I spent a decade of my life working on a ranch. I did the whole cowboy thing. I started colts and showed horses.
Then I completely reinvented myself. I became a farm wife and mother. I brought my horses with of course, I would never give up my ponies. Coyote was an excellent ranch pony but I don’t think he misses it. I don’t either, for the most part. The riding was nice but as the Goblin Child grows older we are having more opportunities for that. What I did miss was the cows, sure my father-in-law has cattle but it’s not the same as having your own. So I have rectified that.
I bought a cow!!!
Three actually. My father-in-law was kind enough to sell me two heifers this spring. It was a spur of the moment thing. The calves were going onto the semi headed for the sale barn and I thought, “Hey those will be cows some day”. I chose two nice round fat looking ones and he agreed to sell to me.
This morning I just got back from picking up Poppy a first calf heifer due to pop anytime now. She is a tiny little red cow a Jersey Normande cross. Jerseys as everyone knows are a milk cow and Normandes are a dual purpose breed. She was bred to a Normande bull so the calf will be three quarters, I am pulling for a heifer.
It will be years before I see anything back from this hefty investment but I an just happy to be a cow person again.
As it stood I had one small rotten Goblin Child that I spend all my time trying to keep from injuring herself, the house or the animals. Another smaller neighbor child who has been spending Mondays with us*. The goat, forgive me Jenny Drum, is on a five times a day feeding schedule. Garden time is getting closer every day, can’t wait, and I am refinishing the kitchen floor.
Have I mentioned that it is backbreaking labor that is nearly killing me? That may be a slight exaggeration, I only work on it maybe three days a week for a couple of hours at a time. Those are a really hard couple of hours though. My housekeeping is lackluster at best. I am trying to keep up with it along with all the other things but the time I spend on the floor is the time I would usually spend cleaning, you know nap time. I fear the house is all a shambles.
A certain small child keeps letting the chickens out. Last time we herded them in to the chicken coup then caught all but one and the rooster and put them back in their mobile cage. The rooster ate the remaining hen. To be more exact, he was way over enthusiastic in his amour pulling all the feathers from the back of her head then the skin and most of the meat. It is really disgusting. She is alive and seems quite healthy but I am keeping her separate from the other hens, I think they would finish the job. Now there are two bunches of chickens to feed and water.
So who doesn’t need one more thing to take care of?
Shortly before our latest snow blew in my father-in-law asked if we knew anyone who wanted a bottle calf. There was a calf who appeared to have been abandoned, it had been standing in about the same spot for the last week and was thin as a rail. He must have figured it wouldn’t survived the storm.
I didn’t have any calf milk replacer but I had goat milk.
We started right in getting some food in the poor things belly. The dock of its tail stood clear up with not a drop of meat on its hind quarters. It stood with back hunched and its poor little belly shriveled to nothing. I still doubt, every morning when I go to give it its morning bottle, that it will be alive. So far so good though.
The calf gets to live with the goat for now at least. They can be buddies and I wont have to worry so much about the goat being lonely.
The Goblin Child experienced her first, that she remembers, thunderstorm last week. Like the bears in Brave, thunder was cool not scary and we spent lots of time emulating it.
*I have realized that having a child has not suddenly made me a baby person. Give me a calf or a colt any day, I still don’t know what to do with a people baby.
What is the saying about potatoes and Easter? I know if I took the time to look back through here I could find it, but I’m too lazy.
We carefully checked the moon phase** and the time was right so we hurried to get them in the ground yesterday before the snow hit. I think mostly my gardener husband was getting impatient to get something going in the garden. My brother had started his potatoes the weekend before and some things can only wait so long.
The seeds we planted in the greenhouse last week are starting to come up. It won’t be too much longer and we will be feasting on spinach.
When the snow hit it hit with a vengeance. Not a lot of snow but a good wet snow breaking off what few branches were left on the trees. The ground was warm enough to melt most of it so we wound up wit a couple of inches of very icy snow and nasty wind howling across it. Most of the cows and calves huddled around the barns out of the wind so hopefully there weren’t any calves lost.
** I usually mock people who worry about something as silly as this but we started some seeds inside at a time when it said not to and instead of our usual hundred percent germination maybe half came up.
She got the same thing for all of her great grand children. The same exact thing and yet the variations in her gift are fascinating to me. Ours is brand spanking new, straight out of the box. My brothers is used, needing some reworking and our cousin, well I don’t have any idea what hers is going to be, but I understand she is taking an entirely different road.
Grandma got them all swing sets. Or more accurately the means to buy them swing sets and we chose the set.
The choices were over whelming. We looked online at all the options, and there were many. Our original wish was to build one. It could be a great one, tall and sturdy to last forever. Then reality set in, it is spring my farmer husband is at work or in the field or working on equipment or in the garden. There is no time for building. Back to the internets. We chose a Flexible flier with all the add-ons, a glider, a bench swing and of course plain old swing swings.
We picked it up and got it put together Friday. All the parts were there and we were able to figure out instructions, it was up and going in three or four hours.
My brother found one of the big fancy wood sets that needed tore down and hauled. It needs some new parts and refinished. I am sure Sabbath will love it.
It is my understanding that our cousin wants a tree house and tire swing instead of a swing set. I am sure it will be just as cool.
So, to the greatest of the grandmas, thank you!
The kitchen floor is coming nicely but slowly. The floor looks beautiful once the glue is scrubbed off. The scrubbing is hard, rather back breaking, work. The glue turns quite like cow poop in consistency, thick, goopy and runny. Same color too for that matter.
We got the first seeds started in the greenhouse, after spending what seemed like all week shoveling in lots of well composted poop. We planted spinach, lettuce, radishes, peas and the rest of the garlic that I didn’t get planted last fall.
The goat is doing good. Did I forget to mention that we got a goat? Well we did, and her name is Jenny Drum. She is a smash hit amongst the children. We are teaching her to be a dog, Daisy is thrilled to have a buddy.
Cade and Ava have been up for the weekend. We have been having a blast, riding, feeding the goat and playing. Odie is proving to be quite a nice kids horse. Even Cowboy Bill hopped up on him for a short spin. Not that he is a kid. It was nice to see him on a horse again though. I realized after Ava, Goblin Child and I were all on horses that I had forgotten the riding helmet. I didn’t have it in me to get off and have to do it all again. So we hoped for the best and had a nice ride without it, fortunately.
Now, Justin, could I make one request? Please just a little punctuation? Periods at least? I know that I can’t spell so I’m not one to talk, but just the slightest effort would be nice on your behalf. I know you are typing on your phone and that has got to be miserable but I also know that you are brilliant and usually I love your writing style, but right now I want to know what Sabbath is talking about? Pees out? A little more clarification please?
Not horses hooves exactly, the blog Hooves. Have I ever mentioned that it is the best blog ever?
As much as I enjoy her usual commentary and insight into conformation, in this case it is the best ever for a different reason. Her latest post was on what breed is best suited to the average rider. Not a person who wants a race horse or high level dressage horse, although the breed she chose can do dressage very nicely, but normal people trail riding, working cattle, driving and showing at lower levels in almost anything. A breed that can stay sound with hard riding and is level headed enough that amateurs can handle them. From that limited description the breed should be recognizable already. Read the blog here.
Of course she chose Morgans!
I have looked back through the comments many times a day enjoying the stories people wrote in with telling of the great Morgans they have experienced. She outlined the reasons far better than I ever could, there are so many. She didn’t mention heart, their willingness to keep going no matter what and how just plain old fun to ride a good energetic Morgan is. I suppose those things are subjective though and she was going on more concrete reasoning.
I am going to steal my favorite comment and post it here. It was to well written not to be read a few more times, I am sure the author won’t mind:
I am what I believe is an average horse owner, have had Morgans for my whole horse life. Starting with a grade gelding when I was twelve, (I will be fifty-six in two months) My first gelding was too much horse for a green twelve year old, but we went on to have many great experiences together as I grew up and was my kids first horse. My first purebred Morgan, a foundation, western working bred gelding, who’s name was Brandies Tallyjack, just in case his breeder should happen across this, was the greatest horse ever. Got him as a green three year old and had him all his life. Any thing I wanted to try, he would do. When we came upon a team penning practice while out on a trail ride, he became a team penning horse with out having seen a cow before. When dressage sounded fun, he could do that. Parades, no problem. Babysitting, that was fine. And while doing these things people always came to look, and tell me how beautiful he was. He was sound and healthy his whole life. After he passed away, there have been more Morgans in the family, one a beautiful gaited mare, who had to find a new home because of an abscess that we could not fix at our barn (no shoes allowed, no matter why), one gelding who went off to live with our daughter, and now a twenty year old gelding from a Morgan rescue. He has saddlebred out crosses from back in the thirties,I would not hold that against him, he is very obviously a Morgan! He can be intimidating from the ground as he is sixteen two hands, very up headed and alert, but he is very well behaved. Started his life as a country pleasure show horse, spent most of his life as an amish road horse, and now he is learning to neck rein and work off my leg. He is peppy for adults, but trustworthy with the little ones. All that to say, I would agree that Morgans make a great horse for the average owner!
I remember that little grade Morgan gelding he was a perfect first horse. Tally, Brandies Tallyjack, was indeed one of the most beautiful horses ever. He was a dark liver chestnut, nearly black in some lights, with a bright red main and tail. He definitely attracted attention where ever they went. The gelding that came to live with me is my own darling Coyote, my best horse ever.
I am sad to see the comments winding down. It was so nice to join a gathering of fellow Morgan enthusiasts. All of us sharing our love of such a great breed.
So may things I want to write about and so much time spent doing everything but.
We are ripping up our kitchen carpet! I have hated it for years, kitchens and bathrooms should never have carpet. The filth of it finally became more than I could handle. Underneath we found the same beautiful linoleum as is in the library. In way to bad of shape to use.
Under that we found the same wood floor as is in the bedrooms. Covered in glue.
The glue it turns out is water soluble! With lots of back breaking labor we are washing the floor clean and will, someday, have beautiful wood floors in the kitchen!
Unlike some poor people who I understand have hardly gotten to ride yet this year we have been spending a fair bit of time on poor long suffering Coyote. The Goblin Child is finally getting big enough to hold onto on horseback. Coyote is a dream and a nuisance. He maneuvers so light and easy I don’t need my hands for steering and can concentrate on holding on. He steps up to the pickup so nicely for us both to get on and puts up with her leading him very patiently.
He likes to look at things and get a little spooky. I am realizing how extremely important exact control of my seat is. We are, of course, bareback. I can feel the second his back tenses, if I allow my backside to tense in response, even just griping to hold on, he stays tense. If I make sure to relax my seat muscles he immediately calms and his back softens. This is a very important lesson being driven home to me.
I put up these next pictures having read enough Fugly and Snarky Rider to know what they would say about letting such a small defenseless child so close to a big dangerous horse. To their voices inside my head I say, you just don’t know my little Yoder. She is about as cute as this darling girl and her equally trustworthy horse.
Most of the plants are started for the garden and they are coming up beautifully. We transplanted the early starts into bigger pots this week and are hoping to get the rest started this weekend. My darling husband bought me some more Petunias, these are supposed to be climbers. I can’t wait for warm weather and mature plants.
I am hoping to do some fun things in the garden for the small Goblin Child this summer. She may be too young to appreciate growing things but I am going to try a sunflower house and in the pumpkins I thought a wire panel for the vines to grow over would make a pretty cool fort. I am picturing a cool, shady tunnel all the way through the center of the pumpkin patch with tiny pumpkins and gourds hanging from the ceiling.
We got snow at least. During the brief snow my father in law decided it was the exact time that the runts and late calves had to be sorted off of the cows. Most of the cows had come into the corrals already to eat do they got locked in and we headed off to gather the others.
When I say we I in no way mean to imply that I was doing any work what so ever. I sat huddled on the back of the four wheeler hiding behind the sheltering bulk of my husband. He makes a great windbreak and it was very cold out. I was merely along for the ride.
The cows however have been carefully trained that the four wheeler means food. Not hay bales in the corral type food but the pivot being moved so they get fresh cornstalks type of food. (See here for why that is) They immediately turned and ran for the far corner of the pivot. The four wheelers zoomed about chasing cows as best they could in their unwieldy, slow turning way.
The cows left.
I got my horse.
Poor Coyote, he was not happy to be out in the blowing wind and snow. At the same time he was feeling quite frisky in the bitter cold. I was glad I had enough sense to put a saddle on for once. On a loose rein he tossed his head and made delicate little leaps into the air while he pranced along. It was just like old times.
Together he and I have braved some nasty weather. Snow coming down so hard, being pushed by winds so strong I was unable to open my eyes, trusty old Coyote found his way though. Often finding calves as we went that I would have missed completely. All on his own he has dodged momma cows who objected to being moved to shelter. I didn’t even know they were there until he lept nimbly aside keeping us safe and out of their way. He has push nearly frozen new calves ahead of him using his nose to nudge and front legs to shove until we had them someplace warm. We froze and got soaked, he walked with his head cocked sideways to keep the snow out of his eyes and took advantage of every chance to turn his butt into the wind but he always gave his all and got the job done.
Now I was asking him to do it again and he wanted me to know he objected. Until we got around the cows at least, then he was in his element. The only thing he likes in life besides food, is to chase cattle. He may never have made a show horse but he is one heck of a working horse. We walked the cows in as easy as could be, succeeding again where four wheelers failed.
I really want to write about our kitchen but I have to get our latest God thing mentioned before I start that. It’s little, nearly insignificant, but that makes it all the better.
We needed to get the Goblin Child a hat for summer. The sun is fierce here and she would really like to spend all of her time outside in the sun. Last year she wore darling sun hats until she got a baseball cap down in Nebraska City. The cap stayed on better but we loved all her hats.
Her head has continued to grow even if it doesn’t seem like the rest of her does. None of the old hats fit anymore. We discussed how one goes about finding a hat in her size, none of mine are small enough. Planning to look into it farther another day we went on
The very next morning a teacher stopped by my hard working husbands office and dropped off a bag of baby paraphernalia. Swim
suits, shoes and…..
A darling little pink John Deer baseball cap.