Sunday, August 30, 2015


Since I retired 8 years ago, I consider every day vacation interrupted with the little annoying things like cleaning house and doing laundry but Bruce and I wanted to get out to WI to see his sisters and families. Last week we had a small window in between fishing trips, I lined up my chore girl down the road and we took off Monday morning.

Along the way we got to vote what to have for dinner when Jean called to ask and meatloaf won out. It was the BEST meatloaf we've every had! The evening turned into a party when Bruce's other sister, Shirley (Gerb), husband, Rich and daughter, Katelyn came over, along with Jean and John's youngest son, Mike who is always a part of the Salzwedel Boys fishing trip in early June. We also got to meet Jean's longtime friend, Sandy and her daughter, Britt, we ate and ate and ate and declared everything delicious.

Tuesday morning Jean, Bruce and I made our way to 'Tommy Tuckers' where I was hoping they could repair my Bissell carpet cleaner that refused to work the last time I used it. I'd tried to repair it myself with the help of You Tube but ended up with a part left over that I could not figure out where it went! Jean and Bruce were chuckling in the background while I explained my dilemma but the girl took it in stride, packaged the extra piece and wrote a note to explain it. (Edited to add that the Bissell was beyond repair.)

Obviously she had dealt with this before or she had the good grace to wait until we were out the door before falling to the floor laughing. Then we made the long awaited trip to the brand new Cabelas where Bruce shopped and shopped, I even got a new rain coat out of the deal.

Tuesday afternoon Bruce and John went to a farm show, Jean got her hair cut and fixed and I napped, being on vacation is exhausting. That night we went to a little bar for Taco Tuesday, I was thinking Taco John's tacos, these were tacos on steroids, HUGE!! Their daugher, Lori and oldest son, John C, along with Rich, since he was batching it with Gerb and Kate, gone to her college orientation, met us there. John snapped this picture with his phone.

Wed morning John and Bruce went golfing with cousins, Dennis and Brian so, of course, Jean and I went out to eat. We headed for a Mom and Pop pizza joint that is so good but found, to our dismay, that they didn't open till 4. Oh, well, there was a Mexican restaurant nearby that Jean recommended.

It was 5 o'clock somewhere so we ordered raspberry margaritas, not knowing that we were going to get a gallon jar. Sorry about the quality of this picture of Jean, I'd been sipping on my margarita and wasn't seeing too straight.

It was a good thing I had a designated driver, I'm not sure I would have made it back to the house.

I don't remember much of the afternoon, I spent it on their deck, wrapped in a cushy throw, curled up on a bench.

I really can't handle my liquor very well.

Bruce and John were pooped when they arrived back from golfing and Jean got this picture of the Bobsey Twins. Bruce hates it when I take a picture of him sleeping but this time it wasn't me.

We had a good supper of BLT's with homegrown tomatoes and that seemed to revive everyone for a bit. It was our last night there, we needed to leave early to get back home so Bruce could go fishing again at the cabin - life is tough on the farm!

We were both awake before dawn so dressed as quietly as we could and stole away, like two thieves ditching their hotel bill.

 Looks like our proprietor isn't very happy about this.

We got home a little after noon, Bruce emptied his suitcase of dirty clothes, sniffing the ones he wasn't sure about, filled it with clean clothes, ate a bowl of cereal, kissed me goodbye, jumped in the truck and went to pick up Delmer and Joe.

I felt a little abandoned but with Mollie and Murphy dancing around, "You're Home! You're Home!!", that feeling didn't last long.

I took the 4-wheeler to the pasture and found our last heifer had calved while we were gone!! No fuss, no drama, HURRAY!!

Oh it is good to be home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

R.I.P. Morris

Morris has been a fixture at the farm for several years now, he showed up one day, a wild, young male cat, looking for a home. We had two other cats at the time, our old, old siamese cat and her last daughter, both spayed females that we fed everyday. Morris became more comfortable with us when he realized he was welcome at the food bowl.

As you can tell by this picture, he spent a lot of time there.

Morris could be fiesty, he is telling this curious calf to "Back Off!"

Morris loved attention, this was Ian and Annie bidding him farewell after their visit to the farm.

The only thing he liked better than attention was his food bowl and he especially liked to have people watch him eat.

He didn't care who was there, Morris is loving up to Sue when we were building the bee hives.

This has been a familiar sight after Morris discovered the advantage of riding in a warm tractor on a cold winter morning.....


....he did have an ulterior motive though, this way he could remind Bruce to fill the food bowl before leaving.

Morris welcomed Mollie and Murphy at the farm but other cats were to be banished, not allowed to set foot on the place, that started his downfall.

He was so mean to the Lady Porky that I had to confine her to Leo's shop for her own safety, after all she is older than Morris. When she was not keeping the mouse population down in there, I moved her to the porch of the old house where she is still residing today. 

We would welcome a few new cats to keep the rodents in check but Morris fought and ran off everyone, even though he was getting old and not as tough as he used to be. He was constantly limping from bites and scrapes and even had to be treated with antibiotics for a badly infected leg.

This summer he has aged before our eyes, thinned down and his face looked so old so it was no surprise when one day last week I found him dead, right inside the barn. It looked like he just went to sleep.

We buried him by the old house, in the shade of the ferns, as Bruce laid him in the grave he said, "You were a good cat, Morris."

A fitting epitaph. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Hummers are back!

Every spring and every fall I will have a hummingbird or two but never through the summer so I only put feeders out when I see them. Last Saturday I was getting ready to wash the living room windows, my sister in law, Sue, the glass artist, made this lovely stained glass picture and painted a cardinal on the glass.

I just pulled out the couch and came face to face with a hummingbird trying to get at the red frame!

I quickly mixed up some sugar water, enough for three feeders and luckily I knew where I kept them, not always the case. It took awhile to hang the three, I had to confiscate some fishing line from one of Bruce's poles because if I don't, the ants take over the feeders.

All three were hung and I waited, and waited, and waited, an entire week. I kept thinking I should change out the sugar water but with the flooding, taking care of the baby calf and helping friends, I didn't do it. Friday noon I was cleaning up the dinner dishes when a hummingbird was at the feeder!!

Great Excitement Abounded!!

I quickly mixed up a new batch of sugar water and when he left, I raced out and took down that feeder. While I was washing it in the sink, I kept watch out the window and soon he was back, zipping around, rather confused.

"It was here just a minute ago!!"

I took that one back and hung it and got the other two. Then I set up the camera on the tripod with remote shutter and sat out on the front porch waiting.

I think they are called Hummingbirds because if you are close enough to hear them, as they sip the nectar, they say, "Hmmmmm." No lie, I was just inches away from one outside the garden shed and heard him.

If you have the patience you can get hummingbirds to eat out of your hand by holding a feeder, first starting with a dummy sitting in a chair near the feeder until they get used to it. I even saw a picture of a fat guy laying on his back on a picnic table with a red flower painted around his belly button and a hummingbird sipping nectar out of it!

No chance of that happening here! Don't be afraid to drive in and set a spell.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tending baby in a flooded pasture

Two of our heifers are very late in calving, Bruce thinks that they over ate on corn last fall when turned out in the combined fields and aborted their calves, so were bred back late. Finally #40 started to show and we have waited and waited and waited.

"Aren't you EVER going to have that baby?"

"Who wants to know?"

To complicate matters, I discovered over the weekend that another calf was nursing the heifer, depleting her colostrum that is vital for the new born calf. All we could do was keep watch and give the new baby some powdered colostrum as soon as it was born.

The days have been sunny and warm, perfect for calving and then the rains came, 5 inches in 24 hours and then she decides to have her calf! We tried to get her up to the barn but with the pasture flooding it was impossible. All we (Bruce) could do was watch in the rain for the blessed birth.

Luckily it was a warm rain, he hung out with the rest of the cows, surreptitiously peeking through the herd as #40 pushed awhile, then got up and grazed awhile. He came home to eat dinner, soaked to the skin, stripped everything off to go in the dryer, and dressed in dry clothes. The rain finally stopped and he drove the 4-wheeler back over to see if any progress was made. 

Bruce knew immediately that she had the calf because all the cows were gathered around, he just didn't know if it was alive.

He was indeed alive and well, being sniffed and snuffled by several cows, they love a new baby. It's much like a room of grandmothers at a baby's christening, everyone wants to hold it.

They have to settle for sniffing and an occasional lick.

The mother getting some advice from a seasoned cow....

"I know it seems overwhelming at first, but before you know it he will be going off to college."
We gave the little guy an hour to recover from his birth, he was still wet and sticky but we had to get the colostrum in him before he nursed. He was a big boy and strong, it took both of us to hold him while Bruce tubed him, then we carried him to high ground as the creek was coming up even more. His mother was quite concerned so we left the two alone to bond. In the night the storms came up again and when morning came it was lightening too much to go check on him. Bruce and I went to help some friends whose basement flooded, they had twice the amount of rain we did, and didn't get home till late afternoon. 

When we got home I took the 4-wheeler to go look for him and found the mother way down in the pasture, across the deep water with the other cows but no baby, I was sick! I criss-crossed the pasture for nearly an hour, looking, searching and praying the little guy had the good sense to stay on high ground. Just as I was about to give up, he stood up, he was safe but very, very hungry. I got Bruce and we decided if she wouldn't come to her baby, we would take him to her. We loaded a deep bed of straw in the back of the gator and, much to the dogs dismay they were ordered to stay home, and drove back to the pasture. That's all I would need, me, a calf and two big dogs in the back of the gator. Even though I knew the general vicinity the calf was, it was hard to see him because of the high grass. He took being lifted into the gator in stride and I crawled in to hold him. He seemed to enjoy the ride, for awhile, then started thrashing, and he was strong! It was all I could do to hold him, at one point he kicked my glasses off with his back hoof but didn't break them. Bruce was hightailing it down the road, past our house to the home farm. The calf settled down, we drove through the yard and down the dirt road to the pasture but by that time the cows had moved and were on their way to the pasture gate, they paid no attention to Bruce's "Come Boss!!" So it was back to the home place where we unloaded the baby in the cow maternity pen, we would sort off her mother when we got them up.

Bruce took the tractor and loaded silage while I opened some gates and closed others, then ran down the lane where all the cows were waiting, rather impatiently I might add. The cows surged past me, "to the  barn, to the barn!" We sorted off the mother and put her in with her calf, boy was she surprised! He was famished. We kept two other old cows with their calves with the pair so she wouldn't panic and go through the fence, they do not like to be alone. After two harrowing days, they were where we wanted them to be all along.

The next morning I took my camera to get pictures and found him with a full belly, sleeping in the sun.

He hardly woke up when I got in with him.

But his mother was none too pleased.

"What are you doing to my baby??"

A lick on the face and she was happy again.

Today was doctoring day, #40 and #33, who was also born in the pasture, needed shots and fly tags. If #33 could talk, she would have a story to tell because she was attacked by something out there. When we found her, she had two skinned places on her back.

It's a dangerous world out there for newborn calves because the cows will stash them away and go join the other cows for awhile, she was lucky.

After being stuck twice with a needle and an ear piercing with the purple fly tag, he didn't seem to hold it against us.

In fact when Bruce released him, he came over to where I was and laid down.

They will stay at the barn for a few more days before returning to the pasture with the herd, he will be a lot stronger and hopefully his mother will keep a better eye on him. Now if #23 would just have her calf, without a rain storm in mix, we will be very happy also.

Well, we can always wish.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Creekfest 2015!

"Party in the pasture the weekend the cows can't come home!"

One evening in Cherokee County, two couples were sitting on a picnic table in a pasture drinking too much beer. (Don't even ask why a picnic table was in a pasture.) There was a big hill behind them and it overlooked lovely Mill Creek that wound around through the land.

One of them, not sure if it was Fred or Kurt, said, "Wouldn't this be a great place to have a party?"

Thus Creekfest was born.

It had pretty modest beginning, using a lot of local bands but people loved it, Bruce and I helped out the first three years but when Fred and Peg got out, we did to. After all, we aren't getting any younger and it was always HOT! This year Creekfest moved, just down the road from us and what a venue! Kurt and his crew have been working on for the last year and it was pretty spectacular. The band Perry was the headliner for Friday night and Big and Rich were on stage Sat night. This is a video Bruce took from the top of the hill overlooking the entire set up, I've had issues in the past on viewing video's, I hope not this time.

I took my camera and honking big lens and took pictures late Sat but the wind was blowing and I had a problem with shutter shake. I took a lot of pictures but had a lot of failures, the problem was in the direct sunlight, it was impossible to tell how the pictures came out without the computer to load them on. I need to figure out a solution for that.

There was a lot of fun in Mill Creek, water sports with 4-wheelers.

Even a ferris wheel!

A bevy of beautiful women in bikinis and muscular men in shorts, hmmmm, wonder what is in those coolers??

Cooling off in Mill Creek on a sand bar, hmmmm, wonder what was in all those cans?

In the background was the bridge across Mill Creek that linked the concert ground to the camping ground, two semi trailers parked back to back. After it's over, they simply pull them out and park them for next year.

The stage - Uh, I really need to use my level.

Creekfest is just a memory now but planning is underway for 2016, headliner is Kid Rock, whoever he is. He has never played Iowa and draws crowds of a quarter of a million!! Not that they think that many people will descend on Cherokee County, Gulp!

It sure put 470th St. on the map so if you have a yen to party in the pasture next year, we can direct you.

Edited to add - We heard from our good friend, Howie Rupp that he was included in other veterans who were being honored on Saturday night. He said they would meet him at the gate and escort him on stage, we thought that was terrific.

Fast forward to Monday morning, Bruce was listening to WNAX, a radio station in Yankton, S.D., and Jim Reimler, one of the announcers said, "I have to give a big shout out to Howard Rupp of Cleghorn, IA!" I'm not sure if Jim was the MC but he met Howie and told him he would do that.

Salute, Howie!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Let the Voting Begin!!

Today is the first day of voting for my picture in the Farm News photo contest, get the vote out!! Don't let the cute little girl with the pig win out, be tough, cute kids shouldn't get everything!!

Some people misunderstood that you have to have a Facebook account to vote, you do not, but you will  have to create an account with Farm News so no cheating ensues.

We all hate cheaters, right!!

It's quick and painless!!

Click on the link and it will take you to the page, you have a week, don't be weak!!

Vote for liberty and justice, vote for ME!! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Marcus Fair happenings

Thursday was the entry day for the Marcus Fair, my friend, Kim, has been planning all summer for her entries, I started Thursday morning.

Can you tell which arrangement in the Dining by Candlelight category is mine??

Our judge is a great gal, Mary, from either Remsen or LeMars who really knows her stuff and tries every year to beat it into our head. She likes things rather simple, coordinated, using only two or three flower colors for an arrangement, I failed miserably.

When she came to the place settings, I entered the Beach Party category, she took in my wild towel, colorful plates, candles and flowers and was at a loss for words.

 "Chaotic?", I suggested helpfully and she burst into laughter and nodded her head. I think she expects us (me) to take this more seriously than we (I) do.

Then she extolled the virtues of Kim's tasteful entry that earned her a blue ribbon, I got the pity second only because there were just two entries.

Kim also wowed Mary and everyone else with her Garden Lady, she was so spectacular that the judge was desperately trying to find another entry that she could even judge her against.

It was plain that she was in a class all by herself and before long she was sporting a huge, purple ribbon.

The best entertainment at the fair this year was The Westernaires, a precision riding group made up of urban and suburban youngsters from 9-19 years of age. They are a non-profit group out of Jefferson County, CO. This organization started 66 years ago with the idea of using horses to develop discipline, social skills, personal confidence and responsibility in these young people. Each rider must maintain regular enrollment in school while a member of the organization. It has been highly successful and they go all over the country doing performances.

This talented young man is demonstrating the art of Roman riding, standing on two horses as they canter around the arena, it is not for the faint of heart.

These girls are riding their horses with no saddles, bridles or reins, just a strap around the neck, they they all took a jump at once with no hands.

Do not try this at home!

This picture is of two Westernaires demonstrating Cossack Riding and switching riders on one horse at a full gallop......

.....and sometimes the horse wins!

This group did two performances at the fair and also rode in the parade. This is their third trip here, mostly due to Nancy Heir, a local resident, who's granddaughter was once a member. The kids love coming to Marcus, when they are thanked for coming, they immediately say, "No, Thank YOU, for having us!"

All good times must come to an end, but not before Kim and I make fools of ourselves while taking over the little kids photo op! I had the hard part, having to nearly lay on the ground to get low enough, then I had to get back up.

Little kids were milling around, pretty disgusted that we were hogging their photo booth.

This is a plug for votes, I entered this photo in the Farm News fair photo contest.

I think it is pretty darned good and there are $300 in prizes on the line. Here is the link if you are so inclined to vote for my picture....

You will have to register because only one vote per account, originally the voting was to commence today, but they weren't getting as many entries as they thought so they have extended the time and voting begins on Sat.

I will admit that I'm up against kids, darned cute kids but don't be swayed!! Vote for justice and liberty, vote for me!!!!