Monday, December 5, 2011

Alaska Part 3-The Southern Part

Our work took us further down south on the Kenai Peninsula. Near a small town named Ninilchik. We had decided to knock out a couple of sites that day and worked pretty hard to get to them and keep on schedule. One of the sites was directly on the before we got to work, I snapped a few pictures. Mornings in Alaska are not to be missed. The washes of pink and blue knocked my socks off every morning.

Morning at the Ninilchik Field

Looking down the coast

After we finished the field, we left out and headed further south to access a different and much more remote site. However, enroute, we realized that our cameras had chewed through all of the batteries we had on-had. So we stopped in the actual villiage of Ninilchik to get more.

Ninilchik Creek-Simply Gorgeous!

Another portion of the creek.

After finding batteries, we headed out to the site. Where we spotted the first photographable moose of our official moose count. 

 This was the field...I love my job some days

Moose, not the ice cream!

The first photographed moose! Eat your heart out National Geographic!

We finished up pretty early in the day, so we decided to drive down to Homer, Alaska for dinner. It is the most southern point that you can go on the Kenai Peninsula.

Homer, Alaska-what can I say? I was a little cold!

The view across the bay from Homer.

St. Augustine Volcano

View from the Homer Spit to the Harding Ice Field

A seal!

The Salty Dog Saloon on the Homer Spit.

We ate dinner at a fantastic little restaurant which was open for the last night of the season and then headed back to Kenai for a well deserved rest.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alaska-Part 2

Sorry for the lag! I know that all you readers out there are just dying for the next installment of my Alaska trip. ;) I was having trouble with my computer and Blogger playing nicely...but that seems to have resolved itself and here we are.

After landing on the Kenai Peninsula, we took the opportunity to do some sightseeing and familiarizing ourselves with our new home for the next 9 days. So we drove down the Kenai Peninsula coast.
Mount Redoubt from the Kenai Peninsula

Mt. Redoubt again

Beautiful Trees

An Alaskan Double Rainbow

Beach on the Cook Inlet-Kenai Peninsula

Soldatna Creek

Soldatna Creek with swans
We thought this was the Swanson River and my field partner and I decided that the river must be named so because there were Swans-on- the river. We were clearly exhausted!

One of the things that I most wanted to see in Alaska was the wildlife that I had read so much about. Moose, bears, eagles, magpies, orcas, etc. My field partner had been to Alaska before and had hit a moose during the trip, so he wanted to be especially watchful for them. So I was. And we started a "moose count" to keep track of how many we saw. We also started a bear count....although that was more tongue-in-cheek!

Moose Count: 21 Moose Imposters: 6

Juvenile Cow


Bear Count: 0 Stuffed Bear Count: 5
This one kinda looks like a friend of mine!

Up next-the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula-Stay Tuned!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And what I've done...

In my little mini-hiatus...I was busy crossing something off of my bucket list. I was offered the chance to go to Alaska for work...and without a moment's hesitation, I took it. This was a chance to see a place that I had only seen on television or read about in National Geographic. Three weeks later, I was on a plane to Anchorage with my team. We worked our tails off...but never in a more breath-taking place!

We stayed in Anchorage the first night. We ate at the Glacier Brewhouse for dinner... which was my first taste of Alaskan food...and incredibly good food at that...considering that it was my second dinner with the 3 hour time zone change.

The view of downtown Anchorage from my hotel room.

The brewhouse had amazingly good beer.

 And the halibut was not to be missed!! YUM!!

The next morning, we got up and had breakfast at Gwennie's, which was recommended to me by a dear friend. He was right. When I ordered a hot chocolate, this is what showed up!

 Single-handedly the best mug of hot cocoa I have ever was breakfast by itself!

And then the breakfast I ordered came out....Reindeer sausage, eggs, and homefried potatoes.

Can we say "Giant Plate"?

After breakfast, we went over and spent the morning at a client kick-off meeting for our project. We grabbed lunch at the Moose's Tooth Brewhouse, which had the best pizza I have ever tasted!


Then, stuffed on pizza and salad, my partner and I caught a plane over to the Kenai Peninsula, where we would be working.

And we were greeted by the locals!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where I have been!

As happens once in a while, I get so busy with life that I sit down and forget to write about it! And crazy busy it has been! I'll be detailing everything that has been going on over the next couple of posts. Horses, the house and work have all conspired to keep me off the computer and hopping all over the place. As many of the regular readers know, I travel A LOT. I actually have a running list of every Holiday Inn Express that I have stayed at (mostly for my own morbid curiosity). I love Holiday Inns. The rooms always feel warm, inviting, and comfortable. No, I'm not plugging them...nor is this a commercial... I'm getting to the point...hang on...

So I spend anywhere from 1-4 nights in this nice, warm, cozy environment... and come home to this (minus the books all over the'll see why in a sec)

Cold, blank, and sterile. White walls, white carpet...YUCK.

After my last trip out, I got home, looked at the walls, and decided that the time for the long overdue painting was at hand. I gathered up some semi-willing friends and lured them in with the promise of good company, pizza, and alcohol. I went to Lowe's and bought paint in a color called "Pony Tail" by Olympia (irony, anyone??) and all the painting supplies I could carry. Including a little straight edge painter, which was a godsend for getting nice even lines near the trim and ceiling.

Four hours and two coats of paint later.... my boring sterile living room looked like this:

Cozy, comfortable, and warm. Two weeks later, I'm still loving it. And I'm counting the days until I can have a crack at Anthony's room!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Cowgirl Turns 30

For an entire year, I've been in denial that this whole nebulous "30" thing was actually going to happen. I mean, lots of people stay at 29 forever, right? Denial is a wonderful thing.

But it isn't a river in Egypt... And eventually September always rolls around, bringing with it another birthday. So since 30 is a big round scary number and marks a somewhat official entrance into adulthood, I decided that we needed to do it up! I gave up digging in and fighting it...and started celebrating it.

On Friday night, we went out to get drinks at a club where two of our favorite DJs were hosting karaoke.  My friends suprised me with an amazing cake. Shawna Cole and Dodd Lede (the DJs, also lead singers of Bare Necessity) made the night extra fun by singing Happy Birthday (in the sexy voices!).

On Saturday, my friend Pam and I had a joint birthday party at her house. We have always celebrated our birthdays together since they are three days apart and this one was a big 'un. So friends and family gathered at Pam's house and we talked, watched the kids play, and ate more birthday cake. Pam made sure we had some Blue Bell Cookies 'n Creme ice cream, since that is one of our favorites.

On Sunday, I took a day off from birthday stuff, because apparently, there can be too much of a good thing!

Monday was my actual birthday. And as Monday birthdays go, it was a pretty quiet day. My boss bought me lunch. I spent part of the evening hanging out at the barn, and the rest hanging out on the couch with Anthony.

I guess 30 isn't so bad after all... Lets see what this year brings!

Monday, August 22, 2011

This One's For My Girls...

My cowgirls, that is....

Last week, an anonymous commenter on the blog asked me to quit calling myself a cowgirl, because it was offensive to "those of us who live the life". Well, darlin, I've got news for you. If I've offended you, then I'm doing my job. This is my blog about my life. I'll call myself anything that I damn well please. I regularly call myself a klutz, a pain in the butt, stubborn, and crazy. No one has argued with me about those. But just in case you argue the definition of a cowgirl, this is what Merriam-Webster's Dictionary has to say about it (; accessed August 22, 2011):

Cow girl noun \-ˌgər(-ə)l\

Definition of COWGIRL

1: a girl or woman who tends cattle or horses

2: a girl or woman who is a rodeo performer does that definition fit me?
1. I am a woman;
2. I tend horses, both at my little farm and at Southeast Boarding Barn where I am usually found in my off hours; and
3. I am a rodeo performer. Not a good one yet, but I'm working on it.
Now if your question is: how am I further qualified? I've worked cattle..even though I don't own any. My family has ranched the North Dakota badlands for the last 100+ years. I know how to fix fences and spent one summer helping string a mile's worth of it. I have the veterinary knowledge that being self suffient requires or I know who to ask to get help. I bust my ass from dawn til dark to take care of my family, my job, my property, and my animals. I know that I'll be eating canned beans and baloney before any of my animals go without proper care.
I don't have any delusions of grandeur where my little farm is concerned. Its not a ranch, nor would I ever call it that. I'm saving that for the 200+ acres I will be buying someday. I've got to work to get there, but I will. But that little farm is MINE.
And finally, being a cowgirl is a attitude. Its a take-it-all on, work through the pain, bust tail til the job is done and the fingers are bleeding mindset. You fall off, you get right back on and tackle the world.
And darlin, if you've got a problem with that...then don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya on the way out.

Cowgirls gone wild!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All My Eggs Are in One Basket

My chickens are laying! It started off with one random egg every few days about 3 weeks ago.

Since the egg were too hit or miss to count on, I wound up throwing away the first few since I wasn't checking the nest boxes every day. Over the last couple of weeks though, more and more eggs are showing up in the nest box. There are four nest boxes. They all seem to prefer the one in the front right corner. No skin off my nose, its easier to grab them all in one swoop. I guess I'm going to be giving them away or selling them in short order since there is no way that we can eat four to six eggs a day!

The eggs from the last week. I've already given away half a dozen of them! I guess I just have extra talented chickens since they aren't really supposed to be laying for another couple of weeks...and we're in the middle of an awful heat wave. But hey, if they're willing, I'm happy to get my money back on all the feed I've been putting into them!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Step Above

It seems like every week, something new is happening at my house. I mean, when you live with a 4-year old, something new is always happening. Shaving cream murals in the bathtub, macaroni in the carpet, and strangely colored cats are among the things that happen with an astonishing regularity in my house. But lately, we've been letting the kiddo play with the power tools. Just kidding. No, really, I'm just kidding. He just holds the hammer and bucket of nails while his Papa and I build.

This week's project?

New stairs.

It has long been recognized that the stairs up to the porch at my house are at the very least a safety concern and definately a safety hazard. And after nearly ripping a toenail off the other night in the dark, I had enough.

This is what my stairs looked like:

Yikes, right? And no, that's not the angle of the photo, that wood "stair" really does lean like that.

After two hours, this is what the new stairs looked like.
They are set in place and concrete will be added soon to make them a solid pad. And the tilt IS the angle of the photo.

And since a) I can't stand the bushes in front of my house, and b) I needed steps down into the yard near the front door...

We built them too...

I'll post photos of the concrete work next week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Da Deck

Last month, my insurance company called to tell me that they were going to be dropping the coverage on my house. Why, you ask? Because the back deck was 28" inches tall and needed railings on it to be up to code. And I had a month to get it fixed. Dad and I looked at it, made trips to Home Depot and worked out costs to build the railings. We priced it out if we did everything ourselves or if we used pre-built railings and posts. The difference? $250 if we built it from scratch. $350 if we used everything pre-built. We decided that the $100 was worth it in time and went all pre-built.

We bought all the materials that we needed and headed to my house to start throwing it together. As we are discovering with nearly everything in my house, the deck was built wrong. The floorboards were uneven with the end of the deck. There were not enough boards to reach to the side of the deck, and one of the boards was cut too short. So much for the slam the railing on plan. So we unscrewed EVERY LAST floorboard (and discovered that he hadn't used deck screws either).

Then we screwed them all back in so that they were even on the end, finished off the side of the deck, and replaced the missing board. After all that was complete, we added the railings and moved the stairs closer to the house.

Its finally done. Makes the deck look so different, but I'm looking forward to getting a BBQ and patio set out there to enjoy it. Eventually, it will be finished out so that it connects to the back door, but thats a whole other kettle of fish!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Barrel Racing, Baby!

Things have been pretty nuts at the farm lately. Trying to keep up with chores, work schedules, kiddo's schedule, and fit in some time for fun has caught up with me a little. About a month ago, my friend and trainer Missy of M.R. Horseback Riding and Training said to me "The Rodeo Sweethearts Barrel Bang is July 10th. You in?" This is Missy code for "Guess what girl, I let you have a break for a while, you're racing on July 10th." So in addition to working, traveling, and being a mom.... I intensified the training schedule for me and Joker (and Anthony and Abby, but that's a different post!). We've been progressing as a team little by little. I'm starting to see the day when we run at the speed I want to see.

Back to yesterday... We loaded up horses, tack, and people and headed out to Rosenberg, Texas. The registration (books) opened at 10:30 am and we were there at 10:15.  We unloaded the horses and then signed in as soon as we could. Then we warmed up the horses and ran practice runs with the barrels in place and the timer running. Finally, we wandered up into the stands to wait, wait, and wait some more.

Finally, we ran.

And while not a record breaking run, we managed to get a time and we know what we need to work on before the next race!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hotter Than Hades!

The horses are hot.
The dogs are hot.
The chickens are hot.
The kiddo is hot.
And the farm/cowgirl is hot.

It has been hot, hot, hot at the farm lately. Its only July and I can tell its going to be a long summer. Last weekend, Anthony and I were supposed to go for a joint riding lesson. Sounded simple enough...load horses into trailer, drive down road, unload horses. That, apparently, was too simple of a plan. So in the 100 degree heat with 100% humidity, I fought, whined, implored, tugged, and tried to bully horses into the trailer. And ultimately, when a 1,500 pound animal plants its feet and says no, he's not going anywhere. So since I was drenched in sweat and pissed off at the horses, I called it a day and went to go cool off.

Yesterday, we were headed to the Galveston County Youth Summer Series. This time, I had a more complicated plan in mind. I had noticed that Abby (Anthony's horse) had seemed a little heat stressed when I had previously tried to get her in the trailer. So I went and soaked her down with the hose, washed her, rinsed her, and then when she dried off in 15 minutes, I soaked her down again.  One damp horse went into the trailer with some encouragement. And since poor Joker looked so hot and pathetic, I soaked him down for good measure. He practically danced for joy at the relief and ran off kicking up his heels when I was done. Guess I'm going to start soaking both of them in the afternoons until we get a break from the heat!

The chickens are also getting some heat relief. I threw out some nice, cold watermelon for them as a treat and their chicken huts are being upgraded this weekend to a full out coop, complete with ventilation! Their pen is already tarped so that it is nice and shady, but I think the coop will help them out a great deal too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Finally! Rain!

Although it wasn't much, the farm finally got some of the wet stuff. I came home to a wet horse, wet yard, and puddles in the drive way. I couldn't have been happier if you had told me that I won the lottery. Its been so dry here in Houston that everything has dried up. I was hoping to let the ducks out into the pond once they were big enough, but since the pond totally dried up, they have been confined to Poultry Paradise and their dishpans of water. We found the catfish that was in the pond in a tree where the birds had gotten to him. The horses loved their pond to play in, but now its the only place growing fresh grass, so they are in it constantly. The pond is not deep enough to get recharged by groundwater and when the new septic system went in, the installer insisted (and I'm glad that he did) that the washing machine water which was being drained into the pond go into the septic so its not being refilled there. I really do miss my pond. I'm crossing my fingers that we get a lot of rain (and no hurricanes! I'm not ready to test my roof yet) this hurricane season so that Houston can come out of its -10 inches of rain and I can have my pond back.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What’s In a Name?

We have finally settled on a name for the mini-farm. I'm sure you're all relieved. We were looking for something that exemplified our lofty goals, characterized the place where the farm was, what we were trying to do, and of course, that we liked. You can imagine that we’ve been thinking about it for a while. We live in the Brazos River Plain, in the state of Texas, we do horses, chickens, the garden when it is up and running in the fall, and there has been talk of pygmy goats appearing in the pasture. I swear…they just appear!

So not just any name would do and as you know from past posts, I suck at naming things.

We kicked around names like:

River Bend Mini-Farm
Small Wonder Farm (which I loved, but was outvoted on)
Lone Star Mini-Farm
And all sorts of things based on everything under the sun.

And we still kept coming back to the one that seems to have stuck….

Lazy M Farm

Its a play on our last name, as well as the character of the farm.
The gardens will still be called Jessamine Gardens since the garden concept has only moved, not changed. Now I just have to get them rebuilt!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sadness at the Farm

This is a hard post to write.

We lost Buddy earlier this week. He ran out into the street and was severely injured by a neighbor who was driving too fast. We took him to the vet hoping that it wasn’t as serious as it looked. But in the end, we decided that it was far kinder to let him go than to force him to live with the kind of pain that the vet said he would be in and an uncertain at best prognosis. He is now over the Rainbow Bridge with some of his brothers and sisters that passed early in their lives. Anthony knows that Buddy is in a new and better home now. He seems to be pretty okay with it. Four year olds bounce back quick. Not so sure about the adults in the house.

We'll miss you, Buddy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last, but certianly not least

Tha poultry!

The day they came home
They were given to us by our Realtor as a housewarming gift. The reddish ones are Rhode Island Reds. The yellow ones are Leghorns. And then there are the ducks.... I had mentioned wanting to have chickens when we were buying the house and so a few days after we closed, he suprised us with them. Suprised, was in fact the word. We hadn't moved in yet, but were planning to do so the next day. So since we didn't have any where for them to live and it was still kind of cold, we put them in the shed and then ran to the store two days later for chicken keeping supplies.

As they got bigger and the weather got warmer, we decided that they needed to move out from the shed into a more permanent setup. A friend of my dad's had an old 8'x 8' dog kennel that he was no longer using. It became Poultry Paradise. Tarps were added later on for sun protection and to keep the Leghorns INSIDE so that they were protected from predators.

These days, they are growing, growing, growing. They get excited when they see me coming in the evening. I usually have a cup full of treats for them. Usually bits of veggies that didn't go into the supper pot or sometimes leaves from a tree that I've cut down. I'm looking forward to the eggs that I'll be getting in return for my treats to them come September.

By the way....The ducks are named Soup and Quackers (I have a morbid sense of humor). The chickens don't have names...There are 3 Leghorns and Three Rhode Island Red hens. So if you have a name suggestion for them, please put it in the comments!