Chasing Turkeys

A few months ago, we went on a family outing to check our freshly sprouted corn fields and ended up chasing wild turkeys instead.  There are an abundance of wild turkeys around here every spring and Mr. Rancher has a knack for gobbling just perfectly so the toms will gobble back to him.  We all got a kick out of the gobbling match our guy got into with the toms.

And if this isn’t the best family picture we’ve ever taken, I don’t know what is.  Everyone is looking, three out of four smiling real, happy smiles, and the fourth isn’t crying.

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There’s the big tom, all fanned out.

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Checking Calves and Fields

One Sunday this Winter/Spring, we spent the morning feeding cows and checking for new baby calves with Mr. Rancher.  That is one of the only scheduling perks I have found for church starting at 1 PM.  After feeding, we took the four-wheeler up on the hill to look for new babies.  This little cutie was settled in a sagebrush nest just across the ditch.

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What a unique and darling face this little calf has.  Henley was in love the moment she saw the calf, her love grew even more when the calf was content to lay their and be petted by the three-year-old cowgirl.

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I’m in love with the markings on this baby!IMG_5421

This calf was oddly friendly for a newborn range calf, he walked right up to Mr. Rancher to meet Becca.IMG_5425

Moments like these make me fall in love with Mr. Rancher all over again.  Not only is he the calf whisperer, but he’s including our little munchkins in the excitement and teaching them how to handle animals.  He’s also genuinely enjoyed meeting the newest baby and scratching its chin.  The passion Ty feels for caring for this bovine creatures is written all over his face.IMG_5429

After caring for the livestock we took a drive out Crane Creek to check on our fields of triticale.  Miss Becca took a nice long nap.IMG_5435

Henley chatted with us, ate graham crackers, and kept everyone smiling.  Bo let his hair blow in the breeze and kept a close eye on Mr. Rancher.IMG_5438

If you look closely you can see the slight green hue the field was turning.  IMG_5444

I’m always impressed when Ty feels the dirt, hay, oats, etc. and makes judgment calls about harvest readiness, irrigation needs, or predicts growth rates.  Farming is much more than simply plant, water, harvest, sell.  It’s an art as much as a science and all the farmers I know (trust me I know quite a few) take pride in their work as an art form not just as a business venture.  Farming is a way to make money, but its actually a way to lose incredible amounts of money very easily.  Farming isn’t about the money, though that certainly is important, it’s about the lifestyle, about the artistry of working with the earth and weather to harvest bounty against all odds, to tame and nourish ground that used to be barren, devoid of sustenance, and cultivate it into productive land.

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I also always notice Ty’s inability to take his eyes off the crops/fields/cows until absolutely necessary.  He’s always on the watch while walking or driving by fields.

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And he doesn’t look away until he absolutely has to.IMG_5450

Driving with him, may or may not, be a tad terrifying at times.

The Man of the House

These girls sure are lucky to have such a great daddy.

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He lets them crawl all over him and tickle, hit, roll, ride, jump, body-slam into him all while laughing, crying, growling, or whatever expression of noise is most appropriate.  The best time of day is when daddy comes home.  Hands down.  He’s always happy to see his girls after long, long days of work and always has just enough energy to play with them.IMG_5358

Can we just take a moment to talk about that “red” hat?  Mr. Rancher has had that hat since before we were married.  It is faded far from its original bright, cardinal, red color, is stained with oil, sweat, and dirt, and has been lost and found many times.  Whenever I think that hat has finally been lost for good, it always turns up again.  Mr. Rancher caught me trying to sneak it into the trash one day, do you want to know what he said?  (Okay, so that was a rhetorical question since I’m obviously going to tell you anyway, but I thought I’d try to be polite).  “That hat’s been in my life longer than you have, and it’s not about to leave.”

Well excuuuuuuuuuse me for caring about the way he dresses and the reflection is gives to my laundering and housekeeping skills.

Good thing he’s such a good daddy.  A good hubby too, if I’m being totally honest.  Just watch out if you try to clean out his closet or hat rack.  Holey, stained, too small, too big, ripped, or shredded items that most normal people would chuck at first glance are full of far too much sentimental value and “wearability” to be tossed in the trash or donation pile.

Wearability and fashion do not complement one another in this instance.

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So long as he keeps plunking himself on our living room floor to build cranes, trains, or airplanes with wooden toys and coming home with a smile on his face I can live with the sentimental attachment to old, wornout clothes.IMG_5946

Those clothes full of rips, tears, and stains sure are a testament to the incredible work ethic Mr. Rancher has.  Not only does he work LONG hours, but he nearly always has a smile on his face, time to help a neighbor, and an endlessly positive outlook on our future.

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He works hard with his hands, arms, back, with his entire body.  He places himself between the elements of nature, market swings, machinery breakdowns, irrigation mishaps, cattle obstinacy, financial stress, illness, and fatigue and takes the brunt of the storm upon his own shoulders so that I, my girls, and our livestock and farm can have peaceful and cared after lives.

At the end of the day he’s still able to come home, play, read silly stories, tuck the girls into bed, and snuggle with me for a few hours before arising in the pre-dawn darkness to do it all over again.  He doesn’t waver.  He doesn’t complain about the challenges.  He keeps smiling and reminding me to be patient and to enjoy all the wonders our life has given us alongside the struggles.

I’ve got one of the good ones, folks.

Summer Days

Ohhhhh summer.  Long, hot days with so much potential for fun.  This summer has been our best yet, what with two wonderful kids who are finally starting to play together (hallelujah! hallelujah! hallelujah!), round two of farming/ranching in the same location, and five years of marital bliss (at least more bliss than contention!) under our belts.

Here’s a look at our summer so far.  My mom gave us the very best gift, water toys!  The girls play with them every single day.img_5852-1

Henley waiting for me to get Becca down for her nap, so I can read and cuddle with her.  She’s been making her own bed and folding her own clothes this summer…it’s a work in progress.img_5849

Brushing her own teeth (this picture is for you Mary) and post-bath curls.  These are the very best curls and thanks to our bathing schedule they only come out an hour before bedtime.img_5845

Curls, curls, everywhere.  I’m even starting to see some waves and curls in Miss Becca’s hair.img_5848

My serious, opinionated, daring and determined second-born.img_5796

She likes to scale the slide backwards, turn around, sit down, and slide.  Then repeat.  This picture was taken earlier this summer, closer to ten months of age.  Now she’s walking everywhere, almost a big one-year-old, and even more determined to do what SHE wants, when SHE wants to do it, and how SHE wants to do it.img_5790img_5787img_5781

Building fairy houses and eating sticks.  It’s about balance.img_5783

Our two kitties blessed us with eight, yes EIGHT, kittens right at the same time.  img_5779

We’ve been able to pawn off five of the balls of fluff so far and are enjoying the remaining three.  Anybody want a kitten?  I can promise they will be good mousers, their mamas bring in at least three mice a day!img_5778

This umbrella has been used for everything from boating to housing this summer.img_5751-1

Hee hee…when sisters do your hair…img_5764

They built this fort all by themselves while I was on the phone with my mom.img_5766img_5776

I guess they kinda like each other.  Makes my heart happy.

Branding 2018

Branding the calves is always a great time of year.  There’s the mounted help, the ropers, the cowboys.dsc_0634

Annnnnnd there’s the ground crew.  That is, in fact, me wielding the branding iron.  This year I succumbed to the pressure to learn a job a swore I would never do, brand the calves with a searing hot iron.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it has to be done, I just don’t want to be the one doing it.  There’s something almost artistic in the way different ranchers approach branding their cattle, how they walk up, take their stance, angle the iron just perfectly, and press down, hold for a count, then lift up to inspect the job.  I am sure this year’s batch of calves are sporting the ugliest, most sloppy brands of any we’ve every raised.

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When I mentioned the act of branding as a form of artistic display, Mr. Rancher replied that ear-marking was actually more of an art.  Strange to think of any sort of animal husbandry as artistic or creative…only truly amateur connoisseurs of art (such as myself) would think so.  Or perhaps I’m improving my ability to find beauty and grace whatever the situation around me, I’ll let you decide.

Either way, I really don’t want to learn ear-marking.  Which is why I will never voluntarily or intentionally carry a pocket-knife to a branding.

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As you can see, our ground crew this year consisted of Mr. Rancher and a bunch of women/girls/babies.  My niece Megan was the best innoculator this side of the Rockies and asked a million questions about the cows and calves.  She’s fascinated with animals and a hard worker making her a pro-branding-hand.  My sis-in-law Lexcie, my branding bud for life, stepped in to help any way she was needed.  She’s a peach and always will be in my book.

Say what you will about equality of the sexes, females simply are not equipped to throw steers and heifers to the ground in the same effortless way males are.  Point of fact, I had to throw down many of our calves (another first time experience) and I was dog-tired by the end of the day, not to mention much slower and clumsier than my husband at the work.  Most of the time, Lexcie and I had to both work the calf together in order to get it secured on the ground, while Mr. Rancher handled even the largest ones all on his own.  True, my hubby is a manly-man and tough-as-nails and super-strong and a-really-hard-worker and all that masculine jazz, but you know what?  Lexcie and I are pretty tough too, and we still couldn’t keep up.  Next year, I’m advocating for more men on the ground crew!dsc_0643

Miss Becca was a champion branding-buddy for 3.67 minutes.  About as long as it takes to snap two photos in the melee of the branding pen.

Don’t I look like such a bad*** ranch mama?  It’s all a show, folks.  All a show.  This blog, though based on our real life, only shows snippets and snapshots, not the whole picture.  The reality is that my gracious sister spent most of the day caring for my baby and pre-schooler while I worked with Mr. Rancher.  There is simply no way I could have done both and I’m so grateful my sister was there to fill the gap.  She’s a good sport and a generous soul.dsc_0638

Here’s the kid-crew.  These monsters I mean munchkins had a grand day of exploring, playing, and even fighting.

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My curly locks and cousin Cambree (in the red shirt) had a knock-down-drag-out-fist-fight over a football.  Neither girl was seriously injured, neither girl ended up crying, and neither girl was ready to stop the brawl until Grandma pulled the two apart.  Tough cookies that simply don’t have an ounce of “give-up” between their two little bodies.  They’re really the best of friends…and maybe it’s healthy to have a sparring buddy…ya know, to get rid of pent up aggression in a healthy, supervised manner…maybe???

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At the end of the day, branding brings together so many people and requires input from everyone to get the job done.  Cowboys to rope, ground crew to brand, camera crew (Thanks, Liz!) to capture the memories, kids to entertain and teach, family to cook, help, care for kids, rancher to make the whole thing happen, and so on and on.

I sure do love my crew, cowboys, ropers, ground-workers, Mr. Rancher, sisters, munchkins, cousins, in-laws and all.  Don’t know what I’d do without ’em.

Utah Trip

One challenge of raising beef cattle, or any livestock/agricultural product, is that you are tied to the cows, fields, pivots, tractors, basically the dirt you live on every day of your life.  This makes travel of any sort tricky and virtually non-existent.  However, occasionally the stars will align, there will be a pressing need to travel somewhere (i.e. a sibling’s wedding), the fields will be planted, irrigation not begun yet, the cows are all in the pastures they’re meant to be in (this is a joke!), and a rancher can go on a family vacation for a few days.  Such an event occurred just two weeks ago for my family and it was so delightfully wonderful!

We drove from our home through Southern Idaho and Northern Utah and stopped at many of the parks and sites along the way to Ty’s brother Tanner’s wedding.  Any of you familiar with the area might say there’s nothing to see along that drive, but with the use of many back-highways and the need to stop every 90 minutes for the sake of two small kiddos, I beg to differ.  Since school is starting again and spring is a notoriously busy time of year for my life, the pictures and story of our trip are in reverse order…and I’m too lazy to reverse it.  Enjoy!

Here are my girls on Saturday night, home and happy to be watching the familiar “Pinkalicious” show for a few minutes before bedtime.  Both were so relieved to be unbuckled from their carseats and given free-reign over their toys at last.

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Our second-to-last stop on Saturday was at the City of Rocks National Park.  What an amazing place!  The rocks are breathtaking, everywhere you look there is another huge formation jutting out from its otherwise flat surroundings.  We went on a mini-nature walk (I can’t call it a hike really) around Bathtub Rock and did a little amateur rock climbing.

Becca had a great view atop Mr. Rancher’s shoulders.  This guy is such a fun-loving and adventurous dad!  Just one of the many things I love about him.IMG_2079.jpg

We even let Miss Becca climb around the base of the rocks.  Honestly, she is probably the strongest out of all of us given how much time she spends crawling and climbing everywhere.  If she was a bit more balanced, she could’ve climbed the whole thing without even breaking a sweat.  I however, would have been breaking a sweat watching her do it.IMG_2074.jpg

“I got this, Mom.  Chill out.”IMG_2070.jpg

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I can’t chill out!  Becca wanted to go anywhere she could and did get frustrated with my ever-present hands ready to catch her.  Henley only stayed with us for a minute before climbing with her dad.IMG_5741.jpg

She’s a real rock climber!IMG_2065.jpg

We were so lucky to have cousins with us on this trip.  Jake and Tina and their kids came down for the wedding and we got to spend lots of time playing at the Lodge where we stayed and playing at the various stops on the way back.IMG_2064.jpg

Miss Independence loved having the older kids to play with and loved playing at the City of Rocks.  IMG_2060.jpg

Here you see our vantage point from the top of Bathtub Rock.  Mr. Rancher, me, Jake, Lexcie, Trayce, and Joely made the scary (though definitely amateur) climb to the top to see the natural bathtub formed in the top of these rocks.  IMG_2057.jpgIMG_2056.jpg

I’ll admit, my head was spinning from the top of the rocks.  I’ve never been afraid of heights or nervous about things like climbing rock walls or roller-coasters, but there must be something about having two kids that messes with my sense of balance, invincibility, and nerves overall.  IMG_2055.jpg

The view was awesome, but I wasn’t sorry to climb back down.  Unfortunately, there was a troop of Boy Scouts waiting for us to get out of the way so they could climb up and I had an audience to watch my less-than-graceful descent from the start of the climb which was a makeshift re-bar ladder several feet off the base of the rock.  I couldn’t seem to find a place to plant my foot as the ladder ended and did a nice belly-slide down the front of the rock.  Graceful.

Ty stayed on top much longer and said “Take one last picture of me, just in case.”  Gee thanks, honey.  He’s too much of a daredevil for me sometimes.  He wanted to bring Henley up with us, but I put my foot down there.  That doesn’t happen too often, but the steep climb and possibility of falling hundreds of feet to, at the very least, a set of broken bones. IMG_2054.jpg

Wonderful Aunt Lexcie! She was so much fun on this trip, helping with the kids and showing us the best places to go.IMG_2052.jpg

We made it! IMG_2051.jpg

In an effort to document Mr. Rancher and me, rather than just Mr. Rancher and the kids, I took many more selfies this trip than usual.  Going through my blog, I realized that I don’t have many pictures of my husband and me, so I’m trying to be better about getting in the picture myself and to take photos of my marriage along with my family.IMG_2040.jpg

Henley loved spending so much time with Aunt Lexcie on this trip.  They even shared a bed at the lodge.  On our way home Henley let out a big sigh and said, “oh it’s so sad! Lexcie doesn’t get to sleep with me tonight!”  I’m Lexcie slept just fine without a three year old’s knees in her back.

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Friday was the day of the wedding.  Here we are, all dressed up and ready to head to the temple.  IMG_5742.jpg

This is Miss Becca, aka the sumo wrestler, just before getting into her very beautiful but very restrictive dress.  Joely was the best babysitter and actually had to be grounded from holding Becca so that the baby could have a crawling break. IMG_2033.jpg

This was Thursday night, just before bed.  These three were trying to watch Leap for probably the third time.  I don’t think they ever finished it since they insisted on starting from the beginning each time they sat down to watch it.IMG_5736.jpg

We spent Thursday in Salt Lake City at Hogle Zoo and Temple Square.  This is a photo of us driving back to the lodge after a long day of site-seeing and walking…IMG_2031.jpg

One of my favorite things about Salt Lake City is this Christus.  It is amazing how large, beautiful, and majestic our Savior looks up close.  Henley thought it was amazing for about five minutes then was ready for the next adventure.  IMG_5730.jpg

Our token family photo before leaving the zoo for the day.IMG_5726.jpg

Another selfie…with my honey.IMG_5723.jpg

The polar bears put on such a great show! They dove and swam all around their enclosure.  IMG_5721.jpg

You can’t tell by this picture, but Becca thought we needed to bring the polar bears home with us for her entertainment.IMG_5718.jpg

Lazy lions sleeping in the sun.  All the big cats were too sleepy to be very interesting.IMG_2029.jpg

This is a snapshot from our drive down to the zoo.  In hopes of playing in the splash pad with Henley, Mr. Rancher wore a tee-shirt and swim trunks to the zoo.  He acts like a complete nitwit when he wears tees and shorts and this time was no different.  He chewed fourteen pieces of grape-flavored gum the whole two hour drive and repeatedly blew bubbles the size of soccer balls.  It’s so clear to me why he almost always wears button-down shirts and jeans…he needs the clothes to make him act like a sensible adult!IMG_5709.jpg

Catching a nap on the way down.  Didn’t look comfortable then and doesn’t look comfortable now.IMG_5706.jpg

These last pictures are from our very first stop of the entire trip in Twin Falls, ID.  We were lucky enough to see ten base-jumpers jump and land from the bridge over the Snake River.  It was so scary to watch!  I will never be participating in that activity.IMG_5692.jpgIMG_5685.jpgIMG_5684.jpgIMG_5683.jpg

Overall, our trip was so much fun!  It was a much needed and overdue break from the routine of our daily life.  We were happy to get home and back to normal, but so grateful for the break and the chance to just play for a few days.

 

December and January…

Ahhhhhh the sweetness of the holidays.  They’re full of family, driving, delicious food, and short on sleeping, cleaning, rest, and boredom.  Then January rolls in and the daily grind picks back up even more intensely than before.  In my household this is due to the resuming of graduate work, tax preparation, budgeting, and meetings with bankers, landlords, and accountants.

Here’s a look inside the window of our life.

Bo is the best dog.  The best dog ever.  Both Henley and Becca pull on him, squeal high-pitched squeals which certainly can’t feel good to his ears, and generally make themselves a nuisance to him.  But he bears it all with unfailing good humor and love.  Becca followed Bo all around the room, tugging on him anywhere she could reach.  He eventually just laid down and placed his head onto her belly.  I think he was hoping to keep her in one place and was resigned to his fate of being used as pull-squish-chew-kick-slap-squeal-ride-toy.

Here he is again, playing the pillow for Miss Henley.  Working on Daddy’s schedule must be hard for a cow-dog as well as a cowgirl.

Here is Henley modeling some of her birthday and Christmas presents.  Uncle Tanner got the hat and stick horse for her and Aunt Lexcie got her the cow jammies.  She loves this horse.  And she loves her rocking horses.  And she loves her stuffed horses.  And she loves her real horses.  Horses of all kinds!

And little sister has to have a go with the stick horse.  Becca thinks her ears and mane are the best thing to chew on and run through her fingers.

Somehow I missed sharing this picture months ago, but this is how much of our days were spent during the October and November months.  Becca’s head was developing a flat spot from always sleeping in the same position.  The cranial specialist told us that her flattening would repair itself with more time spent off the back of her head.  So I became the tummy-time drill sergeant.  Henley was my happy helper.  I am amazed each day at how much Henley has fallen in love with her baby sister.  Not once in the busyness and stress of adding another member to our family has she disliked or complained about having her sister.  She may fight against me, or whine to Ty, but she doesn’t place any blame on her baby.  I’m so very grateful for her bond and attachment to Becca.  And for Becca’s attachment to her.

Along with her sister-ing skills, Henley has discovered a new talent…

Don’t ask me how she does it, I’ve tried and can’t do it.  She’s got a special talent!

I’ve made time to make homemade bread several times this last month, and that means making time to grind cups and cups of whole wheat flour.  Henley usually helps me with this job but she was helping feed cows so Becca had to step up.  The ear muffs are for muting the high-pitched whine of our wheat mill.  She didn’t mind them for about fifteen minutes, then she was done, done, done.

Oh these dresses!  My mom bought these as Christmas gifts for my girls and they are adorable!  I can’t tell you the number of people who commented on how cute they were for three Sundays in a row.

This misshapen doll was a project my mom and Henley undertook together.  I do believe I cut out the pattern when I was nine or ten.  My cutting skills obviously needed some improvement.

Here’s Miss Becca in her jammies from Aunt Lexcie.  The jams remind me of the long red underwear worn by the characters in old Western films.  Straight outta Mama’s saloon, drunk on milk!

Oh boy.  When big sister is away, little sister will play!  Henley bought this princess castle off of Craigslist with some of her Christmas money.  She is pretty good about sharing with Becca, but doesn’t usually let her have free reign with the entire castle like this.

We had a fun day of sorting, counting, and more sorting of our calves a couple weeks ago.  Becca and I stood outside the pens counting everything as it ran through the chute.

Henley used her sorting stick to help push the calves through the chute.  She had her first experience of being yelled at by the boss (aka her daddy) and the hired hand (aka her uncle Trayce).  Both times she was left in a puddle of tears because she “knows what she’s doing!” and she “did it like that last time!”  I had to reassure her that Daddy does really want her help while also teaching the lesson that when it comes to working cows, Dad’s instructions are the law and are to be obeyed when he says and how he says.  She pulled herself together and rejoined the work with a little more respect for what Ty instructed her to do.

Here we see the daily phenomenon of “Disneyland Dad” making his way into the house after a long day of work.  I spend all day, every day with my girls and make every effort to create enjoyable, educational, loving, and secure lives for them.  But the second Mr. Rancher walks through that door, it’s as if I don’t exist.  He strolls in, throws the baby around for a few minutes, lets the pre-schooler ride on his leg around the living room, and in less that ten minutes he’s like Santa Claus.  Moms just can’t compete with the roughhousing fun dads so naturally bring to the household.

Literally can’t compete, my 19 pound baby is hard to throw around very much.  I use up all my strength just toting her around the house and dancing “my sillies out” with the three year old.  Thank goodness for Daddies.

We’ve been practicing letters and rudimentary spelling for several months now, and just bought a magnet board to make use of our fun magnetic letters and numbers.  Becca even joined the fun, she made quick work of scraping all the letters from the board and onto the floor.  Babies are just so tidy and neat, aren’t they?

Henley was aghast at first, then she plopped herself down and proceeded with “this is A, this is H, this is Q, this is W…” as she replaced the letters.

*Ahem* there is a serious aversion to pants plaguing our house.  It’s been going on for about a year now.  I’m not sure what to do about it.  For now, I’m content to keep it contained to my house so long as it doesn’t spread to public places.

And look what we have here!  Another mischievous baby rolled and scooted right over to her dog.  Bo knows he’s been caught playing with the baby again.

As always, we’re a very blessed bunch.  We hope the same for all of you!

Days with Daddy

Ty is a wonderful father.  Last week Henley and I were having a rough, rough, rough day with each other.  She was mad at me, I was mad at her and we were both sleep deprived basket cases.  I finally got her settled for a nap and decided to take on myself.  Ty came home just as we were both waking up and heard all about our disaster of a morning.  He offered to take Henley with him.  I think we both said “Yes, please!” before he’d even finished making the offer.

He whisked Henley away to the Weiser River place where the two of them drove this monstrous articulating dump truck, filled with rock to a wash out along the river.  The snow and flooding earlier this year washed out a portion of a road on our place and Keith, the manager of the hunting-side of the Weiser River place is working to fix the road.  Ty offered to drive the dump truck and Henley got to ride along.  It wasn’t too long before Ty called saying Henley was sick and tired of driving the truck back and forth and could I please come pick her up.

The rest of the week, Henley accompanied Ty to work almost every day.  She had so much fun working with Ty and actually worked all day with him without getting crabby or complaining.

This convoy you see below is what it took to move our grain drill to a very secluded field near Paddock Resevoir, about 30 miles outside of Weiser.  It took five vehicles to move the drill, the tractors, and the seed to the new location.  I actually got to tag along on this expedition and even got to drive our brand new tractor by myself for the first time this year.  All that tractor lacks is a heated seat.

 

See how much she loves being outside? Or being with her dad? Or helping on the farm?

This is Samantha.  She’s a weaned bottle-baby who is still very tame and willing to let little cowgirls pet her.

Days with Daddy are the best days.

Hauling Cows with Two Kids

Hauling with two kids in tow is similar to hauling with one kid in tow.  Except now there are two little people complaining that they are hungry.  Two little people are tired and in need of a nap.  Two little people not wanting to be buckled in their carseats.

I have discovered the real purpose of carseats.  Carseat manufacturers may say that the purpose of a carseat is to keep your child safe while traveling in a car.  This is certainly one benefit, but the true purpose is to keep your child in one place while driving!  To keep them from crawling all over the seats, the controls, the steering wheel, and your lap during your road trip.  All it takes is a couple minutes of hauling in the semi for me to realize just how much I love my kids’ careseats and their restraining mechanisms.

Amid the crying and whining, though, there are sweet moments like this.

I love the sleeper-area of our semi where the girls can play while the cows or hay or whatever is being loaded.  The bed is the perfect place to take a nap, snuggle, change a diaper, feed a baby, read a story, feed a pre-schooler, or play with your little or big sister.

Hauling Hay with One Kid

One of the few jobs I could help with, while pregnant and mothering a vivacious two-and-a-half-year-old was hauling hay out of the field and up to the hay shed.  Hay hauling is pretty low impact so long as you keep a sharp eye out for holes or ditches in which you could sink a tire or two of the semi.  The semi-seats are air ride which makes for fairly smooth work for the driver.  The only thing wrong with the semi is that it is equipped with far too many buttons, knobs, and gadgets that a certain little child simply can’t keep her hands off.

Inevitably, though, hay hauling leads to napping in the sleeper of the semi.  It’s a hot and long job and Miss Henley always succumbs to a nap on the pile of sleeping bags in the back.

I just wish our dog Bo hadn’t also taken a nap on those very same sleeping bags.