14 June 2015

A Day in The Life of The Goblin Child

or, Finally planting corn!

or Why I don’t care if my children watch TV

Sometimes it’s hard to decide on a title.

It says I started to write this June 3rd. At that time they had just got the corn planted, the latest my very old husband ever remembers planting corn. It snowed or poured rain up till then and just finally dried out enough. They were still planting in mud. We have neighbors who are still working at it. Most people who haven’t finished have given up, taken the insurance money and planted something else.

We had fun helping the very little bit that we did. It was fun to see the great big new planter finally working and to help load the seed but mostly to play on the trailer. They raced the whole time to beat the rain.

I have since then been noticing how active my child is and read a couple of interesting articles. One said that the average toddler gets forty five minutes of exercise a day. I had to laugh at that one, we get way more than that on the coldest most miserable winter days on nice days it doesn’t seem like we ever sit down, well except for the constant feeding of 8 but even that doesn’t seem like enough.

The other was this article about how to teach a child to hate reading, it talked about how restricting TV time to force them to read is teaching them that TV is candy and makes them want more. I was horrified and offended when the author of another blog I like to read said that her little girl knew the names of different birds and liked to spot the moon and a long list of things I can’t remember and all of this because she didn’t watch TV and most certainly did not would not have a tablet. All I could think was yeah well my kid can do all those things and knows how to work her tablet by herself. Plus how does anyone clean house without TV for a distraction? I must be doing something wrong.

Anyway I have found it to be self regulating, we are not capable of sitting still long enough to watch “too much” TV we are busy doing these things:


12 June 2015

We survived!

I nearly had a panic attack for the whole week leading up to it but in the end it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t have to stand up and talk in front of anyone, there were no serious injuries and no parents yelled at us for getting their kids so dirty. I’m glad someone wants to teach, it’s not something I would ever want to do. Especially not while sick and with two small children at home who don’t believe in sleeping.

In the end it worked because of the great help. I hate to even call them help because they did it all. They were old pros at this whole thing while I followed along lost and confused. Sandy watched 8 most of the time and rocked both babies to sleep as well as helping with the big kids. Jessie was a cheerful ball of endless energy. Always happy to play with the kids and even clean. Heather managed to get up at the crack of dawn and get two kids dressed and out the door before their usual time to even get out of bed, I suppose I should also thank her husband for helping with that. She, and Jessie, came up with great ideas to keep the kids occupied. Even some foolish ideas such as tag when she was the only adult playing, apparently the adult gets to be “it”every time. It’s good exercise at least. And last but not least my poor beleaguered husband whose office got used for naps and was nearly put to sleep himself having to listen to lullaby’s in a darkened room after being up all night with kids.

Would I do it again? Maybe, if everybody would come back and help again. Would they ask me to again? Well that’s hard to say.

2 June 2015

Grammy and Different Papa

I know we all seem ancient to young children but sometimes it can be a shock to realize how old they think we are. The Goblin Childs favorite thing to watch right now is classic Micky Mouse. Every time this one comes on she starts telling me how it’s Grammy and Different papa.

Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean she thinks they’re old maybe she just thinks they’re this pretty.


30 May 2015

Run Ragged

I am noticing that I am happiest when quite busy, with days of nothing mixed in for recuperating, but the way we’ve been going lately is more than a little ridicules.

We, which doesn’t always mean me, have been getting cattle sorted and worked to go to pasture. I have taken my turn at providing that always necessary child care. It makes more sense for me to stay home anyway since I am the one with the baby. I have not gotten in on any of the sorting but the goblin child went along this morning to play cowgirl, until she fell asleep on the front of the four wheeler.

Princess Onna is at the vet now waiting to be bred. We have many conversations around here about how the vet is going to put a baby in her tummy. She had a couple of small issues but I guess things were looking good and she should be ready to go. I on the other hand was woefully unprepared. I didn’t get the money and paper work mailed off until the last minute and it just barely got there in the nick of time. Here’s hoping for a healthy beautiful foal. I really don’t have a color I’m hoping for, I bred to a grulla for the bloodlines not the color weird I know, but I would like a little filly and am really liking Ruth Ann for a name at the moment.

It keeps raining and the guys areΒ  frantic to get in the fields. Even if not for the rain the fancy new (used) planter is still not working despite the days they have put in working on it. Maybe they will be back to the little old one if they can ever start planting.

The garden is nearly nonexistent. A few bedraggled potatoes, some onions and cabbage all planted before the snows. The tomatoes and peppers sit in the greenhouse waiting for warm weather and dry soil getting a bit lanky and pale. Even the plants planted in the greenhouse are wishing for some sun so they can grow.

I have way too many chickens to take care of. It takes me hours, slight exaggeration, to feed them once I am finally able to get 8 to sleep so I can get out in the cold rainy weather. Warm days are easier.

I have traded Whackster, Poppies calf from last year, for a pretty little Normandy heifer. I should probably mention it to my father in law, make sure he’s willing to give me pasture for yet another cow before I finalize the deal.

But the thing that makes it all difficult, the straw that broke the camels back and keeps me up nights worrying is summer camp. For some insane reason I agreed to teach a class. It was pity, they were desperate, probably the only reason they asked me anyway. But still, what was I thinking? I am terrified of talking in front of people, I have never taught anything in my life. It may be glorified babysitting for, hopefully not very many, pre-K kids but still. I can brand, I can castrate, I can drive a semi, manual or automatic, I can start a colt and turn a cow on the fence, once or twice I have even managed to watch the nursery at church with all the children surviving unscathed but this I don’t think I can handle.

None of this on it’s own would be such a big deal if not for one little time drain. How does one small child take up so much time? The time I spend getting him to sleep alone would allow me to get the house clean. How do people do anything with a baby to watch? He a cute little thing but so amazingly high maintenance. Who would’ve thought it.

There’s good reason people don’t ask me to babysit. Our idea of fun involves getting dirty and collecting lots of ticks!


24 May 2015

Woman’s Work

We branded my cow herd Thursday. All four calves, and the cows. The last one had calved and I wanted to get it done as soon as possible. Snow put it off the first time I planned to try. I talked to a friend and she was free Thursday. The two of us would have no problem running such a small bunch through the calf table. Then I thought I would see if the girl who has been coming out to ride with me wanted to come. Then her sister was there when I asked and I couldn’t not ask her. Then I asked another friend and she wanted to come play with us too. Then finally it occurred to me that we had a big enough crew to do a lot more than four head.

I talked to my father-in-law and volunteered to do one bunch of his cattle for him. He then invited himself to our branding. You really can’t tell a man he can’t come brand his own cattle so he came and invited a friend of his own. So much for our all girl branding. Since the boys were crashing our party we were thrilled when my husband with many jobs was able to get away from one of them to come play with us too.

The girl who’s been riding with me rode Jerry to help get the cows in. We got mine in first with the help of the worlds only cow goat. Then we braved more of the deep mud to get the big bunch. The goat came right along for that too. So did a couple of the guys. The gate to that pen is at the bottom of the hill. The mud and muck was indescribably deep. Not quite as bad as quicksand, there is a bottom to it down there somewhere. It was half a corral that was as bad as the gate that gave us so much trouble trying to get the cows out of the corrals last week. Even the top of the hill had deep, greasy mud.

Most of the cattle went out the gate nicely. All except for the last two calves who were delighting in out running us in the muck. Unwilling to run our horses they had no trouble until along came Daisy. She had no trouble running on the slick ground and the calves soon discovered it was no fun after all and ran straight out the gate.

We got back to find my cows in the chute waiting. They wanted me to brand my own and that would’ve been great but our much beloved Poppy was up first and I could barely stand to do it. Unfortunately The Goblin Child’s first introduction to branding was me saying “Poor Poppy” and she repeated it somewhat distressed throughout the whole process.

I took up position in the back pushing calves in and Paula came to join me, leaving Heather to brand and vaccinate with the father-in-law. That left four people to get the big bunch sorted and ready to go. It worked great. When we started the big bunch the children were happily foisted off onto the two youngest girls. That I consider child care a job to deserve more thanks than working cattle shows just how twisted we are doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just that we do it all the time, and love it, but the chance to play at things we got to do before children came along makes it seem like more of a chore. It was sure nice to have someone to help watch kids.

With the big bunch nearly done I snuck out behind the barn with my husband to, well unfortunately to start loading cattle. Oh well, you can only have so much fun in one day. The Goblin Child’s favorite playmate, Whitten, was sad to have to leave as we were climbing in the semis to haul the cattle so we invited him to come along while his mom ran errands. It was all fun and games until we stuck the semi.

Even with all the moisture we’ve had lately the driveway looked dry. We pulled in to back across the road into the pasture to unload. Unfortunately the exact spot we stopped to start backing had a small puddle just big enough for all the back tires and they sunk. We unloaded there and there were enough of us to carefully guide the cows and calves across the road through the gate. I then called Whitten’s mom to tell her we were stuck and she may never get her son back. She came to rescue him immediately. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship we begged rides from her. As we prepared to escape the men got the semi free and we decided to stick around after all.

That days work may have been finished but the next day brought more calves and the next. Paula made it back for another days work at the calf table even though she would far rather rope and drag calves. Hopefully the others will come back again too. We are now out of sorted pairs to work and get out to pasture and the rain has set in again. That’s just fine we all have injuries and sore muscles that need a days rest to recuperate.


20 May 2015

Just Wrong

That’s all that can be said about this it’s just plain wrong. We are going into Memorial Day weekend. Today is the last day of school, they are supposed to be outside enjoying a track and field day. Playing in short sleeves on green grass. You really can’t have a snow day on the last day of school.

18 May 2015

Cleaning Corrals

We got the pairs out of the well flooded corrals this week before more rain came in. They had weathered the storm pretty good with minimal losses, only one dead, one very sick and two lame probably stepped on. All four of those were in the same pen.

I saddled Coyote and put on his big cow working bit. I mock all those people who move up to bigger bits to control their horses and here I am with my big cow working bit. Sigh. But let me explain. We usually ride in a halter, bareback. He walks, mostly, quietly and responds to the lightest touch of leg or shift of seat. He loves to work cattle, it is very exciting and requires clearer commands under higher stress then trail riding. Halters, like hackmores, don’t giveΒ  clear commands. He has told me he does not like a snaffle. So here we are in his big cow working bit. (this is about like it, ours isn’t as fancy) He responds nicely to it no matter how hopped up he is. And he gets slightly crazed.

Anyway, we waded through knee deep mud pushing the cattle out. Pretty simple, they wanted to go, I fought to keep Coyote to a walk. He has beautiful, perfect, sound legs like iron but he is getting a bit of age on him and this was horrible, sucking, leg sticking mud. The last thing I want to do is lame my beloved pony, he wanted to go. Fast. We pranced.

One bunch of cattle, the ones with all the problems, had one gate they had to go through. The mud in it was awful, worse than everywhere else even. All the cows and calves struggled through and got out it. Except our three problem children.Β  The sick one said no he was not getting up his mom ran over to stay with him, problem solved. The not so lame calf followed the others out the gate. Or to the gate. Once in the gate he sunk to his belly in the sticky mud and was stuck. My father-in-law started to follow him but was persuaded to let me do the honors. He’s no spring chicken and doesn’t need to be trying to walk in that mess. I am no spring chicken either, but I am slightly springier.

I tied Coyote with his reins, hooked to his halter I know how quickly he can slip a bridle off, I didn’t need him stepping on me in his crazed state, and wadded in. And promptly got stuck, lost a boot and nearly fell over a couple of times but was able to get the calf free. Making my way back to Coyote I found him looking disappointed to still be tied with his bridle plopped into the muck beneath him. I was a little grouchy by then and short on clean places to wipe it so I put the bit back in his mouth, filth and all.

We pushed them out to the corrals that were dryer and open to the pasture then came back for the last calf. He was of course stuck in the mud. Once again being young and agile, it’s all relative, I dove in. The father-in-law started to follow but was happy to wait on dryer ground to serve as anchor. I reached a hind leg and drug the calf towards me gaining a foot or so then grabbed the outstretched hand of my father-in-law and pulled as I let go of the calf grabbed a boot and yanked first one foot than the other free moving slightly closer to high ground. This was repeated over and over as we gained inch after precious inch.Β  Finally he was free of that mud hole. We were still in the same pen though with the gate between us and freedom.

Thank goodness for payloaders. It plowed it’s way into the gate and gave the little guy a ride out of there. We found the problem, a broken leg, and set it before hauling him out to the cows. I haven’t heard any news of him and with 8 I can’t get out to see for myself hopefully the leg heals nicely.

17 May 2015

Oh Hail

I don’t think that’s the first time I’ve used that title but to bad. What else can you say about this type of weather? Last weekend we had a foot of snow this weekend it was hail. The guys are getting antsy about getting the corn planted. With all the time spent getting the “new” drill working and the weather these last two weeks it’s getting late and still too muddy. Just talked to a neighbor who has been pulling 24 hour planting sprees in between storms.

The sound of the hail is deafening

It doesn’t stop once the storm has passed. Better to hear this roar going than coming.

15 May 2015

Monkey Princess

The great and terrible, death defying feats of the amazing climbing monkey princess:

The child terrifies me. But she’s good at it, fortunately.