Monday, January 30

Keys to Working on a Farm: Moving Calves

After you have been working on a farm for about a year, you begin to notice patterns.
As in, crop patterns, feed patterns and heifer field patterns.

Crop patterns being the order in which you grow the crops, and the fields they are rotated into.
Feed patterns being the season, or time of year during which a certain feed grain or haylage is harvested, and is therefore added to the feed ration.

Heifer field patterns refers to the ridiculous carousel of movement they make from field to field every3months.

From the time they are born to the time they calve they move 8 times.
And they don't get on Orbitz and purchase a ticket either.
Nosir, they are loaded onto a trailer and schlepped from field to field.

BTW, they don't "load" willingly.

There are reasons for these moves, of course.
Bigger fields more suitable for their size and age, culminating in a field with a bull.

Then they come back home and have their baby.
Then they provide the world with their milk.

Why am I telling you this?
Why is this a "key"?

Not really.
Because if YOU want to be successful, which I am sure YOU do, then YOU will read my words carefully...

BossMan is the calf-moving ring leader.


I have been moving calves with him for so long, I can't remember not driving the truck.

It's a family outing, of sorts.

Ma is there, and cousin Nelly and mamaw with uncle Jud and the other uncle Jud....
I kid.

But The Heat does help, along with Malinda(before she escaped the island), Beenie(even with a broken arm), Taylor(with 7 shirts on), Mercy(and his big feet) and me...the driver/runner.

The BossMan has this down to a science...his science.
He wants the trailer backed at a certain angle, 2.5 inches from the side of the barn everySingleTime.

And if it's not?
Then I do it again.

Oh, please understand that by being the sole trailer baker-upper you are agreeing to take the reigns of the beast and the occasionally harsh I-wanna-quit-my-job words that are spouted at you.

Everyone knows their job, and it's to NOT let a calf get by you.
If you do? Then you might as well go home and start  fire in the kitchen.
It's easier to deal with.

If you do your job well, then you might just get a "That's the way Rachael, throw that calf" tossed your way.
That was a good day.

 I have been known to have an "off" day as far as backing is concerned, and after the seventeenth do-over, I jumped out of the truck, looked at BossMan, and said "You do it!".
And he did.
The first time.


Keep in mind that you can't get out of it.
The Heat hobbled down there with one foot wrapped up yesterday and helped.

You have a Church function?
Don't worry, the BossMan will wait until you are free!

You have to work?
That's OK!  Work can wait!

I guess the only advice I have is to brush up on your basketball defensive skills and put your headphones in.
Oh, and keep your feelings in your pocket.

Good luck!


Friday, January 27

Mud Wrestling in Hundred Dollar Jeans

So maybe I don't always think that far in advance.
Maybe I'm a little too good at making decisions on the fly.

I have gotten myself into quite the pickle before, but can usually wiggle my way out..somehow.

Do you ever run out of clean clothes to wear to work?
Sure ya do, come on.

What do you do?
Duh, you pick something you wouldn't normally wear.

Granted there is, I'm sure, a good reason for it not being in your "every day wear" section pile in your closet floor.

Maybe it's too tight?
Soooo last season?
...Or maybe you were shunned the last time you wore your bikini on casual Friday...

You have good reason, no doubt.

When I run out of work clothes, I have to begin working in my "good-er" items.

Yes, you probably start your week at the top of your pile and work down.
I start at the bottom and work up.

Heck yes I have dust on my dresses.

Jeans are an item I cannot live without.
I don't wear khakis to work, because they are too thin.

I have a number of pairs of jeans that have been rejected through the years as being no longer in style.
I work in them until they are so thin that if I bend my leg I blow the whole knee out.
...Those are in the "summer" line.
I consider them to be "air conditioned".

This morning I had no clean work jeans.
Worse yet, the dirty work jeans were too dirty to give another go-round.
So what did I do?

Pssshhhh...I fumbled my way to the back of the closet, brushed the spider webs away, and blew the dust off of my "normal wear" jeans.
They could use some air.

Yes I do own nice clothes.
Yes I do have jeans that cost over one hundred dollars a pair.
I only own a few pairs of them, but if you must judge then gorightahead.

Keep in mind I wear these when me and my "man" go to the "big city" and eat in restaurants that use tablecloths...

Did I mention that it rained last night?
Like it was a gully washer.
Toad strangler.
...Frog choker.
It rained a lot.

I got to work in my fancy pants this morning and was just happy it was not still raining.
I took inventory and discovered a new set of twin bulls, and a baby out in the field with his mother.

The baby was lying right beside the fence and the road...ofcoursehewas.

His momma was with him, and seemed to care, so I kept my eye on them as I fed cows.
I knew that I had to get them into the barn, but needed to devise a plan, since it was too wet to take the loader into the field.

During the hour it took me to feed, approximately 37 cars passed by.
Out of those 37, 34 of them braked violently when they spotted him in the field.
Out of those 34, 30 of them looked at me(on the tractor) and pointed to him.
Out of those 30...ALL of them mouthed "B-A-B-Y" through the window.
...and 3 of them drove by a second time.

So what was the calf doing?
Oh, he was doing his best Human-Society-neglected-animal-in-need impression.

He was muddy and all "accordioned" up standing in front of his mother shivering.
Thanks buddy.

When I finally got finished feeding, and traffic slowed down, I climbed through the fence to see if I could get him to walk.

OK, having no other option, I grabbed his heavy butt up and started toward the barn.
Because being in the cold mud is obviously a better choice, he kicked and thrashed after the first two steps.

Mud= A mixture of poo and wet clay.  (Occasionally heavier on the poo-side.)

The thrashing along with his weight and the fact that I could barely unstick my feet that were suction-cupped to the mud, caused me to have second thoughts.

Suddenly, my right foot came out of my boot, which I firmly stepped halfway back into, then he jerked his lower body out of my arms, entangling one of his legs between mine, and

And there we were.
Him blowing bubbles in a mud puddle, and me laying on top of him, face in his rib cage, arms underneath his body.

All I could do was laugh and think about all those people passing by.


I got him into the barn, fed and warmed  him up.
Then I squished on over to The Heat's house and hosed myself off.

My hundred dollar jeans finally earned their keep.



Thursday, January 26

Milk Jugs and Little Brown Pugs

...that's what my fiance' calls my blog.

I call him my "financie".
We're even.

I'm pretty tickled this morning for two reasons.

Reason 1:  I have my FIRST dress fitting today!

I have mentioned before that I am having it made, and today is the fitting for the dress/slip/thing that goes under the lace.
It's complicated.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Reason 2:  IMadeCupcakesLastNight.
(I had to say it fast because reason number 1 was listening, shaking it's head.  Pffft!LikeYou'rePerfect.)

Anyway, I was forced to make cupcakes last night in order to test out the wrappers I am going to use at the wedding reception.
Yep, we're having cupcakes.

Listen here, wrappers are a big deal.
I mean, you go plain and how does that look on the cupcake stand?
Not good.  That's how.

NotToMention, you don't want a wrapper that keeps half of the cake on it, after you have peeled it off!
Major wrapper fail.

So The Heat bought some pretty white wrappers, and I got some that were supposed to look like tulips..or something.

I decided on Sweetapolita's Campfire Delight  cupcakes.
Sweetapolita has a beautiful blog which highlights some of the wonderful, dreamy confections she creates.
(If we were neighbors, I wouldn't be able to go to my fitting today...I would just cry.)

ANYway, these cupcakes were the ones to make.
They are a light, dark chocolate cake, with toasted marshmallow cream in the center and malted chocolate frosting.
Can I get an "Amen"?

The recipe made 24..which was 20 more than I needed but I'm sure I'll find something to do with them;).

The pink thing beside the cupcake is a tissue paper flower that I made as an idea for reception decor.
It's cute..but I found a better one.

Here's the cupcake in all of its glory...

 I die a little bit when I see them.
Oh, and I decided on the wrappers that Mrs. Heat picked!

They bake up beautifully and ...

Unwrap without a hitch!

Then...oh and cut into them...

...and if you're like me (which I hope you're not), it all falls apart.
But that's OK!

All of the toasted marshmallow buttercream, mixes with the malted chocolate frosting and dark chocolate cake, and suddenly you're like.."what dress fitting?"...
Yeah.  IDidThat.

You should check out here site...her pictures are much better than she has lots of great recipes.

The next one I am going to make is the Six-Layer Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Buttercream Cake!
...But not the night before my next fitting....


Tuesday, January 24

Where the Green Grass Grows

Growing up, one of my favorite songs was "Where the Green Grass Grows", by Tim Mcgraw.

It pretty much encompassed everything I loved about where I grew up.
The peaceful stillness of the night, the cicadas(before they became a mutant invasion) in the evenings.
It was where my mind was at peace and my heart was at home.

I would always bring my friends out and show them the dairy.
...Granted I had no clue what I was showing them at the time, but they were always in awe of the enormous amount of poo produced in just one day by all the cows.
I showed it off, told them things that probably weren't true about the cows, and they listened because it was unfamiliar.

Then we would go climb the mountains of commodities(soybean mean, distillers, hominy) like it was sand to play in.
Good times.

When I got a little older the farm became, well, not so cool.
It was still something that set me apart from the crowd.
I was the "cowgirl", or "farm girl" and was proud of it...when it was convenient.

I would think about all of my friends, and how they lived close to one another in subdivisions.
They could easily hang out, or meet up at the movies. 
I felt like I sort of fell off the map on the weekends, not to resurface again until Monday morning at 8.

After high school, the farm became even more of a "convenience" to me.
Sure my siblings and I still showed cows, which we truly enjoyed, but I was still very much disconnected from the foundation of the farm.

It was during a turning point in my life that I realized what this place meant to me.

It seems like when you have no place to go, you start looking around at what built you.
You can feel the dirt, see the roots and smell the freedom of your rebirth.
You begin to put the puzzle together, and learn who you are.

I can walk outside into the middle of a field, so open and wide, and I have never felt more embraced.
This farm, this place, it envelopes you and slows everything down.

The world stands still, and the fast pace and noise from the city, seem worlds away.

I owe my life to this farm, and I try to give it my all each day.
It knows me.
The winds whips through me, and I have never been so honest in my life.

Chuck and I are looking, always looking, for a house to live in when we get married.
We just want a place to raise a family, and feel safe.

I cannot begin to describe the kind of home I want.
It's not a picture, or a number of square feet.
It's a feeling.

If I have learned anything, it's that home is important.

If there is any one thing I want for my future family, it's for them to know where they belong.


Saturday, January 21

Just Another Useless Degree

I wasn't going to do this.
I wasn't going to say anything.

I figured that people would probably know where I stood on the issue.
I would let it go at that.

But I'm me, you see, and if me didn't have an opinion, then I wouldn't be doing a very good job at

Did you catch this article on

If you didn't, it's very short, and very concisely represents one persons blatant ignorance towards the field of agriculture.
I wasn't going to read it, because judging by my friends remarks via Facebook, I knew it wasn't worth my time.
However, as I was dealing with a mycotoxin problem in my corn silage yesterday, I began to wonder what it said.
The Reader's Digest version ranks "Agriculture" as the "Top Useless Degree" followed by:
2. Fashion Design
3. Theater
4. Animal Science
5. Horticulture.
(To be honest, #4 and #5 are fields in agriculture, JustSoYouKnow.)
Hmmm. How 'bout that?
I couldn't help but wonder how many people bought into this uneducated information?
It seems as though 8,000 people have "liked" the article on Facebook....
I suppose it would be accurate to say that those 8,000 people make their own clothes, grow everything they consume, walk everywhere and if they own pets, they don't utilize a veterinarian?
Maybe they have never set foot in a national park?
Never been to a zoo?
These are just thoughts.
I am fairly certain that if computers ceased to exist tomorrow, we would be OK.
Sure, a lot of people would suffer from withdrawals, but we would be alright.
What if there were no farms?
Would you be able to grow your own food, and milk your own cows?
Wait!  There's soy milk!
...HoldThePhone, soy=soybeans=grain farms.
Maybe you're saying that the article was simply referring to going to college for a degree in agriculture?
Then you would also be saying that continuing education in that field is useless?
That, the problem I(and many other) farmers have with mycotoxins in their feed(naturally occurring), is just something we should "live with", that it will eventually pass and if some cows die, then they die.
Dead cows aren't worth looking into anyway.
Maybe the article is right.
Maybe we should stop these "useless degrees" and farm the way we always have.
Our energy needs to go toward more useful ventures, like making iPhones smaller, and the great debate on censoring the web.
Who needs alternative fuels?
Why do research on growing plants hydroponically, when the end result is more efficient and yields a better product?
I mean, we just need to feed a projected 9.1 billion people on this planet in 2050.
(We also have to clothe them and give them shelter.)
I suppose I am finished here.
I have said all that I can, it won't make much of a difference anyway.
Maybe I should look into another field?
Perhaps Business Administration, which ranks #1 on the list of Most Effective Degrees.
There's a thought.
Until then, I will be taking care of these 200 dairy cows who help supply milk to the surrounding areas.


Thursday, January 19

Whatcha Gnocchi?

What's that?
Oh, that's just some gnocchi and cheese I whipped up last night.

Was it delicious?

Was it easy?
It very nearly whipped my tail.

What did it taste like?
Uh, chicken and dumplings.  Yeah! But, only the chicken was cheese....and more cheese.
But the gnocchi tasted like me at least.

Will I make it again?
Jury's still out.

But seriously, change is good.
I could have made mac and cheese, but the cheftestants on Top Chef make gnocchi look like a walk in the park!

Oh, I'll just boil some potatoes, then rice them, then add flour and eggs, then cut them, boil...and ta da!

Potato pasta, whoda thunk it?
There is also ricotta gnocchi, and I will let you tell me how that goes when you make it.  Mmmmmk?

However, I may use gnocchi instead of traditional dumplings the next time I make chicken and dumplings.
It's been on my mind.

Saigon and Chuck seemed to like it, then again they seemed to like the roast which I found to be a bit tough.
Grocery store roasts don't hold a candle to home-grown.  ForYourInformation.
Plus I had possibly the best homemade vanilla ice cream waiting in the wings for the clean plate club.
And brownies.
OK, I'm finished now.

Sooooo...a few big(to me)things happened this week, and I wanted to share them with the 2 of you.

Big thing numero uno:

My nephew started walking!

This will be so handy, when he carries the rings at our wedding;).

Big thingy numero two:

I picked out my wedding band!

Actually it came down to 2 and Caden's pick sealed the deal.
Sometimes you just need another opinion.

Chuck, on the other hand, still hasn't found one.
I'm acting like it's because he's picky, and not because he doesn't want to wear one.

I am looking into having a ring made with a marquee that scrolls around the band.
The marquee, much like the FitBit, will be activated when it doesn't sense body heat.
Then it will say things like,
"There better be a good reason for this",
"You're finger better be severed from your body",
"You should start running",
and, my personal fav, "She just lit the match".

I'm just bouncing ideas around at this point though.
Nothing definite.

The biggest of the thingies:

My sources told me that Caden is excited about having a step mom.
(That's me doing a little dance).

That was after he said he was excited about spring break, going to the beach, and the wedding.
Shoooottttt!  He saved the best for last too;).

His statement is probably the greatest thing I have heard in quite some time.
It's hard, ya know?
Finding a balance between wanting to be liked, but not be a pushover while not pushing yourself onto someone?

I love him.
That was the easy part.

The hard part will be trying to remember math after they threw the alphabet in.


Tuesday, January 17

Wimpy and Laddy

The guys!
The fellas!
The duuuuudes!

Have you ever been in that awkward situation, where you are hanging out with your significant other AND your bestie and the SAME time, and your bestie won't get the hint?


OK, have you ever sat down to check your email and you are talking to someone, and instead of leaving they stand behind you and check your email WITH you?


OK, have you ever needed to use the restroom and your bestie followed you in?


...Then you don't know how Wimpy feels.

Meet Wimpy,

He is a 30-something Quarter horse with a lot of experience.
Don't be fooled by the name, he is certainly no pansy.

Originally from the great state of Oklahoma, he has travelled hundreds of miles, and roped thousands of steers in his life.

Wimpy has seen it all.
He finally made it to his retirement pasture, which he has no problem sharing with the dry cows.

Wimpy may be all rough on the exterior, however inside he is a big softy.

Occasionally newborn babies wander to him, at which time he takes it upon himself to adopt them. 
Then, like any cautious parent, bites their mother on the rear when she decides to start taking some responsibility!

Any normal horse would become fat and unkempt, but not Wimpy!
He understands the importance of physique, in an image-conscious world.
Once the long hair and mud is shed, he reveals a toned exterior with rippling, well-earned muscles.

Every hero needs a sidekick, and Wimpy is no different.

Enter Laddy.

Laddy is a Morgan, ex-hunter/jumper, with a dependency issue.

If you were Wimpy, I was me, Laddy would be Dupree.

Laddy is the gravy to Wimpy's mashed potatoes.
The jelly to his biscuit.
The increasing pain in his big brown neck.

Unlike Wimpy, Laddy has zero self-control when it comes to eating.
He was fitted with a grazing muzzle last summer, and the ONLY way to catch Laddy was by catching Wimpy.

If Wimpy is in the barn, Laddy is in the barn.
If Wimpy slips around the corner, Laddy....FREAKS OUT!

"Wimpy...WIMPY??? Dude, I've been looking for your everywhere! Don't scare me like that!  I was all drinking water, then turned around and...WOAH! You were totally not there.  So just like, let me know next time."


Wimpy has accepted the fact that he can't shake Laddy, though he would do just fine without him.

The bond between them is undoubtedly one-sided, but that's OK, they balance each other out.
It's a modern day bromance.


Sunday, January 15

Who Doesn't Want to be a Millionaire?!

Listen, I made some granola bars the otha day and they are a-mazing.
For real.
I will be posting them, however I cannot find the cable to connect my camera to my computer because I'm stupid forgetful.
Please excuse this.

On to the topic at hand!
Do you want to be a millionaire?
I mean, really? Do ya?

Do you already know what you would do if someone gave you 2 million dollars?
Donate it?
Buy abunchof stuff?
Hoard it along with your 172 cats?
Give it away randomly?

Hmmmm? I wanna know!

Honestly, I don't know what I would do with it.
When I do try and imagine it, it seems so far out of my realm that I have to stop because I get distracted with things that matter rightnow.
...and I have a mild case of ADD.

I don't even play the lottery.
Do you?
Chuck and Saigon and theRESTofthepopulation do, and I cheer them on! Woot!

I only have one request if they win, and that is to fix the roof on my barn. Thatisall.

I realized yesterday that maybe making lotsa mooolah isn't that important....
Yeah. That.Just.Happened.

I came to that conclusion after sitting at the bar for 3 hours....
Heh. I kid.

ACTually, I had been discussing with The Heat the actions of the newbies in the area.
Ya know, the "Cityfolk" trying to be all country-fied and stuff.
Moving out here and bringing their fast driving, and tailgating-tractor selves to this neck of the woods.

WAIT! I'm just teasin'.
For real, I don't mind them as long as they remember the reason they moved to the country....
Ya know, peace and quiet and cow poop and all.

The Heat laughed because she knew that the only time I really complain is when someone hunts me down, refuses to get out of their car(making me stand in the middle of the road), and tells me that I have a cow:
B.) Having a BABY!
C.) DEAD! (The horror!!)

She calls them "Do-Gooders" and makes me feel like I yelled at a puppy.

So, when they tell me that the "COW is OUT", I get a little peeved.  OnlyBecauseI'mTheOneTheyCaught, which means I have to go get it in.

When the "COW is having a BABY!!" More than likely, I ALREADY KNOW!
Sorry. It's my job.

Now, when someone stops to tell me one is dead, I get offended.
More often than not, it is accompanied by a you-should-be-ashamed-of-yourself look.
It seems like people are just looking for the bad.

Immagonna tell you this ONCE.
I try to keep the dead things away from the road.
Ha. I kid.

I was going to say, that if one of my animals is in need of help because they are sick or hurt, then chances are we(Teddie and I) are headed that way AsSoonAsWeCan.

We don't like to see animals hurting.

Sometimes bad things happen, and we can't help that.
But if we can help, we do.

The Good Lord has a way of reminding us that we cannot conrol everything.
Sometimes the best we can do, is nothing at all.

The only reason I get up at dark:thirty, 7 days a week is to take care of my babies.....not to be a millionaire.

....Yep. That is when I realized it.

This is the hardest thing I have EVER done, and there's not a pot of gold at the end.

Maybe something that honest is meant to be.
Ya think?


Saturday, January 14

Friday the 13th

Did you realize yesterday was Friday the 13th??
I don't think a lot of people did.

I did. Oh, pick me.
It was the coldest morning we have had in a while, considering the windchill and all.

I had to coax Edna out from under the couch with the promise of a cookie before breakfast.
That's how I roll.

Fridays, as you know and I'm sure are tired of hearing,  are my long-er days.
Yesterday was

I rolled into work early, went to feed calves, and thought I would go ahead and start the feed wagon tractor so it could warm up a bit.

I rolled into work early, went to feed calves, and thought I would plug up the tractor because after the first crank the battery crawled under the couch where Edna had been.

20 minutes later, plus half a can of starter fluid (don't judge me), I was standing behind the loader with my hands pressed up against the veins where the heat radiates from the engine.
True story.

I think I can safely say that I am probably the only farmer who wanted to cry when her tractor wouldn't start, because she was so cold...

Got my high herd fed late, with just enough time to find my nose which had snapped off when I went to blow a snot rocket whilst loading feed, before I treated sick cows.

-BTW I lost feeling in my left foot during the tractor-starting fiasco.
-BTBTW My right foot stayed in the game.
-BTBTBTW BossMan called me AND was NICE, AND said "BYE".  This can only mean one thing, the end is near he loves me.

From the dairy barn I could see Eddie's house, where his truck sat parked, and all I could imagine was that Eduardo was snug as an annoyinglywarm bug on his day off.

Listen, Eddie may be 35 years older than me, but he must have the circulation of a ten year old.
Instead of an Edna on his team, I bet he has Chip, or Jimmy, and they are in the Little League, not the Epsom salt races.

Anyway, before I fed dry cows, I had to stop feeding and breed two in my high herd.
Hello blanket of warmth!
I found the secret to circulation, but I can't tell you where for two reasons:
-1. This is a family program.
-2.  It would be unappreciated.

Needless to say, my left arm NEVER got cold the entire time I fed dry cows.

I rounded out Fantastic Friday with a frozen PTO on the flush tractor, and a flat tire on the loader.
All in all, I did pretty well...I survived.

I went home and used alllllll of the hot water, then ate chili (fortheTHIRDnightstraight), and made granola bars.

Oh, and this picture....

I'll tell you about this some other time;).


Thursday, January 12

7 Things You Should Know About Yesterday

1.  I woke up at 3am, worked a full day and STILL didn't meet my "calories burned" goal until 7pm, according to Cliff.
Either Cliff has a personal vendetta against me, or he is being trained by Jillian Michaels.
PLUS he kept calling me "STEPGEEK BEBE"!! What'sThatAboutCliff??

2.  Dr. Kirksy came to do a herd check, during which an UN believable amount of crazy-talk spewed from my mouth.
Was I deliriously tired?
Did I take my meds too early?
Did I drink too much coffee?
We will never know.
I hope Dr. Kirksy is still my friend.

3.  This chili recipe is life-changing.
I know, I know, I have talked about it it has chipotles in adobo and cinnamon..but it was the only thing that kept me going.

I slow cooker-ized it at lunch, and the smell made me want to cry when I got home.
Again, deliriously tired?
Too much coffee?
Did my meds run out?
We will never know.
Martha knows a thing or two about chili and tax evasion.

4.  I read quite a few blogs (reason #47 why I love Pinterest), but one in particular stands out in the "Baking Win"'s Brown Eyed Baker's blog/website/thing.
I have made a few of her recipes, and I am never let down unlike Martha.

These were her Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, that I made.
There are hundreds more recipes on her site alone, which I would love to make, especially yesterday's.

5.  At approximately 2:30 pm, I was reborn.
I needed to put some cow info into the computer, so I made a mistake and sat down.
You know when you see little kids fighting sleep, their eye lids become 5 inches long, or they are drinking a bottle and milk starts running down their chin and neck?
That was me...minus the milk-thing...
Then...THEN I read White Orchid Bridals Facebook status update "Getting ready to start on my first dress for 2012!! Real French loomed lace!!! Sooooo beautiful I don't want to cut into it!".
MY dressssssssssss!!!!!
(Yes, I was on Facebook AtTheSameTime. Don't get all McJudgy on you don't get on Facebook when you should be doing 25 other things..)

6.  I had a new milk tester(why I got up so early), and out of the constant conversation he was having with me, and my Hondurans whoDon'tUnderstandHim, approximately 10% was all I heard.
This was over a 4-hour period.
I laughed when he paused.
He did try an put a friendly(not creepy) hand on my shoulder a couple of times, which I successfully matrixed myself out of.

7.  Chuck's pretty.
I went home to put the chili in the slow cooker, and Chuck was in another one of his deep-conversation moods.
We were discussing our Fitbit's and he maybemight have said something that I didn't know.  My surprised "oh really?" response opened a door through which he jumped, and said;
"Yeah! See, you love me because I'm smart! ROY-B-FIB! ROY-B-FIB!"
Ah geez.

I would rather be with someone who made me laugh though, than someone who made me cry but could recite the colors of the rainbow:).



Tuesday, January 10

The Chicken Ladies

When Rebecca(Beenie) and I are together, things just...happen to us.
Weird, random, odd things.
Yet I insist that we do all sorts of tasks together.  We live on the edge.

That being said, let me axe you this...have you ever been in a group-that you don't know- and managed to single yourself out within minutes of joining that group?

Like..maybe you're 'Smelly Sara', the hairy-underarm mulch-in-dreads hippie, I used to have Ag. Econ with?
Or, 'Laughing Larry', that guy who laughs after everything he says..but it's a way funny laugh so everyone laughs too, but at him, but Larry thinks 'hey! I've got an audience!', so he keeps laughing?

Those are bad one wants to be Sara or Larry.
But you get my drift, eh?

Before Christmas, I was invited by UT Extension to participate in the first "Management Academy" that they were going to put on.
This academy is for young farmers, and is geared toward helping them get a good grip on the financial aspect of the agricultural industry that they are in.
This is a MUCH NEEDED tool.  Brilliant idea, for sure.

Anyway, I was excited about it and Beenie was immediately interested as well.
Seeing as we both wish to continue farming for the rest of our lives, this academy could do nothing but help us in our dream.

The first meeting, an HOUR away, was before Christmas, and was at the OnlyPlaceFarmersHaveMeetings...the Western Sizzlin'.
Yes, "Sizzlin'"...not sizzler..because that would make too much sense.

I'm not sure if you know this, but Beenie and I are the soup-and-salad to other farmers steak-and-potatoes.
We're the 6" turkey sub, to their Thickburger.

I'm not trying to say anything bad about my fellow farmer, but the majority of them eat a little heavier than we do.
'Tis true, 'tis true.

We arrived at the Western Sizzlin'(late, 'cuz it's an HOUR away), and walked in expecting to be given a plate and free-choice of the lunch buffet.
Um, that would be incorrect.

We walked in the banquet room, realized we didn't know anyone and sat down.
Then we were told by the extension agent that we were going to have "chopped steak with a mushroom gravy and baked potato"...

I really thought I smiled at him as I contemplated the next thing that would come out of my mouth.
EVIdently the look I gave him caused Beenie to think, buddy, you better come up with something better, 'cuz she's not eatin' that..
And she was right.

Maybe he read my mind, maybe I said something out loud...we will never know, but the agent quickly said, "I think they have chicken".
..It was then that I started breathing again.

What are we, workin' on the prairie?!
I can't eat steak inthemiddleoftheday!!
Then go back to work!!
Do I look like I eat a steak for lunch?!
My body would shut.down!
I'd be passed out in a calf hutch!

So, as everyone else, including the extension agents, ate their chopped steak, Beenie and I enjoyed our sausage-patty-sized piece of chicken(I don't know if it was a breast, thigh, combination...) served over a lovely rice pilaf.
Hooooboy! High maintenance.

Ugh, ugh, ugh...I knew the entire time what I had done.
Why Rachael?
Why couldn't you have just eaten the steak, or moved it around on your plate?
I singled us out.

I mean, we were already the only our own cootie-fied table...while the guys sat at theirs and talked about the corn crop, and how they wished there had been "more emphasis on the mushrooms in the gravy"..

Now, we are the picky ones.
The typical, "I'll just have a salad" girls.

We had our second meeting yesterday, this time at the county extension office.
On the way there, Beenie and discussed what we thought we would have for lunch...chicken.

Before the meeting started, the agent walked in and said(to the whole class), "Lunch will be catered, they will be bringing us french dip subs with au jus," then just to Beenie and I, "and..of course...chicken salad".

Chicken ladies.

I'm bringing lasagna next time.


P.s. Jackson says "Hi"...:)

Sunday, January 8

65 Days...

That's right, friends, 65 days until Chuck and I get murried.
I'm excited.

I informed him of just how close his impending doom was(2 days ago), and doyouknowwhathesaid??
"So I've just got 67 more days?"......
I came back with, "Yes, honeylovecutiepie, BUT you CAN have AS MANY AS YOU LIKE IF YOU NEED THEM".
...I think I got my point across.

Then, he freaked out on me.
He started doing alllll of those things I put on his to-do list when I started planning the wedding.
Yep, this is really happening.
He really does need to get groomsmen gifts, a suit and find a rehearsal dinner venue.
I believe in him though, he's got this.

I, on the other hand, have a motherload of things on my list.
However, I am shoving that business aside this weekend, because, because you know why?

That's right, the Big Cheese is in town.
J-Dawg is in the hizzittyhouse!

There's no room for worry when those big blue eyes are sucking you in, and turning you into a big pile of mush.

I'm not going to worry about how many days there are until the wedding, or what I have to do tomorrow.
If I'm going to do anything, it's going to involve wondering where he threw up because I know ISmellSomething....

When Jackson and Malinda arrived on Friday, I went down to the house to see them.
I rushed into the living room to give them both a big 'ol smooch, and that's when it happened...
I forgot to tell Edna to wait by the door, and she scared the puffs out of the little fella.
Edna can come on a little strong at times.

So the first day was a little rough, as I tried to keep Edna out of sight, for fear that the little guy would have nightmares.
However, last night Baby J was performing center stage, and raising the roof;).

After his bath, he fueled up on some biscuit and proved that he can in fact, crawl faster than I can think.

I love having them in town.
I sat in the sunroom and played with J, talked to Malinda, and laughed with everyone as we looked at simply horrible old pictures.
Sure, there were 564 things that I could have been worrying about..including the wedding countdown..but I wasn't.

I was afraid that if I didn't live in that moment, then I would regret it the next day...and I don't have time for regret.

I don't think anyone does. 

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.- Corrie Ten Boom

Matthew 6:25-27

Thursday, January 5

Keys to Working on a Farm: The Gate

They can be made out of wood, steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or a combination.
And they are muy importante.(That's for my Hispanic following.)

Last night, around 8pm, I am finishing up dinner and I get a call from my LoveMuffin.
"Hi LoveMuffinShnookums!", I say, "I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you, running barefoot through meadows of Lavendar, and picnicking by the spring..."
"-you have cows out", says a voice I know is his, yet the crazy-talk I am hearing is not registering.

"Crap", that was the best I had at that moment.

Last night was his first night back, and he heard dispatch call it out, so he immediately knew that those cows morethanlikely belonged to his dingy fiance'.
I didn't want him to get bored...

All I could picture was allllll 200+ cows bounding down the road into the darkness.
Because THAT'S WHAT THEY DO. (Pardon my yelling, but it's true.)

Livestock can smell an open gate, or a fence that is down.'s on like Donkey Kong.

It's as if they turn into wild animals.
They don't just wander around once they walk through the open gate..nonono..they RUN.

Obviously they aren't thinking about the future here.
Where are they going to get their feed?
Who is going to milk them?
-Important questions, people.

I can remember sitting in my room by the window, when I was 15 maybe, and seeing Tim at full murderer-after-me run, because the dairy cows were headed to whoknowswhere.

Two Christmases ago, we spent the entire day looking for 23 heifers who had gotten out via a down fence, and journeyed 2.5 MILES down the a fieldwithanANGUSbull.
That was not a holly, jolly Christmas y'all.

What I'm trying to say here is, if you want to succeed in farming, and NOT have the authorities called, keep your gates closed!
At all times!

I don't care if YOU didn't open it!
Close it.

I don't care if there aren't any animals in that particular field/pen.
You close that gate!
Because as soon as you don't, a tree will fall on a fence and the animals in that field will go into the field with the open gate, then exit via the open gate and rundowntheroad!
Trust me. It happens.

I'm just trying to help you succeed.
(And this is far cheaper than therapy...)



Wednesday, January 4

Out With the New, in With the New Old

...or something like that.

I gotta update you on Chuck's situation.
(Reader's Digest version...youcanthankmelater.)

So...about 4 years months ago Chuck went to work for the railroad.
It wasn't a good fit, to say the least.
Today he starts back at the Sheriff's Office on evening shift, still a Sergeant.

(BetweenYouAndMe, the county needed my partnering skills.)

I asked him last night if I needed to get sworn in again, or refitted for my uniform...he laughed.
I'm still waiting on my carry permit...something about a psychological test somethingorother.

I reckon you know what this means, don't ya? Hmmm? Hmmm?
This means that Chuck will be working EVENINGS, duh.  Keep up.
Which means, I will have unlimited time to bake or cook or not clean!
(I think we're all winners here.)

OK, now that we have all of that business out of the way...did you know it did not get above 30 degrees yesterday?
Wait...sorry did not even REACH 30 yesterday.

Sorry for screaming..but it all wells up inside me.

As a matter of fact, this is what it looked like yesterday... my dry cow lot.
(That pretty, green field is Barley.  This site is educational too, ya know.)

5866 doesn't like the cold either.
Luckily the sun was out, if it had not been Edna would have cried.
(I cannot control this woman's emotions.)

Each time I walked by the office, I looked at the temperature gauge at it was STILL on 21.
(I even tapped it, youknowIdid, and it wasn't stuck.)
So I tried to situate myself in the sun, as much as I could.

Calf feeding time rolled around and Edna revolted.
She had alllll of the cold she was taking, and decided to be a straight up pain.

I started mixing a bucket of milk(ya know, powder and water) and grabbed the big, honkin', whisk, only to find that I.couldn'
There we were on the last lap, headed to the finish line and Edna decided to pull some geriatric stunt.
Pffffft! I'll show her!

I positioned the whisk in my hand and up my forearm, and used my whole body to move it.

Today it is supposed to get up to 46...right now it's -46.
I am already dreaming of a blistering hot shower.

Who'd a thought I hit my prime when I was 25?!


P.s. If you want me to be completely, brutally honest...ask me when it's 20 degrees outside.

Tuesday, January 3

One Honduran Short..

...of a fiesta.
That's right, here we are just livin' the dream.

Not really.

Have I ever mentioned that odd things happen around here?
That if you take a day off, you have to expect the unexpected when you return?
Well, I'm telling you now.

I have made it my "tradition" to take New Years day off, since I don't have Thanksgiving or Christmas worked into my the rest of the world.

Therefore, I took Sunday "off".
Meaning, I woke up at the normal dark:thirty hour, fed calves, then went back home and got into bed, only to wake up in a sweat hours later wondering if I had dreamed the whole calf-feeding thing....
Scary moment.

I'm pretty sure I fed though...

Anyway, I took the rest of the day off and spent time with my honey.
It was wonderful.
Then we picked up Caden, had Saigon over for dinner and ended the evening watching Chuck and Caden play a rousing board game called, "Beat the Parents".
...I don't recommend buying this game.

No, really it was fun, however you can really only get one, maybe two, plays out of it.
The parents questions were HARD!

One of them was, "What are the two seasons at the equator?".
Don't know do ya?
I bet you're Googling it right now...

Needless to say, Caden won...Chuck rallied at the end, however fell on account of a Dora the Explorer question.
We are a party.a.minute.

It's always fun to come back to work after taking half a day off.
OK, it's not.
It's NEVER fun.

Yesterday I came back and found that one of my Hondurans had gone back to Honduras...
Which makes sense, right?
If he had gone to Jamaica I would have questioned pay-roll.

Out of the 3 remaining workers, um...ZERO speak English.
I'm just a girl, stranded on an island here.
Therefore, figuring out why Victor left was much like listening to Chuck try and remember the order of the colors of the rainbow in that game...
"ROY G BIV!!!!", I would scream.
Only to have him say, "OH! OK,".
I got tired before it was over.

I looked at Nelson and said, " worky?"
Nelson responded with a blank stare...
So I tried, "...Victor....Adios...?"
Light bulb!

Nelson's eyes lit up as he said, "OH! Victor! Si, Si!".
What followed can best be described as a feeling much like the one you get when you flip through radio stations, and accidentally land on a Spanish frequency.
You don't realize it at first...unless you hear your brain tries to make sense of the noise...
You're all like, maybe I'm not listening fast enough...when in reality, you just.can't.comprende.
So you stop trying.

All I heard was...
And the entire time, Manuel was standing behind Nelson, nodding his head and using his index finger in the "cut throat" movement..

When I woke up from the Spanish-induced coma I was in, I smiled(because they were smiling at me), and said, "OK!"(because I don't know what Manuel meant by his actions), and left.

Then I figured I needed to call pay-roll and inform them of the employee change.
The Heat answered and I said, "So, Victor doesn't work here anymore".
Heat, "What?! Why?!".
Me, "Yeah. Well..he..uh, went back to Honduras. He has cows...I think. OKSeeYaBye".

Just a girl on an island.

P.s. The two seasons are rainy and dry.

Monday, January 2

January Employee of the Month!!

It's hard to be the first EOM of 2012.
There's a lot of pressure.

The first EOM sets the bar for the next to strive toward.
It's not a title to be taken lightly.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce an employee who is well-deserving of this award.
An employee who always works hard, and is there ten minutes late when I call.

The January Employee of the Month is.....

Mercy!!! Woohooo!

A little about Mercy:
Nickname: Mercy-licious
Job title: Whateverheistoldtodo
Zodiac sign: Cancer
General demeanor: "whatever"
Extracurricular activities: Soccer
New Years resolution: "To actually try in school" (*sigh*)
Two words to describe Mercy: Easy. going.
Hobbies: Giving hugs and collecting weapons
Approximate height: 8 feet tall
Approximate weight: 100 lbs soaking.wet.
Shoe size: Average length of a kayak
Biggest fan: Lydia Ledbetter, our 100-year old neighbor. He mows her yard.

What his BossLady(Blanca Diablo) says about him: "Mercy is a real piece of work, but a fine young man nontheless.  One minute he will be chopping wood, and the next he will show up behind you carrying a kitten in his pocket.  Good kid though, and he is developing a lot of cow intuition.  If the world-time was ten minutes late, Mercy would always be on time."

There you have it!
The January Employee of the Month.
We expect great things from this young man.