Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back to the Grind (and Mud)!

We've been back from our 3 weeks of vacation for about a week now and it's been anything but a nice, quiet, smooth transition. Before having babies, I used to work in the corporate world. I remember returning from time off with a full "in-basket" and it taking a few days to catch up and feel like you were back in the "swing of things". Oh, MY! This week makes that look like powder sugar atop strawberry flapjacks! What a week this has been! Let me chronicle it for you...

Wednesday - We got in on at midnight from New Mexico and got stuck in the mud in front of our house. It was in the low 40s and I was thankful we had on jeans and remembered to leave out our sweatshirts!

Thursday - The kids had a school field trip and I had a message at 11:30 pm the night before pleading that we chaperone as they were short with family emergencies and illnesses. Thursday morning we got up and unloaded the truck, packed lunches and drove to the Wilderness Experience in Parker, Colorado about an hour away in rain, gropple, hail, snow, thunder and lightning. We saw all the awesome exhibits, had lunch and romped outside in the sun and 60 degree weather, and then watched a cool IMAX. I actually contemplated catching a few winks but thought better of it. And when the movie ended and the lights came back on, we were asked to keep all 50 or 60 or so kiddos and parents seated until the tornado warning passed. Getting a glimpse of Colorado springs, yet? Yikes! We were finally released and ran to the grocery store for milk and eggs and a few other things since we had nothing but 3 week old milk in the fridge. Hey! I can't remember EVERYTHING I need to do before a trip! It was in the 40s...needless to say, we had no need of unpacking those shorts and sandals we fell back in love with in Florida.

Oh! We were also awoken at 11:00 with a Jeep and Trooper trying to get up the hill to the Monk Retreat. Evidently, it is the latest, greatest, local party hook-up. Sort of backwards, huh? But, between the washed out culvert, the mud and snow and our truck blocking the other entrance, they evidently decided to find somewhere else to get high or drunk!

Friday - We woke up to 3 inches of snow, unpacked, ran errands, saw a beaver and returned to find a 2 ton boulder, about 3'x3' had rolled off the side of the mountain and landed smack in the middle of our road. That pretty much took up the rest of the night triangulating the "elephant" out of our way and down the other side of the mountain with the truck, a tow strap and, of course, rain. Evidently, there was a 60 ton boulder that fell on the interstate about 30 minutes from here and blocked both south lanes. Luckily, noone was hurt or killed. It's not a rare thing around these parts. We have a few of those giants ominously sleeping above our heads, as well, as we drive up and down our road. It makes you stop and think. Like I need any more reasons to have a panic attack driving up and down that freaky, bumpy, snowy, scary road! WOOOO!

Saturday - MacGyver had to go back to work and was hoping for a nice, quiet day to ease back into his work hat (or in his case helmet...sorry!). No rest for the weary! He was driving the engine all day and his crew was scheduled for an all day live burn training at the burn tower. More heave-hoing and hours of hose, gear and truck clean-up and refilling air tanks. Sorry, bubba. I, on the other hand, had a more restful day playing catch-up at home and met a girlfriend for lunch. It was warm and sunny in the 60s! Yeah! I felt my Vitamin D increasing by the hour!

Sunday - Was church (I missed our church!) and a restful afternoon (or not)...hauling hay and cutting and pulling trees for firewood and to fill in the massive ruts in parts of our muddy road. Yes, we need more firewood for the rest of this season. I smell snow in the forecast! We haven't even had a chance to gather wood for next fall and winter and that is only 5 months away! I'll just stick my head in the sand and pretend we live in the south again where there is 9 months of hot not cold. Needless to say, there was no nap but 2 more loads of muddy clothes to be had. I just love that sucking sound mud makes when it tries to swallow you whole!

Monday - ahhh! Nap, dishes, school...just the normal stuff. Oh! Maybe that was because MacGyver was back on shift! Most wives love it when their husbands go off to work because they can't stand having them around all weekend. Not me. I love hanging out with MacGyver. Who wouldn't? I am just thankful for the chance to recover from all the pulling, pushing, lifting, hauling and general "heave-hoing" he makes me do and know when he returns we have to go right back to it...and the chiropractor. He is on speed dial on my phone, you know. I am glad to see him walk thru that door the next morning, though, and not just because he is safe. After almost 14 years of marriage he still makes my heart skip (but I digress)!

Tuesday - Errands, truck load of rock for the road, shoveling, leveling, shoveling, leveling. Mud, oh the mud! It didn't rain today, though. It was almost 70 degrees and sunny! We even had a mama duck and daddy duck swim up our creek. They must have been looking for a temporary home and nursery. I think the rushing river, horses, kids, dogs, truck and shovels were all too much for them and they flew off. Probably not a bad idea, although I would have loved to watch a brood of ducks growing up right out my front door. Maybe I should take a hint and follow them. Did anybody see which way they went?

Wednesday - Shift for MacGyver and a two-page-long to-do-list for me. It seems to take me at least 2 weeks to catch up that "in-box" of phone calls, groceries, bills, laundry, and normal daily life when I've been out of town.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday - Work on "Ranch-To-Do-List":  Fix road, stack firewood, start plans for garden, finish deck, repair gaping hole where the road washed out over the culvert that feeds into our newly rushing river, and move horse panels and get ready for a new 'lil foal in June. We'll have to move her pretty soon and give her a chance to get used to her foaling shed and being away from her little herd. Yeah! The kiddos and I have been so excited watching Sable get so big! She actually waddles. (Reminds me of a certain blogger about 9 and 10 years ago!) And then there is 4-H Rocketry and Shooting Club and a certain 4-H quilting project, ahem, we haven't even started yet...and Oh! Don't forget school! I guess I need to fit school in their somewhere. But I need all the extra hands I can get. Brain muscles aren't the only thing we're growing around else are they going to build those all-important arm muscles and hands-on ranching skills? Although, come to think of it, they are calling for snow the rest of the week. Maybe I'll actually get to the rest of MY two-page-long-to-do-list...napping, reading, warm cookies and milk...Just kidding! But boy doesn't that sound nice!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Funny Things Southerners Say

I chuckled a lot at all the funny stories of Snipe hunting and bonfires gone wrong while in Florida. But let me tell you, living in Colorado means I'm not around all the "Southern-isms" that I grew up with. It takes some getting used to for these tender mountain ears but it makes me feel like I'm at home when I hear them...It's been a long time since I've heard some of their funny quips. I thought maybe I'd share a chuckle or two with you and even translate a few:
* He's (or its) as crooked as a dog's hind leg (very much not straight).
* He was drunker than a June Bug in a vat of sour grapes (pretty self-explanatory unless you've never heard the blaring June bugs in the middle of summer while you were trying to sleep in the coolest spot on Grandma's screened-in front porch).
* That could knock the stink off a billy goat (yes, Billy Goats are that stinky)!
* Come here and give me some suga' (a big wet smackaroo for your aunt or grandma or anybody else, for that matter).
* She's just playing 'possum (pretending to be asleep).

And a few from a recent email I got from one of my Southern relatives. We grew up in 'Lanna, Georgia, and will forever and a day be a Georgia Peach...

Southern women know their summer weather report:


Southern women know their vacation spots:

The beach
The rivuh
The crick

Southern women know everybody's first name:

Southern women know the movies that speak right to their cotton-pickin' hearts:

Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias
Gone With The Wind
Sweet Home Alabama
Southern women know their religions:


Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:

Foat Wuth
Addlanna or 'Lanna

Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:

Men in uniform
Men in tuxedos
Rhett Butler

Southern girls know their prime real estate:

The Mall
The Spa
The Beauty Salon

Southern girls know the 3 deadly sins:

Having bad hair, heels and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food

or all the other "Suthen-ism's":

Only a Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.

Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess".

Only a Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder."

Only a Southerner knows exactly how long "directly" is, as in: "Going to town, be back drekly (directly)."

All Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is.

Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add a large homemade banana puddin' or red velvet cake!

Only Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." They also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Only a Southerner both knows and understands the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.

Only Southerners make friends while standing in lines, ... and when we're "in line" we talk to everybody!

Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

In the South, y'all is singular, all y'alls is plural.

Southerners know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

Every Southerner knows tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a genuine

Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and lots of it and it HAS to be added while the tea is boiling hot-- we do not like our tea unsweetened. And "sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk (yes to drink).
And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the freeway. You just say,"Bless her heart"... and go your own way. This also applies to anyone who upsets you, is strange, or is making a fool of her or himself. Try it'll make you laugh!

To those of you who are still a little embarrassed by your Southerness: Take two tent revivals and a dose of sausage gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff...bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin' to have classes on Southernness as a second language!

And for those that are not from the South but have lived in the South for a long time, all y'all need to do is get a sign to hang on y'alls front porch that reads "I'm not from the South, but I got here as fast as I could." Bless your little heart, just fake it until you make it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coming Home

We arrived back at the ranch last night. We took 3 days to come home from Florida this time so we could do a little sight-seeing on the way home. We took the kiddos to visit Dauphin Island via the ferry and saw some dolphins fishing. We saw a helicopter land on an oil rig and then take off again and we stopped by to check out Fort Gaines.

These are the remnants of a shipwreck from the 1800's that was unearthed by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and evidently ran aground and destroyed a house.

The next day we drove 15 hours and got up the next morning and went to Carlsbad Caverns. MacGyver and I visited the National Park in 1996 but did a quick tour and only spent a couple hours there. This time, we did the 1 1/2 hour hike via the natural cave entrance and hiked straight down, down, down 750 feet into the bowels of the caverns. This is also the entrance where starting in May you can watch 500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats enter and exit the mouth of the caverns. I'm sorry we missed that! But, wow! We had no idea just how much we missed by not doing this hike last time we were there. That was the most incredible thing I have ever seen! Just when we thought we were almost there, we turned a corner and started another plunge into the center of the earth. We only got a handful of usable shots because it is just so completely dark. The one on the left shows the stalactites (formed from the top down), the stalacmites (from the bottom up), and the columns (where the two eventually touch in the middle). The one on the right shows a different one they call Lion's Tail (for obvious reasons). The kids said it looked just like the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth.  They were pretty blown away by just how vast it was. The Big Room is a 1/4 mile from one wall to the other! We did take the elevator up, though. (As they say in the south, "Mama didn't raise no fool").

There were a lot of firsts for the kids on this trip.

They fed stingrays at the Gulfarium.

They saw alligators.

Izzy witnessed her first sunset wedding while she and Gma and I were having dinner at Guisippie's Wharf and was what is best described as transfixed. It was beautiful!

They also saw jellyfish (and Ike got stung on the leg by one).

I might as well tell you my 9 year old nephew thought it was a breast implant. I think he's been watching way too much Discovery Health channel. Ya think?

They rode on a boat and Ike got a little sea sick.

They went to an island...

and visited a cave.

(yes...sweatshirts are definitely desirable for this hike!)

We had so much fun and made lots of memories!

We left 85 degrees and sun in New Mexico and arrived back home to a rainy 45 degrees. But, we also drove down a completely different road than the one we left. We noticed everything was green, not white. The snow was all gone! And the little frozen creek we left was now a roaring river! We left winter and returned to spring! Woohoo!

I hate leaving Gma and Gpa. We love them so much and were honored to finally be able to serve them and help them instead of always being on the receiving end. But, I have to tell you, I thought about my bed the whole way home. I love my bed...always have...always will. There is something so wonderful about coming your stuff...your bed...your routines (although it seems to take 2 weeks to find those again). When I crawled into bed, I actually giggled. There is nothing better. Someone should figure out how to bottle that feeling...they would make a fortune!

I'd like to make another slight pioneering family made it. We survived winter in the middle of nowhere!  Woohoo!

More Beautiful Vegetation

I thought I'd add a few more of the pretty vegetation we saw in Florida and show you the stark difference of vegetation in the desert southwest. I think you'll be able to spot the tropical vs. desert growth!


Lavendar roses

Trumpet vines

Cypress knees (roots of the cypress trees)

Yucca cactus in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico

Prickly Pear cactus
It has a beautiful yellow bloom in season

Unknown cactus
Possibly in the challo family

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All the Beautiful Flowers

Although both my husband and I grew up in the South, we have lived in Colorado for 13 years. I love Colorado. It is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. But then I guess I have always taken for granted how green and lush the South is. I took a few pictures of some of the beautiful flowers at my in-law's but wish those stubborn magnolias I have always loved would just go ahead and bloom, already!

I think they have every shade of azalea, daffodils, lillies, irises, ferns, palms, phlox, bottle brush, hydrangea, hibiscus, wisteria, clematis, honey suckle, rose bushes, magnolias, pecan trees, apple, cherry, pear and banana trees, blueberry bushes, grape, muscodine and scupernon vines, hostas, spider plants, and lantanas, Oh My!

And of course, I can't forget all the towering pines and 300 year old live oaks that just beg to be climbed (by someone younger and more nimble than myself)!

And this is the rosebush that has been in the family for 150+ years.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Oh! The Traveling We Will Do

So, we made the annual 1500 mile trek to my in-laws house in Florida. I love MacGyver's family. I miss them so much and hate that they are so far away from us. And I wish we could see them more often than once or twice a year. But that trip...oh, that trip! It reminds me of having a baby. It's painful and goes on forever. It NEVER seems to end. But then you arrive and forget all about it when you see their sweet, smiling faces. You relax, catch up, enjoy the beautiful weather and forget every painful minute about the brutal 2 days you spent driving. AND THEN you turn around and have to do it all again. Is it worth it? Definitely, yes. Would you do it again? Definitely; but not any time soon. But just like childbirth, you forget all about the pain, decide you want to take that long, hot, painful road again...and then it all comes back to you. OH! This is why we only seem them once or twice a year! But why does it take me so much longer to recover from that impossible drive? Am I getting old or what? Don't answer that. That was rhetorical. I'm a realist. I know. I know the answer.