Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Can Take The Gal Out Of The Country...

Yesterday I decided I needed to wash my vehicle since it was so dirty.  It's half clean here, but let me tell you,  it wasn't pretty. 

Unfortunately, it was the dog who got most of the scrubbing from the kids...

Again, she's like, "Scrub me with my own poop, as long as you're paying attention to me, I don't care!"

The girls even tried to wash themselves to save me some time from baths.  Well, Dawn does get the grease off...but how about mud?

So this morning I was off to a nice clean vehicle.  That NEVER happens.  When I was in town I felt like I was one of them.  When your a country girl, feeling like a town girl sometimes is nice. 

I ran some errands, then headed to the last stop; the grocery store.  I parked next to the smallest, cutest, newest Lexus I'd ever grey beast actually didn't look too bad by it.  (The deer ding was on the other side.)

After a quick shopping trip, I told the grocery bagger, that "it was the shiny gray Yukon."  All proud like.

But all that changed when I opened the back door to put groceries in it.

The door opened to reveal 140 chicks in two boxes, the faint smell of stale cow manure (I said we washed the outside) and a loud chirping chorus from the fuzzy yellow critters. 

I'm guessing the Lexus only had an air freshener in it.

Happy trails,
Fairchild Farmgirl

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome To The Fairchild Vineyard

When I'm not helping Big Daddy in the shop, being hands-on big mamma (!), working cattle, getting pigs back in the pen or running to many sporting events that my kids are in, I'm here....

In our vineyard.

We have 700 vines that turned 3 this year, which means we harvest in August and September.  Yes, after two years of working with them, we can finally stop clipping off clusters and sell them.  This is when a cluster is just formed.  Aren't they cute?

This is the same cluster (well not exactly the same) less than a month later.  They're turning into baby grapes!

There's some really great things about a vineyard.  First off, they're beautiful, some may even say romantic and the obvious reason...the wine!

This is the ugly side of being a vineyard manager.  Or lack of one.  I'm behind...just a little. 

We hired some kids out of our kids' class to come work, by pulling weeds, tucking vines, cutting off suckers, etc.  It's going very well but we'll get to this part of it next week.  =)

Happy trails, speaking of which, look at the book, "Along the Vineyard Trail" its a great read!
Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working Cattle: Part Deux

Ahhh, working cattle.  With my husband.  At least the vets are here.  And we have their chute.  Now D and I won't kill each other.  If we do there's witnesses.

"Where's that contract again?  The one that says we love each other no matter what we say to each other in the next 4 hours? The one that says we will still be civil no matter what stupid ideas each other may have?" 

"Love you honey!"

 "Yeah, love you get off your blog and get the heck down here.  There's work to do!"

This should be good. 

I'll write more afterwards, unless there's a broken arm, hand, pride or heart. Oh heck...I'd find a way to type.  I'll take one for the team. =)

"Coming sugar loaf!" 

Okay I'm back...what a day.  We worked 340 head, gave them implants, poured them, castrated the bulls and tipped horns. With a few surprises put in for good measure.

These are our vets, Kristen, and Vicki.  Vicki and I get our kids together and we are quite good buds.  So, with those two working chute and animals and me getting the cattle in the chute at a steady pace, we were hopping.  But still managed to talk kids, recipes and how the summer is flying by.

But with all the weird cattle issues, we still had plenty of work to do. 

Just to recap, we feed cull cows, cull bulls and yearlings. To be frank (which I will be quite often in this blog post) the owner we feed for buys cows/bulls that people don't want in their herd anymore, for any reason.  We call them junk cattle, but they pay the bills, so onward with the story.

This group we worked today literally had everything in it.  Big, small, ugly, limps, cysts, big horns, no horns, 6 teats, pink eye, lice, big puss sacks (yeah, here comes that Frank again, sorry.) YOU NAME IT...we got it in from the sale barn.  We even had a mummified calf being born while she was walking into the chute, (sorry, Frank got pics of this). 

You know you love to hate the gross.

But we will start with this.  This piece of equipment has been quite frankly responsible for saving our marriage.  It's the vet's hydraulic chute.  I love it.  Big D loves it.  If I could come up with the money some how I'd buy it.  Right now it's like #5 on our list.  #6 is a new house with more than one bathroom.  I can't even remember's not important compared to the hydraulic chute.   You can see in the picture that Vicki is using hand controls to open it from behind and in front.  It can even squeeze their whole body.  Ours is levers and pulleys and end gates that get kicked off, but I guess it still works and as long as we can still rent the vet's chute, well, life is good.  But some day....

Sorry, one more even stretches their necks so you can give shots easier so they aren't throwing their heads all over.  AWESOME!  K nuf about the chute!

This is Vicki "sawing" off horns with a wire string.  It works really slick, I had never seen it done this way before. 

Now this is the gross...look away if you must.  Whatever...get it together and don't be a baby! =) 

As D is running cattle up the catch pen to the chute, he yells, "Have'em take a look at the third one coming."

I quickly glanced at it.  It looked like a prolapse.  I yelled up to Vicki what I thought.  Then I looked closer.  It was a mummified calf.  Like the vet said, "They must have known that they had a cow with a dead calf inside her and decided to quick get her to the salebarn."  I told you, we get everything. Then the vets fix everything.

Oh you guys, you are so lucky that I didn't get a picture of the puss sack that was hanging on the rear leg of one.  It burst when she was running and it sprayed out about 2 feet and it looked just like cottage cheese and milk.   There must have been over a gallon and a half.  Kristen cut it so she could get the rest out and clean it and rotten muscle came out.  Worse yet, she swished her tail as it was spraying and I got some on my face and shirt.  BUT alas, I had to put on my "big girl pants" and deal with it til we went to clean up for lunch. 

Yep, we even feed our vets.  It did take 6 hours....we needed food!  Even after the puss incident.

I know, you're thinking, 'why did you share all that disgusting crap with your readers?'

Because farming is a hard career with some pretty downright gross things that we have to see and work through every day. I really think that there are some people that are so removed from agriculture that they think a farm is a little white house with a little tractor and a little field that they tend to and the livestock is always happy and the pork chops get made magically at the store.  I feel that we need to share our stories and show people what happens in our day to day lives here on the farm, good and bad.

 Why are Big D and I a part of agriculture? Because we love it. We love being a part of America's food chain. We really consider it an honor.

With that said, here we are at the end of it all, Ron is taking five before we clean up.  I'm so sore that I would love a hot tub and a wine cooler, but I guess I will have to settle for being splashed by 5 kids whike they get bathed and some luke warm kool-aid that's still sitting on the table from lunch.  Mmmm-mmm good!

Happy trails...where's the Icy-Hot?
Fairchild Farmgirl

PS I've entered this blog in a farm blog contest from just giving a farm update.  Visit FarmnWife and tell her you like my post.  I could win a prize! =)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Manic Monday Guest Blog: Jodi Fuller of Hamps and Downs

Hello! Here's my friend Jodi of Hamps and Downs to tell you all about her "Most Embarrassing Moment".  You will laugh your butt off, only because it's happened to us all before.  Mine was cattle out of a semi in the dead of winter...a story I will tell another time. =)

Take it away Jodi....

Suzanne and I have been telephone and email buddies for several years and we finally met "up close and personal" about 10 days ago. Of course, the meeting was sheep related and I was invited do a guest blog about something embarrassing. Oh my, the possibilities are endless ! In past years, we exhibited Hampshire and Southdown sheep at 10 fairs throughout the summer months and one of those fairs was the Minnesota state fair.

We had finally maneuvered our way thru mid-afternoon traffic and headed toward home. We stopped in Hutchinson for fuel and the side door of the trailer was opened to allow additional air for the sheep. We did have a metal panel securely tired inside that door -- well usually it was very secure ! We paid for the fuel and headed down the street for a bite to eat. Just as our burgers were served, someone comes inside and casually asks "anybody in here have sheep ? They are all over the parking lot !"

We headed out the door hoping the escaped sheep belonged to someone else (yeah, what were the chances of that happening ?) The "totally" secure panel was no longer secure and apparently the side door had not be closed --- yup, there were show sheep scattered across the parking lot and they looked very familiar. We set up a catch pen using some folding gates we always carry just in case we have sheep loose in a Hardee's parking lot. The sheep were totally lost in their new environment and were easily chased back into the trailer.

Realizing the outcome could have been far worse, we had a quick supper and back on the road again. Needless to say....the inside panel was always checked when we traveled and the side trailer door closed prior to hitting the road.

On Friday, we helped a couple young fellas from Texas who had several horned rams escape from their trailer in a huge parking lot at the Missouri State Fair grounds. Thirty minutes later, the rams were finally cornered and forced into their trailer. I am not convinced the owner believed my comment that someday he would laugh at the experience.

Jody Fuller, Clark, South Dakota

Also wanted to say that Jodi's hubby Bill has been showing sheep for 60 years as of last year!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo

Okay, I'm back from my blog hiatus.  Let me say two things: 

I love the Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo outside of Clear Lake South Dakota and this blog is going to be largely about Grace and the Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo.

First of all, the Ranch is so good that I have overcome pregnancy sickness and a sore back from pregnancy, tripped on rocks, stepped in gopher holes and horse poop to sit on a side hill to watch this spectacular event.  I have told Ron that even if I thought I was going into labor, I wouldn't tell him so I wouldn't miss it. 

After all, THERE IS an ambulance there correct? 

Okay 5 kids in 6 years, means that I'm either pregnant or just had a baby around rodeo time.  Whatever...I just won't miss it. 

It sits in a natural "bowl" and the rodeo is at the bottom. We sneak out there days in advance and put out a tarp on the spot that we've had for 6 years. We sit right where the steers are. It's the best spot in the house as far as I'm concerned. 

I don't know what part is my favorite...the broncs, the bulls, the barrel racers, calf roping, my kids asking for more cotton candy and's a toss up.  Although Big D almost tossed up when at the end of the night we spent over $300.  BUT in all fairness, that was dinner (you gotta get food there, come on!) tickets, snacks, a saddle for Grace, a saddle blanket...and a baby sitter for the night for the little kids that were still at home.  Rodeo is serious...we don't bring the little kids.  We watch it!

Ahh, Grace.  She was in Heaven.  This is Nicole sister, Michelle,"Mitch", whom we bought Cocoa, Grace's horse from.  Mitch competes on Cocoa's dad.  She also is the Estaline, South Dakota Rodeo Queen.  If Grace could've gotten the stars out of her eyes for one second or the smile off her excited face, I think she'd have asked Mitch about her horse.  But the tiara on her hat and cool chaps had my poor sweet baby fumbling for words.  All I heard was I like your tiara.  =)  After we walked away, a very determined Grace said. "I'm GONNA be a rodeo queen mom!"  Awesome.

Again, I love seeing all my kids different personalities.  This is Rachel after about 2 hours and all her cotton candy was gone. 

This is Grace, "Mom, is it EVER going to start???"

This is Grace not taking her eyes off the team ropers. 

This is Rachel doing the chicken dance when the clown told us to do it.

This is Grace, "Knock it off with the stupid chicken dance and get the barrel racers." After all, she's into this!

This is the nicest "pick up man" ever, who saw my cutie patootie Grace with the puppy dog eyes watching his horse's every move.  SO, he let my girls pet his horse. 


Finally! Barrel racing!  You can see how excited she is just by her posture. 

Grace with her saddle.  We brought Nicole and Michelle over to the tack guy and made sure this saddle would work for Cocoa.  They approved.

 Anyway, we've spent pretty much the whole weekend out there, Thursday night we actually saw the rodeo, then last night we helped Big D's brother sell wood out there & picnic, now this afternoon we will go out there again, picnic and sell wood again.  It's $65 just for the tickets for us to go, so we only go once.

Well, I better run, the kids are scrambling to get chores done so we can go out there again.  It's only right that I help!

Happy trails,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And Someone Said To The Clouds, "Let 'Er Rip!"

I'm all for a sprinkle, maybe an occasional storm with a big thunder and lightening show, snuggled up to Big D.  It could also be the fact that I just worked out in the grapes for 6 1/2 hours in the pouring rain with a hired hand but I can tell you right now, I'm sick of it.

Also take a look at one of the pumpkin patches we planted 2 days ago.  We couldn't get them in because we had gotten so much rain.  Then we do plant it and we got 4 1/2 inches of rain in two days.  Yikes!

Maybe I just need some sleep in my nice warm bed, I'm a little chilly from being outside. And wet. And cold.  Now I truly do want to snuggle up to Big D...I mean have 3 little kids crammed into the center of the bed between me and D because of the supposed storm coming.  When that happens we each get about a 10 inch strip that we can lay on or we fall off the bed. I don't know about him, but I fight for that 10 inches, I'm tired when I hit the hay and all I want is my soft bed.

Each kid has a secret weapon though:

  • Grace, her big toe nail.  I could swear I feel it rake across my cheek some nights.  I think she's part ninja the way she kicks and cuts.
  • Rachel, is like laying in bed with a soaker hose turned on warm.  She is a sweater.  Ron sweats too, you get the both of them in bed, yikes.  One night I woke up in between both of them we were all wet.  I don't even like my own sweat. I know she's cute but sheesh!
  • Levi has the worst though...gicki.  Gicki is his name for his smelly disgusting paper thin scrap of a blanket that he sleeps with and sucks on.  At first it was the size of a single bed.  Then we cut it in half.  Then we lost one half, now we cut it down every chance we get.  i was it every week and it still stinks.  He sneaks into bed quiet as a mouse, but blows his cover with his cover. Y-U-K!

 So a new day, and today we have sun and a strong breeze, which is just the right medicine for all this muck around here.  Up on Grape Hill the grass is LONG!  I sent Kara up there with the rider to mow since it was dry enough.  She got stuck in the clay at the bottom of the hill...rookie.  =)

The weeds in the rows up on the hill are so high that the thistle heads are being grabbed by the grape vines and it's a huge mess to say the least.

Did I just admit to you how bad my weed issue is?  Good grief!  I better get back at it!

Happy trails and weed whipped thistle plants,

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Err, I, Um, Need A Job.

    Times are tough here on the farm.  Not for us, for our eldest kids. 

    Well actually it's created a heated debate between Ron and I as well.  Don't get me wrong, heated debates are good in a marriage.  This one's just north of an argument, but also more south of casual conversation.

    "How much are we going to pay the kids for work done around here?" Big D asked me the other day.

    Now some people say that you need to pay kids for chores in the form of allowance, I say yes to that, but not much.  Call me a mean mom, but kids need to pull their weight around the house.  Especially in a large farm houseful such as this one. 

    Sorry to inform you all, but I DON'T do all of the housework.  Crazy I know.   I'm very old school in this respect.  Putting in your time according to their age is an important part of teaching a child respect, a good work ethic and character.  Besides, the chore list usually takes the kids a couple hours a day.  SO...I came back with this...

    "Are they complaining about their $1 per week?"  I ask.  I know, it sounds horrible BUT we're not all that bad.  If they want a special something they usually get it, because we let them know that we appreciate a job well done.  In other words, we make them earn extras, like games, toys etc.  Also, a meal out is a reward as well.

    This is how I grew up and I seriously don't recall wanting for anything.  I had a great life.  I also think "things" or money doesn't equal love, so like a friend said, "Were poor but rich in love.  And that's what matters."

    So Ron was thinking that we need to "up" the money for business stuff.  If the kids work in the cabinet shop, the grapes, the apples, the raspberries, pumpkin patch or October fest, they get paid.  We settled on a $1 per hour.  That way, what they make for money depends on how hard they want to work, building that "work ethic" thing some more. We may discuss a raise after 90 days.

    I discussed it with Cody.  He liked it.  I discussed it with Kara...she was a fan.  I know Ash will like it as well. 

    So I made them time cards, and they will have to fill them out and give them to us on Saturday night.  They'll get paid Monday morning.  I was even thinking of them filling out an application and us "sitting" on it for a while.  After all, Cody's buddies are in town and they are having to fill out apps. as they look for jobs. I just might. 

    Anyway, mean mom signing off.  =)

    Happy Trails,

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Crazy Monday with Amanda Radke (The Premeire Edition)

    I had wanted to start a series in my blog called "Your Most Embarrassing Moment In Agriculture" and portray a different person each week, highlighting their career (by the by, a Farm Mom is one of the hardest jobs out there so I will probably be portraying them a lot), farm or ranch or just their personality. Then I will link their farm, or blog or website to my blog at the bottom.

    My first "victim", she did this willingly, is Amanda Radke; Daily Editor of Beef Magazine, rancher and motivational speaker.  She's  hails from my favorite state to the west of my driveway about 4 miles; South Dakota.


    Amanda wasn't sure what to have on here but she thought her lack of cooking experience might be the ticket. She said that it was her "Ag confession", she wasn't a good cook.  Her mom would ask her to help cook and bake, hoping that she'd someday be a help out in the kitchen but she just wanted to throw her boots on and work cattle with her dad. (If that's the case, I have two Amandas at my house...I'm just hoping that they go into large animal veterinary medicine!).

    After burning countless batches of cookies and meals for her family, something clicked and she finally figured out that it wasn't how she cooked it was what she cooked.  Now this is where Big D would like Amanda to teach me cooking lessons, her love is being at the grill cooking some good old South Dakota Beef.   (Or like us Minnieesotans say, good ole Sout Dekotans know how to cook, yah?)
    So without further adieu,  Amanda....(click on the youtube link!)

    Well here she is promoting Beef Magazine, which if you don't get it, you should. It's a good read.
    *The boots and hotshot are mine, I couldn't find any of our sorting sticks or paddles, which is what a rancher would use a lot more of. =)  Just sayin'!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Ode To Big Daddy

    This is Big D and Little L.  Right before he went to do chores, he said, "I'm gonna sneak down to do chores so I can get them done faster.  Distract Levi." 

    Levi heard the squeak of our kitchen door.  "DADDY!!! W-A-I-T!!!!!!!!!

    So, he took him with.  That's what a dad does.  Even when they are tired and crabby, they still will grab a cute little boy like this one and feed cattle or do what ever they have to do.  Just do it a little slower, that's all. =)

    What a day we had a the Fairchild Ranch.  Big D was up at 5 AM butchering chickens.  Even when it's Father's Day and Sunday, we still do something.  Mostly out of necessity, since there's so much to do.  We try to be more laid back and have more fun than usual on these days.

    We took some time after lunch to celebrate our daddy, play some football, open some presents and just in general act like we're a modern day Hee Haw.  (By the way, we watch that on RFD every Sunday night. I know, now we are goofballs.)

    Here's what he got for presents: 

    • A shirt to make him look mid 40's not late 80's. We love Big D, but were trying to wean him off his grandpa shirts.   

    • A pair of sunglasses that Rachel picked out, then the kids almost broke as they all had to try them on.  Rachel also said, "You know what else I got for you daddy?  A broken bike.  Fix it and wear a weird hat." Well little does the general public know that we have an almost junk yard right in front of our house.  Hey, is that the bottom to my roaster by the tree? I've been looking for that!

    • Levi playing a pretend fiddle serenade with a piece of scrap wood to his daddy.

    •  Almost a black eye from Grace as she hits the softball right at us!  Watch out!
    • Rachel also brought out a present wrapped in typing paper that she had made for him.  "Well open it!" She squealed.  Here it was a pill bottle that was filled with grape tomatoes .  Turned out she had wrapped them about a week ago...oddly enough they were still good and she was proud of it.  It was cute.
    Lastly, Maggie gave him an atrociously dirty diaper (that I didn't know about until after the fact) he gave her a bath it was so bad.  Complete with a SKU number in it.  "Apparently you can return this stuff has a bar code and everything."  D said to me afterwards with a giggle. 

    Now even though we acted like a boat load of weirdos today, we had fun.  Look at that, another kid wearing barn boots for no apparent reason. When we sat down for lunch I told the kids to each tell dad what they most appreciated about him.  It ranged from how great he is at using the grill to how good he is at butchering chickens. 

    I love him for the fact that he is a wonderful dad.  Do you know what I liked about him best when he met him?  The fact that he was a dad already.

    I was a single mom and I remember thinking, "finally, a guy that knows you have to use soap to get things clean, a guy that can braid hair and sew a ripped pair of pants.  He had my heart though when we went on our first date and he brought my daughter a bookcase he made for her books instead of flowers for me.  One more deal clincher?  He carried Dora Band-Aids in his wallet.  That's when I knew he was the one.

    Happy trails and Happy Father's Day Big D, I love you!
    Fairchild Farmgirl

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Fairchild Farms & Fairchild Farmgirl Hit The Parade Trail

    This is just half our crew as we hit the Canby Hat Daze Parade.  It was really fun to be a part of the community celebration. 

    This is what our Fairchild Farms/Farmgirl Float looked like.  We promoted our Pumpkin Patch this time around.  Hence the Jack O' Lanterns, witches, ghosts in the middle of summer! =) This blog is going to be unbelievably short however...I have rabbits to breed (not me personally, the buck does), a garden to weed, a pan of bars to be made for tomorrow and Father's Day presents to wrap!

    Happy Trails!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Sheep & Shower Curtains...Need I Say More?

    First of all, before I start this blog I have to show you my four year that got sick of watching her older sister and brother making jump shots.  Yes, she's in her underwear, standing on a basket that's on a table.  Before you send social services out here, do you remember doing this kind of stuff?  Using your imagination?  I'm pretty proud of her.  Except for the underwear.  I've told her a million times today to put pants on.  What can I say?  If I could ram around in a t-shirt and undies I would too.  But this isn't the Playboy Mansion and I'm not a size 2 so thank goodness for small wonders huh? =)

    So, on with the show....

    Today Big Daddy and I bought a new "little daddy" for the farm.  I needed a new Babydoll Ram for my flock and after looking and looking, found Jodi Fuller out of Clark, SD.  This is his mug shot, pretty cute looking, wouldn't you say?

    This is our mug shot...Jodi and myself.  I'm not so cute at nine AM after driving 2 hours, no makeup on and too tight jeans with a muffin top that I named Priscilla.  (Hey, as much as I've tried it's not going anywhere and I thought well, she will need a name...)

    I then grabbed my camera and told Poor Jodi that she was going to be blog material today.  She's such a cutie and so enthusiastic about everything so she took it in stride.  She's an awesome lady.  With awesome sheep and awesome sense of humor.  I told her to be part of my "Most Embarrassing Moments in Agriculture" she said yes!  Woohoo!  Her story will be in two Mondays.  Can't wait to hear what kind of tale she can spin.  I warned her, "it has to be funny!" 

    Speaking of funny, that's where the shower curtain comes in.  The other day I was talking to D and mentioned that we needed a shower curtain.  Springtime on the farm and shower curtains don't mix and my cheap self couldn't wash anymore crud off it...the picture was scrubbing off. 

    So off Kara, Levi and Ron went to town to pick up some farm supplies and a much needed shower curtain.  You'll notice that I didn't get a picture of the whole thing; our postage size bathroom didn't allow a full picture.  I already had to take this one standing out in the hallway. 

    Anyway, this is what they chose.  I looked at it and giggled.  When I was in the shower, I called Ron in the bathroom, "who picked this out?" I said laughing. 
    In a small voice, "Well, I did. There wasn't that much to chose from." 
    "I feel like if you pulled this back you'd catch Jack Tripper on Three's Company with stewardess or something. It''s so 1970's."
    "WHAT?" He said, trying to play cool about this ugly curtain. "You're weird."
    That's when I started to sing the theme song, "Come and knock on my door, we've been waiting for you....

    Please tell me that you all remember that show?  I know I had a birthday yesterday, but I turned 37, not 87. =)

    Happy Trails!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    AND Momma Bear Said "It's My Birthday But Somebody Musta Ate My Cake 'Cause I Don't See One..."

    Okay so I'm over it...I had to make my own cake.  Ron was really busy...

    But there was our two eldest kids...they said they couldn't read the cake box...(hmmm, I wonder what the A honor roll really means and why they are on it? =)) so I made one heck of a German Chocolate cake with my rodeo queen.  

    We had a blast.  It's fancy.  I like to bake and eat fancy cakes. 

    I did get some nice gestures from my 2 eldest though, Cody cleaned the fridge and scrubbed it. I hate that job.  He knows that. Now it sparkles.

    Kara cleaned the Yukon this morning and it looks great.  Yesterday it had rotten apples under the seat, now it's vacuumed without a speck of dirt on the floors...just a minute, I'm going to go sit in it and look around.  I'll be back in five, I'm going to go and relish in it's cleanliness. 

    Okay I'm back. It's full of flies.  Bugs ruined my moment.  Oh and about the kids, did I mention that neither one complained about it either.  How great is that?  They are off the hook about the cake mess.

    Hopefully they roll with that "no complaining" and give baths...this photo is Maggie and Levi and I think it's pretty self explanatory. Yes that is butter in Maggie's bangs.  See the look at Levi?  I bet she's surprised that he actually got it in his mouth and not in his hair like herself.  I realize that he is licking a butter knife, not to worry, its not sharp and he's a pro at it. 

    Then, this afternoon Bruce Springsteen stopped by for a concert.  No, (I wish!) but he did accompany me out in CD form to the grapes where he did his 9/11 concert "The Rising" and we worked out there tucking grapevines in wire so they vines grow upright.   I know, you're probably thinking that you'd rather watch paint dry, but it's awesome out there. I love the grapes.  It's so beautiful and peaceful.  Just me and my tunes/Bruce.  I/we got a lot done. 

    Although, I do wish "Sunscreen" came out with us, I have one heck of a sunburn!!  Ouch!

    Then to make my day really great, D made dinner, he makes the most wonderful BBQ chicken with the birds we raise.  Currently he's finding some lotion for my back...why did I wear a tank top?  "Yeah Big D, I did put that lotion in the fridge for a good reason." My back feels like a piece of chicken that he seared tonight.  I don't care if he puts manure on me, just so it's cold! 

    And right now, I'm doing another thing that I'm really passionate about....writing.  Thanks for my sister Betsy who told me to "start writing a blog, I know you could do it!"   Here she's pictured with her bestest brother-n-law, Big D.

    Also to all all my Face book friends, email buddies and family that called/emailed me and gave me birthday wishes.  It was a great day!

    Happy Trails!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Hey Wait, It's My Birthday Too!

    This little bug is Jessica.  And she's also pretty darn cute.  Her hobbies are;

    •  Wailing when you leave the room to see who will drop everything and rush to her side the fastest.  The cries instantly stop and she will keep playing as long as there is someone in her sight.

      • The "yippee" clap.  Nuff said
      • Eating everything in her path.  Ron found a barbie jewel in her diaper about a month ago and we had to discuss again how we can't play with beads or other small things in the living room.
      • Digging in her I won't show you what she finds in there, one kids poop is enough for you poor souls to see.  I won't do it anymore. 

      • She loves everybody and just wants to be held.  Sometimes I wonder if she'd be happiest velcroed to my body. 
      But most of all, she's just another cutie pie Fairchild.  Loved by everybody.  Happy birthday sweet pea...God blessed me with eight babies you being the last....and we love you all.

      Happy Trails,
      Suzanne (mamma)

        Tuesday, June 14, 2011

        Having Grace

        Six short years ago, Big D and I had our first baby together; Grace.  She's a sweetheart.  We used to call her peanut, now if you call her anything but Gracie she's on your case. 

        Like any other girl, she's in love with horses.  But like true blue horse girls, she lives and breathes them and says she's going to be a famous barrel racer someday.  AND a farmer.  Awesome.

        SO FAR....this is her set up.  She practices this EVERYDAY.  Grace rides out on an imaginary horse named Tuff that she seriously has had since she's been four.  This girl is so horse crazy that she gets off the bus in the mornings at school and she either "English rides" or "western pleasure" rides to class. 

        "It's so embarrassing mom!" says her big sister Ashlyn.

        She's going to have her name in lights as a rodeo queen she says. I say go for it. That's what I love about kids...they are like a cracker jack box, always some surprise inside. I love watching each of our kids grow and see their different personalities take shape.

        Since softball was cancelled tonight we decided to pack up the kids and visit our friends the Pederson's.  We gave Grace such a surprise for her birthday that her face turned red and she was literally speechless.  That never happens.  We bought her a horse of her very own.

        This is Nicole.  She's going to break Grace's horse, (that we bought from them) then give her riding lessons and eventually barrel racing lessons.  Nicole is in the Junior Rodeo Circuit.  She's also my daughter's hero. 

        Grace's horse "Cocoa" is about 2 hours away, but this is the kind of family that you can buy livestock sight unseen and you know you'll be satisfied.  These two horses are the parents to Cocoa.  If I had a decent picture of her I'd show you, but I don't. 

        So happy birthday Grace, I feel so blessed to have you in my life.  Future star of the rodeo or not, God gave me a real special girl, and I love you so much!

        Happy trails!
        Suzanne (mom)

        Monday, June 13, 2011

        Family, Farm and Festivities

        I think this photo sums up our whole weekend.  Lazy, breezy and funny.  The much anticipated, probably not ever duplicated, fun planning family reunion was this past weekend. So that's why I haven't blogged since Thursday night.  Our first guests arrived Friday morning at about 9AM.  I think I'd woulda felt bad saying, "hey, sip on this drink or peel these potatoes while I go blog.". =)

        I did go on Face book today and there was some posts over the weekend from some relatives talking about "just hanging on the farm" or "visiting with nieces and nephews".  Hey....I thought I kept everyone too busy for social media!

        I think all our toys needed to be gassed up this morning.  This weekend they were they are tools. 


        This is my brother Joe.  I can't decide if he's happy because he's on the 4 wheeler or if he's happy he's finally done mowing in the grapes.  Hey don't offer if you don't want to! He actually was the first one who came and offered to help get ready.

        Here's Levi and his cousin Maddie playing in the chicken feed...I don't think they were supposed to be in here....

        Here's my little sister Sarah trying to pet the pigs.  I love the fact that she stayed with us here at the farm for the weekend.  I hardly ever get to see her. 

        Here's my kids corrupting their cousin into climbing over the fence.  Love it!  It seemed like every time she'd come back to the house she was even dirtier than before.  Awesome.

        Some of the cousins hanging out...some still in their pjs! =)

        Mostly the weekend was about big smiles, scavenger hunts, hog roasting, four wheeling, relaxing by the fire, okay, also weed whipping Big D's flowers by mistake.  Sorry Andy, but the peonies flying through the air and us running screaming at you shouting "STOP!" Still makes me giggle!

        But as always, the livestock stole the show and the heart of many including my sister.  I got all these pictures from my sister's camera and there was about a gazillion cattle photos.  All great.

        I should have highlighted some more with photo's like my ultra competitive sister running like a track star during the medallion hunt, or my mom and sister-n-law helping me cook up a storm (we fed 40 people the night of the hog roast) I may share some more later down the road, but these were my favs!

        Happy trails and have a family get together for Pete's sake.  It's a whole lotta fun!

        Wednesday, June 8, 2011

        Mouse, May You Rest In Peace...

        Having previously mentioned that we are hosting a family reunion this weekend, I can honestly say we've been working our fingers to the bone trying to get this farm in shape.  Right now, I'm so tired I would pass out on the floor and sleep peacefully.  Cut that...I won't be on the floor unless I'm wearing shoes and standing upright.  Here's why:  yesterday Kara found a dead mouse in the laundry room.


        As long as we are on the subject of gross, Levi & Maggie found someone's abandoned Easter candy in a cupboard and were hiding in the office eating it.  Jelly beans to be precise. So I can say that I sat in jelly bean spit without noticing it and now my butt is wet.  (Maggie's a heavy drooler) Argh!

        So since I'm dog tired and have a jelly bean drool laden booty, I will tell you about this "yuk"  that I normally wouldn't share...with anyone. 


        The day started out just like any other, busy.  It's Kara's week to do laundry and she was busy at it until I hear, "Mom, come in here, I have something to show you."
        "What is it?"
        "Just come in here." She says innocently.

        That's a red light if I've ever seen one.

        "What?  I'm not going in there if it's something gross." 
        At this point, Cody knows what it is, "Mom, you're always saying face your fears.  Here's your chance."

        Since when they ever listened to motherly wisdom?

        "Big D!  Get that dead mouse out now!"

        D laughed, called me a baby but went in there and got it and supposedly took care of it.  A little later I ask him where he put it.  "Garbage."  He said very non chalant. 

        WHAT!?! "Get it out of here NOW!" I yelled.  Like it's going to ressurect and crawl up my shirt sleeve.  Which by the way, happened to my sister.  No a mouse didn't rise from the dead, but they were in a feed sack and when she stuck her arm in there to get the scoop it raced up her sleeve around her back and off.  YUCK!

        Good gravy I have to call my counselor!

        Okay, the counsoler shot me a text and said he moved to Aruba.  Anyway, I can handle spiders, assorted critters, live or dead, but rodents...gee, they freak me out.  I could tell you stories of mice all night long.  Like the time my friend had company and her parents made her sleep on the floor.  Her hair was long and not in a ponytail.  She woke up the next morning with her cat laying next to her head and her hair messy.  He had killed a mouse in her hair. 

        Looking in the phone book for a new counselor.

        Anyway, I put the same photo up so I could recreate the crime scene.  Not seeing it, I'm guessing this is what it looked like.  Don't worry, this is an actor and he just plays a mouse on this blog, and since it's in the same place as the actual mouse was, he will either be thrown away (momma, where did "Hedgy" go?) or washed 500 times in a row.  Along with that pillow case.  Sorry sheet set that I am most proud of, you will no longer be joining your pillowcase on my bed. 

        Like a dummy, I set the scene up as I was getting kids slowly to bed.  As I positioned "Hedgy" I stood up quick to answer the phone and save the last box of Junior Mints from Maggie when I hit my head on the corner of our vet cupboard.  OUCH!  I have a lump.  After that, I quickly changed a diarreah diaper and realized that Jessica needed a bath.  I cleaned her the best I could with a wet wipe and picked her up to bring her to the sink.  (I have a deep sink good for baths) On the way, she peed on my shirt and I got a squirt of poop on my arm.

        • Jelly bean toushy
        • Peed on shirt
        • Pooped on arm
        • Aching lumpy head
        I don't know, do I need a counselor, a shower or a wine cooler?

        So as my sweet little boy went and got me an ice pack and I sat cursing the very same cabinet that I gushed over just a year earlier ( all my vet stuff togethter in one spot? No way!) I see this, behind the mitten box.  A half eaten apple. 

        This is the reason (well one of them) that I don't have my nice beautiful new house that my husband said he will build when hell freezes over.  Big D says we need to take a few hogs from the barn to come in here and eat the food off the floor.  (I have to sweep twice daily) I say we have them, they are called kids and we need to make them take care of their stuff.  Actually it's the little ones who sneak apples and other assorted goodies and eat a few bites and throw them anywhere they please. 

        By the way getting back to the mouse.  D thought that since the apple was there along with a plethera of other assorted food goods through the house, that the mouse probably never found posion but died of obesity.

        Happy Trails & Cheese Filled Traps,

        Tuesday, June 7, 2011

        Big Red is Big Trouble

        Big Red, I'm disappointed in you.  For the last month, I treated you like a princess, would put you by yourself in a pen alone with soft straw bedding, fresh water that you didn't have to share and some of my own hay that I covet for my sheep. 


        You maybe able to see her little calf that she finally had behind her.  That cow is the devil, I'm not kidding.  When pregnant, she'd lay around, acting as if she didn't have a care in the world.  Now she she gets so mad if you even look at her baby she literally wants to kill you.

        Last night I was throwing hay over the continuous fence (over 6 feet high) and she looked at me as if to scream, "If I didn't have this gigantic udder that would probably snag on a bolt and spray the entire county with milk, I'd go over that fence and run you over!"  She sat there, giving me a glare (yeah, I didn't know cows could glare either) she was so mad.  She was puffing her cheeks and pawing at the ground.  She looked like a squirrel.  A mad cow squirrel.

        Sorry Red, you did look pretty ridiculous!

        Tomorrow she hits the road with 2 other non-performers.  She can't be sold when others go because of her ginormous utter, so she'll have to be sold separate and hang out at someone else's feedlot for a while.  Or maybe, just maybe somebody will buy her to put out with their herd and she will get another lease on life.

        Tonight, Ron or I will sneak in her pen, like two"calf" burglars and steal her baby.  That sounds so mean, but nobody keeps their calves here.  That's the nature of the beast.  Let's hope that we don't get the "shist" kicked out of us while we're doing it!  (Shist - manure from a cow on a hot ration, kind of like "pist"- pee/mist  combination.  Both homemade words from my "How to Talk Feedlot in 30 Days" book. Also listed in, "I'll Still Be Famous When Covered In Shist".

        Happy Trails,

        Monday, June 6, 2011

        Boys Will Be Boys

        This is our son Cody, he turned 14 today.  He is taller than me by two inches but sadly doesn't outweigh me.  (Darn it!!)  You won't see much of him in my posts, he's shy and doesn't like the camera.  Pretty elusive if you ask me.  It's sort of like the science channel programs about the Swampthing and Sasquatch.  You know they're there, you just can't see them.  This is as close as he will get to a camera when we do our little photo shoots.  Here he's helping sort cattle. 

        Notice the barn boots?  That's my boy.  100 degrees out and boots are on. 

        Fourteen years ago he was born to Ron and Amy, obviously it was a great day for them.  You see, for those who don't know, Cody isn't my biological son.  Ron's first wife died of cancer when she was 30.  When I started dating Ron, it didn't take long before Cody and Kara were calling me mom.  It was awesome.  About four years ago I adopted them but I have always felt like their mom. 

        Hey, I got a closer one.  Cool.  Pretty soon the he's going to be beating the ladies off with stick he's so cute.  But, maybe that's just mom talk.

        He plays baseball and football, he makes good grades in school, he's funny, he's an amazing help but most of all he's a darn good big brother. 

        For example, tonight the manure haulers came to haul while it's semi cool out. So I got back from the T-ballers game and was giving baths, trying to clean house, etc. Levi, whom we are trying to potty train did so well today that we didn't have a diaper on him.   He comes in all excited..."Me poop outside!"


        "That's great honey, show me where." I said to him taking his hand and noticing the poop marks on his leg.  Double yuck. 
        "Me haul poop...daddy, yup!"  He says all excited and he brings me to his sand box...(nooooooo argh!) not the sand box!  The little pumpkin pooped and probably thought, "Hey, I can use this! I'll be just like dad hauling poop!" 

        OR maybe he just pooped outside like a 3 year old boy without a diaper on, mom.  Get a grip lady! 

        "Mom, he probably has some dog poop," Cody whispers, laughing as we look for the "pile".

        (Look at the watering can, there's a little branch at 6:00.  The poop is right below it.  Now I will crawl in a hole and die of embarrasment that I showed you my 3 year old's poo poo.)

        "Negative, look at his leg." I say with a sigh. 
        "Ohhh....ick, it looks like it's in his boot.  I'll wash it out." He says laughing. "Levi, good job on the poop!"
        "Yup!" His little buddy says with a grin. "Me daddy!"

        In my book, it's a good kid who will wash his brother's "homemade" manure out of his boot on his 14 birthday. 

        Happy Birthday buddy, you're the best,
        Love mom.

        Happy trails!

        Sunday, June 5, 2011

        What made me happy today

        Today was an exceptionally good day, here's why:

        • Big D got me new measuring cups.  Yes, I realize I hold simple pleasures dear to me.  You try measuring out eight cups of bread flour with a 1/3 cup measure. Okay, 8 x 3= ummm 24!  Not cool.  I'm sure I'll find my old ones, out in the lawn round but in a square shape thanks to the kids and my trusty "Cub Cadet".
        • Eldest son raked hay for us...(sniffle sniffle he's getting so big!)  So we could get other things done.

        • My dirty hillbilly daughter playing in our "sand" (really gravel) box in only her shirt and a diaper...I wonder what kind of load she's going to have?
        • Same picture, my kid taking after his momma...wearing barn boots for no particular reason.

        • Big D bought me 100 flowers to plant.  Here's another secret about me...I love to garden but suck at it.  But with ever spring there's new hope. 
        But what made me smile the most?

        A quote from my daughter:

        "Mom, I know you're mad that we snuck watermelon into your bed and now it's all sticky and wet...but since your sooo loving and caring, you don't care do you?  Nooo."  said a very sorry Grace.

        Friday, June 3, 2011

        And I will name her...

        Oh you guys, I hate to admit stuff about my true self... for one, I'm sporting barn boots with shorts in this picture, that was tonight as I was checking for calves.  Admission #1: I'm not a fashionista.  Admission #2:  I have a heart.  I know, I know, this middle aged tough broad can's true.  O-u-c-h that hurt.

        You know, I'm not a complete loveless person, I love my kids and Big D something fierce.  I just try not to get attached to animals anymore.  You have to be pretty lovable to break me.  That's right, only a few critters have done it and there's not been a critter that could make me melt for a while around here.

        Until recently...

        So it's no secret; I've been spending a lot of time in the east yard of the feedlot, isn't that right Big Red?  ("Baby Faker" as my kids call her now.)  I've fallen for this:

        I know, she looks pretty spent and that's why she's here.  She's old, so a buyer bought her then put her in here to get on some weight and send her off to the Big McDonalds in the sky. 

        Don't think I didn't know this was coming.  That's what we do and I wholeheartedly believe in it, we feed cattle out to market weight and sell them for slaughter.  I eat beef and I love beef.  Usually, an old cull cow comes in our lots and I know why she's here, she's either a bad mother or she's an ornery old witch and even I can't wait to see her get on the bus and get on out of here.

        I'll be sad to see her go, she escaped a trip to the sale barn once already when the owner walked the pens and told Big D that she had to go.  He told him that she was my pet.  The owner went up to her and put his arm on her and said she could stay.  I sent him a thank you email.  I told him that he could borrow the curry comb on her that I use.  No response.  Except I could felt this twinge like someone was calling me a huge dufas.

        I seriously don't get attached to any feedlot cattle.  BUT if I did...and if I was to name her...wouldn't she make a good "Stella"?  AND at the sake of being a true weirdo, if she was a person, she would remind me of "Flo" on Mel's Diner.  Remember that show? 

        Like Flo was on the show, she's calm and a good listener, that is if you think I would ever talk to a cow (I told her all about how I had to sell Fudge the other day).  I bet Stella was a 4H heifer in her day that probably listened to a teenage girl tell her all about the boy she liked. 

        Am I trying to make you feel sorry for her?  No.  Order buyers buy cattle for feedlots everyday and then packer buyers buy them for slaughter when they reach market weight.  Then people all over the country enjoy beef.  So, what's the moral of the story? 

        I wanted to show and tell you about this because small family farms that take care of the world's food supply truly care about what they do for a living.  Big D and I consider it an honor to raise food for people to eat. 

        I also hope you get a kick out of Stella picking her nose and her funky "Bert n Ernie" hairdo.

        Happy trails,

        Thursday, June 2, 2011

        Gassin' Up With the T-Ballers

        This entry isn't about the farm...for once.  I know, crazy, huh?

        So here it is, I'll lay it out on the table for those who don't know us.  We're always late.  All the time.  I'll be late for my own funeral.  D says that all I have to do for his, is squish him up and shove him down a post hole in the feedlot when he kicks the bucket so we won't have to worry about that one.  People can come for a viewing and look at what a great job I'm doing with the cattle. 

        Enough of the funeral talk, it will never happen because frankly, we are too busy to die.

        What I want to talk about is what a great night I had with whom I call, "The T-Ballers".  They had their second game tonight and did super well for a couple country bumpkins. 

        Anyway, back to being late.  Of course we were late as usual and I had to get gas in the truck.  When we were finally back on the road, Grace says to me, "Mom, I'm sure glad we got our feet on in case we have to walk to T-ball.  You know, if you ran out of gas."

        Out of the mouths of babes. 

        Happy trails,

        Wednesday, June 1, 2011

        What Goes Bump in the Night

        Maybe it's because I'm tired, or because it's this diet that I started today, but I'm feeling a little crazy...I think I'll tell you about our little visitor we have in the basement.

        For the last two weeks I've been hearing a sound coming from the basement.  Here's the thing...up until last night, I'm the only one who'd been hearing it.  After I heard it the other day, I called Ash from upstairs.  She didn't hear it.  I thought, 'Nice, above everything else, I'm losing my mind.'  After she silently read my mind, she shot me a look back that said, 'yeah, your one train ride away from Crazy Station.'  Then she went back upstairs. 

        For the next few days, I would hear it, and call assorted kids to listen.  By the time they would get down to hear it, the noise would be gone. 

        "It's a weird whistling noise like a kazoo or something."  I finally fessed up to Big D one night. 
        "You're weird and you're hearing things."  Then his eyes went shut again. 

        So at this point, I felt like calling up the Science Channel and having them do a report on it or something.  Like the Sasquatch, swampthing, or the skunkthing (okay, maybe it's just a skunk, people), I needed someone to figure out my kazoo sounding mystery...

                                           Personally, I think it takes a big person to show off this beauty

        Because let me tell you, I won't go down there myself.   Here's the problem.  It's yucky, old and scary.  If there was an F5 tornado barrelling down on my butt, I would face it head on before I would go down there.  Yeah, it's that scary.  Our house was built in  the 1930's, and even though the whole house has been renovated, the basement is untouched.  Y-U-C-K!  (Literally untouched, I won't even go on the steps.) Big D goes down there to fill the softener and look at the furnace, that's it.

        Back to the sound.   Last night about midnight, I'm woken by a chilling, high pitched girl scream.  "What the...(we'll leave that blank)" as I tripped on a Lego then stepped on a cold half eaten apple that I had missed while picking up before bed. (Somebody get Mary Poppins some smelling salts!  She fainted dead away from just hearing about this mess)

        Anyway, it was Levi.  As he ran through the downstairs hollering, he woke up Maggie and Jessica.

        Ron got up quick and consoled him while I did some damage control with the little girls.  On his way back, he said, "um that little buzzing sound is a tree frog in the basement.  It eats up all the crickets and bugs that get in here." He said, looking at me like I truly was a weirdo.

        "Really Marlin Perkins?"  I missed the episode of wild kingdom where they interviewed the tree frog that played a small role in "This Old House".

        This morning Levi asked for help with his shirt.  It was the one with all the frogs on it.  The he walks over to scary basement and says in a loud macho voice, "See tree frog?"  While pointing to his shirt. 
        "Does the tree frog like your shirt?" I ask him trying hard not to laugh. 
        "Yah, need nug!"  Born to hunt Levi speak for 'need gun'.
        Big sassy sister Grace rolls her eyes and says,  "Oh Levi, you can't shoot tree frogs, it's illegal!"

        Happy Trails,