Saturday, March 26, 2011

How does it happen...

It never ceases to amaze me...mainly, because it seems these things only happen to me, but, today, when I went out to feed the calves there was one in the hay ring...on top of the remaining does this happen?  And, more importantly, does this stuff happen to other "farmers"? 

I completed my feeding chores, went to lift, move, tilt...whatever I could do to free this calf.  I lifted, it kinda kicked.  I moved to the other side, lifted, it kicked.  Hmmmm...what to do, what to do?  

Well, as I stood there pondering, the goofy thing went right through one of the openings.  You may be asking, "did it make it out that way?"  NO! NO! NO!  The head went through, the body...and then, it got stuck at the hips...really, the hips?  The calf must be higher at the hips, because it's certainly not wider!

Now what was I going to do?  I didn't have to ponder that too long, the calf took off with the thing hooked to it's hips.  My worse fear is that one of them is going to be maimed or die while on my watch.  Was this going to be the first one?  

It took off, I stood there in disbelief.  It bucked, it shuffled, it bucked some more.  The other calves stood and watched...just like a few days ago; another story.  Low and behold, it bucked and shuffled and bucked it's way out of the thing.  And, non worse for the wear!  I shook my head, the other calve buddies moved toward him, as if to say, " okay, dude?"  

Another story...another time; just know it had to do with a calf, a feed trough and me, standing their, shaking my head in disbelief.  Again, I ask, does this stuff just happen to me?

My gear after doing chores.  I can't wait for warmer temps.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A promised adventure

Kendall, left and Grace, third cousins, got to have a sleepover
at our house.  It was an adventure.

These two...well, they're quite a pair.  Third cousins, pretty darn good friends. Lots and lots of energy and creativity to match.  Whew...

It started a few years ago, when the girls were younger and here for Christmas or Easter.  They had a pretty darn good time playing and didn't really want to leave.  I told them I'd have them over sometime for a sleepover. Well, we just now got it accomplished. 

Both of the girls are rounding out their Kindergarten year.  Maybe this worked out to be the best time to have gotten this together.  Still cute and funny and enjoy most anything life brings to them.  Not too bossy, not too homesick, not too argumentative.  Yep, just about the right age to have the sleepover.  It was perfect timing, I'd have to say.

Both were giddy with excitement as the week turned into days, into mere hours of coming here.  Their moms shared their excitement through Facebook messages and the pressure was on for me to "have my act together".  They were expecting great things...oh, brother!

They arrived around two o'clock on Saturday roaring and ready to go!  If only we could have gotten the moms to leave, the party could have started. They had their sleepover last, they needed to let the little girls have their fun!  Finally,(and I'm really only teasing) they left and we set out on our adventure. 

Arms full of glue, glitter, pretty papers, scissors and the like, we started on our first craft project.  It was most enjoyable.  They both have active imaginations and knew exactly what they wanted to do.  Neither had the need to copy the other, they just did what they wanted to do.  And, they did very well. 

About an hour into the crafting, my oldest, Courtney called and asked if we could be over around five to feed the bottle calf and play with the lambs.  No prob! 

Note the pink dress and jeans.
So, off we went to get the girls dressed for the farm. 
Note to Kendall's mom...bibs, boots and no white tennis (just had to remind her again).  What I came to realize is...Kendall's mom most likely doesn't stand a chance when it comes to her wardrobe.  Kendall is a girly-girl, no doubt, and, loves to wear dresses and tights.  Let me just share with you;  Girly-girl aside, that Kendall is up for most any action...she'll just be dressed to the nines. Gotta love that kid!

Grace is saying "been there,
done that, no big deal"

Grace on the other hand, she had all the gear and when she had it all on, she reminded me of a little GAP kid modeling the latest look.  Grace gets to visit her grandparents farm quite often, so our little side adventure wasn't as big a deal to her, as it was for Kendall.  She's no ninny and was up for anything and quite patient to let Kendall experience what she already knew.  Gotta love Gracie!

Once we were done visiting all the animals at Courtney's, we headed back over to our farm where there were more chores to do.  We jumped on the 4-wheeler and took off.  Chores done, now chow time.  The girls were famished.  Kendall joined me in the kitchen and Grace had a captive audience in Steve(he's hurt his back and horizontal most of the time).  Grace reminded me of myself.  She loves to play school, just as I did.  Steve made a great teacher and she, a great student. 

Kendall and I made homemade pizzas. Yummo! They turned out great. She was not a moving target, so I was able to get a photo of her. Grace on the other hand...this is like the third photo I tried to get of her and Steve...I gave up. 

Needless to say, bedtime couldn't come fast enough...for Steve and I, let alone the girls.  Kendall was ready for bed, poor Grace was too, except for her extra runny nose.  She meandered down to us for a bit...meanwhile, Kendall fell asleep.  Finally, we all were in bed and sleeping soundly...UNTIL the thunder and lightning started.  I was thinking to myself, they'll sleep right through it...yea, right! 
Sunday morning was mild, but soggy.  The girls played on the front porch in their pj's and winter coats.  I was able to sneak out and do the chores without them wanting to tag along.  When I finished, I came and got them and we went for a 4-wheeler ride.  The chrill of their screams...OMG!  A sound like no other.  All in all, they loved the ride...and I did, too!  They really are good eggs and silly little girls.
Unually warm, we made it down to the pond for the final hours of their stay.  They had a blast.  I usually am down there with my nephews.  And, I found that these little girls played just like the boys do.  Dig, dig and dig.  They wanted to fish...I said no.  They wanted to swim...I said no.  I told them we could do that this summer when they came for a sleepover again...
The moms came, we visited, they left.  I was in a vegetative state for most of the rest of the day.  A promised adventure equals a day of rest for two adults.  They wore us out.  Gotta love those girls!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

While there...take in the views

It's funny (odd) to me that I don't enjoy my farm more.  Sometimes, days, weeks, months pass by, and I never venture out and take in the sights and views from our place.  One thing this getting up early and going to do the chores has done, is made me wander around and enjoy the views.  We have a magnificent one, I must say.  I'm also finding lots and lots of things that need to be done...but on this particular day, it was all about the views.

Busy filling the buckets with feed, throwing it out in the feedbunks and chatting it up with my "boys", I haven't really stopped and just taken it all in.  But, the other day I did, and looking out over the feed lot, to the south pond and beyond was so uplifting and refreshing.

Early morning has always been my favorite and I've
just gotten out of the habit of getting up and getting my day started.  I haven't needed to be up and out the door at any given time on most days.  I'm working on changing that, though.  Trying to get my body clock back to the way it used to be.  I'm up early on most days, just not ready to go anywhere...I want to clarify that.

On that particular morning, about 8:30, this is the view from one vantage point on our farm.  It's lovely, don't you think...even in the dull, gray, quiet of the lingering winter  Wide open spaces and views for miles.  Ahhhhhhh!  My lungs filled with crisp, freshness.  My breath crystalized in mid~air.  There was an awakening to my senses.  An awakening in my soul; and I just breathed...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gotta love the men in my life...

Here they are...all 61 of them.  Cute, aren't they?  We've been along just fine for the most part...however,  the mud and muck got a little overwhelming for me the other day.  Going from feed bunk to feed bunk proved to be quite a task, as it was like quick sand and my boots were getting stuck.  I fell!  Yes, in the mud and muck (aka poop). Luckily, not face first and only on my knees.  BUT, it scared the muck right out of me...I was up in no time, hollering at the calves to scare them off so as not to trample me.  They are hungry come feeding time with only one thing on their mind and nothing, not even me, the feeder of their food, would stand in their way.

After that, I decided something would have to change, so I called Tanner, my son, and asked him to come on the weekend and help me move the feed bunks around.  Remember, my hubby has hurt his back, so I'm the 'FARMER' in charge.  He said, YES! without hesitation.

I love the men in my life...I especially love the two legged ones.  These past few weeks have proven what a blessing they are to us.  Our daughter, Courtney, married a farm-boy, too, and without Chad, I don't know what we would've done the day the calves came here.  Then, he graciously supplied us with a load of wood for our woodburner.  I love him.  He's my comedy relief, he's the keeper of my daughter, he's the keeper of us, when we need him.  I love him!

Tanner...he's my first love.  He's my one and only son and he's the best.  When he was a little guy and into his teen year's, I always got a sense that my hubby, his stepdad, was competition for taking care of his mom.  After all, it was pretty much he, his sister and I for several years.  He was the "man of the house".  I've felt that again these past few weeks.  Not the competition, that's long subsided (I think) but that it was his role to take care of his mom.  He makes me want to cry...I love him so!  AND, he gave me my first, that takes the cake! 

One never really knows how they did raising kids until after they are grown.  I think to myself, as I sit here writing this, I did okay...his step dad and I did okay.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm a GLAMOUR fashion "don't"...chore time fashion

As I was putting on my clothes...(my getup) to go out and do the chores, I was quickly reminded of a time, quite a few years ago, when I wore another "getup" to my guests amazement. 

On the acreage we originally lived at, there were 9 cres in CRP and running right next to it were another 9 acres that my hubs had row cropped.  This made a perfect scenario for evaluating the effect of land being set aside for a period of time vs. land that had been worked for the same period.

On this particular day, a few employees from an agriculture business came out to prepare the ground and do their study. 

At that time, there was not a restaurant in town for them to go eat lunch, so I thought I would go out and invite them in to eat.  It was a hot, hot August day...and, my hay fever was in full swing.  Oftentimes, when it was really bad and I had to go outside, I'd wear a mask.  It helped tremendously, so I put it on, along with my shorts and rubber boots and headed out to do the inviting.  I fully intended to explain "why" I had the mask on, so they'd understand the reason for it.

For the study, the group had dug a six foot trench, and were down in it.  As I approached, I could see their heads bobbing up and down and unbeknownst to them, I was making my way out to them.  As I got closer, they could hear my boots squeak and squawk as I walked.  As I looked up, I realized they had, too, and I've often giggled over the looks on their faces.  What a sight I must have been.  A Glamour fashion "don't".  After making fun at my "look", they quickly accepted my lunch invitation; nice conversation ensued over lunch. 

As my photo shows, I don't have the regular "farm girl" gear.  I hate being confined in coveralls, my winter coats are too nice to wear out in slop.  AND, these days, I get way too hot, so, I dressed in whatever was at hand, that didn't matter if it got dirty, wasn't confining and was layered. Thus, the "getup" shown above. 

It's all about fashion...and this was another Glamour fashion "don't"  However, I'm perfectly clear on the fact that the cows don't care!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

61 calves, a semi, a John Deere tractor and a super rainy, muddy day...let the fun begin!

Well, day one~first feeding down and all is well on the farm front. 

Steve, my hubs, hurt his back again(the first time was Jan. '07) and so, the past few weeks have been an adventure, again!  He went horizontal.  Not able to sit or stand for two weeks, right leg affected, a trip to the ER, with a two day stint in the hospital have been part of the ordeal.  He finally ruptured the disc, where before, it was just "bulging." Doing much better after an epidural in the back, he was finally able to go back to work, and all was well!

We normally get calves at the first of the year.  Not quite ready for them at that time, we knew it was getting a little late and now the back problem.  Well...we had to get them bought, so, the call went out to his buyer.  Our son came over and helped me finish getting the lot ready; our son-in-law said he'd come and help me, too. 

So, the call came in and the cows, 61 of them, would be delivered on Tuesday.  Perfect, (son-in-law Chad has Tuesdays off) ...except for it has been pretty warm, so the frost was coming out of the ground, topped off with a rainy, rainy day.  Hmmmm?  Would the semi be able to make it down the half mile lane to the lot?  THAT WAS THE QUESTION...THAT WAS THE PROBLEM.  NO! 

So, leave it to the John Deere was able to pull the semi, loaded with the calves up the lane.  Okay, that worked...until it got stuck again.  Back up, hook on, didn't work!  Back up, unhook, re-hook, unhook...finally, unstuck!  Too much messing around for me...

Meanwhile, the rain came down, the mud went up, Steve did too much, I got after him, the son-in-law finally explained "why" to the trucker.  I don't know if he was worried about the guy thinking Steve was being coddled too much, or if the guy would think I was being far too bossy (can't imagine that) whatever it was, I was worrying about the same thing, so I'm glad he told him what the deal was.  Except, he said "mother" is worried about him hurting his back, he has back problems, which then made me say, "I'm not his mother, I'm his wife".   Didn't want him to think I was THAT old, or, that I was pulling the Charlie Sheen card and the boys were my "gods". There was least it explained what was going on, to my relief...and Steve's. 

61 calves, a semi, a John Deere tractor and a super rainy, muddy day...let the fun begin...