Calf Races

It’s Teen Pact week for Buddy!

While he is at the Iowa State Capitol running for office, passing legislation, playing ultimate Frisbee and hanging out with friends – I’m doing his chores at home.

So of course – a cow gets out.

I spotted it eating grass in the ditch on Tuesday. My first response was to call Buddy – who would have grabbed his boots and coat and calmly taken care of the situation.

But then I remembered that he was gone.

So I called Angel Girl – who thankfully had the day off from work.

“Can we do this ourselves?” I asked.

Angel Girl took one look and said, “It’s just a calf – no problem – I got this.”

“Do you need my help?”

She shrugs, “You can come out if you want to.”

By the time I went to the bathroom (at my age you don’t run anywhere with a full bladder), found shoes and socks and a hoodie, she had calmly walked out and with a few waves of her arms had that calf were he belonged.

Seriously.

In yoga pants, flip flops and a t-shirt.

I was impressed.

Fast forward 24 hours.

I look out the kitchen window and see that same varmint calf in the ditch.

What? I thought the fence was fixed?

Buddy’s gone. Angel Girl’s at work. It’s just me. But if they can do this, honestly, how hard can it be?

I went to the bathroom as a precautionary measure, found shoes and socks and a hoodie and walked calmly down the road just like the kids.

But that calf took one look at me and started running. The opposite direction. Fast.

Seriously? Do I look that scary in the morning? Maybe I should have combed my hair?

We run back and forth along the fence line a few times before he bolted for the yard. Under the clothesline, past the house, and through the garden with me in hot pursuit.

He hooked a right just as we got to the gate, ran back to the yard and we did the whole thing again.

Twice.

As we rounded the corner past the house for the third time I called it quits.

Varmint calf won.

I walked in the house and called my husband.

I can’t tell you what I said, but it worked.

He drove home.

He calmly walked to the ditch where he found the varmint calf resting, obviously exhausted after our race.

Then he waved his hands.

And that varmint calf miraculously found the hole in the fence and jumped back in.

Boom. Just like that.

I give up.

I think I’ll stick to quilting.

Broken Fences

b099e3ee-a45d-4f37-90c8-d3cf83e07397The far back corner of our property has some of the worst fences we own. It’s wooded and overgrown with raspberry thickets and multi-flora roses.

The barbed wire is old and weak. The woven wire is saggy.

We patch and we fix, knowing that what we really need to do is rip the whole thing out and put in new. But it just never makes it to the top of the to-do list.

It’s the weak spot in our defenses.

A few weeks ago a neighbor got a new bull – a noisy, take-charge type – that has let the entire countryside know of his arrival. His arrogant bellowing was a challenge to our cows.

It didn’t take them long to find the weak spot and push their way through. Twice.

A cow round-up gives one ample time to think, and I pondered the profound as I drove the 4 wheel drive through the neighbor’s rainy pasture.

I have personal weak spots.

There are areas in my life where my defenses are low, and I am the most vulnerable.

And it’s at those weak spots that the bellowing of the world will be heard the loudest; that the siren call to see what was on the other side will be the most alluring.

It’s in those vulnerable areas, that I will be tempted to push my way through and wander in areas that I don’t belong, away from the protected pastures that God has prepared for me.

There is no way that I can silence the neighbor’s arrogant bull, and there is no way to silence the call of the world around me.

But I can identify those weak spots.

Use scriptures like barbed wire to protect myself.

And fix that fence.

Surprises

Life is full of surprises.

Some of them good.

Like having two of your kids surprise you with a visit.

Bringing flowers.

Filling the house with laughter and conversation and fun.

And surprise birthday parties for sweet friends at church.

11146493_10152775272351423_2927726358448763586_nSharing memories, laughter, tears.

Singing. Hugging. Crying.

Praying for healing.

Such sweet times.

Other surprises are not so fun.

Like waking up on Sunday morning – after 3 inches of rain overnight – to a flooded basement and realizing that all the dirt work and the new gutters didn’t work.

Then getting more rain and more flooding.

And there are the surprises I’m not so sure about –

Like the box of orphan kitties Buddy brought home.

New ImageThey sure are cute – in a very loud and needy way.

Their constant cry for love and attention is breaking this momma’s heart.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

Did you know there are thousands of different ways a kitty can get himself in trouble – especially without a mother? It’s a wonder any of them make it to adulthood.

But they are so adorable.

I actually sat down and held one. More than once.

Yep. Life is full of surprises.

 

Checking Cows

IMG_2029Every afternoon when Jan comes home from work, he grabs a snack while I grab a coat and we head out for a walk.

The official term for this jaunt in the winter afternoon is “walking the fence line” or “checking the cows”.

He can call it whatever he wants – but I call it the best part of my day!

It’s a perfect excuse to hold my honey’s hand and hike across the frozen pastures, catching up on the days activities.

And  – since it’s also the one time during the year that I can walk freely anywhere on the property with no fear of poison ivy – I’ve been in and out of ravines and to every remote corner.

These walks, however, are not without their hazards. There are always thorn trees, the evil multiflora rose bushes and the dreaded blackberry vines to scratch you and impede your progress.

Not to mention the the occasional slip on steep banks or frozen cow pies to trip you up.

And I guess one of these days we’ll actually find the cows.

And they won’t be where they are supposed to be.

And the fence will be down.

And our peaceful walk hand in hand through the pasture will turn into a cow chase and a trudge back to the barn for fence supplies.

But that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

‘Cause there’s something pretty wonderful about soaking up the late afternoon sunshine while walking hand in hand with my husband.

Frozen cow pies and all.

 

‘Possum Problems

Dear Dagmar,

Remember that bucket of kitchen scraps I set by the back door after lunch?

I fully intended to have Buddy or your Dad take them out to the chickens – really I did.

But things got kinda crazy making the food and getting things packed up for the 4H Christmas party and I forgot.

At least until Buddy and Angel Girl got home from helping at Awana’s.

Buddy walked up the steps and there, laid across the top step, with his head stuck between the railings – was a possum eating those scraps.

Buddy was startled.

But Angel Girl was traumatized.

Just think about it. You walk up to the step in the dark, humming Christmas carols and you see this –

800px-AwesomePossum-AmericanOpossum

She’s still shuddering hours later.

She ran into the dark, forgetting for a moment that Mr. Possum might have friends, and came in the house through the side door.

When your dad heard the excitement, he opened the back door to evaluate the situation. But quickly discerned that the possum was not stuck and could easily turn tail and run between his legs and into the kitchen.

Not wanting to explain to me why there was a possum in the kitchen, he wisely shut the door.

Meanwhile, Buddy was still outside ready to become the hero of the hour.

He bravely found a 4 foot stick, and while staring down the possum, he hooked the stick around the handle of the bucket and slowly moved it away from the steps.

He carried it to all the way to the compost pile.

Across the farm yard.

In the dark.

With who knows what matter of four legged critters roaming freely.

All that so that you wouldn’t have a shocking surprise waiting for you on the front step when you got home from work at midnight.

You’re welcome.

Love,

Mom

PS If you want to make Angel Girl jump and shudder just walk up behind her and hiss. Not that I have done that or anything.

Photo courtesy of Piccolo Namek