There’s something about small towns on Independence Day.
They go all out. The populations double. The streets are packed solid. The city parks overflow.
We went to Crawford for their parade. They are THE place to be on the fourth. Arriving early enough to only need to park a few blocks away from the parade rout we hiked to the proper road and found a place with some shade. Of course we knew someone across the street from where we sat. They walked over to say hi, then to visit with the people next to us who they also knew. We knew many of the people in the parade even though it was a good hour from us. Everyone knows everyone.
As a local girl sang the anthem not one person remained seated or left a hat on. The American Legion marched proudly passed carrying the colors. I knew the one carrying the American flag and fondly remembered his telling of crashing a plane somewhere overseas and meeting with the boy from a farm across the highway from him in the rescue crew. Or was he the rescue crew. I wished I could sit and talk to him and hear the story again of the joy and surprise of meeting a neighbor from back home while halfway around the world.
We tried to find a happy medium between encouraging the kids to grab the copious amounts of candy thrown out and making sure they didn’t dive under horse hooves or tractor tires. An older gentleman, a complete stranger, that we were sitting next to took to helping them gather as much candy as they could. Going out into the road after candy he thought they shouldn’t be taking the chance at getting themselves.
The parade over flowed with horses. Their shoes ringing loudly on the asphalt. The huge teams prancing or plodding as they pulled wagons slowly along. One team of oxen even, the announcer telling how they were used to feed the more lowly cattle all winter.
There were tractors, with darling farm kids driving them. Is there anything cuter than a farm kid proud to drive his tractor in the big parade? Old cars, semis, and the whole fire department worth of fire trucks. It took me a minute to recognize my farrier in one of them. Volunteers everyone of the but they are happy to give up watching the parade to drive in it. The children fully appreciated that and were surprised to hear their names called from inside one of them. A friend from school! They all waved enthusiastically.
The motorcycles made the ground shake as they rumbled by. I happened to glance down the street as they passed. The view was spectacular. The tree lined street was packed with people. The flags waved, a solid line down the center of the street.
Somewhere people are burning the flag, complaining about this country. Here we still acknowledge it as the place people are flocking to for a freedom, equality, and a chance to strive for the good life. Here we know how good we have it. What could be better than a small town parade?
I didn’t have to get up at five most days for the last week to go rake hay before coming in for breakfast then heading off to a real job all day. That means I don’t get to complain about little things like hauling hay. It’s not a bad job at all really. I can drive a stick shift. I can drive a stick shift with a small child on my lap helping. I think there should be competitions involving that sort of technical difficulties.
Out bouncing around the hay field with a rather heavy child sitting on the leg that had to work the clutch, helping steer there wasn’t much time to pay attention to anything else.
At one point I pulled my phone out to see what time it was.That was when I saw it.
My husband was on the line. The timer said he had been for eighteen minutes! Hoping he somehow hadn’t noticed I held it to my hears and said hi? No one said anything. I quickly hung up.
Because speed mattered at this point.
Slipping my phone back into the holster we went back to driving.
A moment latter my phone rang. It was my husband! Sheepishly I answered. Had he noticed that I had apparently accidentally dialed him? I asked, hoping somehow this was coincidence and he hadn’t.
He had noticed. Not only that but he had set his phone next to him while he worked and listened to me and the child as we talked and drove and pretended he was with us instead. He missed us. We missed him. Not sure I had ever heard anything sweeter I tried talking and driving with my helper on my lap.
That is not an award I would win in my imaginary competition. We had to say good bye.
The kids and I spent last summer checking on the heifers. Towards fall we took over the cow herd too. This year we are starting out with the whole bunch.
While fixing fences this spring we found one tank badly in need of banking, piling dirt in around it so the cows, and calves, can reach over the side to get a drink. It was dug and washed down so deep next to the tank that only the cows could reach and only if they stretched clear up and over. That left one little tank for the cattle to drink out of. If it got filled by the big tank once the big tank got full. Which it couldn’t because the side of the tank was getting smashed lower than the over flow by cows standing on tip toes to reach over the side.
I bugged my husband until we all went over and got it fixed!
Today was the first day we were able to get back over and check on the repairs. The tanks looked good.
We went past the heifers. Their tank didn’t look good. It looked empty.
One heifer was in the tank. The rest were standing around looking thirsty. There was water still in the water hole next to it. It wasn’t an extreme emergency. Something needed done though. Soon. I was trying to decide if we could move the herd of yearlings, cow people will understand the issues involved with trying to move yearlings, using only one pickup across a wide open hay field. Or if we should go home and get the pickup and trailer and two 4wheelers.
As always happens when I need him, whether I know it or not, my husband called. He told me to check a few things before jumping straight to moving heifers. I know nothing about working on windmills. He said to look down the pipe and see of we could see the rod down there that the chain was supposed to be hooked to. I couldn’t.
As we were talking about how it wasn’t going to work our son was fiddling around. He held up the pipe that we were looking down. He had unscrewed it! Now we could see, and reach, another six inches down. With the top of the pipe off we could see the rod! Brilliant child.
Hanging up we went to work trying to follow directions and improvise to get them to work. Releasing the break on the windmill we let the wind lower the chain as far down as possible. It wasn’t near close enough to connect the chain coming down from the windmill to the rod it had to pump to bring up water.
All we had on hand were my fencing pliers, one vice grip, a flash light we found in the glove box, and a piece of chain left hanging on the windmill.
Using that we were able to remove the piece that needed to screw onto the rod. We got that, and the spare piece of chain attached to it. screwed onto the rod! The horror that would occur if we dropped anything down the pipe was fresh on my mind and I repeated it continuously to the children. My daughter clung to the chain and the lower half of the concoction as if her life depended on it.
No matter how hard we pulled we couldn’t get the rod up any higher. No matter how much we let the windmill go hoping it would somehow lower itself enough to reach, it couldn’t. When we connected rod and chain, using our spare chain, we could get the rod high enough but couldn’t hold it there to disconnect and reconnect chains.
I was about to give up.
Just when I needed him, my husband called back to see how things were going. Should he leave work and drive over?
From the first time I met him there hasn’t been a time that I really needed him that God hasn’t sent my husband to me. I try not to let myself get too comfortable in the knowledge that he will be there, but he always is.
We told him our problem. He gave us a solution. Take the vice grips off the chain where we were using them to hold the two chunks together. Find some wire, we were fencing after all, we had wire! Use that to hold the chains together. Let the windmill pull the rod up. Quickly snap the vice grips onto the rod to hold it up where it needed to be, disconnect and reconnect the chains where they needed to be.
Duh. So simple but so far out of my ignorant brain.
We went to work at it. Both children had been right there with me this whole time, working as hard as they could. Accomplishing every bit as much as I was. What good kids and what a great learning opportunity.
With a good bit of trial and error, but no fingers pinched or eyes poked out by wires flying through the air, we eventually got it. We only had to take out bolt back out once to put the pipe back over the chain so we could screw it back on once we had the chain connected. Sometimes the wind died down. As soon as we needed to rod drawn up a gust would come by and turn the windmill. God was with us in so many ways.
Wires removed, nuts tightened on the bolt. break released on the windmill the wind came up steady. Pumping water into the empty tank. It was flowing again. The windmill working beautifully. We had succeeded. To kids, a pair of fencing pliers, one vice grip, and me in my complete ignorance of windmill. And my husband over the phone of course.
We got to go to our favorite swimming hole yesterday. It’s been awhile. We didn’t get to go at all last year.
It’s just a bend in the river in the middle of someones pasture near the gravel road. The people who own the pasture allow people to come swim, which is incredibly nice of them in today’s sue happy world. It’s only locals which helps. People from the surrounding farms.
It is wide and shallow. Except for the water fall which is deep and rapid. Perfect for the kids to explore and scare us to death. It has moved back a good long ways from where it was last time we were there. Now there is a deep fast channel at the base. I jumped in to join the kids in the fun and never touched bottom. It’s probably incredibly dangerous.
The horses started but were good quiet horses, perfect for the small children they carried so well. A nice ride down the quiet country lane was almost to its end when the herd arrived. Quickly ushering her children to the side of the road,to the barn we had been almost back to before the attack. My mom turned and dove back into the herd.
Bicycle tires hissed on the pavement as their riders peddled as hard as thy could, never bothering to pull up at all for the small family and their horses who had the misfortune of being in their path. Without manners or concern they sped on.
Or tried to.
On her big red Morgan gelding neither mother nor horse hesitated for a second but leapt into the middle of them. With no way past one rider was forced to apply his breaks at last. Not willingly. The Morgan gelding cut him out and held him like any other dumb animal cut from a herd and worked by a horse. He dared to be mad but mom was madder.
She let him know exactly what she thought of him and the rude inconsiderate friends in his herd. He didn’t care. Like most bikers it was his road, his right, and no way his fault. After holding him there long enough to chew him out and make him lose some of his precious time, mom turned her horse and allowed the steer to go.
Perhaps nothing was accomplished. Maybe they looked for a road without a crazy lady on a horse to ride the next time. But maybe, just maybe, they had some small thought for someone besides themselves on their next ride.
One thing was accomplished for sure though. The image of my mom riding a horse into a herd of bicycles and cutting one out will be forever imprinted in my brain. What a mom. What a horse!
We were out for a ride. Well, the kids were. I was out for a walk.
8 was being lead on Lady. He likes to zip and enjoys her speedy walk. The Goblin Child was on Rusty. He’s big and goes so slow with her. She’s far more comfortable without zipping.
The Goblin Child always wants me to keep them on a lead line. She doesn’t want to hold the reins. I keep making her. Rusty stays right with us anyway. We work so much at liberty it’s unlikely he is going to do anything but walk with me anyway.
I lead Lady through a space between the stacks of hay. It makes rides more interesting, we can pretend to be following narrow tree lined paths. Rusty was plodding slowly behind. We, Lady,8, and I, turned between a different stack. Rusty was out of sight. Being the loving mother that I am, we quickly hid behind the stack. What is the point of having children if you can’t torture them a little?
We waited and waited but they never came.
I was getting worried. A small amount of torture is one thing. What if something had happened to them though!
We went in search. There she was behind a different stack of hay! She had the exact same idea and had hid to scare us!
I was so proud. Not only had she been willing to do the steering herself she had steered a completely different direction form us.
It’s been warm these last couple of days of vacation. The snow isn’t melting but it’s the perfect temp to play in. And finally wet enough to build a snow man! The kids did it all themselves except for lifting the middle part up. I like the nose they made him.