There were only two of the old white face cows left. I watch them carefully every year waiting for heifers. Last year there was one. That was when there were three of the white faces. That one is gone now, old and gaunt she barely managed to raise her last heifer calf. That calf was scrawny but I took a chance and saved her anyway. Genetics are still there even if nutrition wasn’t.
This year I didn’t think the two remaining ones were bred. Until one surprised me with a calf. Then she went down. We tried some doctoring but even if it might have helped she kept stretching her hind legs out behind her as she crawled along on her knees. She wasn’t going to be able to get up.
With the payloader we set out to catch the calf. It was awful. She bellowed and crawled on her front legs as I grabbed the calf and hauled her into the bucket. My heart broke for them both, why couldn’t we wait until she was dead? Why torture the poor girl. The path was already set, the calf caught. No point in arguing for turning the calf loose to try to catch again another time. Not much hope of it being an argument I could win anyway.
On the ride back I sat looking at this darling white face calf. I had watched her since birth, wondering if she would grow out good enough to save. She had so much pink skin. Would she burn too badly? Each eye was graced with a whorl. How could I let her go?
So we ended up with her. I had not wanted to feed any calves this year. We are busy enough without another chore. I want to go see my family. I don’t want to be tied down by yet another job. We have her anyway. Somehow everything is managing to fit in. She was named Rose by one, White Face by the other. Depending on who is feeding her she goes by one or both names. The kids are fighting it but doing a pretty good job of doing the feeding themselves.
I feel awful about her being alone. We are all supposed to be taking the time to hang out and pet her. The goats stayed up with her for a little while. They weren’t happy about it and Rose was scared of them. It wasn’t a great arrangement. Then they left. It didn’t seem worth bringing them back.
The Goblin Child has been wanting to show a bottle calf at fair. I’m trying to figure out how to do 4h. Rose is slowly being halter trained.
While we play with her or take turns feeding. The kids like to climb the small A frame calf hut. It has been named Mount Everest and they happily scale it.
We’ll see how Rose grows out. We have had bottle calves that were able to make heifers before. She is growing beautifully and may be able to stick around. If so she is The Goblin Child’s. We get a brand registered and she can start her own little herd.
The Goblin Child is in HAL this year. HAL is short for high ability learners. This is the first year kids are eligible, in second grade that is. They look at test scores and I don’t know what else. There are two other kids from her class, both great kids and good friends of hers, and there are three fifth grade kids. They stay after school on Tuesdays and do fun science projects and other fun things. She seems to be really enjoying it. Even if it didn’t start until the year was almost over because of covid. At least they got a short time and hopefully will get to do it next year too.
Her goal is to have 8 in there next year with her because the boy from her class has an older sister in fifth grade who is in there. She works hard towards that goal prodding him with it as she tries to make him learn to read. It does seem to help. Especially since ‘the field trip’.
Because it’s a small group they got to have a field trip period and choose something really fun for what they did.
One of the after school projects was researching available options, what they offered, when they would be open, how much it cost. They settled on Rushmore cave, suggested by the teacher. I have my suspicions that it was her plan all along but she wanted to make a project out of it. There is the cave, and all kinds of rides to go with it.
We volunteered to go along. I researched it too and found that adults were needed for the younger kids to go on the rides. The teacher preferred that we didn’t so we took 8 and headed up to the hills separately to do our own fun stuff. We went to Spearfish the back way and had a beautiful drive through the hills in the fog and even some snow. Played for awhile. Then headed to the cave to pick up the Goblin Child and enjoy the rides ourselves for a bit.
We got there just in time to be begged to get a ticket and take The Goblin Child on the ride that needed an adult along 🙄 It was fun. 8 got to enjoy the rides for long enough then we ate at Hu Hots. Then finally drag ourselves home, exhausted.
Now she has decided we’re going back for her birthday. With all the cousins. I’m not sure we are quite willing to pay for all of that. We’ll have to see what we can do.
Gymnastics is going good. I don’t know what else to say. It uses up lots of energy and the kids are doing good. Mostly they like to run around and play. 8 bounces all over the place. Not usually doing what he’s supposed to. Usually causing trouble. He’s so cute doing it though. If we lived inn town I’d have him signed up for the ninja classes they offer.
The Goblin Child does a great job but it’s hard to compare. She’s the oldest one in the class. She wishes there were other girls her age and I do too. To push her to try harder if nothing else. I wish I knew the names of what she’s working on so she could look back and compare in a year or two, or twenty.
At eight The Goblin Child is old enough to participate in the horse activities in 4H. Of course I want her to. Not sure if she’s as excited as I am. She is willing though.
One thing that really bugs me about it though is that part of their curriculum teaches that you should ALWAYS approach, lead, mount from the left side. I wish that at the very least they could say for showing purposes you have to do these things from the left. At most if the importance of being able to do all these things from both sides could be mentioned it would be great.
That isn’t the point though, although it does factor in here.
The benefits of the program far out weight the little faults I like to pick at.
She has been working hard to get the horses haltered by herself. She is already very comfortable with leading and handling from the ground. I was getting something else done after she had haltered Lady and told them, both children, to go see if they could lead Lady through the hoop.
There was no ‘see’ about it. By the time I caught up with them they had already made laps through it. Through the hoop they had thrown their coats over to add to the difficulty.
I think they’re almost ready for this part of the test at least. Except for the little thing about leading from the right instead of the left. Such a silly little thing. Inconsequential but so important. Surely she can lead from the left for that one little thing.
The kids asked me today if I could take pictures of them at gymnastics to share. Of course I would love to!
They are so good at it. They can stretch and climb and do all sorts of amazing things. Mostly they like to play around with their friends but that looks like lots of fun too.
Both of them can easily climb the rope to ring the bell at the ceiling and can hang upside down from the rings.
As my husband walked out the door to go spend the day planting wheat he just happened to mention in passing that if we wanted to we could come by later and check the cows over that way. We could even bring lunch! If we wanted to. Hint, hint 😉
I had planned to go check on Ghost and Blossom and Joker, plus all the others since I was there anyway, at some point this week. Might as well take him lunch while we were at it.
Shortly before lunch time he called again. Was there any chance we could bring the semi with the hay trailer when we came? Since we were coming anyway. There was a pickup there that we could use to go check the cows. Sure, what the heck. We were going anyway. Might as well get a load of hay out of the way.
We got to the hot dust field and enjoyed out picnic of sandwiches and melons fresh from the garden on the side of the seed truck. The children wallowing in the dust as they enjoyed what little shade it offered. Then we got to loading the bales. It’s so dry this year. They had cut a field of alfalfa despite it not being worth the effort. There were a few bales from there and some straw bales from the year before. As m father in law loaded it he was complaining about the bad shape the bales were in. Straw is slippery and doesn’t like too be confined to net wrap. I needed to keep an eye out for any bales falling off, he warned.
Leaving the field I sideswiped a corner post knocking the bales askew but luckily sparing the post. They didn’t fall off though and everything was set right with a bit of rearranging. Hopefully the trip home went better.
After loading we left the semi set and went to look at cows. My son was excited to show his sister how he could work the float to fill our water jug from the stock tank. The jug was empty so we were all looking forward to that. After a cold refreshing drink we walked down the draw.
The storm that destroyed Iowa in July came through here first. We didn’t get hit near as bad but the seventy mile per hour winds knocked down many of the huge old cottonwood trees. Now they lay in the dry creek bed, perfect for climbing. The children who love to climb their tree at home scampered over the arching tree trunks making me gasp and shut my eyes sometimes. They were not afraid though and nobody did fall to their deaths, or broken arms even.
Wore out from climbing we hiked back to the pickup, cast our eyes over the cow herd on the way. All the ones we usually notice stood out, Poppy, Ghost, Joker. The herd markers were there. In with a few more cow calf pairs counting the heifers isn’t as easy anymore. As long as the colorful ones were there we could assume everyone else was too.
Back at the field we waved goodbye to my husband leaving him any left overs from lunch to get him through until whenever he finished planting that night and headed home.
On the narrow dirt road we came upon a tractor speeding along, just barely slower than us. I hated to try to pass him. With the hay on the trailer takes up almost the whole road and I wasn’t going very fast. He pulled off to the side though and slowed. I had no choice. We hugged the grassy shoulder as tight as we could and I didn’t think we clipped him. We did leave him with lots of dust as we continued down the road.
Nearly home, far past the last intersection, I slowed even more to watch for the cows that have been coming and going freely from their poorly fenced pasture onto the road. When, inn the road ahead, there was something. Not a cow. Bigger even.
A round bale!
I had been warned to be careful of loosing my load and here instead was someone else’s bale. Lost dead center in the middle of the road!
In a car or pickup we could have easily squeezed around the edge. There were a couple of feet of road and a decent shoulder on one side. In a pickup and trailer I could have backed to the intersection only a quarter mile or so behind me. In a semi with a hay trailer I thought hard about the fence post I nearly took out earlier. Would the bale already there knock my bales off as I brushed past it? Would the trailer slip off the side of the road into the ditch if I got too far off the road?
If I tried to back with no way of seeing past the trailer how badly stuck could I get it in a ditch with a small misjudgement? Was there any possibility of the children being of assistance and not getting run over if I asked them to go back and guide me?
None of the options looked good. So laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation we found ourselves inn I called my husband. That’s what I do when life has handed me impossible options, call my husband and he will fix it. Somehow. He always does.
As I explained our predicament he laughed with me. He would get a hold of the neighbor. The one whose cows were walking through his mostly down fence to graze the road. whose hay field the bale was in front of. We could sit there parked in the middle of the road and wait.
But. No! As I looked back at the semi and trailer blocking what part of the road the bale didn’t, here came the tractor we had reluctantly passed! He had caught up with us. Now he was passing us, squeezing carefully between the bales and the ditch. He fit! Driving past me standing in the road, talking on the phone, past the children hanging out the windows watching the show. With never a wave or a smile he drove up to the bale. Was it his? Was this where he was driving to?
Wrong color tractor for the neighbor of the cows my husband assured me. This one was blue. Whether it was his or not he picked up the bale. I got in the semi, released the brake, and we followed him. He went slow, looking at the cow whose calf, still in the pasture she wasn’t in, got lined up to nurse through the fence. He looked around then found a driveway to the hay field. He slowly pulled inn and we passed him once again, grateful that he was there to clear our path.
Finally, home at last.
We went for a trail ride this morning. A family ride. Not of the usual sort. I got to walk for one thing. 8 rode his fourwheeler and The Goblin Child rode her horse.
It was a great time.
As 8 took off leading us with the fourwheeler, Daisy mounted behind him, Lady wanted to go with. As though the fourwheeler was a horse and she wanted o stay with the herd. She started off at a very fast walk. I was stretching my legs out as far as they could go to keep up with her. Then she broke into a trot. Sitting up there bareback a trot was more than The Goblin Child wanted to do. Very sick with a cold it was way more than I wanted to do jogging along side!
We went back to a walk.
With fourwheeler in the lead we walked to the end of our road, down by the corrals to check on our goat. She appeared to be fine. We turned and walked back. Towards the house but only inn a round about sort of way. We circled the stack yard and the quanset. We stopped to graze or to climb on the swather/jungle gym. Then on again.
I was exhausted. It was time to head home for real.
The Goblin Child is figuring how to get off on her own bareback. Swinging her leg over so she can slide off is scary but she did it all by herself for the first time today. Then all by herself she lead Lady out and turned her loose, taking the halter off and petting Lady good bye. Soon she’ll be doing this without me leading them.
I admit it. I’m more interested in the horse than she is.
The Goblin Child is loving Lady. There’s no denying that.
She is happy to lead her out to graze. She straps on her treats bag and is even willing to hand feed. Something she has refused to do with any other horse. I am NOT allowed to feed or work with Lady. I got in big trouble for using her to demonstrate teaching a horse to step onto a pedestal. Only she is allowed to do any training. She is also happy to sit on her while she grazes, to lay down on Lady’s rump, to lay down across her neck.
Then, when done, she demands the reward she’s due. She has earned her computer time or a bit of candy.
I’m willing to give it. Time spent with horses should be encouraged by what ever means necessary. A halfhearted interest can grow with time.
I want her to be horse crazy though! I want her to demand time with her horse, not computer time because she played with her horse for awhile.
I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Horse time is horse time. She does love Lady. If it’s not as much or the way I would like, in a perfect world, it’s better than nothing. Not everyone can be as horse crazy as me. Even my mom says I wasn’t completely horse crazy at that age.
So I will keep rewarding horse time and building the responsibilities she is accepting unknowingly, thinking it is just more of the horse fun. She caught Lady and put her halter on, all by herself. The last time she rode she undid the saddle, all by herself. She rode around, in a small inclosed area, and wasn’t even concerned when Lady trotted off with her to the gate, all by herself. She happily leads Lady to the gate and puts her away even taking the halter off, all by herself. Come to think of it maybe this horse thing is working just the way I want it to after all 🤔💜
I took care of a few chores before following the kids in the house. After a long day in school they always want their computers and food. Food is allowed. Computers not for awhile.
The Goblin Child was in her room with the door shut. Do not come in! She yelled from behind closed door.
I didn’t go in.
A short while later she walked out the door changed from her school clothes into jeans and boots and her new shirt with the picture of Rusty playing fetch.
I want to get Lady, she declared. So we did.
There are no words dearer to a mothers heart. I was even willing to brave the suffocating heat of the miserable August afternoon if she was wanting to play with her horse instead of begging for a computer.
I caught Lady, because braving the herd is not something a small child should do, and delivered her lead to waiting hands. She was brought to the shade of the tree in the yard to graze and the hose demanded.
We were surprised to find Lady not a fan of fly spray, that always comes as a shock. Not sure how she would feel about water if she didn’t like to be sprayed we proceeded cautiously. Apparently water falls inn a different category and she accepted the hose with a sigh of disgust.
Of course 8 couldn’t have that. No one is allowed to play quietly without him. He ran and grabbed her from behind. Cried when she sprayed him with the hose and the game was on. Lady would get a splash of water, 8 would poke The Goblin Child, The Goblin Child would swing thee hose around soaking anything in her path, me, and spray her brother who would shriek and run away.
As long as she had that lush green grass Lady could care less.
I put an end to the game when they couldn’t control themselves enough to stay at what I felt was a comfortable distance from Lady’s hind end. The limits of a good horse should not be tested too well or foolishly.
8 went off to play in the hose alone and insist we needed to finish draining the pool. Together we hefted it up and dumped the water out. Once again, lady never batted an eye.
My daughter was done though. Her brother had somehow ruined her fun. I wasn’t going to argue. If horse time wasn’t fun anymore forcing it wouldn’t change things. It was still before the magic computer time but since she had asked to go outside and do other things I thought computer time seemed like a fitting reward. Lady got turned back out and the children went in.
Maybe we’ll get to do this again tomorrow.