On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again

June 5, 2014 § 8 Comments

Hey folks…for the last year, we’ve been living in two different places.  I (Libby) has been in Eugene, Oregon, and Dave has been in Texas.  It has been tough.  We tried to make it work, but we missed each other (yup…we’ve been married a bunch of years, and we still love each other hugely).  Dave tried to find work in Oregon, but discovered that no one is hiring space station simulator engineers….imagine that.  Meanwhile, I wrestled with a very cool job, but missed my husband, and I missed human spaceflight.  There’s nothing like launching people into space for giving one a sense of perspective.  While I loved Eugene, I kept wondering about that huge bigger-than-myself-goal.  It just wasn’t there. That’s not to say that Eugene isn’t the BEST PLACE EVER, because I love it here.  Truly.   I probably shouldn’t even say that, because now everyone will move to Eugene, and it will turn into Chicago or something, which would be terrible (Chicago is cool, so calm down, all my friends from Evanston…it’s just not Eugene).

So, bottom line:  I’m moving back to Texas.  I asked Dave to come and get me, and he (such a sweetie-pie), is driving out to Eugene to help me with the transition.  He and I will load up a truck and a car with stuff and dogs, and then begin the week-long journey back to Texas.  I’ll never be through with this place.  Eugene is lovely, and I’ll be returning.  Actually, I’ll be back in July, and later in the fall…probably next spring, too.


Springtime flowers

March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

My friend Cheryl recently repurposed some beautiful shot glasses into flower vases.

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They make much better vases than shot glasses, and are perfect for holding Cheryl’s spring blooms.   Cheryl has a beautiful garden, and there’s always something in bloom.

Flowers 2

She lives in a condominium at the water’s edge, and in front of her home, there’s a plot of land about 15 feet by 10 feet.  It’s always bursting with blooms, and whenever Dave and I go there to visit her, we marvel at her gardening skills.

Week in review: 02/15/2013

February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

I took a walk with some friends at sunrise on Saturday morning.  We walked around a 40-acre lake a few miles away from the farmhouse.  Ages ago, I used to live in this community.

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I saw some pelicans sunning themselves on a dock.

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Dave has been using the back bedroom at the farmhouse as a sort of storeroom.  All of the boxes stacked everywhere, along with whatever else he occasionally felt like throwing in there, was driving me crazy.  So, one night while he was in class, I started clearing it out.  I intentionally waited to do this while he was out of the house, because he starts getting nervous when he sees me organizing his stuff.

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I was three hours into the task when he came home.  He was amazingly unfazed by the giant trash bags, and the general havoc, and even expressed gratitude that I was tackling something that he’d evidently been wanting to start for awhile.  I’m not finished yet, but feels so good to almost have a room.  When it is clear, I think I’m going to turn it into an office.  Meanwhile, the morning after starting the project, I woke up to this:

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I couldn’t figure out why my legs ached so much, and discovered I’d bruised them up pretty badly when I was moving boxes, television sets, and computers out of the room.  There’s more bruising to come, because we still have to load up the car, and haul all of the stuff off to Goodwill.

Dave and I finished welding the frame for the gate and did the installation.  Otis supervised.

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Now we can put boards onto the frame, and the fence and gate project will be complete.

We’re trying to stick to mostly low carb meals this week, although sometimes Dave slips up and eats cookies.  Here’s some chili we had for dinner on Wednesday:

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Chili always tastes better with some grated cheddar cheese and sour cream on top.

A trip to the hardware store had us purchasing some seeds for this year’s garden.

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Week in review: 10/26/2012

October 26, 2012 § 5 Comments

We watched our neighbors’ cat while they were out of town.

The East pasture is full of wildflowers.  This is the first we’ve seen of these little yellow daisies, and so I suspect that they are the result of the seeds I tossed around earlier in the year.

Our dog Doodle and I went out to investigate.  Several flowers came home later, via Dave, who clipped a branch for the kitchen.

With the days getting shorter, our evening walks are usually conducted during the sunset.  Here’s Dave, walking with me around one of the small lakes in the community just east of our farm.  While we were walking, one jogger lapped us 4 times.  Given the beautiful sunset, I was content to enjoy a more leisurily pace.

One morning this past week, there was a beautiful fog rising up from the back pasture just after sunrise.  I’m always standing around outside at sunrise, but am usually not carrying a phone or camera with me.  I was fortunate this time to have the phone with me.

Have a good weekend!

Green Pocket Protector on Instagram

October 16, 2012 § 7 Comments

Hey folks…we’re on Instagram.  Our account is GREEN POCKET PROTECTOR.  There aren’t a lot of pictures there yet. But check in once in a while and see what’s happening.

Transplanted plant on our patio.

Lilies at the base of a dead tree next to the duck pond.

Doodle and Otis, waiting for Dave to come home.


June 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

We’ve been doing a lot of talking lately about purchasing Alpacas for the farm.  We have an agricultural exemption for our property, which means that we receive a reduced tax bill in exchange for agreeing to use the property for agricultural/farm purposes.  For most of the local farmers, this means chickens, goats, cattle, and food crops.  Our neighbor uses one of our pastures for his Texas Longhorn cattle, so technically our agricultural exemption has been justified.  Our plans also include chickens (next spring) and eventually Alpacas.  The chickens are just for us, and will be for eggs only (Dave and I tend to become attached to our animals, and can’t imagine eating a pet).  The Alpacas will be raised for their wool, which we will sell to weavers.

Alpacas are gentle herd animals.  They weigh up to 200 pounds each, and their average size is about the same as our Irish Wolfhound dogs.

We have coyotes at our farm, so we will build a barn to protect the Alpacas at night, and we will also purchase a donkey to help protect the Alpacas during the day.  Donkeys are enormously protective animals…I’ve had two in the past, and have been very pleased with their ability to defend…not to mention their sense of humor.  Donkeys are so much fun to have around.

Although I have never had Alpacas in the past, I’m very familiar with them from my visits to Australia.

Nearby my family’s Australian residence is an Alpaca farm, and my aunt and uncle and I have made several trips there to purchase Alpaca wool items.  The owners of the farm are very open to allowing us to feed and pet the Alpacas.  By the way, that’s me on the left.  Look how fuzzy this Alpaca is!  Alpacas are shaved in the spring.  Their wool can be spun, and then used for crafting hats, sweaters, scarves, blankets, and other handcrafted items.

Week in review 4/27/2012

April 27, 2012 § 13 Comments

We’ve decided to start something new.  At the end of every week, we usually have a big cache of pictures, only a few of which have been used for the blog.  So, starting today, we’ll be posting some of these pictures at the end of the week every Friday.  So, here is this week, in no particular order.

We cooked Chicken cacciatore from the Pioneer Woman’s blog.  Her recipes are always very good, although I do admit to spicing them up sometimes to account for our love of red chili peppers and garlic.  This recipe was easy and very delicious.  Dave does not like green or red bell peppers, but he ate it, so that is indeed something.   We used chicken thighs in this recipe, although I think chicken legs would have worked as well.  I cooked the Chicken cacciatore in a big cast iron pan.  We have two of these cast iron pans, and find that more and more they are our go-to pans for preparing our meals.

Long ago, we gave the road crew permission to park on our property.  So imagine my surprise and delight when we arrived home from work one day to find they’d left a backhoe parked next to the barn.  That’s Chief checking it out.  He is completely recovered from his recent escapade.

We grilled sausages and corn outside.  Those leftovers didn’t last long.   We both took sausages to work for our lunches the next day.  I wish we’d grilled more corn.

We had a perfect week of weather.  It was so nice that we left doors and windows open every day.  I captured Otis, our biggest Irish Wolfhound, while he was sitting on the side patio off of our Master bedroom.  He looks rather fierce here, but he is not.  He is the goofiest Irish Wolfhound I have ever had.  He is the only dog I have known who likes to look a person in the eyes.  Otis is also very kind, and likes nothing more than putting his head in a person’s lap…he’d also like to sit in your lap, but at 200 pounds, is much too large to do so.  He attempted sitting in my lap recently, and was so heavy he took my breath away.   If you look behind Otis, and to the left, you’ll see a dog kennel.  It is not for our dogs (which are entirely inside beasts), but is for Chief and his colleagues, Sophie and Pixel.  They are outside cats.  They don’t do well inside.  Although we do ocassionally invite them indoors (i.e. cold weather, etc.), they prefer to be outdoors.  Dave and I worried that the cats needed a warm place to sleep, so we spent an entire day this past winter, looking at doghouses for our cats.  We’re a couple of engineers, and so you can imagine us in PetSmart and Walmart with our Requirements list, checking out every single dog kennel in stock.  It was ridiculous, and I’m sure people thought we were crazy, especially when I made Dave pull every kennel down from the shelf, so I could check its inner dimensions with a measuring tape.  This is the one that we finally decided to purchase.  It is stuffed with old towels that we remove every week to be washed.   At night, it is stuffed with our three outdoor cats, and it is very cute to see them in there, sleeping together.  I worry that possums will decide to sleep in it, but so far they’ve completely left it alone.

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