Monday, June 29, 2009

Just Watch Me

You think I can't run fast enough to make it to first base just 'cuz I'm a little farm boy wearing John Deere boots?


Just watch me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This And That

Here we are at the end of June. I'm not sure how we arrived here so quickly. We haven't done anything monumental this summer (aside from the dual tonsillectomy earlier in June). We've just done a little bit of this and a little bit of that.


A little bit of family visiting


A little bit of birthday cake eating


A little bit of picnic enjoying


A little bit of lamb snuggling


A little bit of vacation Bible schooling


A little bit of t-balling


A little bit of chick tending


A little bit of friends playing


A little bit of friends meeting


A little bit of dog housing


A little bit of hay cutting

And not so much house cleaning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reading And Writing

From time to time, I receive a note from a reader of my newspaper column. I enjoy hearing from each person who takes the time to email me, but a few responses have been especially memorable.

For example, one reader took the time to express her concern about the health of my aging dog. Incidentally, Mitch is still chasing cows several years later.

One reader chastised me at great length for "airing my laundry" in public after I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about my husband and I battling over the location of the coffee pot in our kitchen. Incidentally, we're still married.

Our state's lone Congressional representative responded to one of my rants about government spending with his own letter to the editor.

Of all the responses my column has elicited, my favorite is the one that follows, which was written after this column was published a few years ago.

Hi, Erin, I always read your column first in the Prairie Star. You so often speak from my heart, as well as your own! This week's column was so true. One day last summer, as I was working in the garden and thinking about various help we've had, it occurred to me that you'd probably like to know about one of our favorites.

She was a little black haired gal that came to us after a somewhat circuitous career in a lot of places. We knew her last three places of employment; before that was a mystery she never shared. Because she was kind of little, and not quite so glamorous, some of the other gals kind of ran over her sometimes. She'd just tuck her chin and work harder. Boy! could she work!

After she'd been with us a few years, she became a very proud mom. She spoiled her daughter rotten. Her daughter lives at Arlee, and now her granddaughter is startingto work for us. When she got old enough to retire from outfitting, a family with three little kids gave her a babysitting job. She enjoyed that until she passed away of old age.

As I was thinking about Molly, it floated through my mind that "Erin Robertson" was the name on her brand inspection when I bought her at Judith Gap in the mid-90's. And I'd just read your column about multiple surnames--- You never know what your column will do!

-Mary Ellen Schnur

Why did that email move me to tears?

Molly was my horse, purchased with my hard earned sheep money that I had saved throughout my childhood, and I had always wondered what had happened to her after I sold her when I started college. Most horse owners never have the satisfaction of knowing that their horse was well cared for and loved after going to a new home.

My writing means nothing without my readers. It meant more than Mary Ellen will ever know that she read my column, connected the dots, and so eloquently wrote the story of Molly.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Caught Her


I caught her running across the yard in pink plastic princess slippers and a gown.

Her destination was not the ball at the palace, though.

Her destination was either the chicken coop or the cow pasture.

I convinced her that barbed wire was not kind to ball gowns. I figured that would convince her to stay closer to the house where I could more easily supervise her.

She considered my words carefully before looking me straight in the eye, stripping off the pink plastic princess slippers and ball gown, and running back toward the pasture.

It is a humbling experience to be outsmarted by a three-year-old on a regular basis.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Have Not

I have not, in fact, fallen off the face of the earth.

I have not had much sleep in the past two weeks.

I have not done much house cleaning.

I have not mowed my grass.

I have not taken many pictures.

I have not baked bread.

I have not caught up on my scrapbooking.

I have not written the thank-you notes from my last month's to-do list.

I have not ironed the ever-growing pile of clothing in the laundry basket.

I have not sent my niece her birthday present that is now two days late.

I have not given my boys haircuts in so long they are beginning to look like they're in style instead of looking like clean-cut farm boys.

I have not weeded my flower beds.

So what have I been doing?

Popsicle fetching, Tylenol dispensing, kid cuddling, doctor consulting, child soothing, t-ball cheering, cattle moving, vacation Bible school planning, church decorating, supplies shopping, baby chick feeding, supper cooking, bill paying, sunblock applying, bug spraying, child bathing, laundry folding, family visiting, column writing, wondering when this craziness will just. slow. down.

And just when I thought I could not handle another morning with two kids crying because they hurt, it stopped. They felt better. They played, they laughed, and they went the entire day without needing pain relief.

Tonight, I can sleep without worrying about my two littlest kids being in constant pain. Instead, I'll nod off while trying to remember what I have forgotten to do in planning for vacation Bible school, which begins tomorrow.

It's going to be a good week. I can feel it. As long as I don't define "good" as being caught up on laundry.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009



Some of us thought that surgery wouldn't be so bad. It might be an adventure, even. With fun hats.

Then reality struck.


Sometimes reality feels icky.


It helps to have a nice, soft pillow.


And sometimes a nice, warm sister.

We're slowly getting back to normal. Now we're hoping that the weather will get back to normal, too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Not Funny


Seriously? It could stop snowing any time now.

In other news, we survived the dentist (although we broke our eleven year run of no cavities). We had only one chick casualty while we were gone, thanks to our excellent chick sitters who even wiped the little chick behinds because they were pasting up.

In the surgeon's words, our youngest daughter threw us a little "curveball" during surgery. It turns out that she has a submucous cleft palate and cannot have her adenoids out. Now we know what caused her constant ear infections, and we will soon find out if the tubes they inserted will help her stay healthier.

I am thankful to have my kids back in my arms and out of the big city. Home is a nice place to be. . . even if it is snowing in June.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fun Times

After our fun family outing to the feedlot last week, I made every attempt to plan our next getaway that would top the excitement of visiting our heifers.

Every farm family vacation is really a business trip in disguise, so usually I just wait for a piece of equipment to break before I head to town to complete our other errands. This week's excuse to make the three-hour drive to Wal-Mart is a little more complicated than most, though.

We made the difficult decision to have two of our children's tonsils and adenoids removed. But because we live so far away from. . . well, from anything. . . I scheduled dentist appointments as well. Yesterday I loaded up kids and luggage and set off for the city.

Three hours later, I was dragging my kids through Target wondering where I come up with these ideas.

The dentist went fairly smoothly, and one child is now missing two of the teeth she had when we arrived. She needs two more extractions, so in true farm wife style, I scheduled that appointment for the same day all four kids will visit the opthamologist next month. I'm sure looking forward to that.

Then we were off to the hotel room, where we rode the elevator just for fun and fascinated my deprived children with the door that magically unlocks with a plastic card.

Now, following a delicious breakfast of Jello and popsicles, we are waiting to depart for the surgery center.

I'm pretty sure the best parts of this little outing are already over.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the patience to drive three hours home tomorrow with two kids who are feeling crummy and two kids who are jealous of the attention the others are receiving.


Monday, June 1, 2009

They Are Kinda Cute


I may dislike chickens, but even I must admit that the babies are cute.


They arrived today.


Two boxes. Fifty-two birds. Lots of chirping on the way home.


They stretched their legs,


had a drink,


grabbed a bite to eat,


and headed for the red light district.


It was a chilly day, and they needed some snuggling.


Happy chicks.


Happy kids.

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