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April Snows

It is snowing, hopefully it brings May flowers just as well as showers do. The wind howled all day yesterday and the day before. It rained all night, then changed to snow this morning. Fortunately the worst of it is East of us, unfortunate for them though.

Yesterday 8 and I ran out through the cows. They were already locked out of the pivot. Locked into the pasture to try to force them to stay behind a windbreak. Going across the pasture we saw a calf moving funny. Looking closer she was carrying a leg. It curled under her wobbling in a sickening manner whenever she stepped on it. It was broken. There was a blizzard predicted for the next day.

Deciding that through the wheat in the pivot would be an easier rout than through all the cows, down the lane, and round and round we headed her for the gate. The mama was a little high headed, the calf was managing to follow on three legs but it was hard for her. They finally went through the gate. The mama went the right way nicely from there, down to the corrals and the old horse barn. We went as slow as possible, following way behind so we didn’t rush them. She went right in the gate and we shut it behind her leaving them in the corral.

We had to wait for the father-in-law to get home to do anything with her. Once he did get back we went out to see what we could do. The mama stood back and watched while her calf was pushed to the old horse barn. The one that was falling down until they pushed it up with the payloader this winter, and tightened the cables holding it in a somewhat upright position. With the wind howling around us we crouched in the rickety old building out of reach of the mama and looked at the leg. It had broke just above the ankle. Swollen and floppy but not awful. Unless it moved then my stomach lurched and I had to look away.

We had found some old slats, a pair of The Goblin Child’s pants tossed in the rag drawer once they developed holes, and duct tape. Throwing the calf down and sitting on her we pulled the pant legs over her leg. Breaking the slat down to the right length we taped them to three sides of the leg. Once everything seemed secured we sent her back out to mom.

Overnight the rain set in, then blowing snow by morning. The horses were happy to be locked in the barn, warm and dry with lots of hay. The cows were fed up against the shelter of the windbreak. Calves bucking and playing in the snow. Coming back to check on the two calves in the pen I found the new born calf laid in an exposed corner with a snow drift building over him. The calf with the broken leg was shivering.
I got the snow covered calf up. he woke with a beller that brought his mom running. She didn’t eat me and I was able to push them back towards the barn from yesterday where both calves could find dry shelter, if only they would.
Hopefully the storm will end tonight and give the cattle some rest. Give the calves a chance to dry off and warm up. Give us a chance to start doctoring the ones that get sick from this. It is spring, the weather will warm up soon. Hopefully soon enough.

 

Category: 8, Cows  One Comment

Frolicking Kids

We took Baa to visit a boy. We hope to have a baby. We took her down in the end Of January and picked her up early March. As the people who own the boy say they “fell in love” immediately then showed no signs of heat after that. A goats gestation period is five months. If everything goes right we should be expecting a baby, or two?, in July!

When we dropped her off and picked her up the very nice people let all of us see, and play with, their baby goats. It was so much fun watching all the kids frolic together.

 

Category: 8, goats, Goblin Child  2 Comments

Happy Birthday 8!

He’s been telling us for a long time that his birthday was coming from over there, then pointing to let us know which direction it’s coming from now. We were afraid that when it finally got here it would be a let down. Especially after we couldn’t get reservations at the bouncy houses. Seriously people how can you just take that away after the children have come to depend on it? We did the next best thing and got the school cafeteria. Lots of room for kids to run and not in our house. We only invited a couple of friends but a couple of friends is a couple of families plus family. It’s just too many people to fit in our house!

We got there early and turned them loose to play in the pit while we got stuff ready. Then people came and they really went to playing. We had brought balloons and they ran kicking and throwing them the whole time. All the childrenĀ  ought to sleep good tonight. Then we ate cake. Played some more. Opened presents. And played a little longer as people started to file out the door and we cleaned up.

He was asleep long before we got home. What better way to end a birthday party than with a good nap.

 

Category: 8  2 Comments

A Day Of Many Firsts

Putting this up here for mom real quick so she, and anyone else who’s interested, can see the videos. We hauled the horses over to a friends indoor arena to ride with our good friend Paula who we don’t see nearly enough. I wanted to try Rusty somewhere besides home and start getting him used to being hauled.

The morning started out warm, as it was supposed to. We spent the morning playing outside and getting the horse stuff loaded. Ate lunch came back out and it had gotten cold, as it was supposed to. We all squeezed into the cab of the pickup and dropped my long suffering husband off so he could put in a couple of hours of work in town.

At the arena I decided there was no way I was pulling down to the arena, it didn’t look like we’d ever be able to get back out. We parked on the gravel far far away from the arena and started to climb out of the pickup. It was cold and windy. The horses were crazed the children were under foot. Paula had arrived by then and was the only reason we were able to accomplish it at all. She took the leads of two horses loaded with children and I followed with Rusty, helmets, hats, gloves, and treat bags.

There is a pen that needs to be gotten through on the way to the arena and it had horses in it. Paula gave me the other two to lead through while she kept the horses off of us. I abandoned my other baggage and concentrated on getting a crazed Rusty and two other enthusiastic horses through two gates and away from the other curious horses. We all lived.

In the arena Rusty immediately made it clear that he was NOT going to stand tied. Not without choking us on clouds of dust. Trying to get the children ready to ride for real, I forgot those pesky helmets earlier in the rush to get horses saddled before we froze, and into the arena where they could hopefully take care of them selves was difficult. Fortunately, once again, Paula took care of everyone and got the job done.

We had a good ride once everything got settled. 8 rode Coyote all by himself! I was so proud of both of them! The Goblin Child was a little pouty and wouldn’t really try to get Onna to go away from me but she still did pretty good. It was the same jumbled, mad rush to get back to the pickup. The kids were cold and tired and grouchy. It was colder and windier. Once everything was loaded, they hopped right in so nicely, good horses, the kids fell asleep almost immediately. It was a great ride and I for one can’t wait to do it again!

Little Horsemen

Those kids, I’m just so proud of them. They are getting to be such good riders. When I picked The Goblin Child up from the bus yesterday she really wanted to go ride. Who am I to say no to that? It was getting late though, starting to cool off, and saddling takes so long, so they got on bareback.

 

 

Of course they wanted to trot.

Playing With Cattle

We’ve been going out and walking through the calves that are still here. A small pen with the runts and our small group of heifers. The goal is to get the heifers used to being handled by and around people, quiet well trained cattle are always better than wild and crazy cattle. I am happy to see my theories on this holding out in the calves of our calves being right up there in the front to check us out when we go to see them.

The kids have been enjoying the process. One of them is a big help and is loving playing with them. The other not so much. He may also be the reason that quieting the chicks back fired and now they are instead twice as terrified. I was really enjoying watching The Goblin Child lure the calves in as close as possible, and very close was quite possible. The two calves with the green ear tags, 313 and 317, are our two heifers.

 

 

Category: 8, Cows, Goblin Child  3 Comments

Arts and Crafts

This winter The Goblin Child has discovered “projects”. From making homemade play dough, to paint, to slime, she wants nothing else. Every day she asks if we can do a project NOW?

She and her father got out a birthday present she got, clear back last summer. It has been great. They put together a robot out of wood blocks and pipe cleaners. They built a robot rabbit that follows a path they built out of foam paper stuff. The path gets rebuilt over and over again in different directions. We, and she I hope, liked it so much we got the subscription. every month now, the next three at least, she’ll be getting a box like it in the mail. Anybody we know with children may be getting Kiwi crates, or their proper age group equivalent, in the mail for future birthdays and Christmas presents.

Slime is apparently pretty popular right now. That makes me think we should find other things. But we’ll keep doing it, one in a while. It’s easy enough, glue, water, borax, who doesn’t have that on hand. They love mixing it. It last quite awhile to play on. There are so many variations to try, we’ll probably never get to them all. We’ve done regular slime and glitter slime. We haven’t done Fluffy slime yet.

Play dough was my favorite. We would make more but it lasts so long that we don’t really need anymore yet. It was quick and easy and softer than store bought. It has been interesting learning the things we should always have on hand to be prepared for this kind of thing, salt, baking powder, and food coloring are essentials. We also made salt dough, to bake into Christmas tree ornaments and the like. The difference in ingredients was small, they were both fun to play with despite their very different outcomes. Also in the play dough group should be my new favorite project, fizzy play dough!! Again small differences in ingredients major difference in outcomes. Back the the essentials again with baking soda. I misjudged our need of it and we were almost out, until I remembered the stash in the fridge. It needed replaced anyway. It was the simplest to make, mix baking soda with water, and food coloring is desired, until a doughy consistency is reached then play with it. When they’re done playing let them squirt vinegar, mixed with a drop or two of soap, over it. Squirt and squeeze until all that remains is foamy goo. What’s not to love?

We’ve done some others. We have a few books with science projects in them. They work with varying results, some good some not so much. Putting water in a bowl, sprinkling with pepper, then touching with a soap rubbed finger is pretty fun. Mostly because it is quickly and easily repeated. Filling a tray with milk, dropping in some food coloring, then dripping soap over, not so much. Not worth the wasted milk, messy and over with quickly.

I also finally managed to find the recipe for water color paint. It was a fun one that we used for the summer camp art class. It involves baking soda, vinegar, and food colors. Everything but salt. I like projects that take a long time to make, keeping the kids occupied for quite a while, and things that I don’t have to be hands on for the whole time. This is pretty hands on, I don’t get to get anything else done while we do it, but it does last for a very long time afterwards. I just threw away the paints from the last time we did this. they take a long time to dry but they painted with them wile they were still in liquid form and once dried the paints last forever.

This whole thing may have actually been an excuse to get all my links together in one place but we are enjoying the projects. It is snowing out and cold, I foresee another project coming up soon. I need to start looking for something.

Winter Walk

The day started warm and moist. The snow that fell over night spent the night melting. It was mostly ice, kind of slush. To nice to miss out on. With the children bundled up against the wet more than the cold we set out to use up energy and enjoy the warm weather.

Out through the corrals we played mountain goat on the piles of manure pushed up away from the feed bunks. Up and down and back and forth. I hadn’t intended to go any farther. But the ground was open season for being eaten by crocodiles and we leapt from poop pile to poop pile trying to stay safe until we wound up at the gate. Up and over we went, up between the feed bunks, into the pasture.

I wanted to follow the tree row back to the buildings. My opinion was vetoed. Out here the grey skies hung heavy, the wind was picking up, blowing the damp air, turning cheeks pink with the chill. But on we went. Over the hill and to another set of gates. They were still going pretty strong. Home was looking a long way off though. I checked my phone, it wasn’t working. With a quick reboot, it was soon chiming at me. Our loving husband and father was worried about us. Where had we gone. Pausing a moment I let him know where we were.

We trudged onward. 8 tripped and fell in the wheat stubble coming up with sand burrs in his gloves and coat. I picked them out but soon we were in sunflowers over his head. Both children were stumbling over the weeds and vines. The distance between us and home was looking daunting. When around the corner came our hero on his four wheeler. We all happily hopped on with him, including Daisy who had been enthusiastically ranging along beside us until we hit the sand burrs in the wheat. She had been reduced to slowly and carefully picking her way along behind.

The trip home was much shorter and easier with a ride from our loving father and husband. Once home we settled in for hot chocolate, marshmallows and lunch. Clothes dried in front of the fire. By afternoon the wind was no longer gentle but whipping through the trees and the temperatures dropped. Luckily we had adventured while it was still nice out. We’ll have to do it again, when oit’s warmer.

Getting Ready

We will be going to the beautiful little country church near us for Christmas eve again. To get ready for the play on Christmas we’ve started going there now and will be until Christmas. The Goblin Child will be Mary, with her little best friend being Joseph. His little sister will make a beautiful angel and 8 will be a dragon. Or maybe not, but there was strong vote put in for it. I could see the biblical implications, the demon hovering nearby, always present, always watching, we might still be able to talk them into it. If not he will be a shepherd or possibly a wise man.

At the last practice they were enthusiastic and energetic. They remembered their lines and did an excellent job singing. Hopefully they do as good when it’s time for the real thing.