Monday, December 8, 2014

Homemade Pain Relief

 Yesterday, I smashed my thumb in the car door...all on my own.

I wish I could say some careless companion slammed the door on me,
but it wouldn't be true.

I was rushing.... my daughter had a piano receital, and we were running late. I dropped her off at the door, parked, got out and slammed my thumb in  the door and I had locked it as well!  I had  to stay calm
and hunt for the keys to first unlock the door to get my hand out.

Next problem was the blood and the receital... I tried to stay calm ( I think I mentioned this very crucial point)  and not get blood on anything, luckly I was wearing dark clothes.

Long story short... I made it, but oh, how it hurt!!!
I would have to use some very bad words to really get my point across. I do believe you can tell from the photo... then add your own ideas as to the scene....

Once home my son helped  me wrap my wound up
and my daughter  made dinner for me (very sweet kids) but everyonce in a while it hurt so much I thought I was going to black out....then I had an idea....

  A while back my husband had a toothache and until he could get to the dentist I put clove oil on a cotton ball for him to put on his gums... it numbs..
So... I got some almond oil, added some clove oil and swabbed my thumb with it... glory be to God!! It worked!!

No pain , the carrier oil, ( almond oil) protected  my skin in case the clove was too harsh.
I would recommend keeping Clove oil on hand in your home first aid kit. You can use any other oil, (olive, grapeseed etc.) as a carrier oil.

Hopefully you'll never need to use it, but you'll be glad to have it if you do!

Friday, December 5, 2014

My New Flock of Chickens

 I ordered 15 baby chicks in October.

It used to be when my kids were little we would get many kinds of chicks when we ordered them or went to the feed store. So we had all different kinds of chickens, which was really pretty and an excellent way to learn the behavior of many different kinds of

The down side to this mixed flock way or doing things was that we never knew how old a bird was...
I mean we were always adding more and were never quite sure how old one each hen was, which is something you really need to know if they aren't exactly pets.... if you know what I'm getting at...

You see at some point we will eat the older hens, of course they will have had a nice long life, running free and just being chickens, but we don't have the room for girls who are too old to lay eggs..

So I got 15 Buff Orpingtons, and you always get one "surprise" chick. This time is was a Turken....
a bad thing to be in the winter, it seems to me.

This is my little flock now, at around 2 months, aren't they nice? They're just about old enough for me to let them run loose during the day with out fear of them being attacked by the older hens...

And around April I'll have more than enough eggs!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Busy Days

 Mattie's pretty far into her lactation cycle.
One of the nice things about that is milking once a day.

I still get plenty of milk ( around 2 to 2.5 gallons) each milking but I can choose when to milk according to my schedule.

While it's really nice to be able to milk at 9 or 10 in the morning and have a relaxing start to the day, sometimes a gal has to get moving early to fit everything in!

 And as it is, this is a really, really busy time for me..
In fact I've been pulling the early "farmer" hours.

Lucky thing Mattie likes the early pre dawn milk time....
She actually seems to prefer it... she gets her work done early and has the rest of the day to do as she pleases!

The only thing I've noticed is that she seems to like me to guide her with a flashlight...

Thought you would enjoy seeing her do her thing..

And please check out the Products for Sale tab at the top of the home page to see what I have up! 

Feedback is welcome and encouraged...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New Products

 I've been just about driving myself crazy with trying to get some of these wonderful products up on my "Products for Sale" page.

The thing is that I have to tie pay pal into the equation and I don't really know what I'm doing!

Hopefully before long I'll have them posted with working pay pal buttons to go along with them.

I'm offering 4 body products,

Body Balm
Udder Joy
Rosemary Body Bar Soap
Lavender Body Bar Soap

All of these products are 100% natural,
and (very important to me) not animal tested.

I'll be offering the balms and udder joy for 5.50
and the soaps for 5.00
Plus shipping.

 Or you can order all 4 and get free shipping.
What a wonderful Christmas gift it would make..

Hope to have them up in a day or so...

Please check back.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cows Save the Planet

Recently I attended an HMI (Holistic Management International) workshop at Montesino Ranch in  Wimberley.

The focus was on water, and how to holistically manage a farm/ranch situation to adapt to our changing water circumstances.

Speaker number one asked if any of us had heard of the tree ring study, which actually I had... any way here is the gist of it....
Scientist were able to examine the rings of a a very old tree from central Texas. By looking at the rings they were able to get a pretty accurate idea of rain fall patterns from pretty far back, if I remember the tree was at least 500 years old.
Any way, what they determined is a little scary....
Our area of Texas has actually been experiencing an unusually wet period. The last 150 years, since the arrival of Europeans has been quite wet when compared to the period of time before...

So what this means is we actually don't have an accurate idea of what normal rainfall is in Central Texas, and  we need to relearn how to live in this soon to be very dry climate.

Enter farmers and ranchers. They have an extremely important task... how to raise our food and manage the land as rainfall becomes more scarce.

I could bore you with the details, but one of the really interesting points made was the role of livestock and grazing and the recently discovered value of grazing animals for the land,
please take a moment to look at the video in this link.

A lot of this information I already knew, but I enjoyed meeting some like minded individuals,
saw a gorgeous ranch on the Blanco River and felt
like the principles I learned could be applied even on a small scale.

I have to admit, the whole workshop was positive,
it's nice to be around people who understand.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Art Work

Cow on pine, purple water color
Remember when I posted about the pictures I was drawing on wood remnants?

I asked if any of you readers had ideas for methods I could use on wood, and someone.. I'm  ashamed to admit I don't remember who, suggested I
try wood burning and paint..

It works really well!

Wanted to share some of the pieces I've completed.

bison facing the storm, poplar, pencil
I have many more and I've learned how to make replicas so I can make the same (pretty much)
image with different colors to make a set.

Any way.... take a look.
I opened an etsy store, but haven't loaded much yet..
Novellasfarm... surprise.

Guess my favorite subject? 
cow on pine, sage green water color

Cow jumping over the moon, pine water color

Cow on poplar, yellow water color

St Frances of Assisi, pine, acrylic paint

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back to Home School

"Can I go to the gym after prison?"
Did I mention that my son  decided to go to public school this year?

He anguished about it all last semester and then this summer. Finally he decided, no doubt about it he wanted to give it a try.

Like I told him, he won't know until he tried it....

Now you should know our school district is really highly ranked. I mean people actually move out here for the schools.

So I figured, it'll be great.

Great classes, all kinds of wonderful opportunities that, as a home schooler just aren't available.

One condition I set was he had to give it at least 6 weeks. So when he started complaining about the teachers in the first few weeks I told him to give it a while, you know it takes a while to get in the swing of things.

I did ask about home work and why there wasn't any, I mean my daughter was reading the "Scarlett Letter",
writing papers and working on math and my son didn't seem to have any homework at all, so I checked his grades... and he was doing fine. OK.....

Then one night he finally pulled out his Chemistry homework, and asked me to help him. I said "OK, let's look at the text book and I'll explain it to you" ..
He told me " we don't have text books" Yep, that's right.. no text books,  no reference material except a hand out of 2 pages which was absolutely no help.

 I have a Science Degree from A&M and I still would have needed text book to look at to be sure about what we doing.. but to expect a high school kid to understand it with out reading it through on their own, just seemed, well... not smart.

Long story short he in home schooling again. He came out of his Chemistry class this week ( a home schooling class) got in the car and sighed, "man, I have a lot of homework"...

So ultimately, while there were good things about the public school, and everyone was very, very kind... he made his decision based on the education.....
Gives you something to wonder about.... doesn't it?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Coco's Passing

Cute Coco
 I hope this is the last sad post for a while...

Last Sunday started as a  busy, good day. Juliette and I did things around the house and we agreed to not go the YMCA (which we usually do) and to take a walk with the dogs when it was cooler.

At around 6:30, I had finished making dinner and we decided to go for our walk.

I mentioned we got a new dog, so we were short a leash... and this was my mistake.
I said, "Coco will be ok with out a leash". You see many, many times we've gone for walks and let Coco be unleashed because she stays with us...

 But last Sunday as we went around the corner and onto the main road of our neighborhood, a big silver truck appeared out of no where. It was going so fast, we jumped out of the road and like a flash the truck was gone and Coco was laying in the  middle of the street.

Juliette was hysterical, I told her to calm down and to go get some
one from home, to bring a vehicle so we could get her home....

But that poor little dog was looking at me, and she had blood pouring out of her mouth...

I held Jasmine in one arm and knelt down with Coco and petted her and talked to her telling her what a good dog she was and how much we loved her....
I also was flagging cars to drive around her because I didn't want to move her or let anther car hit her.

One truck with couple drove by and just stared, but another car, a
man got out to help me..His name was Woody and he was so kind.
He stayed there and closed Coco's eyes and waited til my husband and Juliette got back.

Then I thanked him and took Juliette home.

My  son buried her next to Blackie and I just can't explain how sad we all felt. I was just so sudden, so violent.

The next day Juliette made a sign that we put up at the entrance of our neighborhood....
It said... " To the driver of the Big Silver Truck speeding on Sunday around 7pm, You hit and killed my dog.
SLOW DOWN, there are animals and children"

I've left her little bed out for a while just in case her spirit was still around.. I know that must sound silly but I did the same with Blackie...

The worst part about it all is that the guy didn't even stop, how can any one not stop when they hit an animal?
How dare he think she wasn't important, she was a pet, a living creature...
 I understand on the highway where it's dangerous, but this is a neighborhood... and I know he saw her,
for heavens sake I stop for lizards, beetles and frogs in the road....

It's the end of an era, Blackie and Coco were our dogs when my kids were little, and we lived in Austin...
and now that time is gone, and so are they.

Friday, September 26, 2014

House Breaking Baby

 Ok, so about  a week ago we acquired a new dog.

I really had no intention of getting a new dog..... I mean Blackie just left us pretty recently and the remaining dogs have been adjusting to their new situation , and really they're both sort of old as far as dogs go.. so I figured , no new dogs for a while at least.

Here's what happened.

I have a dear friend who's a bit of an animal lover to say the least.
She's kind of got this gravitational pull for animals, they just seem to be attracted to her... she just can't say no to an animal that needs a home..

Ok so she came over and she had this puppy with her... and she said her girls wanted Juliette to have the puppy, but if I didn't want him she would take him home..

I was just about to worm my way out of letting him stay, when Juliette came out and asked to hold him and starts to fall in love with him.. .. guess what happened next?

Well I figured I could still say Jerry wouldn't let us have another small dog, and then here comes Jerry.. and he of course sees his little girl holding the puppy, long story short...  he says yes.

So.. we have a new dog, a puppy.
His name is Nemo, he wriggles like a fish when we pick him up.
I have to admit he's really cute, and I am getting to really like him...

But.. I just really need all my dogs to be house broken and so far

we haven't had much luck. I read about Chihuahuas and found out they are extremely hard to house break.. but it can be done.

I read about these things called doggie bands, that you put on male dogs to act as sort of diapers... they don't like to pee in them and they protect your floors and such. I haven't felt like making a special trip into Austin to find these tiny bands, so I decided to try a make shift type thing.

I just got a washcloth, folded it and safety pinned it in place... and guess what? So far so good!!

I think this information could be useful for others so I'll keep you posted on how this puppy does with this method of training.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coffee with a Canine?

Remember this summer when I posted we had to put Blackie down?

Well after I posted that sad news I was contacted by a blogger with a site called "Coffee with a Canine". He offered his condolences and invited me to participate in an interview on his

He posted it recently and I thought I'ld let ya'll know about it and
turn you on to this quirky little site.

Kind of a fun idea and a brillant way to get others to write your blog for you!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Quick Trip

Displaying photo.JPGYesterday my husband, daughter and myself took a quick little trip to the beach.

I don't know about anyone else, but for me, I get so busy I finally just made a reservation in order to force me to do it! Other wise I keep coming up with excuses and just stay in my little comfort zone, which I may have mentioned I 'm working on stepping out of...

Ok so after I finished my chores on Thursday we set off, and since Jerry has gigs this weekend we were only staying one night. I splurged on a hotel room with a balcony overlooking the ocean so we could get maximum enjoyment out of our short time.

 We arrived on Thursday afternoon, had a lovely time swimming, and taking a walk on the beach. A nice little picnic dinner and then to bed so we could have a full day before heading home the next afternoon.

Around 4:30 in the morning I awoke to a noise of a huge engine revving upover and over... I ( along with Jerry )got up and looked from the balcony to see what was up.

There was a truck stuck in the sand and a guy in a huge diesel truck trying to pull the vehicle out with a rope. Just pulling over and over in the same spot until actually the stuck vehicle was slowly burying itself in the sand.

I turned to Jerry and said, "we used to get stuck in the sand all the time when I was a kid"
You see with 8 kids the beach was our vacation every year. Yup, we camped for 2 weeks. I think it was 2 weeks.  My dad worked so hard to make it happen  for us and it was absolutely priceless.

One year we brought raccoons with us, because, yes , we had raccoons for pets. They ran free on the beach terrifying other campers. They really are very dangerous animals but that didn't stop us from bringing them or keeping them. At least till they were old enough to set free. ( we raised them when their mother was shot on my grandmothers property).

I started telling Jerry about how it was, the sand everywhere. My brother ( the neat one) driving himself to distraction trying to keep order. My sister walking to the showers constantly to relieve herself of the sand.
And my dad, just seemed really happy there, on the beach.

In my mind it was wonderful, the freedom, the water, the sand, sleeping on the beach listening to the surf, going to the pier, going way too far out in the water but never being schedule, no rushing, No T.V. no plans... just  the beach.

Anyway, instead of getting angry with the people, ( they had set up a campsite) for making so much noise
and waking us up I found myself laughing thinking about it, and knowing they'll remember the adventure
for the rest of their lives.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Land Hunt

I think I may have mentioned a time or two before
about my hope to find more property.

My dream property has:
at least 15 acres
ag exempt
has a house that is finished and nice
has water ...and I probably don't need to mention this but... NO HOA!!!!

So when I heard from a woman who contacted me
looking for colostrum for her sick son we got to talking...

I told her about my situation.. and she mentioned
a friend of hers who had a dairy that she wanted to sell.

I called the woman and she let me come out to look around.

You know how something can sound really great on the phone or in an ad? Well this place sounded really, really perfect ... so off I went.

Yes, it has a dairy building which is built to code, but was never registered as legal... and things are a little.. well ... unmaintained.

There was equipment that looked as though it hadn't been used in years, and the milk handling room almost made me want to cry, there was so much work needed just to bring it to proper sanitation standards.

On the up side there are 22 ag exempt acres with an additional 100 acres that neighbors actually want her to graze on for them to keep their ag exemptions.

There's 2 houses and they're in pretty good shape...

I guess the thing mainly for us ( besides the money)
is the sheer load of work involved in this enterprise.

I feel certain that a micro, humane dairy would do really well in Blanco ( which is where this place is located) I mean it's right between San Antonio and Austin and I think there's a great interest in artisinal
Of course the real elephant in the room is the law suit we're involved in with our HOA.

I can't even express how I feel about the people on the board of this organization, when Al Blair our neighbor and the board president comes out to his place ... I literally feel a low grade
disgust towards both him and his wife...
You see we can't really do anything while this suit is ongoing. And of course their lawyer is being really difficult, probably to milk the HOA funds, I imagine when the account is dry he'll move on and then of course their lawyer from their insurance company will take over... it's so wrong.. all this is basically because of kids milking cows over here and me actually being compensated... unbelievable.

I guess after the law suit is settled one way or the other we'll be moving on, I just can't live next to some one who obviously hates us.... I mean I guess we could but I don't want to, I want to like my neighbor!

I guess if any one is interested in starting a dairy, give me a shout...
I know a place available for a steal..

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Passage of Time

Last time my mom  was here my son came in and gave his grand mother a hug, and I had to laugh...

" I said I have to take a picture of you two..."  my  son is over 6'3" and my mom has now shrunk to 4'9"..
they make quite a pair..

There's something about this photo that kind of makes me want to cry. I realize how quickly time is passing..
this summer for example has just flown by!

Remember that song " Time in a Bottle" or something like that... that's how I feel. My life is speeding by, and
I've been thinking how glad I am for keeping my kids home with me even they drove me crazy.

Sorry about the emotion of this post.. it's probably just my old age showing..

Any way everything is making me realize how precious time is and how each moment is like a valuable thing that we just don't understand until a certain percentage of it is gone. .. the most valuable thing you can imagine..

One day my mother will be gone and my kids will move out... and I suppose I'll shrink just like my mom has...

So guess who's going to see her mom tomorrow? Me!!
Do something wonderful for yourself, for someone you love and really focus on the time, try not to get distracted by all has to be done...

As the late great Robin Williams said in Dead Poets Society,  Carpe Diem! Do it now!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Teaching the New Driver

My middle son got his learners permit a few weeks ago.

What this means is extreme anxiety on my part since I'm the parent he's driving with...

Now don't misunderstand me... he's a good driver. Only not as good as he believes he is.

It's tough to sit in the passenger seat and let a person with only hours of experience drive your car. Especially when that person who believes they drive better than you.

I file my nails.... a lot and try to stay calm.

Yesterday he did something really, really stupid... he was driving too fast (not over the speed limit but still too fast) as he approached an intersection,  the light turned yellow, since he was going to fast, he had to make the turn.

My heart was thumping, and I really let him have it.
His response was "Amy, it's OK , calm down."
( he's started calling me Amy.. we're on first name basis).

He believes if the speed limit says 30 or 50mph.. that's the speed a driver must go...even when I tell him repeatedly to slow down.....

So after this episode I said to myself ' he doesn't really need a license and he'll probably hurt himself or someone else'... and I told him this... I told him he can wait til he's old enough to get his license himself or listen to me.. his choice.

You see, I don't think I have to let him get a license until he learns to listen..and understand how much
responsibility driving is, I don't owe him a license... especially if I feel he lacks the maturity to handle it.

My job as a parent  isn't to be popular, my job is to raise him and sometimes make decisions that are very unpopular..

So my husband and talked to him, later this same night and the next day he got it!!! he actually slowed down when I told him to, he looked behind the car twice in the parking lot.... I think he realized that his getting a license really doesn't matter too much to me...

I made my older son drive behind the wheel almost 9 month with me before he got his license and I'll probably do the same with this son. I've known people who have had serious accidents and it ruins their lives...

Yesterday Juliette asked, "when can I start driving?" Yikes!!! I can't think about it now!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Goodbye Old Friend

 On Tuesday night Jasmine ( our Dachsund) started crying.. really loud and for no obvious reason, but she was in great pain.

So I made an appointment and took her to the vet on Wed. evening. The last appointment of the day...
She is fine, the doctor could find nothing wrong with her, she's probably just getting old.

But I got a call from my oldest son while I was at the vet's office.
"I ran over Blackie!, I didn't know he was under the car, I ran over Blackie, I'm so sorry!!!"

"OK, where is he now?"
" He limped under the trailer"

I told my son to calm down and get to his class, ( which is why he was leaving and had run over the poor old dog...)

I figured the fact Blackie had limped to the trailer was a positive sign...

When I got home he was under the trailer, I thought it best to
leave him alone a bit and see if he decided to come out. So after about 30 minutes I went out, kneeled by the trailer and talked to him, and that poor old boy tried to follow me when I got up to go in to call the emergency vet.

He crawled out and cried out in the most horrible way then he collapsed...

I made a pillow for his head and had to wait for my middle son to get off work to help me load Blackie into the car.

We had to kind of slide him onto a piece of ply wood to keep him from moving.. we got him loaded up and my older son showed up early from class, so we all headed into Austin to the all night vet,
which I unfortunately know too well.

Those people are so kind, they are just so kind.

Long story short, he was in so much pain and at 12 years of age
we elected to put him down. I felt so guilty.

Look at these photos, isn't he cute? I wish I could have given him a better home, a better life... but we do the best we can.

I do believe animals have souls, and he's in a better place.
A place with no pain, no fleas and soft dry beds.

I'm going to miss you.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Whats left of the field across the street
This morning I got a text from my neighbor across the street.
"I'm going to burn brush today, dog inside, bring cows over to graze"

I briefly thought it was perhaps too breezy to burn, but I just answered  back.. "thanks" but I decided to keep my girls home today.
I can't explain why, I just felt like I should keep them in my yard today....

Around 11:00  I took my son to work and we saw a young man, who my neighbor had hired  pouring gasoline on a big pile of brush...

Now we've done cedar burns here and we never add fuel, and
always keep the pile small and add to it... fires can get out of hand fast..

Any way we came home and all was well, Juliette even went across the street around 1 to check if the fire was out.. after the Bastrop fires a few years ago she has a very healthy respect for
summer and fire.

Around 3 Juliette and I headed out again to take a sandwich to my son, and as we headed out the gate I saw flames.I also noticed there wasn't anyone around....just fire and tall dry grass.

The burn pile had flared up due to the wind and it was spreading.

I sent Juliette to the neighbors door, the fire was heading to her house. It was about 50 feet away, so she ran out and started to fight the flames coming to her house.

I called  911 and headed to the end of the road to flag the fire engines down as they came down the street. ( my son, who's a volunteer fire fighter has mentioned it helps to have someone flag them to where the fire is..)

It felt like forever waiting for the fire engines to arrive. When I had called, the fire was spreading in all directions, I had visions of it growing huge and where the hell was the fire department?!

Finally, finally I heard sirens, they appeared around the curve, I jumped up and down and waved my arms and they turned down my street to end of the road.

I jumped in my car and headed down too, I didn't see Juliette and the smoke was thick.. but then I saw her with my neighbor.

Our fire department uses a kind of pickup truck for grass fires.
They drive right into the fire basically and start to try to put it out.

I kept yelling about the oak trees that were being burned, then one of the guys who was managing the pump expained the way to fight a fire is to concentrate on the flames being blown by the wind.
Does that make sense? They were concentrating on just not letting the fire grow....

Eventually another truck showed up, so there were 3 fire trucks in all, they got it all out! It probably took about an hour. Not even smoke when they left....

Then they wanted to know who started the fire and I can't even
describe how happy I was to say "not me" ...

The whole event is a string of Thank Gods.
Thank God...
we left when we did
I didn't have my cows out grazing in her field
no one was hurt

Thank you God.