The Best Summer Camp

June is almost over and with it the school summer camps. Mine is long since done. The Goblin Child got to attend another one the last week. There were so many fun sounding ones available it would be hard to choose which ones to join. The best of all though, in my humble opinion, was the one put on by my ever brilliant husband.

He did rockets.

Does it get any cooler than that? I don’t think so and neither did the gaggle of preteen boys and one very cool girl who participated. They set off rockets of every variety from match powered to mentos.  And with every launch the whole school turned out to watch.

The match rockets were cool. The idea and pattern came from this strange and interesting guy. It was precision engineering, I’m told. Each kid built there own. Some worked.

Some didn’t.

They all had fun.

I caught the tail end of the water rockets. I hear the others went higher.

The grand finale. Model rockets from a kit using real rocket engines and propellent. No home made stuff here.

They got done just before the rain. And in time for the play the theater camp put on. (It was very cute, the kids were adorable. The Goblin Child actually sat still for it.) The kids got to take home their rockets. If they have a launcher and the engine they could even launch them again. How was that not the best summer camp ever?

 

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Vacation!

We never go on vacation. My husbands many jobs keep him too busy and my staying home with the kids means money for extras is limited. I must have been pretty grouchy during the hard push to get cows out and corn planted for my poor considerate husband to declare that we were going, no matter what. If we wait for all the work to be done on the farm we would never leave the place. If we waited for the work load to lighten at the job in town the results would be the same. If we wait until the kids are old enough or well behaved, well you get the idea.

So when the day came we finally managed to get out the door not too long after the time we were aiming for. Stopped in town for a couple groceries and some cash. We even made it to Hot Springs before lunch. In time to walk along the river, look at the water fall and the springs. And feed 8.

So the Goblin Child and her father walked while I fed. They got back as he got done and we went again. Unfortunately strapping 8 into the stroller, which he is totally cool with what with him being so secure and all, inspired horrible jealousy and a pretty good temper-tantrum.

 

After lunch we headed north. As planned both children fell asleep and we got to enjoy the beautiful drive in peace. They woke up just as we pulled into Legion Lake with all the fun things to do. And it was time to feed 8. So The Goblin Child and her father got out to explore the options while I fed.

They came back all excited to report paddle boats. She desperately wanted to ride in the white one, so we  got tickets. Luckily for her they were all white. Nobody was policing the time, we could have stayed out on the cool water as long as we wanted exploring the shear cliffs and families of baby geese. She did not want to. She wanted to splash and jump around and, mostly, to get out.

So we did. We also repeated the stroller issues.We also Walked along the lake, climbed on the playground and the rocks and waded in the water.

Once in Custer we found our hotel which had a pool. Unfortunately it was not warm, the weather or the water. We swam anyway. She plunged happily down the slide and bounced in the water where she could, just, reach the bottom until the shivers racking her little body overwhelmed her and we retreated to the room and a hot shower.

The next morning we found a large furry guest playing in our tub. We also headed further north up the iron mountain road which we enjoyed immensely. The children not so much. 8 cried then fell asleep, The Goblin Child kept wanting to know when we were going to see the dinos she had seen in the brochure at breakfast. She was not interested in the rocks and trees we were so strangely fascinated by. She was happy to find and point out deer as we passed. Finally much to her relief she fell asleep too and when she woke we were at the dinos.

And it was time to feed 8. So The Goblin Child and her father got out to explore the Dinosaurs. I wasn’t all displeased to sit in the car while they climbed clear up there in that heat. I did want to play on them with The Goblin Child having been there and played on them with my parents as a small child around her age. Not bad enough apparently and I declined the offer to go once 8 was done.

We had lunch at Hu Hots! The family next to us said they had left their children in the car watching Frozen with the nanny. It would have been much more peaceful. Despite her obnoxiousness The Goblin Child was pretty into it and loved watching the food get cooked.

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The we went to Storybook Island. What more is there to say.

It’s always sounded pretty cheesy to me. Its not. It was probably her favorite. She walked as though in a daze from one thing to the next unable to believe that such a place existed. I don’t know that I can properly describe the state of sheer happiness she was in. 8 rode contentedly in the stroller enjoying his bottle.

Then the impossible happened and it got even better. A friend and the youngest of her children, a few years older then The Goblin Child and incredibly sweet, showed up and she had someone to explore the wonders with. It is an amazing and small world.

After reaching a state of exhaustion we drug her away from her little slice of heaven. To A&W. After refreshments it was time to return home. Thinking the children would be tired and might sleep we decided to go through the needles. It was beautiful to us boring and awful to the children who were not tired and would not sleep  much preferring to cry. After stopping several times to feed/console 8 we finally made it home. Trips must have been easier before this whole car seat thing. We were exhausted but had enjoyed our trip immensely.

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The Moon is Still Over her Shoulder

I heard this song today, it always make me think of my grandparents. No that’s not them, they would have been much more beautiful and far more handsome.

It reminds me of a time we were all down in Silver Dollar City watching the show in the amphitheater. It was always so fun to sit as the sun went down and the day cooled watching the bats fly overhead as much as the show. This time I was sitting next to my grandpa talking, the exact details I don’t recall. I do know he  was talking about my grandma, when they met and how beautiful she was and still is.

In the middle of the conversation he stopped and sat looking off, lost in distant memories. Without another word to me he got up and went to sit by his wife and hold her hand.

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A Day in The Life of The Goblin Child

or, Finally planting corn!

or Why I don’t care if my children watch TV

Sometimes it’s hard to decide on a title.

It says I started to write this June 3rd. At that time they had just got the corn planted, the latest my very old husband ever remembers planting corn. It snowed or poured rain up till then and just finally dried out enough. They were still planting in mud. We have neighbors who are still working at it. Most people who haven’t finished have given up, taken the insurance money and planted something else.

We had fun helping the very little bit that we did. It was fun to see the great big new planter finally working and to help load the seed but mostly to play on the trailer. They raced the whole time to beat the rain.

I have since then been noticing how active my child is and read a couple of interesting articles. One said that the average toddler gets forty five minutes of exercise a day. I had to laugh at that one, we get way more than that on the coldest most miserable winter days on nice days it doesn’t seem like we ever sit down, well except for the constant feeding of 8 but even that doesn’t seem like enough.

The other was this article about how to teach a child to hate reading, it talked about how restricting TV time to force them to read is teaching them that TV is candy and makes them want more. I was horrified and offended when the author of another blog I like to read said that her little girl knew the names of different birds and liked to spot the moon and a long list of things I can’t remember and all of this because she didn’t watch TV and most certainly did not would not have a tablet. All I could think was yeah well my kid can do all those things and knows how to work her tablet by herself. Plus how does anyone clean house without TV for a distraction? I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway I have found it to be self regulating, we are not capable of sitting still long enough to watch “too much” TV we are busy doing these things:

 

We survived!

I nearly had a panic attack for the whole week leading up to it but in the end it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t have to stand up and talk in front of anyone, there were no serious injuries and no parents yelled at us for getting their kids so dirty. I’m glad someone wants to teach, it’s not something I would ever want to do. Especially not while sick and with two small children at home who don’t believe in sleeping.

In the end it worked because of the great help. I hate to even call them help because they did it all. They were old pros at this whole thing while I followed along lost and confused. Sandy watched 8 most of the time and rocked both babies to sleep as well as helping with the big kids. Jessie was a cheerful ball of endless energy. Always happy to play with the kids and even clean. Heather managed to get up at the crack of dawn and get two kids dressed and out the door before their usual time to even get out of bed, I suppose I should also thank her husband for helping with that. She, and Jessie, came up with great ideas to keep the kids occupied. Even some foolish ideas such as tag when she was the only adult playing, apparently the adult gets to be “it”every time. It’s good exercise at least. And last but not least my poor beleaguered husband whose office got used for naps and was nearly put to sleep himself having to listen to lullaby’s in a darkened room after being up all night with kids.

Would I do it again? Maybe, if everybody would come back and help again. Would they ask me to again? Well that’s hard to say.

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Grammy and Different Papa

I know we all seem ancient to young children but sometimes it can be a shock to realize how old they think we are. The Goblin Childs favorite thing to watch right now is classic Micky Mouse. Every time this one comes on she starts telling me how it’s Grammy and Different papa.

Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean she thinks they’re old maybe she just thinks they’re this pretty.

 

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Run Ragged

I am noticing that I am happiest when quite busy, with days of nothing mixed in for recuperating, but the way we’ve been going lately is more than a little ridicules.

We, which doesn’t always mean me, have been getting cattle sorted and worked to go to pasture. I have taken my turn at providing that always necessary child care. It makes more sense for me to stay home anyway since I am the one with the baby. I have not gotten in on any of the sorting but the goblin child went along this morning to play cowgirl, until she fell asleep on the front of the four wheeler.

Princess Onna is at the vet now waiting to be bred. We have many conversations around here about how the vet is going to put a baby in her tummy. She had a couple of small issues but I guess things were looking good and she should be ready to go. I on the other hand was woefully unprepared. I didn’t get the money and paper work mailed off until the last minute and it just barely got there in the nick of time. Here’s hoping for a healthy beautiful foal. I really don’t have a color I’m hoping for, I bred to a grulla for the bloodlines not the color weird I know, but I would like a little filly and am really liking Ruth Ann for a name at the moment.

It keeps raining and the guys are  frantic to get in the fields. Even if not for the rain the fancy new (used) planter is still not working despite the days they have put in working on it. Maybe they will be back to the little old one if they can ever start planting.

The garden is nearly nonexistent. A few bedraggled potatoes, some onions and cabbage all planted before the snows. The tomatoes and peppers sit in the greenhouse waiting for warm weather and dry soil getting a bit lanky and pale. Even the plants planted in the greenhouse are wishing for some sun so they can grow.

I have way too many chickens to take care of. It takes me hours, slight exaggeration, to feed them once I am finally able to get 8 to sleep so I can get out in the cold rainy weather. Warm days are easier.

I have traded Whackster, Poppies calf from last year, for a pretty little Normandy heifer. I should probably mention it to my father in law, make sure he’s willing to give me pasture for yet another cow before I finalize the deal.

But the thing that makes it all difficult, the straw that broke the camels back and keeps me up nights worrying is summer camp. For some insane reason I agreed to teach a class. It was pity, they were desperate, probably the only reason they asked me anyway. But still, what was I thinking? I am terrified of talking in front of people, I have never taught anything in my life. It may be glorified babysitting for, hopefully not very many, pre-K kids but still. I can brand, I can castrate, I can drive a semi, manual or automatic, I can start a colt and turn a cow on the fence, once or twice I have even managed to watch the nursery at church with all the children surviving unscathed but this I don’t think I can handle.

None of this on it’s own would be such a big deal if not for one little time drain. How does one small child take up so much time? The time I spend getting him to sleep alone would allow me to get the house clean. How do people do anything with a baby to watch? He a cute little thing but so amazingly high maintenance. Who would’ve thought it.

There’s good reason people don’t ask me to babysit. Our idea of fun involves getting dirty and collecting lots of ticks!

 

Woman’s Work

We branded my cow herd Thursday. All four calves, and the cows. The last one had calved and I wanted to get it done as soon as possible. Snow put it off the first time I planned to try. I talked to a friend and she was free Thursday. The two of us would have no problem running such a small bunch through the calf table. Then I thought I would see if the girl who has been coming out to ride with me wanted to come. Then her sister was there when I asked and I couldn’t not ask her. Then I asked another friend and she wanted to come play with us too. Then finally it occurred to me that we had a big enough crew to do a lot more than four head.

I talked to my father-in-law and volunteered to do one bunch of his cattle for him. He then invited himself to our branding. You really can’t tell a man he can’t come brand his own cattle so he came and invited a friend of his own. So much for our all girl branding. Since the boys were crashing our party we were thrilled when my husband with many jobs was able to get away from one of them to come play with us too.

The girl who’s been riding with me rode Jerry to help get the cows in. We got mine in first with the help of the worlds only cow goat. Then we braved more of the deep mud to get the big bunch. The goat came right along for that too. So did a couple of the guys. The gate to that pen is at the bottom of the hill. The mud and muck was indescribably deep. Not quite as bad as quicksand, there is a bottom to it down there somewhere. It was half a corral that was as bad as the gate that gave us so much trouble trying to get the cows out of the corrals last week. Even the top of the hill had deep, greasy mud.

Most of the cattle went out the gate nicely. All except for the last two calves who were delighting in out running us in the muck. Unwilling to run our horses they had no trouble until along came Daisy. She had no trouble running on the slick ground and the calves soon discovered it was no fun after all and ran straight out the gate.

We got back to find my cows in the chute waiting. They wanted me to brand my own and that would’ve been great but our much beloved Poppy was up first and I could barely stand to do it. Unfortunately The Goblin Child’s first introduction to branding was me saying “Poor Poppy” and she repeated it somewhat distressed throughout the whole process.

I took up position in the back pushing calves in and Paula came to join me, leaving Heather to brand and vaccinate with the father-in-law. That left four people to get the big bunch sorted and ready to go. It worked great. When we started the big bunch the children were happily foisted off onto the two youngest girls. That I consider child care a job to deserve more thanks than working cattle shows just how twisted we are doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just that we do it all the time, and love it, but the chance to play at things we got to do before children came along makes it seem like more of a chore. It was sure nice to have someone to help watch kids.

With the big bunch nearly done I snuck out behind the barn with my husband to, well unfortunately to start loading cattle. Oh well, you can only have so much fun in one day. The Goblin Child’s favorite playmate, Whitten, was sad to have to leave as we were climbing in the semis to haul the cattle so we invited him to come along while his mom ran errands. It was all fun and games until we stuck the semi.

Even with all the moisture we’ve had lately the driveway looked dry. We pulled in to back across the road into the pasture to unload. Unfortunately the exact spot we stopped to start backing had a small puddle just big enough for all the back tires and they sunk. We unloaded there and there were enough of us to carefully guide the cows and calves across the road through the gate. I then called Whitten’s mom to tell her we were stuck and she may never get her son back. She came to rescue him immediately. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship we begged rides from her. As we prepared to escape the men got the semi free and we decided to stick around after all.

That days work may have been finished but the next day brought more calves and the next. Paula made it back for another days work at the calf table even though she would far rather rope and drag calves. Hopefully the others will come back again too. We are now out of sorted pairs to work and get out to pasture and the rain has set in again. That’s just fine we all have injuries and sore muscles that need a days rest to recuperate.

 

Just Wrong

That’s all that can be said about this it’s just plain wrong. We are going into Memorial Day weekend. Today is the last day of school, they are supposed to be outside enjoying a track and field day. Playing in short sleeves on green grass. You really can’t have a snow day on the last day of school.

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Playing With Ponies

 

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