Friday, November 28, 2014

Casper the friendly goose, post Thanksgiving ruminations

Bruce and I had Thanksgiving dinner at Janet's yesterday, it was a feast as usual, I contributed a strawberry pretzel salad, if you ever make something they all like and do a good job, it's then tradition and we dare not show up without it. I also made Danish rolls from my new favorite recipe and they disappeared in record time, the family declared them just as good as Bruce and Janet's Mom used to make and that is high praise indeed. I always feel as though I got off easy when I see the table laden with dish after dish of wonderful food. This is the last chance to see Janet and Foof because they leave for a winter in Texas on Saturday, we hate to see them go but they love it down there.

Bruce left early this morning for the IA-NE game at Iowa City with Grassy and his two kids, I slept in till 5:30 and then beat it to Bomgaars for their early bird specials. Bruce gave me his list and I had a long one of my own, the usual fun things, pet food, sunflower seeds, a new everyday winter jacket because my favorite one shelled the zipper out, mouse bait, heated pet bowl, heated pet mat for Clyde's evil sister, Bonnie, who hates everyone and sleeps by herself and I felt bad for her these cold nights, batteries, a new head lamp, you know, the exciting things that people brave Black Friday for.

On the way home I was hearing about fights breaking out at stores when people were fighting over Barbie, of all things, and I thought about my experience in Bomgaars. We are so stinking polite!

"Oh, excuse me, I will move my cart out of the way so you can get by."

"No dear, I'll just step into this aisle."

Everyone should shop at Bomgaars.

Since Bruce won't be home till quite late, I had the day to myself, I dug out some picture Cd's that I had never labeled and came across these old pictures of Casper the friendly goose. Bruce and I came home from the city one day and stopped at the farm to do some chores and there was a goose running around, head in the air, honking up a storm. He was so glad to see us and followed us everywhere, I couldn't leave him there alone as it was obvious he was very distressed. Bruce grabbed him by the neck and I picked him up, he wrapped his head around my neck and quieted, we rode home in the back of the pickup.

We had no idea where Casper came from, it was obvious he was not a stray goose because Casper sat on the front step waiting for us to come outside, then accompanied us wherever we went. When we drove in the driveway, both Sadie and Casper came running to greet us and Casper ran along side the car, trying to see in the window. When Bruce was splitting wood, he sat on a bucket and Casper plopped down beside him, pressed against his leg and kept him company. Several times Bruce had to divert a log from dropping on his head.

It took about three weeks for Foof to come clean, he was the one who brought Casper to the farm. His son was given the goose as a baby and was told it was a wild goose, so Brian figured when Casper grew up, he would fly away, only Casper wasn't wild.

I loved Casper, I'd never had a goose before and he was so goofy, he ran around with his beak in the air and would stumble over things that he didn't see. What I didn't love was the piles of goose poop, everywhere, especially in front of the door where Casper sat. We agreed to doggie sit for a nephew who was going to be gone for the weekend and there was no one to take care of Gunner. He was a young black lab with a voracious appetite and was limited to three small portions of dog food a day that he inhaled and looked for more.

Gunner was kenneled in the house except when I was home and then he was free to explore outside. I called him in for the night, he came in and jumped on the couch, suddenly I noticed he didn't look so good, before I could get him off, he threw up all over the couch. I pulled him outside and cleaned up the mess, it stunk to high heaven! I called Gunner back in, he just made it past the door into the kitchen before he barfed all over the rug and floor. This time I went out with him, I wanted to see what he was getting into. It was goose poop! He was reloading every time I put him outside, Gunner was running around slurping up goose poop like a vacuum cleaner! Needless to say, Gunner was only allowed outside under strict supervision for the rest of the weekend. I was not sorry to see him go home.

Geese are messy drinkers, they take a mouthful of food and then swish it around in the water so Casper made a mess out of chicken waterer when he would get in the coop. I didn't have my backyard pond, thank heavens, so I kept this rubber tub filled with water for him. He's standing on one leg, sleeping with his head tucked back in his feathers. At least he wasn't sleeping in front of the door and pooping all over.

Geese can get mean and Casper was getting a little ornery, especially to Sadie. He would grab her by the side, flail her with his wings, then do a victory dance with his wings high in the air. I couldn't stand to see sweet, gentle Sadie abused by a goose so talked to a neighbor who had a bunch of geese like Casper and she said she would take him. 

Casper must have known something was up because he was on his best behavior for awhile, then one day we were outside, I opened up the chicken coop and suddenly Casper pinned Sadie up against the wall and flogged her. Before he could do his victory dance, I grabbed him by the neck, wrapped my arms tightly around his wings, carried him to the old car and got in. I was driving down the road, holding tightly to Casper, when he got one wing free and was fighting me for control of the steering wheel, all the time dropping copious amounts of aromatic goose poop in my lap. We made it to the neighbors in one piece, I hauled Casper to the fence surrounding all the goats, sheep and geese. They all came running to see what was up, I tossed Casper over the fence, he immediately grabbed a goat by the side, flogged it with his wings, then did his victory dance, holding his wings and head high.

I quickly got in the car and tore off for home before the neighbors saw what a rogue I let loose on them. It was different around home, I no longer had to watch where I walked or head off visitors from the front step. Sadie no longer had to live in fear of getting blindsided. The chicken water was no longer disgusting. I did miss getting greeted by a dog and a goose when I came home but it all evened out in the end. 

I did hear about Casper now and then, the second year he was at his new home, he took a baby gosling under his wing, so to speak, so I guess he had some redeeming value.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Winter, no, it's Spring, wait, it's Winter again

We were lulled by an idyllic fall with sunny days and temperatures in the 60's and 70's, it seemed as though it would never end. But then all came crashing down when an Arctic Blast roared in, barely giving us time to batten down the hatches and lay in the wood and corn.

How cold was it?

So cold that Murphy found a frozen mouse-sickle and proudly carried it around, taunting the cats with it.

It was so cold Mollie took refuge in the dog house with her heat mat and poked her head out to see if someone driving in warranted a greeting. I'm happy to say the dog house is serving it's purpose, both dogs and a cat or two sleep in it every night.

It was so cold that Larry Jr. took refuge under Blue's fluffy feathers to keep warm.

It was so cold that five chickens are nestled in this nest box.

And then there's Murphy,

"Cold, what cold?"
Just when we were resigned to the thought that winter was truly here to stay, we woke up to Spring this weekend! 

All the ice on the pond melted.

Bruce cut logs for the fire.

The bees ventured out of the hive and did a little house keeping. I made 6 fondant boards and opened both hives to feed them and found to my disgust, that mice had moved into the roofs. I evicted them, and got out the contact paper again to deter the little buggers.

Blue and Lucky were delighted to once again get out in the yard and scratch around without the pesky snow sticking to their feet.

But it wasn't to last, we woke up this morning to a winter wonderland again, not enough to have to shovel, thank you very much.

The dogs love the snow and chasing the purple ball.

Murphy doesn't understand the concept of playing ball, every time Mollie reached it, Murphy blindsided her.

Finally Mollie couldn't take it and gave Murphy what for.

"You little PUNK! I've had it with you!"

It's Thankgiving Eve and we have much to be thankful for, with the explosive riots erupting around our country, I'm so thankful for our little peaceful, white corner on earth.

And I'm very thankful for all of you, my dear family and friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

R.I.P. Bunny

When Murphy came to live with us, I gave her a soft blanket and Bunny who comforted her and became her best friend.

The first thing Murphy did when she came in the house was to retrieve Bunny from the crate.....

....and bring her in the living room with the rest of the family, she thought Bunny would be lonely.

The hardest lesson Murphy learned was that she could not pull Bunny through the wire....

....but was triumphant when she finally had her safely in hand, er, mouth.

Murphy finally made the transition from a house dog to an outdoor and to complete it, I gave her Bunny, who she hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. Murphy was ecstatic! 

"Bunny! I've missed you!"

But Mollie was not to be left out and Bunny found herself hanging in mid-air, strung between two big dogs, seeing the sights of the yard. I really thought Bunny was not long for this world but I was wrong, Bunny was carried around all summer, left lying in a pile through rain and shine, then discovered again and given a wild ride.

But alas, recently I found stuffing scattered around the yard and finally found Bunny's dismembered body. The dogs still find and carry around parts, they don't seem to mind that she is flatter than before.

She was a good bunny.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Working Cattle in the Winter, I don't recommend it.

We work our cattle twice a year, shots, wormer and any other thing that might come up, Bruce was busy with field work while the weather was nice and then the Polar Vortex hit and we had to do it. Thank heavens for flannel lined jeans, God Bless the person who had the foresight. Our faithful crew, Roger, Fred, and Bruce...

.....Jarrod the vet....

.....Brian his able assistant...

.....and Grassy, were all bundled up like Nanook of the North, but it wasn't long before Bruce, who was running around putting out fires and pushing cattle through the chute, was stripping down.

I kept my flannel lined jeans on.

The fat cattle and replacement heifers went first and we have never seen them so stubborn. They balked, turned around in the alley and generally made themselves a real pain in the rear for the wranglers. This heifer turned around right at the chute so Bruce shoved her backwards while Brian opened the side gate, she was  supposed to daintily step back into the open gate, turn around and get caught in the headgate. Instead she plopped down on her butt in a snit and sat there.

"Just try to move me, Big Boys!"

It took three guys but they finally got her through the chute, then this one decided to play statue in the alley, nothing moved him. Bruce was slapping him on the shoulder but he paid no attention.

He ended up sitting on the steer, Bruce about had him broke to ride when he finally decided to move. I was thinking they would make a good half time show for the Barnes rodeo.

The bulls get off easy, they get a shot of pour on insecticide from Bruce while they are lined up at the feedbunk, but they love to watch all the action at the chute. Baby Bull was quite excited.....

....while Louie took it all in stride.

"Hold your pants on son, the ladies will be back shortly."

This was the one we were looking for, the last cow, then everyone could go in for lunch, the payoff for a cold morning in the yards.

I told Bruce I was experimenting with a new roll and he nearly hyperventilated, so I reassured him that I would have some of the regulars. This was a recipe on Pinterest, Iced Raspberry Danish Braid, from Sally's Baking Addiction. If this is some of the things she puts out, I will have an addiction also! This is the easiest danish recipe ever, try it, you will agree, I guarantee it.

Seven people, two pans of rolls....

....and this is what was left, I think they liked it.

The vet crew had another place to go but we were sitting in the porch of the old house, it was cold but out of the wind, letting the food and drink settle, laughing and talking when Brian's phone rang. It was Wally, from the office, Brian quickly said, "We have 3 cows left," so Roger and Fred started mooing and and Bruce yelled, "Get in there!"  Brian hung up and said, "Wally said it sounds like you are busy!"

With that bit of hilarity, the party broke up, some of us went to work, some of us took the leftover food back home and I will be the first to tell you that the raspberry danish is a tiny bit smaller now and it may be gone by morning. I might have a new treat to bring to Thanksgiving dinner this year.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

We should be more like our dogs

I watched both Mollie and Murphy interact with Bruce today and came to the conclusion that they know what it's all about, love and joy.

They wait anxiously outside the garage door and vie be the first to greet him when he comes out.

"He's here, he's here, he's here! Our day is complete!!"

Bruce always takes the time to reassure Mollie that she is top dog.

Then gives his attention to Murphy to reassure her that she is also important and Mollie always get the hang dog look.

"I'm not so sure he loves me best."

They watch in dismay as Bruce heads down the driveway, absolutely certain they will never see him again.

But JOY of JOY's, he's back!!!! He came home again!!!!

They battle to be the first to be greeted.

"We thought you would never come home! He's here, he's here, he's here!!"

What better way to express their great joy than to tear around in the snow!

I think we should be more like our dogs...... them when they leave as though you will never see them again and leap for joy when they come home again and know that all is right with the world once again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Winter Blogging Blues

I know it's not technically not winter but it sure as heck feels like it! We were lulled into the lovely fall weather, day after day of 60's and 70's, reading time in the gazebo, life was good. Then the Arctic Blast came and spread across the country, sparing few places of it's wrath and dumping copious amounts of snow to express it's displeasure of others. Luckily we were not in that area.

When Rosanne was here on Saturday, she asked if I wanted help wrapping the gazebo in tarps like I do every winter. I said no, it was too early and there would still be gazebo time before the real winter hit.

Bruce asked me Sunday if I wanted help wrapping the gazebo and I said no, "Yada, yada, yada."

I guess I was wrong.

I have pretty much holed up in the house, by the fire, with a stack of books. My days are the same, I get up at 6:45 and drive to Cherokee for my GCSF shot, it is supposed to be boosting my white blood cells, it's small but hurts like the dickens. I don't think the clinic at Storm Lake was happy with the way Cherokee did it last time, in theory I'm to have 7 shots and I only had 2 so my white blood count was not as robust as they would have liked. I think they had strict instructions to follow the protocol and I'm finding out there are side effects that are slowing me down. 

There is no slowing Bruce down, he has been busy helping our neighbor try to finish his corn, Wed night they were out until 10 but today they are hauling to town and the elevator closes down at 7 so they have to stop. We are in line for a measurable snow fall tomorrow, beginning at 6 am and going all day, I hope they are wrong. There's not much relief from the cold temps into next week and we have an appointment to work cattle on Wed. I will be serving hot chocolate instead of pop with the rolls, we will have to take the portable heater into the porch at the old house so they can eat their lunch in comfort. If I'm lucky, something newsworthy will happen that day.

In the meantime, bear with me, I've not gone away like some bloggers I began to follow and then they just quit, ticks me off! I'm just scrambling for something to write about.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chemo, round 3, a good day!

I was still very apprehensive heading off to Storm Lake yesterday but I had my 'team' in force, both Bruce and Janet to watch my back. I'm proud to say this was the first time with no tears, I think it was because I was feeling so well, the first time was very traumatic, not knowing what it would be like and the second time I was awfully run down. 

But I also have a lot of people praying for me, the latest was Keith, an older man who works at Bomgaars. He is well past retirement but lost his wife and loves his job and he is a wonderful worker. Whenever they call for a carry out, you know it's something heavy and Keith will be the first one to grab his coat to take your cart. I had a cart full of cat food and on the way out to the car, Keith asked if I minded a personal question. He heard from a neighbor that I was under going treatment so I told him my story and that I was doing very well this time around. Keith took my hand and said, so easily and sincerely, "I'll pray for you." That brought tears to my eyes then and it does again as I write this.

As my sister in law, Jean, would say, "But I digress..." I was rather dismayed when I saw Dr. Wender, or Dr. No Bedside Manner's, name on the board as physician on duty but he couldn't have been nicer. He's the darnedest man, he sits on the little roly stool and sprawls across the counter, I don't know if it was just too early or what but it doesn't look very comfortable. Dr. Wender had the nurse evaluation that showed how well I did after the last one and I told him I felt as though I didn't have anything wrong with me. He decided to cut both drugs in half and give the first one at a low rate since I couldn't handle it when they tried to hike it up to 200. That was good news. He also said that the next treatment, Dec. 1 will be the last one, then a scan to see if the crips are gone and then, possibly, a maintenance treatment with pills to keep the nasties from latching onto any lymph nodes.


I got a bed this time, there are 3 rooms with beds and they were all full, I love a bed because I end up sleeping a lot. My nurse was Shari and she was wonderful, Bruce was doing farm book work to get ready for our pre tax appointment later this month, and Janet crocheted on an afghan. Shari was so attentive to all of us, asking if she could get anything. They keep the waiting room stocked with a fruit bowl, coffee, soft drinks and juice, and donuts from the Storm Lake Bakery in the morning and then cookies in the afternoon and you are welcome to any or all.

I had little problem with the chemo, my chest hurt a little but then went away and later a headache came on but they are quick to offer Tylenol or Aleve. There are big windows in the room and we could see the day get grayer as it went on, Bruce and Janet went outside to get to the cafeteria and they came back with the news that it was getting colder. It was another long day, I was finally done at 5:15 so it was nearly dark outside. We ran into some flurries on the way home so I was glad I had plugged in all my water heaters in the morning, Bruce had to go over in the dark and do his cattle fountains.

We thanked Janet again and again for all her support, this will be her last trip with us because they will be in warm Texas the next time around. I know she was happy with the way things went and has all her questions answered. I will do the week long blood tests and small shots again in Cherokee, it is worth the hassle of driving down there everyday not to have the side effect I had from the Neulasta.

We woke up this morning to a white coating everywhere and temps in the 20's, not to rebound until next Monday, YIKES!! But that brought the horses home, ever since I let them out with cattle into the big fields, they didn't need their senior chow. Lady got in trouble with Bruce because she was hassling the cows and that isn't allowed, so I hope she stays home.

Today is Veteran's Day, we are going to town to the luncheon that the Am. Legion Aux. puts on every year. Most of the ladies are getting up in years and very few young ones coming on so don't know how long it will continue. So thank a Veteran today, even the ones who think they don't really qualify because they were in the reserves and you know who you are.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh Deer!

My farmer and I have been in high gear, readying the homesteads for an 'Arctic Blast' as warned by the weather people. We have electric heaters plugged in for the waterers and Bruce has been going at the field work to get as much done as he can. I went to the pond to winterize my bee hives and found a problem, they don't have as many winter stores of honey as they should to live over. After doing much research, I decided to bring them home so I can feed them over the winter and try to keep them alive, something the more seasoned bee keepers say isn't possible, but since when has that ever stopped me from trying?

I enlisted Bruce and the loader to bring the hives home Friday night and they are now safely tucked into the McGregor yard. My first attempt at feeding was interesting to say the least.....they didn't seem all that grateful, lets hope it gets better or they will be goners!

We knew there was a set of twin fawns at the pond this summer besides the twins that were raised in the grove at the home place. As we were coming down the road to the driveway, there was a herd of deer right out by the road, all the same size, we concluded that the farm twins ventured over to the pond and met up with their cousins and they were having a high old time. They ran off when we drove in but stuck around to see just what we were up to. And me with no camera!

Despite the threat of the 'arctic blast' it was a beautiful day here, cloudy but still and quite mild, late this afternoon I took the 4-wheeler to the pond, parked it and walked in to see what I could see and I saw twins. Just one set, they ran off but when I followed, they stopped, they are very curious, especially this little girl. (I just think she looks like a girl.)

When I stopped and started taking pictures, she came toward me.....

....when she stopped to nibble, I'd take some steps toward her.

We were getting to be quite good friends.....

.....I'm not sure what she was saying to me but I was thinking it was something like, "I just LOVE your vest, wherever did you get it??"

She was actually playing a little coy, acting like I wasn't even there, I was no threat to her.

But her brother, I think he looks like a boy, wasn't liking it at all and, after watching for awhile, let out a snort to show his disapproval and my friend instantly was on alert and ran off with him.

They have such good camouflage, Gander Mountain got nothing on them, they melt into the trees and brush, I realize this is a small picture but try to find both deer, they are there. 

And then there were these confused geese, they obviously had not been watching the weather because this big flock was heading north at a brisk pace.

Can't you just hear them when they run into snow tomorrow?

"And who's idea was it to let Leroy lead??"