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.
grapes ( cut in half)
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!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

All I could say was WOW

Stephen and I finally took two days off work so we have a 4 day week end, its such a rare thing for us to just have a few days off with nothing pressing to do. So Saturday we traveled about 2 hours from home to attend and photograph the wedding of a friend in my unit (Nancy). I choose to offer to turn up early and assist in any way I could, I made this offer because Stephen and I had a small informal wedding and still found ourselves struggling to get it all together on the day of the wedding.

Nancy is the type of person who gets along ok with every one and rarely has an issue with other soldiers, but I wouldn't say she socializes much with the unit. During annual training this year we actually got to stay in a motel and had evenings free. I never saw her hanging out at the pool or anything like that. But if you take the time to talk to her and get to know her she is an interesting person with an interesting life story. In many ways its a real shame that many people in our unit don't know her personally, they only know her by the work she does in her job to support the unit.

I would have to admit that Nancy and her new husband Jim had what was the most "red-neck wedding" that I have ever attened. However as informal and "red-neck" as it was the people attending where happy people, and there was no real wedding day drama. We turned up (after getting lost) in the back woods of Coalgate Oklahoma, at a cabin sitting on about 100 acers of deer woods ( you know where men gather to hunt deer and drink beer) . Stephen was instantly ready to sell every thing we own and move into a cabin in the woods! This was a man's place and only brave hearted women dared to enter at the risk of a cold shower and no real sign of true air conditioning (AC). Now they had a small AC in the cabin, however when your cooking food for 85 people in a small cabin the stove overpowered the AC and the only chance of cooling down came from a cold beer that could be found in any of the many ice chest on the premises. Nancy, being the bride also had the fortune of a small travel trailer with amazing AC for her and her bridal party to pretty them selves up in.

When I say this was an informal, red-neck wedding, I am talking about beer mugs instead of champain flutes, and Bud Light Lime instead of chamain, cow paddies in the isle, deer horns mounted every where, a preacher dressed in camo from head to toe and a big "yeee hawww" as the bride walks down the isle. Now I was told before hand to turn up dressed casual, some of the bridal party were gonna be in capris, Ok I had on black dress capris and a nice top, OMG I should have taken her at her word and done as most of the other guest and turned up in short and a tank top, I was smoldering and my clothes sticking to me! Honestly I think that for what some would for sure call a very "red-neck" event, this was a fun and interesting event, where every one had a good time and no one felt out of place.

I am only adding 3 photos of the wedding, I just want to give you a general idea of the how things where, later when we have downloaded and edited all of them maybe I will add a few more.

We pretty much spent yesterday relaxing at the lake and spending time with the girls and my oldest daughter and grandson. The most eventful moment of the day was when Talan ( the grandson) had to get a hair cut. I swear one day he will refuse to come see me because every time I see him I cut his hair and he HATES it.

This morning we slept until about 8 AM and sad as it is we felt we had slept in. So as we slowly moved around and started our day Stephen wonders out side in his shorts and shoes only to have a look at his bee hives. It only took him a few minutes to come running in saying that the bees where swarming!! Now Sara and Shelby have gone to their sister's to spend the night so lucky for me Katie had just fallen off to sleep for her morning nap. So I was able to grab my camera and go see what was up with the bees. I am sure Stephen will post a blog about the details of the swarm and what happened before I got out there. I can only tell you what was going on when I got outside.

I was concerned that one of our hives was trying to swarm off. As it turns out our bees where minding their own buisness and doing their own thing, none of them where trying to fly away. Apparently its fairly common for swarms of bees to be attracted to places where bee hives are kept. Now I am not a bee master of any sort, but I have picked up a few bits of information along the way.

When I came around the house to where Stephen keeps his hives, I didn't see a swarm of bees and was wondering what all the fuss was about. Stephen was working quickly as possible to ready a hive for this new swarm and I must have looked puzzled because he pointed out the bees to me.

I have always been diligent in planting flowers every spring, and often I plant bulbs that will come back year after year. Every since Stephen's first visit here he has helped me with this task. Now days (every since he started with the bees) Stephen is even more into the flower beds and plants that I ever thought about being. Almost all plants we have are pre-annual plant that specifically attract bees. Needless to say we have a lot of flowers planted all over the yard.

This swarm of bees had landed for the most part on two large flowers. I am not even sure what these flowers are, they resemble a sun flower but they do not produce sunflower seeds. There where so many bees on these two flowers that the flowers where pulled down almost touching the ground.

Stephen prepared a hive for the bees and then broke off the two flowers and dumped the bees inside the box. Again I am not a bee master but I do know that once a swarm finds a new home there are certain bees that began to "fan", basically they rapidly flap their wings and emit a scent that says "this is our new home, come move in"! Almost instantly upon being dumped into the new hive there where bees fanning on top of the hive. Stephen didn't even have the lid on yet and they where fanning.

Stephen and I stood and watched as the rest of the bees migrated from the grass around the flowers into the box. It was like they formed a line and slowly moved into the box. I was amazed at how nature works and how these bees just followed the leader and moved into this have while several bees stood at the entrance and fanned the rest of the swarm into their new home.

Stephen is currently out there looking to find and mark the queen and trying to insure that the bees do not try to swarm off some where else. I really am hoping that this swarm takes up perminate residence in their new hive. I was so impressed by the bee's natural instinct and the way the work, I just want them to stick around.
here is a couple of photos, I will post more later

Monday, June 08, 2009

To much going on I haven't managed to post anything

It seems like I haven't had a spare minute in a really long time. I had the two weeks of military training , came home and worked a week at my regular job and then had drills this week end. Every evening has been one chore after another. So I haven't had time to post a blog or take a breath or any thing.

I was pretty happy with myself last week when I put myself on the calendar to have this coming Monday off, and I had Stephen take that day off too. We were gonna have a three day weekend, leave here Friday after work and come home Monday about lunch. The plan was to go camping and just chill out. Then I went to drills this weekend and realized I had promised one of the girls in my unit that I would turn up to her wedding this Saturday. I had promised to be there early and help set up and just do any thing she needed done. I made this promise because Stephen and I found our self struggling to get things set up on our wedding day. I honestly left home only half dressed for the wedding and at the time the wedding should have started Stephen was just getting into the shower. There was a couple and their daughter who stepped in and helped out, if it had not been for them none of the tables would have been decorated or anything. So I gladly offered to be there to help with all these details for this girl. I am not complaining, and have no regrets about he offer.

However I could kick myself for not asking for Monday and Tuesday off! I have never ever taken a vacation. I need some down time at the moment but I am struggling to find time to just rest really.

A couple of years ago we took the girls camping for the week end. Not a vacation really because it was only the week end, but it was at least two days of down time. The girls loved the place and was ready to pack up and move to the area we camped in. Now I am saying lets go camping for a couple of days of down time and Sara has done a 360 on me and wants to stay home. This is because of her new boyfriend. Geeeessshhhh darn teenagers!! I need a break boyfriend or not so Sara is gonna have to suck it up and do what Stephen and I want for a couple of days.

I wanted to post some more of the photos that I took at camp and a couple that I took today with Stephen.

After work today Stephen wanted to go look at some bees that some one had called him about. The man didn't want the bees in his tree but he was reluctant to kill them because he had heard about bees disappearing.

We lucked out, because the man had built a bird house and hung it in a tree, the bees had taken over the bird box. It was a simple extraction, tape up the opening and remove the box, bees and all. It was simple and quick.

I expected to come home and have some mad bees, and they did buzz around a little bit but honestly not a lot. In fact Stephen put on his hood but I stood around with my camera in a tank top, shorts and flip flops and they bees didn't seem bothered that I was there, camera in their face snapping away.

After the bees where settled into their new home I was frustrated because I wanted close up, sharp images but I didn't manage to get any.