Birthday present comes a month early

My birthday isn’t until next month (June 27th) but Mychael picked up my present for me yesterday. His name is Max and he is a 20 year old quarter horse.

The bottom line is, I need something a little more my speed, and that means one that won’t that throw me every time he sees a drainage culvert, or a rock, or a piece of paper…

Readers may recall my love-hate relationship with Joshua the Tennessee Walking Horse.

So we picked this guy up from a friend Mychael works with and hauled him home. Also, since both of my kids are in riding lessons now, they need something they can practice on between visits to the instructor.

I lunged him today and then took a ride in the pasture behind my house.

He also made a new friend in our Arabian, Ginger.

Although, it looks like Ginger will be headed off to a cool new job as a companion horse for an acquaintance of ours with Alzheimer’s. So it may be a short lived love affair.

So, thank you to my wife for the early birthday present. I need to do a little work on him to make him “mine” but he is a good horse. And sturdy enough to be my riding/hunting buddy in Montana.


The Official Ljubomir Farms Livestock Hauler

My son, David and I went out and bought a used, and very rusty 30 foot gooseneck stock trailer today. It will become the official livestock hauler of Ljubomir Farms:

On the way home, we stopped for ice cream and snapped a few more.

Its pretty rough, but I know a guy down in Liberty Hill who brings these old trailers back to life with a little sandblasting, paint and replacing the plastic trim and running lights/lenses. Here are some before and after examples of his work.





A couple of years ago he did an old two horse trailer I had. So I am confident this old thing will look fantastic when I get it back. I am dropping it off after church tomorrow and I will take some more pictures of the finished product. We will be hauling the entire Ljubomir ensemble of creatures all the way to Montana in it at the end of the summer.

Here’s his Craigslist ad for anyone local who wants to restore something:

Larry the guy who sandblasts and repaints trailers

Another step closer

My time on active duty is rapidly coming to a close, so we are having to spend more and more time in Montana managing our project there. So I splurged and bought a set of matching luggage and took off. Mychael says I need to start looking and behaving like a doctor so I am trying to swear less and I guess these bags help. But I still have a pretty rough ranch truck.

Of course, we had to take the littlest one, because she can’t stay home with the MIL yet. She turned out to be a pretty good airplane traveler:

The very first day, I got to be present for the ground breaking on the “barndominium” location. I snapped a shot and got the excavator guy to take one. He was gracious and didn’t tell me how goofy I was being.

Its pretty crazy to watch all this. In the next three months, the power will be turned on, the septic line and leach field will be complete, and the driveway will go in a circle into one side of the barn site, out the other and back to the road.

Of course, we eventually had to leave, which made us sad.

Finally, I know I have mentioned it before but for husbands out there who want to give your wife a little treat–Mychael has been using Rodan and Fields now since her birthday last March, and the results have  been worth the expense. This was yesterday. Remember, she’s, um, 40 something. Not bad, I think.

This was at riding lessons for the two middle kids. They are going to be better in the saddle then dear old dad by the time I actually have time to ride again.

We will be moved into the barndominium in Montana before Halloween. Please wish us luck. It is a very complex project to manage from 1900 miles a way while you are also trying to separate from the army, sell your house, etc.


My brother stood before us, not on a bank of the Big Blackfoot River, but suspended above the earth, free from all its laws, like a work of art. And I knew just as surely and just as clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last.– Normal Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

I am not sure if it correctly aligns with Orthodox theology, but one of the ways I know God exists, is the fact that perfection exists.

This afternoon was one of those days. We took my daughter to her very first horse riding lesson.

Now, I did not have a rural upbringing. My dad always wanted to have that for us, and for reasons I won’t discuss here, it just never materialized. For the most part, we lived in rented houses, in working class neighborhoods. I had a fine childhood–please don’t misunderstand. But I have been able to provide my own kids with very much the kind of thing he always wanted. And today I took some pictures.

I even spent a few minutes making some new friends.

I can’t go back and have a childhood with tractors, horses, wide open spaces, creeks and mountains right out my back door. So while I am spending so much of my adult life learning about farming and ranching, I don’t really have to. In some ways, being present for these moments is better. And every one of these moments is perfect. Only God could do that.

Last visit to Bluebonnet Festival

These are the days of lasts. And, once again, we have done something for the last time–the 35th annual Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, Texas.

It’s basically a big open air market with vendor booths and food. The Bluebonnet is the Texas state flower, and they really do give quite a show when they bloom.

We haven’t made it every year, but we bought this sign for our house a few years back:

Which after some years of weather looks like this:

Here are the pics from the day.

We even got my mother in law to agree to be in a Ljubomir Farms pic:

And of course, my favorite. Resting before the beginning of another week.

Have a great week!


Paschal Weekend

For the weekend of Orthodox Easter, it was quite a roller coaster. The last 2 1/2 days were especially crazy, as we had an opportunity to see our good friends the Gleasons. Readers may recall, Fr. Joseph Gleason is an Orthodox priest who moved his entire family (eight kids and his wife) to Russia a little over a year ago.

Here’s the story

Thursday, Mychael and the kids painted Pashca eggs:

Then, Friday we drove all the way to Denton, Texas (a little north of Fort Worth) for a three hour road trip. Keep in mind, it was the tail end of Holy Week, so there is a service it seems about every couple of hours. We made it just time to venerate Christ in the tomb at Saint Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Mission Parish (OCA).

I don’t normally wear jeans and a t-shirt to liturgy, (or have my daughter dressed that way) but we were on the road all day, and not even sure if we would make it.

After church, we visited with the Gleasons. They were in town because his sister and her whole family were being baptized and chrismated the next morning.

There were only four families in the house and eighteen kids! All Orthodox. This was such a treat and a taste of Heaven for us, it was definitely worth the trip.

The next morning was the baptism, and I snapped this one of my two daughters:

We spent most of the day visiting, but in the afternoon it was back in the car for the trip back for Pashca Sunday morning. We did not make it to midnight vigil, unfortunately. The drive proved to be too much for the kids.

A quick selfie with Fr. Joseph and goodbye.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we went out to milk the goats and found a new baby!

We are naming this baby goat “Pashca”

This made us late for church, but we were there in time for communion and the blessing of the eggs. And of course, the feast!

This will be our last Easter at St. Lukes, so we took a lot of pictures with friends.

The blue bonnets are in bloom, so we snapped a photo with all of us. Its traditional in Texas to take photos in a field of them:

Chalk up the craziest Pashca weekend I have memory of.

Hristos Voskrese!

I am the goat milker

We sold two kids (baby goats, not actual children) and the mother of those two goats is still here. There are two babies in the pen, but they are not hers. She won’t let them milk from her, so she is very full.

This provided for a much more reliable milking process today. Mychael gave it a try but in the end it was I who turned out to have the magic touch. I am not sure what that says about me.

We will collect a few more days worth and then start making product from it. Since we are not collecting it into a sterile container, we aren’t going to consume it. Should be soaps and lotions and stuff like that.