Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We knew there would be an adjustment period when Neal moved back home. So far, things are going pretty smoothly. I give in a little...he gives in a little. I let him choose the tractor--as long as it wasn't a Kubota (Kubota's are orange which would totally clash with my red barn!). He let me choose the replacement windows. We're still trying to adjust our time schedules. He insists on getting up at 4:30 a.m. so he can go to the gym before work. I like to sleep until at least 7:00, which I do, but then he's ready for bed by 9:00. I don't wind down till at least 10:00 or 10:30. (Yes, if you add that up I need more sleep than he does.) But the biggest problem we've come up against is the Sudoku puzzles. He wants to "help" with puzzles I've started, but messes them up!! I accuse him of putting in a wrong number and he says that he put that number in because of another number I had filled in, which must have been wrong. Now we don't know who to blame. So the only solution seemed to be separate puzzles. I write my name at the top of mine and his name at the top of his. He is not allowed to interfere with my solutions. Problem solved. Some things just can't be done "together." I am having to get back into cooking. I really enjoy cooking most of the time, but the past 4-1/2 years I've done very little. It's a challenge to plan meals again and TRY to have a good dinner waiting on him after work. The good ole days of Monday Lean Cuisine, Tuesday Burrito Night, Wednesday Breakfast Night, Thursday-Saturday...whatever drive-through suited my fancy, are over. I asked him what he wanted for his lunches. Besides the typical sandwiches, he also wants fresh fruit. He laughed the first week when I brought home 4 bananas. I'm just not much of a fruit eater and typically fruit spoils before it's eaten at my house. Now I'm having to load up on grapes, apples, oranges, and bananas every trip to the store. When did he turn into such a health nut? The honeymoon continues.......

I think he's starting to understand the overwhelming and never-ending chores that must be done to keep this place going. Janet hit the nail on the head when she said, "you have to decide if you want to live like you're in the city or live like you're in the country." Problem is, I want the best of both. I want a place that well groomed and pristine, but that's not always feasible in rural Oklahoma. I want the yard I had in Tulsa, but I want it out here on our 20 acres.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wee Ball

Last night was Jacob's first ball game. His friends, Baylor and Piersen (twins) stuck to him like glue, and Baylor (the girl) outplayed them both. Jacob rarely touched the ball, and since he was last batter, by the time he made it to 2nd base--after running there first, then redirected to 1st, then continuing to 2nd--the other team was headed for the dugout. All said, I think they had a good time. I'm sure WE had a better time watching.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Barn Occupants

Finally, something to occupy the horse barn. Both stalls are filled. Their names are "Pride" and "Joy." Hopefully Pride will make us proud by keeping our fields groomed. Joy--she's really just for fun--although Neal insists we need her to get back in the woods and haul limbs. Not exactly what I had in mind for our tax refund....maybe next year.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who's the Boss?

Yep, it's my second post of the day. My new windows are being installed, so I'm trying to stay out of their way.

Thought I'd post a picture of Neal on his last day of work at BP. In case you can't read it, it say's "A Range Rider's code is to follow an order...We know who the boss is because your wife said 'Get your butt back across the Border!'" (Range Riders is the name of their Turnaround Team.)Obviously, they know who the real boss is.

Playing with Fire

Apparently it is advantageous to "burn off" your farm in the Spring. It's not only the quickest way to clean up leaves, old tall grasses and many fallen limbs and branches, but it also reduces the tick population. Of course, I couldn't begin to attempt burning without Neal here, so we're a little late, as there is already quite a bit of green growing that won't burn. It's also been a very windy Spring, so when Monday was a clear, mild day, with variable winds less than 5 mph, everything else had to be dropped to spend the day burning. Alan came over to show us city folks the proper care and handling of a farm burn. I had no idea it was so involved. After alerting the neighbors and the Rural Fire Department, the pyromania began. It was exhausting and DIRTY work. The whole day was spent lighting, re-routing, extinguishing, and re-lighting fires. I have to admit, some of it was kind of fun. I had a prayer meeting to attend at 6:00 p.m. and at 5:15 Neal said, "If you're going to pray, you'd better go get cleaned up." I took a quick bath, threw on some clean clothes and rushed to church. I had no make-up on, my face was red from occasionally getting too close to the fire, and my hair still smelled like smoke. I walked in at 6:02. Wow! I'm even impressed. That is....until...Etta commented, "Did you know you have your shirt on wrong-side-out?" Ummm....yeah....I meant to do that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bringing Neal Home

Thursday morning I flew to Houston to fetch my hubby. Wednesday was his last day to work for BP, and although he was relieved, he has built many good friendships in his 4-1/2 years in Texas City. So it was a little emotional for my big strong husband. They threw a big party for him at lunch and said their final good-byes. Thursday afternoon was spent deep cleaning the RV, inside and out. Late in the afternoon, we went to the home of one of Neal's JV superiors. He has a beautiful house on the water (Galveston Bay), with his bay boat docked practically at his back door. Then, one more chicken chimicanga at Gringo's, my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in the bay area...I almost shed a tear.

We woke up early Friday morning, thinking maybe we could pull out around 7:00. Whoa...there's a lot more to unhooking the RV than I thought and we finally rolled out about 9:00. The journey back to Oklahoma was relatively uneventful, despite the strong North wind we were driving into. Four gas tank fill-ups later, we were in the home stretch. I was a little nervous about being able to turn into our drive, between the gate posts, but it was a piece of cake. That was the last of the cake. Trying to maneuver the fifth wheel into the anticipated resting spot, the truck got stuck in the south pasture. By this time it's starting to get dark, there's a biting north wind blowing, and Neal is in his shorts and t-shirt (it was 85 when we left Kemah at 9:00 a.m.). We found this to be a great way to meet neighbors, as a strange pick-up pulled in to help...chained the back of the RV to the back of his truck and pulled while Neal backed up. As this was happening, yet another strange truck pulled in to see if we needed help. Okay, so now we know Brian and Robert. Thanks guys, we've got it from here. Doh!.....weren't counting on the low-hanging tree branches. It's getting later...and colder...and Neal is on top of the RV with a tree saw, cutting branches as I'm backing up the RV. Oh, I bet the neighbors haven't had entertainment like this in a long time! Anyway, the RV is sitting in the front circle drive until we decide where to put the monster. You'd think with 20 acres, it wouldn't be a problem, but we have all these FENCES and want to be able to EASILY park and pull out whenever the camping bug hits us.

Monday, April 07, 2008


I can finally make public the news that Neal is coming home! Not just his 3 days off every 18 days...but home to stay. In answer to many prayers, he is being moved to the facility in Skiatook (about 20 minutes away) and will finish his four and a half year job at BP in Texas City on Thursday. Just in time for all the spring work here at the farm. In preparation for his homecoming, I've been doing some reorganizing to make room for his "stuff." I've pretty much taken over our closet and now must clear out a wee bit of room for him. Since the renovation of the house, we've left the closet in the office unfinished. Now I need room for some of our off-season clothes, so I purchased a closet organizer and assembled it today. The instructions indicated an assembly time of 45 minutes. Liars. It took me most of the afternoon, but that's okay...it's done. The only problem was that when I drilled holes to attach the hanging bar to the wall, I saw light streaming in through the hole! Walked around to the hallway and yep, two nice little holes in the wall. Hmmm....gotta find something to hang there. Mom's painting of my Grandpa's barn seems perfect.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

George & Gracie

There is a bird that has claimed a hole in the pipe of our storm cellar for her Spring nesting place. I don't think she was expecting George and Gracie. They relentlessly torment this poor little bird, jumping up on the cellar door and pipe and barking ferociously into the hole. I'll be shocked if she is actually able to lay her eggs in the midst of all the commotion.