Critters…

I’m no stranger to country critters.  Raccoons.  Possums.  Coyotes.  Hoot Owls.  Buzzards.  Snakes.  Spiders.  Mice.  You name it, I’ve encountered it.  (…probably.)  Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily ENJOYED my encounters.

If you know me well at all you know that among all of the above listed creatures, mice rank at the top of my list for giving me the heebie-jeebies.  That’s a very technical term… heebie-jeebies, you know.  It’s that feeling you get when something creeps you out to the Nth degree. It’s become a comical thing in our household… me and my heebie-jeebies.  There’s even a dance that goes along with a heebie-jeebie attack.  It’s quite comical, as well.

After moving further south I have a NEW “top of the list”.

Friends, meet the Kansas rattlesnake.

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Insert screams, shudders, tingling sensations in the spine, any sort of heebie-jeebie type dance movement that your body may involuntarily convulse in.  These dudes are BAD to the bone.  …and they like to lurk in all the wrong places.

This guy was happily minding his own business in the tall grass next to the hay barn at our house.  Grady happened to be weed eating on this particular day and “got him”.  This is just a little too close for comfort.

As I said before, I’m no stranger to rattlesnakes.  They frequented the yard I grew up in as a child on our family ranch not far from where we are now.  But… that was a REALLY long time ago, back when dirt was being invented, as my kids like to say.  So, it had, OBVIOUSLY, been “a while” since I ran into one.

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This was the very first one we came across since the move.

**Sorry for the gore, but I don’t like to take pictures until they’re good and DEAD.  …and “chopping” them is the only effective form of extermination.**

This guy was under that big rock in a pasture where we have a set of pens for shipping out cattle.  Tucker actually found him, which frightens the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of us.  He had been playing out there while he wasn’t needed.  After we were done loading cattle and sent the cattle pots (rancher’s term for a semi hauling cattle) on their way he told Grady that he “thought” there was a rattlesnake under a rock, but wasn’t sure.  Lo and behold he was right!  Mr. Rattles was just chillin’ out under that rock.  We made sure to educate Tucker on what they look like and sound like.

Throughout the summer Grady has come across many more.  It’s routine for him to carry his pistol in the truck for easier extermination.  He tries to bring home the rattles for Tucker, who is fascinated with them.

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I’m really hoping that this collection stays small!!!!

 

Peace, love and NASTY rattles.

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Rock Crawlers

This has been the most draining five days.

Saturday: Monkey versus the stomach bug

Sunday: Birthday party preparation and celebration

Monday: Tucker versus the stomach bug, a violent match

Tuesday: Tucker recovers from the stomach bug and Monkey comes home from daycare with fever chills, a cough and nasty digestive issues.

Tuesday night: Monkey wakes up twice with more fever and a yucky tummy

Wednesday: Mommy and Monkey stay home

She woke up fever free this morning, but still with the yuck tummy.  I have no idea what the day will bring.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to get better as the hours tick by.

My poor kids have never been this sick, especially not all at once with TWO different illnesses.  I’ve been knee-deep in vomit, bleach cleaning spray and hand soap.  I’m really praying that Grady and I can stay healthy and no one else ends up with the flu.  Do they make sanitizing bombs?  I think my house needs one.

In the midst of all this sickness insanity, on the ONE day we were ALL healthy, we had a fun little adventure in Papa Mike’s (Grady’s father) pasture.  Living in the middle of the Flint HIlls of Kansas means that the grasslands are lying on top of a HUGE bed of flint rock.  Rocks EVERYWHERE.  My FIL’s pasture has some interesting rock formations that attract this really crazy group of people we call the Rock Crawlers.

These guys don’t crawl on rocks the way you may think they do.

They like to crawl on rocks like this….

DSC_0192 copy VEHICULAR Rock Crawlers, my friends.

These guys are nuts.  I think they’re nuts for shelling out the insane amount of dough for the tires alone.  You’ll see what I mean.

Tucker got a big treat!!  Our local UPS man is one of the Crawlers and I think he has one of the better trucks.  This boy got the ride of a lifetime.

DSC_0194 copyDSC_0198 copyTuck’s shy smile says it all.  He’s NERVOUS and SO excited all at the same time.

DSC_0201 copy DSC_0203 copyHere they go.  That truck is going to drive UP and over that rock ledge.

For real.

DSC_0205 copyDSC_0209 copyYes, my heart skipped a few beats.  My BABY is in there!!!!

DSC_0212 copyDSC_0214 copyThese guys don’t just rev their engines and barrel up the rocks.  This whole process is very slow and methodical, hence the name “Crawlers”.

DSC_0215 copyJust like Monster Trucks the front and rear axles turn independently of each other.

DSC_0218 copyDSC_0225 copyTo me he looks… stuck.

DSC_0228 copyOf course not.  He made it.

DSC_0240 copy..and he made this little boy’s DAY!!!

Thanks, Brian!

DSC_0242 copyThis guy was trying a different spot.

He was having a really hard time getting the job done.

He finally gave up and Tucker’s new friend came in and showed him how to get it done.

DSC_0251 copyDSC_0253 copyDSC_0257 copyDSC_0260 copy…and that’s how you do it.

(Blows my mind.)

There were some really interesting looking trucks.

DSC_0276 copyThis dune buggy ran on propane rather than gas.

DSC_0281 copyDSC_0184 copyDSC_0185 copyDSC_0266 copyI was only there for about 45 minutes.  This went on and on and on and on for the whole afternoon.  Grady and the boys stayed for THREE more hours.  I actually had to call to tell them to come home and help get ready for the party.  Talk about a testosterone rush.  I’m just glad there is NO room in our budget for a hobby like this.

Peace, love and cool crawlers.

Just a Little Roastin’ and Farmin’

A few weeks ago we had the perfect Saturday evening for a weenie roast.  We lit the fire and discovered that we were going to get to watch the neighbor cut the soy beans in the field around our house.

DSC_0163 copyI’m always intrigued and fascinated by the machinery and how it can cut, sort and discard everything in one fail swoop.

DSC_0167 copyTucker got the opportunity to ride along.  He was so excited!  His first time in a combine.

DSC_0154 copyAs we watched the sun was setting and coming through the trees and the dust.  It was nothing short of spectacular.

DSC_0161 copyDSC_0151 copyIt was a beautiful evening.  We couldn’t have asked for more.

Simplicity.

Family.

Nature.

LIFE.

I was reminded again of how thankful I am to live in a place that teaches my children every day where the food on their plates comes from.

What a blessing.

Peace, love and country livin’!!!

Recharged

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…….

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join a magnificent group of ladies for a spiritual retreat at a local YMCA camp ground in the heart of our flint hills.  This was the beauty that we were blessed with all day.

I will admit that I was a bit nervous to go.  As much as I love stuff like that, sharing my personal thoughts and feelings in front of a group is WAY outside of my comfort zone, especially my spiritual thoughts.  I get VERY emotional about it.

I will fully admit that I was coming up with excuses of why I needed to stay home and do other things, but in the end I made myself go and was SO glad that I did.

DSC_0087 copyI knew most of the ladies there.  I’ve been attending church with them for 10 years.  I knew I was in a safe place and my thoughts and feelings were safe with them, as well.

There was so  much greatness that I took away from my day, but what stuck with me the most was this hymn, which we were encouraged to pray daily.

CHRIST BESIDE ME

Christ beside me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, King of my heart.

Christ within me, Christ below me,

Christ above me – never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,

Christ all around me – shield in the strife.

Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,

Christ in my rising – light of my life.

It was such a comfort to bring into my heart the reminder that no matter where I am, where I go, what I do, God is there surrounding me with his love and protection.  He is there to guide me and teach me.  I only have to be open to his wisdom and love.

We also spent a great amount of time meditating.  Have you ever tried it?  I think it’s a very personal thing. 

I LOVE it!  I’ve suffered from anxiety attacks for years.  They don’t happen all the time.  I struggle with them when life if incredibly stressful and I’m feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, like the last 4 months.  Having someone guide me through the breathing exercises, centering my mind and calming my nerves was exhilarating.  I can’t even begin to describe the calm that washed over my mind and heart.  I need to remember to allow myself to take the time to do this at least several times a week.  Allow myself to just BREATHE.

DSC_0085 copyI am so thankful for the day I was given, thankful for the ladies who hosted, thankful for those who shared so openly, thankful for the fellowship of sisters.

What an AWE-SOME day.

Peace, love and RENEWAL!!!!

Nature is SO Cool!!!!

By Sunday I was feeling SO MUCH better!!!

By Monday I was back to my old self.  We loaded up the kids, Papa and Jackie and headed for the hills for a little family fishing outing.  I grabbed my camera, excited for the opportunity to get some great shots.

I was NOT disappointed!!

DSC_0175 copyTucker is studying dragonflies in school so seeing these guys up close and personal was really exciting.

DSC_0159 copyMy dream?  To see this out my kitchen window every morning.

Serenity.  Peace.  Love.

DSC_0233 copyDSC_0158 copyThis picture is NOT an accurate account of this little turkey’s demeanor on our outing.  Add a lot of wailing, alligator tears and clinging to Mommy and you’d have a better idea of how it went down for the first hour.  The need for a nap was the culprit.  Thankfully, I packed the Kindle.  She read a book and “colored” while the rest of the family fished.

DSC_0206 copyDSC_0153 copyThis grasshopper was HUGE!!!!!  Let’s just say he could have easily been the same size as a small field mouse.  Grasshopper on steroids!  He became fish bait shortly after this documentation.

DSC_0149 copyDSC_0188 copyDSC_0232 copyDSC_0194 copyDSC_0215 copyI’m not sure what the official name for these blue flowers is, but I refer to them as blue bells.  They cover the prairie this time of year.  I love the blue hue it casts against the vibrant green grass.

DSC_0199 copyIt turned out that the fishing wasn’t that great that day, but it was so nice to be outside in the glorious weather enjoying nature and all it’s beauty.

As gorgeous as the late summer days are I’m ready for fall to make it’s announcement.  I am looking so forward to the gold and red and deep orange colors to appear.

What’s your favorite season?

Peace, love and bug fun!!!

Taking It All In

This morning I stepped out on my deck and was taken back by my rose moss.

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Does that ever happen to you?  Do you see something day in and day out?  You walk by it everyday not really noticing it and then one day, not any particular day, just one day, you REALLY see it.

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For whatever reason, it makes you stop in your tracks and just take a deep breath.  Your eyes widen and a smile crosses over your face as you take in the beauty of whatever it may be.  It pleases you.  Your soul feels full and you can’t seem to get enough of it’s beauty.

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That was me this morning.  I love all of my flowers on my deck and I love sitting and just taking them all in, but this morning I was walking by the sliding glass door and the rose moss was in full bloom.  The array of colors in the bright sun sang to me.  I dropped what I was doing and grabbed the camera.

DSC_0005 copyThis little bee just made it all the more interesting.DSC_0016 copy

He was certainly hard at work.

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What’s taken your breath away lately?

Peace, love and soul breaths!!!!

Father’s Day 2013

We had a low-key relaxing day with Grady’s dad this year.  It was a nice change of pace from the rat race we’d been dealing with for a few weeks.

Grady drove us to a few new places that we hadn’t fished before.  It was a gorgeous day to be out.

DSC_0088 copyI was really impressed with my little guy.  He’s learning well from his daddy.  I was surprised when he “wormed” his own hook.  Little Sis watched in wonder.

DSC_0090 copyThe only help he required was for Mommy to hold the hook steady.

DSC_0099…and for Papa to get the fish OFF the hook.

DSC_0101 copyCade out-fished everyone that day.  Bittersweet for his dad who loves to see his kids excel, but gets slightly urked at being outdone.

DSC_0094 copyDaddy kept leaving the SpongeBob pole in the truck so Jackie let Miss Monkey fish with her.  I’m sure she’ll be a natural.

DSC_0122 copyWe moved a few times and ended up at this really gorgeous spot.

DSC_0116 copyDSC_0120 copyAfter much persuasion we finally got her to touch the fish.  It’s always so comical.

I am NOT a fisherman.  I don’t have the patience for it.  But… I do love to go along.  I’m always looking through the lens and chasing a kiddo around.

DSC_0103 copyI love, Love, LOVE the Flint Hills of Kansas!!!  Miles and miles and miles of beautifully green hills dotted with cattle.  Miss Monkey and I took a little stroll around the pond.

DSC_0113 copyDSC_0126 copyThis is why this part of the country is referred to as the Flint Hills.  The country is covered with these large flint rocks.  We had to be careful because they’re home to snakes, lizards and spiders.  We didn’t see any snakes or spiders, but were entertained by an interesting lizard.

DSC_0128 copyI’m not sure what it is about this picture that puts a smile on my face and brings peace to my soul.  It could be Monkey’s profile or the vibrant colors or her carefree nature, whatever it is makes me want a HUGE print for my wall!!!

The day was great.  It ended with a campfire cookout of steaks and potatoes and a few cold beers.  Perfection.

Peace, love and fish tales!!!