It’s almost time to start wheat harvest.
A couple of neighbors are going already. The small fields here at home are ready, the bigger fields farther afield are still green.
The kids spent all morning yesterday washing the combine. Their job was to get the hopper on top washed clean of corn, and get some places around the bottom. My husband took one look at it yesterday afternoon and was horrified. He started scrubbing on it this morning and said they may have managed to somehow make it worse than it already was
Oh well. They had fun and worked really hard, if nor effectively.
He washed for awhile this morning then I took over. It’s strangely satisfying and I’d happily work at it all day.
We parked on a grassy spot that’s heavily grazed by the horses. It will get watered. Then we’ll run the chickens over it to clean up the corn that is washed out. The goats have been happily eating on the corn under it too. Nothing is wasted.
The combine is very old, by combine standards. The meticulous care my husband takes of all things that are his and his brilliant mechanical mind have kept it running. Many times it has broken down and needed rebuilt mid harvest. Many parts are worn thin, very literally, from the tons of corn and wheat that have run through it.
The insides are intricate and fascinating. I spend the time as I hose them off looking in awe at the complicated workings. I can’t imagine what the newer ones must be like.
Washing the undersides results in water mixed with chaff and dirt splashing back in my face. Girls out washing cars in short shorts are sexy. Old fat ladies out washing combines, even in short shorts, not so much. My husband looked at me in horror when he stopped by to check on my process. He did offer to hose me off, so there’s that. All that washing required a shower before I came in for lunch.
Those things are so rotten and can get out of any fencing I’ve tried to make so far. For some reason the guys don’t appreciate their help, or their poop, while they’re trying to work. None of us want them in the yard or the garden..
Those things are so cute. Watching all the ‘kids’ playing together is so much fun. I didn’t get pictures of them all going down the slide together. It was too much fun watching. Makes me forget all the trouble and think that maybe we need more goats!
The weather was alright. Cool but not cold, windy but not as bad as the wind has been recently. We got to spend it together, which is always nice.
The kids did the Easter egg hunt in town on Saturday. It was windy and really cold. They had fun though, for the whole five minutes it took them. Lots of kids, lots of candy. lots of eggs. I tried to get pictures but they disappeared into a sea of children so fast it was nearly impossible.
We declined to get up in time to make the six thirty sunrise service at church. Why do they make these things so early! Instead we stayed home and enjoyed breakfast.
After breakfast I hustled the kids out to get calves fed so I could start hiding eggs! Instead of hiding eggs around the yard we did a treasure hunt, with clues hidden all around. I sat down on Canva, the design program I use for work, and made up picture clues. Those got hidden in eggs wherever the clue led them. They had to get bikes and ride half way to the mailbox, go in and out of the house, get a 4wheeler and ride out to a certain pivot, figure out the directions to know which one. I think they had fun. I know we did following them around. Each clue egg had some candy eggs with it to reinforce their behavior, searching, and to encourage them to keep going!
In the middle of it all one clue was hidden in their bible. We had to fit some preaching into the middle of the whole pagan undertaking. It also gave them a chance to sit and rest from their running around so they could finish running.
Yes, it would be easier to do it myself Heaven knows it would be faster. The waiting is hard. Watching as expensive milk replacer gets sloshed around and spilled or nearly spilled has me gasping and holding my breath. I can’t stand to watch. Teeth clinched my husband and I both stand back and watch. Or better yet don’t watch, as the children prepare the milk to feed their bottle calves.
After helping and instructing on how and how much milk to mix, the preparation and most of the feeding is their responsibility. We watch them go slowly and struggle. If we didn’t it would never be replaced by smoothness and skill. Strength will be built in the difficulties, not in taking care of it for them.
We don’t over face them and are always there to help if really needed. They don’t usually want help. Pride in the ability to do the job and do it well is already setting in. That doesn’t mean they don’t need harried to get to get to work. They’re still children. Nothing wrong with that. They’ll grow up soon enough. I’ll enjoy their childishness while they’re children.
They aren’t strong enough to do everything themselves. They’re building strength though! It wont be long and those hard jobs will be easy for them.
Bottle calves are a perfect opportunity for training children!
We went through a period of very quickly collecting bottle calves. I was worried about being able to get any. Then one showed up. By the next day, before I had the opportunity to spend much time worrying about him being alone, we ended up with a second. One more by the next weekend and two more before that week was over. Now we are at capacity and no more have turned up.
The kids are doing an amazing job at taking care of the feeding and go out regularly to play with them. 8 got to name the first three calves. All bull calves and soon to be steers. We have Sug, Elon, and Radio Active. The Goblin Child has claimed Sug as her own.
The Goblin Child named the last two, heifers. We have Iris, supposedly a Greek god of flowers and rainbows? And Athena. That god we know.
The weather was beautiful. Warm and not windy yet. We forced the kids away from tablets and computers. Without them the kids are really quite enjoyable.
Working with horses and doing chores around the place, we ended up out by the old school house barn. It is getting closer to falling down all the time and the kids are not allowed to play in or near it. They are very good about that. To the point that when I told 8 he could go in and look around while we were there together The Goblin Child said no, she was not going in there, and left.
Us two foolish people went in and explored. You’d think that after being explored for so many years it would no longer have secrets to give up. But still, we find more. As the children get bigger they can climb farther, see new things. 8 climbed an old stall divider and peered into the hay loft. He wanted my to have a look too. There were some ancient rotted hay bales and a tire. Mostly there is sunlight streaming through where a roof once was.
I was happy to oblige him and I climbed up and peered around too. There in the middle of the loft was a headstall. I could see a bit and some twisted leather remains. Right out in the middle where there was no way I was walking.
Climbing down I let 8 replace me. He spotted it and we spent some time locating it from below to see if there was a way to reach it that way. Quickly realizing the hopelessness of that we stopped to think about things.
A grappling hook! That was what we needed! Something we could throw out there, hook the bridle, and drag it back. But where would we find something like that? We headed back towards the house to search.
There we found The Goblin Child happily swinging. She may not be interested in going into the wreck of a barn just for fun, but the quest was more than she could resist. We all continued on together. Junk piles are a great resource. We scavenged through the trash and the scrap iron pile. Finally finding the perfect hunk of metal. Then to gather the rope that we use to tie cow legs back so calves can nurse. I wasn’t going to use my good rope for this! And back to the barn.
Each child got to take a turn climbing up and tossing the rope. I had visions of heads banged and teeth knocked out, but they each tried without causing injury. Then it was my turn, waiting had been hard 😉 I was able to hook the bridle and almost get it over. After a third or forth try it was there!
And the bit was broken 🙁
Oh well. It was still fascinating. Coming up with a back story for it has been so much fun. The leather is of course shot. But I am sending the buckle to a friend to see if she can remake the very basic headstall reusing the old buckle. We polished the bit up a bit and will put it in the house where we can admire it. We had a grand adventure and learned about problem solving and resourcefulness.
The kids spent their weekend, as much as they could of it, building another fort with their cousins. It occurs to me that they do this fairly often. I can think of two or three other forts they’ve labored over, then abandoned. Apparently building a fort is more fun than playing in a fort. I understand that.
We are not supposed to know about this one. Luckily our kids, especially 8, are really bad at not telling us things. He is catching a bit of heck for it, but we are doing our best to encourage it. It’s good that they aren’t as skilled at keeping secrets from us as their cousins appear to be. We hear C and A told us not to tell, but… a lot. We are sworn not to tell their mom where the fort is and pretend not to know. Mostly I’m glad they’re having fun.
I went to check it out today after feeding cows. I wont tell them I’ve been there. The swing scares me half to death. Tomorrow when I feed I’ll take along another, better, hook to secure it with. Their ingenuity and the effort they’ve put in here is amazing. It’s a perfect place for a fort. I hope they stick with this one.
It’s the kids job to go feed horses on weekends or if it’s warm enough, and light enough, after school. They fight it and complain a lot but do a descent job. I go out an help them sometimes. It’s fun to watch how they divide up the work and go about getting it done.
Last time I went a long I had to help The Goblin Child onto the hay bale. Then down again. It was a long ways up there. 8 stopped to pet HIS mare. He claims her now, until his sister decides she wants to ride for once and fights him for Lady.
Then we stopped to play on the rock pile. King of the hill is fun. Until it isn’t. Somehow they are still surprised when it ends in tears.
While my poor cow hating husband and I rearranged the sheep barn to better fit cattle the children climbed around and explored. My favorite thing for them to do. They had fun, even if the fun was punctuated by requests to please be allowed back inside.
As we looked for ways to better allow cattle to find shelter, calving is coming up quickly, they studied dead mummified raccoons? Whatever they are, they’re fascinating. They climbed the ladder to the loft, but weren’t quite brave enough to go all the way up. The took my phone and used it for light and to share findings with the one waiting below or outside. Not quite brave enough to go in.
Yesterday morning started out nice. We rushed to get outside before the predicted snow. Loosely bundled we let the horses out. Rusty stood patiently, halter already on, and waited. Giving The Goblin Child her halter I sent her to put it on their horse.
She doesn’t do this regularly. Something we need to work on.
It was so fun to watch her struggle to get the pieces figured out and in the right places. At first she firmly ordered 8 to get away. She was doing it and didn’t need help.
As she fought her battle Rusty smiled frantically at the camera, wind blew, Harvey, left behind, screamed. The chaos was real.
After struggling a bit her tune changed and she was asking for help. Together they were able to get the halter on their very patient little mare.
Proud of themselves and a job very well done we headed off for a brief chilly ride as dark clouds blew in and the snow came much earlier than expected.