Years ago RancherMan & I started down this winding path to voluntary simplicity. Now I enjoy writing about our lives here on our beautiful NE Texas Homestead. There’s always something going on here!
On any given day there may be garden planting or food preservation tasks. The joy of a brand new baby calf, or the fun of dealing with our quirky free-range chickens. There’s cooking healthy meals from scratch and especially being careful with our precious natural resources. We’re doing so much more with less!
And of course RancherMan’s filled with inventiveness as he figures out different ways to keep our monthly expenditures low. Oh, and I love to share the beautiful views around our homestead too.
My hope is that with this site I can inspire others who are also on a simple path.
When RancherMan & I bought this little piece of paradise several years ago, we were still commuting to Dallas every weekday for our corporate jobs. I was finally able to convince my boss to allow me to telecommute three times each week. Sweet! Hearing the radio drone on & on about the horrific traffic jams that were always present in my typical route, I’d simply grab a cup of coffee & ‘log in’ on my computer.
Commute Time: 2 minutes! 🙂
But I was always super sensitive about the perception to my in-office cohorts regarding my working from home. I went out of my way to make sure my all my work efforts were very clearly visible. Plus I was always instantly available by office video chat.
And I purposely worked many more hours than I was being paid for ‘just to be fair‘. Oftentimes I worked well into the night and on weekends too. Still I felt there was a false perception by my coworkers regarding the time I put in for my employer.
Our apiary started out with two established single-deep beehives. That first beehive stand was built using repurposed 2″x6″ boards that were 6-ft long from raised beds that we tore out. We added a deep box to each hive last year & saw those bees safely through the winter.
This spring we split them into four hives. Now we needed another hive stand so we built another like the first from purchased 2″x6″ boards. Then we caught not one, not two, but FOURBee Swarms this spring! (I KNOW, how exciting!!)
But these swarms are being caught & brought to our fledgling apiary faster than we can build stands. RancherMan decided to change direction. He wanted to assemble the next stands using concrete cinder blocks and 4″x4″ 5-ft long wood posts.
RancherMan & I were running errands in a nearby town recently and we decided to stop for a quick bite to eat. It was raining and there were rivers of water running through the parking lot, so a close parking spot was nowhere to be found.
We parked at the end of the building and made a run for the doors. As we finally reached the doors drenched from the rain, RancherMan leaned forward to open the door for me as he always does.
“PLUNK“. The door was locked.
OMGosh for the love of PETE– someone please help this make sense for me. Why oh why do so many business have TWO doors to their establishments only to have one locked at all times?? And we’ve even run across some businesses that post a permanent sign to inform patrons to use the other door forever! WHY?? (smh)
We have a wild hog problem here in NE Texas. Bad. So bad in fact that there’s no official ‘season’ for hunting them because they’re such an invasive, destructive nuisance. Their sheer numbers are astonishing. They come through like a cloud, leaving nothing but tilled ground & deep holes behind them. Terrible! So terrible that the game warden says you can hunt them at any time day or night, in any season.
It seems our world is filled with turmoil. Everywhere I look I see dividing lines of “us” versus “them”, with so much anger hurled towards each other that it hurts my heart. Sometimes people have so much passion for their point of view that it almost becomes a shouting match to see which side of the line can shout louder to win the game.
Win the game?
I’m not sure there’s much to be won that way. It seems we all lose when there’s hate, no matter what side of the line you’re on.
But recently I was reminded that it’s not all pushing & shoving in our little corner of the world. So I figured amid the ugly stories we’ve all been pounded with, I’d share with you something beautiful. A story that demonstrates the power of LOVE!
I’ve mentioned before that RancherMan & I keep a ‘tidy’ house. The bed is made every morning, the supper dishes always cleaned, surfaces relatively cleared of clutter, etc. So it’s baffling to me why I go into a break-neck panic when RancherMan casually announces the impending arrival of an unexpected visitor.
I also notice every little piece of grass on the wood floors that our mini-Schnauzer Bailey has drug in. I’m suddenly painfully aware of the thick dust that comes from living off a dirt road. And of course the stay-at-home outfit I slipped on to just deal with cows/chickens/chores is certainly not acceptable for company!
RancherMan & I have a saying: “Sunrises Forever”. It means that every new sunrise is a blank slate, a new beginning, a brand new start. Today’s sunrise is fresh & new – different from yesterday’s and even tomorrow’s. Today’s sunrise is full of possibilities. What will you do with it?
Will you make that leap of faith & follow your passion today? Will you build on yesterday’s success to make it even better? Will you wipe away yesterday’s failure and do something great? Our sunrise may look different than yours and that’s ok. Today is a day to start new – to do something amazing that works for YOU.
Living and working on a NE Texas ranch means RancherMan & I spend lots of time on our tractors. He has a heavy-duty red beast and I have a smaller one that we affectionately call ‘Ole Blue’. She’s very reliable older-model Ford tractor.
When I became a breast cancer survivor, RancherMan painted the wheels of Ole Blue bright pink in celebration! (How much do I love him??)
Aaaaanyway he often prepares for the day’s tasks by fueling both tractors. As much as I love ‘Ole Blue’ it always made my crunchy-green heart CRINGE when RancherMan would put fuel in her. Almost every time the fuel would spill all along the top, drip down the sides and onto the grass.
Of course I’d never say anything to him. He knows how I hate it and he tries his best to deliver the fuel without spilling but…
With the design of the typical 5-gallon fuel can it was always hard to get the fuel from the can to my tractor’s fuel tank without splashing corrosive diesel on my tractor and even spilling some onto the pasture grass.
OOHHHH, my heart! There just had to be a better way!
RancherMan & I work outside every day, rain or shine. We’re either working cattle or fixing fences. There’s garden work and tractor work. Day in, day out – we’re outside working. Now we LOVE our lives here don’t get me wrong, but sun protection is something we take very seriously.
We’re careful to wear our Sun-Protective Shirtswhen we’re working outside. And for my small blue Ford 32 hp tractor, RancherMan made sure I had a heavy canvas canopy to protect me from the sun. But his larger tractor didn’t come with a canopy, just a ROPS (roll bar).
Now I hated that he wasn’t protected and constantly nagged I mean reasonedwith him to get something to protect himself from the sun. But he protested mightily, saying: “I’m having trouble finding one that fits the ROPS on my tractor. Plus I’d want a rigid canopy. And since I often work around trees when I’m mowing I just don’t know if I should get one for my tractor”