Good Advice

On Monday, I spent my day at a horse show.  Not a rodeo.  A horse show.  There's a big difference.  A horse show is very proper and there are a lot of rules and it does not include cowboys.  Anyways, I spent my day at a horse show because Sister Pister was showing her horse, Gunner.  Now, that is the same horse that she rodeos with so we were all a little concerned about how he would handle a proper horse show because he's used to coming in the gate and runnin and runnin and runnin and runnin {say that like Forest Gump}.  For the horse show, Gunner had to come in the gate and stand still.  It takes a pretty dang good horse and a pretty dang good rider to be able to do both rodeos and horse shows because remember, there is a big difference. 

To get ready for a horse show you have to wash your horse, comb out its mane/tail, trim its face whiskers; it basically has to be cleaner than you are.  I always find it humorous to wash barn yard animals.  I don't know why...it just cracks me up.  So, on Sunday night, Sister Pister washed her horse and then planned to keep him in the barn so he would stay clean.   

Sister Pister, what you doing down there? 

You're doing a little washing you say?  Ok.  Please, I wish you would look more annoyed with me right now.  You don't enjoy my humor while you are washing your horse?  Ok again. 

I was amazed at the shiny-ness. 

I really couldn't quite get over the shiny-ness.  It held my attention for quite some time.  It's not everyday a horse is this shiny people. 

Momma Debi, official horse holder. 

Ever feel like one of these {a horse's a**}?  It happens to me all the time.  Really, all the time.  Don't feel bad. 

When I arrived at the horse show on Monday, I saw this.  Yes, that would be Gunner's very clean and very white sock and his very shiny and very clean back hooves standing right next to a pile of his own poo.  I think this has something to do with why I find it humorous to wash barn yard animals.  When I saw this, I thought to myself, "Self, this reminds you of something...what is it?"   

When I got home and saw this on my kitchen counter, I remembered. 

That would be a birthday card I received from Auntie Colonel and I just can't throw it away.  It makes me laugh every time I see it and besides that, it's just plain old good advice.  Harry S. Truman, your head was not just a hat rack was it?   

And, speaking from personal experience, this is really something everyone should know.  When you are out in a pasture on a hot summer day and you accidently walk or run through a fresh pile of poo, it's a very yucky thing.  Kicking a fresh turd on a hot day really is no fun.  No fun at all. 

After I got over the pile of fresh Gunner poo right behind his clean self, I concentrated on what was important at the horse show.  This would Sister Pister on the right and her good friend on the left.  Notice all the rules like they have to wear helmets, white long sleeve shirts, belts, etc... because it's a horse show.  Sister Pister hates wearing that helmet.  Just thought I should let you know that.   

These two ladies pretty much cleaned house at the horse show for their age division.  They took turns taking Grand and Reserve Champion all day and it was fun to see both girls do so well. 

It really all boils down to this good advice for the day. 

1.  Washing barn yard animals is weird. 
2.  It's alright if you feel like a horse's a** every once in awhile; it happens to me all the time. 
3.  Don't kick a fresh turd on a hot day. 
4.  And, if you work with your horses as much as those two girls do, you will see success.   


The Lawn Mower Incident

Everytime I go to the farm, there is this yellow wire/pole combo thing that stares me in the face.  It's like it taunts me.  Yes, it really does.  A long, long time ago when I was a newly minted five year old, I had a little incident with the lawn mower and that yellow wire/pole combo thing.  First, to get the full effect of exactly what a newly minted five year old mowing lawn looks like, I feel you need to see something. 

That would be me as a newly minted five year old using a riding lawn mower.  Ummm...parents?  I guess there was different rules in the 80's.  Or maybe they just wanted to get as much work out of me as possible as soon as possible.  Or maybe I was driving Momma Debi crazy {I can't imagine} and she just wanted me out of the house.  Any way you slice it, there I am mowing in my rolled up jeans and velcro shoes.  Such a fashionista already.  And, please remember with me that at that time in ND, it was a drought.  Hence, the very ugly brown grass.  I do assure you that the mower was actually running even though it looks like there is nothing to mow.  And, I need you to notice the look of concentration on my face, that will come in to play later on.   

The incident with the wire/pole combo thing didn't happen that day.  No, the incident with the wire/pole combo happened a different day that summer.  The wire/pole combo thing is in the middle of a circle of grass that the circle driveway at the farm goes around.  It sounds complicated, but it's really not.  Here it is now {notice the green, green grass because we are in the opposite of a drought this summer}.  That yellow protector thing has always been there...it's not an add-on.   

So, there I was a newly minted five year old mowing the lawn in a drought and I was really quite proud of myself.  I've always had a tendency to be pretty proud of myself.  Anyways, I was mowing along, concentrating...until...something distracted me. 

The something that distracted me was our neighbor, who I'll call Troy {could be his real name, could be not his real name...you decide}, drove in with a tractor and baler.  I was so proud of my mowing abilities I started waving like a wild woman and smiling and waving and yelling and waving.  I guess I had already acquired my attention issues by then because I got so wrapped up in smiling and waving and yelling and waving that I stopped paying attention to mowing.  

The result of that not paying attention was...I drove the lawn mower up the yellow wire/pole combo thing.  I'll say it again.  I drove the lawn mower up the yellow wire/pole combo thing.    

I know it sounds unbelievable so I'll explain some more.  I must have been heading straight for it and hit it at just the right angle because the lawn mower actually drove up on and balanced on the yellow wire/pole combo thing.  The tiller was on the back of the riding mower and that held the mower in place balanced on the yellow wire/pole combo thing. 

Here's a little recap.  Mowing.  Super proud of myself.  Distraction.  Waving.  Yelling.  Smiling.  Up the yellow wire/pole combo thing.  Mower stuck on it balanced.  All because of the tiller on the back that prevented it from tipping one way or the other. 

I      f.r.e.a.k.e.d      out.  Not because I thought the mower was going to tip or because I thought my life was in danger.  I freaked out because I thought Dad-o would be mad at me.  So, I jumped off the mower while it was still balanced on the yellow wire/pole combo thing.  Back then the mowers would stay going even if there wasn't weight on the seat so the engine stayed running and the mower deck kept running as well.  I jumped off and RAN to the house and hid, crouched in the kitchen by the dishwasher {why I thought that was a good hiding place, I do not know} and screamed. 

Momma Debi came running in the kitchen and was all, "WHAT is wrong?"  And then I was all, "Mower {cry} pole {cry some more} up all the way {cry even more} I'm going to be in trouble {go into complete hysterics}."  And then Momma Debi was all, "Amy, I can't understand you.  What happened?"  And then, before I could start my crying hysterical explanation again, Dad-o came barreling through the door yelling, "Where's Amy?!  Is she ok?  Holy {bad word}!  Where is she?!" 

He wasn't mad.  He was scared.  He was scared because he was working in the shop at the time of the incident and heard Troy making a ruckus and looked out and saw the lawn mower with the mower still RUNNING balanced up on the yellow wire/pole combo thing.  He was scared because he thought I was underneath the balancing lawn mower. 

So, back to the kitchen scene.  Momma Debi, ever the calm force, pointed to me in crying hysterics by the dishwasher and Dad-o was all, "Thank God you are ok!  I't's fine.  I'll get the lawn mower down.  Really, calm down."  Whew.

He took me outside and he got the mower down off the pole.  I don't really remember how, he just did it.  And, then, here's the best part.  The best part is he put me right back on that mower and said, "There you go, you can keep mowing.  Just watch where you are going."

Just watch where you are going?  That's all I got?    

I guess there was no room for fear so I did it.  I kept mowing.  I often think of that situation and it's kind of like getting back on a horse after it bucks you off.  You can either be scared of the horse forever or you can decide to just keep on riding.  Dad-o apparently didn't want me to be scared of lawn mowers {maybe because that would be an odd fear}, so he plopped me right back on it and had me keep mowing.  Life lesson #254.  

Here's a little remnant of the incident that is still on the pole today.  Everytime I see it, I'm always reminded of driving the lawn mower up it.  Not many people can say they have done that.  It's crossed off my bucket list.   


One More Time

It's been a month since cow working weekend and I just have to go back there one more time.  It was so wet and muddy and wet and poopy and wet, but productive.  The sad and bad thing is...it's still that wet, and actually, it's even more wet now.  It just isn't a good summer for growing things {turns out green things need the sun every once in awhile} and that can be a bit disheartening to those that grow.  The weather is so uncontrollable and I guess this year will be a test of the perserverance and spirit of all those who depend on it. 

I have to admire those whose pay checks depend on the weather.  I always said growing up, "My job will NOT depend on the weather" because I hated the drought.  And, it turns out my job has nothing to do with the weather.  But, that doesn't mean my heart doesn't still hurt for those who do.  They are strong people, that's for sure.

In the middle of all the frustration with the weather, life still goes on and good still happens.  

Good like this. 
Two farm cousins learning the ropes.   

Cousin B, always a calm force, always ready to lend a hand.  And, he happens to be the one who taught me the majority of what I know about photography.  For that, I will forever be grateful.  He also happens to have very reflective sunglasses. 

Brother, doing what he loves. 

Easy Rider has cows and horses and farm and dirt and tractors in his blood and he already is itching to do everything the "big, big boys" do. 

Firecracker gets into it also.  It always makes me smile to see these two kids learning how to help,  they are already developing a work ethic that will help them for the rest of their lives. 

Who would have thought all of those years ago when Brother would set up all of his animals and pens in the living room and draw his plans for his ranch on paper over and over again that one day he would really be doing it?  He did.  He thought it and he did it.   

A little sweetness. 

Sister Pister's tucking her shirt in.  It's getting serious people.  Last year, for some reason, Sister Pister decided she would try and teach Buckshot and Curly to do round-offs.  It was hilarious.  So, I made them do it again this year because I'm bossy like that.   

Apparently, the boys did not practice the whole year.  Way to go boys. 

Don't you love how little boys are just little boys?      

Dad-o {Papa} has quite the soft spot for his grandkids. 

Sometimes the feet just need a break from the mud boots.  They just do. 

Cousin B and his wife, Pic {I like to refer to her as partner-in-crime}.  They are two of the hardest working people you will ever find and they always help whenever it's needed.  Pic and I are cut from the same cloth {high-strung, do it yesterday types} and when we get together, let's just say, stuff gets d.o.n.e.  And, we have some fun too.  And, we are both highly competitive and let's just say there was an incident of ladder golf one summer when I actually yelled across to her, "WE cannot be losing right now!!  WE don't lose!"  

There are just some moments in life when you think, "well, there you have it" and this was one of those times.  If you ever question how much a child looks up to the adults in their lives, I think this picture ought to answer that for you. 

And, then, a cute baby sighting.  I can't believe how much he's grown in the last month.  Little Man looks like a little peanut...now he's a big, little peanut. 

Time will fly like it always does and soon he will be out with the rest of us crazies.  Then, he will wonder what he has gotten himself in to.  Then, I'll tell him, because I love to state the obvious, that he's gotten himself into a gong show. 


Father's Day and Birthday Happy

The family celebrated Father's Day and my birthday yesterday.  It was actually warm and very, very sunny which we have not had a whole lot of this summer...both were awesome!  It was a great day. 

A day...

Full of cute little baby shoes.

Full of the cute Little Man that goes with the shoes.

Full of fruity, adult beverages. 

Full of fruity, kid-friendly {and Amy friendly because of the dang medicine} beverages. 

Full of a birthday cake.  A strange birthday cake.  Carrot cake with loads of cream cheese frosting.  My request that Momma Debi made. 

Full of a little cowboy so excited to ride "hootey" that he was coming out of his britches. 

Full of an aged {I just can't bear to call him old}, faithful horse named Smokey teaching another little girl to love riding. 

Full of two kids READY to ride. 

Full of an Easy Rider who says, "I will take turns" so his friend Brennan can ride too.   

Full of two adorable neighbor boys, Brennan and Hank, stopping by to get in on the action. 

Full of a first time ride on Chief the pony in "Grandma" Debi's arena. 

Full of one friend helping another friend. 

Full of a Dad teaching his girl to ride all by herself. 

Full of a precious Little Man blowing some adorable baby bubbles all the while mid-blink in the bright sun. 

Full of Sil riding Fox for the first time {Sister Pister decided she had to share every once in awhile} and loving it. 

Full of a Dad letting his boy have a turn on the "big hootey" too. 

Full of a truly content Little Man taking a nap outside.   

Full of Firecracker working on her sunflower seeds. 

Full of the little cowboy showing his love for his pony and his fearlessness. 

Full of a little girl in love with a big, big horse.  And, full of a big, big horse in love with a little girl. 

Full of a little spraying because, well, it had to get done. 

Full of a Dad working hard, but taking the time to open a present from his girls. 

A full day indeed.  A wonderful, full day.