Sure Signs of Spring…Or Not

Dear Jill,

LOL JK

Love,

Mother Nature

late snow

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Sure Signs of Spring?

Mother Nature hasn’t made up her mind here at the ranch. Winter, spring, winter, spring? Just when it seems like winter is finally loosening its grip, another icy blast moves into the area.

The past two days have brought encouraging signs. The first was a large flock of geese migrating over our house.

The second? A calf in a hurry. This little guy surprised us by showing up three weeks early. He wasted no time exploring the entire premises with a concerned Mom following his every move.

I am now anxiously awaiting for the emergence of the daffodil buds and getting anxious to plant something…well hello spinach seed packet, how did you get into my hand?

So far, no snow in the ten-day forecast. Fingers crossed.

What are your springtime signs?

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Winter Storm Preparations – Ranch Style

In the past couple weeks we have had two winter storms come through. One was an ice storm and the other a “normal” winter storm predicting several inches of snow. In both cases, the storm prep protocol was enacted. You may notice some differences from the way most people prepare.

Stocking Up Before the Storm

Most people’s checklist: Milk, bread, toilet paper, beer, sidewalk deicer, and gas.

Ranch checklist: Milk, ingredients for the bread machine, toilet paper, beer, diesel, chicken feed, heat tape for cattle fountain water lines, splice links to fix the tractor tire chains.

ice-storm

“To-Do” List Before the Storm

Most people’s to-do list: go to grocery store and gas station, make sure there is enough pet food, prepare to work from home

Ranch to-do list: go to grocery store, call the station to fill the fuel barrel, service the generator, feed and bed all the animals (sometimes hundreds or thousands of them), check predicted wind direction of the storm to know which side of the driveway to park the tractor to avoid it being encased in drifts

snow

During the Storm

Most people’s activities: Stay inside as much as possible, watch the news/check social media for alerts, go outside and scoop the sidewalk as needed

Ranch activities: Go outside to feed or check on the animals morning and night, watch the news/social media for the latest snowfall totals, scoop the sidewalk and driveway and sometimes road to get out for chores

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What Were They Thinking? A Mom Guesses What’s In the Minds of Her Sons

I have previously written about some of the knowledge gained while raising my three sons. Here, here, and here.

As a mother of boys, I frequently come across situations where I wonder, “What were they thinking?!?” Here are some scenes I recently came across at home and my best guess as to what was in the minds of my sons at the time they did each of these things.

“What a great place to keep the vacuum! Next time Mom tells me the carpet is dirty, I can just vacuum my way back up the steps. The time after that…”

“Behold!! I have created the world’s first sock Mobius strip.”

“I am just going to have to get this out again tomorrow morning anyway.”

“We will make sure littlest brother is the last one to warm up his leftover spaghetti and Mom will blame him for not covering it.”

So, do you have any different interpretations that might come from the brains of boys for any of these?

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Oh Christmas Tree: The Prologue

In my last post, I talked about the search for the perfect Christmas tree gone horribly awry.

We had to remove the giant tree from the house, but it did not go to waste. The ranch sons set it up just outside the house and decorated it.

20161223_115405_resized

Makes the house look small, doesn’t it?

To re-write a quote from the famous “Christmas Vacation” movie… “It’s not going in the living room Russ. It’s going in the front yard.”

 

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Oh Christmas Tree…

The quest for the perfect Christmas tree is fairly universal.

The definition of “perfect” differs from person to person. In our house you will find “straight”, “cheap”, and “big” as preferred adjectives. Each of those words comes from a different person, of course.

After years of cheap trees that were crooked with bald spots, I finally put my foot down and insisted our next Christmas tree come from a local tree farm.

On the chosen day to pick a tree, I did not go along. My only edict was that I wanted a straight tree. Son #1 wanted a big tree. His brothers agreed. Hubby talked the boys into a “medium” sized one. (Guess who was the “cheap” advocate?)

This is what they came home with.

large Christmas tree

After using the chain saw to pare down the trunk enough to fit inside he tree stand, they brought the “medium” tree into the house and stood it up.

“It didn’t look that big outside.” (Our ceiling is 12′ tall at the peak).

There was a lot of engineering at work. Even after it fit into our tree stand, it was too heavy to stay upright. Hubby grabbed a board and bolted it to the trunk to keep the tree from crashing backward into the large picture window.

A rope was strung over to one of the legs of the buffet to keep the tree from falling to the right.

I stopped them when I found fishing line being attached to the curtain rods.

At this point, I was very unsure about the whole situation, but was trying to be a good sport. The decorations started to go on the tree. It soon became obvious that this might be the most crooked tree we had ever gotten to date.large christmas tree with decorations

This was straight out of a scene in a certain Chevy Chase movie.

All of the furniture in the room had be be adjusted to make room for the monster tree. Moving around meant stepping over ropes, boards or trying to not touch the tree and accidentally tip it over.

After a week, I called it quits.

large christmas tree taken outside

A normal-sized, straight tree that stands without additional support has taken its place.

normal christmas tree

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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My New Workout: The Catwalk

Out here in rural America, “working out” is different than large cities. There is no need to go to a gym when there is a pile of fence posts that needs to be sorted and stacked. There is no need to run in the park when you have miles of gravel roads or a wayward calf that needs to be brought back to the pasture.

Picking apples leads to even better stretches and poses than yoga and lifting weights is passe when there are dead tree limbs to clean up in the shelterbelt.

My latest workout might be the more unusual than any of those. When I posted it to Facebook and asked my friends to name this exercise, the winner was “The Catwalk”. Do you have another name for it? What “workouts” are on your list?

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