Beautiful duckpond scene

April 9, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve been travelling recently, and have also taken on some new work assignments.  With my increased workload, I’ve found that I’ve lapsed into a bad habit of focusing on the future, as opposed to living in the moment.  Today, I rushed home after two morning meetings with intentions to quickly change clothes and head to my next scheduled event.  I pulled into the driveway, and then juggled books and my computer bag to find my house key.  As I stood at the mudroom door, thinking about my day’s to-do list, I happened to glance over at the duckpond.  A few white heron stood around in the yard, enjoying the windy day.  A little rain came down, and instead of running for cover, I made myself stop and enjoy the moment.

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So many times, we get so caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life, and we forget about how to enjoy that which is right in front of our eyes.   I’ve been so busy that until this afternoon, I failed to notice the many wildflowers that Dave has so carefully encouraged to grow around the house.  I also neglected to take the time to listen to the many frogs in the pond, and enjoy the hawks, osprey, and heron on our property.  I think that in the weeks to come I’ll force myself to take some time for myself, and enjoy some of the many things that we have come to appreciate here at our little farmhouse.

Week in review: 02/22/2013

February 22, 2013 § 3 Comments

Doodle got to eat jello for the first time, and he has decided that he likes it.  He’s also looking very fluffy lately, and as soon as the weather warms up, we’ll be giving him a haircut.

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This dog has really changed his perspective from when he first came to live with us, and he would only eat canned dog food with grated cheese on top.

The fence and gate project  is complete at last (mostly, notwithstanding some minor tasks).  I’ll try to post a final report later next week.

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Now that the dogs can relax unmolested by coyotes, Otis and Doodle are out there all the time.  Addie could care less about the fenced yard.  She’d much rather be inside where it’s warm, and she can wrap up in her blanket.

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We’ve had a lot of rain this week, which has filled the duck pond to overflowing.

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Lastly, I know this is a blog about green living, eating healthily, and living on a farm, but that’s not really all that Dave and I are about.  In fact, it’s just a small part of who we are.  When we’re not blogging, we’re actually a couple of engineer/scientists.  I’ve been a space contractor for ages, and now I run a company doing work for a multitude of customers, including NASA.  And Dave’s a space contractor, too, doing some work that he’s not allowed to talk about.

One of my many duty assignments was in Russia, where I lived and worked for a few years, while the International Space Station was being built and launched.  In Russia, I was stationed with a great team, one of whom was Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield:

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Hadfield  is now residing on the International Space Station, and in less than a month, he will become the first Canadian Commander of the ISS.  Here he is, on the ISS, collaborating with the Barenaked Ladies on the song “I.S.S.: Is Somebody Singing.”

I hope you enjoy this song as much as we do (thanks Olga, for sending us this link)…have a great weekend and take some time on Saturday and Sunday to think about those astronauts in space who are orbiting 230 miles overhead.

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: 12/28/2012

December 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

We are loving our new dishwasher (yay!). It’s nice to have water in the kitchen, too. we 12_28 1

After returning from Australia to find no dishwasher and no water (due to a leaky pipe), it is a big relief to get everything back to normal again.  The new dishwasher is a KitchenAide, and it works great.  I’ve done 3 washes so far, and find that I really like the 1-hour speed cycle.  I was able to do a quick load before Christmas dinner, and there was plenty of time to get everything washed and put away before our guests arrived.

I shot this nice picture of Dave having a conversation with Otis.  I’m not sure what they were discussing, but it looks very important.

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Dave and I continued building our new fence.  We started this long before I left for my almost 2-month trip to Australia, and Dave was going to finish it while I was gone.  However, life intervened, and when I returned to Texas, the fence was still unfinished.

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Otis has been helping us with the construction.  Usually, he just sits alongside as we screw in the planks.   I’m happy to say that with his help, we’ve been making terrific progress, and the fence is almost complete.

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On one of our trips to the barn to gather fence-building supplies, Dave encountered this baby owl:

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The picture quality isn’t good.  I was trying especially hard to take the picture without bothering the little fellow.

Meanwhile, I jumped into holiday baking and made pumpkin puree from a gigantic pumpkin we had in in our pantry.  From that, I made pumpkin pie, dog biscuits, and some pumpkin bread.  Recipe for the pumpkin bread will appear next week.

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Our cat Chief, continues his healing.  He was feeling well enough on Christmas evening to play with a discarded gift box.  Actually, he’s still playing with that box tonight, pouncing on it, tumbling into it, and pushing it across the floor.  Who knew a cardboard box could be so entertaining?

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Week in review: 11/30/2012

November 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dave tells me that our dog Doodle has once again saved the farmhouse from attack.  This time it was a huge killer turtle that was launching a hostile takeover of the driveway.  Thank goodness Doodle was on duty, and able to thwart the intruder.

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I made this delicious tomato, green onion, and feta salad.  The tomatoes were from my uncle’s garden.  I just cubed them, then thinly sliced a green onion.  I put some pepper and slivers of feta on top, and then drizzled the whole thing with a little olive oil, then some balsamic vinegar.

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Otis had fun hanging out with Dave in the yard.  Dave worked on the new fence, while Otis found sticks and chewed on them.

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Here’s a sunset I caught earlier this week here in Australia.

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Down under…a second summer

November 15, 2012 § 6 Comments

You may have noticed that our posts have been a little erratic lately.  This is because I had to make en emergency trip to Australia to take care of my family here…my uncle is very sick, but I think he’s going to make it.  Dave stayed behind in Texas, while I made the 36-hour journey to Brisbane.  I’m still in Australia, and plan to be here awhile longer.

Although summer is over in Texas, and Dave’s experiencing the first of the cold winter, here in Brisbane spring just ended, and it’s summer.  My uncle’s patio vegetable garden is doing well, and I’m planning to pick these tomatoes for a salad later today:

I’ve been spending most of my time at the hospital here, and the nurses and doctors are efficient and caring.  When I’m not at the hospital, I’m talking to doctors outside of the hospital.  So, my days are long.  I’m up early this morning (5am) to catch up on work email, my dissertation (still in process), and to drink a cup of coffee while enjoying the sunrise.  Here’s the view off our back patio here in Australia:

It’s a beautiful view, and no wonder my uncle is clamoring to get out of the hospital, and back home.  His favorite place is in a chair on the patio, where he can watch the water, and enjoy the seagulls who sometimes stop in to visit.

Week in review: 11/2/2012

November 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

Doodle accompanied us to feed the fish at the duckpond on Sunday.  Doodle adores Dave, as you can see from this Instagram picture.  I like the way Doodle looks into Dave’s face.  That dog never does this to me.  I’m not Doodle’s favorite, although he does appreciate the food I feed him, and the weekly brushings he gets from me.  I think it’s interesting how dogs have their own favorite person.  BTW…I’m Otis’s favorite person.  Dave gets Doodle, and I get Otis.  Lucky me (for real).  Addie doesn’t have a favorite person…she’s a well-mannered dog, but I have no doubt that she’d be the first to eat us if something bad happened.

This week, I worked from home a few days, finishing up the literature review for my dissertation.  What a relief to get that big cumbersome thing out the door.   Being home for several days, I was able to witness all sorts of excitement, such as Otis napping on his bed underneath the bedroom window.  Yep, this is what we do for entertainment around here.

Check out that big nose.  The black part of his nose is just a little smaller than a TENNIS BALL.  Sometimes we call Otis the baby elephant.

We made mini pizzas one night for dinner.  These were ho-hum, nothing special.  Sometimes that’s what happens.  I think they needed some fresh basil.  Too bad there’s none of that left in the garden.

We made popovers, and then felt compelled to eat them with EVERY SINGLE MEAL.  We have three left, and Otis will probably get those this morning.  Oh, they were delicious,  but geez…how many popovers can two people eat?  Popovers don’t freeze well, otherwise I would have tossed them into the freezer for next week.  We had popovers filled with scrambled eggs for breakfast, popovers with chili, popovers with sausage soup, popovers filled with broccoli beef stew, and popovers with chicken cutlet (picture below)…not to mention the popovers we ate plain with butter as a snack.

Dave and I are all popover’ed out.

Lastly, we observed quite a lot of activity around the duckpond this week.  We watched a juvenile red-tailed hawk take a bath on the waterside (we took pictures of that, and are planning to post them to our Grit blog, which we’ll be sure to share with you).  We also witnessed an amusing birdfight between a Great Blue Heron and a white egret.  Evidently the egret was intruding in the heron’s fishing territory.  And, I observed this interesting scene…

That white egret sitting on the canoe sat there for two solid hours.  For awhile, he worried the dogs, who’d never seen a bird sitting there before.  The dogs spent 15 minutes growling and challenging the bird from their stance in the living room window, eventually deciding that the egret wasn’t worth their while.  Meanwhile I went to the store, and returned half an hour later, and the darned bird was still there.  For awhile, I thought he had actually died out there.  Eventutally though, he just flew off.  Maybe he was just taking a nap.

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