Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bad News for Texas

Well the news is not good but at least hopefully we can prepare somewhat.  I know there are some definite changes I would like to make before next summer.


National climatologists project more Texas drought in 2012 


Posted on November 29, 2011 at 6:55 PM
Updated today at 7:10 PM 

FORT WORTH - If weather patterns hold true, ranchers will find it just as hard to feed and water herds next year. Farmers will find just as much dust in their fields. Homeowners will see continued watering restrictions that could get even tighter, and fires will rage in areas not already burned.

Bill Proenza is director of the National Weather Service southern region.

"The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center is looking ahead and seeing similar conditions setting up again for the upcoming year," Proenza said.

About 100 climate scientists from several states gathered in Fort Worth to look ahead. They don't like what they see.

"The last major drought like this dates back to the mid 50's," Proenza said.

He says Texas is in exactly the same situation as the 1950's, when drought gripped the state for several years. Only this time, there are three times as many people straining water supplies.

"It's concerning news for all of us," Proenza said.

Scientists blame La Nina, a pool of cool water in the Pacific that affects the jet stream.

They see the same ominous signs they saw last year as we entered a record-setting summer of heat and drought. Climate experts say government agencies should heed the early warning and prepare as much as possible.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Running Out of Time

East side
 I started my project of building an area for our goats back in the early summer.  We didn't have wire mesh like I would have liked to have to build it with so we decided to create an electrical & barbwire fence.  Our oldest son came up for about a week to help out.  He is great help by the way.  We have always been able to work well together.  Between a book from the library, the internet and our own creativity we got most of the fence up.  Being our first time to build a barbwire fence there are a few mistakes that have to be adjusted.  Plus I would like to add another strand or two of barbwire.  Not to bad for first timers though.
East side where it attaches to the back of the barn.

The weather got to hot to stand being outdoors so the fence project was put on hold.  I was able to work on the shelter under the side of the barn since it was shaded.  That project is almost complete.  I need to add a board to the bottom of the front wall and I am thinking of adding a wind break so the north wind doesn't find it's way to swoop in.

Shelter made inside to help contain the heat during the
winter and shade for the summer.  Everything made from
recycled material around the homestead & reclaimed from
the neighbor's burn pile.
Shelter is 10' x 7'
Future plan is to build a platform inside for them also.

 On the homestead I find that project rotate on a need basis.  My goats are due to deliver the first part of December so I think I have a need to finish this project.  With a few extra demands on my time this might prove to be a bit challenging.  Not to mention today is a rainy day.  Guess I will cowgirl up and get this project finished for our girls and the new arrivals.  All five are pregnant so we can have possibly 10 kids by Christmas.

On a good note I have seeded the field as well as the backyard and a few other areas with rye, oats, and wheat.  We are hoping this supplies enough food for the winter as hay is getting hard to come by and the prices keep going up. The rye has already sprouted in the yard as well as some of the coastal.  It is good to see green again after a summer full of blowing dirt.

The plan is that this field will one day become the "Winter Field" as it is close enough to the house for feeding and watering.  We have another area we hope to make available for the goats for a "Summer Field".  But that is another project on the board that will get rotated in one day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Welcome To Hilltop Homestead - Aidan

 I would like to welcome our granddaughter Aidan who has hit the follow button.  The beautiful picture I use on the top of the blog was taken by her two springs ago when the fields were filled with Indian Paintbrushes.  I love you Baby Girl.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Today was the start of a busy few days for us.  We went to my parents house about one hour south of us to help prepare for tomorrow.  My mom tends to put more on her plate then one person is capable of doing.  I have to hand it to her.  She gives it her all.  The best we can do is help where she will allow.

Tomorrow we plan on showing up early to help set everything up and eating a wonderful meal prepared with much love.  There will probably be a little over eating as well.  It is hard not to when there is so much good food.

Then we are heading to North Texas to spend the night with our children.  We are so excited.  Rumor has it they are excited too.  For years they have spent the holiday with their father.  This year they decided to have Thanksgiving themselves and invited us up to join them.  Having already committed to my parents we are choosing to do both back to back.  Fun times will be had by all for sure.

What am I grateful for?  My family. My wife, who has seen me through so much.  The one who shares my homesteading dream with me.  Our children, who love me as I love them.  My biological family who I have in the past two year either re-met or met for the first time.  You have completed me in ways I could never explain.  My adopted family who has loved me like blood.  To my friends that are more like family then friends.  My family of choice.  Most of all to God who has given me all these blessings, thank you.

Our Children & Grandchildren
(Excluding the blurred out one.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I always feel it is better to be safe than sorry which means to me that knowledge is self preservation. I lead an emergency site on FB for my local area and we are looking at possible tornadoes in the next two to three days or so. I found this information on the NOAA site and wanted to pass along. I even learned something new reading it myself.

My two youngest children go to college in North Texas.  Last year they had a tornado warning.  The students in the dormitory were made to go down into the unsafe window filled lobby.  Having no other choice they did as they were instructed but instead of lingering in the lobby they remained in the hall next to the bathroom door to be able to dash into safety at a moments notice.

It amazes me how uneducated people are on safety.  Especially when they are responsible in helping our children be safe.  I told my Eagle Scouts in a message last night that their training exceeds most adults.  Don't be afraid to stand up and take control of a situation if you need to in order to keep yourself and others safe.

Here is a video of tornadoes capture in southwest Oklahoma on November 7, 2011 by our friends Texas Storm Chasers.  In here was the first time I have seen a tornado without a funnel.

You can also find these guys on FB:  Texas Storm Chasers

Tornado Safety - Roger Edwards
Storm Prediction Center - Norman, Oklahoma

There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent F5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas...

Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. All administrators of schools, shopping centers, nursing homes, hospitals, sports arenas, stadiums, mobile home communities and offices should have a tornado safety plan in place, with easy-to-read signs posted to direct everyone to a safe, closeby shelter area. Schools and office building managers should regularly run well-coordinated drills. If you are planning to build a house, especially east of the Rockies, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior "safe room".

Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:

1. Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.

2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!

3. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.

4. Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.

5. Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.

6. Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.

At school: Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome to Hilltop Homestead - Bama Cherokee & Julz

Welcome Bama Cherokee and Julz to the homestead.

Thank you to MDR for teaching me how to track the new followings so I could welcome them.  I complicated the crap out of it when it was really very simple.

Homestead Update

Many of us are caught up with these last two months of the year.  I know I have been busy and not posting.  I could post but who really wants to hear about unpacking, shopping, and cleaning house.  Just the everyday mundane things going on.  You know the things you neglect when your doing projects.  At least I know I am guilty.

The Goats will be having their kids soon and I still don't have the area for them totally ready.  We got the bulk of it done back in the sweltering heat of the summer with the help of our oldest son.  Now there are just little things that need to be done that make a big impact.  I hope and pray the electric fence works for them as we don't have the money for wire mesh.  God has blessed us so far with what we need so I have to have faith that he is guiding me in the right direction.

We have also been trying to get the house cleaned up as we have a friend from Austin coming to visit us.  It has been to long since we have seen her and are really looking forward to the visit.  Back in the summer we moved most of the remaining stuff from our home north of Dallas to the homestead.  Wildfires in the area broke out and the unpacking was put on hold while we monitored their progress and the possible dangers.

Last week my dad gave his nephew his 1932 Ford truck.  It use to run until him and my adopted brother decided to restore it.  It has been in pieces ever since.  John is having it restored.  As a result last week I had to clear a path in the barn to get to the old truck parts.  Not very simple since I had assumed it would never moved and piled stuff around it for storage.  That is what I get for assuming.

This is not our truck.  This is just a truck that looks real similar to the one we had.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with blessings.  I know I have already been counting mine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterns Day November 11, 2011 - Updated

Today is the day set aside to honor our veterans. Men and women who have a calling to serve in our military. Some go to war. Some never see action. Some see to much. Some never recover. Some bring it home. Some never make it home. Some make it home in a box.

These are not the reasons for their calling. Their reasons are much stronger than that. They train to become the best to protect their fellow soldiers and their country from enemies foreign and domestic. They turn their lives and will over not only to a God of their understanding but also to the United States of America.

To those of you who have taken that pledge. I thank you for your service and sacrifice.

To name a few that are close to my heart: Bobbye Eachus, Jay Sulfrian,  Leonard Strathman,Amos Snow II, Ben Branch, Rick Renshaw, John McCarty, Jack McCarty, Aaron Frame, Alec Ward, Chris Anthony, James "Butch Miller, and Fred Paul Vaughn.

I am sure there are others I have missed in naming. Some I didn't name because I didn't know they served. (It is not like they go tooting their own horn.)

You all are important to me.
To my friends, family and all other veterans who sacrificed and served our Country, Thank you.

To those who are missing or gave all.  You are not forgotten.

The most powerful experience was seeing this in person one Memorial Day at the Princeton, Texas Cemetery with the Boy Scouts of Troop 1167.  The sound of the powerful fighter planes and the visual of seeing the obvious missing space is like a punch to the heart.

There are restaurants that offer free meals to all veterans for Veterans Day.  Here is a link if you are or know a veteran.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition

Some of you might have already seen this.  A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought it was a wonderful idea.  Let's rethink the gifts this year and make them count for all involved.  Our family due to money situations is simply planning on getting together to enjoy each other as we share a meal.  Rich indeed might I say.
Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone - yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants - all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains - this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community (and 35 cents of THAT is TAX). If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list - post it to discussion groups - throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city - send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Meaning of Redneck from the Eclectic Redneck Girl

My name is Genevieve.  I am a native Texan and I like to consider myself as an Eclectic Redneck girl.  I have had the opportunity to experience many things in life outside of my redneck territory.  As a result I am changed by those experiences.  I thought since I am so fond of being a redneck I would explain where the term came from and what it's original meaning was and what it means to me today.

Originally, the term redneck came from the later 1800's in southern Georgia and Alabama to refer to sharecroppers who worked in the fields thus getting a sunburned neck. They were called 'rednecks' as a term meant for hard working people.

The term was again used in the 1930's in a number of disputes in West Virginia. A large group of unionized miners marched south to Logan County, to pressure the mine owners there to allow their miners to become unionized. The union was formed due to the abusive conditions created by the mine owners and their outlawish guards who threatened workers with eviction and possible death if they joined the union which demanded fair pay.  

To identify themselves as they marched south, the miners all wore red bandannas around their necks. The publicity associated with the battles and the subsequent court cases created the term red-necks, and at that time they were viewed as the good guys in the conflict. 

Today, the term is used by comedians and commentators to refer to people who are uneducated, close-minded and racist individuals.  Unfortunately as a result people's view of a redneck is not a very positive one.

To me redneck is a way of life.  It is the southern way of living.  Being respectful and polite to others.  Saying yes ma'am and yes sir.  Enjoying a quiet evening sitting on the porch watching the sunset and the moon rise.  Loving your pickup truck like a biker loves his Harley.  Wrangler or Levi jeans and cowboy boots.

Now I re-frame from saying listening to country music because 95% of the time I don't.  I love my rock.  Mostly the only country I like is Country and Western.  I like listening to Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, (NO NO NO Willy Nelson!).  Some of the newer artist I like would be; Martina McBride, Holly Dunn, and Kathy Mattea to name a few.

My favorite song of all time would be Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphy.  The original version ONLY.  The others are just crap in my opinion.  (Warning, I have strong opinions but I am not closed minded.  I am willing to listen and possible be wrong.  Yes, I will admit it when I have been wrong.)

If you haven't heard the original version from 1975 in a while here it is:

The bottom line regarding the term redneck before I get off subject here is, I am proud to be a redneck.  Southern born where I was taught respect and morals.  

I am not now or have I ever been racist.  I was raised in a black community and my children are 1/2 Hispanic.  There is no room in my world for judgement of people.  I believe in accepting people as they are.  That is as long as they are simply living their life and not harming others.

I believe right is right and wrong is wrong.

I believe if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem for no action is still action.

Most of all I believe in being solution oriented.  Wallowing in the problem never gets it fixed so stop your complaining and do something positive to fix it.

I believe in gun ownership.  Remember there is a big responsibility in owning a gun of any kind.  Make sure you are well educated and respect this responsibility. 

In regards to hunting.  I was taught if you shoot it you eat it.  Taking a life should never be done simply for fun.  Any life!
I believe in green, sustainable living.  To me it is just common sense.  I was taught to rely on no one.  I alone was responsible for my needs.  
I don't think it is a good idea to support things that are slowly killing us.  It is time to learn how to live better.  Better for ourselves as well every thing that surrounds us.
Last but not least.  I have an Associates Degree, I am a licensed massage therapist, and a Kundalini Yoga Instructor.  Yes, now you see were the eclectic part comes in.  As you can see.  I am educated.  I love learning and I do so every chance I get by any means I can find.

So to those of you who have learned what redneck means by listening to those people in the media I ask that you take the time to get to know the real people.  I think we are pretty decent folks and I look forward to getting to know you too. 

Redneck Girl by Bellamy Brothers 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

From Boys to Men and the Blessings of Being a Part of it All

I have had the honor of being a part of The Boy Scouts of America from 1998 to 2008.  Ten years dedicated to weekly meetings with these young boys that would one day become men.  I was there to give to them.  Instead I find they gave to me.

I was given the gift of not only watching my two youngest sons grow into men but all of the young boys grow.  They all became mine and I love each and everyone of them.

Here are the Eagle Scouts from Troop 1167 from Princeton, Texas that I had the honor of working with.  I am very proud of them all.

Kristopher Boys, Daniel Boys, Steven Czepyha, Daniel Rios, Myself, Robert Turpin, Thomas Rios, Andy Turpin
(The two Rios young men are my sons)

Cathy McKenney with her two Eagle Scout sons
Eric Coffman and Zach Coffman
Dusty Ward (also and Eagle Scout), Alec Ward, and Donna Ward
Since becoming an Eagle Scout and graduating
Alec has joined the Marine Corp.
He is currently serving in Afghanistan

I have one other Eagle Scout that I was unable to obtain a picture of but still want to recognize.  Ryan Czepyha, who worked very hard and almost didn't make it.

There is a saying "It takes a village to raise a child."  That could not be more true than in scouting.  These young man put forth great effort to achieve the rank of Eagle.  Many give up when others trudge forward.  Many times it take some STRONG encouragement from the adult leaders as well as the parents to help push the boy forward when he is struggling.  It is usually when they are Life Scouts working on the final requirements.  Sometimes it gets to be to much and they get lost.  It is up to us at that time to help guide them.  Sometimes you have to help them break it down to what they need to do on a daily basis in order to achieve their goal.  It is not unusual for arguments and tears during this stage.  I can tell you it is well worth it when you watch the Eagle medal being pinned over your son's heart.  No, becoming and Eagle isn't for everyone.  It is for those who want it and are willing to work for it.

I have had the honor of working with these fine young men.  My life would not be what it is today had it not been for these young men and the scouting program.  Not to mention a big thank you goes out to our youngest son Daniel who was the one that started this journey for me.  What a ride it has been.

Talking about these guys always make me a bit emotional.  They would flock to us when we would come to parent night at summer camp to tell us of their adventures.  There was one summer camp where they had to take shelter because of a severe storm with a tornado.  Our middle son was Senior Patrol Leader at the time and it was his responsibility to make sure everyone took to the latrines for safety.  This he did even with the objection of an adult leader who quickly joined them after his tent was lifted by the wind. lol

There was the Eagle Project where they were suppose to be painting a fence.  Some of the younger boys got bored and started painting trees.  Yeah, that didn't turn out so good.  We all learned from that experience.

All in all I would have to say I would be glad have any and all of these young men around me if the SHTF.  These guys can do some outstanding things.  I feel Boy Scouts of America if the troop is ran correctly can better prepare our young men for the life before them than our school system.  (Note:  The program for Girl Scouts is equal to the Boy Scouts.  I guess they don't get the recognition because they are girls.  They too have a highest award equal to Eagle.)

 Here are a few more pictures I want to share then some information regarding Eagle Scouts. 

The American Flag flown over the State Capital
in the name of our son Daniel Rios
per the request of Ralph Hall


 From Boys to Men

Robert Turpin
Thomas Rios

Steven Czepyha



Andy Turpin


Daniel Ros
Daniel Boys




Kristopher Boys






Alec Ward





Eric Coffman


Fearless Leader since 1998
Scouting can be adictive

Scoutmaster Bruce Boys


Do you know that once you are an Eagle Scout
you are Always an Eagle Scout.

It is a lifetime achievement.
Famous Eagle Scouts 
  • Gerald R. Ford Jr.; 38th President of the United States
  • William C. DeVries, MD; Transplanted first artificial heart
  • Mitchell Paige; Marine Corps hero who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal
  • H. Ross Perot; Businessman and former presidential candidate
  • Donald Rumsfeld; former United States Secretary of Defense, former representative and ambassador to NATO
  • Stephen Spielberg; director
  • Neil Armstrong; First human to set foot on the Moon. Astronaut, test pilot, and naval aviator; Flew on the Gemini 8 and Apollo 11 missions.
  • James Lovell; Astronaut, Flew on missions Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13, former president of National Eagle Scout Association.
  • James C. Adamson; Retired Army colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-28 and STS-43.
  • James P. Bagian; Physician and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-29 and STS-40.
  • Guy Bluford; Retired Air Force colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-8, STS-39, STS-53, and STS-61-A. First African American in space.
  • Ken Bowersox; Astronaut, test pilot and Navy captain; Flew on shuttle mission STS-50, STS-61, STS-73, STS-82, STS-113, International Space Station Expedition 6, and Soyuz TMA-1.
  • Charles E. Brady, Jr.; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-78.
  • Gerald P. Carr; Retired Marine Corps colonel and astronaut; Commanded Skylab 4.
  • Sonny Carter; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-33.
  • Roger B. Chaffee; Navy pilot and astronaut on Apollo 1.
  • Gregory Chamitoff; Astronaut; Backup crew-member for International Space Station Expedition 15.
  • Richard O. Covey; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-26, STS-38, STS-51-I, STS-61.
  • John Oliver Creighton; Navy combat veteran and Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-51-G, STS-36, and STS-48.
  • Charles Moss Duke, Jr.; Retired Air Force brigadier general and astronaut. Flew on Apollo 16. One of only twelve men who have walked on the moon.
  • Donn F. Eisele; Air Force colonel and astronaut; Flew on Apollo 7.
  • Patrick G. Forrester; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-105.
  • Michael E. Fossum; Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, and astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-121.
  • C. Gordon Fullerton; Research pilot, retired Air Force colonel, and astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-3 and STS-51-F.
  • William G. Gregory; Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-67.
  • S. David Griggs; Navy Reserve admiral and astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-51-D.
  • Jeffrey A. Hoffman; Co-director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium at MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-51-D, STS-35, STS-46, STS-61, and STS-75.
  • Gregory H. Johnson; Astronaut.
  • Thomas David Jones; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-59, STS-68 and STS-80.
  • Mark C. Lee; Retired Air Force officer and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-30, STS-47, STS-64, and STS-82.
  • Don L. Lind; Astronaut; Flew on SpaceLab mission STS-51-B.
  • Steven W. Lindsey; Air Force colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-87, STS-95, and STS-104.
  • Michael J. McCulley; Chief Executive Officer of United Space Alliance and Astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-104.
  • William Cameron McCool (deceased); Pilot of the Columbia shuttle mission STS-107.
  • Brian O'Leary; Astronaut; Deputy team leader for Mariner 10.
  • Ellison Onizuka; Air Force lieutenant colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle mission STS-51-C. Died onboard shuttle Challenger, mission STS-51-L.
  • Stephen S. Oswald; Navy rear admiral and Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-42, STS-56, and STS-67.
  • Scott E. Parazynski; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-66, STS-86, STS-95 and STS-100.
  • Donald Pettit; Astronaut who participated in missions STS-113, International Space Station Expedition 6, and Soyuz TMA-1.
  • Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr.; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-48 and STS-60.
  • Richard A. Searfoss; Retired Air Force colonel and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-58, STS-76, and STS-90.
  • Elliott See; Astronaut; Backup pilot for Gemini 5 before his death.
  • Richard H. Truly; Retired Navy vice admiral and astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-2 and STS-8 and first former astronaut to head NASA.
  • David M. Walker; Astronaut; Flew on shuttle missions STS-51-A, STS-30, STS-53, and STS-69.
 Many people do not know what it takes to become an Eagle Scout.  Here is a list of the requirements:

  1. Be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout.
  2. Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references.
  3. Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following:
    a. First Aid
    b. Citizenship in the Community
    c. Citizenship in the Nation
    d. Citizenship in the World
    e. Communications
    f. Personal Fitness
    g. Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving*
    h. Environmental Science
    i. Personal Management
    j. Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling*
    k. Camping, and
    l. Family Life
    * You must choose only one merit badge listed in items g and j. If you have earned more than one of the badges listed in items g and j, choose one and list the remaining badges to make your total of 21.
  4. While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility:
  5. While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project should benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 521-927, in meeting this requirement.
  6. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
  7. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.


The Eagle Scout Charge

The foremost responsibility of an Eagle Scout is to live with honor. To an Eagle Scout, honor is the foundation of all character. He knows that "A Scout is trustworthy" is the very first point of the Scout Law for good reason. An Eagle Scout lives honorably, not only because honor is important to him but because of the vital significance of the example he sets for other Scouts. Living honorably reflects credit on his home, his church, his troop, and his community. May the white of the Eagle badge remind you to always live with honor.
The second obligation of an Eagle Scout is loyalty. A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation. His loyalty to his troop and brother Scouts makes him pitch in and carry his share of the load. All of these help to build the loyalty which means devotion to community, to country, to one's own ideals, and to God. Let the blue of the Eagle badge always inspire your loyalty.
The third obligation of the Eagle Scout is to be courageous. Courage has always been a quality by which men measure themselves and others. To a Scout, bravery means not only the courage to face physical danger, but the determination to stand up for the right. Trusting in God, with faith in his fellowman, he looks forward to each day, seeking his share of the world's work to do. Let the red in the Eagle badge remind you always of courage.
The fourth obligation of an Eagle Scout is to be cheerful. To remind the Eagle Scout to always wear a smile, the red, white, and blue ribbon is attached to the scroll of the Second Class Scout award, which has its ends turned up in a smile.
The final responsibility of an Eagle Scout is service. The Eagle Scout extends a helping hand to those who still toil up Scouting's trail, just as others helped him in his climb to the Eagle. The performance of the daily Good Turn takes on a new meaning when he enters a more adult life continuing service to others. The Eagle stands as protector of the weak and helpless. He aids and comforts the unfortunate and the oppressed. He upholds the rights of others while defending his own. He will always "Be Prepared" to put forth his best.
You deserve much credit for having achieved Scouting's highest award. But wear your award with humility, ever mindful that the Eagle Scout is looked up to as an example. May the Scout Oath and the Scout Law be your guide for tomorrow and onward.

The Eagle Scout Challenge

Your conduct along the trail has been excellent. You have rededicated yourself to the principles of Scouting, but one more thing is important: Your future.
As an Eagle Scout, you become a guide to other Scouts of lower rank. You become an example in your community. Remember that your actions are now a little more conspicuous and people will expect more of you. To falter in your responsibility would not only reflect upon you, but on your fellow Eagles and all Scouting. The torch you carry is not only yours, but is ours also.
I challenge you to enter this Eagle brotherhood, holding ever before you, without reservation, the ideals of honor and service. By the repetition of the Eagle Scout Promise before your fellow members, you will become an Eagle Scout. Though the words you use are similar to those by which you joined Scouting, they will mean more now than they could have meant at any time in the past. When you pledge yourself on your sacred honor, you will be sealing your eternal loyalty to the code of the Eagle Scout, with the words which closed the Declaration of Independence.  Repeat after me:
I reaffirm my allegiance
to the three promises of the Scout Oath
I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself
the obligations and responsibilities of the rank of Eagle Scout
On my honor
I will do my best
to make my training an example
my rank and my influence count strongly
for better Scouting
and for better citizenship
in my troop
and in my community
and in my contacts with other people
to this I pledge my sacred honor.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Storing Up For the Winter

The past week we have been doing what I like to call "Conscious Shopping".  The drought pretty much killed our garden early on this year even with us watering therefore we were unable to put away as we had hoped to.  As a result we have gotten creative and are finding ways of storing up even if it is not our own fresh food.

Conscious Shopping to me is looking at the sales paper and purchasing items when they are on sale.  Fortunately we have the money to purchase in bulk so we can stock up when the prices are right.  I know many that would benefit from this however since they live pay check to pay check they are unable to buy in bulk.

 Sunday, October 30th we went to a local Mexican store where we like to purchase our meat and produce.  We like the quality of there meat and they tend to have a better selection and quality of produce than the American stores.  Not to mention at better prices.

We purchased the following in bulk that were on sale:

10lbs - Pollock Fish - $1.59 per pound
10lbs - Catfish Nuggets - 1.49 per pound (unbreaded)
40lbs - Potatoes - $10.00
(Potato Bin Storage - Recyled / Repurposed Boxes)

We vacuum sealed the fish in 1 1/2 lb bags to preserve longer.

Next Shopping Trip was Wednesday, November 2nd where we once again purchased on sale items without coupons.

Brookshires we found marked down meat which we vacuum sealed. 

        Full Price Total:  $48.54
Marked Down Total:  $23.06
                    Savings:  $25.48

We also purchased Bacon and Evaporated Milk that was on sale in which we saved $9.16 on In Store Savings.
Super One - We  purchase right at 25 lbs of bone in chicken breast for $0.77 a pound.

Save Alot - We purchased 10lbs of real butter for $1.99 a pound.  We use real butter instead of margarine since margarine is a carcinogenic.  Not to mention the flavor is so much better.

Our payload came from Kroger where they were having one of their big sales.  I just love it when they do that.  We were able to purchase cases of food for next to nothing.  Vegetables, sugar, coffee, almond milk (dairy makes us a bit snotty), mac & cheese to name a few items.  I was afraid we were going to have to get another basket before we were done.  Our cart was full when we got to the check out.

        Store Total:  $216.64
In Store Savings:  $102.13
      Total Payout:  $114.51

Harriet has also been researching couponing.  People either love it or hate it.  She has found a website that helps make it easy or at least easier:  Coupon  Yesterday was the first time we actually went out with a stack of coupons in hand.  I felt pretty worthless standing around.  She had to evaluate the product and price compare to the generic to insure that it was really worth using the coupon for the name brand.  There were several coupons that just were not worth using that she just gave away to other shoppers that were buying the products.  I will say that at Walmart where we did the most shopping we saved $24.22.

               Total:  $65.72
After Coupons:  $41.50
           Savings:  $24.22

It was good to see the total reduce.  Our hard work payed off.

Last week were were able to purchase Scotts Toilet paper for about $4.50 a 12 pack at CVS;

Scotts Toilet Paper was on sale:  $8.00 each regularly $10.99
We had a $4.00 off coupon.
Then since we purchased over $30.00 worth of certain listed product then we got a $10.00 gift card in which we were able to get American Express to use at other stores not just CVS.

These savings are important to us since we have been unemployed (homestead employed) for 2 1/2 years now.  Thank God we had savings in which we are primarily living off of.  We have been blessed indeed.  Our freezer is now full and we have a stock of other food items too.  Conscious shopping and coupon shopping is working for us.  It make be a lot of work but you don't get anything for nothing these days.   It is worth the extra effort.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Potato Bin - Recyled/Repurposed Boxes

So we were shopping yesterday and while I was in the produce section I noticed the produce guys putting out pineapples.  Most people I am sure would be interested in the fruit however I was interested in what they plan to do with those boxes.

We had just been talking a few days ago on how we were going to store 40 lbs of potatoes that we purchased on sale so they would not spoil.  Ask and ye shall receive.

The guys were really nice and put the boxes off to the side while we  finished our shopping.  They are sturdy enough for pineapples which are heavy and they lock together by the tabs you see on the top box.

We were able to put 10 lbs of potatoes per box making sure none of them touched to avoid spoilage.

We cut a few more holes in the four sides to increase ventilation.

We have them stored in the garage to insure they keep cool without freezing.  Really like it freezes that much here in Texas.  (Sarcasm applied)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lap Goats?! What Can I Say?

When you have a lap goat you know you have some spoiled animals.  Ernestine is in my lap, her brother Ornery is the black boy and their mom Penelope is on my other side with the pink collar.  The two kids are the first animals born here on the homestead.  As a matter of fact I believe we didn't have any pigmy goats at this time last year.  Now we have 5 adult females in which we believe all are pregnant and two kids.  We are expecting babies as of this December.  I know, not great timing but our daughter had the male we wanted to breed to them and she was having him fixed.  Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  I pray it all works out.

Bandito is Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy mix.  He has sired many however is now retired and spending the rest of his days with his two female companions and two kids.

This evening we took advantage of the nice weather before the cold front hits tomorrow.  We sat out on the back porch among our animals.  Well all except for the fowl.  Here are a few pictures we took tonight of our spoiled animals.

Ornery - Not only a lap goat, he also likes to lay his head down.

Opal - One of our Great Pyrenees

Penelopy & Ornery
Nanny, Sugar, & Sheri
Nea Nea

The next pictures are very special to me.  In February of this year we were asked to help bottle feed a lamb who's mom was down.  Well we are the type of people that will do what we can for any animal.  So not only did we bottle feed the lamb but Harriet was able to bring the ewe back from the brink of death.  No exaggeration!  At one time all bowel sounds had stopped and she was blind.  Harriet worked with her tirelessly and now she is ours as she lost her leg and they could no longer breed her.  It was one of the best gifts I have ever received.  Having these two Barbado Sheep has been a joy and a blessing.  They are such beautiful gentle creatures.  They are my babies.

If you would like to read more about them here are some previous blogs:

The Story of Momma Sheep and Mary Lamb

Mary Lamb

Mary Lamb & Momma
Mary and I
Mary is almost 9 months old.