Thursday, April 23, 2015

Burning Patures

*Please note - this post was written two weeks ago.  I've just been sitting on it and rewriting portions as I saw fit.  That, and I absolutely forgot about it for an entire week.  Most burning has since been completed.  

It's time to burn pastures in the Flint Hills, and pasture burning is a necessary task in our part of paradise, folks, like it or not.  It always amazes me how even people in our tiny town don't quite understand exactly why we do what we do.  Preggo brain has taken a firm grasp upon my brain this afternoon so I am unable to write a proper essay complete with scientific notations (or even a coherent sentence for that matter) so please be content with my meager, probably scrambled reasoning this afternoon on why we must burn our pastures.

Burning does a fine job of suppressing weeds and is a great alternative to spraying chemicals.  Our terrain is rather rocky and uneven and traveling with a vehicle of spray, or even aerial spraying is not always a viable option.  Burning can reach into draws and creek bottoms in a very effective manner.  Similarly, it also helps suppress woody plants and unwanted cedar trees from invading a pasture.  In addition to weed control, burning helps control unwanted insect invasions.  Burning helps increase plant productivity by increasing photosynthetic capabilities.

Yes, there will always be a few bad apples who manage to let a fire get out of control and make the evening news for their involvement in some sort of catastrophic event.  However, for each and every one of these random incidents, there are also 100 properly controlled prescribed burns that occur and you never know they even happened, minus the beautiful black soil that begins to look like a luscious, green golf course in only a few short weeks.

Below are pictures from the one fire where I remembered to bring my camera.  Enjoy, and please remember to click on pictures in order to enlarge them.

I was ecstatic to be able to capture photos of a whirlygig.  And yes, that is the technical, meteorological term I am absolutely certain. 

Two whirlygigs.  What are the odds?

Doesn't this seem like a collection of colors you'd see at a paint store?  Feel free to create some of your own fanciful names for the colors.  Prairie fire orange, steel blue sky, etc.

We drove by this pasture last night and it does indeed now look exactly like a lush, green golf course.  A golf course with calves grazing it.

At this point Kenyon decided I was too close to the fire and started yelling, "NO, NO MOM.  HOT, HOT!"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just a Girl, Her Dog... and a Skunk

It has rained and rained and rained in our area quite a bit in the past week.  We've had around five inches, and all greatly appreciated, trust me.

It has rained so much lately that Wesley decided to take a break yesterday afternoon and actually stay inside the house and relax.  Kenyon laid down for his nap after church and I high-tailed it out of the house for a relaxing little waddle down the road all by myself.

To begin, I walked south of the house and down to the creek as I was hoping to get some pictures of the water running over the bridge.
As we approached the bridge we noticed something funny....

A skunk - out for a little drink. You can see him at the edge of the water, right in the middle of the road/bridge.
Because Laurie and I really weren't interested in keeping with such stinky company we then decided to walk north and west of our house a mile or so.  The walk was definitely worth the effort by the preggo as the sky was pretty incredible.  A storm was building to the west, the lightning was just beginning and the winds were beginning to pick up.  I absolutely love it when the sky looks like this.  The vibrant green grass in the freshly burned pastures contrasted wonderfully with the deep, steely blue of the sky.  The few pure white clouds that dotted the sky completed God's perfect handiwork.  Nicely done.  (Like He needs my approval, but there it is.)

No more than five minutes after I waddled home the heavens opened and we got another inch.  Hallelujah!  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where Does the Time Go?

Time is flying by, and I have no earthly idea where it is going.  Kenyon has suddenly become a little man and there doesn't seem to be any trace of baby left.  My heart aches just thinking about it.

He is into anatomy and likes to name parts of the body on himself or anyone within poking distance.  He is beginning to identify colors and especially enjoys saying "bllllllllllllllagh" which is, of course, blue.

We have been spending nearly all day, every day, outdoors planting flowers and working in the garden.  Kenyon loves to be a helper and imitate everything I do.  I'm going to need to find a small watering can for him as I'm sure it would keep him occupied for huge chunks of time.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time picking rocks out of the raised beds and laying the offending rocks on one of the railroad ties that makes up the border.  Kenyon and his pal Jorja filled their arms, load after load, with tons of rocks and then threw them threw the barbed wire fence into the pasture.  I'm not sure how well Jorja slept that night, but Kenyon even had to take a little TWO HOUR power nap in addition to his regular nap that day.  I didn't make the kids throw all those rocks into the pasture, but when they wanted to do it, of course I encouraged it and let them carry on for as long as possible.  Side note: I found several earthworms in the garden dirt and let the kiddos play with them.  Kenyon enjoyed petting them very gently while Jorja thoroughly enjoyed them - without ever touching them.  I love observing the differences in boys versus girls.

Someday soon I'll post pictures of our growing boy.  Let's be realistic though, folks.  Preggo ladies have no energy to edit pictures by the end of the day, much less type something charming to accompany them.  Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Quarterly Report

I profusely apologize for a lack of blogging lately.  Life has been speeding along at a rapid pace out here in the middle of nowhere.

When I had a 'real job', or more appropriately a 'town job' I had to complete these Quarterly Reports.  I feel it has been so long since I last posted that this is going to turn into a quarterly report of sorts.

  • Burning.  Burning, burning, burning.  The country is going up in flames.  Have I taken pictures?  Of course I have.  Will they turn into a lengthy post someday?  Perhaps.  Don't hold your breath.  (Or do hold your breath because it's so smoky around here.)  Along with burning is the fun, wifey task of washing bedsheets, blankets, sweatshirts, gloves and normal chore clothes.  Everything in our home seems to soak up the smoke smell, even with all the windows shut.  While I enjoy the smell (to a degree), I also do not enjoy smelling like I reside in a chimney. 
  • Calving.  We have been incredibly fortunate this year.  The weather has cooperated for the most part and we've not had a single calf inside the shed, inside the hot box, or inside the house this year.  Thank goodness.  A few needed pulled and a few needed tubed, but nothing serious. Again, thank goodness.  
  • Going to grass.  We drive calves home, the men re-vaccinate and implant the calves and then haul them out to summer pasture.  This also means I've been doing lots of snap tests lately.  
  • We're getting ready for gardening.  Wesley brought me manure and we extended my raised bed by one more railroad tie.  We have tilled and are ready for warmer weather!  
  • I've been slowly building more processing tables for the men.  I love and miss playing with my power tools, but I'm finding that it is a difficult hobby to conduct with a one year old.  I cut one board, chase the child, mark the next board, chase the child, cut one board, chase the child, get everything lined up and ready to screw together, chase the child, leave all the boards sitting in the same spot for a week, chase the child.  Efficiency in NOT our middle name.  
  • A neighbor girl comes over to play a few days a week.  I love her to death, but it is an extra child to take care of.  Spare moments on those days mean I crash in the recliner and power nap like there is no tomorrow.  It makes me seriously wonder how I'm going to function someday with multiple children.  
  • I'm pregnant.  So there's that.  That may account for quite a bit of the power napping.  If I'm not power napping, you can usually find me curled up next to a toilet.  Again, seriously wondering how I am ever going to function with multiple children.  I know we'll survive, but goodness, I get chills just thinking about it.  
Is this what my quarterly reports for the 'town job' used to look like?  Absolutely not.  Did this one get you up to speed just as efficiently?  Absolutely.  

Kenyon has laid down for his nap.  Power nap time for me.  Over and out. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring has Sprung

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I'm so thankful it is spring and every activity under the heavens currently involves soaking up the glorious, warm sunshine. And baby calves.  Few things in life are better than baby calves.  We are thankful for them too!

Lessons Learned

I learned a plethora of invaluable information last week when so many in our household were sick.  Feel free to garner infinite wisdom from me:

  • When your uber masculine husband is sick, nothing does the trick quite like locking him in the bedroom and letting him watch chick-flicks all day long by himself.  His viewing choices?  The movie, Titanic, and soap operas.  I kid you not.  I thought this was really odd until I talked to his friend, also named Wes, who said he loved Titanic too.  Maybe it's a guy thing, maybe it's a Wes thing, maybe it's a sick day thing, maybe it's a sick-guy-named-Wes-thing.  The world may never know.  
  • I was sick one day and needed to throw up several times in the toilet.  One of those times, I apparently did not get the door clicked shut.  Kenyon opened the door and was able to observe.  This resulted in Kenyon standing in front of the toilet, closing his eyes, grunting/yelling and shaking his head back and forth violently.  As you can tell, I'm pretty attractive when I puke.  
  • I wish Kenyon would have put some of this useful puking knowledge to use when it was his turn to get sick.  It was his first time of actually puking and it scared him very badly.  During each episode I would hold him over the bathtub, the sink, the toilet - any large receptacle, and try to point his head downward.  It never failed; each and every time he got ready to puke, he would get scared, point his head towards me and start to say, "Mam---BLAH."  The end result?  We were both covered head to toe in regurgitated bologna, cottage cheese..... you get the drift.  It was not a pleasant evening at our house.  So, for all you mamas to be that think motherhood is glamorous and looks like this:
Think again.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Not the Nurturing Type, Apparently

I have come to the realization that I would not, in fact, make a good nurse.  Everyone, please contain your gasps of surprise.

I love being a nurturing mother, mostly because it is incredibly simple.  Bang your head on a table corner?  Kiss, hug, snuggle.  Someone take your toy away?  Kiss, hug, snuggle.  Super tired?  Kiss, hug, snuggle.  Upset tummy?  Kiss hug, snuggle.  I am the master.

My mom has been in the hospital following some surgery and I have quickly found that kiss, hug, snuggle is NOT what the doctor ordered for someone who just had open heart surgery.  My bad.  I found myself wetting a cool washcloth to place on her forehead every 30 minutes while she slept the hours away.  It was an incredibly helpless feeling that makes you feel rather worthless.  Never mind the lady laying in the bed a few feet away from me that could barely move or function; I felt completely helpless.

Now Wesley is sick.  Lord, help us all.  He is a gruff man on a good day.  Today, is NOT a good day so this guy is ten steps below a wet cat that can smell food on the other side of a door.  I'm not sure if that entire analogy even makes sense to others, but trust me, it's bad.  He.  Is.  A.  Bear.  He actually came inside today instead of sorting and hauling cattle.  That means he is only 1/2 step away from death.  Trust me, even if kiss, hug, snuggle might work on him, I'm not sure that I would.  (See aforementioned comment about being a bear.)

Please keep our entire family in your prayers - especially the sick husband, the sick momma and the baby that crashed his head into the table corner, had a toy taken away and is super tired.