Like Beans in a Pod?

We sat in near silence, the child warm and soft upon my lap. She chattered occasionally telling me about the beans we worked on or counting them carefully, “two, two, two”.  The sweet scent of a child rose to my nose when I brushed against her hair. Slowly the bean pods, picked out of the dirt in the frozen fall garden, fell apart releasing the beans from their shells. The creamy Dragons tongue with its purple spots like an appaloosa. Huge dark purple beans speckled with lavender, more of a roan in coloring, along with smattering of beans in browns and white and a near black. At first her tiny fingers fumbled clumsily crushing the pods as she added them to our bowl with the beans. She worked happily and diligently though, to the music of beans bouncing on the floor.

Soon the two year old attention span won out and she slid down wanting food and a drink. With those needs satisfied she remained in her own chair regally demanding her own bowl for beans. Supplied with a handful of pods she went to work. The pods of the purple pole beans came apart easily and her tiny fingers were comfortable grasping the giant beans.  With her head bent to the task her concentration was intense as she shelled beans, fingers becoming more nimble with each pod.

With her happy hard working company the chore became a pleasure and together we quickly worked through the bucket. Tomorrow we shall eat bean soup.

Category: Family, Garden  2 Comments

I Think Congradulations are Due

Our dinky little school, the one of which I say I would definitely home school were it not such a good little school, has been given a place on News Weeks 500 top American schools list.

Not at 479, like Burwell NE. Good to see them there though. Not at 433 like Chadron. And they, who ever they are, talk about how rural schools are below par for education.  What ever. But I digress.

Hay Springs NE was ranked 133rd.

I found it especially amusing as we are ranked just below Barrington IL. To most people that may not mean anything. I grew up next to Barrington. Next to, not in, a minor but very important difference. It is a beautiful, filthy rich community. A very horse related community, huge horse farms with barns fancier than our house. Way Fancier. When I still lived there people were complaining because parents were buying houses close to the school for their children to hang out at before and after school. Just a spare house, for the kids. We decided that the 15% poverty level must come from the household help, nobody who’s not filthy stinking rich lives in Barrington.

And here we are the small farm town of Hay Springs where there aren’t even “good” and “bad”neighborhoods, just every thing mixed together, ranked right up there with them. We could question just who is judging but what fun would that be. And does it matter? Somebody thought we were great.

So heres to our great little school and its moment of fame,  Good Job! (especially the tech department, you are obviously the reason they placed)

Category: Soapbox  One Comment

A Job I am NOT Good at

Some women love being pregnant. Or so I hear.

I can never figure out how they get anything done.  It’s not that I am not happy about being pregnant It’s just that all the things I need to do are things that I am not allowed to do while pregnant. Most things it doesn’t even occur to me I shouldn’t be doing.

It took the combined horrified shock of my mother and grandmother for me to even realize that there was any reason not to go on roller coasters at Silver Dollar City.

I thought I was using great caution and restraint in only trimming the front hooves on OD this weekend. His feet are awful. The other two have been very obligingly breaking their hooves off at the perfect length, we will call it a natural trim instead of neglect. OD, who appears to have foundered lightly at one time, hard as it is to believe of the old bag of bones now, grows snow shoes. He stands so nicely and is such a tiny little guy trimming was a breeze. I then hopped on Coyote for a short trip around the yard. My non horsey, overly protective husband was horrified.

The remodel of the upstairs puts a bit of a strain on nonexistent stomach muscles and makes me worry about inhaling harmful fumes. Other than finding time to work on it the job doesn’t feel hard though. I worked full time with The Goblin Child, that was hard work. Of course having The Goblin Child around is a bit of a full time job, just one that I love and getting the upstairs finished is so exciting I can hardly wait. I would probably rush it and slap something together, it would be much easier,  if not for my detail oriented husbands insistence on getting it perfect.

A bull was out in the wheat field the other day. For me this is exciting, especially since the guys were busy working on the combine. I volunteered to get him in.  With a horse of course. Even with my saddle in storage with all our other unused things, mice are awful this year and I couldn’t stand them chewing on it anymore, I didn’t see any problem with a little cow work. As an added caution I even put a bridle on Coyote instead of our usual halter. See, I am so careful about this whole pregnant thing.

We plodded slowly out trying to graze on the wheat and reaching desperately for corn in the neighboring field. Until we found the cow. Yes cow, no bull. Coyote remembered his calling in life then and became a fire breathing cow horse again. She mostly put herself back with a little enthusiastic urging. Turning away from the gate to head home we spotted another of the bovine variety still grazing in the wheat. How we missed it the first time I don’t know, I thought maybe I had been confused about the cow going back into the pasture.

My beautiful fall colored pony

My beautiful fall colored pony

By now Coyote was in full cow eating mode. He saw it too and was frantic to get over there. I let him go a little and we thundered across the wheat. The bull, this time it was a he, did not feel the need to move. I was hesitant to push too hard not wanting to be eaten by a grouchy bull while ridding pregnant and bareback. Finally Daisy was called back from rabbit chasing and the two of us persuaded the bull to move. He took off at a gallop. Do bulls gallop? Coyote was after him. We could have been showing again, he held position at the bulls shoulder, ears back teeth bared. Or he could have been headed home, sometimes it’s hard to tell everything was in the same direction. I had a death grip on the mane as we tried to turn the bull towards the gate by the barn where there were fences that might hold him, but no. He knew where he had come from and was going back there. With a saddle we might have had a chance, probably not. He went back and carefully squeezed through the fence from which he had escaped. Allowing my hot sweaty horse to turn towards the barn I realized, belatedly, that this may not have been a wise undertaking for a fat pregnant woman. My stomach muscles were screaming in protest as I panted along with my horse.

I don’t mean to do stupid things, definitely don’t want to put anything at risk but it never occurs to me that the things I do regularly might not be such a good idea now. I just am not good at being pregnant.

Major Conundrum

So, it seems that when I get pregnant I redo our library. Did I not mention I was pregnant? That’s probably because all five people who read this already know and there doesn’t seem much point in mentioning it again. Anyway.

When I got pregnant with The Goblin Child I cleaned and painted the one spare room to make a library downstairs, theoretically so we could bring my books down leaving room upstairs to put all the stuff (junk) that was in our soon to be nursery. Now that we are doing this kid thing again our downstairs library is going to have to go so we can add a new nursery. This is very sad for both of us, although it should mostly be for me the room is full and my scholar of a husband is yet to include any of his vast selection of books to the mix.

Our upstairs is not an upstairs like a second floor in a normal modern house. It is more of an attic requiring going nearly outside, onto the back porch and up to a narrow room squeezed into the peak of the roof . We treat it as an attic, a handy place to store the things we should get rid of and the treasures that there is simply no room for down in the living quarters of our tiny closetless house. Baby clothes currently not in use, Christmas decorations, heirlooms with too much sentimental value to get rid of but no earthly use, things like that.

We rented a storage unit in town and hauled as much stuff as we could in, leaving us with clear access to half of one of the two rooms. The goal was simple, paint the walls and pull up the shag carpet keeping the well worn, vintage linoleum. After painting the salmon colored walls it became clear that the ceiling was not cream colored but lemon yellow and HAD to be painted too, no problem just going to need a little more paint. The pee green carpet pulled up easy enough revealing a little more wear on the linoleum then the sides had shown, not a big deal but I also found a corner where the linoleum pulled easily away from the beautiful wood floor underneath. We had talked about pulling it and going with the wood but didn’t want to chance it being glued like the kitchen, which I  have not finished yet. Hey, life got in the way what with summer, gardening, being pregnant and a small change in priorities that require a nursery before a finished kitchen floor. Once you get used to it you hardly notice the glue patches that I couldn’t get up. Ok so we live like red necks, what ever.

The linoleum came up easy as could be, until I got to the seam. Not that it came up hard after that but the wood floor underneath changed considerably. Unlike the soft whit washed finish of the rest of the floor is suddenly looked varnished and well worn maybe even sanded in spots. I don’t believe it was. I happen to know that when the house was built wood floors were horribly out of style and the owners covered them as quickly as possible with the previously discussed linoleum. Leaving us, luckily, with  the equivalent of brand new wood floors. The floor up there doesn’t look any different from the rest of the house. There doesn’t seem to be a drop of finish, the white wash I think is left over from plastering the walls and not caring that any dropped on those tacky wood floors they were going to cover immediately after they finished the walls. So what caused the varnished look?

I theorize that it could have been water damage. The roof on that side leaked considerably before we tinned it. Could water have soaked through the linoleum and caused it to leach something onto the the wood beneath? Could they have used pre-used lumber for the floor? I have seen barns built of everything from used fence posts and telephone poles to paneling from old houses with the wall paper still intact. Our forefathers were resourceful.

I suppose the cause is beside the point, now I need to figure out what to do with it. I would really like the floor to stay softly white washed. I like the whole room in white. Do I need to sand the parts that are good? Do we have to finish it like the other floors we have redone downstairs? I would like it to stay not shiny. It is going to need something though right? As I did mention I am pregnant. I am also the only one with any time to spare, hah time to spare what a joke, and with the whole pregnant thing I can’t be inhaling too many fumes.

Do I try to sand and match the varnished looking parts to match the good parts? Or do we leave them and call it character?  After all it is just our attic, even with our library up there, no matter how beautiful I envision it being when finished,  how often will anybody see it? If we continue to pack it as full as it was before its slight remodel not much of the floor will be visible any way.

So dad, what do I do?

Category: Family  5 Comments

Sainthood

My hard working farmer husband spent the weekend getting the combine into running shape. Corn harvest is right around the corner and wheat harvest was hard on the poor thing. There were a few major breakdowns that they were able to baby along and make it through with but needed fixed before running again.

Friday and Saturday we (The Goblin Child and I ) worked around the house and were glad to see him for meals, Sunday afternoon we went to visit them.

The Goblin Child was so glad to be helping her dad. She climbed into his lap and offered him tools and assistance. He was crouched awkwardly under the side of the combine trying to hold a light and replace parts while his father stood to the side and offered advice. He didn’t kill any of us.

He very patiently let the child help even getting her more toys (nuts and bolts) for her to play with. Come to think of it he spent most of the weekend letting her “help” him.

Category: Family, Farming  2 Comments

Vacation!

Some people do these things regularly. The rest of both my husbands and my families for example. They head off to spend weekends doing whatever fun things people do without gardens and animals and other family that need taken care of. We managed to escape last weekend for that once, or twice, a year trek to see my family!

We loaded the child and as many pumpkins in the car as we could fit and headed south. On the way down we explored Kansas, a state at least as unappreciated as Nebraska. My farmer husband comes from a long line of farmers that moved up to where we are now from the tiny town of Lost Springs Kansas. Or somewhere in the vicinity of. So we sought it out. It was in a beautiful area with lots of rolling hills and trees.

The town of Lost Springs itself was… Interesting.

Not much remained, an empty school and some formerly beautiful houses. A herd of dogs laying in the street to greet visitors and many derelict falling down buildings. Many of them still inhabited.

Missouri was as beautiful as ever. Even if we were still to early for the leaves to be changing. But most important we got to see the Greatest Grandma and the other Grandma, second greatest I’m sure. The whole family to be exact. The Goblin Child was getting a little cranky about the car ride by the time we arrived, it is possible that she wasn’t the only one, but as soon as we pulled into the driveway she jumped out of the car and went to playing with her cousin as though they saw each other ever day. Of course she was immediately infatuated by her uncle Justin, a funner uncle and father I have never seen.

We rushed around all weekend doing fun things, we ate at Lamberts, home of the throwed rolls( I believe one of us could’ve eaten a whole meal of fried okra), rode the Ducks ( I was afraid we were going to lose the child into the water for sure, she was really trying) went to see Jonah (absolutely awesome, even if the child didn’t make it through the whole show) and spent a day at Silver Dollar City ( no roller-coasters for me or Stephanie this time). It was great, it went to fast. With so many things to do it seemed like there was never enough time to sit and visit. Seeing each other so seldom I suppose there is never enough time to spend together.

All to soon the time came for us to head home. tearful good byes were said and reluctant children loaded into car seats as we head home. The whole first day of travel The Goblin Child wanted to know where Justin was. I’m sure she missed everybody else too but she loved Justin mostest. We managed to find fun things to do on the trip home, a night spent in Nebraska City, at Leid Lodge no less, where we spent a days worth of pent up energy swimming in their beautiful pool. and a quick mosquito laden stop at one of the apple orchards.

As always, if only there was more time. There is always more family we would like to see and more time we would like to spend with the family we get to see. Maybe next time. I’m ready to go again already.

Wood working at Silver Dollar City

Wood working at Silver Dollar City

P.S.

There were all sorts of animals on stage during Jonah. Cattle, birds, a camel, one very well trained donkey, I loved watching for the well hidden cues they gave him, and horses. The horses were so well trained and behaved beautifully. The noise and crowds didn’t bother them at all and most interesting to me was that they were Arabs, not a Quarter horse in sight. Loved it.

Category: Family  4 Comments

Movies and Religion

In bible study we are reading the book of John.

It was mentioned in class that there was a movie of the book available on you-tube. One of the women bought the movie and offered to let anyone borrow it who would like. I declined.

I don’t think I could sit through three hours of that. We would have to borrow the DVD if we were going to watch it, our internet is quite slow and three hours of buffering would be way more than I could handle.

I sometimes wonder if something is wrong with me.

Can’t sit through the book of John but I found Black Death to be deeply moving on a spiritual level.

It was one of those movies Netflix is always sending us, that we don’t remember ever having heard of much less adding to our list. I didn’t think I would like it, I hated every movie in the previews leading up to it. That is not usually a good sign for a movie. There was a good bit of gratuitous violence that I really could have done without and I thought it was going to be ghost story type of scary. I had just had nightmares from watching Dark Shadows which is so not scary, I mean seriously it had Johnny Depp how could it be scary, and this movie was scary. So I made my poor patient husband promise with the start of the show to walk with me on my many nightly trips to the bathroom. I knew bad nightmares were coming.

In the end it was about religion and witch craft in it’s truest and most dangerous form, but mostly the control of evil over people and the weakness of even the most devout of hearts. I can’t even begin to describe what exactly about it was so moving, it’s been a week now my memory is short, but I was glad not to be watching a ghost story.

 

Goodnight Kisses

The child had decided to give up sleep. She was no longer tired but wide awake in the middle of the night, often appearing at our bedside asking to cowor or watch T (color  and T.V. for the non-child speakers). No matter that every time we put her right back to bed, she persisted. The only way we were able to convince her to go back to sleep was to sit in the rocking chair next to her and wait. If we decided to soon that she was safely asleep and tried to sneak out she would jerk upright from her pillow and demand that we ssst (sit that is).

After a month of that she has decided she is tired again. Finally we are getting a, mostly, full nights sleep. She is still usually up by five thirty, we are happy to turn the T.V. on by then if it allows us to go back to bed for that last treasured half hour.

Last night after a late evening at friends, where she spent the evening playing with those fun older kids, she was ready for bed. We put her pj’s on before leaving for home in hopes that she would be asleep by the time we got home. She was not. After getting in the door and getting our things put down we told her it was time for bed. She didn’t argue.

I told her to say goodnight to kitty who was twining about our legs. She crouched down reaching with both hands for what I thought was going

We love kitty, the feeling isn't usually returned.

We love kitty,sometimes kitty loves back.

to be one of her over enthusiastic embraces. Instead she braced on either side of kitty to give it a nice gentle kiss goodnight.

Passing Daddy we stopped to say goodnight and she happily kissed his cheek.

Lovingly amused by her uncharacteristic sweetness her loving father told her to say goodnight to Daisy. She bent over and gave Daisy a sweet kiss on the top of her head.

Proceeding to the bedroom  she walked over to the bed and climbed in. Saying goodnight, I missed my kiss, I left her there and she stayed. We are so happy to return the the good old days of a child who sleeps. This added sweetness isn’t too bad either.

Category: Family  6 Comments

More Adventures in the Life of Smoke The Wonder Horse

Guest post by Tammie

Smoke, same weekend, different story.

Sunday, big ride out by Rockford for the McHenry County Horse Club.

Saturday. Trail ride moved to new location, D didn’t want to ride there. Could we choose a different ride?

Sunday. The four riders from our barn met at eight, as planned, but with a trip to Rush Creek to ride without the group. All to go in our trailer. So, out comes the trailer with two nearly flat tires. Seemed strange since we used it two weeks ago and it was fine. But we filled the tires, waited, checked them twice and they seemed to be holding. We gathered up our horses, loaded the two horses that can load, and the two that can’t, decided D would follow in her car and bring an air compressor just incase. 

About five miles down the road I notice the two tires are looking low. I began to look for a shoulder wide enough and long enough for truck and trailer to safely get off the road. Found a side road and a good shoulder just past it, but one tire was all the way flat and the other could not bear the weight, so we stopped blocking one lane of what ended up being a very well used road. We all hopped out and took in the sight. What to do with four horses and two flats? D thought we could change them. We only had one spare. I decided to admit defeat and call for help.

Hooray for husbands! Especially mine. He can fix anything and has always come to save me when I do something stupid. He would be there in a half hour. In the mean time, what should we do with four horses? S and T were directing cars around the trailer and on to the main road. We needed to move out of the road. So we unloaded the horses and slowly moved the trailer till it was out of the road and as far onto the shoulder as possible.

Oh look here come the police! Yay, we need more help! Nice guy, but no, we really can’t move the trailer down into the grassy area below the shoulder. Perhaps he has never maneuvered such a long rig and does not realize you can’t just go down the side of the hill? Oh good, we can leave it were it is and he will put out flairs.

Does anyone just want to ride home? Three of us will, one says no way!

Suddenly an epiphany! D has a trailer just down the road! We unhook the broken trailer, leave S and T holding the horses and go get the trailer. 

We get back a half hour latter and Monte has come. I make the decision the first two horses to go will be the two that load. This is very upsetting to the owners of the two that can’t as they feel their horses hate each other and will not stand beside each other in the two horse. This was a big deal in loading the first time, and careful consideration was made in who stood where. Too bad! Teach your horses to load or get your own trailers! (Smoke turned out to be the only one who just. got. in.) Came back let the other two try to load theirs. Came back again and Monte and D were all done and waiting for the truck to come back. (Monte had used our spar and the spare off D’s trailer).

Waved good by to Monte, started to leave in the Subee and discovered the keys in my pocket were for the truck!

OH NO! STOP MONTE, DON’T GO!!! Too late, he was gone. Called him, he stopped somewhere down the road and Debby drove I off to find him. 

Finally all back at the barn where we belonged. Monte took the trailer home so he could work on it, every body else had their tack in D’s trailer and we were ready to ride  the trails right there at the barn. But no, my things were still in my trailer. Oh well, there was still Indy and his things. All ended well, especially for Smoke cause he never did have to go for a ride!

 

Category: Horses  2 Comments

Getting What we Need

Guest post by Tammie.

Isn’t it great how God gives us what we need instead of what we want?

Smoke was so good today, he usually is, just not in the way I want him to be.
I always think it would be nice if he were softer,and maybe a little more fiery, you know,
a little more like Skip, or Tally, or some hot and snorty, beautifully collected baroque horse.
But no, he is Smoke. Undeniably hard mouthed, only interested in pleasing himself, but none
the less kind, careful of riders that don’t pretend to BE riders, if you know what I mean.
Today we had company ride with us, a lady from our club. And Tracey with her big Belgian mare.
It looked stormy as we mounted, and thunder rumbled in the distance, but our friend had trailered
over and was determined to ride. So we rode out, to the gate at the bottom of the hayfield. And the storm drew near.
Cobalt clouds, angry rumbles, lightning barely seen on the edges of our vision. Still, Anne was hesitant to 
go back. Tracey’s weather app showed bright reds and yellows over Woodstock. Maybe it would go south.
 
One of us insisted we ride back to the barn and wait a while.
 
We almost made it. We stopped in the area between Dicks house and the pasture full of horses, checking weather
apps and trying to decide if we should give up our ride, just hanging out and watching the clouds.
The storm arrived with a blinding flash, a deafening clap. The horses in the pasture bolted. The horses we were 
riding bolted. More flashes,actual lightning bolts looking like they were hitting just past the trees, in the hayfield.
Smoke halted after his first jump, the other two, in a few leaps, still jigging nervously. Now everyone agreed:
the barn was the best place to be. As the first giant drops hit, Smoke calmly allowed me to open the gate, let the
others, now trying to lead their horses, through. We closed the gate, and in the blinding rain  Smoke
trotted past the others to the barn. Just as we got there he suddenly froze and for a second stood quivering, and bunched.
Then another crash and flash simultaneously. Guess he felt it coming. He stepped forward I slid off and we were in.
Strangely the other two horses fought going in, Annes for only seconds, Tracey had to stay out in the storm for another 
five minutes or more before her horse would come in.
Smoke stood in his place looking worried and dripping water. I stood thinking how much I love him!
I am past the place in life where I need a wild horse. It is so nice to have a steady dependable horse instead!