Posts Tagged ‘hay bales’

We attempt to lead a normal life…  Honest, we do!

Yet ‘Weird’ seems to follow us around like a dog on a leash.

Take last Saturday for example:

The day started early.  We were up and on the road by 6:30 am, long before the sun had made its first appearance over the horizon.  This was a quick and unplanned trip to meet up with our son and daughter-in-law at Pierre, SD.  The last time they visited us at the ranch they had borrowed our large flat-bed trailer to haul an old pickup across the state to Watertown where they now live.   Dalton has been working on restoring the seventy-something Ford for several years now but he wasn’t sure she would make it the whole way on her own power.  So they were thrilled to use the trailer even though it is a heavy old beast – weighting over 2 tons all by itself. 

Dalton and Dani both grew up in households where if you borrow something from your neighbor (or family) you always bring it back better than when  you took it.  We also live by the principle that if someone brings you a covered-dish or plate of cookies, you never return the dish empty – you always fill it before you return it so it makes perfect sense that if you borrow a big, old flat-bed trailer you must fill it before you return it.


Well, they did.

They knew we have been looking for hay so when Dalton called Thursday night and said they would be headed our way with the trailer filled with hay we were excited.  Since it was going to be a very quick trip we offered to meet them half-way at the SD State Capital city of Pierre. 

Like I said – Saturday started early.  We loaded Steve in the pickup and pulled out of the yard at 6:30 am – sharp.  We stopped at the end of the driveway to mail a letter, drove thru Hell Canyon to Custer where we stopped at the bank then on to Rapid City where we stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s.  A half hour later we pulled on to the interstate and sped (Yes – I was driving and yes I have a heavy foot) to Wall, SD – the home of the world-famous Wall Drug. 

I have to stop and ask… 

“Have you dug Wall Drug?” 

If you’ve been there – you will understand.

We stopped in Wall long enough to fill up the tank and pee the dog then we were back on the road to Pierre.  That’s where we met Dalton and Dani with this:

Sweet!  They can borrow the trailer anytime they want!

Nothing ‘weird’ so far – right?

Well, actually the ‘weird’ started about 5 minutes before they pulled in to the parking lot where we were supposed to meet. 

Hubby and I arrived first at the local Perkins and since Hubby has a bladder the size of a peanut he went in to use the restroom while Steve and  I waited for the kids.  As he returned to the pickup he was the first to notice something weird…

“There’s a chicken in the parking lot.”  He stated as he climbed into the pickup.

“What do you mean there’s a chicken in the parking lot?”  I asked.   “We’re in the middle of town.”

He pointed under the truck.

“There’s a chicken in the parking lot.”

I got out to look.

He was right.  There was a chicken in the parking lot…  

A white rooster who was missing some feathers…

A white rooster,who was missing some feathers and looked strangely familiar!!!

A scowl furrowed my delicate brow.


Flash back to an earlier post:

”  Levi (the dog) and Franklin (the rooster who lives on the porch) supervised the whole operation so you know it was done right.  Franklin is very picky when it comes to the details.  They were very impressed by my carpentry skills.  Can you tell? “


Present day:

It was Franklin – just a little worse for wear.

Franklin lived on our porch for a while last spring.  By summer, we had moved him along with the other chickens to the other chicken house but he had never really gotten along with the other roosters so he had moved (escaped) out of the coop and took up residence on the road grader.  Which turned out to be his saving grace. 

It has been a bad summer for chickens at the ranch.  When Hubby started to notice that the fowl numbers were dwindling, he set out catch-em-alive traps and soon racked up the impressive tally of 11 skunks, 3 raccoons and 1 mean old badger.  Unfortunately, by the time he had thinned out the predators a bit we were down to 1 hen, 3 roosters and Thomas the turkey who is so old and tough that not even the skunks would touch him. 

A couple of weeks ago we moved what was left of our little flock back to the chicken coop by our house to keep a closer eye on them.  And once again Franklin, our ‘Lone Free-Range Rooster’ had decided he didn’t like the chicken pen full of roosters so he escaped out into  our yard and had been roosting at night amongst the vehicles. 

It appears that Friday night he chose the Chevy pickup for his roost not knowing it would be pulling out before daylight.

Hence Franklin’s trip to Pierre.

We’re not sure if he was roosting under the pickup in one of the wheel wells or under the hood next to the engine.  Hubby thinks he might have been sleeping in the bed of the pickup – which would explain the big smile I got from a passing truck driver.   What a let down – I thought he was flurting with me.

Where ever Franklin was, by the time we saw him he had ridden for 5 hours and a grand total of 250 miles before abandoning ship.

It only took a moment to catch him.  He had gotten quite tame when he lived on the porch and frankly, I think he was afraid to leave the safety of the pickup.  We rigged up a set of chicken hobbles from a piece of baling twine we found in the pickup then set him in the back – covered up with a nice warm blanket while we ate lunch.  The waitress even went out to check on him while we ate.  She thought it was hilarious!

Franklin was cold and shivering (and probably in a state of shock) after flying down the highway for the last 5 hours.  It’s amazing that he stayed put and didn’t hit the pavement at 80 mph.  If he had I’m sure there wouldn’t have been anything left but a few feathers blowing in the wind and we would have forever wondered what had happened to that crazy old bird.

Of course I had to post pictures on Facebook and we laughed all they way home about the funny comments everyone made. 

Besides the photo shown above there was this photo.

“Can I ride home inside the pickup?”

And then I posted this one of Franklin and Steve in the back seat.

My sister says:

“Puppy smells chicken.”

Franklin says:

“Beef.  It’s whats for dinner.”

Can life get any weirder?

Franklin never made a peep all the way home.  He travels very well considering this was probably the first trip he’d ever been on.  I suppose life on the ranch can get a little boring at times – especially if you’re a chicken – so maybe this was a nice change to his normal routine.  We did find out that he loves Sun Chips and he really did appreciate a little drink of water.  Maybe it’s not to bad to be hobbled as long as someone is waiting on you. 

I suppose there is the possibility that Franklin has now discovered that he enjoys traveling and he will be watching for another opportunity to stow away on the next trip.  It’s a thought.  It’s pretty easy to spoil a chicken.  Maybe I’ll have to get one of those mirrors with the long handles that the secret service agents use to check for bombs under vehicles – just so I can check for Franklin before I pull out of the yard.  I would sure hate to get caught transporting chickens across state lines even if it wasn’t my idea.  I bet you have to have a permit for that kind of thing and there’s probably all kinds of fines and jail time if you get caught without it. 

I’ll have to check into that.

On another note, I have personally declared November 3rd as National Take Your Rooster for a Ride Day.  There seems to be days for everything else so why not this?  I considered bringing it before Congress for an official declaration but we all know Congress can’t agreed on anything so I’m sure it would only add to the stack of worthy bills they need to be working on.  

But as Forest Gump would say, 

“That’s all I have to say about that.”

With that I will leave you with one parting thought by Steve the Wonder Dog.


“I like Chickens.  They taste like…      chicken.”


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I try to be organized.  I really do.  But for some unknown reason things never seem to work out the way I plan.  Take today for instance.

Every day I start a list.  I figure if I write it down – it will get done.  (I know, it’s a flawed theory but its the best I have right now).   I’m sure that if I could just finish 2 or 3 things after work every night sooner or later I would start to see progress.  So every day I write down the three most important things that need to be done.  I try to be smart about it.  I never put down big jobs like clean the garden shed, weed the entire veggie garden and finish the livingroom floor.  The jobs must be simple ones that I can actually accomplish.  Here’s today’s list:

1.  Bake a pound cake for the company that’s coming tomorrow.

2.  Water in the greenhouse.

3.  Weed around the hoop house.

That doesn’t sound so bad does it?  It’s not like I’m asking for the moon, right? I should be able to finish these items without even breaking a sweat especially since I have roughly 4 hours from the time I get home until it’s too dark outside to see. 

 It should have worked…  but it didn’t.

4:30 pm – The office closed – I ran for the door.  First stop – I needed to water at the Community Garden.  Our building is in charge of one plot where we are raising veggies for the Local Food Pantry.   I drove across town, watered and pulled a few weeds then headed for the pickup while I called Morgan, my baby, who has been sick again with tonsil problems and full-blown strep throat.  Since I had to stop at the grocery store for milk anyway I thought I’d see if there was anything he needed.  He didn’t need much just milk, hot dogs and Ramen noodles (the breakfast of Champions).  So I hurried into the grocery store, grabbed a small basket and zipped through in record time.  I was feeling good!!!  I was on track and I still had plenty of time.

I dropped off Morgan’s items at his house and headed for home – radio blaring and the windows rolled down.  Life was good.  Just like Wonder Woman I felt like I could do it all.

 And then I turned down the driveway…

 and saw the road blocked by a huge mass of black cows…

all congregated at the cattle guard (gate)…

and bawling at Hubby who was in the Ford pickup on the other side of the fence.  He was tearing across the field and kicking up dust as he tried to chase off a few cattle who had managed to get through the fence and were in the process of tearing apart the newly made hay bales. 

I took a deep breath. 

OK, I am Wonder Woman.  I can handle this and still get everything done.

I parked my pickup, jumped out and went to grab the broom in the back.  Just ask any ranch wife what is the best stick to drive cattle and 99.5% will tell you it’s a broom.  They are light weight and for some reason they look impressive to wild bovine.  Personally, I think it’s because of the wide bristle end.  If you didn’t know any better you would swear that thing would hurt when it hit you.  Anyway, I reached for my trusty broom but horrors of horrors it was gone!  Nothing in the back except a long-handled shovel and the spare tire.  Then I remembered – I had left the broom in Nadine (the world’s cutest camper). 

Rats!  No broom – but never fear – I am Wonder Woman!  I can drive cattle with my bare hands.

I took off around the herd of cattle, climbed the fence and jumped in the Ford with Hubby.  We roared across the field chasing the escaped cattle.  But cattle are evil and they love to split off and run circles, ducking and dodging like a welter-weight boxer, moving so quickly that the pickup couldn’t keep up.  Hubby stopped long enough for me to get out and start walking then together we drove them on toward the gate.  

Things were going well…  at least for a while but one nasty old cow in the bunch had obviously seen this strategy before.  She looked at me with one eyebrow cocked and at that moment I could read her mind.  “This ain’t my first rodeo, Honey!”  She flipped her tail high in the air and took off cross-country out of the field and across the pasture just like Richard Petty headed for the checkered flag.

But I didn’t give up for I am Wonder Woman!

I kicked it into high gear, running across the pasture, watching for snakes and cactus and jumping large prairie dog holes that would break a leg.  You should have seen me!  I didn’t know I could still run.  It felt good.  I wasn’t just jogging – I was running flat-out.  I was on a mission and 1500 pounds of ground round was no match for me.  I caught her and turned her and her gang of idiot yearlings.  It was impressive.  We got them through the fence and on their way to greener pastures.  And even after stopping to fix the fence I knew there was still enough time to finish the items on my list. 

 I am Wonder Woman!

I got to the house, put the groceries away, cleaned the kitchen like a crazy woman and mixed up a pound cake.  With the pound cake in the oven I had time to spare so I grabbed a boxed cake mix and whipped up a batch of cupcakes just for good measure.  I set the timer then the dogs and I ran to the hoop house.  I lowered the sides and started pulling weeds but it was growing dark so fast that I decided it was more important to water in the greenhouse instead.  I shut the door and ran for the hose then watered till it got too dark to see. 

OK – 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  I am still Wonder Woman but I’m pretty sure the timer has gone off and the cupcakes are done so I whistled for the dogs and ran for the kitchen door.  The dogs beat me to the step and just as Dally jumped to the landing I heard a familiar buzz by the corner of the step –


I shoved the dogs inside and slammed the door behind them then ran to the pickup and grabbed the long-handled shovel.  Very carefully, I tried to find the pissed off snake in the plants by the step.  It was a little nerve-racking but he was buzzing like crazy so I could almost pin point where he was.  He struck at the shovel, I pinned him but it wasn’t a good catch so I tried again and he struck at me again.  I caught him again but couldn’t cut him in half.  We went round and round but I knew Hubby is on his way – I could hear the pickup coming back from checking cows so I decided to just hold him down and wait for the Calvary to arrive.  It was a good idea but instead of stopping Hubby drove right past our house and headed to the chicken coop by the barn to shut up the chickens. 

I took another deep breath.  It’s OK – I am still Wonder Woman but I’m pretty sure I never saw her with a pissed off snake at the end of a shovel while the oven timer buzzed on the other side of the door and two demented dogs watched through the glass door.  Ten minutes later my hands were numb from clutching the shovel and the snake was really mad.  I could smell the aroma of burnt cupcakes and pound cake when Hubby finally pulled into the driveway.  Of course, he parked on the other side of the house and then let the truck run so he could listen to the end of the weather report!  I yelled at him but he couldn’t hear me.  I screamed at him but he still didn’t hear.  Finally, he shut off the truck and stepped out where he could hear me yelling at the top of my lungs.  Five minutes later the 4 foot long rattlesnake had lost his head and Hubby handed me the rattles as a prize – 11 rattles and a button – the biggest one we’ve seen this year. 

Hubby also brought the news that the cattle have gotten through the fence again and are back in the field we just chased them out of.   Auhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I glared at him before turning to see what was left of the burnt offerings in the oven then took a few well-deserved moments to beat my head against the wall.

As for my list – I did water in the greenhouse but I have not weeded around the hoop house.  The cupcakes and pound cake are a little dark but I guess they will do and thankfully no one got bit by the snake.  It’s now midnight.  I’m tired, dirty and the kitchen’s a mess and I’m pretty sure I’m further behind now then I was when I left the office at 4:30. 

It’s too hard to be Wonder Woman.  I wasn’t cut out for this.  I have decided to turn in my crown, tall boots and lariat.  I will trade them in on something I could really use like a super loud voice that carries for miles and is one that Hubby could always hear no matter where he is.  That would certainly be something I could use.  So from now on I will aspire to be a woman with the voice of a super hero…  like the gal who won the International Hog Calling Contest a couple of years ago.  She’s my new hero. 

Sorry Wonder Woman.

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OK…  it’s official.

I’ve had just about all the winter fun I can stand!

We have snow.  We have lots of snow and it keeps drifting back and forth.  Every day it’s stacked up in a new spot.  The snow can’t seem to decide where it wants to be.  I think snow likes to check out several spots before it decides to stay put.   It’s a theory I have.

Monday night after work I got stuck in our driveway – in the snow that had drifted – with my 3/4 ton, 4 wheel drive pickup –  on a cold and windy evening a half a mile from my house – I got stuck!

Here’s my ride when it’s not stuck in the snow.

I didn’t have a shovel or my Carhart coveralls or my snowboots or a hat or a decent pair of gloves.  And the worst thing was that my husband wasn’t home to dig me out.  Wahhhh!!!

So…  I cussed a little and then I walked through the herd of cows to the house, put on my coveralls, a hat, gloves and my snow boots.  I found a shovel and walked back to my pickup.  By then it was getting dark but I spent a half hour digging the truck out anyway.  I drove it about 5 feet and got stuck again!

So…  I cussed some more, then I dug some more and this time when I got the pickup moving I turned off the driveway and cut across the pasture where you could almost see a patch of bare ground once in a while if you really looked.  I followed a cow path, bounced over several frozen cow pies, hit the gas (or in this case – the diesel fuel) and finally made it to the house.

Life is an adventure – go ahead and live it!

That was Monday night.  Tuesday night I made it home just fine because Hubby had been out plowing snow all day but as we were finishing supper the phone rang – the neighbor lady was stuck and her vehicle was stuck a lot deeper than mine had been.  Hubby fired up the road grader and went to plow as close as he could.  He plowed up one side of her vehicle and down the other, leaving her cute little SUV in an island of snow.   I came with the pickup to help too.  He plowed, we shoveled and then we jump-started her vehicle because the battery was dead by then and finally we chained it to the back of the road grader and pulled her out. 

She was very happy to be on her way.

That’s the way things have been going around here.  The scary part is it continues to snow.  It just keeps coming along with the freezing rains, ground blizzards, drifting snow and frigid arctic temperatures.  You just have to love life in the midwest. 

But if you don’t like the weather just wait 5 minutes and it will change.

I keep telling myself spring is just around the corner – it has to be!

I’ve had just about all the winter fun I can stand.

And from the looks of it, these deer have too.  They’ve decided to spend the rest of the winter right here, in the stack yard out of the wind with all these lovely hay bales.

Pretty smart critters – aren’t they?


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