Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MaXitO the ReD BanDito

It is with heavy heart I write again about another one of our dogs. What are the odds we would lose 2 dogs in 4 days time?

Max was with us since we lived in Boulder. He was given to us by Mike's brother Bill to use as a cow dog. He was a red-healer mix and full of life. He loved to work cattle. He was aggressive with the fighting ol' witches and gentle with our kids. I grew quite close to Max... But for Mike, he is losing one of his right hand men. I can't even begin to count the hours the two of them have spent together, nor the miles they have gone.
Mike and Max headed to work!

Max and I riding on the sled (crazy dog)
Right before we left Helena, a cow got him down and broke his back leg. We thought this might be the demise of him, but he came back strong and returned to fighting cows. He was the mischief dog as well. He would act like he was taking off after something and get all the dogs riled up, then he would saunter back (grinning I am sure) while they tried to find what he was after.
We would get a kick out of his wily ways.

On Sunday Mike and I watched him walking through the trees by our house. I wish I would have known it was the last time I would see him. For days I have been waiting for his return, hoping that I would see him curled up in the flower planter he took over, or hear him whining, letting us know he wanted to go work cows. But he has not come home. He might still, we can hold onto hope. But he was almost 12 years old, we saw signs of his age, and he to mourned our Payson. So, again, I am writing about another dog...... But again, he was more than just a dog. He earned his keep.

He came home.....  8 days he was gone.... Who knows where.... We had given up hope, us of little faith....  We have had frigid, freezing weather with snow and all that.... Yet, the "terd" (Mikes word for him) came home ALIVE!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


**Cheryl (my mom) do not read!**

Just over 13 years ago, Mike and I took a trip to Utah.  While we were on this trip, Mike bought a truck (his dream truck, which he sold later to help pay for a surgery, but that is a story for another day).  While we were getting new tires put on the truck, I happened to be looking through the classifieds and came upon an ad for yellow lab puppies.  Mike had been telling me I could get a dog, so I jumped at the chance.  By that I mean I took advantage of the fact he was getting a new truck, so I should be able to get a new puppy!  Mike said go for it and I headed to Payson, Utah to pick out what would become the best $75.00 ever.  Mike about died when he found out I paid money for a DOG!  But he forgave me and soon fell in love as well.
Payson the winter after we got him!
Payson has been on every move with us, which has been quite a few.  He started in Lima, went to Dell, then Rexburg, onto Ovid, back to Lima, to Boulder, Clancy, Helena, and now Dupuyer.  He was a faithful dog right from the beginning.  He kept me company when Mike would work long hours.  When we moved to Rexburg I was 8 months pregnant and it was a hot August.  Payson and I spent hours by and in the river that our yard ran into.  I would park my plastic chair right in the depths of the water, right up to my chin, and he would swim around me fetching sticks.
When we moved to Ovid, I became fairly busy with a 1 year old and a new born, and Payson didn't get as much attention from me.  Mike hated the sad eyes he would get as he and Jiggs would load up to go to work.  It did not take long for him to succumb to those puppy dog eyes that I am sure Payson coined.  Hence, Payson became a cow dog.
When Payson barked, he meant business.  Mike and I can usually pay no mind to our other dogs barking, but the second Payson would give his deep, booming bark, we would jump and go see what the matter was.  It could be a mountain lion he was warning us about, a stranger that was prowling around, or a cow that was not where she was supposed to be.  When he was moving cows and would give that bark, he would almost create a stampede.
He was known to take a 2000lb bull on the fight down to the ground, hold calves down that had run through the fence until Mike could get around to them, and even let our kids ride him like a horse (he was their first pony).  He loved our kids.  He was so good to them, even when they would climb all over him.
He knew how to bask in the sunshine, usually sitting in a regal pose.  We would call him our sphinx the way he would always sit with his front legs crossed.  From the time he was a puppy, whenever I would sit by him, he would have to be touching me.  Usually this meant a paw on my hand, or foot, or leg.  He was never a needy dog, or a jealous dog, but he was a great dog.
13 years is a long time to have a dog in your life.  Especially for us.  In 13 years our lives have changed and grown, and he has been there through it all. He has changed as well.  The once bounding, vivacious puppy changed into a old, crippled, broken down dog.  It is hard to watch them get old.  When we moved here, I remember looking at him and saying, "Payson, this is your last move old man."  And it was....  Buried outside our home today, under a tree, is truly a close friend.  I know he was JUST a dog, but he was my dog....  And he will be missed so much..... Goodbye Old Man, I love you!
He always looked sad, but was truly happy....

At the elk ranch in Ovid, ID

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

As iF I WilL GeT BeTTer

Another 2 months has passed....  Oh how time flies, seriously, slow down!


In August we went to Silverwood Theme Park as a family.  The kids helped earn the money to go and we were so excited.  At least until the weekend before we were to go.  That is when Mike tore his hamstring muscle off the bone.  Needless to say he was on crutches for the whole experience and in quite a bit of pain.  But he tagged along all day on crutches and was a trooper, just watching us have all the fun.

 We had a lot of fun, and it was great for the kids to see that their hard work this summer paid off.

The Kids also started school at the end of August.  KwinLee is now a 6th grader, Spencer a 5th, Hyrum a 2nd, and Reed is in Kindergarten.  Yep, all 4 kids are in school.  The Dupuyer School has 9 kids total, and 4 of them are ours.  You do the math.   Of course I followed them to school.  I love being where my kids are, I am kind of attached.  I cook breakfast and lunch everyday there and teach music twice a week.  I finally found a way to get paid to cook for my kids, now if I can find a way to be paid to do their laundry I will be doing great. 
This is their first day of school photo.  Do you see the dog at Spencer's feet?  Her name is Emmie and she is attached to Spencer and Reed.  She follows them everywhere. 
Well, this is birthday month for us.  Spencer turned 11, KwinLee turned 12, and I don't talk about my age.  KwinLee has now advanced into Young Women's and is enjoying it.  Plus, she gets to hunt this year.  Spencer can't wait for the day he gets to start hunting, but hunters education is not far off.  KwinLee received her dad's cell phone for her birthday and couldn't be happier (wow!!).  Spencer got his first, very own brand new bike.  And he loves it.  He has been riding it all over.  He has even rode it the 10 miles to school a few times.  We had to put a hold on that while the bears are migrating back.  I received a Blendtec blender and absolutely love it (so does the rest of my family that has been benefiting from it!).

Well, so far this has been just a routine month.  Oh, except I hit a deer and did some damage to my car, KwinLee sprained her ankle and we found out that at some point she chipped a piece of bone off of it, and the kids will be getting a new school teacher within the next few weeks.  So, as life changes, we try to roll with it.
We have also spent our non-school time helping Mike.  We have most the cows gathered in, the calves pre-conditioned, and we are getting ready for shipping day.  And the occasional wild beast is still feasting on our calves, we lost one yesterday to a Sow and cubs.  UGH!  But, so goes the battle of ranching. 

We are also madly writing letters to all the powers that be (congressman, senators, the President, and Postmaster General) trying to convince them to keep our post office open.  It would be such a sad thing to lose, not to mention the hardship.  Round trip for us to another post office is 66 miles (over 30 of that dirt road and not great roads in the winter).  All to save a tenth of a percent of costs because Congress won't deal with the real money saving issues (like no post on Saturdays or paying back the money they mismanaged of the postal service's).  Well, enough of that, I just am sad to think of the hub of a community being tossed to the way side.

Here is to the next 2 months!

Monday, August 8, 2011

AuGuST ~ 2011~

Lets be real.  I stink lately when it comes to blogging.  So, here are some pictures to make up for my slothfulness.

We have had a lot of family visits (which we LOVE).  We have friends come spend time with us (which we LOVE).  We have had our fair share of smores, bug bites, running through the sprinklers, and all that summer time jazz.  We have spent time in the hay field (all of us), running for parts, moving cows, and doing whatever we can to spend time with Mike.
We just experienced our 2nd Dupuyer Grizzly Day.  We loved every minute of it.  The fireman's breakfast, the parade (which the kids were in), the music in the park, swimming in the creek, the duck race, the greased pig contest (Reed caught the pig and the other boys gave it a good effort), their own lemonade/cookie stand, and a impromptu music jam (Mike played his fiddle).
The kids have a couple of weeks before school starts, so...... we are following through with a promise.....  We have purchased tickets, booked the motel, and the kids earned their spending money (thanks to said lemonade stand)..... WE ARE GOING TO SILVERWOOD!  I will blog about it later.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

2 Months... Really?

I can not believe it has been 2 months since I have wrote on our family blog...  Where is time going so fast?  So, I guess to catch up to the here and now I just need to be brief (ok, it is me, and that is never possible).

-Calving season has about wrapped up, barring the few stragglers that we bought late. 
-We were able to brand the big bunch of calves on a beautiful day (which we haven't had a lot of lately).
-The kids finished off the school year (with raving reports)!!
-I have been teaching a fitness class 2 times a week in Conrad.
-I also was hired to work at the school next year (now that all 4 kids will be going, sigh).
-We have been having heck with wolves in our cows.
-We took part in our first Conrad Whoop Up Days (Boys were in the parade, went to the rodeo, and I ran my first 5K in almost 2 years).
-It rained for 15 days straight, gave us a 2 day break and then we had down pouring for another 5 days.
-I got brave and went for a run out on the road and wouldn't you know it, there was a bear and 2 cubs!
-My kids have a job of mowing and taking care of 3 lawns this summer.
-And life is going on....
Our kids took part in an amazing spring program (musical play) and here they are-
Blacksmith Buck

Bronc Buster Bill and Isabelle
Their Biggest Fan
 Whoop Up Days
5K Race

Scout Parade
And that is our life for the last 2 months in a nut shell! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My OwN PriVatE SpA TreAtmeNt

You might have seen pictures, shows, or even personally experienced those spa treatments that entail ladies all covered in brown/green muck.  They say that it softens the skin, giving it a rejuvenated, refreshed look.  Or you see them in their swimsuits sitting in a tub of mud, soaking up the.... well, I am not sure what they are soaking up.  I have always wondered how glamorous it must feel to have special treatment like that.  After washing off the plaster of gunk, looking in the mirror and seeing a renewed you.  Well, I finally got to try it.  It wasn't all that glamorous.

It was about 4:30 in the morning and I was headed to check the cows.  Why not, I couldn't sleep very good due to a little bit of back trouble.  So, I headed out into the somewhat warm, dark morning.  The moon was nowhere to be seen, and it was darker than a well digger's sit down.  (I am trying to set the mood here).  I grab my big mag-lite flashlight and start slopping through the foot deep muck to see if anything was going on.  It didn't take long for me to find a calf planked out in the wet mud, shivering and a shaking.  I knew I needed to spring into action, so I grabbed the be nice stick, the sled, and kept a tight hold of my flashlight. 
I was able to pull the sled right up to the big ol' calf and gave the not so happy momma a warning tap with my be nice stick to let her know I wasn't wanting her breathing down my backside.  I bent over this helpless lug of a calf and began to try and wrestle the slimy, wet, slick 80 pounds into the sled.  Not wanting to put my influencing stick down, it was quite the sight to see me flop around with this poor calf.  Eventually, I succeeded with minimal amounts of grunting, huffing and slipping.  I grabbed hold of the rope, wrapped it around my shoulder, and gave it the "ol' heave ho"...  Wow, the sled was sinking into the slop, and it was not wanting to budge.  Another big umph, and off we went.  I was making tracks, and the momma was following close behind.  It was going just as I planned, the light from the shed was welcoming me like a beacon, and I was almost to the door.  .....
Of course, it wasn't going to be so easy....  There was a patch of ice under the deep muck and i slipped.  The weight of the sled won out, and the fact my hands were full with flashlight and stick, I went down hard.  IT splatters.  I was covered from head to toe.  It was soaking through my pants, under my shirt, it was on my gloves, in my face, and my hair was not safe either.  Well, there is no stopping here and "wallowing" in pity.  I had to get up fast cause there was a mamma on my tail and she wasn't happy with me stealing her baby.  At least since I smelled like her she wasn't so wary of me.  I got the calf back into the shed, dumped it out in a nice pile of straw, reunited the big black cow with it's baby, and hobbled away, no pride in tact.
As I drove back to the house, feeling the "stuff" saturate through to skin, smelling like crap (literally) I was trying to decide whether I should cry or laugh.  My sleeping husband heard me hobble (did not help my already hurting back, nor my knee) into the bathroom, and needless to say, he might have got a chuckle out of the sight I was. 
I was able to peel my slop soaked clothes off, and then sat and thought, how long do I let this set before it softens my skin, gives it  added nutrients, and renews me.  A shower never felt so good.  I was a new woman after the experience, no denying it.
This is the said sled, not the same momma, and I only wish it would have been snow and not deep shtuff...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MorNinGs WitH thE GirlS

I spend my mornings with the girls.  It is what I like to do.  Who doesn't enjoy being out and about in the early morning, wee dark hours mucking around.  It is who I am. 
It all starts when Mike flops into bed around 3 in the morning and says, "tag, your it!"  He then gives me a run down of how his night with the girls went.  It goes something like this, "There is a cow in the shed that her water's hanging out, one that just calved so make sure her calf is up, and 708 is acting like she might do something so keep an eye out for her, and watch out for the skunk."  After he groggily gives this slurred evaluation, he literally is out within seconds, and I am it. 
I head out the door, dressed in the proper attire for a morning with the girls.  It consists of a blue overall suit that is made for a male at least 6 feet tall, so of course it sags on me in all the right places.  A pair of muck boots that I am sure will be seen in the next couture fashion walk, a pair of bright blue gloves (at least they used to be that color, now they have "stuff" on them that has changed their appearance), and some kind of stocking hat that I have stole out of one of my boys box.  I feel good about myself looking so fine.
I then head over to the place where all the action takes place, The Calving Lot.  I grab my big mag lite flashlight and go to work.  First I get up on the fence and do a sweep of the light to see if anything stands out as being "nervous".  If nothing seems to be acting as if they are going to pass something out there back end and would like some privacy doing so, I insist on going in for a closer look.  This entails me shining the above said light at each cows dairy-air.  I look for things like springing, bloody show, tail twitching,  and then sometimes take a quick glance to see if their bags are tight.  Oh, and if I do have one that is about to spring into action, I get all kinds of excited.  I am a bit on the touched side, but I love it.
As the sun begins to come up, I get the job of kicking them out into the day lot, where they will be fed and can spread out a bit.  So, this means getting a bunch of extremely pregnant cows up from their warm resting spot and kicking them through the gate.  They let me know what they think of me as the all get up (very slowly) and turn the posteriors to me and unload what they have been holding in all night.  The smell of ammonia is permeating and the sound of that many cows peeing reminds me of a large waterfall.  But they don't stop there, but I will.  Let's just say that as I follow them out through the gate, I have to avoid warm, steaming mine fields. 
Why do I love it?  It is glamorous!  Well, alright, maybe not but there is nothing like seeing that new life hit the ground, the natural process (of a good cow) turning and immediately claiming her calf as she begins to lick it off.  Then just a short while later, to see that calf get up on all wobbly fours, and start rooting around it's mamma to find a food source.  It is creation at its best.  I even feel good about myself when I can save one from complications, like the sack over their nose and not breathing.  It is a miracle to get to see new life and I don't think I could ever tire of it. 
There are a few aspects I might not like, for example when I watch the cows chewing on their own after birth, but I guess they need floss too.  Or when a mean cow doesn't want you anywhere close and you feel them breathing down your backside as you try to drag their chilled down, dying calf into safety and warmth.  But, you take the bad with the good and you make the best of it.
That is why I love to spend my mornings with the girls.
The girls!

Friday, March 11, 2011

YoU WanT SomE TOO!

We have this problem in our house that has to do with the corrosion of snow pants.  Our kids wear them out by sliding on their backsides on any hill they see fit to give them a thrill.  So, Mike has remedied this problem with an inexpensive  (free) solution.  It also gives added entertainment for the onlooker.
Mike diapered them in none other than empty (of course) mineral bags.  They add surface speed, protect their snow pants from tearing, and make them walk funny.  Yep, we love ingenuity.  See, you want some too!  They are not one size fits all, depending on your size you might need to go for 50 lb dog food bags.

Friday, March 4, 2011

He InsPirEs mE

Almost 16 years ago, when I was an innocent 16 year old, I had a crush on this cute cowboy.  He was an "older" man, and by that I mean he was no longer in High School.  But he was so rugged and a gentleman all in the same.  It amazed me at the time that he would show any interest in me, a young, loud, somewhat obnoxious teenage girl.  But he did.  And now for the last 16 years, half of my life, I have loved him.  But what is more incredible, he has loved me back.

Happy Birthday to my ruggedly handsome husband!  Now, in his honor, I will share another ranch life story, starring him...

Calving season has begun, which is a time of year I love, if only it were in April and not February.  It is against nature to calve this early in the year, why do you think elk and deer do it in June.  They know what they are doing, yet man has changed nature and made it so we have to calve in the dead of winter.  See, I have issues.  Well, on a cold night (and by cold I mean below zero, because anymore, anything above zero is considered almost tropical) we had a cow decide to try and calve prematurely.  I decided it was prematurely, because she was not in our drop herd right next to the calving shed.  No, of course she was in the Ramada a 1/2 a mile away.  So, when Mike found her in a not so pleasant manner (warning: graphic... the calf's head was out and nothing else and it was dead) he knew she needed help.

Well, who better to employ than his trusty right hand girl, me.  "I am just going to rope her and trail her back to the calving shed so we can pull this calf, " he said confidently.  Well, that sounds easy enough, and for the most part it was.  Well, up until we got her in the shed.  You see, we have this chute and head catch, that in theory, is supposed to "catch" the cow and hold her in one place.  We also have this cow who has been in labor, and has had a calf part way hanging out of her for awhile.  As a mother of 4, I have sympathy pains watching such horrors.  She was mad, she was honky, she was wanting to eat one of us for lunch.  Well, by all means lets lock our selves in a confined space with her I thought to myself.

Mike, seeing my reluctance, fear, I don't know what I portrayed, but it was something, kindly told me to get up on the fence by the head catch and work the bar that should gently "catch" the cow.  After I swiftly climbed to my safe position, I watched as my husband influenced her to head my direction, into the jaws of life, or the place where we would trap and torment, I mean help her.  Well, as she worked her way up to the desired destination, Mike told me to close it.  So, with great force I pushed down on the bar and much to my dismay, nothing happened.  Mike looked at me as if I was somewhat incompetent,  and then quickly observed that we had a bar blocking our progress, and even admitted it was not my fault.  So, she escaped and we started over.

The second time around, it took a little more influencing to get her back into the scary contraption, but she stuck her head through the catch and with all my might I pulled that bar.  And with all her might she pushed against the entrapment and the bar came flying up at me, risking life and limb, as I fell off the fence.  But never fear, my handsome prince was there to catch me.  Let's just say after a few rantings, we decided that there was something not so right with the head catch, and we had to do this a different way.

Lucky for us, she still had a neck rope on and was dragging it around.  And by lucky for us I mean me, cause Mike grabbed that rope and wrapped it around a post and said, here hold this.  Yes, he did, he put me on the end of a rope with a 1200 lb. cow who had been laboring for hours.  On very unstable, shaking legs I did as I was instructed and held that rope.  You can imagine my dismay as I watched my husband, father of my 4 children, climb into the area with her.  I held his life in my hands, a little dramatic yes I am, but that is what I felt like.  "Just keep pulling that rope and I will get her to trip herself up," he instructed with no edge or reluctance in his voice.  And I did just that, in just a few minutes time, he had her lying on her side and was asking me to let go of the rope.  I carefully unwrapped my end from the pole and watched as he drug it towards him.  Wouldn't you know it, it worked.  He was able to get the calf pullers and help get this poor "aunry" cow out of her misery.  And I lived to tell about it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

GirLs TriP

KwinLee and I snuck away for a long weekend and headed to Utah.  We met up with Tracy and her 2 girls in Lima, and traveled the rest of the way down with them.  On Friday we were lucky enough to go wedding dress shopping for Cimber.  My mom, Tracy, Ash, Cimber, Cenz, Cali, Tristin (the lone male), me, KwinLee, and Fayth were all there.  It was fun to have so many, and yes, she said yes to a dress.
Saturday we were able to get Char and girls and head to the mall.  More shopping, it truly was girl time.  Then, that afternoon we partied at Grandma's 80th birthday party.  She looked amazing and not at all her age.  They were taking pictures, so this is one KwinLee and I had together.

We then headed off with Steph and all the girls 12 and under to a movie.  Sunday, found us packed up and headed home.  Kwin and I stayed in Helena and had some time with Sharon and Buzz, before we drove to the winter wonderland on Monday.  It was a great trip and a much needed girl time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BiTs anD PieCes


January 30... Reed turned 5
Birthday Boots and Hat

- I had my knee operated on
-Aunt Steph came to spoil the kids
-KwinLee and I started taking knitting classes
-Mike worked
-Hyrum lost more teeth
-Spencer earned a sleep over and a swimming trip
-Mike worked some more
-We got covered in 17 inches of snow
-Most of that snow was blown away in a horrific wind storm (160 mph wind gusts)
-Mike worked some more
-We went to a fun pancake supper at the school for the community
-Went to a fun super bowl party with lots of good food to watch the commercials
-Celebrated love day with the family
-and Mike worked

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RoaD TrIp

So, I took a road trip (1300 miles round trip).  I was able to stop in Lima and spend some time with Dad, be visited by Tracy and 2 kids, and a overly friendly mouse.  I then went on to Utah where I headed out to the mall with Cali (I know priorities should be shopping) yet, the most I bought were cinnamon rolls and a chocolate milk.  Instead we walked for hours and let the Cinabon Cinnamon roll (it needs to advertise as a labor inducer) do its work of putting her into labor.  That night as Cali was checking into the hospital, Boston, Grandma Cheryl, and I went and visited Steph and Great Grandma Nadine. 

The next morning we welcomed baby Tristin Cash into the world, and as he was crying, watched Boston go crazy at hearing his sad brother.  I was able to spend time with Char and family, as they were nice enough to put me up for a few nights.  Hang out with Mason a little, and just enjoy getting to be an aunt, sister, daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and niece.  Tracy and I even slipped over to one of the best hair stylists ever and got the treatment we were in need of.  And there was this great dinner at Red Lobster too.  Then, it was back to being mom and wife.  I missed my family and was happy to be home to them.  Mike is such a great dad and takes good care of our kids.
Tristin Cash getting ready to go home!

Brotherly Love
It was great to see everyone and have that time.  I miss family being this far away, so the long drive was worth it. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

That'S NoT thE Way DaDdY DoEs It!

This year I have decided to have a post here and there about our "ranch life".  Mainly, for my memory that seems to be failing.  Just little tid-bits that happen here and there as a snap-shot reminder of our life.  The first is titled "That's Not the Way Daddy Does It."

The other day after a vigorous work out and taking the kids to school, I came back to an empty house.  With no school work for myself, and no house work to do, I felt kind of lost.  Which you should never express in this house, because when you do the "light bulb" effect happens in Mike's mind and instantly he has something to occupy your time.  "Why don't you come and do chores over at the barn and spend some "quality" time with Reed and I?"  Of course soap operas and hidden chocolate were an option, but with the sweat and tears I have put into getting back into better shape, I chose the outdoors option.  Nothing like cow crap and tractor exhaust to deter your cravings of sweet, succulent chocolate.

It didn't take long for me to end up in the drivers seat of the big green tractor, being coached by my ever loving husband, on the art of picking up round bales and ever so carefully (without tearing up the feeder) setting them inside.  I personally love the hand motions that go into these directions, he really believes I know what he means with the sign language that is all his own (or so I thought).  After guiding me through one success, he sends me on my way to retrieve another heavenly giant green alfalfa roll.  His faith in the fact I am a fast learner is quite ego boosting, so off I drive to scoop up another bale and bring it to the balling black mammas. 

As I near the bale that is next on the list to be devoured, it occurs to me that this bale is on its end, where the previous one was on its side. " Hmm, I'll be jiggered, I will have to go at this a little different," I thought to myself.  First I was sure I needed to tip it over on its side, an easy task at best.  As I pull up to this poor innocent unmolested hay, I begin to attack it in a way I am sure will give me the end result I need.  Of course after three unsuccessful tries, there was this tiny voice of reason that with a loud sigh said, "That is not the way daddy does it."  Well, you see, I had a passenger who had been doing a little hemming and hawing during my failed attempts.  So, pushing back frustration and biting my tongue, I replied, "Reed this is my first time, I have never done this before, how does daddy do it?"

Well, that being just the question he was obviously waiting for, he picked up his right hand and began to not only tell me how to go about tipping over this bale, but he used the exact same sign language his father uses.  So my first attempt I pulled up to the bale, lifted the loader head, tipped it to the right angle that satisfied the little side kick, lowered the head while opening the hooks, and closed in on the somewhat mutilated hay.  As he told me to lower and reverse and lower some more, I was so proud of how I was making it work.  Knowing that I had done just enough tipping, I opened the hooks and let it go.  Much to Reed's dismay.  As the bale popped back up onto its end he exclaimed in exasperation, "No, mom I told you to go lower like this (frantically lowering the said hand artfully to the floor) and not let go yet!"  I instantly saw that I had made a mistake and my four year old was there to let me know how once again my not listening and being a touch impatient wasn't working in my favor.  So, the second try came around and as he guided me through the signs, which by now I am starting to understand maybe about 50% of the time, I successfully tip the bale to his satisfaction and let go to see it gently thud on its side. 

I scooped it up at the angle that the first coach instructed me to use so no damage would be done when dropping it in the desired location, and headed to do just that.  When Mike signaled for me to grab one more to feed the starving horses, Reed had a look of disgust in his eyes that simply said he was not wanting to do this with me all over again.  But wouldn't you know it, I was able to get that bale on the first try.  Reed's response was patting me on the back and repeating over and over again, with a touch of shock in his voice, "Good job mom, you did good that time!"
The Side Kick

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Ranch born and raised, we love the lifestyle that ranching offers. We also enjoy the oppurtunity of passing on the tradition to our four children.