Sunday, February 20, 2011

ARMED ....

Four months ago, several friends and I completed a concealed handgun course. This was a "bucket list" item for me, and I was quite proud of myself for going through with it. I applied for and received my CHL right away. I've even had the opportunity to show it to a couple of law enforcement officers when they stopped to visit with me about my speed. (Different story ... don't tell Big John.)

I've been carrying one of Big John's handguns whenever I'm not at work (no firearms at school,) but they were so big and heavy. He's been pressing me to buy my own, but I've resisted. You see, I just wasn't that good of a shot when we qualified. I passed, but it wasn't pretty. And that's real embarassing for a country girl/trooper's wife. If I'd been holding a 410 and had a snake on the target, it might have been a different story.

I finally agreed this weekend to go look at guns. And I found one I LOVE! I'm the proud owner of this pretty little Smith & Wesson .38 revolver (a 38 Special!) It's light weight, loads easy, and doesn't kick too much. We did some target practice this morning, and I'm so happy with my purchase. I've had the gun shop order a laser grip, and will get that put on when it comes in. That will make it perfect!

I'm adding a picture of my work for my special shooting buddy, BB. (He knows who he is!) BB, I can load this one all by myself!! You'd be so proud!

Some of these shots are Big John's, but most of them are mine. Really! Not too shabby!

God Bless the 2nd Ammendment!


Well, it's been awhile. Hope all has been well with you. Life has taken many turns here on the Carancahua Creek. I'll try to catch you up with a few pictures thrown in for fun. Thanks for checkin' in!

I alluded to some excitement when I last posted. I added a countdown, but didn't tell you to what we were counting down. I've updated the countdown a few times, and it's working its way, ever so slowly, to zero. The big news there is that I've resigned my teaching position, effective at the end of the school year! This was a decision that took several months to make, as I'd actually made a move toward a different career at the end of last school year. The timing wasn't right, and I came back for another year. This will be my last, although I've said that once before, 11 years ago. But just as I did then, I really mean it! Our district offers a monetary incentive to resign before the end of the 1st semester so they have time to find a suitable replacement. I took advantage of that, and turned in my letter of resignation on January 14. I haven't regretted the decision, and feel in my heart that this is what's best for me (and for future 6th graders!!!) In case you've never taught, it is truly the hardest job I've ever had - and it gets harder every day. If teachers could spend their time "teaching," it would be a different story. But that's not how it is nowadays. If you know a teacher, thank her. Give her a hug. Send her flowers. Don't bug her until after TAKS tests are over. But thank her (or him.) Teaching isn't just a job; it's a calling. And those who do it well are invaluable to our society. God bless teachers.

Along with that decision have come many more. Some painfully hard, some truly adventurous and exciting, all of them big steps for little ol' homebody me. Big John has wanted to promote for several years now. I'd always squelched that desire, because "I'm NOT moving." But things change.

The family has reached some agreements that should end a long, drawn out estate battle. That's the good news. The bad news: if all goes as planned, we'll be selling out and moving. Some might say that's not bad news. Some (me) might say it's the end of the world. I was born and raised here, in this very house. I've spent 33 of my 46 years here, in this very house. I really truly believed I'd die here, hopefully in this very house. But again, things change. We've actually found lots of places we'd like to go, but we're at the mercy of the State of Texas to decide our location. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm very much a control freak. Letting someone else decide my next move isn't easy, and I won't give up without a fight. The plan for now is that Big John will apply for positions and go where he's assigned. He'll probably call a travel trailer Home Sweet Home until we can get to where we want to be. Then we'll  buy a couple hundred acres of beautiful pasture land and big trees, with some great lakes close by, and build our dream home. (You see, I've got it all planned out. I'm a planner, a doer. Not a wait-and-see kind of girl.) I'm trying to embrace being "unemcumbered" and moving around, trying out different parts of our great state, but I'm just not that kind of girl, either. I need a home. I need cows. And horses. And chickens. So the sooner we get where we're going, the better - at least to me. And until I'm told to get out, I'll stay here, keep my animals, grow a garden, and not teach school. Woo Hoo!!

This winter has been a real doozy. January was spent putting out hay, dripping water, checking animals, and counting baby calves that dropped despite the weather. We didn't get the snow or ice or problems that most other parts of the state had, but it was very, very cold. We had temperatures in the low 20s for several nights in a row, two different times. It got so cold, for so long that we decided to try Uncle Dick's trick. We lined the west and south sides of our pier and beam house with square bales.

It sure looks redneck, but it kept our pipes from freezing, and kept in some of the warmth. And now we've got extra hay for the cows! Fortunately, it wasn't cold and wet at the same time. The cattle and horses came through it fine - even Brown. This should probably be his last winter, though. It's a hard decision to make, but one I know will have to come soon. Brownie won't make a trip to a new home - he's just too old and frail to travel. I'd like for him to live out his last years here naturally, but I just don't know how long he has left. He and Gary make it up for Equine Senior every afternoon (senior citizens eat early,) but he's just skin and bones. Time will tell...

February has been consumed by the local Valentine's Day Parade and Sweetheart Ball. I was invited to join a group of ladies that has been putting on this event for the past 48 years. In fact, my mother was a member, and both my sister and I were Sweetheart Candidates during our high school years. I'd never been behind the scenes - when Mother was in it, I remember tagging along and playing while she worked. Boy, they work hard! I was on the parade committe this year, and I must say, it was a resounding success - at least from my vantage point at the back end! The Ball was decorated beautifully, but I didn't stay for any of the festivities. Big John was home with the flu, and I felt bad about dancing on the tables without him there to witness it! Actually, I was so worn out from the weeks before that I didn't mind the excuse to come home early. Who knows if I'll be around to do it all again next year, but if so, I'll be prepared for the fun!

Big John and I spent today doing some much needed cleaning. We started in the attic. The thought of a move, with 60+ years of family stuff up there, has been paralyzing. There are things saved of my brother's, who was killed in 1972. My high school memorabilia is in a box in a corner. I'm sure my sister has keepsakes hidden away as well. That doesn't include all the things Big John and I have thrown in the attic because we didn't know where else to put them. We made a pretty good dent in things today. There's a big pile of trash to burn, another pile to take to resale. I still need to do something with first marriage dishes. I don't have the energy to put them on ebay. They'll probably go to resale, too.

We tackled the garden next. The freezing temperatures had done in most of what was left. The arugula, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli all got tossed. Some of the bigger green cabbages went in the compost pile as well. We've got 6 small cabbages left. The spinach acts as if nothing ever happened. Garlic, herbs, and onions look great, too. We tilled up all the empty spots, added some manure, and tilled again. And by "we," I mean Big John. He sure is handy! The weather has been so amazing this week. We're ready to start some seeds, buy some plants, and get to growing. Of course, it's a little too early, but it'll be fun to plan. We've decided to go big again this spring in the garden. That will keep me busy this summer if Big John's somewhere else, and give me a little change in my pocket, too. We had such great business last summer, and we just don't want to miss out on making all those pickles. They're so delicious!

Spring has definitley sprung around here. The peach trees are budding, the ash tree is starting to leaf out, we've got lots of baby calves running around, and all those cute boots I wanted all winter long are finally on clearance. It just doesn't feel like it will get that cold again - which probably means it will snow next week. But hopefully the worst is over.

It feels good to post again. It's been hard to know what to say - I just don't know where life is taking us. And if everything falls through, I guess we're staying right here. I've got Big John and the animals - what more could a girl want?!

Have a good one!