Thankful to be alive

So things have gotten a bit hectic around here. It all started out innocent enough but some how last Wednesday life took a turn but it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. And for that we are all thankful! As most of you already know last Wednesday I was involved in a not so pretty car wreck. Some of you have asked to see the pictures but honestly I don’t feel that posting those pics will do anyone any good …. So I am not going to post them. What I will do is tell you the story as I remember it and has been filled in by others. Then we will go from there.

So Wednesday evening before I headed to work I ran to town to the farmer’s market to get the debt card from Mom to get some gas for Dad who was in the hay field. Then I did as I always do and grabbed some water and Gatorade and headed to Kevin’s. I was in Dad’s little car because Mom had the truck at the market. I don’t remember all of the drive leading up to the crash. I do remember a town that I drive through that was about 5 miles from the site of the wreck. The next thing I knew I was sitting in the ditch.

I remember the other driver screaming and yelling at me, Mom on the other end of the phone and climbing from the car. At this point all I can do is tell our what was figured out by the Highway Patrol. Apparently I was very over heated and either fell asleep at the wheel or passed out. I crossed the center line and hit the other car.

After the accident I was groggy and when checked my eyes were reacting in a way that only happens when someone is drunk or has a head injury. I was given a breathalyzer test and passed. When the officer asked me if I had, had anything to drink that day I proceeded to tell him how I took my water jug to the hayfield, drank Gatorade a few times and how the only thing other then that was Mt. Dew with my lunch … The officer then informed me that he was asking about alcoholic beverages. I just looked at him and told him “but I don’t drink”. Hence the breathalyzer.

With my slow reactions to questions, my eye reactions and passing the breathalyzer it was thought that I had a serious head injury. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where they did a full blood panel to make sure I wasn’t on anything else … Like drugs… and they tried to get a urinalysis but it two really big glasses of ice water and two bags of IV fluids for me to be able to pee. By the time I got my Cat Scan I had been blessed with the miracle of a all test coming back clear and I was released from the hospital after being given something for my rather large headache.

The next morning the real pain began. No, I didn’t have a mark on me and I wasn’t even sore. However, Mom spent the whole morning dealing with the billing department of the hospital, the insurance adjuster and contract health. As Mom worked her magic and got it all figured out she did learn one thing. She is over insured on both vehicles to the point of having Gap coverage. Gap coverage is to cover the difference of what you car is worth as apposed to what you owe the bank. Sad thing is that Mom doesn’t owe the bank anything for either the car or the truck and hasn’t for over 13 years … LOL … Yup she is way over insured.

By Monday our car was settled and the medical bills were being dealt with and the other car was being repaired but Mom was really feeling like she was getting behind … On the Wednesday of the wreck, we were in the hayfield. Thursday we had to pick up feed and I had cavalcade. I can’t even remember what all went on Friday but I know we hauled in hay. Saturday we had reading program and loaded out two hay customers. Sunday I was up in the short go again at Cavalcade. Monday Mom was in Tulsa to settle the car. Tuesday Caballo had to go to the vet to have a knot of proud flesh removed. Then this Wednesday Mom found the new car and went to purchase it. Thursday the farrier was here … And so on and on it goes. And Mom did it all while searching for a new work car after dropping me off at work each day and keeping the farm open and on track.

I know I have said it before but the older I get the more I learn just how strong and busy Mom is. And sometimes I type that she does what she does while “running the farm”. However, those words mean that she does sooooo much more. You see running the farm daily during all of this has meant we had 9 calves to doctor, 3 of which were receiving bottle three times a day. Filling water troughs 3 times a day. Caballo is being doctored daily. Not to mention the milking being done along with an hour of chores each morning and night. She is also pumping the old well out onto the pasture to fight the drought. Plus anything else that had to be handled … like the new to us horse stock.

To top all that off Mom is also getting ready to take our two interns on a trip to Branson where they have plans to visit a few work related places and a few fun places as well as hanging out at the pool. For Mom it will be a vacation and I am telling you she has earned it. Dad and I will be staying home to take care of the farm. I am kind of glad she is taking a bit of time off as there are days I get lazy and don’t do much but she seems to keep going and feels guilty if she even takes a nap during the day … LOL

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And here we go again

So today started normal enough. I had chores to do and then I would be off to work. I am thankful though that today as the last day of treating the bottle calves we have. As normal it took about an hour to get the calves done. Then I headed out to earn my paycheck.

So after work I came home to find this …

So what does that mean?? Well, it is haying season again. So for the next few days I will be checking B’Day, Roping, Doing my Job and hauling hay. And that doesn’t even include my daily chores. For now this picture of Snapdragon’s Baby, Wattle, will have to take care of a cuteness fix for now.

It’s A GIRL!!!

So today I spent the day at my team roping finals. And I missed my third calf so I came home empty handed. I didn’t understand why at first. Everything looked perfect, I thought I caught but some how when that rope came tight the steer just wasn’t there. Mom always give me this speech about how it just wasn’t my time and that I don’t know the stories of the others that compete. She says I don’t know if they needed that win more than I did. She always points out that I have a support system and that My life doesn’t ride on a win. I know all that stuff but it doesn’t make losing any easier to take.

After I got home I was my usual Charming self after I lose. Okay, not really I was angry not just at myself but the world. I had a ton of reason I was mad. I knew I could have done better is my partner hadn’t blown of practice. I knew I could have done better if the rodeo last night hadn’t lasted so long and left me tired. I knew a lot of things and none of them made me happy. So in true Mom fashion she told me to saddle up and go check the cattle.

I knew B’Day and Snapdragon were due to calf out but I also knew I had checked them yesterday and they seemed fine. I had other things on my mind and I really didn’t think they needed checked but Mom knew I was in a mood and need to go ride. Anyway, As I got down to the pond I knew I was in trouble. Mom had called to ask me something and I got short with her. Mom said I better stop right there. She then … Without being there … told me that I was having trouble riding and that I was getting mad for no reason. And she was right. You see Horses will call you out … When you have had a bad day you can’t come to them and ride with anger in your heart. They can feel it. She pointed out that if I was that upset I need to get my butt off of Precious and walk. Precious has been through enough and she doesn’t need to be set back by a trainer with a bad attitude.

Again she was right. So I did as I was told and relaxed my whole body. I then began to concentrate on the needs of my horse and in minutes my heart and head were turned around. As I came up over the draw I spotted Snapdragon and well … She had a little one by her side. I went to work and got Mom on the phone to set everything up. Derf had to be caught and room had to be made at the pens. I was bringing her in and needed a place to put her safe and sound for the next few days.

As I worked to bring up the cattle Mom worked the horses. Now this is where things went wrong. Neither Mom nor I took a minute to think about why Star was up before she penned Derf and turned all the girls out. You see when Derf is out only Ice and Caballo Thunder can be out because Derf is still a stud. But when Derf is up everything else can be out on pasture. So since we needed stalls we did what we always do. Stall Derf and turn everything else out. To Bad we had put Star up not because of Derf but because she was chasing Rocket the new Zebu calf. So when Mom turned out all the horses Star got them all going.

That made my job of bringing up Dragon and her calf all that much harder as Rocket and Ms. Zebu were with them. About mid pasture the horses and cattle all ran together and chaos ensued. Precious and I started working as a team without anymore fuss and my anger melted into the thoughts of getting this baby to her pen safe and sound. Before I knew what was going on Mom was in the pasture helping. I ran the horses off with the help of Precious and then I roped Dragon. The calf stayed by her side so that was a good thing.

As Mom and I worked to get Dragon to the arena we had Dad bring out a rope to help push her from behind. After what seemed like forever, Mom got the idea to grab the calf and run to the arena so that Dragon would follow. It worked like a charm but that Mom and Dad who weren’t on horseback had to get the gate shut and out of the way of one mad Momma. Don’t worry all went well and once in the arena Dragon knew right were to go. She took off and put herself in her pen within minutes leaving the three of us to walk the arena alone.

Precious did wonderful. She had never had to pull a full grown cow before but she took it like a champ. I will have to watch her tomorrow and make sure she isn’t sore because Dragon is much larger then she is used to handling. As for me … about half way up the arena as Mom and Dad and I walked side by side with Precious in tow … It hit me. This is why I missed at the finals. If I had done better I would have been in a good mood and Mom wouldn’t have sent me out to check cattle and clear my head. And Dragon’s Baby girl would have had to fight through her first night of life on the pasture. As it stands now she and Mom will have time to bond while Momma gets her full strength back from birthing, all in the safety of a nice stall with hay, feed and water. And just on the other side of the fence there will be 7 little ones to keep the new baby company. Yup, everything happens for a reason. I may not know why or like it but the reason is there.

Now we have to get this little girl a name. Any wild flower Ideas???

And it is gone

So today Mom took it upon herself to get something done around here that had to be done. It is one of the things that NEEDED to be done that Dad has said many times he will get around to it. Well, after what happened yesterday Mom had enough and called in back up.

So over the last few days Mom and I have been working hard to get the farm page and the new online shop up and running. I think it all works together and look very professional. While the inventory is a bit low right now as Mom has many batches curing but in a few weeks we will get to start adding more each week and keep the shop fresh and new. We also have some of Mom’s dyes listed. While the shop is up and going the only thing we are sorting out is how we will be listing the wool and yarn so we don’t have any inventory listed for them. The last thing Mom is playing around with is listing her project bags and sewing creations. She has a spot set up for them but she isn’t sure how or If that is something she wants to list. And finally she is playing with some soap and lotion gift packs but has yet to list any.

If you want to check the store out and place an order our shop is now linked to the web page like most businesses do. We even now offer gift Certificates. Okay, honestly we are still learning about them and will be learning as we go. We really won’t know any kinks until our first sale but we really like that we can now allow people to bless others with our products. I have to admit, I really like the way it all works together and how the shop really looks like an extension of our site. Okay, so now I am just bragging … Now we want to know what you think. So please stop by and help us look for typos and let us know what you think. You can find the Store through this link … The Shop

Yesterday Mom took a break from working on the site while the intern was here. They did their work and played in the kitchen creating a bit. That is when a freak storm came up creating havoc on the farm. When I say freak I mean weird … It was 93 degrees outside and the sun was shining away. Mom and Bella were darting in and out doing things in the garden and were just about to head out to get the eggs when it started to sprinkle. I looked at Mom and said that the clouds looked mean so I was going to go put the calves up. Before I got out the back door the sprinkle turned to a down pour and before I was half way across the pasture the down pour had turning to a full blown Hail storm.

At this point I was trying to get the wild calves under the stall when I looked over and Mom was entering the pen to help. At the time I didn’t know it but she had left Bella in the house and had headed out as the hail hit. It took us a little doing to get the calves under the shed but we did it. Then I turned my attention to Storm. She was in a pen with Coop and Coop is the alpha female of our herd and she wasn’t letting Storm under the shed.

I worked to get Storm into the pen with the calves as we had extra space under that shed. At first she went under but then she ran back out because I have to tell you that hail made it sound as if the shed was exploding 10 times over. She was actually choosing to be hit with hail over dealing with the sound of the hail falling on the shed. So as she stood there shaking I stepped up and made her go under and then stayed with her to help calm her down while Mom headed back to the house.

At the house the old tree was groaning and creaking and making all kinds of cracking sounds as it normally does when it was storming. As Mom stood and watched from the door I am sure she was praying that the old tree would hold up once again in the storm. When I got Storm calmed down and content to stay with the calves, I headed to the house. Inside Mom was drying off and Bella was doing okay. She too remarked about the sounds of the old tree and Mom simple put it that “it wouldn’t be a concern to much longer”.

This morning after the calves were feed and the chores were done, I sent Dad to the ATT store to deal with my phone that Star decided was a toy. Then Mom told me to help her clear the back yard. By the time we got out there and started clearing there were two friends of Mom’s at the north gate. One is a guy that used to live down the road from us. He has a 5 week old baby at home and he was laid off about a month ago. He has been picking up odd jobs to make ends meet and take care of his wife and little girl. The other is a friend that used to haul hay around here. They had a 4 wheel drive truck, two really big chain saws and some really, really long, heavy duty straps. When Mom said that old tree wasn’t going to be a concern any longer she wasn’t kidding around.

With in an hour the old tree was on the ground. the fear of it falling on the house was over and our friends earned a little cash to help out with expenses. All I can say is No more large branches hitting the house as they fall in the wind and storms. And let me point out that old tree was right out side my window so I am happy that I don’t have to move to the living room every time it storms now. Dad on the other hand wasn’t so happy that it was coming down in the fashion. As for Mom, she says it is a Bitter Sweet thing.

And now I know why

When I was little I just did what Mom said when I was told to. Especially when it came to the livestock we got in. I remember thinking I had a great life and how fun everything was living on the farm. Today I see things very differently then that wide eyed want to be cowboy that rode a stick horse and roped on ice skates.

As I watch Mom do what she does while looking back on those times, so many things now make sense. Dad doesn’t see it, understand it or even try to relate. But today, I not only related to her but I identified with the who, what, when, where, why and how of it all. You see, Dad was mad at Mom yesterday and told her flat out that she liked raising bottle calves. (He also informed her that she liked cleaning and cooking and doing laundry but that is a topic for another blog) Mom tried to explain that She really didn’t like it but she saw the joy in her success and the pride of a job well done when she raised them up to be our next roping calves or ridable cows. Dad then informed her that she didn’t have to get bottle calves to make roping calves. And at that point I thought he was right.

However, I soon found out that both he and I missed her point. Looking back you have to remember that Mom for the most part runs this farm alone. I know Dad doesn’t see that and I am sure many of you just thought “No, she has you”. The truth is that yes, I have always been by her side working the farm since I was about 6 years old. But until today I never truly understood what it took to do what Mom does with larger calves. Let me set the scene and you too will soon understand.

A Mom, (My Mom) weighing all of about 140lbs with a 45lb six year old go out to feed the bottle calves. The little guy (that is me) takes the bottles for the calves and loads them into a wagon and walks to the barn with Mom. When we get to the barn there are two stalls. One with a few calves that latch on to the bottles and drink them all down with no issues. That pen is for the little guy. The other bigger pen is for the Mom. In this pen there are calves weighing between 75 and 150lbs. Most have never seen a human before.

As the little guy works to feed each calf he watches on as Mom physically Catches each calf and teaches it to take a bottle. The whole time each calf is throwing Mom around as they thrash their heads. Mom tries to keep her footing while holding a bottle of milk in it’s mouth and stroking it’s neck to get it to drink. Mom takes a beating as she, one by one, wrestles each calf and gets them all fed.

As that little child watching and helping with the feedings, I never understood that Mom took a beating each feeding time. To me she was big and strong and made it seem so easy. She has catching them down to an art and handles each calf the same. And sadly, that is what is remembered around here. Not just by me but by Dad. I now know that she did take pride in her work and with good reason. And she found joy in it as well. Both things giving the appearance of her Liking what she was doing. However, I honesty can’t think of one single soul who would take beating after beating like that and say “Oh yes, I love my job.” Please Don’t miss understand, Mom LOVES those Calves. But she doesn’t Love what she has to go through to bring them up happy and healthy.

Fast forward to today. Dad and I both have been giving Mom a hard time about the calves. I will say now that I know I did it wrongly but all the same I still did it. Today I learned a hard lesson. One I won’t forget, as I have to learn it over and over for the next 5 days. Let me set yet another scene where the little guy is all grown up.

Mom had a chance to get a calf that weight in at around 180lb. Normally she would have turned the calf away, but things being what they are around here Mom saw a chance and took it. When I was younger she only took on one that was that big and to be honest I never understood why … until today. Dad (and now me too) have been telling her that she could get bigger calves if she doesn’t enjoy the bottle calves. When she continued to take in smaller calves, we both gave her a hard time that even though she said she didn’t enjoy them much, she really must like doing them or she would change. Mom would just look at us and simply say “No, I Can’t”

Let me just say that neither Dad nor I ever took the time to ask her Why she said that but today I finally got it. When she says “I can’t” she means she physically couldn’t catch, load, or work bigger calves because she isn’t strong or stout enough to do so. I have a new found respect for Mom and as it turns out I have to admit that when I had to wrestle one such calf, it really wasn’t all that much fun but I found pride in a job well done when I did. However, that by no means … means I enjoyed it!!! I learned that it boils down to the fact that Mom knows her physical limits. And I will say this I also now know that she pushes them and isn’t as weak as Dad nor I think she is.

I know what you are thinking. I calf rope and do pretty well at it … so why was this such a big deal for me? Don’t I handle cattle like that all the time?? The answer is Yes I do, but the reality of it is that this deal is very different. First off, when I go to a roping the cattle have been broke to rope and tie. They know their job! What that means is that those cattle have been run through the chutes and tied at least three times. They are used to the clank of the chutes and the people running them. They know what a horse is as well as a feed bunk. All those things make them easy to handle. They go right to feed and eat when they are suppose to. They know to load into the chutes walking and run when the chutes open because a horse is after them.

While Roping calves are not by any means tame, they are so much easier handling compared to what Mom does. These Calves Mom brings home have been born and raised on a pasture. They know where the water hole is, where to go to keep dry when it is raining and the barred wire that limits them from wondering off. However, when it comes to chutes, gates, and even people. That is a whole other story. These calves come from Cows that have been raised in a hands off fashion. They have had no human contact and their babies are scared and fighting mad when they are fist introduced to us. Mom has to take that scared, fighting calf and get it to drink from something other then it’s Mom. And the Bigger ones won’t go to a bottle so she has to teach them how to eat feed. Have you ever given it much thought as to how you do that? YUP, You got it. You have to open their mouths and throw some feed in. It takes several times on several different occasions to accomplish this.

So which is the easiest? Breaking a calf weighing 75-125 lbs or breaking a calf that is 180lbs??? And let me add in that back in the day Mom had as many as 16 calves at one time that she was handling at each feeding. So let’s break this down. Each calf takes a bottle every 3-6 hours depending on it’s size. So how many beating would Mom have to take in a day??? And it takes about 3-5 days to get each calf going good so how many beating does that come to?? At the very least that is 12 beatings in a 3 day span X the number of calves Mom is working.

As you can see working small cattle takes on a whole new light now that I am grown up. I see a few things more clearly now that I can look back and see the whole picture. Somethings I never understood now make perfect sense Thanks to a calf that weighed in at 180lbs and had a cut and a knot on his head. For the record, that calf taught me more then most will ever know and more then Dad will ever understand. However, I am hoping to help him learn this lesson tonight. Maybe that will bring a bit of excitement to the blog again … We will see how it goes.

Is Dad that Dangerous??

So last night I was at a rodeo. That left Mom to deal with the farm and Dad. Sometimes I am not so sure that is a good thing. And Last night turned out to be one of those nights. I feel bad for Mom as she is kind of sore today. From what I hear Rocket can get out on the Road and Ms. Zebu can explode when she can’t get him back. So they are both back in the pen but not before Mom did some fancy under the fence diving and B’Day covering her for the Save!!

So I let Rocket and Ms. Zebu out because the storms had passed and We like to have the animals on grass and natural as much a possible. We like the thought of Cows being cows and sheep being sheep and horses being horses … You get the idea. So I let them out on pasture before I went to my Rodeo. From what Mom said a car came and told her we had a calf out and she went to get it in. It turned out to be Rocket and he just wanted to run up and down the road.

Mom wasn’t on her own entirely but Dad was being Dad. That means when Mom asked him to do things like Open the gate, He took off for the farthest gate away from where Rocket was. Leaving Mom to get the gate she needed or handle things on her own. I know that makes no sense but that is what he does. Mom ended up catching Rocket and carrying him to the pen.

At some point Dad came and took Rocket from Mom saying he “would carry him”. So While Dad took Rocket Mom thought he would go to the front of the arena and let Ms. Zebu see him and then use him to get both the cow and calf safely in the pen. And I have to admit that is how we would normally do it. But when I say We I mean Mom and I. Apparently, Dad has other ideas. And those Idea really could have gotten Mom hurt.

First, you have to understand that while Mom rescued Ms. Zebu … Ms. Zebu goes after Mom any chance she gets. I really don’t think that Ms. Zebu understands that Mom is the reason she is here and safe. And if Ms. Zebu have any dislike for someone, I would say Mom is it. And she doesn’t need a reason to go after her either. Anyway, From what I understand, Mom used herself as bait to get Ms. Zebu to get her in the arena. From there if Rocket had been in site Ms. Zebu would have run to him but since he wasn’t Ms. Zebu then turned on Mom.

Mom was behind a gate but Ms. Zebu rounded it and Mom had to dive under the arena fence. Then she went for the gate but Ms. Zebu was in full stride and made it to the gate first. With a stoke of luck at that Moment B’Day decided she wanted to get her butt scratched. She turned her butt to Mom putting herself between Mom and Ms. Zebu. Without knowing it B’Day saved Mom’s butt because she really had no place to go … She was out in the open pasture and we don’t have trees and you can’t really climb barred or woven wire fences.

Once B’Day got Ms. Zebu turned Ms. Zebu ran with all the other cattle up to the pens where she saw Rocket … She ran into the pen calmed right down. As for Mom she is sore today but she is a trooper. She is happy that Rocket and Ms. Zebu are safe.