22 January 2016

Practically Perfect Ponies

20160119_131548We went riding, the three of us. The horses were delightfully hot and prancey. Ok not delightful, quite a nuisance especially with 8 in front of me. But they weren’t bad exactly and 8 loved it, going out at least. Coming back he was getting tired.

Back at the pick up/ mounting block/ hitching post they were both happy to be playing in the back. The weather was warm and hooves not muddy so I decided to trim the ponies. I had the tail gate up so no one would fall out and no where to tie. I gave the lead ropes to The Goblin Child to hold and started on Coyote.Β  He stood nicely, as always. Then he started to fidget, acting almost like he wanted to step forward. I got the foot finished and stood up. There, in the pick up, stood The Goblin Child against the cab hauling forward on the lead as hard as she could with Coyote trying to decide who to obey.

20 January 2016

First Day of School!

Her favorite playmate started preschool this year and play-dates have been few, while cold miserable days have been plentiful. While the school offers preschool we are in no rush to start her to school for real. I like having her around and she’ll spend enough time in school, maybe. A local church offers preschool and we have friends who have sent children there for a day or two a week and loved it. So we decided to give it a try, one day a week.

She insisted we dye her hair pink for the special occasion and carefully chose a dress to wear.

She is our little social butterfly so it was no surprise when she was thrilled to be dropped off. I got there a little early to pick her up and got to watch the last of a lesson. They had rhythm sticks and were taking turns choosing what to do with them. Noting whether it was a fast or slow beat or pretending they were a bow and arrow. When it was The Goblin Childs turn she thought about it then said “Lets do something fun” because apparently the other stuff hadn’t been? then began windmilling her arm wildly. It must have been fun because the next boy chose the same thing.


17 January 2016

Still Cold

Although it has warmed up considerably from zeros to nearly freezing!


8 January 2016

Future Farmers of America

No, not these guys








This Guy








He crawls around on the floor pushing his toy tractors making wet brooooming noises. Anything with wheels is fascinating. He finds a wheel while we are out and about and he has to check it out. A dolly at the grocery store nearly prevented us from ever leaving. He can sit for what amounts to hours in small child time spinning the wheels on his toys.

Unlike his sisterΒ  who has to be drug out to feed every morning he loves it. He loves to stare at the tractors. He wants to hang out the window and watch the cows. When he’s allowed to drive he bounces up and down chirping with joy.

He is enthralled with four wheelers. When it was warmer and we could get outside more I would put him in his backpack to go check cows. As soon as we got on the four wheeler he would start bouncing up and down in excitement. Now he cranes his head to watch them go by and even better he has his own to ride.



On the bright side he gets all excited about riding horses too.


2 January 2016

Making the Best of Cold Weather








I had asked if there was any chance we could come along when they went to get the bulls in from the pasture. I was told the would be making quick work of it with the four wheelers and it wouldn’t work very well to try to come with horses. But my always considerate husband called from the payloader as he was feeding to say that there was one bull already in the pen and if we wanted we could come bring him the rest of the way in.

We did want. But wanting and remembering to keep getting ready and not get out every toy we lay eyes on and generally to keep getting ready are two different things. When I finally got her drug out the door, two horses saddled and a bouncy child put on I thought we had probably missed any chance to chase cows. It’s all she’s wanted to do for the last few times we’ve ridden. But we really can’t just go around chasing cows, it’s simply not done. And I worry. I know Onna has seen cattle before but being around them and working cattle in tight quarters with yearlings stampeding in the next pen and four wheelers zipping about are two very different things.

She was great though, despite my worries. We got there in more than enough time to bring him in then went after a couple still in the pasture. The first one came in easy. The second one not so much. We had to trot a little and turn and hard things like that. I looked back to find The Goblin Child hunched in the saddle with both arms wrapped around the horn. About then the guys showed up with four wheelers and I was going to take her back to the house. But she wanted to ride with papa on his four wheeler and my darling loving husband volunteered to take Onna back to the house, he does hate cattle anyway. So I got to work cattle, for real!!

Coyote was in a halter and it was icy. I kind of thought we might die. Chasing cattle, bulls especially, is the one thing my grouchy miserable old gelding loves. Besides food of course. We plunged through snow too deep for four wheelers and with Coyote locked onto that bull, biting him on the butt regularly, he zigzagged back and fourth bringing him up. With the snow deep enough to stick a four wheeler in spots, it felt almost as though we were really helping and not just out to play, not that it wasn’t both.

My old boy pranced and hopped about like a youngster, fighting what little control I had with the halter. It was great. The bulls came in quick and easy, all to soon it was done.Β  We picked up the half frozen Goblin Child, threw her up on his back and led them back to the house. He dropped his head and walked calmly along side me as Onna screamed frantically for him from their pen.

28 December 2015

It’s a Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

Well, pretty to look at. Not so pleasant to be in. We woke to fog and hoarfrost, the world was white. The temps hovered around zero with a wind chill much lower.

My ever working husband had to go in to his real job so I was feeding. The Goblin Child who is totally not into feeding this year got to go play at the cousins house but 8 was stuck with me. On his way to work and to drop the child off my chauffeur husband also dropped us off at the quanset to get the feed truck. I was excited to find it already running and warm for us.

As I pulled up to load the feed truck I realized that it had no brakes. Its breaks aren’t the best anyway so it can be a little hard to tell the difference but definitely no breaks. The pens we feed are on a hill. We have to come down the hill. It was looking like feeding might be exciting.

On the first load of feed we found water running down the road. The float had come off the tank at the very top of the hill and the water ran through every pen on its path down the hill. So the calves were wadding in water to reach the feed bunks, and slipping on ice when they weren’t fetlock deep in water. We have highs in the low twenties or lower predicted as far as we can see into the future. The ice isn’t going anywhere. The father in law went and got a bungee cord and we tied up the, the what? I should know what that’s called, the thingy to shut the water off.

We made it down the hill with out being run away with. The cows all came to drink right away so the water got down to where it could be fixed. Things were looking good. Except that I was looking to see where the water level was in the tank instead of watching where I was going and hit the corner of the end feed bunk with the tires of the feed truck. Not good. In the cold it broke maybe even worse than it would have other wise and knocked the whole corner off. Oops.

26 December 2015

The Day After Christmas Day

As it is called on our calendar. Strangely enough.

Christmas began, of course, on Christmas eve. Not in the evening either. The first present got opened early in the day. The day that was one mad rush getting ready and adding last minute touches to presents. Then it was time for church. With one more present to open we left early to look at lights on the way.

At the church, not our usual church but the little country church where we enjoyed last Christmas eve, we readied The Goblin Child for the play. She was scheduled to be an angel. Her little best friend was going to be a wise man. She decided that all she wanted to be was a shepherd. He friend wanted to be a princess with a crown. So they traded. A wise man was apparently close enough to a shepherd to keep her happy. And he got to wear the beautiful gown and carry a star. As if the night wasn’t great enough already her favorite cousin got to be in the play too as a fellow wise man.

The next morning she had us up bright and early. We opened her stocking, sorry 8 you didn’t know what was going on anyway, next year we’ll get something for you too, then waited till clear after breakfast and the feeding of the cattle to be done before opening their presents. Yes we got something for 8 too, in this at least. Then the rush continued to get ready to head over to the sister in laws house for lunch and the family Christmas. We ate until we thought we would explode, opened presents, made ice cream and the kids ran and played until they were exhausted.








23 December 2015

All I Want for Christmas is….

My two front teeth!

They poked through at the beginning of the month. Just in time for Christmas.

Trying to get a picture of them is very difficult.


Now we sit in a rare moment of quiet, ready, I think, for Christmas and the chaos that brings. Until then merry Christmas!

16 December 2015

Of Snow and Painting

We knew it was coming. The day before it was all anyone could talk about. Would it or wouldn’t it?

It did.

The snow came in around 8 in the morning. The school superintendent nearly gave himself ulcers trying to decide whether to cancel school or not. In the end he didn’t, the snow came after school started. It came just as we started to feed the cattle. I brought the feed truck up to the house and let it warm up as I bundled children. I was delighted to find a tiny pair of snow pants as I looked for more clothing for 8. The Goblin Child I sent out to roll around in the white stuff so I could finish dressing the rest of us.

Inside the truck it was toasty warm and we soon unbundled a little. The cows were huddled in such a tight ball I couldn’t find them until they were pointed out to me. Covered in snow they blended in, a black outline around a white blob in the snow. They came running to their feed fed behind the shelter of the windbreak.

Back inside we did the things one does on a snowy day. We made cookies, we made water color paints. Ok so maybe making paint isn’t so normal but I had the recipe bookmarked for years (here) and was thrilled to have a chance to try it. It called for typical household things, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring. The Goblin Child enjoyed the fizzing and had fun mixing it together. My first attempt gave resulted in a mix that was pretty dry so I added more vinegar.

We poured it into an ice cube tray and started adding food coloring. I had fun talking about primary colors and different shadings. The Goblin child had fun pouring colors in. I could barely keep up with her and keep her from dumping the whole bottle in. Our fingers did get dyed yellow but that was fine.

We were not able to wait for them to dry, they still aren’t dry probably the extra vinegar, but they made great paint wet too. I couldn’t believe the colors we got from plain old food colors and they painted on so bright and saturated. I may have to make a set just for me to play with. Ours got mixed and muddied a little from over enthusiastic painting.

School was let out at noon and after giving the cousins a ride home my hard working husband was home to spend the afternoon with us. The Goblin Child was adorable when she woke from her nap to find him there. With exclamations of joy she ran and threw herself into his arms for and long hard hug. She then stayed in his lap to tell him all about her day and ask about his.

Today the snow is done falling, the sky bright and painfully blue. But the wind is howling blowing the snow all around. It’s always hard to tell with the drifting but looks like near 10 inches of the white stuff.

14 December 2015

Feeding Time Again

Not that it’s just begun, we’ve been feeding calves since they and their mama’s came home. But it’s in full swing and the weather is typical. Cold and snowy and winter. Today my hard working husband headed out to his other job, fought to get his frozen door open, hacked at the ice caked onto his window and nearly froze himself working on it all. He declared it too cold for me to take the children with to feed.

Last night we ran to Alliance to eat, shop for Christmas gifts and look at lights. We stopped for gas and it was a toasty 22 degrees out. After looking at lights for awhile, during which The Goblin Child begged for ice cream loudly and continuously which cut that a little short, the temp had dropped to 6. It wavered between 6 and 8 the whole drive home but basically stayed cold. The highway warmed from the sun all day steamed and fog settled in making for a long drive home. But this morning dawned clear and crisp. And still cold.

Tomorrow it is supposed to snow again. People are getting all panicked about how much we’re going to get, some of the forecasts say almost a foot. Of course some say a couple of inches.Β  I thought we should get outside while the weather was still decent and play a little. The horses were up here knocking at the gate so we went to give them cookies and The Goblin Child wanted to ride. Who am I to say no to that? So we got on which is when I realized I had forgotten her helmet. But her hat looked warmer and we had a very short window of opportunity so I crossed my fingers held my breath and we rode without. It was a very nice ride to the mailbox and back. We could see the fog to the east getting ever closer. She wanted to get home before it got here so it didn’t hurt her eyes. Or maybe to try to ride to the mountain again.