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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I have to Go Walk the Cat

Yes, walk the cat. Pepperoni likes to accompany us on our morning walk. Now that's she's feeling better after her set-to with Wally (big orange tomcat), she's back to running ahead of us, investigating the twigs and leaves nearly grown cats adore. She attacks them to keep us safe.

She'd discovered Art would carry her when she was hurt, and she tries to con him into carrying her before we reach the halfway point. She'll throw herself down on the trail,  keel over to one side, and look at him piteously. He assures her she'll have a ride back to the house, then walks off. Peppy will stare after him in disbelief, get up, bolt ahead, then throw herself down again. She repeats the process until something interesting catches her eye. Skittering wildly, she attacks, and toys with the threatening acorn or twig.

At the halfway point, down on the shooting range, Art scoops her up into his arms. Leopard-like she lays across his arm with legs dangling, smirking as he carries her back. Charming him with her rumbling purr, she lobbies for Vienna sausages, her favorite post walk snack. No wonder she loves her daily walks more than we do!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great Pumpkin Shoot

October 17 we hosted the Brazos Writers at The Great Pumpkin Shoot. We posted this sign at the road so folks could find us, but several got lost. When they inquired the police, they didn't know where we were either. Stacy, my daughter-in-law and I went to town to find any other stragglers.We do live away out in the boonies!

                                                                            Photo by Jean Marie Linhart
Hangman served breakfast at 9:00. Here's the bear sign bubbling in oil. Pioneers named this drop donut after bear scat. The cinnamony flavor is delectable, despite the name. Breakfast finished with burritos and fresh coffee. We finished breakfast as    Hangman started lunch.
Hangman divided his time between tutoring new shooters
and  creating early Texas foods. Stew can simmer today while
folks get other work done as in the past.
photo by Jean Marie Linhart                                                           

Timo  found the Texas tourists
look for but seldom find. He "technically"
traveled the longest distance to reach our shoot, even
though he's lodging in College Station as an exchange
student at Texas A&M.

photo by JML

photo by Amy Sharp

Leah's picture is one of my favorites during
the morning practice session. She
should win the biggest smile award for
  a first time shooter. She finished firing a
12-gauge shotgun and is toting more shells
 to try it again!
photo by Amy Sharp
Are Ali and Matthew hoping to save these pumpkins,
or are they hoping to shoot some, too? Both
are good shots trained by our extended family.

photo by Amy Sharp

Chris hopes he can save this one.All the kids were a
 big help during the event, running erands, taking photos,
 and talking to guests. Ali was especially gracious speaking
to departing guests. I 'm so proud of her!

Pumpkins lined up after a lunch of beef stew, roasted
chickens, and cornbread with molasses or Steen's cane syrup.
Shooters readied themselves behind the firing line.

photo by A.S.

Pumpkin parts fly as shooters use
six-guns, shotguns and rifles to
protect HomePlace against orange

After a little peach cobbler fresh off the fire,
guests left discussing the guns of the Old West,
and asking when we'd be able to do another
event. We'd be happy to oblige!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scattered Notes - Homeplace Events

Things have been extremely busy as we ready for our first event here at HomePlace. If you've followed Art's Blog, you know about The Great Pumpkin Shoot kicking off at 9:00 A.M. tomorrow. If not, please check the link near the bottom of the page here. He's got good pics; I took several.


Picked Swiss chard today for the critters after I planted some onion seeds. I checked the pumpkin vines, and saw a few were still attached; there's been a problem with blossom end rot. While standing there it occurred to me that something smelled really good -- like food. It was the squash blossoms. To my diet-demented mind they smelled delicious. I know you can eat them battered and deep fried, but Dr. Sterling would have a fit.

He's been supervising me on a partial fast. I've lost 30# in six weeks. More to go of course, but I'm maintaining a good attitude with the help of family and friends. Thanks, folks!


Nearly time for rabbit breeding to begin again. We need a few hutch repairs before the does can go on their "dates". Mamas need dry, protected nurseries for their babies. We need to get some hay to line the nest boxes, too.

Buttercup and Trigger, our Palomino rabbits, will create our first litter of that breed. We have to get the first litter in well before  Easter ; sometimes the first one is lost because the doe is inexperienced.

In this picture, Buttercup is 4 months old and the size of our other rabbits. Both buns finally have come to full growth, and are huge! Each must outweigh our other rabbits by 3 or 4 pounds. They'll give us some nice bunnies come spring.

The other does are rested, and ready to begin again. We need a good supply for this season. We ran out of bunnies last Easter and had to take orders. They don't sell as well after Easter, generally.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Signs of the Times - Culture

" Free Soup Kitchen On Saturdays 6:00P.M." The ramshackle grey building hosting that sign reinforced the depressing message. I don't know why I was surprised to see this sign in a small town nearby. Perhaps it was a message of hope instead, that someone is out there making a difference. Each of us sees these signs in our own way.

Then I got an idea! (You may wish to check my earlier post on ideas.) Signs like "Free Soup Kitchen" and other new depression signs are a reflection of our current social and economic conditions. Many of them must be out there, undiscovered.
When you're out and about, snap pics of similar signs, and e-mail themto me
at, if you're willing. If you find any online, send those, too.
I'm curious what else is out there that reflects our
current times.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Books and Audio Books

Both Art and I love books. We buy them, trade them, borrow them, and acquire them by various means. We review books for I Just Finished, and get to keep the books we review. Boxes of books arrive by UPS from my sister in North Carolina. Half-Price Books and Barnes and Noble are frequent destinations. Sometimes we even (gasp!) give them away, to make room for more.

With books-in-hand, we read aloud to share them. It avoids the "What did you think about...?" and "NO! NO! Don't tell me, I'm not that far yet!" Or watching our other laughing maniacally with face in book, while we're dying with curiosity, itching to get our hands on that particular volume to see what is so funny.

We read Evanovich, Butcher, and Sterling, and get their works as audio books frequently. Audio books are more expensive, but we get the story similtaneously. Generally their publication follows the hard copy publication, which means waiting, waiting, waiting.

Sometimes I just can't wait. I'm starting Sword of the Lady by S.M. Sterling today. For those of you who follow this series, that's book  six. If you've ever wondered what would happen if technology breaks down, this series is for you. Cannibals, feudal society, military society, clans, the Faculty Senate society, Tolkein-Elven Model society, religious groups ( Wiccans,  The Church Universal and Triumphant, Mormons, etc.)  and others carve out a new life in Northwest America.

If you've done re-enacting in any time period, I'm sure you'd enjoy this book. Sterling has done his research well for the most part; Art has fits when bowstrings hit bracers in some scenes, though.

The characters are well drawn, and of great variety. Descriptions are vivid and add immeasurably to the scenes.That's it! I'm done wrinting about it! I'm going to get Sword, and get started. You might get to borrow it from me someday, but Art gets to read it first. Just a warning? You'd best return it when done; this series is a keeper!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Machines We Live With -- Farm-All

Meet Ephraim Farm-All

Ephraim is a 1945-H Farm-All, an Inter- national  Harvester tractor. He was owned by the 80 year old man we bought the HomePlace   from. Ephraim was worked hard under that owner, clearing weeds and undergrowth from the woods and orchard. The lack of ground cover  resulted in sandstorms when we first moved in. We spit grit from between our teeth every time the wind kicked up. 

We've let the woods go back to natural, and Ephraim doesn't work as hard as he used to, but he's still versatile. He does some disc--ing for Matthew's deer food plots, for instance. Before the bulldozer came to live here, he also pulled the Frankin Leveler to resurface the driveway.

A low throaty putt-putting sound announ- ces that Ephraim is on the move. He sounds like a mellow Chris Craft inboard engine as he wends his way through the trees with one of the menfolk on board. Freezing cold or blistering hot, Eph starts and runs thanks to Matthew's fine maintainance. Once in "road gear" Ephraim fairly flies down the right-of-way cutting across our land. He has the power of an oxen team for pulling and hauling.

He hauls things of all sorts.

Sitting on the sled or held in a daddy's lap,visit- ing children love Ephraim. Spud, now 6, is beginning to learn to steer him, and when tall enough and careful enough will eventually drive him alone. Tricycle style tractors can be tipped, even with the rear wheels spread far apart. He's not a toy, but a tool.

Freezers and refrigerators to be turned into raised garden beds are dragged along to their new jobs on the sled. Art made the first sled almost 10 years ago of salvaged materials. The sled has worn out this year, but Ephraim still is chugging along.

Vehicles stuck in the mud of spring follow Ephraim out of their wallows at the end of his chain. Just once we had to call for help, and the 2 1/2 ton wrecker that came to pull out the M 37 ( sunk to the wheel hubs) had to be pulled out by Ephraim.

The best use of our Farm-All is dragging home the Christmas tree each year. The kids can ride the sled on the way out, and burn off their excited, tree-related energy trotting next to the tree on the way back. Settles them down for trimming the tree.

 I'm glad we spent the extra money to buy Ephraim Farm-All from the old man, not the the newer tractor we were offered. Ephraim is a hard working classic, and fits in here perfectly as the oldest and best loved vehicle of them all.