My favorite pony came up lame last Friday. I have had enough experience with lameness and grievous injuries to help me decide that he was probably fine. The temperature was hovering around zero, I didn’t want to haul him anywhere and there was no way to soak it. The weather was doing any icing for us. So we waited. By the next day he was putting more weight on it. The slight swelling around the ankle had spread a little higher but there was no more cause for concern.
The weekend was cold and, if not busy, difficult to get outside. Every time I checked my little Coyote looked fine. The swelling kept getting a little worse. Monday the child was a wee bit exasperating and I was tired so I never made it out to check the old boy. Today I looked over the fence and saw all four legs swollen with the original leg swelled up clear to the shoulder. It was somewhat concerning to say the least.
When we met my hard working husband for lunch I told him about my pony and despite being run ragged from a busy morning and a mile long list of things to do he insisted on coming home to hook up the trailer and watch the grouchy, sickly child so I could take Coyote to the vet. He did. I did. She said the pony would be fine. Gave me some bute and instructions to keep my husband cause you don’t find men like that every day.
I agreed wholeheartedly.
So my hard working, thoughtful, considerate husband, thank you so much, I’m not sure you realize how much I appreciated it and you.
Not normally such a big deal but today the thermometer reads six below.
This calls for a little extra preparation. I had been outside already as I ran out to take care of the chickens. Although cold there was no wind blowing and the sun was out so I thought we would escape our cold induced hibernation.
Dressing for the cold is an undertaking. Socks, sweat pants, long sleeved shirt, sweat shirt, scarf, gloves, snow pants, hat, coat and snow boots. All the while she is squirming and turning and trying to help. I am still in a tee shirt and socks as she dashes out the door, unable to wait. Hurrying to put on a bare minimum of warm clothing I rush out the door to find where she has disappeared to. The fresh powdery layer of snow helps me track her to the swing set where she stands pointing and telling me about the moon, no longer full but hanging still in the frigged blue sky.
Acknowledging her excitement I take the time to run in the back door and grab gloves. We zipped down the slide, with added speed from the slick snow pants, take a walk through the frozen snow covered garden and pick some corn for Baa. Before we can feed Baa she finds the back door and is ready to go inside out of the cold. It’s fine with me, we have achieved our goal of staying outside longer than what it took to get dressed.
Inside we warm our hands in front of the fire while I warm milk for hot chocolate and we thaw from our fun time playing outside in the cold and snow.
The other night light shone brightly through our window as the full moon rose up over the horizon. It was huge and brilliantly bright. I asked The Goblin Child if she had seen it and she ran to the window. Throwing the curtain aside she stared for a moment in awe before rushing to the door. It was a warm night but still I persuaded her that boots and a coat would be a good idea before going outside.
Properly clothed we went out to bask in the light of the moon. After ohhing and awwing we decided to go swing and dance and play in the unusually bright night. This is where her father found us when he arrived home from work and he joined us, basking in the moon light.
As we sat warm and cozy cuddled on the couch playing with our phones and computers my loving husband turned to me and asked, with horror in his eyes if I wanted to hear a scarey story. I sat for a moment thinking about whether or not I did. Finally I said sure tell me. He looked back down at the screen of his phone and began to recite.
Monday- high 28 low 3 freezing drizzle and snow, Tuesday- high 14 low -4, Wednesday- high 14 low -8
I wanted to clap my hands over my ears to block out the shear terror of it but it would make no difference. So I sat frozen in shock and horror as it went on for the entire week. Fortunately this was on Friday and the forecast for the weekend was mid sixties. The weekend stretched ahead of us entirely too short a time to get everything prepared for the deep freeze.
There were cows to bring home, electric fence to put up and heaters to turn on in the waterers. Friday the guys ran around putting in steel posts. We started early Saturday putting up the fence. The Goblin Child rode on the four-wheeler with her father running the wire. I, mounted on my own trusty four-wheeler went around putting insulators on the posts.
The child and I absconded our duties long enough to go to music class then returned in time for lunch and to get in on bringing the cattle home. All four of us, including Daisy of course, hopped on a four-wheeler and headed after the cattle. At the gate to the pasture I got off to wait and make sure they turned the proper direction once they hit the road. I was so glad I did when my people came out on the four-wheeler with the child grinning ear to ear, pointing and telling me cows! cows!
At the highway the other helpers waited to stop traffic and help get past the houses with big unfenced yards on both sides. My mother-in-law was dropped off to hold one entire yard by herself while my sister-in-law and Cowboy Bill parked on the big road. The cattle turned north into the CRP and I jumped off in the road with the child while they raced after the herd. They steered the herd back to the road only to have them head south right past the mother-in-law into the yard. My cow chasing husband went to retrieve them and I stood in the road holding the child and the road to they didn’t head back east. The father-in-law came and parked next to us. When I told him that we could hold the road if he wanted to go help get them out of the yard he declined so off the child and I went on foot to help clear the neighbors yard of cattle.
As we got around them they finally began to flee the yard. The leaders ran onto the road and headed east right past the father-in-law as he sat, possibly talking on the phone. My hard driving husband got around them and turned them back. With the mother-in-law and me both in the yard we were able to keep them out and the finally crossed the highway. The rest of the ride home was a breeze and it was decided that we would go after another bunch.
By now the child was fast asleep on her fathers arm as he tried to drive. We moved her to the pickup where she immediately awoke but declined to come back to the four-wheeler. She stayed there for the rest of the day being very helpful I’m sure as she bounced up and down in the seat and climbed from lap to lap.
On the poor over worked four-wheeler my cow hating husband and I raced back and fourth along the line of cattle trying to keep them on the road as they strung out for what seemed like miles with the leaders racing ahead and the tail end barely moving as the pickups prodded them down the road. I wished desperately for my horse as we took turns jumping off the four-wheeler and running along side the cattle trying to keep them out of the wheat fields. We raced ahead of the bunch to block the side roads at intersections and get gates closed. Then ran back to get them back out of the field they had immediately dove into when we left. One more four-wheeler, or even better a horse, would have been a great help. Just one to watch both sides plus all the other stuff was nearly impossible. By the end of the day I had no trouble remembering that I was pregnant. My sister-in-law even started leaping out of the pickup and running down the side of the rather rotten bunch of cattle to turn them back onto the track with my mother-in-law reaching across from the passenger side to drive. But at last the reluctant herd reached their own pasture where they belonged.
The next day it was back to fencing again. And today it snows. The predictions of horror are here. There will be more cattle to get but they will wait for another day, if history holds true for a much colder day. One much like today.
But just because I didn’t get around to writing about it at the time doesn’t mean I didn’t mean to. Now though I can’t remember anything about it to write. If I don’t mention it though next year when we are trying to remember when they got the corn out and look here for help there wont be any. So I think we decided that they started about the nineteenth of October. They were about the first ones to be going on the corn and none of the elevators were ready to take it. The corn also had to be extra dry since it was going to be on the very bottom. A lot of timer was spent waiting for the elevators to be open and grumbling when they closed at four thirty during corn harvest.
The weather cooperated and the corn was in good shape for once. I am told it is because corn prices dropped so of course it was a good harvest when it’s not worth anything.
The Goblin Child and I took over cow duty, for the few here at home at least. returning the every day escapees to their pasture and finally sorting them and a bull and my little white calf off into the corrals. It is long past time for bulls to be pulled and I hoped to give Poppy a break without her huge calf to feed to put on some weight for winter. The Goblin Child loved helping fix fence, she gets a pair of pliers and works happily along side of me often stopping to tell me that she’s “hep” ing me. Checking the cows while we were out there we played in the pond a little. It’s so fun to see the things she remembers like the boat from our recent vacation.
I think The Goblin Child has decided she would like to be a mechanic when she grows up. She loves playing with wrenches and ratchets and generally “hep”ing he father. I understand that she enjoys riding in the combine too, as long as I’m not there. When I am there she squirms and wiggles and climbs up and down and probably enjoys it but I’m not sure the rest of us do.
Usually my favorite holiday, this year it was just too much effort.
We still decorated with pumpkins by the ton, few were carved or decorated in any way. Except for two or three pumpkin decorating parties for The Goblin Child. A couple friends at a time to paint or just pick pumpkins. I think the parents may have enjoyed the painting more than the kids though.
We trick or treated of course. It wasn’t as much fun, for me at least, without her grandma and greatest grandma along like last year. The Goblin Child had a firm grasp of the concept this year. She ran from place to place happily uttering her version of trick or treat with a few thank yous thrown in. Some neglectful parent never did finish her elf costume so she went as a warmly dressed child. If we had painted her face green she could have gone as a goblin child.
And sadly, once again for me at least, I never did get a Halloween story done. It’s tradition. I failed. Not that I had any good ideas. Back in August and September when she had given up sleep altogether I thought I would wright about our small creature of the night. With sleep the horror of those times has passed and my inspiration was gone. Not to mention my time.
We sat in near silence, the child warm and soft upon my lap. She chattered occasionally telling me about the beans we worked on or counting them carefully, “two, two, two”. The sweet scent of a child rose to my nose when I brushed against her hair. Slowly the bean pods, picked out of the dirt in the frozen fall garden, fell apart releasing the beans from their shells. The creamy Dragons tongue with its purple spots like an appaloosa. Huge dark purple beans speckled with lavender, more of a roan in coloring, along with smattering of beans in browns and white and a near black. At first her tiny fingers fumbled clumsily crushing the pods as she added them to our bowl with the beans. She worked happily and diligently though, to the music of beans bouncing on the floor.
Soon the two year old attention span won out and she slid down wanting food and a drink. With those needs satisfied she remained in her own chair regally demanding her own bowl for beans. Supplied with a handful of pods she went to work. The pods of the purple pole beans came apart easily and her tiny fingers were comfortable grasping the giant beans. With her head bent to the task her concentration was intense as she shelled beans, fingers becoming more nimble with each pod.
With her happy hard working company the chore became a pleasure and together we quickly worked through the bucket. Tomorrow we shall eat bean soup.
I found it especially amusing as we are ranked just below Barrington IL. To most people that may not mean anything. I grew up next to Barrington. Next to, not in, a minor but very important difference. It is a beautiful, filthy rich community. A very horse related community, huge horse farms with barns fancier than our house. Way Fancier. When I still lived there people were complaining because parents were buying houses close to the school for their children to hang out at before and after school. Just a spare house, for the kids. We decided that the 15% poverty level must come from the household help, nobody who’s not filthy stinking rich lives in Barrington.
And here we are the small farm town of Hay Springs where there aren’t even “good” and “bad”neighborhoods, just every thing mixed together, ranked right up there with them. We could question just who is judging but what fun would that be. And does it matter? Somebody thought we were great.
I can never figure out how they get anything done. It’s not that I am not happy about being pregnant It’s just that all the things I need to do are things that I am not allowed to do while pregnant. Most things it doesn’t even occur to me I shouldn’t be doing.
It took the combined horrified shock of my mother and grandmother for me to even realize that there was any reason not to go on roller coasters at Silver Dollar City.
I thought I was using great caution and restraint in only trimming the front hooves on OD this weekend. His feet are awful. The other two have been very obligingly breaking their hooves off at the perfect length, we will call it a natural trim instead of neglect. OD, who appears to have foundered lightly at one time, hard as it is to believe of the old bag of bones now, grows snow shoes. He stands so nicely and is such a tiny little guy trimming was a breeze. I then hopped on Coyote for a short trip around the yard. My non horsey, overly protective husband was horrified.
The remodel of the upstairs puts a bit of a strain on nonexistent stomach muscles and makes me worry about inhaling harmful fumes. Other than finding time to work on it the job doesn’t feel hard though. I worked full time with The Goblin Child, that was hard work. Of course having The Goblin Child around is a bit of a full time job, just one that I love and getting the upstairs finished is so exciting I can hardly wait. I would probably rush it and slap something together, it would be much easier, if not for my detail oriented husbands insistence on getting it perfect.
A bull was out in the wheat field the other day. For me this is exciting, especially since the guys were busy working on the combine. I volunteered to get him in. With a horse of course. Even with my saddle in storage with all our other unused things, mice are awful this year and I couldn’t stand them chewing on it anymore, I didn’t see any problem with a little cow work. As an added caution I even put a bridle on Coyote instead of our usual halter. See, I am so careful about this whole pregnant thing.
We plodded slowly out trying to graze on the wheat and reaching desperately for corn in the neighboring field. Until we found the cow. Yes cow, no bull. Coyote remembered his calling in life then and became a fire breathing cow horse again. She mostly put herself back with a little enthusiastic urging. Turning away from the gate to head home we spotted another of the bovine variety still grazing in the wheat. How we missed it the first time I don’t know, I thought maybe I had been confused about the cow going back into the pasture.
By now Coyote was in full cow eating mode. He saw it too and was frantic to get over there. I let him go a little and we thundered across the wheat. The bull, this time it was a he, did not feel the need to move. I was hesitant to push too hard not wanting to be eaten by a grouchy bull while ridding pregnant and bareback. Finally Daisy was called back from rabbit chasing and the two of us persuaded the bull to move. He took off at a gallop. Do bulls gallop? Coyote was after him. We could have been showing again, he held position at the bulls shoulder, ears back teeth bared. Or he could have been headed home, sometimes it’s hard to tell everything was in the same direction. I had a death grip on the mane as we tried to turn the bull towards the gate by the barn where there were fences that might hold him, but no. He knew where he had come from and was going back there. With a saddle we might have had a chance, probably not. He went back and carefully squeezed through the fence from which he had escaped. Allowing my hot sweaty horse to turn towards the barn I realized, belatedly, that this may not have been a wise undertaking for a fat pregnant woman. My stomach muscles were screaming in protest as I panted along with my horse.
I don’t mean to do stupid things, definitely don’t want to put anything at risk but it never occurs to me that the things I do regularly might not be such a good idea now. I just am not good at being pregnant.