Friday, July 31, 2009

The Bull is Where...Doing What?

If you've been reading the blog thus far you know that we have 4 Angus cows - three steers and one bull. (We had two and two but, after a rather traumatic vet visit, were left with three steers and only one bull.) They have been progressing quite nicely, growing and maturing. Sorry to say they won't be around too much longer - and after Monday's events, if it were up to me, the bull may not be around much past this weekend.

Our field's fence line runs the length of our property and borders our neighbor's field completely on that one side. Our 4 cows are penned off the front of our property (where the horse is located), but they still have access to about 1000' of the neighbor's fence line. And, the neighbors just happen to have two very cute, fuzzy, sweet, pure-bred Scottish Highland heifers that our young boys (particularly the bull) think are very, very pretty! One can see where this is going....

Todd got the call Monday morning. "Your bull is in our field." So, he headed for home where my dad met him to help wrangle the bull back in to our pasture. By the time they arrived, however, the bull was quite upset because due to an obvious miscalculation on his part he had pushed through the fence and landed in a pasture completely devoid of other bovine. He was one pasture down from the girls and one over from his boys. And pissed apparently. He tried pushing back through the fence he came through but gave up after he got tangled (more pissed). I mean, you don't just walk up to a 1200lb bull and slip the halter on him and head back to the farm!

From what I understand my dad had a can of grain trying to seduce him through the gate in the back of our neighbor's property, into the un-fenced woods and through the gate back into our property. The bull got pissy with my dad and charged at him but, eventually gave in and followed the grain back to our field.

Now, when I found out what had happened everything had already been taking care of. My response was to shoot the bull. #1: He's just getting to be too big to "play like I'm going to charge you" and #2: In my opinion: once a fence wrecker - always a fence wrecker. Todd has a certain softness for the bull and convinced me "It's not his time yet." I was under the impression we had just bought a pure bred Scottish Highland cow about to calve a 1/2 Scottish, 1/2 Angus calf. Mmm. Sounds expensive. Had it not been for the obvious, glaring ineptitude of our cow we may have bought one of those. I've always insisted that any animal that can (and does!) put it's own tongue all the way up it's own nose may not be the brightest bulb in the box, ya know? Looks like my intuition may have paid off this time.

We had a few minor fencing repairs that evening - most notably the fact that we didn't have power down that side of the fence - and we're 3 days with no escapes. We all lived...this time.

I'm going to look into it, but my mom thinks just maybe two registered cows of different varieties might make a calf that's twice as expensive as a stand-alone Angus or Highland. Perhaps?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wardrobe Malfunction 102...

Dammitt, I will get this maternity clothes thing under control!! One of the shirts I picked up last week is a totally cute blue and black polka-dotted, tie in the back number. The top ties right under the girls and then balloons out like only a maternity shirt can. Cute though. The tie in the back is a square knot and I just let the ends hang down my back. So, I had this baby on at work yesterday for the first time and during my first (of probably 14) bathroom trips I plow into the stall, whip the pants down (thanks to elastic waist maternity pants) and settle in when I sense that something just isn't right.
I can feel the long tie touching my butt and it makes me wonder if they're touching my butt, just exactly how far down are they hanging? So, as I run my hand down the ties I realize yes, in fact, they are resting about 2 inches into the toilet bowl water!!
Frickin' awesome - because I want nothing more than to leave the bathroom in a shirt that could be a two man tent with the ties sopping wet with toilet water. I can say though, luckily I hadn't started to pee yet, but still, its the thought of trodding around with toilet-soaked ties that still ticks me off.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wardrobe Malfunction 101

This whole pregnant thing is bringing about all kinds of changes. Some good, some bad.... For the longest time now I've been able to get away wearing non-maternity clothes with my handy BellaBand (like a huge lycra rubber band - highly recommended) that runs over my pants and up under my shirt that covers my unbuttoned pants and the gap between my shirt and my pants. Since the clothes I've been wearing are starting to bulge and pull in places where they shouldn't be bulging or pulling, my mom and I went shopping for a few "necessities" to get me through this last 6 or 7 weeks. I refuse to pay full price for clothes I'm never going to want to see again after this is through, so we were a little limited in selection since we were shopping at Value Village.
After many, many ill-fitting non-maternity clothes I discovered that VV had a maternity section! Jackpot!! I ended up with two summer dresses (mind you, they are both very tent-like, but both very comfortable and will work great for the summer), a pair of jeans without the huge panel in front and two shirts. My mom suggested I get some leggings to wear under the dresses just in case I wanted to bend over. Apparently there is nothing sexier than an 8 month pregnant lady, legs spread for balance, bending over while (unknowingly) exposing one's backside. Right. Two pairs of leggings later we were out of there - $45 for all that stuff!!

So yesterday afternoon, in 95 Deg weather Todd and I ran into town to test drive some trucks. I wanted to sport one of my new dresses and flip flops. Comfy and fashionable - two things I don't usually pull off very well. This was no exception. I chose the black, cotton number reminiscent of a 3-man tent with pockets sewn on the front and spaghetti straps that snapped over my shoulders. I had my bra and a tank top on under the dress and couldn't for the love of God get it zipped up the side. Todd suggested I take off the tank top and because my bra straps were showing I opted to just take it off too. I was really getting into this and decided to go commando! Todd did, however, convince me to put my undies back on since we were, after all, going to be driving strange trucks all over town.

So, true to form, we park at the dealership and I go to jump out of the car. It was so hot, my dress had worked it's way up and my legs were sweaty and its not like I'm full of grace these days, so my exit from the car was a little, well, strained....

Just as I went to swing my purse over my shoulder my dress strapped snapped under the pressure and the strap went flying back and the front went flying front. Now, since I'd opted to go sans the appropriate undergarments (pesky straps showing...) I was standing there with one of the girls loose!! I think I got it covered up in time and Todd helped my reattach the snap strap, so hopefully the salesperson wasn't too offended. I was just a little bit more cautious getting in and out of the car after that. Nice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leg Cramps From Hell

Up until a few weeks ago I had never experienced a charlie horse leg cramp. My only experience with them was the occasional time when I was little and my dad would get one in his hamstring. He would grab at it like something had taken control of his leg and hobble around miserably trying to unleash the death grip it had on him. To me, a kid with no experience what-so-ever with cramps, the sight was kinda funny.
Then it happened to me.
The first time was a couple of weeks ago and it was the middle of the night. I obviously stretched in my sleep triggering the most excruciating pain I have ever felt! My calf snapped into a ball I swear the size of a golf ball right under the back of my knee and my toes were uselessly pointed directly downwards. I shot straight up in bed shrieking in agony and tried (fruitlessly) to pull my toes towards me to somehow counteract the muscle spasm. The dog went mad (why was I screaming like this in the middle of the night?)...and we were both up trying to walk it off.
Then, after a particularly hot day last week and hours of laboring outside with (admittedly) not enough fluid intake it happened again!! Again, 2am, snapped awake shrieking from a dead sleep with a calf the hurt like hell and toes that would only point straight down. Lying on my side, I tried in vain to grasp at the ball of my foot to pull my toes upwards again but due to my ever-expanding front side was totally unable to even get ahold of my foot. I did manage, however, to snag my big toe with one finger and pull my foot kinda sideways. HUGE mistake! This triggered yet another cramp in the muscle running along my shin. My calf felt some relief, but my foot was bent suspiciously sideways. Again, writhing in agony I got out of bed a limped around until it felt a little better. Griz looked at me like, "Dude, really?...This isn't going to become a routine thing with you, is it?"
So, as I was explaining these debilitating charlie horses to my doctor in the "you'll never believe what happened to me now" kinda way he nodded and said, "Drink more water and take some Tums. You're dehydrated and probably need more calcium." What? That's all? Isn't this some mystery diagnosis? Don't I need a referral? At least a consult with another doctor? I explained that although I would seriously consider his recommendation to drink more water that only made me pee more. And, I really hate having to pee all the means taking my lab jacket off and walking all the way down the hall to the bathroom. Plus, I really hate getting up at night to go. So, but cutting off all liquid intake after say, 4pm, I can almost always guarantee an up-once-in-the-night bathroom visit. Anything more is just irritating. "Right. I understand that peeing is inconvenient and time consuming. However, how do ya like those leg cramps? Kinda makes you think 'Mmmmm...some water sounds good right about now' doesn't it? Drink the water - you'll be much happier." And you know what? He was right... nearly 2 weeks without a cramp. Its almost like he'd seen this all before...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Big Girl Panties

I spent an awesome weekend at my best friend Amy's house running errands, chatting and shopping! After battling 90+ degree weather in horrible stop-and-go traffic Friday afternoon I relaxed and chatted with Amy and some of my favorite relatives (of hers!): Grandma K and Aunt Cindy.
We slept in Saturday (somehow I consider 6:30 sleeping in now...), had some coffee (the real deal..none of that decaffeinated stuff for us) and prepped for a marathon shopping trip at Target. There wasn't actually much shopping involved as I had made the trip mainly to take her with me to register for the baby shower, but there were a few odd and ends we both needed to pick up.
Zoey, Amy's 2 year old daughter, is in the midst of potty training and as Amy explained to me we would be shopping for some "big girl panties" because in an effort to abstain completely from diapers and, acknowledging that mistakes are made, and that there are "just some poops you don't even want to bother cleaning up and the whole pair of undies just goes in the trash" they were running a little low in the big girl panty area.
Side note: There are some things people don't tell you when you go to have a kid. The most important and I think, hardest to deal with, is the fact that you don't just get pregnant and grow this cute little belly. You get pregnant everywhere. And, for me, that meant an ass that kept growing right up until I started showing, somewhere around 6 months. In fact, as I soon came to find out, one of the coolest things about "showing" in the front was that it would someday eclipse the massiveness I had already grown in the back! And, something else they don't tell you (because I'm sure if they did people would stop at one kid and the human race would sluff off the face of the earth) is that this addition to the hind end is most likely going to require bigger underwear.
So... perfect! Amy and I both had Big Girl Panties on our lists! After Amy recommended I only go one size larger (I explained that its been growing this long, what if it doesn't stop? What if I need bigger ones still, and worse yet, what if it never goes away after the kid comes? Should I buy a bulk pack?) we snagged the undies and off we went.
Fast forward: We get home where Grandma has been watching Zoey. Amy shows Zoey her new, cool big girl panties, "Aren't you excited? More big girl panties?!" And I, too, am excited. "Zoey, Auntie Rikki got new big girl panties too! Isn't that cool?" And that was followed by a look only a 2 year could give you. It seemed to say (in not so many words), "OMG Auntie. Aunties use the toilet, not their panties. Gross. How could you?" Then she walked away and was pretty much afraid to touch or talk to me the rest of the afternoon. Who says I'm not good with kids?

Monday, July 20, 2009

...and the cats too!

A while ago I dropped my two cats, Theo and Bromine (she goes by Bro for short, which I think is giving her a gender identity crisis), off at my parent's house. "Can you guys watch them for me while I spend the summer in Wyoming?" Well, that was sometime in early 2003...and here we are nearly rounding out 2009 and they were beginning to wonder if I would ever come back for them! So, after being comfortably situated in our "new" house for nearly 9 months now they too have joined the ranks at the farm! Although they have the garage to themselves - complete with food, water, toys, catnip and cat beds - they seem to think the hood of my car is the best place to sleep!

Jazzy Comes Home!

Finally after what seems like an eternity my horse Jazzy made her way to the farm! I've known we were buying her for quite some time (nearly 4 months), but there were just so many things that needed to be completed before she came. There was fencing the property (obviously she can't live on a stake line the whole time..), installing the gates, running the wire, building the barn, running the water lines, etc. We had quite the project cut out for us. Well, most everything was complete (minus the barn, which still needed the stalls framed in), so she was ready for her debut!!

She's settling in just fine and it is so nice to have her home and, thanks to wonderful neighbors that have an arena accesible from our yard, I've been able to keep up on the (very light!) riding.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ahhhh. Summertime and Chip Sealing the Roads

That smell of asphalt and gravel trucks just confirms it is indeed summer in the Northwest. A summer here wouldn't be complete without the total re-surfacing of the rural roads in this area. There must have been a surplus in the county's budget this year because I swear EVERY road from Ferndale north has been chip sealed. (That's where they spray tar on the road and dump 2" of sharp gravel on it, let it sit for 2 weeks while cars mash it down, then come back later and sweep of the *very little* excess rocks.")
Right. So, in an attempt to make my 6 mile commute home yesterday totally free of any rock chip accidents I actually set my cruise control at the posted 25mph instead of the normal 50mph! I stayed in the pre-smashed lanes on my side and was nearly 1/2 way home when some ya-hoo leaving work in some 4-door 1980's vintage beater, obviously going too fast and trying to be that one person who feels responsible for mashing the rocks down in the areas where no one has driven yet, passes me and flips a rock onto my windshield. CRACK. Dammit. A-hole. Now I have a nice chip right dead center in my windshield - and its going to be another week at least until they brush off the loose gravel.
And, while we're on the subject of chip sealing, why is it necessary to post 3 caution signs? One stating "Caution - Fresh Oil", another with "Caution - 25mph" and yet another stating "Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution." Do they think motorcyclists (myself included) are WAY dumber than everyone else and couldn't read the first two signs? I'm just saying....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I was scanning through some of the pictures from our remodel the other day - the ones that have been printed off for over 6 months, still sitting on the desk waiting to be scrap booked - and I was thinking we have rented or borrowed a ton of really cool tools during our multitude of home renovations. The bobcat was, I think, the coolest one to operate, but lets not forget about all the
Pneumatic Tile Chipper...for taking up the old tile from the bedroom addition....
Diesel Auger...for digging post holes for our fence. It was an auger mounted on a tank track. Totally cool.
Regular Auger...only rented for a 1/2 day for a few holes we forgot with the other, cooler auger.
Ditch Witch...for that 600 foot trench from the water main to the field.
Trenching Shovel...not so cool to use (lots of manual labor...) but helped clean out the trench after the Ditch Witch episode.
Close Quarters 1/2" Drill....for drilling through the joists when we were installing the radiant heat. Yeah, never do that again....
My Dad's move dirt, move the cow shelter, till the field under, blade the parking area, pull out fence posts, remove the "island" in our front yard and so on..
The Neighbor's fill in the 600 foot trench, install a culvert pipe and brush hog the field.
The Other Neighbor's brush hog our lawn (which was 5 feet tall) right after we bought the house.
The move the 12 yards of gravel for the footing in the barn, to move the cow shelter, to drive around the field doing brodies and such...
The Vibrating Plate Compactor...for compacting the 12 yards of gravel in the barn.
The Concrete Cutter.... for the pipes for the shower, toilet and sinks in the bathroom addition.
The Surveying Leveler...for leveling the barn posts.
Plus, numerous other saws, drills, tools, implements and man hours supplied by the unsuspecting volunteers! I'd say that's a pretty good list! That and I think we should open our own rental store.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Very, Very Angry Chicken

So, my parents left Monday for a long, relaxing week at the cabin and I volunteered to watch the animals. I mean, its not like they live on an animal farm and its relatively easy: feed, water and walk the dog, feed and water the cats, feed the chickens and pick up the eggs. As many things in life this is easier said than done. There are about 15 chickens and the last thing my mom said was, "There are two hens that are setting right now. They won't get off the roost, so the best way to get the eggs is to reach in with both hands, grab them by their hind quarters, pull them off the eggs, collect them and put the chicken back on the roost." No problem!! Having been around animals all my life and not being particularly scared of chickens altogether, I assumed this would be an easy task.

So, there I was yesterday morning. Feed, water and walk the dog. Feed the cats. Pet the cats. Feed chickens. Move chickens, collect eggs. And see, its that last part that gets me. Chicken #1 was happy to be moved. I grasped her hindquarters, pulled her from the roost and collected four eggs! It wasn't until I attempted to move chicken #2 that I hit a snag.... I brazenly reached in with both hands and grasped at her hindquarters...and she went ape shit!! Well, she pecked at my hands twice, but that was enough for me to say (at 6:10am) "Enough of this. Sit on those damn eggs all day if you want. Not like any thing's going to happen...there isn't a rooster in 10 miles from this place."
This morning I attempted the chicken extraction with renewed vigor. I reached in, grasped at the hind quarters and AGAIN she went for my tender little hands. Someone needs to have a one-on-one with her and explain no amount of sitting on those things is going to make a little chick.
Fine, one more day of sitting on those damn eggs, but after work today I'm headed there again - this time I'm putting on some of my dad's welding gloves and I MEAN BUSINESS! Those eggs are going to look good in the frittata I'm planning for breakfast this weekend. And, they'll mean more knowing I risked losing my hand to get them!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Does Being Pregnant Make You...Crazy?

I've heard that pregnant women can do some crazy things and really think that they're acting totally normal. So, just when I thought I could get through this whole thing without acting like one of "those crazy pregnant ladies..." I had a moment of clarity and was reflecting on some of my unexplained "different" behaviors the last few months and I think I might have joined the ranks of "the crazies."

Case study #1: Just last week after we had diligently planned and re-planned the digging of this 600 foot irrigation trench, after Todd and my dad were nearly 1/2 way done with it, I threw a fit over the placement of the water hydrant near the barn. Although, according to the pre-approved plans it was essentially exactly where it should have been I was totally convinced it was far too close to the barn and should be 15 feet further out. Lacking the ability to really comprehend the work a move like that would entail (not by me, but Todd and my dad..) I proceeded to have a 15 minute "discussion" with Todd over the obvious (to me), glaring, horrible miscalculation in our plans. After what I can only explain as a true test of Todd's patience, he was able to (again...) convince me it would be a great place for the hydrant and, without really being able to recall the original conversation, it could have, in fact, been my idea to put it there in the first place. If Todd ever decides a change of career is in the works I seriously think he should consider hostage negotiating. I mean, who really has patience like that? And the twist-your-words-around-this-was-your-idea kinda convincing was brilliant! And I'll be the first to admit that wasn't the first time he "talked me down from the bridge."

Case Study #2:

Me: "Mmmm, honey......doesn't pineapple upside down cake sound good? Wanna run to the store with me to get some stuff to make one?"

Todd: "Sure."

And there we were, parked in the Betty Crocker section of Haggen's. After gathering all the necessary items to prepare the cake I just couldn't seem to leave the baking section. All of these things were on sale! And I had my Haggen card! When would we ever see a sale of this magnitude again??! So, we left with 8 boxes of cake mix (yellow, sugar free, fudge, german chocolate, funfetti and so on...) AND 3 tubs of cake frosting! (I still have 7 boxes of cake mix and 3 tubs of frosting in the cupboard.)

Case Study #3:

Again, at the grocery store, those little Pillsbury roll-and-bake cinnamon rolls looked SO good I couldn't pass them by. So, I plopped on in the cart then, thinking one might not be enough I put in two more. (They were on sale too!) Then, when I arrived home and Todd was helping me unpack groceries he said, "What's up with the cinnamon rolls?" I say, "I was thinking of making some, but I don't really like cinnamon rolls." He says, "Yeah, me either. Why did you buy 3 rolls of them?" Me: "Hmm. I don't know. They looked good I guess."

See what I mean about the crazies? It can happen to the best of us.

Frozen Peas Anyone?

In order to keep me from ranting about how badly my crotch hurts due to the ever-widening of my pelvis, yet how very unwilling I am to give up the things I love to do (like jogging and riding horses..) I will instead focus on how very grateful I am for the large bag of frozen baby peas we buy at Costco. Things at Costco are bigger than, say, the things one would purchase at a normal grocery store. This allows a larger area of discomfort to be covered by the frozen goods. Also, the bag from Costco comes with a resealable zip top making it much easier to keep loose peas from taking over the bottom dregs of your freezer. I much prefer the zip top closure to the regular bag where you are forced to attempt to reseal it with a twist tie (those things never hold up anyhow..). Plus, after you've used, say, two servings of peas from the bag the remaining amount disperses perfectly in the bag so that when wrapped in a dish towel gives perfect crotch covering, cooling relief.
I could succumb to the inevitable and give up the horseback riding...its just that I enjoy it and its the one thing I can do that keeps me feeling like I'm not just a host body to some alien sucking the life out of me. Honestly, though, I realize the day is growing nearer to when I will bid horseback riding goodbye for a while, but until then I will continue to rely on the frozen peas and their soothing effects.
On the bright side though: once I give up riding we'll be able to finally eat the peas!