Grass Fire

It seems that two weeks ago was a busy one for our local volunteer fire department.

They fought the fire at Jan’s work, a house fire and three out of control grass fires all in 24 hours.

But it didn’t end there. There were at least two – but sometimes three – grass fires every day that week. Dagmar – after spending hours sitting in the ambulance watching grass burn – would come home complaining about the silly people who let things get out of control while burning ditches.

I mean honestly!grass fire

Fast forward to Saturday.

Jan and the boys are out helping Poppa burn his ditches. (You know what’s coming – don’t you?)

A gust of wind from the west sends the flames across the fire line and heads them into the pasture.

They’re spreading like – well – like wild fire.

All four guys rush to get it stopped.  Frantically beating out sparks. Just when they start wondering if they should call in the fire department – the wind changes, blowing the flames back on themselves.

Whew! Disaster averted.

The only damage done was to their pride.

And the pasture.

Oh – and Jan’s hair.

Did you know that hair melts when it gets really hot?

I spent some time on Saturday night cutting out the melted parts – or trying to – before church on Sunday morning.

I’m no barber. I’m afraid it looked a little like a “my wife cut my hair in the shadowy basement wearing bifocals when she was way too tired to hold scissors in her hand” kind of haircut.

I’m thankful he’s blond – it doesn’t show as much.

And that it’s only a bad hair cut – not first degree burns – or worse.

And that we didn’t need to call the fire department – I’m not sure Dagmar would have lived that one down!

Are We Red Necks Yet?

It wasn’t so long ago that my youngest sister and her family moved from the suburbs to their dream home in the country. Both my sister and her husband have country roots so it was a pretty easy transition for them – but there are always some adjustments to be be made...
Deer head
I think it all started with the deer head.

We were at my youngest sister’s during New Year’s weekend when the cousins decided to drag a deer head from the ditch to save the antlers.

Then they spent the good part of an hour trying to figure out how to hang it in a tree to keep it from the dog.

Every day my sister’s husband saw that deer head with empty eye sockets hanging in the back yard and thought – deer carcass. Deer carcasses have meat and bones. Dog’s like meat and bones. It’s hunting season – I bet I could get some free meat and bones for the dog to chew.

Brilliant idea!

He talked to a buddy at work who had the right connections to hunters and arranged for him to come over for supper on Saturday night with a free deer carcass for the dog.

It was dark when his buddy arrived, so the men just dropped the carcass in front of the attached garage and went inside.

Of course the dog immediately found the bones and wasted no time in digging in.

Meanwhile the family enjoyed a great night of fellowship and – when their guests left – they went to bed, never once thinking about the dog and those bones.

Now those of you with dogs already know exactly what happened! While the family slept peacefully in their beds – that dog had a party.

My brother-in-law woke up very early on Sunday morning and left on a business trip before dawn.

It wasn’t until much later that my sister woke up to discover that the dog had drug that carcass all over the front yard.

There were bloody bones everywhere.

It looked like a war zone.

And she had to rush out the door with the kids to make it to church.

And after church they were hosting their small group Bible study for lunch.

And her husband was in an airplane thousands of miles away.

Oh my. She had a bone to pick with that man!

Later that day every one of their city friends got to walk through the bones along the bloody path to the front door to get in the house.

My brother-in-law was in the doghouse.

My sister looked at the carnage and asked, “So are we red necks yet?”

You’re on your way honey.

Welcome home!

Warm Coat, Light Coat, Rain Coat, Yikes!

coatsA friend wrote on Facebook recently that she was busy sorting coats for her large family –

“I felt a bit overwhelmed today. Today was “coat sorting day”. A warm coat for church, a warm coat for farm chores, a warm coat for town, don’t forget a lightweight coat for the days that it goes back up to 60…”

I can totally relate.

This is one of those rural realities that you just have to live with.

Everybody needs a warm coat to wear around the farm – one that they can do chores in, go sledding in and get muddy on four-wheeler rides.

But they also need a warm coat that stays nice to wear to church and to town.

Ditto for lighter weight coats for spring and fall and rain gear and sweatshirts and fleeces.

You start multiplying my family members and the number of coats per person and you soon see how overwhelming it can be.

And don’t forget the hats, mittens, overalls, boots and shoes – all in multiples.

It’s not just the outer wear! We almost need 2 separate wardrobes – one for going away and one for staying at home.

It is a known fact that whatever clothes are worn outside to do chores will get dirty, stained, ripped and otherwise made unfit for public wear. That’s why we set aside some clothes just for that purpose.

Trust me, the chickens and cows don’t care.

But we have other clothes that are saved just for going away where people will actually see us.

Although it never fails that the one day you don’t wash your hair, have on your worst looking jeans and the t-shirt with stains – will be the one day that you need to run to town to buy a bolt and pick up baler wire.

Never fails.

I get a chuckle every time I see a magazine article describing how to simply your wardrobe. Ha! What I need is some hints on how to practically store the gazillion coats, hats, mittens, boots, and shoes that are piled in my mud room.

But then – as my friend said –

“..multiply that times 12 and you get 48 coats in our closet. That is nuts- but thank you Lord for all 48 coats.”

So true! Thank you for Lord for each and every coat – and the healthy bodies to wear them!

A Country – Style Workout

fence I knew I was in for an interesting afternoon when my husband asked me if I could help him outside.

Oh yeah – some of you know exactly what that means!

It means that all the projects I had started or planned for the afternoon were now on hold and I would be getting dirty, tired, and most likely sore.

Yep. It was time for a country- style workout.

Our calf – who has now officially been named Shakespeare – needed a bigger pen. Which meant that Jan needed all hands on deck to cut up fallen branches, pull out the old fence line and put up a new one.

Even as I pulled on my coveralls I knew that there was no chance that I would get to run the chain saw- my husband learned very early in our marriage to keep me away from all power tools.

Nor would I get to drive the 4-wheeler – my sons shuddered at the very thought.

No – I would get to do the more manual labor – the grunt jobs.

So while Jan cut the trees and Pedro drove loads of brush off – the other kids and I hauled branches and raked up behind them.

This proved to be just the warm -up.

When the fence line was finally cleared it was time for fence posts – about 60 in all. Guess who got to help load them? Moi.

Pedro would grab them from the pile and hand them to me to throw in trailer. He started out giving me one or two at a time – but the next thing I knew I was tossing 3 or 4 at a time.

At one point I saw that Jan was watching – so I had Pedro give me five at a time – just to impress him.  😉

We’ll call that weight-lifting.

Then it was time to move the cattle panels across the farmyard to the new pen. So while Pedro and Jan pounded fence posts, Matt and I started digging them out of the weeds.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with cattle panels let me clue you in – they are big, and awkward and heavy. And they have a tendency to get bent – and get stuck on things – like each other and rocks and sticks on the ground.

But that didn’t stop me. I dragged 16 of those bad boys across the farm yard, around the garden, and out into the pasture – by myself.

I’ll think I’ll call that the cardio part of my workout – or maybe resistance training?  I wonder just how many calories I burned?

But don’t worry – I quickly replaced them with the handfuls of chocolate peanut butter cookies I ate during break time. 🙂

The rest of the job went quickly – haul the cattle panels into position and hold them in place while Jan secured them.

Then all we needed to do was move Shakespeare to his new home.

He was a happy cow.

And I was a dirty, tired, and sore country gal.

It was time for a hot bath and another cookie – these country style workouts are tough!