Happy anniversary to my blog!

Apparently today is the second anniversary for my blog. I have been feeling bad for not being a very good blogger. My last post was in November 2013, and when I went today to make a short post and found a neat little reminder that it’s my anniversary with the blog. How coincidental!

I started this blog when I was still working from home and needed an outlet while staying home two days a week with my then 8-month-old son. I blogged quite often, and got a lot of feedback. Seems as though the days are busier now, and may get even busier with the arrival of our second son in early February. I’m hoping with one in daycare and the second one at home with me for 6 to 8 weeks, I can get back to blogging more, but don’t count on it. I’m positive I will need a creative outlet while at home.

I’ve come to dread January, mainly because of the weather and cold, but also because of a certain date. Jan. 21. It’s been two years since my father-in-law died on that day. On Jan. 14, 2012 we spent most of the day with my FIL and his mom at a family function and then they came and spent some time at our house with us. On this Jan. 14, I was at work and happened to glance back at some photos of my son and noticed the date. They were taken the day Steve died, but in the morning. If we had only known how our lives would change so much that Saturday, I would have done a lot of things differently. Not much we can change now, but it’s a thought I have often. I sure miss the guy.

I do think Steve would be proud of all the work Spence has put in at the farm. He’s made a lot of improvements to the facilities, particularly the pens and working chutes. He’s built the cowherd up and has continued to keep all the leases on the crop land his dad once had. I’m pretty proud of him for doing what he has with what little he has had to work with and doing most of it himself. I’m sure he’d have all the help he could ask for if he’d just ask, but that’s just not him. He puts his head down and gets the job done, no matter how long it takes. There are some nights where he doesn’t make it home until well past dark, but (even though it doesn’t seem like it now) it’s worth it. It’s worth it to keep the farm in the family.

I also think Steve would get a kick out of his grandson. For being only two and a half, the little stinker surprises me every day. Whether it’s something he has said or asks about, I’m continually amazed. I think he’s gained his grandpa’s love for that farm, and I hope it continues to be a place where he can have fun and grow up.

Shaun's favorite place in the whole world - the Scott family farm on the tractor.

Shaun’s favorite place in the whole world – the Scott family farm on the tractor.

A whole month?

Has it really been an entire month since I blogged last? There’s no excuse. Well, there is a couple – I have been busy, it snowed and I’ve traveled.

Here’s some photos of my adventures.

This guy and I spent about 5 days in the house when we got snow not once, but twice from Feb. 21 to 25.

This guy and I spent about 5 days in the house when we got snow not once, but twice from Feb. 21 to 25.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter was our stop after a BASF media event at Universal Studios.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter was our stop after a BASF media event at Universal Studios.

Kashe decided to take his own adventure from Feb. 3 to 12. Luckily he came home.

Kashe decided to take his own adventure from Feb. 3 to 12. Luckily he came home.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy any more

Since horses are a big part of my life, and their care is a priority to me, I often look for ways to make chores a lot easier. In the mornings, I normally hit the snooze several times and don’t get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off so my day’s often start out in a rush. Not much fun, but I make it work most mornings.

On New Year’s Eve we got a snow storm. This time it was pretty snow that fell from the sky with minimal wind and ended up being about five or six inches in places. Most often in Western Kansas, our snow doesn’t fall, it comes horizontally, blown by cold, gusty North winds. This time too it was bitterly cold, but not quite as bad because of the lax winds. However, single digit temps made feeding horses a bigger chore than it really was, plus with the snow on the ground it just made doing chores cumbersome and take longer.

First you had to bundle up like you were in the Arctic (Ok, not true but I despise the cold). In regular weather a Carhartt coat and heavy sweat pants (shorts in summer) and tennis shoes comprise my feeding attire. During this week of cold and snow, I donned the Carhartt, bib coveralls and snow boots.

Then you had to chop ice. I don’t mind chopping ice in a big tank. One that has some size to it and there’s no fear of puncturing it or breaking it when the axe hits the ice. Plus, when its zero degrees out any liquid freezes where it falls. That could be your face, your eyelashes or coat. By the end of the second day my horse’s tubs were frozen solid and no amount of chopping could clear out enough room for a bucket full of fresh water. I finally resorted to a small plastic tub that wouldn’t be a total loss if I broke it and it could easily be picked up and dumped out. In the last two days it has gotten warm enough during the days where the ice bricks/blocks have melted a little. Last night I was able to dump the big ice cubes out and fill the tubs with clean water. Success! I got my coat and gloves wet and my hands were cold, but NO MORE ICE! I was pretty excited.

However on my walk back to the house my excitement over the victory against the ice was dampened some by the fact that I realized ice-free horse tubs made me happy. Really? In my 34 years on this earth, that’s something that makes me happy? I guess I’ve gotten simple, but it works!

Kate waits for her evening meal, Jan. 1, 2013.

Kate waits for her evening meal, Jan. 1, 2013.

Happy place

We should all have a happy place. Even though my 18 month old son doesn’t know it yet, I suspect he has his own happy place already. It is in any vehicle that, as he says, goes “vroom vroom.” My happy place is on the back of my brown mare.

My husband and I have been moving hay around the past couple of days, and it required him bringing a tractor to our place. Ever since the tractor appeared on the homestead, Shaun has been enamored by it. Last night while doing chores he insisted we go see the tractor and when I relented and walked out there with him, he was beyond happy.

 

My kind of neighbors

Our closest neighbors are more than a mile away. From our house you can’t even see theirs because of the lay of the land. Recently in the pasture to the west, we got some new neighbors. They are the best kind.

Fair weather cowgirl

I normally try to give my horse some time off during the winter for two reasons: 1) it’s normally too dark to have much time to ride after I get home from work; and 2) a break is good for her and me too. However when February rolls around I try to get back into some sort of routine with my horse.

As I look at the calendar today is already Feb. 10. Where did the first ten days of this month go already?? So, that means I have roughly 35 days to get some rides on my horse before the first big barrel race I would like to enter – the Barrel Bash at Hutchinson, Kan., March 16 to 18. Really don’t want to be the out-of-shape barrel racer flopping around on the back of her horse looking like Whiplash the monkey.

Our last run of 2011, Christmas Cash race, Amarillo, Texas.

That’s all fine and dandy since my horse is finished and doesn’t require any tuning on the barrel pattern. But when I get home from work and its 40 some degrees and the temperature is dropping, my recliner has a way of sucking me in as does the fuzzy blanket.

I used to be the kind of person who couldn’t wait until 5 o’clock and I would race home and get on my horse. But since it has gotten colder and I have got some age on me, my drive to be horseback in the evenings has waned. I hate that it has happened, but what can I do? Some people wonder where their mojo has gone, me I have lost my motivation. If someone finds it please send it back to me. I will pay shipping. However, I don’t think my mare would mind too much.

My mare during the December 2011 snow.

Not that kind of girl

For entertainment or a break in the work day I either read a couple of blogs I have discovered through Twitter or a barrel racing forum. Last week on the forum there was a post from a gal that was living in Canada. The temperature where she lived was well below zero and she was having to take care of cattle on their ranch while her husband was on a hunting trip. Reading her posts about frozen tanks, frozen vehicles and numerous other escapades involving electricity, snow, livestock and frozen water I laughed and laughed. I would guess that’s her way of venting and handling the situation the best way she could without losing her sanity in the process (or killing her husband when he returns home).

After only having to care for one horse for the majority of the last 14 years, it’s hard for me to fathom caring for a couple hundred cattle or a dozen horses when the weather is bad. As I sit at my desk reading, I think, “there would be no way I could handle taking care of the things by myself.” Sure, I can handle three horses in the frozen tundra of western Kansas when it happens, but there’s no way I could take doing their work day after day. Heck my sister takes care of their cattle – moving bales, feeding and even gathering a sick one or loose one into the pens every day. I have it easy, and honestly, I like it that way. If she can do it, so can I. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

However, if my husband decides to leave me home to care for horses and cattle on my own some day (while he’s off doing something fun), I would like to think he has the confidence in me to not return home to dead or sick livestock.