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,