Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Diapers and Football

Upon learning that we were expecting, one of Steve's clients (who might be a genius) told him he had to throw a guy's diaper party.  I had never heard of such a thing, but this is what he told Steve, "I invited a group of guys over and we had a poker night, drank some beer, and every guy had to bring diapers.  I gave a prize for the guy who brought the most and we didn't have to buy diapers for almost a year."  Excuse me?  Come again?  No buying of diapers for almost a year?  Should we just have one of these parties or one a month of my entire pregnancy???? 

As the months grew on and each of my showers came and went, I would casually ask Steve if he was still wanting to have this party - attempting to sound indifferent but desperately willing him to say the answer was yes.  Finally, I explained to him that we would need to pick a date soon because this baby could come at any time now.  He said maybe during a playoff game would be a good time.  Perfect!  I told him I would make food, buy beer, and leave the house so they could have "man time." 

The party finally came last weekend and Steve got pretty involved with the planning of food.  He requested this Buffalo Chicken Dip (oh my gosh it's good!), Pioneer Woman's Whiskey BBQ Sliders (I'm afraid if he ever met Ree, he would run off into the sunset with her and never look back....as long as she cooked her face off), these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, his special chili (I'll ask him if I can share the recipe sometime), and veggies and ranch dip. 

I went to a friend's house (whose husband came to the party), and was reassured that I can handle this one baby as I watched her gracefully mother her 3 little ones.  They are such well-behaved and sweet kids, I really hope they will be around a lot to be good influences on my little man. 

Before we knew it, my friend's husband come home saying the game was over.  Whoopsie...I didn't mean to camp out.  He gave me a quick run-down of how it went (apparently the guys were all trying to scare poor Steve into believing his life was about to end and would now only consist of baby toys and poop), and then I headed home to find this loot:

Holy Crap!  That is what 1254 diapers and a bunch of wipes looks like people!

That was only from 10 guys and...there are 2 guys who couldn't make it at the last minute but both had diapers for us.  How generous are our friends?!?!?!?!

Readers:  If you are expecting - HAVE ONE OF THESE PARTIES!  The guys had a great time and we saved a lot of money. 

I will repeat again, Steve's client is a genius.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Whitetail, axis, fallow, and blackbuck, oh my!

So enough about hogs and ducks.  Let's get to the real meat of the ranch (pun intended); the deer.  Steve currently has 4 species of deer: whitetail, axis, fallow (white, spotted, and chocolate), and one last blackbuck who is spoken for and will be leaving us in about a month.  Don't cry, I'll tell you a story and you will see that he is getting what he deserves.

Obviously, there is white tail season, which is the only time people can hunt them.  The exotics don't have seasons, so they can be hunted year round, as can the hogs. 

Here are some pictures from the game cameras we set up by a couple feeders:

This guy will grow up to be a nice buck.  He will have this year to grow and hopefully next year too.

This is a fatty axis.  He is not the biggest one on the ranch but is still a nice size.  Axis have a beautiful hide and are delicious!

These are 2 fallow deer; I think both chocolate but can't really tell due to the dark lighting.  I love the fallow deer.  Their antlers are so pretty with the big palmations on the ends, and they are really pretty and sweet looking.  Maybe one day Steve will let me shoot a chocolate one.

The top picture is the blackbuck from behind and then in the bottom picture he is the one to the far right.  Blackbucks are really pretty and turn black like this guy in the winter and turn light tan in the summer....I think they are prettier like this though.
Here is why we shouldn't feel sorry for this guy...

About 3 years ago, Steve bought 5 HUGE breeder whitetail bucks to help out the genetics on the ranch.  They were all healthy and doing fine and then one by one they started disappearing.  We would then later find their remains near the ponds and had no idea what happened.  We started treating for worms in case that was it, but they kept turning up dead.  Then we figured it out....this guy and his buddy who later died of natural causes, were goring the whitetail.  You see, blackbucks have horns and all of the other deer on the ranch have antlers.  The main difference between a horn and an antler is that antlers are shed and grow back every year, horns just continue to grow year after year.  These aggressive blackbucks were taking advantage of the times when they had their horns and everyone else was unarmed.  Because of this incident, Steve decided, with my encouragement, not to add to the blackbuck population and to let them die out. 

Here is a whole crowd around the corn feeder.  Look, even a raccoon decided to stop by.

Lessons for this post:

1.  Texas' death penalty applies to animals on the ranch as well.
2.  See, I can write about other things than babies.

Here is the link to the ranch's website:  http://www.4csgameranch.com/ 

Enough about the ranch, back to babies we go!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You wild hog, you!

This is the hog section of the ranch.  About 80 of the 150 high-fenced acres, are closed off so the hogs can't wander around too freely.  The deer have access to the hog section, but the hogs do not have access to the deer section.  Yes, we still have segregation on the ranch....don't judge us.

To me, the hog section looks like the scene of a post-apocalyptic war.  There is no grass.  The only green in the area is on the trees....but not trees low enough to the ground that the hogs can eat them. 

These next 2 pictures show the fence that separates the hog section from the deer section.  Can you guess which side is which?  (Mind you, it's winter, so the grass isn't as green as usual.) 

 To supplement the food for the animals there are 2 kinds of feeders on the ranch. 

Protein feeders that hold protein pellets that look like hamster or rabbit food and the food is always readily available to the animals:

 And corn feeders, that shoot corn out of them at a scheduled time everyday:
The hog section has 7 or 8 corn feeders with tree stands at each for hog hunters.  Because this corn is like candy for the deer, you find a lot of them in this section around the times the feeders go off. 

Here's one in action:

The little gold nuggets of yummyness.

This is outside of the high-fence on the ranch where the wild hogs have come in and rooted up the property.  There are patches like this all over the ranch which is destroying all of our meadows.  The neighbor who is a farmer said they have destroyed over half of his crops.  After the rest of the ranch is high-fenced, we will have to set up some traps to try to catch any of the hogs that have managed to stay inside of the fence. 

The hogs are so destructive and are so out of control, that in Texas and Florida, they have legalized this form of hog hunting:  (WARNING!  ANIMALS DIE IN THIS VIDEO....I DON'T WANT HATE MAIL!)

Lessons for this post:

1.  Hogs are why we don't have nice things.
2.  I REALLY want to go helicopter hog hunting!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Duck, Duck, Sucker!

So I realize that I have gotten pretty baby/pregnancy-heavy on this blog, and so to prove that I have other things to talk about, I decided to do one of my famous series (I like to imagine that things I do really catch on and actually become famous, so just go with it) featuring the ranch.

First, a little info about this ranch.  It is made up of 318 acres and about 150 of that is high-fenced (meaning it has an 8 foot fence to keep the deer in and preditors out).  Currently, Steve has some guys out there high-fencing the rest of the ranch which will give the deer much more room to roam and more food to eat.

A couple weekends ago, Steve and I drove up there for just a few hours to meet with the "dozer guy" who was delivering a lot of rock to put in the creek beds so animals can't get into the fenced portion of the ranch that way.  He also had to fix a corn feeder because there are hunters headed up there this weekend. 

Somehow, Steve also managed to fit some of this in:

Steve recognizes that shooting them off the water is cheating, but we were "meat hunting" not
"sport hunting" he says.

Just some pictures of the pond that is now duck-free.

My little hunter out checking another pond for ducks.

Quick story about the ducks:  Two of the ducks were injured and so while we were waiting for them to go into that great white light, we got some other stuff done and then came back looking for them.  We assumed at this point that they would be up against the bank and we could just go pick them up.  Well, they seemed to have gone missing.  We looked everywhere and then when we were least expecting it, one flew up from some bushes on the bank and flew away.  WTH?  He was seconds from his death 30 minutes ago?  How did this miracle happen?  Because of this instance, I will no longer say "sly as a fox," but instead will say, "sly as a duck."  1 point for the ducks, 5 points for us....too bad his friends weren't so sly.

I attempted to walk around the pond with Steve while he was retrieving ducks, but due to the large basketball that has attached itself to my abdomen, ducking under branches and staying sure-footed along the banks was much more difficult than it was like, oh maybe, 9 months ago. 

In an attempt to stay dry and to keep a branch from impaling my eye, I found a nice place to sit and watch Steve do his "hunting and gathering" that appears to come naturally to men.  Thank you early man.

This little guy kept me company for awhile until Steve brought over his first haul of ducks to watch over.  (I meant to take a picture of all of them together and to even do a post all about how to "clean a duck"...and I don't mean give it a bath...but I got tied up helping his dad connect to the internet and missed the entire duck cleaning process.  Next time, I promise.)

These are my newly designated Ranch Boots.  I bought them on a trip to St. Louis to visit a friend and wore them that night but haven't had a place to wear them since.  They seem to fit in nicely at the ranch.

So, the lesson for this post:

Ducks can be sneaky...but they sure are delicious.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Check this out...

Have you ever seen something more disgusting looking?  Well, you probably have, but let's pretend you haven't.  Now, what if I told you it's DELICIOUS?!?

A few years ago I got on a green smoothie kick and had to stop drinking them because all of the roughage was giving me some serious heartburn.  I know I don't eat enough fruit, and although I eat lots of veggies, we can always have more, right?  Well, this was the perfect solution.  My recipe is, bananas, frozen whole strawberries, lots of fresh kale and water.  Pretty darn healthy huh?

Last week, a friend told me she has been drinking them and it reignited the spark that green smoothies and I once shared.  We are reunited and it feels soooo good.  (Tastes good too!)  The first batch I made included celery and Steve was not a fan because he could taste the celery and thought it was just weird.  Well, this is a fresh celery-free batch, so I can't wait to see if I can get him on board. 

If you lack on your fruit and veggie intake, I HIGHLY recommend this.  It just tastes like a strawberry/banana smoothie (you seriously cannot taste the kale at all), and yet you get all of the health benefits of kale. 

Maybe I will branch out and add more fruit to my future smoothies.  Perhaps blueberries will be next.  Then it will really look like sludge...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doctor, Doctor

I had my 36 week check-up today and have only dilated another 1/2 cm.  Looks like he is going to take his sweet time afterall.  My mom doesn't get in until the 1st anyway, so I guess it wouldn't be a bad thing to wait for her.  Let's aim for the 2nd!  :)

This afternoon, I had a "new mommy visit" with the pediatrician recommended by my OBGYN.  Normally these visits aren't necessary, but Steve and I had questions about her stance on immunizations, so I requested the meeting.  Afterwards, I was very relieved to hear that this highly recommended doctor is flexible and understanding and willing to tackle the controversial topic of immunizations our way. 

Steve and I are not anti-vaccines, but we do believe, after a lot of research, that it would benefit our son to wait until he is around 2 to begin the process.  Since he will not be going to daycare, we just have to have him immunized before he begins pre-k - unless the private school we are looking into will allow exceptions (although we can't claim "religious beliefs" since it is the school at our church).

I was very stressed at the idea of having to find another pediatrician if she was not willing to be flexible, so this is a huge relief.

I have been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions all day - let's hope they turn into the real thing soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

29 days, but who's counting???

Oh, that's right....I AM! 

A woman told me a few months ago that she LOVED being pregnant and never felt sexier than when she was pregnant with her son (I guess she carried very differently with her daughter).  I'm not sure what this woman's pregnancy was like, but I don't feel the same. 

Don't get me wrong, it's pretty amazing that a life is growing inside of me right now, and the fact that I can do it and men can't, gives me an added sense of power.  However, I am not one of those women who love being pregnant and could be pregnant all the time.  I miss going more than 30 minutes without a bathroom break.  I miss my wardrobe and am very sick of my maternity clothes.  I miss sleeping on my stomach.  I miss raw sushi and raw oysters.  I miss having a cocktail with dinner.  I miss walking up the stairs without feeling as though I just ran a mile.  (just to name a few...)

As my due date rapidly approaches, I am experiencing a whole slew of emotions.  I am excited to get back all of the previously mentioned items that I miss, but am nervous about caring for this living person and not destroying his life.  Mostly, I am sad that mine and Steve's time as "just a married couple" is almost over.  I didn't plan to have kids at all, but certainly not this soon into my marriage, and really love life as the two of us.  I know a baby will just enhance the love we have for each other and we will find new ways to have fun (or hire lots of babysitters), and so although life will be very different, it won't necessarily be different in a bad way. 

I am now going to the doctor weekly and go again tomorrow, but as of last week, I was about 1/2 cm dilated and his head has been in position for about 3 weeks.  So, let's all say a quick prayer for him to come a little early so mommy can have some sushi.