Monthly Archives: August 2011

Texas Style

by Kate

This week, I am sleeping under a sleek curved set of Texas longhorns mounted high on the wall above our bed. The deep green duvet echoes the longhorn theme with an elegant cream colored design. 

Paintings of bluebonnets, cattle, and ranchers adorn the walls above sturdy oak furniture.

A spare cowboy hat is waiting in case we need it.

There is a saddle complete with lariat in the corner, just in case we manage to find and rope a wild mustang on the hot dusty streets of this lovely little subdivision.

And of course there is a tanned hide covering the wide wooden plank floor…

We are living in luxury in the gracious Texas Suite- the beautifully designed guest room at my in-laws residence in New Braunfels, Texas.

Casey’s parent’s fled California a couple years back. In California, they lived in a gorgeous home with a wall of glass overlooking the deep blue Pacific arching out to the horizon. When Casey’s father set off on one of his long voyages as the Captain of huge container ships headed all over the world, they could look to sea and watch other ships coming and going and wait for his ship to come in again. When he retired and his ship came in for good, they headed for the hill country of Texas. Casey’s father is six foot five, sandy haired, blue eyed, and a fervent red blooded republican. The rampant liberalism of California was causing his blood to boil, and Texas suits him perfectly. He bought a ten gallon hat, a pair of Wranglers, and a good pair of cowboy boots and is a model citizen in his new, adopted, passionately conservative, Texan hometown.

New Braunfels is a beautiful town, and although the temperature has soared above a hundred every day, we’ve had an amazing trip. I look forward to sharing my pictures of cool green rivers, small town main streets, and a bona fide Texas Dance hall with you over the next few days. At the moment though, I’ve got a date with a deep pool of water, and I’m about to jump in.

Tell me- did you go on vacation this summer? Are you planning to? I’d love to hear about it. And Mary Brigid, my sister, you had BETTER still be coming to Pittsburgh next week. I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about some trip to Kansas!

Love, Kate

Two-Thirds Sheep-Free

By: Mary

In the very begining of stages of this blogs evolution, I shared my late-winter experiences as a new lamb owner. (See Laundry Basket Lambs and Mary Had A Little Lamb).

 Since then, 6 months has slipped by.

After 8 weeks of bottle feeding, I sent them off to a relatives farm. There, a pasture was in need of being mowed, so it was a helpful solution for my uncle and myself. By this time, I was more than ready to send them off to what I like to call ” sheep foster care”. This worked out great for some time. At one point on a rainy May morning while high on endorphins after having just ran a race, I dropped in to see them. Due to the electric fence being on, I was unable to actually get under the hot wire. I called out their names in hope that they would amble on over and visit with me.The only response I got was blank looks on their faces and the resident goats of the pasture heading my way to visit with me. Annoyed, I yelled out ” What about the good shepherd and faithful sheap?!?” Before leaving I also made mention to them ” Idiots- you know how much money I spent on milk replacer?!”

After the couple of months stint as foster and pasture care sheep, I decided to sell out last week and put an add on Craigslist. I am still the technical owner of Rambuger, but am giving him to my Dad. Oddly enough, I got a lot of responses from people seeking sheep. The man who ended up buying them is a serious sheep guy who farms about 2 hours away. He wants to start milking 600 head of sheep! I found it super funny that on the phone he said, “Can I ask you a question? Do you ever go to a little bar called Leo and Leona’s?” What a small world it is. (Read some pretty amusing stories about Leo and Leona’s here and here)

Now that I am 2/3’s of the way sheep free, I am questioning if this was a one time shepherdess stint for me, or if I would do it again. I guess the answer is, I don’t know. Frankly, I enjoy the challenge of tending to the lambs when they are so small. It’s good busy work..buuuut- I don’t like sheep. When they hit the pasture beast stage I don’t really want to have to worry about them. In the future, I may raise about 6 sheep. This all depends on if I can have them sold to 4-H kids before I even buy them at a day old. That way, I can just feed them up for the first 8 weeks and then sell them off and make some cash. Who knows what will happen. All I know is that I am much more of a horsewoman than a shepherdess. Even if my name is Mary and I take my lambs to school.

The Music Man

By: Clare

As August comes,the realization that summer ends comes with it. One by one, older siblings make their way back to their colleges for another school year. This year, all those leaving are heading down to Dallas, either for college, or jobs. The first to leave has been Cale, who started making his way down yesterday.  Cale has been spending his summers, even sometimes Christmas’, with us for almost as long as I can remember, and is more like a brother to me than a cousin. His jokes never fail to make me laugh, and even his laugh makes me laugh. Cale is also our resident musician. There’s been many a summer night when I’ve stayed up late listening to Cale play his guitar and sing a particular song he is obsessed with getting down perfectly at the moment. I love being on the first or second floor and suddenly hearing Cale’s loud singing voice projecting all over the house from the third floor. Even it’s just him coming into Mary’s room and playing the same scales over and over, we still enjoy it.

(No, he is not asleep. This is Cale playing his scales on the floor of Mary’s room. I really don’t remember why he decided to lie down.)

Cale, we will miss you and your music.

 Folks, Elvis has left the building.

A Sunday Adventure

The Slattery family usually spends Sundays with a big meal with the whole family crowded around the table, followed by a special recreation that it seems each person has to celebrate the special day of the week reserved for rest. But this Sunday, the Slattery family packed up kids and food alike, to spend the day at a family friends’ house for a little get-together. It took at least 45 minutes of complete chaos to figure out who was going with who, and who’s going to take what dish we prepared, but eventually we got on our way. I, Clare, of course, was stuck going with Mom and Dad because there was “no room with the big kids for me”, which I was none too happy about, and poor Raph and James had gone to a separate mass and were left behind because of some miscommunication.

The Kinsmans have been friends with out dad since college, so we’ve certainly seen them before, but I can barely remember the one time I’ve been to their house. Mom would always come home from visiting gushing about their gardens and house, so I was very curious as to what their house would be like. It looks pretty average from the front.

But not so average from the back…

We all went ahead and helped ourselves to some delicious food from the kitchen.

We all ate our dinner on the magnificent shaded porch at the back of the house.

Following the meal, we were free to do whatever. Some took time to relax.

I myself went to explore the grounds. There were quite a few pretty flowers and a beautiful fountain. I just love fountains. Too bad this fountain didn’t have the water running.

They also had a pond, which Adeline had been very excited to swim in. She was quite disappointed when she learned it was too scummy for swimming. She had even come all prepared, wearing her swimsuit instead of clothes. She wears her swimsuit quite a lot.

All good things must come to an end, and after a few hours, it was time to head home, stuffed to the brim and content.

What did you do this Sunday?