Saturday, April 28, 2012

Momma Puff

This is whom I call, Momma Puff.  Momma Puff is one of our hens who decided to start nesting one day behind a piece of plywood. 

Normally a hen wouldn't puff and fluff her feathers but she's got a lot of eggs to cover....

See how some of the eggs are green and brown?  That's because Momma Puff takes a break, gets something to eat, hangs out at the water for a little bit with her hen friends while another hen who doesn't want to be disturbed by taking care of eggs and nesting, quickly jumps on her pile, lays one and gets off before Momma Puff comes back. 

I think MP must come back, look at all 30+ eggs, sighs maybe says "darn it",  gets back on pushing the eggs under her and puffing herself up to cover everything.

So when you think you've got too much going on and you feel trapped and overloaded,

Think of Momma Puff, sigh, say darn it and plow through it. 

If Momma Puff can do it, so can you.

Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caught In A Love Triangle

                                                             courtesy of

Hey everybody.

I'm tired.

Do you know why I'm tired? Not because of pregnancy, cattle, pigs, sheep, kids, impending garden/vineyard/orchard issues, but...

Because I (we) are caught in a love triangle.

I'm sure you guys are like "what?  Last we knew you were happily married.  What's going on pray tell?"

 I guess it's better to say that we are party to watching a love triangle.  Well, since the flashlight battery was almost dead, I suppose it's more like we were party to listening to a love triangle, if you have to get technical about it.

I know, I know, how come we were listening in on it?  Are we disgusting people that are into that kind of thing? 

No certainly not.  Let me tell you about this "middle of the night escapade". 

It all started this way:

Three AM.  Maggie came into our room crying about falling off the couch while sleeping.  For.the.second.time.  So I put her in bed with Big D and I went to try to get some shut eye on the couch. 

It's safe to say that last night, our living room looked like a frat house on a Friday night.  Kids sleeping everywhere.  'Did I feed you something weird tonight or did I let you watch a bad show, what's going on?  Why is no one in their beds?' I wondered as I positioned kids elsewhere so I could have the big couch to  myself.

Then I fell asleep.  It took me about 3.5 seconds.  Suddenly, I'm awaken by snarling and caterwauling (I know, had to be serious to caterwaul, especially since I don't know what that means but sounded good anyway).  Grace sat straight up on the recliner, "mom!  what is that?"  It could've raised the dead for Pete sake.

Just then, Ron comes flying out of the bedroom.  "Where's a light? There's some raccoons fighting in the grove."

Now, I don't know about you, but I never see any raccoons around.


Oh, I know there here, but they're sneaky.  Every spring when the air is nice, there maybe a breeze, before the feedlot stinks to high Heaven, we will have the windows open at night in our bedroom.  Our bedroom backs up to the grove.  Which is apparently equal to a happening raccoon make out spot.  AND you hear it...raccoons...for like a week.  Every night.  Seriously.

As they screeched, screamed and snarled for a good 10 minutes, I imagined two big males out there on a limb of an old dead cotton wood and a female sitting there trying to look beautiful.  I don't know, maybe secretly thinking what idiots these guys were and the males fighting for her. 

When Ron came back in the bedroom with the flashlight, he pushed the button only to have it go dim right away.

"Darn batteries!"

By that time Fluff had come by our bedroom window and Ron told her, "go get them girl!"  She responded by laying down, as if to say, "no, it's kind of fun to listen to', or she was saying "it's 3 AM and you don't have a decent light, AND I'm not going out there by myself."

Or maybe just Fluff and I need some more sleep! 

Your very tired Farmgirl

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sheep Sitting And Nine Other Crazy Things That Happened This Week


This week has been "something else" for the lack of a better phrase.  Most of it I can't remember right now because I choose not to.

It will give me a headache. 

And the majority of it happened in about 2 days.

But I will give you this weeks highlights in a top ten form: 

10.  Sheep Sitting - Yes, at our farm.  Our son was supposed to fix fence for a guy that is using the state land next door.  Well, the poor guy came to drop off his sheep on the pasture ground and Cody didn't do a good enough job (our bad, we should've checked it out.  After all, the kid is only 14, and has never fixed fence by himself before).  So while the guy was ranting to me about how mad he was (he had every right to be) I opened my big mouth and told him to unload them here and I would take care of them until the fence got fixed. I sit with sheep.  That aren't my own.  That I'm feeding.  My hay.  But I won't complain, they are actually kinda growing on me.  I like them and the funniest thing came out of Grace's mouth.  She ran up the driveway from school, ran in the house and screamed "Thank you mom for getting us llamas!  I love you!" I'm like, llamas, what the heck? "Mom, you know those llamas in the hog pen!  They're beautiful!" 

Sorry honey, they're huge sheep! 

Hee hee!

9.  Spring cleaning...everywhere! -  What is that grossness under the dish washer?  "Kids, go check it out."  You just wait, they'll be CSI investigators yet!

 8.  Hatching chicks, ducks and one seriously homely looking goose - I have to say first of all, most of these 200+ chicks came from our Runnings store.  But this gathering eggs, washing them (only once in Dawn dish soap - oops, sorry 25 ducks that went bad!)  and watching them hatch, well its' just good for a person ya know!?!

7.  Watching an idiot get stuck - Then tearing up the bottom of our lawn.  This actually looks a bit better, it was kinda smoothed out with the bobcat to get rid of the deep ruts.  When Ron was gone (that's of course when all the magic happens) a truck loaded with gluten came to the yard to drop off.  I could tell he hadn't been here before, so I thought I'd flag him down and tell him where to go since I didn't want him getting stuck and going int the wrong place.  He drove darn near up the whole driveway and started to back down. 

With me trying to flag him down the whole way.  Which he did see me because I was about 5 feet in front of his cab like a crazy lady.  After the stupid move he made next, I wanted to have my fist make contact with face, but oh well, I'll hatch out more chicks, do origami and take an anger management class. 

He backed in the wrong way and got so stuck trying to get out of it.  What was stupid is he kept givin' her heck when he knew he couldn't get out.  Hence the almost 12" digs he made in my yard. 

So then...he gets out of the truck comes up to me all mad and says, "I've never been here before how does everyone else do it?" Then, not sorry, just "what do ya got to get me out?"   

No kidding moron? 

The first thing out of my mouth was "what the hell was that?"  and "not anything that isn't hooked up to something, I suppose I'll have to drum somebody up" and I took off in a huff,  Jessica in tow.  Now I know some guys don't want to listen to a woman...

But I think he should next time, don't you?

6. Washing Wool - I've done a lot of this in the last few days!  I sent some off to the mill to get done, now this is the next that will be going there.  I also have a beautiful deep brown that will go there too.

5. Nursing this goofball back to health - Beginning of the week was bad.  Then I went out to the barn and there she was, eyes sunken in, breathing hard and looking like crap in general.  I would've sworn she was fine the day before.  I laid on her and bawled my eyes out.

 The vet came out and fixed her up.  She didn't do too bad with all the shots, but the funny thing was he gave her this high energy thing through a tube in her throat.  I had to laugh when Ron, who was holding her with all his might said, we should've just put this in a calf bottle."

Anyway, I gave her a massage the other day and slowly did a rectal temp on her (she didnt' even know) and she's fit as a fiddle once again. 

4. Paying for this thing to be fixed - All of the sudden, clunk, chug, puff...DIE.  We had to pull it on the trailer with the bobcat. A fuel pump, cam shaft (cam something), oil change and something else later...oops that would be our $800+ check to fix it we got it back.  Now, I don't know about you all, but we need this thing.  When you are fixing fence a mile down the road and you forgot a tool, it takes a heck of a long time to walk back, hence the "ride" is a great thing. 

I missed you Ranger Crew.  Glad you're back...this fat girl doesn't want to run back a mile to get a pliers.

3. Thinking up constant egg recipes - Power down hens!

2. Working in the orchard & vineyard - It sure is funny how romanced your place gets over the winter.  I mean how great it is going to be to get outside and work in the fruit. 

ERRRRRR....will I ever learn?  This has taken a lot of time friends...

and it ain't over yet! =)

That brings us to number one.

Two nights ago, Big D and I were completely shot.  We had just washed and incubated a ton of eggs and spiffed up the kitchen and it was 11:30 PM.  As we were crawling into bed, D says," Do you hear that?" 
"No!" I groaned, I didn't want to hear anything anymore.
"It's something in the toy box chattering.  Damn those toys that make sounds!" The toy box is directly on the other side of the wall from his head.
At that point I didn't care and told Big D to go out and find it if it was going to drive him nuts, which he did.  Suddenly, I hear toys being thrown, words I can't put into this family friendly blog, and toys sounding off.
"Do you need some help?" I ask as I walked out there.
"It's coming from here," he said pointing to a spot in the toy corner that was about a foot deep with assorted small toys. "Watch out," he said, "it can throw its voice!"

Okay buddy I think you need more sleep than me.

Every time you would move something it sounded like there was a high pitched squirrel chattering.  You would stop and so would it.

This went on for a few minutes and we got to the point where we were so tired and on a mission to find it, a chuckle turned into hard laughing and soon we were both crying with laughter.  So when we finally found the little thing and D had threatened to shoot it in the morning with his rifle as it sat on a post, we pick it up only to hear another one chatter;

Hee, hee, hee, hee!

So 1. is finding your kids noisy Zhu-zhu pet at midnight in your  underwear (not a pretty sight) and hoping you don't wake your kids while you throw the toys in disgust across the room. 

Your crazy Fairchild Farmgirl

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Fairchild Family Vacation (Pretty Much The Griswolds, Only More Of Us)

So before all hell breaks loose for the spring, summer and fall, we took the kids on a vacation. It was wonderful.  The first morning I woke up and there wasn't any cow poop smell filling my nostrils. 

Where the heck was I????

On the shores of Lake Superior, near Silver Bay, MN where I went to high school. 

It was actually to spend Easter with my family for a change, then celebrate my parents anniversary and their birthdays.

Here we are in all our glory.

Here's Grace after too much sugar from the Easter Bunny.

Here's the van after yours truly hit a deer two hours into our trip.  What can I say?  It was bound to happen, on the stretch of road we were on there was dead deer littering the side of the road like garbage.  It was insane.  Right before it ran in front of me, I thought about what it would be like if I hit one.

Then I knew.

But we went to a concrete place used a crow bar to get the bumper off the wheel and we were on the road again.  Scraped off the guts and we were on our way.

We stayed here and I found myself never wanting cow manure to enter my nostrils again.  On the last night of our vacation, after everybody else went home to their real lives, I went down to my sisters cabin and we got to hang out.  It was awesome.  Here's the website if you want to stay somewhere amazing.  Oh, and the picture is courtesy of Cove Point Lodge.

We also took all the kids hiking at Tettigouche State Park about 5 miles away.  I used to hike there a lot with my BFF Mickey.  Although, I don't think we ever got lost in the wilderness with eight kids that were hungry at lunch time.   But we made it through.

Overall, this was a great time!

But you know what? 

By the last morning....

I woke up thinking about how I needed to smell cow poop.

Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crazy TUESDAY With Jennifer Wilhelm

Welcome to another addition of Crazy Monday! I'd like you to meet a cool rancher gal named Jennifer Wilhelm. I just got home from vacation and I was lucky enough to have my Monday post right in my email account. Unfortunately, like we all know on a farm or ranch, there were so many chores to do and things to check that it's going to be a "Crazy Tuesday" for me.

SO with that said, take it away Jennifer!
    Life on a ranch can be crazy busy at times or just plain crazy. I have learned this the hard way over the last 5 years that I have been a rancher’s wife. I didn't grow up on a ranch; my dad was in the military. Sure it was in Texas so I was around horses and cows and always dreamed of being a rancher’s wife, but the reality however is very different from the dream.

But better.

The one story I would love to share is how I broke my finger bottle feeding a calf.  Here it is:

It was the first year we were at the ranch and we had our first bottle calf. The mom had twins and this one was the one not getting enough milk, so the hubby brought her home. We had her for about a month or so at the barn feeding her, when I went down early one Saturday morning to feed her myself. Our youngest daughter was only 2 years old at the time and she was with me while the hubby was up at the house.

Now I had to be quick when I was finishing feeding the calf or she would try and make a break for it out of her pen through the gate when I was trying to close it. The gate is made from 2 inch steel pipe frame with a welded wire cattle panel. So I finish feeding the calf through the gate, which would have worked, except for the dog and the horses. At the time, our heeler and horses did not get along!  He was in the barn yard with the little one and myself, as I tried to finish feeding the calf and close and latch the gate all at the same time. I was watching the dog and the horses, trying to keep our youngest daughter from getting kicked or ran over while feeding through the gate.

That would have been okay, but while my hand was in the welded wire with the bottle, the calf butted the bottle sending my index finger on my right hand into the wire panel. Now this was the first time I had ever broken a bone, so it sent me to my knees, the world around me started to go dark and all I could think of was I had to stay awake to keep my daughter safe. I managed to keep from blacking out, got the gate latched, got out of the barnyard and started yelling for the hubby on the way up to the house. The hubby knew that my finger was broken, just not how bad.  We headed to the emergency room, only to be told by the ER doctor, that they were not sure but they thought it was broke! Ended up at the vet and sure enough it was broke, not bad, but enough to need a splint for a few weeks.

 Talk about a rude awakening to ranch life! I had been on the ranch less than 3 months! I can say now though that I no longer try and feed a calf and close a gate at the same time and I have been able to feed calves for the last 4 plus years with no more broken bones!

Thanks so much Jennifer!  Oh by the way, check out her AWESOME Etsy site: and her blog called:  Ranch Wife Tales

Fairchild Farmgirl

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Birth, Death And Our Crazy Farm Life

Last week was nuts and you know what?  The nuttyness factor is popping into this week as well.

Yes, the nuttyness factor.

It's a word!

First of all, we lost momma goose.  However, it was really stupid how we lost her.  No, we didnt' take her to town and drop her off or anything.  Last Monday it was really windy and the geese and ducks like to lay in the shade and wind protection of our 2004 3/4 ton GMC lawn ornament (the tranny's out on that pick up).

Not sure what sparked her to run straight into the running board on the driver's side, but she clotheslined herself and had enough oomph left to crawl under the truck and die there. 

I know...dumb.

Apparently, they mate for life (or so Big D says so he can butcher the gander) and he's pretty lonely.  He now goes up to anything with a chrome on it and talks to himself.  I don't know what the conversation is, but the standing in front of my vehicle when I'm trying to get up the driveway has to end or he will.  It's getting bad when I have to carry a cattle stick in my truck, quickly shoo him away and hurry up the driveway as he chases me as if to say, "hold on...I have no one to talk to!"

I know...even dumber than a goose suicide. 

We need to be a reality show.

Then we had great news! 

Sunny was born!  Number four for my future herd.  We almost got killed by a Hereford that thought we were taking her baby away (sorry girl, remember, we took yours away the week before.)  Lets just say, she tried to push her way through a sucker rod fence to get to me, bellaring "MAAAAAAAAA!" and shaking her head the whole time. 

I was scared!

Then, here's where the crazy came in.

We had a sheep start to lamb. 


Cute enough, a ram lamb that I can register and sell.  Awesome!  She's pretty fat, is there another one in there?

Not looking good.  She couldn't pass this to save her life.  It took two strong doses of Oxytocin before it came out, along with this:

Finally she passes a ton of this white stuff.  At first I thought it was fat, (she may have ripped) but I knew better, it would have been yellowish.  I thought maybe it was a decomposing lamb, but I thought that would stink to high Heaven.  =)

I called the vet and he confirmed that it was indeed a lamb absorption (there was way more white chunky stuff especially all over my hands) to come after this photo.  So gross.  It didn't stink because it was in a sterile environment and no bacteria was allowed in.

I learn something new every year. 

I also learned that this mother is a doorknob.  The next day she laid on the lamb, even though she had a huge pen and killed him. 

Glad she's not my momma!
Fairchild "Crazy Life" Farmgirl

P.S.  Don't worry about the goose.  He found a new friend.  The dog.  They hang out. He bites her a lot and she lets him. 

I know...even more stupid than goose suicide, gander self talk and lamb suffocation.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crazy Monday With Therese Staeger

This sure has been a crazy Monday!  I apologize for not getting this blog done sooner, but I assure you...

It's totally worth the wait.

I JUST KNEW Therese would have a great yarn to spin. 

I wasn't disappointed.

Some of my favorite stories of all time came from the 30's, 40's and 50's.  What a great time to be alive.  From now, they sure looked more simple and laid back but I'm willing to bet they had just the same hard times farming and ranching as some of us face, just on a different scale. 

In comes the story from Therese.  It's a wonderful tale of her early years on a sheep ranch with her parents in Wyoming.  I sure hope she will share more of them with us someday.  I feel like stories from this era are slipping away and people feel like no one wants to hear them.  I know I sure did! 

Without further adieu, my friend and soon to be yours, Therese Staeger.

Sheep Shearing In The Thirties

Back in the pre-ww2 era ranching was done a bit differently than it is now in some instances.

The United States produced a lot of sheep, wool for clothing, bedding and good carpet among other things. Lamb was popular and it did not come from New Zealand and our Beef was from here too. Changes are not always necessary or bad but our ranchers today must face the outside competition and still make a living.

In the late thirties I was a small child, very curious and under foot too much of the time, it was the start of my education in animal husbandry. I loved every animal and still do, I have a special fondness for sheep the first animal that wasn’t so huge alongside of little me.

Sheep shearing time was a special time in the spring in Wyoming, My uncle Frank Eychaner and his brother Orville had a good sized sheep ranch near Mayoworth as did several others in the area. At shearing time they used a large community shearing shed and pens where the sheep were brought to and shorn, which could last many days into weeks with the amount of sheep being shorn. Shearing then was done with hand blades, later electric ones were run by a generator and eventually regular power when it became available.

My mom, aunt and her sister in law cooked for all in the adjoining cook house. Everyone had a job to do and was very busy with the exception of my cousin Florence and I. Any trouble that found us was her fault she was old enough to know better, my part into anything was: OK!

First thing we went to the shearing shed to watch the action of the wool coming off in pretty much a large sheet leaving a clean creamy

almost naked sheep behind, the wool tier making a bundle that was tied with twine and then tossed up to the wool stomper inside the huge wool sack. I was really impressed with that! A few days later while everyone was eating I went by myself to the shed, climbed the frame and jumped in the sack where just a few wool bundles had been tossed in. As soon as I landed in the bottom and looked up I realized it was a long ways to the top, I noticed sheep ticks on the inside of the sack. YIKES!! I managed to get out and back to where I belonged, I didn’t even tell my cousin. A well learned lesson for the day.

The next day we decided to visit Orville’s tepee. Lambing in those days was done out on the range using small lambing tents when needed. The Eychaner sheep wagon was down by the cook house so my brother and Florence’s cousin, the two babies had a quiet place for naps. So Oroville put up a small tepee to be with the sheep at night. It was cute, had a canvas floor too. Inside on one side was a rolled up bedroll, in the corner was 4 empty beer cases, we were thirsty so tipped up a few bottles to see if there was any beer left…nothing!

That bedroll looked interesting so we untied the ropes, unrolled it crawled in to check it out. Somehow it didn’t go back quite like we found it…our reasoning was "he" will never notice!!

The moral is.. NEVER TOUCH ANYONES BEDROLL IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE! I think the folks in Kaycee heard him yelling about those girls better not come near his stuff again! He loved us both all of his life and always gave us big hugs and happy to see us. We never bothered

anything of his ever again. Later when I was older I learned how to make a proper bedroll.

Thank you ever so much Therese!  Don't you think she needs to share more by writing a book?  I told her I get the first copy! 

Fairchild Farmgirl