Saturday, January 31, 2009


Monday's forecast: Rain likely. A chance of snow in the afternoon. Near steady temperatures around 40. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent!

Apparently there will be a significant snow event somewhere between Nashville and Montgomery. I guess we won't know until Monday! I did read on Dan Satterfield's (he's a local weatherman) twitter page that he believes we will have a "snow event" Monday into Monday night and Tuesday!

On a better note..... On the morning news they did a segment on weight loss. They were discussing how to find your ideal weight. You base your weight on your height. A 5' 5" woman should weigh around 125 lbs. All this time I have been thinking I was too fat, now I know the truth.... I'm too short!!!! I think I'm the perfect weight for a woman who is appoximately 6' 0" or 6' 1" ! Who knew it would be so simple. I just need to grow taller.

Still updating the website. Did you check it out?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Website update....

I spent most of the morning updating photos on the gifts & awards website, . Check it out. I've added a whole lot more photos and still have more to add. You will notice some really nice professional studio type shots. I didn't take those. I wish I had. I copied them from our bag suppliers website. I'm pretty tickled with myself for figuring out how to do that though! Remember to recommend us to anyone in need of awards or gifts. Check back tomorrow for a weather update on the snow forecast for Monday. Weatherman has assured us he will know more about whether or not we are getting snow on Monday by Saturday. Yeah right! Dan says weatherman will know Monday when he steps outside, just like the rest of us.
Did you notice I changed the baby due date ticker? Do you like it? Did you like the other one better? Let me know with a comment or by email

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day!!!

No!.....Not here! In Missouri where my friend Leah, her husband Jeff and their cuter than cute son Ryder live! Leah sent me an email titled Ryder's snow day. It was some terrific shots of little Ryder in the snow and on his wooden rockin' horse, "Woody". (I know isn't that just the cutest name for a rockin' horse?) She reports they got about 7 inches of the white stuff. I don't think we've had a total of seven inches in the 17 years we've been in Alabama. I don't think I miss it though. I know I don't miss the cold that goes along with it. Matt and Mary got quite a few inches of ice from the sleet. I know, without a doubt, I don't miss the ice!!! Weatherman says we may get snow here Monday, I doubt it..... If we do I'll for sure take some pictures but all I have to work with is Dan and I quarantee he's no where near as cute as Ryder in the snow!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Florence, Alabama

I received this via my email and enjoyed the article so much I decided to share it here on my blog. We "Florentines" are very proud of our city and we are really proud when the rest of the world finds out what a great place we live in! Enjoy!

sidenote: at Trowbridges I prefer the chicken salad and the fudge ripple ice cream. Trowbridges is close to the Florence Clinic and when my grandmother had a doctors appointment the trip to town wasn't complete without a trip to Trowbridges!

Excerpt From Let Us Now Praise the Back Roads of Alabama
Clay Risen
Photo by Robert Rausch

Four more hours north on Route 43 took us to Florence, one of the Quad Cities of northwestern Alabama along the Tennessee River. Florence is a blast from an idyllic Southern past, innocent and friendly if also slow and out of the way. The tree-shaded streets are lined with well-kept Victorian and Georgian Revival homes. The downtown dining hot spot is still the local lunch counter, Trowbridge's, famous for its egg-and-olive sandwiches and orange-and-pineapple ice cream. The day I was there, scrums of high-schoolers brushed shoulders with local businessmen beneath walls decorated with black-and-white photos of old Florence (which looks strikingly like modern-day Florence).
Not everything is Harper Lee and Fannie Flagg, though. After lunch I walked two blocks to Pickett Place, a stately home that designer Billy Reid converted to his studio and flagship store a few years ago. He is renowned for clothing that blends rural chic with a dollop of urbane edginess, and his work regularly shows up in glossy magazines and in his shops in New York and Dallas. But when he went looking for a comfortable, quiet place to set up his headquarters, his wife, a Florence native, persuaded him to settle in her home town.
A visit to Billy Reid is not your usual shopping experience. Sweaters and slim-fitting oxfords pour out of dresser drawers. Staffers readily offer Cokes or water as you browse; later in the day they switch to bourbon. And if you're lucky, Reid will venture downstairs from his offices to discuss his latest designs. (Unfortunately, he was on a week-long hunting trip when I visited.)
Florence is also home to a small but quirky collection of museums and sights. The Rosenbaum House is Frank Lloyd Wright's only completed project in Alabama and one of the purest examples of his Usonian home design. Both W.C. Handy, known as the Father of the Blues, and Helen Keller were born in the area, and both have small, well-appointed museums in their memory. Handy is also honored every summer by the W.C. Handy Music Festival, which over the years has featured the likes of Dizzie Gillespie, Percy Sledge and Ellis Marsalis.
Just across the Tennessee River in Sheffield sits the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, home of the legendary Swampers, a studio rhythm section whose distinctive sound drew soul, rock and country greats alike, including Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Willie Nelson; Lynyrd Skynyrd later immortalized the band in "Sweet Home Alabama":
Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers;
And they've been known to pick a song or two.
Lord they get me off so much.
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Now how about you?
Though the working studios have moved, 30-minute tours of the original facilities are still available.
For one final taste of back-roads Alabama, the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard is just a few miles west of the Quad Cities and well worth a visit. More than 185 certified coon dogs lay buried here, many with elaborate headstones and freshly laid flowers.
Florence lies about an hour west of Huntsville, near the state's border with Tennessee, making for an easy getaway from Alabama. But it's never easy for me. After years being taught to look down on this strange state, I always manage to find something new and exciting along its back roads and byways. Which is why I keep coming back.
Clay Risen is author of "A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination," published this month by John Wiley and Sons.

(Click here to see entire article

Monday, January 26, 2009

Peach Cobbler Extraordinaire!

No, I didn't bake it! Kelly did. It was fabulous and so easy I could have made it myself! No photos of it because I was to busy eating it! But here is the ever so easy recipe. Try it and enjoy it! I did!
Buy a big can of sliced peaches and pour 'em in a big pyrex dish. (Kelly took a knife and cut 'em up little bit more)
Buy a box of either white or yellow cake mix and pour this over the top of the peaches.
Melt a stick of butter. (yes, I use real butter, no margarine here folks) drizzle it over the cake mix.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, optional.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until brown. We starting checking on it at about 20 minutes and just added 5 minutes at a time until we thought it was ready.
Buy some vanilla ice cream to go on top!
This peach cobbler is very easy and just hits the spot on these cold days and nights!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Friday!!

I'm not sure why Friday excites me, I have to work on Saturdays. Maybe it goes back to when I was in school. I just don't know. Anyhow, it's the Friday of a super busy week. Hesston making his arrival on Monday was definitely the highlight! One of our projects this week was to "correct" a mistake we made on a winter coat before Christmas. Before Christmas one of our friends and regular customers brought in a couple of coats for us to embroidery designs on for the girls Christmas presents. The girls picked out what they wanted and we got busy with 'em. On one of the coats we had a technical glitch with our machine and the design messed up! PANIC!!! I called Amy and she couldn't have been nicer and more understanding. I hated that I had messed up her jacket but at the same time thankful that it was her and not somebody that got all crazy on me! So off I go the week before Christmas looking for a replacement jacket. The store she bought it at didn't have any more. I finally found another one and we were back on track! Now the dilema, what to do with a $50 coat with an embroidery design flaw on the back? After a couple of sleepless nights the solution came to me.... put an applique design over it! Genious! As soon as our Christmas rush was over we started working on the Lone Star shirts and have just now gotten around to fixin' the problem. It turned out BEAUTIFUL! No brag, just fact! The design had to be enlarged to cover the problem area and it took up our entire largest hoop. It had over 44,000 stitches and took 2 and 1/2 hours to embroider but it was worth it. I'm telling you all this because now I need to sell this jacket. It is a Walls Zero Zone youth 20 regular, dark brown in color with a gorgeous horse head applique on the back! The coat cost $50 and that is what we'll take for it. You'll be getting a $50 design for free! Call us 256-766-7446 or email us or just come by and we'll fix you up. (We can also put your name or initials on the front.) If you don't need this fine coat maybe you know someone who does, send 'em our way! Thanks and check out the photo of our "masterpiece"!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is our new website featuring the award business that we do at Shamrock Feed & Tack. Please, by all means check it out! You'll find a link to it on the left side of this page or just click on the title. Feed back is most certainly welcome! If you know anyone who is in the market for awards or gifts please send them to the site! I have been updating it with more and more awards and gifts so check back from time to time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Meet Hesston Clay Parker

Hesston is the son of two of our favorite people, Ashley and Clay Parker. Hesston made his arrival Monday the 19th of January at 6:16 pm. He weighed in at a whopping 7lbs and 12 ounces. He is 22 inches long and has a headful of dark hair. He is absolutely beautiful!!! He has 3 aunts, Selena, April and Leslie and 2 uncles Steve and Wade and a cousin Shyanne that are, without a doubt, crazy about him. His grandparents are Vicky and Tom Parker and Stephanie and Gene Britnell. He's the first grandchild for Vicky and Tom and the first grandson for Stephanie and Gene. Do you think he'll be spoiled? No doubt! I went to the hospital yesterday and took....oh.... about 5o photos of him! Here are a few. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Cold, the Sequel!

You bet your booties it's cold. It was 8 degrees when I got to work this morning at 8:30ish. It has warmed up to a whopping 22 degrees. It was 41 in the store this morning but has reached 48 degrees now! Heat Wave!!! Left for a little while to take mother to the beauty parlor and to buy her groceries while she was getting her hair done. It was good to just be in the warm car.
I got the cutest email from my buddy April. She says she hates the cold too. Apparently when it is too hot she can cool off with a rag dipped in the cooler but has never been able to snap her fingers and create fire when she's too cold! I must agree, it is much easier for me to cool off than warm up.
I thought we fed the livestock in record time last night but tonight we may very well set a new record!!! Willie seems to be handling the cold snap pretty well. He does have a lot of llama fur.
Good news is, the high for tomorrow is 42, that is 20 degrees warmer than today! Then next week the forecast is calling for some 50's! yippppeeee! I know it doesn't take much to get a yippppeee out of me anymore.
I went by and placed an ad in our weekly paper for our embroidery business. I did the 6 week special. When the lady said this would run through March something or other I just thought, WOW! Maybe I can hold out for 6 more weeks and Spring will be here!! However, when Kelly and Ned decided to get married on March 12th everybody and their brother had to tell us that we had our biggest snow in March! March 12, 2005 was 72 with sun and wind, a typical March day for Northwest Alabama. My how time flies......
Until tomorrow, stay warm!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Cold!!!

When I got to the store this morning at 8 am the temperature was 16 degrees outside and 45 degrees inside the store. It has climbed to 24 outside and 52 degrees inside! The wind chill is 18.
I know.....this is ridiculous! This is supposed to be the sunny south! Spring can't come quick enough for me, and this is only January.......I'm afraid the next 60 days are gonna be trying for warm weather lovers like myself!
On a different note...American Idol started back up Tuesday night. Yes, Dan & I are fans of this goofy show. We love to hate Simon, we immitate Randy by saying stuff like "it was a little pitchy dog", and we think poor Paula is a little loopy. This year they have a new judge, we'll have an opinion of her soon.
Well, my resized design just arrived via email so it's back to work for me. Have a great day, stay warm and check back often!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

I can't believe I haven't posted in almost a week! We have been super busy at the store finishing up the shirts for Lone Star Rodeo Company. They look great if I do say so myself! Their '09 rodeo season kicks off next weekend in Maryland. This marks their 60th year in the rodeo business! Pretty impressive! Check 'em out at Rachel will be down tomorrow to pick up all the shirts. We are finishing up Cutter's right now. Cutter is the youngest cowboy of the bunch ( he's 6 or 7, I can't keep up because it changes every year). He is involved in the Grand Entry and helps run the calves and steers out of the arena so he needs to be in official Lone Star attire!
The weather is fixin' to go to h*ll in a hand basket! The temperature will not get above freezing tomorrow and go down to single digits tomorrow night! With wind chills below zero. Brrrrr! Somebody tell mother nature this is Alabama not Alaska!!!! I have some Flickr friends in Fairbanks and they have had some really cold days with temperatures of 50 below zero! Better them than me!
Sunday was my buddy Ashley Parkers jewelry show. We had a blast! Ashley and Clay's baby is due any day now. I think he is going to blow in with the cold air from the arctic and I'm gonna call him "Frosty". His aunt Leslie is hoping he'll make his debut Friday so she can take Friday off and have a long weekend. Monday is a holiday.
Have you opened a Flickr account yet? Have you subscribed to the free magazines or checked out the websites? If not do it now, get started. When you open your flickr account make sure you add me, kaymcgee08, as a contact!
I'll be back tomorrow to post the temperature!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Photography Mags & Websites

First of all I have already mentioned and if you haven't checked it out do so. Another favorite with tutorials is For a fun blog and some great shots from an edgy portrait photographer go to . Kathy does all her work on location (all over the place) and does a sneak peek on her blog. I will guarantee you will get some great ideas! There is a link to your left for Christen McMakin Photography. Christen refers to herself as an aspiring photographer, if you look at her blog you will see that she is way more than "aspiring" she is very accomplished. I met Christen through Flickr and she has been a tremendous help to me and has never made me feel stupid about my "stupid" questions. Christen turned me onto one of my favorite magazines, Practical Photography. This magazine is from the UK and I get it at Books-a-Million. Tons of great shots and lots of good info. Another one that have just started getting is Professional Photographer. It is free. Go to to subscribe. Another freebie is AfterCapture, Last week when I was in Office depot I picked up Shutterbug. It had an article about the Canon Rebel Xsi. I am interested in this camera so I bought the magazine even though it was the September '08 issue. I really liked the articles and the photos. Check these out and let me know what you think. Here is another shot from the "silo shoot". Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Editing Your Photos

When I upload my shots to the computer they go to Photoshop and Picasa (now available for mac users). I use both of these for storage and editing. I'll admit I use Picasa first because it is easier for me. When I want to get really into editing I go with Photoshop and Danielle (my neighbor, friend, part-time employee) has to come and help me. I know the whole time she's thinking, "I've talked her through this 1000 times before why can't she remember it?" But oh well, she's young she'll get over it.

When you edit, be a little daring. Adjust the shadows, the fill light the highlights and then warm up or cool the shot. Remember you can always hit the undo button. Don't just settle for a crop. Experiment. Play with sepia tones, b&w, spotlights and tinting. Some shots just deserve a little pop here and there. Some folks feel you are changing your shot with these techniques but I follow the school of thought that believes photoshop, etc. is just a digital darkroom. If we were using a regular film camera we would make adjustments in the darkroom wouldn't we?

Here are a few of my tips for better shots.
Take off the lens cap! okay no brainer, I told you I'm not a professional.
Never leave home without your camera! You never know what you might see while your out.
Fill the frame. Get close and really make your subject the main focal point.
Shoot early morning or late afternoon/early evening. The golden hours are the first two hours after sunrise and the 2 hours before sunset.
Take a lot of shots. That is the beauty of digital. No film developing and no waste, just hit the delete button.
Take a lot of different views. Walk around. Some of my favorite shots weren't the ones I had originally set out to get.
Make sure your batteries are charged. This is really important in winter as cold will zap the little buggers. The best investment I made was in a battery charger and rechargeable batteries.
When I wanted to experiment with night photography I soon realized I would have to have a tripod. I found an inexpensive one and have been very pleased. Don't be scared to invest in accessories, they don't have to be top of the line.
Read, read, read. Find good websites with good shots from good photographers and study what you like and don't like. Sometimes when I read photography articles it is like reading greek but eventually it all makes sense as I learn other things to go along with it.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Don't be afraid to experiment with things you have learned. After reading about making a homemade light box, Dan and I gathered up the materials and made one. It was fun and now when I see a big cardboard box I immediately think WOW, this will make a great light box!
Tomorrow, photography magazines and websites that I love!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

photography as a hobby

I've been told that my interest in photography as a hobby has inspired some of you to get your camera back out and take more shots! FANTASTIC!!! Let me tell you about my adventure with my camera this past year. We have a couple of broodmares and every year when they foal I am out there taking pictures like there will never be another one. When the sister of a regular customer came into the store with an antique camera case for repair I showed her my shots of the mares and foals. She is a professional photographer in Atlanta. She liked my work! She also encouraged me to learn more. "Go online," she said "google aperture and shutter speed and digital photography. Learn more about your camera." I did, the more I read and learned the more I wanted to learn. The next day she was doing a bridal shoot for her niece and invited me to tag along. It was so much fun! I took several scenic shots myself ( one I entered in the North Alabama State Fair and won 3rd place).
One of the websites I found while googling was this site is packed full of tutorials. Many of them are aimed at folks just like myself who were wanting to learn from the ground up. They also have forums that address a multitude of questions. The thing I liked best was the weekly assignment. Something new and challenging every week. In order to post your shot in the weekly assignment post you needed to go through Flickr turned out to be where I learned so much.

This is my advice to anyone who loves to take photos and wants to improve. Visit photography sites, look at the shots other people take, make notes about what you like and why (even mental notes). Paricipate!
Here is an example of how you can use a site like Flickr to learn.
Go to and open an account, it's free! Go to search for groups and put in the search words that define your interests. Maybe it's your area, I belong to North Alabama photography guild and more with Alabama in the title. Maybe it's baby or children photography you are interested in. Or horses or dogs are just pets in general. Also, search for groups that refer to your particular camera. I have found an enormous amount of help from folks who are using the same camera. I use a Kodak z650 and the instruction manual is not that good so we are always asking if someone has had such and such problem or what setting they use for a certain shot. There are thousands of groups to choose from.
After you find some groups start looking at the photos that are posted there in the group pool and decide which ones you like and why. Mark these photographers as contacts so when they post new stuff it will come up on your home page. Comment on the shots you really like. Put some thought into your comment about what it is about the shot that makes you like it. Maybe it's the colors, the composition the texture or the simplicity of the shot that draws you to it. All of this helps you when you go out to shoot something similar. I have acutually found shots from locals and showed them to Dan and said, "lets go try to get this shot". Obviously it will never be the exact same shot but it gives you experience. Put your shots on your photostream and let your contacts comment on it. Pay attention to what it is they like about your shot and remember that the next time you go out for a shoot. You will see yourself improve right before your eyes!
Visit my photostream at . You will soon see that I am a true hobbyist with photography but I am enjoying it immensely and encourage you to do the same.
Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about editing your shots and share some hints for better shots!
Remember this is not advice from a professional just from someone who loves photography and would like to share with you what I've learned this past year and I hope it will allow you to love the hobby as much as I do!
Meanwhile I went out Sunday and shot some photos of an old silo that stands alone by the side of the highway. Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Best Christmas Ever!

I know Christmas was 10 days ago but I have just been given the okay to tell all about it!
We had Christmas dinner at our house Christmas night. Matt and Mary came down from Mo, Ned and Kelly came down from Tn and mother and daddy came over. I had never cooked the bird before and I'm pleased to say he turned out great!! The dressing was delicious (if I do say so myself) mother brought a ham and sweet potatoes, Kelly brought strawberry pretzel salad and made homemade mac & cheese and Mary brought homemade sweets! It was all fabulous. After dinner mother and daddy opened their gifts. After we visited for a while I started cleaning up, Ned and Kelly took Gran and Papa Tom home and the guys went out to feed the multitude of horses we have aquired. (that is a whole post in itself) About 9:30 we started opening presents. This is a long ordeal at our Christmas as we go one at a time starting with the youngest to oldest in rotation. I'll just tell you I hit the jackpot. Winter coat, "chaps" vest, necklace, warm robe, water pitcher and more...... Just when I thought we were through Kelly handed me and Dan each a sweat shirt and said unfold 'em at the same time. We did, mine said "just call me Grandma" !
I don't even remember what I said or did, they say I cried. If I did, I gurarantee you they were tears of pure joy! We are excited beyond words!! The baby is due in early August and I know Ned and Kelly will be the best parents ever!
The weekend flew by ( maybe because my feet never touched the ground) and we all had a ball. We monogrammed all day Friday on the Christmas gifts for the kids that Dan and I didn't get done before Christmas. We monogrammed Sat. morning and Sunday morning. We went to a barrel race on Saturday, Mary was the big winner! I hit barrels but I didn't care because I'm gonna be a grandmother!!
Of course I have shots of my favorite folks at Christmas! Enjoy!

Papa Tom & Gran

Mary & Matt

Ned & Kelly