Thursday, December 30, 2010

Had to be a goat before I could be a chick...

So this is the hair that I was born with.

Me in about 5th grade
My hair had always been a bit stringy, yet soft and smooth.  But suddenly, in junior high, I got this wiry, kinky, coarse looking hair.  It was strange. It was not good hair at all, and I come from a good hair family. It’s one of our claims to fame. Good hair. Now long legs and skinny hips, that’s some other family’s claim to fame…

So for whatever reason I found myself with this strange hair, in a family full of good heads of hair. Here is a picture I found when this phenomenon was just beginning.

It's still a bit hard to tell, as most of the kinky, wiry stuff is starting underneath my hair, in the nape of my neck.  But, just a few months after this picture was taken I was raging with the wiry, kinky stuff all over my head.  And fortunately for me it occurred at such a great time in my life.  Junior High.  Puberty.  Fun. 

I have another school picture, the one taken a year after this one, when I am full-blown kink.  I dug through all my old pictures but couldn’t find it anywhere. If truth be known, I probably destroyed it, as well as all other pictures of my wiry hair days. For some reason it never dawned on me that I would want to get nostalgic about the effects on my hair during the BIG P. 

To get an idea of my strange hair phenomenon, just look at the picture above and then envision my hair pumped up about 4 times the volume with more kink scattered about.  Sort of think what one would look like if they were to stick their finger in an electrical socket.... 

So anyway, my hair became a bit of a joke with my family and friends. It was Tomi (my best friend’s mother who lived across the street) who first coined it my ‘goat-hair’. I can still hear her:

“My gawd, what the hell has happened to your hair? Let me feel it. Good gawd, it feels like.... like goat hair.”

And from that day forward I had goat hair.

By the time I was in my junior year of high school my goat hair was becoming a distant memory. However, if you pulled my hair up you could still see remnants of my goat hair around the nape of my neck. In fact, there lied my goat hair, at the nape of my neck, all the way into my mid- 20’s. Nothing like being reminded for years about your Big P days and the jokes of goat hair...  But goat hair or no goat hair, I didn't allow my personal tragedy to interfere with my ability to do good hair… (I know, I know.... I just plagiarized Annelle's line from Steel Magnolias.  But, it is such a good line...)

Perming my perm, 1980 something

It’s actually quite miraculous that my goat hair was ever at bay, being that the 80’s hit right after my full flare of goat hair in which I spent most of my leisure time perming my perm, teasing my tressels, and mousseing my gel. I was an 80’s big hair chick and wore it proudly. In fact, I was so good at big hair that I was held charge with hiding holes in all my friends’ hair. Now don’t tell me you didn’t have someone who examined your hair before going out to ensure that you didn’t have any hair holes? Any good friend would be sure and tell you if you had a hole. If I had known you, not only would I have politely told you that you had a hole, but I would have fixed it for you right then and there, as I was always equipped with my comb and a can of hairspray.  Why that Dooney & Bourke saddle bag could hold most anything....  And besides, fixing hair holes was a job I took seriously.

1980's Big Hair Chick

 I was gifted with a supple wrist for hiding holes, and good wrist action was key for big hair in the 80's.  Before going out, many of my friends had to wait for me to stop by their house to fix their holes. (I fixed more hair holes for Sami and Edye than I could ever count….).

1980's Big Hair Chick

And so the 80’s sadly ended and so did my goat hair. Throughout all the torture on my hair in the 80’s I can’t believe I didn’t create permanent goat hair for myself. It’s amazing what our hair can endure….

And so I thought my goat hair would be forever in my past.  After all, my BIG P junior high days are long, long gone and the 80's all but a distant memory...   Or so I thought. 

****  My goat hair is once again rearing its ugly head. ****

Apparently the BIG P and the BIG M have a lot more in common than I would have ever thought… 

But just as I didn't allow my goat hair tragedy to get in the way of doing good hair way back when, I shan't let my goat hair today interfere with my ability to do good Chi.   And guess what? Now I'm thinking, being that my goat hair has reared its ugly head again, perhaps I should begin looking into developing a shampoo for the goat hair challenged.  After all, I developed our No. 145 Lavender Lotion due to my lizard skin, so why not now work on a shampoo for my goat hair? Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You sing it your way and I’ll sing it mine…

So I guess I have always had a bit of difficulty understanding lyrics in songs. And yes, it is true that I have been known to really flub up some words. And yes, in some cases decades have gone by before it has finally been pointed out to me that I have had it ALL wrong for all those years.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought:

Later on, we’ll perspire
as we dream by the fire

I had the pleasure of figuring this out last week after Jack picked himself up off the floor with spewed Dr. Pepper down the front of his shirt. I couldn’t figure out why he was laughing and spewing so hard…. So what if it took me four decades and a handful of years to learn that no one was actually perspiring by the fire? I’m really relieved to know they were conspiring and not perspiring; it all makes sense now. I always loved this Christmas song and when it got to the perspiration part it just sort of ruined it for me.

While I’m on the subject I guess I will also confess another one of my little mishaps with words. Now don’t be concerned. It didn’t take me almost five decades to figure this one out. I was at least 13-years-old when I learned the proper wording of this Christmas carol. I’m just smart like that…

So this was my version for the first decade of my life:

Oh well, Oh well, Oh well, Oh well,
Born is the King of Israel

In my young mind I interpreted the song as something like this:

Oh well, so we couldn’t get checked in to one of those cozy Inns. Oh well, we don’t need a stinkin’ Inn. We can have ourselves the King of Israel right here in this mighty fine little manger. Oh well.

In the Christmas program at my church when I was little (in which I never, ever got to be Mary and probably could still use some therapy about that) we always sang Away In A Manger just prior to singing Oh Well  Noel, Noel.  So it just always seemed practical to me that the words in the song were Oh well. I mean after all, they had to settle with a manger and not an Inn. Oh well.

And plus – who knows what Noel means anyway? Jack has since informed me that it means Christmas in French. Who knew? I grew up on the Mexican border. I didn’t know anything in French.

So – in closing I won’t end by wishing you a Mary Christmas. I figured out a LONG time ago that it is Merry Christmas. Again, I’m just smart like that. But – to defend my thinking, I assumed it was Mary Christmas because, you know – it was just sort of a nice gesture to keep Mary’s name front and center since she is sort of responsible for kicking off the whole reason for the season. Oh well.

Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There are some really good people in this world!

Poncho is home!!! We are so happy.  Before I get into the story of Poncho’s excellent adventure, let me first apologize to everyone for being delayed in letting you know that he is okay.   While most of my friends and family know that Poncho was found and is back home safe and warm at Hummingbird Farms, I realized after reading some comments (and some email messages)that I hadn’t alerted those that read the blog.  I do apologize! It still amazes me that there are actually more than two people, including my mother, that reads this thing….

Baby Poncho 2004

So – back to Poncho. Just as we thought, he literally bolted during the storm. We generally would have had him in the house during a storm, but this one really caught us by surprise. I was stuck in San Antonio and Jack was in the barn dealing with about 300 other things. When it started blowing in he had no idea how severe it was going to be. It caught most of us by surprise. Anyway, before he realized it Poncho was nowhere to be found.

Those of you that know the breed know that they can track some miles in a very short time. I suppose his little instinct told him to run, and run he did. After he took off we are assuming he got disoriented in the storm and simply didn’t know where he was.

Fortunately there are very nice people in this world. A lady that happens to work at Texas Tech (Go Raiders!!) and her co-worker happened to see Poncho way out on the highway, several miles from the house. They were concerned that he was going to get hit by a car so they pulled over. As soon as they opened the car door he immediately jumped in the backseat. Poncho LOVES to go for rides. I can’t help but think that he thought if he just jumped into a car, any car, it would somehow miraculously drive him home.

Poncho with his kitty Putt-Putt, he loves all his kitties

Anyway, they took Poncho to the closest vet to see if he had a micro-chip. So – I now have to admit that I was not a good parent… Poncho did not have a chip. They left him at the vet and went on to their meeting, but with all intentions of coming back to get Poncho if they could not find his owners. A couple of days later Poncho was still at the vet and no one had claimed him. I have to say it warms my heart to know that they were going to make him a home if they couldn’t find his owners. At least I know that Poncho would have been in good hands. After a couple of days, and before picking Poncho back up at the vet, she decided to re-trace her path on the day she found him. As she drove the same path she saw our sign at our gate and thought what the heck, I’ll give them a call. Can you believe it??? We were so excited we couldn’t stand it. Jack was out the door and on the way to the vet’s office before I ever got off the phone with her. (Although we had called our regular vet, we hadn’t called this particular one.)

Oh – and just so you know, we had the vet micro-chip Poncho before we brought him back home….

I just want to say THANK YOU NICE LADY FROM TEXAS TECH!!!! We are very happy to have him home. Most of all, thank you for all the efforts you made to find us and most of all THANK YOU for wanting to keep him in case you didn’t find his owners. I know he would have been very happy with you. Again, it is assuring to know that he would have had a happy home. AND- if you happen to read this, please get in contact with me. We wrote down your name and number but in all the excitement we cannot, to save or lives, find where it is. We would like to send you a little surprise….


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rain is good, but Hermina is a wench!

So we desperately have needed rain, that is true, we just weren't expecting it to be delivered to us by Hermina.  I don't know exactly how much rain we got because I never like getting my shoes muddy to go look at the rain gauge thing.  I assume that makes me not a farmer being that rain gauges and the like should be on top of any good farmer's radar.  Not that rain isn't top on my radar, it's just that rain gauges aren't.  Now shoes, they are on my radar... 

Besides, I don't have to worry about reading the rain gauge when all I have to do is see what my neighbor Dottie reported on facebook.  So - I will go with what Dottie says:  13.22 inches.  Can you believe it?!

I have already given far too much attention to Hermina, as she doesn't deserve the limelight on my very prestigious Lavender Chick stage.   We are so over her, that Hermina.  Ever since she planned her rendezvous over Hummingbird Farms, our gentle giant Poncho has been missing.  Like I said, Hermina is a wench. 

Poncho come home!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Secret Garden in Fredericksburg, TX: A little behind the scenes story...

This post  is about a store and a couple of drug reps.  So... sit back as I take you back to the very early 1990's when I was a pharmaceutical drug rep and had a co-worker named Kathy. We worked really well together and took our job very seriously. We sold drugs for breast cancer. How much more serious could that be?

Kathy and I had a wonderful working relationship and developed a great friendship. I remember the first day that Kathy was moved into my division at work and I took her around to meet her new customers. Our first stop was the oncology floor of a major hospital. As we were riding up the elevator Kathy asked me if we would actually see cancer patients on the floor. I told her that although we were simply dropping off some patient education materials, it was likely that we would see some patients. Kathy started crying before we ever got out of the elevator, cried the whole time we were in the hospital, and cried the rest of the day.

To make Kathy’s first experience of visiting the oncology floor even that more traumatic, my Aunt Gayle was coincidentally on the same floor with her very good friend since childhood, holding her hand as she lay dying of breast cancer. Aunt Gayle was the first person we saw as we got out of the elevator who sadly informed us that just minutes before her friend had died. It was a tough day. And now looking back, it was a day that would be a defining moment for both Kathy and me.

I knew immediately that I was going to love working with Kathy because she just got it (not to mention she was just a really great person); she understood that there was far more to our job than selling and representing.  It was about people and their lives and we understood that our drugs would mean life or death for many women (and men, breast cancer does occur in 1% of men).  We dedicated a lot of our time spreading the word about financial assistance programs and support groups. The company we worked for was always more than generous in supporting these causes.

In some ways it seems like it was so many years ago, but in other ways it seems like it was just yesterday. Although I ended up moving on with my career and moved to three different cities before settling back in Texas, Kathy stuck with it for several more years. We always stayed in touch and she always referred to my moving on as “when Debi left me to do this by myself.”

While working together, I always knew that Kathy had a dream of moving to Fredericksburg, Texas and living in a little historical farm house (what in Fredericksburg is known as a Sunday House) and having a little store on Main Street. And for those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you are aware of my dream of living on a farm with lots of animals.

Today, with cow manure on my high heel shoes, I’m here to say that dreams do come true!

But with a few twists and turns, of course.

About ten years after our first day together on that oncology floor, Kathy ended up taking early retirement and yes – she moved to Fredericksburg, bought a Sunday House, and owns a shop on Main Street! And after a handful of relocations, I finally got to live that dream of being on a farm with lots of animals (and cow manure). And, believe it or not, I’m 20 minutes from Kathy!

But, let me explain the twists and turns that sometimes come before the living your dream part. Ironically, Kathy and I shared another similar experience, one that she and I would have never, ever imagined or predicted. About eight to nine years after that first day together in 1994, Kathy and I both became patients taking the very same breast cancer meds we used to sell. Who would have ever thought it??? We certainly didn’t.

I was diagnosed first, and then Kathy was diagnosed about a year later. I still shake my head when I think about the irony of all of this. So yeah, it was a little unexpected twist, but a turn that made us all the stronger and grateful for how our lives are today. We don’t have any regrets.

Kathy and I are both completely cancer free AND working together again!

Her shop on Main Street, The Secret Garden, is our exclusive Main Street store in Fredericksburg that carries Hummingbird Farms Aromatherapy Body Care. Yes, we once again are partners!

And it just feels so right.

So please – if you are ever visiting Fredericksburg, TX, please stop by The Secret Garden and visit with Kathy. Kathy will ship anywhere in the country! Also, check out her blog here. Below are pictures of some of the beautiful and one-of-a-kind items you can find at The Secret Garden, not to mention of course, Hummingbird Farms Aromatherapy Body Care!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

And the longhorns at Hummingbird Farms all agreed.....

Yes! The green grass in the yard is indeed much tastier than that dry hay out yonder.....

Happy Labor Day weekend!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A blessing to start your day

Both of these pictures were taken weeks apart, and both in the morning as I was bolting out the door for work. I love both of them because it is as if our dog Poncho, and our longhorn Gayle, were both getting their morning blessings from St. Francis.

I found it quite interesting that they both decided to lounge about in the same spot. Poncho is a Great Pyrenees and weighs about 125. He's our gentle giant. Gayle is one of our longhorns; in fact, one of our three original. She is really sweet and kind of shy and has two sisters named Marsha and Kathy. Gayle is also our gentle giant.

Or gentle giantress?? If a man is a giant does that make a woman a giantress?

Hmmmmm. While I ponder that one, y'all have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Because life’s too short to have five jobs and only 5 cats….

Although I was stricken with guilt for about 30 seconds on 500 different occasions this summer, I did what was necessary to snap myself out of it (have a mango margarita). In spite of the guilt, I had an explicitly wonderful summer! A summer that included some girlfriend weekends (including getting to spend a weekend with a high school girlfriend I haven't seen in 25 years!), a family reunion, a few impromptu trips, a wonderful 4th of July which included Big Bend Cowboys Baseball and a day trip to Lajitas, which is one of my most favorite places on earth. Oh – and a few days with our niece Jilly Bean all to myself AND our nephew Stephen. The guilt was worth it.

So – why the guilt? Well, Jack and I had to make the decision of which direction to take Hummingbird Farms. We could either continue to keep the farm open to the public or we could declare ourselves an official body care business.

We’re a small potatoes little business trying to grow – well, let me retract that: We’re a small potatoes little business trying to figure out what in the world we are doing…. The only thing we know for sure is that something had to give. We could use all our time and energy keeping the farm manicured and open to the public, or we could use our time and energy building the body care line (and hopefully future lines), and more importantly, take time to figure out what we’re doing and where we are headed.

So no surprise, the body care business won out.

Although we made the decision not to open the farm (which is what caused the guilt), we will always be forever humbled and indebted to our beautiful blooming fields in 2007 that gave us the inspiration to just do it…. To plunge forward into our wholesale body care business! This doesn’t mean that we will never open again. But – for now, having 5 jobs plus a farm open for touring is a little hectic, we had to do a little prioritization. And - I simply didn't think I could handle another summer of missing out on life by going 24/7.

Okay – I’m exaggerating. I only have 4 jobs….

So with all that said, since we weren’t slaves to our farm all summer we were actually able to have some weekends to do what life is all about.


And live.

And living we did! In fact, we kept so busy doing things we loved and enjoyed that blogging kind of got put on the back burner for me. Sorry about that. Not that I don’t love blogging … I simply made the choice to spend more of my free time with my family and friends.

Oh – and one other thing! We went a whole summer with only acquiring one new animal – a record! We now have a new kitty named Slider; named so because he was found after a day of watching a whole lot of baseball. And those of you that know us also know our philosophy: If they find us, they’re ours….

The girls in the fam having fun...

Aunt Deb & Jilly Bean

Dad and his beloved Big Bend Cowboys after winning the Continental League Championship!

Jack and Stephen on the banks of the Rio Grande

I can't tell you what a great summer it has been! Since our very first lavender field was planted back in 2003, we really have not had a summer of fun. Of course we still kept busy during the week and often on weekends, but we had a little wiggle room for the first time in a long time. I gotta say - it's the way life should be....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Sunshine Girl

Originally posted on Friday, June 22, 2007

I thought I would tell y’all the story of My Sunshine Girl, a.k.a., Lupe. Our bossy little girl that found us, and who has been ruling the roost ever since, no pun intended.

Jack was out working in the field a couple of years ago when this object came fluttering towards his face. Catching him off guard and not knowing what was coming his way, he instinctively blocked his face with his hands. Half a second later, this thing fluttered back around and landed right on his index finger. Jack looked at IT - IT looked at him and said, “chirrup”.

I was in the barn talking to Paige on the phone. Okay ya’ll, not much can pry me from the phone. Especially when it’s Paige on the phone, but when Jack walked into the barn with a bird on his finger, I got off the phone. Click.

Jack sat the bird down on the desk and she started pecking at the newspaper. She was looking for food. I had some wild birdseed at the house, so we headed back to the house, our new little friend in tow on Jack’s finger, to get her some food. Okay y’all, you have to envision this. Our barn is not that close to the house. Probably about 250 to 300 yards. We’re walking with this bird on Jack’s finger and she just sits there. She sits on his finger the entire walk just looking around like she’s checking the place out. She never even attempts to fly – she never even flapped her wings. She just sat there.

We get her in the house, I put some birdseed in a little bowl and she starts eating like there’s no tomorrow. So much for “eating like a bird”. After literally inhaling her food for about 30 or 45 seconds, she then looked up at us and started chirping a mile a minute. She had something to say and she wanted to be heard. I’m sure she wanted us to know what she had just endured.

It probably was something like this:“I just can’t tell you how exhausted I am and what this little journey entailed. I had to dodge big birds, cats, high winds, and the elements to get here. Put me to bed NOW. I’m tired and in no mood to chat. Where’s my new cage? It better be nice and roomy. I’m also noticing you have some cats around here. Be sure you get me in a safe place, but DON’T shut the door on my cage, I can’t stand that!"

Right then and there I told Jack that her name is Lupe. I don’t know why, that’s just what popped in my head. And right then and there, Lupe copped her little attitude and it hasn’t changed in 2 years. She rules our world. This is her house, we’re just visiting.

Lupe on Debi's shoulder in 2005

She tells us what’s on her mind all the time. And the DOOR. DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR on her cage. She’s fine staying in her a cage, she spends most of her time inside her cage or on top of it, but DON’T close the door. She WILL let you know how she feels about a closed door. Trust me. Lupe’s door stays open.

(Updated sidenote, 7/11/10: A while after this post, Lupe injured her wing and was no longer able to fly. After that injury she no longer minded her cage door being closed, she knew her limitations. Although unable to fly, she spent plenty of time with us outside of her cage. )

Lupe, Jack, and Abe 2010

Okay y’all. Now the strange stuff about me is going to come out. You may choose to never read another post of mine the rest of your life when I say this. You may think I’m just too weird and need some professional help, but – okay, I’m going to say it.

I think Lupe is my great grandmother. If she’s not my Granny, she was sent here by Granny. There’s a definite Granny connection. Again, don’t ask me how I know. I just know.

When I was a little girl my Granny would always tell me things that I found so amazing. Of course, when your 5 and 6 years old, many things told to you seem amazing, but Granny had some REALLY amazing stories.She would tell me things like, “I heard you got a new little dress yesterday with yellow daisies on it.” Since I was such a bright, almost genius-like child (lol), I would ask her how she knew about such things. Her response was always, “A little bird told me.”

In the summers at her house, on a daily basis she would tell me little factoids about myself – I was always amazed at her knowledge, and she would always tell me that she knew these things because a little bird told her. So of course, I would spend the rest of the day in the yard looking around everywhere for this little magical bird that could talk. I wore myself out looking for this bird.At night when it was dark and I could no longer search for the bird outside, I would ask Granny more questions about her bird. She would describe the bird in great detail and all the little things this bird would tell her. She told me that this bird would come to her bedroom window every morning to tell her things about me. She said that this bird was always watching me, and that this was how she kept up with me. I wanted to find this bird more than I wanted to ride in Santa’s sleigh.

Lupe IS this little bird y'all. She even looks just like the bird Granny always described. I would beg Granny to catch the bird and put her in a cage in the house so I could see her, but, Granny would tell me that this little bird was a special bird, far too special to be locked in a cage.Okay, call me half cracked, that’s okay - it could be true. But, I’m just here to tell you that wonderful things happen at Hummingbird Farms, including birds landing on your finger. Jack always says, “It’s magic out here”. It is. And I still have other magical stories to tell you…

We will miss you, Lupe. Thank you for the joy you brought to our home.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bluebonnets at Hummingbird Farms

It's a beautiful spring here in the Texas Hill Country. This patch of bluebonnets was quite a surprise for us. They popped up just adjacent to our barn. We've had them every year, but never like this. So of course now I'm inspired to plant a WHOLE bunch of seeds for next year! Well, let me re-phrase that. I'm inspired to get Jack to plant a whole bunch of seeds for next year....

Throughout the Hill Country there are cars parked on the sides of the roads taking snapshots, and more specifically, taking pictures of their kids and pets in the wildflowers.
Lisa sent the picture below to me. Not sure where it came from, or I'd give them credit. The only thing I know is that it was taken in Texas.

Texas and rattlesnakes - it happens. Even in the bluebonnets....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Every Soul Has A Story

I’m sure I have probably mentioned to y’all before how I like to rummage around in antique store and flea markets. Whenever I come across something personal, an item with a name of the person that owned it, I can’t help but think about that person and let my mind wander. The majority of the time I will buy the item simply to honor that person’s memory and legacy. I don’t know why I do it, I just don’t like the fact that someone’s personal items are just sitting around collecting dust for a bunch of strangers to walk past and never notice. To me, it was someone's life, and no life should ever go unnoticed.

Maybe another reason it bugs me for these personal items to go unnoticed is because I don’t have children. It’s probably something kind of silly to fret about, but I don't like to think about all my beloved things getting loaded up on a truck someday for strangers to rummage through to sell, buy, or consider worthless and chunk. I realize at the end of the day it’s all just stuff, but I like my stuff. And I suppose, children or no children, everyone's stuff at some point in time gets rummaged through. But MY stuff means something to me. If you see something on my shelf or hanging on my wall it most likely has a story. I can tell you why I bought it, when, and where, or who gave it to me, why, and when. I guess I'm saying my stuff has meaning to me.

That saying about junk should be just the opposite to me: "One man's treasure, another man's junk."

So that's just me…. I don’t have a problem in the world with those that have their homes all color coordinated or theme/style coordinated; those who buy stuff because it coordinates with that for which they are trying accomplish. It’s just not for me. That’s all. But I do love all different types of style and I LOVE reading design books/blogs for great ideas on how decorate with my meaningful stuff.

So – why am I talking about all of this? Okay – here’s the story (sorry it took me so long to get to the point of this post):

Remember when I posted about these old magazine covers that I framed? I was intrigued when I found them because of the beauty of them. They were actual paintings, not photographs. I also liked them because they were from the 1930’s, a very rough time for our country, AND they had the name of the subscriber and their address stamped on the cover. If interested, you can read more about this post HERE.

This is a snippet on what I wrote about the person who received the magazine above (her name and address is on the top right hand corner of the magazine cover).

My mind can't help but wonder about these two ladies. What kind of women were they? What did they farm? What kind of homes did they keep? I can't help but feel that they must have been from farms of affluence, being that they could afford a magazine subscription during the depths of The Great Depression. Both my family and Jack's family were living on farms during the depression. However - from the stories I've been told, having a magazine subscription would have been quite an extravagance.

What's also interesting to me is that Katie Huelsebusch didn't have a title before her name. That was very unusual for the time. So - was she still single and reading 'The Farmer's Wife' in preparation of becoming the perfect farmer's wife? And then of course my mind REALLY wandered about Ms. Katie from La Grange and I thought, hey! Maybe she was Katie without a title before her name because she lived at the Chicken Ranch..... Don't tell me y'all haven't heard of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas!!?? Dolly Pardon and Burt Reynolds know all about it.....

So I wrote this post a few months ago. Being forever amazed with connections made on the world wide web, you can now slap me silly because last week I received this email from Katie Huelsebusch’s great-great niece!

hi, you don't know me but I was on the Internet and saw the comment about Katie Huelsebusch. She was actually my great-grandfathers older sister. She was born in 1892 or 93 and died in 1973. She lived in La Grange as did most of her 11 other brothers and sisters. She never got married, but she didn't work at the chicken ranch. She lived with her brother Adolf I believe. If you ever drive through La Grange Texas you will see a road on Hwy 71 called huelsebusch rd, which used to be rt. 1 if I remember correctly. Anyway, I hope this helps

Okay – so maybe Miss Katie didn’t work at the Chicken Ranch, but I did peg it that she never married. See what I mean? I love finding old things that are personalized so I can fantasize about that person’s life. I think it’s important to honor ALL life and not let their legacy die.

After all, EVERY person on this earth is someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s father, someone’s friend, someone’s lover.

And one last thing about Miss Katie. Had she worked at the Chicken Ranch, I wouldn't have judged her at all; not now or then. It's her life, her story.

Now I want to honor Harold Pape. I came across this old autograph book at the antique mall in Fredericksburg. As soon as I saw it I couldn’t put it down and had to bring it home with me:

After reading the signed pages in the book, it is obvious that these are schoolmates of Harold’s from probably junior high. Because the pages are dated 1938 or 1939, I assume if Harold is still alive today he is probably around 85 years old.

Each signed page is dated 1938 or 1939, with the exception of when his Aunt Lillie signed his book on December 25th, 1937. My inquiring mind tells me that Harold’s dear old Aunt Lillie bought him this book for Christmas, being that she was the first to sign. It also sounds like Harold and his Aunt Lillie had a fun and wonderful relationship. That, of course, warms my heart because I like to think that my nieces and nephews think of me as that fun-loving aunt that makes them laugh.

Dear Harold - When you get old and ugly as some folks sometimes do, remember that you have an aunt that is old and ugly too.
Your Aunt Lillie

From the pages in the book, it appears Harold had some great friends. Here are some snapshots I was able to take of the pages in the book. There were many pages, but here are a few:

Dear Harold - When the golden sun is setting and your mind of care is free, When of others you are thinking, will you sometimes think of me?
Your friend, Maurine Wahrmund

Hi Harold - First you love Viola, then you love Oline, next you love Dara Lee, and the next, don't ask me.
Good-bye, June

Uh oh - Do you think June had a bone to pick with Harold?

Dear Harold - Remember the red bird, remember the dove, remember the day you fell in love.
Your sister, Annabel

You know what else I loved about those that signed Harold's book? Their names. Good old classic names: Ruby, Lillie, Pauline, William, Annie Mae, Annabel, Walter, Mary, June and Charles.
So here’s to Harold and all his friends. I hope he continued those friendships throughout his life. And as his friend, Annie Mae, wished him on January 4th, 1938:

“May every blessing God can give bring peace around you while you live.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Old Pal Dave

My friend David, 1970-something

Due to the magic of the Internet I was able to get reconnected with a friend I grew up with in West Texas. David and I went through elementary school, junior high, and high school together. As is often the case, we lost touch after high school and went our separate ways. He joined the army and I started plotting my plan to become the big city sophisticated girl I thought I was supposed to be.

Anyway, decades passed and then, thanks to the world wide web, we were able to get reconnected. I have a lot of memories of David back in school. I remember when a mean girl pulled out his hair in either 3rd or 4th grade – and I mean REALLY pulled it out! He had like a two inch bald spot in the back of his head as a result of that little winch! She was the female version of Eddie Haskell; grown-ups liked her, but I always knew exactly what I was dealing with. I also remember a very special talent that David had; I envied his talent and practiced it at home all the time, but much to my dismay I could never get it down….

David had the splendid and unique ability to turn his eyelids inside out!

In elementary school David would woo us with his eyelid talent during recess. He would pop those suckers inside-out and then chase us all around doing a Frankenstein/zombie-like walk. We would all scream and holler and then of course laugh until our sides hurt.

David is a housewife and, like some housewives do, he reads my blog occasionally. Yeah, I said it… I called David a housewife. Give me a break! He calls himself a housewife because, well – he is! He stays home, his wife works outside the home, he cooks, he collects various house wares, and he sews. And I mean big time sews! I guess the proper term I should be using for David is that he is a dressmaker. He can make his own patterns and he even teaches sewing classes!

And if anyone has an issue with a guy that likes to make a house a home and designs cocktail dresses, well – this is David today and you can take it up with him!

Among the many talents of David – eyelid turner-outer, dressmaker, and inventor of jalapeno cheez bread, he is also a collector of green glass. He just likes green glass….

So when I posted a picture a while back of my new morning room, he immediately zoned in on the two green canisters sitting on the shelf above my coffee pot. Those green canisters actually belonged to my grandmother. As long as I can remember she had those green canisters in her kitchen. After she died I brought them home, but somehow in all the packing up of her things I only got home with two of them.

This is the picture I posted when Dave spotted my two green canisters:

Fortunately for me, my old friend Dave noticed that I only had two canisters on my shelf. He immediately e-mailed me and said, being a collector of green glass, that he had the 3rd canister of that set if I wanted it. Of course I was filled with glee and took him up on his very kind offer. Plus – he said he had more green glass than Quaker has oats and needed to start moving some out.

So here’s the box that arrived at my house a few days later. I thought the box was kind of big and heavy for one small canister, and to my surprise when I opened it, he had sent me an entire set!

Aren't they fantastic! Oh - and since I'm bragging about my talented friend, David, I might as well also tell you about that platter that is sitting behind the canisters in the picture above and ANOTHER talented friend of mine from elementary school.

Lisa, my friend since 3rd grade, made me the platter above! Isn't is fabulous, too? It is a platter made of stained glass - and it's green glass!!! No - she didn't make this for me in 3rd grade, she made it for me about ten years ago. She's one of my many very talented friends; she's a photographer, a painter, a stained glasser'r (??), and she's even done mosaic floors for entire rooms! I'll have to show you some pictures of her mosaics someday.

What is it with me and my talented friends from elementary school? The only talent I have is the ability to shoot the bird with my toes....

Okay, so back to David. The picture above is how my morning room looks today with my display of Dave’s three green canisters that sit next to my grandmother’s two canisters. I love seeing them up there and they always make me smile.

And although I was never able to pick up Dave’s talent of eyelid turner-outer, I have been able to pick up his hobby of green glass collector!

Lord help me…. I’m lovin’ the stuff now and trying to brace myself each time I pass by a flea market or garage sale. Gee thanks, Dave! I would have been far better off if I could have just picked up the eyelid thing….

Thanks for the canisters, Dave!!! I love them! And I think you're pretty great, too!

And - just so y'all know, David has a blog, Life Through Greyeyes, and you can click HERE to check it out!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bless those little baby horn nublets!

Look y'all! Little baby Belle is growing horns! Next thing you know Belle will be going off to cow college...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Different, but not less: Temple Grandin, you’re my hero!

Temple Grandin and Claire Danes (in costume as Temple Grandin) on the set of HBO's "Temple Grandin" biopic.

The HBO movie Temple Grandin is a must see! I’m sitting here watching it for a third time and am sure I’ll catch it a couple of more times while it airs on HBO throughout the month of March. Dr. Temple Grandin is a real life person, and what a life she has had!

As I watched the movie, I kept reflecting back on our own cows and how each one has its own unique personality. I have spent hours just watching our longhorns, it is relaxing to me, almost like meditating. I wonder to myself what they are thinking, and as I sit with them longer I'm able to understand more about their behavior and the pecking order they have created amongst them. It's really amazing to watch how they communicate with one another.

Jack feeding the cows; eating "cake" as we call it....

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is known as the most accomplished and well known adult with autism in the world. She is a prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism, but her autism is not what defines her. She is a recognized leader in her field of animal science. She has written over 100 papers on technical and scientific livestock handling AND is a top designer of livestock-handling equipment to help reduce the stress of livestock during handling. I spent my morning watching her lectures via You Tube and learned so much about her mission in life for the well-being of livestock. The movie about her life actually resonated more strongly with me the second time I watched. There is a line in the movie which more or less sums up what it is she has aimed to create. Her character, played by Claire Danes, says regarding cattle:

“Of course they’re going to get slaughtered. Do you think we would have cattle if people didn’t eat them everyday? They would just be funny looking animals in zoos . We raise them for us, that means we owe them some respect. Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be. I wouldn’t want to have my guts ripped out by a lion, I would much rather die in a slaughter house if it was done right. We can easily design a way where they don’t feel pain and they don’t get scared.”

I get that.

The first longhorn bull calf born at Hummingbird Farms. What a beauty!

When you live on a farm or ranch you understand the cruelty of nature: the coyote that ate the baby fawn; the raccoon that ate the chicken; the opossum that ate the robin’s eggs… I’ve also seen the epitome of cruelty in nature, which was in 2001 when Jack and I spent a month in the bush in Africa. Nothing will ever ring more true about nature until you have witnessed the cruelty that exists in the wild.

Our standard poodles, only 4 months old, meet the longhorns for the first time....

It was assuring for me to learn more about Dr. Temple Grandin and what she has accomplished. The fact that she is autistic is only secondary to all her other contributions to science and the humane treatment of cattle.

Just a day old; this longhorn was named Gran, after our sweet neighbor....

Temple Grandin has been quoted as saying, “most people don’t get that a slaughter house is much gentler than nature. Unfortunately, most people never observe the natural cycle of birth and death. They do not realize for one living thing to live, another living thing must die.”

Cows are curious, and they like to play.....

As an animal lover, I have battled with the idea of beef my entire life… Eat? Don’t eat? Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Is it humane?

One thing that Dr. Temple Grandin has helped me understand loud and clear is that it is inevitable that cattle will be slaughtered and the sole reason they were bred and are here in the first place is for us to eat.

Except for MY cattle… My longhorns are my pets and are here for pure joy. Even when my herd gets too big and we have to sell, they are only sold to suckers just like me…. Someone who will hand-feed them and love them and let them simply be the fun-loving wonderful creatures that they are. Our longhorns are raised for what we call “ornamental” purposes. Believe it or not, there are people that have longhorn cattle for their majestic appearance as they roam the range. I guess you could say that we raise beauty queens…. And every fine ranch needs its own beauty queen, or ten.

The movie Temple Grandin is so well done and I’m glad I stumbled across it. If anyone believes that an autistic child can't prosper, they need to see this movie! If you don’t have HBO you can come over to my house and watch it with me for a fourth time because I recorded it. Long live the DVR!

And long live the humanity of all the fine creatures that feed this great earth!