Thursday, April 30, 2009

From Wolf to Bear

Chojuk had his big Blue and Gold Banquet last weekend. (It was a busy weekend!) The Blue and Gold Banquet for the Cub Scouts is where they give awards, and promotions, to the kids. Chojuk went from being a Wolf to a Bear.

These are his buddies. At A&M, your "buddies" are the folks you are in the Corps with. The ones who suffer through the tough stuff and celebrate the achievements with. I think it's safe to use that term with these guys.

This is our fearless leader and her son. She is fearless. And that woman thinks of everything! She is organized and on the ball. She doesn't miss a beat and doesn't let our boys miss one either! When we slow down as a den and don't feel like moving, she drags us through! Everyone should be as blessed as we are to have such a wonderful leader!

She found this cool ceremony for the boys to do at the banquet. They had their faces painted. Each stripe was unique to the level the boys had achieved and each stripe and color meant something. The Nutty Papa painted Chojuk's stripes so I could take pictures.

Chojuk loved having his face painted! He asked if we could do it again tomorrow. "Maybe for Halloween."
We had a fun time at our banquet! Now on to the Bear requirements...
Anyone know how to handle a knife?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Ballet Cycle

My Mom did it. I did it. And now my daughter has done it. Danced. In a recital. I'm so proud!

We put on the makeup. She LOVES this part. Can't you tell?

Then we put on the itchy, scratchy, costume... with the pokey, pinchy crown. Beauty is pain, I tell her.

She lined up with her other teapots, and....

"...Here is my spout!"

It was so fun to see her dance! And there were 6 little girls all with different approaches to this dancing thing. There was the show off, the speed demon, the watcher, Miss Independent (can you guess who that was?) and the cryer. I was beaming with pride and excitement! I just can't wait already until next year.

She's not so sure about it. But I have a few months to convince her she loves it!

Can't accuse me of living through my daughter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Holy Spirit Blesses the Nutty Forest

Yesterday, my Snugglebug and I were out at the barn. When we walked in, we spooked a dove. She flew right into the window and dropped to the ground. I hate when birds do this. Not knowing what else to do, I call to the Snugglebug, my resident animal lover, and ask him to rescue the dove. He very gently walked over to her, and picked her up. She flew down a few feel to the floor. He picked her up again. And again, she flew to the floor. We finally managed to get her out of the barn and into the grass, but she just couldn't seem to take flight. I thought if we could catch her, and put her in a box until the Nutty Papa got home, she'd be safe... at least from the dogs.

We went searching for her in the yard and couldn't find her. Finally the Snugglebug ran back to the house to tell his big brother, Chojuk. He listened carefully to his little brother share his story and suddenly interrupted. "Wait a minute... wait a minute. Did you say a DOVE? The dove is the bird that God sent as the Holy Spirit. THAT'S THE HOLY SPIRIT!! WE HAVE TO GO FIND IT!!!" And out the door they flew.

Chojuk put his detective hat on. He'd seen someone feel the ground when searching for something before, so he did too. (Such a flare for the dramatics... I can't image where he gets that from.)

Finally they agreed to check the barn again. Maybe she had returned. She hadn't. I'm afraid she flew off to die... but I just can't bring myself to suggest that to them.

We went again this morning to check and see if she'd returned. The Doodlebug joined the adventure this time... she drove her gator and wore no clothes. Ah... the life of a country kid!

There was A dove in the nest... but there's no telling if it was THE dove. The kids were convinced it was her and that she's busy protecting her babies. Then we were all informed that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and living in the barn.

So if you are looking for her, you'll know where to send your prayers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chojuk's First Communion

Chojuk had his first communion this past weekend. There were 42 children receiving this sacrament and it was a lovely ceremony. Chojuk has been chomping at the bit to partake of the Eucharist. So I am glad his moment finally arrived.

As he arrived in the church, he bowed in front of the alter. The priest, Father Gilberto, was there to direct traffic.

We prayed, and passed peace.

And then his moment arrived. He received the Eucharist with grace and pride.

And then returned to his seat to pray. It was a lovely day. I'm so proud of him.

One more sign that my baby is growing up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Coolest Thing EVER!

I had the coolest thing happen to me yesterday. I was so floored, I forgot to take pictures. Maybe I'll post some later. I am just so glad I live in a small town with the BEST neighbors EVER!

Yesterday I was taking the Doodlebug to her ballet class. As I drove down our half mile dirt driveway, I noticed the ruts and holes that I usually bump my way down were missing. MISSING! How did this happen? The holes were BIG. Enormous. And they were gone.

I thought I'd call the Nutty Papa and ask him if he knew what was going on, and I noticed a missed call from my Friendly Cotton Pickin' neighbor. No. Way. I had to call and see what was going on.

"Hello, Friendly Cotton Pickin' neighbor!"


"Were you on my driveway today?"

"Yes M'am."

Be still my heart! I just about broke out in tears!

Then he says, "I'm not done..." WHAT?!? "I was calling to tell you to drive on it... over and over so we can get that dirt packed down. Then I'll have to come back to fix more."

"Thank you so much! You just made my day!!!"

What an amazing thing to do for someone! We had someone, a professional, come in and tell us he'd fix it for $6000. And my Friendly Cotton Pickin' neighbor just does it! I don't think I'll ever be able to say thanks enough.

If I fall on my knees in prostration in front of him at the next T-ball game and sing his praises, is that a little over the top?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Nut Didn't Fall Far From the Tree

Darcy's first Dance Recital is next week. And to prove once again that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... I took pictures.

I thought I needed to practice doing her hair since every hair on her head has to be up in a "bun." We got special permission to just have a pony tail, but it's still going to be a struggle. AND... once I get it up, there's no guarantee she'll sit completely still until she dances so as not to pull it down. I take that back. There is a guarantee... that she WON'T sit still.

Anyway, I bought some gel at the store, slicked back her hair, and stuck on her crown. Then she looked in the mirror to see what she looked like.
I think she approved!

Then to entice her to sit a little longer, I offered to put on some makeup. She liked the lip stick.

Or maybe she licked the lipstick. And by the way, this is only half of the pictures I took of her. And every one is different. I just couldn't do that to you. You have other things to do today.

Then she wanted me to put "makeup on her toes." So we painted them pink. She sat so still and loved every minute of it. I'm so glad she's a girlie girl!

Once again here's proof that "I hope you have one just like you" really works.
Thanks, Mom. I feel your pain.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Feeling Nutty!

We've got nuts!
Teeny tiny, itty bitty nuts!

But they're there!

You know what this means?!? The trees have done their part, now it's time for me to do mine! Say a prayer for a bountiful harvest this year... we need it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Pride and Joy

Easter is a great time to get a picture of everyone. The kids are all hopped up on candy and sugar and in good moods... for the most part.

Here's the Baby. He's almost 2. Handsome little guy isn't he? He looks just like his bigger brother, the Snugglebug.

Here's the Snugglebug. He's at the point in his camera life where he can't quite figure out what to do when I say, "Smile!" After a few tries, I finally got a good one. Isn't he cute?

Here's the Chojuk. Man, he's getting big. But when I look at this picture, I still see that chubby little guy that came into my life eight years ago. And those dimples! Enough to melt your heart!

And then there's the Doodlebug. She wasn't happy at me for making her stand still for any length of time. She had places to go, things to do, candy to eat, kittens to terrorize.

But I won her over in the end. Isn't she beautiful!

Ah, my little bundles of joy... not so little anymore!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Roadtrip Oddities

We drove down to my in-laws to celebrate Easter. It's an easy 3 hour drive. The kids love to see the scenery change as it goes from rolling hills to palm trees. On this trip, however, we saw something we've never seen before.

Is that a zebra grazing with those cows? I couldn't believe my eyes. So I turned around on the highway and went back for a second look.

Yep. Clear as Day. There was a zebra chompin' on some grass. I took quite a few pictures...

I think he's used to the pictures and the people stopping to watch him. He didn't get spooked. Neither did his buddy. In fact, they wouldn't even look up at me. Snobs.

But I'd watch out for this guy. "Don't mess with my zebra!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm a dreamer. I always have been. As a little girl, I did nothing but dream about life as a grown up. Being a Mom. Being a wife. I'd look around and snag ideas from the people around me. "Oh, look. They have four children. Everyone has a friend. It's an even number. I like that. I think I'll have four children." Things like that.

One of the things that appealed to me was having a house. A home. That my kids could grow up in. Leave their memories in. Bring their kids to. As my kids grow, I was feeling the pressure of this dream. My inner desire to provide that stability for my children. And I began to fear it was slipping through my fingers. Until Tuesday.

Welcome to my home. This is the home my children will grow up in. This is the home they will bring their kids to. This is our home. Isn't it lovely? And it's ours.

Thanks to the help of my wonderful uncle, my biggest dream, hope, desire, has been fulfilled. He's my dream master. I had the dream and shared it with him. And he helped it to come true. None of this would have happened without him. He's a great teacher and pecan farming partner. And I feel so blessed to have someone like him in my life. And thanks to him, my heart is home.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pecan Farmin' and Marathons

After watching The Nutty Papa run his marathon last year, I learned a few things and assimilated them into my own life. (Whew! "Assimilated"! Look at that big $2.00 word! My Mama would be so proud!)

I'm starting to think being a pecan farmer is kinda like running a marathon. The leaves have broken through and are growing... it's like the starting gun. GO! So I get started at a slow pace. Check the leaves. Check the traps. Cut the grass. Jog. Jog.

Then as the weather heats up and things get to growing, I pick up the pace. Cut more grass. Kill some grass. Spray the trees. Count the nuts. Check for bugs. And it all seems to roll around faster than the time before.

Over the summer, things really get groovin'. Water the trees. Fix broken pipes. Kill the grass. Cut the grass. Watch for bugs. Shake the trees. Faster. Faster. The pace seems to pick up. Pant, pant, pant....

Then all of a sudden, the finish line. Harvest. We start running equipment, moving, shaking... literally. Pickin' up pecans. Haulin' pecans. Fixin' equipment. (See here... I'm goin' so fast now I can't even take the time to add the "g" to my -ing.)

And then it's over. We cross the finish line. Whew. We take a long sit in a tub. Drink a beer. And enjoy the break. Winter.

These are the signs that my marathon has begun. Bud Break. And this year, all the trees have leaves at the same time! It's such a relief to see things progress on track.

And catkins! Lots of catkins. We have them everywhere! Another relief. Last year, I had a whole variety... you know who you are... that didn't produce catkins. No catkins. No nuts.

Not this year. We have catkins everywhere. Look at these big fat beautiful catkins! They'll make some good nuts!

Yesterday, the boys and I set up the traps. I am part of a research group that tracks the movement of "the enemy," the pecan nut casebearer, across the state. I'm one of the more southern orchards, so they hit me first. I'm honored to be a part of this program. But more than that, they help me. They let me know it's time to spray. The Great Pecan Man goes out everyday and hunts for bugs on the tree. That's what the professionals do. Us rookies need a little more guidance. So thanks to the folks at Texas A&M (WHOOP!), I get free traps and they tell me what I need to be doing. It's a win-win, I think!
They send me these funny looking cone things to place in the middle of that grid. The grid is EXTREMELY sticky. So the bad guys go flyin' in there to see what that smell is and they get stuck on that goo.

I hang the traps in the trees for the little guys. They fly right in and don't know what hit 'em! Then I go everyday and count how many I've caught. When I hit my peak, I wait 10 days and then hit 'em with the tough stuff. I kill them, their babies, their Mama's, their crazy uncles. No one is spared! Mwah, ha, ha!

So to all you Pecan Nut Casebearers out there, come on in! The weather's fine!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What a Good Share-er

Bear had to eat lunch with us today. He had to sit in the chair, eat the food and drink the milk.

Sometimes it's the simplest things that make us the happiest.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Experimenting in the Orchard

Dr. Pecan wants to try an experiment, and until lately, hasn't had any volunteers. Oh! Me! Pick me! Me! Over here! I love experiments! We'll do it!

... what do you want me to do?

Cut down trees? Huh? Hmmmm. Well... now I can see why he hasn't had any volunteers.

Dr. Pecan has an idea. He thinks that if we cut a pecan tree down to the ground, and let it grow a few sprouts, we'll be able to graft a new tree onto it as opposed to planting a brand new baby tree or trying to graft big limbs. Sounds like a plan. And I have LOTS of trees that are in the wrong place. I have a row of this with some of that in there. Or some of that with a little of this in there. I'd really like to see them all be the same variety as I walk down the row. So we're going to give it a try.

The Nutty Papa is an expert at cutting down trees. He's cut a few in his time. He is an Aggie you know. He went to "cut" for bonfire. This is easier though. It's with a chainsaw. So he cut down 8 trees for us last weekend.

He was closely supervised.

And everyone did their part cleaning up the tree.

Gulp. And here's what's left.
-sigh- I hope this works!