Well, now that Christmas is over, (or at least the first half of it), it's time for me to dump the clutch and get to some serious work. I'll be starting that by getting a space cleared out in the barn for me to deposit the feed bags, getting hay for my itty-bitty herd, and de-spidering the garage across the creek. That is today's battle plan.
After that come booder building, coop building (I have to have this stuff ready by the last week in January), fence work, barn cleaning (I want to get the tack room cleaned out so I can use it as a tack room/feed room), and whatever else pops up maintenance-wise. I'd better have the mower fixed before spring, too. :)
When I putter through town to get hay, I think might stop at Tractor Supply and see what they charge for water troughs (or maybe I ought to just build some large wooden boxes for my brooders? I'll talk to Daddy about that later...) and compare with Byran's and Smith's. I much prefer giving my business to the feed stores because they are locally owned and operated rather than being a chain, but sometimes Tractor Supply might be cheaper. (Speaking of which...I wonder when they are going to put the Ariat boots on sale again...mine are getting plumb worn out. Even marked down though they still cost upwards of $50-$60...) Anyway, if I decide to build wooden boxes, I'll get my lumber at Do-it-Best. I will also need heat lamps (Do-it-Best), water tanks (those cost pretty much the same thing at all Bryan's, Smith's, and Tractor Supply--I've already looked), chick feeders, and of course feed.) And of course, I will need chicken wire.
Also on my list of things to do it oiling my saddle (and my boots). On top of that, Snip needs to be ridden. And that's just the outside stuff. Indoors I need to transfer video files and start working on my Cow Cavalry project again. I need to take this computer in and get the promised mega-hard-drive put in...
Oh, and let's not forget the usual suspects--the dirty dishes sitting on the counter right now screaming to be washed.
I'd better get to work...see ya later!
P.S. I wonder how much of this I can get done before Mama and Katherine get down... :D They are coming down for a couple weeks--once that big ol' snowstorm passes them! Yay!
Merry Christmas!! I'll hold off on the Happy New Years wishes until a bit later. ;) This Christmas has turned out to be better than I expected.
Christmas or no Christmas, certain chores (for lack of a better word) must be taken care of. That is why 9 am found me in the Saturn heading across the creek to feed my cows. I had to holler a bit to let the three youngest cows know I was there. As soon as Prancy heard me, she started bellowing and running along the fence line. Soon, Snowflake and Strawberry arrived, tailed by little ol' crooked mouth. I really think there is nothing wrong with that calf other than her mouth is misshapen. Did you know, but cows are totally illogical? They must run the next animal off the feed piles, when, if they stayed put, they would get the same food...
I came home and fed myself; then of course, I washed the dishes. Dishes wait for no man...they must be done.
We 'did' Christmas with the family over Skype. I think Granddaddy found it somewhat amusing.
It didn't take overly long, but I think it was sufficent. Savannah got me several cross-stitch patterns--all lighthouses. I like lighthouses, do you? She also gave me a nice box (shaped like a book) that I can carry my hair-stuff and pins in when we reenact. She has one and I guess she heard me making some comment that I needed one, too. :D She also gave me a pretty ring and bracelet, as well as a little memo pad and a couple pens. (Uni-ball! My favorites!!)
I didn't get Savannah too much, but everything I did get her was practical or reenacting oriented. But you can see pictures here
Up in Indiana, Katherine got her own camera...maybe that means she'll update her photo blog
more frequently. ;D Daddy told me what they were 'getting' me. I'm supposed to take my computer in and get the biggest hard-drive that will fit put in it and have all my softwear 'migrated' onto it. Yay!! Now, I just have to do it. That's up to me.
We have a lovely lunch of salad and steak. (Rare--just the way I like it!) Granddaddy didn't have any salad, but he did have a potato and some avacado with his steak. :D
Now, I'm not sure what we are going to do with the rest of the day, but I hope we can pull out the ol' guitar and fiddle and play some of Andrew
's music. (Google+ friend.) A couple months ago he asked if anybody was interested in getting copies of some of his tunes and I said yes (along with several other folks.) Later, his brother put the songs up and I printed them off and hid them to give to Savannah for Christmas! :D
Right now, we're on Skype again with Indiana where Grandpa and Grandma are opening their presents. Grandpa looks SO much better than he did! I popped in and asked, "How you doing, Grandpa?" and he looked over at the computer and retorted, "How do I look?" You don't know how that thrills me...he's his own sassy self again! :D
This isn't a great picture...but it'll work. ;)
Seeing as we thought he was fixing to die earlier in the year, it is good to see him sitting up and opening Christmas presents at the age of 90. :)
I guess I'll go ahead and say adios for now...I need to clean the wrapping paper up in the Florida room and wash the dishes...
Merry Christmas, folks!
Merry Christmas, everybody!! I'm pleased to say that I almost feel like Christmas. We had a two day cool snap over the weekend which helped. :) It also helps that I just got all my stuff wrapped and poked under our antique Christmas tree. It looks rather measly, but I'm used to have 7 people's things under the tree instead of only three.
The above mentioned cold snap has brought on the winter feeding routine. Yesterday morning I stepped out of the house, pleased with the fact that I needed a jacket, to be greeted by the smell of burnt plant matter. (That is frost bitten kind of burnt. ;P) I already was planning on going across the creek to feed my cows, but upon seeing the state of the grass (it looked like snow), I knew I really needed to go feed them. Wednesday I will be doing my feed-store routine.
Upon my arrival at our place this morning, I was greeted eagerly by all five head (the calf was on the other side of the house). Soon they were running each other off the pellets like their normal greedy selves. Socks is roping some, but she is no where near ready to have her calf. However, I'm not concerned because we learned with old Poky (I miss that cow!), that they fool you with their roping. As far as I can tell Socks is the only one of my four cows who is pregnant.
I'm not exactly sure how we are going to do Christmas Eve (we usually do a semi-fancy dinner--but I don't know if Savannah is planning on that); nor Christams day for that matter. I think this is going to be one of the most different Christmases ever.
Here's a few pictures of us taken yesterday, before we headed off to church...
I was standing funny so the top of the tree could be seen--and it still looks like it got chopped off! :D
My BE-U-TIFUL sister...
I've had those shoes since I was 12 when Mama bought them for me at the PX in Arizona. Obviously, my feet haven't grown much!!
Savannah's lovely hat. (This is one of my favorites.)
Have a Merry, Merry, Christmas!!!
Whoa. Hold the time! It's already DECEMBER???
Where did the summer go? What happened to half the list of stuff I was going to do and just didn't get around to? (Maybe a broken collar-bone in August helped that?)
On the other hand, I have done quite a bit this past summer. So, I guess I shouldn't feel too guilty about not getting that barn cleaned out yet (though I'm going to at least see if I can get started on that before New Years.) That is going to be a massive job as the men in my family have no organization skills and not only is there Granddaddy's mess but Uncle Rod's trash on top of that. (By the way, I'm not REALLY picking on the guys--I have the some of the same problems myself.) [And to be honest...some of the mess is mine. :D]
Life wanders on...it is kind of funny; I go through spurts where I work like a horse for days on end, then I have slumps where I don't get anything but the dishes done. (That's a bit of an exaggeration.)
Ever get that panicked feeling because you are feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done? I think I may get that next week...but I'm not even going to think about it until then (and after I finish the SCV video.)
Today we are (hopefully) going to have fun...in an hour or so we will be head out of town, out of county to a Christmas Party at the Hendry House. This is the house that Captain Francis A. Hendry lived in after the War Between the States. It's a SCV thing and we will be going in period dress. I know the A's will be there (he is going to wear his uniform), and I think most of the other people from the local camp were planning on attending. I hope Tom and Dolly are there. I really like Dolly...she's a bit of a character, but very nice.
SOOO.....we'd better start getting dressed here pretty soon. I have to eat breakfast and feed the horse.
Yesterday, the 4th of July, was a great celebration. It started early for me. I woke up a bit earlier than usual and went ahead and got up. After reading my Bible I started cooking my breakfast. All of a sudden, I looked and saw cows headed toward an open gate. (I attempted to rotate cows Tuesday morning and when I couldn't get them moved--even with Savannah's help--I just opened the gates in hope that they would drift through themselves. They did late that day; but due to the hour and the fact that I had already bathed and didn't want to get all hot and sweaty again, I just decided I'd close the gates in the morning.) So, I dashed to the door of Savannah's room and asked her to keep an eye on my eggs and charged out to go shut that gate. When I got back I ate breakfast, then I fed Snip. As soon as he was finished I fought the bit into his mouth. I wasn't as patient as usual because by now I had cows drifting toward the other open gate! I literally shoved the bit between his teeth. I don't like doing it that way because it makes him even more spooky next time. (What is going on with him right now--at least the way I see it--is that he is testing me in this and several other areas. Once I finally win, he'll be fine--but until then I will have to keep fighting him. I do know I need to get his feet trimmed--he always acts up more when his feet need trimming.) I saddled him up and dashed off to shut the gate. In time :)
Next, Savannah sent me to town to grab a few last minute things--ice, water, bananas (Granddaddy was out again), and sparklers--for our treasure hunt prize. I also grabbed some red, white, and blue leis and some streamers to go on the tables. The streamers didn't get used...too much help probably :)
When I came home, I did something--ate lunch, that's what it was--and washed the dishes before taking a shower (I reeked of wet sweaty horse and was brown from him) and dressing up. Those vest tops require help to get in and out of if you don't completely remove the laces--which I do not like to do!
Savannah asked me to grill the chicken--I started it, but she finished it--I was too busy doing other things--like running my mouth and showing my horse off. Just as I turned the chicken the first time, Matt and Andre arrived. Very soon after them, the G.'s. Snip gave Mrs. G. a ride and decided she was his friend after she gave him a handful of sweet feed :) The boys went off to get lunch...then Mr. G. went to go get their chairs and lunch for them. While he was gone, the boys got back and Bev showed up with Aunt C. who sat in the house and talked to Granddaddy for a while before Bev took her home (Aunt C. had other plans.) Bev never returned because she had surprise visitors at her place. Some point in here the E.'s arrived...they too went and got themselves lunch. Then the T.'s got there. The J.'s were late, but that was fine.
We started the activities off with the Treasure hunt. Andre is good at that...and HILARIOUS (he would also tell you that he is delicious--he was getting skeeter bit when no one else was!) It didn't take very long to figure out the clues. The 'treasure' was the sparklers--JP seemed pretty excited about that. But, since everyone left before it got dark...and it was threatening rain--they didn't get used and what's more, we forgot to send them home with people!
Next we danced. We started with the Fairy Reel an extremely easy little dance. (16 to the left, 16 to the right, reel your partner right, then left; in-2-3-4, out-2-3-4, in-2-3-4, out-2-3-4; repeat from the top.) At the Scottish Ball, the kids always yell when they go into the center--I don't like that--it's too noisy. Then we did the Virginia Reel, probably my favorite. I grabbed Matt as my partner. I think he was having a lot of fun. Then we did the Gay Gordon, my second favorite. It's a mixer so you dance with everyone :) We had basically four couples most of the time. After that they were all ready to quit--they were worn out! I was thristy (after all we were dancing in the heat of the day--outside), but I could have kept right on going.
Anyway, we did our 'program' next. Savannah opened by playing Londonderry Air (aka Danny Boy) while I wrastled Snip and the lav mic over in another corner. Once I got the mic situated, I galloped (or rather loped) in, yelling "Gather round! Gather round! Our delagates in Philidelphia just signed this!" (or something akin to that). I leaped off Snip and handed him to Savannah and then shortly launched into reading the Declaration of Independence. I was out of breath when I started, but I couldn't take the time to get my breath, so I sounded rather breathless (wonder why?). I also stumbled several times. I switched up words--but I hope that wasn't noticable. I kept accidently rephraseing things. Anyway, unless you have it memorized, you probably wouldn't have noticed it. Hopefully I did a good impersonation of a post rider...(with the exception that I'm female ;} )
After that Savannah recited "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (my favorite poem). I think she did great; I don't know if I can say the same for the camera woman...
Then the music! We started by doing a handful of instrumental pieces then we had people pitch in and sing along. As far as I could tell everyone sang. I only sang the stuff I knew the words to :) We closed with the 'Star-Spangled Banner'. I only know the first verse, but I hummed through part of the remaining 4 or 5.
Post music, we danced the Broom Dance. It is SUPER easy and really fun (particularly with more people than we had). All the gents line up on one side; and all the ladies line up on the other. One gent stands in the middle at the head of the lines with the broom. Two ladies stand on either side of him. The gent passes the broom to the lady that he doesn't wish to sashay down the line (or, if he wishes to take both ladies--as Andre thought was pretty awesome--he passes the broom to the next gent in line). The lady left with the broom gets surrounded by a gent on either side and the proceedure repeats. It is totally fun :)
Dinner was next. To be honest, I don't know what all was on the table. I know that 'we' provided the meat--oven BBQ pork ribs and grilled chicken (remember, I was supposed to have taken care of that!) I ate too much and was sick to my stomach at midnight in consequence--I think part of that miserable feeling was lack of fluid too. For some reason the ribs didn't taste as good as they do when Mom makes them. They were still good, Savannah!! (Obviously, I had seconds!)
Everyone left very shortly after supper...it rather looked like rain (it did rain later), the lightening was getting closer, and the wind was picking up and we had just discovered that that huge, beautiful old antique oak (it has to be over 100 years old) is cracked right down the middle. I'm afraid I will cry when that tree blows apart. It is so beautiful. (No; I'm not a 'tree-hugger' in that sense of the word, but I do like trees and I think it's a sad when ancient trees go.)
I might as well add today. It was one of those abnormal days that make up normal life.
I mowed the grass over at our place today--nothing weird in that, right? No...but maybe everything else :) I went over this morning to put the Kubota on the charger...I came home and was working on this blog post when Butch called. Minutes later he arrived. We ended up going out to lunch...it was really funny because we ended up at the same place where his wife, Betty, and her sister were lunching! So, I got to meet more extended family :) She is very nice--just like he is.
We came home from lunch and after Butch left I headed back off to our place. The mower started...good. I drove it to the front of the barn and turned it off while I aired up the tires and greased it. I went to go wash my hands at 'squeally' (the pump in the back yard) and there was no water! I checked the cattles water troughs--empty and bone-dry. Uh-oh. At least they have the water in the pond on Uncle L.'s part of the land. So I unlocked the house and grabbed the tools I needed. Then I turned the power off the pump and went out into the pasture to clean the points. Jam-packed with dead ants, it was. Once I got it cleaned out I turned the power back on and tried squeally again. Nothing. Hmm...I remembered someone using a screw-driver on theirs with the power on...so I bounced back out there and pushed the points apart with my flat tip. Yippee! It started...and was still working when I left. (I wonder, how does one keep ants out of the points?)
Well, now I was ready to mow...or so I thought. I went to start the mower again and it wouldn't start! Humph. I put it back on the charger. Then I picked up a few sticks. I don't know how many times I attempted to start it all told...but anyway, I ended up jumping it with the car. Before I did that though, I figured I would try to start the Jimmy and use that--after all, it was right there! So I hopped in and turned the key. Uh, nothing. I crawled up and noticed that the battery wasn't hooked up. So I hooked it up. Long story short, the Jimmy wouldn't start. (And yes, Daddy, I did unhook the battery again!)
I mowed. I was about half done with the front yard (which I did last) when all of a sudden the mower quit--just like that. I probably bogged it down in that high grass. Anyway, what was really weird was that the ignition didn't even click like normal. I called Daddy. He told me to jump it. I did; it started. I finished mowing.
I raked up the grass and threw it to the cows. They were glad to get it; like usual :) Anyhow, there are a few other boring details, but I don't feel like relating them all in minute, so I won't.
Dinner was good ;)
I have seen our elusive calf!! It is a heifer...a little tiny, white heifer with faint carmel colored spots. As she gets older she will get a little more buff in color.
I went over to our place to open up the honey house and empty the trash-can we put under the leak (that can was almost half full!). Savannah had told me to air the house too, but I though it was still dryer inside the house, so I didn't do that. I did gather some stuff for my 4th of July costume (we are having a party!!). After I opened the honey house I went and sat on the back of the truck and read a lovely epistle that I got in the mail. I giggled over some things, grinned over others, and got that stinker look in my eye at other points. When I was done reading it I closed the honey house back up and left.
At some point this afternoon I went out under the trees and practiced the Declaration of Independence. I went through it twice--the second time through I got all kinds of ant bites on my feet. Boy, was I itchy! Another couple of days, and I think I can pass the book off to Savannah. I will certainly still need prompting, but I'm already using it as a crutch in some places. I have done enough public speaking to know when to pitch the script and have someone prompt--you actually get stuff memorized better that way I think. (I will be quite honest, I have to work on the pronunciation of some of those words--like 'magnanimity'. *grin*)
I made the fish-cakes for supper (they were pretty good, if I do say so myself)...but that just sounds like bragging :)
Friday was Epiphany, or more commonly know in our house as "Little Christmas". According to chruch tradition, epiphany is the day that the Magi presented their gifts to Christ. It has been a family tradition in our household to celebrate by exchanging small gifts on epiphany. We have a dress-up candlelight dinner and Daddy reads Luke 2. After prayer one or the other of the 'kids' starts to pass out the presants (this year it was Katherine). I was quite thrilled with the adorable apron Savannah made me, as well as some CD's and other things. Savannah got another hat and I gave her a hatpin...I figured with all her hat's a hatpin might be nice/usefull. As usual, Katherine got a baby doll. Some folks might think she's too old for dolls, but I don't think she ever will be :) It's not Christmas unless she gets a doll. Anyway, this new one's name is Beverly. Mama and I had been to town yesterday afternoon and we went to the Goodwill where I picked up a handfull of old movies. Some I haven't seen before, but other I have. The first one I snatched up was a copy of 'Mrs. Minever'. I have looked for that ever since we checked it out of the liberary years ago. It is an amazing British 'propaganda' movie. I also found a copy of 'The Best Days of Our Lives', another one I've been looking for for a long time. Then there was 'The Philadelphia Story', a hilarious Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn film. There were a few others too... Anyway, I wrapped them all up and put them under the tree. We had a pleasant evening and I think everyone was pleased with their small piles of gifts. I think the apron was my favorite : )
Today we worked cows. Okay, only our tiny herd. We took the calf over to Granddaddy's and when we work cows over there next week, she goes to market and we're going to get a pretty red heifer in her place. We also took Snowflake (i.e. Trumpet Face) over there so we could use Granddaddy's squeeze chute. (We don't have one.) So we, (more accurately Daddy) dehorned her, ear marked her, and branded her. She was very mad at us by the time we were done and would not load into the trailer. So we went in and ate lunch and watched old Western's with Granddaddy. After lunch and coffee we went back out. Snowflake got up and started kicking sand again...and a well-aimed hoof-full sent sand into my brace. Needless to say, one of the first things I did upon arrival home was remove it and wash. It's a good thing that Laurie sent home an extra arm-sock. I needed it.
A bit later, Daddy says, "Come on Racheal, we're going to take the trailer back to Dad's and feed Snip on the way home." We went ahead and put the trailer up to the pens so it doesn't have to been done next week, then we puttered along in the pasture towards the west. At some point Daddy started pounding staples back into the fence and I got behind the wheel. I have short legs...I had to sit on the edge of the seat to reach the gas pedal. Once done with one side of the trap, Daddy said, "We'll do the other side Monday" and I took us all the way to the house. We stopped in to make sure Granddaddy remembered that he was coming for supper (he did).
It's been a full and busy day of one sort or another...I go to the doctor Monday morning for a check-up on my arm. Who knows, I may get to have the brace off. Then the real work begins. (Looking forward to it and yet not...it's going to hurt to get my wrist back into shape.)
P.S. Added a 'Photos
' page and put up a slideshow on it...enjoy!