Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Week in the Life of a Ranch Kid

Continual apologies regarding my tardy nature.  Y'all should expect it by now.  It's been busy around here lately.  The weather has had some serious ups and downs so you'll notice the extremes in fashion choices when viewing the photos.  

John is getting to the age where he is much more interactive and engaged with all the happenings around here.  Although he doesn't talk much, he definitely is quite expressive and lets you know what he's thinking through facial expressions and gestures.  

Since he's down to mere days until he's bumped into middle child status, I'm feeling rather sentimental towards him and decided to focus primarily on the current 'youngest child' for this post. 

Watching the calves come to the feed pickup.

A little light pond dam work on the bulldozer. 

National Take Your Kid to Work Day
A normal Tuesday.

Rainy day reading with his big brother.  Kenyon was so good in explaining the differences among various implements and equipment in the tractor book.

We went to a spring show.
I got tired of chasing him.
I locked him (temporarily) in the calf scales.
(No children were harmed in the making of this photo.)

The boys, and friend, jumped off the pig loading chute hundreds of times that day.

See the bottom of his pants?  That would be an accumulation of soggy juices from playing in the feedbunks where silage had collected and then gotten rained on.
John smelled delightful after playing in this mess. 

Bath time was guaranteed that night. 

A quick trip to the hospital to see our new baby cousin...

Approximately 3 hours old, after approximately 2 hours of nursing.
She is quite possibly the world's best snuggler.  And eater, according to her mother. 

Playing on the swingset.  Over and over and over and over...

Working a little ground with Dad one evening.
I love these trips when both boys ride with their dad.  It guarantees me at least a half hour of quiet time to relax in the car by myself.  

These tomatoes aren't going to plant themselves. 

I love this photo.  It was such a fun morning planting the garden with these two. 

Feeding chickens.

I feel the need.  The need for speed.
This does not bode well for our future. 

He's exhausted?  Think about his mama trying to keep up with him!

I can't get enough of this little devilish grin.
And there you have it, folks.  As you can plainly see, this kiddo covers some serious territory during the course of a week.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Practical Pasture Picnics

Sometimes I crack myself up.  Case in point: the following excerpt from a blog post that I started last fall and never managed to publish until now.  In the blog I describe how difficult it was to juggle the timing of cooking with two small children.  What I couldn't, or wouldn't, say in the text was that I was also newly pregnant at the time and frequently had to take breaks from cooking very aromatic food to expel the contents of my stomach in a waste disposal system otherwise known as a toilet.  Just what everyone wants to read about, correct?  If this isn't a page turner of a blog, I don't know what is.  I also don't know how anyone is supposed to turn pages on an electronic blog, but bear with me.  


I enjoy the occasional episode of a cooking show where the host shares a lifestyle somewhat similar to mine.  Let's just call her "The Frontier Lady".

Frontier Lady always has perfect makeup, perfectly coiffed hair and her house is spotless when she cooks.  Her kiddos don't fight, don't fuss and don't bother her when she's cooking.

She loves to take meals to her husband and hired men out in the pasture when they are working cattle.  (There's the one similarity we share.)

When she lays out the meals, her men eat on tin plates and drink from mason jars, wiping their chinny-chin-chins with cloth napkins.  They stretch out, tip back their chairs and scratch their full bellies after completing their meal that they just got done eating at a table that miraculously appeared in the middle of nowhere.  And it has a tablecloth on it.  Seriously.  C'mon, girlfriend.  Get real.

I realize that much of this is for show, and if I had a camera crew with me perhaps I'd put in a bit more effort as well.  Let me tell you how we roll when the cameras aren't rolling...

Last week Wesley ordered lunch for himself and five other men who would help him wean calves all that day.  I made a mental note of a potential menu and what ingredients I actually had on hand.  (I only go to the grocery store once every 10 days, if that, and sometimes it starts to be slim pickins' by day 9.)  In between laying out ingredients to thaw and chopping veggies I also had to feed and dress two little ones.

The entire morning needs to run like a well-oiled machine to make everything work and heaven help us all if a wrench gets thrown in it.  I laid the baby down for his morning nap and prayed that he would sleep very long and very hard.  While he was down, I kicked Kenyon outside to play and checked on him occasionally to make sure he wasn't in the road or the pasture.  (He has a terrible habit of crawling underneath the barbed wire fence to go check out the cattle.)

In the meantime, I continued on with my meal for the men: steak stroganoff, green bean casserole, cheddar bay biscuts and chocolate chip cookies.  Some of these guys only get one decent meal a day and I want to make sure I'm not ever the one to drop the ball.  I know I appreciate the same thing on rare days when I am without the kiddos and outside working.


Fast forward several months and it is very much the same story on a different day.  I still make lunch often for the men when they are out working.  It sure beats driving all the way to town and spending quite the chunk of change for something I can make fairly similar at home.  Now I don't have to worry quite so much about the two kids that are on the ground.  They play fairly well together while I try to cook and load the SUV with lawn chairs, paper goods and foodstuffs.  

Now I just have to worry when hot grease from the stove pops and lands on my huge, protruding belly.  Now I waddle to and from the sink, stove and fridge.  Now I still make multiple trips to the bathroom facilities, but not to throw up.  I now have a little one that dances on my bladder with the utmost force and consistency.  

And much like before, I still don't have my hair perfectly coiffed, nor am I wearing a stitch of makeup.  (Sidenote: my husband must think I have a beautiful soul or some such nonsense because he certainly didn't marry me for my natural beauty.  It's amazing that he finds me attractive enough to keep having babies.  But enough on that note.)  There is no tablecloth or fine china setting out for the masses.  We fix our meals on paper plates from a buffet at the back of the car. Our beverage selection is pretty stellar as well.  The men have a choice of cold gatorade or wrestling a sippy cup from one of the boys.  

Perhaps one day I will be as awesome as The Frontier Lady.  Today is certainly not that day.  I'm guessing until I stop being eternally pregnant or carrying a small child on my hip that the men will have to settle for their slim pickins from a hostess without the mostess.  

Poor guys.  Their buffet was squished to make room for my oh-so-important laundry hampers full of recycling to take to town.  Priorities.
The cherry coffee cake today was quite the hit, and took quite a hit once the boys had a taste of it.  Very little of it made it back home. 
Stringing fire right before lunch. 

... and burning off excess energy before lunch.  If there is a haybale in sight, Kenyon will run across it.
Same story, different day, pretty similar menu.  Just waiting on the men to take a pause from their pasture burning to come eat. 

We've seen very little of Dad this week as he's been busy burning and kicking calves out to grass.  We love it when he's able to pause for five minutes and talk to the boys. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

If I Were A Good Blogger

We're no longer shooting for greatness here, folks.  I no longer harbor any grandiose dreams of becoming a great blogger.  We're aiming slightly lower these days.  If I were a good, decent blogger, you would have read some sort of update from me in the last month.  Here's the quick and dirty...

If I were a good blogger:

  • You would have seen more smiles.

  • You would know all about little footprints in construction dust and getting ready for the new baby.

  • You'd know about Kenyon's new 'big boy' bed that I slightly covet for myself.
  • You'd know all about that perfect evening with no wind when we walked down to the silo and watched the hay grinder man with his big machine. 

  • You'd know that we had our garden worked and ready for potatoes and onion sets on the 17th. 

  • You'd know about the week that Wesley did nothing but work ground and the only time we saw him was the 45 minutes the boys would ride with him in the evenings.  (That week sucked.)

  • You'd know that we absolutely love the neighbor men in our life, no matter where we run into them.

  • You'd know that I came across this recipe and laughed a little, and then had a little cry because I missed him.  And I didn't have enough boxes of salt for the recipe.

  • You'd know that there was one really still Sunday afternoon when we went fishing and didn't even have a nibble.  

  • You'd know that little boys are absolute dirt magnets.  Here's our evidence.  If you look closely at the picture below you'll notice a circle that is relatively clean thanks to the nice lady at the grocery store that gave Kenyon a sticker.  The rest of his shirt was filthy compared to that little circle.  I thank the Lord every day for my washing machine.

  • You'd see more wrestling matches that just seem to get rougher and rougher each day.  Sometimes I stop them; most of the time I don't. 

  • You'd know all about Kenyon riding his grandad's horse and doing big-time, man stuff with him.

If I were a good blogger, you'd know about all these things. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

From the Mouth of Babes

Mr. Kenyon is three and has reached an incredibly fun age (when he isn't making me want to pull my hair out or drink heavily).  He manages to say something quotable nearly every single day.  I wish I was better at writing more of them down.

While Feeding
We took drive around the silo the other evening and allowed Kenyon to explain to his dad and I what all the different components are that he and his Grandpa feed with nearly every day.  "That's the ground corn, that's the ground hay, there's the distillers, that's the silage..."  He waved his arms around in a grand fashion as he proudly explained the contents of 'his territory'.  I asked him what was stored in the poly bin at the edge of the silo (and for the record I KNEW WHAT WAS IN THERE).

Kenyon sighed and slapped one hand on his forehead because he was obviously surrounded by idiots.
"Mommmmmm, that is the mineral!"

At Nap Time
Mom: Okay, you'll lay down and go right to sleep?

Kenyon: Yes.  I'll lay right down and go to sleep.

I walked out of his bedroom and softly closed the door.


Conserving Energy
"Mama, if I see that light on in that utility room one more time, there had better be someone in there.  You are wearing me out!"

I hear the phrase, "Mama, you are wearing me out" multiple times a day.

P.S.- I feel as bad about wearing him out as he does about wearing his mama out.

At Supper Time
(This one is my personal favorite thus far.)

We all sat down for supper the other night and Kenyon asked for a cup of water.

"But I don't want any whiskey in mine, please."

Noted, child.  No whiskey for the three year old.  Got it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pond Cleaning

Wesley spent better than a week cleaning out a pond in one of the pastures recently.  Every night he would leave the bulldozer and come home a gigantic ball of mud.  

On his last day working on the pond, he asked me to bring the boys out not just to watch him (which we had been doing every day) but to ride on the bulldozer to the very center of the pond.  It isn't like him to make such a request so I was happy to oblige him.... even if there was only a 22 degree windchill out that day.  

By this time poor John was already frozen but we threw him on the dozer anyhow.

Here's a picture to help you gauge just how large the pond really is.
That was an awful lot of mud to push out.

This part absolutely made me giggle.  Wesley kept shouting at me to zoom in and then he' instruct the boys to wave.  This was the most I could zoom in without completely switching out lenses on my camera, which is not something my little frozen fingers were about to do.  Can you tell if they are waving???

 They took at little drive along the dam to inspect the backside of the pond...

My poor, frozen little popsicle of a son.  Notice how John's expression really doesn't change much throughout the photos.  I don't think he could physically move his face at this point.  No worries though.  Once he got back in the car and warmed up he was all smiles and giggles and babbled incessantly about his 'man time'.