3 December 2015

Snow Dogs

This is my Grandma’s story probably told to her by her mother, and told by her to my mother and by my mother to my daughter as I listened on our last visit. And I’m sure told to me at some unfortunately forgotten point:

There were two young children who loved to go visit their grandmother. Their Grandmother lived a ways away from them through the woods but their mother let them go alone as long as they got back before dark for it was a large and wild wood in which wolves lived.

One winter day they were having so much fun with their loving grandmother that they left for home later than they should have. (Or perhaps they played to much on the trip, I can hardly imagine a loving Grandmother letting them head off into the dark woods.) As they got into the woods the sun was setting. The woods were dark and scary. Soon they could hear the cries of the wolves and branches cracking along side the trail they followed. The were terrified. Huddling together in tears they fell to their knees in the middle of the trail and prayed for God to help them and see them safely home.

As they regained their feet, hands clutched, they could hear the wolves drawing closer and caught glimpses of the  rough, grey coats through the low branches. Then out of the darkness appeared two huge white dogs. So tall they came up to the children’s eyes. Big and hairy they stood on each side of the children with hackles raised and kept the wolves at bay. Each time a wolf dared to step onto the path they snarled and barked and chased the wolf away. They held their posts, guarding the children all the way home.

When the little party reached the lights of home the two children ran up the walk into the anxious waiting arms of their parents. Stumbling over each other in their excitement to tell the story, they happily told their parents how the big white dogs brought them home safe. And turned to show them the heroes.

The dogs were gone.


It’s such a good story. Amazing that it’s told by my confirmed dog hater of a grandma. Let me know If I forgot parts. And a great way to start the Christmas season. Merry Christmas!

2 December 2015

Bringing Home the Cows

Before we left for our Thanksgiving trip there was one last major job that needed taken care of.


I was able to get the reluctant Goblin Child out the first day by promising she could ride with Cowboy Bill. Fortunately she was able to. 8 Gets all excited in his carrier when we get on a four wheeler, he starts bouncing up and down making happy noises. It started out quite nice. The cows came pretty easy and crossed the highway much easier than last year. The wind had come up and the temperature dropped by the time we got to the pasture so I rushed the kids home while the guys took the trailer to get a cow that wasn’t doing good and couldn’t make the walk home. Because I had to get the kids in and maybe because I was completely unneeded 😉 Sometimes the crews for these things are a bit larger than strictly necessary.

The next day the wind blew.

For anyone who hasn’t enjoyed this type of wind there is no explaining it. It’s bad. We huddled in the house. I was sick. The next day was beautiful. Warm and still and perfect for moving cattle. But looking out the pastures looked fuller than they had before. Sure enough the guys, I don’t know who I didn’t even know they had done it, had brought cows home. I can’t imagine how miserable that must have been. At least they would’ve been up wind from the cattle for the whole five miles.

Saturday we weaned and worked calves. It was chilly. Cara was going to watch the kids but 8 woke up and screamed when I tried to leave him. So I bundled him up, tied him on front and put my coat over both of us. He seemed happy and kept me warm. I don’t know how I did it with The Goblin Child without any baby wearing paraphernalia. The Goblin Child was napping and missed playing with Cowboy Bill.

Then, Sunday, it was time to bring the big bunch home from way over west. The morning was relatively warm. 8 was tied in front again and as we all prepared to climb on the four wheeler the neighbor was sitting next to us in his little two seater Razor. So we put the Goblin Child aboard with him. They zipped around the pasture in the sportster honking its road runner horn. It’s not meant to be a cow herding working vehicle but it’s cute and they had fun. She may have fallen asleep.

The cows came in easily to the corrals where we would load them into semis and trailers for the trip home. My cow loving husband and I took turns as usual hopping off to chase on foot. I didn’t drop any children, nobody froze or locked themselves in the pickup. It was a good day. With diapers changed and some layers off we proceeded to haul them home. I got the pickup and trailer and the very first load. My multi-talented husband followed, eventually, in a semi. The next time our paths crossed I sent the Goblin Child with him. Soon all cattle were home and lunch eaten. OK, not soon. It was a late lunch and I thought I was going to die of starvation by the time we got done hauling. But I do hate to complain.

After lunch The Goblin Child stayed at the big house to play with the other kids and I moved 8 to the backpack and we ran the calves through that we had just brought home. About half way through The Goblin Child joined us working and played with Bill. Hopefully she learns to how to properly work cattle from him. He is the master. Then as the sun set and the temperature dropped  my otherwise occupied husband finished the work he was doing and took over for me. I ran 8 into the warm house and started getting ready for our big Thanksgiving trip. It was a long week but they are home and got here before this last little snow and even colder weather. Now the only thing that needs done is the feeding of them. I can never claim boredom.

1 December 2015



With great fear and trepidation we headed south for Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t dread a two day drive with small children? But it was worth it to see Grandma, Grammy and Different Papa. The only thing that could have made it better would have been for my brother and his family to be able to make it. This trip is going to be our Christmas so we won’t be going back to see them this year.

The trip down was uneventful and the two small children traveled very well all things considered. The roads were clear and Missouri is so beautiful. We got to Grandma’s house as soon as we could and she immediately started giving the children their Christmas presents. Even without those they were so thrilled to see her and I love to see her bouncing around like a little kid with 8 and The Goblin Child.

The next day, Thanksgiving, my parents got there. The party was going again immediately. We played and laughed and visited and ate of course. The only problem is that as always it never lasts long enough. And maybe that it rained most of the time. We had hoped to go to Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas lights, oh well. With visits to Lamberts, Home of the throwed rolls, The Bass Pro Shop and PFI squeezed in our short time was over all too quickly.

It didn’t stop raining just because we had to drive home, so with lunch at Steak and Shake we started off. The drive was beautiful we tried a back way through the rolling hills and farm land, crossing rivers with water falls and small towns much more reminiscent of the Missouri I remember as a child than the modern well off developments we drive through now on Highway 13. By dark the rain was still falling as we watched the temperature drop to thirty. When we could see the trees and grass along the road it was coated in ice but the road stayed wet.

Passing only one wreck but two separate ambulances we made it to Lincoln for the night. Despite our incredible rudeness in not mentioning our coming through, we had meant to we really did, my husbands aunt had called us and invited us to spend the night after she heard about it from another source. We got to see her new house, beautiful, and she treated us to a delicious breakfast she made and the children loved playing with her. The room to run and play was great after being couped up in the car so long.

The next day we bid reluctant farewells and set out to finish the journey. Interstate 80 was packed, it was till raining and the temp hovered in the upper twenties. After debating the benefits of the interstate, more traffic, verses the drawbacks, more traffic, we got off at Grand Island and headed north. After lunch at Valintinos of course! And a quick stop at Good Will for more leg stretching, where I wound up buying more stuff despite a car packed to the gills already.

10 November 2015

A Grand Adventure

20151110_144218The stars aligned as they so rarely do. The weather was beautiful, The Goblin Child fell asleep in the combine for a long morning nap and 8 went off to take his afternoon nap in the combine as well. We had the afternoon free.

So we saddled Coyote and Princess Onna and went for a ride!

Of course as we got ready a bank of clouds rolled in. It was still nice in the yard out of the wind but I tied jackets on behind just in case. The other day, out for a short ride, The Goblin Child had spotted a mountain in the distance. I promised her that someday we would ride there but I never guessed that someday would be so soon.

As soon as we got out from behind the wind break it got cooler. We were glad to have jackets. But it was still nice. Daisy ran along beside us in the uncut corn scaring up pheasants. Along the edge of the field a small bunch of deer grazed, the antlers on the buck visible even from even our distance. Safe still, until next weekend. And The Goblin Child chattering away a mile a minute. And randomly hollering “Whoa!” and hauling back on poor Princess Onna’s reins. The reins are too long for her fortunately, short of sticking her nose in the air Onna would usually ignore her if not for a little outside help. The Goblin Child likes to stop just to look around or to let the horses grab a bite of grass then she’s off again, Onna listens pretty good to her go cue.

I try to remember that, despite her enthusiasm and ease in the saddle, The Goblin Child has had very little actual riding time. She is as comfortable in the saddle as only someone who has never fallen off can be but the ride to the mountain was long and arduous, more than we could make and still have it be fun for her little legs. So we went around the corn field, still an impressive ride. A quarter section, half mile square, two miles round trip.

She was ready to be home, and honestly so was I, it’s pitiful how out of shape I am. Or maybe it was the saddle I have become unaccustomed to. Even Daisy was dragging with her tongue nearly hanging to the ground. We did not make it clear to the base of the mountain but we got close enough to make us happy, maybe next time we will complete the journey.

7 November 2015

Still Fall

20151105_134205We are trying to get outside as much as possible. I can feel the last good days slipping past quickly. Not that there wont be occasional nice days through the winter but they may be few and far between. It has been getting colder at night, upper teens the last couple. Everything is well frozen except for my beautiful, hardy petunias. I’m covering them, maybe they’ll make Thanksgiving.

The corn harvest is still sputtering along. It rained then stayed cloudy, they tried anyway and stuck one semi in the mud, locked up the wheels on the other. That didn’t deter them long, the next morning they were back at it. Making repairs, unsticking and off to try the neighbors dryland corn. It’s a little dryer so they will go on it for awhile.

Today’s good weather is inspiring some horse riding! For everybody. The Goblin Child and I went out during 8’s nap. I couldn’t decide if we should both ride Coyote, so I would get to ride too or if we should saddle Princes Onna and I would walk. The Goblin Child decided we should take both horses so everyone would be happy. I have been hesitant to pony Onna while The Goblin Child rides, that’s a lot of hooves should she fall. But she had made up her mind and who doesn’t let a three year old make important decisions like that? It was what I really wanted so she didn’t have too hard a time convincing me. And it all worked out great.

After lunch Ava came for a ride with me. She and I used to ride all the time and I’ve missed our rides together. I kept Princess Onna on the lead rope just to be on the safe side. Onna was pretty zippy but Ava did great even though the stirrups would not adjust properly. I think next time we will leave them long so they are out of the way and not even try to use them.  We  got back and The Goblin Child saw Ava riding her horse and wasn’t sure she was ok with that. Then decided that if Ava was going to ride her horse she should get to ride with her! I said no they could not ride double, I’m so mean. But she got on behind me and we made one lap around behind the house and she thought it might be alright after all.

If all goes well maybe we can do it again tomorrow.


6 November 2015

Small Town Halloween

20151031_203821I didn’t get a Halloween story written. I wanted to, even had ideas about a baby brother goblin to keep the Goblin Child company. He would dash about in his walker crashing into peoples ankles. Until the Goblin Child decided to stuff him back into the pumpkin he surely had come from. But I didn’t get it done, so take my description and imagine a good story to go with it.

I was at a bit of a loss as to what we were going to do. Moonlight madness our usual venue for trick or treating wasn’t being held this year. I hate change. (The trunk or treat they had instead was excellent but still)

My husband couldn’t understand my anxiety. We would trick or treat in town. Besides we had gone out the night before, what was the big deal, how much Halloween did we need? Silly question, you can never get too much of all things Halloween. So to town we went.

Arriving early we went to get the children’s pictures taken, donating our cans of food for The Good Neighbor center. Then we made rounds of our friends houses driving between stops. Along with the handfuls of candy, the good chocolate stuff home made plus homemade treats and other goodies, heaped into the pumpkin for the children, with everybody throwing in extra for 8, one house gave lottery tickets for the adults. We admired carved pumpkins, lights and costumes. Visited with friends not seen for ages and had a blast.

After our round about town and reaching exhaustion, the adults more than the children, we started for home. Not straight home of course, we had neighbors to visit. At one house we sat down to cookies and a glass of milk, a good long visit and still more candy. At another we got the great candy of course, plus the tour of yard lights The Goblin Child had long been anticipating. They always put up the best decorations, Halloween and Christmas, and every time we drove by for a week or two ahead of time she talked about getting Cowboy Bill to show her his lights. I hope it lived up to expectations.

Finally reaching home long after bed time we arrived home for a quick stop by the in-laws then, with the cousins, a little trick or treat to our house  where I had left candy out in hopes of a stray trick or treater stopping by. A fairly common theme among the more rural homes we stopped by, apparently we all hope to be found.

It was a long fun filled night and though the candy was great it was by no means the purpose or all the fun. We will definitely be Halloweening in our little town next year. Or maybe out of our little town.

4 November 2015

The Harvest. Hopefully?

I still need to get back to Halloween, and I really want to, But first, need to mark the beginning of corn harvest.

It’s been going in fits and starts. They got tho combine ready a couple of weeks ago and took a test run. The corn was way too wet. Again on Halloween, still to wet. Today they were fed up and found a few people willing to take corn with a slightly high moisture content, they went for it.

20151103_173816Tonight, in the gloaming, I had to make a trip into town. I felt an overwhelming urge to drive my pickup instead of the car. On all sides the glow of lights on combines and tractors lit the night. Their glow made brighter and blurred by the dust they stirred up hanging in the air. It was quite beautiful. I tried to take it in while watching for semis pulling out in front of me and for the deer that inspired me to take the pickup.

Almost into town I spotted, as I sped past, a small herd grazing along the road. They stayed 20151103_174010and I was past as soon as I saw them. I pulled into town, picked up what I was after and left. It took very little time, a minute or two. Coming home again I was remembering to slow down and look for the herd of deer. I popped over the hill coming to where they were and there were vehicles on both sides and lights flashing. A small car hadn’t been as lucky as I. She had demolished her bumper but not had her windshield smashed in like a car we had seen earlier in the week at least. I couldn’t believe all that had happened in the little time I was gone.

20151102_123315At the park Monday the children were playing happily when an ungodly racket arose. It was coming from the road, over a hill, just out of sight. On my way from pushing one child on the swing to check the other standing with a tight grip onimages the bars I stopped and turned to stare. It popped and clanged, backfired and roared. Then finally I saw it, an old straight truck coming down the road faster than it had ever been meant to go. So forty, fifty miles an hour. As I watched in awe and horror it jerked and swayed down the road swerving from side to side. I wondered in that brief moment if I would be able to reach my innocently swinging child grab her off the swing run back and scoop the other from the ground and flee in time to escape the inevitable crashing of the behemoth off of the road and through the play ground.

As I decided probably not, it thundered past still spitting and backfiring. Two men, even more aged than the ancient  beast of a truck, sat inside serious but unworried about the dangers they faced. With gas peddle mashed to the floor they were hauling a load of gain in to the elevator. Old wooden side boards bulged and strained under the weight of their load, the corn heaped within left a trail behind like a deranged Hansel and Gretel. And then it was gone all but for the ringing in my ears. The sound slowly faded into the distance, or perhaps they slowed for their destination was at hand. And in that brief moment we nearly died and yet survived unscathed, everyone unaware of the danger but me.

20151102_094322We have done our best to get a little riding in during this last warm spell. That would be like  once. I got stirrups for her, the kind that hang from the saddle horn. I spent so much time telling people that we weren’t going to do that, and how dangerous stirrups are for small children and what ever other reasons I had that I realized that it must mean I was planning to get them. “Me thinks you (he?) protestith to much” or some such. So I found a pair with tapadaros to alleviate the foot slipping through issue and she does seem to like them. Her legs are a little too short even for the shortest setting but she can reach them and hopefully they will offer some support.

Dreading the coming cold but we are in November and were lucky to enjoy the long beautiful fall that we did. It is supposed to snow through the end of the week so hopefully I will have time to write about Halloween before I forget.


30 October 2015

The Day Before Halloween

My ancient old husband says that back in his day they only got Halloween night to do stuff on. Fortunately our children are not so deprived. We started the day before the day before Halloween, dressing like twins for school, we may not be in school yet but why let that stop us, and baking cookies for our pumpkin party.

The day before Halloween we got up early and got ready for the party. Got the new playhouse all decorated, spiced apple cider warmed and supplies gathered. Then people started to come, friends and the cousins. We painted pumpkins and carved pumpkins to our hearts content.

After lunch and a good nap we got our costumes on and headed for Chadron where the Kiwanis Club put on a trunk or treat on main street. The businesses and a biker club handed decorated and gave out candy. They had done a great job and we had the best time.

Then we were invited along to a Halloween party at the bouncy houses. A building where a local church provides a place for children to come and play, I don’t know how to explain it but it’s great check out their page here. The Goblin Child ran about like fiend. The pictures I have of her are a blur because that’s all she was running past.

Then to supper to cap the night. And still tomorrow to go.


25 October 2015

The New Play House

17 October 2015

A Bed in A Box

It really is an amazing thing. We got a box a couple of feet square and maybe four foot long. And a flatter longer box. Open them up and with a little putting together and unrolling “poof” it’s a bed. A cool foam bed that feels nothing like a mattress with springs. Did it solve all soreness issues? No. It’s a bed not a miracle but it helped.