Tuesday, November 26, 2013

For this, I am THANKFUL...

I'm thankful for an unchanging God who pursues us, loved us before we loved Him, and shows grace and mercy to us, mere sinners.

I'm thankful for the sound of our truck pulling up the gravel drive every evening, and the tired, dirt-covered man who walks through the back door, lunch box in hand, to give me sweet kisses.

I'm thankful for a home filled with rowdy children who wrestle, rope, and wreck my clean house. Their muddy boots, and paper crafts, and rope swings are what make the house a home.  Their bear-hugs and angel kisses make my world go-round.

I'm thankful for the grandparents who help us care for the cattle, spoil our kids, lift us up in prayer, and make sure that our needs are met.

I'm thankful for siblings who have seen the worst side of us, but believe the best about us. They know all of our crazy family jokes, and know exactly how to get us going, but will always be there when things are tough.

I'm thankful for friends who feel like family. They love our quirks and watch over our kids like they were their own.

I'm thankful to see our cows and horses through my kitchen window while I'm doing dishes in the morning.

I'm thankful that we have livestock to tend to, and for the endless opportunity for learning that they bring to the kids.

I'm thankful that we live on a mountain with million dollar views, 4 seasons, and daily wildlife sightings that many people only read about in books.

I'm thankful for loyal old dogs who are always happy to greet me with wags of the tail, and licks to the face; And a cat that keeps my lap warm in the winter.

I'm thankful for an abundance of  homegrown beef and pork in the freezer, and that we always have enough to share with others.

I'm thankful for hay in the barn, food in the pantry, clothes in the closet, and a warm bed to sleep in.

I'm thankful for the challenges that help us grow, and the faith we gain when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm thankful that God supplies all of our needs.

We are blessed beyond measure.

Monday, November 18, 2013

7 Random Things

1. We are selling calves and open cows on Wednesday, and I won't go to the corrals to load up my babies.


Not gonna watch my little guys be taken away on the truck. I woke up every 3 hours for a solid month to help bring those babies into this world. I won't watch them go. He can't make me.

But I will accept the fat paycheck.

The End.

2. We are hauling two stringer hay up to the house barn for the show calves, who will also be coming home on Wednesday. Those bales are easy for the kids to handle, and only weigh about 60#.  That's perfect since they will have all of the responsibility with their project calves. I still remember when it took two kids to drag a bale and now they can throw them with one hand. *Sniff, sniff.* My babies are growin' up.

Caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

3.  It was windy when I was feeding the weaners last week. (That's weaners... not weiners, as in weaned calves...Gracious!) Back to my story.  I was feeding the weaners a load of grass hay and a teeny, tiny hay splinter got stuck in my eyeball. Try as I may, I could NOT get that thing out of my eye!  By day 2, I was in agony and finally broke down and went to the doctor.  She got it out after putting some dye on my eye to light it up. It tore the skin of my eye but it felt so good to get that thing out of there and it healed itself after a few days.  That's the second time in 3 months that I've had that happen.  I need sunglasses.

4.  I hate sunglasses. Did I mention that? They fog up. I sit on them and break them. I drop them and break them. I need to shop for some cheap ones because I could have bought 20 pairs with the cost of going to the doctor, twice.

5. I took the whole family in for eye exams.  Turns out, our middle child is blind in one eye and has perfect vision in the other. SHOCKER!!! She gets an exam every year at the pediatrician's office and they never said a word. Not one word.  I think she cheated on the test or something because how can you miss that?  The eye doctor said that she's been that way since birth so she's never known any different.  He can't believe she's an all-star softball player because apparently having only one good eye affects your depth perception in a major way!  The good news: she can now wear a contact lens in the bad eye to strengthen it and regain most of her vision.  Then, when she's fully grown, they can do surgery to completely fix it permanently. Thank God for modern medicine!

6. I have been walking/jogging 5 1/2 miles a day for the last 9 weeks. After eating 5 days of greasy fair food and funnel cakes, my friend and I decided to start getting healthy when we got home.  We've been working out together ever since. Bonus: She used to be a personal trainer. SCORE!  I'm slowly seeing changes in my body, and I feel so much better.  I've been trying to watch what I eat, but I refuse to give up dessert. That's just going too far.  So I'll keep trucking down the dirt road in my sneakers as long as I can have my cake and eat it, too.

7. During the perilous month that Miss Kitty was recovering from her gang fight, she lost so much weight that we started to feed her canned food to entice her to eat.  Now that she's fully recovered, she's turned into a total diva.  She will only eat Friskies Tasty Treasures and nothing else will do.  Cat Chow? Not a chance. Meow Mix Seafood Selects? Forget about it.  She has full bowls of both, but continues to meow and circle my legs incessantly for Tasty Treasures...which we've been out of for 3 days.  I refuse to buy more of it until she's eaten the other stuff. She'd rather starve. #catsaredumb  She's wearing me down. My truck almost turned itself into the Wally World parking lot to pick up a box of Tasty Treasures, but I'm not that weak...yet.

^ That confession just made me sound like the Crazy Cat Lady, but I'm not.  Pinky Promise.  

Happy Monday, Friends!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Weaning is not fun.

As a mother of three, I have come to dread weaning calves. It's my least favorite chore of the year.  Bawling babies, and mooing mamas all bagged up just makes me groan with remembrance of my own nursing years. I have an obnoxious amount of sympathy for all parties involved. 

But the non-stop bawling for days is what can drive a mama to sheer madness.

Nevertheless, the deed is done, and all parties have settled down.  The calves were locked up in Alcatraz for 5 days on the other side of the mountain from their mamas, and they are now hoarse, and content to eat grass again.  We put our old Mammy cow in with them, and they stick close to her while she shows them the ropes.

We spent the last week burning up the highway to feed and check the calves.  The kids enjoy the change of pace from their regular school routine, but doing schoolwork in the truck makes for some interesting handwriting with all of the bumps in the road.

We've also been sorting off  the grass fed steers that we'll be taking to butcher as custom beef for customers, and some steers to feed grain to for the next 45 days before butchering. We still have to sort off calves to sell, and bring the best two home to start feeding for next year's 4-H projects.  

The money from all of our butcher beef will come in handy with Christmas and 5 birthdays around the corner.  

I know that this is a terrible picture, but we woke up to a dusting of snow early this morning. That means that winter is breathing down our necks, and we have so much left to get done before the big winter storms start to bear down on us. With temps in the low teens every morning, we have to put in the tank heaters, stack hay in the barn for winter, get several loads of cinders to keep the mud down around the pens, and the list goes on and on.  We got a truckload of hay pellets this weekend put up in the barn for the horses, but the list of junk that needs to be done is growing by the minute.

I'm slightly stressed. Can you tell?  I guess I'll head off to have a bite of homemade dessert before bed. 

 After all, everyone knows that stressed spelled backwards= desserts!

Comfort foods are my weakness,