Sunday, November 20, 2016
After I got done milking this morning (Saturday), I walked to what we refer to as "The Low Pasture" to check up on the beasts there. I had already noticed that it was quite cool, and there was a serious frost upon the windows and the vegetation, the first "killing frost" we've had this year. As I walked through the crunchy grass, breaking off frozen blades in the bright, sharply angled, winter sunlight, I heard a gentle pop, and turned to see what it was. But as I looked, I could see nothing; all I saw were trees and a single leaf floating to the ground. Still looking, listening intently on this almost perfectly still morning, the air just barely stirred, nearly imperceptibly. Then just as I felt the air move I heard it again; pop... pop... and then popopopopopopopop! The sound was actually the noise the leaf makes when disconnecting from the tree. I witnessed the very moment when all things came into place for the time to be right to start dropping leaves, and did they ever! These Mulberry trees that have been standing over my property for most of a century prior to it becoming my property were dropping leaves like rain, covering the ground like a blanket as the very light breeze did gentle violence to the trees. I walked closer and couldn't help but drop to my knees in the frosty grass, crushed by the beauty and splendor of the moment, to give thanks and worship the God that put me in such a place that allows me to be the intimate witness to the unhurried undressing of these trees, yet some of them for reasons unknown, seemed to shed their coverings more hurriedly than others, like a young husband anxious to slide between the sheets with his bride.
And then just in time, lest this moment be spoiled by not having anyone with which to share it, my very nearly 12-year-old son Isaiah happened along with his new bb-gun looking for something to shoot. I beckoned him over and he knelt down patiently beside his very strange father and together we enjoyed the quiet cacophony of half a dozen trees exfoliating in this still, bright morning.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
And so I did. At first, it was cute. If I was kneeling down, working on a piece of equipment, like a grain cart (something she is fond of), she was right there behind me, and I mean RIGHT there, with her huge white and black melon right next to mine, and I mean RIGHT next to mine, breathing heavily into my ear, whilst she endeavored to figure out what I was doing. As I said, I thought it was cute that she was interested in what I was doing. I never thought about it much but it did seem that I was going through feed faster than usual. So I started paying attention from the house. Sure enough, there she was, working the lever with with her nose, spilling feed out all over the ground and gorging herself on it... Uh, oh: I bought a 'Stein...
She has other tricks, as well; she apparently has some incredible bladder and bowel control; she seemingly can wait all day until you're ready to milk her before she cuts loose with both, just to let you know how she feels about you messing around with her "momma parts" back there. But the real kicker was the other day after recently bringing them both home after spending the summer on pasture waiting to calve; it's my habit to just look for them as I go in and out of the house and reassure myself that they aren't getting into any mischief. If I don't see them, I don't worry, but in the back of my head, I make a mental note and make sure that I can see them next time. Well, I hadn't seen them all afternoon long, and was just a little worried about what they were up to, but I was too busy breaking plumbing parts in the basement, alternating from spraying water everywhere out of a 3/4" pipe, and making trips to the hardware store, so I didn't take the time to actually go check on them.
So, on the return home from the FOURTH trip to the hardware store, I noticed a decidedly "frosty" attitude in the kids as I saw them stomping around, carrying brooms, shovels and scoops. "Uh oh!, says I, maybe I better clear out, let whatever happened settle down a little." So, a little while after busily breaking plumbing parts and fixing them over and over again got boring, I went out and looked at what was going on. So apparently, my 'Stein figured out how to work the latch on the barn door and managed to not only get in, but allow her progeny to come in, AND shut the door behind them so that it didn't become obvious that something was awry at the Thistle and Lily farm/ranch.
You might ask yourself, what is the big deal? Animals in the barn? Isn't that what a barn is for? Well, yeah, technically that is true, but here at the Thistle and Lily, our barn is a milking barn, which means to us, we at least try to keep it clean to cut down on the amount of flies. But having 2 huge 'Steins in it ALL DAY LONG GORGING THEMSELVES ON GRAIN does not lend itself to a clean barn at all. Luckily for me, I didn't even have to hardly lift a finger. The kids were all out in the barn when I got there, spraying it down, but decidedly "huffy," and mumbling farmy/homeschooley swear words under their breath: "dad-gum, dirty, stupid polka-dot fatso Holstein, she musta not poo-ed for a week, saving that up... Why can't we have a nice little Jersey, instead of a big lardo-butt like Blubberbutt (her name whenever she's done something bad...)"
But anyway, the point is this; No, I do not have a cow. Yes, I have a 'Stein. Again, she is not a cow; I don't know what she is, maybe a 1600 pound lapdog, is my best guess. But what I do have, is some pretty darn good kids that help out. Very nice!
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Number 2). You are reasonably sure that you are the father.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
So as we were heading out California, towards Vegas, I noticed that we are headed east on a 3 lane highway and it seems we have the whole thing to ourselves. But the perplexing thing is that the other side of the highway is also 3 lanes, but it looks like a parking lot! And as we drove and drove, for hours, it still looked like a parking lot! Why is east bound empty, and west bound crammed completely full of cars barely moving??? Finally, I think I figured it out... It was Sunday afternoon. The end of the weekend. All these cars were coming home from Vegas!! It was dumbfounding to me the volume of cars. I obviously have no real concept of how many people there really are in CA, because if that many people left Kansas for a weekend, you would just have shut Kansas down, because there wouldn't be anybody left to run it...
Anyway, we blew through Vegas as fast as we could, camped at lake Mead, drove to the Hoover dam to see it, and they wouldn't let us through the inspection/checkpoint to go across it because I had a firearm in the vehicle. I was so bummed and disappointed! This has been a life long dream and goal of mine; I've always been fascinated by the Hoover dam and wanted to see it. In retrospect, I should have ejected the magazine, and chucked my handgun out the window and into the ditch. It would be a lot cheaper than buying two tickets back to Vegas just to see the Hoover Dam! Which is what will eventually happen.
But we soldiered on; we went Northeast on Highway 15 up through Utuh. I was pretty impressed with Utah; 15 goes for a significant way up in between what appears to be two mountain ranges. We were driving in a large valley, green grass, cattle grazing, hay country. It was quite rainy, and once we got up to interstate 70, our elevation was around 7-8000 feet. The rain clouds seemed impossibly close. But the real shocker for the whole trip was that part of Utah! Sooo beautiful! I guess it may have been just the unexpectedness of it, but I was so taken with all the buttes and mesas. The freshness of the rain I suppose, really brought out all the coloration, but I loved seeing the heavy, dark clouds just barely scoot across the tops of the mesas, sometimes scraping off a little puff of clouds from the underside of it. Then it just gets stuck there alongside the mesa, like a pouty little fat kid who can't quite make it over the fence like his friends just did...
|This is at a scenic look out along the highway 70|
|This is called "the three gossips"|
|Freshly baked Kalimantan Olive Bread.|
|Isaiah's first taste of Oysters! He prefers beef...|
|Riding inside the funny trollies. They were actually pretty cool; they were made out of real metal and seemed quite solid.|
|The famous Pier 39 in San Francisco.|
|Trying the Mushroom Popsicle.|
|Big brother telling little brother all about it.|
As we turned our great big bus toward home, we had only one regret; that we hadn't really had the opportunity to stop at one of the many farms, vineyards, or citrus groves and kind of "nose-around" a little, because I'm so interested in the way they farm here in Cali. I saw this vineyard on google maps, and pulled in; it was right on our way. As I walked around and looked over their operation, it occurred to me that they not living in this privileged agrarian paradise; they live in a horrible desert, and are just making the best of it. They have the crappiest soil imaginable, just rocks and clay, and almost zero natural rain water; they have to irrigate everything, all the time. The only natural resource is sunshine. Now as far as natural resources go, that is a good one, especially if it never freezes.
|Still more Grapes|
|General Sherman is said to be the largest (by mass) living thing in creation. While it is the largest, it is not the tallest, nor the oldest. It was still alive while Christ walked the earth, though. Pretty impressive, I'd say!|
|This was just through the big tunnel; the iconic view: the large formation to the left is El Capitan, the "broken beak" looking one behind the round one in the middle is Half Dome, and the falls are called Yosemite Falls.|
|Upper Yosemite Falls.|
|Lower Yosemite Falls|
|The kids loved rock-climbing. Here, I show them how an experienced "Rock-Sitter" makes it happen...|