Tuesday, August 28

Redheaded Step Calves

The reds are here!
The reds are here!
OK, just two but me thinks there will be mo.

See that one in the back?  She's black and white and NOTredallover. But she is the little red chick's mama.  Funny how that happens huh?  Must have eaten too many strawberries, or the milkman dropped her off. Orrrr somethin.  Don't even act like your not pickin up on that f-i-e-r-c-e "you're not my mother" body language. 

Zeeees one is the other redheaded gal I had this week.  She is even more hot-tempered than her hair would make you think. I had the distinct pleasure of chasing (read: continuous duck-and-dodge circles) this jewel all around creation this morning, until I caught a back leg.  Hers not mine.  But I think I pulled a hammy.
Anyway, I got the leg and held on for dear life in the field beside the road (story of my life), so that passers-by could watch as the "mean old lady" played wheelbarrow race with the "poor widdle cawf". 
I sweated much.
It was delightful.

We are finally finishing the never-ending silage chopping saga.  (That wasn't at all redundant was it?)
We are allllll over it.  Like...soooooo over it.  Tim and I had a bit of a stinky situation involving outofcontrol manure this morning, and when I called him this afternoon to tell him that the joystick on the front-end loader had..um...quit working..his response was, "That's OK.  I have already given up hope for today". 
He needs a vacation.

OH!OH!OH!  Take a look at my new art that I just purchased from a very talented gal Crystal of Grabers Graphics!
I found her on Etsy(lovelovelove).

This first decal is in Caden's bathroom, opposite the mirror...

It's blurry.  I know.  You have had a few haven't you?
Just kidding.  It's not you it's me.
I love it and the placement in his bathroom is perfect:).

The second is this large decal, which I placed in the dining room...
(The first one is blurry...sorry pals..but I wanted you to see where it be..)

My wingspan almost hindered this project.
There was grunting and stretching and fingertip walking, but the result was so worth it!

Maybe I will find a place for a mural of a redhead with a, sort of, "ethereal" look?

I think it would totally work in the man cave, don't you?!
I'll just take "Miss August" down....

Love and Gingers,

Wednesday, August 22

It's Going to be Alright

You know this "blog thing" that I do here?  I was trying to explain it to someone and I had a hard time.
"It's about cows, milking cows, cow antics, cats, kittens, cooking and life."
That's the best I could do.  Let's describe it as more of a buffet of thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas.  I like describing it as a "buffet" because sometimes you get lucky and they put out out fresh cornbread, but other times all you get is watery jello salad.  Yuck.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that today it's not about cows or cooking.  I felt compelled to write about something else, and I wanted to scare prepare you.  You are so welcome.

Nine times out of ten the news is bad.  Bad things are happening across the nation and in our hometowns.  This is true.  Bad things are happening in our lives each day.  Inexplicable tragedies consume us.  Don't they? 

This week our county has experienced terrible heartache.  Heaven received new Angels to watch over us.  I did not know these people, but from what I have heard it was my loss.  One was very young, the other beautifully selfless.  One of them was in law enforcement and my husband knew him personally.  Needless to say the loss of a friend has struck our house and is weighing heavily. 

Yesterday, when I had finished feeding calves and was headed to the dairy barn, I got a notification on my phone that I had a new "friend request" from the Facebook.  You know the Facebook, right?  Youand955BILLIONothers. 

Anyway, after responding to the request, the Facebook gave me a list of "suggested friends".  I couldn't take one more step, I was frozen.  My breath caught in my throat while I scrolled down the endless list of people who were "suggested" that might have a common interest as me.  Every single person had changed their profile picture to a picture honoring this fallen officer.  Every single person on the list.  I got chills. 

You tell me there's no hope.  You tell me to give up faith in humanity and I'll show you a bottomless list of reasons not to.  We may pass each other and feel like strangers but we share a common interest.  Love.

 Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.


Monday, August 20

I'm The Lucky One

My sister/best friend came home for the weekend!  She and baby J made a brief trip home and left yesterday..which makes me sad, but so glad at the same time.  ANY time is better than none at all, wouldn't you agree?  Gosh, if there's one thing for certain it's that this boy is growing so fast!  It feels like just yesterday I was fighting with The Heat over who was going to hold him, and planning my outfits so that there were no buttons that might scratch his face:). 

He is all smiles.  That smile can make everything OK.  It's a sign of hope, I think.  A sign of the future.

Saturday evening Malinda, baby J, The Heat, BossMan and Mercy all came over for dinner.  It was like a scene in a movie, when we all sat down to eat.  It was the first time we have had a sit-down family dinner in our new dining room.  My heart was bursting with joy.  Caden to my right, my honey to my left.  My best friend across the table, and my nephew beside her.  And yeast rolls.  Hoo-boy the yeast rolls!  The world would be a much happier place if there were more family dinners with yeast rolls.  You can quote me on that.

After dinner we had cupcakes(I'll have to tell you about that later) and homemade chocolate ice cream.  We are a chocolate family through and through.  Chocolate and yeast rolls.  It doesn't take much really.

It didn't matter what was going on outside that night, all that mattered was family.  Laughter and smiles.  Being together.

Unlce Chuck and Caden played with Jackson until they were all exhausted...

Dinner was mushroom and bacon stuffed pork tenderloin, creamed corn, smashed red-skinned potatoes and ROLLS.  Baby J had bread, guacamole and creamed corn:).  Then I sent them down the road with a pan of maple sweet rolls...party gift.

Yesterday after church, Chuck came out and worked Gus a bit then we met up with Malinda, The Heat, Beenie, Mercy and Baby J at the barn to feed calves...and kittens.  J loved the cats...

even more than the calves...

..I told the Jersey no crazy eyes, but they never listen.
 (I don't blame J for not being overly excited.  Cats are waayyy easier to deal with:).)

Jackson was very interested in Uncle Mercy and his...

 ..cat ways...
Story of his life.
Seriously, the way Jackson points with his little hand next to his head melts me:).

Mamas best guy..

Aren't they too much.
Jackson and Chuck had an impromptu "man talk".  I'm not sure what it was about but there was a lot of pointing going on.

I miss her so much:(..

 I think there is a little resemblance..

Rotten Mercy..

The, always lovely, Heat..

Beenie baby..and photo-bomber..

I love this one so much..

Having Malinda and Jackson home for the weekend was truly a blessing.  I dream of the day we are just down the road from each other.  I hope that is what the future holds.  As for now, I guess I will just miss her terribly and count down the days until Christmas when I get to see them all again!


Maybe he won't get too many more freckles before then...I don't want to miss a thing!


Friday, August 17

Last Night at Dinner

Caden had a baseball game yesterday evening that I actually got to attend!
Woot for early games!

I love watching him play but I know my limits.  The "go to bed early" rule is one of them.  I could stay up late but then I'm tired alllll day.  Funny how that works huh?  Anyway, who wants to be tired at work?  Not moi, especially when I am faced with adversity rightwhenIgetthere.

This morning adversity came in the form of Nelson.  He was waiting for me to pull into the driveway of the dairy barn, and I saw him as soon as I did.  Normally this means that something has gone wrong...maybe a cow down, equipment malfunction or they can't figure out how to turn on the lights.  Normal stuff.  It really didn't bother me when he told me me were out of vacuum pump oil (which he also told me thenightbefore, and since I do not personally produce vacuum pump oil it would have to wait until today). It also did not bother me when he motioned for me to come to the parlor, indicating something was wrong (I understand the "follow me" wave).  It DID bother me when he stood there staring at me while I put my water and keys on the desk, it ALSO bothered me when he asked me again to come with him likeIdidn'talreadysayOK.  What bothered me the most was that whatever was wrong could not wait a dadblamed second so I could put my everlovin' boots on!
I'm OK now, sorry.

The problem?  Well one of my flapper-valves was broken so they were having to milk on only one side of the parlor.  I don't personally produce these either, so the blank stare I got in response to my "OK" caused me to turn and leave. 
I almost tried to explain the flapper-valve thing but then I remembered that you probably don't care:).
In summary, they can only milk 12 at a time instead of 24, until I start making rubber or the flapper-valve-thingy store opens.

^That's got nothin' to do with dinner last night, but I sure feel better.

So after Caden's game we took him to the a fine-eating establishment known for their ohsohealthy wings.  Buffalo Wild Wings.  I'm not proud to admit that.  (I got the grilled chicken, justsowe'reclear). 

Caden had homework to get finished so he brought it with him, due to it almost being bedtime.  BWW was also having trivia night, so we were all listening to the questions they were reading and trying to answer them on our own. 
They asked the city were Elvis passed away.
They asked what 'AWOL' stood for.
Then they asked what the first vitamin was to ever be discovered...Caden looks at me and says, "Hey Rachael, you should call your dad!".

I love that kid.

Have a wonderful day!


P.s. ^This kid and his beautiful momma are coming home for the weekend!  I am thrilled!

Thursday, August 16

When You Give a Kid a Kitten

When you give a kid a kitten,
You should expect them to be smitten.
Their little pink noses and softest of fur,
Go straight to your heart just like when they purr.

They beg to be held, stroked and adored,
And before you know it your heart is overboard.
The kids are in love and scamper and play,
'What will The Cat get into today?'

You watch as they discover and grow,
As if seeds of your own that you gather and sow.
The older they get the more they demand,
Most often their desires can be met by your hand.

The simplest of pleasures, attention and time,
Just a scratch behind the ears would be more than sublime!
Though the kids were the first to be swept off their feet,
The truth is this tiny creature makes your life more complete.


Tuesday, August 14

Amazing Grace and Humility

Have you ever been to an event that moved you so much that you are still thinking about it 3 days later?  An event that captivated you to the point that you couldn't leave your seat for fear of missing something?  I went to an event over the weekend that was all of that and more.
The event was Living Proof Live with Beth Moore.  It was held at Thompson Boling arena in Knoxville and over 13,000 ladies were there...and 4 men:).  I really think I did see 4. 

It was amazing.  Just amazing.  I could talk about how it made me feel all day but I won't, don't worry.  I will say that I saw lots of beauty and joy.  The sound of 13,000 voices singing "Amazing Grace" unaccompanied was so moving that there are no words.
The program far made up for the lines to the restroom...holy moly!
You know when you go to a sporting event and there are tons of people there and the ladies room line is SO long?  You're all like, "ugh this is taking forever!".  Imagine, if you will, a sporting event that over 13,000 ladies...and 4 men..show up for.  OK, now imagine it's break time and everyone does what?  Goes to the restroom.  I cut back my water intake that day.  Wow.

OK, now I need to tell you about what happens when your head is still in the clouds and you return to work.  Sunday after church my thoughts were everywhere.  I went back to work, pushed up feed on the Bobcat, and noticed that I had a cow that needed help getting up.  This is down at the bottom of my list of things I don't mind doing for a specific reason: arm strength.  I ain't got none.  I know I know I know, but don't be fooled by the sheer size of these pipes.  They're just for looks not function.  Heh.

I climbed through the headlocks and, judging by the way she was lying, decided she needed to be turned so that she was headed  in a different direction.  As far as cows go she was small, so I wasn't real worried about the whole thing.  So NOT worried that I grabbed her tail and began pulling her around, while thinking about everything else BUT what I was doing.

I don't know when the shift happened...the shift from vertical to horizontal...but it was fast.  Suddenly I went from standing behind her holding her tail, to laying flat on my back beside her..still holding her tail.  It was ew.  Like, cold, wet, fresh ew.  From on my feet to staring at the ceiling, while laying on cold concrete covered in poo ew.

Sometimes I wonder what cows must think of me, but not Sunday.  I slowly got up, returned the tail, climbed through the headlocks, went to the office and called Chuck;
"Hey honey, could you do me a favor?"
"Could you bring me some jeans...and underwear..."
"Uh, I got mine dirty." (That sounds bad, but whatdoyousay??).
"Do you need 'em now??" (This is my honey rightafter he has eaten lunch).
Standing there looking at the manure caked on my backside.."No, I'll just stand for a while". (Team player).

I'm grateful for events that move me.
I'm grateful for events that humble me.
I'm grateful for a honey who brings me new clothes..but maybe next time he won't leave my underwear laying on top of my desk for my workers to see.

Humility 101.


Sunday, August 12


Chuck and I don't always agree.  We knew this, I mean, 5 months ago at the beach we knew we didn't feel the same way about everything, but that was OK!  By golly we were getting murried anyway!  So we did.
Never hesitated.  Come to think of it, there was never a second of "is this right for us?", "are we ready?".  Instead our thoughts revolved around "when are the kids on spring break?".

I was tickled about being his wife...still am to be honest.  I had the week we returned all planned out to get my drivers license changed, get some of those cute address labels made, and settle in for a life I just knew would feel different.  We came back from the beach, closed on our house and moved in.  The moving process was taxing on us both.  We didn't care where anything went...but we really did.  He put my pretty furniture in the Man Cave and I hid everything in the kitchen.  Fairs fair.  As soon as we got everything off of the cattle trailer and into the house, we were home.  The funny thing is, at that very moment nothing before mattered anymore.  I mean, it did in reality, but as far as we were concerned we were beginning.

I work all the time, and between his job and all of the overtime he does, so does he.  We mis-communicate, misread, misinterpret and just plain miss it.  But somehow, someway, we laugh all the time.  The man makes me giggle like a fountain bubbling out of me.  He can scare me so badly that I crack a filling, but I can't help but get tickled.  We hurt each others feelings and don't talk overnight, but I still sit on the tub while he gets ready for work in the mornings.  We silently forgive and forget, but we never look for that place.  The "what if we weren't together?" place.  It literally brings tears to my eyes if I ever imagine life without him.  Who would grill the burgers?  Who would kill the bugs?  Who would burst out laughing when I say "Latvia", thinking it wasn't really a place??  Who would hold my heart?

I talk a lot about our marriage, the ups and downs and everything else, because to me it's such an experience.  I was going to say adventure, but that sort of points to "excitement" and, honestly, there's not much exciting about going to bed at 8.  The experience of referring to him as my "husband" for the first time and how it felt to say it.  The experience of furnishing our house and making it a home for our family.  Our arguments and laughter, hurt feelings and sit-down laughing spells.  Our life. 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 says, "those who marry will face many troubles in this life".  I'm ready to fight for my love, but at the same time I have to work for it each day.

I don't know what the future will be like for us.  Maybe I will finally get my drivers license changed?  Maybe I will settle on some cute address labels?  I could worry about it, but that would mean spending less time loving him.  Five months isn't a very long time, but if I don't live each second of it in that very moment then I am cheating no one but myself.

Love is many things, but I am learning more and more each day about how it "always protects" (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Protect what is yours and hold it close to your heart.  Don't give an inch of it away, because today is all that matters.

Love love love,

Monday, August 6

Timing is Everything

I actually wrote this post on Friday...then my computer froze up and all was lost.
Sad, sad day.

Hey!  Maybe this round will go much better!
Here's to hoping...

Did you have a lovely weekend?
I did, I took Saturday off.
Pshyeah I did.  Like OFF off.
Like, Rachael no worky sabado.
I didn't even just leave early...which is the norm for me.

I was tired.
I was spent!
No day off since the meeting in NC...and is that really off?

So I slept til 8 am Saturday morning...hold.the.phone.
Yep.  EIGHT.
When I woke up, the sun was out!
Who'da thunk it?

Woke up, had a sweet roll, then...never once got in a hurry all day.
That's where it's at.

I will admit, when I decided to take Saturday off I had my reservations.
I mean, Tim would have had it all to himself, except the calf feeding which Mercy would do.
Tim has a lot on his plate, and I understand that so I really try not to add to it even when he makes me mad.
Which is a lot.

Friday rolled around and I was feeling guilty, then a couple of things happened that helped me change my mind...

First of all, I was busy feeding Friday morning when I noticed Eddie's truck at his house.
That's just like him to come back and not come to work, I thought.
Then 7 am rolled around and he showed up!
There was a mariachi band and hula dancers!
OK, maybe not, but the sun did come out a little more.

Because I can be petty and stoopid, my progression of thoughts went like this...
Oh he's back.  Know what?  I don't even care.  That's right.  I think I will just finish feeding and act like it's no biggie.  Do dodo dodo....feedfeedfeed.  I wonder if he's OK?  He looks pretty bad-A with that bandanna around his head.  Maybe I should stop.  I guess I could say hi and see how he is.  
"Hey!  Good to see you!  How do you feel?!"
Welcome to my world.

Shortly there after, I was standing in front of the truck and trailer waiting on Manuel so I could give him his daily directions.
Suddenly, right in front of me something came crashing down to the ground with a thump!
I really thought it was just a limb from the pine tree, then I saw it move.
...and I just woke up from my coma.
I kid.

It was a 5-foot long snake....
Um yeah. 
I'll give you a minute.

So I did what any other sensible farm girl would do...no I did NOT grab a pitch fork...I yelled, "TIM!!! LOOK WHAT FELL OUT OF THE SKY!!!"
Then I accused him of not livin' right and passed out.

I came-to and both of us headed to pick up some springing Jersey heifers from one of the fields.
The heifer fields are really the only places you will find bulls around here.  Expect the beef cow fields, but that's different and I don't know why I told you.
So anyway, the bulls are only there to breed the heifers that Ol' Lefty here misses.

Now, I can assure you that it doesn't matter how gently you raise a bull, if he has a mean bone in him it will come out.
Ours are raised alongside our heifers and treated no differently.

Anyway, I backed the trailer up to the gate then we went into the corral to separate the heifers from the ones who aren't ready.
There were about 20 that we weren't taking.
Tim goes in first only to be greeted by one of the bulls who is busy staking his claim on his ladies, by bellowing and pawing.
Like a scene at the bar when it's closing time.
You really just can't always ignore that.

Tim went to him and thought he had scared the bull off, so he turned to come back towards me..that's when it took the bull half a second to get 1 inch away from Tim's back.
Hello Dolly!

Dude was ready to throw down!
I could see it perfectly from the bed of the truck.
Heh.  I kid.
But I was holding the gate closed, and the thought of leaving Tim there did cross my mind.
Self preservation.

Throw Eddie, the snake and the bull together and I figured it was the perfect time to get outta Dodge.
I know when I have overstayed my welcome.

The perfect ending to the weekend was spending the whole day driving my husband crazy and holding his hand in Church.
God forgives even the "petty and stoopid";).

Have a lovely, snake-free, non-bull-fighting, day!!


Thursday, August 2

They Just Grow Up So Fast

Time just flies doesn't it?
I mean, not when you want it to...like when you're at the dentist, or when you're waiting on a cow with one slow quarter..
(That last one can seem like for.ev.er FYI.)

I walk through my big girl dairy barn and can remember when the ladies were just born, legs for days and googly-eyed.

Often, and to my chagrin, beside the death-trap that is our road.
Imeanreally, where do you think she's gonna go??
Ever played dizzy-bat?  You know, where you spin circles with your forehead on a bat then try to run, not walk, in a straight line?
Well these babies look like a buncha dizzy-bat champions when they are just born.
Just trust me...or go play!

Moving on.
Ah!  Here we have the poifect specimen!

Already cleaned off and with wheels like a go-kart.
Underneath that cute, black, innocent exterior is an Olympic hurdler.
But they are only young once.

I mean it seems like just yesterday we were putting bunny ears on the kitten while she showed us how she could soooo touch her tongue to her nose!
Doesn't it??

Or when we found the missing momma who got through the fence back into the far-off lot and decided to have her baby.

In the middleofnowhere.

How bout the time the Jersey told her calf to "lay real still and they won't see you"?
Well, they did, and the calf (all 40 lbs of it) jumped up and proceeded to head-butt them until they got the picture.

So cute.
Then they grow up and wanna eat big-girl food.

They think you're wrong and they're right.
They can take care of themselves.


Ah, but how quickly they forget!
Who's their feeder??
Who's their primary care giver???
Who's the keeper of...

The binky?
Patent pending.


Wednesday, August 1

I Believe

In smart girls and silly shoes.

I believe in loving thy neighbor.
Thy rich neighbor.
Poor neighbor.
Atheist neighbor.
Jewish neighbor.
Muslim neighbor.
_____ neighbor.

I believe in muddy boots and holey socks.

In sweet rolls and sour cherries.

I believe that if you take care of your animals they will take care of you.

I believe in my husband going to the gym in a Mickey Mouse shirt.

Actions speak louder than words.

I believe every word written in the Bible.

In hot pink and MC Hammer.
I believe that my blind dog is a better judge of character than half of the people I know.

I believe in working out and eating cheese dip.

I believe gold crowns are proof that you live a sweet life.

I believe in the future of farming.

Home is where The Heat lives.
I believe strong beats skinny every time.

I believe in supporting officers who make us safe.

I believe an open heart and an open mind can change everything:).