Friday, July 27, 2012

Legacy of a Texas Girl



I just finished reading an article in a new magazine that I adore called Taproot.  Each quarter they surprise me with the care and attention they pay to every detail from the paper envelope that it comes in, to the almost haunting heart and soul that goes into every story, every word.  The particular story I just read, There and Back Again written by Rachael Miller, literally made my eyes well up and heart break with a feeling of great appreciation and great longing. 

I feel an overwhelming appreciation for the life I am blessed to lead today, but great longing for the carefree ways of my wild and free childhood and the closeness I shared when I was part of a foursome living in the country in South Texas.  The article reminded me of how much I deeply regret never having had the chance to get to know my grandfathers because they both left this Earth far too soon.  I miss my Nana, the person I have come to understand and relate to most.  I miss secret hideouts, riding bikes with my brother and cousins, running my horse wide-open across a freshly plowed field, swimming in a muddy river, sledding down gravel mountains, and making mud pies with wild berries on top.  Long gone are the days of riding go-carts with the neighbor kids and coming home after a long day of making dirt clod forts to find daddy sharpening his pocket knife in his recliner and the smell of a fried venison supper cooked by mama.  No more escaping to the mesquite tree down our caliche road to get over bad feelings. 

I spent many summer days in my Nana’s fields picking cucumbers, black-eyed peas, and corn and carrying in buckets full for her to sell.  I remember riding in the front seat of my uncle’s grain truck while my mom drove from field to elevator, sweating in the Texas sun, legs sticking to the vinyl seat.  I watched my dad work for hours under a truck or car as he overhauled the engine, mom handing him the tools like a nurse for a surgeon.  Some of my favorite evenings were spent in our living room singing a bluegrass tune while my dad played the banjo or mandolin.  When my brother and I came in from our days playing, we were usually pretty dirty and smelled like outside.  I love that smell.  I miss playing with him and I even miss fighting with him. 

As I type, my mind is flooded with memories, stories from a past life that is ever present in my days as I raise a family of my own on a ranch in the Texas hill country.  All of what I experienced as a child will forever shape my choices and drive my endeavors.  The Frio River runs through my veins and I swear there is still black clay mud under my nails.  My hair still blows in the wind above the back of my horse and I can still smell the leather of my saddle mixed with the salt of his sweat. 

Why do I feel such joy and such longing?  Because I come from parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins that love me and still make me feel loved daily.  My people were farmers, ranchers, engineers, hunters, dairy farmers, homemakers, cowboys, mechanics, seamstresses, gardeners, hostesses, Texas Rangers, surveyors, writers, painters, bookkeepers and teachers.  The ones I never knew whisper from my soul and those still here are a constant presence for me to call upon. They are stewards of the land, the wildlife, and the rivers and never shy from a hard day’s work.  The making and tending of our homes and families is as important as the air we breathe and working with our hands puts food on the table and joy in our hearts.

I can say proudly that I know my cousins, all of them, and see them at least once a year. My children have wide-open spaces to roam free and creeks and rivers to throw a line in, or cool their feet in.  I tend a garden and an orchard and enjoy raising a pen of chickens.  My kitchen often smells like my mom’s kitchen and usually has a vase of fresh flowers and a mason jar of fresh fruit preserves to put a smile on the face of anyone who enters.  I'm a wife, mother, sister, aunt, artist, designer, gardener, farmer, adventurer, and dreamer.  My love is gathering people, making connections, and living artfully and meaningfully.  Every chance I get I call home to mom and dad and talk about everything or nothing.  My children know their cousins well and spend time with their grandparents often.  This is more than I ever dreamed possible, but none of this is an accident.  Every day my choices reflect the whole of my existence and for me that includes the existence of those who came before me.  I listen to the whispers.  My roots are planted firmly in the ground and I am reaching for the stars.

This is my legacy.

Have a great weekend!

Outside Lisa

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking the Fleas to Their Knees


We returned from our vacation to find the flea population greatly diminished.  None in the house (woohoo!) and chicken’s flea hairdos were cut in half.  Now instead of flea afros, they only have flea mullets!  This was good news, but the girls were still in peril.  I decided that it was time for a big move, so I ordered a custom chicken tractor.  The plans were in one of my favorite magazines, Hobby Farms.  In case you are wondering, a chicken tractor is a chicken pen with wheels so that it can be moved easily and often.   That way the chickens are constantly living on fresh grass and they’re fertilizing the pasture at the same time.  It’s brilliant! I already let them free-range part of every day, but I am really hoping that moving them out of the barn pen that is infested with fleas and into a completely new environment will completely rid them of the pesky little devils once and for all. 

Chicken toes crossed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Fleas Have Fleas!!!


UPDATE:  So it turns out that the big bad pest control guys are terrified to treat my chickens for fleas.  So we are no better off than the last time we talked.  Now my fleas have fleas and I found one on my arm in the dentist’s office this week.  Really.  That’s it!

NEWS FLASH:  There are liability issues.  They could kill the chickens or if the chickens survive, the poison could get into the eggs and then we consume the eggs and I grow an extra limb.  You know the fear.  If he could guarantee me that the extra limb would be another hand, I might go for it, but with my luck I’d get another butt and boy, that would not be cool!  They want to try diatomaceous earth, which I’ve already tried, but they are really gung ho, and I am desperate.  So I scheduled a full on attack while we went out of town, inside and outside the house and barn.  Two different companies will be on task…one for the house (poison) and one for the yard and chicken pen (organic).  How is it they can justify putting poison in my home, but not in my chicken pen?  There’s something wrong with this picture. 

Goodbye dung beetles, goodbye ladybugs, goodbye organic dreams. 

IT’S ON!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Chickens Have Fleas, Oh My!


Flea eyeliner.  Flea earrings.  Flea hairdos.  The girls are literally bald with fleas.  We are in a sad state and I am officially declaring an all-out WAR!  I have exhausted all organic remedies (diatomaceous earth) to no avail.  Sadly, it’s time to call in the big guns…the pest control guy (you should be hearing villain music in your head here).  I must say right now that I do not really think pest control guys are villains.  I just try really hard to be as organic as possible and having to call them for help is like admitting failure for me.  But here’s the thing…when my chickens are miserable and I can’t help them and my seven year old comes home from school saying “Mommie, there were these little guys chewing on my legs today”, it’s time. 

Chickens are very delicate animals.  One false move and CROAK, they’re goners.  However, I have come to the grim conclusion that they are so bad off I might have to put them out of their misery if something doesn’t change soon.  These girls are very dear to me, but I can’t even go near them any more because if I do, I bring fleas into the house.  The way I see it, anything is worth a try now.

Anyone else out there have chickens with fleas?  

HELP!!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Things

I have two things to share today...

Number 1-  Look at the beautiful lettuce and herbs I picked from the garden today.  Somehow these have survived many freezing Winter nights and we were able to eat a fresh salad for dinner tonight.  It just rained, so I didn't even have to wash them!  That's one of the benefits of growing organic:)  I did shake them off in case they were harboring any little bugs.  I learned that lesson the hard way!

What you see is purple leaf lettuce, arugula, parsley, oregano, and some rosemary.  I made a salad with the lettuce and arugula along with some spinach I had in the fridge and topped it with chopped walnuts, goat cheese, and a lemon and garlic infused olive oil dressing I like to make.  The oregano and parsley complimented my spaghetti sauce and I chopped the rosemary and added it to a plate of olive oil and sea salt for the french bread.  Yes the bread was a splurge, but the meal was otherwise very healthy and the greens added such a wonderful surprise!  I am definitely going to remember how well lettuce and herbs do during the Winter when I am planting my Fall garden next year.


Number 2-  Turns out I'm much better at following New Year's Resolutions when I call them resolutions.  The New Year's Intentions thing isn't working out for me.  So...I am hereby restarting year on February 1st with my list of RESOLUTIONS for 2012.  Same list, different name.  Maybe this time they will stick!

Resolutions for 2012
Get back to writing
Manage my time better
Re-committ to Eating Right for My Blood Type
Take my yoga practice to a deeper level
Start playing my guitar again
Organize and simplify
Seek out creativity and adventure
Host an art and creative living retreat
Take care of the ones I love

Over & out,
Outside Lisa

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year Intentions 2012



Resolutions Intentions for 2012
Get back to writing
Manage my time better
Re-committ to Eating Right for My Blood Type
Take my yoga practice to a deeper level
Start playing my guitar again
Organize and simplify
Seek out creativity and adventure
Host an art and creative living retreat
Take care of the ones I love

*** So glad to be back at the computer typing away on my little blog.  I haven't even looked at it since the end of July and was so surprised to see that last month it had a record number of page views!  I listed my intentions for this year and I am calling them intentions instead of resolutions because I truly INTEND to do them.  Last year my resolutions defined and and guided me until I hit the holidays and it all went awry!  I am excited to start a new year and filled with anticipation for what is to come.  I know God has wonderful things in store for all of us and I intend to do my part in making things happen in my life and the lives of those whom I love so dearly!  I made this list of intentions on the fly tonight, but have given most of them plenty of thought over the past few weeks.  I will elaborate on these this month and look forward to sharing a new year with you!

Best intentions,
Outside Lisa