Friday, August 31, 2007

Kids and Cars

What is it about a parent worrying while their kid travels? My daughter was traveling home last weekend from college. I was outside working, wondering when she was going to arrive. I finally took a break and went in the house. Calling her cell phone, I got her voice mail. I left a message and headed back out. Just as I started the Mahindra, Luke caught my attention with the phone in his hand. Just as I thought, it was Rebecca. She was going through Brenham and her transmission started acting up...again. I told her not to worry and that we would take it to the shop. She made it home okay.

Monday, we both had doctor's appointments. In between the appointments, we took the car to the repair shop. After explaining what the old Nissan was doing, the repair manager stated my worst fear. He said it was going to need a transmission rebuild and that model Altima was around $2900. I could not see putting that much money in a 14 year old car, so we left the car there and started looking for her college graduation present. She graduates this December. She wanted a pickup. She wanted my Ram 2500 diesel! Luke does also! I have always disliked going through car buying protocols. You know, the sales routine, followed by meeting the Sales Manager routine, with a close by the finance guy. Followed about by the salesman going back and forth to his managers office, all the while keeping Rebecca's car keys. But I reminded myself Rebecca was learning here. Since it was getting dark, I told them we needed to leave as I was getting hungry. I asked for the car keys. They asked if we would like to take the Ram home. Rebecca asked me, Can we do that? I told her we could and that it is just a way to make us come back. We came back the next day after driving the truck to two other used car lots. Things have changed. It used to be just credit life insurance they would pitch at you, but now it is gap insurance, family care insurance, along with an extended warranty and some type of disability insurance. The terms were within our budget, but now I had to wade through all these extras. So we signed on the dotted line and drove home. Rebecca is back in Austin now with her "new" Blue 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4 door and already has called about not being able to backup just once. Good thing I got the 12 month drive train warranty!
It has rained here a little the last few days. Just enough to keep me from working outside. At least the swampy area is cleared enough and mowed that now it should drain better, thanks to the loader bucket on the Big Red Beast. Sunday I will go to Austin and pick up Rebecca's truck to bring back and have the windshield fixed, along with repairing her computer desk while there. Anyway, I will use any excuse to see her! After all, she is my baby. When she was in elementary school, she gave herself the nickname of Booster. She got it from a Band Booster sticker. So she is my Boo!

Wow, Labor weekend is here. That is always a special weekend here as Dad's birthday is the 2nd and Mom's birthday is the 3rd. So it will be ice cream cake time again. Other then me coming over, they don't want anything. Seems the older they get, the more they ask me to come over. Which I want to do, but working nights and on the place each weekend, I feel short of time. Now when it is pretty outside, I call and ask them to come over. Mom has dementia and really likes to get away from home frequently. Then they get here and Mom is ready to leave and go home. I have taken over their finances now. That was a big deal for me at first. Here I had listened to them for 40 something years and did what they said. Now I had to tell them what was what with their finances. I asked my aunts and uncle who took care of Grandpa Williams' finance. My Uncle Carlos, up in Oklahoma, told me my Uncle Woody did. Great, he is gone! I wanted to pick his brain. But I have survived through 4 months now of doing their bills.

I have been remembering to put corn out for the wildlife. Every day around 12:30 two does come up to browse. They sure are pretty, but the pair of hawks are my favorite. They are out after each time I mow. That reminds me, I need to get outside and see if the elusive flying squirrel is out. We only see a quick glimpse of her.

So Monday is Labor Day. I plan on being with Mom and Dad. I wished I could work on my barn. But I can not knee or climb ladders right now. I pray your Labor Day weekend is as you would like it. Stop back here later to see what else is going on at CheyennePaints Ranch.
hugs, Brandi

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Going West

I have always loved the wide open places of Texas. I don't know why. Maybe it is the good times I had at my Grandparent's farm in Higgins, Texas. Each time I would leave their farm, no matter how old I was, I cried. Even the last time. Well, the last time was when my Uncle Woody died. He owned a boot shop in Higgins. He later moved the shop to Canadian. In 1988, we almost moved up to Higgins. I was going to work in the boot shop and learn how to make boots. I already knew how to repair boots, as each summer I couldn't wait to get to the boot shop on Dad's one week vacation. Uncle Woody would pay my brother and I in hats, boots, and belts. I really fit in repairing boots, as I was left handed and Uncle Woody was also. That helped as he had some left handed leather working tools. He also showed me how to rope, as Dad was right handed and I got everything backwards watching him rope.

Rebecca and I went to West Texas for a week of stress free rest. It was a fast 3 day road trip. It was short because she just got out of her summer semester at UT Austin and she is working. She is now visiting my ex. She starts her final semester on the 29th. Luke stayed home and fed Booger and my ferrets and his cat, Milo. Anyway, we visited Ft. Davis National Historic Site, Davis Mountains State Park & Indian Lodge and McDonald's Observatory.

We also took a side trip to the towns of Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon. All nice places to retire! The closest Mahindra dealer is in Midland, 138 miles away from Ft. Davis. We also visited Rocksprings in the Hill Country. I do plan on buying property south of Rocksprings, some day. The closest Mahindra dealer is a little closer, just 125 miles. It is a little mountainous south of Rocksprings. Well, at least enough for a Texan. Goats and Sheep excel here, but we did see a few cattle and horse ranches. I think it would be fun to raise a few Longhorns out there. Tropical Storm Erin changed some of our plans, as just driving is no fun in the rain. So we spent the last day of vacation around Austin and fixing up Rebecca's apartment. She moved in two weeks ago, but she has been studying the whole time since for final exams. Boxes were still everywhere. She took me to the new designer mall. We just window shopped. After all, why would I spent $600 for a pair of shoes? I have spent that on boots, but the boots will last 10 times longer than a pair of shoes. Besides, boots never go out of style.

Looks like the upper Texas coast will be spared by Hurricane Dean. I was beginning to get concerned. With Hurricane Rita two years ago, I spent a day securing my house and then another day at Mom and Dad's. Dad's house is better than my mobile home to ride out a storm. But Mom and Dad need more help now. They don't like their routine to be upset. I also didn't have a generator then. Now I have a diesel generator for power outages. Only problem is it is so heavy, I use the backhoe on the 6520 to move it in and out of my workshop. I have been meaning to hook up a power transfer box for it. I will have to see about that this week. We didn't get any rain to speak of from Tropical Storm Erin. My gully is still dry. Anyway, I need to sign off now, as it is movie time. Y'all stop back in later to see how we weathered Hurricane Dean.

hugs, Brandi

Thursday, August 9, 2007

CheyennePaints---The Dream

As far back as I can remember, I have always known I would be a Cowgirl with my own Ranch. Which is hard to do in the suburbs of Houston where I was raised. My brother and I had 4 horses between us at one time in our youth on one acre of land. Dad worked two jobs back then so we could ride! We rode every day during the summer and every Saturday during the school year. We didn't just ride around the pasture. We would meet up with my brother's friend and ride to the store for a root beer or Dr. Pepper.

I want horses around me again. To rub them and to see a new friendship form. To ride when ever I want. To bring a friend along. I have never shown horses, much less taken riding lessons. I learned to ride by watching my brother. I do want to raise them and someday show them. At least to see if I like showing. I have thought about raising and training horses to sell to therapeutic horse riding stables for handicapped kids. I think I would get a lot out of seeing something I raised and trained helping out handicapped kids.

My love for Paint Horses came from my second horse, Penny. She was a black and white Paint and could rear up like the Lone Ranger's horse. She was fast and in the short race, could outrun our friends Quarter horse. I had her when I was around 11 years old. Cheyenne is from the Cheyenne Indians. I have a little Native American Indian heritage from my mother's side. I don't know if it is Cheyenne or Cherokee or from some other tribe. I just like the name Cheyenne better. I guess you could say my spirit is Cheyenne. A close friend of mine always says I should have lived 200 years ago. I say no, just 150 years ago!

Today, it is still hard to have enough land for raising horses, being divorced and getting two kids through college. So, only five acres....for now. Loggers came 3 years ago and I am still cleaning their mess up. I am off 3 nights a week, but all that time off gets deluded with household chores and helping my aging parents. My parents are 87 and 81. Dad was born and raised on a farm near the Texas Panhandle town of Higgins. Mom was born and raised as a city girl in Houston. I was born in Houston, but my heart and soul is on that High Plains farm.

After the loggers left, I bought my first tractor, an old 54 hp Ford. With a box blade I toiled until last February. I needed a tractor with more options to work more efficiently to reach my dream. With my mortgage paid off, I sold the Ford and ordered a Mahindra 6520 with four wheel drive and a loader with a 7 foot bucket. To help with the stumps and pond building, I also ordered a Mahindra 511 backhoe. While waiting for my order to be filled, I had elbow surgery to move the nerve above the muscle. This kept my hand from loosing it's grip after a fall at work. But that made it difficult to dig post holes by hand for a new corral and all the fences I need for horses. So I added a Danuser hydraulic post hole digger to my order. I had the swivel knuckle mount modified for the digger to fit the backhoe where the bucket mounts. I plumbed the digger motor lines into the backhoe bucket cylinder lines with quick disconnects. So now I have a post hole digger with forward and reverse that I run from the seat of my backhoe.

Soon, I plan to start installing the siding on my barn. I will use the 6520 loader bucket as scaffolding. That 7 foot bucket makes it real nice. I started building the barn, by myself, a year ago last June. Too bad I had it framed and the roof on before I bought the 6520! I had a barn raising last March before elbow surgery to get the roof on. That was fun. At least now, the Big Red Beast has a roof over her head.

Well, it is supper time and Luke cooked tonight. Guess I better go eat before it gets cold!
This blog is new to me, so y'all come back later and check process on my dream. Comments are welcome, especially from horse owners.

hugs, Brandi