My poor husband loves the combine. He keeps it scrubbed clean, well oiled, and tucked away safely for the winter in the back of the Quonset. It was pure chance that anyone happened to look in. Usually it stays sleeping and ignored until nearly harvest. But look in they did and found, much to everyones horror, that rats had eaten the combine.
Not mice, mice we can handle. They usually get in and cause a few problems. They are nothing compared to this. The seat is unstuffed, the stench unbearable, the wiring chewed through. When the key is turned, nothing happens. No lights, no starting, no buzzing, the cab is dead. My poor husband is sad. He loves the combine, the destruction is sickening and he is not looking forward to the, very expensive, repairs.
I was talking to Grandma as we arrived at the school. We talked as we walked towards the door, until I looked up. There, walking to the front door, was a deer. It stood looking in the window as we approached, I hung up on Grandma, then it turned and walked right up to 8.
Not quite all the way to him, being the concerned mother that I am, I stepped between my small child and the wild animal that was approaching him with no fear in broad daylight. He was shooing it the way one shoos a cow anyway, I’m sure his efforts would have succeeded without my help. The deer, looking confused, turned and walk on down the front of the school.
Later I heard the rumors that the deer had been raised by a family who live north a town a couple miles. The doe died and they took it in. I happened to run into one of the family and she confirmed it. Not only had they raised a wild animal as a pet but they had it gelded so there is not the slightest hope of it ever living an even slightly normal life. It’s sadder than it is cute and a solid lesson in why wild animals should be left wild. He doesn’t know that he should be afraid of people, even if he doesn’t get shot people can do horrible things to animals foolish enough not to fear them. He is unable to mate, unable to function as a deer. The people who love him have taught him the wrong things, not to be afraid, but have not instilled the most basic of training principles.
As horrified as I am by the whole thing I do think it would be a great exercise in clicker training.
I wanted to work my horse. To accomplish that end I am willing to make almost any sacrifice.
I turned the children loose in the mud with a hose. I got to play with Rusty so I consider it a success. Unfortunately after the fun came the work. Somehow the mud had to come off. The hose was briefly considered. The day was warm but not warm enough to hose them down. Of course they had been happily playing in it the whole time so I’m not sure why not.
Last year The Goblin Child and her father went to the family math night and loved it. Her father says it was even better than family science night. It would have to have been really good to be better than this. College kids from Chadron came out once again and set up stations with different science projects? experiments? at each station.
Our children made a beeline for the messiest gooiest one they saw. It was cornstarch and water mixed. The resulting consistency was so inconsistent, it was fascinating. Hard as a rock, runny and liquid, ever changing depending on the pressure applied. There were stations to learn about medicine and the body. Stations with cars to race, down bumpy or smooth tracks, with or without weight. Stations discussing the probability of a commit hitting land instead of water. Lots of things to do with vinegar and baking soda and the crowd favorite I think, a water board with plastic particles to try to dam the water with. It was hopeless the water always washed through.
It was sad that more people didn’t come. Not that there weren’t lots there but no where near the amount that come to sport events. I saw parents who would spend all night sitting, watching a ball bounce around, drag protesting children away. Why are sports so much more popular than this fascinating interactive event? I will never understand. Unless the sport involves horses 😉
For Christmas we received season passes to Silver Dollar City. We were looking forward to getting to use them, and to see Grandma, so when the rest of the family made plans to go down we made plans to meet them.
The kids did amazingly well on the drive. We found a great park in some obscure suburb of Kansas City and let them run. While there we visited with a family from Mundiline IL, near my parents. It’s a small world.
At Grandma’s house we had an Easter egg hunt and visited then were off to Bass Pro Shop and then to Branson. There never is enough time to just hang out and talk.
We went to see Moses, the play, leaving 8 with Grammy. The Goblin Child did better than she did when Grandma took her to Jonah a couple of years ago, but she still didn’t make it through. The next day it was Silver Dollar City. Everyone, of our children, was exhausted and grouchy but we still had a blast. The days are never long enough. We finished on a kiddie roller coaster with the children begging for one more round. We thought 8 might be to small for it but her was thrilled and loved every second of it. On the first trip around his eyes were as big as saucers, he giggled and laughed his way through and screamed when we had to drag him off. The Goblin Child did the log ride again with my brother, she is so big and brave. Soon she’ll be big enough for the roller coasters!
It flew by so quick it seemed like it was time to go home before we had even gotten there. On the way out we stopped at the butterfly palace. Where we learned that 8 is scared of butterflies. Maybe not scared exactly but he did not like them, especially in his hair. We got to see them hatch and newly hatched ones set free and they landed all over us. My very patient husband even got a humming bird to come sit next to him.
The drive home was uneventful. No snow or ice this time. There was another cool park, a hotel with whipped cream out on the breakfast buffet and a nice pool, and the horse at the tack store in Grand Island. Then we were home and glad to be here. The kids had enough of traveling. We miss everybody and can’t wait to see them again. Longer next time!
It is supposed to be done on Easter weekend. I don’t know who decided that or why but it’s the rule. We didn’t quite make it. But on Tuesday, once the weather finally got nice, we planted potatoes. And by we I in no way mean me. Mostly it was The Goblin Child and her patient father. I spent most of the time trying to keep 8 from walking on the freshly planted rows.
The Goblin Child is getting old enough that she was really good help. She was gentle with the seed potatoes and was able to do exactly what needed done. 8 tromped around like the big boy that he is galloping happily across rows of planted potatoes and tossing the seedlings into holes.
Poppy finally had her calf! On the late side as usual, a nice healthy, so far, hold our breath and cross our fingers that he stays that way. Now we are only waiting on our heifer to calve. Blue is open, again, it will be good bye to Blue as soon as I can get her to a sale barn. The Goblin Child is mad about it but this is two years in a row, she has to go. The other cows had theirs and everything is good.
We started the day bright and early, 8 likes to wake us up by six on any day we would otherwise be able to sleep in. We scarfed down a delicious breakfast and Tanna arrived to help sort pairs. 8 went out in the tractor to help the men feed and us girls saddled the horses. The Goblin Child wanted up behind Tanna and I rode Coyote as usual. We got them sorted in record time, they quite literally ran out the gate. The Goblin Child clung tight and was a real trouper not complaining all the way though.
Once in the lane they needed to go all the way out to the farthest pen, clear at the top of the hill. I got off to get gates and decided not to get back on. I had gotten off and on so many time I was clean out of cake, Coyotes reward for letting me on again, and baby calves can be much easier to move on foot. Leading Coyote along behind me I looked over at Tanna and The Goblin Child double on Onna and realized I could do something about it. I put The Goblin Child on Coyote.
At first he got to stand and eat at the trough while we tried to get the calves to move. Then I would grab a rein and bring him along a few steps then let him eat, try to convince calves to move. As we slowly progressed up the hill The Goblin Child began to move Coyote along by herself. Once we reached the circle at the top I turned her loose to push the cattle through the gate with Tanna. Poor Coyote. He put up with it for a little while then said that he was done, he’d had enough. Please save him.
After closing the gate I climbed on behind my saddle and let The Goblin Child steer us home. It was terrifying. Not just having a small child who had no control in charge of my hot, grouchy horse, not confined in a small area but on the way home, but also sitting right on his haunches. He’s bouncy. I thought for sure I was going to fall off.
After unsaddling I turned Coyote loose to graze, surely he deserved a reward for putting up with all that. The guys had been planting oats and I was going to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get into the planted field. I forgot he was out there. As we were getting ready to leave that afternoon I remembered Coyote. I ran out the door frantically searching for him. Behind the house I caught a glimpse of his butt disappearing behind a shed. Running back there I found The Goblin Child leading him to the gate. She informed me that she was putting him away for me and indeed she was. What a good, big girl!
The Goblin Child sometimes wants to dress up as a cowboy, I always tell her that she IS a cowboy so no matter how she dresses she is dressed up like a cowboy. She doesn’t quite grasp the nuances.
Today as we wandered around the yard trying not to be blown away by the howling wind we found a calf laying in a corner, trying to hide behind a ceder tree. The pens are next to the house but the cows are not actually against the house. The calf was a long way from any prospective mother. We debated about which way to try to take him back and decided to go through the yard to the gate behind the house.
I told The Goblin Child that I needed her to be a big girl and help me, lots. She climbed the fence and ran for the gate. I crawled under the tree and flushed the calf. He ran right where we needed him, through the yard fence and towards the gate. I held him in the drive while the tiny little Goblin Child put all her strength into pulling the big heavy gate off its support block and into the howling wind. As she struggled the calf would run towards her as he paced the gate looking for a hole. She would leap back away from him shrieking a little in fear, then went back to hefting on the gate. Finally she was able to pull it back far enough to allow the calf to squeeze through on his next pass. What a brave girl. We had him.
We called the powers that be to make sure there wasn’t a reason for him to go anywhere else then put him back. It was 8’s turn to cowboy. For him too the urge to chase cattle was tempered by fear. He wanted to get that calf but needed a little backup.
We have been making a habit of sorting out the pairs of Fridays. Tanna comes over and we spend most of the day horseback. Sometimes we even have enough energy to work with Rusty afterwards, not very often though. Today was different. Today her brother was going to a branding with his horse and would have the trailer on. She was able to convince him to bring her horse over. Then he decided to come play too!
With Tanna riding her horse that left Princess Onna free for The Goblin Child to ride. I bundled her up toasty warm, long underwear, scarf, hat under her helmet. Last time she got cold and wanted to go ride in the payloader with her father. Last time she was riding double with me on Coyote, I must admit it was easier without her help as much as we enjoyed it.
Tanna’s horse is Jerry. Jerry was my mare that I showed on a decade ago this year, time does fly. It was nice to see her again. She and Tanna are doing very well together. Her brothers horse is a big young quarter horse. A sorrel to match the other two, Coyote and Jerry. We were all nicely matched, he is a flaxen even, except Princess Onna of course.
The Goblin Child and Princess Onna did very well together. T.G.C. even enjoyed the trotting we had to do to get around a couple of calves. But soon enough she got cold. Apparently I didn’t bundle her up enough. It wasn’t entirely a bad thing Princess Onna isn’t the funnest horse to pony and combined with the deep mud in places having them along mad life a little difficult. It was great the she got to come as long as she did though.
There were quite a few calves born over the last week and with all of us out there we made quick work of them. My cow hating husband was working mostly on foot as his dad rode around on the four-wheeler with 8 in front. I would wave at 8 as he went by and, from his position laying down on the gas tank, he would grin back at me.
There are lots of gates. Lots and lots of gates. They would be more convenient for me with horse friendly latches. This is a four-wheeler outfit though and being handy for me would mean unhandy for those guys on their four-wheelers. Opening and closing these gates from a horse requires leaning way down off the side and spending lots of time fiddling with chains run down, around, or over.
I should mention that my cinch is never tight. Coyote and I consider touching his stomach to be tight enough, and that’s at the start of the ride. I lent him to a guy once, and only once, who threw his saddle on and yanked the cinch tight. In protest Coyote threw himself to the ground. He is clear in expressing his opinions.
I was heading back to the others and pulled the gate closed behind us. It latched in a corner, requiring a horse to curve into the corner to reach. I leaned over and stretched. Despite my constantly loose cinch even corner gates aren’t usually a problem, as long as I pay close attention to balance. I was leaned clear out reaching to wrap the chain around another gate and I felt my saddle shift. I pushed back but it was too late. I was up against the fence so I just grabbed hold, no problem. I hooked an arm over the guard rail and hung on. It dug into my side a little, hurting just a bit. I rearranged and pulled my feet out of the stirrups. Or tried. My mud boot was well wedged. Not stuck hard but I was right up against him and didn’t have room to pull if it didn’t slide out easy. I finally wriggled around enough to get both feet on the ground and keep my saddle from ending up clear under his belly.
Now my saddle was well stuck on his side. I glanced up once in a while to see if everyone was watching my fiasco. They appeared to be busy. The cinch wasn’t tight enough to hold the saddle on but was to tight to let me pull it back up. I yanked and tugged then went around to the other side and repeated. He wanted back to the others and was done standing still. As he circled I tried to loosen my cinch without letting it fall into the deep mud. I pulled then went around and pushed, finally it rolled back to the top. I snugged the cinch up, a little and climbed on.
I thought no more about it until afternoon as I rested during the kids naps. My side hurt. I ignored it but it kept getting sorer. I asked my not horse person husband if there was a bruise there or something? He was horrified, there was definitely a bruise. A big one. As not a horse person he can never understand why I love something that causes pain more often than not. I was rather impressed that my brief moment of hanging on the guard rail, apparently the sharp edge of it, left such a beautiful purple bruise.
It was a good day though we got most of the calves out and put Tanna’s brother to good use. It didn’t even rain on us!