Monday, April 29, 2013

The Beach.....Yes, Please!!

I absolutely LOVE going to the beach.

I do NOT love getting in the ocean though.....I still have Jaws frights when I get into the water!!
It's been what? 25 years??? 

Still, I love going to the beach for the sake of the beach. I love the constant sound of the waves crashing into the sand.

 I love the chatter of the gulls while they are searching for food. I love the hues of the water contrasted to the sand and the brilliance of the sun and sky.

I love feeling the sand between my toes...not so much in my swimsuit though...hahahaha!!
I love watching my kids play and swim in this vast wild place!!!

We also see some interesting sights while we are at the beach!! There seems to always be something to remember!!!!                     Like.....Santa??? On vacation perhaps????.....

Or someone brave enough to parasail.......
I love that my husband has always taken the time to throw in the kids!!!They love every minute of it!!! =)
They are getting to big to do this now......
Oh, and I LOVE mossy rocks!!!! I'll admit it. I know it is weird, but hey, it can't be helped!!! I just wish my camera could take a better picture of them!!! They are beautiful!!!
There comes a time in our day that we see the sun starting to move toward the west....

As much as I love this time of day at the beach I also hate to see it come because I know my time here is short. The feeling of peace that being at the beach brings should be bottled and sold!!! I could make a fortune if I could figure it out!!!!
Goodnight Beach. Oh, how I hate to say goodbye!!! 
But goodbye it is until I can come back!!!!
I love going to the beach!!!
PS....these pictures were taken on two different beach trips.....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chirping birds....Yep! It is Spring!!

Spring is positively gorgeous this year in South Alabama!!!!!
 I can not remember a better one!!!

The days have been cool-ish and humidity free. The skies are an intense shade of blue.

The trees are all the bright green of new leaves. It is stunning!!!

The year we bought this property, I remember chatting with my husband about the lack of birds we saw or heard. It was a little disappointing. But this spring they have come back in full force!!! I have my window open and I can hear them constantly. We have seen many robins and cardinals and a few blue jays!!! SO wonderful to hear the sound of birds. Lets me know that the balance is being restored after so much neglect here...

I just took a bit of a walkabout in the yard and here some things I found....
                                                    ^^^^Just lovely!!!^^^^
 I just love little wild/weed flowers!!!! =) They make my day brighter! Especially since my planted flowers are not really blooming yet!!!!

My first Day Lily bloom of the season!!!!! YAY!!!! Happiness!!!!! =) =) =)

Our garden seems to be doing well, here are a few pics......
                                          Cucumbers and bush peas.^^^^^
                                          Bush Beans^^^^
Corn!!! (With two stray stalks in the middle of the path---due to heavy rain right after planting!!!)

Some of the joy I see when I walk around are things I actually

This little guy was very interested in what I was doing....

And right there on my blueberry bush!! But I didn't have the heart to move it!!!

 This is my Florida Jasmine bush.......I love it, but it is a baby and not very full yet. Those little yellow flowers just make my day!!!! =)

A few other things that bring joy to my day are.....
Bella!!!!!! The world's best border collie mix!!!! =) She is a bit camera shy......

 Lizards doing their thing on my porch!! ^^^^^ They are fun to watch!!!!!!

A buzzing Bumble Bee!!!! I love that is the sound of spring (and summer!)!!


                                                And this!!!!! ^^^^^^^
This is the view when we drive up our driveway!!!! Talk about peaceful!!! I love living out in the country, hearing the sounds of spring, seeing the sights of spring and knowing that it is our little piece of heaven on earth!!!! =)

So very thankful for this place we call ours!!  And this time we call SPRING!!!!! =)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blank Brain......

I have been struggling with a blank brain for a few days..... I think it has something to do with schedule overload and pms. Ha!

My kids have been taking their achievement tests this week, and since we live about 25 minutes away from where they were taking them, I decided save some gas and stay in the building to do homeschooling with my youngest while the older two were testing. For three days we took Roger to his GSA at 7:30am then killed time until 9am when the testing started. It was finished by 12pm and we would run other errands and go home. Monday night we had Tuesday night we took my youngest boy to the ER with a severely sprained ankle (today, he is still wearing the splint, using crutches and cannot put forward motion on his foot!!! Poor kid!). Wednesday night is church, but first, we had testing from 9am to 12pm. Piano from 12:30pm  to 2pm and then got home long enough to turn around and leave again!!! =/

This week has given me a new appreciation for what working (outside of the home) moms have to do every day!!!  I don't think I would handle that very well......I like being at my house, getting my feet dirty in my garden, playing with our dog and taking a nap every now and then!!! I like not having to be ready to leave my house at a certain time and being able to make my own schedule up as the day progresses!! I like the freedom I have as a stay-at-home mom!!!!!!

I told my hubby that when the kids were grown and out of the house I would have to find a job that is from 10am to 2pm. Hahaha!!!

It doesn't help at all, that I am pretty sure my body is changing in some mysterious ways and I seem to have no control over that. I find myself behaving like the Wicked Witch of the West and I have no idea why!!I'll just blame it on extreme PMS for now! I just want to be left alone and am very crabby and short tempered (not my usual self AT ALL!!!). I am going to talk to my doc about it. Maybe he will have some answers. Meanwhile, my husband says, "I just try not to take it personally."  I am thankful for that!!!
He is a wonderful man and I am very lucky!!!  =)

So my brain has been a blank for a few days now.....I don't like it, but what can I do???
Eat some chocolate, drink a coke and take a nap I guess!!!!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Cleaning House......=/

I am probably not the typical stay-at-home mom/wife. I do not like to clean my house. Don't take that the wrong way....I LOVE having a clean house. I just don't like to be the one who has to get it that way or keep it that way. 

This hangs in my all times!!! =)  True statement. Usually!

With three children, one of which LOVES to play in the dirt, creek, clay, creek of his own making, sand, more dirt, the other creek, it is a bit tricky keeping the house in order. And clean. All of them run around barefoot most of the time so there is no taking off of the shoes before they come in...
I can pretty much keep stuff off  of the floors. The kids do help with that a bit. It is the deep cleaning stuff that really done not get done nearly enough.

I would get a big fat "F" on the Clean House Report Card!!!!

I saw a little cartoon in a magazine once that said, "Yes. You can eat off of my floors. Just add some egg to those crumbs and you'll have yourself a casserole!!"  I laughed out loud!!! Got some strange looks in the doctor's office waiting room too!!!
It's kinda gross if you think about it, but then I remembered that I hadn't swept my floors in a few days.....=/

Today, I have cleaned my room and my bathroom, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the living room, vacuumed everywhere I could think to vacuum (I have stained concrete floors!!), re-cleaned the kid's bathroom, unclogged both tub drains(!!!), helped my youngest clean his room (that nearly took all day! Yikes!!!!), and played checkers with my daughter (and won!!!) (I am only excited about that because she usually beats me!!)!!

I am tired. My back is hurting. My hands are in a mess. But, my house is clean!!! =) Now, if I can just keep it this way!!!

I always tell myself that I will not let it get this bad again.

Then I do.  =/

Then I get a phone call and my mom-in-law is coming over!!!!! PANIC!!  Motivation!!
No, she really is a sweetheart and would not care if my house was clean or not. But her house is ALWAYS neat and tidy, and I cringe at the thought of her having to see the chaos that is usually my house!!!

Tomorrow will be a day of helping others and visiting with family and I am thankful that I won't have to clean anything!!!!! For a few days anyway!!!!! ;)



Whoa Nelly!!!!

I have done something to my blog link!!!! I cannot seem to get to it from my favorites bar anymore!!!! Hmmmmm......I am such a goofball when it comes to most things computer!!
Hopefully I can figure this out and get on with my life...and my blog!!!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Big day!!!

By "Big" I mean lots of work!!! We took our chickies outside again today!!!
This may sound like a small matter, but let me assure you, it is not. We have to remove the chicks from their kennel, put them in a box and hope they don't fly out, get the whole kennel out of the house (so we can clean it and put them back in), get the kennel out into the yard somewhere and put the chicks back inside without the base on.
But they sure do love it and I'm glad my kids don't mind a bit of hard work!!! Brining it back inside is the same, but in reverse!!!! =)

They were so cute scratching around and eating weeds and grass!!
Notice the kid's drawings for their temporary home!!!!

They do seem to enjoy the sunshine!!!

It is amazing to me that they know what to do even though they have never seen another chicken doing it!!! =)

Apparently, playing outside is tiring....they have all been sleeping since they came back in!!!

Now, on to the garden rained quite a bit right after we planted our corn last week, so in true slope yard form, our garden got washed out a bit!!!! =/
It was very annoying, but at the same time I must be thankful for the rain. We need it!!!
 My hubby suggested we make a diverter out of wood (what we have on hand), so the kids and I have been working on doing that today!! I tilled the spot for the wood, McCoy and Thoene have been hauling wood in our little yellow wagon and bringing it down to where I needed it, and Truly has been helping me with the grass that popped up after the rain.
 I have such good kids!!!
The wood is newly cut and is heavy, but they were diligent and brought down enough to finish the job!!! They can only fit so much wood it that little yellow wagon!! It took many trips!!!
You can see where the water has washed out a bit of the garden.....those lighter dirt spots are wash-away places!!!! =/

This is my view when I sit on our porch!!!!! =)   This land makes me happy, happy, happy!!!!!
Of course there is more on each side, but that will have to wait for another day....

And this is why we are working so hard on our garden (and land)......we want to rely less on the grocery stores and more on ourselves for the food that we eat and share!!!! 
A little corn sprout can bring so much joy!!!!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On my own.....

Well, my hubby has left for the annual "Brotha Trip".
No wives allowed. No kids allowed. Only the brothers allowed.

Usually there are only 4 of them. This year there are 5 brothers going. One year they had all 6 brothers on the trip. It was a very fun time for "the boys"!!! They live all over now--North Dakota, Nevada, Texas, getting together is an all year plan and great fun!!
 My mom-in-law has 8 kids--6 boys and 2 girls. I can barely function with my three kids!!! I cannot imagine having eight!!!!

The first time they went they camped out for a few nights. every trip since then has been to a cabin, complete with beds and air conditioning!!! Ha!! This year, though, they are going back to camping for a few nights, then going to the cabin for a few nights.....they are getting old. Hahaha!!! (Don't tell them I said that! ;)
Can you blame them?? I would choose a cabin and a bed every time over tents and a sleeping bag!!!!

So I am on my own for the rest of the week......the kids and I got some movies and books from the library and some junk food from the grocery. We have cereal and milk, chips and soda, and popcorn so we should be good!!! JK!!!! Our diets definitely take a hit though, when he is gone. I just can't seem to motivate myself to cook much!!! =/  

One day, the "sistas"  will plan and have a "Sista Trip".
No husbands allowed. No kids allowed. Only sistas allowed!!!


SISTAS!!!! We REALLY need to plan this thing and DO IT!!!!!!! =)
I vote for the BEACH!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day.....

For many people in the U.S. this day is a blight in their lives. "Rendering unto 'Caesar' the things are Caesar's" is really a pain in the rear. Especially when you have no other choice. Yes, we are a free country, but freedom is not free. My husband and I chose long ago to let this day be like any other day. We decided we would not fret and complain about the 15th of April. It is not that days fault that it is disliked so very much!!! I am not a govt. hater. I do not agree with all that they do, (well, with most of it really) but they do serve a purpose and I am thankful that I live in America!!!! =)

Our little slice of peace!!!!! =)

On a happier note.....we took the chicks outside for the first time today!!! I think we may be spoiling them a bit with the A.C. They will have to get used to the heat very gets hot here in L.A.!!!! ;)  They did enjoy their time in the sunshine and I am looking forward to having them out of the house. I am finding lots of "fuzzies" (chick fluff) all over my floors!!! =/  I am definitely looking forward to have fresh eggs!!!! =)

 Our little rooster with the "Chicken Whisperer"....his name is Sentry.

 This is one of our little hens...pretty sure this is Mohawky

My little chickies are getting big!!! They are precious and so much fun to watch!!!!! =)


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Identifying trees.....

As mentioned before, we have purchased property. 6.5 acres of wildness!!! We have been able to tame it a bit and it is coming along nicely, but we still have a long way to go. That being said, the kids and I went on a bit of an adventure today....we went to a tree identification class at a local nature park!!! I was hoping it would be helpful in identifying some of the chaos around here. It did help! I now know that I have Live Oak, White Oak and Magnolia trees. Also, that the orange fungus that was growing on my Pine trees was not devastating, just scarring.
Really, I already knew about the trees....What I needed help with was the other bazillion (well, it does seem like a bazillion!!) trees and shrubs that are here!!!! I did get some new info and I am very thankful!!! One of the ladies there told me to take a sampling of the tree/shrub in question to the local County Extension office and they can help me!!! =)
I did have an awesome time with my kiddos and it was the perfect day to be outside!!!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Sweet Surprises

I aspire to be a great gardener. I am not a great gardener, but I would love to be one!!!! I read and research as much as I can. I am involved in the planning and planting of our garden (that is, until I tore my calf muscle yesterday...=/...see previous blog) and love to putter around our yard imagining flowers here and there. I have actually planted some flowers and have more seed to put in the ground!! I pretty much have a blank canvas to work with here on the "propetty"! =)

Today, we got a sweet surprise!!! Two of our grape plants are not dead!!!!  We purchased them last year (at Sam's of all places!!) on a whim. We wanted to see if it could be done here and wow! to have our own grapes...awesome!! 
Anyway, we planted them and they did great for about 8 weeks. Then they began to wither. I can't really remember the exact time, but we thought we had killed them. Two of them for sure are gone. We pulled them out. But we left two, just because.  I know they "rest" during the winter, but I really thought they were dead!!
 But....we have new growth and we are so excited !!! Again!!! =)  I'm pretty sure it will be years before we actually get fruit off of these tiny things, but hey, they are growing and that proves that I do not have a black thumb!! Right?!?!?!!!!
Now, if the same thing would happen with the fig trees!!!!Still waiting......


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh the Pain of being me!!!!

In June of last year I was having a great time playing volley ball (first time I had played in 5 or so years!!) with a group of shall we say, "younger than me" people!! It was so invigorating to be out there hitting that ball again. It brought back such fond memories of playing in high school....never mind that high school was 20 years ago!!! Well, only 19 years ago last year!!! Anyhoo, I was having fun. Period. That is until I heard an odd popping sound and had the mother of all Charlie Horses!!!!!! 


 Who knew that a Charlie Horse could be so painful. Right? Tried to walk it off. Didn't work. That was a long night....for reasons other than the pain!! Another long story for another day..... This long story, short--I had torn my right calf muscle. Had to do 6 weeks of physical therapy. And I got to wear an extremely attractive (please tell me you are getting the sarcasm of that) grey boot....during a SOUTH Alabama summer!!!!!!

Fast forward to today.....

We live on 6.5 acres of nearly neglected (for the 4 or so years it was vacant before we got it) property. There are lots of holes and uneven areas in our yard and we have slopes of somewhat extreme size.

It may be hard to understand the degree of slope-ness in the pic, but it seems extreme to me sometimes, especially when I have been working in the garden and have gone up and down it (what feels like) 100 times!!!  So, it goes down from our porch there and slopes all the way down to the creek 75 or so yards away....the slope is more gradual (thank goodness) as you get closer to the creek, but right out of our house it is pretty steep. Porch to dirt (in pic) is a 6' drop in 10 or so yards. I have actually visualized myself loosing my balance and stumbling head over heels down this slope!!! But it sure is a wonderful view when you are sitting on that porch!!!! =)
I have been gardening pretty heavily these past few days....gorgeous weather and my legs were already getting quite a work out and today they protested! Much!! I have once again heard the "pop" and have a ginormous Charlie Horse of what can only mean that I have torn my right calf muscle....again. I was climbing the incline (about a 4 foot steep slope) on "Cross Creek" to check out something this evening when I heard it. Pop! And Pain!!!! Pretty far away from the house. To far to go back.....BUT we do have 2-way radios and today I am thankful I had one with me!!! I also have a very helpful 12 year old!!! =)
To my chagrin, I have been slacking on the specific stretches my PT lady gave me last year, but I thought I was doing pretty good. No pain in a long time. Able to work out at the gym. Able to do whatever. But apparently, I was wrong. I was not fully healed.
~~~~~Note to your stretches!!~~~~~
Now my wonderful hubby gets to have the joy of finishing out the garden, because once again, I am wearing my lovely (sarcasm-again) grey boot!!!
Still being thankful. It could have been worse. My 8yo son wanted to know where I broke my leg...Very glad I did not break a bone when muscle tore. Could have easily fallen back down the incline at the creek and done that!!!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dirty feet!!!

Today was such a perfect gardening day!!!!!!

I finally finished tilling our garden spot today.....
I till barefoot just so I can feel the dirt between my toes!!!! I know that is not necessarily safe, but it is AwEsOmE!!! ~~~The feel of dirt on bare feet is at it's worst (hot and hard-ish) good and at it's best (cool and soft) wonderful!! ~~~ By the time I was done my feet and ankles were black, which I'm guessing is a good indicator that my dirt is good!! Well, that is what I'm telling myself anyway!! =) 
I was able (with the help of my super kiddos) to plant 4 types of heirloom corn today!! Tomorrow will be carrots and bush beans!!! Later (maybe next week) tomatoes and my herb garden!!!!! YAY!!!!
SO amazing to see it all come together.....We have dreamed of this since we first started looking at this property!!
Bees are still doing good, chicks are growing and getting their "big girl" feathers, garden is getting planted, and chicken coop is almost done!!!! Yep!! We are some thankful folks around here!!!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Bees Do Sting!!!

One of the first things our bee class instructor said to us is, "If you work with bees, you will get stung"......

In classic Elmore fashion.....

My daughter (Truly) is the first to experience the "bee sting" from our bees!! She was helping her big brother feed them. Standing behind the hive, just as she was taught. She did however forget the lesson of "wear only light colored clothing and ladies, put your long hair up"!!!!  Poor baby got stung twice on her little cheek and once on her neck. She had two bees stuck in her long hair and managed to bring those back up to the house with her in her "fight or flight" run!!!! It was a painful lesson for her. But one I hope she learns from and will remember!!

The bees seem to be doing fine. They are eating and that is a good sign!! We have a bit of nippy weather these last few days and they are not enjoying that. They have to stay in their hive to keep it warm and are not able to go out and collect nectar....One older (and by older I mean he has been keeping bees for a long time, although he is older in age also!!) beekeeper said teasingly to Truly, "You may have gotten stung because they have been cooped up in their hive, and when you lifted that jar they just had to get out for a minute!!"


Our little chicks are growing by leaps and bounds!! They have doubled in size and are getting in their feathers!!! We call Truly the chicken whisperer!!! She has such a way with those little babies!!! They let her pick them up and tote them around the house. She is their main caregiver right now and she loves it!!!
Sorry the picture is so red....My camera does not like the heat light!!!
So far we are loving all these changes in our lives. We still have to finish the coop and do some fencing, but our little "farm" is coming right along!!! Our focus these next few weeks will be the heirloom garden!! We are so very excited to be using this land that God saw fit for us to manage!!
We are thinking of calling it "Cross Creek Farms"....what do you think???
The story behind "Cross Creek" is.......right after the property officially became ours, we came out here to do a walkabout now that is was "official"!! We have two creeks and four "obvious" creek crossings on our land. The kids found a piece of wood and nailed another piece to it to make it look like a cross. They were making it for their club, but their daddy asked them to make a "bridge" for the lowest crossing, so they used the "cross" they had made and named that particular place "cross creek"....
You can sort of see the "cross" in this is one of the first pictures we took around the property....All of the crossings are named. We have "Cross Creek", "Hidden Creek", "Tall Bridge Creek", and "Short cut Creek". All named by our very practical kiddos!!!!
We are so very thankful for all the blessings we have been given!!! =)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Amazing, Awesome, Incredable, Fantastic, Extraordinary Bees

Lots of pictures in this post..... Enjoy!! =)

On Saturday our family attended the last of our beekeeping classes!!! It was a hands on type of class with live bees held at a local nature park. I was a little intimidated by working with live bees. After all, I have only taken the classes and looked at pictures of bees! It was a perfect spring day! The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and the azaleas in bloom were gorgeous.  As we drove back to the class area, I was getting more and more nervous.....but by the time we suited up and were in the thick of things, I was pretty relaxed and ready to work!!
The veil and gloves really do help calm the nerves!!!

Our class started with a demonstration of catching a swarm....
  This swarm is about the size of a basket ball.....pretty intimidating...
Yes,that is a five gallon bucket on a pole...the invention of a master swarm catcher!!!
Then he dumped the bees (hopefully including the queen!) into a prepared hive. This ensures that the bees have a safe place to live and can be cared for without being threatened.
After we caught this swarm, we went to the "Bee Yard" where there were 6 or so hives that are tended by a Master Bee Keeper....

This is really where all the fun began!!!! We are being instructed on how to fill and light our smokers, how to approach the hives (always from behind), and how to check the health of the colony.
We looked at the frames to make sure the bees are doing what they are supposed to be doing...caring for the queen, feeding the larvae, and capping the brood. Pretty awesome stuff!!!
Then we got to put a package of bees into a prepared hive!!!
This is my baby girl (and her daddy, both in ACUs) helping with that!!!
So awesome!!!!
While we were in the bee yard we were privileged to witness a live swarm happening!!! We were right in the middle of thousands of bees flying around!! AWESOME!!!!!
There was actually two spontaneous swarms that happened, but one flew too far away to capture. One, however, flew only about 10 feet and we were able to recapture and place them in a hive!!
Words cannot describe how incredibly awesome this was!!!! Extraordinary!! =)
This is the hive we caught at the beginning of our class.....very happy and peaceful, working in their new home!!! Love it!!!! =)

 Roger and I left our class and picked up our own bees. It is just amazing how these creatures can adapt to a new home and make it there own.  Bees are amazing!!! 
These are our bees!!!
The brown box is the Nuc that the bees were housed in when the hive was split. The large white box is their new home.  They are all in the hive today and seem very happy!!!! =)