Garden Time, Baby!

The garden this year, so far, is better than ever. Thanks in part to the chicken moat I installed a few weeks ago. See those chickens? Those are the bantams (minis). They live in a run that goes around the entire garden. The idea is they keep out weeds and bugs. Also, we've got the boys on a 7 to 7:30 a.m. weeding schedule, every week day. Been working great!



Here's a bonus photo of our new mini peach tree. We also have two pear trees, a plum tree, and a fig tree. None of them have given us fruit yet, since we only started planting them about a year ago.


High School Burritos

Back in my high school days I used to love some burritos with chili and cheese. And can't leave out the tots! For kicks Brandi and I made some last night. ;-)


Quick Portraits

I was messing around with a shoot-through umbrella and a wireless trigger. Thankfully the kids are always willing models.




Daniel The Tortilla Man

Brandi taught Daniel how to make tortillas. Nice! Nathan's already our oven fry maker (and egg cook for that matter), and now we have a resident tortilla guy.

daniel tort 1

daniel tort 2

Saturday Morning Photos

Actually, this first photo is from last night. Nathan has learned how to make oven fries, and he whips 'em up at will now. Brandi's done a good job of teaching the kids some kitchen skills. There are entire meals they know how to make on their own. It won't be long until they're waiting on Brandi and me 24/7. ;-)


We buy raw milk from a farm a few miles up the road from us. To get a good deal we buy it in 5 gallon buckets and then transfer it to 1 gallon containers. This morning was a milk morning.


The kids' trampoline mat finally arrived (the original got torn to shreds after 6 or 7 years of use) and I installed it this morning. Back to bouncing, kids!



Daniel On Assignment

I took Daniel with me to help assist me at a wedding shoot last weekend north of Austin.

This was quite a distinct wedding. It took place in a historic theater and immediately after the ceremony everyone watched an old school black and white movie. Daniel did great helping me position a flash during the movie, to bounce some light off the walls in order to get a decent pic of people watching the film.


Daniel also stuffed himself with candy, popcorn, and sodas. Good thing because after the movie came the reception ... and during the reception he started shooting like crazy. He wasn't shy about it either! He's taking this photography thing seriously. :-)


See Saw

We spent some time at the neighborhood park this afternoon. We love it because there's never anyone there. :-)


More on Flickr.

Early Morning Farm Photos

I spent a lot of time in high school and college shooting artsy photographs. Later in life, I turned into the ruthless photographic mercenary that I am now. I guess the way to ruin a good hobby is to start making money from it.

This morning, at about 6:45 or so, I stepped outside to see what the weather was like. Dawn was coming up fast, but there was still a dark haze over the Farm. The ambiance was accentuated by a thick fog that was quickly dissipating.

I grabbed my cameras and snapped a few photos. It took me back to high school. These are unedited, out of the box.

(Oh, actually, the photo of the oak tree was shot about an hour later, after the sun was coming up.)





Joshua, Tonight


Eve On Rocking Chair

I shot this last night. Nothing formal, just messing around with lights, trying to figure stuff out.


Nathan The Assistant

This is from last night. Nathan assisted me on a photo shoot for the first time, holding my remote flash. He did great! ;-)


Joshua, Bright Eyes

Just a couple of days ago ...


Adventures In The Backyard: Grape Edition

Every 6 months or so we ask our neighbor to shred our field with his tractor. The weeds had gotten pretty bad this time, so the post-shredded field doesn't look as nice as it could, but the low grass prompted me to explore a wee bit.

The newly shredded field. What could lurk out there, besides a billion grasshoppers?

Hmm ... that brush looks interesting. I have seen rabbits there before. . . .

Upon close inspection ... wild grapes!

I'm not sure what wild grapes are used for. My understanding is they're not sweet, but can be used in some recipes. Brandi's shown interest in them in the past. We've heard of using them on your garden fence as a wind block, and I think we'll pursue that idea at some point in the future. These grapes were overly ripe. In other words, they were juicy and bursting. I didn't dare eat one, but I decided to see if my chickens took a shine to them. They did!

Yum! Yum!

Seems like I'm always being surprised out here. :-)

Joshua Martin Guel

Joshua Martin Guel was born on June 15! He came in at a healthy 8 pounds. :-)

Every day he's getting more and more aware, and he's fit into our family perfectly. Abigail is "little mama" -- she loves holding him, caring for him, and helping Brandi with all the Joshua-related tasks. Evangeline is "little mama wannabe." She's getting there! The boys adore him too.

For the third time in a row, Brandi was able to deliver naturally (i.e., sans meds) and now she's done three vaginal deliveries in a row. Quite a feat since our first two babies were c-sections. We used a certified midwife (those gals actually train doctors how to deliver babies) and delivered at Providence Hospital in Waco. Interference from nurses, etc., was kept to a minimum, and, thankfully, we never had to see a doctor, since the midwife delivered the baby and there were no complications. After Joshua was born -- thanks to a detailed birth plan and the support of our midwife -- Brandi was able to have Joshua immediately, nurse him, and be with him for a solid hour before he was weighed and clothed by the nurses. It was an awesome experience.

The hospital was wonderful, and even gave us a complementary "Celebration Steak Dinner" in honor of our little boy.

Here's one of my favorite shots of Joshua so far. More to come!



We hung out with some friends last night and went to a private pond to do some fishing. Out of all the kids, Daniel was the only one who had ever caught a fish in his life. By the end of the evening we had a (small) cooler full of fish, and each kid had caught at least one -- even Eve!

Out at the pond.

The boys.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Daniel's second fish ever!

Nathan's first fish! Too bad the photo is fuzzy ... oh well.

Abby's first fish!
abby 1st

Daniel caught the biggest fish of the night.

Yours truly helping Eve with her first fish. A bass!

Ignore the dorky look on my face.

Loading 'em up.

First Spring Photos 2012

It's spring on Guel Farm!

The main garden:

The supplemental garden adjacent to the house:




Handcrafted Pillowcase By Abigail

Abigail made a pillowcase yesterday. She's quite the happy seamstress.


Spring Garden Time On Guel Farm

We're running a couple of weeks late, but we finally got some plants in the ground today. I borrowed a friend's tiller yesterday and tilled up our garden, so the soil was nice and fluffy today. Our soil is very sandy, so by the time I got done with the tiller the garden looked like a beach.

Here's Brandi, at the beach working in the garden.

A bird's eye view (don't be frightened by the fake owl). The structure behind Brandi is the barn.
fake owl

This a bonus shot of the field behind our barn. You can't really tell from the photo, but it's looking pretty bushy and ready to be shredded with a tractor. Time to call our neighbor who does that stuff for us. One of these days we're going to fence it off and put some goats out there, and maybe a calf.

That's it! We've still got some more planting to do, and the kids have their own little special stuff they want to plant, so hopefully we'll have some more photos on the way.


I've been swamped at work, so not much time for posting these days.

Things are going well at the farm. Last year around this time our chickens were only giving us, on average, one egg per day. This year we tried a new (to us) strategery [sic] by leaving a light on in the barn to extend their "daylight hours." It's worked! We're getting maybe 4 or 5 eggs a day these days. It also helps that we have four more new laying hens. Come spring time we'll probably get a dozen eggs a day. Yay!

We still don't use 70 percent of our land. It's just there, looking pretty. That sort of annoys me, but it's nice to know that one day we'll fence it off and start by putting some meat and dairy goats on it. They say goats are a poor man's cow. :-) We have actually eaten goat burgers and goat fajita burritos -- and we liked them! We also like goat milk. So it'll be a start ... maybe this spring? We'll see.

So for your viewing pleasure, here's an early morning shot of our two young duck hens:


And here's one of the photos from our Christmas card session (this shot was taken by Brandi; she did a great job!):


A View From The Top

I had to go up on our roof today to work on our chimney. After I finished, I realized how beautiful our back yard is from such a bird's eye view. We've always appreciated the beauty of the landscape around our place, but seeing it all from such a high vantage point was pure, unfamiliar delight. I didn't have my camera with me so I whipped out my cell phone and snapped the following photo. Our property line extends back toward the tree line, and the hayfield on the right (which we're in love with) belongs to our neighbor. The field is unoccupied; he lives about half an hour away and shows up a few times a year to harvest the hay. When he's around working the field it's quite a thing to behold, believe it or not. Anyway, you can also see our barn on the left and our dog standing next to the barn. That white building is our shop.


Here's a bonus shot of Brandi working our winter garden. I love her Country Mama look with her boots and jeans. ;-)

country mama

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