Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Is Here at Thistle Hill Ranch!

I can't believe how fast Spring is coming upon us here in Texas. Well, if we're honest, Winter never came. That happens in Texas sometimes...no snow, no ice, NOTHING...suddenly, Spring is here!

I wish Spring lasted longer than the beginning of May, but I love Spring in Texas. We have breathtakingly beautiful wildflowers, green grass for miles, and temperatures that are to die for! I try to take every opportunity to be outside. Luckily now, living in the country, it's 10 times more enjoyable, and beautiful!


Sunsets really are better in the country...ok, maybe I'm biased...

And did I mention Spring Babies???

Meet Tinsel, our 1st baby girl born on the ranch!

Bailey, her proud momma, and daddy, Gunners Tinseltown, sure made a beautiful filly. We are in love!

We have 2 more babies on the way...I can't wait!

In the meantime, Spring has everyone on the ranch enjoying the fresh air, beautiful weather, and the lovely Spring blooms.


Hope you have beautiful weather too!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thistle Hill Ranch Jumping into 2016

2016 is HERE! I can't believe how fast this last year came and went. Our Christmas was so relaxing. We had such a wonderful time with family.

I hope your Holiday was wonderful too!

We had MORE rain, which brought our tiny creek to a roar, and pond fuller than ever. This picture below, is actually a dry creek bed for run off. It's nice when this is running, because I can hear it from the house.

The Christmas decor is down, house scrubbed and dusted. As much as I love decorating for the Holidays, it is definitely nice to get it all down and start fresh for the new year.

This sofa table was behind the sofa. I realized we need more room in the living room. I put this table where I had the make-shift desk on the right of the sofa. So, again...not a big change, but visually, it really made a lot room. The room looked so much bigger afterwards. I also moved the bookcase, to the left of the sofa. Subtle changes, but we really like the change...For Now, since I'm always rearranging. LOL!

These are the BEFORE pictures of the Living Room

For me, a clean house is the same as a clean mind. I need a clean an organized home, as much as I need an organized life...it calms me.

I know it's not realistic all the time; but, I really do try to stay on top of laundry, and housekeeping. This way, I free up time for the important things like homeschooling, organizing the books for the ranch, (all paperwork for the ranch, is done on a weekly basis), and any other activities for the boys or the ranch.

So with cleaning and organizing, comes redesign. It's never drastic, but I love giving the room a fresh look.

Our Dining Room / Homeschool Space

Our Entry Table

I rarely show my bedroom...I guess it's because it feels crammed.

But, here it is...

So much of our stuff is still in storage. I had the movers bring the furniture I thought would fit in the house, and what we needed for storage.

It ALL fits, and it's all needed, but, it feels crowded. Hopefully this situation will change this year...crossing fingers we can start building soon!

Did I mention how much more difficult the process of planning and prep is on your own land, not a Lot you just buy in the city? Oh well, it will all be worth it!

But, here's our master. What you can't see, is that we have a faux fireplace with a t.v. above it, in front of the bed. It really heats up the room, and makes it cozy.

Notice in the picture above, Bonnie and Darby, our 2 Westies, keeping watch out the window, looking at the ducks and geese at the pond.

Below, is what we see when we are in bed. Minus the ugly chain link fence, I love our view. It's definitely nice to wake up to.

I was surprised that this tiny house had a pretty big master bedroom. It really is nice to have the space for my desk, and sitting area.

After making the boys french toast and hot cocoa this morning, after their barn chores, I sat down to breakfast with Miss Scarlett.

The chargers are from one of our cedar trees that had died. I asked Glen to cut them for me, and I'm a lucky girl...he didn't even blink at me, and I had 12 beautiful rustic chargers from one of our trees. The egg on the table is our 1st duck egg, that one of the ducks abandoned. I love having it...so many 1st's out here...trying to capture them all!

Every New Year, I redo, renew, reuse, and then set my New Years Resolutions. But this year, I've adopted the idea of a New Year's Goal! This way, there is no guilt, no failure, just something to work towards.

I've had so many blessings in my life, that I can hardly feel like I need more. One of them was getting the help from my Pulmonologist and Allergy Specialist. I now have my dream life on a farm/ranch and have horses that I can ride, pet, and love on. Something that was always just a dream.

So, in saying my blessings, now to my New Year's Goal...

Stay positive, set goals, but understand they are goals...no deadline, no grade, no report card!

Just a GOAL!

Have Fun


Live You Best Life!

So here's to a fabulous, productive, and fun 2016!

Happy New Year!

And Here's to Many Happy Wishes for Fabulous New Year's Goals!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas 2015 at Thistle Hill Ranch

It's no secret I love decorating, and decorating for the holidays is one of my favorite things. Every year, I try to mix it up a little, it may be different colors, or putting decorations normally for the living room, this year in the kitchen. It makes it all feel new...at least to me! Ha!

With so many of my normal decorations in storage it makes it even more challenging. But, I always like a challenge. I had a lot of fun gathering greenery from the ranch and using it all over in Christmas arrangements.

Our entrance is very narrow, and not really an "entryway". So, luckily I had this narrow sofa table, that worked in this tiny space. Decorating it is always fairly easy, because not too much can go here between the lamps. So, I keep it simple. This year, I used an old galvanized bucket I found here at the ranch. It was fun to use something from the ranch in the decor. I'm learning so much history about this area, and this ranch. I love using things that are a reminder of our past.

I also keep the coffee table fairly simple since it is used so much. A little greenery, gold berries, and a leather christmas storage book, which is perfect for storing remotes.
A scarf for the pheasant.
Our grapevine reindeer, a few velvet presents, greenery in the antler bowl on top of a cedar charger, make an simple centerpiece. We homeschool here, so it has to be simple, because this table is used so often.
Even the piano, got a bit of Christmas Cheer. Frosty's hat, and Christmas music open in the antique children's music book.
This is by our back door, in the kitchen. It stores any extras of decor I have...storage is very limited in the house. I added one of my favorite things, the chapel that lights up, and sings carols.
Our kitchen table ready for morning coffees and breakfast.
The wreath above the table has the Thistle Hill Mansion, where we were married, hanging in the middle. When we came to see the ranch before we bought it, the hillside was covered in purple thistles, we thought it was a sign...Thistle Hill Ranch was born! This ornament means a lot to both of us.
The little quail dressed for the holidays!

Our living room doesn't have the best lighting. It's so difficult to get good pictures. Therefore, I'm posting a few pictures of the tree, and Santa.

I couldn't find my large owl topper, so I improvised with this little guy, that I luckily had already.

The writing desk in the living room got a few touches of the holiday spirit too.

Our living room mantel. I made these stockings a few years ago, luckily they are still holding up, HA! I put up our garland, & strung some lights in it. I didn't have a gold ribbon, so I used an old tie, that my husband won't miss, and then built around it with pinecones, greenery from the ranch, ornaments, and pheasant feathers.
Even Duckingham Palace got a wreath.
The front porch is very narrow, but, it still has enough room for decorations. Mr. Duncan gave me his approval.
Mr. Duncan's house got a little Christmas greenery too!

I couldn't resist putting decorations on the swing and outdoor bird houses.


I hope you all are having fun decorating or enjoying your decorations for the Holidays! I'm ready to take a deep breath and enjoy it too.

While writing this post, I get a text to come outside. I find this...my husband riding Preston's horse Bailey. She's pregnant with a foal, that's due this Spring. She is such a sweet girl. He took her on a walk around the ranch. A perfect way to end this post. I hope your weather is as nice as Texas weather is today...ENJOY!


Have a Great Week, & Happy Decorating!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Life at Thistle Hill Ranch

I always have high aspirations of writing on the blog weekly. Sometimes, I have time, and lately I've had NONE!

So PLEASE forgive me!

I have tried to keep Instagramming to keep my Friends and Family, that read this blog, updated on Thistle Hill Ranch, at least with pictures. So you can always follow me on there too.

So, here we go...

My life is hilarious! Homeschooling 2 teen boys,(always busy), while re-designing inside and out, a car dealership, (what an honor to be asked by my sister and brother-in-law), while lately... being on calf watch, keeping up with housekeeping, puppy training, and horse duties. Luckily I have two teen ranch hands that are invaluable, to help me out, and a SUPER husband. Who's salesperson by day, and rancher by night and weekends...and ladies, he also cooks dinner when I feel like I can't keep going.

One day, I was teaching the boys, left instructions for them, gathered a fecal sample from one of our cows, who seemed ill,

(turned out she was fine)...

That was worth it! (Tongue in cheek)

Then, I was on my way to the vets, to deliver the sample, while talking on the phone to contractors at the dealership....sums up my life in a nut shell.

I wouldn't have it any other way!

~I took this picture of me and Baron...with toothpicks in my eyeballs! Swollen eyeballs...I was so tired! But, I couldn't get over this dog who loves hugs, and still thinks he's 10lbs...not almost 60lbs.

So, I'm a tad embarrassed at how bad I look, but, his precious face, made me post it anyway!

Thistle Hill Ranch has a Lot of Pecan Trees!
We discovered we have anywhere from 80-100 pecan trees. The other 20 or so, still aren't easy to access. But what we can get to, has been amazing. This ranch keeps on giving.
We have now gathered, in a total of 3 hours, by hand, over 10lbs of pecans!

Homeschooling Update

Homeschooling has had an erratic schedule lately, due to my Interior & Exterior design project at the dealership, and ranching; but, the boys are amazing. They are both making A's in Math , which is always my biggest stress, and all A's in their other studies. I don't give the grades, their online programs do that. So I'm very proud! Luckily they enjoy all their subjects, so no pulling teeth here, to get them studying.

Note: the dealership project is moving along and getting closer and closer to completion. I will share the final pictures soon.

They love their Biology and Russian. I'm so impressed at Landen taking High School Biology with his brother, as a junior High student. He loves it and it shows. Preston is taking U.S. Government and loves it. My future politician is breezing through it. It's fun to see how much our ranching life actually helps with their studies. We're always learning something new, and making their regular studies concrete knowledge, makes learning more fun.

In addition to school, they love guitar, and archery. Both boys placed in their class, in their first indoor archery tournament. Preston was 1st Place and Landen was 2nd Place. Here they are above practicing archery on our hay bales.

New House Update

Who knew how much was entailed in building on the ranch. So much more prep than I expected. Things are moving along. Every time I think we have the plans exactly how we want them, we tweak something else. But, now it's to the point where I can see it in my head, and can't wait to start decorating it. This is not easy for me...patience...waiting...and waiting some more. So the tentative date is this Winter/ Early Spring to hopefully start. It's so close I can taste it!

... Patience Jennifer! Yes, I talk to myself often. So far, I've never gotten a "huh"? back...this is always a good sign that I'm still sane.

Animal Happenings

We had two Bull calves born within a week of each other, and they are best friends. They sleep together, play together, and even share moms. Unfortunately, a little over a week ago, we lost a heifer calf. Ranch life is sometimes difficult for a family that's new at it all. We were all so sad!

But, the good news is we have one more baby due this Spring. Then, we rebreed 4 of them, mid-January. More calves next September!

Growing the herd...

Thistle Hill Ranch Cattle

Our Oldest Bull Calf

Hungry Momma Cows

Mommas & Babies up for a Visit to the House.

Thistle Hill Ranch Horses

Our horses are all so different. So many different personalities. Some lovey-dovey, some spirited, and one brat.

Our colt is growing by leaps and bounds. He's a weanling now, ready for sale. He's a big boy and muscles looking fabulous! Our yearling looks fantastic too. He is fitted and ready for sale at Edgewood Lanning in Pilot Point.

Our 4 pregnant mares are due this Spring. We will have 2 thoroughbreds, 1 quarter horse reining baby, and 1 quarter horse that's bred for western pleasure. We are excited to see if we will have more colts or some fillies this Spring. We will be selling all colts. We just font have the facility for colt training, or studs yet.

Spring 2016 should be busy around here!

Classy, our Appendix Mare, (quarter horse/thoroughbred), posing at dinner time.

Our Ducks & Geese

Duckingham Palace is busy! Lots of egg laying and bossy mommas!

Duncan, our farm cat, loves all the animals!
Funny how a cat can coexist with farm fowl, cattle, horses, dogs, & other cats, with no hissing, chasing, slapping, or fights.
This place just seems to be almost Disney-like. All animals are friends, and all animals love their humans. It truly is fun to live here.
Below are the ganders out for a swim, while the goose sits on the eggs. You can see the ducks still in the "palace". We have 4 heating lamps going at night, to keep out the night chill. They are loving the daily swims at the pond, especially since the snapping turtles have seemed to vanish, and the weather is perfection.


Cats & Dogs

Mr. Duncan, the Farm Cat
Mr. Duncan playing with Baby Baron.

Duncan is our farm cat. In case you don't know his story, he showed up out of nowhere a couple months ago, and after not feeding him for several weeks, we realized he was never going back to wherever he was from. So, he's now ours. And bonus, he's fixed. We hear people dump cats all the time on farms. I'm just glad he found us.

He sleeps in a 3 story wood condo, with heating pad, food and water.

Duncan Modeling His Decorations Going Up on His Condo.

Spoiled much? YES!

He occasionally sneaks in the house.

I found him on my bed napping with Scarlet. If only I could express how impossible this is!

Scarlet prefers to think she's an only child. Duncan has a way with everyone...including Miss Scarlet! He's extremely charming. Maybe we should have named him Carey Grant...

Heading down to the barn...it's dinner time.

Duncan making friends with one of the babies, while their mommas eat.
Baron our 5 month old Bouvier, ranching with Duncan. Yes, this is normal. They walk together on the ranch.
I told YOU!
It's like living in a Disney movie!

Baron, Bonnie, & Darby


Westies against Baby Bouvier!

Cracks me up! I think he lets them win.

Lots of playtime!

Here is a Sneak Peek of Christmas at Thistle Hill Ranch!

Check back soon for Christmas decor pictures. Most of my decorations are still in storage, but what I have, made an appearance, and I've gotten approval from the canine judges.

Here they are, helping supervise decorating.

Thank you for stopping by Thistle Hill Ranch!

I always had dreams of living "the farm life". Getting a chance at that life, is truly a blessing.

In keeping with my blog title, I still get goosebumps as I walk around this beautiful gift of land. This has been the greatest last year and a half. I can't wait to see what else is in-store for us on the ranch.

Have a Great Weekend &

Happy Christmas Decorating!