Tuesday, November 29

6 Feet Under

Is it still raining?
I'm afraid to look...

So WOW how 'bout some rain?!
Anyone wanna go for a swim?

Me either.

I am glad it's Tuesday though...you people and your "Monday Blues" have worn off on me.
I think today will be better.

I was at work for 12 hours yesterday...not that bad, huh?
I was at work IN the rain..for 12 hours yesterday....it sorta bummed me out.
I won't lie, it did.

Something interesting did happen though, and you bet your britches I'm gonna tell you about it!

After finishing my morning routine, I ventured down to Teddie's neck of the woods(the commodity shed) to see what was shakin'.

They were standing at the feed truck, not doing a darn thing.
When they saw me they straightened up, and acted like they were solving the world's mysteries.
Eddie: "I wish it would quit raining so I wouldn't have to feed and get wet".
Tim: "Maybe we should just make the world spin in the opposite direction"...I.Kid.You.Not.
Eddie: "Well, yeah I guess that would work".
Then they both looked at me, maybe to get my input, or maybe because my mouth was wide open and I looked like I had a question.
I opted to not touch that, and turned and walked away.
They know how to get rid of me.

I went to check on my far-off dry cows, because I knew I had one who was due Dec. 2nd and she was not yet in my close-up lot.

I found her, 8441.
Laying in a pile of leaves, just hangin' out.

I said, "Let's go momma" and she got up and we headed toward the gate.
She was walking kind of funny, so I decided to re-route her into the calving barn.
I thought it would be best to palpate her to see if maybe she was in early labor and just wasn't doing a lot of pushing.

I reached in, and sure enough she was!
I'mSoGoodAtMyJob, I thought, as I eased her into the chute and put my new gloves on.

I needed to help her, so I got the puller ready and went in to grab some feet....
And feet....and feet....
A whole bunch of feet greeted me.
Six, to be exact.

Uh.....alrighty..let's see what else is in here....
Sometimes you find the head(s) right off...I found one!
Then I did a bigger sweep with my hand and, yep! There's the other one, as my hand went into its mouth.
FYI, they have RAZOR sharp teeth when they are still in there.

Normally twins aren't a huge deal, not preferred, but not all that bad.
Normally twins don't try to come out AtTheSameTime either.

One was on top, in the correct position, however it was hindered by it's sibling, who decided to take the position of a horseshoe...with its head on the bottom...
Ah geez...

I arranged, and re-arranged, until I could no longer feel my arm.
Then I went and got reinforcements.
The dynamic duo.

I figured that since they had solved the "rain issue" they might be able to help me.
Plus..Tim is much stronger than me.

Occasionally Tim doesn't appreciate being used, so I lured him in with, "Hey! Come see what you can find!".
I mean, who, when being handed a long pink glove while hearing that, wouldn't jump at the opportunity?
Normal people, that's who.

So, he accepted the challenge, reached in and gave me the "you owe me for this" look.
We spent an hour pulling...and pushing...grunting and discussing.
Eddie was ZERO help, so we sent him away.
At one point, the puller was in the air, and I was hanging from it as if suspended from monkey bars.
By far one of the most difficult pulls to date..

We were both surprised when we got the first one out, and he was alive!
You don't usually get that kind of Grace when the process takes so long.
The second, a girl, was alive too!

I got them both onto some dry straw and eased their mom over to them.
She started licking immediately.

There are very few moments better than the one where everyone is OK, and momma is handling it.

...and since Tim got me out of a pickle I won't remind him of the conversation he had with Eddie.
I wouldn't know where to start anyway...

Sunday, November 27

I Promise

I promise...
 To laugh with you.

To hold your hand in Church.

To set your Cheerios out in the morning so you don't forget;).

To eat at least 1 fry off your plate.

To try my hardest to pick you up when you are down.

To plan for the future but live for today.

To nag you about going to the doctor regularly.

To tell you 'I love you' 100 times a day.

To respect you and your feelings.

To dream with you.

To hide Hello Kitty stickers in random places.

To remind you that God has a plan.

To trust you.

To never let you grow a mustache...again.

To keep the 80's clothes hidden in the back of your closet.

To say 'Thank you'.

To smell like cows.

To keep you on your toes;).

I promise to never let you down.

Saturday, November 26

The Omen

How did it go?

Was the turkey done?
Was it everything you dreamed and more?

Did you eat watery spinach like I did?
Did your mom make a chocolate pie?

Did your Aunt pull out a bottle of wine so big it had to have come from Jersey Shore?
...Wash th turley doned?
I kid.

But seriously, I hope you had a jam-up time!

Now...be honest...did you hit up Black Friday and do some shopping?
Trample a short-person during the rush into Wal-Mart?
...Drink a beer at 8 am?

I forgot to tell you!
When I was in transit back to the homeland from my trip to the Arctic Circle, I had a layover in Chi-town so I went to Chili's for some coffee and toast in Concourse E.
The bar was FULL of people drinking those big don't-tell-my-wife sized beers.
Chyeah. 8 AM.
So I did 4 shots and shotgunned a beer....hehehe.
I kid.
Just thought I would share...

So....Black Friday....

I didn't partake in the shopping festivities due to the fact that I had to feed cows...and letsfaceit, I can't handle that.

So I got up, fed babies then fed cows while the sun was making it's appearance.
It was a beautiful day! Not a cloud in the sky!

At 9 AM I was having an intense convo with Tim about Turducken, when we saw a huge buck in the middle of the field behind the dairy.....
Weird. Hunting season WIDE open. Broad daylight. Middle of a plowed field. Weird.

It is only now that I realize the buck was a sign directed at me. Telling me to go home.
...OK actually it looked as if he was running a wide right, turned to catch the pass then went over the fence into the end zone...
But I know the deeper meaning.

After deciding that a cornish hen would probably fit into a duck, Tim left and I went and ran 5 miles.

During my run, the sky turned Black and my Friday took a turn for the worse.
-I returned to work.
-Started the pump.
-Decided to walk into the parlor to see what was shakin'.
-Discovered that my milking equipment had "timed-out" during the acid wash cycle.
-Said "Poop".
-Started it over again, and ran it manually.
-Discovered that the water pressure was gone.
-Checked the well and it was off.
-Pushed the red-buttons to reset the well.
-Screamed when it reset, cuz I thought it was going to shock me....I think my shock-days are numbered.
-It pulled 70 amps, then kicked off.
-Said "Poop".
-Called Tim.
-Tim checked it, said, "The sinky-dinky's broken", called the "Well-guy".
-I fed calves a bit early so I had time to feed cows after.
-My worker came and told me I had a cow down.
-Said "Poop".
-Checked the cow, who had been outside jumping around earlier.
-She was blown up bigger than the Goodyear blimp...twisted stomach.
-Said "Poop".
-Got her to the sick pen FINALLY with Tim's help.
-Headed to feed cows late.
-Discovered twenty cows making a run for it down the main aisle, because someone Tim had left the gate unlocked....
-Said "Poop".
-Got the runaways back in.
-Started to feed.
-The well guy came.
-Left work, took a warp-speed shower, went with Chuck and Caden to the Fantasy of Trees, ate pizza.
-Tim called and said, "The well-guy can't fix it til tomorrow. Okely-dokely."
-Said "Poop".
-Got home and went back to work...after 10.
-Manually washed the equipment. Again.
-Went home. Again.

And here I am at work...again.

The Wal-Mart stampede might not have been so bad after all.

Thursday, November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Go on...

Enjoy your food!

....and a tall glass of MILK while you're at it;)
Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23

P.s. "I Love You...."

I ended up riding-along with Officer Cutie the very next night as well.
It was after a little prodding from my friend though, she knew I really wanted to and was happy to take the blame when I said, "So...Courtney says I should ride with you again....". 
She knew me too well.

After that night I knew I wanted to see him again...outside the police car.

The next few days were spent texting each other uncontrollably.

My ability to verbally spar proved to be a perfect compliment to his witty sarcasm.
He made me laugh, but more importantly I was letting my guard down...slowly.
No one had been able to make me do that for quite some time.
The best part was that I truly felt like I could be myself around Chuck.
That's what I needed.

I knew that a farmer was who I had inside me, and I wasn't about to apologize for my odd business hours.
He got it.  He understood.
And he was still interested.

One afternoon while sitting perched atop the front-end loader in the freestall barn, digging up freestalls he sent me a text.

OK...so we had been texting the entire time, so much so that I could only get between two and four freestalls dug up at a time, in between reading and sending texts.
I was a goner.

His text read, "Do you want to go out and eat sometime?".
After I began breathing again I called my mom, or The Heat as I call her.
"OhMyGoshYouKnowThatGuyChuckIWasTellingYouAbout? HeAskedMeOOOOUUUUUTTTT!!!!"

Then I collected myself, threw my leg nonchalantly over the side of the tractor, and replied, "sure".
I am so cool.

We decided to go out to the local brewery and a movie after.
Chuck had a red rose waiting on my seat, when he came by to pick me up.
Point: Chuck.

The food at the brewery was exceptional, seeing as I had not been able to eat any kind of melted, cheesey, goodness while getting ready for my figure competition, earlier in the month.
Therefore I ate it.all.
...and his fries.

He didn't seem to mind, which I quickly filed under the "Shares Fries" file in my head.
That file is of the utmost importance.

The evening was wonderful, and we ended up seeing each other-outside the cruiser-again, and again.
We developed an easy pattern of texting all day, going to the gym together, then talking at night.
I loved being around him.
Seriously, loved it.

.....I loved him as well.

This feeling gave me serious anxiety, considering I did not know if he loved me back.
I mean, yeah I knew he liked me...I mean what's not to like?
The wit? The cow smell?
But I couldn't blurt out "I love you" at some random moment.

The feelings I had for him were almost overwhelming.
I felt like I had to tell him or I was gonna bust!

But what if he said something like "OK"?
What if he laughed?
What if it was awkward?

It literally wore me out.
We would get off the phone, he would say "Bye", I would say "Bye"Iloveyou.

Then one evening while driving back from the gym, I leaned up in the car, turned the radio down and said, "Ilikeyou.  I mean like, I reeeaaallllly llllllllike you".

He laughed and said, "Well, I really like you too".
That's great. He laughed. I am sooooo funny...harharhar.

I weenied out.  Simple as that.
I was going for the gold...and then got scared and didn't even compete.

I still loved him though....

That next week was Thanksgiving and I was all set to go to my Aunt's for a late lunch on the holiday.
I had been stressing over wanting to tell Chuck that I loved him, but still couldn't work up the nerve.
Then I had an idea!
I'll write him a note!

He will read the note, without me there, and not feel pressured to say it back!
....and I won't hear him laugh.  Win!

Being much better at writing than talking, I sat down and poured my heart out in ink on a piece of notebook paper.
It wasn't a mushy note, full of puppies and butterflies, but it also contained more than three words.

I decided to leave it for him to find in the morning, while I was at work.
He had worked graveyard the night before, so he wouldn't be getting up until around noon anyway.
The day happened to be Thanksgiving.

I went to work and worried.
Went home to change and worried.
Drove to my Aunt's...and worried.

I parked, and was getting ready to get out of the truck when I got a text.
It said, "Hey! Happy Thanksgiving!  I didn't want to bother you in case you were already eating.  Call me when you're done and headed back.  By the way, I love you too:)".

I sat there and cried, knowing that this would always be my greatest Thanksgiving memory of all.

Tuesday, November 22

Mount Vesuvius

....I put a chicken in the crock pot this morning.
Those may be my famous last words.

I am really trying not to think about it right now, but as you can see...I blurted it out first thing.
BUT I put the slow cooker on "low" and didn't put as much water in it.

I have dreamed up a white bean chicken chili recipe and reeeeaaaallllly want to make it.
I browsed the internets and came up with not.one.single.recipe that suited me...so I am just gonna wing it.

There were lots of turkey chili recipes though...which would make for super great dishes to throw that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in!
...Just a thought.

By the by, I am SO jealous of all of you turkey-makers out there.
I love, love, love making...well anything...but unfortunately Thanksgiving is not my holiday to cook.

I do, however, get Christmas!
So that's something...right?!

I have decided that I am going to make Beef Wellington again, like last year.
What could be better than beef tenderloin in pastry?
Nothing. That's right. Nothing.

Thanksgiving and Christmas aside, I need to ask you a question....
I need you to be honest.
I don't care if it's not what I want to hear.
Brutal honesty.

Did you check on things here while I was gone, like you said you would?
Did you?

Did you happen to notice the free-for-all that was occurring in my calving barn?

The 4 cows and SIX calves that were all just kinda hangin' out together?
I'm referring to the FOUR HOLSTEIN cows and SIX calves...TWO of which were JERSEYS?

Just checking.

Since I had no idea which calf belonged to which cow, I loaded all the mama's up and brought them to the barn yesterday.

That left me with 6 calves to bottle feed.
I am out of empty hutches....inn's full!!!..which means I have 6 in a pen.

Have you ever tried to feed 6 bottle calves in a pen together?
Let me paint you a picture....

Bottle in my left hand...
Bottle in my right...
Bottle between my knees...(short Jersey)...
One calf sucking on my back pocket...
One calf sucking on my right knee...
One calf sucking on the neck of the calf sucking on my knee...

Think you're done?!
Just wait til the three on the bottles are finished.

I was sweating.
They were hungry.
I yelled at Mercy.
Then I went home.

This morning I got to work early...after sealing my fate with Mount Vesuvius( my slow cooker).

I had a plan.
I had the calves in the barn lined up, assembly line style, drinking from bottle holders.

Which would have been G-enius, if they all drank at the same rate...
Instead, dingy on the left finished first, ran over to the one beside him who backed up like he had been goosed, who ran into the one beside him who caused a domino effect.

It's great to be back;).

Monday, November 21

Honeeeey, I'm Hooooooome!

Goodness what a vacation!
The travel-time I could have done without, but the MalinDelSon (Malinda, Del, Jackson) I could not have!

I got there and Malinda and baby J were waiting for me..I was the ONLY person with someone there waiting. Justsoyouknow;).
It was great!

Rochester is a tiny airport, getting there meant taking two planes from Knoxville both ways.
No problem.
The put me, with my people-smell aversion, directly beside the bathroom in the VERY back of the plane on one of the flights.
No problem.
American decided to change my flights in Charlotte.
No problem.
It was 14, FOURTEEN, degrees in Rochester one morning.

I managed to run on the two upper-twenty degree mornings during my visit.
The longest I ran was for 35 minutes, which I happily doubled in my head because itwassoCOLD!
Then Edna, with her red weathered-looking hands came to visit, and I decided gloves would be a good idea.
No matter what state I'm in, I'm still pretty.

Since I was not in Rochester to get a procedure done at Mayo, which is normally the reason people go there, Malinda happily gave me a brief tour of the facilities.

Let's talk about corn fields and dairy farms.
Then justlikethat BOOM! Glass, marble, ornately carved wood. Mayo Clinic.

The greatest minds in the medical field can be found amongst the stalks of corn and crows.
(They were having a crow epidemic while I was there. Let.Me.Tell.You. I saw some very well-fed birds.)

As if the minds and structures weren't enough to marvel at, throw in some Dale Chihuly glass sculptures and ORIGINAL Andy Warhol paintings.

I'm still in awe.

The best part was hanging out with my family.

Watching Jackson and TC(TheCat), bathe together in the tub...
Talking cow-breeding with Del...
Cooking pre-Thanksgiving dinner with Malinda....
Visiting the Mall of America...and not killing anyone...

It was wonderful!

I was reminded how easy it is to fall into normal rhythm with my sister.
We worked easily beside each other while cooking, and are just as happy staying in by the fire as we are people-watching at the mall.

A note on my sister.....
She is really something else.
To meet her you would never know that she is Doctor in Neonatology.
Not only a Doctor, but a Doctor at Mayo Clinic. 
From the research she conducts, to the recognition/awards she receives she is the epitome of humble. 
Though she has Doctors asking her to do her Fellowship with them, she still truly believes she can do more.
She is such an inspiration.

And to think we used to argue over who had to water and feed the show calves when we were little!

I'm giving her 3 years to move back, after that I'm coming to get her with the cattle trailer.
Try me.....

So, I'm back to work this morning.
(I couldn't wait to get back...serious.nerd.excitement.)

Mercy met me down at the calf barn for his last hoo-rah of waking up early before school to feed calves.
I'm pretty sure he is glad I am back:).

Everyone looked great!
I had about 9 calves born while I was gone, and everyone was bright-eyed and hungry this morning!
Without Mercy I would have been a wreck...for real.

I was nothing but confident leaving him in charge of the calves, even though he did call me at 5:30 am while I was on the way to the airport...
After that, he was golden!

Teddie held things together at the barn...nothing extraordinary..but I think everything lived.
That's saying something...

The Heat yelled at my workers when she found the lint trap full...
OK, she didn't yell....for some reason she just talks to them reeeaaalllly LOUD and drawn o-u-t.

Chuck survived....I think he is glad to see me though:).
I'm really glad to see him!

Home sweet home, with a lot of work to do.
I wouldn't have it any other way:).

Monday, November 14

It's The Leaving...

This time tomorrow I will............still be in Tennessee.
But at the airport.

Not at work, mind you.
At the airport.
Worrying about work.
At the airport.

It'll be OK, right?
They will be OK....right?
My babies will be fine, my cows will be great and my cats will get fed.

Don't get me wrong, I am very excited about my date with my ten month old nephew Jackson, and I cannot wait for all of the laughter and fun that being around Malinda and Del always brings!
It's just the leaving, even for a few days, that's the hardest.

That's why I don't do it.

What if no one yells, "HEY BABIES!!!!" before they start feeding each time?
They won't know it's time to eat!

What if no one feeds the 2 smallest kittens on the shelf, instead of on the ground with the others?
They will never get enough!

What if no one turns Kirra's heater on?
My hairless dog will freeze!

So, what I'm gonna need you to do is stop by and make sure these things get done. K?
Whew!  I thought you were gonna say "no".
I'm soglad you didn't.

You do need to be aware that there are some sneakersteins in the crowd.
Watch for them.
Like this little camouflage cutie....

What? Don't you see him?

How about now?

Is this better?

Just so you know the area he is laying in, is located on the other side of the fence from his mother.
I'm not exactly sure what he had in mind after he woke up from his nap, but I went ahead and scooted him back through to his, very stressed, mother.

I haven't informed my workers that I'm leaving yet.
I imagine the conversation to go something like, "Me bye bye"...that should do it.

I had originally told Tim that he was NOT to yell at my workers!
HOWever, after getting on the skidsteer Saturday morning and finding it OUT of diesel, it's every man for himself as far as I'm concerned.

The Heat's gonna miss me.
At least, I'm telling myself that.

She will miss those textesesses that I send her saying, "can I have a cookie?" and "the barn is out of laundry detergent".
OK, maybe not that last one.

Chuck will probably miss me, he has been pretty darned busy at work here lately though.
I made him cake pops last night for when I'm gone!!!

They are pretty delicious ifIdosaysomyself.

With that, I guess I will go get as much done as I can before tomorrow.
Next stop, Minnesota!!

Saturday, November 12


I have no idea what it is like to be an only child.
To be honest...I don't think I ever wished for such...I can't imagine the workload I would have had.

I can, however, remember wishing Malinda(my older sister) wasn't so gosh darned smart!
It was the Montessori school that did it..I'm convinced.

When we were growing up, Malinda had a cat named Queenie and I had a cat named Feisty.
I don't feel like I need to describe our differences anymore.  That should sum it up.

We were mom's girls though.
We had 8 good years of The Heat's full and undivided attention before the other 3 came into the picture.
It was bliss! 

Dad was always at the hospital late, so during the week it was just us gals.
The heat would often take us to browse all 4 stores at the local mall, and then to eat at Chick-fil-A.
Good times.
At night she would sit on the couch while we brought all of the brushes and combs into the sun room, where we would each have half of her hair to play with before bed.

I should have known, when The Heat started eating liver and onions, that something was up.
She HATED liver and onions with a blind passion..but she needed the nutrients for the baby she was going to have.
Yep, another baby.

We had 8 solid years with this lady, now we were going to have to share her.

I can safely say that we were excited about having a little sister.  For real.
There was never a day we didn't look forward to it.
When Rebecca came in 1991, she didn't disappoint.

I can remember feeding her a bottle when she was a baby, and sneaking up to her crib in the mornings before school, where I would wake her up just to play with her.

She would peak over the bumper in her crib, and smile.
It was great.

She had the best smile.
I would then pick her up, carry her downstairs and proclaim, "She was already awake!".
Then I would give her to the babysitter, before heading off to school, because she obviously needed a diaper change.

After Rebecca's first 2 years, all I can remember is The Heat being pregnant.
It was tomato sandwiches and maternity clothes for the next few years, while she had Ann Taylor and Mack.

Ann Taylor was after Rebecca, and was 3 months premature.
This was a difficult time.

I remember visiting The Heat in the hospital on Mother's Day after Church, and Malinda and I both cried.
She was OK, but no one ever wants to see their mom in the hospital.

Malinda and I were old enough to take care of Rebecca, for the most part, while dad was busy working at the office and farm and taking care of The Heat.

Since Taylor was so early, she spent the first few months at Children's Hospital in her incubator.
We spent a lot of time there as well.
Occasionally The Heat and Bossman would bring her to the window so we could see her.
She was a miracle....a tiny miracle.

Taylor had a heart monitor for a while after she came home from the hospital.
It would go off anytime her heartbeat became irregular.
Restaurants, airplanes...everywhere.

The main things I remember from Ann Taylor's early years, were the heart monitor and the fact that Taylor was always really red.  She cried a lot too.
To this day, she is still very petite however she has become a lot quieter;).
A few years went by and Mack, or Mercy, decided to grace us with his big-headed presence.
(He's on Fall Retreat, so I can say that.)

He was the last, and only boy for The Heat.
Healthy, big, and happy.
That was Mercy.

Us girls used to dress him up (he's gonna be so mad) and call him "Macky"....(I'm so in trouble)...
I can remember putting one of our yellow tutu's around his head making him look like the "sun"....he would smile and we would laugh...he was a happy baby.

Now we are grown...for the most part.
Malinda's a doctor in Neonatology at Mayo.
I'm a farmer. (It's OK, I laughed too).
Beenie's in college.
Taylor and Mercy are in high school.
And we are all healthy, happy and close.

I get excited when I think about years to come, because I know we will always be very much a part of each others lives.
I can't imagine us ever being away from the farm for good.
It's in our blood.

Maybe one day we will run it together.

I am thankful for so many things I have and have not been given.
But I think most of all, I'm thankful for my family.
The Man Upstairs sure blessed us,

then again, doesn't He always?

Friday, November 11

Keep Your Hands OFF My B.......


Hello, my name is BobbyJean and I don't like to be touched.
OK..it's Rachael, but the "being touched" part is still true.

I mean I hug family and loved ones, even my dogs and cows, but my body has a strange, uncontrollable reaction when a stranger touches me...eyyyuck.

Grocery store line bump?
-Holding my breath for-ev-er.

Stranger puts his/her hand on my shoulder?
-Throw up in my mouth.

I can't help it.
I also hold my breath when people walk by me on airplanes.
But that's a horse of a different color....No! Idon'tknowwhy!

Aside from me being personally touched(I made a face the entire time I typed that, FYI), I don't like for my stuff to get tampered with.
Stuff, like work stuff...and ANYthing else I own.

You wanna use it?  No problemo amigo, just ask mamacita.  I dont'mind.

The thing is, I know where things are.  With the exception of my keys...daily.
How bout, I know when things are different...better?
Especially things I USE each.and.every.single.day.

They had better be in the spot, where I left them when I was finished using them.
Or somebody better start running.

This is when Chuck, my loving honey, would say, "You don't wanna be that guy".
But he's right. You don't.

You sure didn't this morning.

This morning I went to feed calves...yes, just like normal.
I have a routine, during which I mix 5-gallon buckets of milk to feed my babies from.
I can get enough milk out of each 5-gallon bucket to feed 10 calves.
Therefore, I have 10 smaller feed buckets to put the milk in for the calves to drink out of.
Not rocket science people.

I took the 5-gallon buckets out to the calves, and went back to stack my smaller buckets to bring out.
...................there were only.EIGHT...........................

(That's not 10.)

I had been in a good mood!
I even did a chubby-gnome dance while mixing milk. (What I look like in my coveralls...sexy.)

When I realized there were only 8 I got hot.
Like sweating.
Like, I scrub and sanitize these buckets every.single.day. TWICE A DAY.
And someone, some renegade outlaw, just sauntered in here-spurs jangling-and lit out with 2 buckets.
Pfffffttttt! The nerve!!!

Didn't they see the sign?!

Please believe me when I tell you that I DID NOT write that sign.
Yes, it is still on the wall, over the buckets...but I beg you to have more faith in me than that.

I have lost a few friendships over this,
If you need one find the ones you have done stole from this barn"

But at least I know I'm not alone.
There are others like me who have OCDand even worse grammer.
Others who have worked for us, and all they want at the end of the day is for someone to respect their buckets.

Don't oogle my buckets, is that too much to ask?
I know they're clean and stacked perfectly, but HANDS OFF!
Next time I won't be so nice.

Wednesday, November 9

Fed Up

That's it!
I'm leaving!

My last day here is next Monday.  They will miss me.
Oh well, they should have thought about that before they took advantage of my good nature.
They'll regret it, that's for sure.

What's that?
What am I gonna do?
That's easy.  You see, I'm on to bigger and better things.  That's right, reaching for the stars.
No more baby feeding, cow breeding, medicating.  And NO more poop on me! Ha!

I consider this a win. 
I wonder who will take over for me when I'm gone?
Who will clean the lint-trap in the dryer that I DON'T USE?
Who will pull the buckets off the heads of the calves?  Will they be stuck forever?

I guess it doesn't matter.
I informed Teddie that I will be leaving next week and the weaker of the two, Eddie, responded with, "Well, I guess we did it without you before you took over".  'Preciate that Ed.
Tim's response was, "I gotta go feed and think about next week".
Maybe he cared a little.

At any rate I'm gone.
Auf Wiedersehen.
Peace out.
I am.
Stop looking at me like that.
Uggggghhhhhhhh! FINE!
I'll come back to work that next Monday.

But they'll miss me while I'm gone, by golly!

That actually hurt a little..the whole acting-like-I-don't-care part.
Immmmmmma softy.

I am leaving next Tuesday to visit my firstbestfriendEVA, my sister Malinda and her family.
My nephew Jackson is excited...I can feel it;).

Oh, don't you worry your pretty little head, I'll be blogging remotely.
Like I'm on a safari.
We will be hunting 9 month olds....

...and probably a cat.

I won't lie, I'm feeling INCREDIBLY a little anxious about leaving.
200 cows.
36 calves on milk.
4 Hondurans.
2 dogs.

I just hope they remember to turn the follicly-challenged dogs' heater on.
She gets cold.

Until then....I am OVER my head with work to do in order to make this place fool-proof while I'm gone.
Heh. Like that's gonna work.

Tuesday, November 8

Hot Pursuit

If you have read this blog for very long, or know me, or Chuck..or perhaps you're the one who left the SLIPPERS????????..then you probably know Chuck works for the railroad.

If not then, Chuck works for the railroad.
Ta-da! Just like that you're caught up.

Part of his Special Agent job is being on-call ALL.THE.TIME.
At any moment he could be called out to Athens, Bristol, or anywhere in his enormous area.
This creates anxiety for him when we try to make plans.  So we don't.

If we are supposed to go somewhere and he gets a call, then I take one for the team and stay home...and bake....
I bake a lot.

Over the weekend we had planned on going into downtown Knox so that he could check on a special(read: FANCY) train, and eat while we were there.
Listen, if we make it out of Maryville we consider that an event. Mmmmk?

I got home from work the evening we were to go, and ate approximately 176 tortilla chips.
Just a guess.
I was thisclose to an episode.  (Episode: Low blood sugar=Inability to be nice).

While stuffing them-two at a time-into my mouth, Chuck got a call from her.
(Her: The person who calls him to tell him there's a railroad emergency.)

I didn't hear what they were telling him because I was chewing too loud, but I got the gist that he needed to go to Harriman.
Opportunity! I said, "Hey...chewchewchew mmmwhy swallow don't I coughcough ahhhhhowowowow chipinthethroat ahem go with you?".
His look was "because you're eating all the chips in the house" but I took it as "hurry and shower".
So I did.
The chips within arms-reach of the shower.  Justsayin.

When Chuck gets calls...he gets....shallwesay...hurried....
I have A LOT of hair people.
So I did something I'm not proud of.
Something that a hippie would have done. (I think The Heat was a hippie...for real....she won't admit it).
Something I will tell you ONLY if you agree to never speak of it AND you must leave it on this blog. K?

I used dry shampoo.
WHAT? Yep. Had it. Used it. I'm currently working on my dreads.
That's so not true.

But see, Chuck was rushed! I felt rushed! Plus I was a bit curious...
I feel much better now.

Anyway..I totally hurried. He was standing in the doorway of the bathroom.
We were out the door in record time!! Go us!!

We got to the car, he checked his paperwork..

I buckled up and wished I had put some lotion on my Edna's hands...

We got ready to go and he consulted his GPS...

....47 minutes later we pulled out  of the apartment parking lot....


The whole way there I sat on my hands to keep from touching these....

I KNOW! Right? Like a domestic Batmobile.
The horn makes a siren noise...I stared at it the whole time, picturing myself leaning over and pushing it every time we got behind someone.
There wouldn't be a dry pair of pants between Maryville and Harriman on my watch.

We finally got there and I sat in the car and contemplated life and why I feel so old, and hungry, and why we have to observe the time-change, and why Arizona doesn't.  How does that work?
Do they feel out of the loop?
They should.
I've been there once. It was hot, and dry and I ate a cinnamon lollipop that set.me.on.FIRE!

My honey ended up having to search the building, which was fine until I thought about what I would do if he needed his partner for backup.
I wasn't dressed for this!
Tall, high-heeled boots and skinny jeans!?

I had just gotten my first boot off, in preparation for the racing into the building, which I knew would be just moments away...when my Hunky Honey reappeared...on the phone.

Well..it's a good thing...
There's no telling how long it would have taken me to have pried the other boot off.

Sunday, November 6


In case you were wondering, calves mostcertainly do not observe the time change.
To them, I was just an hour late this morning. This gives me anxiety.

I used to actually feel a difference when the time changed..more rested maybe?
In the spring I would feel...less rested?
I'm not sure, however I am sure that I felt nothin' this morning.

I was up late making brownies(shocker!), mac and cheese and pulling chicken for bbq.
The Heat volunteered she and I to make dinner for the youth at Church again, and I really don't mind.
I do have a fear of them not liking it though.
So I bought chips.
Who can resist Doritos?!

I will say that if you are a baker, or even firefighter, you should invest in the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook.
I made their brownies last night, doubled them actually, and I'm thinking we have a winner!

I also believe I have solved the mac and cheese puzzle.
White American cheese and Gruyere are what I believe to be the perfect cheese combo.
I have tried them all....I even made Panera's last week..but last night I reached the top of the mountain.
I conquered the mac.

Being up late plus getting up early makes me feel old.
It really does.
I wasn't going to just put it out there like that..but then I did..and I left it. So there.

You know what REALLY makes me feel old???
I bet you don't.

Last week was Halloween, yes?
Twenty-somethings and older tend to partake in festivities, yes?
I am late-twenty-something......yes?

Those are 3 important things to remember....

Last Sunday morning I woke up and got ready for work...like I do EVERY morning. Heh.
It was crack-of-dawn 5-ish, and I headed out to get in my truck...

FYI: A bunch of early-twenty-something gals live next door to me.

I had just started my truck, when the gals next door came flying into the parking lot, got out of their car and I sat and watched as they teetered into their apartment.
Let's see, there was a nurse, a devil...and a few stumblers.

Have you ever gone to the store, bought a bunch of bananas and theverynextday they are brown and bad?
Imma brown bunch-o-naners.

There I was sitting in my truck, watching myself walk into my apartment two years ago....

I'll admit, I was briefly saddened by the sudden realization that I am past that point.
...as I sat eating my oatmeal, wearing the same jeans and hoodie from the day before...

That nostalgic moment was indeed brief, because I though about what has happened in the past two years.
EVERYthing has happened.
Everything important to me.

Two years ago Chuck and I didn't have what we have now.
I didn't know I was going to get to be a step mom!

I was at work even more than I am now(can.you.imagine).

My relationship with the Good Lord was in the rebuilding stages..I'm on firm foundation now.

Two years ago I was worried about tomorrow...I live the heck out of every day now.

I'm glad for change.
I embrace change.

Without change I wouldn't be right here. Right now.

The gals were out on their balcony last night and as I walked inside I looked up at them, with a full heart and sense of accomplishment, and smiled. 

I am more me than I ever was.

Thursday, November 3

On Tuesday

On Tuesday I ended the day smelling like me, chicken stock, calf poop and burnt hair.
It was eventful.

You see I started out Tuesday on a chicken n'dumplings mission.
I am convinced that my chicken n'dumpling goodness is a cure-all.
The creamy pot of wonder has brought Chuck back to life several times and since Beenie is injured I turned to my old faithful.

Chuck had mentioned wanting me to make it so I thought hey, why don't I just make two batches?
Then we can have a big bowl of pumpkin ice cream!
It was a glorious plan.

So I woke up early Tuesday, smelling like excellence me, and filled my slow cooker with herbs, vegetables, lemon and a really naked chicken....for to make zee cheeekin stocks.
I then covered the chicken with water, popped the lid on, cranked it up to high(it was a WHOLE chicken after all), and went to work.

I did my normal calf/cat feeding and cow breeding routine, started Beenie's batch of chicken n'dumplings at The Heats house(Note:I did not make my own stock for this one) and went home to check on my hairless wonder bubbling away.

I opened the door to the apartment and it was like I walked into Thanksgiving heaven.
The smell was wrong it was so right.
Beautiful chicken, thyme, andabunchofotherstuff.

I walked toward the kitchen with my eyes closed, breathing in the aroma, turned the light on, looked at the slow cooker and stopped breathing for, like, EVER.

Have I ever mentioned that my slow cooker can reach a heat much like the center of a volcano?
I put it on "high" before I left because,well, it was a WHOLE chicken.
I needed for it to be finished by the time I returned home at lunch, and thought "low and slow" was not a good idea.
It's the pretty sometimes that takes over.

The naked little chicken was pressed against the glass of the lid, which.I.had.latched, as if screaming for help!
This has changed my outlook on hot tubs forever.

Then...THEN I noticed something on the counter...a pool of CHICKEN STOCK was forming as it dripped from the boiling inferno that was my slow cooker.
My cutting board was floating and it had begun to drip onto the floor.

That's when I turned off the light, got my "emergency bag" and moved to Kansas.
I've been there once, it was windy.

No, actually I did what ANY rational male would do...I threw some newspaper over it.

Heh..OK I cleaned it up.

And...letmejusttellyou, chicken stock is GREASY. .Don't go running through a kitchen with socks on after a chicken spill of that proportion.
Unless you have a "life alert" then by all means, knock yourself out.

The good news was the chicken was cooked perfectly...and that's about it.
I busted out the Clorox and scrubbed, which resulted in my kitchen smelling like bleachy-chicken. Yum.

I left for work, after finishing my chicken n'dumplings and setting the dial to "LOW" and immediately sent Chuck a text which said, "No! I most certainly DID NOT just flood the kitchen with chicken stock! HOW DARE you accuse me of such. I love you".
He tolerates me.

Upon returning to work, I went to The Heats, finished Beenie's batch, then I dehorned a bunch of calves...that's where the "burnt hair" comes into play.

I finally made it home that evening with me somewhere under the chicken stock on my hands, sleeves and socks, and the lingering smell of burnt hair which had soaked into my skin.

I figured my sense of smell was shot anyway, so I fried some bacon and made these....

Browned butter, bacon, chocolate chip cookies.(So good people).

Which we had with zeeeeessss....

Pumpkin Ice Cream(like a cold bowl of Pumpkin pie).
After eating a big bowl of this...

chicken n'dumplings(in my NEW Fiestaware bowl thanks to Beenie!).

I played it safe and didn't cook anything yesterday.

Wednesday, November 2

Dream Killer Strikes Again!

Alright, we have a lot of things to cover here people, soletsgetstarted.

Yesterday I was proud to present to you the November EOM, however what I really wanted to talk about were my Halloween festivities.
I'm sorry 9990, but it's true.

I learned this year that there is an annual Trick or Treat dealy-o at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville.
I never knew this existed!!
It's pretty huge, over 6,000 kids came through this year! WOW!

These were mainly inner city kids, and I had never really thought about it being tough to Trick or Treat in the city. Go me for thinking.
Now I know.

Norfolk Southern always participates and even sets up a signal, like at a real live railroad crossing!
So anyway, eager to please the kiddies(and see some ridiculously cute costumes) I offered to come help.
I'm good people like that.

Letmejusttellyou, I was under the impression this shindig was happening inside.
Mistake #1.

I got there, un-costumed, and found the booth OUTside.
(This was when dread fell out of the cup inside my head and began creeping all over my body.)
I have to be honest here, I WILL work outside all day no matter what the weather is, HOWEVER I have a really hard time talking myself into voluntarily being cold.
I hope this doesn't make me a bad person.

I needed to see some cute costumes STAT.
I got to My Honey at their booth and he told me they were handing out erasers, coloring books and crayons.

It's like going to a birthday party and getting a toothbrush in you favor bag.
WOOOHOOOO....a toothbrush.

NS, being the sneakersteins they are, cleverly positioned themselves in the corner beside the carousel and people giving out ice cream sandwiches.
Strategy WIN.

I mean, I would stand in line and get school supplies IF it meant a round on a purple-haired pony, followed by a FREE ice cream sandwich in 30 degree weather. Psssssyeah!

So, I began scanning the scene, then I spotted HIM.
It was like he fell right out of Walt Disney's imagination.
He was perfect.
He was the first person the kids came to when they approached the NS booth.
The Conductor...

I know, right!?!
The outfit. The mustache The glasses.  A Polar Express dream.
Plus he IS a REAL conductor!  He doesn't just play one!

I was glued to him..not literally of course.

He smiled at me! (Never mind the super-happy guy in the orange, hehehe).
I was enamoured. I wanted his autograph.
I pictured him riding the rails daily, blowing his little whistle and shouting "ALL ABOARD!".

As the kids filtered through, he would smile and they would...care less that he was a movie star.

Then I made mistake #2.
I enthusiastically(and with my mouth open the ENTIRE time) looked at Chuck and said, "Ohmygosh, does he wear THAT ALL the time?????!!!!!!!!

With considerably less enthusiasm, The Love of My Life looked at me and said, "Ummmm....no".
Gah! Dream Killer strikes again!

Suddenly the world was cold.
I was over Halloween. I needed pizza.

Then we saw these two guys and decided to find pizza.

The most memorable costume of the night?

The chick. Had to be the chick.

OH and here is a picture of Chuck's son Caden with his little sister Abby(she is 2)...

Caden was a soldier and Abby was Tinkerbell...can you tell?
When asked where her costume was, Abby responded with "She don't like it".

OH OH! Speaking of ice cream sandwiches, my favorite Halloween memory of ALL time?
When BossMan was left to his own devices and gave out ice cream sandwiches to the trick or treaters who came by the house.

There haven't been any since.

Tuesday, November 1

November Employee of the Month!!!

Every employee, here on the farm, is just as important as the next.
Each one contributes in their own way. Except Tim.

The heifers are just as important as the third lactation cows.
This being said, the farm would like to recognize an "up and comer" as the November Employee of the Month!

9990 may be a little wet behind the ears, but her instincts are proving to be some of the best.

Without further adieu, I present to you Lasandra!!!!

Lasandra is a sassy little Jersey who was born on Christmas day in 2009.
That's correct, she is only two years old, however she set herself apart the day she gave birth.
She went the extra mile.

Jerseys are known for their calving ability, or calving ease.
They have rather small calves(being rather small themselves), therefore the herdsman normally does not worry too much when one is close to calving.

However, the herdsWOMAN watches each cow and heifer alike to be sure there are no problems.
Lasandra was about to have a problem the day I came back from lunch to check on her.

I walked out into the dry cow lot and there she was...

..in the beginning stages of calving.
I decided that, since this was her first, I would stay close and watch to see if she needed any help.

One of the interesting things about cows is how nonchalant they are about the whole calving thing...

Here Lasandra is just hangin out beside 7717(on the right), who seems TOTALLY un phased by the birthing that is going on rightbesideher.

I'll just go ahead and tell you....if someone is having a baby say, beside me at the beach, I'm gonna scream and run.
That's just how it is.

Anyway, I sat and watched and wrung my hands, and played with grass, and held my breath and after I realized that I too was pushing, I decided to intervene.

This was taking entirely too long for little to no progress.

 There are no pictures of what happened in the middle of the story, so I'll break it down for ya.

-I army-crawled across the field to Lasandra.  (P.s. Didn't want to alarm her) (P.p.s. This was right.beside.the.road).

-When I made it to her, I could barely get ahold of one foot...and it was bigger than it needed to be.

-I got up, scared her and she jumped up, baby slid back in(making a whoopie-cushion noise), and chased her around the field.

-She gave up, went in the corral.

-Ran her into the chute, where she tried to turn around 12 times.

-I took my watch off(this is important).

-Put on some gloves(also important).

-Grabbed a foot, reached in, found the other, said a prayer because I felt head not tail, hooked puller to calf, and started crankin'.

-I almost had the head out, and Lasandra was in pain.  She is not a big Jersey, so even a normal-sized Jersey calf would have been a struggle.  She also has narrow-hips, I can relate(this is important), I had a nightmare the next night.

-FINALLY got calf's head out and we had blinking! Score!

-After the head, the rest is cake.

-I pulled baby away from Lasandra, so she wouldn't step on her little girl...

-Grabbed a piece of straw, poked baby girl in the nostril so she would "sneeze" to clear her airway.

-And we had success!!

At this point, Lasandra could have done one of seventeen things.
She could have been a typical first-calf heifer and not cared, went and ate, wrote a song....

BUT Lasandra, after going through a truly traumatic experience, jumped up and went to find her baby!

Not all cows are good mothers.
Quite a few dairy farms, especially the big ones, don't need their mamas to actually be mamas.
They just need them to milk.

That's not the way it is, here.
I need my cows to be good mamas, and Lasandra is just that.

She comes from a long line of great Jerseys, and this is just the beginning for her.

She has a long way to go before I would consider her a veteran, but she won my respect that day.

So, congratulations Lasandra(9990) for being November's Employee of the Month!!!!