Monday, June 30, 2008

Crop circles and annoyances

First we start with Crop Circles, a phenomenon that I thought was quite peculiar. However there is something so soothing about sitting on a lawn mower and just driving it around in circles. If you do it right you can build quite a pile or disperse one. Interesting how that works. Ah, the joys of mowing. :)

FLIES!!! They annoy me to no end, in fact I am strongly wondering why they exist,. I know that God has a purpose for all of his creatures but, flies . . . really? If there purpose is to annoy then they are fulfilling it tremendously, they even annoy the cows. Maybe that truly is their calling . . . why would that be a necessary purpose? And now I've hit the wall, the tremendously perplexing wall that is the Will of God and His purpose for us all.

Well, I'm off to mow again and spend some much needed time with Him :)

Well this service is not available in Kansas and their national coupons aren't that great. Oh well, 1 down and 7 more to try. :)

How to Save $400 a Month on Groceries

I've decided to challange myself after reading this article and I am going to sign up and let you know how it goes. If you have tried any or all of the services, please share your feelings about them. Here is the article:

By Laura Rowley

Grocery shopping is like playing the slots in Vegas.

Last week I won, saving $25 by planning ahead and using coupons. Other weeks, the house wins -- I forget my list, miss the store circular, find out my coupons have expired -- and the register drawer devours my cash with a malevolent snap. Gotcha!

Saving Takes Time

Herb Sorensen, head of the Oregon-based consulting firm Sorensen Associates, has spent four decades tracking the grocery business. He says that there are two approaches to pricing: Everyday low prices à la Wal-Mart, and high-low prices featuring capricious weekly specials.

"High-low is a hellish way to run a store -- it's very inefficient," Sorensen says. "But a consumer who wants to invest the time and effort can make out like a bandit by buying on the low side."

The trick is to be a sophisticate -- catch the product at its cheapest price, buy it with a coupon, and stock up. Problem is, few people have the time to track when toilet paper hits bottom (no pun intended) or spend hours snipping coupons. The solution: Two fast-growing websites that do some of the legwork for you, and another that offers low prices and free shipping.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Things you never want to hear

I was laying down, attempting not to awake from my glorious afternoon nap when I heard, "We found a baby mouse!!" The children were so excited about this new find that they just had to tell DH. There seemed to be some debate over it's vital status, DH insisted it was dead while the children felt it was merely asleep. Guess who was right? The kids!!! :( HG was so excited about this I convinced DH to go take another look at the thing so as not to crush her little hopes. It was at that point that he realised that it was alive and that it's eyes were shut, he seems to think that it is blind. They catch the little critter and wrap it in a plastic bag, thinking that it would quickly be put out of it's misery. WRONG!!! SM insisted on seeing the disgusting little critter and retrieves the bag from the trash, DH had assumed it was dead, he was wrong again. :( They finally set the thing free outside - I have no idea why, I did not wish to know anymore.

Now I know, you're thinking, "you live on a farm, of course there are mice." I get that and I have for the most part accepted that fact, but EWE!!!!! I really enjoy my current relationship with the mice, I don't see them, they don't bother me. This new development is just disturbing, if this was a baby or whatever, why is the mama just dropping it off in my pantry(or cellar room as the kids call it)? What do I look like a daycare, I've got my own kids, there is no watching any others. And no we did not take any pictures, I am just thankful I didn't actually see the thing.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Credit-card lenders lower borrowing levels, which hurts consumers' credit scores

By Rachel Beck, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Just as Americans grow more reliant on credit cards to help pay monthly bills, they're being hit with a one-two punch: Card companies are reducing borrowing limits for tens of thousands of consumers, which then can lead to lower credit scores.

Those facing this predicament might not even know it until they apply for a loan or another credit card, and then get denied because their credit score has dropped.

This is an unintended consequence of the financial world's widespread ratcheting down of risk. Banks and other card lenders are trying to better protect themselves from more massive losses like those they've seen from subprime mortgages.

As a result, they are looking for ways to reduce their exposure to cardholders more likely to default. That's why they are lowering credit limits, which means they are reducing the maximum amount of credit extended to an individual, along with boosting card interest rates and allowing fewer balance transfers.

Continued . . .


This moving thing is not working out so well at all. We went to pick up the couch and geez louise, that was a task and a half. First it takes the Uhaul place over an hour to hook up the trailer (outrageous!), then we get lost because the google directions didn't specify that Butler Rd and Rose Hill Rd are one in the same. As a result we get to God only knows where and almost got our expedition w/ Uhaul trailer stuck. Dh is absolutely not amused by dirt roads anymore. In fact if it wasn't for the awesome, AWESOME!! food at Louis Rose Hill Cafe the whole of Rose Hill would be excommunicated.

Louis Rose Hill Cafe, try it should you ever happen to be in the area the onion rings are to die for and the burgers are really good too :)

Anyway, I am glad the couch fit, but by the time it was over we had to come straight home as Dh was running late for work. I felt like crap as I promised a lady we'd come and get a (free) full size mattress :(

Well, I've put off my paper long enough, I have decided that I will not use the riding mower until after the paper is written, I'm hopeful it will work :)

What exactly do you DO with 7 head of cattle?

Well my 4yo can tell you, the 3 M's of cattle/cows: 1. Milk, 2. Money and/or 3. Meat. We will later explain the 4th M which is More. Every animal must fill one or more of these purposes to stay on our little ranch. Quinn for example is kept to produce a milk cow, she will produce meat for our freezer. He will then be sold or go to the freezer. Since we've been able to contain him, we will not be having veal anytime soon. Each child has been assigned an animal, this should help them reconcile the 3 M's. HG loves steak so we'll see if she's willing to part with her heifer, although she loves bacon and keeps asking when we're getting pigs :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

More kid pics :)

We're getting a couch and . . .

First we'll start with 2 couch pics:

Through God's grace (and some mom math) it looks like we're going to get a tractor :) Here's the one we're hoping for:

On another praise note, a neighbor (name still unknown) came and pulled the expedition out, YAY!! I love this town :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


So, we've decided that the time has come to actually move. You know all our stuff. What is it about moving that makes you look at your old stuff and think, "can't we just burn it and start over?" . . . maybe that's just me. I hate moving, there was a time when people would have thought otherwise but it's true I hate it. We've lived in that mobile home for over 3 years and that's the longest either of us has been in a single place since we've left our parents house. It's amazing how much junk one can collect in that time frame. For example we have a room with almost nothing but clothes that we don't use. The clothes we used to use are still in baskets in the living room. I said used to, it was not a misprint. We have been in the new house for a month and have not used those clothes, I'm thinking we not even need them. One would think, cool, garage sale, but I'm not that coordinated nor am I patient or domestic enough to go through all of them and wash, fold, bag . . . way too much work. It is SO much easier to toss it all and start over. Believe me there will be no before and after pics of that disaster. I am hoping to be more organized in this new house, there is so much more space and closets and shelves. We have been camping out for the last month and it's time to get serious and make this a home. I bought bunk beds for the kids:

Now they can sleep in their own rooms, YAY!! :) Since we will have a uhaul trailer for the beds, we'll pick up some of our stuff (that we still like) from the mobile home :)

God is so good, we found my old keys, that had been lost for about a year. Of course it took DH breaking a window to get in the Mobile home, so we could get in to do it but whatever. Those keys included a key to our mailbox which had 4 checks waiting to be cashed :) YAY!! Well I should get back to work. We're still going through pics from my sister's visit so there will be more soon :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things are moving along

Well DH finished up the electric fence project today and let the cows out to graze the training area. They have touched the wire a few times and have decided to leave it alone. The calves will be a little more of a challange as we did not run a continuous loop to the bottom wire. Now that I think about it, I think I figured out how to solve that little issue.

I have planted the onion seeds and some green manure. More seeds to come tomorrow :) I will till more ground then. Pics coming soon :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Still stuck

Today was definately harvest time around these part, whooo, there were a ton of combines and grain trucks, you name it they were out in full force. That said, we decided to hold off on calling our neighbor to try to get the expedition out. I drove over with the suburban and once more almost got it stuck. :( Dh was able to push it out of the mud and that's the only reason I don't have 2 vehicles encroaching on my neighbors property and stuck in the mud. :( On the upside my sis and her hubby came to visit this weekend and so there will be plenty of pics soon :) DH still hasn't made it to the store to have the others developed :(

A quick praise since I forgot to mention it, DH's traffic court situation was dismissed without any fines, YAY!!! Quinn is eating, though he seems a bit lonely. Keanu is also eating range cubes, though she seems polled?? I will have to keep an eye on that.

Anyway, we put up the rebar posts for the electric fence area today and will run the wire and hook up the charger tomorrow. We opted to do a smallish section to start them off. It is also a nicely overgrown section that leaves them close to the barn. The lawnmower is being extremely tempermental :( It works for a bit and then it dies, and our lawn mower repair man is out of town.

The first mortgage payment is due on July 1 and so the crunch begins. So much to do, so little time, and lots of penny pinching to get it done. See ya soon. ;)

Friday, June 20, 2008

What a day!!!

I was so excited that I was going to be able to finally sleep in this morning. Skip to this morning when I here AR screaming for me since there was a strange man at our door. I got dressed as quickly as humanly possible, only to find he'd come to tell me that the cows were on the side of the road. Nope not Quinn, but Lot and Keegan. They were casually grazing the side of the road . I raced over in the Suburban and honked the horn at my wayward bulls. Lot immediately ran back into the pasture, slipping through the fence like it were butter :( Keegan took a little more convincing but went back all the same. My kind neighbor happens to have a few cows himself and conveniently had a bull whip with him. I thanked him and raced back to the house to scoop up the children.

DH was in traffic court, thanks in part to my forgetfulness about what month the registration was due :( I went to the Co-op and picked up some range cubes since we were out. I also picked up a mile of electric fence wire and a charger. Guess what we're doing tomorrow :)

I rush home and drive out to see where the cows are only to find that Christmas has escaped this time and is grazing the area between my property and the neighbor's wheat field. I drove in closer hoping to shoo her back into the fence, turns out she is unfazed by vehicles, even those honking wildly at her. I was stunned at first and then I realised that she had good reason, I was now stuck and could not get to her. :( I will need to call my wonderful neighbor to pull me out once more. :(

We were finally able to get Christmas back in but the day continued to be lousy. Work was icky - I'll have to go in this weekend :( Well hopefully tomorrow will be better. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quinn or Houdini

Dh went into the barn this afternoon only to find that Quinn had escaped his tie. But not in the way one might think. The rope didn't come loose, the halter didn't slip off, the metal ring was not broken and the lead rope clasp was still intact and functional. From the looks of it, only something/someone with opposable thumbs could have set him free. Since we keep a tight reign on the children we knew they hadn't done it and we don't usually get strangers hanging around the barn. This is a mystery but not as big a mystery as where did he go? We searched the entire pasture, corrals, riding arena and even the roadside. Nothing. This is not the first time we have had this happen so I decided that it was time to build the pen as I has gotten all the pieces at a steal of a deal, $25 :) three-quarter way through the building of the pen, Dh went into the barn and there he was once more. It was almost miraculous, but he'd done this before. We finished up and decided to go get him in since it was almost completely dark.

DH has been telling me for a while that he has been able to just walk up to Quinn and I had seen him do it while Quinn was tied but tonight I witnessed a completely different animal. DH walked up to him while he was free and he didn't even flinch. He still had his halter on so Dh merely held the halter while I attached the new lead rope. In hind sight it was not a good idea to attach it to the top of the halter instead of the ring but that's that whole 20/20 thing, whatever. Anyway, to say the least he slipped out of the halter as we tried to move him, :( Dh once again walked up to this wonderful, confident creature and without much fuss slipped the roping rope around his neck. He attempted to make a run for it, slightly, then calmed down. Halter back on, lead rope securely on the ring we began to walk him, unwillingly to the new pen.

The location of the pen was chosen because of the tie off structure that was erected by the previous owners for their horses. Anyway, we got him in and for the first time in a long time, he ate. YAY!! Dh had told me that he'd seen him eating the calf mana :) We put it in what looks like a beautiful wooden dog food bowl and filled up some water in an old bucket from the garage. Quinn is SM's calf and was thrilled to have him away from the others. He calls him "Bud" :) Maybe that'll be his new name, either that or Houdini :)

3rd times the charm :)

How negligent of me, I completely forgot to mention the most important news of yesterday. After being stood up twice, by 2 different priests, we were finally able to get our home and ranch BLESSED!!!! YAY!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to Fr. Drew the new Senior Pastor, overseeing 2 churches. He opted out of taking a spin on the riding lawn mower while doing a blessing on the pasture but we still love him anyway :)

I also forgot to mention that I am slowly reclaiming the yard. I discovered that the riding lawn mower has headlights :) This means I can mow in the dark :)

The farmer that leases the land around us wants to deepen a natural run off on our property so that the land around us can drain into the ditch. I think we may need to make a deal - I'm thinking maybe some quick tilling of my garden area with his large tractor :) I'll let y'all know how that turns out. DH says you'll have pics today, we'll soon find out.

On a totally non-farm related note, we watched the Bourne identity movie last night and I was very pleased with it. We have it set up through Netflix* that we will get all three over the next 2 weeks. I cannot wait for the next installment of this trilogy.

* 2-week free trial

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A good routine

Today we tied Quinn in the barn without much fuss, a hog whip is so handy on calves. He is eating the calf manna and since I was able to get some fence, that was previously used as a dog run, we will create a small pen for him close to the barn over by the chicken coop.

I was able to rope Keegan again, the first time he slipped through but the second time he ran for dear life as he did the day I got the rope burn. This time I was ready though and I had my gloves, which are extra padded. :) Those things started to smoke a bit when he pulled but DH grabbed ahold of the rope with me and we pulled him in. oh he kept trying to take us on a run but we held strong. Finally DH held him close and I was able to fix his halter. We put the leash on and led him to the barn where he was tied not too far from Quinn.

Note to self, pick up a bull whip. Keegan seemed rather unfazed by the hog whip. On the upside Quinn has become more comfortable with DH and I and doesn't run when we walk up to him. He like being petted. Keanu seems to like him too and shared some calf manna with him, but she could just be using him for the food, lol. Women!! heehee :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The joys of mowing the lawn

I can't begin to explain the joy I feel when I mow the lawn. Of course to be fair i've only done it once (today) since we've been here. Irrelevant.

The lawn mower repair man called me to say that he'd be dropping off the mower, YAY!! I'm told, by DH, that he said he hasn't had time to figure up the bill but next time we're in town and his garage door is open stop by and we'll settle up, lol. You've got to love a small town.

Back to my mowing. Dh showed me how to work the thing as I have never used one before and I mowed most of the front yard, though I did need to leave to get gas. I'm not sure how many times we'll have to fill it's little tank to get the whole yard done but it's so worth it. I love this little mower and I'm glad we had it fixed instead of buying another one.

AR desperately wants to mow again since DH allowed him to do it earlier, but I get so much joy and peace from the mowing it's like my own time with God and my thoughts. Though they tend to be interrupted by little nagging voices. Oh well, the moments that I have are well worth it :)

Bad Medicine: AMA Seeks To Outlaw Home Births | Reproductive Health |

In an unmistakably insecure and aggressive move, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution at its annual meeting last weekend to introduce legislation outlawing home birth - according to The Big Push for Midwives.

What the AMA's resolution and these other kinds of potential and actual legislation do is to open the door to penalizing motherhood, in effect. Because most of these legislative attempts do not directly address the issue, they leave the door dangerously open to criminalizing women for making the decisions they feel are best for themselves, their babies and their families.

Read the rest Here: Bad Medicine: AMA Seeks To Outlaw Home Births | Reproductive Health |

Posted using ShareThis.

Here is the entire AMA position paper and resolution in document form, scroll down the page resolution 205.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Frogs, cows and progress . . .

Well, I awoke this morning to find that there was frog in the bedroom. I recognised the little bugger as one that had been around the yard. Of course it could also just be one that looked like him but whatever. The point is I did not freak out and that's important.

I came home to find that AR had caught two frogs, of which he had been carrying one around in his pocket. His explanation was classic - "I didn't want to loose it." :) You'd think with all these frogs the cows would get a break from the flies but no.

DH informed me this afternoon that he had freed Quinn of his post so that he could dry off in the barn, he was also able to pet Marian while she ate some sweet feed. This is a good sign that we may get a change to milk her soon. We'll need to work on an enclosed area for her in the barn as our "big baby", Lot, barged in and pushed her out of the way while he made a pig of himself with the sweet feed. It's a good thing he's so big because I watched her flip Quinn over with her horns, OUCH!!

Well, It's wet again today so we'll have to wait until things are dry to go see what wood we have available and what we'll need to buy to make a proper milking stall. On the car front, they have sent me home with a rental as they discovered that they do not have all the parts in stock :( On the upside the 2008 model of the Focus is sweet!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

When things aren't going your way . . .

Have you ever noticed in a movie that when things are going wrong, the weather seems to mirror the gloom. That seems to be the story today, my kitchen sink is stopped up yet again and the dishwasher is now backing up into it :( The weather outside is quite dismal at the moment, which seems quite appropriate.

I am concerned about Quinn though as he is tied outside and I cannot move him into the barn with the others by myself. He is not what you'd call a willing participant :( The last time we moved him he hunkered down on all fours like he was a sled or something and we had to drag him the whole way.

You can lead a horse (calf) to water . . .

Quinn the cross has been roped, twice actually. We roped him the first time and then he slipped out of the halter :( I even had him all nice and tied up on the fence to try feeding him once more. Fortunately at this point we were in the 1st corral, which is fully enclosed and that left him with no place to go. That did not mean he'd go without a fight mind you. Dh roped him the second time as he tried to run through the feed trough. I slipped on the choker collar, though it is not on as it is supposed to be - his head was too big. I also put back on the halter to get him used to wearing it.

We tried to bottle feed him but he wouldn't suck on the bottle. I put the "formula" in a bucket, a pile of calf manna and some hay and we left him tied close to the tree for shade. I am hoping that he will come around soon as he needs to get some nutrients. Anymore trouble from him and DH says he'll be veal. 8(

Things you learn: Take 2

If you're going to rope a calf then make certain you're wearing your gloves. OOOWWWW!!! I have a rope burn on my hand from roping Keegan. I yelled for AR to get my gloves, then had DH come (with his gloves) hold the rope so I could slip on Keegan's halter. Well the halter's finally on - though it seems a little big, but I guess he'll grow into it :) Now to get the ear tags (or earrings as HG calls it :))

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Corrals are done.

Last night I managed to get Marian in with Keanu and Quinn. They were hold up in the 1st corral though I know I would need to let them out for more grazing ground soon.

Today was a big biking day around town, the kids had a blast saying hi to all the people as they rode by. Dh and I began working on the fences on the third corral to contain Quinn from getting out into the pasture and arena areas. I am happy to sat that those areas are now completed.

A trip to the farm supply store revealed that we are able to get farm tax benefit just by letting the cashier know :) We bought some Calf manna to try to help Quinn especially since he is so resistant to milk replacer. :(

The children had a change to fully experience summer by playing with the sprinkler (also known as playing in the mud :)) They'd played in the mud last week but didn't have the sprinkler then so they were really excited. Baby and I sat under a shady tree and watched the fun.

I am still waiting for DH to bring home the pictures for the other day, I promise they are coming . . . soon :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday 13th

I woke up this morning and had a great hair and skin day. Then I grabbed the pair of pants I bought at wallyworld and realised that they were a petite, instead of getting all frowny faced I decided to try them on. They fit!!! YAY!!! I was on top of the world at that point. Work went surprisingly great also and then there was the trip to the dealership and by the time I got home, it was a great all around day.

I'd try and feed the calf and see if my luck holds up but I think that may be pushing it a bit. I will leave him some milk again and see if he'll try it, tomorrow we will rope him again and then try force feeding the bottle. :( Well I'm off to enjoy the rest of my glorious day :)

They're paying to put the A/C in :)

Well it took a little over an hour but we finally agreed for them to install an a/c in the Focus :) Did we get a good deal? Possibly, but it doesn't matter at this point as we are satisfied. The GM even bought us all lunch from their deli :) The kids also had a blast in their bounce house. A good end to a great day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The deal is not quite done :(

Imagine our surprise to realise that the 2005 Ford Focus does not have air conditioning as a standard feature. Well, that was not going to fly, that's a huge omission in my book. My sis (the finance person who helped give them a hard time - thanks sis :)), had found a 2007 Ford Focus that they were advertising on for a little more than the 2005. I called and let the agent (guy who left early well before the deal was done) know that I would gladly be taking the 2007 instead :) His boss (guy who did most of the work to get the deal through) was out today and is a manager so he (boss) called and asked if I could do it tomorrow when he was back. We went back and forth for a bit but finally agreed. On a complete side note DH did receive his Ford hat with Les Eck and the GM (wacky guy from the commercials)signatures. While Mel Hambelton Ford takes a good game I can say that Rusty Eck Ford is true to their word, they will do whatever it takes to make the deal. Now, they have very different tactics and frankly Rusty's stereotypical used car salesman routine is a bit annoying. Most people don't want that level of hassle. So here are my suggestions:
1. Sign nothing.
2. Make them an offer and then let them counter
3. Reject the counter
4. Prepare to leave
5. Steps 2,3 and 4 can be recurring
6. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, walk out and sleep on it.
7. As my sis reminds me: No matter how good the deal is, it'll be there tomorrow.
8. Don't take delivery until you are certain of all the details and fine print.
Number 8 is very important as there is no "cooling off period" in Kansas :( Anyway, I will let you know how it all turns out tomorrow :) I have pics too. Stay tuned.

A deal is done

Well, I must say that the process of buying a vehicle is absolutely horrible. While I recommed going to a dealership that is motivated to sell, it still leaves something to be desired. The sales people were all nice enough, agressive, but nice all the same. Understandably though as we were buying not 1 but 2 vehicles. This was a big deal only because the internet department hadn't made a single other sale for the day. Well 6.5 hours later we had reached a deal and there is only a few loose ends that will be tied up tomorrow. We even got 2 i-pod shuffles and a tank a gas a month for the next six months for each vehicle. Car 1 - 2005 Ford Focus, Car 2 - 2000 Ford Expedition w/ 3rd row seating and all the frills one could ever want. Did you know that cars now have options for the pedals, wow. Well, the tip from todays trip is: NEVER accept the first offer, the second or the thrid for that matter, always hold out until you get to where you're comfortable.

Now off to prepare to sell the mobile home so I can pay for the new cars, wish us luck. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Neighbor Service

And I'm not talking about Statefarm!! I called another mechanic listed on the town website and found a part-time mechanic, fulltime farmer on the other end. I explained what was happening and while he didn't have time to fix my suburban, he did offer come pull the minivan out. YAY!!! Of course when he said that he'd be by "sometime today", I was a bit skeptical. Well less than an hour later imagine my surprise and renewed faith in mankind when a big John Dere tractor appeared on my driveway :) I walked him out to the pasture and he told me that he'd had to do the same for the previous owners. Well we start the car and discover that . . . it's out of gas :( Our wonderful neighbor then brought us back some gas, and the engine then started. Oh to hear the sweet sound of an engine starting. So my plan is to get the car seats from the suburban, clean the minivan as much as humanly possible and then trade it in. Will let you know how that goes. IN the mean time, thank God for good neighbors!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stuck, again!!

Well imagine my surprise this afternoon when DH calls to let me know that the "new" suburban will not start and we're once again without a vehicle. You could imagine my concern realising that I am 60 miles from home and it was only through the kindness of a stranger that DH and the children were able to get home from town. I called the local mechanic and he said that he'd have someone come and get the key and then get the suburban over to the shop 2 blocks away. It's 10:20pm, I'm still waiting. :( Thankfully I was able to get a ride home from Mary and her hubby who live in Argonia, 26 miles away. When I got home Dh announced, oh by the way, the vacuum is broken and the sink is clogged. To this I added, oh that's ok, AT&T has been charging us for every call to and from our cell phones @ $0.45 per minute, to the tune of more than $200. They're so cancelled!!! We decided that this must be God's way of giving us time to get our fence work done, so we got right to it. We secured the 3 gates and rounded up/roped a loose calf, even got a halter on her for a bit - it was too big so DH later took it off, cleaned out the feed trough and was able to let the animals back into the barn area. Tomorrow we will work on the rest of the corrals and then start on the arena and chute area. One more day in paradise, for now all "discretionary" spending has been brought to a screeching halt and a new vehicle - I said new, as in brand new - will be purchased. Ironic since we just registered the suburban and re-registered the minivan. UGH!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A woman with a plan is more dangerous than a man on a mission :)

So I have been toying with how to restrain Quinn all day, he has discovered that he needs to stay with Keegan, THANK GOD!! In fact, while he was strolling along the roadside he made sure to stick close to the fence - the wrong side of the fence but whatever. DH worked on putting up 2 pieces of the new fence and cut an additional piece. I stood looking at the corrals as I knew that the 1st could be my best option with a little work. I continued to churn it around and then it hit me, use the cut piece of fence and trap them all in the 1st corral. I lured them into the corral with the range cubes (cookies if you're talking to Keegan :)) Then shut the gate while I worked on the other gate that needed the reinforcement. It was at that point that I realised that I had a gaping hole under the gate that Quinn would through. Well I was stumped but for a minute and there was a plan, the plan was to block the hole by any means necessary. I put out the two watering cans, the wooden pallet and the wheel barrow and that should be enough to hold him and them til we get the fence up all the way around. As long as I keep giving cookies, the others will be ok, I hope. :)

Things you learn

The most important thing I learnt today: Make dead certain that you're in park BEFORE exiting the vehicle. I got out to dump a bag of trash and imagine my surprise to see the suburban rolling back. My heart was racing as I immediately turned around and reached for the gear shifter thingy (technical term :)) Once I got it in park it stopped and rocked a little. phew, could you imagine the look on DH's face if I had to call and tell him that we were out yet another vehicle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quinn the Cross

I went to give the cows their cubes this morning and found that I was 1 short, Quinn was missing. Everyone of them had the "don't ask me, I didn't see nothing" look, I was infuriated. I was sure that Christmas in July was behind this and let her know in no uncertain terms that I would find out. Anyway, I got DH up and we started to look for him, then I heard a truck honk on I realised that he was walking alongside of the highway. We jumped into the van and began to chase him back into the yard. That was a nightmare by itself as he was scared out of his mind and would run back and then forward for no apparent reason. Finally we got him back into the yard but now we had to get him back into the corral. Yet another nightmare. For 5 hours we chased this calf and he would go in and then escape once again. Turns out that he was escaping through the pipe corral fence. I watched the calf push himself through the fence and then, what looked like pole vaulting, the rest of his body through. At that point we knew we couldn't continue because we had no way to hold him. Keegan went out and was able to get him to stay and then we spooked him for a bit, this is the point at which the minivan got stuck and I had to leave for work. While there I called Tractor Supply, 5 mins from my job and found out that they were closing in 10 minutes. I rushed out of work and picked up the field fencing, ties, cutters, lead rope, halter w/lead rope and lasso. i rushed home but it was time for DH to go to work. I went out to give them their evening cubes and noticed that Quinn was in the corral. AR and I went to try to rope him and keep him in the barn as a severe thunderstorm was approaching. We were not able to get him as he ran into the larger part of the barn with the others and it was dark. I was relieved to see that Christmas in July was not letting him out into the storm. At that point I realised that the storm was upon us and AR and I were trapped in the barn while the littles were in the house :( The winds were up to 80mph and the rain was really coming down, the visibility was low and the lightning and thunder were so scary. AR and I started praying and then we made a mad dash to the house, AR ran and jumped over the fence, while I ran to the fence and had to try to get out and then found that the wind had blown the gate open, so I had to stop and close it. Then I ran to the house and was totally soaked. I guess it's all part of farm life, but that was really scary. I.m praying that that's just a small/minuscule part :)

1 cow, 2 cows, to Tulsa and back

Having arrived home from Missouri (a state that we will never visit again if we have a say) at 5 am Saturday morning, we were up bright an early at 10 to go pick up the bull calf I bought. The trip was fairly uneventful, though it is worthy of note that Oklahoma has the worst roads of any state we've been to and I can't believe they charge a toll to drive on them. Also, pulling a trailer in a suburban in to strong head winds is killer on your gas mileage, we went through a 1/2 tank of gas in 45 minutes, the winds were so strong. Anyway, we get there and the bull was already and waiting, his brother was not pleased at this development, neither were a few others of the little herd. He is friendly enough so we were ok, as we were looking at some of the others I saw the cutest little bull calf, a Jersey/Dexter cross. She mentioned that he was for sale and so i asked how much, the price was half of the other. I said sold. He looks like a jersey I figured, Jerseys and Dexters both have quality milk with high butter fat, so if I cross him with a good milk producing cow, I should get a even higher producing cow that will be my family milk cow. Then he goes for meat. Any way, I figured that since Dexters are known to be good mothers and can nurse more than one calf that I would have one of my cows adopt him. Sounded good in theory. I get the calves home and the others are not pleased with the new additions. Fortunately for Keegan he was able to get in and they don't mind him, Quinn (the cross) was not as fortunate. Christmas in July, took particular exception to his presence and would not let him in the barn, nor would she let him try to nurse Marian, our other cow. It was a mess, I figured that they would all figure themselves out soon as they did with Keegan and would check back in the morning.

Getting out of Missouri

In my last installment we looked at the wonder of God and how He protected us. This installment is about the strange sense of humor He seems to have. We spoke to the people at AAMCO and they said that they were unable to duplicate the leak and that the car drove for them up onto their ramps. They said that they couldn't say weather the car would make it 1 mile of 500. Well we liked those odds so we promptly paid for the towing and diagnostic service and took it over to Heather, our new friend who sold us the Suburban. She gives it the once over and pretty much says the same thing as AAMCO. As we load up and are ready to leave, the suburban wouldn't start. Can you belive it, right infront of her house. Well she pops the hood and tries to jiggle a few thing and nothing. She gets under the suburban and then says that we need to take it out so that she can have O'Rileys test it. Well hours later we discover that the starter is fine, it is the connector that is corroded that needs to be replaced. (oh, let's give props where they are due, DH was the one who got the starter out, a great achievement for an otherwise mechanically challanged person :)) Anyway, so DH with the instruction of heather puts in the new cable and after hours of waiting we're back on our journey, YAY!! I was hesistant to stop the suburban at this point so I left it running even when we pumped gas, that is until we got to Wichita and I stupidly turned it off. It was dead once again. :( Luckily, Walmart is open 24 hours, DH had done this a few hours before at Heathers and if all else fails we were finally close to home. DH was able to get it back up and running and it hasn't died since. WOOHOO!!!

Van got stuck

So lets talk about today a little bit. DW wife woke me up to tell me she couldn't find one of the cows, our new one the bull calf. So I go out there with her and we track it down, only to keep going around and around in circles not being able to fully trap the little bugger. Drove the van over to the pasture to try and round him up again, now the van is stuck in the mud and from what the radio said its going to rain tonight. Yes we did try and pull it out with the suburban, but that definitely didn't work, who knows what God has in store for us tomorrow. Will continue to praise him daily.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Not that I ever had a doubt . . .

There is a God!!! We made our way up to Missouri and picked up the horse trailer, a mildly uneventful trip until it was time to come back home. I was driving and I noticed that the van was not responding as it should and the check transmission light was on. That it was on was not really that new given the fact that it had been coming on, on and off for the last few weeks (we won't get into that.) Anyway, after several of dh's attempt to "fix" the problem by feeding the monster more transmission fluid, it finally had enough and gave up. i could start the van but could not get it into any gear to drive it :( Let me set the scene for you, 10:30 pm, 5 kids who have been stuck in a van all day, 2 tired parents who are now very frustrated, and of course the cherry on top a dead van in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately I remembered that dh had a contact in the general area that he had grown up with in California, though he had not seen them in years, nor did we know exactly where they lived. Well we called around and get a phone number for them and wouldn't you know it, they were 15 minutes from where we broke down. As if that wasn't enough, this family of 4 drives an 8 passanger vehicle, so we were all taken to their home without any trouble. What's the odds on something like that . . . I mean really.

Tired and frustrated, not sure what the plan is, we crash hoping to get some answers today. DH was up bright an early making phone calls to everyone and anyone that works on transmissions. Knowing that we needed to get around I began looking for a vehicle, and was blessed to find a GMC Suburban at a very reasonable price. I was then blessed to be able to borrow the money and have it sent via moneygram. We are no longer completely stranded. YAY!! We do however still need to figure something out for the other vehicle. I got a call from the shop saying that they were able to get it to run and infact not only did they drive it but they had no leaks. They still recommend that we have the transmission rebuilt (2K) but, I think that we will be taking the old girl to CARMAX in the morning and taking whatever we can get for her.

All in all we are safe and sound and have been able to marvel at God's blessings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The herd plan

I sat filling out Cattle registration when I realised that ALL of the cows are related, 1 aunt and 3 sisters (1 mother is a sister to her calf - ewe!). My bull is new blood but I have decided to do a major blood line flush. I am getting a second bull (calf - 8 months), we pick him up on Saturday :)

On another note, I discovered that vets no longer make house calls unless you have a large herd :( So we decided to bite the bullet and buy an old (rusty) livestock trailer.

The humbling power of a lightning storm

When you live in the city lightning storms are scary but manageable. When you live in the country, you soon realise that you're an open target. The winds blow round and round, the sky is dark except for the bright flashes of light. Beautiful, mystifying, terrifying and humbling to witness God's awesome power. Then you remember that the kids locked the room to the cellar and there's no key :( That's at the top of dh's list for tomorrow sleep or no sleep.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Round 2 of the fencing game :(

I was up late posting and surfing, so I woke up late to say the least. Imagine my surprise when I go to do the morning range cubes and I'm 1 bull short, not cool. I look down the way and realise that my bull is in the wheat field behind us :( I was very thankful the girls opted not to join him as he beckoned. They gave him the, "dead bull walking look" and made their way to the barn for their cubes. Well, I ran back too the house and woke up dh to get is help. He got into the minivan and drove down to the fence line. As he was doing that I was able to get senor bull's attention. It took everything not to run away as he came running to me. He loves those range cubes :) I let him in and all was well. We then found the area he escaped through and began securing like crazy, every spot that even looked a little week was strengthened. We're praying this is the final chapter of the fence adventure, though I expect we will have to invest in a string of electric fence to train the bull and calves.

So I forgot to give some more

Ok so back to the sale barn, imagine my amusement when the auctioneer announces that he has a statue of, "a colored boy supposed to be holding a fishing pole." I just about died laughing. It is nice to see that people don't get all PC just because a black (that's right I prefer black instead of African-American) chic moves to town. Folks come up to us and talk, even to the kids like normal. They are helpful and friendly. The younger auctioneer came by and oooed and aaaaad at IL, told her she should have been there earlier when his little one was there. Some random stranger, Steve, came and introdued himself, although I am not sure who he is. Our insurance girl was really excited to finally meet me, we've talked for so long, I was thrilled to have a face to put with the name. All in all, they are just regular folks not caught up with the trapping of our PC culture.

Heck, the guy at the coop has supplied us with 2 free watering troughs, even though I offered to pay :) It's also nice to find a town not overly concerned by a person with tatoos :)