Friday, July 18, 2014

Home Is Where She Is At

Here is my home,

Just for a little while hopefully.
It's like camping every day!

Alright, it's not really that fun but it's a change of pace and completely different than what I am accustom to. I have neighbors all around me and I can watch them eat dinner and I can hear them talking, arguing or whatever. While I am sitting outside I watch folks walk their dogs and meander around like something I have never seen before. Mine and Candy's conversations are like, "You know, the owner of the beagle." I really don't understand this way of living, but it is kinda nice not to have anything to do during the week. I do miss my girls and just being able to do something. Here in RV land all there is to do is just breath, eat and sleep.

Candy is really trying to make this a pleasant experience for both of us and in turn I am trying to do my best to not pick out the little things like the cramped living and all her clothes, makeup and her barking dog. I have her and my outdoor kitchen so I am happy.
Honestly, it don't matter if it was in a tent by the lake or living out of our truck, as long as I have her there it would be home. I tell you what, me and this girl have been through it all. Home is only with her.

I have tried to fit in here by wearing shorts and sandals when I am out walking the wife and dog. I think the folks can see through my city folk disguise though. It may be the way I talk, I need to learn their lingo.
Here is an example:

RV park folk in their Massachusetts accent , "So guys, where you from?"
Me, "10 miles up the road."
RV park folk, "Oh!"
Me in my Texas drawl, "Yup, our van down by the river burnt so here we are, so where you staying"
RV park folk, "............" as they grab their dog and walk away.
What, am I going to eat their dog or something?  

The progress on the Tiny House is just that, Tiny. We are having to do this paycheck by paycheck so it will take a while. Last weekend we finished the fencing around the place. We also finished moving out of our house and Hannah (the middle girl) moved in the next day. Kylee (the youngest girl) is living there fixing to start college while Jessie (the oldest) is getting ready to start her senior year at Texas A&M. She is staying at a little place in town until then. They come by now and then to see old dad. It's only been a week and it feels like a month. I really miss them. 

Our camper is 340 square feet. Once finished with the tiny house we will be living in 550sf. My dad thinks we are not going to like living in such a small area, but I think living in this camper for four to five months will make that 550 look like a mansion.
What I am needing now is septic tanks. I don't want the regular 500 gallon tanks because it is just me and her. So I am looking for two 150 to 200 gallon tanks I can bury. I thought about 55 gallon plastic drums, but I am afraid we will have to pump them more than we will want to.
My power will be on in a week or two and I have everything for the water. Once all that is installed I will move the trailer over to the land and start the building.

That's all I got for now, I think I want go out and harass me some RV folks. It's entertainment so what the hell?


Monday, July 7, 2014

It's a start

Over the past week we have been moving more stuff out of the house and yard and storing it in the barn or over at my dad's.

We also started on the tiny home we are about to build by installed the corners posts for the yard and
staking out where the house will sit. We need to put up a new fence so we can keep the goats out and get to work installing the water, sewer and power.

We only have about a week left in our house now because we upped the move out date from the first of the month to next week. Hannah is very excited to get moved in quicker than expected.

Now, our house is vacant and we are living off of paper plates and cups. I actually like it that way.

I hope everyone had a great 4th. Of course ours was non stop from Thursday evening all the way to last night. Going back to work today gave me some much needed rest. 

In the end I think I cooked about 50 hamburgers and 100 hotdogs. My Cowboy cooker worked great and now everyone wants one.

The oldest girl had a great idea so we did it Friday night. She got a projector and we put up a screen and had an outdoor picture show on the farm. It brought back a lot memories from the forgotten age of the drive ins and everyone really enjoyed it. 

Sunday we just said to hell with it all and went to the lake for a day of relaxing, swimming, football, volley ball and a picnic lunch. We needed this and it was a real good time forgetting about the world and just enjoying each others company.

Well, that's about it. I hope everyone has a great week and I look forward in sharing our new adventure with you all.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Some Say I'm Crazy

It's all about that little sound in the back of my head, you know the one, the internal time clock that is telling you, "You need to start doing something about retirement and fast"
That sound has always been with me, but as I get older it keeps getting louder.

I have been trying to figure out for over a week now on how to write this post. I still don't know how to really say it so I am just typing and letting the words flow.

I think unbeknownst to myself, I have been preparing for this moment for years. As a prepper I have acquired many things and gained much knowledge to live as simple as I can. I have been doing the best I can with what I've had for so long to live "under the radar", so to speak, but with a mortgage and a house that ran on 100% electricity, I did what I could. Well, that's all about to change.

I know here lately I have turned from the hard core homesteading lifestyle and decided to just live a little by doing some traveling and cooking chili all over the place. When you live your whole life as a Homesteader/Prepper, every once and a while you need a break and that is what I have been doing this past year. To be honest I never really understood the prepper movement anyway but to each their own. I have never really knew any different.

Saying all that, we are about to make a major life change.
August 1st we will no longer be living here at the Mini Farm. We have already cleaned the house out of just about everything we own. Everything was given to friends, family, Good Will and what is left will stay with the house.
The plan is to move into our camper at an RV park about 15 minutes to the South. My middle daughter Hannah (the one who just had the baby) will move into our house along with my youngest girl Kylee (the one who just graduated) and take over the mortgage. It is cheap enough that they can afford it and have a place to call their own. So much for the parents kicking the kids out, in this case it's the parents are kicking themselves out.
Here's the deal, we just don't need a big house anymore. Candy and I decided to downsize a few years ago when the last daughter moved out anyway. This way Kylee gets to stay home and attend college and not have to pay much in rent while Hannah can start her life with her new husband and baby in a place of their own.

What's my plan you ask, well remember those buildings I bought a couple of years ago? They will be moved over to my dad's farm and in the back of the property we will set them up and make them into a "Tiny House". The design will be about 90% off grid with a real outdoor kitchen and a bathroom just like the bathhouse I have now. We will staying in the camper until this is completed.

If I don't do it now I never will. It took a lot to improve the Mini Farm and build it from nothing. Just to walk away from everything is hard because this is the second time in my life I have left a fully functioning homestead. His place is already set up and with some of my additions like the water tanks and stuff like that we will improve it to be more self sustainable. His gardens will become the community gardens and momma and Candy will put up the harvests.

This is the direction I am suppose to go. I plan to continue to work for another 18 years and by then I should be in a position to retire by doing this.

So, do you say I am crazy, don't worry, most do.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Last One Across

Two beautiful women have walked in this gown before her, and now my wonderful daughter Kylee had the honor of being the last. I've watched her grow and mold herself into the woman I look to everyday, one of my best friends, a woman of love and character. I envy her passion and quirky love of all things imperfect. It's a bittersweet moment as I watched her walk across that stage, as I miss the young girl she was, and celebrate the young woman she has become. I love you Kylee, you've made us so very proud.
Those words above were written by my Wife and oldest daughter. I cannot add or take anything away. They said it all, right from my own heart.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Weekend For The Ford Girls

I wondered what it would be like to be those people.
You know those folks that show up and people say, "Oh crap, now we don't stand a chance."

All through my Competition Chili Cooking career I have met, and cooked against the best in the world. Most people call them the "Big Dogs" the "Heavy Hitters" the "Point Hogs" and the "Ones to Beat." In the end, they are all just like me, a chili cook, cooking for fun and charity. 

When standing in my booth with several folks at any cookoff and one of those people pull in I always hear, "Oh crap, now we don't stand a chance." I know because I have been guilty of saying that several times myself. I have always wondered at what point if ever, would they start saying that same thing about my team, "Oh crap, the Ford team is here."

We cooked in a small Texas town named Loan Oak and it was for a really good charity. It was the only cookoff within four hours so I knew the "Heavy Hitters" would be there and looking to increase their points to become a member in the elite "Point Hog" group. The one thing they did not take in consideration was my girls showing up to cook some chili.

 First off, I came sporting my new wind break. My brother gave me this old Ford Tailgate and I incorporated it in with my Chili box. I left it rusty for the look and painted the Ford in white and added our names in black. I think it fits us great.

The oldest daughter Jessie came to cook sporting her new fanny pack and all decked out in Red White and Blue for D-Day Weekend. Even the sun glasses have flags on them.

After the burners were turned off, the truck was loaded and the chili was judged we sat waiting for the final word. Candy only needed two more points to qualify for the world championship and she was doubtful because she said hers tasted too much like Cumin for some reason. Jessie was just wanting to walk and get a point, she did not have high expectation on her chili as well because she could not get much heat in it. Me, I didn't care because I am already qualified and was there for support and to have fun.
They called 10th through 5th place, not a one of us walked, this did not look good. I was getting nervous and the girls already gave up. Most of the "Big Dogs" were not called yet and we knew they would be, they always are.
4th place, hell yea, they called me up. I was not expecting that, but I will take it. Third was called and the girls were ready to leave, they knew it was over.  I saw the disappointment in their eyes but I still encouraged them on.
Second place, Candy's number was called. She jumped up like a little girl and ran to the stage. She yelled out, "Qualified!" This 2nd place gave her three more points and she will now be cooking with me for the world championship this year.
I looked at Jessie and smiled, she smiled back at me and said, "Oh well." I told her there was still hope and she just shook her head.
They read the numbers for First place and I heard a loud screech and Jessie jumped up and ran to the
stage. There was a standing ovation when she excepted her 1st place trophy.
Best day ever. I am so proud of her and Candy for taking first and second. If I could only have gotten third then we could have swept it, but I will take all three of us in the top four any day.

Now it's on to Denton for the North Texas Summer Showdown this coming weekend. Many cooks will be there including most of the "Heavy Hitters" and oh yea, my girls will be there to cooking right beside them.      

One more picture before I go and it's the best one yet.
Here is baby Rebecca with GPop (me). How can life be any better. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

I got a couple of post I need to do this week. We have had some major life changing events happen this past few days and I want to keep y'all up to date so stay tuned.

Thank y'all,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

She Is Here

 Baby Rebecca has arrived. 7lbs 9 oz, 20" Long

The C-Section did not go as planned so they ended up inducing Hannah. After 28 hours of labor little Miss Rebecca is born.

I am truly at a loss of words about the whole thing.
I never could have imagined this....... 

Proud Grandparents

Monday, May 26, 2014

Finally, It's On The Way

It's all about Cooking Chili and Family. It has been that way for a while now.

Candy, Jessie and myself just got back from a great two day chili cookoff in Durant OK. On top of that it was the new camper's maiden voyage. We had a really great time and the camper is just what we were looking for. It's like having a mobile apartment. 
Saturday's cookoff was for the title of Southwest United States Champion. 153 cooks turned in, I walked with 23rd place. I was ecstatic, this was the fourth time we have cook this one and finally I walked.  

Sunday's cook off was for the North Of The Brazos Championship. 83 cooks turned in their chili, Candy walked with 8th place and I walked with 1st. Can someone give me a "Hell Yea"?
I am so proud of the wife for walking and getting some more points. This is the best we have ever done at a huge cookoff. She works really hard at making the perfect pot of Texas Red and prides herself on the taste. Candy now needs only 2 more points to be qualified for the World Championship in November.You go girl!
Our next cookoff is in Lone Oak Texas in two weeks.

Now for the important thing. Tomorrow at 8:30 AM we will be Grandparents for the first time. Hannah is scheduled for little Rebecca's delivery by knife because even though she is due, she has not turned and has no plans to do so.
We will be at the hospital at 6:00 AM in support. She is so scared and our nerves are shot. I can figure no sleep tonight for any of us. After a long nine months little Rebecca will finally be here.
I will post pictures tomorrow afternoon if you would like me to.

Thanks for hanging in there,

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Like It

I like Mothers day just about as much as all the other holidays because it brings the family together. It was March since I had all my girls together with me. So what if it takes a made up holiday to do it.
Jessie (mid right) is home from college for the summer, when she goes back she will be a senior. Kylee (left) is graduating High School next month and will a free spirit for a while and Hannah (right) will be having little baby Rebecca sometime at the end of this month and starting the long road of being a mommy.
It's funny how all three are bigger than their momma. I guess they they got that from my side.

As for me, I spent last week wheeling and dealing, doing some trading and coming up with our new bug out house. Alright, I can call it that to justify it, but it's really for chili cooking and camping trailer even though it could be used for bugging out if need be. 
Our old pop up camper was just too small now that our family is growing. The pop up was so cozy that you really had to like the folks you were camping with. With grand kids and son-in-laws, we needed more room.
A tent was nice in our 20's, the pop up was great in our 30's so this here should be what we need through our 40's and 50's.
To tell you the truth, when we saw it for the first time I told Candy (the wife, pictured in the middle above) I don't deserve something this nice. I don't feel I have been good enough to have this. I guess it's a mind thing, when you spend your whole life trying to live below your means it's hard to justify it to yourself you deserve something every now and then that shows how hard you work.
That big square in the back of the trailer, it's an outdoor kitchen. That was the selling point for me.
We will be using it for the first time this weekend. We have a chili cookoff in Greenville about 1 1/2 hours East from the house and there is a nice little lake close by we plan to stay at. Of course we will taking a bunch of folks with us so this will be a grate test for our new equipment.

That's all I got for now,
Kicking it High Class Redneck style

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Little Buddy

I don't think I have ever told the wife, "I'm going out with the guys." or "I'm going to go hang with my buddy."
The reason why, because she is my buddy. We do everything together. If I had a guy buddy then he would only be a friend because the best buddy spot is already taken.

This last Saturday me and my cute little buddy went to a chili cookoff not far from the house. This is our 18th cookoff this year and we still have twelve more to go to finish out the circuit. I already told everyone next year we will not be cooking as many due to time and funds. I think about 12 to 15 is enough next year. I just wanted to give this year 100% and see what would happen.
So this weekend was good, I won 2nd place and Candy got 4th. We cooked against 2 ex-world champs and 4 United States top ten chili cooks. We feel real good about the places we got. We are finally coming up in the chili world.
I have never been around such a great group of folks.

I didn't make it to the wedding we planned to go to Saturday evening. By the time we got home, unloaded, showered, changed and headed that way it was getting late. I figured we could at least get to the reception, but we have not eaten all day and were starving. By the time ate, ran by and loaded a dish washer a friend gave me, it was almost 7:00 PM. We just could not get there and now I got some folks upset with me cause of it. Well hell, I can't make them all.

Sunday me and my fine little buddy needed to get out and relax so we loaded up the truck and went golfing. I really wanted to go fishing, but an ex semi pro friend of mine asked us to go, so we did. We needed to get out, away from people and just have a good time. Don't get me wrong, chili cooking is fun, but it's tough. Golfing, as bad as I am, I don't even care enough to be good so I have fun.
Like always, I was not hitting too good so my friend let me use his $400 driver. Ohhhh it felt good, but there is no way I would ever. All my clubs combine were either given to me or from garage sales.
A couple of practice swings (man this club felt good) address the ball, (I like this club) Here we go.....Whack, crack. What the hell? Man I spanked that ball, but looking over my shoulder, the driver broke right in half. Holly crap!
Well, now I can check this off the bucket list.
Yup, It's right under #37. Watching the sunset in Greece, #38. Golf with a semi pro golfer and break his clubs, check.

This weeks plans are to work on the gardens, get the baby chicks out of the brooder area and get my fishing equipment out and ready.
Saturday me and my cooking buddy will be cooking in Lewisville Tx. Yall come out if you get the chance.
Then Sunday, She will be my fishing buddy and we plan to spend most of the day down at the lake under a shade tree, watching our bobbers float.

Who said life was boring when the kids all leave?

See ya on the flip side.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Busy Is An Understatment

A few months ago I posted about how busy these couple of months were going to be, well I wasn't kidding.
The saving grace is, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

For starters we have had several bad storms blow through and created a lot of damage. As soon as we got one thing fixed another storm would come in and tear something else up. We got a handle on it though but the weather man said another round is coming through tonight so I need to get out and batten down the hatches.

Saturday was my middle daughter's baby shower. Knowing we can never do anything small, we blew this shower up with games, a photo booth, many many decorations and enough food to feed an army.
 Candy and I got the first picture with the mom to be in the photo booth.
Who ever said we were not cool parents.
The men started showing up and we had our own lounging area. I felt really out of place because I had nothing to cook. Usually I am cooking and serving for hours and by the time I get to eat it's cold and not much is left.
This time Candy told me she was going to do it all because I always do so much. So I got to sit out back with the guys and lie, spit and tell jokes. It was a good time. I even had some women folk say they have never been to a baby shower like this one.

I hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday. We spent it having a nice quiet dinner with some friends. A huge change from previous years. I think we are all partied out.
What's next you ask, The youngest girls graduation, the last one.

Next weekend will be about the same. A Chili Cook Off, A Wedding, A BBQ cook out with friends and maybe a round of golf. Sometime I plan to wet a hook and just relax, maybe next weekend.

Until then,

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Life

First off I want to congratulate my oldest daughter Jessie for winning 2nd place at the chili cookoff we were at this weekend.

Yes, the student has now become the teacher. I only got 7th place with my chili and my beans only made 4th. Candy's chili got 13th and out of the group we were cooking with, only one other placed. It was a tough group we were cooking against but I think we made a great showing. 

Saturday night I took some of the family and met the rest of them at the yearly Crawl Fish Boil a guy we know has every year. About three thousand folks showed up and like always, the food was amazing. It took a while, but I did get full.

We had a huge storm blow through Thursday night that caused a lot of damage. We spent Friday afternoon fixing all that and then it rained all day Sunday. We sure needed the rain and it was a good one. A lot of runoff came from it and should fill the lake up at least 6" or so.

I have one more picture I want to show. This just came to me today from my middle daughter Hannah.

  This is the face of my grand baby, Rebecca. I cannot wait to pinch those little chubby cheeks. Only 1 1/2 more months to go.
This is truly amazing, I am blessed 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chasing My Tail

At the begging of the winter I do as we all do and winterize everything outside.

Among all the other things I did to get ready for the freezing months, it also includes draining all the irrigation lines and draining the bathhouse. No matter how hard I try, there are still a busted pipe or two when I pressure up the lines again in the spring. Last year I had to replace my solar water pump and fixed two broke lines out in the gardens and one in the chicken pen.  
This years broken pipes are unbelievable. I drained everything, ran my pump dry and blew out all the lines. I thought I was set. I turned on the big rainwater tanks and right off the bat the pipe was busted just outside the valve. Fixed that one, crossed my fingers and turned the pump on. Right outside the pump box another one, fixed that one. At least the pump was still good. Then two more right before the pipe enters the bathhouse, so I fixed fixed those. I ran the pump and watched as water started pouring out of the bathhouse, fixed that one as well. Finally, the pump pressured up and I thought I was in the clear then, "Pop", blew another line, fix that one to.
After all that the bathhouse is up and running again. I took my first shower of the spring in it two nights ago. I sure have missed those showers. It's natural, refreshing and best of all, free.

I have not even pressured up the gardens yet, I am almost afraid to do so. 

This last couple of weeks have been really busy. I have some more stuff to tell ya but I don't want to sit and bore you with too long a post. plus it will give me something to say later.

See ya then,