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This Aint My First Rodeo…. Oh Wait

Heather wanted to know if we were interested in going to a youth rodeo at the Dawes county fair. I looked into it a little and decided it would be a good way for The Goblin Child to get a chance at playing cowgirl. She had recently informed me that she wanted to be a cowgirl and show horses while she was in college learning to be a doctor and an airplane pilot.
We set up lick tubs and practiced barrels and poles, and getting on. She is getting very good at steering by herself, it hasn’t been very long that she’s been riding by herself. I remember all the times I fell off Tally and am slow to let her loose too much. She’ll go by herself away from home when we ride out but I always take the lead rope back on the way home, just in case.

The day of the rodeo we spent lots of time getting Onna all pretty, then did the same for The Goblin Child. Onna loaded beautifully and we went to pick up the horse of the friends who invited us. It was getting hot. The pickup that was on the trailer didn’t have air conditioning. With the windows down we headed for Chadron. Going through town we met my husband who had gone in to work on his day off so he could take the afternoon off and come along.

At the fairgrounds we saddled Onna and I took her around a couple of times, then The Goblin Child got on and I led her around. For one run back to the pickup I got on with on child in front and one behind and she didn’t bat an eye. I wasn’t ready to let them off the lead quite yet and led them around the barrel pattern for their first run. It nearly killed me running to the finish line. After that I let them go and all our work on stopping at the end that we did at home paid off. They did wonderful together. 8 got to go around the barrels too. I was still half dead from the first run so I climbed in the saddle behind him and let him try to steer a little. It was much easier than running.

Whitten and his sister each got to go on their big beautiful mare. She’s a draft cross and shows it, she’s huge and gentle. He wore 8’s helmet for a bit and Brenna rode behind T.G.C. for awhile. Their poor mom was able to leave her brand new baby watching from the grandstands with grandma so she could run alongside both children in every event. I only had to do one, 8 needed a nap and was done after the first one, and I thought I was going to die. I don’t know how she did it.

We were both lucky that my hard working husband had come along. He watched everybody and juggled hats and water bottles, so we could play with horses and whichever child was riding at the moment. He and Heather are both driven crazy by lack of organization and general order to things. They were both flustered and annoyed that the children didn’t have an assigned order to go in and that they didn’t know exactly what was going on, when and where. I think they’re so cute.

I thought the people who had organized it had put a lot of work in and done a really good job of putting on a playday that the kids loved. After the riding part they had a dump trailer full of hay with coins mixed in. The children got to jump in the hay and search for the money. T.G.C. says that was her favorite part.

It was hot when they got done. Kids were tired, We were ready to go home. I unsaddled and went to throw Princess Onna in the trailer. She had different ideas. She said no. That was it, just no, she had no intention of getting in. She does that sometimes at home. Not for loading, we had never tried that, just about whatever I ask her to do and she doesn’t want to. She will set her feet and say no. I loaded the other horse to see if that would help. It didn’t.

I ended up staying there while everybody else went to coo children with drinks and air conditioning, working her into the trailer. I had been proud of our front row parking earlier, now not so much. The parking filled up with real rodeo people coming in for the nights rodeo. Big fancy rigs, very stylish riders. They all had to walk past us. I nearly died of embarrassment. In the end I wrapped the lead rope around a bar in the trailer so I could stand next to her and still pull forward. Standing next to her I tapped the back of her foot with mine. It made her mad. One time she looked at me, picked her foot up and stomped it down on mine. It was so plainly on purpose, and she missed my toes only getting the boot, I thought it was hilarious. Finally she heaved a big sigh and jumped in. We were finally able to go home.

Videos are completely backwards in order. I would recommend watching them from bottom to top!

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Reading Program

I joined the local library board because they were begging for people and because I love books. I loved going to the library as a child and wanted my kids to love it too. The board filled up with mothers of young kids, all except one who is the mother of older kids and the grandmother of young kids, who felt the same way. The former librarian wanted nothing to do with kids in the library, preferring to sit around and gossip with the older clientele who were in her age group. She soon quit. I don’t know if we drove her to it with all our enthusiasm and energy or if she really moved to take care of her ailing daughter, either way she’s gone and the new librarian shares our goals and hopes for the library.

The new librarian started just in time to take over our summer reading program we planned despite the old librarians objections. The old librarian had allowed us to carry on with our plans as long as we did it all ourselves and she was not bothered. The new librarian joined in the fun wholeheartedly and led the way.

It’s been three weeks now, three mornings of a library filled to the brim (about 20 kids, it’s a small library) with small children laughing and playing noisily as they, hopefully, learn to love the library and reading. We have read countless books, colored bookmarks, made a large cardboard box into a puppet stage, made puppets to perform on the stage and next week hope to act out the books as they are read. I believe the three pigs and billy goat gruff are planned along with others. I’m having a blast.

p.s. I think I should mention that we really in no way tried to drive the old librarian away. Yes we were happy that she left but did not do it on pupose.

 

Category: Books, Family  2 Comments

Growing Like…. Pumpkins?

Every year my favorite part of the garden is the pumpkins. To be specific, the arbor that the pumpkins grow over. This year I had plans and came home to fine that my hard working husband had built it for me while we were gone for the morning. The pumpkins were just starting to vine at the time, that was a few weeks ago. Now the trellis is nearly covered.

I couldn’t believe that the vines were growing as fast as it seemed so I took pictures. I took them morning, noon, mid afternoon, evening and the next morning. In twenty four hours the vines grew at least six inches. We really could sit and watch them grow.

Company

My parents stopped to see us on the way back from this years grand adventure up the west coast. We had our own much littler adventure camping with them at Fort Robinson, then some time in Chadron and even a little spent at our house. Then my brother and his family came and we all enjoyed each others company for a day. Then my parents went home and we got to spend a few more days with my brother and family. It was so fun and so busy that I would never get this post written if I tried to include everything. So I will stick to pictures, they will convey the idea just as well.

Category: Family  2 Comments

Leftovers

We had a friend over for supper. She’s funny, great company, and very busy. We don’t see her often. We sat and talked, enjoyed our meal. She brought a salad. A seven layer salad she called it, to be exact. I was digging in, scarfing down the unusual, for us, dish. She gave a list of ingredients, at mayonnaise I nearly gagged on my mouthful. Anything can be good if you don’t know what it is. I shrugged mentally, attempting to hide any outward reaction, and told myself that if it tasted good before that horrible word was uttered it tasted just as good after. Eating more was difficult though.

She offered to leave the remains for us to finish at another meal. We happily accepted, the rest of my family not sharing my revulsion of mayonnaise for some strange reason. Bidding her a fond farewell, with hopes to see her again much sooner than the last spell between visits, we promptly forgot her offering in the refrigerator.

Going in after milk or some other much needed commodity, I would glance towards that lower shelf upon which it sat and think absently to myself that I should do something about that, then completely forget about it again. Finally, needing the space, I dug it out, fearing to open the lid, and sat it on the counter. I would take it out to the chickens and open it out there, by now it must be getting a bit stinky, no use in smelling up the house.

And there it sat. A large flat dish, taking up most of my counter space but useful to set other things on top of so we could work around it. Spring is busy. I got busy and forgot about it, sitting there taking up my whole counter. I always meant to get to it, as soon as I finished washing the other dishes. As soon as I got lunch made. As soon as we finished working cattle and there was more time. Until, I couldn’t stand the mess in the kitchen any longer. All the dishes must be washed! I was on a mission.

How do other people manage it? I am proud to be a member of a hobby who’s participants pride themselves on their lack of house cleaning skills. Clean house? Me? Nonsense I have a horse to ride! It is the cry of horsewomen everywhere. Between horses and children I always have somewhere else to lay the blame for my lack of housekeeping skills. Or any interest in that area at all.

But the time had come. All things must be reckoned with eventually. Carrying the carefully sealed container outside I opened it and quickly dumped the white, lumpy, congealed contents to the chickens. And left it lay there to “air out”. A day, or two, later I returned for the repulsive thing. I moved it as far as the hydrant where it received a compulsory washing then was left lay until I could stomach bringing it into the house.

Once in the sink we began our battle in earnest. I started scraping, it responded with a desperate cling, refusing to budge, attacking my fingers and anything else it touched. It did battle with a sticky film, removable only by scrubbing the skin its self off. Hot water was applied liberally, more scrapping and finally the big guns, an onslaught of 409 backed up with more scrubbing, then soaking.

There it sits, in my sink. My enemy, my foe, my companion for the last month. Two months? How long has it dwelt there, haunting me and my kitchen. Still there taunting me. Daring me to try again to vanquish it once and for all.

Or to admit defeat. To admit my failing to my friend and just buy her a new pan already.

Category: Family  One Comment

I Don’t Know Where To Start

There are so many things I’ve wanted to talk about lately and I haven’t found time for any of it. I need to look back through all the pictures I’ve taken to remind myself what we’ve done. I finally got the garden written about. I haven’t mentioned any of the chicken adventures, or the corn planting, or what ever else there has been.

Some how I missed corn planting. But it’s planted and getting rained on. Hopefully it will be warm enough for it to come up. The home made GPS worked beautifully, even if the John Deer planter didn’t hardly work at all. Yay for John Deer. We will stick to Case.

Family Science Night

Last year The Goblin Child and her father went to the family math night and loved it. Her father says it was even better than family science night. It would have to have been really good to be better than this. College kids from Chadron came out once again and set up stations with different science projects? experiments? at each station.

Our children made a beeline for the messiest gooiest one they saw. It was cornstarch and water mixed. The resulting consistency was so inconsistent, it was fascinating. Hard as a rock, runny and liquid, ever changing depending on the pressure applied. There were stations to learn about medicine and the body. Stations with cars to race, down bumpy or smooth tracks, with or without weight. Stations discussing the probability of a commit hitting land instead of water. Lots of things to do with vinegar and baking soda and the crowd favorite I think, a water board with plastic particles to try to dam the water with. It was hopeless the water always washed through.

It was sad that more people didn’t come. Not that there weren’t lots there but no where near the amount that come to sport events. I saw parents who would spend all night sitting, watching a ball bounce around, drag protesting children away. Why are sports so much more popular than this fascinating interactive event? I will never understand. Unless the sport involves horses 😉

 

Vacation

For Christmas we received season passes to Silver Dollar City. We were looking forward to getting to use them, and to see Grandma, so when the rest of the family made plans to go down we made plans to meet them.

The kids did amazingly well on the drive. We found a great park in some obscure suburb of Kansas City and let them run. While there we visited with a family from Mundiline IL, near my parents. It’s a small world.

At Grandma’s house we had an Easter egg hunt and visited then were off to Bass Pro Shop and then to Branson. There never is enough time to just hang out and talk.

We went to see Moses, the play, leaving 8 with Grammy. The Goblin Child did better than she did when Grandma took her to Jonah a couple of years ago, but she still didn’t make it through. The next day it was Silver Dollar City. Everyone, of our children, was exhausted and grouchy but we still had a blast. The days are never long enough. We finished on a kiddie roller coaster with the children begging for one more round. We thought 8 might be to small for it but her was thrilled and loved every second of it. On the first trip around his eyes were as big as saucers, he giggled and laughed his way through and screamed when we had to drag him off. The Goblin Child did the log ride again with my brother, she is so big and brave. Soon she’ll be big enough for the roller coasters!

It flew by so quick it seemed like it was time to go home before we had even gotten there. On the way out we stopped at the butterfly palace. Where we learned that 8 is scared of butterflies. Maybe not scared exactly but he did not like them, especially in his hair. We got to see them hatch and newly hatched ones set free and they landed all over us. My very patient husband even got a humming bird to come sit next to him.

The drive home was uneventful. No snow or ice this time. There was another cool park, a hotel with whipped cream out on the breakfast buffet and a nice pool, and the horse at the tack store in Grand Island. Then we were home and glad to be here. The kids had enough of traveling. We miss everybody and can’t wait to see them again. Longer next time!

Our Cowgirl Strikes Again

We started the day bright and early, 8 likes to wake us up by six on any day we would otherwise be able to sleep in. We scarfed down a delicious breakfast and Tanna arrived to help sort pairs. 8 went out in the tractor to help the men feed and us girls saddled the horses. The Goblin Child wanted up behind Tanna and I rode Coyote as usual. We got them sorted in record time, they quite literally ran out the gate. The Goblin Child clung tight and was a real trouper not complaining all the way though.

 

 

Once in the lane they needed to go all the way out to the farthest pen, clear at the top of the hill. I got off to get gates and decided not to get back on. I had gotten off and on so many time I was clean out of cake, Coyotes reward for letting me on again, and baby calves can be much easier to move on foot. Leading Coyote along behind me I looked over at Tanna and The Goblin Child double on Onna and realized I could do something about it. I put The Goblin Child on Coyote.

 

 

At first he got to stand and eat at the trough while we tried to get the calves to move. Then I would grab a rein and bring him along a few steps then let him eat, try to convince calves to move. As we slowly progressed up the hill The Goblin Child began to move Coyote along by herself. Once we reached the circle at the top I turned her loose to push the cattle through the gate with Tanna. Poor Coyote. He put up with it for a little while then said that he was done, he’d had enough. Please save him.

 

 

After closing the gate I climbed on behind my saddle and let The Goblin Child steer us home. It was terrifying. Not just having a small child who had no control in charge of my hot, grouchy horse, not confined in a small area but on the way home, but also sitting right on his haunches. He’s bouncy. I thought for sure I was going to fall off.

After unsaddling I turned Coyote loose to graze, surely he deserved a reward for putting up with all that. The guys had been planting oats and I was going to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get into the planted field. I forgot he was out there. As we were getting ready to leave that afternoon I remembered Coyote. I ran out the door frantically searching for him. Behind the house I caught a glimpse of his butt disappearing behind a shed. Running back there I found The Goblin Child leading him to the gate. She informed me that she was putting him away for me and indeed she was. What a good, big girl!

Little Cowboys

The Goblin Child sometimes wants to dress up as a cowboy, I always tell her that she IS a cowboy so no matter how she dresses she is dressed up like a cowboy. She doesn’t quite grasp the nuances.

Today as we wandered around the yard trying not to be blown away by the howling wind we found a calf laying in a corner, trying to hide behind a ceder tree. The pens are next to the house but the cows are not actually against the house. The calf was a long way from any prospective mother. We debated about which way to try to take him back and decided to go through the yard to the gate behind the house.

I told The Goblin Child that I needed her to be a big girl and help me, lots. She climbed the fence and ran for the gate. I crawled under the tree and flushed the calf. He ran right where we needed him, through the yard fence and towards the gate. I held him in the drive while the tiny little Goblin Child put all her strength into pulling the big heavy gate off its support block and into the howling wind. As she struggled the calf would run towards her as he paced the gate looking for a hole. She would leap back away from him shrieking a little in fear, then went back to hefting on the gate. Finally she was able to pull it back far enough to allow the calf to squeeze through on his next pass. What a brave girl. We had him.

We called the powers that be to make sure there wasn’t a reason for him to go anywhere else then put him back. It was 8’s turn to cowboy. For him too the urge to chase cattle was tempered by fear. He wanted to get that calf but needed a little backup.