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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Carrie" George...

otherwise known as "Curious George," the monkey who belongs to the man with the yellow hat, but called "Carrie" by Ellen, made a pretty big showing this Chistmas.

Thank you to Portland Aunt for the package we got a day or so ago. In it was a Curious G. book AND stuffed version of the fellow. Ellen loves them. A friend of mine from CA also sent a version of CG that runs on batteries; push his tummy and he yawns and plays a few bars of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. He is dressed for bed and has a blankie and a teddy. Ellen loves him, but won't touch him yet because she is suspicious of a monkey that plays music, I suppose.

She has quite the monkey collection; a blue long armed affair that hoots when you push his tummy (from MO grandma), one with magnets in his hands a feet who perches on the fridge (she loves to play with him on occasion too-from her aunt and uncle in Portland), a little red monkey her dad got free at a yard sale (it's one of those McDonald's kids meal's toys) and now two Curious George monkeys.

She's doing better at her monkey collection already than I am at my giraffe collection, and she's only been at it less than two years.

Ellen also enjoys coloring. The color book from Portland already has colors on every page. She loves to color and already knows most of her basic colors, thanks to her Missouri Grandma and Aunt working with her. Well, I work with her as well, but not as much.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday again

At least I believe it is Monday. I am having trouble keeping track, I know it's been a long time since I have blogged. Oops.

The theme for NaBloPoMo for January is CHANGE, but I think I will skip it this time and just blog when I can.

So far we have had a good holiday season. Christmas was nice.

Hubby and I had our usual Christmas "discussion" centered around whether Santa Claus really exists or not. He says Santa DOES exist because he brings him a "big weenie" every year. I say; "Bosh! The summer sausage that you get every year is from your sister who tries to disguise her sickenly perfect writing on the tag. Besides I saw her bring it in from the car when they brought their gifts down here. There were never any gifts from Santa under my tree when we were kids because our parents were more realistic."

"Ha!" he replies, "You never got gifts from Santa because he doesn't deliver to doubters."

And on and on.

Then on Christmas Eve he tells me triumphantly; "I just heard on the news that Russian radar picked up a flying object over their borders, so Santa IS on his way! I hope he doesn't skip our house because he knows you don't believe in him."

*SIGH*

On Christmas night after he came in from milking he also accused me of being a grinch because I'd already taken down the tree and tossed it out the back door.

I said he'd be a grinch about the tree too if he had to sweep up all the cedar needles all the time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas


Here's hoping you have a wonderful, blessed holidays.

News:

Yesterday we were supposed to have a horrible snow/ice/freezing rain type of day, but it went south of us. We got a bit of rain, but it warmed up and things thawed out instead of freezing up. Thank the Lord. It has cooled off again today, and a few snow flakes actually came down out there a bit ago, but hopefully the worst is over with. I am not one of those white Christmas admirers; if I have to do chores I'd rather it be dry.

Yesterday hubby had to pull a bull calf and had a first happen. This was one of those where I knew from the beginning it was going to be an issue. When I went up to feed the dry cows one was in labor with just one huge hoof and a huge nose coming out. Hubby went up later and still no progress so he brought her down here. One of the calf's legs was folded back so hubby had to shove the whole calf back into the cow and then try to get both legs coming out at once. (This sounds easy in print, but shoving against an 800 or so pound beast is no joke) But before he'd figured that out he'd cleaned the calf's nose and mouth so it could breathe. Then while back inside the cow the calf let out a moo. Hubby said it was weird, he'd never had one do that.

The calf is doing OK, but it was so large that it has that tendon problem. Sometimes when the calves are big their legs get cramped in the uterus and after birth the tendons won't extend so that they can stand. I forget what exactly they call it. We have had this happen several times since I have been here, mostly with the bull calves. But they always keep attempting to stand and stretch it out eventually to where you'd never know there was a problem. I am hoping he recovers soon. I don't want to have to keep feeding him. We'd like to get rid of him ASAP, but there isn't much market for bull calves anymore. No one wants them. Hubby says CraigsList has quite a few people on there advertising the bull calves, and we are hoping our regular buyer will keep on buying them for awhile longer.

Anyway...Merry Christmas...Happy New Year to everyone far and near.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Well, I guess I blew NaBloPoMo

But, oh well. It wasn't wise to sign up for it this month anyway. I am just so burned out on computer stuff, anyway.

Let's see...what's been happening?

Not too much. We got a little bit of ice and snow, just barely enough to cover the ground, but still plenty to ice the roads up for 3 days or so, they cancelled school for the kids Mon-Thurs. It warmed up and is raining now. More ice on the way though.

This morning I had to catch a couple of the littlest heifers we have with the open heifer herd up in the winter pasture. This is always a challenge because the bigger ones usually chase the small ones out of the corral...meaning the little ones don't get anything to eat, and we have trouble catching them to bring them back to where they CAN get food.

It was pitch black when I went up there this morning to do this job. They weren't around the corral so I had to bang buckets on the bunks and holler for them. Then I heard them coming, and if I hadn't known what was coming, I would have high-tailed it out of there myself. Do you have any idea how frightening a herd of 27 half-grown bovine sound charging through a pitch black wood? Occasionally one would huff and snort. I thought that must be what Lewis Carol imagined the Jabberwock to sound like; a whole herd of huffing heifers rampaging through the woods.

Anyway. Once they got there I had to wait 'til the little ones came up, and through a bit of jostling I managed to get them into the corral. But then came the tricky part; I had to close the corral panels; there aren't any gates. One panel has to be hoisted over one of the feed bunks while at the same time the quarry has to be kept in the corral. You should have seen me scrambling back and forth over the bunk and shouting and shooing. All in the dark with just the 4-wheeler lights to illuminate the scene. Thank the Lord no cars went by. There are few truly dull moments around here.

Ellen is doing well. Today she started playing with her little fake cell phone in a new way; instead of just pushing the button to hear it ring she pushed it, listened to it ring, then held it to her ear and asked: "Heh-woh?" It was so cute.

If you ask her what her name is she still says; "Punk-kin" but she refers to the little girl in the mirror as "Eh-nen" and she did tell me when she was playing that "Eh-nen talk on phone." So she knows the difference.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thanks:

*sigh* I can think of lots of things to be thankful for, but I don't have the time or patience to make them entertaining.

I will be thankful if we don't get the nasty weather they say is headed our way tonight. I don't like freezing rain one bit.

Maybe sometime this week I will be able to post something worth reading, but if we don't have any power I guess I will have to deal with that too.

Right now I have a little one wanting to watch Frost again.

Bye

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanks for:

Here's another fly by night post....nothing to post, just making a post to mark time. We went to Camdenton to pick up the new truck. Ellen didn't get a full nap so she has been cranky all day, meaning that I have had to endure.

No one at church is very encouraging about this Terrible Two stuff; they all say it lasts forever. Oh, la la...I am going to go get a shower now while hubby and daughter watch Frosty the Snowman on here.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanks for: Fridays

They always come around just when you need them. Like putting on your jacket in fall for the first time since early spring and finding a $20 bill in the pocket.

That's all for today.

I'm bushed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanks for: My Learning Capacity

It never fails to amaze me what my daughter can teach me without even trying; she just is her little self and does what she does and I learn so much.

For instance:

Did you know that a whole roll of paper towels unrolled off the cardboard makes a nice frothy pile in the front room that's about as high as my knee?

How about the fact that Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue can be used to repair a rip in the wall paper that was about as long as my forearm?

I learned these things today. I also learned that I have a pretty good sense of humor because all I did was laugh.

What's more fun than learning? I dunno. I am sure Ellen will teach me many more things as time goes on. I will keep you all informed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thanks for:

Well, we did a quick rehearsal tonight at church, with all the parents watching. The kids did much better at their parts...at least my older teens did better. The little one were still squirrelly. But they were a bit better, I guess. I look forward to the end of the whole thing.

No time to write a serious post tonight.

Adios

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanks for: My Camera


It takes pretty good pictures and is fun to play with. This morning I did a few Christmas pics of Ellen. I was going to do more but she got restless, and she kept wanting to see the pictures and getting up to look at them in the camera. It didn't help to explain that I hadn't had a chance to take any of her yet. Plus she kept wanting to play with the gifts.

I guess I ought to write more about the dairy, but there just isn't much going on right now. Hubby is having to put out hay most every day. He is also busy getting in firewood for us. I haven't had a new bottle calf in well over a month. That little bitty calf is really coming along, I was afraid she'd croak on us, but she's really feisty.

Hubby has decided that to up our production he wants to find a dairy with good quality milkers and buy a few Holstein heifer calves, in the 500 lb range. Then get rid of some of ours. We'll see what we can find.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanks for: Mondays

Mondays are as sure to come around as spring after winter, fall after summer, the sun after the moon.

You can count on them showing up pretty regular-like. They give you a new chance to begin again, to start anew as it were, to write something original on the slate of your life.

OK. So I am getting desperate. It is more difficult that I thought it would be to think up a new thing every day, something that isn't as obvious as the...well...obvious "I am thankful for" things.

Ellen is beginning to parrot everything we say, and to tell what has happened to her in her recent past. We are having to watch what we say closely. I think hubby was rather put out when she started saying "buttsy." She said it in front of his mom and he said darkly, "Well, she didn't learn it from me." *sigh* I just giggled inside but didn't say anything.

Then this morning I woke her up out in the barn after chores (she takes a nap out there during AM chores) and she was laying there ruminating it would seem. Suddenly she said; "Aunty working." I agreed that yes, Aunty was at work. Then she said; "Aunty, Pooh." Yes, Aunty shows you Pooh bear movies when you visit her (which is every night, pretty much. Then she said; "Aunty juice." Yes, Aunty gives you juice when you visit. THEN she says; "Aunty cream."

AH HAH!

Aunty gives you ice cream?!

The proverbial cat was spilled from the bag and mewed loudly.

Ha.

Kids do not keep secrets very well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanks for: This Days End

Today was the annual Holiday potluck at church. As always they had great food, and good company of course.

The main drawback was that my calm, bashful-in-public child was a screaming mimi the whole time. We'd no sooner get her calmed down than some well-meaning soul would get up in her face and ask her what was wrong and she'd go off again. *sigh* The pastor especially has a knack for setting her off. Poor guy, he's really nice and loves the kids, but she just wasn't going to tolerate any sympathy from anyone today.

What was wrong was she hadn't had her nap out and she, as her father put it, woke up on the wrong side of the pew.

Hang on, she wants to type her side of the story.
n.kk4333333333rrrrrrrrrrrrrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffkkkklllllll

Yes, she did actually type all of that. 55555555555555 and this. Mostly she likes to turn the number lock light on and off. That really floats her boat.444444444444klllllll;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666

OK Ellen, they believe you. Now let's watch Baby Einstien...after we check Mama's email.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks for: My computer

It's a great tool. Especially if you connect to the internet. Hubby does lots of research on it. On Craigslist, that is. For the past couple of months he's been looking for a new farm truck that we can use for various other things.

Today we went to Camdenton and got one. It's a 3/4 ton, extended cab '93 Ford. Only 89,000 miles on it. A bit dented up, but that made the price much less. It has lots of extras that we'd use on it, including a plate for a gooseneck trailer hitch, a winch set up on the front bumper, some other kind of odd hitch attachment on the back, A/C... He is pleased.

By the way, while I am talking about hubby. His drilling paid off. This past week he took and passed the test and is now a licensed well driller. He only missed one question; something about what sediment you'd find along a river. He actually got the following question correct; How much air pressure PSI (pounds per square inch-I think it is) would it take to push up a column of water that is 6 inches around and 100 feet tall? He KNEW, off the top of his head, the formula to calculate the weight of such a column; then he diddled on his calculator and came up with an answer that was about .30 off of one of the multiple choice answers. He has a mathematical mind. Good for him. I don't.

Anyway. The computer is a handy tool. Tonight I watched "Flywheel" on it. (Yes, Jel, I actually watched it. Now to get it back to you.)



"Flywheel" is a feel good Christian movie about a used car salesman. The movie was never intended to go national; it was supposed to be a local outreach deal. You can tell it's not really professional. But it has great moments. It's produced by Sherwood Baptist Church down in Georgia. They also did "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof." I haven't seen "Facing the Giants"yet. It's about sports and doesn't interest me much. But then again, neither did used car sales.

The computer is good for lots of other things too, but I've run out of time for tonight.

Bye

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanks for: Matilda


She's my furry little buddy. She was born here on the dairy, in the garage on the concrete floor behind a pile of old tires.

In the spring and summer she is a wild cat; never comes inside and doesn't ask for too much food.

In fall and winter during cold weather, like now, she turns into a pampered inside cat...at least at night. During the day she rambles all over outside, but at night she keeps my feet warm.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks for: Swapping Sites

Like paperbackswap.com and swapadvd.com.

The only trouble is the books or DVDs I want have a waiting list a mile long. So I either have to suck it up and wait or shell out the dough and actually buy the book or DVD.

Normally I don't bother with popular fiction, but I happened to run across "Wicked-the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" and I read it. And it was rather entertaining, even though I didn't really "get" the politics of the Oz that Gregory Maguire created. I have found the 3rd in the series, the Cowardly Lion's story, but I have yet to find "Son of a Witch" which is about Elphaba's (the WW of the W) son, Liir.

And because I find British TV series more interesting than US I'd like to get DVD sets of some of their series, like; Keeping up Appearances. Not to mention "The Tudors" or the complete Poirot set with David Suchet.

Well, I'll have to save up my credits and get on the waiting list.

Anyway, these sites are great for "free" entertainment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks for: Cow Squeezins...

Otherwise known as milk.

Rather an obvious thing to be thankful for on a dairy, don't you agree? But, there it is. Around here it's the white stuff that makes the green stuff...in more ways than one. Let me rephrase: ummm...it's the white stuff that brings in the dough.

Or: On the dairy it's the white stuff that keeps the wolf from the door.

Or: On the dairy milk is money. That pretty much sums it up.

So as long as people keep buttering their biscuits, topping their tacos with cheddar, making hot chocolate on snowy days, and pairing cake with ice cream, milk will always be something a dairy will be thankful for.

In other news.

Ellen was less than impressed with the snow we got a couple of days ago. She wouldn't have anything to do with it. Acted like it was going to scald her if we tried to get her to touch it.

This morning, in an effort to get her to eat more dairy products (she refuses to drink milk unless it's in a bottle, which I have almost eliminated from her diet) I put some cream cheese on her favorite crackers. She looked at them with a skeptical eye; "White...snow." she said, and would have nothing to do with them. "Here, Ellen, just taste one, I coaxed. "Nope! Snow!" she said, and pushed it away. I just laughed. How can you argue with that logic?

Kids.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanks for: In-Laws

There is a plethora of jokes about in-laws; mostly a wee tad on the negative side...ok, well, mostly WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY over the line on the negative side. But I was really blessed when it came to getting in-laws.

We were kind of wondering about my brother, but he did a great job of finding a wife...even if he did have to go to Japan to find her on a military base in Okinawa. She was teaching English over there. Over the years she has been a great support to me, to our family and of course a great wife to my brother and mother to their children.

My family in turn, yes, they were all wondering about me too. And what really gets my goat is they didn't even blink an eye...or at least not where I could see them do so...when I told them I was quitting my job, packing my bags, leaving them all behind and hoofing it to the Mid-West to marry some internet dude. I guess it all turned out well in the end though. And, look what my mother-in-law gave us yesterday:



It's a turkey pie. She had lots of filling, she made two of them. And instead of putting it in the freezer she sent it up the road to us. Isn't that the best?!

Yes, my hubby's family has been very supportive over the past 4 years. As far as I know they didn't blink an eye when hubby told them he was getting married. Though MIL said she never thought he would marry. Ha. Anyway. They have helped us garden, rake and burn leaves, snap and can beans, given me recipes and plants and a place to sleep when we lost our power. Not mention babysitting. Of course they have their own reasons for doing that. Heh heh heh.

OK. It's almost bedtime. I'd better stop for now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Month of Being Thankful

NaBloPoMo theme for December is THANKS. So my first thankful post is for:

Snow.

We got about an inch worth of "no accumulation" yesterday and last night. People in other climes might laugh at such a piddly amount, but to Ellen it was quite a big deal. Two new vocabulary words to work on: "white" and "snow." She didn't want to touch it, or taste it or anything too personal like that. She just wanted to look out the window at it and walk in it.

This morning as I was riding up the road in the semi-dark doing chores, snorting the snow out of nose as it blew in my face, and swiping it out of the feed bunks while trying to avoid being trampled by the cow critters, it occurred to me to wonder what there was about snow that I should be thankful for. Hmmmm....

*It rather makes me thankful for fall and spring weather. (There is very little that could make me thankful for summer weather in Missouri, except to be thankful for winter weather maybe, but that is for another post, perhaps.)

*Snow covers up all the dreary colors that winter weather creates.

*Snow sparkles in the sun.

*Only with snow can you create a snowman.

There. My first thankful post.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Final Post for November

What to post? Ellen is going to help me post today, so .an.ything add7itional, like numbers or typos are from her to you. I hope you can figure out what we are talking abo ut./

It's a rather nasty day out there. It has been snowing all day, no6thing is sticking, excep
t on the porch, since the ground is too warm yet, but it's snow, nonetheless.

This hasn't been an exciting ;'November for bl///////////////////////////ogging
as far as dairy doings are concerned. What has gone on is too depressing to talk about really; I don't want this blog to turn into a sob fest.

I haven't had the time to visit other folks blogs am much as I'd have liked to. I am going to try and do December, too, though; blog, I mean. The theme is THANKS, so surely I can think of something to be thankful for every day for a month.


Well, I have a fussy kid to take care of.

Blog at you later.
R

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blogging Under the Wire...as it were...

It's pretty late right now, for me to be blogging anyway. It's actually only about 7:35 PM, but bedtime is less than 1 1/2 hours away and there is a baby to take care of...bedtime rituals and all that, you know. When you get up at 3:45 AM, it makes for short evenings.

At the moment hubby is playing with the baby; they are stacking blocks and books to make towers so that she can knock them down. He is having great fun.

Let's see...oh, yes. Today I went in to Bolivar and picked up my new glasses. They gave me a headache, new glasses always do. So I have the old ones on for now. I will have to break my eyes in to the new specs slowly.

Well, only one more day left. I hope I can manage to get a blog in tomorrow. I will feel my November has not been wasted if I can complete my blogging for this month.

Tah for now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Waxing Nostalgic




For the past couple of weeks I have been watching the complete second season of The Waltons on DVD. Last year I watched the complete first season. I remember when I was a kid I LOVED this program and watched it religiously. Hubby watched it often as well when he was younger, and he can remember what happens in certain episodes.

Some of the stuff is hilarious; like when the new preacher and Grandpa pay a visit to the Baldwin sisters and get roaring drunk on "The Recipe." Though I still think it's quite a stretch that those old ladies didn't know they were making whiskey in that still. But it's one of the funnier things I remember about the show.

In thinking back I am surprised my father ever even let me watch a show that included a "recipe," but I guess he overlooked it. He was VERY anti-alcohol.

Anyway, watching this show makes me think back to my own growing up and how idyllic it was, though I didn't realize it at the time. I had a pretty trouble-free childhood. I am grateful for that, it's such a blessing. Not many kids these days can say that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

To one and all.

Not much to post today. I guess I ate too much turkey and my thinking cap is asleep.

It is a lovely holiday here in the Ozarks. A good day to be thankful on.

Let's see...I am thankful for all the usual things; family, friends, a healthy baby, life, Salvation, fun, health, country...

It's good to be alive and well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

April 2008

If I do not post on Friday, remember the above date.

That is what is listed as the "Best By" date on the can of the pumpkin pie mix, the contents of which are now baking in the oven, combined with 2 large eggs and 2/3 cup of evaporated milk, all snuggled comfortably inside a homemade piecrust.


We are going to eat it tomorrow, along with the year old turkey that sis-in-law got from her work last Thanksgiving. The turkey has been in the freezer. The can of pumpkin pie mix has been on the shelf for dunno how long. It smells pretty good though.





Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What do you post in 15 minutes?

Not too much. It's my only time without the kid here, so I can type much faster, but there's not too much time for thinking.

At the moment I am having a dessert crisis. Hubby ate the last piece of cake on Sunday and I haven't had time to fix him anything else since. Yesterday what I was going to fix kind of fizzled, so he had syrup on homemade bread and ice cream. A bizarre combination, but he ate it.

Today I took Ellen in to her Parents As Teachers meeting with the teacher so I didn't have time to fix anything. But I remembered that I had a tub of that cookie dough I bought off of one of the kids from church. I thawed it out, smooshed some of it into a pan and am making brownies out of it.

Maybe I can come up with something more interesting tomorrow to blog about.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More of what not to do on the farm

Here is another sample of things you ought not to do on the farm. None of these were from my experience, mind you, but they are good to remember.



Never assume your blind date won't notice that you still smell like hogs.



Don't bend over in front of a Ram! He will use you as batting practice.



Never assume you got all of the chicken poop off your head before you go to the store.



Do not ever run across a sun-dried manure pit thinking "light" thoughts ... you are not that light!



Do not ever leave the goat pen gate open "just for a second"...even if the goats appear to be at the farthest point away from gate. They are able to run faster than a person pushing a full wheelbarrow up a hill, and can jump OVER said wheelbarrow.
PS...do not forget the grainbucket when luring goats back to their pen.
PPS...put REAL grain in the bucket too...they can TELL if you just put a handful of gravel in instead.
PPPS...dont do any of these things on days when it is icy.


Never let your city nieces gather the eggs...oh dear. They brought in the ones a hen was sitting on and I sold them unknowingly at work to a friend who hard boiled them for egg salad--yes, you are picturing it right....fortunately, she thought it was hilariously funny....and told the story to one of our docs who was a Kentucky farm boy and we almost had to send him to the ER he was laughing so hard in the middle of a delivery.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Continuing on with the pulling....

Hubby put a loop of rope around one of those huge hooves and told me: "Here, grab hold."

The cow just continued to lay there, and would look around at us occasionally, but she was too busy at the moment to really worry about us. Hubby and I dug in our heels and pulled, except that our hands started to slip on the rope. So hubby told me to keep up a steady pull while he went and got a stick. He put the stick in the loop on our end and we both caught hold of that and pulled.

We could see the nose just barely sticking out and the tongue would flicker occasionally so we knew we had caught a live one, but it was like pulling on a boulder. Progress was measured by centimeters at first.

Then that nose came out and the bottom half of the face was visible. The forehead is the biggest part and once that is out you are home free. But this one didn't seem to be budging at all. Every time the cow would heave we would pull extra hard, but it didn't seem like we were getting anywhere.

It was at this point that the rope, which was one of those new-fangled bungee type ropes, began to make these weird popping noises every few seconds.

"Great" my hubby says, "the rope is starting to break."

At that point I was sure the rope would break completely, the calf would disappear back up inside and we would have to round her up to the corral after all. But we still kept hauling away on the rope and FINALLY the little head was all the way out.

We pulled the calf out the rest of the way and there it lay on the ground, all wet and flat. They really look emaciated when they are first born.

At every live birth there is always that weird magic moment when you look down and see the little heart fluttering in the completely still little chest. Then comes the next magic moment when that little chest begins to lift and heave and you hear the calf snort its first breath.

Then you realize that no matter how high the feed prices have climbed that day, no matter how far the stock market has fallen, no matter what the fuel prices may be; miracles still do happen.

New Life is always a miracle; even if it's just a big bull calf out in a cow pasture on a backwoods dairy farm.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Long Pull, a Strong Pull...

Finally. Yesterday something happened to blog about.

Hubby was going by the bull heifer pasture on the way home from town yesterday afternoon and saw something.

He came in at about 2:15 PM and said there was a heifer up there calving, but she didn't seem to be making any progress.

(Ellen, do you mind terribly, darling? It's difficult to type when you keep pushing in the keyboard.)

This wasn't good news to receive at such a late hour (I start supper at 3:00 pm), but what can you do? They rarely ever do things for the farmer's convenience. So in about 15 minutes I rigged up for cold weather (it hovered at and below freezing all day) and went back up there to check on her while hubby took Ellen up to her grandma's place. Nope, no progress, just a massive pair of hooves sticking out. So I called hubby on the walkie-talkie (very useful things on the dairy, those.) and told him. I waited there while he got the other 4-wheeler so we could round her up into the corral. Except she had gotten up, walked over, and plopped down in a dozer pile. She decided she didn't want to move, even when hubby walked up and examined her.

So hubby attached one of the ropes that we keep handy in the 4-wheelers to one of those huge hooves and...

OK...sorry. I am going to have to finish tomorrow. It's almost 3 PM and the kid is in my lap wanting to watch little video clips of herself.

'Til tomorrow...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whew...that was close.

This morning when hubby went to fire up the computer the monitor kept clicking itself off; wouldn't stay on. We tried another of his old monitors; it didn't work either.

So, took computer in to have the pros look at it. They plugged it in, yep, actual computer was OK, said we needed a new monitor. Brought it back home. Hooked it all up. Monitor came on, all's well again.

What gives? Dunno. We will see if I can finish this NaBloPoMo thing or not.

Ha.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 20

On this day I find myself with writer's block. It doesn't help that I only have about 10 minutes left before I need to shut down and cook supper.

What kind of block do they call it when you can't think of what to cook for supper? Cooking block? Food block? I'm-fed-up-with-cooking block? When one has to cook 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year, the issue "What to cook for supper?" becomes tedious.



So what is the deal with this Stephenie Meyer vampire series stuff? I guess the first book has been made into a movie which has just been released. Is this the Harry Potter replacement? They say the books are written for the pre-teen/teen set of girls but everyone else is going ga-ga over them too. I am going to read them and see for myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tonight...

is Christmas play program rehearsal night. This is always a hoot.

For one thing, when you get a group of young'uns together doing something fun, you inevitably get a whing-ding. The girls group together and yak and the boys do their best to annoy the girls.

But most of them have their lines memorized and know when they come in and exit. Now we have to get them to be able to deliver their lines without giggling or snickering. The Indignant Man has trouble with this issue. He has his lines downpat, but gets the giggles about halfway through. It doesn't help that everyone else is laughing too.

We also have to work on the carolers scene. They are supposed to "swamp" Wally, not mob him. Also, they are carolers, but they don't know any Christmas carols. We will have to work on that one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ellen Picture


For want of anything interesting to post today here is yet another picture of Ellen. Not the greatest, but she's always cute.

We have a new activity that she loves to do; smell the spices in the cupboard. She recognizes garlic and cumin, and calls them by name. This morning she also recognized the cinnamon. She gets out a fair immitation of the names, she started calling cinnamon "cake," which kind of surprised me. Maybe her aunt or grandma had some kind of cinnamon cake they gave her, I don't know, I certainly have never made any kind of cinnamon cake that I can think of, or in any way instructed her on their association.

She loves to use "pay-peer" and a "peen" to write with. But she has been banned from using pens unless she is stuck in her highchair. She has already written in one of her books. *sigh*


That's all for today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Week's Worth of Catalogs


As the holidays approach the mail order companies go nuts and send out multitudes of catalogs. I was going to keep track of how many I received in the mail from Nov 1st until Christmas, but I didn’t know where to store them all. So I kept track for the past 6 mail delivery days. Here is my collection. I think most all of them have websites, so if you see one you’d like to order from just let me know and I will post the site address. Ha.



A Week’s Worth of Catalogs



Monday, November 10, 2008 through Saturday, November 15, 2008


Monday:


Movies Unlimited-2008 Holiday DVD Gift Guide!
Signals-Gifts that Inform, Enlighten & Entertain
Ginny’s Holiday 2008 Gift Book
Victorian Trading Company- Holiday 2008
Metrostyle
Traditions
Wind & Weather
Plow & Hearth-Holiday 2008
World Vision Gift Catalog



Tuesday:


Veteran’s Day Holiday….no mail delivery



Wednesday:


National Geographic-Holiday 2008 Catalog
Eddie Bauer-The Gift Book



Thursday:

Abbey Press presents Holidays
Collections etc.
Miles Kimball
Current




Friday:


Willow Ridge
Gooseberry Patch
Carol Wright Gifts


Saturday:


No catalogs at all! Can you believe it?!?!

A total of 18 catalogs last week. I wonder what will show up this week. The mail hasn't yet come today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can you spot the copperhead?

This is from a forward that has gone around this fall, complete with a warning to be careful when raking fall leaves. Kind of creepy. There is a copperhead snake in the picture below. Look very, very carefully; remember that they are poisonous.












As a parody of the copperhead pic, I took the following of Matilda. Can you spot the puddy? Ha! She likes to come with me on my walks sometimes, and she loves to play in the leaves.






Ah ha! Below is the copperhead. Would you have been bitten? I would have; but then again, I didn't have the patience to stop and really scan the picture for it. Hubby says usually they are coiled up, not stretched out. If they are moving I believe they are easier to spot. But I don't know. In the 4 years I have been in Missouri I haven't seen a live copperhead; no, I take that back. The only live copperhead I have seen in MO was a rather pitiful looking one at the zoo. Then hubby showed me a dead one. They get run over in the road quite frequently in spring.








Saturday, November 15, 2008

Halfway There

This has gone much quicker this year for me, seems like.

But, oh la la, what to post for today?

Just a quick observation; it's very hard to type legibly with a 20 month old in your lap. She likes to help.

The mini calf we got a couple of weeks ago is doing well. She's grown a bit, but she is still kind of mentally slow, or at least that is my opinion. She still doesn't quite get how to efficiently drink her bottle; she has a big puddle of milk on the ground after she is done. I never have the patience to stand and watch her for too long, all I know is that she slurps on it, then pulls off of it, then re-attaches and repeats.

Today we went in to Lebanon. I went into a couple of the thrift shops down there and bought some things for Ellen. I have to stop myself from buying up all of the cute little dressy dresses that they have. At only $8-$10 per dress it's hard to pass up. I have to get them a couple of sizes too large as she is so tall. She isn't that big around, is of average weight for her age, but at her last appointment she was at the 105th percentile for her height.

Today is opening day for deer season, shotgun season that is. Bow season is now over with until next month I believe. On the way into town we saw lots of trucks parked along the roads, or saw folks in hunter orange and camoflauge walking around. They were in Wal-Mart too, or at gas stations around.

Around here they have places where you can donate your deer to feed the hungry, but hubby just saw somewhere that they also ask you to pay part of the processing fee.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Poem To Cheer You...or maybe not

In looking for something to post; a poem perhaps, since I am running out of posting ideas, I ran across this one by Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774). Now that I am the mother of a daughter, such views of women's lives make me shiver. Thankfully things are much different now than back then. However, it is still kind of sobering to think that this is how many teenaged girls STILL feel. I believe I heard of one recently commiting suicide, in FL wasn't it, because of being jilted.

I hope and pray that I can instill in my daughter the firm belief that she has great value as an individual and does not need a boyfriend to make her SOMEBODY or to give her life meaning. And if she does get jilted that it is NOT the end of the world, the Lord has better plans for her someday.

Woman
When lovely woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy?
What art can wash her tears away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from ev'ry eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom is-to die.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poo...or, let's get gross

In over a year of blogging I don't think I have actually dedicated a post wholly to the subject of poo. I give it a glancing mention occasionally, but haven't gone too deep into the subject. Well, here we go.

Poo on the dairy. It's everywhere, seems like. And even where it isn't, the smell of it is, depending on the direction the wind is blowing. Hubby has several piles of it around; there is one fresh one here just in view of the house; it has grass and weeds covering most of it. Then hubby transports quite a bit of it into piles way up the road. After it has sat there for a couple of years it turns into lovely black dirt that is great for the garden. Except there are a TON of weed seeds in it. We give quite a bit of it away in the spring; neighbors or friends come load up their trucks. Hey, it's free.

Here's where it gets really gross. The wildlife loves the poo, in all it's various forms. Birds, especially the turkeys, and raccoons eat the corn out of it. Also, at one point early on in my careeer here I kept wondering why the young calves in their little individual calf houses weren't going poo. They never left any evidence of it though they were doing a good job of eating. "Oh," hubby informs me one day, "the 'possums take care of it."

Hmmmm...ok, 'nuff said.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Colorful Country Sayings

This is a collation of various posts I have made including different sayings that hubby has told me. I was going to make it a little better, but I got tired of messing with it. I am going to post it over to the side under Amusing Posts from the Past and update it from there as hubby thinks of more.



Colorful Sayings

* He's going to fly high and light low. (To be said of someone who's on a spending spree-he's flying high with his money now, but he'll light low eventually when it's gone.)

* He's got the wrong sow by the ear. (To have made a mistake, as in: we got a call yesterday from someone who was wanting to know why hubby hadn't shown up with his skid-loader to help her out...well, she had called the wrong number.)

* He's got to lick that calf over. (To have done a poor job at something and have to do it over again.)


Then there are the "poor" sayings. Here in the Ozarks to be "poor" also means to be thin, or skinny. That's what most of these are referring to.

* Poor as a snake.

* Poor as owl poop.

* So poor you could do your washing on his ribs.

* So poor you could hang your hat on his hip bone.

* He looks like the tail-end of hard times.




Weather Related Sayings:

* Raining pitchforks with saw logs for handles.

* Raining like water pouring from a boot.

* Raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock.

* It’s a real toad strangler out there.

* Snowflakes coming down like cats a’fighting.



On being stingy:

* Tight as bark on a tree.

* So tight his hind end (or change to your choice of expletive) would hold coal oil (kerosene, I believe).



Chickens are common in the country, thus sayings abound in reference to them:

* Scarce as hen’s teeth.

* That beats a hen pecking with a sore bill.

* I’d as soon do without the eggs as to hear him/her cackle. (Said of someone of whom there are more drawbacks than benefits to his company.)

* Like a hen after a June bug.

* I'd go scratch (insert expletive-if you are of that bent) with the chickens before I went back to that job.

*Why, he couldn't afford a setting hen. (Something you say about someone who brags about how much they have or what all they are going to do with their money.)

Here are a few other miscellaneous sayings:

* Talk’s cheap; it takes money to buy whiskey.

* To “crawfish” out of a situation.

* Too much sugar for a cent.

* Let the hide go with the tallow.

* Thick as hair on a dog’s back.

* Fat as a tick.

* So sour it'd make a pig squeal.

* It'd stink a dog off a gut wagon.

*So spoiled that salt wouldn't save her. (About kids in general.)

* It’s like shearing a sow; a whole lot of noise and not much wool

* Salting the cow to get the calf

*Charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it.

*As wide between the eyes as a gnat. (About lack of intelligence.)

*Taking the rag off the bush. (When a kid throws a huge fit.)

(Originally published on this site 11-12-08 10:19 am  Edited: 012615 3:13 pm

* Won't let her shirttail hit her butt 'til s/he's found someone to tell it to  (spoken of a gossiper)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spiders on the dairy

Spiders have always fascinated me. Not that I like having them actually touch me or anything. I just like to observe them and their habits.


Here on the dairy we specialize in spider food; namely flies. So one of the perks of living here is having so many different types of spiders to observe. They love to hang out in the milk barn. I wish I were up on which species they were, but I do not know all of them.

There is one type that weave little tunnels back in little cracks in the wall; especially around the windows. They stay put and wait for flies to come along.



Then there are the wolf spiders that just wander around and catch what they can on the fly, so to speak:




Then there is another type that lurks underneath things; she doesn't build a real web, but attaches multiple tendrils of silk to the floor and waits for something to wander into a thread, get stuck and start to struggle. More than I have seen a wolf spider get into this other spider's threads. Yes...and be eaten. It would appear to be cannibalism to us, I suppose, but to them a meal is a meal. It's kind of creepy.

Just a couple of weeks ago while I was out on a walk I saw one of those tiny little dark blue wasps (maybe about the length of your thumbnail) chasing a medium sized wolf spider. I watched them for quite awhile. The spider hid in the leaves and the wasp flitted around, going under and through the leaves 'til it found the spider, which had packed itself into a little curl of a dead leaf. The wasp tugged the limp spider out, and from there I don't know what happened. But the spider wasn't dead, it was just limp, with its legs sprawled out, not curled up like they do when they die. I am sure the wasp laid eggs on the body and tucked it away somewhere.

This past summer while I was gardening I was trimming the grass away from the edges of the garden beds and saw at least 2 of these beasties:

Yep. Black Widows. I squished them. But seeing them still kind of freaked me out; not for my own sake but for Ellen's sake. So many folks want to move to the country to get out of the city; but look what you have to put up with. Black widows and copperheads (snakes-but that's a different post.)

I should have posted this for Halloween. Oh, well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ironing on the Dairy

It doesn't happen very often.


My unfortunate husband learned that early on in our marriage. I iron his shirts; yes. As infrequently as I can get away with. He has a closet FULL of shirts and only wears them occasionally; like on Sundays, or on those rare occasions when he goes in to town. So I just wash them and let them pile up until the my I-Haven't-Ironed-in-a-LOOOOOOOONG-Time guilt trip gets the better of me and I hunt up the ironing board and iron.

As far as I am concerned there really isn't any need of doing that actually because his closet is so jam-packed with shirts that as soon as I hang them up they get wrinkled. Yes, I have tried taking some out that he never wears and putting them on a shelf, but he found them and hung them back up. I don't bother any more.

Also. He actually expected me to iron his good jeans for church. Ha. I did that for like the first month or so of our marriage. Then, my opinion being that if you are going to be so casual as to wear jeans to church in the first place you can certainly wear them with wrinkles intact, I quit ironing them. He just has to lump it. When the fit hits me I will toss them in the dryer and let IT iron them for him.

So far, having just passed the 4th anniversary, this seems to have worked.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Driving Ducks...etc

Well, folks, I don't know about a video of my singing performance. I wouldn't even know how to post it. But I think we will do "Silent Night" and I will do one verse in Spanish. Gotta work that college degree into my life somehow...hahahahaha

Today as we were coming home from visiting hubby's granddad we went by the renter's place. The son was out front with his girlfriend's arm draped around his neck; smoking no doubt.

Hubby's comment: "Well, she's driving her ducks to a poor market, isn't she?" Signifying that she's made a bad choice as far as boyfriends are concerned. I think I am going to collate all these sayings into one post and put it as a sticky over on the right. That way I can just add to it as hubby, or anyone else, gives me new ones.

Oh, I keep meaning to email my sis in law about this but I forget. Ellen loves to "read" that book; "My First 100 Words in Spanish" you sent her. I think it's because of all the familiar objects in it. Of course she doesn't say the Spanish words, but she likes to go through and recite all the English words to the objects she reconizes. There is one picture of a man on a motorcycle; she calls it "Dad." That is because she sees her daddy heading off on his motorcycle every morning with grain to feed the heifers across the river. In fact, any motorcycle picture she sees she calls "dad." It's so cute.

I find some of the Spanish words hilarious. Do you know what the Spanish word for puzzle is; as in jigsaw puzzle? Rompecabezas. Rompe means "break" and cabeza means "head". Isn't that funny? I love it. I guess they find some of our words funny too.

Tah for now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Drawing a blank today

It has been one of those cold, dreary days in which my cognitive skills have frozen and the creativity is not flowing. Looking out the window a line from a popular song from the past comes to mind; "All the trees are brown and the sky is gray..."

I think that new, tiny heifer is going to peg out on me. She isn't drinking much of her bottle, even when I try and feed her by hand most of it goes all over the ground or all over me. We think she didn't get any colostrum from the cow and she got some kind of infection or bug. I am putting medicine in her milk, but since she doesn't drink it much, she isn't gettting too much benefit.

That's all for today folks. Thanks for dropping in.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Follow-up Visit from the County Sheriff

Back in March the sheriff came by for a visit because he wanted permission to put up signs on our property along the highway. This past Tuesday he was re-elected by a pretty wide margin, I believe. So today he came by and dropped off a thank you note for our support and sign space before he collected his signs. Hubby said no one else had done such before.

On Ellen:

She is getting more and more articulate and it is interesting how her language skills are developing; how she pronounces certain words and makes up words to suit her. She likes to end words in -er. She refers to the bales of hay as "hay-er" She refers to babies as "bay-er." She can't quite get her tongue wrapped around "grandma" either so she calls her "G-er," it sounds like she's saying "jeer."

One of the ladies at church gave her a furry pink purse for Halloween and she loves to carry it around, she won't let us put anything in it, she prefers it to be empty.

Ellen is doing more walking than crawling now. Thank the Lord. She was wearing out the knees of her pants faster than I could find pairs to fit her.

She loves to go out for walks. But it's really cold out now so she throws a fit when I won't take her out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaBlo...day 6

It's day 6 of NaBloPoMo. I am running out of things to write about already. So here is a few more things that ought NOT be attempted on a farm. This is from a list off of the Homesteading Today forum. Some of them might be repeats, but they are worth reading again.

What not to do on the farm:

*Don't tell your kid to write a report, complete with pictures, for their "Life Experience" project on Butchering. Some people might not find it as special as you do.

*Do not tell your little sister that white gobs of old chicken poo taste like mom's Russian tea cookies ... Mom was NOT happy

*Do not pee on an electric fence; not ever, for ANY reason!

*When gathering eggs do not give a two-year-old an egg for each hand. They can not resist smacking them together. Then you have omelet all over the toddler and they are crying because their eggs vanished!

*Don't put your cell phone in the same jacket pocket with the eggs you forgot you gathered or you will have pocket omelet AND need to buy a new cell phone.

*When you think a bee might be inside your pants while working outside, you might want to quickly look around and make sure the little neighbor's kids aren't walking wn the driveway for a visit before you frantically pull your pants down and do a strange dance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting out of the boat

In September our church had a quarterly "singing" instead of the regular Sunday night service. Afterward they served snacks...etc. I was rash enough to get up and sing a song. Now everyone has been hounding me to sing one during the Sunday AM service.

Hmmmm...

Well...

Last Wed one of my Wed night students-forever after referred to as TW in this post-offered to play her guitar for me. TW is quite the whizbang on the guitar and is quite the singer as well. So I will get out of the boat and walk on water, as it were, and sing a song or two for them. We are going to work on a Christmas song and on a Mother's Day song.

Thank you TW for holding my hand as I set out to walk on the Sunday morning musical waters.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

It's off to vote we go. The road outside is nearly on fire from the amount of people driving back and forth to the polls this morning, keeping it hot.

As a general rule I avoid talking politics here. I am just not of a political bent, unlike my brother and husband. However, there was a opinion column in the newspaper this past week that I wanted to comment on.

He said that no matter what your opinion of the candidates you'd better ought to get out and vote. People shed blood and died for your right to vote; if you don't think there is anyone to vote FOR, get out and vote AGAINST someone. That's what I am doing.

Plus, if you are a woman you'd better show your appreciation to those women who got out and fought for your right to vote. It wasn't too terribly long ago that you as a woman weren't considered intelligent enough to be able to have a valid opinion to vote.

Husband is off to haul a cow up to the dry lot and then we are going to go off to do our civic duty at the polls.

Happy voting everyone.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yet another cake picture


This is the quick version of a Boston Cream Cake (or pie, however you want to say it). Slice a pound cake into 3 layers; fill with custard, top with chocolate glaze and voila! I made all this from scratch, but you can use a pudding mix...I think the orig recipe called for adding 1-1/2 cups cream instead of milk to the mix for the filling, but I forget exactly how much.
It got hubby's approval. I am trying to decide what to take for the church holiday potluck next month; I know I have a month, but I want to decide now.
I already have some of my Christmas gifts wrapped and have started on a few cards to send out. I still have a few more gifts to get yet, but I am working on that one as well.
Ellen had another "First" last night; she pooped while in the bathtub. I could have done without that "First," but I guess it's just the beginning of many incidents like that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ellen's First Movie

Last night I went with the in-laws to see "FireProof." Of course we took Ellen with us. She did really well, surprisingly enough. She sat there and helpfully pointed out and identified certain objects she was familiar with; "flag, flag," "car, car, car," "water, water." Fortunately she was sitting on her aunt's lap, not mine. But she wasn't too loud about it.

Fireproof was a really good, family-values focused movie, much funnier than I'd expected it to be, though the dialogue was a bit stilted in places. But it was worth the trip. At least I guess it was worth it. Ellen went to sleep partway through and that made for a cranky, wide-awake kid when we got home. We had to have a lesson in going to sleep without mommy holding her, it took about 20 minutes of squalling before she finally settled down.

I forgot to tell about Ellen's Halloween. I didn't take her trick-or-treating or dress her up or anything. We went to her Play Day event, where "she" made a paper candy corn and a little itsy bitsy spider climbing up the water spout; which was one of those plastic spider rings attached by a black length of yarn to one of those over-sized straws. She liked it.

That night we got out usual 3 trick-or-treaters in the form of cousins. Cousin William, who is 6 months younger than Ellen, was dressed up as a turtle.

Later Ellen went up to visit Grandma and Auntie and they gave her 4 little candies in a plastic baggie. She was so proud of them, she didn't want to give them up. I sat her in her highchair and she sat there taking the candies in and out of the bag; at one point she'd hoik up her leg and tuck them under her leg, then take and put them back in the bag. It was funny to watch. I had never given her candy before so she didn't really know what it was, but she was sure proud of it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hello NaBloPoMo-once again

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year already. (You know there is a NaNoWriMo too; National Novel Writing Month. You have the whole month of November to write a 50,000 word novel which you write with your own software and then somehow submit it privately. I would someday like to try that. I checked it out last year and it sounded like fun. My trouble would be deciding on WHAT to write about.)

Well, I don't have any idea of what to blog about. I think Solomon, the Grateful Guy, asked if I had planned out what to blog about. No, I prefer to blog by the seat of my pants. It's more challenging that way. Ha.

Sorry. I am not doing a very good job of writing this post; I keep getting distracted because I am reading the blogs on this month's NaBloPoMo Blogroll. I like to just choose one at random and read it. If it's worth commenting on, I comment, otherwise I just lurk and move on.

This blog is supposed to be about dairy doings, but it often strays. This post won't be too entertaining; if you want some more entertaining dairy stories, read the posts from the past I have listed on the right. Hopefully something interesting will happen this month so I can blog about it.

Today we got a new calf. The tiniest little Holstein heifer I have ever seen. Not to mention the dumb cow didn't have an udder at all. If I hadn't actually seen the calf with her I wouldn't have guessed she'd had one at all. We have a disappearing udder problem here; each generation of cows seems to have smaller udders than the previous one. The bigwigs blame it on the quality of the bull. Hubby had always bought registered bulls from one particular guy, 'til last year he bought a non-registered bull from some other dude. We are hoping that will make a difference. We also have a 3-banger problem; lots of our new first calf heifers only have 3 (or sometimes less) quarters that work. Hubby often jokes he's going to call the dairy "Three Tit Farm." I just laugh.

In any case, I would have taken a pic of this tiny heifer, but you can't really tell in a pic that it's so tiny. Plus she is kind of cruddy, as in orange calf poop all over her back somehow.

On that note I will leave you for today! hehehehehe

Friday, October 31, 2008

Playing with your food


You probably thought when you read the title that I was going to blog about Ellen playing with her food. Actually, at this point, she isn't too bad about doing such. She either pokes it in her mouth or leaves it alone. Or, she chucks her plate on the floor when she's through, if we aren't quick enough to take it when she announces; "Done!"



No. I took the above photo during a trip down to Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. The theme was some kind of salute to farmers or agriculture. In one building we found this; a man in a refrigerated box carving a cow and a farmer from butter. While we were standing there watching this, two thoughts came to my mind; "it must be so cold in there that the dude's hands must get stiff," and "what a sign of decadence; only in America would we play with our food like this."


Hubby also had a couple of thoughts; "there must be a metal superstructure under all that butter or the cows spindly legs would collapse (we later found out this is true)" and, "that butter man is standing in a really dangerous place; the cow could swing her head around and send him for a loop." The second thought obviously comes from a man who has worked with cows for most of his adult life. No matter how tame they are you generally want to take care to stay out of range of their heads, she could swing it around to bite at a fly on her back and if you were in the way you'd get a good kawallop; their skulls are really heavy.

Here's another country saying that MIL picked up in the dr waiting room the other day, it was in a conversation about the upcoming presidential election: "It's like shearing a sow; a lot of noise and not much wool." We all thought that was pretty good.

NaBloPoMo begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Throwback Thursday


Here is a pic from the past...not too terribly distant, but with my 4th anniversary coming up I have been thinking about when I first came out here, in June of '04. We went on a float trip down the Niangua River; this was one of the pictures I took.


Dairy News:


The flies and other insects are having their last hurrah now. It has been hovering at or below freezing during the nights now, but warms up in the day. We spend our days chasing and swatting the flies in the house. Also yesterday we saw the first of the nasty Asian ladybugs coming in. Ick.
Anyway. I do have a story here. Hubby takes this flyswatting seriously. He just HAS to get them no matter where they land, or might land after having been swatted. Last week we had just finished eating supper when one landed on the light fixture above the table...SWAT! went hubby. And splat!..right into my plate, thank you very much, kicking its last little death throes. We hadn; 't had dessert yet, so I took the plate and put it over by hubby's plate, at which point he looked at it, picked up the plate and flicked the fly across the room. *sigh* He got a good laugh out of it and said he was sorry. I said it was OK, just something more to blog about.
HA!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"I thought you'd burned it."


"No, dear, it's not a regular pineapple upside-down cake; it's an upside-down pineapple gingerbread."
This was a conversation my hubby and I had about the above cake. It was alright, but I probably will never make it again. The topping was really, strongly, molasses-y....if you know what I mean. I just like making new things.
Lots more to write...no time to do so.
I think I will NaBloPoMo again next month...stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An interesting new-fangled thingy...


Hi, I'm back again...


This past Friday Ellen had another play day with the Parents As Teachers program in Buffalo. It's offered through the school system. The focus of this particular session was on brushing their teeth, though the gal from the health dept wasn't too prepared for her presentation and focused more on the older kids. (This play day deal focuses on kids birth through pre-school, I believe, though based on the name I think it's as much for the parents as for the kids.)
But she passed out toothbrushes to all the kids (and adults too for that matter) and for the little ones she had these as pictured above (taken with an old adult tooth brush for size comparison); an infant-toddler safety toothbrush.
I haven't tried it with Ellen yet. So far Snoopy is doing a pretty good job. However, I am going to try it.
Another bit of info I picked up is that "they" are now saying that you ought to begin flossing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come in; flossing is more important than brushing. Heh! I can appreciate the truth in that theory, but "they" have obviously never tried to BRUSH an infant's teeth, let alone floss them. I actually tried it this past weekend and couldn't even get the floss in her mouth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Y'ain't from around here, are ye?"


"No, cousin, I am a gen-you-wine registered black angus from the upscale Blank Angus farm just west of here. I haven't a clue how I got here, this place stinks, you all are too tall and I want to go home NOW! BAWWLLL!!!"
This angus, on the right, got lost. Was in one of our pastures up the road and of followed hubby home when he brought a calf and cow back here from up there. He shut her up last night and left a message for her owner, but no response. He did call back this morning. He's in Montana and ranch hand in charge was out of town for a week. This is one of his three prize registered cows who might have a set of twins up the road. Great. Well, they are going to try and get her tonight, I believe.
When we first had her shut up back here (I took this pic early this AM, so their eyes are gleaming wickedly.) we were looking at her and thinking the same thing; hmmmm...nice steak potential. But we wouldn't do that to a neighbor.
It's funny how our cows had to come by and check her out. Anything out of the ordinary has to be investigated, plus she WAS pretty vocal about her plight. I dunno why the phrase "curious as a cat" came about...it ought to be "curious as a cow." They check out anything new.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hay Ride

It was a busy weekend. On Saturday Ellen and I went to the annual church hay ride and fish fry. I was hesitant to take her because I knew the ride would last forever, but it turned out to be fun; she enjoyed it.






This has become more of a community event than a church event so there were quite a few people there, many of whom I did not know. There were 4 wagons of people, both kids and adults. What it amounted to was a tour of one church member's fields with various stops along the way to chat with Biblical characters.




The first stop was with Zacchaeus (or however you spell it, I always forget), perched on a limb. He told us about how he was inspired to repay all he had cheated from people, after he had an encounter with Jesus:





Then one of the stock ponds became the Nile River where we saw Moses in a basket by a clump of reeds. Taking his life in his hands the preacher (who did all of the interviewing with a portable microphone) braved the inflated plastic crocodiles to interview Mirriam, who was hidden in a clump of oak trees by the pon---excuse me, on the bank of the Nile. (The top picture was actually taken by the po---err..Nile, but the actual shot I got of Moses wasn't really flattering of one of the tractor drivers. Ha!)




Then I think we went a little further and had the tug of war with an ancient rope, but the rope broke and everyone fell, so next year's budget will include a new rope. The tug of war is supposed to represent the fight of the flesh and the spirit being waged in everyone's life.





After the botched spiritual battle, we headed off to one of the kids' fav spots; the pumpkin patch. This is where they all get out and pick their own pumpkin. Last year the coons ravaged the pumpkin patch and this year Farmer couldn't get them to grow very well, so for the past couple of years the hayride budget has had to include a few pumpkins. Here is Ellen with her pumpkin. This was all new to her, so note the thumb in her mouth, what she does when she is out of her element. (She had unthawed enough by this point to drop the dolly at least)












After the pumpkin patch we circled back around and found Balaam's Donkey, who was courteous enough to tell the story from her point of view. She was kind of persnickety though, she got really restless and jumpy and when Preacher asked her what was the matter she told him his cologne stunk, which got a good laugh. (Of course this was all set up with one of the teen girls in the front wagon on a separate microphone. Note the speaker and mic and script on the haybale.)




We finally got to the last part which was the story of the Prodigal Son, acted out by the Preacher himself, it is his favorite story from the Bible. This stop included a corral of 3-4 pigs. Then they called out certain age groups of the kids and had them go in and chase one pig around and each child got to catch it and pick it up. They used a different pig for each group of kids. This was a popular stop, though quite a few kids didn't want to get in with the pigs. (I don't blame them.)






The Prodigal Son story was acted out in two locations. At the first stop the kids were to pursuade him to go back home to his father. At the second stop he came running in out of the trees to talk to his father, who told him he would put a robe on his shoulders and go kill the fatted catfish....at which point we FINALLY went down the hill to the fish fry.




I should have got a picture of the table (or actually it was a wagon) of food. It was amazing. At any rate, it was quite the adventure. Ellen and I brought back a few mosquite bites, but it was worth it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Odds and Ends

Lately we have had quite a run with getting heifer calves. The day before yesterday we got a set of twin heifer calves. This is only the second set of twin heifers that have been born since I came here about 4 years ago. The rest of the twins, and there haven't been too many of them, have been 2 bulls or a bull and a heifer all of which we have sold because of the risk of the heifer twin being a freemartin (sterile).

At any rate, that made 10 calves on the bottle for us, which is quite a few for such a small operation. We average between 30-40 milkers in the herd and only have about 100 head or so.

I told hubby I'd have to get out there at the time he starts milking to be able to get them all bottle fed, and he said "Yes, the milk man would show up and the tank would be empty because we were feeding it all to the calves." HA. Well, with 10 on the bottle that'd make about 20 gallons of milk down their gullets every 2 days, which is a whacking chunk out of the milk check if you add it up for the 2 months before they get weaned.

So...good old Craig's List to the rescue. Hubby went on-line and checked out the prices at the Norwood Auction for Thurs. Then yesterday, Fri Oct 10, he listed 6 Holstein Heifer calves for sale; $2350. He got one email advising him that that was an awful lot of money, didn't he think? Then we got 3 calls for them. The first guy showed up with trailer in tow and cash in hand and 6 hours after posting them for sale our calves were whizzing down the road. The guy's wife was a heifer raiser.

Hubby, always wanting the last word, emailed the first guy back and said: "Yes, it's a lot of money, and it's in my pocket and the calves are off down the road."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What might these be?


Hedge apples. I had never heard of hedge apples before I came here, but they are pretty common. They come from trees known as "Osage-orange". They are commonly used to repel insects, but it is said this is a myth. I dunno, I have never tried. These "apples" are sticky to the touch and are just plain weird. They aren't edible, you can find out more about them at this website.
Dairy News
There really isn't too much going on that is newsworthy on the dairy. Lately our new first calf heifers that come on line to milk have been pretty disappointing as far as production goes. Their udders are pretty much non-existent. Last night hubby said something to the effect that this last one was a dud. I had one of my rare insights; "Oh," said I, "she is a milk dud."
Bwa hahahaha! (OK, so you had to have been there to really appreciate it. Plus you have to know that a milk dud is a type of candy.)
Never mind.
One other time I had such an insight. Hubby got a John Bean pump to put on the well drill rig for pumping water into the hole as he drilled. He was pretty proud of his Bean pump, they are considered really high quality. It was red and he was thinking of painting it green to match the drill. I told him that'd be cute; a Green Bean pump. hehehe.
OK, I will stop now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An Ellen post with picture...


Not too much exciting to post about lately so here is the latest picture of Ellen. I took this on Sunday after church. She does really well posing for me at home. I need to get more formal pictures at a studio again, but I haven't because I dunno how she'd react to the photographer. She might be grumpy.
For those of you who have been wondering; yesterday she FINALLY took her first steps on her own. At 19 months she certainly hasn't been in a hurry to walk, but she's on her way now. She uses the little push walking toy she has quite a bit and likes to walk holding our hands, but she has been too cautious to venture on her own. No so any longer. We were excited.


Other news:


Not sure if I have mentioned it on here yet or not, since I haven't been posting much lately, but I have found myself in a "situation." Ha.

For the last two years a family at church has run the Christmas program for the kids. This year they have too much else going on so they declined. So one Monday I get a call from the gal at church who does the little kids program; "hey," she says, "we can do this together." "ummm...ok," I say. Then this past Wed she says something to the effect; "oh, you go ahead and decide, you're in charge." And so I say, "wait a minute, when did that happen?"

**sigh**

Well, there's nothing like a new adventure to make great blogging fodder. We are doing a skit I found on the internet; a news anchor does man-on-the-street interviews to find out about how different people have Christmas joy. It's pretty funny. The REALLY funny thing is that the preacher's daughter has insisted on being the tipsy woman. She did a pretty bang-up job last week when we were rehearsing. I told her her father'd be proud.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A series of unfortunate events...

This actually happened in early Sept, about a month ago.

It was a blazing hot Friday and I had just spent the morning in town doing the dreaded grocery shopping trip. At about 1 PM or so when baby was asleep hubby came in and asked if I would consent to go up the road with some grain and catch the cow that had just had a calf. He'd caught the calf earlier, but the cow wouldn't follow at the time, so he'd left her for later.

Oh, sure, I said. It's not that big of a deal to whip up the road on the 4-wheeler, chuck out some grain and shut up the cows when they come in. Providing of course that they want to move from their shady spot on a warm afternoon.

So I buzz up there. They didn't seem disposed to move themselves from the shade on the other side of the pasture so I buzzed over to them. At this point the 4-wheeler died; right in the middle of shifting gears. I did everything I knew to get it started. But no lights worked. I figured it was the battery. I thought, well, I can at least get the cows caught, so I toted the bucket of grain across the field, in black rubber boots that were hot as stovepipes, and only about 4 out of 7 of the cows followed, and NOT the one I wanted so I didn't bother putting the grain in the feed bunks, but trudged back across the field. I checked the 4-wheeler again. Then I began the three quarter mile hike back to the dairy; up the road in black rubber boots hot as stovepipes.

This takes much, much less time and frustration to write about or to read than it did to experience. After about 50 minutes or more altogether my hot, frustrated, sweaty and grumpy self was just rounding the corner and was in sight of the dairy when I saw my husband pulling out of the drive to come looking for me. He'd got the baby up from her nap after he'd realized I'd been gone too long.

To shorten this up a bit, the 4-wheeler had blown a fuse. I will forever remember my husband's hair blowing in the breeze as I watched him in the rear-view mirror while I was towing him home with the pickup. Ha.

Then next morning I went up there with feed and caught the cow I was SURE was the one we were after, but it turned out to be the wrong cow. So we had to go back up there and try for her AGAIN.

And yes, after 3 tries we did get the right cow.

Sigh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall is finally here...

The acorns are clunking onto the buildings. The leaves are falling, though they haven't started to turn nice colors yet.

I dug my sweet potatoes week before last and have used a few of them. I got about a 5 gallon bucket of them. They are nice to have on hand, so expensive in the stores. I made some sweet potato biscuits. They are pretty good, husband liked them.

Ellen has learned how to open the fridge. So far she hasn't made a habit of it, but soon I will have to install a lock on the door. One of her "things" now is getting into the laundry basket, finding a pair of my underwear, sticking her head through a leg hole and wearing them around. I now make sure and put a clean pair on the edge where she can get them. She has figured out how to get in and out of her rocking chair and likes doing that off and on. She has figured out how to get off of the little rocking pony, but she can't figure out how to get back on so she sits there and howls until I put her on. Fortunately she gets tired of that game after a few on and offs.

Husband has been busy with his other business. He actually used the road grader last week. He also installed a pump and all the hookups and gadgets in a new well, plus he hauled a couple loads of gravel and a load of topsoil. But he says the topsoil is pretty much kaput where he is getting it, so he won't haul any more of that I don't believe. Oh, yes, and he sold a bunch of pipes and wires to get a mobile hooked up for a guy.

The cows have been busy too. I now have 8 heifer calves on the bottle, plus we have sold a couple of bulls, with another little bull out there to go just as of yesterday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Potty Post; or...country vs. city ways of "going"

(Disclaimer: if you are offended or grossed out by potty humor or things of a more visceral nature perhaps you should skip this post, but it IS a different kind of potty humor so read on if you dare.)

Yesterday evening along about 6 PM a little fancied-up S-10 pickup truck went by here slowly and then pulled into the driveway and parked. Hubby was out in the barn milking so I just peeked out the window to see what was going on. The window was open so I could hear some guy on the phone talking about how they had a flat and no way to fix it, so please come help...then he gave directions.

Because I knew hubby would be curious as to what was going on, I picked up the phone to call him out in the barn. He was already on the phone with one of his buddies so I just butted into the conversation and advised him. (Of course at this point the buddy had to tell one of his stories about some drunk dude knocking on his door at 1 AM wanting to borrow gas to get home on. It's inevitable that when you have something like this happen someone has to "one up" you by telling a worse scenario story.)

So about 10 minutes later I see one of these guys walking across the lawn to the front door. He was a young "kid," maybe late teens, early 20s and reeking of cigarette smoke. He needed to use the restroom. Said they'd run over a pair of pliers and their help was an hour away. So I let him in. He reminded me of my oldest nephew in some ways.

He left and then 20 minutes or so later hubby called me on the phone to tell me it was time for me to come out and feed the calves. He also wanted to know why the guy had come to the front door. When I told him he was incredulous. "What?! He came to a stranger's house to use the restroom? Hasn't he ever heard of a bush?" I said: "Well, he must be a city boy." Hubby just shook his head in bemusement.

To be perfectly honest, I hadn't thought anything about it. But really; across from us is about 20 acres of heavily wooded and brushy oak forest. I could go out and squat 10 feet from the road and no one would see me. Of course there is always the copperhead and poison ivy risk...but hey, live life on edge sometimes, right?

By the time I had got the baby ready and arrived at the barn hubby had called his buddy back and related the audicity of this kid had; to use a stranger's restroom. Of course the buddy had a story to top it.

Seems when he was a kid some of his cousins from Kansas City came down and they were all playing outside. One little guy (age unknown) wanted to go in to use the facilities. They just told him to go behind a bush. So he did. Only thing is he had to go #2 and he had never been taught the concept of squatting. So he sat flat of his butt and went.

And there you have some examples of the differences between city and country "going."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Hole in the Ground-Maiden Voyage



I seem to be getting worse about blogging, but here I am back again.


There has been quite a bit of stuff going on; some of it funny, some not. But I just am having trouble finding or making a chunk of time to get on the computer.


Anyway. I will blog about today's adventure while it's fresh on my mind.


Hubby has been working on being able to drill wells. He doesn't (I don't think) want to get certified to drill OTHER people's wells, but wants to be able to drill wells on his own property. Anyway. He has had this well drill for several years now and has been working on it off and on as he has time.


Today he had everything set up to poke a hole in the ground out near Windyville on a test run. So we chucked the baby off to her granny's and off we went.


As you can see we are in the middle of a thistle patch; so much so that you can just barely see my husband there at the right of the drill. The green tower is the well drill fully extended. My husband (to give you an idea of height, he's almost 6 foot 2 inches tall) is standing at the control area where there are lots of fun levers and switches to pull and push.


He had drilled down about 6 feet before he went and got me to help him. But at this point he was still drilling down further before my job would start. The red tank at the left is a water tank that is hooked up to the drill. Once you get to a certain point you pump water into the hole to "lubricate" the drill bit. Then you get mud shooting out of the hole. (I wish he'd let me shoot a pic of him AFTER that happened-in this pic you can kind of see it there under the truck.) My job was to pull the mud away from the hole and direct the flow.

He drilled down about 14 feet and was instructing me as to what I needed to do when suddenly there was this massive bang and whoosh and we bothed jumped a mile.

We'd blown an air hose. *sigh* So he will have to fix that tomorrow or next day and we will try to complete the whole deal.

I tell you what though; when you are standing under a monster machine like that and it makes a big bang; you get a real adrenaline rush, that's for sure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fire from the garden...


This past spring my pen pal from the Czech Republic and I exchanged seeds. She sent me a packet of pepper seeds; called ram's horn or paprika peppers. I can't find the packet at the moment to tell you for sure. I decided to grow them and planted a bunch of them. I had never grown peppers from seed before and was pleasantly surprised they turned out so successfully.
Now, however, they are producing quite profusely and I am not sure what to do with them.
As my husband would say, they are "firecracker" hot, and we don't "do" hot and spicy stuff. I cut up a few of them to freeze (I do that with my green peppers too. Frozen peppers do well in stir fries and other cooked dishes) and didn't use gloves; my hands burned for 3-4 hours afterwards; a lesson learned. I have given some away to folks at church and to a neighbor, but these 6 or 7 plants are producing so abundantly I am afraid I am going to have to toss some of them. Maybe I will freeze some more of them. I wish I could find a fancy decorative jar and figure out how to pickle some; they are beautiful and would look nice in on the shelf.