The Texas cold blast

As many of you have heard Texas is one of many states getting the latest cold blast.

It is true ERCOT ( Electrical Reliability Council of Texas ) let Texas down and many of us lost power for us that meant we also lost water due to the water well being electric. We are all electric so there were no backup cooking options unless you wanted to try the gas grill in the freezing temperatures.

We were only without power for 24 hrs our house quickly went to 48 degrees. With a generator, we were able to keep one room at 62.5 degrees with the doors closed and a space heater. We could watch the regular channels on tv to keep up with the weather. We stayed under about 6 blankets and doubled layers of clothing.

We had some snow but very little. Just very cold temperatures 14 degrees F. being our lowest.

Now it’s Friday we still have power but no water. The water well broke some parts. We have had no water since Monday. So you have to get resourceful.

You find someone nearby with water and fill large containers for flushing the toilet, washing hands. If you need a bath you heat water and take a quick wash rag bath. Washing your hair is a bit more challenge it takes two people to not drown yourself. We heated water to wash dishes it works just a bit primative.

Lessons we have learned this time.

We will be getting more insulation blown into the house in the next couple of weeks for a cost of $1500.00. We are looking at buying a whole house generator that runs off propane for $10,000 the propane would mean not hunting for gasoline. Nothing else here is propane but it’s a good plan. Our oldest son Joshua has a friend who sells the whole house generators and so far I know of 5 people who are interested in purchasing one. We are all hoping he can work out a bulk purchase.

This is so rare for the Texas Gulf Coast most winters here we go without a freeze sometimes we get a few hours one night of a freeze but never 5-6 days of cold weather. We lost a lot of plants, lots of garden vegetables and other plants. Most things will come back but it just takes time.

We had enough food to get through the storm and the stuff in the fridge never got below 37 degrees because of the cold house so we did not lose it. We never opened the freezer.

Last night we got creative-made burgers on the grill wrapped them in lettuce added mayonnaise, tomato and we were good to go. We have been out of bread for three days.

All our pets were in the house and glad to get the heat back on again.

We are safe, warm and most of all counting our blessings. Life is Good!

Squirly’s back

Squirly has decided he wants some bluebird nuggets and he hangs on tight while it swings in the wind to get pieces of the nuggets through the wire.

He puts on quite a show and Cricket loves to sit and watch him if she is outside.

Brown-Headed Cowbirds

I went outside a little while ago to feed the birds since its getting so cold here.

First to arrive was a group of brown headed cowbirds which are not my favorite because they normally will eat all the seed and leave.

Lucky for the red birds and blue jays there were left overs. I saw the chickadees, and the wrens and even squirly everyone was glad I put out food.

Remember to feed the wildlife this cold weather is hard on them to.

Gifts from the Heart

When I was a young girl I remember this cedar chest in the middle bedroom at my grandparents house.

We were never told not to look it in but we didn’t dare because we were not medley children.

Years went by and it sat in the same place I remember after I was married asking my grandmother what was in it. She said some old pictures and stuff. I said we should take the pics out and label them but she was not feeling well at the time and we decided we would do it at another time. Of course, the next time never came because she died within a few months of us talking about doing this.

After my grandmother died in December 1989 my mother was given the cedar chest by her dad he said she was the only girl and it should be passed down to her and then she could pass it down to me one day. As the oldest daughter I never really thought much about it but I love the ideas of things being passed down to the next generation.

It sat for years in my mom and dad’s house at the end of the bed. When my mother passed away in November 2019 I forgot about the cedar chest. I remembered it months later and realized it had probably already been taken from the premises like so many other things were.

The family items recently went onto a family-only auction this is NOT a good idea some people bid stuff up out of spite to keep others from getting it and they do not know the back story to the stuff. Some people use rude names as a bidding name and act like 2 years old. Family auctions are just not a good answer to family matters and an estate. Find another solution if you can and please do not have a family auction.

The cedar chest was listed but once I saw the price going up fast I knew I was not going to bid on it I was sad because I knew someday it was supposed to be mine.

During the last hours of the auction, I was following the ambulance to the ER with my mother n law.

Later that night while I was in the ER with her I received a text from our oldest son Joshua and our youngest daughter Jeanelle they had been mutually bidding on the chest and they won it for a whopping $850.00. They knew each other was bidding but were both placing bids so they could ensure they won it.

They bid on this cedar chest for me I never asked them to do that and I would have never paid that much for it but since they had been told the story of the cedar chest they felt like I should have it. This is truly a gift from the heart and it brings tears to my eyes.

I am so grateful that Joshua and Jeanelle thought of doing this for me it is one of the most thoughtful amazing gifts I have ever received. I am so blessed to have them both in my life and very appreciative they are so thoughtful. Thank you both so much for doing this for me.

I know my grandmother and my mother would both be excited that I ended up with it since it was supposed to be mine one day.

It needs to be refinished but it made it through Hurricane Harvey and survived but has some damage on the legs. I guess it’s my responsibility to take care of it so I can pass it down to Jeanelle one day and she can pass it down to her girls and keep the family tradition going.

Gifts from the heart are the best kind of gifts.

Variegated Shell Ginger

The Variegated Shell Ginger grows very well in Texas.

Ours has multiplied so much from the one-gallon plant I bought years ago. We have about 30 plants in pots that we are planning on reselling.

We transplanted some from this large plant to the front of the house a few years ago and now it is multiplying.

It is like the plant that keeps giving. The blooms are gorgeous but they will only bloom if there has not been a freeze and if there is a freeze the plants die back. That has only happened to us one year, but they came back the next spring stronger than ever.

These are roughly 5 – 6 ft tall and about 8 feet wide in most directions. I took the bloom picture when the plant was blooming but I wanted to show off those gorgeous blooms.

The color really pops on these plants below two of the 35+-year-old oak trees. They are accented with ferns who also love the scattered sunlight.

Brighten up a shaded area with some shell ginger it is a plant that keeps giving.

Covid and death

In the last eight months our family has lost two family members to Covid there was one last July an Aunt who was 77 years old and this past week an uncle who was 88 years old. One of them lived in a nursing home and one lived at home.

Everyone needs to take notice of the warnings to avoid large get-togethers it’s not worth the risk of someone’s life.

If people can not have funerals then there should be no parties of any kind no birthday, no holiday, no wedding or baby showers.

Stay home when you can do not go shopping there is honestly no need when we have curbside pickups and home delivery is available on most everything.

DO NOT GO OUT TO EAT! Pick up food and take it home. We have heard about several people who have gone out to eat and gotten COVID. The reason for this is face masks are not on when eating out.

Everyone needs to pay attention to what they are doing and get the shot as soon as you can.

My mother n law is 92 years old and has not gotten the shot yet around here when they post they are taking appointments by the time you see it they are booked. She has had 3 ER visits in the last 6 weeks and one hospitalization but none were for Covid. As far as I am concerned all patients over the age of 80 should have already been able to get the vaccine.

I am waiting for my vaccine due to being high risk so far no luck in finding it.

I had my cardiologist appointment today Friday, February 5, 2021, he told me something interesting. For those who are on the fence about getting the vaccine keep this in mind.

If you get COVID all our DNA is different so this allows the virus to mutate which makes more strains of the virus and some of the strains are worse than the 1st one. Everyone, please think about this and get your vaccine that way all of our lives can get back to normal again soon.

Be careful, wash your hands often and wear your face mask. I was always OCD about washing my hands so that has never been an issue for me now I just triple wash a bit extreme yes I know but better safe than sorry.

Making suet for the birds

I wanted to make my own suet just because I have never done it before.

All you need is:

Lard 1/2 cup per suet cake

Bird Seed we had chicken scratch its a good mix

Black Oiled Sunflower Seeds

Oatmeal

Cornmeal

You could cut up some apple in small pieces and add it if you want to.

I used a round meal prep container for a mold but anything plastic would work out great.

We had to buy some lard I have never bought it before everything else we had.

Melting the lard in the meal prep container in the microwave took about 45 seconds but I stirred it a few times.

As far as the quantities of the dry ingredients I just guessed it but used more sunflower seeds.

Combine dry ingredients in a container for mixing then add to the lard stir until all is moistened compact it down with a spoon and freeze.

That is all there is to it.

My Suet holders are HUGE and I guess if you wanted to you could find a deep square container to use for this. Suet spoils in our heat so I figured smaller was better.

Crickets Birthday

We took Miss Cricket to Petsmart they moved the scale off the floor and up on a platform that is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.

She did not want to weigh her butt was off the scale then her foot finally she was all on the scale and she weighed 145#s. She is quite the whopper.

For some reason on my post about Cricket I got off on her age today she is 1 – year old just a pup at 145#s.

Cricket is a slobber dog and this pic shows what happens after a few rounds of fetch.

Our crazy retirement challenge

We challenged ourselves when Jack retired last March at age 65.3 to try and live off ONLY Social Security.

With the Covid Pandemic, we could not go anywhere so our retirement trips were put on hold.

We did not want to draw money on our retirement accounts we wanted to prove to ourselves we could do this challenge for one year.

Allow extra padding in savings for emergencies. You have to be prepared for anything and everything.

Remember to pay off all your debt before you retire you should never go into retirement with any debt.

My dad told us one time a lot of people withdraw money out of their accounts early and pay penalties this is a big mistake. I think my dad would be very proud of us for completing this crazy retirement challenge we have almost made it to our one year mark.

The retirement money you saved all your life is yours how much money you leave behind and who you leave it to is also your decision.

Do what you want to do whether it’s investing in a weekend home, building a new home, remodeling an existing home, buying some property, or traveling.

Life is about having peace of mind and taking deep breaths it’s about living comfortably in your older years and it’s about taking lots of pictures along the way.

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