Friday, May 30, 2014

Weather, Weather, and Glorous Bad Weather,

For many who are on CKCB Design Team and participate they have read my undying passion for Bad Weather on my May 2 post!  Love it and the adrenaline rush I get!  Heck I've always been an adrenaline junkie since I can remember.  Barrel Racing with my first two horses as a teenager, swimming on a swim team as a child and teenager, showing our Arabians, and I get the same rush when I walk in the show ring showing our cattle although no speed to it....nice and slow.  But what really sets me off into a huge adrenaline rush is bad weather.  At the same time I need to know I am as safe as I can be at that moment.  Like you will find me running for shelter as soon as I hear thunder because of almost being struck twice.  My husband shakes his head when I'm following chasers live,  Chaser TV.

I promised to get some photos I got as Larry and I drove into a severe storm just north of Calvert in March.  I'm sorry I didn't get the PL Page done on this one but will eventually.  Only four pictures worth printing and one is pretty blurry but thought I would share a great wall cloud with no rotation in it.  They are taken with my iPhone and we didn't stop the pickup so they show bleary.

Great wall cloud!

Looking north hard to see structure but wall cloud to right of the photo.

Really blurry but the wall cloud itself from middle to right was pretty awesome.

Finally underneath the cloud deck with the wall cloud headed northeast and away from us it now looks to have developed a hail core in the storm.

Then I thought I would share day before yesterday some photos online I found which are awesome of a warm air funnel in the Manvel/Alvin area of Houston.  A short hop from our Houston area home of 20 miles and no I didn't see it but this funnel was absolutely gorgeous with the way the light was hitting it.  Saw one of the photos on the Weather Channel yesterday of this funnel and another coming out of the same wall cloud.  A warm air funnel is the land version of water spout.  This storm was never tornado warned.  No damage occurred.

And a close up:

So cool and so pretty!

The next two photos of about 17 or 18 are a storm I chased in April 2011.  The first photo from my porch at the ranch in Central Texas.  Just awesome structure to the storm and just had to run down the highway to see what the storm would produce. You can see in the haze of the second photo the tornado.  Had to pull the tornado out of the photo by enlarging it then cropping.  The tornado touched down briefly in Coolidge about 15 miles north of where I took the photo.

Final photo to share with you is an awesome photo taken last August by James as we raced home so we wouldn't be rained on.  I have other pictures as we waited for our take out order from Chili's at our Houston area home but not as awesome as this one!  By the time we were a couple of miles from the house this thing was meaning business.  Great structure and rotation in the storm but no funnel emerged.

Hope you enjoyed the trip through just some of the wonderful photos in my collection of weather!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CKCB Challenge #1

I have had a month of being frustrated with each and every single layout.  What pops in my head has just not worked and they have sat and sat on my desk.  Finally I get Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog Challenge #1 done today!  Sat on my desk a full 9 days before solving my issues with it!  Now done I am absolutely thrilled with it!

Winters in Texas certainly are not like northern areas of our country.  Although you can have a relatively warm day in January within just a few hours it can be snowing or more likely an ice storm.  This winter it was in the Top 5 coldest winters for Central Texas.  On this day I took these pictures it was in the upper 60's and a delightful January day.  As evening came in there were scattered thunderstorms to the west.  And when this happens with blow off from storms over 50 miles away we get some GREAT Sunsets!  I only had my phone with me and took seven pictures to make sure one would be decent!

Using the same kit I put together I created the only other series of photos and choose one from each subject to create the entry I call my CKCB Layout #1.  The only layout this month I had no problems putting together but frustrated with finding the right pocket page.  These were the only pictures I took in January this year.  I chose to use Elle's Studio papers to create the layout with embellishments from Studio Calico and Fancy Pants.  I like to keep things simple on my PL pages to get them done quickly.  A Jillibean Soup Wise Word "Today" fit perfectly.

The photos taken a few hours before the above photo is of two different cows on our farm with their bull calf in front of them.  It may be hard for you to see the calf in the right hand photo but if you look at the cow's front legs you'll see the calf and his little right ear in front of mom's legs.  There is a reason why I didn't try to shift around and get better photos.  Cows can be very protective of their newborns.  We have some that I wouldn't have ever gotten as close to these two cows to get photos as it would have been way too dangerous.  The rule of thumb though with a youngster is keep the calf between you and the cow.  She won't run over her calf unless rage has set in.  Even the cow on the left who is a past show heifer and still loves attention, I wouldn't trust with a ten foot pole with her newborn two days old.  Both calves are bull calves.

Then four months later and so much has happened in the story of these two babies.  The cow on the left lost her calf in early March.  Our daughter searched the pasture for two days looking for her calf.  She found his carcass.  Chances are it was a coyote that got her calf.  She's not a particularly bright animal.  She has done something to loose two calves in two years.  We think she laid down on her first calf at three days of age which typically kills a newborn and isn't that uncommon.  We do have a third calf from this cow born this year via embryo transfer in Dec. A really beautiful heifer with her surrogate mother a Longhorn.  Longhorns are GREAT mothers!  I know of no better mother's in beef cattle then a Longhorn and definitely will protect their calves even to the point of jeopardizing their own safety.  One of those mom's I wouldn't get within 50 feet of her newborn and 25 feet when they are 2-6 months old.

The calf on the right had a rough start to life.  It isn't uncommon in cattle to have problems for any number of reasons at birth.  In the case of this calf he got his head stuck up in between two bones in the spinal column of his mother.  Took my daughter four hours to find a vet to come out and pull the calf.  At the point the vet got him out the cow had been in labor seven hours. And usually you have a dead calf.  Not this boy....the vet was stunned and so was my daughter to see his flank rising and falling once he was on the ground.  Immediate attention given to him to make sure he would continue to breathe.  Also a quick check of his front legs to be sure they weren't broken as he had a hard pull.  As such he has been called Miracle Man ever since.  This past Friday the second group of cattle we AI'd  (Artificial Inseminated)  included this cow.  Our reproductive technician found her reproductive tract too torn up for her to ever have a calf again let alone ever have the ability to get pregnant again.  This means after weaning she will be culled from the heard and become hamburger in the freezer.  Yet her genetics look to have a good chance to be passed on by Miracle Man.  He's got the conformation and growth rate we want in our calves.  He still has to have his DNA sample pulled to see what his carcass traits are as well as keep showing the needed growth up until 18 months and then pass a reproductive exam.  Typically out of 75-80 bull calves we have a year only 1-5 of those will make the cut to become bulls by 18 months.  At any point in the evaluation process they can become steers and either go into our freezer or to our restaurant.  As a result of our over demanding criteria for a bull we have a waiting list for our bulls we sell.  It shows our bulls we grow are that good!  And they are not cheap to purchase!

Stay tuned to tomorrow's post for more weather pics I promised to do on a layout that won't get done!

Until next time!

Friday, May 2, 2014

May Counterfeit Kit for CKCB

Oh my goodness, I was absolutely grinning ear to ear as I saw the April Paper Camellia Kits we had to counterfeit!  Promptly the Add-On kits became my instant inspiration.  Very spring, very global and fun!

The Add On Kit:

The Every Day Life Kit:

The Everyday Life Kit Add on:

Yesterday I head straight for my Elle's Studio Stash, added some Simple Stories. I was so inspired by patterns and then colors.  Then one sheet of Webster's Pages Color Composition Chalk.  Reminded me of playing hopscotch in Elementary as a 3rd and 4th grader during recess.  You'll see several hold overs in my kit from last month.  My kit looks huge and is.  I have two Mother's Day and one Graduation Card to create.  And I'm trying some folded cards for the first time.  I received the graduation invitation from my best friend's son.  Colors of his high school navy and bronze.  I have no navy cardstock.  Yikes!!!  I loved the globe and don't have a globe!  I have already purchased both....just got to have those. And will be added to kit upon arrival.  I love map paper!  Yet....the only map paper I have is the Echo Park North Pole...that doesn't work for spring.  But since I always reserve the use of any of my dies, I do have a Texas die!  Not a map but close enough!

Enjoy my very over-sized kit that is loaded with spring/summer colors and so much fun!

May Project Life and Card Goodies

More Project Life and Washi Tape

May Pattern Paper

May Scraps

May Embellishments 1

May Embellishments 2

May Embellishments 3

May Embellishments 4

The Infamous Button Jar!

And all those embellishments fit in my embellishments fit in my project basket except for the arrow packages!  As always all of my inks, mists, dies, embroidery floss and Art Anthology Paints are included.  This month I also reserve the use of my old Creative Memories Alphas, any cardstock, my stencils/masks and Bakers Twine.

I'm thinking about getting caught up on my Project Life with all the Simple Stories and Fancy Pants The Good Life Brag Book.  I don't do daily or even weekly, just when I'm taking photos.  Had to add some flairs, too.  Added veneers which always make me happy!  And some die cuts!  Just oodles of great items to play with!

This was yesterday when I put the kit together.  Now to this point I have not read the rest of the post on kits this month or gone through the hop!  I was just too excited over the kits!  OMG....what do I find as Challenge #1......WEATHER!  I have to use a sun or clouds or raindrops on my project.  As a rancher weather is very important to us.  We need to know the weather each day in order to get the work done.  A college Agronomy professor and going through numerous tropical storms living on the Gulf Coast and finally a hurricane for the first time in 1983 with Alicia sent me down the road to my fascination with weather.  I'm a lover of all things our planet can through at us called weather.  I want to be like my Agronomy professor and understand it by just looking at the sky as he could.  I've spent years trying to learn weather and am fascinated with severe storms.  Weather Spotter Training in 1993 really propelled me forward in understanding how severe storms move.   Once online I spent hours and hours studying the NOAA satellite information.  My husband relies on what I have learned about weather.  But my passion is severe storms.  I've chased a few times while at the ranch.  Caught a tornado just once on film in 2011.  The next time I chased was a day later. Saw my first storm that was rotating from base to top of the storm and had my first sighting of a mesocyclone in a storm.  This chase was a forced one as the storm had been tornadic in Waco and was headed towards the ranch.  I chose to leave.  The storm dropped another tornado briefly in Groesbeck but I was safely nine miles to the south of Groesbeck and about a 1/2 mile out from under the cloud deck.  No damage at the ranch when I returned.  The photos you will see for Challenge #1 sometime this month will be of a storm to the north of Calvert as Larry and I were driving to the ranch.  He was worried about me dropping my iPhone out of the truck as I took a long series of photos of driving into the storm with my window down.  Really sweetie, I don't want to loose these photos.  I was thinking that the whole time taking photos....'don't drop your phone'!  Shortly afterwards a severe storm warning was given on that particular storm as we came out of it.  Gee....I could have told the NWS it was severe!  But saw no rotation in the storm.  I've seen three tornadoes in my life.  One on the Gulf Coast, one in College Station and the one I saw about 15 miles north of our ranch.  One other time I was very close to a rain wrapped tornado in East Texas.  This was way before the movie Twister came out and I learned what the Cone of Silence is.  It's a really erie feeling.  It was pouring rain, the birds chirping, my windows opened to the porch.  All of a sudden the bird's were chirping away but I couldn't hear the pouring rain.  Scared me to death as I had no idea what was happening.  About 45 minutes later Larry called me and told me to get over to a neighbors because the house had been torn up by a tornado.  Their house was a mile away and the path of the tornado took it about a 1/2 mile from our house.  That was way back spring of 1987.  I am currently not a storm spotter and only chase when I feel safe and near home where I know the roads..  Warning:  Chasing is hazardous and not worth putting your life in danger!. If a tornado warning is given for your area seek shelter immediately!

My daughter took a great photo with her iPhone of a storm this past week of a beautiful supercell to the northwest of the ranch about 50 miles on the same day Arkansas dealt with the tornadic storms in their state.  Have to print that one.

Sorry for being side tracked...I do love agriculture and bad weather.  I just want to be some place safe during bad weather.

I am really looking forward to using my kit, the challenges and of course the NSD Celebration at CKCB and ACOT!!  By the way ACOT is having one of their 20% off code offered today.  If you spend a minimum of a hair over $50 and use the code then your entire cost will be less then the $50.  Shipping is $10.19 in the US.  It's like getting shipping free!  Please make sure you read ALL OF THE FINE PRINT!!

YAY....this is post #250!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

CKCB April 2014 Fab 5

How much fun to see my layout of Brazos County Courthouse make the Fab 5 at CKCB!  I am in good company and hope you will visit the other participants who made the Fab 5!

Until Next Time!