Showing posts with label Prairie Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prairie Living. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter Bliss

People in the city often think small town, rural living is "boring".

"What do you do for fun?", they ask....

They wonder if my kids are too "sheltered"....
I think the folks that have asked me that need to get out more!


What do you think??

I think.... I wouldn't trade this for the world.

Bye for now,

Friday, February 7, 2014

So You Wanna Be A Farmer?

Lately there is quite a movement happening.  At least it looks that way to me.  There are more and more people, men and women alike, that are craving a more organic, agricultural lifestyle.  To put it simply, they want to be farmers. On websites like Pinterest there are oodles of boards named, "My Dream Farm" or something similar.  All of this is such a great thing!  The world needs a lot more people devoted to farming and feeding the world!

The images we see of small farms and homesteads are all pretty idyllic.  Happy little chickens, adorable baby goats, perfect cottage gardens with flowers every where.   A lot of that is truth!  The baby critters we have in the spring are precious!  The chickens are truly a joy to watch scratching in the dirt.  Sometimes there is time to tend a flower bed or two....
It can seem like a perfect life....
All the sunshine and fresh air a person could need for a happy soul.  The rewards of growing the food your family consumes....

But today, on yet another sub-zero day in north central Montana, I have to ask the people with the dream of farming dancing in their heads; "Are you sure you wanna be a farmer?"  I have a little list of things for you to consider before you jump into an agricultural life with both feet.
The day when the automatic waterer, frost free water spigots and hoses are all frozen.  Water gets hauled by hand, in 5 gallon buckets for whatever distance it take to keep the critters alive.  Of course it's usually -30 below when we're out hauling water. 
The day when the wind blows so hard it literally blows the doors off the barn and your sheep scatter into the wind on a grand adventure.  So then they have to be rounded up in the 100 mile an hour wind.  By a person, aka. you.
The day the both of your livestock guardian dogs do a great job of defending your farm from a porcupine and end up with faces full of quills.  Off the vet for enough drugs to keep them from biting your hand off when you yank the quills out one by one.
The day when you find yourself giving an alpaca an enema and helping him extract the blockage that is giving him colic and threatening his life.
The day when a hail storm comes and completely wipes out your entire garden just as it's starting to look so promising.
The day that your out riding your horse for some actual fun and relaxation and it's interrupted by a not-so-lovely rattlesnake that crosses your path and spooks your horse. You instantly envision getting bucked off right there on top of that rattler!
The day a coyote gets a hold of one or more of your chickens.  The ones you nursed along for two months in your garage to keep them safe.... I could go on.
I have had each and every one of those days sometime during the year.  I am not sharing this to discourage anyone from chasing their farming dreams!  But yesterday, as I hauled that water 300 yards, through 18 inches of snow, in -20 below temperatures, I was questioning my sanity just a little bit!  Then I thought of others with this dream and had to ask, "So you think you wanna be a farmer?"  I hope you do!  But be careful what you wish for because it just might come true!
Bye for now,


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February Freeze

It's a pretty regular thing for us to get our most bitterly cold weather in the beginning of February.  We can almost count on it. December really threw us for a loop this year with some of the lowest temperatures we'd seen in over fifteen years.  There was a week that the thermometer was stuck at around -30 below zero.  Then we had some serious wind chill at around -65 or so. Wicked.

So now it is February.  As predicted we are having another cold snap.  It was -25 when I got up this morning.  Thankfully there isn't much for wind.

The sunrise always looks a little different at sub zero temperatures....
Judge and I think it's just too dang cold!  We're gonna hang out here for a while and drink hot coffee.  Well, I'll have the coffee.... Judge is good with keeping his spot on the floor held down.

Stay warm everyone,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Prairie Chickens

This morning the rugrats looked out the window and told me the chickens were out.  That's not good!  We have to keep them in their fenced area so the "guard dog", Jury doesn't eat them!  But when I looked out the picture window, I just smiled.  It wasn't the chickens.... it was the prairie chickens.  Also known as female, Ring Necked Pheasants. Lots of 'em!

These girls have been hanging out in our little, scrubby trees.  Most likely to get themselves up and out of the 8 inches of fresh snow we have.  The pheasants usually are found scurrying around in tall grass and the ditches along the highway.  Taking to the trees isn't something we see them do every day....

One of their very favorite tricks to pull on us humans is to try to get us bucked off of our horses!  It never fails that we'll be riding along, minding our own business and WHOOSH!  A pheasant or two will explode out of the grass right under our horses noses or bellies!  Even the best of horses will have a minor heart attack when that happens!  Heck, even I have a heart attack when that happens!! The pheasants laugh at us... I know they do.

But today there will be no riding.  We'll just watch them bounce around in the branches as we all wait for Spring....

Bye for now,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mystical Montana

This morning we woke up to fog so thick we couldn't see past the yard..... I had to wait quite a while to take these photos for you.

Fog is probably one of my favorite natural occurrences. I know I have written about it before. (Click here to check out that post.)  Fog doesn't happen all that often out here.  Usually it signals a weather change is on it's way.  I'm praying this fog means Spring! A girl can hope right?  I do know we have February to get through yet. But when March rolls around we can usually at least feel a hint of Spring in the air.  I'm probably getting ahead of myself....
But it's easy to start thinking ahead to brighter, warmer days when everything is looking so beautiful!
I can't even believe I get to wake up to this wonderland....
It's a long way from the Seattle traffic or Houston chaos that were once my life....

Mystical Montana at it's finest....
Well kids, I am off to go fire up the old John Deere and roll out some brand new, fresh straw in the barn. 
Bye for now,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Just Wanted To Say "Hay"

Hay there!  I brought along my camera while my big boy and I did chores this afternoon.  There wasn't anything "special" going on.  Just another absolutely perfect, mid-January day in Montana.  But I though you might like to come along with me and enjoy the farm for a minute....

Skeeter wanted to be sure you had a good chuckle today....

Miss Ivy says hello.... Doesn't she have the most beautiful gold eyes?

Good ol' Rhett was thankful it was his day off....

The not-so-innocent, but innocent looking lambs were posing nicely for me today....

The big boy got to play mountain goat on the stop of the hay stack....

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not aware how blessed we are to live this life.  Simple pleasures and beautiful things everywhere we look, no matter what we're doing.  Take a look around you right now.  I'll bet there's blessings everywhere....

Bye for now,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Montana Hurricanes

So this morning I lazily rolled out of bed at the insistence of my rugrats, who scamper into my room before daylight each day.  I pulled on my pink velour jogging suit, (that I never jog in) and stumbled to the kitchen in anticipation of a lovely cup of coffee.  My trusty Keurig was doing it's thing so I happened to gaze out the kitchen window while I waited for my cup to fill.  And then the day got interesting....

All night last night the wind blew hard enough to literally shake the house.  It sounded as though something of substance was repeatedly beating on the house, not just gusts of air.  It was so loud I couldn't sleep very well at all and I was amazed the kids had slept okay.  But we've had wicked winds before so I wasn't exactly worried or anything.

My view out the kitchen window showed me the door to the sheep shed had blown open and let my little prairie maggots escape their corral. I had that door wired shut with two strands of baling wire around the door handle! So I called Prairie Granny to come over and watch the rugrats so I could go chase sheep.  I tore down to the corral in my pickup, jumped out and the wind caught my door so hard it now needs some repairs.  The force of the wind seemed to be sucking more air from my lungs than I could put back in!  Just to walk around, I was leaning into the wind like you'd see in an old cartoon. The sheep were running back and forth and around, in between the horses and such.  My big ol' dog wasn't much help either. She was having a little too much fun and not listening to me what-so-ever!  Thankfully, Miss Ivy the birthday goat saved the day.  She came running up to me like, "Mom! Save me!"  So I caught her up and tied her inside the sheep corral.  Sort of hoping they would "follow the leader".  Know what I mean?

I threw some hay in the feeder and went to investigate the broken shed door.  Sure enough those wires had snapped in the wind and the wood holding the latch had splintered and broken off.  I had to "Jerry rig" that door like MacGyver to keep it shut as the wind kept slamming me against the wall of the shed. Finally it looked like it would hold so I went after the sheep.  I'm so thankful they were hungry!  I tip-toed out around them and they tip-toed right into the corral. Thank the Lord!

As looked around the farm yard I found things blown all to kingdom come.  The metal round bale feeder blew over, buckets and tumbleweeds lined the fence lines, the portable net fencing for my chickens was no longer standing.  It had pulled right out of the soggy ground at the base of each post. Bales of hay had been blown off the top of the stack. I couldn't even make that one up! How did that happen?  I had to feed the calves inside the corral next to the barn so the hay wouldn't blow away before they could eat it! Then of course I came home wearing plenty of hay in my underwear....

I decided a Montana hurricane is when the wind is strong enough to blow down part of your hay stack. I looked up the meaning of "gale force winds" and gale force tops out at 64 miles per hour. That would just be a stiff breeze compared to what we had this morning.... I'm glad to report that for now the winds have calmed down to about 15 miles per hour.  I'm looking forward to picking up the pieces in the morning.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Six Man", A Film You Need To See

Last night I watched something that moved me to tears.  It was about football, of all things.  A wonderful film maker named Kurt Markus has come to our little off-the-map area of Montana and made a documentary film that has me and everyone else around feeling as puffed up and proud as a mother hen.

Taken during the 2013 State Championship game. That our boys won!

The film is called, "Six Man" and highlights our Geraldine/Highwood Rivals, as well as the Big Sandy Pioneers.  As I have previously confessed, I know pretty much nothing about football.  But there is one thing I do know.  Our little community lives and breathes to support our kids and the sports programs that give them some amazing opportunities. I'm so grateful and proud that Mr. Markus had such an affection for our area and our kids, that he spent two years of his life dedicated to making a film that will show the world the blessings and challenges of how we live.  He told us the film is a "love story" for our little towns and the adoration showed through in every way.  I thank Kurt Markus for putting on film the love that I have been writing about for these past two years. 

As a momma to three sons, I must say I feel a renewed sense of dedication to choosing this small town life.  I can only hope that when my sons are old enough, they will have the opportunity to play sports in Geraldine. It may be a long shot, but I hope Mr. Tweet is still coaching by then as well!  I'm so tickled that the class and integrity of our coaches and our team shined through throughout the film. Our boys did an outstanding job of articulating what's in their hearts and minds on and off the field.  Their dedication and devotion to their sport, their team and their towns was pure and evident. 

Mr. Markus showed us the film before it has even been picked up for distribution.  So for now I can't tell you to go pick up a copy.  But please know I will be following the film's progress and if at all possible, I will let you know when and where you can see the film.  It truly is something I think the world should see. I'll be watching for updates, you should too!

Bye For Now,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How Was Your New Year's?

Another year has passed.  Last night was the annual fundraiser and dance for the Geraldine swimming pool.  It is always such a fun time and last night was no exception.  Cowboys in costumes, good food, a silent auction that was at times quite a wrestling match, dancing and a good ol' gab fest.  The snow was falling in large, fluffy flakes that begged to land on eyelashes and the tip of your nose as we walked into the old auditorium. Perfection.

My companion and I decided to enjoy the dance until nearly midnight, then hit a long standing tradition of a house party out in the hills west of town.  We drove the road over the mountains as midnight rolled around and the snow swirled.  Friends and laughter were found in a lovely, warm farmhouse.  Stories were told and plans were hatched until yawns outnumbered the laughter.

We headed out the snow buried driveway and down the gravel road until we were just to the pavement. The truck didn't sound right.... an unidentifiable noise.  We went a bit further....  Then the "low tire pressure" light was flashing and it became obvious we were going to have to fix a flat in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snow storm, in the middle of nowhere.  We were then disappointed to discover that the necessary parts for changing said tire were not to be found.  Both cell phones were mocking us with their "no signal" status.  So there we were.  Not a house in sight, no phones, no changing the tire. We decided to lay back on the heated seats and take a snooze until morning.  At least we had plenty of fuel and wouldn't freeze.  In daylight maybe we could flag someone down for a ride to town.

Morning came finally and the snowstorm had moved on.  In the distance near some ancient grain elevators there stood a little old shack of a house and I saw a light come on!  "Hey! Does someone live down there?" I asked my partner in crime. Turns out yes, an old codger named Kenny lived there.  Surely we could use his phone to call for some best friend back up.  "Does he like you?" I asked.  "Think so...." was the answer.  We decided to creep the truck slowly towards the shack, hoping to not destroy the wheel.  My traveling partner disappeared to the house and came back with Kenny and the key to an old pickup truck.  I guess he did like us okay.  "Kenny, you are a scholar and a gentleman...." and off we went with the old man's truck.  Quite an eventful first day of 2014, I'd say. Now, I'm ready for a long night's sleep.... Happy New Year everyone.

Bye for now,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just The Way It Is

There's a full moon over Tulsa.... no wait.... that was another time and another place.  But "There's a full moon over Geraldine"  just doesn't have the same ring to it.  And it never was a country song....

But there sure is a nice moon over the prairie tonight.

Moon rise to the East.

It looks like it might be a smidge under full.... but who cares?  It was still awesome to see it rise up out of the horizon.

Today has been warm, thank the Lord.  The snow is melting, my world is a soggy, muddy, mess.  The wind has also been blowing enthusiastically for two straight days.  It's the kind of day that has the hay blowing up my nose and down my shirt when I'm out feeding the critters. It just could not be avoided no matter how I tried to get upwind.  But I'm not complaining!  I'll take the wind, slush, ice, mud or whatever.  That's just the way it is.  I get to live here and do what I love to do every single day.  No life is perfect but we all have so much we can be grateful for if we just look close enough....

Bye for now,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Chilly Christmas Cheer

Let me tell you, we are some tough folks here in Geraldine, Montana!  It hovered between 15-20 degrees below zero all day yesterday.  But last night was the annual Christmas Stroll bazaar!  It's a fun event where local folks set up a booth and sell things they have made themselves or are representatives for, such as Mary Kay and Pampered Chef.  A high percentage of the booths are yummy things to eat!  Jams, breads, pies, chicken and homemade noodles, cookies.... But there are also some very crafty folks selling awesome artisan products. (Myself included of course.)

I was pretty amazed that even at 20 below, the old auditorium filled up.  The high school music department played and sang carols for us.  Santa came and took the hopeful requests from the kiddos.  We all ate lots of goodies and had great visits with our friends.  The kids got to earn money for FFA, 4-H and the like.  The little kids had the chance to run around and giggle with their friends....

"Santa, I'd like a pony please..."

If your town still has a Christmas social of some kind, I recommend you get out to it!  It's a bit of a long lost tradition that we should keep alive in my opinion. I think it beats an evening at the shopping mall....

Bye for now,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fifteen Below

This will be short and sweet.  One of the things I never get tired of here in Geraldine are the beautiful skies.  Sunrise, sunset, mid-day, whatever. The sky is almost always beautiful.  Even when it's 15 degrees below zero....

I'll have you know that I stepped out onto my back porch in my jammies and pink fuzzy slippers, just to take this photo for you!

And this one....

There are some very cold pheasants on top of my windmill.

Ok, time for more coffee....

Bye for now,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We Are The Champions

You guys all know that I am not a sports writer.  Like at all.... I hardly know anything about any sports that don't involve horses.  But I'm learning.  I've learned that sports are really, really important to the kids in this town and many other little towns like it.....
Saturday was probably this BIGGEST day of the year for our little school in our little town.  Our beloved, six man football team made it to the state championship game.  Our co-op team of Geraldine/Highwood played the co-op team of Stanford/Denton/Geyser.  The other team only lost one game all year.  The game they played against our team.  They were worthy opponents and everyone knew it would be a very good game.  The other team comes from the little towns that are Geraldine's "neighbors".  So it was also a hometown rivalry. 
When I pulled out of Geraldine to head over the mountains to the Highwood field, Geraldine was already a ghost town.  Nobody was here! I am certain Stanford, Denton and Geyser were also ghost towns.  I drove the dirt roads over the mountains to Highwood because it cuts off the miles and it's such a pretty drive.  So many people had done the same thing that there was a hazy cloud of dust all the way through the hills. A dust cloud of hope and anticipation. 
11-Wyatt McKinlay, 22-Dawson Baroh, 34-Jordan Lafontaine, 32-Darren Malek
When Payson and I arrived at the field we found it was standing room only on the side lines of the field.  Well, actually there wasn't even much for standing room on either side of the field. Some folks had even parked one of their vehicles in the "perfect spot" next to the field, days before the game to ensure they'd get a good view.

17- Jeremiah Hinkle, 21- Sean Bronec, 28-Devin Leistiko

Our boys started the game by getting some touchdowns right out of the box.  From then on you could feel the hope in the chilly late fall air....

Coach Tweet with the boys.  55-Ben Rayner, 17-Jeremiah Hinkle, 56-Braden Urion
Mr. Tweet has been the coach at Geraldine for 32 years. His teams have won the State Championship in 1989, 1997, 2001 and 2003. He was inducted into the MCA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009. Everyone I have spoken to speaks of his fairness and ethics on the field.

The boys maintained the lead for the length of the game. At one point the other team rallied and made us all hold our breath for a bit....

25-Sam Bronec, 32-Darren Malek, 34-Jordan Lafontaine

7- Jake Malek, 25- Sam Bronec, 34- Jordan Lafontaine


Our boys were not about to let the opponents get a lead.  You could feel their determination building.

3-Riley Kurtz gets tackled.

22-Dawson Baroh    He catches it....
and is tackled.

The end of the game arrived to find us with a score of 50-18. The "blue side" of the field erupted with ten years worth of exuberance.

"Good game."

We are the champions again....

Congratulations to our Rivals!  Geraldine and Highwood could not be more proud! 

This post was written with the intent to share these photos with the parents and families of our players.  Please feel free to copy and save any of these photos and use them as you wish.

Bye for now,