Monday, December 31, 2012


It has been a busy Christmas vacation for Big John. The to-do list was quite long, but job number 1 was rebuilding the small quail pen ... until my washing machine went out.

We did manage to get the quail pen done though. It was a priority because we had about 500 six-week old Georgia Giant bob whites in our neighbor's brood house, and they needed to be moved. These are quail we hatched from ordered eggs, and they will become our breeder birds for Georgia Giants this spring.

The old quail pen, made out of PVC, needed to be enlarged and didn't look that good anyway. We added 8 feet to the width and replaced the PVC with treated posts. It looks much better now, and the birds have almost twice the space.

Yesterday morning, we spent an hour and a half catching the new birds and bringing them home. It's pretty tricky combining birds with ones that are already established in a pen. This pen previously housed about 50 - a mix of Georgia Giants, native bob whites and a few Mexican Speckled quail. We'd closed them up in the shed during the 3 days it took us to rebuild. We'd hoped that releasing them into a "new" flight pen with the babies and being outnumbered 9 to 1 would eliminate any territorial behavior. But it didn't. We've only lost 5 of the new birds so far. Hopefully they will all learn to get along.

Our next quail plans will include replacing the other PVC pen 


and building a shed and flight pen between the two to house chukar.

That will probably be on the list for Big John's next "vacation!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Big John's quail business is fixing to hit the big time! A couple of weeks ago, he got an order for birds to be hunted on a TV show! Woo Hoo!

I managed to worm my way into the delivery position (gearing up for my TV debut) and delivered 100 birds to our buyer:

The delivery was made, and our birds were loaded on top of some world-class bird dogs and next to chukars that were also going to be hunted. 

I didn't make it onto the show (this time) even though I was wearing my new snake boots. However, we're working on a deal for next year. I think I'll make my cameo appearance part of the package!

**as soon as I find out when the show airs, I'll let you know**


The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While visions of sugarplums
Danced in their heads...


Big John and I got home Sunday evening from a quick, but wonderful, trip to visit family in the Big D. While I was out doing chores, Big John started some laundry ... and discovered my washing machine was leaking ... and had been for quite some time. So instead of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I was coming to grips with having to buy a new washing machine (and matching dryer), taking up the molded and mildewed subfloor, and forging ahead with a quick and total remodel of the laundry room. This little chore was NOT in the Christmas budget, nor on the Christmas vacation to-do list. Bah humbug.

We found a nice set on sale at Lowe's and hauled it home - along with lumber for the quail pen redo that was originally scheduled for this week.

(Yes, I know they are sideways. Just ignore that fact.)

We managed to get the old machines out, the wet, moldy subfloor removed, and most of the shelving out on Christmas Eve. I kept wishing Santa and his elves would show up the finish the job, but he must have run out of time during the night!

Here's how the demolished laundry room looked bright and early this Christmas morning:

Apparently, the previous remodel was done during my "orange phase."

10 hours later, here's where we stand:

New subfloor put in, walls recovered in beadboard, and first step of paint treatment completed. We'll hit it again bright and early tomorrow morning. Maybe I can wash clothes by Thursday! Woo Hoo - never thought I'd be this excited to do laundry!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This weekend, Big John started on one of the last jobs in the building - installing my antique sink in the craft room. A couple of months ago, a friend and I went "treasure hunting" and I came home with the sink of my dreams.

It's been sitting outside by the outdoor shower ever since I brought it home, just waiting to be installed. And I was getting really tired of looking at it out there. I'd ordered and received a custom counter top

so Big John got to work on building the cabinet base. Here it is, in stages:

The cabinet base will be clad in barnwood with two doors and the sink on the right end. We need to get a few more plumbing supplies and hope to get it finished up during the week.


Gingham - ready for Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

GINGHAM (my next ride!)

The most recent addition to the farm: 6 month old Gingham, my Longhorn steer!

Gingham came from some local breeders, my good friend Kristi and her husband. I've wanted a Longhorn steer for quite some time, and Kristi happened to have a calf for sale. They weaned him, cut him, and halter broke him for me, and he's adjusting pretty well to life at our house.

Gingham and I work on leading every day. He's getting much better at it - thankfully, while he's still young enough for me to drag. If weather permits this weekend, we'll try talking a walk in the trap. I'll need Big John there to walk behind and keep him moving (or to grab on to the end of the lead rope when he tries to run off!)

My plan for Gingham is to break him to ride. We may be the next big thing!


I've been having trouble getting pictures to load on the blog, so this news has been delayed:


About 3 weeks ago, we went from a 4-vehicle/no car payment family to "Susie's got a new truck!" Woo Hoo!! I traded in the old pickup and my beloved (and constantly-breaking-down) Jeep for this beauty. It's a 2013 Chevy Silverado, 3/4 ton short bed, loaded! I added replacement bumpers - front and back, a bedliner, and a tool box. I've decided to get fender flares put on, and then I'll be done - except for those pesky car payments!

The new pickup was ready in time for the post-Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas, so it's been broken in pretty well. And I LOVE it! I'm not sure if this is the next mid-life crisis (that's what I blamed the Jeep on) or if it's just more economical not to have to register and insure 4 vehicles. But either way, I'm a happy girl!

Keep an eye out for me in my new ride - and wave if you see me!