8 September 2021

A Terrible, Awful, Kind Of Good Day

Have you ever had a terrible, awful, no good, really bad day?

I do believe that title is taken, but it was how my morning felt.

My wonderful husband got up and got breakfast for everyone, like he always does. I took a long, joyous sip of my coffee. Only to discover something in my mouth. Looking around for somewhere to spit it out, I finally decided on the table. It made a large mess, but I was relieved to find it was a moth that had decided to make my coffee its final resting place and not a fly. My toast was soggy, my coffee no longer appealing. I comforted myself with the reminder that I’d be going through town later and could get a yummy fancy coffee there.

I set about getting my chores done so I could get going and get that coffee. One thing after another caught me though. I ended up helping clean out a bulk truck and finishing laundry. I switched vehicles a couple of times ending up in the pickup and trailer with a four wheeler loaded instead of my pickup, the original reason for going to town. I need gas. Oh well. By now I was committed to town for reasons other than the original.

By the time I got to town it was nearly eleven. I walked up to the door of the coffee shop, only to come nose to nose with a closed sign. The lady was inside, but no, she was not willing to get me coffee. I consoled my self with tea from the grocery store. And a bit of chocolate. It was nearly lunch time by the time I got to the pasture to do the cow checking I had set out to do to start with.

With my chocolate for lunch and bottle of tea to take the place of the water jug I had left the house without πŸ™ I got to the pasture. The cows were mostly in the new pasture I had gone to the trouble of bringing the fourwheeler to move them to. What a wonderful day. A couple of heifers and a bull were still in the old pasture, Daisy and I got them moved.

Most of them.

The bull said no. I had been told to leave the gates open between new and old pasture. The bull could stay where he was. We left him behind.

After moving the heifers and getting back to the pickup I got to thinking about that bull. He would do nothing but cause trouble. That’s what bulls do. They jump over fences, tear up fences. wander the country looking for more fences to destroy.

What if I brought him home?

I have a friend who is my hero. She regularly loads the yearlings she watches in the trailer and brings them home to doctor. All by herself. No chasing, no roping, no dragging. Just a girl out there do the job in the best way possible. I want to be like her.

Would I be able to walk a bull into the trailer though?

She brings along panels and spends time out working with her yearlings.

I had myself, a fourwheeler, the trailer, a barbwire fence, and my trusty Daisy.

It seemed unlikely. What was the worst that could happen? No one was there to see me fail. I do all the fence fixing anyway. I would have a little more to do if he went through the fence.

I pulled the trailer alongside a corner brace, unloaded my mount and we gave it a try.

It didn’t look promising to start with. The bull walked into the windmill pond and said no.

My mount couldn’t swim. Daisy ran up to him barking. He said no. She looked back at me and shrugged her shoulders, I swear she did, and said sorry.

I sat a moment thinking how sad it was to have failed so quickly. Then I grabbed a piece of wood that was laying nearby and threw it at the bull. It actually hit him! He was so offended. He looked around at me, feelings hurt, then walked slowly out of the water.

Wow, weird, but not going to question what works.

Daisy hopped on behind me, Speeding around the water hole we rushed to keep him out of it. Wet muddy Daisy laid against me soaking us both The bull walked quietly towards the trailer.

With only the trailer door for wing fence, there wasn’t much to hold him. I pulled along side, he stopped and started to back up. I jumped off and got behind him.

He stood perfectly still, looking around, judging his options. Then he walked right into the trailer! It worked! I was, almost, as cool as my friend. Only because the bull was calm and easy going. Just exactly the way bulls should be.

My terrible, awful, no good day was looking a little brighter.

Category: Cows | LEAVE A COMMENT
28 July 2021

Goat Show

We’ve been very busy for the last month. Earlier this spring we got the goats. So we’ve technically been busy with them for a long time it just picked up as we began washing, shaving, and putting in lots of practice time.

The goats are sweet, tiny delicate little things. They don’t lead like tiny delicate little things though. Or maybe it’s that they are almost as big as the children trying to lead them. There were toes stepped on and frustrated children as they worked to figure out how to handle these small wild animals.

The goats were happy to hang out with us but not overly interested in being caught all the time. Playing with small children is exhausting for everyone.

Until we started fair preparations for real. After being held for baths and trimming the goats went from semi feral pets to lap animals. They suddenly loved being caught and came runing to us begging for attention, and more torture apparently.

It makes me think about the quadrants and how ‘reward’ isn’t necessarily what we think it should be. Treats didn’t work but a bath did?

Show day dawned hot and miserable. We were showing one of the few animals that didn’t have to spend the week at fair. Instead we could show up that morning, do our classes, and go home again! There are lots of people who enjoy camping there during fair. I do like my own bed and have plenty of work waiting at home so it’s good to be able to keep it brief.

I entered the children in their classes, even the one who wasn’t mine. Thinking about horse shows I entered them in as many as they could. If we’re driving over there we might as well make it worth the effort. That meant four classes, showmanship, halter, I don’t know what it’s called, they judge the goat not the handler, costume class, and trail.

The Goblin Child’s goat was not interested. She went between refusing to move and flying through the air in giant leaps. T.G.C. handled it wonderfully. She never let go of the collar, she didn’t cry and give up like she did when we were practicing at home.

Instead she kept a brave face despite the difficulties and heat, she held onto that goat. My favorite part was when a friend of ours that she was showing against placed higher than her. She immediately turned and congratulated him. They shared a fist bump and left the arena to continue to help each other out behind the scenes. That is what I’m hoping the children can learn from this. That little bit right there is what makes the whole summers worth of effort worth it.

That and getting to watch them in the costume class.

I decided to do a fairy goat mother. The Goblin Child decided that instead of being the mother to a fairy goat, she wanted to be Cinderella. Her friend she was showing with went as one of Cinderella’s coachmen leading a goat drawn pumpkin coach. They were darling.

The last class of the day was the trail class. They set it up out by the barn. A simple but fun course that included getting sprayed by the hose, always a plus when it’s 100 degrees out. The Goblin Child’s goat was done and she could barely drag it through. 8 watched in fascination and begged to go help her. He wanted to do it himself. I made him wait. There were only a couple of kids, human and goat, in the class. Once they were done he took Daisy, the more willing of the goats and went through the course. They did wonderfully, even jumping the jump and enjoying being sprayed.

We were all happy to be done. We had fully funded the schools ffa program buying water from them all day. There was no way to keep up with the amount of water our bodies needed in that heat. The goats had spent most of the day hanging out in the shade of the barn eating and drinking and staying cool.

Now they are at our house, instead of the friends where they stayed leading up to the show. We are learning how hard it is to keep a determined goat penned. Our goats who live happily with the cows are much easier. It has been a fun learning experience and we hope to do it again next year. The two children too young for 4h should be able to show goats still next year with Cloverbuds. They were all devoted to the goats and worked hard to get it right and do the job properly. Next year we’ll all be better prepared.

 

 

23 July 2021

Wheat Harvest 2021

Harvest actually started quite awhile back. They got the wheat here around the buildings back around the 17th.

Then it was time to move the equipment over west to get started on the rest of it. With everything over there and ready to start my farmer husband drove the combine into the field, and right back out again.

Somehow between finishing the last field and moving to the next something had broken, something major. With some poking and prodding and cussing it was decided to head on into town. There was nothing that could be done there. At the tractor doctor, as my children call them, they found the problem and the nearest piece to fix it back in Iowa. We have a neighbor who is parting out a combine just like ours though so first an attempt was made to get the piece off of that one. It wasn’t happening though, the piece refused to come loose.

So the other part was ordered. Shipped overnight, hopefully, although we were all in doubt of anything ever actually arriving over night.

Somehow it actually did! They had it on and the combine going again by evening. It was back to work again much to everyone’s relief.

The time while the combine was broke was hot and dry. Now the weather is sticky wet with humidity and there have been a few rain showers coming through. No combining today but hopefully back to it tomorrow.

21 July 2021

We went to the 4h fair grounds clean up last night. I looked over to see this.
Not sure if I should be proud of the boy over there surrounded by girls or worried that they’re about to castrate him πŸ˜‰
Maybe he’s getting his ear tag 🀣
Of course everyone wanted their turn at it.

They’ve, us parents, have been working at figuring out this goat stuff and getting ready for fair. Mostly it’s been Heather. She got the goats and has been caring for them. We go down and help when we can.

The Goblin Child and Whitten have been working on leading and proper form for showing. Mostly it ends up being a bunch of mostly naked children running around screaming and playing. Great times!

8 has really enjoyed playing with the goats. Next year we may have to get him one to show…

13 July 2021

Riding

We were rushing, as always, to get done with one thing and get on to the next. I had been telling the kids repeatedly that we had to hurry!

Then we pulled into town and there on main street were three horse butts sticking out from between the parked cars. I slowed down to stare. Then pulled into the next empty spot. The Goblin Child started going on about how of course there was time to stop for horses. There was always time for HORSES. In fact she went on quite obnoxiously along that vein the whole time we visited with the people.

The horses turned out to belong to two guys who were riding from Nevada MO up to Mount Rushmore!

The horses were hard worn and obviously had seen work. One wore a pack saddle fully loaded with gear. The other two were fitted with saddles, ropes hung from the pommels, saddle bags and water bottles on behind. The horses, in bosals, stood heads down, leg cocked, enjoying a moment of rest.
The men sat in the shade awaiting one of the wonderful sandwiches available at the newly reopened grocery store.
On the road for forty some days now, they started out across Kansas before turning north into Nebraska until they reached the cowboy trail. They been following that handy path for the last few days. They can cover about twenty miles a day. They have no support crew and are out here on their own.
If you would like to follow their journey, see what they’ve been up to until now and hear how the rest of the ride goes you can find them on their Facebook page Ride To Mt. Rushmore, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152851483490111
Category: Horses | LEAVE A COMMENT
4 July 2021

Fourth Of July

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?

 

3 July 2021

Building To A Storm

It was obviously building to a storm.

As we started to wash the car, it rained on us.

The few drops that fell from a dark cloud that barely darkened the blinding sun nearly sizzled as the hit the ground. Evaporating as they landed. Wiping sweat from our brow we continued the task that made it cool enough to be outside. Parked in the lawn, not a drop of the car washing went to waste. The thirsty grass sucked up every drop that dripped off the car.

The car came clean. The small cloud passed. The sun baked the dry earth. Without a drop of rain since May? We got a good one sometime this spring and one snow last winter. That gained us enough grass to maybe make the summer but what was there crackled as you walked on it, baked brown and crispy by the hot dry heat.

As the afternoon wore on we gave in and coward inside. The temperature gauge hidden in the shade under the eve of the house read 102 degrees.

The weather radio started cackling at us while the sun shown down. It didn’t come as a surprise, despite the lack of clouds. It was obviously building to a storm.

I decided to wash my pickup. It was the day for it apparently. I pulled her into the yard too. Found a spot that looked dry and parked there. As I washed the horizon grew dark. Checking the radar over and over, fingers crossed, hoping hard. It’s a fine line between praying for rain and cussing the hail that comes with it. As I washed the dark clouds began to ruble with thunder.

Another curse of rain. If any lightning came down with that thunder there would be fires.

I washed and waited.

It’s amazing how much dirt can cake the bottom of a working pickup that never gets washed. No wonder it shook so bad the few times I take it on the highway. Still the clouds billowed. The thunder rumbled. I decided to take the clothes down off the line and get them inside. It was obviously building to a storm.

Cooking supper. Checking the computer. I found pictures of a tornado snaking across a pasture to the east of us. Maybe the clouds really were going to go by without leaving us a drop. They had been all summer, why should it be any different today. The weather radio went off. We tuned in to the radio station used as a land mark for the location of the radio. Still the thunder rumbled. The dog coward under the bed.

My husband and son went outside to watch the clouds. The wind had picked up. The radar showed storms right over the top of us. Nothing but dark skies and thunder here. Even if it looked like it was building to a storm.

I went out to join them. As we stood there a drop fell. Then another. We grabbed flower pots and moved them to safety. It was obviously building to a storm.

The thunder got louder. The horses galloped about the pens after each clap. The raindrops fell huge and heavy. Obvious precursors to the hail that began to fall with them. My husband went inside. Worry for crops and garden stronger than the need for rain. He couldn’t watch. My son and I went to the front door to watch. The rain came down hard. The wind blew. The hail never got worse. My pumpkin leaves would have holes in there. The would grow anyway. The grass was beat down but no longer crisp.

The hail stopped. The rain went on.

As it eased slightly we rushed outside, all of use children. There were water puddles to jump in, mud to squish between our toes. Who knows how long it would be before another storm would build.

24 June 2021

Hauling Hay

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.

Maybe I’ll dial him on accident more often.

Category: 8, Family | LEAVE A COMMENT