December is here. That means it’s time to start some of our favorite traditions.
Not the usual kind. We’ve done that but aren’t very good at it.
We have one new one this year. A Christmas tree. All computery like. It has 25 lights on it. My husband sat down with the kids in the end of November and explained to them how he was programing it. Did i stick? Do they suddenly know how to program in java?
Do I even know that that’s what he was doing it in?
But they were very interested and actually paid attention for once, so there’s that. The lights are coming on one at a time, a new one each day of the month. He showed them the numbers for different colors of light and all the things I have no clue about.
The other one, that we do every year with a LOT of enthusiasm, is Mary and Joseph. They travel around our house having all sorts of adventures. Until, eventually, they reach a stable where baby Jesus is born.
I have fun moving them around and trying to come up with fun things for the pair to do. They ride on horse drawn wagons, in tractors, even trains. We’ve added on considerably to the original stable kit they all came in. Now there are cows, fences, chickens, horses. All the good farm toy set accoutrements.
It will be fun to see what the lovely family gets up to on their trip this year. I love when the kids help with the daily moving and how enthusiastically they search for the new locations.
The sun shone bright under dark clouds as I picked the kids up from the bus. They had gotten rained on in town. Here there was no more than an occasional mist.
At home they hopped out at the corn field. A small corner had been wind-rowed for hay and was more appealing than they could resist. They were going to pick up some ears! I just happened to have a bucket in back of the pickup. They were set.
I went on to the house and started feeding animals and gathering from the garden for supper. The footsteps of my daughter echoed through the yard as she ran for the house. I waited until she got to the door then yelled at her from where I was hidden under tomato trees. Apparently she was looking for me, not headed inside. She ran towards me then, gasping out of breath, and saying… something.
It took awhile before I could catch it. There was a rainbow. With the misty rain coming down in bright sunshine that wasn’t surprising. They had found the end of it though! Come quick, we could catch it. Looking around I could see it. There at the edge of the stackyard, into the cornfield. The rainbow came right to the ground. There was no way I was running that far. Instead I ran the other way to the shed.
On the fourwheeler I picker her up then we went for her brother. All children gathered, we took off after that rainbow.
It was no longer at the edge of the corn field. We chased it through the middle of the corn, down the sectionline, then stopped on top of a hill to look at it over a friends house, way off at the highway, We were too late. Too late didn’t make it any less fun.Who needs a pot of gold wen we have all the riches we could want right here.
Turning for home the kids asked me to come pick more corn with them.
After a busy day I still had chores that needed done, there were dirty dishes in the sink, and supper to get on the table. I paused with all the reasons I couldn’t on the tip of my tongue.
Sure! I said and we wen off to play in the corn. Some opportunities are to great to let slip by.
I enjoy listening to podcasts while I clean house, so not many had been listened to lately. Horses In The Morning is a big one. It would sure be fun to get an interview there! I always thought. So I pulled their page up and looked for contact info.
Hard as I looked I could not find any or figure out how to get a hold of them. Guess that one was out of the question. Finally, I clicked on the tab again. There were too many open, I was going to have to close a few. But, one last look first.
Immediately an email address popped out at me. Weird. I had looked and looked and could never figure out how to contact them. That is, I may have seen the email address before, obviously it had been there all along, but never been able to comprehend how to go about contacting them. That day, suddenly it was crystal clear. I dropped a quick email, introduced myself, said I’d love to talk about whorls someday if they ever wanted.
Then forgot about it. They would never want to talk to me.
Then one day I checked email to find one from Horses In The Morning! They had an opening and would like to do an interview. The next day! We got everything lined up and I was nearly sick with nerves. But I didn’t realize until the interview was just about over just how important my lack of ability to contact them had been.
As we finished up talking Glen said that he had received my email just after talking to a friend about horse whorls. The timing was perfect and made him want to talk.
Had I been able to figure out how to send that email sooner the timing wouldn’t have been right. The interview may or may not have taken place. But sent just when it was everything fell into place.
Sometimes God puts blinders on us. He stops us from seeing things that are clearly visible right in front of our faces. These blinders hold us back and make us wait on God’s time, instead of rushing forwards on our own. When He knows the time is right, He will remove the blinders and send us out to do what is needed. Everything is on time when it’s on God’s time.
You can find the interview here: https://www.horsesinthemorning.com/understanding-whorls-evacuations-and-horse-bread-for-sep-14-2022-by-state-line-tack/
The Goblin Child was playing with one of the calves when I got there. Laughing and giggling as her fingers got sucked on, she was as happy as the kids always are to play with calves. Once I finally forced the children out there.
We laughed and talked about how cute and gross the calves are for a bit. Then I looked at the rest of them. My count came up short one. A second and third count showed the same. With two gates to get through to get out of the barn it didn’t seem possible. We searched the barn. Then counted again. Still one short.
Outside I sent the kids to walk through the tree row while I drove a 4wheeler to look across the big open fields. Maybe he had just gotten out and would be visible as he ran across one.
I knew exactly which calf it was. They had all gotten ear tags the night before. We had named this one Styx. This morning he had refused a bottle. His voice was hoarse from calling for his mom. Not being able to raise him didn’t mean she hadn’t been a good mom, while she did have him. He wanted her back. Of all the calves he was the one who wasn’t beginning to recognize us as the food source and a good thing.
I was positive he was long gone. Running the way scared calves do, blindly and full out.
It made me sick. I knew it was all my fault, no blaming the kids on this one. After feeding I had carried the feeder out of the barn, then gotten caught up in other things. I was the one who hadn’t remembered to carefully lock both the gates.
We searched all morning. I spent the time asking God to take care of of the poor little calf. Whether that meant us finding him or him finding a herd of cows. He didn’t deserve this. Then we had to leave, go to town. Hurrying home we searched the rest of the afternoon. Not that we had any chance of seeing him if he was laying in the yard. A small black calf in a shaded spot would be as invisible as nature intended them to be. Hidden from us as well as predators. In cooler weather a calf can hide for a couple of days and live.
In this heat, without having had breakfast for sure, maybe no supper the night before, he had little hope. Laying in shade, maybe. If he had taken off running, not a chance. Maybe Styx was a bad name choice.
That evening we took milk out to the remaining calves. Finally accepting the smaller number, we mixed enough milk for what was left. They slurped happily at their milk. The children squealed and giggled as calves chased them around wanting a bottle. The ruckus was loud and enthusiastic. Then I had to step out the barn door for some reason.
Out the door I happened to glance up, and there was a calf in the middle of the drive!
It took a bit of looking to realize it was indeed a calf. Then my beleaguered brain had to spend some time trying to figure out how another one of the calves from the barn could have gotten outside. It was a few moments before I realized this was our missing calf!
All day while we drove all over, while we walked through the trees, while we had to have walked right past him a few times, he had been laying there. Perfectly still he blended and stayed invisible, just like calves are supposed to do. It must have been the sound of the other calves getting their meal that drew him out of hiding.
He was curious, but not brave enough to come up to me.
I yelled for a child to come help. Then sent him around behind the calf, to help push him towards me. We herded the calf towards the door to the barn. The calf shot out the side. We cornered him against a gate. My soon opened the gate. I tried to push the calf through.
The calf couldn’t resist the bottle any longer. He latched on and was not letting go.
We lead him back into the barn to join the others. His reluctance to eat from the bottle was gone. He was starving. The bottle got handed to a child while I ran into the house for more milk. Our prodigal son had returned.
There was fog, haze and moisture in the air first thing, even dew. We haven’t seen that for ages. It was so sticky hot and humid that stepping outside was miserable.
Then the wind came up. It howl and ripped through the yard, even harder than it has been. Which says a lot because it’s been blowing. That night one strong gust ripped down tree branches and scattered kids toys out through the yard. Then the lightning started. The fear of fire makes any sleeping hard. Especially when you know they are burning out of control not too far away.
Finally managing to get to sleep we woke to snow!
A wonderful thing to see. The forecast predicted an inch. Maybe two. We had that already. The radar showed the storm circling. It was melting as fast as it came down and water was running every where. It was a wonderful thing to see. And the snow was still coming down.
We checked cows, luckily no calves. Some were huddled in good sheltered places. Some stood in the worst possible. Ghost’s brand new calf was laid against a fence, as dry as he could get, out of the never ceasing wind. The bottle calves were hesitant to cone out of their shed. They had never seen the white stuff before. They ate quickly, hungerly than ran back to safety.
The children forced outside to play and use up energy climbed snowbanks that drifted well over the fences.
This morning the snow had stopped. Sunshine and blue sky teased us that it might be warm, but the wind is still howling. After feeding and making sure everything was safe and healthy we went out for a drive. We had heard stories of stranded travelers and people staying with the neighbors until they could get their cars out of the ditch. We wanted to see for our selves.
The highway was nearly deserted. Still closed we heard as we parked in the middle of the road to talk. People had taken it upon themselves to move the barricades so they could get through but the roads were supposed to be closed. A semi blocked half of the road, not tipped on its side only by the grace of God. Most of the wheels were off the ground. A pickup buried way off the road. The car of a pair of college professors who couldn’t get home on the usual road so instead of staying where they were decided to try taking the long way. Instead they ended up in a ditch, walking through the storm to the nearest house. Luckily for them they were taken in, given a warm place to stay, then pulled out this morning. Maybe they should teach classes in not doing stupid things at the college?
In town buildings were opened to take in more stranded travelers. I don’t remember ever hearing about that? Maybe I just didn’t know in the past? Maybe more people were caught unaware with the forecast for an inch of snow and nearly ninety degree weather the day before.
We are not complain about the snow. It was wonderful! The most moisture we’ve seen for the last year. That’s all together, not at once. With this snow we might just have a little bit of grass. If nothing else the dust might not be blowing as bad for a few days. Hopefully this will be the start and rain will come again.
As in we actually went on one today! There’s a little country church not far from us. We really like it, not sure why we don’t go there more often. Except the lack of children’s church, that’s a big one. And no restaurants between there and home. I admit a big plus of going to church is eating out afterwards. But I digress. They had a trail ride! We try to support them when we can and it sounded like lots of fun, so we went.
The day started out foggy and cold. Not just a little fog but a thick, sunny, dark, glorious fog! I drug the kids out to play in it as soon as I saw how perfect it was. We jumped in puddles and checked out the newly frozen garden then checked cows. The fog cleared though and warmed up. Perfect weather for a ride.
There were more people there than I had expected. A nice little crowd. It was more horses than Rusty had ever seen in his life. He came with to Fort Rob for the Morgan ride but I rode Gypsy the very nearly perfect Arab cross instead of him for the group ride. She was here too of course with her little people on board. Rusty wasn’t crazed at least. And the hills weren’t as big, that helped although whether it helped me or him more I’m not sure 😉 We walked a few laps up and down the road in front of the church. Then The Goblin Child got on and we made more laps until it was time to go.
A little ways down the gravel then we turned in to someones pasture. Behind us followed a pickup pulling a trailer with hay and the non riders of the group. Rusty was nervous. Wanting to trot. Or stop and look around. Coyote was perfect. He and his little person followed happily. The pickup careful picked its way through the hills and ruts as the horses tried to remember that it couldn’t go everywhere they could. At the top of a particularly large hill we stopped and switched riders on Coyote.
Gypsy got switched to her other, bigger person. She had been ponied until then, now they were turned loose. The two of them zoomed all around. He’s a wonderful little rider, blessed with a great horse. 8 didn’t do as well, although Coyote was still trying to be perfect. He’s little though and will get better with time. He missed his nap and was tired. Rusty had an obvious problem, although at first I couldn’t tell if it was nerves or what. Finally he started kicking out with one hind leg and I decided to hop off and see what was wrong. It turned into a bit of a leap as he jumped kicking enthusiastically on my way down. He had a whole ball of cactus in his heel. Poor baby. No wonder he was upset. I managed to get them out. They left blood. He felt mostly better after that. 8 was not having fun. Rusty wanted to trot. Or stop. I made him wait until we got to the bottom of the hill we were going down then let him off.
The Goblin Child was having fun on the hay wagon with her friends and didn’t want to get back on. I was dreading the thought of having to keep Rusty calm and make it back alive while ponying Coyote. Luckily I was able to convince my darling husband to abandon the children and join me for a ride. It was wonderful! We haven’t ridden together since before The Goblin Child was born. He did great on Coyote and Coyote did great with him. We zipped back to the church as fast as two Morgans can walk. Which was much faster than 1/4 horses can manage. It’s hard to be in front of the group while trying to follow the group leader. Oops.
At the church we were treated to hot dogs and s’mores around a campfire followed by music. The children ran off to play and we sat, relaxing by the fire in the coming evenings chill. The horses pawing in the trailer kept beat to old John Denver songs and gospel. The whole afternoon came together to be the best church service ever.
I volunteered this year. Last year I told them I couldn’t help because I had to work, and, well, I did. Have to work that is, somehow it felt like a convenient excuse though. Then all my friends did it and I was jealous and felt left out. So this year I told them I’d help.
It was a fun busy week. I thought I’d be an assistant in one of the rooms with someone else in charge. Instead I wound up doing science projects. I happen to love doing science projects! But we had to choose from the ones in “the book” that went with the theme and gave a bible tie in and so on. It was fun anyway. We made slime. We made baking soda play dough then added vinegar. That was the greatest. This baking soda is your life. Start squirting vinegar. This is your life on God! I want more God in my life the children screamed. We’d squirt them with more vinegar and their hands, covered in play dough, foamed. That part wasn’t in “the book” they just said to add vinegar to baking soda. Boring. We made tin can telephones and played telephone. And we filtered dirty water through sand, gravel and rice.
The last night the kids got up and did their little program. It was very nicely done. Some singing, some pictures, some talking. Our children were, of course, adorable. Sometimes just by being rotten. They’re always cure when they’re your kids 😉
And I see that it wont load 8’s videos. I’ll mess with them and get them shortened or something. He was adorable dancing to his own personal beat. Totally different from everyone else.
We will be going to the beautiful little country church near us for Christmas eve again. To get ready for the play on Christmas we’ve started going there now and will be until Christmas. The Goblin Child will be Mary, with her little best friend being Joseph. His little sister will make a beautiful angel and 8 will be a dragon. Or maybe not, but there was strong vote put in for it. I could see the biblical implications, the demon hovering nearby, always present, always watching, we might still be able to talk them into it. If not he will be a shepherd or possibly a wise man.
At the last practice they were enthusiastic and energetic. They remembered their lines and did an excellent job singing. Hopefully they do as good when it’s time for the real thing.
8 has been climbing out of his crib. He is quite nonchalant about it most of the time. He’ll saunter out of his room in the morning, look around and say hi. When things don’t go smoothly is when there is a problem. He has fallen rather dramatically twice now. Twice was enough for us to decide to do away with the tall crib rail. Over the long spring break weekend we converted the crib to a toddler bed.
The next two nights my loving and supportive husband was gone. He will tell you it wasn’t on purpose. I’m sure it wasn’t, work is work after all. Maybe, I declared it an excuse to get away from children who wont sleep.
The third night he had had enough of my ribbing and promised he was going to be home. I clung to that. So when he was fifteen minutes late and still no word from him I went ahead and fed the children. I was starting to get a little grouchy. In the scheme of things it wasn’t that late but I was tired and sore and not in the mood to be reasonable.
When he came in the door, not even half an hour late I made a great attempt to be civil. The children had scarfed down what food they were going to eat and I was ready to start the battle to get them into bed. They had skipped naps and had entered that crazed, overly tired stage. But I sat down with my hard working husband, tired too from a couple of late nights at work and we talked as he ate ignoring the rotten children and what ever they may have been destroying upstairs.
After eating he went up and ran a bath, scented with lavender, and insisted I soak and relax. I protested but my will to resist was weak. He then prepared both children for bed and fought them into their beds and to sleep. All while I relaxed in a hot bath. What a man.