Saturday, August 31, 2013

All is quiet on the Western Front (In Iowa) or Is there a new Heir to the Throne?

I spied the cattle on the hill north of our house so went out to check on the warring factions. I found big bull on the outskirts.

While Louie was resting comfortably inside the inner sanctum of the herd.

He reminded me of an Egyptian prince, on a chaise lounge, surrounded by the comely servant girls who were fanning him, feeding him grapes, at his beck and call.

So the question is, "Is there a new sheriff in town?"

"On a hot day who wants to be in the middle of the herd, you get no breeze. Besides, I'm out here keeping watch for any danger, yeah, that's it, I'm keeping watch!"

Friday, August 30, 2013

The battle of the bulls

We usually have two bulls, a big bull and a little bull who will grow up to be the next big bull. You met big bull in a previous post about the 4th of July being his favorite holiday.

Louie is the little bull, he and big bull spent the winter on the farm living very peaceably. There were a few shoving matches but Louie was so much smaller, it was no contest and big bull did not feel threatened.
While big bull had to wait till the 4th of July for fireworks, Louie got to go to a pasture outside Meriden with a very nice group of heifers. We want them to calve in March so they will have our full attention. Louie was in favor of this plan.
But first you play hard to get....
Louie and the girls were quite well traveled as they were moved back and forth between two pastures. From Grassey's, to Tiny's.......
Where they disappear into the belly deep grass, this is cow heaven.
Back to Grassey's to finish mowing down his pasture.

Today we moved them for the last time, back home. Over the summer, Louie grew up and now has to share the pasture with big bull and his harem of women.
We found the cattle at the north end of the pasture and unloaded the trailer, might as well get it over with.
Louie came out the trailer on high alert, something was going on.
The ladies were also on high alert, they sensed a rumble would soon ensue and were vying for a ring side seat.
Big bull got wind of the interloper in HIS territory, there was lots of bellowing and pawing the ground to show his dominance.
First Louie had to do the ritual rubbing of the creekbank....

....insults were hurled back and forth across the creek....
"My mother wears WHAT???"
After lots of huffing, puffing and blustering, Louie crossed the creek to do battle. The calves were  like the neighborhood punks, cheering on the fighters.

The horses are unimpressed. "Men!"

We left these two trying to prove their manhood, Louie grew up over the summer and was giving big bull a run for his money. A few hours later I drove back out on the 4 wheeler to see how they were doing.
"Are you ready to give up?"
"I think I'd like a little grass..."
"HA! Fooled You!"
"Say Uncle! SAY UNCLE!!!"

And this is how I left them, head to head, they are going to have to work out a compromise but we were confident that one wouldn't kill the other, well, we hope not.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's Alive!! IT'S ALIVE!!!!!

I noticed a plant with big leaves growing in the chicken scratch yard earlier this summer. That isn't very surprising because I'm always throwing some pumpkins and squash in for them to eat and evidently one got away and decided to grow.

I didn't pay that much attention to it until one day I see it coming through the window, into the coop. It reminded me of the old horror movies of getting strangled and eaten by a foreign object.
Being inside the coop isn't all that great for a plant, with little light, the leaves tend to shrivel and the vines are very pale.
I had never watered this plant, never even paid that much attention to it but yesterday decided to get in the scratch pen, which isn't easy as it's only about 4 ft high, and see what it was.
A pumpkin! And not a shabby pumpkin either. It is hanging from the window but resting on the sill, so now the only question is, how big will it get?
Will the chickens leave it alone once it starts turning?
Why was there only one?
Guess I had more than one question. This is the strangest thing we have had grow on it's own since the pumpkin that grew in the pasture several years ago. The cattle never bothered it and we got 2 big pumpkins off it just in time for Halloween.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Traveling down Memory Lane with Heather

Today Bruce and I met our good friends, Sam and Larry Waugh, along with my sister in law, Susan and my sister, Rosanne and hubby, Peter, at the Golden Corral for dinner. Larry and Sam were my neighbors when I lived at Whiting, we became good friends through their daughter, Heather, who loved horses and I got the privilege of watching their three children grow up.

We took over the big back room in the restaurant, Sam brought Heather's recent wedding pictures and Sue had an album of her grandson, Jaxon. It was great, we had the room to ourselves and before we knew it, it was 3 PM and Rosanne and Peter had to get home to meet Kaiza at the bus. But before we left, we had a group picture.

 I'm not sure what Larry was doing to Sam in this one....


So I did a retake....
We had lots of laughs, exchanged hugs all around and vowed to do it again, soon, we all headed our different directions home. Seeing all the wedding pictures of a very now grown up Heather, took me back to the little peanut that first came over and rode my big horse, Spook.
I dug out my pictures, thanks to Sam, I have lots of pictures of Heather and the horses she loved so much, and started scanning them. It was hard to choose, going down memory lane is like rolling down a hill, it's difficult to stop!
Heather with Missy and Lacey, the filly destined to be her horse, the day she was born. Heather didn't know that at the time.

Heather and Lacey at their first horse show at Kingsley IA, a 2nd place!
Heather, riding Missy and leading Lacey in the Whiting July 4 parade.
Heather and I clinking glasses of sparkling grape juice after she paid me $1.00 for Lacey and I handed over her papers. Baby sister, Brittany looking on.
Heather and Lacey a year later at a horse show, they were both growing up.
Heather, Luke and Brittany all riding gentle giant, Spook.
Heather with her drawing of Missy and Lacey in the 4-H building, a WHITE?? What was that judge thinking??
Heather, Luke and Brittany spent a lot of time at my house, this day they had fun dressing up the cats, not sure if the cats had fun.

Heather and Spook in English Pleasure, this horse taught Heather how to ride when she was just a little squirt.
Heather at graduation day with Brittany who wasn't pleased at the thought of her big sister leaving home to go to college.
Heather was one of my bridesmaids and sang at our wedding. On July 4 of this year, Bruce and I were honored to be part of Heather and Aaron's wedding, held at the farm. Here is Heather, a beautiful bride, with a much older, Missy, her show horse.
Heather and Aaron.

Heather and their race horse, 'dancing' in the road.

Heather now has her own home at Boone, a husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 2 birds but I hope she enjoys this trip down memory lane, her and I with a trailer load of horses heading to the next show.

Saturday, August 24, 2013



After the Memorial Day Flood of 2013, who knew it could turn off so dry, luckily not so hot as last year but the water spigot was definitely in the Off position. Bruce and I would hopefully watch the rains on radar tracking right at us, then dissipate or split, going north and south.

Two nights ago we were awakened by thunder, lightning, two little hail stones and RAIN! We stood in the dark kitchen door watching it rain, then went back to bed and listened to the rain through the open window. In the morning we'd had an inch!! Great jubilation spread throughout the land!! Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Man!!

The rain came at a good time, the weather man is predicting the next week to be hot, as in hades hot, upper 90's and hot, hot, hot with no rain in sight. The ground soaked up this moisture, the beans shot up another leaf, they are easily pleased, and all my flowers were smiling.

This morning I woke to a dark day, thinking it was really early, and I don't do really early, I glanced at the clock, 7:49, WHAT?? It was RAINING!! AGAIN!!! Hallelujah!! My shirt got wet as I fed the horses, dogs and cats and turned the chickens loose.

I had already planned to go to town, Bruce used the last of the milk on his cereal so I must, I must. He had planned to cut hay but the rain changed all that so he went along. It rained, lightly, most of the time we were in town but was slowing by the time we arrived back home. About 1/4" is all but we welcome every little scarce drop.

After dinner the sun came out, I took my camera on the search of the elusive hummingbird who has shown up the last few days. I have yet to put out the feeder as he has lots of flowers and is busy visiting each one. I didn't find the hummer but I did see these remaining raindrops on flowers.

These purple phlox....

A grass leaf...
Pink hardy Hibiscus....
the deadly Turtlehead! (Pretty to look at, just don't eat it.)
Orange double daylily....
Fruit of the cranberry bush, it's loaded this year and the robins have already been checking it out.
This sedum was sparkling with drops.
David phlox, so sweet smelling and huge heads this year.

Fuzzy Lambs Ear...

Pink shrub rose, every home should have some, no fuss, no muss, they just bloom constantly and they keep the big dogs out.

Red hardy hibiscus, a stunner in the garden.

Another daylily...

The Cup Plant, a native prairie plant that is so called because it collects water at the base of each set of leaves. Hummingbirds and other small birds have been seen drinking from the plant. Gifted to me by nephew, Brian L.

I was intent on my search for raindrops and switching out my macro lens, the ever hopeful chickens on my heels looking for a treat. Suddenly a big shadow covered us, the chickens shrieked and ducked for cover. Looking up I saw about six, huge turkey vultures circling overhead, YIKES!! KEEP MOVING!! KEEP MOVING!!