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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

We had a great Christmas. Ellen made out like a bandit, as usual. She was funny this year. For some reason she didn't champ at the bit to open her presents; she'd just ask me which ones were hers, then she'd look at them and then leave them alone.

Christmas morning, Gary came straight into the house from the barn with us. He told her we were going to open our present.

Ellen held up her hands and said: (and I quote verbatim) "But wait, we need to eat breakfast first."

So we delayed the gift opening for an hour; per a 3 year old's wishes. Go figure! So far the gifts she plays with the most are a little toy cell phone from my mother and the little pup-type tent that Gary got for her. We have it set up in her bedroom.

We had Christmas dinner here, as usual. I got out my pickled okra and let everyone try it. They all liked it. Gary said when I first told him I was going to make some pickled okra this past summer, he thought I was wasting my time and supplies. But even HE likes it. I think this coming year I will try a spicier recipe; put a teeny bit of hot pepper in it. It's something different to put on the table...and easy to do as well.

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This morning we had a storm come through and dump some rain on us. But mid-morning it cleared up and the sun came out. It was still windy but Ellen wanted to go outside and fly her kite.

This kite is a little foil butterfly about 2 inches wide, maybe. It has a long tail running from each wing. Surprisingly enough it flies really well. We got it up there to the end of its 40 feet of string.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's Been Happening

Today we got our annual yeast rolls from the School of Metaphysics. The guy made me laugh to myself when he noted; "You have your stove outside in a building without walls. Why?" Apparently he'd never heard of an outdoor wood furnace. I never had either 'til I came here. I told him we heated the house with it, that there are pipes underground.

Ellen is excited about Christmas, but she really isn't clamoring to open her presents yet. She asks which ones are hers every day, then she just walks away, apparently reassured that they are there waiting for her. I hope she continues like that every Christmas, but I won't hold my breath.

On Sunday night we went to the church Christmas program. The kids did a great job as usual. Afterwards the kids gave out the presents they'd gotten each other. (Having exchanged names a couple of weeks ago.) Ellen got a little box of toys from her Sunday School teacher and a cute FurReal baby chipanzee from her cousin William, who's 6 months younger than she. Ellen was enchanted with all the gifts, especially the chimp...she hadn't wanted anything to do with going to the program in the first place. She had to sleep with the chimp that night.

On the drive back home she asked; "Why did I get all these presents?" I told her because it's Christmas. "But it's not Christmas yet."

I have been amusing myself with a couple of different projects. I decided to not put lights on the Christmas tree this year. Too much hassle, and we never plugged them in much anyway. So I have been making little garlands from popcorn, cranberries and dental floss, and stringing them on the tree. They look pretty nice.

After Christmas I am going un-decorate the tree, but leave on the garlands. Then I am going to put the tree in a 5-gallon bucket with a bunch of rocks to hold it upright and put it out in the yard. I will decorate it with my other project; homemade bird suet cake thing-ys.

An acquaintance gave me a big bag of pine cones. I am going to roll them in the homemade suet (which is actually peanut butter and shortening), coat them with birdseed and hang them all over the tree with red yard. Along with the popcorn and cranberry garlands, it ought to be pretty. If it is I will post a pic. If not...well just ignore this.

Have I posted about my adventure getting the Christmas tree yet? I will check...if not I will write about that next. It's hilarious. Well, kind of funny. I'll let you be the judge.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Always An Adventure

Also known as AAA.

This is what I ought to have named this blog.

Anyway. Today I drove the dozer again. Had to tow some sort of something that hubby was working on from down by the sawmill up to front area.

The last time I did this one of hubby's friends was astounded at my obliging attitude about doing such things. His atonishment kind of puzzles me; but then again his wife isn't as adventurous as I seem to be.

So, because of such surprise reactions, here is a blog on having an adventure, helping hubby and how such things can be so fun and easy.

Like I posted before, driving this dozer IS easy. Here is a horrible picture of me at the helm:




Here is the view from the driver's seat:


Here are the main controls:


This inverted "V" concept is rather simple, but can be confusing. To go forward you pull the knob down to the right; the further down you pull the faster forward you go. To stop you just return the knob to the top of the "V." To go backwards you pull the knob down to the left. The fun thing is that you can go from forward to backward in one movement, you don't have to stop at the top of the "V." The knob to the far left is actually the throttle, it's currently in the neutral position, if that's a legit term for it.

Here, in my milk-sloshed chore shoes, I am steering to the right:


Yes, you steer with your feet. Push right, turn right. Push left, turn left. It feels strange not having a steering wheel, and it's even stranger to feel the thing turn when you aren't going forward much.

Now see, it's fun and easy to help out occasionally. OK, ladies. Next opportunity you have, drag your guy off to a farm show and tell him you want a bulldozer for your anniversary, or birthday, or whatever.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I've Been up to...

December's almost here. Yikes! I have to get some Christmas cards going.

I have neglected this blog terribly, BUT I did my 30 day National Blog Posting deal over on my other blog. So, I will now try to get back to you.

Random events in the past week or so.

Last week I learned how to drive the big bulldozer! Piece of cake. It' just a little toggle dealy that you push up and down to make it go back or forward. Well, it's more than that, but for now, just take my word for it. The weird thing is that you use foot pedals to steer it. I have yet to learn how to operate the bucket, but first things first. Hubby wanted me to know how to drive it so I can tow OTHER pieces of heavy equipment around here, when/if needed.

Last week we were eating supper and I looked up and there across the back yard strolled a little heifer. So we had to high-tail it out there and chase her back where she belonged.

Our renter and his buddies got 5 -FIVE- deer this firearm season, all out in back of the rental house. He was some pleased. AND he gave us some of the meat. Now to find a decent recipe.

Ellen has become obsessed with putting on "lip makeup" when we go out anywhere.

Ellen has fallen in love with the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The classic cartoon show, that is.

Matilda has decided she's now officially an indoor cat for the winter.

It's now spitting snow outside. I so do not want to shovel snow out of feedbunks and off the porches. So far none of it is sticking!

That's all for now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Joy of Life


Where is that invisible line you cross when you look at a pile of leaves you've just raked and tell yourself things like; "It's too windy to burn these today and I don't feel like mowing them. I'll just leave them here, even though they are going to get old and gross and maybe attract snakes," instead of throwing yourself into them with careless abandon?

When does the joy of life leave you and fuddy-duddy practicality set in? And why did I ever let it happen? It must have crept up on me while I was busy trying to be an adult instead of enjoying my childhood for as long as it lasted, even if it had lasted until I was 80 or 90.

The next pile of leaves we rake up I am going to throw myself in them as well and have a real romp with my daughter. Who cares who might drive by and see.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Random Fall Thoughts


Here's a shot of Ellen and Matilda. Ellen's shirt would not stay up on her shoulder, nor would Ellen herself look at or smile at the camera. Matilda wouldn't look at me either, so here you have an; "it is what it is" photo. Matilda is almost camoflaged in the leaves in the background.

* Ellen loves to go walking in the woods and pretend to go camping. I am pretty sure she learned this from Barney.

* We have a new lady on our mail route. Not just different, but new. New as in completely green to the job. Last Friday she delivered our mail at 8:55 PM. Yes, right as we were going to bed. Hubby had to get his boots on and go get the mail in his PJs. The next night it came at about 7 PM, I believe. I feel sorry for the lady, she's really sweet. But I hope she can pick up the pace a little bit.

* Firearm season is in full swing. Our renter and 2 of his buddies got 3 deer out behind the rental house. They were in 7th heaven; 2 does and a buck. I waver between hoping it wasn't either of the 2 little does who amble around here and hoping that it WAS them. We want to be able to get some produce from our garden next spring.

* I am seriously considering signing up for the Google application that puts your blog in PDF file as a book for you to print off. I also have thought going to a different site that has an app that will "slurp your blog" and, for a fee of course, will go ahead and let you edit text and photos and then print your blog as a book. But the app for that site has to be downloaded; an interminable task when you are on dial-up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reflections on a Funeral

This morning as I was up the road doing my graining of the stock up there, it began to rain on me. The sun was just coming up. I turned around and there to greet me was a double rainbow; just beautiful. There for all the area to see and enjoy; embodying a promise of God.

This morning we had to go to a funeral. I had never met the lady. Her sister had been a neighbor of my husband's family for many years. As had her nephew and his wife, I believe. She'd lived not far from here, and hubby's mom had kept in contact with her and her sister and one of her other family members.

This particular lady who'd passed, I'll call her Bessie, was 94 years and 4 days old. She'd lived in this community for a long time. I am not sure just how long, perhaps 15-20 years. Maybe more or less, I just don't know. I should have asked before blogging.

Anyway.

We went to the funeral. The visitation was from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, the funeral itself started at 10:30 AM. She and her husband had had 2 children; 9 grandchildren and various great grandchildren. The kind words written on the flyer were contrary to stories told about her by various people, including her family. There were only about 30 some people at the funeral, and we were the only locals. Yes, that's right. We three; hubby, his mother,and myself, were the only locals there. No other friends at all.

For some reason this seriously disturbed me. To have lived in an area and not had made friends or acquaintances who'd come to say good-bye seems like such an empty existance. I understand that at 94 years of age most of her peers have already passed years ago, but still. I hope and pray that when it comes my turn to go, even if I should live into and/or past my 100th year, there will be many people in the area come to say goodbye. Younger people, unrelated, whose lives I have somehow touched.

This day has made me more determined to be a part of my adopted community here in the Ozarks. I guess it isn't so much the desire to make a mark and be remembered as much as it is to make a difference for the better in the lives I touch.

That's my prayer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oops

OK. So I missed one day. It's a good thing I didn't get this blog entered into NaBlo. In the meantime, I just finished blogging on how to make brown sugar on my New2Me Recipes blog.

Here are a few random topics I thought I'd discuss.

1) I had never heard of a "plumber's friend" until I came here. Back where I came from we called them "toilet plungers."

2) Yesterday in church a neighbor, well, 5 miles or so down the road, asked hubby if the deer slept on our doorsteps. Ha ha. It would seem as though they do. Most any time you might drive here you will see deer, either in the pasture/garden area to the west, or out here in front of the house. There are 2 does that are so tame they don't even bother to run until you get 100 yards from them, maybe even closer.

3)These Asian lady beetles are out in full force today. It's warm, 70s or so, and all the bugs, wasps, grasshoppers...etc, are out for a last hurrah before winter sets in.

4)If I can remember to take a photo of it, I am going to blog on hubby's canteen in the next couple of days. Wooo!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Random photo


Here, for lack of anything else pertinent, is a pic I took back in August. Sometimes we can get spectacular sunsets here. This shot doesn't do it justice. I am not the photographer that jel is (from My Place-link on the right).

But I thought I'd share it anyway. It's my way of saying goodbye to warm weather. It was 26 degrees this morning when we got up at 3:45 AM. Probably will be cold tonight too.

Oh, the photo up top was taken down in the creek bottoms a couple weeks ago, I believe. Cows are still grazing, so there was still a bit of grass.

OK, enough random wanderings. Bye

Friday, November 5, 2010

So many changes in a year...

A year ago Ellen was still peeing in her diaper...and pooping in it as well.

A year ago Ellen was still sitting in her high chair to eat.

A year ago Ellen was still sleeping in her crib.


Now she is sleeping in a big bed. (Of course this means she can clamber out of it and get mom up 4 times per night now, I am praying this phase will soon pass.)

Now she is completely potty trained. (Now if I could just convince her to wear panties. Not even Dora panties will she allow on her body.)

Now she is eating at the table in a big chair. (She's so tall she's never needed a booster seat.)

All of the above was pretty much her own idea; in fact it was 12:30 AM one night when she squalled in her crib and got me up. I went to her and she told me she didn't want to sleep in her crib any more, she wanted to get into the big bed. So, I picked her up, tucked her into it and, voila; that's where she's slept since.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Polling Place

OK. So I am not doing NaBlo with this blog, but I am trying to keep up with it. And I am already drawing a blank. It's only day 4...

Oh, I know. Our voting place.

This time they changed our polling place. It used to be in the Windyville Community Center; no wheelchair access, no A/C and no central heating; just a potbellied stove. Oh and no potty, unless you count the outhouse outside.

Now it is in a local church in that town. However, this was worse in some ways. The driveway is a single lane, on an embankment/bridge type of deal. The parking lot...well, it just isn't, that's the easiest way to put it. Umm...inside they only used the lobby/entryway of the church. OK, there's about enough room for 3 people to stand comfortably, well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still, it's SUPER small. Hubby spoke to at least one couple who tried 3 times to get in there, and just went home the first two times because it was so jam-packed.

Surely they can find a better place than that to use.

I hope.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Pet Peeve

OK. I am sitting here typing on the computer, on my new blog, that is. Suddenly I hear someone driving in, really slowly. I watch through a window. Some guy in a truck.

He drives a big circle in front of the red garage. Then pulls up in the driveway behind the house.

And HONKS!


ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!


Why do people do that? It's so Pavlovian. If you want to talk to someone, get your lazy butt out of the car and come to the door. For pete's sake! It just makes me MAD! I am not a dog to be whistled for! I just went and stood on the porch, made him turn off his truck to talk.

OK.

Rant over.

Buh-Bye

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaBloPoMo

Well, NaBloPoMo is now is full swing once again. I am participating, but with a different blog.

New2Me Recipes

I wanted to do this one too, but they will only let you enter one blog, I believe. So far above blog is pretty boring, but I am going to try get something fun and interesting on there in the next week or so. Maybe I will use the next year to really prepare for it by making more interesting recipes.

*****

In the meantime;

The little twin calf continues to do well. The only thing is that we'd like to dehorn her, but she doesn't have any hornbuds yet. Weird. Probably because she was a premie.

The bull calf we pulled yesterday is an absolute monster. Even if he had been laid right the cow probably couldn't have pushed him out! Yikes! But he's a cutie. Too bad we have to get rid of him.

Hubby continues to prepare for winter; bulldozing fencerows and stretching new electric wire. We have our hay supply in, so that's good. I am not looking forward to winter, but Ellen has been wanting to make a snowman for the past 2 months or more.

Have a good night.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Busy Monday

It all started off as usual. Except when I went up the road at 6:30 AM to feed the heifers and dry cows I found one dry cow going into labor. We usually give them a while before we go back and check on them. If she had been a first-calf heifer we'd likely have brought her back to the barn ASAP. So I went back and finished chores.

Then at about 8:30 AM, when everything was winding down, a guy comes by and needs hubby to help with his well pump. He'd been out of water for TWO WEEKS trying to fix it himself. To make a long story short, hubby had to go up there and pull the pump again and fix the wires on it. This took until nearly noon.

Meanwhile, I took mother-in-law and Ellen to town. MIL had a doc appointment. When we came back I checked on the cow.

Uh-oh. NO calf!

Hubby came home, ate, then we took Ellen to her grandma's and took both 4-wheelers up the road for a cow round-up.

We got her back with no problems. However, when hubby went in to the trailer to do an examination she kept turning around on him. Sooo...we had to lasso her and hold her. Well, I end up holding the rope, while hubby does all the exploring and pulling.

About the time we are trying to get her lassoed, another neighbor pulls in. He's all excited to get in on the action. He's a trucker, says all that driving is really boring and this is the most excitement he's had in a long time. So he climbs up on the trailer and starts booting at the cow to get her to turn around. (He's in his 60s by the way)

She gets turned around, hubby is ordering Harlan around, "hand me this, hand me that," Harlan is having the time of his life, I am hanging on for dear life to the rope and the cow is wondering; "WHAT is going ON back there. I was trying to have this calf and suddenly these 2-legged fools are messing with me!"

Hubby finds that the calf is backwards. Not a good sign. Frequently when they are laid in that position the umbilical cord gets pinched and at the end you have a perfectly beautiful, perfectly dead calf.

But as soon as he had the legs and hiney of the calf pulled out, the calf's tail started switching around. It turned out to be a huge bull. He was irritated at the whole operation, too. "Get me OUT!" his switching tail seemed to say.

He was soon out, the cow was loosed, Harlan (along with the parts he'd originally come for) had a great tale to tell his wife and family and we were finally free to rest up a bit...

Until this evening when we had to move said calf to a shelter so he wouldn't get soaked in the storm that's now coming.

Bye for now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Remember...Hi-Ho Cherry-O


Did you ever play this game? A week or so ago I went into a thrift store here and found this. This is an original box and game; it smells like it's been stored for 30or 40 years. But it's only missing ONE little cherry.

I remember playing Hi-Ho Cherry-O waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was a young'un. It was one of my favorites. The whole object of the game is to be the first to pick all 10 cherries off of your tree and into your bucket. It only requires that a child be able to count to 4. No problem for Ellen, she often wins. She just LOVES it!

I foresee many games of Hi-Ho Cherry-O in the future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Twin Calf


Last Wednesday we had a set of twin heifers born. One didn't make it. We brought the live one back here and I got some colostrum in her; she was really tiny and wasn't able to stand. Hubby looked at his records and found that they were a month early. I didn't post anything about it because I was afraid she wouldn't make it. The above was a shot of her and Ellen on the second day; Thursday.

On Fri and Saturday she went downhill, so much so that I pretty much gave up on her as well. But happily enough she came around, started guzzling her milk and standing up on her own. On Sunday night I put her in her own little calf house. She's pretty perky now. I got pictures of her today, but don't have time now to upload and post them.

As you can tell by the above pic, Ellen was enthused about her. She kept giving her sticks and trying to get her to fetch, like a puppy. Now that the calf's in her own house, Ellen has lost her enthusiasm, it's just another calf to her. We doubt that this calf will amount to much as a cow, but they all deserve a chance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Where are the Germans?"

As is her wont, Ellen nearly made me pass out from trying not to laugh at her today.

I was making a cake...a German chocolate cake.

She looked into the bowl of cake mix, eggs, oil and water and asked the above question.

When I told hubby later he laughed and told her they were in Germany.

I got a bit more creative. At the time I told her they were in the cake mix powder somewhere. hahaha...

After all if there are fruit and nuts in a fruit and nut chocolate bar, and there's milk in a milk chocolate bar, why can't there be Germans in a German chocolate cake?

*sigh*

All right. I know, it's on the same level as; there's no baby in a bottle of baby oil.

But it's lots more fun to think like that than to be practical.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This and that along with a promise kept...



Here, after I dunno how long it has been, several weeks, is the picture of the new bulldozer. At least pretend that you are impressed. A machine is a machine to me, though I am coming to appreciate the finer points of what is quality and what isn't. Though that might be applied more towards trailer shopping than dozer shopping. Notice this nice trailer that Mr. Dozer is resting upon. It is nice. The other ones we looked at were not.

Below find a picture that I was going to post elsewhere, but did not want to wait. Ellen was helping me make this pie. As you can tell by her face, she enjoyed "cleaning" the spoon off after we were through putting down the chocolate layer on this strawberry pie. She also thoroughly enjoyed using Mr Chef brush to glaze the berries.



Do not bother asking for the recipe for this pie just yet. It will be featured in my new blog for next month. I will let you know then. 'Kay? Thanks for your patience!

In other news. Today I made crepes for the first time ever. It was laughably easy. I'd always avoided them. Perhaps now I will be willing to make more of them for desserts and such. You can make them and freeze them for later use. That would be handy. The ones I made today are for a main course, filled with.... Oh, oops. I'll tell you this one next month also. :)

Buh-bye for now.

Ummm...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleight of Hand

Here is something I have often wanted to capture on film over the past few years. Finally I actually had my camera in my pocket and managed to snap this a shot a few days ago.

When it is so hot during the summer months we often put our bottle calves in the bigger pen with the weaners (ummm...those are the calves who've been weaned off of the bottle). But in this enclosure there are no bottle holders for them, so you (meaning *I*) have to hold the bottles. Feeding one at a time is a joke because it'd take forever and you'd have to beat the others off with a stick. So your best bet is to feed them all at once; then it's over with. However this requires a special talent.

Three calves, three bottles, two hands and one camera=dairy sleight of hand.



In a still shot like this it would seem easy, but actually these little buggers are in constant motion; pulling on the bottle or "punching" at it with their noses, so you are constantly trying to juggle them to keep them steady. I prop the bottles on the fence, brace two against my hip and hold them steady with my right hand and then hold on to the other with my left hand.

Generally it works OK. But notice the middle calf, she likes to jerk on the nipple and get milk all over herself. She actually had it flipped all over her back and the back of the calf next to her. And a day or so ago she flipped it up into my face; up my nose and in my mouth. I'll be glad to wean her!

Then of course there's always an opportunist, whose forehead you can see at the bottom left corner of the pic; she wants to see if she can butt another calf off the bottle and get a slurp for herself; even though she's been weaned for a month.

Sometimes it's a rodeo trying to feed them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Fall

This is my favorite time of year. I love fall weather, I love fall colors. I was married in the fall. Hunters are going to start getting rid of the pesky deer around here. (I sincerely hope!)

Leaves in the creek means 'tis the season for:
Hot chocolate
Spiced apple cider
Apples
Nippy weather
Nuts
Mums
Thanksgiving
hunting season
cool weather clothes
I get to wear fall colors again

Ummm...let's see, what else? In a couple of years it will mean school time for Ellen. That's hard to believe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get Rich Quick Scheme

Ellen has it all figured out.

A few weeks ago she and her aunt were playing a game in which Auntie put a penny under a puzzle piece and Ellen turned all of the pieces over until she found the penny. At which point she'd shriek and carry on like she'd found the motherload of gold. When it was time to leave Ellen took the penny; Auntie told her she could put it in her piggy bank. Last weekend this happened again. Ellen took great joy in putting the pennies in her piggy bank.

One day here at home she also found a nickle on the counter, one I'd rescued from the washing machine. Voila! Ellen trotted to her room to put it in her piggy bank. She was excited. She kept asking for more "pennies" to put in her bank. I found her a couple that had been lying around for a bit. You know how they tend to collect. She was mighty pleased.

Then this morning as I was fixing her breakfast I heard her talking about pennies. I went into the bedroom and found this scene:



Why ask for pennies when you can just go straight to the source and load up your piggy bank all by yourself?

That's just what she did. The little moneygrubber emptied my coin purse; quarters, dimes, nickles, pennies...all into her piggy bank. She didn't get over a dollar maybe. I am one of those annoying people who will scrounge around for the correct change when I am paying in cash...and I pay with cash ninety percent of the time.

Well, I can start collecting change all over again. Thanks to Ellen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another new member of the family...


Hubby put the dozer in the shed, so I can't really get a good picture of him, yet. But here is the trailer that will carry him around. It's called a "lowboy." I asked why that particular moniker.

The answer is that this is lower than a regular semi trailer. OK. I will take hubby's word for it. To me a trailer is a trailer...some are longer, some are different colors, some have sides. But...well...you know.

In any case, it is our newest acquisition.

What other news can I share? Hubby said that one juicy piece of news that we have cannot be shared with anyone. Therefore I am disappointed because I had a great idea of how to share it. Oh, well. (No, it does NOT have anything to do with babies)

We have a new heifer to milk. But the calf was dead.

I have a new cold.

Today Ellen got to reading a toy catalog and, of course, wanted everything in it. I finally told her; "Ellen we don't have the money."

Ellen knew better. She went to my purse, got out a dollar bill, brought it to me along with the magazine. "Here's the money, Mama, where's my toy?"

*sigh* I can see that I shall have my hands full sooner than I'd thought.

Introducing the book to our newest "family" member...


Yes, we have a new "family" member here on the dairy. Note the quotation marks. He's a pretty big dude, but will come in handy here. We still have fallen trees from the ice storm 3 years ago that need to be cleared up. Forgive me for not having a picture of him to post yet.

However, above you can see a shot of his service manual. Inside this service manual, at the very back, is his operation manual. Do not confuse the two, as I would have. The operation manual is only maybe 1/2 inch thick. The rest of the monster manual is all about servicing him.

This manual pictured above did NOT come with him. Take a guess how much this would cost if you bought it from the manufacturer.

Come on...just pull a figure out of the air.


I didn't come very close to it when hubby had me guess. I made what I thought was a preposterous guess and gasped when I was way under.

Here's a hint. Hubby went online and found a place that dealt in used machines and manuals. He paid about $70 for the manual and shipping.

He saved himself a hefty chunk of change.

Have you guessed something yet?

Are you tired of me leading you on like this?

Hmmm....that book up there on the chair goes for about $690! That would be way over $700 to get it shipped here.

Can you believe that?!

Crrrrrazy!

My hubby is such a frugal shopper.

Oh, the newest member of the family is a Caterpillar bulldozer. He's pretty handsome sitting out there in the hay shed. I'll post a pic of him for you in a few days here.

Ring around the Heifer

(*ahem...we begin this post with a sincere apology for the month long absence...the month of August was too hot and dry for blogging, all my words turned to dust before my fingers could type them out. Thank you for your continued patience...)

Really I need to bring my camera with me in the mornings when I go up the road to feed and check on the stock. Last week there was a doe and her twins out feeding by the road. Today...well, today was another story. It began yesterday actually.

Since it has been so dry hubby has had to put out hay for the bull and heifer group up the road. Yesterday morning they had finished their hay, and for some reason their hay ring was up on its side a ways away from where it had been around the hay bale. Hubby went up there and put out another bale (these are the big round bales, by the way...maybe 4'x5'.).

Then this morning I go up there and notice that not only is the hay ring no longer around what's left of the bale of hay, but it is about 100 yards away, in its normal position (not up in the air on its side) with a heifer inside of it.

*sigh* These boneheads can get themselves in the strangest situations.

So I go in there and with some gunting and hoisting I tip it up on its side again to let the heifer out. She goes walking off.

But wait. I stand there and watch her; all she does is walk in circles. She walked over to the fence, up the fence, into the corral which is next to the fence as though she is going to try to get something to eat. But she ignores the feed bunks and just stands there with her nose against the bars.

I went over to the next pen and fed the dry cows. Then looked again at the heifer. She's still standing there.

So, I had to investigate further. I went back over and shoo-ed her out of the corral and watched her from there. She kept just walking around, occasionally she'd stumble slightly. She walked toward the pond where I thought she'd take a drink. Nope. Just walked around it, kept walking around and around and back and forth.

I noticed she had marks behind her front legs where the metal ring had stained her. She must have walked around with that hay ring on her, trying to get out of it. I think she must have been addled. I certainly hope she comes out of it.

I will see tomorrow.

Shirt-tails, Lost Dogs and a Lesson

A couple more sayings for you:

"His shirt-tail doesn't hit his butt, 'til he finds someone to tell his tale to."

This one has to do with a gossip. Obviously this dates from way back since nowadays when someone gets juicy news all they have to do is whip out their cell phone, ticky-tack a few buttons and have all their contacts informed.


"Its a poor dog who can't find his way back home."

This one hubby quoted at me today after I told him what had happened. We had a couple of dudes fly out here to conduct some business with hubby. They landed in Springfield at about 11:30 AM and then had to fly back out at about 5PM.

They were through talking at about 2:35 PM. Hubby left. At 3:00 PM, one of them knocks on the door:

"Hi, um...I am having trouble getting my GPS to give me directions back to the airport. When I enter the airport address it just gives me this weird message."

"Ah," I say. "Yes, the terminal out there is new, I don't think they have had time to update the info into the GPS system."

Blank look.

The poor guy was absolutely lost. Had no clue how to backtrack his way back to the airport. I had to give him directions, which he had to write down...HORROR OF HORRORS...with a pen and paper!

I had to resist the uncharitable urge to throw myself down on the ground and roll around laughing. After all, this could someday happen to me, too.

Lesson: When heading out into the boondocks and you have a really tight schedule, don't rely totally on your fancy gizmos, they may fail you. After all you don't want some kind of "Deliverance" scenario to develop. WRITE DOWN THE DIRECTIONS, THEN YOU CAN BACKTRACK!

Hubby did call him about 40 minutes later and the guy was almost to the airport, so it turned out OK.

More Vacation...

Here is one picture that I was astounded to be able to take.


There at the zoo in Eureka they have a petting area...I think they actually call it "The Barnyard." Mostly all they have are goats and sheep. You walk in there and they have brushes to groom the animals. Ellen walked in there like she owned the place, took a brush that another kid handed her, and went to brushing the goats. The shot I got of her brushing them doesn't show her face, but she was happy to pose for this one. (Oh, they do have alpaca and a llama, but they were penned up. My nephew said he the alpaca spit on him once...I avoided them. haha)

What is a trip to the coast if you don't go to the beach; even if it is cool, windy and cloudy? We went to the little town of Trinidad, where the beach is much more accessible. Clam Beach near McK, requires quite a hike to get down the water. Ellen was a bit intimidated by the waves and surf, but she got her feet wet a couple of times and watched me build her a sandcastle of sorts. She wasn't much into putting her hands into the sand. She didn't like how it stuck to her skin.

Back from California

Ellen and I got back from our 2 week trip to California on Tuesday. We had a great time visiting family and friends and seeing some sights.

You can't go to N. California and not get a picture of some redwoods. So one day we visited Sequoia Park Zoo. I will post some of the zoo pics in a different entry, but for now here is a couple of impressive shots.

There at the park, in a cluster of redwoods, they have a platform and two slides set up. Here is a shot of Ellen on the bottom of one of the slides:



And here she is standing at the top of the stairs that you go up to get to the slides. This is on the opposite side from the slides, of course.

Believe it or not, I actually convinced her to sit on my lap and go down one of these slides. She was not at all in to doing so alone. She isn't really adventurous and won't go on the swings at all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Old Shoes?


Here's a great way to get rid of them. A lady was passing these out at the reunion on Saturday; a cute gift. The plants are just flower garden staples I believe, but don't ask me what they are, I am not up on that stuff. My MIL is, I think she said the light colored one is a Dusty Miller, or something dusty, I can't remember.

At any rate I thought this would be a great idea for a yard sale, except use herbs you have grown from seed. I bet they sell pretty well along in spring.

Friday, July 9, 2010

VBS 2010


OK, so this is just one picture. I don't have enough time to post any more at the moment.

Ellen had a great time at Vacation Bible School. Mostly she loved painting during the crafts period; the above birdhouse was right up her alley. One of the guys in the church actually made enough birdhouses for all the kids to have one; so probably 50 or more. Thank you Mark!

The preschool class went pretty well for me. Last year on any given day during VBS there were anywhere from 10-16 preschoolers. This year there were 6 who actually showed up every day and then 2 visitors on Thurs. The great thing about that is that there were at least 3-4 helpers in there with me the whole time, so we did great.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pass the Breath Mints



Here is a picture of about half of my onion crop. Most of the rest of it is still out in the garden, waiting until I get a chance to harvest it. I am going to chop many of these up and freeze them for later use in stir-fries or soups. It cuts down on prep time. I do not eat raw onions; they come back on me something awful. But hubby and Ellen love raw onions. Hubby likes them sliced up with cucumbers in salted vinegar water. I eat the cukes, but not the onions. Ellen eats the onions but not the cukes. She frequently has onion breath.

********

This week I am slaving away at VBS. I am teaching the preschool class. So far I have had 6 students in my class each day, though we originally started off with 7. One student decided to move up to the next class with his grandma; which was fine with me. He is one of those squirrelly kids you can't keep still anyway. I forgot to take pictures today, but I will try to remember tomorrow. Thankfully there have been plenty of helpers in my class, as most of the kids would bail out if their mom or cousin weren't there.

Ellen is having a blast during VBS, though she won't get far from me. But still, I have high hopes that she will do well in school eventually.

That's all for today.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Unexpected Harvest


This past March when the stores started putting their seeds on display I loaded up on them lest they not have them by the time the weather was agreeable enough for planting.

I believe in March we were still having temps down into the 20s at night, and not much warmer during the day.

Ellen does not know the finer points of gardening, all she knows is that on TV Rabbit from Pooh is forever planting his radish seeds. Therefore she was all on fire to plant some of the seeds when we got home.

I didn't see the harm in letting her plant some of the cabbage seeds, they are my least favorite vegetable. (ugh...but this post isn't about my vegetable dislikes...I have griped enough on Facebook about that.) So I cleared a tiny spot in my little flower garden and let her plant away.

Days, weeks passed.

Much to my everlasting astonishment I noticed that her planting efforts had not been in vain; lo and behold, the cabbages had sprouted.

So here is Ellen holding one of the fruits of her gardening labors.

Part of it has already been consumed as Cole slaw.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parmesan-Pork Zucchini Boats

These are pretty good; hubby likes them, and a couple of people have requested the recipe, so without further ado (except to add a note or two) here is the recipe:

(Note #1: You can make these with whatever ground meat you wish, I presume, just season it a bit more.)

(Note #2: I didn't have seasoned bread crumbs, so I used plain and sprinkled on some oregano and savory...it was really good.)

Parmesan Pork Zucchini Boats

Ingredients
4 Medium zucchini
1 lb. Bulk pork sausage
1 Small onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup Seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup Plus 2 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Water

Preparation

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch shell; set aside. Chop pulp; set aside.
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add garlic and zucchini pulp; saute for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and egg.
Sprinkle salt inside zucchini shells. Fill each with 3 tbsp. meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
Place in ungreased 13X9X2 inch baking dish. Pour water into dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until zucchini is tender and filling is heated through.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Insurance Incident

In a previous post....a couple of years ago in fact, I grouched about our insurance carrier. Since then we have changed policies and things have gone along without incident. Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday at approx 3:30 PM, while I was trying to fry chicken, mash potatoes and stir the gravy all at the same time, the phone rang. The timing in and of itself is very annoying. The lady said she was from our insurance company and that we had not paid since April.

Hmmm...

I distinctly remember writing the checks. I told her so. She said she'd look into it and get back to us.

When she called back hubby answered.

She advised him there'd been a mistake.

So hubby asks: "Oh, so our account is OK?"

Lady: "Oh, I don't know, you are under a group policy, I only handle individual policies. You will have to call the people who do handle group policies."

(Say what?)

Hubby: "Do you have the number?"

Lady rattles it off.

Hubby: "So why don't you call it for us and find out what's going on?"

Lady: "Oh, I can't do that, you have to call."

Hubby: "I'll just get a recording. You could call straight through to them."

Lady: "I don't handle group policies."

Hubby: "Why did you call us in the first place?"

She hangs up on him.

What a joke!

Today he calls the local rep and has them look into it. She calls back and says it shows we are paid up, there are no notes that we have even been contacted and she has no idea why they would have called us.

Great. Nice.

It makes me think of the song Scarecrow on "The Wizard of Oz" sings:

If I Only Had a Brain

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Dessert and other Dairy Doings


Hello friends.

Here is what appears to be my weekly post, although I really would like to be one of those overachieving bloggers who posts every day of the week, somehow that just isn't working out for me at this time of year.

Mostly it's because I am too busy in the garden. Plus other various dairy duties call my name.

I found the recipe for the above pie over at the blog run by The Lumberjack's Wife -who's husband is really in sober fact an electrician. But never mind that; go over there and say "hello" to her. Her blog is much more entertaining than mine is.

At any rate, the Chocolate-Lined Strawberry pie is awesome. And easy. Of course my pie is not as picturesque as the photo she had posted, but that's OK. It probably tastes as good.

********************

Today we discovered a heifer has disappeared...just hopped the fence. Gone. Kaput. Who knows? She was imminently due to calve. Hubby says that by now she's either dead or taking care of her calf. We are scanning the skies for buzzards.

*sigh*

********************

Today I picked, shelled, scalded and packed in freezer bags, 10 cups of peas.

ALL
BY
MYSELF

Yay me!

*******************

The deer have been marauding our gardens here on K Highway. If you happen to drive by and see some kind of bizarre setups out in our garden area, this is why. I will have to photograph and post it...for your entertainment.

My green beans took a serious hit from the deer. We put up our "scare-deer" one night. They left it alone. But then....

The next night the deer trimmed off my mother-in-law's shelly beans AND her sweet potatoes. She was not impressed. But, hey, we said at least we knew our set up was working.

*****************

I'll bet Dora the Explorer had no clue that when she taught kids to shout "Salta!" (jump) when leaping over rolling watermelons or hopping from rock to rock, that a 3 year old in the Mid-West would ever be shouting it happily as she jumps over various cow pies on her walk to get the 4-wheeler for daddy.

hahaha!

"I have to jump this poo-poo Mama! Yell; 'Salta!'"

"SALTA!"

"Oops Ellen, you didn't jump quite far enough over THAT cow pie. Let's go wash your shoe!"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Rough Dairy Day

OK. I only have 6 minutes to blog...where do I begin?

Ummm

Friday: we got a new calf from #87 who was VERY attached to calf. We brought cow and calf in. Put calf in pen. Sunday: #87 decided calf must be back where she gave birth to it, so broke down fence to get back there...almost a mile back up the road. Hubby took calf back up to her yesterday.

Sunday: I found different cow, fondly called Tornado Head, with a stillborn calf. Cow will not leave site for 2 days, even though hubby drug dead calf away.

Today. I went up to do feeding. Heifer #75 in labor, making no progress. Tornado Head still refuses to leave birth site, she's looking pretty rough. #87 has hidden calf.

We bundle Ellen off to her Grandma's and go do some cow chasing.

We get #75 back to farm here, hubby has to pull the calf. Nice heifer calf, but #75 refuses to have anything to do with it. (Meaning I have to clean all the yuck off of it, thaw colostrum to feed it...etc) Back we go up the road to the dry cow lot to round up Tornado Head. We get her back with no problem.

Hubby goes back yet again to try and find #87 and her calf. Can't find calf. Tries to chase 87 back to barn. No dice. She breaks down a fence and runs up and down highway a while. Breaks down another fence to get in with dry cows. She ends up standing in pond staring hubby down. He gives up.

Later: I go out to give Tornado Head and #75 some water. I have to open gate, Tornado Head has to stand up. She starts switching her tail and covers me in all kinds of unmentionable yuck. Nice.

That was our day.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A New Shot of Ellen


Ellen's Missouri aunt made her a dress. She got the pattern from a co-worker, thought it was adorable, and made it for Ellen. It is so cute, but she had quite the time with it.

For one thing...the MAIN thing...Ellen wasn't cooperative in the "let me measure you" department. So Auntie had to just make a guess at the size. The first time it was too little. The second time it was a tad too big, but I put it on Ellen while they were here so Auntie was able to measure it a bit better. So now it fits just right...for a few months anyway.

The shoulder straps are unique in that they are just that; straps. You pull them through button holes in the top front and then knot so they can't be pulled back through.

It made quite the sensation among the ladies at church yesterday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

True Gumption

gumption/gump'shen/1 initiative, resourcefulness; 2 courage

Her story isn't all that unusual, I suppose. There are thousands who go through it, for one reason or another, and they face it with the same determination and courage. But here in our corner of the world her story touched us all.

Last June a lady at our church had to have the lower part of her left leg amputated below the knee. To a woman who is active and athletic this was devastating, as you might expect. But what was remarkable was that through the devastation, through the agony of loss and the pain of recovery...two things remained steady; faith and gumption. Faith that God had a purpose for her life, faith that He was still with her and would see her though. The courage and gumption to start over again, to make the best of what life had handed her and not complain about it. This was an inspiration to all of us.

Last summer she said she wasn't going to be able to play at the church softball games, but that she would next year.

Next year has arrived....



We salute you Meri! You are an inspiration.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Sylvan Saturday

Every once-in-awhile a day comes along that calls out for a walk in the woods. The weather is perfect; sunny, breezy, not too hot, not too cold...just perfect. Not to mention the cows were pastured in the upper fields.


So I loaded Ellen up on the 4-wheeler and off we went down to the creek bottoms again.


The creek was a little bit lower than on our last walk, so after we spent some time annoying the eensy-weensy schools of fish with our rock throwing, and chasing the little peeper frogs around I decided to go to ford the creek and check out the other side.

We went all the way up to the top of the ridge behind us. When I type it out like this it all sounds fast, but keep in mind this is on some 100 acres of wooded land here, so the ride is rather bumpy in some of the pastures, and going through the wooded areas you have to dodge fallen branches (or limbs, rather...a branch in this part of the country is actually a body of water.)

On this other ridge we find the old homestead. The original homestead of hubby's great grandfather (I think there's only one great in there. His dad was actually born in 1919.)

This picture is of the house, in the center, chicken shed to the right, and a well house on the left, I believe. I didn't get a shot of the whole barn this time. Though I have blogged on this before a couple years ago, so there are pics of the barn in that post. (Note the picturesque turkey vulture sailing overhead.)


Here is a shot of the house below. This house, no running water and no electricity, was actually lived in up until 1968 by a pair of sisters whose family had bought the property from hubby's grandmother way back when. (Hubby subsequently purchased the place back some time after he'd established the dairy.)



To me there is always a deep sense of poignancy about the place. There is wallpaper coming off in tatters and old magazines scattered around upstairs and on the stairs. There are canning jars and rusted chains scattered around outside. In early spring the daffodils the ladies planted spring up and bloom all around. I found a 3-pronged pitchfork up there and brought it back down here. This type of pitchfork is uncommon now, hubby says folks hammered them down and used them for gigging. I need to get a handle for it though.

And looking into the barn I think about how much time and effort the builder put into making it. If you look close at the logs you can see that each log is hand-hewn and placed with care. Huge rocks were hauled from the creek bottoms to use at the bottoms of the walls. Notches were hacked into the logs used as rafters. Corral doors were hung with care as well. Here's a pic of the inside. You can't see it in this particular picture, but up on the rafters are still the tatters of cornstalks from the last harvest back in the mid-60s probably.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too much sugar

Blogger and I have some issues here. I have tried to blog but it keeps kicking me out. Argh!

Anyway. There's not too much exciting going on to blog about, though I have a list of things I want to put down. (no time for all of it now.)

But thanks to everyone who answered about the rag on the bush question.

Now. How about the saying: "Too much sugar for a cent." Hubby and I have our own ideas of what this might mean. When I Googled it all I came up with was a book by that name. I wasn't of a mind to purchase it, so I am still clueless.

Have fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking the rag off the bush

Here's another saying to add to my list.

Whenever Ellen is throwing one of her down-in-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming fits, hubby says; "She's really taking the rag off the bush."

OK

You tell me what that's supposed to mean.

I guess it's just an old Ozarks saying that made sense a hundred years ago.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Own Hillbilly Joke

Q: How do you know when you've become a true hillbilly?

A: When you bring a coon in a live trap to church.



Here's the story:

One of the guys at church...I will call him RR for convenience sake, is a rabid raccoon hunter. He has coon dogs and all the spotlights and gear and whatnot. Several months ago during coon season he went coon hunting over at the neighbor's place across the river but I don't think the dogs even found a coon to chase.

Hubby told him that we have LOTS of coons, so over the course of the past few months RR has been over coon hunting several times. We do have PLENTY of them. However, apparently we breed pretty clever coons because he and his buddies have never been able to tree a coon on our place. They head straight to their den trees and that's the end of that.

He has even come over the past couple of weeks in the off season. Now he loves to coon hunt and says he needs to train one of his dogs, but I think he is mostly bound and determined not to be defeated by our coons. haha...

However, even in off season he has been unable to tree a coon. So on Wednesday he brought a live trap and a PB&J sandwich and asked if we'd trap him one to use to train his dog with. I laughed and took it home and set it. Hubby didn't really want anything to do with it.

Well, the coon or coons ate the bait, said thanks (I suppose) and took off, leaving an empty trap.

Next night I tried again. Same thing.

Then RR and his son came back last night and set the trap yet again. BINGO! Got one. So hubby tossed it in back of the truck and I hauled it to church. (We go early for Sunday School, hubby comes later for regular church service.) RR puts it on a tarp in the back of their fancy vehicle.

What is so funny to me is the fact that after all this time of trying the only thing he can catch is a one-eyed coon in a live trap.

Well, maybe he can train this dog to actually be able to tree something for him.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Tough Somebody's Life"

Who's life have you toughed today?

Ha ha.

Have you ever read any of those church bulletin bloopers? Like: "Bless someone today, say hell to someone you don't know." Along those lines?

Well, last Sunday our church bulletin advised:

"Have a blessed day and tough somebody's life today as hopefully God has toughed yours."

The author of the above line did not catch the blooper until she'd finished copying and folding them. She gave us all a laugh, and she is gracious enough to laugh along.

(Obviously she meant to say "touch" instead.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ellen's Art


Lately I have been having trouble with this computer; it wouldn't let me post anything. Very annoying.

Anyway. For Christmas hubby got Ellen one of those little art easels; a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other. Ellen takes notions from time to time to draw on either side. Currently she loves the dry erase side.

We have noticed that her drawings are becoming more and more sophisticated, as it were. For instance, if you squint and hold your head just right you can see that this face behind her actually has a nose, eyebrows, a mustache and a beard. The addition of facial hair is kind of puzzling because no one she knows personally has any facial hair. But she must have picked it up in some of the shows that she watches. I don't know. I just thought it was funny that she put it in there.

I have a bunch of other stuff to blog about but it'll have to wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yet Another Follow-up on the Blind Calf Story

Recently I got the following comment from a vet student from Australia, on a post I did on the blind calf we got back in 2007. This is the second comment from Australia that I have had regarding this issue. I thought I'd post this since a reader of this blog has a son in large animal veterinarian training. Perhaps he would find it interesting.

This post from back in 2007 on the Blind Calf continues to draw comments. (Follow the link if you wish to read it.) Apparently folks Google when they get a blind calf in their herd and my post comes up. I just wish folks would report back in on what happened to their calf. This particular one I blogged about never prospered, was always vision impaired, and was susceptible to infections. We took her to the sale barn when she was about 18 months old.


Anonymous said...
Hi - I'm a last year vet student from Brisbane, Australia. I found this site when doing research on a blind 1 week old dairy Swiss brown calf. This calf was reported blind, poor doer, sickly by the farmer. Myself and a few other students brought the calf back to the uni clinic to look after it. Treatment focused on support (electrolytes, milk, antibiotics and atropine eye drops). It had a pus discharge from navel, clear weeping eyes and nose, blind, depressed, anorexic, walked with stiff gait (though joints did not appear swollen). Both eyes had white opacity (cataract like)with perm constricted pupils. Now we prob have a few less/more/different bacteria/viral organisms here (Australia)but according to what I have read an endophthalmitis (aka inside eye infection)which includes vision problem/blindness (after ruling out congenital)can be caused from a endogenous infection (ie an infection somewhere else in the body). So in my case I'm thinking a navel ill (eg omphalitis) most likely Streptococcal (+ pos other bacteria) as I sampled this from the navel discharge. I'm also assuming that this calf may have not had it's quota of colostrum (so more likely to show clinical signs/get sick). This calf four weeks on is doing well. She is feeding well, still looking a little underweight but at this stage no improvement in sight. I guess (as with the original story) that if the eye is whitish etc as filled with pus it could have the possibility to eventually clear, assume in regards to vision will depend how much damage the original infection caused. If damaged than vision may never recover, or if does than the eye would always have altered structure so would be more susceptible to other problems including sun infiltration and possibly cataracts. In human medicine treating the eye infection as soon as possible is recommended to help prognosis but in many cases vision is still blurred or worse.
BTW - don't take my word as gospel - I'm just a student. Many of you described different eye colours/problems so there could be multiple bacteria/viral etc agents being the underlying cause. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Early Spring Sunset on the Dairy

I figured it was time to change my picture up top there. I took this pic out in the west pasture a couple of weeks ago. The grass was just starting to get green but the trees hadn't leafed out yet. In point of fact, the trees STILL aren't leafed out yet. Spring has been slow to develop here this year. But I am hopeful that at least it won't freeze them all off like the past couple of years when we had a really early spring.

There isn't too much dairy news to talk about at this time. Well, let's see what I can come up with.

The two new bulls we got a few weeks ago have settled in pretty well. So far the one with the milking herd is fairly docile; just lays down in the corral and chews his cud. They don't get super mean until they are a bit older, so we shall see.

We moved 27 of 30 open heifers from their winter pasture here by the barns. They are now in Windyville. The other 3 are still here and need to be moved ASAP.

And that's about it folks, for dairy news.

In other news, hubby has been SUPER busy delivering gravel to folks around. This morning he took 3 loads to a cemetery in Buffalo. Last week he installed a culvert over by Windyville and he still needs to get more gravel over there. He has done a couple roadgrading jobs on driveways up from us. Now he has two folks wanting wells drilled sometime this spring or summer; new houses going in. One's just a mile or so west of us and they want a septic system, too. Yes, hubby will be busy the next few months.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A New Friend

If you want yet another fun blog to follow; check out this one:

Blabbin' Grammy

A Grandma from Tennessee who blogs about life "back then" and now. Stop by and say hello.

Of Flying Frogs and Closed Apples

It's going to hit the 80s today. I planted more radishes and lettuce this morning. The first little crop of radishes are coming along great. My mother in law said she heard about radish sandwiches; butter two slices of bread, cover one slice of bread with sliced red radishes, top with other slice of bread, enjoy. Hmmmmm...I will feed one to hubby and see what he thinks.

Last week or maybe it was the week before we were working on getting the garden beds ready to plant. We had meant to burn them off to get all the weeds off, but believe it or not it was never dry enough, or not windy enough, to do so. So hubby just ups with the tiller and tills them anyway. (Now there's tons of ground up chickweed regenerating itself, but no time for that story now.) The next day I get out there with rake and shovel and pitchfork and start cleaning out the sod.

As I am working my way along I see this "thing" up ahead, like a little old dried up melon; it had a stem on it. I kept working toward it. Finally I got to it and picked it up. GAH! It was a dead frog, all bloated and black and the "stem" was the leg sticking up. I let out this sound, impossible to imitate or recreate, and flung it up in the air. Cute little living green frogs are delightful to try and hold, but dead ones I do not do. OK. So the frog flew. Yes, he did, the poor thing.

********

Whenever I give Ellen a few slices of an apple, I usually put the other half of the apple back into the little covered compartment of the fridge door. She knows this and often will go to the fridge, get the apple and gnaw on it. Sometimes she eats the whole thing, sometimes she finishes it, sometimes she puts part of it back.

At any rate, last night for some reason I'd put a whole apple in there. She takes it out, looks at it and says; "This apple isn't opened yet; it's closed." I had to laugh. Yes, that apple was closed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Walk

Oh, dear. Yet again I am tardy in getting back to my blog here. "sigh*

Well, here's but one thing we have been up to.

The weather has finally improved enough for long walks. So last week I loaded Ellen up on the 4-wheeler and we went down into the creek bottoms for a walk. It was a lovely evening for a walk, but mostly Ellen wanted to throw rocks into the creek.

As usual, it was hard to resist skipping a few stones across the creek myself.


One fun part of going to the creek for me is seeing evidence of who else has been there. Here, for my convenient picture-taking, a turkey and a 'coon left some tracks side by side. I tossed in an AA battery for size comparison.


And what trip down to the creek bottoms could possibly be complete without a visit to the boneyard to remember the dearly departed? Yes, we recycle here on the dairy; ashes to ashes, dust to dust, cow to coyote...etc.

And now...owing to lack of time to continue my photo walking tour, I must bid you farewell.

We have been doing lots more than taking walks, I'll fill you in later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Cake

A couple of days ago hubby needed something for his dessert. I looked in one of my cake recipe books and found something new; a triple lemon cake. It required a box of lemon gelatin to be added to a lemon mix...then you are supposed to beat it for FOUR minutes. I thought that was excessive, but when trying something new I always follow as close as I can to the directions.

When the required time was up I looked in the oven and couldn't believe my eyes; it had really puffed up, almost to the point of running out of the pan. I took it out. I set it on the counter to cool. Regretfully, I didn't take a photo at that time. After all, how bad could it be? Hubby took one look at it and said; "It's going to shrink." "Yes," I said. I didn't want to watch.

I went back in an hour or so. This is what met my eyes:


You can't really get a good idea of how ummm...short it is because of the perspective, but let's just say it's pretty flat, too.

Hubby took one look at it and said what was on my mind too.

"Oh, you made a dog bone cake."

Yeah. Ha!

No more gelatin in cake mixes for me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Aaaiiiieeeeeee!!!! Stampede!

Yesterday morning I was doing my regular graining of the young heifers when the strangest thing happened.

These are the 6 month to year old girls, close to the same size as the heifers below. Their feed bunks are on a bit of a hill that falls steeply off down into the creek bottoms.



It was just barely light out, maybe 6:45 AM or so, and I had just opened the gate and was shoving my way through the 10 of them when suddenly something happened behind me (dunno what it was) and they all startled and went charging off around me. One of the smaller ones got so excited she tried to jump a feed bunk, landed smack inside it and flopped around like a fish out of water before she leapt out and took off in the rear of the herd. It was kind of freaky because I was afraid I was going to get trampled.

I had this brief and strange sensation that I was in that scene from Jurassic Park where the veggiesaurs were flocking around the professor and the two kids, and if I turned and looked down over the hill I thought perhaps I'd see the T-Rex coming after me.

But thankfully he wasn't there.

I was glad.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This week starts off with everyone in our household having a cold. Plus the temps have been in the 30s all weekend and we got some ice/sleet last night. Happy Spring!

I think it was Thursday or Friday that hubby put out the last of the alfalfa. Usually by this time there is at least SOME grass for the cows to eat, but not this year. Our production is gradually going down and at just over a buck a gallon for milk it's not a pretty outlook.

But on the bright side they are saying that the temps will be up to 60s by Tues perhaps. So maybe things will pick back up.

****

Sometimes Ellen just cracks me up. She hates having to take a nap. She will protest to the last minute, with her eyes barely open; "I don't want to take a nap!" So I tell her she doesn't have to. She keeps protesting and I tell her to go get on the bed. Then she howls to lay on the so-FAH. (And you must pronounce it like that, the Spanish pronunciation; so-FAH.) So she'll lay down, go to sleep and then wake up and hour later still moaning; "I don't want to take a nap."

Kids.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A cold, weekend visitors, pets and mortgages...etc

I have a cold. This is the first cold I have had in close on 2 years. I honestly can't remember the last time I had one. I remember having one when I was still nursing Ellen, she must have been only 5 or 6 months old, or younger. And I think maybe I had one soon thereafter, but not much later. Since hubby quit driving the school bus we have hardly been sick at all. Something to keep in mind on the positive side to potentially homeschooling Ellen.

This weekend we had visitors from Oklahoma. The son of one of hubby's friends who used to live in the area here. He and his girlfriend came by to chat a bit. I think he was showing her around his old stomping grounds. What a charming couple. He's in his early 20s and is on his way through veterinarian school, with the goal of becoming a large animal vet. This is a field that is sadly lacking...most of the money is with small animals, people's pets. If you happen to find a large animal vet in the area...good luck in getting him/her to come out and help. Usually they are so swamped they can't appear until after your critter has already croaked.

We got into a discussion about people their pets. Hubby mentioned that he'd heard they actually do dialysis for pets...among other things. And the young lady stated as how they even do organ transplants and such. Then the young man said he was rather incredulous about how people were willing to spend money on their pets; the pets became like family and folks would go to any lengths for them. He said one lady spent close on to $12,000 on a stray kitten she'd found. It ended up dying anyway. And someone else actually MORTGAGED their home to pay for vet costs for their pet! Crazy! If I ever get really attached to a pet, I hope I have the grace to let it go peacefully instead of try and extend its life for my own pleasure.

On the other hand there have been neighbors here who've told us to go ahead and shoot their pets if they other our cows. I thought that was kind of cold, not to mention inconsiterate. If it's their pet, shouldn't they be the ones to keep it out of trouble? And why should WE be the ones responsible for destroying their pet? It's really annoying.

OK. That's it for today. ha

Monday, March 8, 2010

These nice days

make me so ready for spring to come. Today we went to Lebanon and got most of the seeds we will need for our garden. I need to get some cucumber seeds, but I'll get those in Buffalo.

Ellen was determined to plant some seeds today. She watches Rabbit plant his radishes in his garden (on Pooh) so she wanted to plant something too. I opened the pack of cabbage seeds and gave her a few to "plant" in a hole in the flower bed. She was satisfied with that, although she got peeved when the leaves she'd covered them with blew away.

We are supposed to get some rain tonight. I hope we don't get much. I am so tired of mud, and said mud is just now starting to dry up in the dry cow corral.

Hubby has several graveling projects on hand; one involving grading of a driveway.

He also has to re-do the heifer corral, reinforce it actually, in order to catch the bull. Mr Bull has been here 3 years now, so he needs to leave so we can get a youngster in here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

If not twins, then at least brothers...

Yesterday I reported on Facebook that I'd found twin bulls in the dry cow field. It seemed to me that they both came from Fluffy, who appeared to have deflated like a balloon, though there WAS this other cow over there with them all.

I took my camera this morning and here they all are...two cows and two bull calves...Fluffy is the cow in the background, with the white face.




Weeeelll...later on hubby went up there today to get them and he begged to differ. For one thing they are both quite large. For another, he says that other cow appears to have had a calf, though she doesn't have much of an udder and wasn't due until April, which is why I assumed Fluffy had had both calves. So we don't really know whose is whose or what's up or who's on first...etc. But at any rate, they were both sired by the same bull, so they ARE brothers.

While I was up there, the other cow got nervous and took off with BOTH of the calves:



It is not uncommon for a cow to steal a calf like this. But Fluffy made sure they wouldn't get far without her and she followed close behind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ellen, how old are you?

"I'm THREE!"





Yay! Yay! Yay!

Ellen had a fine time at her birthday party on Saturday. She didn't eat much, due to too much excitement, but she loved most everything she got. At first she wasn't sure about opening the presents, but by the third one or so she was really into it.

I say that she liked MOST of her gifts because there was one she DIDN'T like at first. Her MO aunt got her one of those really tall dolls, almost as tall as she is, and when you set it on the floor and move it just right it appears to walk. Her grandma did that and Ellen freaked out! Wouldn't have anything to do with it and left the room until it was out of sight.

But by the next day she'd warmed up to it and was playing with it. (Thank goodness!)

She only got two books, which was nice, as she already has a full library of them. But two new books were nice as well. It gives ME something new to read.

Ellen didn't want me to take down the decorations, she wanted her birthday to last and last. Someday she'll grow out of that one, I suppose.

(This is post 500...seems fitting it's about Ellen.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three years...


Tomorrow Ellen will turn three years old! What happened to all of that time? Where did the infant go? It's amazing how much they change, and how fast it all happens.

I remember driving myself to the hospital to get induced. I remember killing a cat on the highway at 4:30 AM on my way there, and crying the rest of the way to the hospital.

I remember not being given anything to eat but nasty Jell-O for 20-some hours until after she was born.

I remember snitching a granola bar or two from the overnight bag I'd brought.

I remember how the nurse didn't believe I was having contractions very often because the monitor didn't show them, but they were reallly low and concentrated in my back. I also remember this same nurse helping coach me and telling me what to do and how to breathe and all I could think was how I wanted to bash her one...she'd never had a baby before...who did she think she was telling ME what to do?! (haha)

I remember how at one point Ellen's heartrate dropped to 6 on the monitor and how the doc nearly went straight up.

I remember how thankful I was when her rate went back up immediately after.

I remember how Ellen pooped all over the doc when she finally appeared on the scene.

I remember how nervous hubby was when he finally had to hold her. Age 48 and never held a baby before.

I remember how that first week home with Ellen was the longest week of my life. All the new things to remember and do...and so little sleep.

Oh, Ellen...what memories you have brought me already. And you're only/already THREE!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Preparing for Spring

No, not cleaning, unfortunately.

This past weekend, and today, I planted a bunch of seeds; bell peppers and tomatoes. The peppers are pretty much an experiment. They are really hard to sprout. I will probably have to end up buying plants, but I planted a whole .20 cent pack...probably some 12-18 seeds, in hopes that at least ONE of them will come up.

I have grown hot paprika peppers from seeds from the Czech Republic before, a couple years ago, but didn't have much luck with them last year. Perhaps that was more due to Ellen's having knocked them off the porch than anything the peppers did or didn't do.

At any rate, I counted up that I have planted about 94 tomato seeds, from about 3 different varieties. I got a flat of those peat pot starter kit thingys...whatchamacallums... The lady there at Wal-Mart said they work really well, so I am hoping we will get something out of them.

Last year we had 49 producing tomato plants, so I figure we will do pretty well if even only half of what I have planted survive.

Now we just have to get all the clearing and tilling and suchlike done. This year, hubby strictly forbids me from planting the rows any closer than about 36 inches apart, so he can get the tiller down the rows.

Or better put, so I can get the tiller down the rows.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Word Verification and other annoying things...

OK. I wanted to avoid this but I have changed the comment settings to require a word verification. This is to avoid stuff such as the following:

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Good day, sun shines!
There have been times of hardship when I felt unhappy missing knowledge about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright pessimistic person.
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It gets down to choose a proper companion who utilizes your money in a right way - that is incorporate it in real deals, parts and divides the income with me.
You may ask, if there are such firms? I'm obliged to answer the truth, YES, there are. Please get to know about one of them:


The top two I left, just because they are funny and didn't have some dubious link attached to their comment. The last one did have a link to some money blog, which I deleted.

These comments mostly show up in older posts. At first I'd get one of these every few weeks, but now they are coming in with alarming regularity. Dunno if the word verification will stop it all or not. I don't want to have to do the approval thingy, but we'll see how well this works.

Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going Green on the Dairy-part two

One thing I hate about cleaning the shower stall and bathtubs, sinks...etc, is the hideous stink of the cleaners. It would seem that if it doesn't have an odor strong enough to strip your sinus cavities, it doesn't have any cleaning power. And that includes just the straight vinegar that is supposed to strip away the lime and hard water stains.

I read an article awhile back that said that even though those spray cleaners are "supposed" to be safe, they will actually worsen any asthma or other breathing problems you may have, or potentially cause some.

So...while reading through one of my cooking magazines I came across this recipe for a cleaner:

Bathroom Cleaner

1/2 C liquid dish detergent
1/2 C baking soda
1/4 C vinegar

Mix together and use on sinks and bathtubs.


Not wanting to waste what liquid dish detergent I had on hand, I used some of the homemade liquid laundry detergent from my previous post instead. It did work quite well actually, even on the lime in the shower. One note I must make is to not let it dry. I don't think it does any harm, but it's just a bit harder to rinse off.

So, these are my two efforts towards the green movement. On top of this I also think I ought to get green points for being crazy enough to hang out my laundry to dry on the line when it's 10 degrees or less outside.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Going Green on the Dairy...part one

No...this won't be a gross green post. "Green"... as in, you know...environmentally friendly.

A few weeks ago a cousin emailed me a recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent. A pretty simple recipe. I tried it and actually like it, except for the fact that it separates and gets kind of clumpy. You have to shake it fairly vigorously to get it back to a liquid-y form. Nonetheless...it seems to work well, even on hubby's nasty chore clothes. Though I still do spot-treat them.

Here is that recipe:



(All ingredients can be purchased for under $5-6 for all! and will make several batches.)

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

1 quart Water (boiling) + 2 more gallons of room temp water

2 cups Bar soap (grated) Use Naphtha soap bar (other can be used, but make sure there's no oils in it; 2 cups is all but a small chunk of the Naphtha soap/ I used the whole bar)

2 cups Borax

2 cups Super Washing Soda (it’s an Arm & Hammer box found next to the Borax-must use exactly this!)

*Heat 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium-sized pan

*Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water, stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.

* Pour the soap water into a large clean pail or 5 gallon bucket and immediately add the borax and washing soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.

*Add 2 gallons of room temperature water (not hot / not cold) stir until well mixed.

*Cover pail/bucket leave overnight (will gel) Wait till soap has sat overnight before filling bottles.

*You may add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons once soap has cooled:
Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. (I didn't see the need...the Naphtha I used was scented and that was enough to "flavor" the whole batch.)

*Shake bottle before each use (does separate when it sits)

*Use ¼ to ½ cup per load. For chore clothes I used 3/4 cup.

Save up and rinse out old bottles to store this in. It makes well over 2 gallons. I used a couple 1/2 gallon milk jugs as well as old laundry detergent bottles.

Note: soap isn't as sudsy as you might be used to but do not worry it has nothing to do with the cleaning power.

*Note to self...do NOT try to do this whole process 15 minutes before time to make supper. It takes much longer than you might think to grate a bar of soap! And it takes even LONGER than that for said grated soap to dissolve..even if you DO keep the heat on.