8 November 2018

The Great Chicken Hunt

It all started last spring. It seemed so innocent at the time. The hen wanted to set so bad. What would the harm be in letting her have some chicks to raise? We’d have more chickens. She could go all broody. Win win.

Well. Two hens decided to set. Between the two of them they hatched quite a few chicks. It was all good. They stayed out in the trees. They didn’t eat the garden. They raised them to be wild creatures. Pheasants in chicken form. Then they moved back into the yard. It started to be a problem. Most of the chicks turned out to be roosters. White roosters. Where did that come from? I hate white chickens. So albino like.

Once in the yard they eventually moved to the trees right outside the bedroom window to roost. Then they got big enough to start crowing.

I started making nightly trips out to chase them out of the trees. They came back. One night I’d had enough. I was tired. They had been crowing since four thirty in the morning. Every morning. For weeks. I snapped. I was going to kill them I went into the house for a gun. My level headed husband stopped me on my way out the door with the 22. He pointed out the dangers of using a rifle, even a small one to shoot chickens in the yard surrounded by houses and vehicles. I admitted his wisdom in this but swore to come back with something more fitting.

I told him I was going to go buy a shotgun. He said I couldn’t just do that. I said I could. I asked his father if he had a smaller shotgun. He said only a 12 gauge. I went to walmart. When I told them I wanted a gun to go kill something they were happy to oblige. They looked at each other in that infuriating condescending manor that men have. Like, how cute, the little lady wants a gun. Maybe her husband can show her how to hold it. They were annoying but I wanted to kill things. I didn’t get the gun.

I wanted to wait and do some research first.

The gun sold the next morning. I was sad, research had found it to be a good one. The whole thing got the father in law thinking though. He remembered that he did have a 20 gauge up at the house I could try. Worked for me. I just wanted to kill things and it was a much better gun than the walmart special.

The chickens let me sleep for a few days after that. I wasn’t driven to a murderous rage. The gun sat untouched. Until it didn’t. At four thirty they started. The unending rounds, continuous and loud. Au au aaoooooo. Over and over. A small break in the middle to let you think maybe thy were going to stop. Then again. And again. And again. Until the real alarm finally went off.

I was the first out of bed for once. I met my husband eye, he read my mind. Go shoot the roosters he said. He would get the kids up and dressed.

Out the door I found three of them still sitting in the same tree. Hanging out. Maybe not crowing any more. I didn’t take the shot. Houses, vehicles. Saner minds prevailing. All that. I stalked them as they wandered down the drive. Waiting, cursing them, hoping for a clear shot. The other chickens joined them. They all went under the semis. I was loosing hope. Then they separated. My hated ones moving away from the good chickens who don’t crow outside my window. On down the driveway I got a clear shot. Taking a deep breath I pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

Dang safety. Turning it off I tried again. And missed! What in the world! The safety thing must have messed with my concentration. Around the grain bins I tried again. This time I got one. He was down but not out, forcing me to finish the job. Nasty business. Then it was back to see the children off to school.

Once they were gone I went back. This time they were out in the wheat. I got a clear clean shot. Nothing behind them. One shot each, on either side of a rooster who was not on the receiving end of my hatred. Two shots, two roosters, problem solved.

Then of course there was a whole new problem. I didn’t want them to go to waste. I’m willing to eat chicken even if others in the family are not. I sat in the wheat, plucked and cleaned one. Then hauled the other back up to the house to work on. As I plucked, with the rooster up on a lick tub for easier reach, I looked closely and saw a small bug crawling across the plucked bare skin. Then another. ThenΒ  looked and saw two crawling up my arm! That was the end of that. I tossed the whole lot of them in the dead pile and called it good. Blood and guts are one thing, poultry lice is another.

31 October 2018

Happy Halloween!

This year 8 is a tractor knight and T.G.C. is a princess knight.

8’s coat of arms is a combine and a tractor divided by some sort of line that is supposed to represent the earth. The black and green represent loyalty and sometimes sorrow. It seemed fitting. A seed corn cap for his helmet. Well it also seemed fitting. What is a tractor knight if not a farmer. What is a tractor knight at all? We don’t know but it was what he wanted on his shield so we went with it, all out.

T.G.C. wanted to wear her cape again from last year after seeing a picture of herself in it. I wanted to make armor and get so sick of princess stuff. Fortunately I remembered Nella, the princess knight. She was happy to go with it. The purple is for royalty, fitting since she is the queen of the world. She requested a Pegasus unicorn for her shield. It was a fun theme to go with. A little more mundane than a tractor but that’s all right.

I really meant to get some pictures of 8 on Coyote wearing the dragon mask. Unfortunately I sold my dragon mask and haven’t gotten another one made. I still mean to get pictures of him on Coyote. Eventually.

Halloween this year is coinciding with corn harvest. Very good atmosphere with the corn husks whirling in the wind and light of combines off in distant fields.

Tonight we trick or treat in town. After the school finishes all their parties of course. Happy Halloween!


28 October 2018

Getting Ready For Halloween

Fall and Halloween are always my favorite times of year. It’s been a busy summer and fall but we’ve still managed to fit as much fall doin’s in as possible. Maybe that’s why it was so busy.

We played in the leaves, decorated pumpkins, dressed up, dressed warm, went riding in the cooler weather, trick or treated, rode in combines, and even fit in a haunted house!

The trunk or treat in Chadron was fun, as usual, but so very crowded this year. It meant squeezing through the crowd and waiting in line a lot. It was still great but would be more fun with less people.

That same weekend, the great build up to the actual day of Halloween, there was a haunted house in the old Clinton school house. Sadly it over shadowed the trunk or treat and was all the kids asked about while we were trying to trick or treat. It was the perfect setting. An old abandoned brick school house. We went for the lights on tour with the kids. Luckily. It was scary enough with lights on. They would never have made it through the real one. We went back to Rushville for supper before returning for us grown ups to go through for real. Waiting in the former Gym was almost more than they could handle, even with cookies and hot chocolate. The high school kids who were doing it went all out and had a lot of fun dressing up. Best haunted house ever. Almost.

Corn harvest has started with rather bad timing. It didn’t stop us playing just messed up my schedule a little. I do love corn harvest. It goes so nicely with the whole fall theme.


14 October 2018

Harvest Moon Festival

We drove to Hemingford on a crisp clear morning, with a forecast of freezing rain and snow for the afternoon. We met friends down there so the children could frolic together. There was a train giving rides. Pumpkins to admire, I found a couple of types I don’t have yet! There was a haunted hay maze. After sending the kids in by themselves we waited outside for them to come out. Soon enough they did. Back out the entrance. Heather and I went back in with them while my very patient husband waited outside with the stroller and smallest child. Each child had a glow stick. Inside it was pitch black with only the glowing spots of light that circled around us clinging, to our hands, exclaiming their fear loudly, over and over. In the darkness we searched hands outstretched feeling of the prickly straw bales trying to find the rout. We bounced off dead ends, felt the creepy clinging strands of cobwebs, and were confronted by shrieking ghouls. It was wonderful. We found our way out with no children pushed quite to the point of tears and, some of us, wanted to turn around and go again!

We restrained ourselves and went off to look at other things. We spent too much money at the craft fair. Ate good fair food. The children found many things to play on, a corn pit, bouncy balls, stick horses, and a petting zoo. They got to watch a helicoptor land then sit in it! There was a big beautiful team of horses giving wagon rides. Big and black, Percheron? Shire?Β  The wagon was gorgeous and immaculate. The horses wonderfully behaved. It made me really want to get going on Harvey and see if he really does drive.

We went back to the hay maze again. Before giving it one more go the kids wanted try archery. The Goblin Child says the shooting was her favorite part. Two guys were very patiently showing an endless line of children how to hold and shoot a bow. They both got a chance. They didn’t hit the target but their arrows made it to the other side! Then it was maze time. It was so much fun I didn’t want my poor husband to miss out on the fun. We were going to leave the children to watch their friends shoot the bows while we went alone. Almost like a date. We said our good byes and 8n wanted to come too. There was no shaking him off. So much for a date.

It was ok though. The darkness was gone, replaced by a murky twilight. The ghouls had gone on break. My overly wise husband calmly and quickly lead the way through the twists and turns. The magic was gone. It was a fitting end to the day. We drove home into skies rapidly growing dark and the snow began shortly after we got home.



6 October 2018

Trail Ride

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 πŸ˜‰ 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.Β  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.


28 September 2018

First Snow

This post is simply to commemorate the first snow of the year, the lighting of the pilot light and starting of the stove for winter, and to get me back to writing here more often.

It’s clear up to 40 degrees now. Last night it rained and them snowed most of the night. No accumulation, just cold. Nothing seems to have froze though. Today is the homecoming football game at school, in the wet and cold. Last night was the dance. It was boring and short, not entirely a bad thing. When I was a youngin, way back when, the homecoming dance was held the night of the game. I think. It’s hard to remember that long ago.

I had fun dressing the kids all week. Or trying to. It’s not easy to do. They fight every step of the way. Or I don’t tell them and then they are so lost.