Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

For the Love of H2O

We all know that water is important.  Heck, our bodies are mostly made up of water, and we can all live much longer without food than water. (And let’s face it, some of us around the farm could use a little break from the food).

Since we moved to the farm four years ago, we have a whole new appreciation for good ole H20.  When we were in the suburbs, water restrictions and drought times meant no one was watering their shrubs.  And in the high heat of a Texas summer, water restrictions were inevitable.

Now that we are out on the backroads, we’ve gained a whole new appreciation for this lifeline on the farm.  Country life comes with wells, water troughs, and rain water cisterns.  We love the wet stuff around here because it keeps our animals and our plants watered.

But, if I’m totally honest, there is one part of the rain that I am not so fond of.  And that quite simply is the M-U-D.  I do have pink mucking boots, which are critical in the mud (not so much the pink part, but definitely the rubber boot part).  But holy cats, the mud can make chores a wee bit tougher for this not so graceful farmgirl.

Horse Photo - River next to the water cistern
River says he loves the H2O and all the water cisterns that feeds this trough. Heck, he’s even named after water.

Here’s the top five reasons why this girl loves the rain, but the mud, not so much:

  1. Horse love to roll in the mud.  Brown horses get lighter, and gray horses turn into bay horses.
  2. Sofas and anything fabric gets covered in blankets, as doggy paws are the perfect hiding spots for mud.
  3. God bless washable floors.  There is no room for carpet at the farm, not even those super cute area rugs.  Carpet and rugs equal dollars on the floor covered in mud.
  4. Mucking in the mud.  Well, it’s just yucky and a little tricky.  The goal is to avoid the slip and slide.
  5. Barn cats who are prissy don’t like mud on their paws.  But somehow they seem to float.  Oh, if only I could learn this skill.

All joking aside, we love the rain on the farm.  It’s a limited resource and we are grateful for every blessed drop.  Our great state of Texas is in a drought, which just reminds us of how precious water is.  So we’ll take the muddy horses, muddy paws, and mud on the floor.  For we know that water keeps all the living creatures living on the farm.

So we ask you to say a little prayer for Texas and all the drought stricken states across the country.  We could all use a little more H2O in our lives.

 

Farmtastic Tips

Porch-oholic

My name is Tammy, and I am a porch-oholic. Yes, I admit it. During this glorious time of year before we are are melting under the sunbeams of summer, I am reveling in time spent on the porch. After I emerge from my day job, Cowboy generally asks if I am headed to hang out on the porch. And of course, yes, yes I am. I take a favorite book, pour a glass of citrus sweet tea, and retreat to the porch. In fact, I’m blogging from the porch right now.

When Cowboy and I built our barndiminium, a big ole giant porch was a must. I always knew I wanted a big front porch, but I just did not realize how much I would absolutely, unequivocally love it. It really is one of the most important rooms in our life. We can sit out here, grill out here, eat out here, and just hang with our critters. I can see the horses and donkeys clearly. I am in love.

There is just one itsy bitsy thing that challenged me about falling in love with my porch. And that is simply the costs to decorate it and make it cozy, comfy. This year, we splurged and invested in some furniture with actual cushions, but I wanted to share my top five tricks to deck out your porch on a budget and with your own pizzazz.

  1. Find it and paint it – Let’s face it, outdoor furniture is getting expensive. Heck at the prices it’s going for these days it ought to be front and center in the living room. To help stretch the budget, I love to find odds and ends pieces of furniture and paint them all the same color. This summer I’m in love with Valspar Paint’s Woodlawn Juniper, a National Trust for Historic Preservation color. And the best thing about paint, if you change your mind you can paint again. (But please don’t tell Cowboy I said that, painting is his absolute least favorite farm chore. If you want to see his otherwise good nature start sighing, just hand him a paint brush.)
  2. Repurpose – Cowboy and I love old things, and we often joke we were born too late. But that means we are always on the hunt for cool old things and that we can turn into something else. For example, I use an old porcelain metal top kitchen table for a gardening table, and it works beautifully. And I’ve got that puppy front and center on my porch, painted to match of course. Oh, and vintage coolers and boxes make great storage for gardening tools and seed packets.
  3. Keep it simple – I looked at outdoor dining tables, and holy moly did the prices and the fancy astonish me. I’m not feeding the queen of England, I just want a place where folks can set down their mason jar of goodness and snack away on some fresh watermelon and grilled perfection. Which brings me to the humble picnic table. They are super affordable, can seat six, and when you need a higher perch you don’t feel badly about sitting on the table top. Once again, just slather on your favorite color and you have something really special.
  4. Wind chimes – Part of country life is pure unadulterated peace and quiet. From the porch I listen to birds chirp, hear the hummingbird wings buzz as they flutter by, and relax to the sound of my wind chimes. Investing in a nice quality set of wind chimes is so very worth it. And with our Texas breezes, those things will clamor on a windy night, so you best get clamoring that you enjoy.
  5. Have Fun – If there is one thing you can count on around here, we are not the serious, stuffy sort of folks. Try the unconventional. Plant your plants in old kitchen pots. Decorate your garden with plates. Indulge in those little rabbit lawn sculptures and sneak them in here and there. Find some bright throw pillows. Just have one fun time making your porch your own.

Farm living is the life for me, and porch sitting is a big part of what we enjoy out here on the backroads. I’d love to hear how you make your porch your own and see photos of your favorite spot to sit and relax. It’s okay to be a porch-oholic. You are in good company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Free Dogs Are Never Free

Well if you’ve been following the farm’s Facebook page or read the blog regularly, you know that our beloved hound dog and Maybelle’s best pal, Goober,  recently went in for some surgery, as the vet suspected it might be the big C.  Well, thank goodness for an astute vet, as it was cancer.  But the great news for us, and for dear old Goobs, is that our wonderful vet got all of the cancer.  And as far as cancers go, it’s not a terrible one, if such a thing exists. It doesn’t metastasize, so really our job is to watch for more lumps and bumps and get them removed when and where needed.  (We love our vet, but I’m pretty sure he loves us, too.  Wink. Wink.)

This all all leads me to a running joke we have here at the farm, free dogs are never free.  You see dear old Goobs showed up at the farm three years ago now (you can read about his adventure here), and it was love at first site.  That poor pooch was not going anywhere, as he had found his furever home, and both he and I knew it, and we’ve been a bonded pair ever since.

However, in his short time with us, he’s had three surgeries for various lumps and bumps (this is the first cancer, though), and when he showed up he was also heart worm positive, so we had that treated and cured as well.  Can you say cha-ching?  Goober hit the jackpot, and we had to hit our savings account.

 

However, in the case of rescue puppies (and cats, and horses, and donkeys), I wouldn’t take a million bucks for any of them.  You see most of the critters here on the farm are rescues of one sort of another.  Most of our horses are American mustangs, born in the wild and adopted from the Bureau of Land Management.  The cats all just had a way of showing up in our lives; in fact, I’ve never ever gone looking for a cat.  The donkeys were a gift from some dear friends, and the most of the pups are rescues.  It seems we’ve all just found our way to each other.

Speaking of finding their way to us, several of our friends have hypothesized that the animal kingdom has put out a sort of  signal that the farm is a safe place to turn up.  No matter domestic or wild, you’ll find grub, water, and love.  Our vet likes to joke that if he knew our real address, we’d have even more. (Thank goodness for a post office box!)

But I think the real culprit for our population are some very special friends.  Before we moved to the farm we had a sweet pooch named Petey, who we affectionately called Needy Petey.  While I loved that little guy, he had some issues.  He had come from abuse and while he had lots of love to give, his behavior could be a bit quirky to say the least. In fact, he used to love to mark his spot, which often meant whizzing on his sisters.  Poor soul just could not aim.  Friends used to tell me all the time, “He’s sweet, but I wouldn’t keep him.”  Clearly, I’m going to need to write about Petey someday.  I digress …

Petey has since passed over the rainbow bridge, and I firmly believe he and all of our fur-children who have passed before and after him continue to guide new “kids” into our life.  It seems the ones who alway need us most and who are the perfect fit for us find us, and in return we find ourselves needing them right back.  (Check out our Meet the Farm page to see our rainbow bridge fur-kids.)

So while free dogs are never really free, no fur-kid ever is, and that is okay.  What they give back to us is more than we could ever repay them.  They make our lives full, and for me, in many ways, they make me who I am.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

P.S. – If you are looking for a pet to add to your family, please make sure to check out your local shelters.  You could find your million-dollar pal.

 

Farmtastic Faves

Farmtastic Faves – Your Silver Linings and the Prayer Ponies

Living on the farm has been downright inspiring for Cowboy and me, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Inspiration comes in all forms, and to that end I’ve created a new page to link to those businesses and ideas that we’ve found helpful, inspirational, or just downright fun.  You can click on Farmtastic Faves in the header anytime for a list of links or click on Farmtastic Faves from the category list.  Each listing will be accompanied by a post so we can share why we love each one.   And of course,  we’d love to hear what products help you create your farmtastic life.

First up is in the category of Ways to Give Back and comes to us from the state of North Carolina.  We just can’t say enough about Kim Farmer and her prayer ponies!


Your Silver Linings &  The Prayer Ponies

Kindness and compassion are important to Cowboy and me, and represent the way that we try to live our lives.  Admittedly I fail sometimes, but I keep on trying.  On this journey to make sure we help when and were we can, I discovered Kim Farmer and her beautiful Prayer Ponies on Facebook.  It was through our mutual love of mustang horses that I found her amazingly beautiful mission, Your Silver Linings.
Photo - Your Silver Linings handmade prayer ponies
A sampling of the one-of-a-kind Prayer Ponies.

So what are Prayer Ponies?  They are one-of-kind, handmade ponies designed to bring comfort in the midst of a storm.  The first time I heard about them, Kim was looking for adopters to adopt a set of ponies where one pony would go to the child with a parent serving overseas in the military.  The mission was simple, you adopt a set and one comes to you and one goes to the child.  When you see the pony, you pray for that child and the child knows that someone has their match and is praying for them.

Faith is an important part of Cowboy’s and my life, and we believe in the healing and comforting power of prayer. On top of that, we can’t say enough how much we appreciate our military families and all that they sacrifice so that we can live in this great country.  We’ve both got veterans in our families, so we feel a strong connection and affection for those that serve.
As you can imagine, when I read about this beautiful mission, my heart strings were singing, and I adopted my first set, Amazing and Grace.  Amazing sits in my office and I know Grace is blessing a child who is having to make a sacrifice at such a young age.

Photo - Your Silver Linings Prayer Pony
Amazing – my first Prayer Pony. Grace is in the loving arms of a child with a parent serving overseas in the military.
In Kim’s words, “Prayer Ponies were created from the love of horses and the desire to comfort children and families that are dealing with grief and loss in their lives. Ponies are created in pairs. When you adopt a Mission Prayer Pony, it’s partner will be sent to someone who is suffering a loss in their life. The Mustang Ponies are created especially for children with a parent serving in the military.”
 
Read about Kim’s story and mission on her website about how she found her calling and her way to give back. My personal favorites are the Mission Prayer Ponies and Mustang Prayer Ponies, but equally special are the Celebration and Vintage Prayer Ponies.
Check them out and tell Kim we sent you.  It’s one of the most beautiful ways to give back to someone suffering a loss or needing to know that folks are praying. I guarantee you will be blessed in return.
P.S. – Keep your eyes posted.  I hear that Kim is about have a whole new herd.  Follow her on Facebook.