Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rain Prayer

The following article was in our Livestock Weekly, a weekly periodical that we read voraciously in our home. This issue was published on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Our rain started that night. :)

Its long, but it just really spoke to our family and I wanted to share it here. I also want those of you who have not received rain to know that I am praying this for you.

I called the editor and received permission to repost this:

Editor's note:
The following article was written in 1935 by W.L. White, editor of the Emporia Gazettte (Kansas). The prayer  is said to have brought rain for Kansas and other places it ran. Livestock Weekly reprinted it in May 1984, during a long dry spell; that drought began to break within a month. Livestock Weekly reran it again in 2000, when West Texas had been in the grip of a bitter drought for almost a decade. Many of us were repairing water gaps within a few weeks. We ran it again in 2006, remarking that we were "reluctant to wear out a good thing". That reluctance remains, though need once more overpowers it, as the Southwest burns, while areas from the Dakotas  to the mouth of the Mississippi wash away. We would gladly take some of what they would equally gladly give away. As Livestock Weekly founder, Stanley Frank, wrote when he first ran the prayer in '84, "Let 'er slosh!"

As a dues-paying member of the Congregational Church, the writer is entitled, under its creed, to address his maker, directly in prayer, without the intervention of prelate, saint, parson or priest, in any place, on any subject, at any time, and in our own language.

So here goes: O Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us a rain, and by that we don't mean a shower. We want to go out in our car in the early evening and watch the lightening go ripping across the southwestern sky in hot blue forks as the fat clouds roll in on us from Chase County. We want to hurry home to close the house with the first fat drops the size of marbles on a suddenly rising wind, chasing us and plunking on the hood of our car. We want to scramble all over the house just as the first sheets descend, frantically slamming down the windows, while the drops thunder on the tin roof of the porch and lightening blasts illuminate the waving tree tops.

O Lord of Hosts, we want to look out of the windows and watch the regiments of fat, close-paced raindrops march diagonally down in sheets, until we can't see the outlines of the street light on the corner and it looks like a great pale luminous ball through the driving drops. We want to hear, about a minute after the first rush, the gurgle in the tin gutters under the eaves, and, in 25 seconds more, the sputter of the downspout and the hollow churning of the water in the cistern.

God of Israel, Isaac, and Jacob, let it come down so hard, let the drops dance so high that the outlines of the streets and sidewalks seem covered with a six-inch fog of splattering drops. Then let it just keep up for a while, and then begin to taper off, and then turn right 'round and get a lot worse, swishing, pounding, splattering, pouring, drenching, and thunder coming - Crackity-BAM! Bam - bam - bumble - bumble - bumble" -  and the lightening flashing so fast and furious you can't tell which flash goes with which peal of thunder.

So that all the women will get scared and climb on top of the feather beds and scream at you not to get too close to the windows. So that in between lightening flashes you can see the dirty yellow gutter water rippling across the street, instead of along its sides.

And then, O Jealous God, repeat the whole act about three times, and in the middle of the second time, we will get out the old tin wash pan and climb the attic stairs to put it under the tiny leak in the roof which you can't even notice in an ordinary rain. And after a couple of hours, kind of taper it down, O Lord, to a good, steady rain - not a drizzle - but a business-like one that keeps up until just about dawn and then spits a few drops occasionally from a gray sky.

O Shepherd of a Chosen People, when we walk to work that morning, let us see pink, thin-nosed angle worms that have crawled out of the grass and drowned in the sidewalk puddles, and big pools of standing water in every yard with just the tips of the fresh green grass breaking the surface. Let it knock all the buds off the elm trees, so that streets and sidewalks are covered with a brown snow, except where the running water has gathered into thick scum over the pools around the choked drains.

Then let everyone begin wondering what the rivers are doing, and when we go down to the bridge, make us drive through about 2 inches of dirty, yellow water running over the pavement, and when we get on it, let us watch a pig and two Buff Orpington hens and half a woodshed float by, about three feet under our shoe soles, and Lord, let the farmers holler their heads off about how it will be too wet, now, to get their corn in early enough.

Thou Art My Shepherd, I shall not want if Thou leadest me into green pastures, and beside the still waters, while the little pasture ponds stand full to the brinks of their cement dams.

Oh God of Battles and Lord of Many Mansions, if you don't want it to rain in Kansas, all right. And if you do, all right. But we are weak in faith and pray for a sign such as you gave to Aaron to confound Pharoah's magicians and sorcerers. Take the business of weather prediction out of the hands of a lot of incompetent Washington Bureaucrats and make it Thy special province. They're playing horse with us, Lord. They promise a rain and all we get is a mangy little thin-flanked shower that you could hang your hat on its hip bones.

Kansas is indeed the Promised Land, O Lord, and if it gets a break it will flow with milk and honey. .But we  can't live much longer on promises. So in Thine own time make up Thy mind, O Lord, and we will bow before Thy judgement, and praise Thy everlasting name. Amen.

Monday, May 26, 2014

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!


3.5" in the rain gauge at the house on Saturday morning! 4.5"  at Fence Tank!
Words cannot express our jubilation. If this keeps up, we just may make it out of the drought. We are truly, truly thankful. The good Lord's timing is always.

These photos are from Saturday morning. We received another .6" here at the house last night. In 2011 our annual total rainfall was only 3" and in 2012 it was 4". That gives you some reference as to how desperately we need rain and how very grateful we are to see this.

On Friday, I posted to friends that we were praying for a froggy serenade kind of rain after our .5" overnight and a froggy serenade is what we got...even though they are really toads. The following video is  3 minutes long...a tad long and I apologize for that, but when it rains in the desert, during a drought, it bears documenting. There is no commentary because I was rendered speechless at the sight and sound of this beautiful body of water. Yes, laughing is entirely permissible, but it's not far from the truth. :)

I just wanted to catch the sound of the running water and the beginning of the toad song. You should have heard them LAST night! They were positively deafening and it was a sweet lullaby as we fell asleep. This is the dirt tank on the east side of the house. There wasn't a drop in it the day before. For some reason, Blogger won't allow me to post the video so a link is the best I can do:

Dirt Tank Water and Froggy Serenade

Our road to the highway was a virtual river:


And when it dries out, it's going to be a mess due to lots of this:


But we'll take a mess of a road any day if the rain is doing the messing.


We woke up at 3 and noticed the electricity was out so we spent the day lounging and reading and walking around to look at the water and making meals from the pantry. DH took the 4 wheeler and ran out the lines to find the problem and let the electric company know where it needed fixing.

We saw smoke and mudded up a road. We stay off of the roads after it rains like this to keep from tearing them up, but a fire always needs to be checked out..


An oil tank battery was in flames, but a fire truck was on the scene


so we turned back to check on the heifers. A few had crossed the cattle guard the day before, but all was well. It won't be long before the pastures will we sprouting up new, tender growth to keep them happy and satisfied.

The cattle guard was full of water:


DH built a fire in the fire pit in the evening

and we had supper by the fire.

Just after 8, the electric company called and asked whether we had electricity. Ummm...we don't know. We are sitting out by the fire. :) But, I checked and, yes, we did, and then I went back out to the fire where we watched a light show dance across the sky as another storm rolled in.

Quote from DH last night:

Toads a croakin'. Fire a burnin'. Storm a comin'. It doesn't get much better than this.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Rained out!

Those are 2 of the loveliest words in the English language!

It's 3:30 am so that's the only picture you get. :) Moonlight reflection of the rain puddles.
Today was our last day of Cow Works for the week.

We'll have another week to work the Corrientes in the middle of June, but we're done with the beef cows. Woke up this morning at 2 to the glorious sound of rain fall. I popped out of bed to throw open a window and crawled back in under the quilts to savor the smell. Heaven is going to smell like rain and barns and horses. I'm convinced of it. And quite possibly cinnamon rolls.

I wish someone had invented smellavision for sharing via the Internet because I need it for this post today. It is absolutely the most amazing thing to wake up to rain and cinnamon rolls.

I made cinnamon rolls last night and popped them in the oven at 3 this morning. DH called everyone on the crew and canceled the day's works. .5 in the rain gauge at 3 this morning. North camp had .7" and the radar looked better on the north end. Finished branding yesterday and planned on moving the heifers across the highway to Adobe pasture today. Called off the brand inspector too. They were coming out to help stop traffic when we crossed cattle.

I also have an entire Pea Picking Cake in the fridge so if anyone has a mind to head this way, I've got breakfast and dessert covered . Just don't expect me to be up at 3 am tomorrow. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Picking Up the Pace

Life at the end of the dirt road has gotten busy. Seems as if before cow works, there is always a flurry of activity. Had overnight company on Tuesday. Had the kids' friend over to sew on Wednesday. Had to call the plumber to work on the bunk house and he was here much of the day on Wednesday...he was back on Saturday...AND Sunday. Sigh. He's actually the same guy who installed our heating and cooling . DH has been fighting with that cotton picking bunkhouse plumbing for 10 years. He finally called Jared to ask for a recommendation for a plumber and Jared said he did that as well as heating and plumbing and he'd be out as soon as he could. I'm thinking he's regretting that decision right about now:

So far they have lost a tool somewhere under ground, cut into the wall of the bathroom and are getting ready to cut into the floor.

Poor guy. He is the NICEST guy who has built a  highly respected business. He's always swamped and on the run and single so I feed him when he's here. The trouble is, he doesn't even take the time to eat so I try to make things he can eat on the run. Buckaroo Bundles this time and cookies...always cookies.


Then, my SIL's boy showed up on Thursday evening. I was already in my PJs. He had called when I was tending to evening chores. He's working about an hour from here this summer for a crop company that consults with  farmers to evaluate their crops. He has been there for 2 days and he called and said he was bored and could he come up for the weekend. Thought he was coming up on Saturday afternoon,  but when DH went out to turn out his horse, he came back in with Zack. LOL.

My BIL that was here earlier in the week sent me this text when he talked to Zack on Wednesday:

"I met Zack. We had lunch. He said he'd give you a call about coming out on the weekends. I said he needed to to help clean water troughs, build fence, shovel poop...whatever DH needed help with. He said he would do that, but his real motive was to see if he could get some home cooking once in a while. I told him to be sure and check out the Pecan Muffins. LOL."

I love my family!

Zack was excited when I told him he could sleep in on Friday - he's 19. :) We had a guy show up at 5 on Saturday morning to look at a tractor. DH has been trying to find a power steering pump for it for about 5 years now and we can't find a serial number on it anywhere. DH took the pump out and took it to a highly recommended tractor mechanic 4 years ago and it disappeared. Last week we took our beef to a town south of us and stopped at a tractor company and found that new hope has been restored. We'll see how far we get with that. LOL.

So back to Zack. DH and our North Camp man, Jake, had to gather a pasture and drive them 6 miles back to headquarters in the morning. Zack wasn't raised around horses, but he's a farm kid and knows how to work so we gave him a job.

Poor kid spent the morning cleaning out the oil pit. :) And we hauled multiple loads of dirt to the chicken coop with the trusty wheel barrow. I hope we didn't run him off. :) I tried to feed him well.

On Saturday I had to cowboy up and tackle town armed with my long list. We're just working 4 days next week so its not really that long of a list, but long enough. I survived, but it wasn't pretty.

We're just about out of meat and I'm trying to clean out the deep freeze before we fill it again, but it'll have to wait until after works.So I came home, unloaded everything and started cooking. I had already cooked the ground beef and chicken and roasts for barbecue sandwiches, but I wanted to get a few other things fixed to send with Zack for the week. He's staying with his boss who is single and doesn't cook so he's living on  bean burritos and ham and cheese sandwiches.

 DH loaded up at 3 am  on Sunday morning and headed to Texas to pick up our college girl's horse and bring him home. We're thinking she needs her own trailer. :) She's heading this way tomorrow and it will be so good to have her home for a bit. She is over the moon about being here to take her place on the crew. She eats it up. Even as a teenager, she never minded getting up at 3 am if it meant crawling up on the back of her horse.

It's fixin' to get hot around here. 102 forecast for today. Ick. I was out the door at 5:30 in an attempt to beat the heat and get my trotting in. Someone else was out for a morning hop as well:


DH had shown me a Killdeer nest and I hunted for it as I headed out:


I don't know how he sees these things. They are always camouflaged so well. but this is the same man that can be out riding horseback and spy an arrowhead on the ground. Oh settle down Mama. I'm just taking a peek.


As for me, I'm thinking that I'm going to be spending a lot of time in front of my kitchen sink this week:


Thursday, May 15, 2014

What I've Been Stitching

...not much! Whew! It's been a long time since I sat in this spot though!

Sometimes I wonder what I do with my time that I can't find the time to sew. By the time I sit down in the evening, I'm just too tuckered out. With more daylight hours, it's after 7 before we even get in. Supper, shower, and bed pretty much finishes out the rest of the day. Haven't  a clue as to what is even going on in the world. This morning we were out the door just after 4 and headed to my in-laws, 2 hours from here, to help them butcher a beef.

On a positive sewing note, I'm acing this fabric fast! :) I did have to order just a tad for a wedding gift I'm making, but my friend, Theona, assured me it didn't count if I bought it to make a gift. I wanted to match the fabric I had used for the shower gift for a coordinating set that matched her kitchen.

We're gearing up for our Spring Works next week and this week has been full, but I finally made some time to stitch. The only thing I had worked on since the baby quilt - was that February or March?...was a few potholders and a grocery sack holder like this,

 but using the coffee fabric, for the wedding shower,and I added a recipe book where she can keep all of her recipes together. I made 2 more sets of potholders when I made Sara's and I'll get those bound one of these days.

 I took Lora's daughter to lunch the other day and she mentioned that she would like to come over sometime and see how they are made. And another friend of the kids' came to spend the day on Wednesday. She just made her first quilt and asked if I would show her how to make and sew on the binding. Sweet girl and we had a very fun day together.

So before she came, I thought it would be a good idea if I blew the dust off of my sewing machine. I picked up 2 quilts from Jackie last week that I had dropped off in February so I stitched the bindings on to them and they too are waiting for some hand stitching time.

Then I made curtains to cover up some troublesome shelves in the mudroom - laundry room - entry way.

I'm very thankful for that room, but good gravy, is it ever an eyesore and I'm trying to spruce it up a bit since its the first room you walk through when you come into the house.

For a long time, the ceiling was half blue and half yellow. That's just the way it was when we moved in. I finally painted over the blue. Then we have these shelves. They are very handy and filled with stuff that just needs a place to live. Rags, and light bulbs, and laundry soap, and yes that is a flag that I took down because the wind shredded it, and winter boots, and small coolers, and syringes, and gloves, and egg cartons, and trash bags, and paper plates, and just stuff. Please tell me that we're not the only ones who have this 'stuff'.  How do y'all keep it all organized? I've kind of corraled them into baskets, but it still seemed awfully messy.

So I stitched up curtains and my handy hubby came up with a way to attach metal pipe to the shelves.

They are easily removable so that the curtains can be washed. I had initially bought some curtain rods, but DH took one look at them and said, " I've got something better." They WERE kinda flimsy and this pipe is a much better option.

Edited to add a few detailed shots of DH's handiwork:
 These are built in shelves that had to have been welded in the room. They are not going anywhere. They wouldn't fit through a door. DH drilled holes through the middle support and on each end.He inserted a solid metal rod that is about 8" long and smaller in diameter than the pipe:

I just slide the rod from one side to the other and release the pipe when I need to wash the curtain:

He asked me how I wanted to do this and I told him to fix it up the easiest way possible. I didn't want him to have to make hooks and weld supports and make things complicated. We have enough things waiting in the wings as is and I really think this is the perfect solution.

I've had this fabric in my stash for a couple of years. It's a textured upholstery fabric that's nubby and rough and just about perfect for this spot. I think they'll stay cleaner if they're not dragging the floor so I hemmed them a tad shorter than floor length.

I am super happy with the end result. Its kinda hard to get a decent picture in that room with the long window, but those shelves run the length of the room which is just over 11'. The washer and dryer sit opposite the shelves:

And that's about as exciting as the sewing gets around here lately. :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Mission

As I mentioned previously, I started painting. We live in a old ranch house that has lots of potential. Alas, ranch houses are not a priority when it comes to running a ranch and keeping the books in the black. I call this my little crooked house in the desert. I'm not going to detail all the things that need to be done to it, because those are not the things that make this our home and I'm a glass half-full kinda gal. I love this old house. We've made many good memories in this house. However, after 10 years of living here, the 70's paneling must go. :) I've avoided it for the simple reason that I have been afraid to tackle it. I have come close to ripping it out, but in an old ranch house, that often causes more problems. A few years back we had to pull the paneling in our one and only bathroom due to a leak and the sheet rock was in less than desirable shape and I'm no sheet rocker. So painting it is. We've got paneling in the kitchen, living room, dining room, and one bedroom. Sigh. I'm starting in the living room and I finally took the plunge by just slapping on one paint brush loaded with some left over paint in the middle of a wall one day:

DH asked, "Why did you do that?"
I answered: "Because now I am committed. There is no turning back. I have to do SOMETHING."

I'm sure the thought that I really OUGHT to be committed has crossed his mind in the past and most certainly on more than one occasion. :)

I researched online and read about sanding and filling in the crevices and more sanding and removing all the dust and priming...all before painting. I am not afraid of work, but I was going to be tackling this all by myself and that just did not sound appealing at all.

Now for those of you asking, :Why doesn't her DH help? With 128,000 acres to tend to, DH is covered up and  the last thing I want to do is give him another thing to do. If it really mattered to me, he would find the time. We're a team and he's always willing, but I know what he has on his plate and I've got this and truth be told, I think I get an odd sense of satisfaction by tackling this by myself ...not unlike a 2-yr old who insists, "I DO IT".

A few weeks ago, we were at a friend's house. They live in a old ranch house too and they had painted their paneling. It looked really nice so I interrogated her about how they did it. She said Kilz and paint. The end. Now THAT is doable! So thanks for pushing me over the edge, R. :)

So then I fretted over choosing the right color...for a couple of weeks. This should not be this hard, but I was paralyzed by the  endless choices.

I spent way too much time making this decision. One friend told me to throw a dart. I got orange.

Ummm...not working for me. but you are funny T.

Another told me that it was not a tattoo so if I didn't love it, I could paint over it. LOL - that made me laugh.

Now one of these friends lives in Michigan and the other in Colorado. They ought to be very thankful they live so far away or I would be dragging them over here for moral support. Personally, I think they planned it that way. :)

I lived with numerous paint chips on the wall for weeks. I looked at paint colors online for days. By the way, I found out that paint colors online are not true to the actual colors. The ones I chose on the computer looked completely different in the store.

Home Depot seems to be a regular stop for us these days:

I've got a sweet Home Depot story about this trip. There was a darling, little girl, about 3, with her grandpa. She was in the cart and every time we passed each other she would pipe up enthusiastically, "Hi Cowboy!"  We chuckled every time and DH would grin and wave and say 'hi'. After about the 4th time, with the same greeting, she added, "Where are your cows?" We couldn't help but laugh out loud and thus a conversation ensued. Ended up the gentleman was her great grandfather and he and his wife were raising their great granddaughter due to a really, really sad situation. What a blessing they were to each other...and to us that day.

 My haul last week. The gloves are from the Farm Store.

I'm pretty excited about a new pair of gloves! They're not for painting, but they come in mighty handy for just about everything else around here and by the time I got the last pair, they had already been worn out by DH. I'm excited to have some that fit and don't end up hanging on the fence every time I turn around when they pull off.

Then I finally took the plunge and dove into the 5 gallon bucket of Kilz:

 I finally brought home some samples and brushed them on the wall and chose one.

What a difference! Our 9' ceilings look 3' taller.  All of our furniture is dark - leather furniture, oak bookcases, beautiful old dark piano, dark tv console. It all sunk into the dark paneled walls and disappeared.

I like our furniture and now you can actually see it. It seems to have given our piano an extra charm and I'm thinking its about time I learned to play it...and dust it. :)

I got my exercise too. Lots of trips up and down the ladder. I started out by adding 37 paneling nails in all the loose spots. The paneling has a thin strip 12" from the ceiling that covers the seam between the 8' sheet of paneling and  the 12" piece that goes to the ceiling and that made for a lot more cutting in that had to be done with a brush. I used a thick napped roller for the rest, but I still had to pay lots of extra attention to the grooves in the paneling. I'm glad its done.

The color doesn't translate to the camera very well - it just looks like cream. All that trouble for it to look like cream in pictures? Its warmer than that and it's called Rye Bread. Good thing I like rye bread.

I'm thinking the associates at Home Depot are breathing a sigh of relief now that I have stopped loitering in the paint department. Not so fast boys. I've still got 3 more rooms to tackle.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Dinner Bell

This time of the year we spend a lot of time feeding. Well, let me amend that...DH spends a lot of time feeding. I love going with him though and I think he kind of likes having his own personal gate opener-upper Yesterday was especially nice - the wind didn't blow which in turn, means the dirt didn't blow. The high was 68 and outside was the only place to be.

So I thought I'd drag y'all along for a feed run. Until it rains, this is our life. I'll spare you the 30 minutes of scouring the pasture in search of something that resembles a bovine, but this first little video lets you in on what the bovine dinner bell sounds like. Turn down your volume a bit - its pretty loud. DH chooses the perfect spot to stop, depending on the wind and direction of the herd that allows the siren to travel the maximum distance in order to call the cattle in. You're not missing anything if you stop the video after the siren quits. I just haven't figured out how to edit yet. :) Heck, I'm impressed that I finally figured out how to post videos!


Then we wait for  more of this:


DH is counting what's come in and scanning the horizon for stragglers and slow pokes:


Some are quite docile:


While others voice their displeasure more than others at having to wait:


Once they all arrive at the dinner table, we dole out the cake which is what we call the cubes. When the kids were little, they would often arrive at the dinner table with a soggy cube in hand that they had been gnawing on. My mother was horrified when she first saw this and said that we were raising heathens. LOL

Its not very exciting - just hungry heifers and bulls, but I've had some requests about what we do out here so here it is for your viewing pleasure:

At some point you hear 'oww'. That's just my reaction to a rut in the road that caused my backside to come in contact with a stray mesquite branch that was wedged in the tire I was sitting in. It happens.

Once everyone is happily munching, we make another circle and take role call. Everyone needs to be present and accounted for so a good count is essential. That lets us know if we've got to search for anyone. Feeding allows DH to keep a close eye on everyone. He can tell at a glance if something's off. Perhaps someone's sick or is off calving or ended up in a neighboring pasture which means fencing is added to the day's chores.

Thanks for tagging along today!
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