Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Vacation



Let's face it, Christmas vacation means goofing off and having fun.  This was Grace acting silly on a nature walk that her and Kara took to find some good pictures to take. 

Having these kids home for almost two whole weeks is a blast. 

I mean it!

Two nights ago, we had game and craft night and we had chips and chili dip as well as a hot artichoke/ sun dried tomato dip which yes, some of my kids did like it!  That's okay, mom loves it and would've eaten the whole works.  No need for chips or crackers. =)

Last night the girls had a friend over and they watched a movie, then we all sat down for Gold Rush and Flying Wild Alaska.  It was a fun night.  Levi and I also got to card a little bit of wool he's very into that. 


I'm going through a lot of these.  This morning for example I used 15 eggs, I made a batch of 15 caramel rolls and 1 1/2 jugs of juice.  YIKES!  Through the last week, we've also went 6 loafs of bread alone.  Thank goodness we raise a lot of our own food. 

This could get expensive. =)

We've also gotten a lot of chores done.  We cleaned up around down by the cattle lots, the yard, the actual feedlot, the house, and hopefully before they go back, the shop. 

Yeah, they could stay home another three weeks and I'd have stuff for them to do. =)

"What?  No you can't go to school before Wednesday, there wouldm't be anyone there....oh that's perfect you say?"
Happy trails!
Fairchild Farmgirl






 



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 28th Of December And We're In Sweatshirts Outside


Today we worked 140 head.  What was different today was we only had to work 140 head....and that it was December 28th and we were only wearing sweatshirts.

It was awesome!!

That was until...


I received these 3 unwanted gifts:

  1. Cow boogies in my mouth.  Contrary to popular believe you don't need to be right by their face when that happens.  They have some blowing power.  When your standing there shooting the breeze with the vet tech and the cow beside you has an itchy muzzle, well, just watch out is all I can say.  Mouth open + cow snot = disgusting.
  2. Poop on my sleeve.  Usually that's a given.  New rations and a cow that's been on grass, sometimes equals runny poop.  But as I was pulling off back tags off this wild baldie cow, out of nowhere there was her tail and she splashed me with crap. 
Both of these things happened within minutes of each other I just want you to know.

But the piece de la resistance?

I wanted the vet to look at Fluffy Bear's upper lip and above her gums.  So I tried to call her over to us (the big baby wriggled out of my arms about nine times...did I mention she's 125 pounds?) SO Vicki sat on her front half with her screaming and bawling...picture it, Kristen  hadn't even touched her yet. She was so scared that as I was holding on to her back end, she peed on my leg.


"Ahhh!  I feel something warm!!!"

YUK!

Then as I'm reeling from the pee incident (just kidding I could handle it)...

We run an old cow through the chute and Vicki points out a big puss sore on a her hip.  It had to be the size of a salad plate.  The poor thing's hip was broke or at least the cap, it abscessed and broke through the skin. 

GRODY! 

We gave her a bunch of meds and are hoping for the best.  She's not limping which is good.  She's one of the ones we got in in the last week, but this obviously happened before her arrival here.  But now she's in good hands!

Hopefully she won't be the one that decides to kick our butt if we have to work them again.

Sincerely,
I'm still gonna run as fast as I can if she's after me Fairchild Farmgirl .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Finally Here, It's Christmas



 
Christmas Eve....what a special night
For some it's getting together with extended family, for others it's opening gifts, for some it's people that can't be with their families.  I really pray for the last bunch. 

 
Here at the Fairchild Farm, things really got heated up:  "Where do you think Santa hid the presents Mom?" an excited Grace asked me. 

"No idea," I said as I worked on the mountain of dishes that I had to wash.  Ron and Cody were at church (I go tomorrow with the girls, long mass gets little kids whiny, nuf said.) 

we don't have a chimney, so Santa has to expertly hide gifts somewhere outside, (without getting caught by eight policing children).  I had to grab them out of my closet, through the french doors of our bedroom, slap them into the bed of the 4 wheeler, then look for a place to hide them. 

While not looking suspicious with sparkling red wrapped boxes whipping around the farm looking for a place to hide them.  One time I even lost one and had to go back for it. 

Eeks. 

 

So while we wait for Santa,  we will eat,
  • Meatloaf
  • hot buttered noodles
  • broccoli
  • cookies.
Supper was finally over, the table was cleaned off.  They were getting all the presents out of mom & dad's closet to put under the tree. 

All of the sudden....

A knock at the door!

The little kids rushed to answer it....(hurry Cody, get back through the garage door...these little punks are fast!)

No one was at the door....

Santa!!!!!!!!!

Quick put on your boots...
Slap on your coats...
Where's Rachel?
She's outside.
Don't forget Jessica!
Levi needs his coat!
Can't the baby just stay in? 
NO!



Then, ma and pa (that's us) hunker quietly in the bathroom with the lights off as all the kids trudge with their winter gear out to the sheep barn.  Why?  I don't know either, its almost 50 degrees and there's no snow.

Pa gets an idea in his head that he has to go to the back of the house to sound like Santa....not sure the kids heard, but I'm glad your getting into it Pa.

The kids find all their gifts!  Woohooo!  Time to celebrate!

Oh no!  There's one little lady that doesn't have a gift from Santa.

What?????

She comes in empty handed with a tiny tear out of her eye.

Has ma, err, um Santa lost his mind??? No present for Rachel? 


Quick...slap on my boots
No time for a coat
She's still crying. 
Hop on the four wheeler
Vroom vroom!
All over the farm
All through the barns...

Nothing.

What??? I forgot my precious girl? 

"Mom was I bad?" she asks quietly.

"NO!  Go in the bonus room and look there! What the heck Big D?" I look at him in utter disgust for the both of us..

"I don't think we got her anything."  He says.  "Now what?"

I snatched a present under the tree, wrapped it in Santa wrap and winged it outside through our french doors onto the yard, "Rachel, lets go out and look for your present out back.  Maybe it fell of his sleigh."

"Okay..." she whispers quietly.  "MOM!  I found something! It has my name on it!"

Really...have I fried my brain?  Am I going through dementia?  I'm 37....whats going on with me?

We open our presents and have a great time.  All the while the guilt is reeling in my broken down brain at what a bad mom I was, when Ron stands up and yelled, "Mom!  The present for Rachel...is in the shop!" 

We forgot what Santa had bought her was in the side room of the shop...a brand new bike.  In the end, we just said it was from us. 

She loved it and wouldn't' stop riding it.   We're only partially dork parents

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Fairchild Farmgirl

PS Make me feel better and tell me you've done this before! =)


    Friday, December 23, 2011

    On The 2nd Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift...



    This photograph blown up on a canvas.


    Or this one...they are both really cool. 

    And they are both taken by my nephew, Tyler. 

    Wait a second, when did you get old enough to take these kind of pictures?   Wasn't I still changing your diapers only 18 short years ago? Or around that time?  I'm so old I forget.

    On a serious note, for being 20ish, he ranks right up there with my favorite artists like Nancy Cawdrey or Martin Grelle, but he does photography.   I would love to say he got his creative side from his aunt Suzanne, but his mom used to take some awesome pictures too.  Also, Tyler has bought all his own photography equip during and since high school. 

    He's always been an impressive guy... anyway, check out his website.  He's really got some breathtaking shots.  It's really exciting for me as family to watch him evolve into this great artist.    http://www.tylerjphoto.com/

    Now, on to my Christmas memory: 

    It's as fresh in my mind as if it happened just yesterday.

    Wait....

    It did just happen yesterday.  Last night to be exact.  We had a Christmas party with some relatives, I'm in the kitchen cooking supper...it's quiet....all I hear is the TV. 

    Something's wrong. 

    I hear faint giggles coming form my bedroom. 

    Not good.

    I open the door and about 20 presents are unwrapped and Maggie and Levi are playing with them.  The wrapping paper is mangled and it's too hard to see who got what for who. 

    I punted.  We were out of tape and had mere scraps of wrap left.  I got the yellow masking tape and used the torn scraps to wrap them up. 

    We'll see how bad I screwed up tomorrow night. =)

    My charity is:  Art from Ashes, based in Colorado.  http://www.artfromashes.org

    "Since its inception in 2003, Art from Ashes (AfA) has provided poetry and creative workshops to high-risk youth, facilitating expression, connection and transformation among the most neglected and vulnerable segments of our community. Executive Director Catherine O'Neill Thorn has been conducting transformational poetry and spoken word workshops at juvenile detention facilities, treatment centers, and schools—including post-trauma workshops for Columbine High School students—since 1992. When statewide funding for youth programs was cut in 2003, Thorn was motivated to establish a nonprofit to serve struggling youth with a proven process that helps build strong interpersonal skills, encourages literacy, and empowers young people to lead confident, violence-free lives.
    AfA has since provided creative workshops with more than 60 partnering organizations for more than 3,000 young people who have survived traumatic events, are victims of abuse, neglect and/or poverty, and are at risk for or engaged in destructive behaviors. Moving beyond contemporary therapeutic models and arts programming, AfA provides a forum through creative expression for recognizing and acknowledging previous traumas; removing the barriers that isolate young people from each other, from caring adults, and from society; and allowing youth to experience health and hope rather than the expectation of further victimization. " -from their website

    Happy Trails,
    Fairchild Farmgirl

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    On The 3th Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift



    This new whirlpool bath tub.

     I know I missed yesterday's blog, but amidst Christmas Concerts and as CCD coordinator our Christmas party of making and mailing all the people that attend our parish Christmas cards, I got home, looked around and still had to clean up after seven kids and put some to bed.  Then after that, I had to work on some ornaments I had made for friends. 

    So with that said, since this is a two person tub and I would NEVER take a  bath with Ron (I'm a good Catholic girl! =) ) I'm counting this blog as two.  I know you don't understand my dimwitted math, but trust me on this...k?

    Let me start out by saying, this tub is big.  If you've been in my house before, you know that the measurements of this tub means we would have to take out the vanity, toilet, and medicine cabinet out of our one bathroom.  The good thing is that Ron would get that outhouse he always wanted, the downside is he'd still be sharing it with a bunch of girls. 

    The poor man can't win! 



    In all seriousness, there has been many a day that I would have loved to jump in one after being chased by working cattle.  When I'm covered in sweat, puss and nut sack residue (by the way, if there is such a thing as nut sack residue it would have found my shirt and arms...I'm convinced.  So far I've always missed the bomb that goes off when you hike their tail up). 

    Anyway, my favorite Christmas memory is about a bath tub, sort of. 

    Going to my grandparents house for Christmas.  Our homes couldn't be more different.  We lived in a shack, they lived in a mansion a stones throw from Lake of The Isles in Minneapolis.  Our house had about 6 rooms, theirs 17.  The best was when we would first get there.  Now, we had "sometimes plumbing " in our farmhouse.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.   We would go to the neighbor's well and stock up for the week, keep water in a stock tank. 

    No I'm not kidding. 

    Anyway, when we would get to my grandparents house, we would play for a while, then we would get to take baths...in their tub.  With hot water that wasn't warmed up on a wood stove. 

    I know, I'm 37, not 87.  These were the eighties that this happened in.  When agriculture was in the toilet. 

    Anyway, back to the mansion.  We would get to take a glorious bath every night. 

    My fondest memories are not of the presents, the seven course meals, the Santa gifts...

    it's the yellow Dial soap.

    My grandparents have past away, but my grandma loved to hear me tell that story.  I know it made her feel good that she helped out in that way. 

    To this day, I still love that soap.

    My charity for the day is:  People Serving People  http://peopleservingpeople.org/  It's the biggest homeless shelter in Minneapolis MN and you can donate, volunteer and much more.  Go to their website and read all about it. Here's a blurb from their website:

    "To serve homeless children and their families and provide new opportunities for healthy, stable family life.
    People Serving People achieves its mission and goals by providing emergency housing and community services that assist families experiencing homelessness in becoming self-sufficient and reconnected with the community. In a safe, secure and sober environment, PSP provides services which cultivate independence and accountability.
    What distinguishes PSP from other emergency shelters is the broad range of on-site programs and services designed to address common barriers that homeless families are faced with. To provide a new opportunity for families, it is necessary that we help them find ways to break through these barriers and stop patterns that lead to poverty and homelessness. Housing and employment issues are addressed, along with educational, emotional and life enrichment needs."  From their site

    Say a prayer for all the homeless people in the world tonight.
    Fairchild Farmgirl


     



    Tuesday, December 20, 2011



    A carved wooden door from Summit Handcrafted Log Homes.

    I wanted cattle in the feedlot scene, Ron said he wanted this exactly how it is with this deer. Because with this gift, I have to share you know. =)

    Of course this can't happen until we build our new house when we don't have little hands wreaking havoc in our home.

    BUT STILL before I die (which I better have at least another 40 good years out of this bag of bones), this company will make me one. If you like this, check out the rest of the site...the have a double door that has a tree carved into it. It honestly looks like you are walking right through it. You have to see it.

    That's all I can say. www.summithandcrafted.com They are truly artistic masters!

    My great Christmas memory for today is this: Getting a huge box of Christmas cookies from my grandma Mayer every year. I remember digging through them, as they were froze from the trip by mail in the dead of winter. For some reason I can remember the chocolate chips and M&Ms would about break your teeth. But my siblings and I didn't even care. We didn't get this type of goodies very often and my grandma was the best baker ever.

    She died 20 years ago...GULP! She was the greatest. I wish my kids would've gotten to meet her. They would've loved her and my grandpa Norbie. They would always make sure they had a sack full of pennies for us and some Nips caramel candy.

    I want to be just like them!

    My charity today would definitely be approved by my grandparents, all 4 of them.

    The Happy Factory, http://www.happyfactory.org/

    Here's a snippet from their website -

    The Happy Factory
    Miracles happen when people willingly serve others. When Charles and Donna Cooley became aware that many children have never had a toy, they formulated their motto, "We may not be able to make a toy for every child in the world that needs one--but we're going to try!"

    The seeds of their service were planted in a small workshop at their home near Cedar City, Utah in 1995. They made a couple hundred toys that were humbly offered to Primary Children's Medical Center. The toys were received with such enthusiasm and gratitude that the Cooleys made more and donated them locally to the Canyon Creek Women's Crisis Center, Cedar City Care and Share, the Presbyterian Church, and within the state of Utah to Shriner's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and worldwide.

    They named their workshop "The Happy Factory" because of the happiness it brings to them and to the children who receive the wooden toys. In the process, they have learned that toys are not simply playthings, but tools that help unlock a child's ability to think and to cope with the world around them. What started as a hobby has turned into a full time labor of love.

    Since their humble beginnings, The Happy Factory has welcomed volunteers of every age--including juvenile offenders in three state correctional facilities. There are no paid salaries. The Happy Factory is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All the materials they use are donated and all of the toys are made by volunteers. Every toy is donated to a child in need. The toys are made of scraps of hardwood donated by a local cabinet maker. Unfortunately, there are a few expenses for wheels and axles, saw blades, building maintenance costs and other miscellaneous items. The Happy Factory workers are toy makers, not fundraisers. It costs approximately eighty five cents per toy for wheels and axles. They gratefully accept donations of materials, time, and money.

    Sincerely,

    A "Happy" Fairchild Farmgirl

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    On The 6th Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift...



    A carved moose antler.

    Isn't this amazing?  I always marvel at the many, many cool pieces there are in this country.  When Big D and I are out and about looking at different art out west, we have seen a few of these, but none this good.

    This carver hails from Dubois, Wy.  his name is Monte Baker.  I hope he has a shop or gallery to visit, next time we are out that way I would love to see these in person. 


    Now, I know I didn't blog yesterday and tell about what I wanted on the 7th day of Christmas, but you know what?  This guy is so good that he can account for two days. 

    Think of the time and skill this takes? 



    I had to show you one more...look at the pine tree. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

    There's so much more to look at...check out his website at:  http://www.montebakerantlercarving.com/

    My favorite Christmas memory for today is this...

    Taking all my kids shopping at the local drug/gift store in our little town the week before Christmas.  Here's what's cool about it.  I take along all  the kids so each child can shop for their siblings.  It's so fun to see what they would pick out for their siblings. 

    "Mom!  Cody NEEDS this!"  As Levi points to a a hunting magazine.

    "Are you going to get that for him?" I ask..."

    "Nahhh, me want it!" He giggles.  This is also a great way to show kids that Christmas isn't all about them, because they need to think of others too.  He was the only one that cried when he couldn't get what he wanted.  He sat by the register on the floor sad as can be.  Too bad I remarked as I smiled to the high school clerk and to everybody around me.  He's gotta learn sometime.

    My charity for the day is:  The Last Great Race:  Iditarod 

    You can buy a membership and that's your donation!  THEN you get cool stuff!  Here's their website:  http://www.iditarod.com/

     "The fabric of any membership organization is judged by the number, loyalty and active involvement of its members. 'The Last Great Race on Earth' is annually run against the most scenic landscape on earth in the harshest weather Mother Nature can provide. The ITC depends on member volunteers to stage the world's premier sled dog race. Mushers feel privileged to train, coach and encourage the outstanding athletic dogs that run the race. I feel privileged to be an ITC member and invite YOU to join us in celebrating Alaska's state sport in the 'Last Frontier.' Catch the spirit and enjoy the benefits." — Leelan Larsen, President of the Board               

    Sincerely,

    Santa's favorite elf,
    Fairchild Farmgirl
           

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    On The 8th Day Of Christmas, I RECIEVED This Gift!



    All my family home hanging out together.  Ashlyn is home for the weekend and we have all pitched in to help her with a gift for her dad and step mom. 

    Yes, I didn't believe it either when I first heard of it.  I was bar tending one night, D and I were dating and he was watching Ashlyn for me.  Ash called to tell me that "Ron had fixed my pants mom!"  "Huh??"  YES Big D is a man of many talents.  He can sew....and his wife can't.  I can hand stitch, but not use a sewing machine.

    Back to Christmas present.  This year, I told the kids that they had a limit of $5 per sibling and the three older kids had to contribute $2 per child.



    "WHAT?"  was their initial reaction, but then they started to plan straight away what they were going to get everybody.  When I met Ash and her dad in Olivia last night, she took care of her shopping in Alco. 

    On the way home, I asked her if she'd gone shopping for her dad and step mom.  "sigh, no.  I don't know what I'd even get them and I don't have money."

    "Well, lets make them something cool." was my response. 

    Of course I got eyes rolling, they didn't leave her head so that was a plus.  =)  "Like what?"

    "Lets do a fiber art wall hanging."

    "Have you ever done one mom? I mean, we can't just do one."

    Puleeezzzzeeee!  Don't challenge the great craftin' momma.



    "Were going to and it will be fun.  AND yes, we will get it done."  More eye rolling.  No I had never done anything like that.  She can sew with a sewing machine, the last time I did was when I was her age, a long long time ago.  None the less, we got home and we figured out how big it was going to be and then she drew out a pattern.  Then, she picked out fabric from the rag bins where we have old shirts, jeans, sheets etc.  Just waiting for some kid to do a project with them. 

    Then she went to bed....

    And I cut out her pattern piece by piece by piece.  Eeks.  There was a lot. I was finished around midnight.

    BUT it's so neat...she drew a picture of their dog  at the lake on the dock, with pine trees in the background.  For a 12 year old she did excellent.  She wasn't happy with her sewing job around the pine trees, but like I told her, once your dad knows that you have about 15 hours in it, he will love it!  He better. =) 

    Kara getting cards and pictures out for family.  What a helper!

    Not to cheat you out of a Christmas memory, but this will go down as one of my favorites.  I know I was making a gift for my ex and his wife, but it was so fun helping out Ashlyn.  However, she's not the only crafty one.  This is the second year that Cody has made his gifts for every one.  Last year he learned how to make shelves in wood shop, so every body got a shelf.  Now, he did some sandblasting in shop class, so he is making a sandblasted mirror for everyone. 

    I  love my family.  Just like I told Big D, you don't need a lot of money, homemade gifts are fun to make and give. 

    For a charity, I'm going to tell you about what I heard today as we were all pig piled in our bed.  It was me, D, about 5 kids and we were talking to my sister Betsy on the phone.  She had mentioned that the "in thing" to do is go to Walmart or Kmart and see if there is anyone in danger of losing their layaway from non payment.  If there is, pay it for them.  There's  a lot of people losing jobs, or just having problems affording a few presents for their kids. 

    Cool huh? 



    Here is our finished project.  She did about 80% of it herself.  If you want to have a great time with your kids, do a family craft.  It's always a blast!

    Sincerely,

    The Happiest Fairchild Farmgirl Around!

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    On The 9th Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift...


    "How Now Brown Cow" by Toni Hargreaves

    A painting from my friend Toni Hargreaves.

    I don't know how she does it...just look at this painting.  Isn't it amazing?  Look at the brush strokes in the fur.  Sometimes I love to just stare at her artwork because I can only dream of getting my cows this "photo-realistic" 

    Great...now she's going to think I'm a stalker.

    Let's go back in time, shall we? 

    I discovered Toni on a Sunday (I know this because the kids were trying to jump all over me when I was on the computer and I remember yelling, "Fantastic!  Tomorrow you have school, why don't I look at this then?"

    I'll remember minute details til I die...when I'm old and gray, I'll forget to eat but I'll remember to go for a walk.  I'm a goofball.

    Back to our meeting.  I was perusing the Internet with kids jumping all over me as I spilled my coffee on my leg that was kid free, just missing the keyboard. 

    When I stopped.


     
    Who the heck is this amazing artist?  I had to contact her. 
     
    I sent her an email...but why would this artist who does such amazing art even want to look at my work even though I told her how good she was (flattery should get you everywhere).  I was just a stranger who practically wrote her life story on the first email to this poor lady.   She probably was thinking..."hey goofball, I've got these beautiful bovine to paint...I'm busy."
     
    Then I got an email back. 
     
    The rest is history.  For now we are pen pals...she lives in the UK.  Maybe when she's doing a tour in North America she can come here. 
     
     
     
    And paint our cows!
    (Minus that gargantuan weed in the front)
     
    I do want you to check out her website.  It's incredible.  http://www.tonihargreaves.co.uk/Toni_Hargreaves/Welcome.html
     
    My Christmas memory actually happened this year and was about Toni. 
     
    First off, let me start by saying, I'm in no way guilting you into doing a painting for me Toni.  But this is funny.
     
    Toni's was our first Christmas card.  The kids came home from school, and Cody and I were opening up the mail when I ran across it...some different looking postage, envelope...etc.  I ripped it open.  There was a neat newsletter that she had done up and a handwritten letter for me. 
     
    There amongst this, was a cute little envelope.  What could it be?  I mean, there was already a letter and a newsletter. 

    Could it be? 
     
    I was like a kid ripping open a cereal box trying to find the prize inside. 
     
    I looked at Cody....
     
    "I bet I know what this is..."  I said out loud, trying not to rip the envelope.  "It's just got to be a little painting. I'm sure she knows how I idolize her work" I said, trying not to show too much excitement while the sweat beaded up on my upper lip as I was sooooo careful as not to rip what could be inside.
     
    "She's so a-w-e-s-o-" I got cut off as I finally got the cutest little envelope open.
     
    "Nope.  Just a Christmas card."  Cody said as he polished of his snack and went about his chores.  "But how cool...it's the first one!"
     
    I hope you get a giggle out of this Toni!  I'm so glad we met!
     
     
    Here's my charity for the day:  Feed My Starving Children  http://www.fmsc.org/page.aspx?pid=267
     
    A blurb from their website:
     
    Our MissionFeeding God’s Starving Children Hungry in Body and SpiritOur VisionWith God’s help Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) will strive to eliminate starvation in children throughout the world by helping to instill compassion in people to hear and respond to the cries of those in need.

    Sincerely,
    A pretty thankful Fairchild Farmgirl

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    On The 10th Day OF Christmas, I Asked For This GIft...


    A pair of snowshoes by Havlick Snowshoe Company.

    First I didn't even know this company existed, second of all, I didn't know that there was so much to know about a snowshoe!  Aren't they cool looking? 
    These are called Sprinters, and they would be perfect for for me to wear in the grove and the vineyard.  Check out their great website for much more!  http://www.havlicksnowshoe.com/  These are also made in the USA!

    Do you want to know something completely dorky about me that you didn't know before?  I use the vineyard as a walking track.  So if you're driving past our farm and you think I'm checking on vines, no. I'm getting in my workout.  But they would workout fabulously for when I have to prune out there when the vines are dormant and the snow is about 5 feet deep.

    My favorite Christmas memory I bring to you today wasn't so fantastic when it was happening.  You know, back when I was a teenager that thought a boring tradition was to get a Christmas tree out of the back 40 with some old pairs of snowshoes that my dad thought were the coolest things around...

    You know how that goes...

    I hated putting on those stupid snowshoes back in the day.  I also hated wearing stupid looking winter hats, a phobia that still haunts me today.  I don't know why, maybe somebody was going to see me, like my parents old yucky van wasn't going to be embarrassing enough and the snowshoes were going to be the cherry on top.

    Looking back now, man was I a little brat at times. 

    Extremely funny how after I became a parent I have asked for snowshoes every year for the last ten years.  No joke.  I think this is karma coming full circle.  What do you think?  So remember...keep doing those family traditions...I dont' care if you embarrass your kid in an old looking car or make them wear funny outdoor gear. 

    Just spend some time with the punks...do you hear? 

    My Charity today is: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities  http://www.bigstwincities.org/site/c.dmK0LjO2LsKcF/b.6543299/k.F0EB/Home_Page.htm

    What a great charity!  Join in and maybe you can make your OWN snowshoe memory with a great kid.  Here's a snippet from their website:

    "Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. We help children realize their potential and build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities. And we couldn’t do any of it without you." -From their website
    Happy Trails!
    Fairchild Farmgirl




     

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    On The 11 Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift....


    Stay north of Yellowstone Park on the Gallatin Gateway at the 320 Guest Ranch in southern Montana for 4 days.

    We had planned on taking this trip this past summer, but you know, when you farm/run livestock and that's what most of your paycheck comes from, it can plan (or in this case, cancel) your trip at any time.  All the wet weather we had made for a feedlot that wasn't at capacity for a while and then we had to haul in clay. 


    I'm sure hoping that with fruit and vegetable money, a good lamb crop, and a great tax return, we may just be able to go out there. 


    We would take all the kids and our friend as an adult babysitter to help us, that way no more missing the little kids...they will be there with us.   

    It was so cool that we would be going somewhere that we'd never been before and there is so much history.  None of us have ever been to Montana.  What a thrill!  There's also many stops along the way too.  It would just be a blast!

    Back to the 320.  What an amazing place.  AND affordable.  Believe me....I've checked.  There is some unimaginably great places out there, but so expensive....some were to the tune of $10,000 for 11 of us.  I know...I thought that place maybe screwed up...nope. 

    This place is so beautiful....here's their website:   http://www.320ranch.com/home.php

    Here's a blurb from their site:

    "This means guests can pick and choose from various seasonal activities like trail rides, Western style barbecues, fly fishing on the Gallatin (right on the property), and rafting. In the winter, their popular sleigh ride is always a hit for families, as well as dog sledding and nordic skiing. New this year, 320 introduced free shuttle rides to and from their restaurant, as well as free rides for guests up to the ski hill and to other nearby restaurants.
    This hospitality is a throwback to the time when Dr. Caroline McGill, the first woman doctor in Montana, purchased the property and used it as a resting place for patients. McGill worked and died there, and as she aged, she donated most of the items from the ranch to the McGill Museum in Bozeman (now Museum of the Rockies).
    The 320 team is made up of 20 winter staff, and 50 in summer. Providing staff housing creates “an informal, professional and relaxed environment,” said Richardson. “We want guests to feel like they are coming to a relative’s home they haven’t seen in awhile.” -From their website

    Plan a family trip will ya!?!

    My fun Christmas memory is from last year, when we wrapped up the paper for Ron and Cody's turkey hunt in a 12 pack of Mountain Dew...which by they way Big D despises giving pop for Christmas.  Boy was he sure surprised!


    My favorite charity of the day is:  McCrossan Boy's Ranch out of South Dakota  http://www.mccrossan.org/
    "McCrossan Boys Ranch is a private non-profit organization that reaches out to troubled boys between the ages of nine to twenty who have experienced conflict in their lives. By working on values, goals, education and skills we prepare our boys to live a balanced life outside the Ranch. We also provide the boys with one-on-one counseling as well as specialized educational services so they can heal and grow intellectually.

    For more than 55 years, McCrossan Boys Ranch has changed the lives of many young boys. It is our goal to continue that success of providing New Hope for a Better Life for many, many years to come."  From their website

    Sincerely,
    A Hopeful Fairchild Farmgirl
                      

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    On The 12 Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift...

    A 350XLT Econoline 15 Passenger Van

    Look at that baby...Once upon a time I would have laughed in your face if you would've said I wanted one of these. 

    Yeah right.

    NOW, however, I'm singing a different tune.  It's a little different when you have to drive two vehicles to get somewhere because we don't all fit in one anymore. 

    We rented one to take our trip north of Duluth MN last year, and D and I both agreed that we would buy one some day.  It was so nice and roomy, plus we had enough room for us and our gear (which is a lot when you are toting 8 kids, baby included for 4 days). 

    Pat on the back to the Ford Company...ya dun good!

    My Christmas memory is this:

    Going to Christmas at my grandparents house packed into my parents 1970's van (we called it the stabbin' cabin) it was yellow with a brown and red stripe, complete with a old style crank sunroof and a small tear shaped bubble window on the sides near the back.  Inside, it was complete with a bed and shag carpet...everywhere, even on the ceiling.  It felt like you were caught up in the armpit hair of Big Foot.  There were no seats for the back, so we all piled on the bed or on the floor where ever there was room. 

    Now can you see why I've had "van phobia" for so many years? 

    My charity of the day is:  Minnesota House Of Hope  http://houseofhopeminnesota.org/

    Here's a little snippet from their website.  It sure looks like a good one.  They can use more than just money, it's volunteers, time as well as goods, like TP, Kleenex, food, etc.


    Goals

    To provide a safe and loving home where residents live in a structured loving environment with a 24 hour-a-day house staff that is committed to helping the clients learn responsibility, correct attitudes, and other skills that will prepare them to be productive members of their communities.

    To provide an individually designed Christian counseling program to help clients overcome their specific adversities. To enable them to work through their specific hurts, problems, and behavior issues.

    To provide weekly group counseling that will enable residents to learn appropriate behavior, respect authority, and relate effectively to peers and adults.

    To provide Christian counseling and parenting classes to parents of residents. Counseling and classes are designed to improve family dynamics, rules, roles, communication, and conflict resolution methods.

    To provide a Biblical based education curriculum that will provide opportunity to progress academically.

    To provide instruction in life skills that will develop skills needed for today and in the future.

    To provide an opportunity for spiritual growth that will equip them with the tools and strength they need to resist temptation when they return to their homes.

    Sincerely,

    Fairchild Farmgirl

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    On The 15th Day Of Christmas, I Asked For This Gift...



    A ranch in North Dakota.

    I know, I know, I'm more than happy with our place but there's something about North Dakota.  It's just...cool.

    Not sure what it is.  Yes I do, it's beautiful! 

    When I tell people this they usually look at me kind of funny.  So for a while, I've been in the "closet" about my love for this great state. 
    Just to let you know, I feel like a dork admitting this to you all, but I've watched Prairie Rose Reality's website for umm, about 12 years.  No joke. 

    My first husband and I actually went and looked at a few ranches.  One in particular by the Cannon Ball River.  It was so beautiful I thought I may have chained myself to the mailbox...good thing I didn't...

     
    Now if Big D takes me out there....


    AND I saw this...we'd both fall in love. 

    Ron and I are actually interested in land out there.  Will we ever get it?  Who knows.  If we do, we will definitely go through Prairie Rose, they have always find the best farms, ranches and land for sale.  Ron and I would love to have a guide hunting service out there, and a B &B. 

     

    OR we could bring Sweetie out there and start building our cattle herd, then bring the calves here to Cody who will have the feedlot....See, I have it all planned!

    Check out their great website, www.prairieroserealty.com/  you'll find some great ranch land, farms and sporting areas for whatever your needs maybe.   Just remember, if you do buy a place, get a spare room for me to visit.

    Can you tell I love it out there!?!

     
    My favorite Christmas memory for today

    We  used to  visit the great state of North Dakota quite a bit. My first husband's family came from out by Ellendale.  On Christmas, we would pack up the vehicle  and head to solitude.  I loved it.  One night we got there late, as you can imagine it was very late.  His uncle George was a bachelor so he never even went upstairs except to get food, he used on of the bedrooms as a pantry.  So we go up to that particular room, put our bags down and pull back the old bedspread and there it was...

    About 10 pounds of rice. 

    "What the heck??"  Chris yelled down to Geoge who ran upstairs. 

    "That's where all those damn mice have been putting my rice!"

    "NEXT!" I yell headed across the hall with my stuff.

    YUCK!

    My charity is this:  http://farmrescue.org/

    "Welcome to Farm Rescue!
    We are a one-of-a-kind nonprofit organization that plants and harvests crops free of charge for family farmers who have suffered a major illness, injury or natural disaster.
    Our ability to help families on the land is 100% dependent upon some pretty amazing people - volunteers, sponsors and individual donors. They give of their time, talents and financial resources to help put a crop in the ground or harvest its bounty for families that are in crisis. Selfless acts. Selfless people. It doesn't get much better than that in our book!"  -from their website

    Sincerely,

    Fairchild "Thank goodness I don't have to check the sheets" Farmgirl




    Friday, December 9, 2011

    On The 16th Day Of Christmas, I asked For This Gift...


    This beautiful silver over copper onyx necklace from Jean Menden Silver. 

    She is also from Minnesota the Dawson/Boyd area! 

    Jean and her husband Tony happen to be great friends of ours....I met Jean when I asked her to do an art show that I was hosting in our little town of Gary.  Looking back now, I laugh at myself, but I was afraid to call her, I thought that she'd be too professional to do our little show.  I'm so glad she accepted for our Gary Art show, as well as the friendship that we have. 

    Plain and simple, she's awesome. 


     She's a true blue silver smith and has even studied in Norway.  She can make something out of a pickle fork that would blow your mind and you'd be excited to wear it,  just like all her jewelry. 

    I know that if I have it in my jewelry box, it's made by Jean Menden.

    check out her website:  http://jmendensilver.com/

    She's got great stuff!  Wonderful selection and prices that won't break the bank.  Thank you Jean!

    My Christmas memory for today is...

    Making Christmas cookies with Ron's family for 10 hours one year. 

    It wasn't meant to take that long...we just had  a few recipes...a piece! =)  There was about 7 of us.  We made homemade yeast pretzels, eggnog cookies (which are still my favorite today) fudge, you name it, we made it. 

    About the eighth hour we were pretty drained.  Ron's uncle Ted was even there  baking with the rest of us.  He didn't care that he was the only guy because he loved to cook. 

    Since our baking day, we lost Uncle Ted.  My five year old Rachel and I drove past his house today that's now owned by his son and wife and I instantly thought of that day and smiled. 

    My charity today is the Courage Center...this is the neatest place! You can donate, they also make cards, read some of their inspiring stories.  Check out their website:  http://www.couragecenter.org/

    Welcome to Courage Center

    "We are a Minnesota-based non-profit rehabilitation and resource center that empowers people with disabilities to realize their full potential in every aspect of life. We use a holistic approach that includes comprehensive rehabilitation therapies, independent living services, drivers services, a community reintegration program, accessible aquatics and fitness programs, camps, and adapted sports and recreation programs. We have an inpatient residential program for rehabilitation after brain injury, stroke and spinal cord injury, as well as a chronic pain rehabilitation program. We also advocate for people with disabilities at the legislature and in other public forums.


    We have locations in Golden Valley, Stillwater, Burnsville and Forest Lake, as well as a sports and recreation office in Duluth, and camps at Maple Lake and Lake George. Courage Center is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and is a United Way agency." - From their website

    Sincerely,

    An inspired Farmgirl

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    On The 17th Day Of Christmas I Asked For This Gift...


    This amazing little purse from the Buffalo Billfold Company.

    I knew today I wanted to list something Buffalo.  I have been dreaming about a decorative pillow for our bed, as I want to get my  whitetail photo framed that i took when we were in Custer and wanted to keep with the outdoorsy/wildlife theme.  So I started looking for a company to spotlight, you know, to help Big D in his search for my perfect  Christmas present. =)

    Not sure how I got directed to this site, but I'm sure happy I did.  The have beautiful simple but elegant items, from billfolds to laptop cases and everything in between.  They even have cool mouse pad and a "make your own baseball" kit.  It's also (as you can imagine), all tanned buffalo hide. 

    This purse pictured is only around $42.00 (the front one in the picture). It's so pretty!

    They are also RIGHT HERE IN MINNESOTA!  In Worthington to be exact. 

    Want to know something else cool about them?  In reading their blog, it looks as if we've vended in the same place; Brookings Arts Fest. 

    Check them out at their website:  www.buffalobillfoldcompany.com  they have great prices and cool stuff, very affordable gifts for Christmas. 

    Bill, it was nice chit chatting with you this morning!  Catch up with you on the "show" road...I plan on going to the Round Up next year as a spectator.  Then on to the art venue... it's really nice going to an arts fest that I don't have to vend in.  =)


    My favorite Christmas memory/tip of the day today is (I hope my kids are reading this):

    Never peek on a present like I did when I was a kid.  I'm tellin' ya, old wounds never close.  I slighted myself when the presents from my grandparents came.  Now, they had lots of money and we didn't.  By UPS, we would get boxes of presents.  We would actually count them - hey, I was a kid and quality was in numbers! =).

    I saw a curiously wrapped present with my name on it.  For some reason I just had to know what was inside.  Then, when my parents were out chopping wood,

    I did it....

    I ripped the wrapping paper just a little. A teensy bit really just to see it. 

    The Barbie I had only dreamed of was right there. In front of me. 

    On Christmas Eve however, I wasn't even excited because I knew what it was.  It felt like opening a pair of socks or something.  The thrill was gone. 

    Remember...I'll say in again like I have before, It's not the destination....it's the getting there that's the fun part.


    My charity today is this:  Minnesota C.O.P.S Chapter

    "In February, 2005, the MN Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors became a reality. Our Chapter is about extending a helping hand for the emotional well being of those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, friend or co-worker in the line of duty. We are survivors helping survivors. The success of our Chapter can be seen in the families we have touched with love and compassion. There are no membership dues to join for the price paid is already too high.

    Why make a donation

    The MN Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors is a 501©3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

    100% of your donation is used for outreach to the families of officers killed in the line of duty as well as financially assistance for families wishing to attend National Police Week Ceremonies and the National C.O.P.S. grief seminars in Washington D.C..

    The Chapter also assists with funding of travel costs to attend Hands On Programs and Retreats. Consider donating as a way to thank the families of those who have made the selfless sacrifice to protect you and your families." -From their website

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    On The 18th Day of Christmas I Asked For This Gift...



    "Screech Owl Family" by Nancy Cawdrey

    Isn't this t-h-e most beautiful painting ever?  The cool thing it's painted on silk. 

    YES, I said painted on silk.

    How cool is that?  I want it. 


    "Hunting Camp" by Nancy Cawdrey

    
    Or maybe it's time to take down my Cynthie Fisher painting and put up this one, since I've got some of my own Native paintings that I have up. 


    "Endless Summer" by Nancy Cawdrey

    Now, I've never been much of a floral person...until I saw this.  Isn't Miss Cawdrey amazing?  Go onto her site and look at her butterfly paintings too which I thought were really great as well.


    I think the better choice for me is her book, then I could have most of her paintings...just in a smaller version...aww heck if Big D got me a paint rag of hers I'd frame it and find somewhere to hang it. 

     I just may be her biggest fan!

    Here's a blurb from her website:  http://www.nancycawdrey.com/index.php

    "Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey is the daughter of a retired career officer, fortunate enough to be exposed to exotic cultures throughout her childhood. In whatever country her father was stationed, Nancy immersed herself in the culture, and her affection for the arts later led her to study two years in Paris and another five years in Britain.

    Nancy loves color, texture and pattern. She began her painting career 35 years ago and worked predominately in watercolor. Through her pursuit for texture and passion for color, Nancy discovered the spontaneity and brilliance she could create through painting on silk, a Chinese technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. And, although silk painting is now her medium of choice, she continues to explore a variety of subjects in watercolor, pastel, oil and experimental media. Often, we see a mixture of media in her silk compositions. Through this overlaying of various media she creates buoyant color and texture with her combination of transparent pigment and the shimmer of silk."  -From her website

    Keep up the good work Ms. Cawdrey...maybe we should trade Hereford paintings?

    My Christmas memory is from when I was a kid.  As you all know, I'm an artist, which I feel stupid saying in the presence of the great Nancy Cawdrey, one of my favorite artists of all time.  But it started as a kid when I would get art supplies for Christmas.  I remember  one Christmas in particular like it was yesterday, I got the Crayola crayon towers (do they still have them around?).  I thought I'd died and went to heaven.  I drew and colored on everything I could get my hands on that Christmas and treated that gift like it was sent from Heaven. 

    Even now when I get art supplies from my husband and kids I cherish them so much.  I ask for paint brushes every year.  Every year I get the same ones (the kids eventually find them around July and start wrecking them.  I work with them until there's one hair on them left then toss or let the kids think they are drum sticks=) ). I'm happy every year when I get that old paper towel roll wrapped up with brushes inside. 

    My charity for today is this; The Dreaming Zebra Foundation    http://www.dreamingzebra.org/

    Here's a little something from their website:

    "The Dreaming Zebra Foundation is a (501)(c)(3) charity providing support so that children and young adults are given an equal opportunity to explore and develop their creativity in the arts.

    The Dreaming Zebra Foundation was incorporated in Portland, Oregon in the interest of promoting greater access to the arts for children and young adults. Our founders recognized a pressing need in many communities for the promotion of charitable donations of art and music supplies to support individuals, schools, and other nonprofit organizations serving youth and the arts.

    Core to our identity is the belief that all children, regardless of their financial circumstances, should have access to art education. As a public charity powered by volunteers, this belief drives all that we do.

    The Dreaming Zebra Foundation’s supporters share a common passion for education, the environment, and community, and as such, we are able to connect the synergies between those who support the arts and those in need."  -From their website

    Happy trails and color with your kids today...you never know what they may turn out to be when they grow up!
    Fairchild Farmgirl

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    On the 19th Day OF Christmas I Asked For This Gift


    This coat...

    It's called the "Dusty Trail Ladies Plaid Jacket"  from Legendary Whitetails.  If I got it, I wouldn't take it off.  I would sleep in it...I'm sure of that.  And not just because our room is 15 degrees colder than any other room in the house. 

    I'd wear it because it's beautiful!

    Legendary Whitetails is a great company that some of my family have ordered from before and have loved the items they bought.  I was pretty happy when I got their catalog and I started paging through it.  When you marry into a hunting family, these are the kind of duds that everybody wears.

    Wait...nothing cute and plaid...they're all boys.

    Anyway, here's their website. http://www.deergear.com/home.jsp  shop online or request a catalog.  If you think this jacket is a-w-e-s-o-m-e just look at their other clothes for women and men...you won't be disappointed.  

    Shh!!!  There's a few shirts that I want to order for Big D in here. 

    If I get the coat, I will give a review blog side! =)

    My favorite Christmas memory is what happens every week on Wednesday, for 52 weeks a year (all of dem) ....before CCD class.  It fits with this blog and is much appreciated through the year, especially during the cold winter months around Christmas time.

    Venison.

    I know, I know.  At one time I was a venison snob.  Now it's deer meat Wednesdays.  I guess that's what happens when you have eight kids.  ALTHOUGH, I can make a lot of great foods with it.  My Cowboy beans recipe with venison is really awesome.  Come on over and try it sometime. 

    The charity I have chosen for this evening is a great one and I'm really excited to share it with you!

    "South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger.  http://www.feedtheneedsd.com/ 

    One out of every seven persons in South Dakota (or over 100,000 people) live at or below the poverty level according toFeeding South Dakota. About one-half of these people are children and infants. A primary food shortage is fresh meat which is in high demand and difficult to obtain. Of particular demand is game meat because of its nutritional value in having low fat and high protein content.
    At the same time, the deer and antelope populations in most areas of the state exceed population goals. Each year, many deer and antelope hunting licenses remain unsold, which results in a deer and antelope harvest that is too low for controlling the populations. If hunters purchase additional deer and antelope licenses and donate more harvested deer and antelope to needy families through South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger (SDSAH), the result would be a win-win situation!

    Hunters have been responding to these needs for increased deer and antelope harvest, and have increased meat donation especially in recent years. In 2010, 104,178 pounds of game meat were provided to needy families through SDSAH and local food relief agencies. This meat was primarily a result of hunters donating 2,560 deer, 140 antelope, 1 buffalo and 3,646 pheasants. Other game meat came from community game meat food drives, hunter direct donations of processed meat to food relief agencies, and salvage processing of confiscated or non-hunter killed game."  -From their website

    Sincerely,
    Fairchild Farmgirl...Now go hunt South Dakota!