Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Our Garden of Eden

Sights from our own Garden of Eden....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What Happened In....

What happened in the past four months since I wrote the blog post "I Joined The 21st Century Yesterday on February 18, 2010 ? Believe it or not, a number of things did happen other than the fact that I became overly absorbed by Facebook . Here is my update:

It was an extra cold winter. It was an extra long winter. At the worst point, it was only 4 degrees here. Our ponds were frozen solid (6 inches of ice). We would bust the ice with a sledge hammer for the horses and in a short period of time it was refrozen. The water faucet near the barn froze up and at the worst point we were filling up five gallon buckets in the bath tub and loading them in the four-wheeler trailer and hauling water to the main barnyard, goat pen, chicken pen as well as to the blind horse habitat. Needless to say, winter is NOT our favorite time of year ! 

My Niece & Nephew made a short and unexpected trip to visit us here at the ranch. They brought along their precious 2 year old daughter. The weather was pretty good considering it was early March. 
 We all had so much fun !!!!

Another Niece & Nephew with their four kids came to spend a weekend with us during Spring Break. We expected fairly warm weather and planned to camp out but the weather turned cold so we camped in but did go up on our mountain ridge to our camp site and start a campfire. We hauled 3 of the kids in the 4-wheeler trailer, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to a windy day they were able to fly the cool kite that they brought with them. We drank hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows, sang, laughed and told funny stories. A great time was had by all !

In March "some sorry excuse for a human being" dumped a very pregnant Momma Cat at our barn. We set up a large pet porter in the house for her on a Tuesday and on Thursday she had five kittens. Two days after they were born we had the worst snow storm that we have had during the 7 years that we have lived here. At 8 weeks of age my Brother-In-Law adopted 2 of them. We took the Momma to the vet to be spayed  after the kittens were weaned. Now the Momma Cat and 3 of her kittens have become the newest members of our very large but very happy family.

We had an unexpected and unwelcome snow fall. Better yet, let's call it a blizzard, because in this part of country on March 2Oth it is time to be working in the garden not to be shoveling 12+ inches of snow so that you can open the back door.  On March 10th and on March 15th,  two of my little cousins celebrated their very 1st birthday. They are on opposite sides of my family and are both the first born of the NEWEST generation of our families. Happy Birthday Baby J.R. and Baby J.W.

I took a road trip to the city and spent Easter Weekend with several of my Nieces and Nephews. I enjoyed two separate Easter Egg Hunts and a cook out at the lake. Very Fun !!!! April 4th of was one of my Niece's 18th birthday and April 5th was one of my other Niece's 22nd birthday..... April 10th was one of my Nephew's birthday, he turned 21 years old....April 16th was another one of my Nephew's birthday, he turned 25 years old.....April 27th was another Niece's birthday, she turned 20 years old. April is a Happy...Happy...Happy Birthday Month !!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Brother-In-Law was approved for SS/Disability in April. He received a near fatal traumatic brain injury in 2008. His recovery has been LONG hard road. He continues to do better with each passing day, for which we thank the Good Lord. As a celebration he and I went to the mountain top tower and enjoyed a day of "playing tourist" ! We went to the top of the tower and took lots of photos and he got his very first good look, actually a bird's eye view of the area he now calls home.

I went to my Niece's College Choir Concert in May. The timing was perfect for me to attend since she had no idea but that night she was presented with a special award. So proud of her and so happy for her. She just turned 21 years old in Feb. 2010.

I reunited with a long lost friend. It had been 17 years since we lost track of each other. I went out to dinner with her and her family in early May. She has a great husband and two awesome sons. I made friends with the three year old by offering him the cherry off the top of the fried ice cream I ordered for dessert.

I went to watch my 18 year old Niece walk across the stage as she received her high school diploma. Her school colors are black and gold, so she dyed her hair black and gold. She made sure to ask me to let her know if we could see her her hair color from from our seats the auditorium... Yes, we sure did !
Good job M. and Congratulations to YOU !!!!

MyHoney celebrated his birthday in May. His sister and his grown daughter made their very first visit to the ranch. He gave them the grand tour on the 4-wheeler. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely. And on June 9th, 2010, my stepdaughter D. turned 18 years old......She is ALL grown up now !!!!
May all of her dreams come true....

So you get the idea...just because I hadn't posted anything on my blog, doesn't mean that there was nothing to blog about around here. So much to little time !!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Blame It On FaceBook !!!!

Okay, I must admit that I've been a bit distracted lately. Yes, there has been a lot going on around here since my last blog post in February. But I must confess that now that I have a computer I have no reasonable excuse for neglecting my blog. My excuse is not reasonable but it may be considered understandable. My excuse is that I have become totally absorbed by Face Book. So, I've decided whenever you need an excuse for something, for anything at all...............from now on...................... JUST BLAME IT ON FACE BOOK !!!!

It's not like my Face Book account is new or anything, I've had it for a couple of years now. My cousin talked me into setting up a Face Book account so that I could view her photos. I would check it every now and then whenever I was checking my email at the public library but I had no idea of what I was missing out on. I had a few people on my friends list but not many. Now, I check it every single day and I have 112 friends. All 112 people on my list are people I actually know or at least used to know. When MyHoney joined FB and was adding people to his friend's list from school, I thought "those are people you haven't seen or talked to in 30 plus years". Now I've added people all the way back to first grade (1967-1968). It has been fun.

Face Book is an amazing thing. It's almost like a magic trick. You can see it with your own eyes but still have no idea of how it works. You just know that it does work. It also amazes me how little we have all changed. Personality wise we are still pretty much the same people as we were in first grade, maybe just a better version of ourselves. What I liked about a certain person back then is STILL what I like about them now, thirty-plus years later. The thing about friends from that long ago is they knew us way back when. They saw us go through those awkward stages, saw us with braces on our teeth, our first really bad haircut or the goofy clothes that we thought were cool back then. They knew our parents and/or our brothers and sisters. They rode the same school bus with us and some of them came to spend the night at our houses and spent most of the night, laughing and giggling during our slumber parties. Some of them remember our mom's special pot-roast and the names of our horses or the fact that we had a pet monkey. What people remember from so many years ago, is like a surprise package that you open and delight in how much of a surprise it is.

Having a teenage stepdaughter, I pay a lot of attention to what goes on with teenagers these days. On some points, I am amazed on some points I am shocked. But each generation has their own time, their own way, their own style. I am often overwhelmed by the amount of information they are willing to share and especially how personal in nature some of that information is. I've asked myself "what would it have been like to have been a teenager during the "Internet Era" ???? I remember passing notes in class to tell someone something really important and if the content of that note had been revealed it would have been devastating to say the least. Keeping secrets was the real test of how good of a friend you were. If you failed to keep a friend's secret you were labeled as permanently ineligible for best friend status.
(Not qualifying as BFF, not even BF-FAW = best friend for a week, much less

I remember, as a teenager,being very secretive and NOT wanting others to know what I was up to and where I was going, what I was doing or with days, it seems like everyone knows everything and no detail is too personal to be shared. Ayyy, the times have changed but human nature does not. This leads me to believe that there is more to this "sharing" thing than meets the eye. I continue to analyze, research and study "teenager" issues and when I can't figure out something I turn to the "experts" - other teenagers outside of our household. I've told them if I am brave enough to ask the question then they can be brave enough to answer the question, also adding that if there is anything that they feel uncomfortable with answering, that we can just skip it, no problem.

Another aspect of this Face Book thing, I considered how that if they had FB in the 1950's that MY MOM WOULD HAVE BEEN THE QUEEN OF FACE BOOK. My Mom would have loved FB. She knew everyone. She went everywhere. She was a social butterfly. She was networking before networking was invented. If anyone needed to know what was going on....all they had to do is ask. She knew what everyone was up to at all times. She was one of those 1950's era teenagers that kept a black & white scrapbook of her and her friend's hanging out in town at McClard's and Cooks Ice Cream. She had many photographs of them swimming at Camp Charleston, in their "way-to-cool" - "old-timey" swimsuits and cruising Central Avenue in those (now) "vintage" automobiles often with those fin-type fenders,since many of them were convertibles they went riding around with the top down. They were the collective definition of "cool" teenagers. When I was a kid, I thought of her era as being just like the movie "American Graffiti". It seemed so clean-cut, simple and safe compared to being a teenager in the 1970's.

Now compare that to my stepdaughter's teenage era with Internet Access, Cell Phones, Text Messages, Emails, Instant Messages, I-Phones, Picture Phones, YouTube, My Space and dear ole Face having a magic wand...poof....with one click and you are connected !!

Shall I dare ask what modern technology will add as a new dimension by time my stepdaughter's children are teenagers ????

As the old advertising campaign slogan goes: "It's a mind-boggling thing" !!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Joined The 21st Century Yesterday

I joined the 21st Century yesterday. I got my very own real computer. For the past four years I have gained access to the Internet via the computer at the public library, which required driving fifteen miles. Two years ago, I started this blog. To blog without a computer takes some creativity to say the least. I have a library card in three states, which enabled me to be able to blog while traveling.

I was one of "those people" which wanted absolutely nothing to do with this modern technology. I was one of "those people" that hoped that this "computer-thing" would be nothing more than a passing fad, which would fall to the wayside with the passage of time.

When I was setting up a home office for the roofing company that I was working for in 1995, I got a computer, the Windows 95 version. It was the top of the at the time. After a friend helped me set it up. I began to explore this extremely unknown high tech apparatus and it did not take long to become frustrated. At the time I said " I know why they call it Windows 95 - cuz it was so frustrating that I wanted to go to the 95th floor of some building and throw it out the window". I'd never really felt lost, in my life, other than scuba diving in water so murky that you couldn't see your own hand in front of your face and couldn't tell the difference from up and down. Wading around in the depths of my first computer experience, I felt lost, as if I'd been beamed up by aliens and taken to some far away planet in some distant galaxy. I learned to be "computerrrrrized" on my own, through trial and error... mostly error. But over time, I proceeded to "take care of business" with software for accounting, office documents and payroll but was not connected to the Internet. I added some educational programs for my little nieces and nephews to play with when they visited. Later I added some programs for genealogy, recipes and maps but still never went online.

Four years ago when my stepdaughter, D. got her very own real email address, I told her I would find a way to answer her emails. I went to the library and asked the librarian to help me obtain an email address and teach me how to use it. Four years later I now have three email addresses, two Facebook accounts, two MySpace accounts, two blogs and a Twitter account. All these "extra" accounts are my secret anonymous alter-ego which were created to further a mission I am on related to my stepdaughter D., which I won't go into here. Now, imagine me trying to keep up with all this without a computer. Although I have access to the Internet at the library, the situation is far less than ideal, especially with a one hour time limit at the library.

Now, with my new, top of the line laptop with wireless Internet service I'm literally sitting on the top of a mountain, on the porch of a remote cabin blogging away to my heart's content. When I head back to the ranch, in a few days, I'll be "chomping at the bit" to go home to "play with my new toys". My Dad took me on an unexpected "shopping spree" and bought me some accessories, which I wanted but expected to buy little by little. My sweet papa got me a printer, an external CD drive, wireless mouse and HDMI cable so I can connect to our TV. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I walked out of the store anxious to try out all this technology that I was so against in past years. Now as soon as I figure out how, I'm going to add a photo to this blog post. So you should expect my blog to be updated on a more consistent basis now that I've FINALLY joined the 21st Century. Blog on......

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Bake.....

I bake a lot of bread in the winter time. I used to stick to plain ole bread but in recent years I've branched out. I attempted the traditional sourdough bread years ago and through several attempts, I finally got the hang of it. My current sourdough starter is almost six years old, this holds a record for my being able to keep a starter alive long term. I want to build a brick wood fired stove in our back yard someday. When I do, I'll be able to bake bread all year long, since I refrain from excessive baking in the summer time because how much it heats up the house.

Lately, I've been experimenting with artisan breads of all types. I really do enjoy a bread that uses an Italian "biga starter", which I've perfected by combining the "biga starter" and my own sourdough starter. I've experimented with a variety of types of bread shapes. One of our favorites is the "classic bagguette", which has a crispy crust and is chewy in the middle. Yummy !!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Take A Ride

My Honey and I took a Valentine's Day ride on the 4-wheeler around the ranch to see the snow.... It was fun !!!!! Click on the arrow button to view the video

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Living In A Winter Wonderland...

We are living in a winter wonderland. How beautiful everything looks with a fresh coating of fluffy white snow. This red bird was hanging out behind the chicken pen as the birds do every winter. The chickens probably don't mind sharing their food with the birds, but our goose used to chase the wild birds out.

This is Josie....the baby of our llama family....she will turn 3 years old on February 7, 2010 and her big sister Kate will turn 4 years old on February 9, 2010.

This is Baby Zora...she will turn five years old on May 19,2010, so I guess we should stop calling her Baby Zora and change it to just plain Zora. She is the youngest of our goats and the last one to have to be raised on a bottle. Click on this link to a past blog post that has Zora's newborn photo, which was taken just minutes after she was born. Gypsyheart Lady: Zaiah Zora's story is included in the following blog post, just click on this link Gypsyheart Lady: Bye Bye Billy

This photo is out our back door, looking out to the area we call the Blind Horse Habitat, which is where our two blind horses live.Click on these links to past blog post regarding our blind horses Lakota and Grace
Gypsyheart Lady: Lakota: A Blind Wild Mustang
Gypsyheart Lady: Amazing Grace

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's Cooking ????

This first one is my niece's recipe

Is anyone hungry yet ????

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brrr....A Cold Windy Wintery Morning's a cold windy morning and I really didn't want to leave the ranch but there are errands to run & a blog of mine that has been definitely neglected. If it weren't for having to go to the feed store, post office, library, grocery store and bank we would much rather stay home. There are times when sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa is the absolute best case scenario. As I left the ranch I noticed all these water birds and as I stopped to photograph them the sound of my vehicle spooked them and made them start to fly away. What a beautiful sight !!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This is me in my apron....although I've been cooking for 40 plus years, this is only the second time I've been photographed wearing an apron, lol !!!!

I'm so thankful for so many things this year. After four full days of marathon cooking, having over a dozen family members at our house for Thanksgiving and now spending several days eating leftovers (especially desserts), I am thankful to finally get some rest. I'm including a link to a prior blogpost about another Thanksgiving many years ago. If you haven't read it, you can click on this link. I hope that you realize all the reasons that you should be thankful during the holidays and year around. A Happy Belated Thanksgiving Wish To You !!!!
Gypsyheart Lady: Thanksgiving Day 1985

Monday, November 30, 2009

Burned Out....

Burned Out is how I described us after spending so much time cooking for our holiday meal. We spent four full days of marathon cooking to prepare for that Thanksgiving party. We used the toaster oven all day long on most days. After we'd all eaten Thanksgiving dinner and were in the kitchen serving dessert, suddenly without warning the glass door on the toaster oven literally exploded. It had been turned off for a few hours when it just went kaboom but fortunately no one was injured. Thank goodness it didn't happen while the million dollar brownies were baking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Colors

Fall colors surround us at this time. Although we've had more than our fair share of rain we do still have leaves on our trees. Around our house, it's a busy time of year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Little Behind The Times...

I'm a little behind the you well know. My blog posts have been few and far between. With all we have going on around the ranch, I don't make it to the library very often.

A good example of how far behind the times we are is this photo of a zucchini. If you've ever grown zucchini then you know how big and leafy the plants are and how well they hide from sight. I weighed this zucchini. It weighed 9 and 1/2 pounds and the chickens sure enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September Days...

September days have melted away. When I wake up tomorrow, it will be October.

September was a busy month filled with many significant dates. Several of my lifelong friends have birthdays during September, like Chris, Bill, Mer and Mari. September 12th is My Mom's birthday, my stepdaughter's Mom's birthday and My Honey's brother's birthday. For My Honey and I September 23rd is our anniversary. This year was our 10th anniversary. During September there are several other anniversaries as well = Bill & Frankie 21 years / Mari & Jesse 11 years / Jan & Kevin 3 years. So a bunch of Happy Birthdays and Happy Anniversaries to you all.

I'll try to make it to the library more often in October to keep up with my blog posts, but don't count on it, since there's hay to haul, firewood to stack and stalls to build. The weather is changing and the hummingbirds will be leaving before long. The leaves are changing colors and starting to fall. September days have melted away !

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Favorite Avocado

Avocado is one of my favorite foods. These are a couple of my favorite dishes that require good avocadoes.

Coctel de Camaron = Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail


Sopa de Tortilla = Tortilla Soup


Friday, July 24, 2009

Lunch With GrandMother Harriet

This past Sunday I made a spiritual journey, which was very important to me.

While on a road trip out of state to attend my niece's birthday party, I decided to dedicate a whole day to search for my GrandMother Harriet. This was not my first attempt to find her. Over nine years ago, My Honey and I went searching for her without success. This time I used the modern technology available and did a Google Search on the library's computer. This time, I headed out early in the morning with a map and detailed directions. This time, I was very determined and did not plan on returning until I found her. After a few hours of driving, I stopped at the famous "Dairyland Cafe" and picked up lunch. With a brown bag lunch in hand, I headed down the dusty dirt roads toward my destination. After another hour of searching, several dead ends and locked gates, I finally arrived.

It was a hot, sunny, still day when I parked my truck in front of the gate. A wide variety of emotions began to swirl around in my head and in my heart. I had finally arrived. I was finally there for the first time. I am forty-eight years old. It was a trip that should have occurred so many years ago. My mom and I had talked about making that trip for many years but we never made it there. My mom died in 2007.

As I opened the gate and took that first step inside, suddenly a strong breeze created a dust storm which stopped me in my tracks. I thought immediately "THAT IS A SIGN". As the dust settled and I got a chance to look around, I then realized that finding GrandMother Harriet STILL MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY HAPPEN. The cemetery had been well maintained. The grass had been recently mowed and many graves had flowers on them. I started on the west side and began a grid search, front to back. Many of the tombstones were very old and the words etched on them had faded out over time. Many of the graves did not have "real" tombstones, instead the graves were marked with a rock.

Finally I found GrandMother Harriet. She is my Great-Great-Great GrandMother. She was born in Tennessee in 1821. She was Cherokee. I grew up hearing stories about how she had survived "The Trail Of Tears" as a child, how she had survived the Civil War as a widow with eight children. She had seven sons and one daughter. Her youngest child was Mary Elizabeth, who was my Great-Great Grandmother, who died in 1932, three years before my own mother was born.

After all that she had been through in her life, more tears flowed when GrandMother Harriet faced the death of her 14 year old son William. They lived in a "Confederate" State but like many people back then, didn't have interest or affiliation with issues of war. William had been killed by the Confederate bushwhackers. In response to his murder, his four older brothers went to join the 4th Regiment Calvary of the Union Army. According to the story, after her sons left, the bushwhacker's returned and were intent on finding out their whereabouts. GrandMother Harriet was tied up and tortured for information. Like a scene from one of my favorite movie's "Cold Mountain", she stubbornly refused to tell the bushwhackers about her sons and she ended up with parts of several fingers missing and the complete removal of both thumbs. Their home was burned to the ground. She later relocated to nearby where her soldier sons were stationed and cooked for the troops in exchange for food and protection for her younger surviving children.

GrandMother Harriet died in 1904 at age 83. She was buried in that spot 105 years ago. Her grave is surrounded by the graves of a son, a daughter in law and two grandsons. I stayed there for two hours, talking to her about everything and everyone. I sat cross-legged next to her grave and had "dinner on the ground". I said a special prayer. I left an offering for her. I tied my special bandanna, into a bow around her tombstone. I took photos of the cemetery and the tombstones. I told her about each member of the family all the way down to the teenagers (Molly & Mary D). I even told her about the brand new member of the newest generation. Jayden is her Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandson, he is four months old and living 8 generations since GrandMother Harriet. I thanked her for her strength and determination which has shaped so much of my own life. I acknowledged that had she not survived her own struggle through such adversity, that none of us would be here today.

Since I was a kid, I've always felt connected to the Earth and to "those who came before me". I was the child that was fascinated by the old family stories and said that someday I'll write a book. I was the kid that always came home with pockets full of stones and pieces of wood. When I was little I used to use the brown crayon for the face and the black crayon to draw long dark straight hair when making drawings of women or girls. The other kids used yellow crayons to draw short hair and white for the face color. They said I was doing it wrong, but I didn't care. I just answered " I like it that way". I've always been the restless type and have always referred to it as being a gypsy at heart. It's taken a lifetime to understand those tiny details that connect us.

When I was trying to find the cemetery, I passed this grove of trees off the side of the road several times. Each time I felt drawn to it. I even considered parking on the side of the dirt road and crawling over the fence to investigate that area. Maybe I will stop there next time I go back. As I was driving away, following the dirt road back toward the pavement, I thought that when she died in 1904, her coffin must have been transported by wagon to the cemetery. Since most people weren't buried very far from where they lived, GrandMother Harriet probably lived somewhere nearby. Maybe I should go back to that grove of trees that drew me to that spot.

Thinking about it now, knowing about the joys and sorrows of several generations since GrandMother Harriet was forced out of her home in the East, I realize that we have all been on our own journey called life. We too, have left behind a trail of tears of our own, as well as a trail of joy and hope for future generations to follow.

Finally finding GrandMother Harriet's final resting place brought me a kind of peace that I've never know before. After a lifetime of struggling to find my place in this world, I feel that I've now come full circle. I know where my place in the world is and at last, I feel totally comfortable in it. I promised GrandMother Harriet to continue to search for those who came before me. I promised to go to the grave site of her daughter, Mary Elizabeth in the near future for the first time. I promised to share her stories with the 7th and 8th generation, so that they can teach it to the 9th and 10th generations. Thank you GrandMother Harriet, I love you !

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Can Can

I can "can". Canning is part of my history. Growing up in the country, I helped my grandmother and my mom with many of their "country chores". Canning fruits and vegetables was a routine summer activity.

This week we've been busy canning the plentiful bounty from our garden. For the past few days we've been canning salsa. Since we have so many tomatoes and chile peppers, we decided to start with canning salsa first. So far we've canned over 4 gallons of hot sauce (one pint at a time). As I learned from a elderly "senora" in Mexico, to make "real" salsa, you have to roast the tomatoes and chiles on the "comal" (griddle) first.

This afternoon will be dedicated to "putting up" peaches from our first peach harvest. We ordered the fruit trees from a catalog about three years ago. When they arrived in the mail they were about 12 inches tall. Taking care of those little trees for the past several years is finally paying off. We have lots of sweet juicy "organic" peaches. Yesterday we had biscuits and homemade peach jam. Ahhh, just another day in paradise !!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just Another Day In Paradise






Sorry I haven't been posting much on my blog lately. I've not been able to get to the library very often to have computer access. As usual, we are busy, working around the ranch. June 20th was six years that we've lived at the ranch. One thing different this year is that My Honey is now home full time. This retirement gig is working out really well, especially for me. I used to have to do all the chores more than half the time while he was out of state working. It's a win - win situation. He loves being home full time and I love having him home full time. It's taken us ten years to finally get on the same schedule.We've been catching up on some of the things that we'd been behind on around here. We finally took the trailer load of stuff to the dump. We finally got our above ground pool cleaned and set up. Now it's like heaven with a pool, which is really nice after a long hot day working around the place. Mowing, weed eating, gardening and working on the flower beds have taken up a good portion of time. But this past weekend,we had a rare occurrence at the ranch, we had company. Our visitors were my niece Katie, her husband, Chilo and their two year old daughter, Layla. We had a grand time. We looked at old photos, laughed, ate, swam and explored around the ranch, garden/orchard and barnyard. A good time was had by all. My Honey and Chilo went fishing in the pond and Chilo "ran the fence lines" on the 4-wheeler. Layla and I had our photo taken sitting on one of our horses. I'm so glad that they came to visit and hope that by having such a good time that they will be inspired to come back for another visit in the near future. Hard work is our life style but you know what they say about ALL WORK AND NO PLAY !