I Stole the Tractor Seat

Not the missing seat...
Not the missing seat…

I stole a tractor seat last night. It was dark and raining, I pulled in the yard and called Mike.

“Hey, where is the tractor parked?”

“What?”

“The tractor. He’s not in the shop and they aren’t answering the phone.”

“You’re there?! Are they home?”

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So I Made Pie

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked with a dear friend. Years, to be honest. In fact I think the last time we hung out I could have killed us both if it weren’t for Jane stopping us before we left the bar parking lot. Not the brightest decision I ever made, the angels were watching over us that night. It was a fun night of bad karaoke, Jack Daniels and a polka if I remember correctly. Years leading up to that had plenty of good times, shooting clays in the gravel pit, four-wheeling and so on.

A lot has changed since then, life sent us other directions which is expected. The news a few years ago that a pace maker was needed was a surprise. More recently the news of him in need of a heart transplant caught me completely off guard. It’s not news that you hear every day or if you’re lucky never in a lifetime and especially about a friend so young. I sent a message “we’ll be praying for you” and that’s what we did. What else is there to do in a situation like this?

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The Cows Came Home

It’s been just short of two weeks ago that the cows came home. It was nice to have everyone back on the farm where they belong. The girls were bred and are due late spring. They spent their time away with my uncle’s herd of Angus. They were comparable in size to this year’s calves it seemed. So as we drove by they were easy to spot from the road. I didn’t visit them nearly as much as I should have, but one Sunday we did stop in after church. They were all on the other side of the pasture when we arrived. I stood at the fence and called for Lucy. It wasn’t too long before she wandered slowly over, Wheezy followed keeping her distance. She refused to eat from my hand as she used to but I was just happy she still came when called.

While the girls were out Elvis and G.W. settled right in. They have become so tame. I’m so glad we are not going to eat G.W.. He is so friendly, he will walk up to me in the pasture to be pet. I can get the burdock off of him without any fuss. He is so sweet. Elvis is the same. I already dread the day he has to go. That’s going to be a rough one.

G.W. and Elvis
G.W. and Elvis

Elvis took G.W. under his wing and they became good buddies. This was made more apparent when the cows came back. Wheezy’s horns look to have grown 6 inches while she was away and she has learned she likes to use them. Hers have grown much more forward instead of upward as Lucy’s are. As soon as they hopped out of the trailer they began chasing the boys around trying to establish a pecking order again.

I don’t like. Not one bit! Those boys are so sweet and they just get pushed around.

Because the girls get so territorial over the big hay feeder Mike made a couple smaller feeders in the barn. I was worried that the boy’s weren’t going to get any feed. Every time they get in the barn Wheezy runs them out. They look great! And work well. I asked for 2 more once I saw them installed, then we could remove the big feeder and give them a little more room in there.

Hay Feeder
Hay Feeder

Last night Wheezy and I had a little “get to know you”. It wasn’t a full blown “come to Jesus”, I’m hoping it doesn’t get that far, because that will end one of two ways: I come out on top and she will mind from then on out or she will take that round and when I recover she will be turned into hamburger. Lucky for both of us it didn’t go that far. I’m giving both girls the benefit of the doubt that they haven’t been home for too long and are still getting readjusted.

I went into the pen with an arm full of hay for Hank (his feeder is next to the fence most easily accessed through the cow pen). I wasn’t a few feet in the gate when Wheezy lowered her head and came towards me. It wasn’t a leap or real charge, there wasn’t enough room between us for that, but it was obvious she thought she was going to establish a Queen Bee status with me. This time she got an up close view of my boot. Right between the eyes.

Dexter Angus Cross
Wheezy

She wasn’t expecting it and she backed up pretty quick, tripped on her own feet and then stood there for a minute processing what just happened. We had a bat inside the front door of the house, only because shortly after we moved in I found it marking a gopher hole in the field, brought it in and hadn’t thought to move it since. But in the last week Mike had finally moved it to the barn and it happened to be right outside the pen. I grabbed the bat, hay in hand, and told Wheezy to get out of the barn. She left, I fed Hank and went on my way.

I didn’t have to use the bat that night. I hope I never do. I don’t want to hurt any of our animals but my 115lbs up against the 700lbs of horned Wheezy, I’m going to need Jesus and a bat if she gets mad.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and my bat…” well it’s close anyway.

This morning Mike and I moved the big feeder so it’s no longer next to the outside door in hopes the boys will be able to make their way in to the other feeders on the wall. Wheezy came in and said hi. She kept her distance.

Lucy is still skittish and has kept her distance since coming home. Hopefully it won’t take too long for her to warm back up to us and Wheezy will calm down again too.

The Girls
The Girls

Dexter Cattle

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Spare Me the Change

Surprisingly, I am not a fan of change. I may change direction mid-stride and change my mind constantly but that’s different. That doesn’t alter my daily routine, it doesn’t mess with my tasks that need to be completed for the day. The change that causes me to start a whole new routine is not a welcome change, even if it’s something I am excited for. Confusing, I know.

Recently I had to go back to work (in town, work at home never ends). We were finally in a good routine after the little Miss was born, we have adjusted our schedule to her “up during the night” times and were back on track with getting the daily chores done. Then I had to go back to work…full time. This is a huge change and one that I am less than thrilled about. Don’t get me wrong, if I have to work in town I most certainly want to be were I am. The people are great, the company is great, the job is not as creative as I prefer but I still can’t complain. The only problem is that I am not at home with my children, which leads to a whole other post to come.

My “to do” lists would be miles long if I knew what I was to do in the first place. A change in routine this big of a change completely knocks me off my game. The weekends I accomplish next to nothing; in fact I don’t tend to remember what I did do. I know last weekend I worked on the never ending fence project. I’m getting there…very slowly. I moved and divided a bunch of flowers, just in time for snow! Yay! That’s about it. Laundry and rocking sick babies. A few of the important things but not comparable to what I was getting done before. The little bit of writing I have made time for is a bunch of unfinished, unpublished pieces.

I know it will take some time to get my act together but until that happens, this is a very frustrating feeling. I know I should be doing something…but what? The list I started last night is all work that needs to be completed outside and nothing that I want help with. (another problem I have.)

As mentioned previously, we are not planting our usual large vegetable garden this year. That in itself has had me lost since January. Now, mid-May aside from some flowerbed cleaning, I’m a little lost as to what to do next… Not there is ever a shortage to things to do. Even with a list I don’t know where to start for the time being.

It’s spring. A very, very, busy time of year and here I sit lost as to what I should be doing…

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Blessings in the Barn

It’s a quiet Sunday morning on the farm. Everyone is still sleeping after a late night of baptism and family. The sun is up and skies are blue and there is a wood pecker filling the trees with holes. I had the gun half way out the door to return the “hole filling” favor until I remembered it’s Sunday and the shot would wake the house. Instead I grabbed the egg basket, slipped on my house shoes and took a walk to the coop.

The girls were out pecking the ground and the “fryin’ pan special” were happily enjoying the expansion of their pen. I collected the eggs that I was too tired to get the night before and got everyone fed for the morning. I could swear I heard church hymns faintly in the distance. The little country church down the road won’t begin service for a few hours and even with a good wind I doubt the voices would carry this far. I hummed along; the wild birds were singing their praises too. It was such a lovely morning to walk the fence lines and see the beginnings of spring.

When I made it into the barn I found out where the singing was coming from. My cousin shows cows and had said to leave a radio on, loud, in the barn. “This will get the cows used to noise and help them to not be so jumpy.” She said rock over country, but I stuck with country. I don’t plan to show them, I just want them to not startle as easy. I forgot I had turned it on for them to enjoy the old country twang.

As it turns out, they are getting a Sunday morning service right there in the barn, with gospel readings, a homily and the hymns to match. Quite honestly I can’t think of a better place to hold a service. Jesus was first born in a stable. There is a certain calm during the early morning hours in the barn that is not found anywhere else. (even with the sometimes spook-easy cows and crowing rooster) The best way to start the day, no matter what side of the bed you woke up on, is in the quiet of the barn. The added country hymns were a bonus this morning.

Our barn is a far cry from anything new or fancy; the boards are in desperate need of new paint and quite a few of replacing. It still stands tall and serves it’s purpose quite well. It does more than just keep the animals sheltered, the hay dry and out of the sun, as well as the firewood. It serves as a church of sorts, a quiet place to be with God. A place to be alone and thank God for all he has given, ask for our “daily bread” and guidance to make it through whatever is to come. It is a place to go a “recharge”.

“Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power of the fish, the birds and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small.” ” Genesis 1:26

Having power over all Gods creatures is not to rule over them but to serve them. There is no offering plate passed or communion served in the barn, instead there is a bale of hay, scoop of grain and a pitch fork. By serving God’s creatures we are serving Him, we are showing thanks by tending what has been given to us and remaining humble to our responsibilities of their care. It requires no fancy clothes (in fact it’s best not to wear your Sunday best out there). There is no judgment out there, it truly is come as you are and stay as long as you need. Some days a few minutes and others a lot longer. (there is always something to clean or organize out there.)

Pitch fork

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