Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Blog!

I was looking over my blog yesterday and realized that its 2nd anniversary is here.  I started the blog to chronicle the trip to Washington DC that my son, David, and I took.  He had been talking a lot about Washington DC and how much he'd like to go there, but with his anemia, I was scared to fly.  Then my mother said "Have you considered the train?"  I looked into it and, before long, David and I were on Amtrak on our way to DC.  The blog chronicled the trip and I kept it up when we got back.

In recognition of 2 years of writing this think, I spent some time reading back over the whole thing and I was struck by just how MUCH has happened in 2 short years:

Year One:
I had water problems in the house.
David and I went to DC.
We both got sick upon return- I was down for over a week
Our water froze and then the pressure switch stuck, blowing valves.
I did an emergency extension of our septic tank...
...During which our backhoe broke down (and is still broke).
Derek requested and received baptism. [a GOOD thing!]
David started on blood transfusions.  Lasted 3 weeks at first.
We entered what would prove to be a severe drought.
I took a wild peregrine and prairie falcon to use for falconry.
David's transfusions increased to every other week.
Moved into a new guitar shop.
My grandmother died.
The ranch got hit with a lawsuit.
The peregrine died from an eagle attack.
David's transfusions increased to every week.
We struggled financially due to reduced income from drought and increased expenses from lawsuit.
David started on steroids.
More drought.
More expensive legal wrangling.
A critical well went down.

That was all in the first 15 months.  After that, things seemed to turn and this past year has brought:

Year Two
Drought continues thru summer- worst since the '30's but we still shipped some nice cattle.
Saved the well thanks to "well fishing" and improved the well while fixing it.
Daughter off to college and doing good.
Lawsuit settled.
Drought still in effect but we got some much-welcomed snow.

I know life's supposed to be exciting, but, believe me, "cruise control" for the next 2 years would be just fine with me.  :)  However, I don't think that will happen.  There will be challenges and adventures and we'll face them just like we've faced these.

My prairie falcon loves me:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Winter’s Come and Gone

Well, not quite, but it’s a cool song and it’ll soon be true.  Here’s my friends Kenny and Amanda Smith doing the song:

We still have some (probably) cold weather ahead but on the whole, it’s been a very mild winter.  We’ve had just a few small snowfalls and we definitely need some more moisture to get started growing grass in ’13.  The forecast isn’t calling for rain but I’ve seen it rain here and not there, so I’m hopeful that we’ll get something.  Just in case, though, we’re reducing our cattle load to 60% of normal operating capacity.  Now, that sounds easy on paper, but that means a 40% reduction in income, too.   I should be able to make that up by working on guitars, but we’re anticipating a lean summer.  But, I’m confident that we’ll be okay.

Christmas came and went and went enjoyed spending it in Santa Fe at my mother’s house.  I’ve otherwise mostly just been working on guitars, working on sermons, and doing what I normally do this time of the year.  One new thing is that I’m going to make an effort to shoot in the State Championship archery rounds, and to prepare for that I’ve been tuning bows and practicing.

We got a new-to-us Harris' hawk right after the NAFA meet back in Thanksgiving and we've been working with him.  He's doing okay but we just don't have any game.  Maybe next year.

I had a nice surprise the other day. I was wanting a drum track to practice electric guitar with and I thought "Garageband!" So, I fired it up on David's former iPad and guess what I found on there? A recording of us jamming. Before he got his little drum set, he played our Ashbory Bass. If you've never seen one of these, they have a very short scale and literally rubber bands for strings. They are super-easy to play.  David started fooling around with it and I could see he had a good sense of rhythm, so I said “Why don’t I show you a chord progression?”  I showed him a simple I-IV-V in G and it didn’t take him long to get it down.  I remember the day he set his iPad down in front of the amp and recorded himself and then played it back thru the amp (using some connectors I'd put together) and then recorded me playing along with him. We did that _once_ and that was the recording I found today.  I edited a rough start out (I was trying to figure out if he had the right number of beats) and added a few more photos of him and threw this little video together.

I also found on Garageband  a recording of him singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" along with a Garageband keyboard which he presumably played.  What a couple of special finds, huh?

We’re continuing to work through David’s passing.  The hardest part is going to the cemetery.   They called and said that David’s headstone had come in and so we drove out to see it.  It was a little crooked so I reached out to straighten it up.  I was able to touch his casket at the burial but something about touching the headstone just wiped me out.  We came home and I slept for 4 hours.  We’ve been back twice to put plastic flowers back in place and both times I’ve come down with gout which, in me, seems to be stress-related.  However, I continue to be given little “comfort circumstances” and am gaining peace.  Here’s an interesting story...  I’ve been using E-Sword software for years but have never used the reference library downloads.  Well, I moved to a new computer (originally supposed to be Georgia’s but ended up being mine) and in the process of updating everything I re-installed E-Sword and while doing that, I looked over the reference library downloads and found this book:

So, I downloaded and read it.  I was an amazing read.  It’s a story of a pastor whose 18-year old was killed in a car wreck and the things they went thru while dealing with it.  I’ve read quite a few books on death, but this one really hit home. I recommend it highly. 

Well, let’s wrap this up.

Mom and Derek at the gravesite

A Fender Esquire that I put together