Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear Santa

This is why I have to have my tree skirt business ;).


I took some pictures of my sister's that she took when visiting my parents on their land.  Man, I miss that place and my heart is pulled toward it.  I wanted to share this piece that is still there along with the description my Dad wrote about it.

This one is called a two-bottom tumble-bug plow. It is a model that was used previous to hydraulics being popular on farm equipment. This was one of the first that was used behind a tractor. I'm guessing that is was a model from somewhere around the 1920's or 30's. As you were plowing, and you reached the end of the field, you pulled on a rope. That resulted in the whole thing being lifted up by the forward tumble. The bottoms that were plowing tumbled over forward and the opposing bottoms were then lifted up and ready to be let down, so that when you pulled the rope again, down it would go and pull furrows going the opposite direction. The tongue would also switch from one side to the other to make the plow follow at the angle you needed for the return trip. It was quite primitive in ways, but it was complicated in other ways. I know it's difficult for me to give a good description of how it works. I've operating this one quite a bit over the years.. It actually does a real good job when in proper working order and you've figured out how to keep it "in time" (correct bottoms down, the correct wheels up, and tongue locked to the side you need). It's interesting that the only thing that lifts it and allows the correct wheels to be up or down, is the tumbling over of the plow. I wish I was better at explaining it. Of course, the modern plows pulled by a modern tractor can be like 6 or 8 bottom plows.... and maybe more.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tiffany's Beef Enchiladas

Today's amazing dinner recipe is brought to us from a friend I grew up with who blogs at In a Maze of Beige.  She showed us this dinner fresh out of her oven and all of us Facebook friends were drooling!

3/4 ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
3 cans Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 package taco seasoning mix
Green or black olives sliced
Tortillas, either flour or corn would be great
Cream cheese or sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger with the onions and garlic. Add the beans, corn, and two cans of Rotel tomatoes. Stir in the taco seasoning mix. Heat to boiling and then allow to simmer for a few minutes. (At this point, you probably should add some cream cheese or sour cream to the mixture.)

Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan. I used ten tortillas filled generously with the beef mixture. Roll tortillas with a generous scoop of meat and cheese. Top the tortillas with any remaining meat mixture. Pour on the last can of Rotel tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and olives. 
Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly brown.  Serve with sour cream.

Note:  You could also use your favorite type of salsa in place of the canned tomatoes. If you do that, then omit the taco seasoning mix.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gus and Cats

I think I've given a pretty good description of Gus's bucking abilities. I've told you how he was scared to death of cows. Well, it so happened that he liked cats quite a bit. The following is an instance that my older brother observed during a time when he was boarding Gus. 

For some unremembered reason, Gus was being kept in a corral. My brother observed and had to tell me about what he witnessed happening there in the corral. 

There were a fair number of cats that would hang around the place. This one cat evidently had a relationship with Gus as to where they both understood each other. This one particular cat would casually and slowly walk right across the middle of Gus's corral, from one side to the other. Gus would see the cat and come on the run. A person would naturally assume that he was witnessing the end of one particular cat. Unconcerned, the cat would stop and sit down right there in about the center, and watch Gus come.. 

The cat would just continue giving the horse an "I dare you" look. Gus, when he got there, would leap into the air, twist and come down with all four feet, not missing the cat by very far. Gus would continue bucking and leaping and coming down real close to the cat, just as if he intended to smash the cat flat. All the while, the cat would just continue giving Gus a bored, "I dare you" look. Pretty soon, Gus would get tired of it and stop and look at and smell the cat. The cat would then arise and continue its nonchalant journey across the corral, and that would be the end of it. To our knowledge, Gus never did hurt a cat.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Giving Lesson

Once I made a few I started thinking in posters.  As I've studied the church lesson I'm giving today, the same thing happened.  So I made some visual reminders of some of the topics we are addressing.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

More About Gus

Chapter 6

As I've mentioned, Gus, under normal circumstances, was quite docile. This came in very handy when you were riding and working yourself through the trees, or through some other kind of hazards. Apparently, Gus's motto was, "When in doubt, take it very easy." Or, "Let's take it easy, here. No use in getting anybody hurt." He would cross creeks, cross ravines, go over logs, bang around in the rocks.. really about anything you asked him to do.. BUT, he insisted on doing scary stuff at HIS OWN pace. He could cause you to get a bit impatient, but he would always carry you through the difficulties of a trail with ZERO mishaps.. You could manipulate branches while you were on his back, you could get him stuck between two trees and he'd slowly back out of the predicament. He would get high-centered going over a big log... and he would calmly wait while you figured out a way to deal with the situation. For those who don't know, an overly spirited horse can severely hurt himself, the rider, or both.. Some horses, in a bind, will tear themselves apart. 
On a horseback trail, one often has to use a chain saw to clear away fallen timber.... and we all know how obnoxiously loud chain saws are. I would drop the reins and leave Gus right in the trail behind me while I would take a chain saw, walk ahead, and start cutting.. While all this noise and racket was happening and the sawdust was flying everywhere, Gus would walk up behind me, put his nose and face over my shoulder, and watch closely as I was cutting logs out of the way. He'd close his eyes if there was too much sawdust flying. 
I have more stories I suppose I could tell about Gus, but I'm thinking that this would be the time to finish up. I feel like I've left a proper tribute to him by writing this stuff down. I'm going to miss him. He absolutely adored my grand kids.... especially the little girls... and, of course, little girls, being what they are, absolutely adored him.

Bye, Gus.....

Family Room Remodeling Progress

It's been so long since I've given a remodeling update on the blog.  It's not for lack of work.  Heck, no.  It's for lack of joy about the same dang thing we've been doing for 2 years!!!  

But I got a second boost of remodeling energy this weekend when I saw some major shifts take place and realized whether its instant or takes a handful of years getting your dream house is fun.  I tried to get it by building.  I was mad when that didn't work out.  Instead I got it through the very complicated foreclosure purchasing process.  It is fun, really fun, to see our hours and days come together into something we can be proud of.

photo circa January 2012

So what have we done in the family room so far?

  1. Installed a ceiling fan (there was NO lighting in this room, just dangling wires.)
  2. Removed wallpaper
  3. Demolished the old fireplace surround
  4. Removed carpet
  5. Bleach treated the sub-floors
  6. Sealed the sub-floors with paint-mixed primer
  7. Had carpet installed
  8. Painted the walls
  9. Somewhere in here I need to add purchasing scaffolding.  We've used it in many more places than this room but it's become a permanent fixture as we use it *every* week.  See, I even store comfy quilts on it.  Totally permanent fixture :).
  10. Built a lego/train table that is also the coffee table
So, obviously the "rock" fireplace isn't done yet as it currently holds no rock but it is 100% ready for it now.  All we need to do is buy a cement mixer and the faux stone we have picked out.  That little step is a chunk of money so it could even be a few years before we have that rock but the electronics parts of the fireplace (and the minor detail of the actual FIRE) are all in place so we can still enjoy it until it gets pretty.  Fun fact:  the rustic looking mantle we have placed there is recycled wood from the old deck!

photo December 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More About Gus

Chapter 5

Now, as I've told you, Gus was very strong and very athletic, when he wanted to be. A trait he displayed as soon as I got to riding him in the mountains, was he would severely and violently "spook" or "booger", whenever a grouse or something like a squirrel would jump up.. With all those muscles to go with his disposition, he was able to quite severely hurt me whenever we came upon this type of situation.. I don't know how he could do it, but a grouse would fly up, Gus would stomp all four feet on the ground and propel himself backwards about 6 feet, and be turned halfway around, all in the blink of an eye. I don't recall ever completely falling off when he did this..... but, I do recall kind of oozing out of the saddle and onto the ground as I made lots of whimpering sounds. My hunting companions would sit there on their horses, laughing and making comments like, " 

It's a good thing you didn't fall off. You know, Carl..... continually getting off by going over his head might teach him bad habits, or something." As I would continue groaning, another would say, "Are you hurt?? You're probably done having kids, anyway, aren't you??"

It shouldn't have taken so long for me to learn about this, but a favorable trait Gus had was, whenever he would see, or otherwise know, that an elk was real close, he would freeze, with his ears pointed, his head high, and he'd make snorting sounds. I remember the first time he did this, I was riding in the lead and we were going through and around sage brush and juniper bushes. All the sudden, Gus froze, and, like radar, locked onto something up ahead. This was all before I knew better, but I soon became bored and impatient, and wanted to move on. My brothers were behind me on their horses and stayed back to watch what was going to happen. Being ready and insistent on moving on, I started kicking Gus.... lightly, at first... but, beings I was getting no results and Gus was totally and absolutely ignoring me, I decided not to tolerate his stubbornness. I kicked him harder... and harder... to no avail. As I was kicking and cussing him as hard as I could...wishing I had spurs on, an elk jumped up right in front of us from where it had been bedded down. We were totally unprepared, and the elk quickly made it to safety. 

After this, we figured Gus had earned the right to behave like he wanted when we were out on a hunt. He was a good tool, and we learned to pay attention to him. For all of those who don't know, a horse can hear probably three times better than a human, his sense of smell is several times better than a human, and a human's eyesight does not even compare with a horses. Horses can see very, very well... and when they indicate to you that they see something.... and though it sometimes isn't anything terribly important to you, they really do see something...

Emo Song List

Not that long ago I did a "get pumped up" song list post with lotsa girl power stuff :).  Today I'll share some more melancholy, emotional songs.  Angry rap day is coming, too, y'all!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

More About Gus

Chapter 4

As I mentioned in the last chapter, Gus never bucked me off again. However, there is a little more to the story than that, as far as bucking goes. One day, not too long after his first auditions as a bucking horse, I was riding Gus out in the hills.. We began climbing a short but fairly steep hill. Gus was feeling good and he, all by himself, picked his pace up to a gallop and kind of charged the hill. Lots of horses like to climb a hill that way. Maybe it's a "Let's get it over with" type of attitude. So, I grabbed leather with both hands and I gave him his head and let him do it.. I figured, "Hey.. If it's his idea, he probably won't buck because of running up this hill." Well, I was almost right. He waited until he got completely to the top of the hill, slowed down, and then he came "unwired". It appeared we were going to have a sequel to the first time I got bucked off. Only, this time I was half expecting it.

He quickly got into some serious bucking.... but, I was doing a real respectable job of staying in the saddle. There's nothing like fear of falling a long ways and smacking the ground, to bring out one's best riding abilities. Luck was on my side that day. At about the third or fourth skyward thrust, he somehow lost his footing. Down he came.... and "WHOMP", fell flat on his stomach... and it seemed to knock the wind totally out of him. I'd never seen anything like that, before. Here I was, my feet were still in the stirrups, only one foot fully reaching the ground, and here I stood, straddling a grunting and groaning horse. One of my first thoughts was, "Now, what would a real cowboy do??"

After a moment or two of hoping a little bit that the horse was severely injured, I kicked my feet out of the stirrups and removed myself from his back. I was a little scared... and mad... so I just started yelling and kicking the tar out of him as he was lying there on his belly. (This was back before I went on meds.) I kicked him continuously until he got himself up on his feet. (Note for those who don't know.. a man wearing soft, light SAS footwear isn't going to hurt a horse much by kicking him.) I thought later that this is the point where I should have put my left foot back in the stirrup and remounted him as he was getting up. I saw that done in a movie, one time. It looked pretty cool. That might have made a real believer out of him. Anyway, when I did get back on him, he seemed much more mellow, so I rode him slowly back to the house without incident.

3 year old Selfies (an unfiltered photo series)

Looks like he's getting the hang of it!