1 November 2021

Halloween ’21

October has been so full of festivities that by the time Halloween proper rolled around I was exhausted. The kids weren’t and that is the important thing.

It was cold all day. We worked inside on shelling beans, freezing brussel sprouts and fitting in one last little bit of Halloween WOW and LOTRO. When evening rolled around we bundled up nice and warm then headed out into the chill.

That wasn’t actually all that chilly. I had forced layers of long underwear, coats, and gloves onto the children. They quickly discarded them. The weather was actually just about perfect. It’s supposed to be cold on Halloween. Even with the hint of mist in the air we all stayed warm walking as fast as we could, anxious to get to the next house and the next treat. We had planned on doing one street. They finished that in record time and we decided to go down the next one, then the next, and the next. They canvased most of the town and we were still home well ahead of bed time!

The littlest of the children had a hard time keeping up with the big ones. One of them crashed a few times right on his head in his rush to keep up and enjoy the fun. Luckily his trusty hat saved his face. He wore out quickly and retired to the car with his father who was as easily tired of trick or treating as my darling husband. The men followed in the vehicles, as the women ran behind the children loosely herding them along. No serious injuries were received, no children ran over by cars, we even made it home without hitting any deer!

Halloween was a success.

There’s nothing like a small town Halloween. There are houses where all the children are ushered inside. We stand on the street waiting without worry. All the children we meet we well known to each other. Even if not recognized under the costumes. They join together in bands then separate coming and going through the night. Home made treats are handed out without us worrying about who made them or what could be inside. Supper is traditionally held at the church, a combination of irony and beauty.

 

 

 

 

28 October 2021

Fall Program ’21

The first grade class dressed up as crayons. The second and third grade classes were all cookies.

 

 

 

 

26 September 2021

Pumpkins

It’s been a pumpkiny sort of weekend.
Yesterday my husband called from the semi as he was hauling hay and wanted to know if I knew there were pumpkins growing in pen 4?! I did not know that. No idea what so ever.
We dump the pumpkins out there for the cows to eat when we clean up around the house in November. The horses refuse to touch them but cows seem to like them. We will often have volunteers growing out there. This year it was so dry and there were cows in there all summer. I didn’t think anything would grow!
These were in just the right spot that the end gun on the pivot kept them watered enough to grow.
The cows had been eating on them. The vines were in rough shape and all of the pumpkins have bites out of them 🀣
Then we picked some pumpkins and took them over to the neighbors fall festival. They thought it would be nice to have some unusual pumpkin varieties available to people.
My son had said, a week or so ago, after I had talked to them about us bringing pumpkins over, that we should take some somewhere and sell them. I told him that was a great idea. How about we do that! So he was sure the whole thing was his idea and was ready to sell.
He did a great job selling, mostly because he’s so dang cute. His sister didn’t sell any. They both grew tired of it and ran around taking advantage of all the other amusements available to the small children.
Then they spent the money they made on cotton candy and cake pops.
28 July 2021

Goat Show

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.

 

 

21 July 2021

We went to the 4h fair grounds clean up last night. I looked over to see this.
Not sure if I should be proud of the boy over there surrounded by girls or worried that they’re about to castrate him πŸ˜‰
Maybe he’s getting his ear tag 🀣
Of course everyone wanted their turn at it.

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…

4 July 2021

Fourth Of July

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?

 

3 July 2021

Building To A Storm

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.