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When It’s 15 Degrees What Do You Do

Play at the park and eat green chilly stew!

Sorry that was bad. But we did do both. Everyone was complaining about the cold but when we got the pickup, car also thought it was too cold, and went to get The Goblin Child from school it was so nice out! There was no wind and the sun was shining.

After lunch we ran to the grocery store and while paying and eating their suckers they asked to please go to the park. I said no. I had plans to go home get bundled up in snow suits and really warm clothes to go play out on our swing set.ย  But it was so nice out. So we went to the park.

They were bundled with hats and gloves. I was wearing a sweatshirt. So I figures that as long as I was warm they were probably fine. It was exactly what they needed, so much pent up energy. They ran and played and climbed and chased each other. It was great but after about an hour we were all ready to get home.

 

My recipe for green chili stew:

Cook a roast in the crock pot, well covered with water and with all the trimmings, carrots, potatoes, onions whatever sounds good. Eat roast for a couple of days. When you’re tired of roast smash any remaining vegetables to a pulp, they will add healthiness and thickness. Get in there with a fork and fingers and shred the meat well. To the remaining water from cooking the roast add a couple of cans of green enchilada sauce, green salsa, roasted green peppers, a can of tomatoes and chili beans. Let cook all day serve with lots of shredded cheddar cheese and Fritos.

Cold Weather Activities

 

A, Snow, Day At The Park

It was so cute, 8 kept getting snow flakes on his eye lashes. He would blink lots and look up at the sky, which of course got more snow flakes on his eye lashes, then he looked at me in wonder and smiled.

It was the last warm day before we drop below freezing and stay there. While it was still warm and sunny this morning I decided we were going to the park after lunch. By lunch time the snow flurries had changed into outright snow fall. I didn’t see any reason to let a little thing like that ruin our plans.

The kids were bundled up warm in their coats and gloves. Their jeans soaked through quickly and 8 only had thin knit gloves. I was worried they’d be cold but they were running so hard they didn’t seem to notice. The slides were coated in snow and ice. 8 was the first to go down and flew off the end of the slide to land on his butt many feet away. He looked a little stunned but it must not have been too bad, he was up and at it again in no time.

They played while I tried to take pictures without ruining my phone until I decided 8’s hands must be getting too cold caked with snow as they were. We stripped off wet clothes in the car and covered up with their car blankets. Once home they cuddled and played together in front of the fire. Today, if no other time ๐Ÿ˜‰ , they are entirely to adorable.

 

 

Christmas Light Parade

We made a rare night time trip to Chadron for the parade of lights. We were reminded why when we nearly hit a deer on the way in, but at least it wasn’t an elk. We had a quick supper in town, leaving in a hurry when a friend we ran into pointed out it was time for the parade to start.

Parking in an open spot on the highway we hurried across the street to find a spot to watch from. Before we made it far we ran into some paupers on the street corner selling chestnuts roasted on an open fire. They were dressed beautifully in period clothing with coals glowing warmly in a barrel. Handing out the toasty nuts in a cone ofย  news paper they allowed everyone a taste of this rare fashioned treat. They were… different, kind of mushy with some hard spots. I liked them though and they felt so good holding the warm newspaper in my chilled hand.

We meant to walk farther but the parade was there already so we sat on the corner and watched. It was good. We were surprised at the candy thrown out, discussing it on the way in we had decided there probably wouldn’t be any. In typical small town fashion there was abundant supply of tractors, more exciting than the lights for all small, and large, boys watching. I was sad not to see any horses. I said we would bring Coyote and Onna next year, cover them in battery powered lights, my husband not as positive as me that they are perfect in every way my husband has some doubts. It was a great little parade, as good as the trunk or treat.

 

 

 

 

 

Late November

It’s cold outside, finally, the wind is howling and it snowed a, very, little bit this morning. It feels like I never post here anymore, although looking at it I seem to get to it fairly regularly. I still think I should say something so…

The Goblin Child seems to be enjoying school. She’s so fun to dress and so hard to get pictures of. But just when I star to feel like all my pictures are of 8, and she’s so neglected I come up with all pictures of her and none of him so I guess it must be pretty even. 8 is, um, happy I guess staying home. He’s been sick for the last week at least. We all have been sharing a nasty little virus, lots of coughing and drippy noses. He slept the last two nights in a row all the way through!! It had been a while, for a good month now he was up almost hourly all night. It got a little old.

We’ve been busy having fun with Rusty. He’s far more puppy dog than horse. He waits at the gate begging to come in, wanders around loose in the yard and comes when called. T.G.C. and I took him along an a nice ride this weekend. I write more about him on his blog than I do the kids here, part of the reason I thought I should write something now ๐Ÿ˜‰ His blog is here in case you haven’t found it.

For Thanksgiving the school had a special lunch and invited parents and any other family to come eat with the kids. I got a kick out of the parking lot when we pulled in. It was full with a semi and pickups with trailers. Gotta love small towns.

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Oh Christmas Tree

We went on our yearly Christmas tree hunt and bagged a good one. I enjoy it so much and I think 8 did too. We might be the only ones. The Goblin Child decided she was terrified of the woods. She went through a period of great interest in mountain lions and we talked about how she didn’t have to worry about the because they live in the hills and trees, pine cone trees as she calls them. We were in the pine cone trees and she’s not stupid.

My perfect Christmas tree hunting husband was stressed by the need to find the perfect tree in size and form. On top of being quite sick. 8 and I were roaming happily, playing on the hills and in the draws. The trees all look good until closer inspection shows that each one is two or three grown together. We searched until at last the proper one was found. Then it was home for naps and setting the tree up.

 

 

When Life Gives You Snow….

Even if it is just a little bit. We try to make the best of it. Thursday afternoon, after school got out, The Goblin Child was crazed to get out and play in the tiny little skiff of snow we had. Friday with a bit more she was out and at it again. 8 is not as enthusiastic as she, but was getting into it.

Today with 8 and I a bit sick she bugged here father until he went out with her. He does play the funnest games.

 

 

Church Stuff

We went to church today, over the summer that became the exception instead of the rule. I am always glad when we can make it, but this week and last especially so. Mostly it’s because of the music. Not that the sermon isn’t usually very good, it is.

The music though. We are blessed to have so many skilled musicians in the church. This week they opened with a full on blue grass rendition of I’ll Fly Away. The guy on acoustic guitar picked away at his guitar like a banjo and they totally rocked one of my favorite songs. Next it was the electric guitar guys turn and he played a solo worthy of any rock concert. I have often heard the songs they sing played on the radio and thought that I like their versions better.

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better they brought the children in from children’s church to sing the closing hymn.

As they streamed in we strained to find The Goblin Child. Finally she came along bringing up the rear. She was craning her neck searching for us as well. As she stepped up onto the stage she spied us and from across the room waved and, loudly, sent a greeting. We waved back of course, what else could we do. She was adorable.

There were reminders all over the church today that it’s shoe box time! We are actually doing it this year! Operation Christmas child is a great program that packs shoe boxes with Christmas presents for children around the world. We did it right after The Goblin Child was born but have been too discombobulated ever since to even realize it was time much less get organized enough to pack our box. We are using a box this year that was left over from the last time I planned to do something.

The Goblin Child is taking a very active part in choosing gifts. We talk about how they are presents for a little girl far away who doesn’t have lots of toys and clothes like she does. So far she is doing good about not wanting to keep the stuff for herself. We are going to follow our box and see where it ends up. I hope the stuff we choose to pack it with is something our little girl will want.

Samaritans Purse is a program that I love and wish that I supported better, or at all. They offer charity and ministry in a way I can really get behind. In their Christmas gift catalog you can buy things for family’s like chicks that will grow up to provide eggs and meat as well as more chickens, sheep and other wool bearing animals, dairy animals and even oxen and farm tools and seed, as well as training in care and technique.

What better gift can there be than the knowledge and ability to care for yourself. I look at the choices and think how incredibly cool they are. But for now we will content ourselves with a Christmas shoe box and be glad that we are doing something at least.

Another Exciting Day Bringing Cattle Home

There were other days, I meant to write about them here but never got around to it. They are on Rusty’s blog, here and here.

Today it was the big bunch from over west. We loaded up the four wheelers and took pickups and semis and went over bright and early to get them. Our four wheeler was well loaded with the four of us and Daisy. The cattle came in pretty easy, only a couple minor mishaps.

Tanna left hunting early, it was opening day morning, and came to help. She and I, and a few children, went back to the house with the first semi load. 8 was exhausted and went in for a nap right away. The Goblin child spied the cousins just arrived and ran to join them. After unloading Tanna and I started sorting cattle. Tanna did the sorting, and a great job of it, while I ran the gate. Before the first semi was hardly gone the second one arrived and the two horse trailers shortly after that. We were kept on our toes.

To make it slightly more complicated in one of the first loads was a crazed steer of undetermined ownership. He charged past us a few times and jumped over our most used gate. The gate was no longer able to close and latch after his loving attentions. We were able to get him sorted into the pen with the calves before my semi driving husband returned with his second load. Although it tried the steer didn’t quite succeed in killing us.

Six semi loads and four trailerfulls later we were nearly dead on our feet. After the last loads were hauled my hard working husband stuck around to help finish the sorting while everyone else went to hang out at the house. The extra person was appreciated and made the work quite a bit easier. Especially with our most used gate out of commission.

I had looked up and seen, much to my surprise, The Goblin Child and Ava climbing out of a semi on one of the last loads. Everyone had decided to go watch them load the cattle and at some point she had ended up over there. And I thought I knew where she was, I am such an awesome mother.

After a quick lunch break we all went back to work the calves we had sorted. The three of us, Tanna, husband and I, had made such a good sorting team we decided to stick together and push the calves into the shed. Soon 8 was returned to us and his loving father wore him for the rest of the workings. Little did we know that was going to be the safest spot for him.

The calves were going in pretty nice, for the most part. We had all talked about the abundance of large, yearling types in with the calves as well as the brand new baby calves, all of which needed sorted off. We discussed which pen they were going into and how one of the yearlings was crazy. We watched carefully for the crazy one with every sort we made and finally towards the end we got all the yearlings in one bunch.

The crazy one went in early and we shouted a warning into the barn with him as he went in. He went through, but no yearlings appeared in the agreed upon pen. The rest of the yearlings went in but still nothing was put in the separate pen. Suddenly in the barn there were screams and general commotion, calves billowed back out the chute.

In the barn the crazy yearling, all the yearlings, had been run through and given the same shots as the calves then, with our warnings well ignored, turned into a tiny pen right up against the door inside of which they were working. He had decided to come back in. Through the middle of the children hanging out watching the adults work. God is good though, he passed them all by, went through the barn and out the open gates and door on the other side. All lives were spared, but it was way to close a call for my taste. Apparently our children wont be able to get that close any more.

The yearling was long gone. A few people grabbed four wheelers and took off after him but he was long gone and on the fight when they caught up. When they tried to turn him he took the four wheelers and how much effort is it really worth putting in for a yearling of undetermined ownership? Maybe he ran back to where ever he came from in the first place.

The Goblin Child had lead the other, older girls into her room to play where it was “safe”, smart girl. 8 and I joined them and we waited for the others. The day was done, the work complete. Calves vaccinated and weaned, cows in the pen next to them so they can see and comfort each other if not be together.ย  Now we attempt to wash the dirt off that worked it’s way into every crack and crevasse on an incredibly dusty, dirty day.

 

Oh, while we were pushing calves into the barn a herd of dogs showed up. Quite randomly and out of the blue, three of them were there in the yard. One of them was trying to kill a chicken. My protective husband chased it off and away from the poor chicken, we haven’t seen the chicken since but have hopes that it is still alive and out there somewhere. Two of the three dogs were caught and stowed in a trailer, the third was run down the drive as hard and fast as a four wheeler could run him. Neighbors were called until the owner was found and came to get them. It was a strange and, hopefully continues to be, rare occurrence.

Family Math Night

We spend a fair bit of time complaining about the amount of money the school throws at sports while shirking the needs of academics. You can tell we’re not a sports family ๐Ÿ˜‰ So when they do non sports activities we try to go and support them in it. Family Math Night was one that sounded great but we didn’t think there was anyway we could make it. 8 makes all things difficult.

Then my sister-in-law was there and able to take The Goblin Child in to meet her father and enjoy the night. I stayed home with 8 and enjoyed not having to try to wrangle him at Family Math Night.

Math/ teaching student from the nearby college came and set up lots of games for the littler kids from preschool through elementary. They did a great job of scaling the games down to the pre k level. And she brought home more candy as a reward. Yay. Just what we needed during Halloween week.