Archive: January 2014

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“So lucky”


posted by Chelsea

I posted this barn picture…

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here a couple days ago.  I also posted it on Facebook Monday morning. There were comments like, “beautiful!” and “breathtaking” and “gorgeous”. But one comment stood out to me. Someone said, “So lucky”.  I thought about those words all the live long day… “So lucky”.  You know why?  Because she was right!  I’m a lucky girl. While our life of agriculture has never been easy and it continues to be a lot of hard work, I know how “lucky” I am. I know it even on days like yesterday when Buck, on his way out to work on a fencing project, stuck his head in the door and said these dreaded words… “Hey, would you mind doing somethin’ for me today?” I took a deep breath knowing full well the rest of that question could be any number of day-changing, plan-altering possibilities. He doesn’t ask for “normal” things like ironing a shirt, paying a bill, or making a phone call.  Fear in my eyes and worried smile on my fence, I sheepishly asked, “Sure?” Well, lucky for me…. I didn’t have to drive any tires to town! ….move any hay! …fire up any tractors! ….feed any bulls! …pull-start any machinery!  …fill out any loan paperwork! He simply needed me drive up the road and water some cows! Not a problem! See… my friend was right, I AM a lucky girl!


Winter Elsewhere 2014 ~ Carrabelle Boats


posted by Donna ~

A year ago, you may recall, Cowgirl Clippings hosted a series called “Winter Elsewhere,” covering the travels of one couple (ok, yes, snowbirds) in north central Florida. You may recognize a few of the photos in this series. And our friend, Westy, contributed a few.

Well, we liked one of the towns

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so much we left our pet gator behind

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and returned for a monthlong stay this year. Please allow me to share a few more experiences with you from Carrabelle, Florida. It’s a little fishing village

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on the Gulf of Mexico south of Tallahassee,
where fishermen work to supply the rest of us with our shrimp and oysters.

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Florida has numerous nicknames for their 1,200 miles of coasts: the Space Coast, which houses Nasa, the Gold Coast (Ft Lauderdale), Lee Island Coast (Ft Myers), First Coast, where we toured last winter in St Augustines, America’s oldest continuously-occupied city in America, and the Nature Coast (so named for Weeki Wachee Springs State Park). Carrabelle is on the Forgotten Coast. Why? Because here progress hasn’t arrived yet. Oh, it tried in the mid 2000’s when the real estate boom occurred but even that didn’t significantly change the face of this town blessed with so many natural resources. Hurricanes did and the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010 sure did.

But to the uninformed eye, it’s easy to see why the term “forgotten” might come to mind. Even the winter “traffic” is local on U.S. Route 98, an east–west highway that runs from western Mississippi to southern Florida. It was established in 1933 as a route between Pensacola, Florida and Apalachicola, Florida, and has since been extended westward into Mississippi and eastward across the Florida Peninsula. It runs along much of the Gulf Coast between Mobile, Alabama and Crystal River, Florida, including extensive sections closely following the coast between Mobile and St. Marks, Florida. Along this stretch, there are two gas stations, an IGA grocery store, a couple of restaurants, a volunteer fire department, and no school. All ages are bussed to a large complex, home of the Franklin County Seahawks, housing K-12, about 4 miles from town, sharing it with similar small towns.

But for all the things Carrabelle doesn’t have, it makes up for with water:
Ocean
Bays
Rivers
Streams
Ponds
One or more is everywhere you go. And water levels are often determined by the tides, even in the rivers.
High tide
Low tide

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and everything in between including high high tide when it’s storming, or the changes a full moon may bring (spring tides).

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That phenomenon happens because of syzygy, when the sun lines up with the moon and the earth, and the tidal effect increases.

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During half moons, high tides are not as high as normal, what they call “neap tides.” There’s so much involved in determining tides, it’s astounding but very complicated. If you want to know more, google “how tides are determined” or “how does a full moon affect tides” and you will be much smarter than you are now.

And where there’s water, there’s boats. Boats dominate the scenery in and around Carrabelle.
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Fishing boats
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Pleasure boats
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Yachts
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Dingies
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Sailboats
Shrimp boats and oyster boats
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even abandoned boats.
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You can be sure tides affect them, too. And at the end of each day, as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico, there are boats, still.

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Welcome To Our Weekend


Posted by Chelsea

We had a great weekend.  It looked something like this….

On Friday afternoon we welcomed a visit from Aunt Ramona…

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And Uncle Charley…

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It was super fun to have them out- they picked Lucy up from school (half day, in honor of “Celebrate Aunt Ramona and Uncle Charley Day! Yay!) then we ate chili, bread, pie and shortbread. It’s so fun to have people over so you know, I can make my favorite foods :)

After Ramona and Charley came over, then the following day we welcomed in… the fog…

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And the frost…

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But no worries! There was still room at the inn! So we gladly welcomed in SUNSHINE…

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Bright, glorious, SUNSHINE…

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On top of that, we even ushered in an early calf…

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Lucy and I voted to name it “Peanut” (for obvious reasons, right? Although Lucy keeps forgetting which nut we used and refers to “you know, that new calf, Almond?“) But Katelyn and Buck have yet to give up on “Teeny Weeny Little Chocolate Filling” (or something to that affect).   Anyway, she’s might be little, but she’s mighty.  That bucking show she’s putting on is only a few hours after delivery.  I’d like to see a human do that!

Also in the weekend, I welcomed in the thrill of having a child old enough to open and close gates..

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…at a run.  That’s a whole lot better than Buck can get me to do!

If you’re not worn out from all that we “welcomed” in this weekend, you can also know that we made a welcome trip to town for church and a visit with “Wally World” (aka Walmart aka A Thorn In My Side) on Sunday.  I went with the intention of picking up some pictures I had mounted in order to finish off my “picture wall” (2014 Projects ).  I was met by a nice young “photo man” (I believe his name was Dylan) who decided he wasn’t going to let me take my pictures home with me.  He apprehended them on the grounds that I didn’t have any copyright paperwork from “the photographer”.  While the compliment was nice…and quite frankly I was flattered that he would think MY pictures were professional, I was highly irritated.   We had been in town for several hours with a napless 1.5 year old who was extra tired from despising the nursery at church.  Said 1.5 year old was flailing under the cart. Dylan not took 20 minutes to get to the photo counter but needed another 10 to find my “professional” photos.  Needless to say, I was less than appreciative of his flattering accusation.  On any other day I may have just basked in the glory of such a compliment from the Wally World “photo man”.  At any rate, I did finally get the pictures from him, although he was reluctant and even walked out from behind the counter to watch us leave (?!).  I thought about taking off at a sprint, just to mess with him, but running with a flailing child was going to require more energy than the thrill of bothering Dylan.   I did finish the wall.  And I did take a less than professional picture with my iPad in order to show it to you…

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So that’s it… our welcome weekend in a nutshell.  You are WELCOME! (ha!)


His Indescribable Gift ~ Himself


posted by Donna

Christmas is all over with.

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Or is it?

Sure, the carefully (sometimes hastily) wrapped gifts have all be opened.
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The tree and all its sentimental ornaments are stored away for another 11 months.
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The Christmas cards were all admired one more time.
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Now what?

I want to suggest that God’s not through giving yet. I contend that Jesus still has gifts to dispense. I suspect that the Holy Spirit, Himself a gift, wants you to receive a few more things.

Like love
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joy
peace
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patience
forgiving and being forgiven.
And the greatest gift of all: Himself.

For when you receive the gift of the Father, you receive three gifts in One:
the Father, His Son, His Spirit.

How does that work, you ask?

Think of it like a child’s toy, one he or she wanted so, so bad and it came brightly wrapped with ribbons and a bow and when the child tore it open on Christmas morn,

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there was the oft-dreamed of toy PLUS the batteries AND the operating manual. They got all 3.

So do we whenever we accept the Father’s gift, open it, and claim it as our own. He IS the gift. He may be wrapped in a great daily devotional

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like “Jesus Calling” or He may be found by reading 5 Psalms each day for a month. He may even be opened in praise music as we sing our hearts out. He is surely packaged in kindness we show to the less fortunate and sharing our resources with someone in need, like your local food bank.
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And often He’s in the holy silence as we sit quietly before Him.

Traditional gifts? They’re everywhere, especially on December 25th. Traditional gift giving reached epic proportions last month.
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But keep your hands and eyes wide open throughout 2014 for

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gifts of the heart.


Lone Survivor


Posted by Chelsea

Please excuse my absence the last few days.  I have been knee deep.  While there are a lot of options around here for things I could be knee deep in, in this case I’ve been knee deep, or rather nose deep in the pages of “Lone Survivor“.   I’m completely out of the movie loop, so needless to say, I didn’t know it was coming out in theatres this last weekend (?!).  A friend mentioned something on Facebook about how she couldn’t put the book down.   I jumped right in, started reading, and basically haven’t been able to think about anything else.  My poor husband wanted to read the book too, but I’ve already told him the entire story.  “Oh! I forgot to tell you one thing….” and then I tell him the climax, kicker of the story, because I don’t want to wait for him to get to the end of the book.  I won’t do that to you today, in case you want to read it.  You’re welcome.

So…. Lone Survivor, for those of you who are as out of the loop as I was, is about a Navy SEAL named Marcus Luttrell who was part of Operation Redwing, a special operation in 2005 that resulted in the deaths (by the Taliban) of his 3 comrades and several others in the mountains of Afghanistan.  It’s a harrowing true tale told by Marcus himself.  It includes his strong opinions about the role of ROEs (rules of engagement) in the fight against terror and allows the reader to see how hard our policies & procedures have made it to fight this war.

That background to say, the book opened my eyes to a lot about the war on terror and it also opened my eyes to the training and competence of our military, in this case the Navy SEALs.  I mean, I always new they are the super tough elite, but holy cow, they’re stinking amazing.

I think one of the reasons this particular story stood out to me was its time frame.  Marcus finished SEAL training right around 9/11.  He was MIA in July 2005.  I started college right after 9/11.  Buck and I were celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary at Cayuse Flat when Marcus was MIA and fighting for his life.   I was enjoying the freedom he was fighting to protect, as were countless others.   I’m so thankful for my everyday freedoms- a warm bed, good food, abundant family and friends who we get to see on a regular basis. We do not get that freedom because we deserve it or because we were born in the USA.  We continue to enjoy life liberty and the pursuit of happiness because people sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives for us to do so.  I’ve taken that for granted most of my life.   And thanks to this story, I have a new sense of thankful.

 


Tea tea tea


Posted by Chelsea

One of the many many things I love about our new life out here in Troy is our house. One of the many many things I love about our new house is the abundant natural, wonderful, glorious light that floods through our big windows. Big sun. Big warmth. Big light. Amen.

So… My love of tea (it happens to be the time of year when I love my tea so much that I take pictures of it!) combined with the glorious light brings you yesterday’s photo shoot of afternoon tea. AKA “Chelsea procrastinating about laundry…again”.

At Christmas  the girls each picked out a new mug (“girls” including me!) Mine being the tallest green one in the back.   Buck accused it of being “70s”. Whatever. I like it, 70s or not.  Lucy’s has the hieroglyphs, and Kate the cute little one on the left.

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More than pictures of the actual mugs themselves, I’m really fascinated first by pictures of pouring water..

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And then by steam rising up out of the piping…
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hot water…

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Tea time.  Treat time. Afternoon time.  Distraction time. Warm-up time.  Procrastination time.  Peace time.  Caffeine time.  Re-group and figure out what-in-the-world-I’m-making-for-dinner time!

 


Raspberry Pie


Posted by Chelsea

Whenever I come across a really great recipe, I try to get it on CC.   In part, so y’all can try it out, but I also love to have it stored away and easily accessible should I need to make it again.  This is a recipe I need to have access to on a regular basis.  I love it.  I could inhale it.  Which, technically would cause some respiratory issues.   Anyway, it’s fabulous.  And delicious. And easy.  And scrumptious.  What more could you want in a dessert?!

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The recipe is for Raspberry Pie, but you might note that those are strawberries in the picture.  You can substitute the fruit/jello with just about anything you want, in this case I had strawberries so I used those!

First, the Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup oil

2 Tbsp milk

Mix it all together, spread in a pie plate, bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until light brown.

Filling:

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1 cup .  water

3 Tbsp jello powder (raspberry or….)

5 cups (raspberries or….)

Mix together sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil until mixture is clear and thickening up.  Remove from heat and stir in jello powder.  Cool and stir in berries.  Pour over crust.  Refrigerate for a few hours… I give it at least 2 hours, more if possible.  Yum!

 


Open


Posted by Chelsea

I recently mentioned that we’ve had pregging on our schedule lately.  The reason for pregging seems basic, but the decision about what to do with each respective pregnant or not pregnant cow can be complicated.   The vet, or if we only have a few cows and a little more time on our hands, well Buck’s hands that is, he can preg a cow and tell if she’s pregnant and approximately when she’ll calve.

The most basic and general idea would be to sell cows who aren’t bred.   We make a profit each year on a cow’s calf and so if she isn’t going to have a calf she is basically another mouth to feed with no return, financially speaking.  BUT slow down pardner and hold your horses because it isn’t quite so simple.  A young cow who didn’t get bred is hard to replace.  Bred cows are expensive and replacing a young cow costs more money than you can sell her for- a lot more money.  Keeping the young cow and giving her another chance, a year to put on flesh and try again, will often still pay out in the long run….particularly when calf prices are high.  Her next calf will be worth the wait. Old unbred (open) cows make more sense to sell.   While you can’t buy a bred cow with the money you get from selling the old cow, you can buy an open young cow for the same price that you can sell an open old cow.  Thus gaining more calves in the long run, even if it’s not that year.  You could potentially sell a couple of old open cows and replace with her with one young bred cow, too.  That’s another option.  Basically each cow needs to make the most profit she possibly can and therefore, each open cow needs to be evaluated for maximum profit.  Does that make sense? Clear as mud?

Now that you know all of that, there are exceptions to every rule.   Sometimes it makes sense to keep an old open cow.  It makes sense when it’s The Lucy Cow….

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Our #1 original heifer…who was dedicated to Lucy our unborn child at the time, who has produced twins the past two years, who isn’t being sold.  We are much too sentimental for that! A summer “off” will be good for the ol’ gal.

Katelyn is pretty good at explaining the bleach marks we put on the cows to differentiate if they’re bred or not.   It goes something like this, “Whale….the ones with circles on their bums aren’t bwed so we’re pwobly gonna sell ’em.  ‘Cept for the Wucy Cow, we aren’t selling her because we wuv her!”  Sometimes breaking the rules is the best thing to do because Katelyn’s right, we wuv The Wucy Cow.


They Warned Me


Posted by Chelsea

Ever since he was born folks warned me it would happen.  “His sisters will dress him up in all sorts of things, dresses, skirts, you name it!”  Well, they were right…

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…..But what nobody knew is that Mr. Cooper won’t have any part of it.  As soon as they get him dressed in the perfect skirt and matching shoes he proceeds to….

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take it all…

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right…

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OFF!

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Better luck next time sisters! :)


A Silly, Albeit Important, Tribute


Posted by Chelsea

I think tributes are important.  You know, to honor someone or something that has meant a lot to a person.  Today I need, yes need to pay tribute to an item of clothing.  I don’t feel the need to do this often, in fact come to think of it, I’ve never paid public tribute to any clothing.   And rest assured I won’t make a habit of it.  But today…..these faithful “Aura” jeans….

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…deserve to be talked about.

I bought them for $29.99 approximately eight years ago.  So what? Well, I bought them for $29.99 when I was in college and we had little to no money. On a strict budget, Buck and I allocated ourselves $2 (each) per week in spending money. $2 to spend freely on whatever we wanted! No questions asked! So when I got some birthday $$ to spend and really wanted some new jeans these were the ones I found. And I felt guilty handing over nearly $30 on such an extravagant purchase. My guilt quickly vanished because I was in love with these jeans. They fit me better than any jeans I could remember owning. And so… It was then we began our journey together.

These jeans have been so patient with me….three pregnancies and three post-partums they’ve sat patiently on the closet shelf. They even suffered through being tried on only to be thrown on the floor in frustration. I even considered getting rid of them after Lucy was born.  “I’ll never fit in those again!” Truth be told, I think I cried when I said that. And when I said this, “My body is not the same! It never will be!” But patiently they waited for me and after each post-partum adjustment they faithfully slipped right back on. These are the jeans, that when I look up on the shelf and see them waiting for me, I breathe a sigh of relief. Until now. They have simply worn out. Worn right through the right knee….

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And the trouble is, while I could patch them, the fabric is really thin…

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and one patch would lead to another and another and it just wouldn’t work, at least not for long.   So for now, I wear them around the house and for doing chores and stuff.  They no longer qualify for “town” jeans.   They’ve retired from that line of work.

So…. I guess all good things must come to an end.  This post included.  I hope that wasn’t a sigh of relief I just heard coming out of your mouth!  I’ll end with this….I’m thankful these jeans and I have stuck together all these years.  I’m thankful I never gave them away in my post-partum frustrations.    I’m thankful I have a blog to write silly tributes to my pants.  Where else could my “Aura” jeans be publically commended for their hard work?

Goodbye.  Grandparents tune in tomorrow for a grand kid post :)

 

 


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