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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fav photo of the day


Stephen booked a wedding to photograph yesterday. I was not pleased with most of the photo's that I took through out the day, mostly because I was struggling with a flash that wasn't taking commands from the camera. The flash wasn't zooming in and out like it normally does, I suspect this is because I was jacking around with it and changed something I shouldn't have. Thank God Stephen is the photographer and we rely on the photos he takes and not the ones I take.

I did however manage to take this photo at the reception, which isn't of the wedding its self, does not have the bride or groom or wedding party in it but is still my fav for the day. Not so much because it is a great photo but more because the family was so willing to huddle in close for a snap shot of them celebrating a special event. There where some people who didn't try to hide the fact that they really would rather not have their photo taken, one lady even told me I couldn't take her photo. A photo means 10000000 times more when the subjects are happy to be photographed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Braces







I told Stephen to let me do the braces, then they would have looked like the ones that I did like these pics!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hawk Hunting!



Stephen received his final falconry permit on October 13th. Every since that day we have spent every afternoon and entire weekends looking for a hawk for him.

We have driven every back road from Colbert to Ardmore, Tishamingo, Atoka and Durant. I am positive that we have put in over a 1000 miles. Up until this point Stephen and his mentor has spotted on passage bird (a hawk under one year of age) but the spot wasn't a good one and the hawk wouldn't attempt the trap due to traffic.

We have seen a lot and trapped a few but in the end it was always a hag (a hawk over a year old). So a lot of other falconers have been going on about this place called Hackberry Flat/The Wet Lands

Hackberry Flat surrounds Fredrick , which is a good 3 hour drive from where we live and we need to be there by sun up. Hawks hunt at sun up and in the evening, they like to sore during the middle of the day. Needless to say we woke up at 3 am yesterday and was driving toward Fredrick and the Flats. We met up with Sephen's mentor and his daughter on the way and traveled by two vehicles with hand held radios in each for communication. Stephen and I took with us our 18 month old daughter (Katie) who has been a real trooper with all the driving around the last couple of weeks, and Our 11 year old daughter (Shelby) who only got involved with the whole hawking adventure because she wanted to keep the hampsters that we used as bait. Now she is an Ace Hawk spotter!!

We arrived about 3 minutes from Fredrick just as the sun was rising! I think this is the first time Stephen and I have ever watched a sun rise together and we spent it looking for hawk movements lmao..

Once the sun was up and we where moving into Fredrick we spotted some birds. One amazing looking hawk that was uniquely extremely dark. In fact we had written him off as crow when Stephen and Steve (the mentor) both realized that no this was a really dark hawk. Unfortunately this hawk was no fool and the trap was not about to trick him.

We then found a passage bird that hit the trap before we could turn around to see it. This one made me sad really. She was a beautiful bird but it was apparent that she had an encounter with a power line and didn't fair so well. If I had all the qualifications to rehab birds this one would have been my special project! She was missing a lot of wing feathers and some of her tail feathers had came out and she now had 2 red tail feathers to replace them, but the red feathers where damaged and her future wasn't looking bright.

Stephen has been trying to get me to look into all the test and requirments for rehabing birds but I have been reluctent, that is another story for another day. But I think this bird changed my mind and I can see Stephen and I getting into the rehab area.

Steve had to head back at noon because his daughter had a soccer game to attend. By noon we where tired and thirsty and hungery but not willing to give up. So we left the flats and headed into town. We had sandwiches and soda and went right back out looking for more hawks. Determined that we wanted the trapping to end and the training to begin.

We drove around until 3pm, my eyes where acking, my body hurt and I was beyond exhausted. Stephen was getting down about the whole thing as well. We spotted a bird and chose to trap it just for moral really. This was no nice bird! we sat the trap and went to turn around and she was already on the trap. Stephen did the release but the bird had grabbed hold of the towel that he used to cover her face and refused to let go. in the end he had to just lay her on the ground and walk away so that she could fly off. Most birds fly away from you as quickly as possible. This hag flew straight up to the pole that we had trapped her off of, by the time we got in the car and started to leave she was eyeballing us, feathers all turned out and was actually stomping her feed like a child throwing a fit! She was pissed and we couldn't help but laugh.

After that we drove around some more until about 4 pm. Stephen finally said look we aren't getting the hawk today lets just drive home. However we did choose to drive the longer way so that we would be in Oklahoma the entire time so that if we happen to spot a hawk we would be legal in trapping her.

At a few minutes until 5 we spotted two hawks on poles and decided to go on and try trapping at least one just to see what happened. The first one bumped off and wasn't interested so Stephen moved the trap just 3 or 4 poles down to the next hawk. Before we could go half a block and turn around she was on the trap and flapping around.

We sped up to her and jumped out of the van. I had to pause to grab my camera so Stephen got there before me. He had a towel on her before I could get the first shot. but her feet and tail feathers where out. All I could think or say was " those are not red tail feathers!" ( red tail feathers meaning she is over a year old) . By 5:05 pm Stephen was standing my the side of the highway with a shit eating grin on his face showing Shelby his hawk!

We had to finish our drive home and didn't get here until around 9:30 pm, unload every thing and wait for Stephen's sponsor to get here to help him with the initial stuff. Putting on the leg straps and showing Stephen how to handle the hawk.

The hawk had not been happy to be shoved into a box and driven hundreds of miles in an unfamilar place. We could hear her in the box having a fit and before long she stunk up the van. It turns out she had already eaten a lot and threw it all up. I was shocked to see how much she had thrown up. She had to be pretty much full when whe went for the trap, greedy bird is all I can say.

Official gender of the hawk, per Steve, a female, we named her Zoie. Stephen was up until almost midnight just practicing having Zoie on his hand. This is the first steps of training her, because she isn't used to him and he isnt used to her, they have to spend a lot of time just getting used to being near each other.

Stephen says his arm is sore and Zoie is still a bit shy but she isnt trying to fly off of his hand any more. The next 3 weeks should be interesting. I for one am pleased that the trapping is done and the late night training falls on Stephen!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bee Killers!!!



Right now I should really be helping Stephen develop some 500 photos that are due tomorrow but I needed a minute to rant!!!!
A couple of years ago Stephen happened into trying to save a hive of honey bees. Now for those that are unaware honey bees are disappearing at a rapid rate. With bees disappearing the price of produce is climbing. This issue will only get worse until bee keepers across the world can bring the bee population back to a rate high enough to pollinate enough produce to meet the consumer demand.The last bit of information that we read indicated that bees are under government protection. To kill honey bees could cost you a nice hefty $500.00 fine! I suppose we need to do the research and verify if that is indeed still the current law. With our with out government protection one would think that with most local news channels buzzing about the missing bees most people would be aware that killing a swarm of bees is not a good idea!

At the time that Stephen saved his first hive there where two other people with him. Those people wanted to rob the honey from this enormous hive and let the bees fly off and either find a new home or die. Stephen's one good Samaritan hive is now 8 hives buzzing up our back yard.

In the process of all this I got sucked into the bee saving missions. I have learned quite a bit about bees, their life cycles and their purpose in this world and find myself as focused on saving them as Stephen is.

One of the men who was there when Stephen got his first hive lives only 2 houses down from us. Today there was about a thousand bees laying dead in this man's drive way. We heard of this because a local cop stopped us and ask if we knew what was going on and why those bees where dead. Of course we had to go see what was going on.

Apparently the man's wife saw a swarm of bees in their drive and instead of calling some one to remove them (most people charge for this service, we NEVER charge for removing bees) .. she politely takes a can of bug killer and sprays the swarm!! THIS IS SOOOOO WRONG TO DO!!!!

Stephen was so mad, but just informed the man that what his wife had done was against the law.

There where still a lot of bees swarming around and we couldn't find the queen in the pile of dead bees. So we picked out box and I went into the house to find some lemon grass oil. We happen to store the extra boxes next to he bee hives, so in order to get to them we have to walk right in front of the 8 active hives.

I came out of the house with a q-tip that had half a drop of lemon grass oil on one end of it. (Lemon Grass Oil attracts bees). As I walked in front of the bee hives bees pretty much swarmed all around me and followed me to where Stephen was waiting with the bee box.

We then went to where the dead bees where and set up a box with this q-tip inside it. I of course had lemon grass oil on my hands. I wanted to recheck the pile of dead bees for the queen. As I was looking for the queen bees where buzzing me.

The photos above are of the bees going into the box to get the lemon grass oil. We are hoping to catch enough of them (and the queen) to save the swarm.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Tuskahoma Oklahoma

I took the time to upload more photos than I normally do because I just couldn't choose which ones I like best ..

We went to Tuskahoma Oklahoma on Friday night. Tuskahoma is the Capitol of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Apparently Choctaw put on an amazing festival every year. This is the first year that we have known about it. It was a drive to get there but for 10 bucks a tent you can turn up on Friday and stay until Monday. Its a lot like the Magnolia festival we here with a couple of big differences. First of all no on camps at the Magnolia festival and second a night at the Magnolia festival always cost us an arm and a leg.

The festival at Tuskahoma is pretty close to absolutely FREE!! yes a said free. You have to pay for camping ($10.00) and your food (which you can bring your own, buy it there or go about 5 minutes down the road which is really cheap) and if you want to play carnival games ( where you win stuffed animals ) that cost, But the rides are free and the concerts are free.

I have no problem saying no to carnival games, I always have felt that they are a rip off but the rides, well its impossible to take a child to a carnival and say no to the rides.

This week end they had Billy Currington, Wynonna Judd, Gretchen Wilson and a few others. Just for the record this is my 2nd time to see Gretchen Wilson at a Choctaw event and it confirms to me that I just cant support her music, I love some of her songs but She has lost my respect. Choctaw is very anti-alcohol. Their reasoning may be debatable (they feel that Indians are very susceptible to become alcoholics but they support gambling which also can be an addition) but rather or not Choctaw have a debatable reason they are the one's who hired her and she should follow their request.

The first time I saw her was at the Casino and my daughters and I met Gretchen Wilson back stage, she was three sheets to the wind and left her dressing room trashed with beer cans. This time she pulled out the whiskey on stage and her and her band members drank it in front of the crowd. I am not against drinking and had a glass of wine tonight but she was told she couldn't drink but openly did any way. Needless to say I have lost respect for this woman and won't purchase her CDs any more.

Other than just not respecting one of the singers and taking cold showers we had an amazing time this week end. I however will not complain one bit about sleeping in my own bed tonight! lol

Yesterday we had a stroll through the arts and crafts building and then Stephen wanted to find a place to go swimming. We got directions but we ended up some where other than the swimming area. We really have no complaints about getting lost. The whole area is so beautiful we enjoyed just driving around for a while. It rained for just a few minutes and then we took a few photos.

First there are a couple a photos taken from the window of the van as we drove 50 mph across a bridge.






Then here are a few that we took just after the rain stopped.











I was driving back and I saw this amazing view through some trees, so I stopped, backed up and went back to get a few photos..




Then finally there are a few of this man in the arts and crafts area that was using this odd tool to whack on a rock that eventually becomes an arrow head. I found it interesting and I also found the man interesting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Alexis Rae








ok for those that don't know my life story, I got married right out of high school to a man that was almost 10 years older than me. Yeah dumb teenager!.. My now X had two children a 4 year old boy (Steven) and a 2 year old girl (Summer). The very weekend that I was moving in the kids where coming for a week end visit. That visit lasted until the kids where 15 and 17! One longggggg weekend. My X drove over the road for several years and then worked nights when he stopped driving over the road. I always worked a full time job and managed what eventually was 4 children. I may as well have been a single mother of 4 for many years.

Even though I didn't give birth to Steven and Summer they are my kids and always will be. Today they are grown and have children of their own.

Yesterday Summer gave birth to her second child. Talon Joe was her first baby almost 2 years ago, yesterday she brought Alexis Rae into the world at 6lbs 15oz.

Steven has a daughter, Cloey Lane and is about to have another daughter in the next couple of weeks. Cloey is 3 years old so for the last 3 years there has been a battle of wills over what they should call me and now my husband too. I am way to young to be a ganny, nanna or grandma, pluss they have their birth mother to name as well. Steven and Summer's birth mother told me yesterday at the hosptial that if she is being called granny then I better anny up and get a "grandmotherly" name! lol.. I just feel like I am not old enough and not ready for that kind of name.. I have to sort out something quick because the kids have started telling them to call me "mimi" or something .. I am only 34 I should not be worried about "granny" names yet!!!

However the granny name does not change the fact that I have the most beautiful grandchildren in the world!!! So welcome to the world Alexis Rae and I promise to get a name sorted that suits us all before Alexis can talk!

The photos above are my son Steven, his wife Carissa and Cloey, then Talon Joe holding his sister Alexis, next is Summer holding Alexis and the rest are Alexis as it was her birthday!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We had a strange visitor in our flower bed today


















This morning I decided that it was past time to weed the flower beds. The last time I did this was for the 4th of July!! Yea umm we had as much grass as flowers. Shelby was gone to a friend's house, Katie was in her play pen with Stephen and I and Sara was making random appearances at the door. I think she just wanted to remind us that she was here and totally bored with the whole gardening thing..

At one point Sara ask what was this huge bee thing, I assumed it was a honey bee (because we have several hives in the back yard). I didn't think much of it after that But then after several hours in the sun we had a much needed water break and I sat on the front steps. I saw yellow and black and again though it was a bee.

Stephen pointed out this "bee" to me and we both realized this was no honey bee. I was so amazed just watching this thing buzz around.

It just happened that the cat had been attacking me (in a playful way) earlier and I had taken a photo of her, so my camera was just inside the door. Lucky for me that the camera was there because I impressed myself with a couple of the photos that I managed to get.

I did a little research and found that we had a
Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth in our garden! Apparently these are moths that look a lot like a bumble bee but hovers and flies a lot like a humming bird.

any way I was amazed by the moth and impressed with the photos that I managed to snap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

sometimes a new look is just hard to find

So Shelby is the one person in our house that is bold enough to go REALLYYY short with her hair. I some times think about it but well my ears are way to big!!

Shelby's hair is better short, its extremely straight and healthy but if it ever grows past her shoulders it starts to get thin and ratty. There is nothing like spending an hour after every bath trying to untangle that mess while she cry's because it hurts.


Shelby finally talked me into letting her go reallly short a year and a half ago. It took her a good year of
asking before I gave in. She went short and spiky in the back and left the front fairly long. Its a hard look to pull off but for Shelby it just fit her.

We really should buy stock in the Got 2 B hair products. The first thing we used was the Got 2 B Glued, from there I think we have tried all their products. The Glued is the best spiker ever and I like some of the hair sprays and gels to.

Honestly since she got that hair cut, I have never taken her any where that people don't stare and people always comment that they love her hair. She always gets "cool hair", "I love your hair" and "mommy I want hair like hers!!".

The first photo is one of my favorites of Shelby, yes there is something drawn on her face, it was left over halloween make up and we where playing around with it. Several people have said she looks like Twiggy in this photo.

When it starts growing out its
a bit difficult to do anything with and starts looking a mess. But after the same hair cut for a year and a half she wants something different. Its a bit hard to go different from SHORT!! She found a photo of some girl with her hair cut except the bangs where cut short also. We did it tonight, I think Stephen isn't happy with it but Shelby is and well its hair and will grow back. I suppose we will still be supporting the Got 2 B collection because its the only hair product that holds Shelby's hair. With out the Got 2 B Glued her hair would never stand up. My mother would have never let me do any thing like this with my hair and I always said that with the exception of coloring it black they can do any thing they want. I wont let them color it black because its difficult and extremely damaging to reverse. My kids have had all lengths and pretty much all colors of hair. This summer it was purple streaks. Its been pink streaks and blue streaks, what ever its all temporaryy and hopefully a phase they will grow out of by the time they are ready to get jobs!

As for Shelby's new look, I think I like it and really wish I had the face for it, simple and easy and hassle free!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

where does the week end go?






So Stephen and I went fishing Friday night. We staid until late then went decieded we needed some fishing gear. We made a run to Wal-Mart and got new poles and a few gadgets. Saturday morning we where up early and back at the river.

It was so strange being at the river when the water so really low. The fish where every where, and jumping up into the air like crazy. There where several people out fishing at 6 AM but no one was catching anything. This young guy offered us his left over bait and one fairly large catfish. He had been there over 12 hours and caught one fish!

I actually saw several large fish surface for a second, then duck down and come back up to do a big flop but none of them seemed bothered to even nibble at our lines. I finally gave up and took a wonder down the river bed.

There are some amazing birds that tend to fly low and right over head. Of course when I remembered to bring my camera none of the birds flew close enough to get really good shots. I only took one lens and really was wishing that Stephen had brought his camera and his big lens. I have put a slide show on the side of my page with the photos that I took (oh and one photo of a fish that Stephen caught Friday night).

Spent the rest of Saturday with my niece, her husband and their 4 year old son (Keith). It was Keith's birthday. The boy is really into the Transformers at the moment. It was fun to see him get so excited over his presents. I am glad they are back in Oklahoma for the moment but honestly I am not sure she will last long. The thing about my niece is she has been in California for several years and she is very independent. I really don't think she will be happy back here where family is so close. Not that she and I don't love our family but neither of us are the clingy type and most of our family is clingy or at least in your face types of people. I don't think it will be long until she ventures at least to OKC or Dallas.

We spent this morning working in the yard. Stephen finally figured out what the huge flowers are that we have for the fist time this year. Hollyhocks. Those things are huge (7 to 9 feet tall) and beautiful while they are blooming but once they bloom they look really shabby. I wanted to find out if we could trim them of if they where the type of flowers you let bloom then cut down until next year. Turns out we can trim them so Today I did just that. I still have yard work to do but it just got way to hot. We escaped the heat by coming indoors and spent the rest of the day moving Katie in with Shelby.

I am not sure that I will sleep tonight because this will be the first night for Katie to sleep outside of our bed room. She is 14 months old and I am just not sure if she (well maybe it should be I) am ready for her to move out!

I am exhausted though so we will just see what happens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

tooooo tired and sunburned to move

So we had our 4 day week end and its almost over.. Saturday we photographed that wedding and honestly with the drive and long day what else could we have possibly added to the day....well nothing else really..
Sunday we did a couple of quick things around the house, then spent the rest of the day at the lake with the kids.
Monday we spend the day doing some shopping that REALLLLLYYYY did not need to be done, for example we spent way to much money in Lowes..more on that later.... we also had lunch at a new place that we found in Durant. It is called 2nd Street Bakery. Stephen and I both had the chicken salad which reminded me a lot of this chicken salad that we had at a wedding and I worked out what all was in it so that I could make it for some other event. Lets see if I can remember....
boiled chicken breast ( chopped into small pieces) or if your like me and in a hurry a couple of cans of chicken.
walnuts
grapes ( cut in half)
celery
a package of the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (mixed as directed on the package)
chopped onions
hmm that is every thing, or at least what I can think of..any way it sounds odd with nuts and grapes and ranch dressing but its really really goood
The bakery had a selection of breads, we tried the pepper jack bread and it was really good! so we brought a loaf home.. I am now wondering where it is and what sort of excuse I can find for having some now.
Any way after our splurging we headed home for some WORK on our day off... We spend the rest of the day unloading the stuff that we bought, Stephen and Shelby ran to pick up some free supplies for the project we where about to do and then the hard part started.
I had less than great AC in the van the year before last (when I was pregnant with Katie) the AC would blow nice and cool for a few minutes, then the darn thing would switch to heater and no matter what you did the heater would not go off, so most of the time I just left it off so that I didn't have to deal with he heater.
Then last summer we where driving along with the AC on because Katie was a small baby and I was scared she would over heat. All of the sudden we smelled smoke and then the AC went off for good. We could feel air trying to come out of it but the blower wasn't working.

This ment that most of the summer and all of the winter I had no AC or heat. We didn't bother to fix the van because we just used Stephen's car really. I was the only one that was really having to deal with it. After having a look on line at some auto parts stores I just couldn't bring myself to go get the stuff to fix it, the price was about $300.oo for the whole blower unit.
For some odd reason we went to Auto Zone on Monday and Stephen was checking out when I suggested we just find out what the motor only cost and at least get that for now. I have been reluctant to take Katie any where in the van because it has been so hot. My idea at the time was that if Auto Zone wanted to much we would stop by the salvage yard and check their prices. Turns out the motor alone is only 5o bucks so we got it.
Once Stephen and Shelby got home we worked on building up a flower bed/goldfish pond and still to come a walk way.. Then we started on the van, the motor was easily seen but extremely hard to remove. By the end of the night we had the entire dash off the van. What we discovered was that the wires coming off the blower motor plugged into this blower regulator that had shorted out. The whole thing looked like it had been on fire at one point.
I had also been having weird problems with the speedometor, which we realized was all due to this shorted out part.

Then my daughter-n-law calls and wants me to walk her through re-installing windows on her computer so instead we went to Auto Zone, then to get the computer so I could bring it home and re-install windows.
Auto Zone really turned us into O'Reilly's customers. Stephen walks in at 6 minutes until closing and the guy never looked at the part just told him to go to the dealer cause he don't have the part. We went to O'Reilly at 2 minutes until closing and they said they could order the part and have it in 2 days.
I was up until about 2 am working on the computer and then taking my daughter-n-law home. So 8am came to quickly for me but we had to try and find this part. So we went to O'Reilly in Sherman and found the part for fairly cheap.. After a quick stop at the salvage yard to get the connetors (apparently no auto parts store carries the connectors called pig tales) we finally headed home to sort out the AC in the van.
It took a long time to get the part on and put the entire dash back together. However it was well worth the time because now my AC and speedomitor works!
While Stephen was doing that I was mowing and working in the yard. Darn its amazing how much better our yard looks with the grass cut and the flowers trimmed. We have been so busy that the flower beds have been left to grow way out of the acutal beds. I attempted to mow and weed eat in the back yard but that's gonna have to be Stephen's deal, his darn bees came straight for me when I turned the corner with the lawn mower going!!
Finally we finished our so called time off with a project that was all Stephen's idea and soooooo worth all the work!!!!