A Positive Outlook

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“Always look at the bright side of life.” I believe the great philosopher, Monty Python said that, and he was right.

My mom loves me. She loves me so much she got me a box of fancy chocolates from Whole Foods, so they are definitely healthy. I got them home to find out they had melted into one ugly but tasty piece of chocolate. I wasn’t planning to share them anyway. I guess when you take out all of those poly-unsaturatedhydrogenatedcarbohighfructosecornsyrupfats, you remove some of the stability as well. So now when I want some chocolate, I take it out of the fridge and gnaw on it. Then I lick my fingers. I wasn’t planning to share it anyway.

Today GD looked out our kitchen window at what was a cute row of tulips last year.  This year only four came up and only three bloomed.  He commented disparagingly about how our use of salt to keep our walk safe in the winter had killed the flowers.  I pointed out that Mae had just today complimented me on the pretty flowers.  He saw what wasn’t there, and she saw what was.  (in his defense, she probably doesn’t remember what it looked like last year)

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Mud, mud, glorious mud!

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 It literally took two hours to upload these darn pictures.  Ridiculous! Then of course, I realized that I had just downloaded the photos from my camera then uploaded them here, without switching them to right side up.  I guess if you really care, you can twist your head.  I don’t wanna tie up my phone line any longer, so here they are.  My apologies.

DSC00386Now that mud season is in full swing, I am wanting to fix my mudroom. It is broken. The shelf next to the laundry tub has eggs to be washed, tub toys, baby shampoo, vaccine guns and a calf drencher. If you don’t know what that is, just imagine what it might take to force feed a 100-900 lb animal. Not only an incongruous mixture, but unsafe as well.  

The kids can’t hang their coats up, so they end up on the floor alongside the bag of cat food and the bag of calf manna (formula). Muddy boots reproduce in the dark corners of the room, and left handed gloves weep for their worn out and tossed mates. Four coats (a jacket, a warm school coat, an older coat for helping Dad and an extra odd jacket) per person, let’s see, 4X6=24 plus throw in a couple extra chore coats and three pairs of coveralls plus snow pants for everyone. Yeah, we are easily looking at a minimum of 35 articles of clothing. Obviously we don’t need the snow pants or heavy coats now, but if I stow them somewhere, I will spend two weeks trying to figure out what I did with them while my family freezes this fall. DSC00387

The whole shoe situation is a mess. We have shoes all over the place, and no good place to put them. GD won’t toss any of his. He even has a pair of homing boots. I have tossed them three times and they keep ending up back in the mudroom. He doesn’t wear them, but he can’t get rid of them. I just counted 28 pairs plus four half pairs of shoes in there. What are we the Marcos family? Personally I like to keep a couple of old pairs of tennies around so when I need to wade out in the corral, I don’t have to ruin my newer ones, but 28 pairs seems excessive. To do a little math, 28 divided by five is over five pairs a person (Paul is currently shoeless). I try to keep some off season stuff in the trunk, but it just isn’t handy for shoes, they make a mess or we forget them, and it isn’t vented.

I am unable to change the cap situation, GD has to wear a nice one to work, because he is a manager and all, but he can’t bring himself to toss one that still has wear in it, so we have, let me count them, 25, which have some sort of tire insignia on them, seven of which are official “company” hats. Then there are the “dress” caps, which don’t have the store insignia on them, but are advertising something else, like Caterpillar or (*gasp*) the Huskers. I also counted seven caps which fall into the miscelaneous category, neither tire nor nice.  I think I heard somewhere that if you wash caps, guys will no longer wear them, they loose their patina or something. Might be I could try that, but it is like a vacuum, more will come home from work and we will be at square one.DSC00385 I told him of my plans to do some serious arranging and mentioned the vaccine guns etc.  He suggested keeping them in the top cupboards of our pantry.  I pointed out that I have had a 13 gallon bag of caps he was previously unable to part with stored up there for the past 8 years.  He had the good grace to look sheepish.  We probably could put the calf stuff there but it is maybe a little too out of the way, I have lost stuff in those cupboards before!

The only thing I like about the room is the wall of cupboards. I keep boxes (*blush*) in the left side one, (in my defense, it is too small for our vacuum, but I put the broom in there once and couldn’t figure out what I had done with it for a month, we won’t discuss that further) home canned and pantry stuff go behind the middle two doors then my tools and paint and so on in the right side. Actually I like the laundry tub and the toilet you can get to without walking on the carpet as well. DSC00389

 The room has two doors, one leads from the garage via the laundry room, to the left of the potty (if you are sitting on it, the right if you are facing it ) and another which comes off the hallway to our kitchen/dining room by the sink.  You see this is what happens when you don’t have an experienced contractor help you with your addition plans. You have a maze of small weird rooms which don’t have the space to properly achieve their stated purpose.

I need serious help. I plan to get a cupboard to hang high behind the door (or maybe in the laundry room) for the vaccine guns, and some sort of hook things for the kids’ coats. I also have a bag of dance stuff I would like to put in here as well. I can’t hide many of the coats behind doors because frankly they need to be aired out. Probably I need to commission a cabinet for next to the sink, 2X2X3 with two deep drawers on glider things. Otherwise I am at a loss. Money is definitely an object, but so is my sanity at this point. If anyone has advice or experience in organizing mudrooms (aside from contacting Extreme Makeover, Home Edition) I would be glad to listen.

DSC00388We came home from vacation once to find our “friends” had made this to hang off the mirror of the work pickup. We had asked them to keep an eye on the livestock, and apparently they had a little too much time on their hands. It is so heavy it pulled the mirror off the windshield, but it gives our mudroom a nice cedar smell…

I went mattress shopping and found a bench/coat rack piece I am considering. We could put the current season’s school coats and backpacks on the hooks, but the down side is this piece will have to be in our dining room/kitchen. Would you want something like that in your dining room for actual use and not just for the looks?  If I get it, I would junk a fairly unattractive piece which collects a lot of dust in that corner.  It is not a formal room, obviously, just a big table with junk piled on one end and a sticky laminate floor with a dusty old ceiling fan above.

Branding

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We got our branding done today. The weather was beautiful. Grandpa Daddy just finished a set of corrals on our west place this morning, it was so new the wood sparkled! By the end of the day we had baptized the whole thing with cow manure. GD also has a list of things he needs to fix so the setup will work better next time. ofrf-066

We have some friends who help us work our cattle, city people who did not grow up around livestock. How do you teach an adult to work cattle? They stand too close, are too loud, are in the wrong spot, can’t tell a pregnant cow from a new mama, and the worst of all, they can’t intuit what the boss is wanting, when what he says doesn’t make sense! I gained this wealth of knowledge in much the same way my husband did. Our dads yelled at us. This is a time honored method of teaching. For generations now, fathers have been yelling across the corral at which ever kid is not doing the right thing. The yelling is important, because a smart kid will listen to what is going on and will avoid making the same mistake his sibling just did. It isn’t wise to go off on your friends though. I didn’t realize it was so instinctive until GD pointed out to me what one guy was doing. When I replaced him, things suddenly started going smoothly. How do you tell a guy with a Civil Engineering license that he needs to stick a 2X4 behind the last cow so she doesn’t back down the alley! Fortunately GD’s nephew usually helps and he is savvy. He probably got yelled at by his grandpa and his dad.

GD went off on Mae early on, telling her to “just shut up!” My SIL was offended, but I have lived with the child for several years, and I can understand that it is hard to think when she is rattling, and I am sure she was making the cattle nervous. She did fine after that, staying out of the way and being relatively quiet.ofrf-036

I grew up working cattle the old fangled way, with horses. GD’s father sold his last horse years ago, and used four-wheelers and squeeze chutes after that. They have their place, nobody we know ropes, so a chute is a necessity, but when a calf climbed out, I was the only one who knew how to wrassle it. I had the front, and two guys who both weighed more than me were holding the back down. I guess it is like learning to do long division even now that we have calculators. You still need to know the basics.

ofrf-024 Some of you might recognize the back of this guy’s head.  He has moved on to younger wrassling partners.

There are many things my husband and I don’t do well as a team, but we do pretty well working cattle together, and I don’t think a lot of couples can say that.

ofrf-022

We go tomorrow to pick up Jane from her extended stay with Grandma and Papa. I guess I will go clean up the kitchen while these darn photos upload. I have been on the internet loading photos now for over two hours. ofrf-041 Longhorn calf.

May Blizzard

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We left Jane with Grandma and Papa in Western Nebraska against Mae’s better judgement.  They were going to drop her off at noon today as they were going to a Habitat for Humanity meeting in KC.  They started off early, and chose a route after watching the weather channel.  There was a skiff of new snow on the ground.  It was not supposed to snow to the south.  Fifty miles and two hours down the road, they had to stop.  The road was too bad.  They kept thinking that it would break up or they would drive out of it.  It didn’t and they didn’t.  So they were in a town of maybe a few hundred, and everything is closed.  They couldn’t go back.  They chose a house to knock at, and they were welcomed.  The man was a minister and they had three kids, the eight-year-old wanted a little sister to play Barbies with.  I suppose most anyone would have welcomed them in this out of the way burg, but these people had quite a bit in common with my folks.  Mom called, and they left for home around 4:30.  It took them an hour and a half, but they made it. 

We have an empty spot here at home.  It seems a little quieter.  Nobody has touched the dress-up clothes since last Thursday.  It takes a lot less time to get out of the house in the morning…The storm is here now, we have had snow, but it is too warm to stick.  Now it is just windy.  I love to go to sleep to the wind (when I am in a warm house).  The wind nearly always dies down at night here.  Tonight will be a cozy one indeed.

Tomorrow Grandpa Daddy wants to brand the neighbor’s cattle and then ours the next day.  He wants me to help, so I pawned the kids off on the neighbor.  I think she was relieved that one was missing, it takes a lot out of a person, keeping track of four kids, and she is not young.  I am hoping to get a shot of a longhorn calf.  Our bull didn’t get to our heifers first, but we have a couple longhorn cows that had calves.

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