Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Long, when it should have been very short.

Last evening the pager toned information about a possible structure fire in our district. Since Shelly was busy working in Cripple Creek for the emergency service there, I was left to cover our district. Since the Bean was home and was planning an eventful, slumber party like evening, I had planned to just call our ambulance out of service. Instead Bean got very excited and asked if we could go. I explained that we might be sitting the ambulance for a long time with nothing to do. She claimed that she understood. So instead of eating junk food while snuggled with critters on the couch and watching some movie that we know every line to, we rushed to the rig and headed out.
Turns out it wasn't a structure fire but a small wildland fire. After two hours of playing "911 Paramedic" (and killing every patient) on the computer, discovering that the port-a-potties at the Four Mile Church are locked, asking what every button in the ambulance is for, and begging to test my blood glucose level the kiddo had finally had it and pleaded to go home. Since the scene of the fire was only about two miles from the ranch and the awesome Four Mile Crew was pretty much done, I gave into the 5th grader's whining and we came home.

After letting dogs out, letting dogs in, picking out a movie, and arguing about teeth brushing we settled in. We opted for a movie that was playing on television. After one of the commercial breaks Bean said, "Mom, I don't understand that." I asked what she was talking about and she referred to the "What Happens in Vegas" ad that had just aired.She asked if Vegas was like Cripple Creek. I explained that both places allowed gambling but Las Vegas is much bigger than Cripple Creek. I tried to explain the slogan from the commercial but failed miserably. Instead of saying, "Oh okay I get it now." She said, "So, if everything stays in Vegas, if you win money you have to leave it there?" What? She went on, "Why would anyone even want to go? Dad goes to Vegas a lot, he won't leave money anywhere." Hmmmm, just where did I go wrong? I tried again, this time explaining decisions made after drinking copious amounts of alcohol and secret bonds of friendships made during spontaneous and sometimes questionable situations. She asked if I had ever been in any of those situations. I told her that I hadn't been to Vegas in a long time but that I had did have some of those "secret bonds." She wanted to know all the details.
So for example, what is discussed over a cherry dip cone and a half stick of gum is sacred. I still eat cherry dip cones outside the presence of a certain friend but it's just not the same. It made an appearance (with planning and effort) the day I married the boy, it was present during deep conversations and afternoons filled with laughter. It can mean lots of things but most importantly it means, "I'm here for you no matter what happens."
And a half stick of gum...well I still trying to figure that one out. Who really only chews a half a stick of gum?
Then I explained that sometimes certain situations can cement friendships. Like when you miss the left turn at Chicago and end up eating cheese curds in a Culvers Restaurant in Wisconsin and then turning around to take pictures of round barns, or going out of the way to buy a quart of cream from a raw dairy.
Then I used the raggedy old John Deere shirt as another example. I told her that I still have it because it reminds me of an evening that I spent with the Aunts and only they know how I ended up with it.
I tried to use several other examples. In the end I talked a lot but didn't really say anything that Bean found of value. She finally rolled her eyes and said, "Okay Mom, I get it. You could have just said whatever stupid thing you do in Vegas, your mom won't find out about." My daughter is not going to Vegas until I'm in a home with senility.

Sometimes I can really over explain things.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Busy Season?

I've had lots of people comment to me lately that things at the ole rancho must be busy as I haven't updated my blog lately. That's pretty much the truth. Things are always busy here though. I really should not use that as an excuse for slacking on the writing. The whole truth is much more boring. Shelly hasn't done anything silly, I need material. Shelly did pass on a little story about Evelyn (Shelly's mom) getting peed on by one of the dogs. That should be good enough for me to embellish. Alas I wasn't there and I can't seem to fill in the blanks.

Here is what has been happening:

I got bored one evening and ripped apart a pallet and made my niece the Alien a little picnic table.

Here it is in it's natural form, which means it is full of staple holes, nail holes, it has warped boards and lots of places to get splinters.

Here it is painted green, after a little sanding too. Still has those warped boards though. I was able to complete it with mostly recycled material. I had to buy wood screws but the wood came from one pallet and the paint was left over from some project of the past. Now I'm brainstorming on what to create from lousy, splintery pallet wood for the nephew.

Jersey Cow is in full milk again. We sold Pasquale the calf to the Plumber Donnie. Actually we traded. If there is a barter to be made, I'm on it. Donnie the Plumber has been out to the ranch a couple of times lately. The first time he came out and tightened a screw so that the ice maker/water dispenser on the new fridge wouldn't leak. I managed to convince him that Shelly was feeling weak and that's why we had to have him out. I paid him in beef jerky. The next time he was called to replace the toilet guts at the renter's house and adjust the flow of a hydrant. He got a three month old, newly steered calf on that visit. In hindsight, I think I got the short end. I didn't mind trading the calf for the work. I had to castrate the guy with an elastrator band before they hauled him off. Apparently being squished with a panel and having someone fiddle with your testicles is not a pleasurable experience. The darn bovine decided that my white tshirt needed enhancing, and he pooed all over me as I removed my applicator pliers.

Pasquale at one day old.

I'm a little sad knowing that he will be dinner for Plumber Donnie's family however I know that up until then he will be treated with honor and respect. AND...Jersey is more than happy to head to the milking stand. Today she gave me just over three gallons of milk. I only milk once a day, around 1030 in the morning. Jersey is at the gate every morning mooing as if to say good morning and ask me how I'm doing. There is a connection between milker and milkee. Jersey is patient most days. If I upset her routine or so something that she just doesn't like she will let me know in some fashion. I have enlisted a friend to milk her one day per week. In exchange for milking her, he gets that days milk. My friend is overjoyed with the arrangement. Jersey is not as impressed. She tends to wait until he is almost done milking. Enough milking is completed to make her feel better, relieve the pressure of a full udder (I'm sure anyone that has breastfed can relate.) and then she lifts her tail and pees. So my friend has worked hard to fill his bucket with milk only to have to ruined by a splatter of urine from a sassy cow. I'm hoping that she will come to accept the arrangement. I swear she scolds me the day after. Tells me that I have some nerve to let someone else squeeze her teats.

I am so thankful for the milk and I'm sure to tell Jersey everyday. I think it's safe to say that I'm a milkaholic. I LOVE milk. I had a fellow counselor tell me once that I was addicted to the histamine dump that milk provided. Okay, whatever-->I know that I really like milk. Since I've been squeezing my own, either from my cow or one of my goats my addiction has increased. I have not had store bought milk for over a year. I hope to never have to again. I'll save my raw milk, homegrown, No Farms->No Food speech for another time. Just know I love milk. So today since I had just over three gallons I strained the extra into a Kerr jar and placed it in the coldest part of the fridge. After I returned from being bounced around in the tractor I found that my extra milk was good and cold. I squirted in some chocolate, screwed the lid on and gave it a shake! YUM!

Unfortunately we've been busy on the emergency service end too. We've had several interesting calls and one helicopter take off that almost made me wet myself. Recently a wildland fire had our awesome crew working 24 hours plus in a row. Four Mile Emergency Service is just an extraordinary group of people.

So in short those are a few of the festivities. We did manage to have a family day a couple of weekends ago. We took the kiddo to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.

It's just down the road. Just down the way is an old west town attraction, Buckskin Joe's. On the way to the bridge all three of us commented on Buckskin Joe's, saying that we should stop on the way out. On the way out, we commented saying that it wasn't too far from the house and we will make it a point to come see it sometime. I had been there as a kid, Shelly and Jolene had never been. At any rate we didn't visit the attraction that day. Later that evening, I was watching the news and discovered that Buckskin Joe's had been sold for something like 2.2 million and would be closing it's doors FOREVER the next day. Sometimes I just wonder about my sense of timing.
Other than the usual daily ranch stuff; we've had a couple of lambs, the turkeys are getting big and making noises, I've sent a few goats off to other homes and somehow accumulated a few too. At the end of each day I try and take a few moments and reflect on how wonderful my life is and am thankful to live on this beautiful mountain. Now I just need to find a few minutes to start working on Halloween costumes and creepy food!

Friday, September 10, 2010

You wouldn't believe it!

Shelly is a wonderful person, even if I get cranky with her, bicker with her on a daily basis. However, she does have a way of trying to credit someone else with her "animal" decisions.

Once in awhile, the ranch breaks my heart. Yesterday, Shelly had to load up the remaining Highland cows and transport them to their new home. Shelly assured me that the girls will be very happy and have a great new home with loving caretakers. The day before, I left Shelly with the terrible duty of putting one of my Saanen goats down as she had dislocated her hip and we couldn't get it back into place. So, in the short the past couple of days have been emotional. Shelly has emotion phobia. I think it is because I generally have emotion overload. Having emotion overload is not necessarily a bad thing as long as one stays in the same general area with those emotions. I tend to flip between being a crying, weeping, twit to a raging, screaming, ogre. I could understand how that would wear on a person but for goodness sakes she's been exposed to it for more than half a decade now. ADAPT! Okay, that's harsh.So I'm guessing that my recent sadness, started to weigh on Shelly's mind. I was doing okay. On the return trip yesterday, Shelly decided that the local animal shelter needed a visit. A couple of months ago we ventured in to see if they had any dogs that might fit into her parents life. They had recently lost Newton their dog of 13 years. While there I noticed a sweet hound in the back of one of the runs. I commented on him. Shelly said she had been wanting to get me a puppy but figured I'd be happier with a shelter dog. She was right, I am happier with shelter dogs but.....we already have seven dogs. I hope our daughter is incredibly smart as she is going to have to get some serious scholarship money to pay for college and I don't want to tell her that I spent her education money on dog food. At any rate Shelly arrived home with a new dog. I was milling about the ranch with the tribe of Nigerian goats when she pulled into the barn. The goats noticed she was home and took off to meet her. I soon received a text message to come to the barn as she needed help. Upon my arrival I found sweet Dillweed running about with Patch. Shelly started right in with her explanation. It really didn't matter what she said, one look at that sweet face of his and I was hooked. So here we are with dog number eight.
Look for us on that new television show, "Animal Hoarders." I am very blessed. I've always wanted a large family, it's just different than most.