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At Least It Wasn’t Snow

I was out taking care of Poppy and MC2. The radar showed a storm coming but the clouds were so much more impressive than a red and green blob on the radar. It was a wall cloud if I’ve ever seen one. Rolling blues and greys with that green back light that always spells trouble.

I ran and opened the gates to let the horses up to the shed after I finished the cattle. They felt the change in the weather and were running and bucking around their pen, stopping occasionally in that stillness that’s almost more vibrant and charged with energy than a run, heads thrown high in the air snorting and blowing. I was able to call them to the open gate and hoped they found the shed but I wasn’t staying any longer, I ran for the house.

I came in the back door and by the time I made the front door the wind had reached hurricane force. Hail followed shortly after.



Preschool Graduation



Waiting For Poppy To Pop, and The Adventures Of MC2

Poppy took her own sweet time calving this year. She raised two calves for the last two years and it pulled her down a little. I was worried she hadn’t bred at all, but her stomach was getting pretty big then finally she started to show. We started checking her daily waiting, watching hopefully. The weather was bad for awhile, there was snow and windy wet days. And still she waited.

Finally she decided the time was right. On a warm clear evening she had him, a pretty little dark calf. Not red but not true black, with dark points. We watched him start hunting for food, then left them in peace.

I checked them regularly, the first day they got separated it took a bit to get them back together. He always seemed scrawny and I never did see him nurse. I decided to quit  worrying he had some age on him and was perky, he must be eating. Then I got a call saying he was sick, my cow hating but devoted husband helped doctor him and we brought them both in to keep a better eye on him and so he could be inside and dry.

By morning he was gone. Good bye Little Poppy.

So we began the search for a new calf for her. About that time Milk Cow would have come in handy but the father-in-law unsold her to us when he decided he wanted her back. I had intended at first to get The Goblin Child a new pet calf but she had quit crying over Milk Cow and I was pretty soured on the whole bottle calf thing. So we searched.

The feed lot in Hot Springs almost always has calves for sale but the thought of the hour and a half drive each way, with a calf in the cab with us for half of that was daunting.  So we searched for something closer. I called a friend, who called a friend, I have no idea how long that went on but in no time at all she called me back saying she had found a calf. Great friends like that are so awesome.

I told The Goblin Child we were getting her, and Poppy, a new calf. She was excited and wavered between Little Poppy and Milk Cow for names. Originality is not her forte. We met the guy and followed him out to the ranch, my worried husband was not thrilled. We were not kidnapped and murdered, always a good thing. It wasn’t a totally random or complete stranger, out here nobody is.

He roped the calf out in pasture off his fourwheeler and had it tied in seconds. He loaded it into the cab of the pickup and the troubles began. 8 was not happy. Cattle are big and kind of scary when they get close and this one was way too close. I was going to switch children and car seats around but when I got them unbuckled The Goblin Child decided she didn’t want any closer to that thing either. We were twenty miles away from home with no way to get back except on the highway or I would have let him sit on my lap and to heck with rules and car seats. The look of betrayal as I made him get back in his car seat was only surpassed by his screams of terror. On our own road I freed him. He got to ride on my lap. I know I shouldn’t admit to that but I couldn’t torture my poor child any longer, it was awful.

The Goblin Child was asleep by the time we got home. I pulled up close to the shed door and let 8 out then went around and hauled the big calf out of the cab. He not a baby calf, he’s as big as I am. When 8 saw me wrestling with the calf he came unglued, screaming again and ran towards us. Not a smart child. I had the calf mostly untied and it chose that time to try to stand. I had to hold onto the calf while trying to keep the child away. It was a little difficult but no one got killed and the calf ended up in the shed.

I can’t say that Poppy accepted him with open arms, or what ever, but we are working on it and he is getting his food. Hopefully she will come to love him like her own and it will be a done deal.

A Pictorial Life Summary

That pretty much covers it. 8 in his current quest to kill himself fell down the back stairs as well as off the play ground equipment and breaking all the glass over his head. He gets ibuprofen regularly for soreness as well as all the teething he’s doing. Not a happy boy.

They are planting corn using the GPS, and alfalfa and millet. Not that they need it but hey, apparently it sounded fun. The corn is being planted with it because when the guys come to spray for, what weeds?, they wont even try to drive down the rows, they drive at an angle across them. Unless they have the GPS, again what? settings? location? whats the right word? Last year it made him even madder than usual and thus the base station. My brilliant husbands base station is working beautifully, there is a couple of centimeters error most of the time. Now, I think, he needs someone else willing to try it.

Just to Grandma, Again

We do love getting boxes from Grandma, she sends the funnest stuff. The only thing that would be better is her being here when we open them. Or just being here, we always miss her.

Here’s the next best thing. They loved the box, opening it was sooo much fun. Thank you Grandma!

Not necessarily in chronological order:

Things That Go Grrr In The Night

I had forgotten to put a horse away. Again. I do that sometimes, as The Goblin Child would say. When I realized it I was on my way to bed, it was dark and it was raining. So out I went me and my flashlight. The rain was gentle and not too cold. The horse was easily found, huddled against the fence wanting in.

I put him back and turned for my house, wanting back in too. The rain had let up and it was really a beautiful night to be out and about. The frogs were croaking in the distance and the air was still. From across the yard I heard a growl and a snarl and thought about Daisy, wondering what she had cornered now. As I thought that I glanced down at Daisy trotting along next to me. It was one of those times where it takes your brain awhile to catch up with whats going on. I did a double take and realized Daisy hadn’t been doing the growling. Then what had?

My first instinct was to run for the house. So I turned around and turned on my flashlight, shining it in the direction of the noise. Many eyes shown back at me from across the yard. Daisy was running for the house even if I wasn’t. I decided it was best to go with her.


Amazing Grace

How have I not heard of this before?

Not the song or the actuality. The Movie.  It’s a fairly old one, 2006. And it’s not like it’s a little self produced church movie, it has real actors in it, like Benedict Cumberbatch, of course this was pre Sherlock and Hobbit but still.

I love the period stuff, clothes were beautiful, acting superb.


Of course, right now, in the book we’re listening to ( Ship of magic by Robin Hobb ) there is lots of discussion of the slave trade. One of our heroes is attacking slave ships and freeing the slaves, not for purely altruistic reasons, he is after all a bad man (he’s happily feeding the slavers to the sea serpents). And another has narrowly missed being sold into slavery. The two must come together eventually, these thousand page books that the men in my family tend to read, the plots are long and twisty. But any way, her descriptions are long and way too detailed. Completely different slave trade but watching this during the reading of the book ties it all together nicely.

A Mini Vacation

A friend of my husbands needed a ride to the airport. His plane left at six-thirty. In the morning. Of course we all rode along.

Getting up at three in the morning is surprisingly easy when you have already been up all night with a rather obnoxious, screaming 8. We loaded in the car and drove off under the light of a full moon. Nobody was willing to go back to sleep, we stayed up looking at the moon and talking.

After leaving the airport, having ridden the escalators in a scene somewhat resembling Crocodile Dundee, with all the wonder and none of the fear, we went for breakfast. Perkins was a quick easy choice and, it turned out, an excellent choice. Our waitress was one of those rare, incredibly awesome ones. Her name was Ellie, we had fun with that, and instead of being annoyed by rowdy, overly tired children making noise and, big, messes she brought toys (chocolate chips inside a plastic cup for 8. How great is that?) and an extra cookie. We ate until we were sick.

Then we saw the Dinosaurs. We had seen them from the restaurant, the towers sitting next to them at least. They had been sticking tall out above the clouds way up in the sky. Now we could see the bases as the tops disappeared into clouds. The sunlight was bright and hazy through the low clouds and fog, an amazingly beautiful morning. We had the park all to ourselves so early in the morning. This time I got to go see them too, instead of sitting in the car with 8.

Next came the Air and Space Museum. The drive over took enough time to get us past opening time. And the kids fell asleep. Just as we got there. It was just outside of Ellsworth Air-force base. The rest of Box Elder, the area we we were in at least, was pretty trashy, came past a beautiful strip club on our way there. Not much to drive around and look at. So we sat in the parking lot and let them sleep for awhile. Once we got bored waiting we woke them up and went to look.

The outside displays were closed for landscaping but it had gotten cold and cloudy for real as we drove across town so we wanted to go inside anyway. The inside was great, lots of neat stuff to look at I’m sure. Didn’t see much of it. 8 was off and running and The Goblin Child was quickly bored and ready to move on.

We wound up at the parks down town by the Civic Center. They were chilly but fun. 8 crawled all over fascinated by the rubber footing. There were bridges to cross and water to look at. People were actually fishing in the lake. Looked kind of gross to me with garbage floating on the edges, hope they had fun though. Maybe catch and release?

All of that and we still managed to get to Olive Garden early, ahead of the church crowd. We got right in with no wait for once. Then all hell broke loose. The Goblin Child  squirmed and wiggled and refused to sit still. or down. 8 arched backwards flung food on the floor and screamed. We made it through the salad but by the time our meals arrived the place was packed and 8 wouldn’t stop screaming. I took him out to the car, it was preferable to having to sit there with the other and wait for doggie bags. 8 fell asleep as soon as we sat down in the car. I had a few moment of silence before G.C. and her exhausted father came out.

We headed for home immediately. It had been a fun morning. Hard to believe it was barely past noon and we had already accomplished so much. Both children slept, for varying amounts of time, on the way home. Slept while we carried them in and continued to sleep while we took a much needed nap. Then we had Olive Garden for supper.



Trainer in Training Doing Some Training

Our family, meaning me!, has been immersed in clicker training for the last few weeks.

It’s good when spouses can share passions, by which I mean that we can both be totally obsessed with our individual passions and not mind that the other is preoccupied. He is still working at the tractor GPS thing and I have the horses.

I finally took the plunge and  got the horse tricks 101 academy. The Goblin Child has been watching the videos with me, a little, she has the attention span of a gnat. We saw a horse playing with a ball and I told her we could teach Princess Onna to do that. I didn’t realize she would remember much less with such enthusiasm. I thought I would sneak out and get Onna started so G.C. would be able to see more progress when we tried together. I expected Onna to respond well, or at all.

The first time I messed with her she stood looking at me blankly. I was getting decidedly worried about being able to keep my promise. Fortunately I was able to work with her a couple of times and she started to get it.

We, both children and I, were going out for a ride. I had all three horses tied to the pickup, the proper two saddled, and realized I had to put one of them away. I told G.C. to make sure 8 didn’t get under the horses. I ran Rusty back to the pen and got back to find G.C. giving 8 cereal. She informed me that it was like clicker training, she gave him food and he followed her.

But that’s not the full story of our young trainer in training.


Trainer in Training

We had the pleasure of “helping” our friend, Paula, with a pony she’s training. The pony’s person (people?) are the same age as The Goblin Child and she wanted to see how the pony would do with someone of that size. The Goblin Child is a good, aggressive rider and was happy to help.

The wind was howling the day we went over. Fortunately the place has a nice indoor arena, even in there it felt as though the walls would be ripped away and moment. The pony stood quietly. Paula hopped on in The Goblin Child’s saddle and the two were off like a shot, in a speedy little pony trot. I had a few moments of doubt. But I trust Paula and if she says the pony is safe I believe her, with only a little trepidation.

They came back at a much slower pace and we threw G.C. up. She stayed on the lead line at first, then we turned her loose. They did great, pony wasn’t very interested in listening and G.C. wasn’t overly enthusiastic about going that day. Paula grabbed her horse and they rode around together for awhile. Then G.C. was done. Once she has declared that there is no point in pushing her any farther.

I got to get on Paula’s horse and they handed 8 up in front of me. Our neighbor, Tanna, who comes over to ride with me had come along and she swung her incredibly long legs over the pony’s back. They didn’t drag the ground, it’s a perfectly sized pony. Together we played around in the arena until Paula offered to let me try her horse on the cutting dummy. I jumped at the chance, he’s a good cutting horse and I hadn’t had a chance to play like that in a long time.

He was awesome, I was not so great. I allowed him to creep in on the dummy and we kept ending up right on top of it. It was a rush getting to feel a good cutting horse under me again. Then she let Tanna try him. She did her best, he took advantage a little. For a sport that is supposedly all about letting the horse work by its self, it’s amazing how much rider input is sometimes required. Tanna has been coming out and getting some lessons and is doing incredibly well for a beginner rider. She has a great seat and is willing to listen and wants to learn but we spent our lives learning seat aids, leg cues and how to do this stuff, she still so young. If only I had started paying attention to this stuff at her age. She is going to be a great rider and this was an excellent opportunity for her to learn.

Then Paula got back on and fixed all the things we had broken on her horse, just before their first cutting of the year. Hope she was able to get everything back to normal and does great this weekend.