Monday, April 25, 2011

canning chili

So this weekend clan Daniel picked up our fully processed steer. With the knowledge of the fact that we would soon have 500 lbs of beef the Mrs. set out to clean out the freezers. After a thorough clean-out she discovered some hamburger and some deer meat that needed to be used so we decided to make a big pot of chili and can it.
Now we have never canned chili before but we have bought a lot of canned chili so we felt sure we could do it. The Mrs. started the process by grinding some deer meat.

I cooked it down and spiced it up. Chili is an all day process around the homestead.

Nannie came over to help the Mrs. with the pressure cooking.

Each batch had to cook at 10lbs pressure for one and a half hours.

We ended up with the equivalent of 23 cans of store-bought chili at 1/3 the cost...not bad.

Easter in the Pearl

Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of our Savior!

Thank you God for all of Your Provision, Mercy and Love

Sisters softball career (well maybe?)

My oldest daughter is playing softball again this year. This is her 2nd year to play. Because we live in a small town we sometimes have a hard time getting enough girls in the same age range to make a team. Last year was her 1st year to play and because they needed more girls for the team she was forced to play up (can't play down) with older girls. Needless to say they did not have a good year and I was afraid she may not have wanted to play this year. Fortunately she did and is having a good time. She is playing catcher.
I don't know if this will be the sport she loves or not but she is definately having fun right now.

I do doubt that she will ever find a sport she will love more than raising and showing animals but maybe she will enjoy enough to want to do both.

Shop 9 years in the making

I don't currently have a shop w/ a concrete floor. We had a detached 2 car garage when we moved in but decided we needed more living space so we closed it in. Since then car maintenance happens on the grass and shop work in general waits till sunny days. Well I am now finally at least 1/3 of my way to a proper tool shop.
It isn't as big as I would like but we do with what we can.

It will be 16x20.

As readers of my blog know we are not really the hire it done kind of family but I decided that the concrete was something I was willing to pay for.

They came out Friday and formed everything up.

We were excited all day watching what was happening.

I spent the day planning my shop and then re-planning as new ideas came to mind.

I wanted to make sure that I could go 2 stories if I desired to do so.

I also made allowances for water and electric at some point.

Saturday they placed the concrete.

The Mrs. and I sat and had coffee while the work was done. (Don't you just love construction Mimi?)

We are all very excited....

...too bad it will probably take us another year to get the building built.

No matter. I have a concrete surface to work on cars at least.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Family Reunions

This weekend Clan Daniel ventured south for a family reunion! This was family from my wife's father's mother's side of the family if that made any sense. What it boiled down to for me was spending a Saturday with a bunch of folks I have either never met or met a few times along the way of our 17 years of wedded bliss. Beating you say????? Surprisingly...NO! As a matter of fact we all had a grand time and are ready to go do it again next weekend (of course no one is actually inviting us anywhere next weekend). Since we knew it was a couple of hours away we decided to pack our tent and sleeping bags and crash the camping spot Mimi and Papa had already paid for. We wanted to go down Friday night so we didn't have all that driving to do on Saturday. The weather was perfect for sleeping in a tent and the whipper-snappers had a great time sleeping out.
Saturday morning we rolled out of bed, showered and where off to the reunion where the whipper-snappers played in lots of dirt, met cousins they never knew existed and fished all day.
These pics are of the different families that were in attendance. I will not try and name everyone since I don't use real names in my blog, have no possible way to provide nicknames for all, and couldn't possibly remember the nicknames even if I did give them as I can't remember from one post to the next which daughter I call what.
Needless to say they are all a nice bunch of folks that we can't wait to get to spend more time with.
This is the family that hosted the event, nice bunch of folks and apparent gluttons for punishment.
I know these folks... you've seen them in past blogs.
These too.
And these.
This is the Baker portion of the family that was in attendance. We go on vacation with these characters every 3 years.
Me, the Mrs., the whipper-snappers and Mimi and Papa.
A nice shot of my in-laws.
A bunch of kiddo's hanging around a horse. This horse was north of 30 and just as sweet as can be.
The whole family went on a hayride. Good times.
The whipper-snappers (mine and others) got to feed fish. It is so dry there because they have had no rain to speak of in close to a year.
After the reunion we went back to our campsite and hit the hay. The next morning we had coffee with Mimi and Papa...
while the whipper-snappers were still asleep...
and also while they fished.
The dogs were whooped too.
Papa told the girls stories while we loaded the truck and then we were off for home.

A Great Weekend! Thanks to all who helped make it so.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The old shed

OK. This is a pretty neat story (I think). I spent this weekend repairing a storage shed that we got a long time ago and have hauled all over North Texas. My wife's sister (my pesky sister-in-law) had a friend who was flipping houses and he bought a house that had 2 storage sheds on them and he wanted them moved. He wanted one and was willing to give the other away (if you moved his for him). That being said somehow my pesky sister-in-law calls my wife who calls me and we agree that of course we want a free shed (really had no place to put it but hey, it's free) and of course we can move them both for you (like we had ever done anything like that before). So we call Papa (no, he had never done it either but he's always game and he had lots of tools and equipment) and we take a Saturday and a trailer and a bunch of blocks and a come-along and a tractor jack and we set to work on moving that 1st shed to the owner's house. That took about 10 hours and about 10 people. The next day we go back for our shed. This time we are down to 4 people and I think it took us about 4 or 5 hours to load it (we were taking it to some land Papa owned about 50 miles away the next weekend), we had definitely got through the learning curve.

Anyway.... The next weekend me, the Mrs., Mimi and Papa all load up to haul this shed to it's (temporary) new home. We are cruising along at 635 and I-30 (highways in the DFW area) when the trailer hitch came loose. We were passed by the trailer with shed attached and watched in awe as it took the next exit (in a construction zone) and fell off a 2 foot embankment. Fortunately angels were flying with us and held that building on the trailer. I guy in a front end loader was right there and helped us load it back on and away we went.

A few years later God leads us to the Pearl and we go and load this shed up again (3 this time) and haul it here where it has been ever since. Since this shed is around 20 years old it has a few issues. Most recently it has began to rot so this weekend I decided would be a good time to get it back into some decent shape to try and make another 10 year run (I hope!). I got out my trusty saws-all and circular saw and went to work. The Mrs. seemed sceptical but didn't say a word as I tore into the old decayed and rotted wood.
Fortunately it was minimal and only at the front so I had little to replace. Just one floor joist and about half the front wall and some flooring at front.
I moved along at a good pace on Saturday and got almost all the wood replaced leaving the exterior sheathing, floor decking and doors.
Sunday after church I started on the flooring. I only cut out what was rotted so it doesn't look pretty going back but hey, it's just a shed.
Sheathing and doors where next.
Then the trim.
All I have left to do is re-paint and it will be as good as new (well as good as it was a year ago anyway).

By the way, I won't mention who forgot to check the hitch to make sure the trailer was secured, Papa. That will be our little secret.