Thank You, Every One of You...

for your comments and concern.  We made it unscathed through today's scary storms and I'm very, very thankful for that. 

Sure, I'll admit it's fun to try and get spectacular storm photos, but today was one of those days I was really praying that the weatherman would be wrong, or at least a bit off on his calculations.

I hope that those who live east of us make it through safe and sound tonight also.  We can all get through bad storms... monster tornadoes not so much.

In the Tornado Zone

Remember this photo from last year?
That's the un-retouched version.  

Here's the version with the contrast adjusted...
so you can see the tornado.
The above tornado was on the KS/OK border on June 7, 2010,
a Monday evening, while we watched from our front porch.

Not a very scary tornado as tornadoes go, 
but it was adrenalin-producing for us.
There were tornadoes all over our area on that day last year.

Today, we are in a "high probability of a tornado" zone.  
 Dr Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel puts us at 8
for high tornado risk, out of a scale of 0-8.

Last year I wasn't working and hubby had just gotten home from work.  This year, we are both working 2nd shift.  Storm activity is supposed to fire up around 2:00 (CT) this afternoon, about the time we are headed to work.

I'm praying that our house is still standing when we get home tonight, that our dogs and horses will be ok tonight, and that the towns around us are safe and sound.

The bulls-eye area is a pretty small and condensed area, from Oklahoma City to Wichita, and we are smack-dab in between those two cities.

Keep us in your thoughts, and let's hope we don't have any repeat monster tornadoes today, like the rest of the U.S. is having.

Summer, Already?!

95 degrees today with a stiff 25 -30 mph south wind.  Ouch.  

I cleaned and refreshed everyone's water today -- the horses, the chickens, the guineas..... gave them all fresh, clear, cool water.  I noticed a few of the guineas panting today.  Poor things.

Where has spring gone?  It's only May 8th and we're having record heat.  Tomorrow is supposed to hit 100 degrees!  These are July and August temps here in south central Kansas, not May temps!  There's barely been any spring showers, and so our pond is shrinking rapidly.

The little silt pond (below) shriveled up and disappeared a month ago...

In spite of the heat, the chickens are growing big fast... I'm not entirely sure yet, but I'm afraid one or two of my "pullets" might be roosters in disguise.  A few more weeks should tell.  Especially one of my Rhode Island Reds -- definitely looking like a rooster!  If we end up with 2 or 3 roosters amongst our 8 total chickens, well, you know what that means.  One out of 3 will stay, and that will be the rooster with the best attitude.

 Rhode Island Red by feeder that suspiciously looks like rooster.

 My one Ameraucana in back by the waterer,
with pretty copper and blue-gray feathers.

This would be Sally, a buff orpington who is
my friendliest and most curious chicken.

The hubster has been busy, busy, busy these past few months.  With the arrival of our 8 chickens on April 1st, he quickly got to work building a divider in the chicken coop.  They were moved from their brooder to the coop last weekend, and they've adapted well.  We opened their outside door today to the small fenced run, but they chose to stay inside.  I'm sure the 30 mph winds had something to do with their decision.

He has also installed our new front doors, both the inside door and a new screen door.  We're not done with trim yet (obviously), but boy oh boy do these doors make a huge difference.  Now we can leave the door to the front porch open!

This is the old screen door (above) -- the bottom portion was duct-taped and would flap noisily in the wind.  Poor Trixie Lou was afraid of it.  This door is destined for the junk pile. ( I should have taken a picture of the old doors in place.)

Hubby has also put up an economy greenhouse for me near our gardens.  I'm hoping to utilize it more this fall and next spring.  If the cover doesn't hold up to our Kansas winds, well, at least we have a footprint to build a more sturdy greenhouse in the future.

Small garden from last year in front,
newer and larger garden close to greenhouse, and
new "boxes" to hold manure compost to the left of gardens.

Graveled interior with pavers.
Shelves to be added on either side of pavers.

My Grosso and Provence lavender plants,
soon to be planted in the garden.

Hubby is currently working on a stone border around the front porch -- clematis will be planted at this corner to grow up the lattice.

A quick side note:  A big thank you to Laura of A Simple Happy Life for the maple syrup that I won in her contest .... only one person was supposed to win, but she decided to draw a second name and I was the lucky winner!  So Tom and I got to sample her fresh, homemade maple syrup.  I didn't realize how much I missed the real thing -- ever since I moved here to Kansas, it's been just too expensive to buy real maple syrup.  THANK YOU Laura for sending this most delicious treat to us!

 And finally....

.... CiCi wanted to say "hi" to everyone.... although she's a bit miffed at us right now.  You see, we finally took her to the vet on Thursday to be "fixed", so she's been taking it easy this weekend.  She's been confined to our bedroom, and banned from the bathroom where she enjoys jumping high up to the window.

Here's hoping that everyone is enjoying their spring.... I think the rest of the nation IS having spring, just not us.  :-(