From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Do You Get Lots of Eggs,... Inspirational Roosters

This is Chief, he is a Polish Top Hat Rooster.  He is an inspirational rooster evidently, because eleven hens are consistently laying eleven eggs every day. I love my little flock.  Here are some of its' stars!

This is Domino, she is my favorite, and a great little egg layer.  She has  feathers on her feet.  She is a feathered legged Cuckoo Maran.  How's that for a mouth full.  She loves leftover wheat spaghetti noodles, I think she thinks they are worms...


The majority of the crew is made up of Buff Orpingtons, and the little black chicken looking up is a "Giant Black," and she lays extra large eggs!   


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nobody Makes Them Any Better Than Me!

                                                                    What do you do  when the chickens are laying this good?  Why you make omelets, and put out a sign, Yard Eggs, $4.00 a dozen.  We've got brown eggs and green eggs, and no they aren't from space chickens The colored eggs are laid by specific breeds, and they are extremely tasty.  I can tell you making a tasty omelet is an art form anyone can learn.  Eggs are so much better for you than science was telling us there for awhile.  Like a lot of science, for a few years they were a little confused about eggs.... eggs were killers, killing us all, giving us heart attacks by the millions... chickens were reported to be killing people in the night... wait a minute, that last part is from some movie...  Actually we were all supposed to quit eating so many eggs, as they were full of cholesterol.  We took heed and started eating just the egg whites.  As the web site for the Incredible Edible Egg says, the facts have been highly "eggzagerated."  My Brian says those kinds of jokes  are so

 Here's how you do it!  Getting the pan right is essential.  You need a cast iron omelet skillet, heavy, and well seasoned.  Of course you need the Pam, and I always chop all my veggies and custom make my omelets for my guests.  Her I have onions, celery, tomatoes, jalapenos, orange bell peppers, and grated cheese.

 The Bellville Meat Market is an institution in Bellville, and they are the creators of  Poffenberger's summer sausage, just chop it up and throw it in with whatever veggies you have selected.

Plate it up and 
serve it
with crisp toast, juice, and coffee!    


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

She Has the Soul of a Poet

My beautiful grand-daughter is so intelligent and she has the soul of a poet.  Here is a remark she left on Facebook:

"I don't have the strongest feelings and I might just cry at the smallest things but that's OK, I'd rather you see my tears than hear me yell.
Seeing my tears doesn’t make me weak it just means I have the strength to not voice things that make you cry."  Samantha Latimer.
We all should be so wise....
I love and miss her so!!!

She lives with her mom who is retired military working in the civilian side now, and her dad who is Active Duty, and they serve as a family in Germany near Frankfurt

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mr. Rube Would Be Proud

As I understand it, my "new old piano" was built in 1909, which makes it over a hundred years old.  I have just finished using steel wool on one of the pedals, and all the small parts are now sanded and refinished.  I will finish the pedal assembly, and start on the larger lid and cabinet assembly.  It is terribly out of tune, but the bass just has such a beautiful tone!  I just love this piano, and it is going to be beautiful!

It is amazing what just a little elbow grease has done to restore the pedal, they just don't make them like the used to!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

For All My Northern Friends!

Not to worry my friends, spring is coming!

My photos are all proprietary, and you must have permission to use them!

Beautiful Poetry!

 More of the poem of  "something missing in my heart tonight.'


Absolutely Clear

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God

Friday, January 25, 2013

God's Creation Declares His Godhead

I joined a discussion group on religion, and I found a question which prompted the following response from me.  The question was, "What motivates people to convert to a religion?"

Tom, thank you so much for adding me to this community.  I think your question of what motivates a person to convert to a religion is most interesting.  I think the answer is that the part of us that is in the image of God has to do not with two eyes, a nose, two legs etc... it has to do with that need for fellowship with another that is brought about by free choice.  That becoming intimate with another as in the barring of a mind to another without reserve, and being accepted by the other is the craving of the human soul.

 Beautiful horses of Austin County as seen from Coushatte Road, out of Bellville, Texas.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"  Romans 1:20

I Have Found a Poet Whose Words I Love!

Oh have I ever found a poet whose words I love...

Another one of my loves is photography, and this is one of my favorites I made of wildflowers in Austin County in Texas.

He was a thinking man, who longed for God, and he was Iranian...  This man knew God leaves no room for hatred among people of the world.

If God Invited You To A Party

If God
Invited you to a party
And said,
In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special

How would you then treat them
When you

Indeed, indeed!

And I know
There is no one in this world

Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance

Shams al-Din Hafiz

I Knew This All Along...

This article is very telling about the withdrawal from Iraq of US Military forces.

The patriots of Iraq and Afghanistan are due so much.  They have risked so much, and will pay so dearly if their governments are not supported until the process of a democracy slowly brings about honorable leadership. 

 I will start planting flowers for spring soon...
The Star Flowers of Austin County, Texas are coming soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Know Some Kids Who Should Do This!!!

Doodle for Google is a great art contest, and if you are K-12th grade and love to produce art work, you should enter!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Actually, This Goat Lives At My House

I laughed until I cried, and actually that little goat is black and white, and has little six inch solid black horns... Picture to follow tomorrow of this little goat all grown up... if he doesn't snatch and eat the camera before I can get out of his enclosure and lock the gate behind me...  Here is a picture of when my goat was very little, and very cute...  He's still cute, but now he is a little more... "opinionated."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A New Interview With Brother Andrew

Brother Andrew is still traveling, and this interview is well worth watching!

God really knows color!

Mr. Rube Waddell and Old Broken Down Things

 I love a bargain, especially the kind where I find something old and make it attractive and purposeful  again.  Right around Christmas I hit the mother load when I found a baby grand piano for fifty dollars on Ebay.  While Randy and Brian were home for the holidays we loaded up in the pick-up and made the trip to San Antonio to pick up the piano.  I could tell the gentleman I bought the piano from thought we would never get the piano moved.  I had taken some 2x12s and bought some industrial size swiveling wheels, screwed them to the bottom of the support I built, and after taking the legs and the pedals off, we loaded it up with the ramps we had brought, and used ratchet straps to secure it in the truck.  We were on our way home in less than an hour.  I've always wanted a baby grand piano... and no one even needed to go to the emergency room!

 I have enjoyed playing piano all my life.  When I was a little girl my dad found an old upright piano, bought it for fifty dollars, and brought it home to me.  The old piano had ugly yellow keys, some of the tops of the "white" keys were missing.  The "black" keys were worn on the edges, and the wood peeked through.  A couple of the keys made no sound when I hit them, and one key sat a little lower than all the rest, but I was overjoyed when the piano entered my life.  I immediately began trying to play something, but the sound wasn't quite right, even just a single note didn't sound right due to the old piano being terribly out of tune.

 Mr.Rube Waddell was called to come and tune the "new" piano.  That whole process fascinated me.  Mr Waddell was born in 1900 in Sweetwater, Texas, and he passed away in 1993,  He was an amazing musician and craftsman, and a genuine gentlemen and a scholar.  For many years he tuned and restored pianos. When he arrived he took out his velvet cloth, laid out his mysterious tools, and began to work.  He used a tuning fork and soon the old piano was making beautiful mellow sounds.  Mr. Waddell was always such a dapper gentleman, cheerful, and there was always a twinkle in his eye. 

 When Mr. Waddell, or Rube as my daddy called him, left, he told my dad he would be happy to refurbish the old piano for him if he would like, and several years later when I was still taking lessons, and sticking faithfully with it, my dad called, and Rube came and picked up my piano.  When he came back, the white keys had been replaced with shiny new plastic covers, and the black keys were a dark glossy black all over, and it played like a dream...

I bought a book, it's all about refurbishing pianos.  I have experienced in my life being an old broken down thing... but  I have been refurbished too...  I keep the following poem hanging by my front door, it is one of my favorites, because I know first hand of it's truth.  Watch my blog, I will post pictures of my progress as I attempt to restore my "new" fifty dollar baby grand.

The Touch of the Master's Hand
by Myra Welch

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it was scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks, " he cried,  "Who'll start the 
bidding for me?"  "A dollar, a dollar," then, two!  Only two?
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;  Going for three..."
But no,   From the room,  far back a grey-haired man 
came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet, as a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?' and he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand  dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand!  And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice; and going and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,  "We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?"  Swift came the reply:
"The Touch of a Master's Hand."
  And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine: a game - and he travels on.
He is "going" one, and "going" twice, He's going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's Hand.              

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Someone Once Said, "Never Have a Meal Alone if Possible."

"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."  Benjamin Franklin
"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."  M. F. K. Fisher 

We eat all the time in our country, sometimes too much, sometimes the wrong thing, sometimes completely healthy, but a meal is always better when it is shared with others.  Last night at the ranch we had new friends over for a dinner and to celebrate the  birthday of one of the friends.  We met Brenda and Willie Orr at The Hill, a great little hamburger joint in Bellville, Texas where we live, while Randy was home on leave.  Janet and I will both talk to a fence post, (Janet Cook is my friend who works for me now at the ranch, another beautiful blessing sent from the Father.)  Brenda will talk to a fence post too, so all of us women took up the conversation after we sat down by the attractive couple in the next booth.  It turned out that both Willie and Randy had worked at BAE Systems, so the two of them fell into conversation as well.  Soon we were talking about the ranch, and invited them, as we nearly always do when we meet new people, out for a visit.  The day I took Randy to catch the plane back to Iraq the Orrs dropped by the ranch while I was gone, and left a business card on the door.  It was Brenda's birthday, and she mentioned that in the note on the back of the card.  When I called her back we talked and I asked them out for supper on Saturday night for a belated celebration of her birthday.

I love to cook for people and to set a nice table.  That human longing for connection that is one of the ways we are created in God's image,  comes out in me daily, and I love people in a very natural way from my heart.  When you are possessed by this "love" you are happiest when doing things for others in small expressions of appreciation and hospitality.  I find great satisfaction in entertaining others in our home, and in doing small things that have faded from our culture in many places.   Often when we entertain today, we tend to take the easier route of paper goods and plastic ware so that as hostesses and hosts, we have more time with our guests.  Casual entertaining is much more popular now than the formal table setting, and a lot can be said for that type of entertaining, but I love old fashioned Southern type hospitality.  So any opportunity I have to set the table with anyone of my five sets of china, I indulge my love of that expression of hospitality.  I took this picture before I had completely set the table, but as a note, after dinner coffee in those cups is indescribable when a dollop of French Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream is added ...  

I won't say how old Brenda 
turned, but you would
never guess what birthday this 
beautiful woman celebrated last week!  When a woman loves God, it just shows in her countenance, no 
matter what her age.   I learned my 
new friend is a business consultant, and her talent and expertise in that field was evident in the conversation of the evening, as was her strong faith and the commitment of both she and Willie to living lives of integrity as they seek to honor God.

 We laughed, swapped stories and sat at the table until well after mid-night!  There are just some people whose conversation and engaging personalities I find fascinating, but when you share kinship in God's forever family, no matter how new the friendship, there is the bond of a loving family at any table that is shared.  Brenda, Janet, or Jet as we call her, and I share many interests.  Jet has always been a person who journaled, and Brenda shared a song she composed when she woke up on her birthday, and gave God thanks and praise for the life He has given her.  Of course I love writing poetry, and  I very much enjoyed the song, with its' powerful and positive message of  loveI will post it here when she gives me the final polished product, I am sure any reader will enjoy it.

 I placed three candles on Brenda's cake, (red velvet with red roses.)  One candle was to represent who she had been, the center one to represent who she is now, and the third to represent what God will do in her life this next year to make her the woman she will grow to be.  With God in our lives we always continue to grow and become more than we have been.  We were all so reluctant for the night to end because of the sweetness of the fellowship in what felt like the sharing of a meal with long standing and cherished friends.
"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

  What blessings are mine everyday 
 at the ranch!  It is so difficult to explain to someone who has never been here the peace, warmth, and very real presence of God.  What good people the Lord brings to my life!  When we open our homes to others to share shelter or a meal and in the name of the Lord offer hospitality the Bible says we may be entertaining angels unaware.  I often wonder if that is happening to me when we receive the enchanting guests that frequent our home.  We live in such blessing, we must share all that God has made us stewards of here at Soldier's Heart Ranch!