Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Well, you know the first two of my children are girls. And this last Squeaky one has thrown me for a loop many times. This week he has decided NOT to sleep. EVER! And he's not into Sign Language or talking anymore (he did some of both), just SCREAMING.
He stopped screaming to eat the last Thin Mint. He found it by crawling on TOP of the table, and fishing through 2 boxes of cookies. (Darn mamas, for using the bathroom anyways)
Then, I let him clean out the "throw everything in here out of the truck bag"

Bullets & fencing pliers! Daddy's boy!

Then he promptly LOADED his diaper. Which I could hear from the laundry room. DEFINATELY Daddy's boy!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

She's Gone

My old White Truck is gone. The salvage people came and picked her up yesterday. Here are some detailed pictures.

We bought this truck when I was pregnant with J. So.... I've had 'er for about 6 years.

You can see the dash is COMPLETELY gone! Wow!

The interior is gone!

The aluminum rims melted down, puddles of aluminum anyone?

This shows how much plastic is in our motors! TONS!! Because its all GONE!

She barely fit on the truck! Whew, no room to spare!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Addicts! We're All Addicts

Yup! I admit it, I have a problem! I'm back on the "Sauce". No, people, I'm not an Alcoholic. I'm a DrPepperAholic! I'm seriously addicted to it, AGAIN. You see, I've given up this wonderful juice, 3 times, easily.

Yup, 3 children, 3 separate periods without Dr. Pepper. Each time, as soon as I discovered I was pregnant, I happily (well maybe not with a smile on my face) gave up my habit. At one point late in Squeak's Pregnancy, I was getting a checkup, & my Midwife asked if I still drank any pop. My pre-schooler answered, "Yes, but Daddy always drinks all of it after she gets only two drinks". Yup, he HELPED me not drink my Dr Pepper.

And now, (NO I'M Not Pregnant!) just over a year after my Squeaky one was born, I'm up to at least 3 cans a day, with more, much more if we go out to eat. Crap! Not good! I wake up and I NEED a DrPepper. I'm upset and I NEED a Dr Pepper. Huff! That's it! I'm quitting AGAIN!

While I'm at it, I'm OUTING some other people I know that are Addicts.

The cows are the premium ALFALFA. They will MOOO, and MOOO, and Beller and SCREAM at you until you feed them. BTW, these are the "pets" in the barn who have "special" babies. Wether they are Great babies, or sick babies, they are special mamas. So, we give in, and feed them a little Alfalfa so we can talk without the screaming. But, they are being weaned! No more Alfalfa for you! You will eat regular hay outside the barn. And you will like it! Or, you will at least tolerate it untill the grass is really green.

Oh, and can you see Duke (the horse in the back). He's addicted too! That's why he's in a separate pen, cause he will chase the cows, to get to the good stuff!

And 7-Up! He's addicted too! He has started screaming if he doesn't get enough Hay. Asking 7-up if he needs more alfalfa, is like asking a crack addict if he needs another hit (or whatever you call it).

Chilli is addicted to....The couch! And Snuggling the girls! Wait, he's supposed to be an AGGRESSIVE, Protective MEAN cow-dog! He is, but he loves to roll & snuggle on his back with the girls too. This is a picture of Lola, but you get the idea, girls playing and rolling around with ...GASP! CowDogs. Huh, I tell ya, we need to get these dogs to remember their place. Working Cows!

Uh, oh! Nevermind. Cause Chilli & Rosie sleep in the bed WITH ME! I can't have cold toes, so ..... they get to stay. And I love to watch the girls & Squeak play with the dogs!!

And Squeak! He's addicted to his BINKI! EEEK! Really addicted! When he was a BABY (can you hear me whining?) he would not take a binki (I din't give him one at first because I was nursing). In January, (when he was over a year old) he found one at the bottom of the toybox. And he hasn't let it go since then! Uh, Oh Well. I think I'll let him keep it for a while. He's just too cute to deny.
And, I KNOW!!! He needs a haircut! But, he's my BABY (enough with the whining!)
We're all addicts! What are you addicted to???

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kenneth Eugene Smith - Obituary

How do you write an obituary for one of your very best friends that you have had for 23+ years?

Kenneth & I met just before Christmas when I was 10 years old. It was love at first sight! He was THE best listener and friend I have EVER had. He knew exactly what to do when I was sad, mad, hurt, frustrated, upset, heartbroken, lonely, and happy. He was ALWAYS there for me. He never, ever let me down. In college, when I was figuring out life, I would drive home, and FIRST, go to the barn to talk with Kenneth. Sometimes, I would just come home to talk with him, & not even bother to talk with my parents. Kenneth was the only person who understood me during my akward teen years.

Just wanted to let you know that my heart is truly CRACKED in two. I know he had a wonderful life. I know that he simply went to sleep & woke up in Heaven, but it still hurts. I know that my girls have cried most of the evening. My Honey called my dad, & Honey found him.
Yes, Kenneth was a horse, but. he. was. my. horse!

You might think this picture is morbid. But A.Cowgirl wanted me to take her picture one last time with Kenneth.

He was the first horse I ever had. I was 10, and had wanted a horse for EVER (really like 5 solid years!). My sister named him after a boy in her class and my Grandpa. Kenneth really was a person, you just couldn't see it from the outside.

I learned how to ride with Kenneth, and how to fall off. Kenny was technically a pony because he was 14.1 (feet trimmed) and he rode like a pony. Kenneth was born with a deformed front left foot. The first farrier he saw (and most everyone that trimmed or shod him) was amazed that he could walk, let alone be ridden and run. His foot was litterally shaped like a J, frog included. I always told them it was because he had SO much love for children that's why he could be ridden.

When I was about 12, I wanted to ride "Indian Style". You know from the movies how they rode bareback, and would shoot arrows under their horse's neck. Well, Kenny was too fat, and my legs were too short; but you couldn't tell me that. I would sidepass up to the well (it was a step up), get on, walk into the grassy area, try to get on the side and ask him to walk, FALL OFF, under his stomach. Literally under him. He would carefully stop and look down to make sure I was ok. He would step around me and go eat some grass. I would catch him, and take him back to the well to get on and start all over again. After about an hour, he would automatically walk to the well, so that I could get back on again.

Kenneth ALWAYS took care of me and NEVER stepped on me, no matter how stupid I was or how I fell off, or under him. He has done this with my girls, and everyone who ever rode him.

Kenneth taught most of the kids 10 years younger than me in Warren County how to ride. I showed him for 6 years, then my sister showed him for several years, then Sarah, the neighbor girl, then 2 other girls showed him, and so on and so forth. He went on trail rides with tons of people in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. I showed Kenneth in everything! Our favorite was Trail Class, because you didn't have to be a great mover, but a great thinker, and take your time to do everything just right. In Trail, Kenneth & I beat a AQHYA World Champion Trail Horse. She came to our 4-H Invitational two months before the World Show that year. It was awesome to work a course with Kenneth, because he would seem to read my mind & put his feet exactly where I was thinking I wanted them, with slightly any cues.

When I was in college, I wanted to compete in a Rodeo Queen competition. At that time I was riding my mom's stud horse, and the contest would not allow me to bring a stallion. I tried my sister's show horse, and did not get along with her (Sister has long legs, mine are very short). So, Kenneth was pulled out of the pasture, and tuned up in 24 hours. Once again we instantly clicked and I was ready to roll. At the beginning of this rodeo (totally unknown to me) they set off a LOUD boom firecracker. This is the biggest rodeo in IA (at the time) and I was standing with all the other contestants in a mob of over 200 horses, 4 of the other girls' horses freak, rear, and jump. Kenneth lifts his head and looks around like "what are you upset about"?

I could go ON, and ON, and ON with Kenneth stories! I just might sprinkle them from time to time. I won't forget him, EVER. He will live on in my life, as a wonderful person. Cause he was a people, not just a horse.

Work on the Ranch

This is me. You can see me now. I don't like pictures, but I put this one up because you NEVER know what will happen when you work on the Ranch.

I have been twittering TONS lately. If you read my tweets or FOLLOW ME, you'll get real time updates on whats going on around the ranch.

So, now the story, because NO, that's not mud on my chin, it is a series of scabs and bruises.

After a quiet day Saturday, while Honey worked in town, we hopped in the dodge & went out to check cows. No new calves, but @#@$% there is Little Red in the pond! We saw her calf walking around scared, and managed to get him roped & tied down in the back of the truck.

We get over to the pond, and she is just beyond a drop off of 20 feet. We only had a rope in the truck, so we tied a knot in the end & hooked it up to the hitch.

Yes, you can see where this is going. As we were trying to get her out of the mud, THE ROPE BROKE. I had my back turned to the truck & my arm over my head, & I GOT LUCKY. The rope only hit my chin, not my neck, or my eye, or anything worse.

Instantly, my whole face swelled, inside and out. Only a little bit of blood from the rope burn. But MASSIVE swelling.

We left the cow, went to the house, I grabbed some Advil, Honey grabbed the tow strap & a chain, & we went back out. Honey hooked up the chain & strap & I drove the truck this time (couldn't hardly move from the pain, but I was NOT going to let that cow stay stuck). We hauled her up the hill & gave her a little grain. She was doing pretty good & hadn't been stuck that long, because she tried to stand right away. We didn't let her stand, but made sure that no other cows ate her grain. We (I mean Honey, cause I couldn't see 'cause it hurt SO much) put the calf in the trailer for the night & gave him a bottle of milk replacer). We got the kids in the house & fed them (sorry, I didn't get to put Mama P's fish in the oven). As soon as honey had it all under control, I took a pain pill & a fresh ice pack and went to bed.

Now, almost 2 days later, this picture is what my face looks like. The swelling is down dramatically, but it still looks like I have a huge dip in my mouth (I don't).

I have a post brewing in my head about how we judge people by their appearances. We hauled some hay on Sunday (I drove a truck & slept, he loaded & took care of the kids); and I paid for fuel twice. At each station they gawked & wouldn't look me in the eye. I think they thought that Honey had hit me, or I was deformed or something. We really need to think about all of the thoughts about others we have. Because that person can read ALL of them on our faces.

Another Rancher saw me this AM & from across the gas station asked me if "I had been working this morning, cause I had some mud on my chin", as he was talking he was walking closer, and realised it wasn't mud. His expression "said" OUCH! He realised it wasn't mud, & said "wow, what happened?" At least he asked, and didn't just stare!

I can't believe it didn't knock me out cold, and I am SOOOO thankful that I am healthy. I don't know how people who are in cronic pain handle it!! I know it will get better, and it already has, but enough about me.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

WARNING - Opinionated Nursing/Animal Husbandry Post Ahead!

Well, this subject has been brewing in my mind since I was pregnant with Squeak. That's a long while! (about 19 months). And, I am VERY opinionated on this subject, so I apologise in advance if I offend you (but you should really change your mind & then you wouldn't offended).

I recently read this blog about a mother not being able to feed her child, when her child needed fed. That blog, had me thinking about most mothers and thier attitudes towards nursing, & starting to nurse thier children in the hospital.

Here's the story of the original time I talked about this with another person. I was in my Midwife's office for a routine checkup somewhere towards the end of my pregnancy. We were discussing nursing. Missus D (we'll call her) is quite the Lactivist (what most nursing advocates, or activists call themselves). As a Rancher, I am also quite opinionated about nursing, and also very much as a mother.

Missus D was explaining to me how important nursing was, and that it was important to get nursing off to a good start, IN the hospital. That's when the Rancher in me spoke up (& Missus D listened intently).

If a lamb doesn't get colostrum........Its as good as dead.

If a Colt doesn't get colostrum..........Its as good as dead!

If a Calf doesn't get colostrum...........Its as good as dead!

Then WHY do we think it is ok for BABIES (human babies) not to get colostrum???

I have a VERY wonderful Rancher Friend & Mentor, she chose not to nurse her sons. However, she did INSIST, that she pumped her colostrum for the first day and that it was fed to her sons.

She KNEW how important that this first milk was.

You see, colostrum has thousands of antibodies that provide immunity that is VITAL to the baby's survival. The rates of survival in an animal that does NOT recieve colostrum start dropping dramatically every hour after the 12 hour mark. If an animal has not recieved colostrum within the first 24 hours, their rate of survival is below 25%.

It is so imperative that an calf receives colostrum, that I have milked out 2 cows this year (not an easy feat to milk a beef cow) to give it to a weak calf that wouldn't suck. We tube ALL of our houseguests with powdered colostrum that we mix with hot water. AND we make sure that they drink from their dam as soon as possible.

Now, you should REALLY think about this. How many children do not get colostrum after they are born in the hospital??? How many nurses will provide a child formula in a bottle, because the mother doesn't feel like nursing or doesn't APPEAR to have enough milk? HELLO!!! You don't need that much milk when the size of your tummy is a WALNUT! You don't need very much if that milk has TONS of VITAL immunogens & antibiodies! The "first milk" is also VERY FATTY! (next time I HAVE to get a picture of some colostrum from a cow & then some later milk)

WHY, tell me WHY do we not have powdered colostrum for babies? We have developed (and realised we need) different milk for the first day of a calf's life; WHY haven't we done it for human babies (whose mothers do not KNOW the harm they are doing to their children)??

As doctors, WHY don't they REQUIRE ALL MOTHERS TO PUMP COLOSTRUM? I think that they should insist that mothers give their children MILK, NOT Formula.

Now, if you can handle the opinion.......On to the nursing side of things.

Farmers, if you had to choose between bottle feeding an animal or letting its mother raise it, Which would you choose? - - - - - Mother should raise it, with HER milk

Does a calf do as well on a bottle or bucket, as on a cow?- - - - - NO

Will you have higher death loss of bottle animals? - - - - - MUCH Higher up to 50% more, even under the cleanest conditions

So, why then, do we THINK it is ok for mothers to feed their children formula?

Why do some doctors try to push mothers to wean their children to formula?

I have no clue. It must be because they think they are smarter than Mother Nature! They can replicate everything she does, YEAH RIGHT! It is probably because the pharmaceutical companies pay them, to sell thier formulas.

OK. I'm done, I've said my piece. But, I will say that Missus D (remember my original story) was quiet. She had never thought about the animal side of it, and NEVER had anyone pointed these thing out to her. And she is a Lactivist.

Think about it, if an animal doesn't get colostrum, and just formula, it has only a 50% lower survival rate. Even dairy farmers give their calves colostrum before they pull them from the cow.

But, we (most of our nation) think it is ok to feed our children the same formula for the entire first year of their life.
Oh, and BTW, that is a bottle of Juice that Squeak is drinking. But he did wean himself at ~10-11 months. (Momma is still really sad about it, but it was just too hard for him to hold still)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If you ever think you're having a bad day on the Ranch, DON'T SAY IT OUT LOUD!!!

Well, we were having a rough nite. Cows eating our lunch, trying to gore the horse. Pinning me in the pickup. Calving problems, kids being obstinate, etc. Generally, just a rough nite.

So, we decided to go to town & get supper. Cause it was 7:30, and I hadn't even started supper. We talked about ice cream @ the Dairy Sweet, & wondered what flavor they had on Wed nite. Crap, the line is like 8 cars long & there are 4 people standing @ the window. Amidst the tears, we decided to have Casey's pizza & get some ice cream from their freezer.

So, the girls are eating their ice cream. Squeak is eating a pizza crust, I am talking on the phone to my Mom, & Honey is driving. We noticed in town that something SouthWest of town was burning......We get 5 miles from home, & it is still burning BIG BLACK smoke. We turn the corner 3 miles from the house & I say to mom that the fire is near our house.....

Then we are 1.5 miles from home & I say "SOMETHING AT OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, gotta call you back" I call 911 and let them know something @ our house is on fire.....

We drive up to the house & see a HUGE fire all in one spot. Exactly where we left the White Truck, cause we were in a hurry. The flames are coming out of the windows, the hood, everywhere! A round bale of hay was 20 feet from it and on fire. We couldn't get to the hay trailer with the pickup, so Honey grabs the tractor & drags it out of the way, cause its tires were getting VERY hot on that side.

So, the old white truck is no more. I haven't looked for a pic yet, but I will. We were lucky. You see we usually park it right in front of the house, and the wind would have caught the house on fire, just like it caught the bale on fire. We were lucky, that we didn't park it in the barn like we do when it is cold. We were lucky, we weren't at home & hurt by the explosions. (Neighbors 5 miles away heard 3 or 4 VERY big explosions)

We were VERY LUCKY that we had hauled all of the hay yesterday. Otherwise we would have BEEN IN the white truck picking up a bale while we were in town.

We are lucky!!!
We are thankful for all the neighbors that stopped by & the wonderful firemen that were here so quickly!!!
I am thankful we had a bad night, & didn't "put the truck away" either in the barn or by the house.
I am thankful!!!