Who’s The Idiot

IMG_4640Square bales.  Idiot cubes.   Looks like work doesn’t it.  Don’t kid yourself.   It IS work.  The first few bales you are throwing on the trailer feel light; each bale gets exponentially heavier.   Pine had a friend of his come up and bale some second cutting alfalfa into square bales for barn feeding during calving.  Square bales are much easier to deal with than big round bales while doing barn chores.

Jason was planning on showing up after his regular work hours to bale this for us.  We had talked about it the day before and all was well.  Except that there was major rain in the forecast, AND Pine had to leave to go fight fire down by our south ranch.  He left me with specific instructions:

  • “Run down to the Hansen Place and get Papa out of the tractor where he was baling hay.  Tell him you need help as you need him to drive the pickup and trailer while you are loading square bales.”

  • “When you get back home, hook the red flatbed up to the black pickup and head to the field.”

  • Oh— and this one…”You have GOT to get all these loaded and under shelter before the rain comes.”

Being the good ranch wife I am, I followed his instructions ALMOST to the T.  I did run down and get Papa out of the field to drive the pickup and flatbed.  I did hook up the red flatbed to the black pickup and headed to the field.  I did make sure all these bales were loaded and under shelter before the rain came (It never came.)  But, I improvised just a little.  I got on the cell and called Trent, my 23-year-old son.

“Trent.  This is mom.  I need help.  I have to get these square bales loaded and under cover before the rain comes.  You can pick up a case of beer on the way through Ludlow and I will pay for it.  Can you come and help me?”

“Absolutely, Mom.  I just happen to have four guys in the pickup with me right now.  We will be there in 30 minutes.”

No idiot here.  Those kids had the flatbed loaded in under 15 minutes.  Papa drove.  Jason and Tucker stacked.  The other four threw bales.  Andi and I gathered bales in to bunches to make them handier.  I think the driver stopped ONE time and that was when he was negotiating a corner.  It was awesome.  Plus, they were laughing and having a good time doing it.  One thing that makes this momma’s heart smile is watching kids work and enjoy it so much that they LAUGH while doing it.  Blessed.

The next morning Pine came to the house and said “Well, we better go get these bales unloaded and stacked.  I need them out of the shop.”

WHAT?!?  Why the heck didn’t he tell me where he wanted them the afternoon before when I had all that help.  Lucky for us, Cass had just gotten home from volleyball practice, stiff and sore, and we were sure unloading some square bales would be the best thing for her.  She threw them to the back of the trailer, and Pine and I hauled them in the barn and stacked them.  Granted— this isn’t where they will be come winter.  The majority of them have to go to a different barn.  But we couldn’t unload them there as there is a building project going to happen on that barn this month.

When it comes time to load most of them once again and haul them to the other barn, I am sure hoping Trent and his buddies can still be bought for a case of beer.

Until next time… JARW

 

The Big Question

Kids in agriculture often learn life lessons much earlier than most.  They experience the loss of calves, lambs, pets, etc., early in life and sometimes often.  On the flip side, they are blessed to see the miracle of birth way more often.  And, they learn about the birds and the bees earlier than most kids.

Tonight we had been talking about getting the rest of the bulls out of the cows as the breeding season has ended for us, and then hauling the bulls back to their home pasture to recoup and get ready for next year.  Later while tucking the Wild Child into bed, after prayers, we were visiting about our day.  She started telling me about a day in late June when we moved some pairs from one pasture to a new pasture.

“Mom.  There was this bull with a dirty butt… I think he was #4.  Anyway, he was riding all the cows.”

“That’s his job, honey.  He was breeding them so they can have calves again in the spring.  Cows can’t have babies without bulls.”

“Oh yeah.  I knew that.”  Silence…  and then, “So moms can’t have babies unless dads breed them?”

“Ok!  Time to go to sleep!  Have a good night, Sweets.”

Sometimes it is best to leave the birds and the bees talk strictly focused on animals, especially when dealing with a 5-year-old.  Yep— she caught me off guard on that one.

Until next time… JARW

Meal Time

SteaksMeal times at our place are filled with surprises.  Breakfast, lunch, and supper.  You never know what time you will eat.  You never know what you will eat.  And you never know what you will hear.  That last one might be the scariest as there are NO secrets with the Wild Child around.

We sat down to a great lunch last week of beef tips, broccoli, and baked potatoes.  Amazingly, it was not too late in the day as it was only about 2 p.m.  Often times lunch is so late in the day that it takes care of supper, as well.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t always hurt my feelings.  However, it is hard to plan when you never know what the day is going to bring.  Everyone had just filled their plates and were taking their first bites when the Wild Child pipes in with “Well, I’ve got new underwear on today.”   Where the heck that came from I will never know, but it definitely took us all by surprise and try as we did not to laugh, we all failed.  You just never know what you will hear.

Meal times during haying (and calving, and spring work, and fall work, and…) vary greatly according to many variables, none of which I have any control over, i.e. the weather, the hay condition, how the cows sort, whether something is calving, how well mannered the bulls were when we were taking them away from the cows, tractor breakdowns, and the list extends to infinity.  During haying the variables include whether the hay is too dry, too wet, parts runs, breakdowns, greasing equipment, OR can we be in the tractors getting it rolled up.  Many days there is no “lunch time”.  Some days the hay is too dry by 9 a.m. and lunch is really on the table around noon.  It all depends.  The Wild Child?  Well, she eats when she is hungry and if there is not a meal she fixes herself a snack of fruit, cheese, PB&J, or whatever she chooses.  Or she heads to Granny’s house for more choices there.  She is pretty self-sufficient.  I try to always have something/anything in the fridge that can be grabbed on  the go… mainly cold roast beef, ham, fruit.  Anyone can make a roast beef sandwich, grab an apple, and head out the door.

I read the other day that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.  Yeah right!  Tell that to a crew of hungry cowboys who have been out ALL day long and get to the house at dark-thirty because they ran out of daylight.  “Sorry boys… sliced apples and some cheese for you guys tonight.”  I don’t think so.  Not at this house!  There have been way too many meals to count after 9:30 p.m., and there will be many more.  As hard as everyone works they will get to eat supper like a king, too — even if it doesn’t get put on the table until late at night.

Until next time… JARW

 

Pictures

One thing about Facebook JARW friends is that they often see pictures that the rest of you don’t see if you aren’t on Facebook.  Thus I want to share a few of my favorite recent pictures with you that I posted on Facebook.

Here is the Wild Child standing in a field of haybet barley.  This picture was in the third week of June.  The barley was cut a week ago on July 20th.
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Trailers hooked and ready to go.  One will haul horses and the other will be used to bring home some bulls that were injured. 2014-07-09 12.46.05

We love USA Beef! :)  2014-07-09 12.46.18

My raking help needed a potty break.  Doesn’t every one rake hay in a mini skirt?2014-07-10 20.22.20

Home away from home.  2014-07-10 21.09.48

Until next time— JARW

A Day in the Life

Our days and nights have been filled with haying.  I did take off one afternoon and head to our friend’s wedding, and then stayed overnight for an impromptu family reunion as eight of my nine siblings also attended.  It was awesome.  Pine got to the house at 11:30 a.m. after baling since 8 p.m. the evening before.  He headed to bed for a nap while we headed to the wedding.  He needed some sleep.  My raking duties have been taken over by Cass, our 17-yo.  I’m loving the other stuff I’m getting done— laundry, cleaning, practicing with the Wild Child.  Oh– sleep.  Yeah.  Loving that, too.

Checking Hay

The sweet clover is out of control this year.  Many people like sweet clover, and while I agree the smell is glorious, we are not so fond of it.  More about that in a later post.  We measured the Wild Child so you could get a true mental picture of how tall it really is.  She is 3 feet 9 inches.  There are patches much taller than this.IMG_4408

Bales on an alfalfa field. IMG_4412

I trimmed some branches in the yard and found these babies.  They are actually right at eye level and right outside the Wild Child’s window.  We loved watching them grow.  They “flew the nest” on Monday. IMG_4419

For the love of grass…  what an amazing year.

For The Love of Grass

Until next time… JARW

 

Random Tractor Thoughts

MultiThinkingAnyone who has spent a lot of time in a car, in a tractor, on the back of a horse, or just a lot of time alone can appreciate the fact that there are lots of random thoughts that can run through your brain.  Some of them leave you wondering “What the heck?!  Where did that come from?!”  At least for me it does.  I tried to make some mental notes and real notes over the last few nights of the craziness that goes on in my head.  Perhaps the locoweed bouquet on my table is more spot-on than I originally believed!

A little unsolicited JARW advice, if using talk-to-text on your phone to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the windrow, turn the dang radio off.  It took quite a bit of deciphering to figure out what the heck my notes meant, and I am the one who ‘wrote’ them.  There are song lyrics in the midst of a phrase, there are mumble-jumble / make no sense stuff in there too.  I assume this is the squeal of the rake wheels, or the tractor talking.  The messages are really quite laughable, and some unprintable.  Good for a morning chuckle when you are tired and everything is funny.

Just to highlight how random my brain works, here are a few of the thoughts that I left myself when I found myself ‘thinking’ something crazy.  ‘THINKING’ is a huge stretch for what I must have been doing.

  • For goodness sakes, does this guitar solo have to go on forever?!  Shut off the dang radio for a while.

  • I need to call Karen tomorrow to see if Fred happened to leave his coat at our house during branding (two months ago).

  • — side note:  I didn’t call, Karen.  Maybe she reads my posts.  If so, did he??

  • Wonder where that jet is headed?  Someplace exotic?  If I blink my lights repeatedly I wonder if anyone can see me and wonder what I’m doing.

  • Whoops— Yep!  Pine can see me.  And wonders what the heck I’m doing.  Try explaining that one to your grumpy husband in the baler.

  • You have got to be kidding me.  Turn the radio back on!  IT is NOT Christmas season.  Or at least come up with something else and quit humming “What Child is This”

  • I wonder how my “Girl of Summer” is doing?  Wonder if she would rather be in the tractor than home sleeping.  Yeah right!

  • Girl of Summer
  • Wonder how long it will take me to walk back to the other corner of the field and get the pickup?

  • I haven’t seen one snake all day.  I’m sure they are waiting for me to hike across the field in the middle of the night before they surprise me.  Damn snakes.

  • Why would you want to eat a rattlesnake?

  • Sure hope I took some meat out so I have something to put in the crockpot in the morning.

  • “Morning has broken…”  Turn the radio on, Tami!!! You need some rockin’ music.

  • So close to the end of the field!  Happy dance time?  Perhaps!

My train of thought definitely follows an uncharted track.

Until next time… JARW

What I Didn’t Know

IMG_4387When I was a senior in high school I couldn’t wait to get out of this county.  I was moving on, going to someplace bigger and better, would only see our town in my rear view mirror and on an occasional holiday.  I had big plans.  I had big aspirations.  NEVER ONCE did I ever picture myself as a ranch wife.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like ranch life.  I had grown up in ag country.  I had spent many, many hours doing ranch work.  I just didn’t think it was what my heart wanted.  Silly kid.  What the heck did that 18-year-old kid know.  Nothing I tell ya…. nothing at all.

IMG_4228Fast forward more than a few years.  The things I don’t know now are numerous.  I do know, though, that my heart LOVES being a ranch wife.  My heart LOVES how I spend the majority of my days.  I’m blessed.  However, the list of things I realized that I didn’t know as a punk kid grows on a daily basis.

Windrows

A small list of the things the young me didn’t know:

  • Who the heck would have guessed that one day I would have bags of frozen cow shit in my freezer waiting to be sent to a lab for analysis.  Not that 18-year old kid.  Heck, not the 40+-year-old mom.

  • The 18-yo would never have guessed that the older me would not even flinch at giving a newborn calf mouth-to-mouth. The young me would throw up if I heard someone throwing up, smelled it, or heaven-forbid actually see it.  I had a weak gag reflex.  The younger me threw up extensively the first time I pulled a dead calf (probably 10 years old).  Now, though… I got this.

  • I never knew that I would need an extra fridge badly, and NOT just for extra beer.  That one would be a real shocker to the 18-year-old me.  Back then I probably would have used two fridges entirely for beer!

  • I would have never believed that one day I would actually LOVE mornings and and love watching the sun rising as I was already up for the day, and not just returning home from the night before.

  • The younger me wouldn’t have imagined that the 4th of July would be spent anywhere but at the lake with a cold beer in hand, s’mores from the camp fire, and a vast circle of family and friends celebrating with me.  The more responsible me realizes I actually don’t mind haying on the 4th.  It means we were blessed beyond measure to have hay to put up!

  • The 18-year-old me wouldn’t have ever guessed that my real favorite smells are blooming Russian Olive trees, blooming alfalfa, fresh cut grass, RAIN.  The one thing we would have agreed on, though, is that a baby right out of the bathtub is one of the best smells on earth.

  • The older me is starting to notice a pattern.  Maybe the younger me spent a little too much time having fun!

  • Is there such a thing as having too much fun?!?

Happy Independence Day, JARW friends!  In closing, I have to tell you my conversation with the Wild Child this morning.IMG_4217

ME:  Good morning, Sweets!  My goodness!  You are growing like a weed!

HER:  I’m not growing like a weed, mom, but do you know who is?  Dad!  He is growing like a weed!  And I’m wondering, why did you marry a weed!

Until next time… JARW

“Weather” We Will

IMG_4213One thing about being in agriculture, you better like being the “beck and call girl” for Mother Nature.  SHE makes the rules.  SHE decides if you are going to get any sleep in the spring during calving, or “weather” she is in the mood to dump LOADS of snow on you and make every single thing exponentially more difficult.  SHE decides if you are going to brand on the day you have your crew lined up, or “weather” she needs to blow off some steam and try to blow your crew away or give them a good soaking.  SHE decides if you are going to get your fields planted, or “weather” your tractor is going to be stuck up to the axle when you tried too soon.  SHE decides if you are going to get your hay cut and baled, or “weather” she wants to blow it around or wet it down some.  Her weather makes us slaves to the weather reports, the radars, the 5-day outlooks, the 10-day outlooks, the 30-day outlooks, the “90-days from a fog” markings on your calendar, the “morning doves are sitting on the road” wife’s tails; like it or not, we are addicted to the weather reports.

IMG_4226Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE the moisture and are in no way complaining about the rain.  Let me reiterate for those that will misinterpret.  Again, we LOVE the moisture we have been blessed with and are NOT complaining about the moisture one bit.  I’m just telling ya— our schedules and plans are always up in the air depending on what Mother Nature throws at us.

WindrowsHay is now on the ground.  The swathing officially kicked off this week.  It got shut down yesterday afternoon after studying the weather.  There is a pretty good chance the rain is going to give the hay that is down a pretty good soaking.  It really hasn’t dried at all since being cut.  Three of four days ago it looked like we would be probably swathing more fields today while I was raking hay that was already down, and Pine would be getting ready to get some bales rolled up.

“Not so fast!”  countered Mother Nature.  Instead I am power washing decks to try to get them re-stained.  Cass is fertilizing lawns so the potential rain can soak it in.  Pine is going through the baler one last time.

And the Wild Child— oh, Mother Nature doesn’t bother her.  She is going about her business as usual while biding her time until the rodeo tonight.  Yep— blessed.  Kate roping

Until next time… JARW

Blessings and Hardships

FlowersThe talk over the last few days has been the crazy weather, the tornadoes, and the devastating storms in several parts of the country.  My heartfelt prayers to all those who have lost so much.  Here in our part of the world we had tornadoes and torrential rainfall.  Parts of our county received close to six inches of rain in a matter of hours.  Vehicles were washed off of the road on Highway 85 north of Belle Fourche, and one woman is still missing.  Elsewhere in the state, tornadoes did untold damage.  Lots of heartbreak.  Please keep all those involved in your thoughts and prayers.

IMG_8103Here at home, we have been blessed with amazing moisture.  We are busy trying to get haying equipment ready to go.  All the cows are out on summer grass.  IMG_8198The bulls are out trying to get their jobs done.   bullWe already have a young bull that has injured himself so had to haul an extra one out to help with the workload.  So it goes.

Then there is the mowing.  We have lots of mowing, both here at our home place, as well as the house in town and the lots in town.  My in-laws and Cass spent several of the last few days in town getting mowing done, trees trimmed, branches cleaned up, etc.  I spent those days here at home keeping our yard, my mother-in-laws yard, and all the places in between mowed and trimmed.

I have loved the cooler weather and how green everything looks.  The garden is planted and growing.  The cattle pot, after Pine spending the better part of two days cleaning on it, is shined up and ready for its next round of hauling.  The horses are slicked off and shiny.  The wild flowers are blooming like crazy and often beautifying my table.  I sure am surrounded by beauty.

The rodeo season also continues for the Wild Child.  Her second rodeo went pretty well.  She won fourth in all three of her events that day— the stick horse barrels, the goat tail untying, and the dummy roping.  ropingIMG_4062She made a haul.  Speed is loving (I’m sure) sporting a new pink halter and new bell boots.  IMG_4208She also had a blast riding Gloria, her friend’s pony.  They were two flaxen-maned beauties!  IMG_4188Today we will run to town for t-ball practice and swimming lessons.  Those two things will come to a screaming halt when we get started cutting hay.  We will enjoy them until then.

Until next time… JARW

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day weekend!  Wishing all the fathers, father-in-laws, uncles, surrogates, the “didn’t have to be” dads, the single parents who are both the mom and the dad, and all the rest of the dads out there a glorious day that is all about you!  Our lives are filled with tons of good dads.  We are blessed.  Sharing a few pictures.

Happiest Father’s Day blessings to my dad in heaven.  What a legacy you have left!  You are missed every day.

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The Wild Child and her dad getting ready for her first official barrel race on her trusty mount, Speed.  She rode hard, but it didn’t go quite as planned.  When asked what went wrong she said “Well, I was headed towards the second barrel and started looking for my mom in the stands.”  Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.  She missed second, ran on the wrong side of the barrel, but instead of turning back around and coming around the right side she just headed to third.  I would like to think she won’t make this same mistake in the future, but I am not quite that naive.  Hopefully she won’t be checking out the stands looking for her momma at her next rodeo.

IMG_3960

When her sister asked her how the rest of her rodeo went she stated “Awesome!”

“Awesome?” asked Cass.  “What happened?”

“Well– I only caught the dummy on my practice throw, not when it counted, and I walked in the goat tail untying because I forgot that I was supposed to run.”

She can only go up from there, right?

I love this picture of my brother-in-law (one of the men that the WC has branded with her “favorite uncle” title) telling the boys “good job” after they got done wrestling a calf this spring.

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Pine with two of his beautiful girls.

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Standing guard while the Wild Child wrestles a calf. IMG_7269

The WC visiting with another of her favorite men–  her uncle Ron. IMG_7912

Catching up on some ZZZZZ’s during calving this spring.IMG_8317

Listening to some last minute advice before her run in the goat tail untying. IMG_8478

Riding with her Papa, another of the amazing fathers that have blessed our lives. Nothing better.

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Kate & PapaA blessed HFD to another of my girls’ favorite uncles.  He even comes and serenades the WC in the pasture with his guitar.  When she was younger, he ALWAYS played “Mustang Salad” for her.  One of the many reasons they love him.Mustang SaladHFD, as well, to my brother-in-law.  A wonderful husband, a wonderful “didn’t have to be”, and an amazing grandpa.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 994970_10151996402083902_823700560_nKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERATo the rest of my brothers and brother-in-laws— HFD to you.  We sure love you all and are blessed you are in our lives. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_2794 DenverIMG_2992 IMG_3008Mr. Dustin– I didn’t forget you.  Thanks for being such an amazing uncle to my older kids and a wonderful friend to me. IMG_5905

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMay GOD Bless all of you fathers today and always.

Until next time… JARW