around the cute little shops. We also toured a local cemetery, but I'll have a blog post all for that one later.  That evening, Danny and Jacob went down and got several pounds of crawfish. Again..one of those experience things we've always wanted to do. Danny and Jacob LOVED them. Tristen and I...well, we won't be repeating, but can say we have tried them now! I couldn't get over how cockroach like they were, and how they were just boiled whole...guts and poop and all. I ate a few tails, and then made a sandwich.

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Sunday we did our traditional vacation putt putt golf. This is the first time I have ever played, but I am happy to say that even though I came in last, I DID score a hole in one, with a rocking pink golf ball, on the second hole!

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We left Monday. One our way out of town we toured the Texas Seaport Museum, and got to walk around the stunning 1877 tall ship ELISSA. She was rescued from a scrap yard and was meticulously restored.

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Historic high water levels at the museum. See that spot way above my 5 foot 5 inch kid? That was from The Great Storm of 1900. Can you imagine?

We then ate lunch at Joe's Crab Shack...but not just ANY Joe's.. ours was set right on the water, so we watched shrimp boats come in and unload.  The bird watcher in me was AWESTRUCK by the birds that swarmed the boats coming in, knowing that a good meal wasn't too far off in the future.  After lunch we headed to my Uncle's house, (my mom's brother) to stay the night. We left from there the next morning, and headed home.

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Yes..the waitress seriously wrote that on Dan's bib. HAHA

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And every night...every single night!!..this happened:

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Yes.. Kansas people!.  But its so much fun..until you get peed on. 

It was a wonderful laid back and peaceful trip! Just what the Dr ordered!


For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) its always ourselves we find at the sea. 
~ e.e. cummings