It’s almost Christmas

Warning:  Picture Heavy Post!!!  Christmas is pretty low key for us.  With a first responder in the family, we don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas on the 25th.  Plus, we have very little family still living, so our celebration is quite small.  But it works for us.  I’ll share pictures of our tree with you.  We do have some other decorations out, but I don’t have pictures of them.

Tree

I love my dog

tree in bulb

bird cage

 

 

wreath

crown

angel wings

mica flakes

 

 

heart

 

 

presents

 

And posing in front of the Christmas tree is the world’s best Doberman ever, Bella Rose.

Bella

Robin’s Eggs

Last spring I was out cutting roses from my huge rosebush and spied a bird’s nest in the middle of all of the thorns.  I wondered how in the world a bird could navigate all of the thorns and still manage to build a nice, snug nest for her babies.  She had to be a pretty smart bird – after all, the thorns would definitely keep a bunch of predators away from them.  I went in and grabbed my camera and carefully worked in the bush to grab a picture.

eggsWhen I saw the eggs, I knew it was a robin.  She flew above the tree and chattered at me the entire time I was there.  We watched those eggs and were excited when the finally hatched.

baby birds 1There were 3 of them.  Usually one of them was asleep while the others had their little beaks open, waiting for food.

 

baby birds 2

 

We watched them as they grew.   Until one day I went to the rose bush and the nest was empty.  I hope they all managed to fly and live their lives.

It was such a lovely experience watching her care for them and watching them grow.

 

 

The Gift

My daughter-in-law’s father, Ray, is really great with wood.  He makes some of the most amazing thing.  She had a rack with hooks on it in her home that Ray had made for her, and I really admired it.  I got lucky – Ray made one for me and my daughter-in-law and son gave it to me.

shelf

 

Ray hand- carved the “H” and vine designs on it.  It hangs in my kitchen and is so very handy.

shelf detailsI love it!

 

Life on the Farm

Going to the farm isn’t all about relaxing.  There’s always work to be done.  But everyone knows the work is easier when you’ve got the right tools.  Farm Boy and our son bought a new mower for the 3 acre front yard.  You’ve never seen a man so happy to mow the yard as Farm Boy is, now that he’s got the Gravely.   It’s a monster of a mower and does a wonderful job.

a man and his mower

 

Before he begins mowing, Farm Boy goes out and surveys the area.  Last time we were there we had an unexpected visitor.

skunkAnd not the kind you welcome with open arms.  I grabbed the big camera and snapped a few shots of him/her but kept my distance.  We waited patiently for him/her to tire of us and make his/her way out into the pasture before we began working.

Pepe Le PeuHe/she left and as far as we know, hasn’t returned.

 

 

Police Protection

We live in the unincorporated area between West Houston and Katy.  That means we do not have the protection of the Katy Police, as they operate only within city limits, nor do we have the Houston Police Dept.  Our dues to the homeowners association pay for us to have Harris County Precinct 5 constables in our neighborhood.  We have certain constables specifically assigned to our neighborhood, although the constables from other areas also answer calls there.  In Harris County, a constable is a deputy, with the same powers as a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy.  Recently we had a neighborhood bike ride.  It was lots of fun and a beautiful day for it.

Sergeant Glover, who is our neighborhood sergeant as well as my best friend, organized it.  Deputy Esparza, our daytime deputy, provided a police escort, complete with flashing lights.

Deputy Esparza is the tall one in the photo below, and Sergeant Glover, in bike garb, is next to him.

Ruben and MirrianWhen we reached the half-way mark, we stopped and took a break.  Deputy Esparza was kind enough to provide a “tour” of the his police car, known as the “shop” to those on the force.

Ruben

 

Hopefully that’s as close as most of us will ever come to a police car.  We all then returned to the clubhouse and visited for awhile.  It was a fun day!

the groupThanks, Sgt. Glover for organizing it, and Deputy Esparza for the escort.  Thank you, too, for your dedicated, selfless service to our neighborhood.

 

 

Inside the China Cabinet

Are you tired of my china cabinet yet?  I just wanted to share a few things with you.DSC_2244

This rooster is two parts.  The top comes off and there is storage inside.  I assume it is some kind of serving dish.

DSC_2245It is an antique from Germany.  My mother bought it for my grandmother, who is German.  Her family immigrated over here from Germany and when my grandmother died, my mother gave it to me.  There is also a hen that goes with it further down in the china cabinet.  The two smaller chickens next to are salt and pepper shakers that go with it.

DSC_2246Farmboy bought me these beautiful plates one year for my birthday.  We found a very limited set of them at an antique shop and I loved them.  I have a full set of very formal wedding china stored in the bottom of the china cabinet but it has turned out that we just are not very formal people.

 

 

The Dining Room Table

Buying the china cabinet kind of made me realize that the dings and scrapes and chips in the dining room table weren’t of the shabby chic variety but more the just shabby variety, as seen below.

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And so I decided it was time to paint it to match the other furniture in the room.  Farmboy absolutely hates painting but he was kind enough to help me set up.  First of all he brought some storage bins in from the garage and flipped the table upside down so I could paint the underside and legs.

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DSC_2221Love those feet on the table but as you can see, they are not of the shabby chic variety, just plain shabby.

I decided to use Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White for two very good reasons.  First, you don’t have to strip the old finish off (and that is the major number one reason) and second, because I just happened to have it on hand.

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This was my first experience doing a major piece of furniture using ASCP and I learned a few things.   It covers well but you will need 2 coats, which is what other users had posted on their blogs.  Second, it’s best to do one coat one day, rest up, and the do the second coat on another day when you’re not quit so tired and not prone to make mistakes (like spill your water bottle all over your nicely painted top).   Once it was all painted, I opted to seal it with shiny polycrylic to make it water proof since we would be dining on it and ***ahem*** some of us are clumsy.   If I had to do it again I would use a matte sealer.   On furniture that I wouldn’t be eating on I would probably have used the wax.

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It doesn’t feel like the red-headed step-child at a family reunion anymore.  Now it feels like it fits in with the rest of the furniture.

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It can show off it’s curvy legs next to the chairs.

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And those formerly beat up feet are all nice and smooth and creamy white.

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She’s even accessorized and ready to host a meal.

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And because we all like pictures, here’s a close up of the center piece.

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These are antique glass doorknobs with antique silk flowers on them.

DSC_2241

 

And I’ll leave you with a close up of the detail on the chairs.

While I was busy painting, Farmboy was busy installing a new faucet in the master-bedroom.  The old faucet was constantly dripping, and my sink was always wet.  I’m so excited to have the new faucet, and the best part was, it was one of the cheaper ones at Lowe’s.  Usually the ones I like are at the top end but this one just happened to be a less expensive one.

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The China Cabinet

Last weekend Farmboy and I went to an Antique Mall that we’d never visited before.  It was a washout.   Full of overpriced junk.  Very disappointing.  But as we were leaving we passed by another antique mall that looked very small from the outside and decided to drop by.  Once inside, we were surprised by how huge it was.   And it was full of wonderful things with some truly lovely things.  The prices varied by vendors.  We were almost through the entire mall when I spotted it.

The China Cabinet - unloaded

There she was and she was beautiful.  Large, with plenty of storage.  White and slightly distressed.  Just like I’d always wanted in the 33 years we’d been married.  Hesitantly I glanced at the price tag.   And shuddered.  Way out of my league, especially with a daughter in college.  Just then the man from the next booth came over and told me that the lady who owned that piece of furniture and the others in that booth was willing to make a deal on all of her furniture.  He explained the process she went through to paint and prepare her furniture.  I still thought it would be way more than I could afford. I thanked him nicely and moved on.  I couldn’t quit thinking about that china cabinet, though, and eventually went back, and asked him what kind of a deal she would make.  He called her and she came back with a price that was more than half off.  And now that beautiful china cabinet happily resides in my dining room.

The China Cabinet in place

The China Cabinet in place

Thank you, sweet Farmboy, for making my dream come true and helping me take the old Ikea buffet out and wash all of my china and style, and refurbish the lights and set it all up, and everything you did.

The Drought

It’s been so long since we’ve had a rainy season at the farm. The tanks are all dry. The grass is crunchy.
North Tank in Summer1This is what the North Tank used to look like in the summer.  It was stocked with fish, among other creatures.   When we there last time, we could walk through all of the wooded pastures easily because the wild grasses had not grown up.  There were no wild creatures to be seen.

storm at farm

The yard barely needs mowing, except for a some straggly weeds that have grown up.  We get occasional rains but never enough.

Overcast Farm2As you can see, these pictures are old.  Every where you see signs that say, “Pray for rain”.  I only can add my plea, “Pray for rain.”

 

Update:  We have received some rain and things are looking so much better.  God is good.

 

 

Topiary

Topiary

Topiary

I’ve always wanted a topiary but they’re really expensive and mine always die.  But after looking at Karianne’s and following her instructions, I thought, I can do this.  Unknowingly I even bought the same urn to put it in.

topiary leaves

topiary leaves

I bought the same type plant, I think, and it’s been around for 3 weeks without dying or even attempting to die, so we may be on to something here.   To me, it just says spring!  Thanks, Karianne, for the detailed instructions!