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A Very Scarey Story

A little late for Halloween but whatever.

As we sat warm and cozy cuddled on the couch playing with our phones and computers my loving husband turned to me and asked, with horror in his eyes if I wanted to hear a scarey story. I sat for a moment thinking about whether or not I did. Finally I said sure tell me. He looked back down at the screen of his phone and began to recite.

Monday- high 28 low 3 freezing drizzle and snow, Tuesday- high 14 low -4, Wednesday- high 14 low -8

I wanted to clap my hands over my ears to block out the shear terror of it but it would make no difference. So I sat frozen in shock and horror as it went on for the entire week. Fortunately this was on Friday and the forecast for the weekend was mid sixties. The weekend stretched ahead of us entirely too short a time to get everything prepared for the deep freeze.

There were cows to bring home, electric fence to put up and heaters to turn on in the waterers. Friday the guys ran around putting in steel posts. We started early Saturday putting up the fence. The Goblin Child rode on the four-wheeler with her father running the wire. I, mounted on my own trusty four-wheeler went around putting insulators on the posts.

The child and I absconded our duties long enough to go to music class then returned in time for lunch and to get in on bringing the cattle home. All four of us, including Daisy of course, hopped on a four-wheeler and headed after the cattle. At the gate to the pasture I got off to wait and make sure they turned the proper direction once they hit the road. I was so glad I did when my people came out on the four-wheeler with the child grinning ear to ear, pointing and telling me cows! cows!

At the highway the other helpers waited to stop traffic and help get past the houses with big unfenced yards on both sides. My mother-in-law was dropped off to hold one entire yard by herself while my sister-in-law and Cowboy Bill parked on the big road. The cattle turned north into the CRP and I jumped off in the road with the child while they raced after the herd. They steered the herd back to the road only to have them head south right past the mother-in-law into the yard. My cow chasing husband went to retrieve them and I stood in the road holding the child and the road to they didn’t head back east. The father-in-law came and parked next to us. When I told him that we could hold the road if he wanted to go help get them out of the yard he declined so off the child and I went on foot to help clear the neighbors yard of cattle.

As we got around them they finally began to flee the yard. The leaders ran onto the road and headed east right past the father-in-law as he sat, possibly talking on the phone. My hard driving husband got around them and turned them back. With the mother-in-law and me both in the yard we were able to keep them out and the finally crossed the highway. The rest of the ride home was a breeze and it was decided that we would go after another bunch.

By now the child was fast asleep on her fathers arm as he tried to drive. We moved her to the pickup where she immediately awoke but declined to come back to the four-wheeler. She stayed there for the rest of the day being very helpful I’m sure as she bounced up and down in the seat and climbed from lap to lap.

On the poor over worked four-wheeler my cow hating husband and I raced back and fourth along the line of cattle trying to keep them on the road as they strung out for what seemed like miles with the leaders racing ahead and the tail end barely moving as the pickups prodded them down the road. I wished desperately for my horse as we took turns jumping off the four-wheeler and running along side the cattle trying to keep them out of the wheat fields. We raced ahead of the bunch to block the side roads at intersections and get gates closed. Then ran back to get them back out of the field they had immediately dove into when we left. One more four-wheeler, or even better a horse, would have been a great help. Just one to watch both sides plus all the other stuff was nearly impossible. By the end of the day I had no trouble remembering that I was pregnant. My sister-in-law even started leaping out of the pickup and running down the side of the rather rotten bunch of cattle to turn them back onto the track with my mother-in-law reaching across from the passenger side to drive. But at last the reluctant herd reached their own pasture where they belonged.

The next day it was back to fencing again. And today it snows. The predictions of horror are here. There will be more cattle to get but they will wait for another day, if history holds true for a much colder day. One much like today.

Moving Day

Not for us. For My sister-in-law and her family. They got a new house. Unfortunately the new house was clear up here by us and the place they wanted to put was nearly an hour away.

So they moved the house.

Corn Harvest

IMG_20141024_134155_245is long since over and done with.

But just because I didn’t get around to writing about it at the time doesn’t mean I didn’t mean to. Now though I can’t remember anything about it to write. If I don’t mention it though next year when we are trying to remember when they got the corn out and look here for help there wont be any. So I think we decided that they started about the nineteenth of October. They were about the first ones to be going on the corn and none of the elevators were ready to take it. The corn also had to be extra dry since it was going to be on the very bottom. A lot of timer was spent waiting for the elevators to be open and grumbling when they closed at four thirty during corn harvest.

The weather cooperated and the corn was in good shape for once. I am told it is because corn prices dropped so of course it was a good harvest when it’s not worth anything.

The Goblin Child and I took over cow duty, for the few here at home at least. returning the every day escapees to their pasture and finally sorting them and a bull and my little white calf off into the corrals. It is long past time for bulls to be pulled and I hoped to give Poppy a break without her huge calf to feed to put on some weight for winter. The Goblin Child loved helping fix fence, she gets a pair of pliers and works happily along side of me often stopping to tell me that she’s “hep” ing me. Checking the cows while we were out there we played in the pond a little. It’s so fun to see the things she remembers like the boat from our recent vacation.

I think The Goblin Child has decided she would like to be a mechanic when she grows up. She loves playing with wrenches and ratchets and generally  “hep”ing he father. I understand that she enjoys riding in the combine too, as long as I’m not there. When I am there she squirms and wiggles and climbs up and down and probably enjoys it but I’m not sure the rest of us do.

Halloween is Come and Gone

IMG_20141005_190518_340

Usually my favorite holiday, this year it was just too much effort.

We still decorated with pumpkins by the ton, few were carved or decorated in any way. Except for two or three pumpkin decorating parties for The Goblin Child. A couple friends at a time to paint or just pick pumpkins. I think the parents may have enjoyed the painting more than the kids though.

 

We trick or treated of course. It wasn’t as much fun, for me at least, without her grandma and greatest grandma along like last year. The Goblin Child had a firm grasp of the concept this year. She ran from place to place happily uttering her version of trick or treat with a few thank yous thrown in. Some neglectful parent never did finish her elf costume so she went as a warmly dressed child. If we had painted her face green she could have gone as a goblin child.

 

And sadly, once again for me at least, I never did get a Halloween story done. It’s tradition. I failed. Not that I had any good ideas. Back in August and September when she had given up sleep altogether I thought I would wright about our small creature of the night. With sleep the horror of those times has passed and my inspiration was gone. Not to mention my time.

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.

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)

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?

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.

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.