Saturday, December 31

New Years Eve and 12 Grapes

Happy New Year!!
..wait, wait, wait....
Happy New Years Eve!!!
That's better.

What are your plans?
Watch the ball drop?
Go to a partay?
Eat one grape with each chime of the clock at midnight?
-I read that somewhere. You could never be as weird as me.

What am I gonna do?
Hmmmm....I think Chuck and I will go out and party, then get in about the time I have to go feed calves...
I kid.

I'll probably be in bed by ten.
The way I see it, if the sun rises Sunday, then we have ourselves a new year.
If it doesn't, no biggie, all of my affairs are in order;).

Besides, it will be sooooo crowded tonight...sheesh.
Last night it was pretty crowded out too.

We went out to eat around 7, and evidently EVERYone else decided to do the same thing.
I looked at Chuck and was all offended that people stole our idea, and said, "What's the deal?!".
He responded with, "It's the day before New Years Eve", in a very matter-of-fact way.

No.World. That's where.

So I rolled my eyes, gave the ceiling a good "thanks for this" look, and sat down with my friends at the bar.
Saigon joined us, and instead of saying hello, I believe I said somethingtotheeffectof, "I took 25,000 steps today!!!!".

This FitBit, or "Cliff "as I call it,  has become a bit of an enabler.
I decided that since I walked over 2x the "normal human being" amount of steps, that I could have 2 cookies when I got home.

Cliff is rather worldly.
I cannot figure out his nationality, because occasionally he will say "VAMOS BEBE", making me think he is Hispanic.
Then he will turn around and say, "BONJOUR BEBE", seeming rather French.
Maybe he's just a show-off.

One thing's for sure, Cliff loves me.
He says, "ILOVEYOU BEBE",like, allll the time.
I make him look like a rockstar.
We meet all but one of our daily goals, by ten AM every day.

ANYway, back to the New Years business...
Are you going to make a resolution?
I probably won't, seeing as I never have.

Are you going to eat the "lucky" foods on New Years day?
Pffffftttt! You should!
I am planning a New Years meal consisting of, pork roast, greens(Kale), and black eyed pea risotto.
...and probably have to have cake.

I think I will even take some pictures, if Edna is willing to cooperate.
You should come over!!
You don't even have to call, you know I am home when you see my superhero outfit outside the door...

...providing easy access in case of an emergency.
(Looks like someone put clothes on the snowman again....)

Happy New Year!!
Be safe!
See you in 2012!

P.s.  I was thinking about the grape thing...that's like 12 grapes in 12 seconds...can you fit 12 grapes in your mouth? There's no way you could get those suckers chewed up in time.  Just a thought.  Safety first.

P.P.s. I realize now that I should have washed off my boots before I stepped on the rug.  Sorry Heat.

P.P.P.s. I'm getting married next year!!!!!!

P.P.P.P.s. IfTheSunDoesNotRiseRememberILoveYou.

Thursday, December 29

Our 7 Month Romance

7 months is really a long time.
It's soooo much more than half a year.
In terms of high school relationships, it's like, forever.

Then again, it's only 7 months, not even a year.
How are you feeling about this?

I'm talking about our relationship, hello.
You and me?

We have this thing, and we have had it since May..ifyoumustknow.

I'm going to act like I'm not hurt, that you don't remember.
But I am.

I don't know about you, but I have learned A LOT in the past 7 months..sheesh!

-Jennifer Lopez is the ONLY person who can make wedding planning look fun.
-Don't use casting material that expired in the late 70's.
-Never underestimate the power of the "high" slow cooker setting.  Read: Volcanic Inferno.
-Check the washer/dryer routinely to be sure that they are working.  (The Hondurans WILL wash their clothes by hand, with soap and a rock, and NOT tell you 'machina no worky'.)
-Teddie will NEVER pass up a chance to throw you under the don't stand by the road.
-Security cameras are the way to go.
-Hydraulic fluid is NOT blue.
-Never belittle the size of the bun that a relatively normal oven can produce.
-Eddie often puts things other than feed into the feed wagon.
-Cousins are some of the best friends you never knew you had.
-Don't shake off that sudden urge/thought to tell someone that they are important to you.  There is a reason you feel that way.
-It is possible to find your best friend, and get engaged to them.
-Sometimes you must lose your way, to find your family.

I have learned lots more than that, I am certain.
The theme I will continue to live by and take into 2012 with me, is best summed up in this quote by Dr. Seuss;
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."

God is always good.

Tuesday, December 27

A Little Bit Fit

Remember that little tid bit of info I blessed you with yesterday morning?
About the steps, calories, miles and floors?
Immabout to 'splain that.

But First!
What's your New Years resolution?
Don't act like you haven't already thought about it....sheesh!
I know you, so come on, let it out...

Is it to lose weight?
Stay fit?
Avoid the cake? it to fold your laundry in a more time-efficient manner, so as to avoid "mount laundry"?
-Not that I would know anyone with that resolution in mind....

Well, if health is your priority then read on! 
(If it's laundry, you may wanna check out a more organized website...)
We keep it real folks.

For Christmas The Heat got me this little thingammajig called a Fitbit..

..and it's awesome!

You already know this, but allow me to remind you that I am abitofan information junkie.
I wanna know!

I just do, I can't help it.
...Please excuse me while I go back and join the nerds in the nerdery...
I kid.

You can find these little magic thingies on the Fitbit website.
My friend Kristy, who is mother to a hi-larious blog herself, introduced me to the Fitbit.

Kristy raved about them, and cried when hers I knew anything worth tears is worth looking into;).
I did and knew I could not live without the vital information that it provides.
I need to know how many floors I climb in a day!
OK, maybe I don't have to know...but I want to.

Because I was on the "nice" list this year, Santa Heat gifted me with information to feed my soul.
..she's good like that.

Now I know everything!
Plus, I am logging in alllllllll of the food I eat, and sleep I get each day online!
(Even the 6, OK 8, pieces of peanut butter fudge I ate's the guilt.)

This little gem clips onto your clothing, or you can put it in your pocket, or even use the little wrist/arm/ankle band that it comes with.
Very light, very easy.
I clip mine onto the waist band of my Under Armour, and my sports bra when I run...TMI?
My bad.

It gives you basic goals online, and when your wireless tracker updates your account online, it sends you emails telling you "Congratulations on reaching your goal!!"...AWEsome.

My "basic" goals for each day(set for me) include;
-Take10,000 steps
-Climb 10 floors
-Travel 5 miles
-Burn 2,184 calories

Wanna know what my stats were by the end of yesterday?
(It doesn't matter, I'm gonna tell you anyway.)
-I took 21,687 steps
-Climbed 56 floors
-Traveled 10.73 miles
-Burned 2,805 calories.

I know what you're thinking..."Rachael, how can it be accurate? You're a sucker...".
Thank you for that.

Saigon and I asked the same question last night.
I held the device in my hand and bounced, swung, shook and jiggled it and...nothing.
It did not add steps or anything.  Hmmm....
So, we noted the amount of steps on it at that time, and I counted my steps to the truck until I reached 100.
Guess what?
For real.

Now I'm sold.

It does this thing that freaks me out a little bit though...
You can "name" it, or choose a word that it will greet you with on the little screen.
There are a limited amount of letters, so I was stumped.
ILOVECOWS, wouldn't fit...
COWLADY wouldn't fit...
SQUEEZINUDDERANDMAKINBUTTER definitely wouldn't fit...
So I settled for BEBE.

Malinda called me Bebe, instead of baby, when I was born. 
After telling Chuck about this, he started calling me that too...'cept like rightnow.

Little did I know that my Fitbit would use this name often...
When I am not active for a hot 5 minutes, it says things like,

It gives me that "you're not alone" feeling.
But that's OK, I have already taken 2,421 steps today!


Monday, December 26

He Really Loves Me

But First!
I have taken 2,967 steps since I woke up this morning!
-That's 6 floors climbed...
-1.24 miles...
-554 calories burned..
...We'll talk about that later...

How was Christmas?!
Better yet, how was the food?
Delicious?  I bet it was.

Did your Aunt's cheese slide off her cracker?  My Aunt's did, and she was using squeezy cheese... might be too early for jokes..

Did your BossMan grill 37 steaks?  Mine did.  I felt like a caveman.
..but they were soooo good.

I did work yesterday morning...gasp! The horror!
ACTually it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers everyone else.  For real.
I don't mind working on holidays!  Honestly!

I rather enjoy wishing the cows, cats, calves and dogs a Merry Christmas every year.
Not to mention by the time I am fairly caught up in the morning, 'normal people' are just waking up.
I am not missing anything.

If I didn't work at least some, I would get antsy and feel guilty for whomever was working for me.
Aren't you glad your not me? don't have to answer, I already know.

OK, so Christmas...
We alllllll know that it is not about the gifts, or who gets the most, it's about The Birth.
That being said, I am not writing this to brag about what I got, or who got me the best gift...duh.

I AM writing this to tell you about a gift that I received, that wasn't HUGE, but had more of a 'supporting cast' role.

First, you must brace yo'self.
What I am about to tell you will be reason #4,312 on the "Why you're glad you're not me" list.
It's embarrassing and scary-true.

I don't wear a lot of jewelry, on a daily basis.
Typically I just wear the same earrings every day, only taking them out to clean them.
BUT I love pretty, sparkly, shiny things.

Chuck has a knack for picking out the perfect "me" pretty things.
He's awesome at it.

When I am not at work, I wear as manyofthemasIcanfitonmyperson at once.
I believe it makes me look very "rock star chic".

I lie to myself often, ifyoumustknow.

Anyway, I never gave much thought to buying a jewelry box.  Like.  Ever.
I would just take my pretty things off, and put them in the same spot every time...
...ohhh boy, this is that spot...

OK, wait!
See the liiiittle black box on the left?
That is where I would keep all of my jewelry.
Take a goooood look at that hott mess....


Being that I am obviously oblivious in that loud and proud way, when Christmas rolled around I kept the "I don't need anything" general response in my repertoire.

I even told my honey this.
I wasn't fibbing!  I just couldn't think of anything to ask no one really wants to ask...
Come on now..

Naturally when gifts, for Edna, started appearing under the tree, I was curious.
Edna was excited...don't let her lie.

I kept asking Chuck what he got me, and he kept NOT telling me.
That strategy wasn't going to work at all.

So I waited, and wondered from time to time.
What could he have gotten me?
I don't need anything! Do I?
Have I mentioned anything?
Even if I did, he doesn't remember anything I said 5 minutes ago, much less 5 days ago...
(That last one is true, he will even admit it.)

Finally, Christmas morning came around, and among the bold and beautiful gifts and "pretty things", was this...

I opened it and laughed.
I am 28 years old, and I keep ALL of my jewelry stuffed in a old, tiny velvet box.

This gift was not the most expensive, or shiniest that I got far.
However, it served as a nice reminder that he does listen, and he does pay attention....and for some reason he keeps me around.

I immediately ran, took a picture of the calamity that was my jewelry case, then proceeded to put alllllll of my pretty things in their new home!

anD, aND, AND!  You know what the best part is????
After seeing all of the empty space still left in my new jewelry home, Chuck sighed and said, "Oh...I though you had more than that...".

To which I quickly responded, "Oh no honey! There's always room for more!".
Heh, heh, heh...

Friday, December 23

Christmas Story

Christmas on the farm, might just look like any other day.

The cows, they are milking,

The calves are at play.

But if you look closely, you might notice a change.

The animals act differently,

Some may even call it "strange".

The cows, calves, cats, Peacocks even!

They know it's almost time,

They know it's the season.

For when they were born, their mothers taught them well.

They heard of the Angel, the Kings and the star.

Their mothers told them about the baby born, Immanuel.

At first they are shocked, it's unbelievable to hear!

The King of Kings was born in a stable,

Much like right here?

The babies keep the story locked up tight in their heart.

Always remembering,

Never skipping a part.

They will teach it to their babies one day.

A story from their hearts,

One that is sure to light their way.

It is important to remember that Silent Night long ago.

To remember that of all the palaces,

A simple barn is where they would go.

To this day, on that very same night,

The animals all gather, look to the star,

And kneel under it's light.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20

Everybody Wants to Be a Cat

...because a cat's the only cat, who knows where it's at:).

I mean really....

Don't you want to do this alllll the live long day?

If I could be any animal, I would be a cat.
A neutered can be a scary world, trust me.

It doesn't seem like cats ever have to worry about anything.
They sure don't stress.

I stress.
Hi, my name is RachAEL and I stress.

I made a life-altering discovery last night though.
And you bet your buttons Imma gonna tell ya.

See theses?......

I made these last night.
-One the left you have dark chocolate buttercrunch, a King Arthur flour recipe.
-On the right, looking smashing, is a pan of toffee millionaires, recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Need to bake a gift for someone?
Have a sugar/chocolate/amazingness craving?
Make these. For reals.

The discovery I made was that, the more stressed I am at the end of the day=the more I bake.
I baked a lot last night.

I had anther calf yesterday, and I imagine if it were light enough out, I would see yet another one in the field now.
This is not what stressed me.

The calves are great news!
Always a good sign.

However, the fact that my rock didn't come in yesterday works on me.
I made it a point to get things done quickly, in order to work calves in time to set up a new row of hutches for my ELEVEN, currently homeless, babies.

It's hard for me to work calves out of hutches before weaning, because that means I have to feed them milk in a trough...DOTDOTDOT.


Calves don't discriminate based on what is IN the trough they decide to lay in.
A calf in a trough of milk, would ruin the party for everyone.

So, I wait until they are off milk to work them, and move them out of hutches.

Yesterday I went to lunch smelling of blood, sweat and burnt horns.
...there is NOTHING that covers up the burnt horn smell...nothing.
My "afternoon" load of rock never came, therefore I fed ELEVEN loose calves bottles this morning.
...that's ELEVEN head-butts to the leg, if you're counting.

Trucking seemed to be a Monday issue, as well.
I have a load of wet brew that was supposed to be here LAST FRIDAY, and distillers that needs to come NOW.
As of NOW, neither are here.

When you rely on trucking, for more than Christmas gifts, you learn to roll with the punches.
Things happen.
Trucks break down.
Drivers get lost.
...I'm fairly certain I could have driven a horse-drawn semi to Georgia, picked up the wet brew and made it back in time for supper...last Sunday.

Oh well.

So, how did I deal with no rock, wet brewers, OR distillers grains?
I made a wholebunchofgoodies.
...and worried as I baked.

Make no mistake...
I am NEVER stressed enough to clean;).

Monday, December 19

On the Sixth Day of Christmas..

..I want to inform you, actually more so warn in an apologetic kind of way, that we might/maybe/possibly won't make the deadline for this here "12 Days of Christmas".
............. that OK?
..are you mad?
..have you taken my gift back?

I've been busy.
Lame excuse, I know.
But it's true!

Well, that and it's hard to wrangle up the correct number of animals, in the same spot atthesametime!
Listen to me, excuses excuses!
Oh well.

...My true love(who is out of town) gave to me....

SIX freezing felines! ...bombombom...

See that little fella there in the middle?
Smartest one in the pile.

The dark spot on the bottom left is my shadow, thankyouverymuch.
Not a cat.

So...what have I been doing, if not herding animals in preparation for the corresponding Christmas day??
Having babies and baking..oh and working out.
That last one goes without saying considering the amount of butter I have gone through....

Babies, babies, babieses....
I have a million, or so it seems.

Since last Monday I have welcomed eleven into this cold world.
Chump change to those 2,000 cow dairies...but they have more help than me...

This muddy gal was born yesterday morning!

Her mother, who shall remain nameless, decided to have her in the ONLY muddy corner of the field.

Yesterday afternoon I pulled an enormouss bull.

Chuck helped me...via bluetooth.
(I did NOT add that to the list of things NOT to do while using your bluetooth device..justsayin).
I try to make him a part of everything;).

Now for the baking!!

I made a few gift boxes and filled them with spiced nuts, Gingersnap Palmiers, dark chocolate pistachio bark and Pumpkin Gingerbread cookies(!

I think they all turned out pretty good:).

Last week I made my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies EVER!
I went light and only made like...60.

No biggie.

Last night I cranked out some lemon cookies, which are supposed to be the same Ham'N'Goodys recipe..but I'm not sold on it.

Instead of rolling them out..I despise the thought of rolling things out..I wrapped the dough in parchment paper, shaped them in a log and refrigerated them overnight.
Slice and bake!

Don't get me wrong! They are buttery, lemony and delicious.
But, I dunno...something about them wasn't what I was looking for...

Instead of doing the icing, I combined 1/4 cup softened butter, 1.5 cups powdered sugar and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and made a sandwich out of them!
I can be brilliant sometimes...

Maybe I'll find 7 of

Saturday, December 17

On the Fifth Day of Christmas..

..My  weird true love gave to me...

FIVE gift ideas! ...bombombom...

OK, the picture has zero to do with the post.
The post content is not quite on the same track of the "Twelve Days of Christmas".
BUT...I was inspired to share with you a few last minute gift ideas, based on things that I love.

First, I have to tell you something.
..something weird.
..something I am still shaking my head about.
..something about Chuck.

Chuck has had a reeeaaally loooonnng past few months.  (Pssst! He isn't the only one.)
There has been a lot of confusion, sleep deprivation, prayer, stress and anxiety.
..Don't even get me started on what he has gone through...

It all sort of culminated yesterday...before we went shopping.
He had A.LOT. on his mind.

He had been acting sort phone conversations all day.
So I knew something was up.
Then it began...

I got home and showered after work and asked him a simple question, "where are we going?'.
His response was to answer me while walking the other way....likeIcanhearhim.
I got dressed for the mall.  Whatever.

We didn't even listen to the radio on the way to the mall.
I didn't need it, for he thoroughly entertained me the entire way.

I kept watching him while he was obviously having conversations in his head.
He would make a face, and I would shout out: "YEAH! You tell 'em!".
He would jerk forward and I would bust out a: "WHAT? You want someofTHIS?!".
He threw his hand up, at which point Iwasalllike: "PSHHH! Do you blame me?!!".

I narrated the entire time.
I really felt like I was witnessing a one-man confrontation.

When I would throw out the words, obviously scene-related, he would cut his eyes toward me briefly before continuing to give that person the what-for.

Finally, I took a step back and looked at the situation.
Then I said: "STOP BEING WEIRD!".

And continued to say that each time he decided to pick a fight with...himself...

So, we went shopping last night!
ACTually, I already had mine finished.
I am so glad I went though, considering the state Chuck was in.

I decided to safety-up and have him give me a list of what he needed.
Then I sat him on the train at the mall, and told him NOT to "de-train" until I came and got him.

I kid...about the train.

Seeing all of those last-minute shoppers(can you believe Christmas is next weekend?!) made me think of the things I, as a CrazyCowLady, can't live without.

Since I am ridiculously behind won't make my deadline,  here are the top five;

The Top Five Things Every CowLady Needs; (bombombom)..

5.  The PERFECT travel coffee cup!

I have this one from Starbucks, 'cept mine is all dark brown(prettier).
It's perfect I tell you!
-Keeps my coffee hot for at least 3 hours.
-Won't spill when the cats knock it off the water heater.
-The handle is PERFECT for hanging on gates when I pull calves.

4.  Gloves!
Do you have an inner Edna?
If so, you should keep her hands warm.
If not, buy gloves because Edna can be a party-pooper.  (Sorry Edna.)
I wear these ones on the outside...

..and these ones on the inside...

Edna requires two pairs of gloves at ALL times.

DON'T be that person who just buys someone "a pair" of gloves....pffft!
Buy a good pair, that you don't have to take off every two minutes in order to open a gate..or pick your nose.
Think ahead people.

3.  Under Armour!
For goodness sakes, you MUST have your Under Armour Coldgear!
..I'm wearing mine now actually:).
These  on the bottom...

(Yes, that is a picture of me modeling them....)
Don't believe me.

And zeeeeesssss on ze tops..

You're warm.
You're stylish.
Those are what count.
A cold dairy farmer is a DONE dairy farmer.

2.  A vest!
I'm being serious.
I LOVE my vest.

Having never been a vest person, I sort of tossed it to the side when BossMan gave it to me a while back.
Then, one cold day, I put it on.
The rest, is vest history.

This is the one I sport..

...fashionable, I know.
I have been known to wear mine in the summer with a t-shirt at work.
I caught a chill....don't judge me.
The pockets are big too!!

1. A Bluetooth headset!
For real.
It will change your life.

I don't make phone calls without mine.
I will actually wait to call someone until I am able to use my Bluetooth...Immaspoiledgirl.

This isn't the one I have..
But it's really pretty and has great reviews.

Chuck is addicted to his as well.
I can pull calves, IV cows, chase directionally-challenged animals and breed cows all while NOT having to hold my ear against my shoulder.
It's SOOOO enabling.

Get this for the one you love, BUT NEVER allow them to wear it;
-at the grocery store.
-in the mall.
-in the bathroom.



Wednesday, December 14

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

...My true love gave to me....

Four famished calves!...bombombom...

This is my good friend Mercy.
He found himself in a bit of a situation.

Mercy is such a good friend that I sent him into a pack of starving calves, wielding only ONE bottle of milk.
...and I sat back and watched.

I kid.
Actually, the two I was feeding happened to get finished before his.
(That is called 'careful selection' my friends.  This ain't my first rodeo.)
Then, I ran.

After the third one was finished, what was left for them to do?
Attack the one who obviously got more milk than them.

I just happened to be on the other side of the gate while this was occurring.
Strange how those things happen.

Had I been in the pen they would have been on me like a pack of
That's the only way to describe the wet noses that they push against your legs, while head butting you.
OK, maybe fisheses don't head butt..that's obviously beside the point.

If you are at all feeling sorry for my bro Mercy, then maybe this will help....

When I got back in the pen...well I captured this picture...

...while hiding behind Mercy....

Then they finally got me.
I'm talking wet, slimy, drooly noses all ova the back of my pants.

I'm glad I had to stop by the pharmacy on my way home...and go inside.

There is really no good way to describe to anyone, the state of my backside.
Oh, I was feeding calves....
Have you ever been in a pen with a bunch of hungry calves?...
...I stood in front of a sprinkler...

I have the 'I DARE you to stare for more than 2 seconds' look down.
Trust me.

Monday, December 12

On the Third Day of Christmas..

.....My true love gave to me....

THREE fuzzy kittens!

Ha! You didn't think we would make it through this without some felines, did you?
Come on now!  Don't you even know me??

I don't know how these cute kitten calendar people do it, but I can forthelifeofme get these kittens in the same spot, at the same time...goodness.

Mercy tried to help, and well...

you see what happened.

These three rotten kittens are the newest additions to the "crew" at the calf barn.

They just appeared, like so many do, inside my feed room, in front of the heater one morning.

I opened the door and ta-da!

Two of them were very open-minded and loved them some feed lady.
The other, he hated me with a blind passion.
Growl, hiss, spit..we had never met!

Now, he loves me.
What can I say...I grow on people.
(And eventually wear them down).

He does seem to still have the attitude problem though...

He has a very large belly, compared to his body size, and takes his food very.seriously.

I empty a hand full of dry food in front of the three, and he covers it with his whole body.
No joke.  Then he growls when you touch him.
Trouble maker.

Hmmm...I wonder what my true love will have in store on the fourth day?

Sunday, December 11

The Meek

My heart is heavy today.

I am often reminded how fragile life is, and the importance of protecting what we love for as long as we can.
You are only young once, right?

I am guilty of getting so lost in my own world, that I don't realize what is going on around me.
My day-to-day activities consume my thoughts, thereby making the news reports I hear merely background noise.

There was a time during which I swore off watching or listening to the news...because it was always bad.
No one wants to hear about acts of kindness..only violence, or so it seems.

However, if you want to know current events, you tend to have to endure the "bad" to get to the "boring".
But I am by no means, well-versed in "today's events".
I'm OK with that.

Last night, Chuck and I attended his NS dinner.
It was nice.
...Then again it's always nice to shed the 12 pounds of coveralls and boots, in favor of more "feminine" attire.
I am a lady, ya know:).

During dinner, a few tragic events from the past were brought up, and I just sat and listened.
Chuck, between his old job and new, has seen a lot.
So much, that I don't give him enough credit for his ability to "compartmentalize" all of the bad.
I really don't think I could do that.
It would consume me.

On the way home, we talked about how things that happen now, would have been unheard of 30 years ago.
Terrible, unimaginable things, have lost their "shock factor".
We're numb.

Or, at least, the majority of people are numb.
I cannot say I am one of them.

People never cease to amaze me.  For real.
Maybe that's why I do what I do?
Hiding is not an option can't run.

I installed surveillance cameras, and we are locking gates that we never locked before.
Where has all of the trust gone?
Was there ever any, or are we just too unassuming?

Expect the unexpected.

That seems extreme to me. What do you think?
Should we assume the worst from people?
Why can't we enjoy today, for what it is?

This is not just another day.
This is a gift.
Why don't we treat it as such?

I'll be the first to tell you that I am too soft for the "business" aspect of this job.
I can throw down with the best of 'em...don't you worry.
However, I take my animals to heart. 
I don't mean I baby them, I just take care of them.
They are fairly defenseless, and don't really have much of a say-so in what goes on, so I feel like I need to protect them.

The more I read, and the more I hear it seems like we are all fairly defenseless.
We are "meek".
We all need to be protected.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5

Saturday, December 10

On the Second Day of Christmas..

..My true love gave to me...

TWO gimpy babies!!

That's right.

I know the pictures aren't exactly professional quality...evidently my fancy camera got lost in the mail.
Years ago.

HOWever, you can still see the casted-babies whom I am keeping in the "wounded warrior" pen.

This is my little Dolly.

She has a small break in her joint just above the hoof.
We are hoping that this will heal...fingers crossed!

This heifer is big Suzy...or "Soooooozzzzz" as I call her.

Her real leg is broken. A clean break across the metatarsus.
This was a result of a cow stepping on her.  (Sometimes they do that).
Don't you worry though!  I talked real stern to that cow! Pffffttt! Hurtin' my babies like that!

I originally had them splinted...I don't know if you realize this yet, but I am sort of "crafty".
You should have seen those splints...ah geez...

They were not picture worthy,
So, I put in a call to Judy.

Who is this "Judy" character, you ask?
You know how I have 3 Wise Men?
Bossman has 2 Wise Women....
1.The Heat

Without these women, Bossman would be lost.  DO NOT TELL HIM I SAID THAT.
...I already don't have any gifts under the tree.

So, back to the story...
Judy runs Bossman's office...and her tail off...She's a good woman.

I called her and 'splained to her what I needed to do.
Being the good woman that she is, she listen and seemed un phased at the request.
"How big is the leg?", she asked.
After a few minutes of planning, and asking details, she agreed to send some casting supplies home with BossMan.

I will admit, I was a little excited about putting casts on the calves, seeing as I had never done that before.
New experience!!

I needed some help, so Tim agreed to lend a hand.
We got the bag of stuff that Judy sent, and set out to conquer the world!

I read the instructions in English, Tim read them in Dutch...and neither one of us comprende'd.
So we just started opening stuff and dunking it in water.

Suzy was the first patient, who calmly rested under me during the procedure....
(That's really all you can do when someones body weight is onTopOfYou).

It all went really well!
It would have probably taken about half the amount of time that it did, had we been given material that didn't expire in 1990.....DOTDOTDOT...

But we got it done, and the girls are up and at 'em.

Tim swears he can get the cast off without taking the leg with it, and by golly he better!

The best part of the experience?
I feel fully confident that I can put a cast on anything!
...I'm just waiting for Tim's mouth to break.

Friday, December 9

I Can't Make These Things Up

There I was, all ready to tell you what happened on the "Second Day of Christmas", and then ....
...well, this happened.

Good old 6434.
Evidently at some point last night she had decided to "make sure" all of the hay was out of the ring.
Quality check.

I imagine the idea seemed flawless on the front end, however hindsight is 20/20...asyoucansee.

I found her BESIDE.THE.ROAD. like this.
Actually, she was laying down, having obviously accepted the fact that she would now spend the rest of her life inside the hay ring.
No way around it.
Oh well....

And don't think for one second I don't know what people thought as they drove past the dry cow lot this morning...
"Oh, those farmers. It's such a shame the way they treat their animals. First making them stand in the rain, and now THIS!"
"I wonder if they know she is in there?! Let's stop and tell them! Better yet, let's call the police and they can handle it!"

People can be so helpful and understanding.

I saw her first thing...I mean, how can you miss her?

I was on the phone with my Honey, when I spotted the situation...
"I'm gonna check and see if I have any new babi---?OH!BAHHHAAAAAHAHAHAHA! Hold on...WAIT! Let me call you back I have to take a picture....".
I am sensitive to their needs like that...

I called him back, then lifted the hay ring and 6434 walked right out.
No 'thank you' no nothin'.
But I got a picture.  Win.

These things just can't seem to help from happening.
One day, a couple of summers ago, I came back from lunch only to find a bull stuck in a hay ring.
....only he was walking across the field in it, pushing it forward with his head.

He was headed to a cow in heat, on the OTHER side of the fence.
I caught him halfway across the field, and freed him, because I'm not made for those kinds of calamities.
True story.

Not many things stand in the way of a bull in luv.
Inside a hay ring, barbed wire fence between the two...where there's a bull, there's a way.

I gotta run out and feed real fast, but I'm wearing new coveralls...which means I'm rockin' the awesome.
Get ready for the 'Second Day of Christmas' though!
It's right up there with new coveralls....and those are hard to beat:).

Wednesday, December 7

On the First Day of Christmas....

....My true love gave to me.....

A calf with a bucket on her head...bombombom...

OK, so maybe I'm a couple..sevenish...days behind, but who said you have to start on the first anyway??

I would rather start somewhere in the middle, and keep you guessing.
I mean, really I should start on the twelfth of December, that way the song ends ON Christmas day, right?

But how many of you are gonna read this on Christmas?
I know you.
I got yo numba homie.

I will probably post something inspirational on that day, but that'sjustme.
I'll be working anyway.

Baaaaack to the matter at hand....

Exhibit A.

This little angel is one of 42 calves I have on milk.
36 of which are in hutches(no vacancy there), and the rest whereverICanFindASpot.
Stalls....The Heat's basement....the backseat of my truck...ya know, cozy spots.

Mercy still helps me feed in the evenings, but in the morning it's a whollllle different story.
A whirlwind of blood, sweat and milk replacer.

The entire process would take a lot less time if I didn't have cheeky little gals who put buckets on their heads, run into EVERYthing and deposit them in the veryBACK of their hutch....
Not that I'm pointing fingers.

AND I haven't even told you what happened last Friday morning,
Well, I am just now able to laugh about it, seeing as last week was an ugly blur...
I'll tell you now...

It all started Thursday evening, when I got a call from a 'restricted' number.
(I don't normally answer those calls..kinda weird ifYouAskMe.)

I answered it...(I'mPretty)..and the other line paused, for what seemed like an ETERNITY, then said "...mmmmichelle...?".
So I hung up. True story.

It was on my mind for the remainder of the evening, because my Hondurans occasionally call me that.
It infuriates me when they do.

I didn't get anymore calls, so I tried not to worry.
If it was important, surely they would call back..and how was I even sure it was them?!

I get to work Friday morning, head to the calf barn...and there they are.
ALL 16 of the big, weaned calves from the corral are out.
Actually...they are inside the barn, sleeping soundly on EVERYthing their little hooves had destroyed.

I, very calmly, woke them up and herded them into their pen, then closed the gate.
One of the calves in their group, had decided to stick her head through the gate, take it OFF the hinges and free the rest of the prisoners...
I'm tellin' you...CHEEKY.

Disaster averted.
Or so I thought...

A couple of hours later, when I was treating sick cows, Bossman calls me.

He informs me that there is a little Jersey bull(one that I am keeping), in the dry cow lot.
I told him about the calves getting out and that he must have gotten into the field that way.
Hmmmm....I wonder if there are any others missing?

Later, after getting the bull back in, I counted the calves and they were all where they were supposed to be.
Good deal.

It wasn't until Sunday morning, that I discovered the teeeeny tiiiiny hoof prints, going UP the SIDE of the ROAD....

Thursday night must have been very..... eventful.
It's just sad that Michelle had to miss out....

Tuesday, December 6

Three Wise Men

It's thunder storming in I the only one who thinks this is odd?

Well, I have my rain pants ready to go so it's all good.
There are very few things worse than wet pants...letmetellYOU.

After the cluster that was last week, it has become quite evident that I am not doing this alone.
By "this" I mean, this farming thing.

Sure, I have 4 Hondurans who give me anxiety, Teddie who make me think I'm a genius, The Heat who signs my paycheck, and Chuck who has to be there no matter what who loves me.
I'm not talking about them though.
I'm talking about the 3 guys whom I rely on for help in different ways.
I really don't feel like I can do my job without these guys.
...they consistently keep me from taking it out on YOU!

The first of the Wise Men is Mr. FixerOfAllThingsDairy, Eddie!
(NOT Eddie, of the duo "Teddie", mind you.)

Eddie has been there from the beginning.
He is the FIRST person I ever called when I had a problem with any of my dairy equipment.

Note: I DO NOT fix things. I break them. I have accepted it, and so should you.

Water heaters, vacuum pumps, milk tanks, parlor doors and broken hearts.
Eddie's your man.

I call, he shows up and lets me talk his ear off while he is fixing whatever is broken...and my personal problems as well.
It works out.
Though I'm not entirely sure what he gets out of this relationship.

Eddie always says that when he retires he will come work for me...I think he is halfway serious.
...maybe he will work for baked goods and witty comments.
(Those are really all I'm good for anyway.)

The second Wise Man is Dr. TheSmartestManIKnow, Kirksy!

I just call him Kirksy..I'm not sure why.
He has a first name, Glen, but for some reason I feel like he is my teammate so I must call him by his last name...or something like that.

Kirksy knows a whole lot about EVERYthing.
Tru dat.
...he also has like 8 kids.
A good man, that Dr. Kirksy.

I can remember the FIRST time I ever had to IV a cow...I had no clue what I was doing.
I called him at 11:30 PM..yeah, I know...and told him about my situation.
He said she needs calcium via IV.
I said, "when can you be here?"....heheheheh.

I believe I called him every ten minutes for the nextTHREEhours.
I worry a lot.

Now I call, describe what's going on, and he tells me how to handle it.
He has trained me well.
Thanks to him, I feel like I can handle almost any situation thrown my way.

Earlier in the year he found out he had a brain tumor, and would have to have radiation.
...he told me all of this while preg-checking my cows.

The week after his radiation he was back at it...never missed a lick.
He's pretty awesome, if you ask me.

The third Wise Man is HaulerOfTheJuice, Tom!
(He drives the milk milkshake brings him to the yard. Heh.)

I know that if anything is wrong with my milk tank...temperature, washing etc...Tom will tell me.
That is very very important in this business.

He loves his job, and is always joking around.
He is the man behind the chocolate roses, and fresh picked flowers left in my office.
In return I leave him alllll kinds of baked goods.
It's a fair trade.

The past month a man named Ricky has been picking up my milk, in order to help Tom out.
Tom has quite a few loads to haul.

Therefore, Tom and I have not been talking as often, and I just assumed he was pretty busy.
Occasionally we will text each other just to check in, but nothing more than that.

Milk haulers are a dime and dozen, really.  GOOD milk haulers are priceless.
Tom is a good man and a great hauler.

I saw Ricky here on Saturday, and he informed me that Tom probably won't ever haul milk again.

Tom has acute colon cancer that is also affecting his liver.
He is to have surgery this month, on the 14th.

His doctor is not very optimistic.
This is a tough pill to swallow.
I had no idea.

After Ricky told me all of this, I immediately thanked him and sent Tom a text,
"What are you doing getting sick on me??!!"
He responded, "It's not looking good".
I shot back, "Well this might get you down, but it won't take you out".
He replied, "I'm not so sure".
I fired back with, "I need you!".
And he said, "You're my best bud".

He meant it.
I remember the text I sent him on Thanksgiving telling him I am thankful him and his friendship.
At the time, the idea of sending the text just popped into my head.  It wasn't something I normally did.

Now I know why.

Two Wise Men just doesn't make sense.

Sunday, December 4

A Post of a Different Color...

OK, so this post is going to be a little..ummm...different.
But different is good, right?!
Just nod your head with me....

First of all, I need for you to know that I DO NOT think I am a know-it-all about exercise OR good habits.

Second, this is NOT the be-all to end-all on fitness advice.

Third, I DO NOT normally give advice willy-nilly, however recent events have caused me to want to share the following.

You may not know that I have a minor obsession with staying fit.
It's kinda my "hobby".

Yes, my love is farming and my passion is baking, but my hobby...well it revolves around daily trips to the gym...or out to run.
It's inexplicable, however it seems to pair really well with my passion...

I have been approached several times in the past month by people seeking any advice, tips or tricks to keeping fit through the Holidays.
I can't possibly know everyones' personal issues with fitness, however I can lend a hand in advice on forming good habits that can fit into almost any lifestyle.

Don't get me wrong, I have my own body-image issues...but I work through those and try to stay positive.

I do a lot of reading...books, fitness magazines, lifestyle magazines, and take what I can from each in order to apply it to my life.
It's hard, but where there's a will there's a way...right?

ALL of that being said, I thought I would offer a list of great tips I have acquired through the past few years.
These are things that I try to apply to my life, because I want to feel good and healthy:)....not "skinny".

- Start each morning off with a big glass FULL of cold water!
If you can squeeze lemon in it, that's even better.
This is mainly to get your metabolism going, and to help flush out toxins from your system.
Think of metabolism as a machine that needs to be fed. 
When you don't feed it, it doesn't work like it should.
...I drink a litre...but I'mAWeirdo.

- Make GOOD breakfast habits!
This should be your most thoughtful, packed-with-goodness meal of the day!
Coffee and a muffin or donut are not acceptable.  I'm sorry but they aren't.
Anyone can plan ahead for breakfast. (I make mine the night before.)
It doesn't have to be eggs and toast and the whole nine yards...oatmeal or heart-healthy cereal are great options! 
Throw in some fruit(I use frozen blueberries) and you have some simple-sugars and fiber too!
Breakfast is THE MOST IMPORTANT meal!  Feed the machine!
Caffeine boosts your metabolism, so coffee is not a bad thing!  Just watch the milk, cream, sugar..because those are adding calories, carbs and fat.

-Eat numerous times a day!
When I was training for figure, I ate every 2-3 hours.
ALWAYS started my day with oatmeal and blueberries, then I would have an apple with peanut butter or piece of cheese 3 hours later, workout, then eat lunch, 3 hours later have a snack , then dinner.
You might not be hungry right.then...but you will be.  Chances are when you do get hungry, you will hit rock-bottom allAtOnce and eat whatever is closest...and it won't be pretty.
When you're at the store, buy a few apples for the week.  Don't like apples? Buy bananas or something else comparable in nutrition and quality. 
Yes, fruit has simple sugar, but you burn that off more quickly than foods full of carbs and fat. 
What you don't burn, you store! 
Having a good snack buys you time to plan for a great meal.

-Drink lots of WATER!
Drink with purpose people.
Have a great diet but can't figure out why your gaining weight?
What do you drink?
Soda, sweet tea, coffee drinks, wine or beer?
Where do you think all of that goes?
Sure, it might be diet, but do you really think all of those artificial sweeteners go right through you?
The beauty of drinks, is that they have labels.
Read the label...then drink it.

-Read labels!
Be that person at the store who is holding up everyone in the pasta aisle, because you are checking labels.
Knowledge is power.
When I read labels I read them in this order; carbs, sugar, protein, fiber, sodium, calories, fat..serving size.
Then I decide, based upon all of the information presented, if it is worth buying.
Condiments are sneaky places for sugar and sodium to hide!
Know what is in your ketchup or mayo...and how much a "serving" is.

-Be accountable!
I have a number of friends who either cannot workout because of health reasons, or just simply do not have time.
It's OK, just remember to be accountable for what you put in your body!
My best advice to those who cannot do physical activity is to eat smart and have a cut-off for carbs.
What I mean is, have a certain time set and make a conscious effort to not eat carbs after that time.
Now, be honest, that time shouldn't be 9pm....mmmmk?
It is true, your body does burn calories while you sleep(the machine is always at work), BUT it doesn't burn them the same way as if you're awake.
The calories you burn while you're sleeping should be those that are stored...not the ice cream you ate before bedtime...

-Don't starve yourself!
Think you will lose weight if you just don't eat lunch?
You might lose a bit..but your body will go into "starvation mode", which means it's thinking, goodgosh! What if I neverGetFedAgain!? I better store all of this just in case! 
This results in your body storing more food, than it allows to be burned.

It's not that scary...for reals.
Fiber fills you up, keeps your digestive system moving, and takes fat with it!
Win, win, win, win, win!
Fiber also helps keep your blood sugar manageable, by helping to prevent the dreaded bottomed-out feeling that you get when you're hungry.

I have gone on and on, and I am sorry for's just something that I am interested in.
I know that I, for one, do not eat the healthiest, or cook the healthiest meals..but I hold myself accountable for everything I put in my body.

It is my belief that you can indulge BUT you must also exhibit self control.
There is wrong with eating cake...just remember that when you are making food choices throughout the day.

I have a physically demanding job, and I workout...therefore I give myself a little leeway in terms of my diet.
However, I cannot remember the last time I ate fast food or had a cola. 

I have a family history of health problems, including heart the subject of staying healthy is very close to me.
Most of you probably already knew everything I listed, and that's great...thanks for bearing with me;).
Those of you who didn't maybe took something away..that is my hope.

I love you, beyond words, and life is so precious.
Do what you can to stay around a little bit longer, you never know who is counting on you:).

Thursday, December 1

December Employee of the Month!!

On the farm, we embrace all of those little things that make each cow an individual.
Different is good!

Our employee of the month for December is truly an individual.
She has it all; sass, class and a big ol'.......

Set of horns!

It is my privilege to introduce to you, 9925, or "Jada" as she prefers to be called.

Jada is 2 years old, and she was born on February 18th 2009.

More often than not, Jerseys seems to have a bit more attitude than their Holstein friends.
Jada is no exception to this rule.

Weighing in at less than 50 pounds at birth, caused her to be a bit of a "latebloomer".   
Thus, when everyone else was going through the "dehorning" stage, she had not yet begun to show her horns.

By the time she made it to having her first calf, she and her horns were full-grown.

Having horns in a barn full of cows who sometimes outweigh her 3 times over, is clearly to Jada's advantage.
She knows what she wants, and even the biggest boss-cow won't stand in her way.

Jada is one of the first to be milked, and the first back to the feed.

She's a trooper.
As a matter of fact, just yesterday she found out that she is pregnant and due to calve next summer.
Way to go Jada!

She's a jewel, a doll, just don't ask her which direction to go or she just might confuse you....
Much like the scarecrow from the Wizard Of Oz.

In a world full of uniformity, different is refreshing.