Monday, February 25, 2013

20 Years

On a very cold day the US Army retired 17 Soldiers.
Mine was one of them.

The program read like this:

Seargeant First Class Stephen D. B. entered the service on 18 June 1993.  He served overseas tours in Korea, Germany, Iraq, and numerous stateside assignments.  SFC B retires after 20 years of service.  His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal, 3rd Award; Army Commendation Medal, 4th Award; and the Army Achievement Medal, 4th Award.  At the time of his retirement, SFC B served as Signal Intelligence Supervisor, 15th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Hawaii, with duty at Fort Hood, Texas.  SFC B is being recognized for his exceptional meritorious service from 18 June 1993 to 1 July 2013.

(the Meritorious Service Medal awarded at retirement is his 4th MSM)

Here are a few photos.  I wish you could see the cold!

Talking about how this is all going to go down.

SB receiving Retirement Certificate and Meritorious Service Medal

General, SB, HB, Command Sgt Major

CSM said: You knew it'd be a "cold day" when he retired.  I laughed heartily.

Standing here, freezing, in a semi circle with all the retirees and escorts singing the Army Song!

4 Alvin Boys: SB, JC, BK, BL

7 Alvin Kids!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Pano pic and other faves

Panoramic from porch of trailer.  


Cannot wait to plant a million wildflowers!

Fireside Shiners

mmmmm, coffee...

Yaupon root.  They go on and on and on.

Love the tree shadows.

Gloves. Pair 5.

Last weekend when we were working hard on clearing the land, I went through 3 pair of gloves.  The first and second pairs tore, the third became riddled with prickly spears (thanks cactus!).  This weekend I was very excited to sport my new gloves that actually fit! The others had all been too big and made it sometimes difficult to grip the Yaupon stalks.  So I got these!

Fancy new gloves.

And then THIS happened.

So I did this.  Redneck-ognize!

Let's do this area next...
Ahhh...Yaupon free.  Much beter!

I think his tractor's sexy.

THAT is one GIANT pile o' Yaupon!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cleared out/Wiped out

We went back out to the land yesterday.  And we worked HARD.  Once we got there (2 hr drive) and got what we needed at Tractor Supply, we got started about noon.  We stopped about 5pm.  This morning, our muscles hurt and we are just flat worn out.  Land clearing is not for the old, out of shape, or lazy (I'm feeling at least 2 out of 3 today!)  However, we are happy.  We had the fire, we had the stars, and we had some awesome grilled hamburgers! (no photo, we were hungry!)

I love the way the inside of the cedars look.  So colorful.

You can almost smell it, huh?

This is kind of a before photo of the area we worked on.  We had actually already started on it and probably gotten it about half cleared, but this is as before as I could get...
So much evil Yaupon

Here are a bunch of sticks I picked up and broke for the fire we would light later.  Someone dumped out my nice pile of sticks to use the wheel barrow.


I thought, HEY!  My sticks! They aren't lined up all nice anymore!  And then I decided they looked like fire.  Fire wood.  This made me happy. The strangest things make you happy in the woods.

 Any idea what kind of worm this is? It looked weird and kind of gross.

THIRD pair of gloves.  I ripped holes in the first two, and then managed to get this pair full of cactus splinters.  I couldn't wear them anymore as the splinters were going through into my fingers.  This was the end of the work for me!  I didn't do it on purpose, but I can't say I was sad to be done for the day.

 Us, by firelight.  Creepy how yellow our teeth look!

 The next morning, breakfast at Nana's kitchen!  I was so excited to actually eat there.  Since I've been stalking their Facebook page since before Christmas, I've wanted to see about their lunch specials, but breakfast was excellent! :)

Ya never get that much bacon at Denny's!
Those are some golden yolks, clearly farm fresh eggs!

Almost forgot the AFTER PIC! :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

One day...

One day we will live here:

Right now, it looks like this:

Here I am in the kitchen, washing dishes:

And there is Stephen sitting on the couch or in his recliner watching tv in the living room.

It's fun to think about it.  It's fun to make lists and furnish it in my mind.  It isn't fun to be patient and to not have it right now.  But there are so many pieces to fall into place.  So while we wait for jobs and plans to shake out for the next few months, we spend time clearing our "one day front lawn" of the hideous ground cover known as Yaupon. And it IS hideous.  Covers everything, grows many feet underground, and is just a general nuisance.  I am thankful it's not thorny or poisonous to the touch, though!

Yaupon looks like this:

Here is a before picture of the area shown above where I am washing dishes in the kitchen.  See those two trees on the left?  That's where I'm standing in the other picture.  Lots of pulling, chainsawing, carrying away. (adding other pic again so you don't have to scroll back and forth!) Can't get them to line up, though! :-/

It probably seems a like a little bit of a waste of time to do all this clearing when it could just grow back.  We won't be starting on this house for at least a year.  But the plan is to keep it under control with at least monthly visits so that we can start to have some grass grow in.

I'm going to try to identify that taped off picture a little better and post in a minute.

We have lots of plans between now and when construction begins.  Plans to buy or rent another home in another city, get jobs and come out on the weekends to cultivate this property.  Regardless of when this tape becomes that little yellow cottage, though, as long as we have this each time we drive out there, we're happy. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What 99?
wow.  6 months ago I had 99 posts running around in my head.  Wonder what they were about.  Wonder what I've been doing that I was too busy to post any of them.  Nothing, that's what.
Oh, a little something here and there.  I worked a lot November and December, and I've done a LOT of looking at houses and plans and thinking of the maybes and what ifs.  But since we've got no clue what we're doing over the next few months, all the planning in the world isn't going to get us there any faster.
I hope to soon post what is going on with us.  Right now, we wait.
Husband retires from the Army in June.  His last day in uniform is March 12.  He has 5 work days left between now and then if we don't count weekends, leave time or holidays. Five.  I still can't really believe it. I know he's SO ready, though!  So, we wait. Wait to find out:
Where will he work next? That will dictate where we will live.  Which will, in turn, dictate where I work.  The jobs will determine if we will rent or buy wherever we live and what the plan will be regarding building on land.
I'm hoping there will be a lot of posts in the coming weeks answering these questions!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

99 Posts to the Blog in my Head, 99 posts to blog

I've had all these blog posts running around in my head for 25 days.

That's how long we've been home. Home in Texas.

I don't even know where to start.
So I'm just going to start and hope it doesn't get all crazy rambling.

Starting sometime in May, I began to try to capture things around me. From then until we were driving home June 1st I tried to make note (and take photos) of things we passed on the road I would likely not see again. I don't know why I would travel back to Kansas, and even if I did I don't know that I would notice things that I noticed daily (or frequently) while living there.

Here are some of those sights...

Miles and miles of farmland.
It's the Wheat State!

Entering I-70 from Exit 303 (returning from Manhattan) meant greeting the Combat Aviation Brigade aircraft fleet parked on the airfield.

Crazy Kansas weather made for really incredible sky sights.

Signs along I-70, and other KS highways letting you know: Every Kansas Farmer feeds 128 people...AND YOU!