Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the Cusp of Musical Greatness - Tyler Bryant

Don’t know if y’all have heard of this kid or not, but mark my word – you will! Oh my goodness!

DS and I went to see him at the local Winery in town and we were completely blown away! This kid is a phenomenal guitarist, not to mention, an unbelievably talented songwriter! And he’s just 18! He’s crazy talented! He has a true gift for music.

The drummer and bass player are uber- talented too and it's hard to believe they have only been playing together for a month. They definitely make a great team. Jake runs the lights and sound and everything behind the scene and Tim is their manager. They are all very cool.

And he and his band are just plain nice guys - so polite and humble and personable. They don’t drink or smoke or cuss and they were just so well spoken - good kids with exceptional talent. I wanted to bring them home, feed them a good homecooked meal, stay up all night and listen to them play, and send them down the road with a batch of homemade cookies.

Tyler’s roots stem from the Blues, but he’s so versatile! He plays soulful acoustic, impressive blues, and sensational rock. His passion for the music was palatable in that room last night and I had to hold back tears.

This kid is crazy talented! Y’all are gonna be surprised because you probably don’t think this is the kind of music a dirt road gal like me would listen to, but dang! I LOVE good music – of many genres, and this is just great stuff!! I have a very eclectic taste in music. Genre means nothing to me. I like it if it speaks to me and this kid's music does just that. His writing transcends all genre. He's an 18 yr old with an old soul - an amazing young man.

Tonight they’re playing with B.B. King and then they’re touring with Styx and REO Speedwagon. Someone’s sitting up and taking notice. Someone’s intelligent and knows a good thing when they hear it.

While visiting with his manager, he asked me which of his music I enjoyed the most. All of it. Tyler is so incredibly versatile that I think they’re having a hard time pegging him down into a musical niche. I told his manager that Tyler needs his own niche. You can’t put this kid in a box. He lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes music and I get that from the songs he shared with us last night.

I don't enjoy big venues and there was something wonderful about the small, intimate gathering last night. Tyler is so good at drawing in the audience through his music and stories. He's just so genuine.

They don’t even have a CD out yet – it’s in the works for fall. I. Can. Not. Wait.
I’m a lot of things, but I never thought I would be a 45 yr old groupie! LOL! DS bought a shirt and we may have to fight over it.

You can hear a little bit here although I don't think it does him justice. Hearing and watching him live was definitely an evening I will remember for a long time. So if you get the chance to see one of his shows, take it. Hold on tight, cause you're doing what's right. Kudos to you, Tyler, you're on your way and the sky's the limit!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Warning - DIY Zone Ahead

I apologize for my recent absence. Since branding a few weeks ago, we've been knee deep in one project after another. Since I last checked in with ya'll, we made a screaming trip to San Antonio to celebrate my Mom's 70th Birthday the day we finished branding. The garden is planted and flourishing as much as a garden can flourish... in the desert... during a drought. And suddenly, it seems as if summer has arrived and we're looking at a DIY summer.

Do ya'll ever watch those home improvement shows? I don't watch much television, but I must confess that I enjoy watching these shows. Seems as if they have been multiplying quicker than rabbits - there are a ton of them and they're fun to watch. However, yesterday I decided that they are more fun to watch than they are to actually do yourself. I am fascinated that an entire landscape, or room, or house can be altered in the course of one 30 minutes show - make that 20 minutes, commercials - you know.

So I come away with a plethora of ideas, but empty pockets and I hate to add any more expenses to the ranch. DH is very cognizant of making this place run in the black and unless it rains, that's going to be a challenge so I'm hoping to make some changes on a shoestring budget and my shoestringas are pretty short these days.

The past few months we've dabbled in DIY territory. We've replaced the vanity in the bathroom, removed nasty popcorn ceilings (whatever possessed people to think this was a good idea?!), and gutted the closet in the master bedroom and rebuilt it more efficiently. Yesterday I began to tackle our ancient kitchen. It took me 4 hours to strip the shiny red paint from the middle of the door jams. Ugh! This wood is ancient and thus, it has been nicked and gouged and bumped into with furniture and who knows what all. Looking at the pieces, I think they just used whatever they could find to construct it in the first place. So, now, many years later, I am fussing at the door jams and whinning because my hands hurt... a lot.

If the door jams could talk, I imagine they would have a few things to say. "We have served the occupants of this household for 100 years now. Just wait and see if you don't have a few scrapes and scars after a century lady!"


I just keep thinking how simple this would be if everything was smooth. Alas, nothing, and I mean nothing, in this house is smooth, or level. Not the doors. Not the floors. Not the walls. Not the ceilings. However, it's home and I have come to affectionately call it, "My Little Crooked House on the Prairie". It has character and lots of potential. kind of like me! Grin!

So, I will forge ahead and commence stripping in the kitchen. A while back, Ranch Wife was stripping in the barn and I'm sure Cotton Picker could add to our stripping adventures (cover your eyes) - we're a wild bunch I tell ya!

Yesterday DH, DS, and Grandpa came in for dinner and were greeted with piles of red paint chips decorating both the kitchen floor and me. DH asked me what color I was going to paint. Heck if I know. I haven't gotten that far. One thing at a time.

Have ya'll seen that commercial for paint? I forget which brand, but the lady is standing at the paint chips looking quite frazzled. She has a wild look in her eyes and her hair is standing on end. That's me. I have a terrible time choosing paint. It never looks the same on the wall as it does on that cute little paint chip card. But, I like to paint and if painting was all I had to do, this house would have been painted long ago, but first things first and first the paneling needs to go. Then we'll probably have to re-sheetrock. Then texture. THEN paint. Whoo boy!

I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle the walls just yet. I think I'll redo the kitchen cabinets first. Now I'll just have to gather up the courage to visit the paint section at the Do It Yourself Center. Just thinking about it is enough to make me tremble. Maybe I can conjole one of my posse to tag along. Just spin me in a circle a couple of times and point me towards the paint selections.

So it may be a while before I make another appearance. It may be in your best interest to let the stripper and paint fumes clear the air first.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rise and Shine!

Come on people! It's 3:30! Daylight's a burning! Well, not literally, but breakfast was at 4:30 this morning. By the time daylight actually made an appearance, I was ready for a nap!

Yep. We're branding this week. It's only the first day so coveting a nap at 6 in the morning on the first day is not a good sign. Our crew rolled in last night from Texas and their arrival officially signals the beginning of our Spring Works.

I think we'll be able to get everything worked in 5 days. I think I can handle 5 days. 400 some odd calves. 14 meals. 130 plates - give or take.

We all actually really look forward to working every spring, but for some reason, we're all rung out this week. Maybe it has something to do with the weekend away last weekend, or the fact that everyone in this house is sniffling and feeling under the weather, or the manic trip to San Antonio we have coming on the heels of branding, or the triple digit temperatures that have chosen to make an appearance in May, or the fact that we're weary from gazing into a cloudless sky in hopes of spying a rain cloud. Sigh.

So after a breakfast of waffles and sausage and eggs and fruit and muffins, the crew stacked their plates and jingled out to the pens. I enjoyed letting the cool, fresh air of the morning drift through the open kitchen window as I washed the breakfast dishes and scrubbed down the kitchen. I then enjoyed a leisurely walk through my yard and garden as the morning light began to spill over the horizon. I'm not a big fan of getting up this early, but I must admit that taking some time to be still and greet the light of day is worth it. The colors of the morning are really breathtaking. I once read a book to the kids called "God's Paintbrush" and I was reminded of it this morning. The Master Painter has given us a new work of art each and every morning so instead of grumbling about having to crawl out of bed at such a crazy hour, I am going to enjoy the show and this particular morning was especially spectacular because we had misty skies! Rain is preferred, but it's a start! Cool, damp, drizzle is a cause for celebration! The smell of rain must truly be what heaven smells like!

The scent of honeysuckle first thing in the morning was a treat too and I lingered a few moments to gently weave the gangly new shoots betwixt the wires of the chain link fence. The tomato and pepper plants seemed to enjoy their morning shower and I made the rounds amongst the fruit trees that I planted at the completely wrong time of the year last summer and celebrated the fact that they are thriving. I even had company. The Western Tanager seemed to follow me as I meandered this morning. There is something very therapeutic about my early morning sabbatical. It's one of the things I love most about the summer.

So now dinner is calling and I've got to take the Apple Crisp out of the oven. One of my summer rules is that all baked goods must be made by 9 in the morning. This kitchen is impossibly hot in the summer and I do all within my power to not turn on the oven after 9. I've been threatening to knock a hole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room for years now. The fact that this house is a century old and it is quite possible that the roof would come crashing down if I did, is the only thing that has kept me from taking a sledge hammer to said wall. Well, that and the fact that the crew might not enjoy the taste that a fine dusting of sheet rock powder would add to the biscuits.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

25 Things My Mother Taught Me

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.'

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.'You better pray that will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!'

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.'Because I said so, that's why.'

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.'

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT..'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me IRONY'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.'

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!'

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.'You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.'

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.'

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.'If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!'

13 My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.'There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do.'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE..'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to stick that way.'

19. My mother taught me ESP.'Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me.'

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.'

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.'You're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?'

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

25 My mother taught me about JUSTICE'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!

Happy Mother's day to all you Mamas out there!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fresh Mountain Air and Shotgun Shells

I apologize for neglecting y'all lately. Seems we haven't been home much and when we are home, we're running in circles. This past weekend we packed up and headed to Raton in northern New Mexico for the 4-H State Shooting Sports Competition. It's a weekend we always look forward to. It's also a weekend that wipes us out. So I am feeling rather uninspired, but I'll catch you up on the latest because we had an awesome weekend!

The shoot takes place at the NRA Whittington Center. What an amazing facility! People gather from all over the world for various competitions at this center and it's 'must see' for the shooting enthusiast. Think we'll plan a vacation north of there in order to take some time to shoot there this summer.

We headed out early on Friday morning so that DD and DS could get in some practice before the competition on Saturday. They don't have a full Shotgun team - only DD and DS shoot. There is quite a change in altitude and the conditions vary on different ranges so a few practice rounds are always beneficial.

Needless to say, the kids had so much fun that they shot 12 rounds of skeet and trap. They probably shouldn't have shot so much the day before the competition, but they had a ball together. Something about the fresh mountain air and the smell of shotguns being fired...well, we just got carried away. I didn't take any pictures while they practiced since I was the puller.

Taking a break:

And apparently it didn't hurt any because DS ended up placing 3rd in the state!

We are so proud of him! He shot 45 out of 50 birds on Trap and 45 out of 50 birds on Skeet so his total was 90. The second place shooter scored a 91 and the 1st place shooter shot 92 so it was a close race! DD came in 12th. We're tickled pink with her showing since it's her first year to compete at the state level. With 90 shooters, that's not too shabby!

The kids also placed 2nd as a team in air rifle. DS placed as 10th high individual and DD placed 12th. Pretty good for a year where their regular shooting range was being remodeled so they didn't get in the practices they usually do. They shot that first thing in the morning.




Since it was held indoors, we were hoping the fog and drizzle would burn off before they shot shotgun, but no such luck.

The kids have a full day running to and from their various disciplines, but there's always time to mug for the camera:

We had a smaller team this year - only 8 kids, but there wasn't any shortage of fun! There is always a dance on Saturday night so that pretty much zaps any remaining energy the kids may have left. Most of the kids (and many of the adults!) use the ride home to catch up on their sleep. In fact, I didn't drive at all. DS and DD did all the driving. I could get used to this!

Everyone pitches in when it comes to providing grub and it always looks like we're feeding an army, but anytime teenagers are involved, that's pretty much what it takes to keep them from staging a mutiny:

Think that fire's hot enough?

DS never leaves home without his trusty sidekick...his guitar. So before everyone else arrived, he and DD played and sang on the front porch.

Then he and Wade, another fellow guitar addict, put on a full fledged concert that evening:

Something must have tickled his funny bone:

As in previous years, it was cold and drizzly. The only other weather we have during this shoot is snowy and windy, so cold and drizzly is the preferred option. As you see here, our bunch is always prepared for whatever mother nature has in store:

We've got a great bunch of kids and it's nice that everyone gets along. With 10 people sleeping in a 400 square ft cabin with one bathroom, that's quite a feat! In the rare instances where one gets out of hand, we have our own way of keeping things in line:

Looks as if someone still needs to burn off a little extra energy before heading out for that long drive home:

Here's our motley crew:

Before we know it, we'll be heading back up there for next year's Shoot!
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