Thursday, July 28, 2011


I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. I have a good excuse, though. I've been in ninja-training.

Not really.

Betty went to her new home, though!

She's in northern Colorado now, where it's not 118 degrees, which it was here yesterday. Maybe I should have stipulated that I go where ever Betty does, at least for the next eight weeks.

I also enrolled in college (again).

I have been pretty stressed out with having to jump through quite a few hoops to be approved to pursue a second degree. Thankfully it's all worked out, though. Now I can concentrate on stressing about getting into graduate school!

I also managed to get a job that will work with my school schedule.

I used to wait tables when I went to school the first time. It actually was pretty good money--more money than I would make working minimum wage somewhere a few hours a week, and I enjoy the pace as well.

Did I think when I went to law school that I'd be back waiting tables one day? Nope. But the way I see it, the rest of my life right now is a lot like my house--a little sacrifice and discomfort now will hopefully pay off exponentially a few years down the road.

And in the meantime, I can always fall back on my ninja training.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Seven Things--Scorch'n Hot Edition

As I sit here and write this, it is 92 degrees in my house. I was outside a little over an hour ago and it was 2092 degrees outside. OK, I might be over-exaggerating a tad, but nevertheless, let's face it--it is a hot and miserable son-of-a-biscuit-eater out there.

I don't have a very good excuse for not blogging much lately. The fact of the matter is I just haven't felt like it. I've done what I've had to each day and that's it. The creative urge is gone--seems it headed northward when the summer temps got out of control. I wish it would have taken me with it. Jerk.

Anywho...although I haven't written about them, there have been some things going on around the farm lately:

1. Despite its best efforts, the drought hasn't killed everything.

Almost everything, but not everything. I love echinacea.

2. It's not only the heat that's been cooking.

I broke out the good china when I made this caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from my garden. I've also grilled up some killer lean turkey burgers and used whole grain Sandwich Thins as the buns. They turned out especially yummy!

4. I've enrolled at Hutchinson Community College--again. I'm taking biology, chemistry, and medical terminology. I hope I don't jinx myself by mentioning it on here, but my goal is to get into the Physician Assistant program at Wichita State next year. I'm really excited about going to school again. I loved attending HCC and WSU--they are terrific schools. I just hope I'm smart enough to make the grades I need to transition from a degree in English Literature to medicine.

5. I've been working out again. The cats haven't.

I've finally been able to maintain a steady weight-loss for a few weeks now. I was simply not exercising enough and taking in too many calories. So now I basically eat the same thing everyday so I don't have to worry about calories (1200 calorie diet) and I exercise for 2 hours a day. It might sound like a lot, but keep in mind, I come from hearty peasant stock--we're built for hard labor. In other words, I'm an easy keeper. I just pray the weight continues to come off. It's so easy to get frustrated and give up when it doesn't.

5 1/2. I'm going to try to enter the Prairie Fire 5K (again). I really want to complete a 5K! I've already started training and I have until October, so that should give ample opportunity for my back to go out and recover again in time for the event!

6. I've been wanting to post pictures of my horses since I haven't in a while, but the poor dears are so hot and sweaty it's just sad.... I do think a "bath day" is in order, and I'll get pictures then. They are so hot and sweaty, combined with the oil from the fly spray and then all the dust from not having any rain, that I think they've gotten more baths over the last few weeks than they have in their entire lives. I'm trying hard not to strip the oil out of their coats as well, so it's a balancing act. To bathe or not to bathe, that is the question.

The horses, not me. Contrary to rumors to the contrary, I do bathe.

7. I'm proud of my garden.

I just thought I'd come right out and say it. I think my veggie/herb garden is unusually aesthetically pleasing this year, and considering the drought and temps, I feel like this is an accomplishment I deserve to feel good about.

Oregano (above) and rosemary (below). I've been researching recipes and I think I'll be making rosemary lemon chicken in the crock pot later this week.

It doesn't hurt at all that the recipe calls for white wine. Although I'll only need a cup of Reisling, I'm sure by the end of the night the entire bottle will be "used."

Waste not, want not *hiccup*,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

High and Dry...OK, Just Dry

In case you didn't hear, like many other parts of the U.S., we're having a historic drought here in southern Kansas.

I've heard that it has been the hottest summer on record so far, and couple that with the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowl days, things are pretty fried. Including me.

However, being the eternal optimist that I try (or at least want) to be, I have decided there are some good things about this extreme summer weather. Here are the top five best things (as if there were more than five) about a drought:

(1) There is opportunity to redesign my landscape, since almost all the plants I've planted in the last year have now gone to meet their Maker.

(2) I get to build up my immunity to dust.

(3) No worries over having to mow the lawn!

(4) I don't have to worry about tracking mud into the house.

(5) I get to add onto my tumbleweed collection!

From one ex-stream to another,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Better!

To say that Sophie is slightly spoiled is akin to saying Charlie Sheen is slightly out of his gourd. It's ok, I'll admit it, without shame or excuse. What can I say? She's my girl.

However, one of our rituals is probably a bit over-the-top, even for the spoiled-dog designation. I can't even remember how this started, but if I don't follow through, Sophie is relentless. It goes something like this (and sorry for the crappy lighting and even crappier blue carpeting--this is part of the house yet to be remodeled).

Sophie: "YELP!"

Me: "Oh no! Sophie, did you get hurt?"

Sophie turns up the big-brown-eyes.

Me: "Oh no! Are you ok?"

Sophie rolls over pitifully. She is clearly at death's door.

Me: "Let me see..." and I pat around on her.

Sophie insists I check her over while making sad-puppy-face.

Me: "You're ok!! Walk it off!!"

Sophie doesn't "walk" anything off. She goes directly from not having the strength to stand to her version of the cyclone in The Wizard of Oz.

Me: "Yay! You'll live!!"

Sophie Cyclone continues. I think I see Auntie Em!

Finally, Sophie stops. She is back to normal.

Whatever that is.

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain. And her little dog, too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turkeys versus Bull Snake

A couple of times this summer the turkeys have "found" a snake. When they find a snake, they sure let me know. They make the oddest sound--a sound they don't make any other time. It is apparently their "I found a snake" sound.

This one was hidden pretty well, and he laid very still while all the commotion was going on around him.

What commotion?

This commotion (with a little help from Sophie and Evie):

The turkeys thought about eating the snake, but they were already stuffed.

Thanks folks, I'll be here all night. Don't forget to tip your server.
~The Bird Lady

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Time To Pay

Today I ran to Wichita (and boy are my legs tired...nyuk, nyuk) to get a few things taken care of so I can enroll in college (again) on Friday. I managed to make it up there quite early, and WSU is so friendly and helpful that I had everything done by 11am. I didn't want to go home and sit in a hot house, so I decided I'd go have lunch and then see what the day brought. I was good for lunch--a salad with grilled chicken--and then I decided to walk around the mall for a bit. After I got bored with that, I decided to head west and stop in at a couple more stores to look around before heading home.

Unfortunately on my way across town I drove right past a Coldstone Creamery. Now, I can't imagine anyone not knowing what a Coldstone Creamery is, but just in case, it's the most super-delicious and most-evil ice cream store ever. I haven't been in one since last September, but over the last two weeks I've had wicked cravings for ice cream, cake, and brownies (cursed sweet tooth). I've been doing well, exercising and eating right, and have managed to get back down to my pre-lay-off weight, but the cravings have been standing their ground. Seems they cannot be stopped.

Viva la brownies and other scrumptious treats!

I went to my stores, but the call of Coldstone held its horrific grip on me until I could resist no more. Before I knew it I was inside ordering a Birthday Cake Remix.

And it's not even my birthday.

To my credit, I did only get the "like it" size. And I didn't even eat it all.

OK, I ate it all, but I didn't lick the bowl.

OK, I licked the bowl. [looks away in shame]

Anyway...the good news is that my cravings have been successfully quenched, but the bad news is now I have to figure out how to burn off all those calories this evening--625 calories to be exact!

Oy vey!!

Well, today I was planning on doing pilates anyway (which I try to do every-other day for my back), so we can automatically subtract that: -119 calories for a half-hour of pilates.

That leaves 506 calories. I'm in a heap o'trouble. Here are my options:

Shoot a bow and arrow for almost two hours.
Blog for five hours straight.
Play the accordion for a little over three hours.
I could ice fish for 2.75 hours, but sort of hard to do in 109-degree weather.
Skydive for an hour and a half.

Eh, maybe I'll just jump on the treadmill until I collapse. I tell you though, it was almost worth it.

Sweet dreams,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day (redux)

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your time with friends and family!

I thought I'd post pictures from 2008's celebration. My sister, her boyfriend and I all went to Powell Gardens.

They had a beautiful African sculpture exhibit.

We picked a spot and listened to the orchestra while we waited for sunset.

And the fireworks began!

This one was a camera error but I kept the pic because it looks like a horse :)

Another camera error, but this time a dragon!

The finale:This year I didn't attend any fireworks displays, but that's just fine--there will be plenty more, and in the meantime I have great memories like these to tide me over.

Everyone have a blast!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

17 Months Later

The other day I started organizing some of my digital photos, and I stumbled across some pictures I had taken of the place in March 2010 (when I moved in). Even though I'm the one who has done the work (with a lot of help from my Dad--thanks, Dad!), I had forgotten just how far this little old farm has come in only 17 months. I went out yesterday and took pictures of how all the areas look today, so here are the before and afters:

Entrance to main turnout before:


North of old sheep barn before:

After (a lot of work still to do, including tearing the old building down, but there is still progress):

Horse-area, looking southeast towards (at the time) non-working vapor light pole:

After (still need to finish fence but the vapor light works and all the old crap has been cleaned up!):

Horse area, looking south (the burn pile in foreground was actually 10' tall):

Horse area, looking south, after (need to mow and weed landscaping, and Eddie's grave sunk in again--after I already leveled it off, but those are minor compared to the before):

Inside the horse area, looking south, before:

Inside horse area, looking south, after (still need to finish fence and water spigot and tank will be moved this fall):

My immediate backyard before:

Backyard after:

Another view of the backyard, before:

Backyard after(!):

There is still so much to do, but it's fun to look at these and feel such a sense of accomplishment!

Work, schmork....