Monday, May 25, 2009

DIY: Yard Makeover

We've had some exciting times here at the homestead. Last week, the trucks started hauling gravel in for our mile and a half long road from the highway to the ranch. Friday, they arrived to the yard and brought 2 and a half loads for our driveway. Now to some of you that doesn't seem like much excitement. But when we're used to this:
This is a great alternative!!!

While grandpa, Dallas and Daddy were hauling and spreading gravel, Mommy, Ben and Alli decided a little yard work was in order. We worked on the bed on the south-west side of the house, removing leaves, moving rocks, trimming perennials, and clipping grass. It's amazing how helpful a 5 year old and a two year old can be when you give them tasks. I think they love to feel useful and better yet, be with Mom and Dad where the action is!

They also had to try out the sprinkler, to make sure that the water was still wet and that they would get cold if they got soaked in 70 degree weather. It was and they did!

Then it was time to move on to the whiskey barrel planters and the bed to the west of the house aka "the sauna". We puttered around planting petunias, spikes, moss roses, osteopermum, and a few other varieties that can handle the hot and hotter. Alli was my faithful assistant, dropping the plants into the holes I dug, and then "carefully" pressing the dirt all around.

I have to say that all the rain we've had this spring make any of the superficial additions pale in comparison to the beautiful natural green color that is all around us!

Of course there is still a lot to do. The north bed needs some serious work (I still have a mini-lilac bush to place there too!) and I'm going to have to re-seed a couple of patches of lawn, again. And there are always weeds to pull. Thankfully, I'll never be out of something to do! We've received a little over a quarter of an inch of rain today so that's going to help all of the seeds in the ground: garden, flower and crop!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bucking Horse Sale Parade '09

Every year, the 3rd weekend of May, you'll find members of the Glasscock house getting ready for the Bucking Horse Sale Parade. Scott and the Caledonian band are one of the favored entries each year, along with the Caledonian dancers who march and then dance the Highland Fling at various intersections along the parade route. Then afterwards, Scott and the band do a little pub crawl, ending up at the Montana Bar's back room for a private concert with their groupies.

No seriously.

I could never figure out why it would take Scott soooo long to get home after the parade. Usually the kids and I return home about noon, and then Scott would get home around 3. Finally 3 years ago, I found a sitter and went down to see what all the fuss was about. It kind of made me laugh. Here was a group of about 30 20-somethings (and I imagine some of them are getting on toward their 30s) who all wear a "special" t-shirt designed just for BHS weekend. They all have some beers and cheer on their favorite pipers and dancers who play the back room just for fun. There are guys snapping photos with their cell-phones, cheering, clapping, and some even dancing themselves, or trying to dance. You haven't seen anything until you've seen an uncoordinated white man, dressed in an over-sized kilt, and a wilted cowboy hat, trying to dance the Irish Jig and the Highland Fling in a dance off with the likes of Catherine Woods and Lindsay Faber, or Brittany Bartholomew. Truthfully, this year was a little sad for everyone without Catherine, but of course they all raised a toast in her memory.

Then...Here comes the Cavalry.... The Cavalry Band from Sheridan, Wyoming, complete with an imitation G.A. Custer, Native ladies (or a sad representation thereof), and bugles, cymbals, and drums. Usually 2 or 3 of the pipers end up standing on the actual bar, since there is no other room in the place and the two bands get together for a rousing medley. The drums are so loud, the place trembles, and then the pipes play and the whole house cheers. It's really quite the event.

This year also marked the first official year of my being a parade mommy. Benjamin decided he wanted to march with Dad, and since he couldn't be the rock star he wanted to be, he settled for an altered kilt (by his mother--I wouldn't recommend trying to hem and press a kilt unless you're desperate. TOO MANY PLEATS!) of Adam's and away he went. Here are a few pictures of the preparation, and the parade....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Out and About

Ben and Ali on the cooler while Dad, Mom, Ryan and Zane are branding. They look like they like each other!
Ali wandered out in boots that will fit her when she's 8 and then she got cold so she ended up in my sweatshirt. She looks like a little pygmy!

Nothing like hanging out with a refreshing drink while the work is being done. I remember doing the very same thing with about 5 different partially-finished pops when I was a kid--in between rounds with the nut bucket.
Ben and Dad going out to check for the one missing heifer who was playing hooky (we actually miscounted) before trailing them back to the house. Mom got 3 whole hours of solitude while leading the herd in the feed pick-up. Ben and Ali rode with Dad in the ranger. Love that thing!!

A Quick One

Just a note to all parents out there: hide the peppermint gum and the Doritos. Not a good combination when the 2 year old is given the gum, by the 5 year old brother, and then eats Doritos with her burger at the bbq, unbenownst to the mother, I might add. Then either due to the junk, or to an unknown bug, the 2 year old managed to lose her supper, not once but 5 times between 12:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. The smell of Doritos and peppermint gum, is not a real appealing smell, puke or no. Needless to say, Mommy is cleaning up today. Not one set of sheets, three. On about 3 hours of sleep broken into 30 minute intervals.

What a glamorous job I have!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some Candid Thoughts About a Camera

So that's it. That's the camera that I have my heart set on. Truthfully, I've always wanted a fancy-schmancy camera. I've always loved to take pictures. I can remember taking pictures with my mom and dad's fancy Polaroid camera when we were little. We loved to watch Mom wind the picture out and then wait, blowing on it occasionally to see if it would come out. Then we advanced and had one of those point and shoot cameras with the place to wind it on the bottom. We were always good at taking lots of pictures and then throwing them in the cupboard and forgetting to develop them. I also remember when we moved up to the Kodak Disk camera. Remember those?

I was getting closer to my "dream" camera when my parents finally got me a point a shoot 35 mm for my birthday when I was in college. I took pictures of all kinds of memories (some I probably need to burn before my kids find them!) I kept that camera until Scott and I got married, and then we bought our first digital camera before Benjamin was born. It was a Fuji and it was a pretty good little camera for one that only had 3.2 mp. Most of his first 2 years were documented using the FinePix. Then I was yearning for a little fancier one, which in my mind was a digital single-lens reflex camera. I let my husband know what was on my mind and he came up with a really nice camera, a Canon PowerShot, an A720 with 8 mp and a zoom lens. It had a wheel for setting aperture and priority, or a manual mode and is the nicest camera I have ever owned. It takes nice pictures and it has done a great job of chronicling Allison's 1st two years and more of Benjamin's antics.

And then she did it. The Farmer's Wife, who swore she'd never go digital, bought a Canon Rebel XTi. Not the top of the line. But a great camera for a DSLR. She has a Tamron lens to go with it. And she takes phenomenal pictures with it. Some of that is due to the camera, but much of that is due to her artistic eye for what makes a good picture.

So I decided that I needed to have one too. I was going to save my money, bit by bit, until I had enough to buy a camera on my own, with my own money that I scrimped, saved, and sacrificed for. I even had my very own envelope with the cash tucked away into a safe place. Anytime I got money as a gift, or had an extra ten dollar bill left over from a trip it would go into my little "camera" envelope. I even took a catering job to earn $100 toward my camera. I was getting close to my goal. I had even gone in to the camera shop in town and discussed my future purchase with the camera guy. And I was really excited.

But then I got the "nudge". I don't even really know how to explain it, except that I was reading on one particular blog about a scholarship fund set up for women and churches who couldn't afford to purchase Bible study material on their own and I thought, "Wow, that's really a neat thing." And in the back of my mind, I thought about my stash. But I left that stash in the back of the cupboard, and in the back of my mind, the little nudge stayed, but it didn't stay quiet. But I ignored it for a while. Until I got another "nudge". I was listening to one of my favorite Bible teachers on the radio, one I have listened to since I was little and my mom listened to him. I have most of his books, because I appreciate his perspective and his style (he has lots of joy, and seasons his truth-filled message with lots of laughter). He was on the radio appealing to his listeners for support. In all the years I've listened, I've never heard him personally ask for financial support, so I knew things must be pretty serious.

At that point, I knew what I needed to do, and I wasn't happy about it. I kept thinking "Oh, I'd love to give, but I don't really have a lot of extra money." But deep down, I knew I had some. It wasn't alot, and it won't financially rescue either ministry, however, I felt like I needed to do what God was asking me to do. But I didn't like it!!!

Now let me be clear. There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a Digital SLR camera, even one that's expensive and takes great pictures. There's nothing wrong with saving money, and even earning money specifically to save to buy something. In fact, that's a great practice. And if I'd gone ahead and continued to save money until I had enough to buy my camera, that would have been okay.

But I really felt like the Lord was asking me to be willing to give up something I wanted for something somebody else needed.
As I examine my life, I have been extremely blessed. I have a wonderful Mom and Dad who taught and demonstrated for me the importance of a walk with Christ. I have two sisters and a brother who I enjoy immensely, brothers-in-law and a soon-to-be sister-in-law who are great. I have 2 nephews and 4 nieces who are some of my favorite humans on the planet. It gets better. I have a husband who leads our family spiritually, financially, and emotionally in a special way. He is kind, generous, and supportive of me, in whatever I want to do. I have two beautiful, healthy, active children who challenge me and charm me, and help me grow and mature. I have two step-children who are kind, thoughtful, and so much fun to have around. I have a mother-in-law and father-in-law who treat me just like one of their own, and are generous and helpful. I have wonderful siblings-in-law, 3 sisters and 1 brother, who have been an added blessing. I have wonderful, fun, creative, silly, friends who encourage and inspire me on a daily basis. I have a beautiful home, on a beautiful ranch in the middle of all of God's creation. I am healthy, 3 and a half years after a breast cancer diagnosis. I have plenty of clothing in my closet, shoes for my feet, and more than enough food for my belly.

After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, and sharing it with a few people, I decided that I not only needed to be obedient, I needed to be happy about it. God used a couple of different people who shared some of their giving opportunities with me and it encouraged me. So yesterday, I sat down and figured out exactly where I needed to send the money, made the on-line transactions, and when it was all said and done, I enjoyed it. It was fun to be able to have a little extra money to give to people who needed it more than I needed my camera. Looking back, I'm a little sad that I'm not going to get my camera as soon as I wanted to get it. But the envelope is still on the shelf, the camera is still at the store, and I'm still capable of saving the money to purchase the camera.

Unless of course I get another "nudge". I'm finding God's elbows are always sharp, and ready.