Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Is It?

The answer to the "what is it" question on SOOC Sunday is a vacuum: an animal vacuum to be exact.

As some of you may know, I cracked my right ankle last month, could not drive, and was confined to the house. Luc, our Lab, sheds a lot. When on the go, the regular vacuum was good enough even though for years I really wanted to get another specifically for pet owners. Being cooped up for well over 4 weeks, I started obsessing on long, white doggie hair. A vacuum for pet hair moved over from a want to a necessity.

On the very day the doctor gave the okay to remove the "boot" to drive, I went straight over to Home Depot to check out the vacuums. Hours were wiled away on the net searching for the best vacuum to address this problem. Finally, after reading pros and cons from sites all around the net, I settled on the Dyson Dc25 Animal. Since its arrival Tuesday of last week, I've run it at least once a day and sometimes two and three times. It is light and easy to use. The directions on one or two things could use a little improvement; but after fiddling around, I got the hang of it.

I'm not one to go on about an appliance, but this one is good. It is the best I've ever had and so am quite delighted.

Until next time, God bless.

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Murietta 365 has a meme for those photos that come straight out of the camera. There are only two rules: 1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking, but cropping allowed.

Here are mine for this week. Care to guess what it is? Please do. I'll post the answer later this evening.

For more SOOC, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Best of 2009, Brenda's Photo Challenge

The Brenda's Photo Challenge is back! Somehow I missed her announcement until last night that there was to be a challenge for this week. At first, I did not think I could get in on it; however, it was easier than I thought because these three photos quickly came to mind.

This precious darling is not mine but saw her at Fredericksburg Trade Days in July. How about that bow?! Isn't it awesome? And look her coloring -- deliciously pink and flawless.

Love these flowers on the prickly pear cactus. I'm guessing but think the brown spots deep in the flowers are bees gathering pollen. Good grief, who can remember since the photo was taken in the spring.

Me and my shadow, Luc. Where I go outside, he goes. Inside, Luc watches every move. A note of vanity here: shadows are not particularly flattering. Check out the tree trunk legs, the baggie T shirt and the tiny head with a teeny hat. lol

Check out more 2009 favorites here.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wolf Moon

According to Spaceweather as reported on AOL, last night's full moon was 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter than any full moon to come in the next 11 months, or the rest of the year. It is romantically named Wolf moon by native Americans. Each month's full moon has a different name.

Look closely to the left, you'll see a small spot which is Mars. Austin lights are visible near the bottom of the photo.

I hope to get better photos when my new camera arrives in about ten days.

Until next time, God bless.

A Continuation of the Folding Screen

Since there was material left over from the folding screen, I was able to turn an item that I did not like in its original use into something I did like.

This bonnet set atop

this armoire.

The antique oak armoire was purchased just prior to the completion of the house in 1984. For some reason, I did not like the bonnet on top of the armoire but did not want to throw away. Some twenty years plus later, I found a way to use the bonnet, i.e., over a small hallway into the master bath from the bedroom. You cannot say that I move swiftly, but I started watching HGTV regularly and somehow the idea came to me on what to do with the bonnet.

The back side of the bonnet looked rough and would be seen. Aha! Cover the part that would show with the faux leather and do a design with the decorative nail head strip, following the old adage of "let nothing go to waste." :D

Until next time, God bless.

Is This Pathetic Or Not?

It is cold and rainy here in Central Texas today.

I made the dogs go out for doggie business about 10-15 minutes prior to taking this photo. Aren't these the most pathetic looking doggies? Could you ignore this? I can't. Needless to say, I let them back in and sentenced them to their crates until dry. On a happy note, Luc and Maggie got a treat. Going into a crate for Maggie is close to abuse; Luc not so much. He loves his crate at night; but during the daytime, he thinks it is better to be on the couch, wet or not.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Make Your Folding Screen

Our house has an open living space, i.e., living room, dining and kitchen combined. When building the house, I was concerned that a wall or half-wall was not constructed to hide the refrigerator. I did not make an issue of it. We painted our original fridge to blend in with the dishwasher color. But as time went on, the dishwasher was replaced as well as the fridge, which was at least 17 years old when the house was built. I couldn't find a fridge in a color I wanted and so chose a bisque color with the idea to paint later. I found all kinds of reasons to not paint and there it stood -- sticking out like a sore thumb.

I searched online for months for a suitable folding screen in a height that would hide the fridge. If I found one, it was too expensive; and if I found one that was priced just right, it was too short. Meanwhile I kept going to HGTV and DIY sites for instructions for building a folding screen. I got the general idea and then made one that I wanted.

I chose to use MDF boards; however, I suggest using something lighter. I think natural wood is probably lighter. The fridge stands 68 inches high and had Home Depot cut the boards at 69 inches. I used three 1x12's and one 1x6. A dry wall texture was applied to one side similar to the technique used on the walls, allowed to dry, and then painted in a matching faux finish on the walls. On the reverse side of the screen, I covered the panels in a faux leather using a staple gun to attach.

On the painted side, I used a gimp fabric trim to hide the staples. Use fabric glue on the ends so the trim will not fray. The boards still looked kind of blah and added a design using a decorative nail strip, bought from the fabric center at Wallmart. Attached hinges at the top, middle and bottom of the boards, and voila! I had a folding screen to hide the fridge from the rest of the room. :D

To recap the materials needed:

3 - 1 x 12 inch boards (including the air space behind the fridge, there was 35" to hide)
1 - 1 x 6 inch board (this smaller panel was used to place behind the fridge to give more stability to the screen)
Dry wall texture material, application tool
Primer for the dry wall side and paint for the faux finish
Fabric for the panels
Trim to hide staples on reverse side
Fabric glue
Staple gun and staples
Decorative nails for design

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Is To Blame?

Subject: Who’s to blame for the mess we’re in?
> This is one of the best messages I’ve read. It’s a MUST READ to the END. Pass it to everyone in your address book. It isn’t about Democrats or Republicans…it’s about honesty and integrity in our government.
> 545 vs 300,000,000
> Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
> 545 PEOPLE
> By Charlie Reese
> Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
> Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
> Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
> You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does.
> You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
> You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
> You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
> You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
> One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
> I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
> I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason… They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-pickingthing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
> Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
> What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
> The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
> It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
> If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
> If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..
> If the Army &Marines are in IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ
> If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
> There are no insoluble government problems.
> Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
> Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
> They, and they alone, have the power.
> They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
> Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
> We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
> Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
> What you do with this article now that you have read it……… Is up to you.
> This might be funny if it weren’t so darned true.
> Be sure to read all the way to the end:
> Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table At which he’s fed.
> Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule.
> Tax his work,Tax his pay, He works for peanuts Anyway!
> Tax his cow, Tax his goat
> Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
> Tax his ties, Tax his shirt,
> Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
> Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink,
> Tax him if he Tries to think..
> Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,
> If he cries Tax his tears.
> Tax his car, Tax his gas,
> Find other ways To tax his ass.
> Tax all he has Then let him know
> That you won’t be don Till he has no dough.
> When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more,
> Tax him till He’s good and sore.
> Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
> Tax the sod in Which he’s laid.
> Put these words Upon his tomb,
> Taxes drove me to my doom…’
> When he’s gone, Do not relax,
> Its time to apply The inheritance tax.
> Accounts Receivable Tax
> Building Permit Tax
> CDL license Tax
> Cigarette Tax
> Corporate Income Tax
> Dog License Tax
> Excise Taxes
> Federal Income Tax
> Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
> Fishing License Tax
> Food License Tax
> Fuel Permit Tax
> Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
> Gross Receipts Tax
> Hunting License Tax
> Inheritance Tax
> Inventory Tax
> IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
> Liquor Tax
> Luxury Taxes
> Marriage License Tax
> Medicare Tax
> Personal Property Tax
> Property Tax
> Real Estate Tax
> Service Charge T ax
> Social Security Tax
> Road Usage Tax
> Sales Tax
> Recreational Vehicle Tax
> School Tax
> State Income Tax
> State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
> Telephone Federal Excise Tax
> Telephone Federal Universal Ser vice FeeTax
> Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
> Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge=2 0Tax
> Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
> Telephone State and Local Tax
> Telephone Usage Charge Tax
> Utility Taxes
> Vehicle License Registration Tax
> Vehicle Sales Tax
> Watercraft Registration Tax
> Well Permit Tax
> Workers Compensation Tax
> STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
> What in the “blank” happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’
> And I still have to ‘press 1′ for English!?
> I hope this goes around THE USA at least 100 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Jet contrails in a Texas winter sky.

For more skies over the world, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Load Up on Phytochemicals

I received good news on my annual and quarterly tests for which I am grateful. However, those tests brought me back to what I need to eat to give my body the necessary antioxidants and nutrients to stay healthy. In a way it is a full time job making sure the ingredients are on hand, particularly if one is not inclined to love cooking or the preparation of such. I am an inspired cook and eater; otherwise, I'll go for whatever is the easiest to fix.

When I had my health bobble in 2007 with breast cancer, I decided that it was my diet that was the major contributing factor in allowing the cancer to develop. I have no family history of cancer, did not take hormone replacements and exercised somewhat regularly. After the diagnosis, surgery, and as I was going through chemo, I started researching how best to change my diet to give my body the best nutrients to not allow those free radicals to go wild if at all possible. One of the things I discovered was phytochemicals and how to incorporated them in your every day diet. I was very diligent in doing so the first year; but as good health reports continued to come in, I started slowly reverting back to eating what is easiest to fix for the most part. However, with another good report, it came to me to get back to concentrating on what my body really needs to stay healthy.

Here is a recipe for a excellent breakfast smoothie incorporating all those foods that are loaded with phytochemicals. I do not measure but if the taste is not just right, something is added or subtracted on the next batch.

1/2 Banana
Orange juice
Skim milk -- can use soy milk
Add a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt, if on hand
Tofu, if on hand
Flax seed, ground
Wheat germ
Wheat bran

Grab a handful of strawberries, fresh or frozen.

And, grab another handful of rasberries, blueberries, or any other kind of berry, fresh or frozen. When the berries are frozen, I let them sit in the orange juice and milk for a few minutes to defrost.

Use a half of a banana or a whole one if it suits your taste buds.

I grind the flax seeds in the coffee grinder.

Use a tablespoon or two of the ground flax seed along with a like amount of wheat bran and wheat germ.

Voile! The blender is ready to go.

Do not wait to develop a nasty medical condition to make sure you load up on phytochemicals. :D Do it now. If you want to know more, google phytochemicals because you'll find them in carrots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, pomegranates, rooibos, sage and teas.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Amish Bread

A friend gave me a starter bag for Amish bread. It is one of those recipes where you mush the bag for five days, add 1 cup each of flour, sugar, and milk. Mush for five more days. Pour the mixture in a non-metallic bowl on the tenth day, add 1-1/3 cup flour, 1-1/2 cup sugar and 1-1/2 cup milk, divide the batter into four separate one-gallon bags, give three away, keep one for yourself, and add the following ingredients to the left over batter in the bowl. Use a wooden or plastic spoon to mix.

Here is the recipe that came with my starter bag. Go to for variations as well as the recipe to mix your own starter bag.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add to the remaining batter in the bowl.

3 eggs
1 cup oil or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 lg. box instant pudding mix
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips.

Grease two large loaf pans. In separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Dust the pans with half this mixture. Pour batter into the two pans; sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over the batter. Bake approximately 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from the pan. You can make 6-8 mini-loaves; bake 45 minutes.

This is truly a wonderful bread and makes a great gift for any occasion.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Still Drippin'

Even though our sleepy little town has been invaded by thousands of "outsiders," a Home Depot, a Walgreen's, and an H.E.B. grocery has broken ground, it is still Drippin'. We still maintain our very, very small town flavor. Why do I say that?

Well, after my doctor's visit re the ankle, I drove over to Home Depot to look at a Dyson DC 25 Animal vacuum. Maybe it is because I've been cooped up for the past four weeks, but the pet hair is getting to me. While there, I found these 16 hour old Boer Goats behind the customer service counter. Their momma(s) rejected them and their surrogate momma had to bring them into work with her. lol They need to be fed on a regular schedule and could not be left home alone. Aren't they the cutest?!

Now for the ankle update, it is not completely healed. The boot stays with me for the next four weeks, but I only have to wear it 75 percent of the time instead of 98 percent. :D This means the boot can be removed to drive then put on when I get out of the car. And, since our terrain is rough and filled with rocks, the boot gives protection when going outside or when very excited dogs circle around. :D I never did mind wearing the thing, but I did mind not being able to drive. Sans hubby I spent a glorious hour at the grocery and another glorious hour at Home Depot.

Until next time, God bless.

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Early morning in Central Texas. Love the fog. I start imagining all kinds of interesting things appearing in the foggy mist, mainly a hunting party of Comanches riding single file slightly beyond the fog line.

The "hip, hip, hooray" part is the boot comes off today, I hope. I am driving myself to the doctor with shoes on, of course. The right ankle is mostly well, still a little tender, and it feels weird to walk around without the boot. I have many errands to run before returning home, like the grocery store, Home Depot, etc. I am shameless in my excitement to leave the house without hubby or someone driving me.

BTW, Luc has been receiving some obedience training when he is in his hyper-exuberance mode. He is puzzled as to why I am making him perform as requested. Next up, when I am sure about the ankle, he will be getting a more specific obedience training -- for instance, leashing him up and taking him to Tractor Supply and/or Home Depot. When he sees people or another dog, he goes absolutely nuts trying to greet them. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A January Dawn

Since I'm trying to break staying awake until the wee hours of the morning by going to bed at a reasonable time, I get up early.

I cannot promise this early-to-bed-early-to-rise will last, but I may as well take advantage by recording the sunrise. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I have been breaking the habit of staying up into the wee hours of the night and there is a definite payoff. Take a look at this sunrise.

The clouds have been most unusual the past couple of weeks, don't you think?

Yesterday, I made a pot of cream of broccoli soup with broccoli from my own garden. Even hubby was impressed.

If you haven't grown broccoli, it is the easiest veggie I've found so far. Put it in the ground, water it, and up comes a beautiful head of broccoli. However, the draw back is only one head per plant. It would pay to grow from seed which I plan to do next year.

I combined a couple of recipes from I like this site because it contains hundreds, perhaps thousands, of recipes and you do not have to register to get a recipe.

Here's the recipe.

Part 1
1 onion, chopped
2T butter
2 heads of broccoli
2 cans of chicken broth

Part 2
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 c milk
Salt, pepper
Cheese to taste

Lightly saute onion in butter, add broth and broccoli, cook until broccoli is soft. Puree the mixture and add to the sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter, mix in flour, add milk, salt, pepper, bring to a slow, slight boil until the mixture thickens. Add the pureed broccoli and cheese to taste.

Serve with crusty French baguette and a salad.

Add a cup of Pomegranate Green Tea for a drink and you are set.

Isn't this a lovely color?

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again

Dawn is breaking over Texas with the new moon refusing to give way.

Isn't this sky glorious?! There is a snap in the air.

Happy days are here again because I have water!! I am soooo excited. Three days without water is a real bummer. The dishwasher is running and the sink is filled with the overflow. Why we are even discussing whether or not to take a trip to Israel in April -- not that a vacation has anything to do with running water, but it is upbeat we are. Now, the question remains as to whether or not I will commit to getting on a plane. I'm upbeat, but not that upbeat and certainly am not crazy.

The plumber told me that he had 4 trucks running all day Saturday and into the night. He did not mention how many were on the road Friday, but they, too, worked until about 9 or 10 PM. Broken water lines were everywhere -- outside, inside, well houses, in walls and ceilings. Ok, you people in the North, laugh all you want. We don't know what to do when a real cold spell hits us. You should see us drive when there is ice or snow on the ground. lol

God is good and today is marvelous! Just think of all the things water does for you -- coffee, hot tea, wiping down counter tops, washing face, brushing teeth, baths -- you get the drift. It is good to do without a modern convenience every once in a while; you get an attitude adjustment.

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brrr - Baby, It's Cold Outside

The cold front came through our part of the country Thursday night. I saw the temperature dip to 17 degrees, but add the wind to that and I do not know just how cold it really was. Come Friday morning I had no water. In all my 28 years of living in this part of Texas, I did not drip the faucets nor did I put lights on the water pipes. I have paid dearly for that oversight in that no water from either the well or the rainwater collection entered the house.

I broke the ice in this tank three times Friday so the cattle could get water. A lone goldfish lives here -- maybe, it is lived here. It is good to keep some fish around in standing water to eat mosquito larva. :D

This is an after-Katy-close-the-barn-door-effort to unfreeze the pipes. Ultimately, I had two lights, two heaters, and a black heater tape. Unfortunately, the electric breaker kept cutting off. There were at least 35 trips to the rainwater collection area Friday and about 10 trips to the well house. Yesterday with the aid of the sun, a heater on the other side of this wall, the use of a hair dryer at the well house, 100+ feet of heavy extension cords, and about 25 trips to and fro, water could be heard moving through the pipes, but no water into the house. Why? The one pipe (maybe it's two pipes) transporting water from either the well or the rainwater broke just before going underground. It is complicated with a two source system so one can switch between the sources. In fact, we'll discover just how complicated when the plumber arrives today. :D

The good news is that I had on hand 5 1-gallon milk cartons filled with potable water. The well water broke free early yesterday, and I was able to refill from a direct well faucet connection the milk cartons and the water tank for the cattle. :D I discovered I had a carton of 12 1-liter bottles of water in the hobby room in the barn. Aha, that meant we could have coffee, hot tea, wash face, and brush teeth! More good news: the front was dry - no standing ice or snow on the ground. I got more walking exercise than usual going back and forth from the house, rainwater room (actually the feed room in the barn), and the well. I worked up an appetite -- the bad news.

This is Little Bit. She is about 2 weeks old and quickly learns a harsh lesson of cold, cold weather. She looks to be handling it well, don't ya think?

Lessons to be learned: sometimes you just do stupid things; always, always, always drip faucets; keep at least 5 1-gallon milk cartons filled with water; and at least two cartons of 1-liter bottled water on hand.

Until next time, God bless.

PS: Pray that we have water into the house by noon today. :D

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Love the pattern of the frost crystals. Taken in Central Texas, 8 AM, 17 degrees.

For more SOOC Sunday, go here. There are two rules: 1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking, cropping allowed.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Sunrise, January 8, 2010, temperature - 21 degrees, in Central Texas.

For skies around the world, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Breakfast on the Range

What are you doing here?

Oops, you've a drop of milk on the left.

My presence offended Moma. She left in a huff.

Until next time, God bless.