Friday, September 23, 2016

New beauties from Scout

Scout is taking a gap year of sorts, to figure out what he really wants to do in college.  I understand that totally.  I think an education is certainly valuable, but I also think you can get educated outside of college.
And it makes no sense to spend a load of money on college courses when you aren't really sure what you want to do.  There is value in getting out there in the working world and gaining some real life experience.
Which is what he is doing.  He is working full-time as a photographer.  Paying his own car note, insurance, and phone bill.  Composing music and maintaining a couple of websites.  Working on his own photography interests.   About to turn 21, and I don't even know how that is possible.
I like having him around, but at the end of the gap year, he needs to have made a decision about what he wants to do.  Not that I will toss him out, but I want him to make some future plans.
Meanwhile, I am loving the work I see on his photo websites!  I ordered some notecards and a luggage tag featuring some of these pics - aren't they lovely?
I'm a tad biased, but I think he has an eye for beauty.  I'm glad that he still sees the world this way, as I think it probably easy nowadays for twentysomethings to get discouraged at all they are seeing and hearing in the news.  Maybe he will be able to take both extremes into account when he decides how to make his mark in the world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The rest of the trip this summer...

It's been three months since we returned from our adventure in Mabel, and seeing as Fall is upon us I really need to blog the rest of our adventure!  We traveled from Austin to Palo Duro, then on to Cimarron, Eagle's Nest, and Angel Fire, then through New Mexico to our next stop: Caprock Canyon State Park in Quitaque. 
After leaving Bubbie In Cimarron, we headed back to Angel Fire and enjoyed some beer and calzone from a local joint. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at he RV resort - hung out at the lodge listening to Dale and Gayle (live music), enjoyed being the only ones in the very large hot tub where we watched the sun go down, then headed to the firepit to enjoy adult beverages until about 10 p.m.  We probably shouldn't have stayed up that late as we had to hit the road so early the next day - July 4th!
We got up in the morning (to temps in the 30's!) and cooked up some leftover pork chops and eggs in Mabel - I love that we have a functioning kitchen with fridge - makes breakfast easy and relaxing.
Leaving Angel Fire, even when it was overcast, it was still pretty.  At each drop in elevation I was able to breathe a little easier - I never did adjust to the elevation, sadly.  Hubby kept saying "wouldn't this be a beautiful place to retire?".  Not without an oxygen tank for me!
 Pretty soon, we were out of the mountains and back into wide open spaces.
 It was a lot like West Texas - miles of flat scenery, the two lane highways bordered by ranches.  But we actually saw very little cattle - or other vehicles, even.
I think this is Lake Sumner - we traveled through Las Vegas, Santa Rosa, Fort Sumner, Clovis...we pretty much powered through until we got to the canyons.  We had only stopped for gas along the way ans there was very little choice in the way of places to eat.  So, we snacked on almonds and Gardetto's until Muleshoe, then stopped at a grocery store for things to fix for dinner.
We cooked pan sauteed salmon, some leftover potatoes with bacon and red pepper, and a chopped salad, with white wine.  It was soooo good after a long day of driving.
Both of us, utterly exhausted, cleaned the kitchen up, finished the wine, and passed out!  At some point during the night I remember hearing it raining hard, but I barely moved the whole night.  Hubby said there was torrential rain, wind, and lightening!  The next morning we awoke to a peaceful scene:

There were bunnies hopping around and birds chirping and it was peaceful and calm.  I wish we could have stayed here longer.  It's such a beautiful park.  But we were trying to get to Austin in time to pick up Bubbie from the trip.
We loaded up the trailer and took ourselves to the showers to clean up.  And just down the road from the showers...
 ...we saw the resident bison herd.
 A calf was perilously close to the road!  There are signs everywhere telling you not to fool with the bison - they weigh up to 350 pounds and can outrun you. don't have to tell me twice.
Hello, Mr. Bull Bison - I will only take your picture, not daring to exit the vehicle!
Caprock is as beautiful as Palo Duro, in my opinion.  And the park was far less crowded, even with it being a holiday weekend.
 We stopped at a scenic overlook to admire the view:

It was hot as blazes for the trip back, and due to a problem with the trailer connections we were late getting Bubbie.  All of us were hot, sweaty, and tired when we got home, so all of that is a blur!  We made notes along the way about what we will do differently next time - no hard and fast timelines for one - cleaned and stored everything back in Mabel, go ready for the week ahead.  Whew - what a trip! 
So, where can we go next summer?

Monday, September 19, 2016

What the week holds and keepin' it real

Not all of the "views" on the property look as rustic and untouched as the one below.  Keep it in mind as a reference...
The person who owned it before the person we are currently buying it from had a serious hoarding and trash issue...
He built a little storage shed/carport of sorts on the property, then proceeded to load it up with *crap* both inside and out.  The current owner did his best to remove a bunch of it before he decided to sell.
 From the front of the shed looking out towards the lake,
and the back of the shed, where Mabel will have covered parking.  And here is the view from the back of the shed:
All of the big trash will be gone before closing.
Yes, we have our work cut out for us!  I told Hubby I think that this land, for awhile, will be a "project".  We have electricity and water there, but no septic tank (yet) and loads of improvements to make, including cutting down some of the cedar, moving a load of mulch to cover some old tires that are serving as erosion control, and hauling off the rest of the trash. So we need cooler weather, please!  This week I have two physical therapy appointments for my elbow, Bubbie has an away game for marching band on Friday and  Bands of America on Saturday, then I'm off on Sunday and Hubby and I are going to a wine pick-up partay with The Girl as our guest. {and we get to celebrate her birthday with her in person!}
 What does your week look like?

Friday, September 16, 2016

5 thing Friday - steak, tape, cocoa, BBQ, muffins

Random scraps - no particular time order...
Last Saturday I met up with Hubby at Torr Na Lochs for the wine party pick-up.  We had a great lunch and enjoyed a bottle of wine.  He had to get back to a campout, so I was on my own for dinner.  No problem...
I'll just pick up a juicy steak to sear, along with a sweet potato, and some sliced baby portabellas.
Cannary, table for one.  It was delightful.
Monday I had my first meeting with a PT regarding my tennis elbow.  She taped it up and taught me some exercises to do.  PT will be twice a week until I can regain strength and lose the pain.  
Wish me luck!
A quick Target run netted me some Fall cocoa to set by the coffee pot - looking forward to cooler mornings.  Let the season of pumpkin begin!
 Hubby and I discovered a BBQ joint in Burnet - lots of friendly locals and lots of 'que for the price.  We left out of there groaning the rest of the afternoon!  So good!
It's been ages since I made banana bread or muffins, but The Girl has been telling me all about her baking lately.  I had two over-ripe bananas and about half a cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, so I made a batch of Sunday morning muffins for my peeps using this recipe. (which I'm pretty sure is the one she used, too!)  She had a birthday on Monday, but we will celebrate it on the 25th when we see her here.  Something to look forward to, for sure!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Day trippin' this summer: Eagle's Nest

Eagle Nest is like a speck on the map - between Cimarron and Angel Fire.  A quaint little town, but don't blink or you might miss it!  I think it's main claim to fame is the fishing.  It was a beautiful spot with a couple of RV parks and some cute cabins to rent.  We dilly-dallied through it on our way back to Cimarron to meet up with Bubbie.
We shopped, mainly.  And admired the art along the street.  We ran into a very colorful local woman named Gaye who followed us all around her shop, showing us where it used to be a wild west bar with bullet holes in the floor.  It was packed full of artifacts and antiques.  We must've been in there an hour! We only bought soap from her, but she was very friendly and talked to us like we were her long lost friends from Texas.
GIANT trees.  Gosh, I love big trees.
This eagle sculpture is attached to a fountain.  Wouldn't that be cool at the Burnet property?  Note to self:  get a giant eagle sculpture with fountain, pronto.
There was an arts and crafts kinda thing going on in a big field in the center of "town",  so we bopped on over to it.  Hubby bought a copper bracelet he'd been shopping around for, I bought some pretty pottery from a quirky- but-nice pottery lady from Truth or Consequences.
Then we noticed that over under a pavilion, the chamber of commerce was offering a $5 lunch - cheeseburger, chips, cookie and bottled water..  I'll take two please.  Included was a breezy view of the crafts fair and some country music.
The best thing about Eagle Nest?  The gorgeous views.  Of a mountain that, somewhere in there, my kid has just climbed down from.  Here we come, Bubbie!

Monday, September 12, 2016

What the week holds, and Torr Na Lochs

Late posting today as I am a little less efficient...oh well.  It was a busy weekend! 
The first time we went (together) to Torr Na Lochs, Hubby and I agreed right away we should probably join the wine club...
Just minutes from the new property and a small boutique style winery, the views and the wine are superb, and the homemade cheese biscuits on the cheese tray are none too shabby as well.
 Overcast, but who cares?  We were the only ones there on a recent early Friday afternoon - that's pretty much unheard of at Austin happy hours...
Things I love:  crushed granite drives, natural rock used in landscaping, cacti, beautiful metal wind sculptures.  All there.  The second time we went, we met there for the wine "pick up party" on Saturday around 1:30 p.m.  More people, but also live music, vertical wine tastings, beautiful views with mild late summer weather, and...
THESE.  A Smack and Cheese (cheese macaroni, cheddar, and pulled pork on white bread) and the Game Time (roasted jalapenos, cheddar, bacon, and green onion cream cheese spread on white).  We enjoyed a lovely bottle of red wine and enjoyed individual cheesecakes, as well.  It was like being on vacation again!
So pretty out there - it already feels like home!
Needless to say, there were many other people.  Lots of doggies wandering around, good music, nice breezes.  I love it.
I really look forward to going back soon, during the week.  I think that is the best tie to try a new winery - no kids (sorry, not sorry), the staff are more relaxed, less frantic, and you get a whole lot more information about the wines and the winery in general.  
This week we are feeling the burn:  The Girl turns 25 today.  TWENTY-FIVE,  How is that even possible?!  She and I agree that we will celebrate BIG when she visits on the 25th. Bubbie has band practice several times this week, as well as AISD Band Jamboree, which will take up his entire Tuesday and make Wednesday feel like punishment...I had my first PT appointment for my elbow today, and I have another one on Thursday.  Friday is a football game and Saturday is Spirit Fest at the high school.  In between there is LIFE.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  
What does YOUR week look like?


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