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.

Fresh Gravel

DSC_0018There are a few realities that those of us who live beyond the pavement have to accept as a part of life.

Important things – like fresh gravel.

One might think that fresh gravel would be a good thing, after all it fills in holes and those nasty ruts that come after a heavy rain.

But the initiated know better. They slow down to almost Amish buggy speed on fresh gravel. They’ve learned the hard way that fresh gravel is slick.

It just lays on top of the existing surface like a pile of marbles on your living room floor. if you drive too fast it can send you flying where you don’t expect to go.

Like upside down in the ditch.

Just ask Angel Girl.

But that’s not all – they also know that fresh gravel is sharp.

Really sharp.

Like puncture a tire sharp.

As in four new tires in the last two months sharp.

So sharp we punctured a brand new tire within weeks of buying it. Weeks.

I jokingly said, “Those folks at the tire store must really love us after all the money we’ve spent there this spring!”

Then – a few days later – Angel Girl got a card in the mail. No return address but it had a local postmark. She opened it and held up a nice graduation card with a gift card inside.  She looked confused. “Who are these people?” she asked.

A quick look at the signatures made me laugh out loud.

The owners of the local tire store.

I knew they liked us!

 

 

Chick Date

chick dateJan asked me on a date today.

He said he would pick me up as soon as he got home from work and then we would drive through the beautiful countryside on an adventure to pick up the week old baby chicks he bought from a guy on the Swap.

I like dates. I like baby chicks. I like drives through the beautiful countryside with my husband. So of course I said yes.

We took off in the Geo (the little tin can on wheels that Jan drives) across miles and miles of gravel roads.

And all those gravel roads were covered with new gravel.

Trust me when I say that driving on new gravel in the tin can car is not an enjoyable experience.

But we finally arrived at the farm of the nice older man who was selling the chicks.  This fella was quite the character and entertained us for at least 15 minutes with stories punctuated with “dadgum” and “cotton picking” before he produced the chickens from somewhere inside the house.

We pronounced them perfect and paid him.

Then he continued, without a breath, for another twenty minutes with more “dadgum” and “cotton picking” stories.

We finally pulled ourselves away and took our box of chicks to the car.

I climbed in first and Jan handed me the box saying, “You better hold them.”

So I did.

Off we go, in the Geo, down the gravel road covered with new gravel, with a box of week old chicks in my lap.

Did I mention the fact the Geo makes makes strange and wondrous noises – especially when it is bouncing along on new gravel?

All these noises and wild bouncing frightens the little chicks. Do you know what little chicks do when they are frightened? I immediately wished for a thicker box as that tiny car started to smell very ripe.

I, of course, got a nose full and was praying for deliverance when my husband announces, “I think the guy we get our honey from lives down this road.” And he turns down a gravel road in the opposite direction.

The bumpy turn on new gravel really sets the little chicks off and they attempt to fly out of the box on my lap.

So now we are taking the long way home, in the Geo, on gravel roads with new gravel, while I’m holding a box of week old chicks who are pooping up a storm and trying to fly in my face.

It was a long, smelly ride.

It is safe to say that I did not enjoy the beautiful countryside, nor could I enjoy the lovely fragrance of the wild plum blossoms that lined the ditches on both sides of the road.

At least he came through with the adventure part.

Trust me when I say that I plan to be the only chick on our next date. 🙂

Before the Grass Comes In

IMG_2168I’ve discovered that there is a new season on the farm – one that our city cousins don’t necessarily encounter.

I call it “Before the grass comes in.”

This season happens directly after the snow melts and before the grass greens up and starts growing – which signifies the start of the spring busy season.

I know the season has arrived when I hear  –

“Those varmint cedar trees need to be picked up and burned before the grass comes in.”

“I’ve got to get that baler fixed before the grass comes in.”

“Those locust trees down by the pond should be taken care of before the grass comes in.”

“I really should burn the ditches before the grass comes in.”

“There’s lots of brush and thorns to clean up from that last snow storm before the grass comes in.”

With each added minute of daylight as spring approaches, the list gets longer and my husband gets busier.

And I will admit that he’s not the only one with a list.

I know that as soon as the grass turns green all indoor projects will be put on hold until the ground freezes next fall.

There’s a shower that needs to be fixed, a quilt that needs to be finished and a basement that we’ve been slowly working on all winter.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if these projects sit undone. It’s hard to get motivated to work inside when the sun is shining and the temperatures are climbing!

After all – the grass is greening up!

Girl Power

Our van is broke.

Since it won’t start and it’s stuck in our driveway, Jan had to trailer it in to town.

(May I stop here and point out the fact that this is the third time in 18 months that we have had to tow this particular vehicle? Once on the way home from camping after rodents gnawed away some important wiring, once from Des Moines when the brakes locked up and now because it won’t start.

You may find this bit of history fascinating – but my husband did not.)

Towing the van into town meant he needed to borrow a trailer as the van is exactly 4.187643923 inches too big for ours.

So he borrowed Dagmar’s truck and the neighbor’s trailer.

IMG_20140922_133845_879This is when things got interesting.

The first time we towed this van we rented a car dolly.

The second time we towed this van we rented a trailer from U-haul that has a fancy come-along thing to pull the vehicle up on the trailer.

This time we have the neighbor’s flat bed trailer with no fancy come along thing.

Remember that the van won’t start.

He needed a plan.

He choose gravity.

So he and Buddy used the tractor to pull the van to the top of a small rise in the yard. Then he backed the trailer up to the rise, and they pushed the van down the slight incline to the trailer.

The plan worked well – at first. The van moved beautifully down the slight incline – but when it reached the trailer, there was a slight uphill to get it on the ramps.

And the van wouldn’t budge.

After several tries, they called for reinforcements.

And since both of our strong, handsome older boys are gone – there was only the two girls and me.

Imagine his reaction when two of the three of us showed up in flannel jammie pants wearing cowboy boots and flip flops!

shoesThey shall remain nameless – but I can assure you that I wasn’t one of them.

But sometimes you have to to work with what you’ve got and we were drafted anyway. At least two of the three of us lift weights occasionally.  (Once again – I can assure you that I am not one of them!)

It took several tries but believe it or not – we did it.

We got that van loaded up and ready to go into town.

No fancy come along thing.

Just brute strength. 🙂

Flip flops, cowboy boots, jammie pants and all.

Girl power.