Just The Beginning

Thanksgiving 2015 was a “messy” one for much of the state of Kansas.  Rain, turned sleet, turned ice.

Ice EditedWe were fortunate to be able to travel for one of our Thanksgiving feasts before the weather turned bad.  But, by Friday morning… It. Was. Nasty!!!!

Freezing rain, icy roads and cold animals that needed fed.  Ranchers and farmers don’t get bad weather days.  That’s when they’re needed the most.  The animals rely on us to take care of them when Mother Nature gets ugly.

The weather kept unloading through the weekend.  By Saturday, cabin fever had set in our house. I was going to lose my mind if the kids and I didn’t bust out.

We all bundled up and climbed in the feed truck to help Daddy feed the cows.

Ice 2

Some of us were still a little sour because it was too slick to be able to get out of the truck.

Ice 3

While we’re not normally feeding hay this early in the winter months, when the ice sets on like this the cows need the hay since they can’t feed on the ice covered grass.  These girls eat a LOT of hay.  This bale would be gone by morning.

Ice 1  They were so happy to see us.

Ice 4

Ice 10

Ice Cow

Ice 13

Happy, happy girls.

Hopefully, storms like this are seldom this winter.  But…. on the chance that we ARE blasted again, our girls will be well taken care of!!!

 

 

Peace, love and ICE cream!!!!

Critters…

I’m no stranger to country critters.  Raccoons.  Possums.  Coyotes.  Hoot Owls.  Buzzards.  Snakes.  Spiders.  Mice.  You name it, I’ve encountered it.  (…probably.)  Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily ENJOYED my encounters.

If you know me well at all you know that among all of the above listed creatures, mice rank at the top of my list for giving me the heebie-jeebies.  That’s a very technical term… heebie-jeebies, you know.  It’s that feeling you get when something creeps you out to the Nth degree. It’s become a comical thing in our household… me and my heebie-jeebies.  There’s even a dance that goes along with a heebie-jeebie attack.  It’s quite comical, as well.

After moving further south I have a NEW “top of the list”.

Friends, meet the Kansas rattlesnake.

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Insert screams, shudders, tingling sensations in the spine, any sort of heebie-jeebie type dance movement that your body may involuntarily convulse in.  These dudes are BAD to the bone.  …and they like to lurk in all the wrong places.

This guy was happily minding his own business in the tall grass next to the hay barn at our house.  Grady happened to be weed eating on this particular day and “got him”.  This is just a little too close for comfort.

As I said before, I’m no stranger to rattlesnakes.  They frequented the yard I grew up in as a child on our family ranch not far from where we are now.  But… that was a REALLY long time ago, back when dirt was being invented, as my kids like to say.  So, it had, OBVIOUSLY, been “a while” since I ran into one.

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This was the very first one we came across since the move.

**Sorry for the gore, but I don’t like to take pictures until they’re good and DEAD.  …and “chopping” them is the only effective form of extermination.**

This guy was under that big rock in a pasture where we have a set of pens for shipping out cattle.  Tucker actually found him, which frightens the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of us.  He had been playing out there while he wasn’t needed.  After we were done loading cattle and sent the cattle pots (rancher’s term for a semi hauling cattle) on their way he told Grady that he “thought” there was a rattlesnake under a rock, but wasn’t sure.  Lo and behold he was right!  Mr. Rattles was just chillin’ out under that rock.  We made sure to educate Tucker on what they look like and sound like.

Throughout the summer Grady has come across many more.  It’s routine for him to carry his pistol in the truck for easier extermination.  He tries to bring home the rattles for Tucker, who is fascinated with them.

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I’m really hoping that this collection stays small!!!!

 

Peace, love and NASTY rattles.

Digging Out and Digging In

Yesterday was another day spent at home.

Snowed in.

It snowed ALL day Tuesday.

The wind BLEW all day Tuesday.

In general, it was a miserable day.  …in my opinion.

I shoveled the deck and a path to the house from the driveway for Grady late that afternoon.  By 9:00 that night you would have never known a shovel had been NEAR that snow.

It all ended in the middle of the night and we woke to this.

DSC_0015 copyThe drifts were at least nine inches deep in some places, if not more.

The gentle waves of snow were so peaceful yesterday morning.  I wanted so badly to load the kids up, drive around and take pictures.

But… I stepped out for about three minutes to snap the one above and the -15° windchill was more than I could handle.  My fingers were frozen!

Shoveling and picture snapping would have to wait until later.

Nap time came I bundled up to dig us out.  Again.

DSC_0082 COPYDSC_0040 COPYDSC_0048 COPYDSC_0045 COPY

DSC_0071 COPYThe sandbox toys looked so sad.

DSC_0057 COPYThese two were a riot in the snow.

DSC_0075 COPYBandit would dig, roll and then bury his face in the snow.  He LOVED it.

DSC_0067 COPYAnd then there was Macy.  She was eating random things on top of the snow…  Weirdo.

I ended up caving in on my baking ban.

I DIDN’T make cookies though.

DSC_0031 COPYI opted for banana nut bread.  Two GIANT loaves!

YUM!!!!

The house smelled SO good and I had a very happy husband when he came home from work.

I’ll share the recipe with you tomorrow.

The insane weather wasn’t the only downfall to our time at home.  Miss Monkey woke up Tuesday morning with an uncontrollable cough and by late morning was running a low-grade fever.  By that evening she looked like H-E-double hockey sticks.  Yesterday was more of the same.  Rosie cheeks, coughing and zero energy.

So, I am home once again today even though the kids are back at school.  We’ll be making a trip to the doctor to check out her cough to be on the safe side.

I am READY for SPRING with its warmth, budding life and restored health.

Peace, love and snow craze!!!!

P.S. Tell me if you can find the photo with the BIG typo!!!  LOL!

24 Hours

DSC_0368 copyYesterday morning broke with a most beautiful sunrise. 

All was calm.

It was the perfect beginning to a Monday morning.

The sun shone brightly on what remained of the sleet that had blanketed the ground a few days before.

The skies were clear all day.  It was glorious.

But… the weatherman had been warning of us of “impending doom”.  Most of our part of Kansas was supposed to get DUMPED on.

Six to nine inches was the projected forecast.

NINE inches!

UGH!

This is what we were blessed with this morning.

DSC_0004 copyDSC_0007 copyDSC_0003 copyThis was around 8:30 this morning and it’s not even close to being over.

I’ve shoveled a path on the deck for the weenie dog at least three times already.

I even had to brush off the satellite dish for the internet.

Hey!  That’s a priority.  Right?

Am I the only person out there who kind of digs shoveling snow?

It’s peaceful.

Not to mention, it’s an awesome workout.

…and it gets me OUT of the house.

The only downer to this weather is that the kids get bored and stir crazy.  We’ve already busted out the art tub, magazines for cutting up and word search pages. 

We’re only halfway through the day.

It makes it hard on a momma who grounded her son from his ipod for two weeks.  I may have to break and let him have it.

Please don’t judge me.

The worst part….  I’m trying VERY hard to resist making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve been so good and this weather makes me want to BAKE things.  I’m trying to be strong.

 

 

Peace, love and snow days!!!

Rock Crawlers

This has been the most draining five days.

Saturday: Monkey versus the stomach bug

Sunday: Birthday party preparation and celebration

Monday: Tucker versus the stomach bug, a violent match

Tuesday: Tucker recovers from the stomach bug and Monkey comes home from daycare with fever chills, a cough and nasty digestive issues.

Tuesday night: Monkey wakes up twice with more fever and a yucky tummy

Wednesday: Mommy and Monkey stay home

She woke up fever free this morning, but still with the yuck tummy.  I have no idea what the day will bring.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to get better as the hours tick by.

My poor kids have never been this sick, especially not all at once with TWO different illnesses.  I’ve been knee-deep in vomit, bleach cleaning spray and hand soap.  I’m really praying that Grady and I can stay healthy and no one else ends up with the flu.  Do they make sanitizing bombs?  I think my house needs one.

In the midst of all this sickness insanity, on the ONE day we were ALL healthy, we had a fun little adventure in Papa Mike’s (Grady’s father) pasture.  Living in the middle of the Flint HIlls of Kansas means that the grasslands are lying on top of a HUGE bed of flint rock.  Rocks EVERYWHERE.  My FIL’s pasture has some interesting rock formations that attract this really crazy group of people we call the Rock Crawlers.

These guys don’t crawl on rocks the way you may think they do.

They like to crawl on rocks like this….

DSC_0192 copy VEHICULAR Rock Crawlers, my friends.

These guys are nuts.  I think they’re nuts for shelling out the insane amount of dough for the tires alone.  You’ll see what I mean.

Tucker got a big treat!!  Our local UPS man is one of the Crawlers and I think he has one of the better trucks.  This boy got the ride of a lifetime.

DSC_0194 copyDSC_0198 copyTuck’s shy smile says it all.  He’s NERVOUS and SO excited all at the same time.

DSC_0201 copy DSC_0203 copyHere they go.  That truck is going to drive UP and over that rock ledge.

For real.

DSC_0205 copyDSC_0209 copyYes, my heart skipped a few beats.  My BABY is in there!!!!

DSC_0212 copyDSC_0214 copyThese guys don’t just rev their engines and barrel up the rocks.  This whole process is very slow and methodical, hence the name “Crawlers”.

DSC_0215 copyJust like Monster Trucks the front and rear axles turn independently of each other.

DSC_0218 copyDSC_0225 copyTo me he looks… stuck.

DSC_0228 copyOf course not.  He made it.

DSC_0240 copy..and he made this little boy’s DAY!!!

Thanks, Brian!

DSC_0242 copyThis guy was trying a different spot.

He was having a really hard time getting the job done.

He finally gave up and Tucker’s new friend came in and showed him how to get it done.

DSC_0251 copyDSC_0253 copyDSC_0257 copyDSC_0260 copy…and that’s how you do it.

(Blows my mind.)

There were some really interesting looking trucks.

DSC_0276 copyThis dune buggy ran on propane rather than gas.

DSC_0281 copyDSC_0184 copyDSC_0185 copyDSC_0266 copyI was only there for about 45 minutes.  This went on and on and on and on for the whole afternoon.  Grady and the boys stayed for THREE more hours.  I actually had to call to tell them to come home and help get ready for the party.  Talk about a testosterone rush.  I’m just glad there is NO room in our budget for a hobby like this.

Peace, love and cool crawlers.

Just a Little Roastin’ and Farmin’

A few weeks ago we had the perfect Saturday evening for a weenie roast.  We lit the fire and discovered that we were going to get to watch the neighbor cut the soy beans in the field around our house.

DSC_0163 copyI’m always intrigued and fascinated by the machinery and how it can cut, sort and discard everything in one fail swoop.

DSC_0167 copyTucker got the opportunity to ride along.  He was so excited!  His first time in a combine.

DSC_0154 copyAs we watched the sun was setting and coming through the trees and the dust.  It was nothing short of spectacular.

DSC_0161 copyDSC_0151 copyIt was a beautiful evening.  We couldn’t have asked for more.

Simplicity.

Family.

Nature.

LIFE.

I was reminded again of how thankful I am to live in a place that teaches my children every day where the food on their plates comes from.

What a blessing.

Peace, love and country livin’!!!

Nature is SO Cool!!!!

By Sunday I was feeling SO MUCH better!!!

By Monday I was back to my old self.  We loaded up the kids, Papa and Jackie and headed for the hills for a little family fishing outing.  I grabbed my camera, excited for the opportunity to get some great shots.

I was NOT disappointed!!

DSC_0175 copyTucker is studying dragonflies in school so seeing these guys up close and personal was really exciting.

DSC_0159 copyMy dream?  To see this out my kitchen window every morning.

Serenity.  Peace.  Love.

DSC_0233 copyDSC_0158 copyThis picture is NOT an accurate account of this little turkey’s demeanor on our outing.  Add a lot of wailing, alligator tears and clinging to Mommy and you’d have a better idea of how it went down for the first hour.  The need for a nap was the culprit.  Thankfully, I packed the Kindle.  She read a book and “colored” while the rest of the family fished.

DSC_0206 copyDSC_0153 copyThis grasshopper was HUGE!!!!!  Let’s just say he could have easily been the same size as a small field mouse.  Grasshopper on steroids!  He became fish bait shortly after this documentation.

DSC_0149 copyDSC_0188 copyDSC_0232 copyDSC_0194 copyDSC_0215 copyI’m not sure what the official name for these blue flowers is, but I refer to them as blue bells.  They cover the prairie this time of year.  I love the blue hue it casts against the vibrant green grass.

DSC_0199 copyIt turned out that the fishing wasn’t that great that day, but it was so nice to be outside in the glorious weather enjoying nature and all it’s beauty.

As gorgeous as the late summer days are I’m ready for fall to make it’s announcement.  I am looking so forward to the gold and red and deep orange colors to appear.

What’s your favorite season?

Peace, love and bug fun!!!