Saturday, September 18, 2010

So Close, and Yet, So Far.


Such tasty, mouth-watering steaks!

But when they are still on the hoof, and not your own... you must resist.

"Mom! The cattle are over here again!"
"Go chase them back and repair the hole."

"Mom! The cattle are over here again."
"Go chase them back and find the other hole and fix it."

"Mom! The cattle are over here again!"
"I thought you fixed the holes."
"There's no more fence left. It's all down."

These cattle belong to our nice neighbor, who is very busy, and trying to work full time while taking care of many acres of land. He's helped us a lot in the past few years.

We had half a roll of barbed wire, so we went up the hill to put up fence.

Problem was, Michael had the flu. Poor guy, up there working on fencing with me with a fever, body aches, and exhausted. We did about 75 feet of fenceline, good and tight.

This is no easy task. The scrub trees have completely overgrown the fenceline, so you have to hack them away first.

And saw off the branches that are too thick for the loppers.

Then we returned to the house, grateful we had the supplies to do it, and got Michael some rest.

That night we did not go to Bible study, as you can lose a lot of friends sharing the flu bug. On top of suffering FROM the disease, having people glare at you while they are curled up in a fetal position is a real downer. The plan was to just go do office cleaning, get home, and get to bed early.

"Mom, the cattle are over here again!"


I'm OK. Really.

I'm hoping to take care of this quickly. I mean, we'd just repaired a lot of fence. It had to be a small issue, right? RIGHT?

I head up, to chase the cattle back through. They see me coming. It's like the showdown at the OK corral. Only neither one of us is OK. Most of them give their point of entry away...

"Look! The strange creature on two legs is coming! She looks really mad this time. Let's get outta' here!"

I see it. It's a small place. But one cow freaks. It's young. It's stupid. It's buzzard bait as far as I'm concerned. It sails past the hole, and foolishly heads toward the brand new fencing we just put up earlier that day.

Those of you who do not know cows might think, "Good. She'll see the new fence, figure it out, and head back to the hole with her good-for-nothing buddies."


Not only would you be discounting the amazing lack of brain that exists in the common cow, but you do not know one vital piece of information. You see, the broken fence is on a steep slope. On their side, it's 5 feet high, but on our side, when the cow looks at the fence as the only obstacle between her and, "Sanctuary!" (Done in my best Hunchback of Notre Dame imitation.), it's only about 2 feet high. I smell impending doom a mile away. So I go past, up the hill, and around to gently encourage her back this way, before all hell breaks loose.

Sadly, my extremely helpful and sick offspring was not aware of all this when he came up after me to help. You guessed it. He came through the thicket, and that cow went straight through 5 strings of freshly fastened barbed wire.

Oh, she didn't feel a thing. She was quite satisfied with herself. It was all I could do not to spit nails. Needless to say, our plan of getting home early for rest was out the window.

The new hole? They had actually decided to simply shove between the trees and break the old wire strands. That's bad news. That means they've learned the most evil trick a farm animal can learn. If you push on it long enough, it will break. This is something you NEVER want a farm animal to figure out.

I was trembling in fear. I'm out of barbed wire, and all the farm supply shops are closed by now. Oh, did I mention that all 30 head were milling about behind me, just waiting for me to leave so they could come over again?

Oh, yeah. It's raining.

Did I also mention that we had already robbed our incredulous horses of their own mineral block and sacrificed it over the fence to the cow gods?

They'd already licked most of it in the last two days anyhow. We'll buy the horses a fresh one this week, but I'm not sure they'll ever trust us again. And I'm pretty sure they hate cows, too.

Oh, and another little tidbit? My sister was in town from out of state, and my uncle, whom I've not seen in decades, too. I did not get to go see them. I was busy with precious little mooing things.

WHAT are you looking at?

And the age old question. "Why?"

They have a hundred acres of lush grass. Just look at this!

What do they see when they look at our side? Nothing but a line of scrubby trees.

They have water. Apparently not as tasty as our water, though. And we've already sacrificed our mineral block. We don't have enough grass for two horses, but 30 head of cattle want to chomp the life out of every bit of our soil before returning home. I guess it's like eating out; not as good as home-cooking, but more fun.

Here's the line where they wait to get in. Notice the lack of vegetation due to the milling about.

It is at this time I realize this post is getting long. But this is my WATERLOO! Custer's Last Stand!

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, trembling in fear...

They'd broken the four strands of rusty barbed wire that were strung between two trees, about 3 feet apart. I had little hope at this point of convincing them they should not do this. Several of them are part Longhorn. They look to be a Longhorn/Angus cross. Nice... tasty... cows....

With horns, they learn to hook things and it doesn't hurt at all. Great for them, bad for us.

(Ah, I see I missed one of the sneaky buggers, head down, in that photo.)

I had just enough wire to cover the last 20 feet of fenceline where there were several bad places, but no time to clear it. So I cut across the corner, and prayed it would hold til the next day when I could go buy more wire and get home to do it properly.

It held, though I know they were plotting something anyhow.

Upon coming home the next morning from town, where tons of things went wrong, and actually ended up sobbing in front of my strong, yet impressionable young man, and had to go shopping with sunglasses on, I sent him to work on his schoolwork and I proceeded uphill to fix that fence or die trying.

Just start lopping where we left off yesterday.

The horrible thing about scrub red cedar is that is grows everywhere. However, the GREAT thing about scrub red cedar is ~ that includes in the fencelines. So you have naturally occurring posts that will just continue to get more and more numerous as the years go on. So I didn't need any posts, just wire and fence staples.

When I'd just about cleared the last 100 feet of line, my dad and uncle arrived. Dad was able to leave mom for a while with my sister, and my uncle declared this was the only way he was going to be able to see me. It was like the cavalry. Wasn't their motto "Always in the nick of time" or something?

Lopping through 2" branches was a lot more fun when someone with muscles was doing it, so I let them finish that up, as well as the sawing, while I used the pruning shears. And it no time, we were ready to begin stringing.

It's done. And I've not seen hide nor hair of those cattle ever since.

Good fences make good neighbors! (That's the country motto.)



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crafty Adventures


I'm planning a party for a friend this week and need some props. These two were really easy to make.


Poster board
Glitter glue
Curling ribbon
Dowel rod

I cut two stars out of poster board, and decorated them with glitter glue. Here's a handy tip - go ahead and punch out the holes on the arms of the stars before using the glitter glue. Mine turned out fine, but I would rather not have had to pick half-dried glitter glue from my hole punch.

The first layer of paint was achieved by dribbling red and gold glitter glue on one star, pressing the other star against it, and pulling away. It gave a nice rippling effect to the color. Then I dropped blue glitter glue on top.

Being the impatient sort that I am, I used my trusty Excalibur dehydrator to speed up the drying process.

Once it was dry enough to work with, without being brittle, I lined them up and punched holes through the arms. I cut strips of ribbon about a foot long. I was very lucky to have such helpful and compliant ribbon, because I was able to snip the ends, pull them apart like string cheese, and make 4 narrow ribbons out of one piece. Nice, since I needed to thread it through small holes.

Each hole got two ribbons tied on one side, and two ribbons tied on the other, and they curled very nicely without much help from me, but for a couple of strips here and there that had been tugged on a bit much while I was tying the knots.

Then it was a matter of coating the end of the dowel rod with enough glue to hold it, inserted between the two stars.

This was really fun and easy!

And a Chef's hat.


Poster board
White gift bag tissue
Heavy duty clear tape
Scotch tape
Paper clips

I cut a 4 inch wide strip of poster board, using the longest side, so it would fit around a head, with extra for overlap.

On this, I taped the long edge of the tissue with clear package tape.

Then I pulled the ends around together, and paper clipped them, making an adjustable head band.

The tissue was gently scotch taped together here and there to close the gaps, and then tucked down inside itself to the height I wanted the hat.

A quick flourish of the permanent marker ~

and ~ Voila!

I'm in Paris!



Monday, September 13, 2010

Armed and Dangerous


This weekend was our much anticipated Carry Permit class. What a hoot!

By law, in our state, you must attend an eight hour class, including a state produced DVD on handgun safety, in order to legally carry, open or concealed, a handgun on your person.

Well, you know what happens when the government gets involved, so we got so much more than what the state requires and we had a great time. Of the 5 instructors, the one who sticks out most in my mind was kind of a mix of Sam Elliot, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, and a smidge of Barney Fife.

"Sir, what about...?"


No one in the class was safe, if you had anything to say, you became the recipient of the evil eye and biting sarcasm. Everyone had a derogatory nickname. Even if they kept their mouths shut, as one dear friend did, they got a nickname and a staredown when they tried to eat their sandwich. He was hilarious!

It became a game of seeing who could cause the biggest ruckus with a question asked. No question was stupid, of course. But you didn't know that by the time he finished with you.

He was good, too. I have no idea what he has been involved with, I decided not to ask, but he's been shot, he's killed people, and he's been in knife fights, his home is a scary fortress... and that's enough for me.

While I brought my camera to the class, there was NO WAY I was going to pull it out and try to take pictures, so out at the shooting range I took photos when our half of the class had already done our shooting.



Hanging around, waiting for the scores and certificates.

Oh, yeah. These perps are pushin' up daisies.

Michael and I are looking forward to the next class on the agenda, home defense.

Better start burying some money in jars.




Luke 22:36 "He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."