Saturday, July 31, 2010

Visitor in the night....


So I heard the dogs barking a lot early this morning.  Yes, even above the noise of the fan on high I could still hear them.  But I didn't bother to get up and see what the fuss was all about.  You see, two of our 6 pack are guard dogs for the goats.  They actually live with the goats 24/7, so I think that allows me to classify them as livestock, don't you think?  Because it sounds a little better to say that we only have 4 dogs, doesn't it?  The fact that they eat dog food throws my plan off a little bit though.  But on the other hand I have caught them chowing down on the alfalfa pellets and mineral, so maybe it could go either way. 

Anyhow, these two brothers are big pyrenees X anatolian X akbash.  And boy I wouldn't want to be a predator in their path.   But like all guard dogs, they bark a lot at night.  But when the 2 in the back yard and the loose mutt join in on the barking, with a lot of enthusiasm, then something big is usually up. 

So I sprung drug myself out of bed to see what all the fuss was really about.  And quickly saw that there was pretty good reason to be fussing. 

 For standing not 10 feet from our sliding glass door, and actually only a few feet away from the side of the house was this beauty:












I snuck around the front and snapped two pics. and then called the mutt off, and watched him bound away for his life.
See how he is staring?  He is looking at the mutt who is guarding his most likely escape route, for on the other side he is surrounded by the 2 yard dogs and the 2 guard dogs.  His options were poor and he knew it.  You just never know what excitement you are going to have around this place anymore.

You can just make out the bottle calf in the background grazing.  Guess she wasn't very impressed with our little buck friend.

We are surrounded by vast amounts of antelope and everybody thinks of them as pests, but we don't often get deer up this close to the house.  Well, this one would have probably come in if the door had been open, because he had prints just a foot away.  Boy that would have been an all new nightmare.  Good thing I am not one to trust leaving windows open at night, well and also the fact that we no longer have a screen on the screen door for the sliding glass door after the bad hail storm last summer.

Oh, and we got 9/10ths an inch of rain last night!!!

How great is that. 

So we got the shed cleaned out just in time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

How you can tell your husband loves you....

So how can I tell Rancher Husband loves me?

Oh..... let me list some of the ways.....

He is ultra quiet in the morning when he gets up so that I can sleep a bit longer after having been up more times than I care to count with Lil Squirt in the night.  Have I mentioned Squirt doesn't like to sleep?

He doesn't complain about the fan in our room on HIGH that encourages Squirt to sleep through the little night sounds that might otherwise disrupt a good 2 hour stretch of his my precious sleep.

He never, ever fusses about the food that I put on the table .... ok.... counter.... Ok.... stove.
He eats it all and is SO NOT picky.  Gotta love that!

He works so hard for our family.

He takes his shoes off in the boot room every time. 

He tries his best to arrange his plans to accomodate dr. appointments for the kids and I, so that he can go with me.  Over the years, we are talking a lot of days that he has done this!.  Like when I was pregnant last year it was 2-3 each week.  And remember we don't live in town, so the trip is an hour one way.

If he comes home for lunch and Squirt is taking a nap, he whispers.

And the most recent reason that prompted this whole post:

He helps me clean out my goat shed!
On a 95 degree day.
Without a complaint.
And it takes a day and a half total. 
Because we have to undo one fence at a time
and clean out one side at a time
and open one big door at a time
and move goats around here and there in the meantime
He drove the skid loader slow as to not run the goats through the fence
He shoveled and sweat dripped off of his nose.
I shoveled also and sweat dripped off of more places than my nose.
My heartrate was probably at least twice his.
We had some good bonding time together.
The big kids helped entertain Lil Squirt.
He dug water diversion ditches
and asked where I wanted dirt dumped
He disagreed sometimes and raised an eyebrow others
but let me do things the way I wanted
he said I was in charge
since they were my goats.
the shed looks great
the goats are happy campers

And after we got in the house and were showered
I gave him a hug and told him I am glad I didn't have to work that hard every day

All thanks to my husband!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What do you say?

What do you say when somebody asks you how you are doing?
Do you tell them how it really is?
 Do you divulge a little, but sugar coat it?
Or do you just give the all too expected response, "I am doing fine, how about you?"

I am normally guilty of the 3rd response. 

Which is the right response... I just don't know.

Do people really want to know?  REALLY!? 

I think a lot of time it is just a greeting. How many times do you get asked how you are doing, but the person keeps walking before getting the answer. It is a statement, like saying Hello.

For years I have struggled with knowing where to draw the line in regards of divulging information about myself when others ask.

It sounds pretty cut and dry when I write it down.  And maybe it is for some, but it never has been for me.

You see... I want to be that positive person that doesn't dwell on negativity.  I try to be that person... maybe too hard sometimes.  I don't know.

You know if I ask a friend or relative how they are doing, I really want to know.  I am not just asking to make conversation and fill the air.  I care and I want to know the real answer.  Sometimes I have asked that question to somebody I didn't know all that well and have been surprised at how forthcoming they were with the answer.  But I am always happy to listen and hash things out with them.  I always walk away thinking wow, they really opened up to me.  Why can't we all put down our front and open up like that to others?

So......... that would make me think that family and friends would want the same from me.

So when you are sick with a cold or something and somebody asks how you are feeling, it isn't much of a deal to tell them about the crummy week you had and how you were in bed a few days or what not.
But, what if you had been pregnant 4 times and during those 36 or so months of pregnancy every time you were asked how you were feeling your answer was, " feeling terrible, the medicine barely makes a dent in my all day throwing up and nausea, I have contractions every time I move, I have been sleeping on the couch for months because my bed is so uncomfortable, I can't count the times I have to get up through the night, my house looks like a disaster zone and I won't tell you the last time I cooked a good meal". Boy the looks I would get if I gave that response! So I don't. That just seems so negative, doesn't it!.

But what if you don't feel good a lot?  How would it sound if every week you showed up to church and your response every single week to all of the "how are you's" was "still don't feel very good... bla, bla, bla..."  I think over time people would avoid asking you, or even worse avoid you totally. 
 
My husband gets upset at me a bit over this very topic.  Even with family and close friends I have a hard time telling them how it really is.  I can give facts if prompted, but to go into detail about how I am really feeling is pretty rare.  It just seems so negative for me.  Like ....if you say it then it must be true.  It seems like between the pregnancies, the graves disease, the cervical pre-cancer issue, the diabetes thing, and presently the  tachycardia thing it has been more of the not feeling well during our married life then the other way around.  But you know my husband doesn't offer up any of his aches and pains either, and I always remind him of that fact.  He just doesn't see as many drs. as I do, so it doesn't seem so obvious when he doesn't offer information.

  So I feel like over the years I rarely have ever felt "good".  But I have so many blessings that I feel guilty dwelling on the negatives.  "Feeling good" is relative.  I always report that I feel "fine" and I believe that I do.  You know I may not be feeling as good as I could, but then again, who is really?  I could always be feeling worse.  And it doesn't take much of a look around to find so many that are so much worse off and that just seals the deal for me.  How can I complain when I have it so good?

I have always wondered if this is an issue others struggle with as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The case of the unexpected (and unwanted) visitor.

     A few weeks back Rancher husband, I and the three boys enjoyed a mini vacation.  A visit from my sister happened to coincide with the Superior Livestock video sale in Steamboat Springs,CO.  Husband thought it would be fun to go and watch our calves on the video sale live.  Since we have goats to milk pretty much year- round, we hardly ever go anywhere... well... pretty much never.  It just insn't very easy to find folks eager to milk your goats for you.  Can't blame them really! 

Anyhow... back to topic.  So we went to Steamboat... minus Cowgirl, who by choice stayed with Auntie and helped with chores and had a grand ol' time doing all sorts of things.  (I don't think she wanted us to come back anytime soon).  She has never liked road trips as she gets car sick.

Anyhow, when we did come home we were welcomed by a most unwanted little visitor.




Yes, you guessed right.  Mr. Porky, as the kids and Auntie lovingly named him (or her?) was just hanging out in a tree in our front yard.  The amazing part is that NONE of the dogs had gotten quills.  Yes I will repeat that... NONE of the dogs.  And mind you it wasn't too many months back that we were picking (what seemed like thousands) of quills out of 3 (yes I said 3) dogs when a door got left open and they all went tromping off to find some mischief in the woods.  That was a long night and by the time we got around to the last dog Husband and I were out of patience and I think the dog knew it was a "do or die" moment.

Anyway......
So the fact that none of the dogs had quills gave me an extra huge dose of patience for this unpleasant visitor.

But now we had to figure out just what we were going to do with Mr. Porky.

So Auntie and I discussed the options.  My response was...
shoot him or move him.

You see our house is sort of in the middle of the prairie. 
The closest trees are at least 3/4 a mile away to the NE. 
Well, that is if you don't count the very precious trees that we planted ourselves in our yard.  One of which he was in currently and would wake every few minutes to eat some more leaves and bark.  
So between the fact that there weren't any other close trees and the fact that he was surrounded by 5 dogs (yes, I did say 5... but we won't discuss that right now), Mr. Porky's chance of a successful escape and especially desire to escape before stripping all of our trees was pretty much zilch! 

It was entirely strange that he had even come for a visit.  Only thing we could figure is that he had gotten confused and lost in the recent 2 inch. rain. 

So.......
Auntie was all for moving him. 
Personally it wasn't my first thought and she knew it.
It seemed like too much work.

But you know we didn't have any other special plans for her last day visiting.
So I tried to be peaceful.
Maybe it was from remembering all the good times we had as youngsters....
"saving" all sorts of animals, wild and domestic (some that needed it and some that didn't).

Auntie did a little googling and found that porcupines are quite docile and slow.

Ok, so the supplies were gathered and after putting Lil Squirt to nap, the rest of the Crew prepared for the excitement.  Rancher Husband was even on hand.

We started out with three cameras on hand to get it all on film.  The cameras were all quickly put away though as the scene went down a little more harried then first expected.  It's too bad really, as we could have most likely won ourselves the $10,000.

First I climbed up the tree and poked him out with a piece of PVC pipe.
The idea was for him to hit the ground and then with a little help from some pieces of tin we would escort him into a large dog crate. 

Well, as soon as he hit the ground he went running (yes running) the opposite way and straight towards Rancher Husband.
Rancher Husband hit some good speeds of his own and got himself on the other side of the fence and closed the gate.
Mr. Porky found himself a nice big evergreen bush in the yard to hide behind.
So began the 15 minute game of poke the porcupine out away from the bush and then get the tin close enough to block him off from returning under his new santuary and then hopefully escort him to the waiting open cage. 
It took all of us.... but we finally got him and finally got the door closed on the cage.
We all had a good little laugh and then loaded him up on the flatbed and Auntie and the Crew found him a new home far away from this one.  Rancher Husband got a camer shot of the big release for me.

Good times with Auntie!

Please note the bubble gum wrapper stuck to his rear end.

I think we put him through a big enough ordeal that chances are pretty slim of seeing him return...
don't you think?!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fishing in the mountains....

When it gets hot we love to make a trip up into the mountains.  Living where we do, we have a lot of mountains to choose from.  But our favorite spots are each about an hour / hour and a half from our place, so it is pretty easy to swing up there on a hot afternoon, or even after church like we did on this day. 

It is always so cool and refreshing up in the mountains and of course fishing is just a huge bonus.  When the Crew was younger Rancher Husband and I would just take a nice drive and enjoy the scenery. 

But as much as we enjoy it up there, we always think it would be a harsh place to live in winter and enjoy living out on the "plains" where we do and being able to see out and get full sunshine.


Cowgirl fishing.  On the right side of the pic. you can just make out Pistol and Cowboy.

Having a tough time keeping Lil Squirt from eating all the available rocks.  See the one he has in his hand?  That is why he is grinning.  He loves to eat stuff.  Not just put things in his mouth, but actually EAT things!  He wanted to just walk in the lake also.  No fear!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Feeling blessed.


I am so Blessed!

Why?

with my husband,
with my 4 wonderful kids,
with my family,
being able to stay at home with my kids,
being able to homeschool,
living on the ranch,
having a dependable vehicle that is safe for our family,
having a warm wood stove in the winter
....... the list goes on..... but I won't.

Now that doesn't mean that life is perfect.
I don't mean that we don't have various health problems to deal with.
I don't mean my kids are perfect and always listen and respectfully obey.
I don't mean my husband and I never disagree and even... gasp... argue.
I don't mean that a few times I have thought it would be a little easier on my husband if he could keep "bankers hours"
I don't mean that sometimes I think homeschooling is HARD and ...
gasp... consider public school.... for a second at least.
I don't mean that I never consider how much easier it would be to keep house
if we didn't live on the ranch and track in mud and manure all the time.

But ...... our blessings shine through the dark clouds.
It could always be worse, couldn't it.
No matter what circumstance we have encountered.... it could always be worse for us.

Read Jonah's blog on the sidebar.
I couldn't imagine.
Puts things into perspective a little bit.
But did you notice how positive Patrice is on her blog?
I find her uplifting and inspiring.
Jonah's disease is heartbreaking...
but I enjoy reading her thoughts....
because she is blessed and she knows it.

Outlook makes all the difference, don't you think?
Each and every one of us have "issues" to deal with.
financial, medical, emotional....... 
Granted some folks have a fuller plate.

But how inspiring is it to run into somebody that is literally being drug through the mud
and all they can do is rattle off all the ways they are blessed. 
They choose to focus on the positive. 
They choose to feel blessed.
They are blessed.

Don't get me wrong.
Everybody has bad days now and then.
Maybe bad weeks and even bad months.
I know I have had my share of grumpy, frumpy moods.
My Crew would probably chime in on that one
(but we won't ask them)

I just think that some folks have a more positive outlook in life.

I want to be one of those people.
I try hard to be one of those people.
Choosing to look at the positive side of things.
Choosing to focus on the good in every situation.
Sometimes I succeed and .... sometimes not.
But I try.
I hope I do a good job.



Don't you love the snow-capped mountains.  I think this was the end of April.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Double Rainbow.

We have been getting some good rain around both ranches the past month.  It is great!  The grass is green and growing and the cattle are doing very well.  And after the rain we usually get to enjoy some very pretty rainbows.  This was a double rainbow and one of them was a full one.  You can just make out the second one in this picture. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Catch of the day....

Cowboy's big catch:


Our Cowboy had a birthday this week.  Can you believe it?  He is 9 now!!  It really is hard for me to believe.  He chose to go fishing for his birthday and roast hotdogs.  We tried... we really did... but we got rained out.  The Crew got to fish for about an hour before it started raining and then we made a mad dash to the vehicle.  We got soaked.  The rain put the fire out.  We waited hopefully for the rain to pass so we could resume our fun, but it didn't.  Rancher husband had to make a mad dash back to get our cooler and we all went home.  I hope Cowboy wasn't too dissapointed.  The Crew got a few bites, but didn't catch anything.... except for the little guy in the picture above(little crawdad or crayfish).
Cowboy thought that was a pretty cool deal that he got something on his birthday.

Cowboy is maturing a lot.  He is a huge help around the ranch and around the house also.  There really aren't many jobs that he grumbles about doing.  Of the Crew, he is usually the first to volunteer to help no matter what the job is.  He loves helping cut and stack wood, digging ditches in the rain to divert water (wether or not it is really necessary), going with Dad or Grandpa to put out salt and mineral and check water and he loves anything to do with Big Red (the 4-wheeler).  He likes to help horseback and can keep up pretty well now but he still gets tired on the big long days.  He still loves a good road trip.  He is very sensitive to others around him and is always thinking of everybody else.  He loves riding his bike and is still our go-to-man for hauling the alfalfa pellets and grain in his wagon from the shop to the milkhouse.

We love this boy soooo soooo much!  He is a joy to us all.  We are very blessed to be his parents.


Here is a pic. from a few weeks back before he got his cast off.  And before he got a haircut I see also!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pistol... never a dull moment.

Last month Pistol turned 6!!  How the years have flown by since this boy hit the floor running. 
He wakes up full force and crashes hard the end of the day.  He is ornery as they come and we are constantly on our toes in wait of the next antic. 

But don't get me wrong.  We love this boy to pieces.  Sometimes he is just hard to keep up with.  It takes a special touch to keep Pistol in tow.  He is just far too much in a hurry to go places and do things in a careful and collected way, and if things are in his way when he walks (runs) by.... well.... just hope they aren't made of glass.  Hope that when he gives you a hug you didn't already have any sore or broken ribs... because you might now.  Hope that when he slaps you a five your hand wasn't already sore, because it will be now.  Watching him with little Squirt is often like watching a toddler trying to love on a cat or a dog.... you know instead of petting it and carrying it nicely they are slapping it and choking it with love?  He has a sweet, kind heart, it is just hard to get him to slow down!

Pistol has always tried his best to keep up with his older brother (by 3 years) and older sister (by 4.5 years).  And you know he has always done an amazing job doing just that.  He used to be hot on their heals and now he out in the lead.  There is no way you can tell him he can't do things that they can, so... we never have. 

Cowboy Husband and I break our backs trying to keep things equal and fair between the 3 bigger kids.  It is hard, it is exhausing and sometimes nearly impossible, but we do it and we do our best.  We are constantly "taking turns" and keeping track of who gets to go do what on the ranch today and who's turn it is to do what next.  It works pretty well overall, but sometimes..... it nearly gets the best of us. 

Pistol has his favorites though.  So far going horseback and putting out salt/mineral (in the pickup) seem to be lower in the ranks for him then say.... fixing pipelines (with the backhoe and lots of mud of course) and checking water (in Big Red aka the red 4-wheeler).  So he might trade Cowgirl (maybe we should call her Horsegirl?!) a horseback day with Dad for an upcoming pipeline fixing day.  He is always up for helping with anything mechanical or anything that requires a little brute force from one of his (many) swiped hammers or various tools.  Each kid has their favorite activities which are constantly changing as they grow and change and are better able to keep up and help with certain things.

So 6 years old and enjoying life to it's fullest.  Never a dull moment and never a word unsaid... that is life with our Pistol.  He cracks us up and keeps us young, makes us smile and tests our max.
What a blessing to us.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lil Squirt... growing up soo fast!

This little guy is growing up so fast.
This pic. is actually from the end of May and almost two months old now.
But it came out so cute I had to post it.

He is still such a happy little Chap.  Just such a joyful addition to our family.  He is always smiling.

Little Squirt is no longer a little baby. 
He is 13 1/2 months old now.
He has been walking so long now that he is trying to master running.
AND....He has recently developed an intense interest in climbing...
climbing chairs and climbing onto the coffee table and pulling out the drawers and scaling up to the counters.
Maybe we should call him Monkey??!
Thankfully he has also figured out how to turn around and safely let himself down from all of these places
(well..... that is the idea anyhow... sometimes he succeeds and ...sometimes not)

He had gotten to the point of waking only 1-2 times most nights, but he is in the process now of teething 4 molars (yes, I did say 4)and has gone back to waking much more than that.

Pre-Molars he was eating an assortment of finger foods very well.  Honey cheerios are still his favorite.
He loves to carry around a plastic coffee cup with cheerios in it and holds it by the handle and only spills the cereal out every few seconds or so.  So we are on constant cereal pickup duty  ... well maybe I should say the big kids are on constant duty?  He even brings his cup to you for a refill also.  He hasn't had any other bad food reactions since Jan. and March and May, so that is wonderful.

He loves the Wiggles.  Did I say L.O.V.E.S. ??  Because he LOVES to DANCE!  He bends at the knees and gets his little groove on and has a real mean waist move also.  He even adds in a clap every now and then; it is as cute as it sounds. 

So when he climbs onto the table and other various off limit things what is he doing up there? 
Well...
Dancing of course!

I will let another little secret out.... we have been listening to these Wiggles songs so often lately we have all been caught humming and wiggling along to them lately.  
 But some of us probably won't admit to that freely!

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