We’ve been very busy for the last month. Earlier this spring we got the goats. So we’ve technically been busy with them for a long time it just picked up as we began washing, shaving, and putting in lots of practice time.
The goats are sweet, tiny delicate little things. They don’t lead like tiny delicate little things though. Or maybe it’s that they are almost as big as the children trying to lead them. There were toes stepped on and frustrated children as they worked to figure out how to handle these small wild animals.
The goats were happy to hang out with us but not overly interested in being caught all the time. Playing with small children is exhausting for everyone.
Until we started fair preparations for real. After being held for baths and trimming the goats went from semi feral pets to lap animals. They suddenly loved being caught and came runing to us begging for attention, and more torture apparently.
It makes me think about the quadrants and how ‘reward’ isn’t necessarily what we think it should be. Treats didn’t work but a bath did?
Show day dawned hot and miserable. We were showing one of the few animals that didn’t have to spend the week at fair. Instead we could show up that morning, do our classes, and go home again! There are lots of people who enjoy camping there during fair. I do like my own bed and have plenty of work waiting at home so it’s good to be able to keep it brief.
I entered the children in their classes, even the one who wasn’t mine. Thinking about horse shows I entered them in as many as they could. If we’re driving over there we might as well make it worth the effort. That meant four classes, showmanship, halter, I don’t know what it’s called, they judge the goat not the handler, costume class, and trail.
The Goblin Child’s goat was not interested. She went between refusing to move and flying through the air in giant leaps. T.G.C. handled it wonderfully. She never let go of the collar, she didn’t cry and give up like she did when we were practicing at home.
Instead she kept a brave face despite the difficulties and heat, she held onto that goat. My favorite part was when a friend of ours that she was showing against placed higher than her. She immediately turned and congratulated him. They shared a fist bump and left the arena to continue to help each other out behind the scenes. That is what I’m hoping the children can learn from this. That little bit right there is what makes the whole summers worth of effort worth it.
That and getting to watch them in the costume class.
I decided to do a fairy goat mother. The Goblin Child decided that instead of being the mother to a fairy goat, she wanted to be Cinderella. Her friend she was showing with went as one of Cinderella’s coachmen leading a goat drawn pumpkin coach. They were darling.
The last class of the day was the trail class. They set it up out by the barn. A simple but fun course that included getting sprayed by the hose, always a plus when it’s 100 degrees out. The Goblin Child’s goat was done and she could barely drag it through. 8 watched in fascination and begged to go help her. He wanted to do it himself. I made him wait. There were only a couple of kids, human and goat, in the class. Once they were done he took Daisy, the more willing of the goats and went through the course. They did wonderfully, even jumping the jump and enjoying being sprayed.
We were all happy to be done. We had fully funded the schools ffa program buying water from them all day. There was no way to keep up with the amount of water our bodies needed in that heat. The goats had spent most of the day hanging out in the shade of the barn eating and drinking and staying cool.
Now they are at our house, instead of the friends where they stayed leading up to the show. We are learning how hard it is to keep a determined goat penned. Our goats who live happily with the cows are much easier. It has been a fun learning experience and we hope to do it again next year. The two children too young for 4h should be able to show goats still next year with Cloverbuds. They were all devoted to the goats and worked hard to get it right and do the job properly. Next year we’ll all be better prepared.
They’ve, us parents, have been working at figuring out this goat stuff and getting ready for fair. Mostly it’s been Heather. She got the goats and has been caring for them. We go down and help when we can.
The Goblin Child and Whitten have been working on leading and proper form for showing. Mostly it ends up being a bunch of mostly naked children running around screaming and playing. Great times!
8 has really enjoyed playing with the goats. Next year we may have to get him one to show…
There’s something about small towns on Independence Day.
They go all out. The populations double. The streets are packed solid. The city parks overflow.
We went to Crawford for their parade. They are THE place to be on the fourth. Arriving early enough to only need to park a few blocks away from the parade rout we hiked to the proper road and found a place with some shade. Of course we knew someone across the street from where we sat. They walked over to say hi, then to visit with the people next to us who they also knew. We knew many of the people in the parade even though it was a good hour from us. Everyone knows everyone.
As a local girl sang the anthem not one person remained seated or left a hat on. The American Legion marched proudly passed carrying the colors. I knew the one carrying the American flag and fondly remembered his telling of crashing a plane somewhere overseas and meeting with the boy from a farm across the highway from him in the rescue crew. Or was he the rescue crew. I wished I could sit and talk to him and hear the story again of the joy and surprise of meeting a neighbor from back home while halfway around the world.
We tried to find a happy medium between encouraging the kids to grab the copious amounts of candy thrown out and making sure they didn’t dive under horse hooves or tractor tires. An older gentleman, a complete stranger, that we were sitting next to took to helping them gather as much candy as they could. Going out into the road after candy he thought they shouldn’t be taking the chance at getting themselves.
The parade over flowed with horses. Their shoes ringing loudly on the asphalt. The huge teams prancing or plodding as they pulled wagons slowly along. One team of oxen even, the announcer telling how they were used to feed the more lowly cattle all winter.
There were tractors, with darling farm kids driving them. Is there anything cuter than a farm kid proud to drive his tractor in the big parade? Old cars, semis, and the whole fire department worth of fire trucks. It took me a minute to recognize my farrier in one of them. Volunteers everyone of the but they are happy to give up watching the parade to drive in it. The children fully appreciated that and were surprised to hear their names called from inside one of them. A friend from school! They all waved enthusiastically.
The motorcycles made the ground shake as they rumbled by. I happened to glance down the street as they passed. The view was spectacular. The tree lined street was packed with people. The flags waved, a solid line down the center of the street.
Somewhere people are burning the flag, complaining about this country. Here we still acknowledge it as the place people are flocking to for a freedom, equality, and a chance to strive for the good life. Here we know how good we have it. What could be better than a small town parade?
It was obviously building to a storm.
As we started to wash the car, it rained on us.
The few drops that fell from a dark cloud that barely darkened the blinding sun nearly sizzled as the hit the ground. Evaporating as they landed. Wiping sweat from our brow we continued the task that made it cool enough to be outside. Parked in the lawn, not a drop of the car washing went to waste. The thirsty grass sucked up every drop that dripped off the car.
The car came clean. The small cloud passed. The sun baked the dry earth. Without a drop of rain since May? We got a good one sometime this spring and one snow last winter. That gained us enough grass to maybe make the summer but what was there crackled as you walked on it, baked brown and crispy by the hot dry heat.
As the afternoon wore on we gave in and coward inside. The temperature gauge hidden in the shade under the eve of the house read 102 degrees.
The weather radio started cackling at us while the sun shown down. It didn’t come as a surprise, despite the lack of clouds. It was obviously building to a storm.
I decided to wash my pickup. It was the day for it apparently. I pulled her into the yard too. Found a spot that looked dry and parked there. As I washed the horizon grew dark. Checking the radar over and over, fingers crossed, hoping hard. It’s a fine line between praying for rain and cussing the hail that comes with it. As I washed the dark clouds began to ruble with thunder.
Another curse of rain. If any lightning came down with that thunder there would be fires.
I washed and waited.
It’s amazing how much dirt can cake the bottom of a working pickup that never gets washed. No wonder it shook so bad the few times I take it on the highway. Still the clouds billowed. The thunder rumbled. I decided to take the clothes down off the line and get them inside. It was obviously building to a storm.
Cooking supper. Checking the computer. I found pictures of a tornado snaking across a pasture to the east of us. Maybe the clouds really were going to go by without leaving us a drop. They had been all summer, why should it be any different today. The weather radio went off. We tuned in to the radio station used as a land mark for the location of the radio. Still the thunder rumbled. The dog coward under the bed.
My husband and son went outside to watch the clouds. The wind had picked up. The radar showed storms right over the top of us. Nothing but dark skies and thunder here. Even if it looked like it was building to a storm.
I went out to join them. As we stood there a drop fell. Then another. We grabbed flower pots and moved them to safety. It was obviously building to a storm.
The thunder got louder. The horses galloped about the pens after each clap. The raindrops fell huge and heavy. Obvious precursors to the hail that began to fall with them. My husband went inside. Worry for crops and garden stronger than the need for rain. He couldn’t watch. My son and I went to the front door to watch. The rain came down hard. The wind blew. The hail never got worse. My pumpkin leaves would have holes in there. The would grow anyway. The grass was beat down but no longer crisp.
The hail stopped. The rain went on.
As it eased slightly we rushed outside, all of use children. There were water puddles to jump in, mud to squish between our toes. Who knows how long it would be before another storm would build.
This will forever be remembered as the year we all learned, or relearned, how to ride our bicycles.
First The Goblin Child hopped on and went all by herself as soon as she made up her mind to ride and did it all in one day.
Now 8 has done the same.
He spent a couple of days with feet stuck out to the side coasting down the hills. Then he started pedaling and was off.
With everyone else riding and wanting us to come along my multi faceted husband got his bike down from storage and rode along with them. The bike is a left over from many years ago before every last drop of his spare time was taken up by the children and I. When he is working, which is usually, I hop on his bike. I’ve been enjoying, kind of, my rides on the ‘snorty sorrel’. It’s bright red coat gleaming in the sun light. As usual after so long without riding my legs ache after just a short time.
We are trying to keep up daily rides to the mail box and back, a mile round trip. There is a hill in the middle. I can barely make it. The kids are better at it. We all spend a good bit of time walking. Hopefully by the end of summer we will be zipping clear to the highway and back without dying.
The kids and I spent last summer checking on the heifers. Towards fall we took over the cow herd too. This year we are starting out with the whole bunch.
While fixing fences this spring we found one tank badly in need of banking, piling dirt in around it so the cows, and calves, can reach over the side to get a drink. It was dug and washed down so deep next to the tank that only the cows could reach and only if they stretched clear up and over. That left one little tank for the cattle to drink out of. If it got filled by the big tank once the big tank got full. Which it couldn’t because the side of the tank was getting smashed lower than the over flow by cows standing on tip toes to reach over the side.
I bugged my husband until we all went over and got it fixed!
Today was the first day we were able to get back over and check on the repairs. The tanks looked good.
We went past the heifers. Their tank didn’t look good. It looked empty.
One heifer was in the tank. The rest were standing around looking thirsty. There was water still in the water hole next to it. It wasn’t an extreme emergency. Something needed done though. Soon. I was trying to decide if we could move the herd of yearlings, cow people will understand the issues involved with trying to move yearlings, using only one pickup across a wide open hay field. Or if we should go home and get the pickup and trailer and two 4wheelers.
As always happens when I need him, whether I know it or not, my husband called. He told me to check a few things before jumping straight to moving heifers. I know nothing about working on windmills. He said to look down the pipe and see of we could see the rod down there that the chain was supposed to be hooked to. I couldn’t.
As we were talking about how it wasn’t going to work our son was fiddling around. He held up the pipe that we were looking down. He had unscrewed it! Now we could see, and reach, another six inches down. With the top of the pipe off we could see the rod! Brilliant child.
Hanging up we went to work trying to follow directions and improvise to get them to work. Releasing the break on the windmill we let the wind lower the chain as far down as possible. It wasn’t near close enough to connect the chain coming down from the windmill to the rod it had to pump to bring up water.
All we had on hand were my fencing pliers, one vice grip, a flash light we found in the glove box, and a piece of chain left hanging on the windmill.
Using that we were able to remove the piece that needed to screw onto the rod. We got that, and the spare piece of chain attached to it. screwed onto the rod! The horror that would occur if we dropped anything down the pipe was fresh on my mind and I repeated it continuously to the children. My daughter clung to the chain and the lower half of the concoction as if her life depended on it.
No matter how hard we pulled we couldn’t get the rod up any higher. No matter how much we let the windmill go hoping it would somehow lower itself enough to reach, it couldn’t. When we connected rod and chain, using our spare chain, we could get the rod high enough but couldn’t hold it there to disconnect and reconnect chains.
I was about to give up.
Just when I needed him, my husband called back to see how things were going. Should he leave work and drive over?
From the first time I met him there hasn’t been a time that I really needed him that God hasn’t sent my husband to me. I try not to let myself get too comfortable in the knowledge that he will be there, but he always is.
We told him our problem. He gave us a solution. Take the vice grips off the chain where we were using them to hold the two chunks together. Find some wire, we were fencing after all, we had wire! Use that to hold the chains together. Let the windmill pull the rod up. Quickly snap the vice grips onto the rod to hold it up where it needed to be, disconnect and reconnect the chains where they needed to be.
Duh. So simple but so far out of my ignorant brain.
We went to work at it. Both children had been right there with me this whole time, working as hard as they could. Accomplishing every bit as much as I was. What good kids and what a great learning opportunity.
With a good bit of trial and error, but no fingers pinched or eyes poked out by wires flying through the air, we eventually got it. We only had to take out bolt back out once to put the pipe back over the chain so we could screw it back on once we had the chain connected. Sometimes the wind died down. As soon as we needed to rod drawn up a gust would come by and turn the windmill. God was with us in so many ways.
Wires removed, nuts tightened on the bolt. break released on the windmill the wind came up steady. Pumping water into the empty tank. It was flowing again. The windmill working beautifully. We had succeeded. To kids, a pair of fencing pliers, one vice grip, and me in my complete ignorance of windmill. And my husband over the phone of course.
We got to go to our favorite swimming hole yesterday. It’s been awhile. We didn’t get to go at all last year.
It’s just a bend in the river in the middle of someones pasture near the gravel road. The people who own the pasture allow people to come swim, which is incredibly nice of them in today’s sue happy world. It’s only locals which helps. People from the surrounding farms.
It is wide and shallow. Except for the water fall which is deep and rapid. Perfect for the kids to explore and scare us to death. It has moved back a good long ways from where it was last time we were there. Now there is a deep fast channel at the base. I jumped in to join the kids in the fun and never touched bottom. It’s probably incredibly dangerous.
That’s makes it that much more fun.
We survived a week of vacation bible school. Last year it was canceled and life was so busy I wondered how we had ever managed to fit it in. This year they had it again and I realized how much easier life had been without. That sounds awful doesn’t it. I agreed to help, with some reservation and reluctance. A few people had declined because of worries about covid. I want my kids to be able to participate so I did it anyway.
One of the themes was God loves a cheerful giver. I was not able to be cheerful about it. There was too much work sitting home undone to worry about. There were times there were two people doing the same job. If I wasn’t needed I would rather be getting my own work done.
The kids had fun though and are learning things far more important than work. That is what is important.
They stood on opposite sides of the stage for the program which made it very difficult to get them both in the video. That and a rath unappealing head that was in the middle and impossible not to capture while trying to video.
For the last couple of weeks The Goblin Child has been meeting a couple of friends after school to practice. They had decided they wanted to do something for the talent show. The parents decided that figuring out what that something should be ahead of time would be a good idea. In the end they developed a simple but fun routine. That one we knew about.
Apparently 8’s class had been working on something too. We had no idea about that one. In fact we almost missed it because I was busy talking to the people who had brought in their trick pony. Thankfully I didn’t stand out there talking for too long!