Monday, April 30, 2012

Kid's Table Makeover

A few months ago I bought this little play table and chair for Beep at a garage sale.  It was worn and faded, marked up and pretty dirty.  It was also just the right size for her, and she's obsessed with Beep-sized furniture these days.  Plus, it was only $2.00.  Sold!

Since then it's been stuffed in our garage waiting for some attention and milling around in the back of my mind.  I could just picture her playing at it somewhere in our house or on the back porch.  I didn't really want it looking so shabby, though, and the colors were pretty awful.  I remembered hearing something about spray paint for plastic, so this Saturday we headed out to Lowe's.

I bought two cans of Valspar spray paint for plastic in colors that were both kid-appropriate and would coordinate in our home.  Back home again, according to the paint experts at Lowe's, I scrubbed the heck outta that dirty little set, let it completely dry, and then got busy painting.  Several thin and even coats of  spray paint later (done outside while wearing a mask), I was done painting and I called it a day to let the paint cure overnight.  (May I add that my index finger is practically numb today from working the spray trigger?  Color me wimpy.)

Today, when Beep and I got home I snuck out ahead of her and moved it onto the porch for the big reveal.

Cute, right?  $2.00 for the table and chair, plus $12.00 of spray paint for a grand total of $14.00 and one happy toddler. 

Beep was pretty excited about trying it out... until she heard Cabbage's truck pull up in the drive. 

Then she was off for some father-daughter bonding time, and I realized our photo op was over.  But it's all good.  She'll be back, crayons in hand.

Let's look at the before and after again.


I'm happy with the results, and I hope it will hold up well (but I'll let you know if it doesn't).  So there you go- a quick makeover for a garage sale find, and the result is a quick and kid-friendly set that will blend in almost anywhere in our house. Success!  

Have you guys ever tried this wondrous spray paint for plastic?  What's your latest DIY adventure?  What is this obsession with mini-me furniture?    

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Fence for Tabor

After almost two months of seeing our doe, Tabor, only on the wrong side of our property line, she is finally home.

As an aside, I think I have a greater appreciation for what Amish parents must go through when their kids leave for their rumspringa

So what I'm saying is, Tabor may be Amish. 

Anyway, over the past weeks her band of fairweather friends moved on (I told her it would never last/they weren't any good for her/we knew better).  She wandered the property in back of Cabbage Ranch, usually by herself.  She seemed fine and as her belly grew larger with her baby she visited more frequently.

As time passed she allowed closer contact and eventually Cabbage was able to feed her from his hand again, then pet her.  Within the last week my toddler, Beep, and I were able to visit with her at feeding time, and I was reassured that she was still the same sweet little deer.  Tabor was happy to be petted, happy to eat corn from our hands, and even tolerated Beep's hollering, baby pats on her forehead, and bucket-shaking antics.  That made me all the more certain she was ready and able to come back home. 

Our back fenceline stretches long and tight, paneled with wire and without a single gate.  Tabor has never been confident in her jumping abilities, but that's been especially true since she injured a hind leg two years ago and suffered some permanent tendon damage.  Jumping the fence wasn't a safe option for her, and she was still refusing to cross the fence where Cabbage had lowered it.  There, it was plenty low enough for her to hop over but she was wary of it... She's a deer.

Finally, on Saturday evening, we stood along the back fenceline as I fed and stroked Tabor.  I looked at the lowered fence, then at Tabor, and back at the fence.  Cabbage knew what I was thinking, and chuckled.  But I resisted the temptation to try to shove her over it, knowing she was very fast and strong, and my odds of success were about nil. 

I asked about putting a gate in, or cutting the fence, or... something... "Can't we just help her out?  She seems ready to come home."

Cabbage had obviously been thinking the same thing.  He ran through a few options that would allow us to create an opening in the fenceline without compromising the whole dang stretch of wire, and finally hit on an idea that made sense to him.

Sunday morning we headed to Lowes, got supplies, and he got busy sawing and drilling and clamping.  Beep and I napped, because I'm a good helper like that and on the weekends I have the sleep schedule of a toddler. 

When he was done, Cabbage had made a sturdy little braced frame just wide enough for a deer to walk through.  Once it was installed he cut the fence and bound it back to the frame.  The deer portal was ready.

Two hours later Tabor came up for her feeding and happily wandered through.  She was back on Cabbage Ranch.  She had, perhaps, been waiting for a gate all along.

We're a little slow, but we catch on eventually. 

Now we are just letting Tabor settle back in, get reacquainted with her two-year old daughter, Abby, and relax before she has her fawn(s).  We hope she'll stay and fall easily back into her old routines, but if she ever does need help getting back through the fenceline again, we now have her little doorway.  It's a fence built for Tabor.        

 Cabbage's fence brace along the back property line

The fence brace (closed with a piece of wire panel) after Tabor came home 

 Do you see our little deer in this picture?

 Beep is happy to have Tabor home, too

The End (for now)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Whole Lot of Hay

Cabbage heard about some Timothy hay, which is the kind we both prefer to feed our horses.  It's so hard to find here in South Texas, though, that we haven't fed it since we moved here.  He went to check out his lead, bought a humongous bale, and drove home.

Once in our pasture, he was faced with unloading 1,500 pounds of hay without heavy machinery.  If it was up to me, I probably would have contemplated leaving the truck there for a few weeks until the horses ate the hay down. 

Fortunately, Cabbage is more ambitious than I, and he also possesses the uncanny ability to make anything a redneck adventure.  In his world, many problems are solved with a rope.

In this picture, the hay bale has roped the tree... or vice versa.

Goldie looked thoroughly embarrassed at this turn of events. 

But there was a method to Cabbage's madness.  The other end was looped around the front of the bale.

Then Cabbage hopped in the truck, inched it forward, crossed his fingers as the rope around the bale tightened and strained... Beep and I judiciously moved further out of the way.

Some creaking and rope-stretching later, the bale stayed put as the truck moved forward, and it flipped off the end of the bed.  Success!

Miss Nosy checked it out before the dust even settled.

Nice work, cowboy.  Coil up that rope!  And now it's even longer than it was, lucky you. 

Our hay ring helps keep big hay bales together and reduces waste, so Cabbage moved it over to the new Timothy hay.  But hay rings are made for round bales...  This quickly became a case of a square peg in a round hole.

Sooo...  It won't fit until the mares eat a little hay.  Two hundred pounds should do it.  Luckily for us, Goldie isn't scoring her dinner on presentation, and she also isn't shy.  She got started right away.

And that, my friends, is how one person unloads a 1,500 pound bale of hay.  It is also the start of how two mares eat 1,500 pounds of hay, AAAAnnnnnnd it's your tutorial on how to stretch out a rope.  This is a super informative multipurpose post.  You're welcome.

You guys have a great Monday. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

About That Advanced Maternal Age

My doctor recently- and apologetically- told me that with this pregnancy I fall into a new category.  Apparently I am considered to be of "advanced maternal age." 

Well that's just neato.

I'm 35, and that means I'm on the downhill side of the childbearing years... apparently.  They must have heard that I'm just so excited to be finding grey hairs and applying anti-wrinkle cream.  My dreams will now be filled with visions of AARP reps gleefully rubbing their hands together. 

But I don't feel like I have advanced maternal age, so in the doctor's office I rolled my eyes and we both laughed.  Whatever. 
I haven't really gotten the worst of it, though.  Strangers have asked Cabbage several times if Beep is his granddaughter.  He's 46. 

He's kind in his responses and laughs about it, but it pisses me off.  Usually it sends me into an internal monologue sniping about "short generation intervals are for inbreds and idiots" and "we chose to take our time" and "he's not old enough to be a grandfather" and "people can really be thoughtless jackwagons."    

I feel like I'm exactly the right age to be having babies, because I have the maturity and desire to research and learn about pregnancy and childrearing, to listen to reason, and to take advice in measured amounts.  I've arrived at a point in my life where I should be having children.  Cabbage feels the same way.

Our younger years were whirlwinds of college, friends, parties, trips, trials, learning and testing and blessedly- finally- finding our way to each other when we were ready to settle down.  Neither of us have any regrets about those well-spent youthful years, but neither do we look back on those days wistfully.

We don't mind staying home on Friday nights, or rocking a baby to sleep instead of going to a concert, or early mornings with filled with footie pajamas and gleeful screaming matches.  We're right where we want to be. 

I realize the timing and the inclination to have children is different for everyone, and some people are ready earlier or later than I was.  Fortunately for me, in my group of friends most of us chose to pursue college, then more college, build a career path, fall in love along the way, smell the roses, and then have children.  I didn't feel any peer pressure to have babies earlier.

In the last few years, though, I've heard several young people (a demographic I can no longer claim as my own, apparently... you know, what with my advanced maternal age) comment that "I want to have kids while I'm young enough to play with them/enjoy them/have a life after they grow up."


Maybe they aren't aware that I am fully capable of playing with my baby at the age of 35.  More than that, it's all I want to do.

Maybe they haven't realized that creaky knees don't keep me from wrestling with Beep, or that sore shoulders never stopped Cabbage from swinging her.  And we have the patience to do it until she says to stop.

Maybe they don't know I don't mind being older than other parents because at night I go to a home filled with wonder and love and a steadfastness that I could not have provided at 24.

I bet they don't yet understand that there is no reason to think you have to put off your life until after kids.  You can have a life before, during, and after raising them.  Nothing goes on hold for kids, really, and Cabbage and I have simply folded our baby into our lifestyle.

So here's the thing.  I'm okay with my so-called advanced maternal age.  It's the perfect age.  And I hope the next time someone asks Cabbage if Beep's his granddaughter, he tells them to shove it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Look Alikes (Except for That Third Ear)

Beep really does look like a doll sometimes, and never more so than when she sleeps.  This is so sweet, and I was struck by how much her doll looked like her mini-me.  

Unfortunately when she awoke from her nap, we discovered her baby lovefest left her with a perfect ear impression on her temple. 

I think I could've taken rubbings of that thing.

All the better to hear you with, my dear.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Because We're Not Redneck Enough

To start your day off right, I thought you'd like some perspective on how hip and cool you are.  To give a basis of comparison, let's review the tally of redneck attributes on Cabbage Ranch.  We have:
  • One cowboy
  • 18 pairs of boots, 15 of which are encrusted with dried mud at any given moment
  • One toddler who says "choo choo traaaaaayne" and "ahs craaaaayme"
  • Four horses with overgrown manes and occasional cactus stickers
  • Two horse trailers
  • One ATV
  • Multiple pickups and one grocery getter
  • One utility trailer (parked in full view of the house)
  • One ranch dog wearing tracks through the yard
  • One ranch cat leaving dead "presents" on the driveway
  • Many lizards, snails, and a growing bounty of bullfrogs attracted to our pool
Aaaaaand I found myself in the kitchen the other day, barefoot and pregnant. 

If that wasn't enough, Cabbage is getting an early start on showing Beep how to rope.

I think this means my yankee butt is officially outnumbered, yes?