Monday, March 30, 2009

Our blizzard of '09

We survived the Blizzard of '09.

Sure wish I had some photos to post, but Miss Kat has lost the camera again. I've decided that I'm just going to have to get her a camera of her own so that she'll leave mine alone!

Kevin decided we received more than 21 inches of snow. Of course it's hard to measure when you wind up with 6 foot tall drifts that are 8 to 10 feet across, and right next to them the ground is bare.

We measured the snow by using the bathtub. Yes, you read that right, the bathtub. See, the old bathtub is still sitting outside until we decide what to do with it. It's 21 inches deep, and the snow more than filled the tub. (It was protected from the wind.) I've always wondered how meteorologists measured the depth of snow when it blows around. I think they must have a bathtub of their own. Right?

We had a three day weekend, which was nice, but you all know me, right? So you know that we didn't relax and enjoy the time off, right? On Friday, I baked. I made Ham and Cheese pockets, Banana Bars, and Peanut Butter rolls (which are basically Cinnamon rolls but with peanut butter.) I also cleaned and did laundry. I even cooked...something...can't remember what it was...for supper.

On Saturday, I did more laundry and made a small pot of chili and Cinnamon rolls. Then, that afternoon, I laid tile. See, Kev spent the morning moving some snow, and digging us out. When he came in, we started on the tile job in the bathroom. He cuts the tiles, and I spread the mortar and laid the tiles. Six hours later, we finished. I was on my knees for 6 hours! And they are still red and tender today, two days later.

Yesterday, I grouted the tile. I borrowed Miss Kat's Volleyball Knee-pads. It was much easier on my knees that way. But, the tile is done in the bathroom. We've still got to enclose the tub, and replace the faucet. New faucet is on order, and Kev has started the enclosure.

Last night, we relaxed and decided that during the next blizzard, we're going to relax and enjoy the weather! Who believes me?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

mystery @ the Chicken Mansion

Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from Miss Kat. That in itself isn't unusual, however she said the dogs were out of their pen. That is unusual, as this pen is pretty secure.

She then went on to tell me I'd lost a chicken. But all she could see were feathers, no body. I added 2 + 2 and got 4...meaning 2 dogs who got out of their pen + 1 missing chicken = well, dogs killing chickens. Logical, right?

Except...their usual MO is to kill the chickens, maybe disembowel them, but leave them for me to find. And the dogs didn't dig out, nor was the gate unlatched. Kev said they did push the fence post loose and must have squeezed out, but it wasn't a big area. Emily, our lab, was very stiff and sore last night, to the point that she didn't want to lay down, and she didn't want to get up, and she moaned and groaned while doing either.

We discovered that both of our remaining "adult" chickens were gone. No Rooster, no Americana hen. Just feathers, and not an abundant amount either.

So, I wonder if perhaps something other than the dogs got my chickens. That Rooster was a big fellow, and he had spurs at least an inch long. The hen was timid, and it looks like her feathers were those closest to the hen house. So, we are surmising that perhaps a coyote, or a fox got our chickens and took them away. If another "canine" type of animal were around, then the dogs would probably work at getting out of their pen, and that would account for Emily's stiffness and soreness.

I'm very disappointed to loose the Rooster. I was counting on him to assist my hens in hatching some chicks. (Hey, they can't do it alone!) And, I really liked my little Americana hen. You know what this means, don't you? It means that I'm going to have to buy some more chickens--and this time, I want a rooster.

But I still don't know what exactly happened to my chickens or how and why my dogs got out of their pen.

It's a mystery.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I got out my scrapbooking stuff last week.

I haven't touched any of it (other than to pack it up) in 2 years. I'm so far behind it's pitiful. So, I got it all out and started working on Andy's albums. I'd like to have them all caught up by graduation.

I started working, and immediately got frustrated. Some of my tools are AWOL. Some of my paper is AWOL. Stickers? I have no idea where they are. I know that I had several packs in inventory, but where they are now I have no idea. Pens? I found most, but for some reason most of my bold tip pens are AWOL. Where on earth did they go?

It was frustrating. And, then my creative juices went AWOL. I think they are with the missing stickers. If my life had depended on it, I could not think of anything to do with any thing I had.

But, I muddled through Andy's sophomore year stuff and started on his JR year. But...I know I should have had some fair pictures for the sophomore year...of goats and pigs. Where were they? And where are the pictures from last fall--when Andy got 4th at State in Trap shooting? and I know I should have some of basketball and track...where are they?

I got so frustrated that I put Andy's stuff away and decided I'd just do the 8 x 10 photos in the big album. And, I decided to do Kat's pictures. Only, I can't find the photo from last spring. I just had the dang thing. Where did it go? And I still wasn't feeling very creative.

And I feel tremendous pressure to get caught up! heck, I have more crap...I mean stuff to put in Kat's albums than I have for Andy's! And I even have stuff to put in our central family album.

And you know, I've always liked scrapbooking. I like to do it. So what's the matter with me now? Why can't I get back into the swing of things? Why isn't it just falling together? Gaaa. I'm frustrated. Maybe some of my old scrapbooking friends need to come over and work with me. Maybe then, I'll get motivated again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


We went camping over Spring Break. We camped out at the farm...Dad's farm...Grandad's farm. We parked the camper just east of the old wooden grainary, on a level spot of ground just above the creek, surrounded on 3 sides by trees planted by Grandad in the 1930's.

It was perfect.

While the nights got down to the mid 30's, the daytime temperatures got up to the high 60's and l0w 70's. We have a generator that we ran at night for light and heat. We really would have enjoyed a fire, but it's so dry here and there's a fire ban. Instead of a fire, we cuddled in blankets at night, and went to bed early.

We haven't used the camper much since moving here, and I'd forgotten what I had, and where I'd put it, so it was rather interesting as I'd ask Kev, "where is that tote full of dish clothes and towels?" "Why didn't I bring the big stainless steel bowl?" He was just as bad, asking me where such and such was. But, we worked the kinks out and had a great time.

Our friends, Kim and Bob and their 3 kids joined us.

We adults hung out and the 6 kids (Miss Jenna, Miss Kat's friend from Colby joined us as well.) just took off, and played in the creek, or went hiking, or built forts along the cliffs or played airsoft. We adults hiked along the creek, enjoying the views, and the running water in the creek. We dreamed of where a house should be built, and where to dig out the springs in the creek, and where to put in a trout pond.

The kids did not enjoy their baths at the Windmill. But, since the 'windmill' is now a solar-powered pump and not a wind powered pump, we determined it should now be called "the solar-powered water supply." LOL Anyway...the kids got into a mud-fight in the creek. I drove the girls down to the windmill to clean up. That fresh water was rather cold and they thought that it gave them a brain freeze. Cold water poured over one's head tends to cause a brain freeze! But, they did get clean. The boys came down once the girls were finished. They tried to be tough and brave, but finally admitted that yes, that water was very cold!

Kev and I went out with his metal detector a couple of times. We didn't find any treasure, but did find lots and lots of iron all over the place. I guess that's probably normal around a farm, especially one that has had most of it's building destroyed by a tornado. But it was still fun.

In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much, we just left the camper there, and made a promise to ourselves that we'll go camping at the farm again.

Friday, March 13, 2009

just cause it's fun

I stole this from Heidi...

1. You are walking down the road and you look down. There is a bug. Do you step on it? Depends. Probably not, cause if I notice the bug, it must be BIG, and it would be really gross!

2. What is one fantasy that you want to come true more than any other? To live like Robin Hood, in a cool tree house and have a bow and to shoot it really really well.

3. Someone knocks on your door. Do you look out the window to see who it is before you open it? Yeah. Cause they are probably downstairs, so I would look out to see who's car is outside and then holler at my kids to open the darn door and tell the dogs to SHUT UP.

4. Have you ever eaten Play Doh? yeah. tasted it. Liked the homemade better.

5. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child and why? When I was really little, I loved Space Ghost. I wanted my hair to flip up like the hair on the girl in the show, and I loved the monkey. I really liked most cartoons--animated ones. Not the ones they have now, but the classic cartoons...Looney Toons, Disney, Hanna-Barbera...the good ones.

6. Are you a "people watcher"? Yep.

7. I have a bowl of fruit. There are apples, oranges & pears. You help yourself to one - which one do you choose? I'm going for the orange.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in the blogging world? Don't really have one.

9. What is one religion that you could just never see yourself joining? I could never belong to a really conservative group. Especially those that require women to always wear dresses. I HATE dresses. And, most women who wear dresses all the time wear UGLY dresses. I could have long hair, I could wear it up, I could wear a cap thing-y, I could even wear tennis shoes all the time, but I can not handle the UGLY dresses.

10. What word do you use far too often? Not a word, but a phrase..."Dear God in Heaven."

11. How long do you spend in the shower? Shower, shower! I don't take no stinkin' shower. I'm a bath girl.

12. If you were to write a personal ad about yourself, what would it say? God, no idea. I can't imagine ever being brave enough to put myself out there like that!

13. Your favorite flavor of soup is....? Tomato

14. You are sitting on a bench in the park and a bug walks in front of your feet.... do you squash him? No. Bug guts on my Crocs? No thank you. Chicken poop, that's ok. But bug guts? No, I do not think so scooter.


With today being Friday the 13th, I'm reminded of my Grandad Woodruff.

Grandad was very superstitious. V.E.R.Y. superstitious.

He wouldn't travel on Friday the 13th. It was bad luck. I remember when one of my cousins was getting married. Her wedding was on a Saturday--the 14th. Grandma and Grandad drove up on Thursday, the 12th, because he wouldn't drive on the 13th.

He also wouldn't start any new projects on a Friday either. He always said that if you started a project on a Friday, you'd never finish it. So, he made sure he never started anything on Friday.

I'm sure that Grandad got his superstitions from his mother. She had some pretty interesting ideas. Not sure if they'd be considered superstitions, but she definitely had her ideas about things.

Like...after giving birth, she insisted that my Grandma (her daughter-in-law) stay perfectly flat in bed for 10 days. Otherwise, all her internal organs would fall out. (Yeah, makes me scratch my head in wonder too.)

Being superstitious was probably Grandad's only fault. Well that and not liking Green Beans. Oh, and making me not eat meringue for years because he told me they were calf slobbers and then he went on and explained how Grandma had stood outside next to the calf, holding the pie under the calf's chin, catching his slobbers. He was so serious, and I could so easily visualize her doing that! Needless to say, I didn't eat meringue for a very long time. But, other than those few Grandad was just about perfect.

the tub is in

I am the user of a brand new bath tub. Kev got the tub hooked up last night. We've got one minor drip from the drain that he's going to take care of soon, but it works!

I used it this morning. Granted, it took longer to fill, and we're looking at that. And, maybe the culprit is the "lavatory" faucet we got instead of getting one made for a tub. But we got this one because I couldn't find a tub faucet that didn't include a shower head. While we were at the store, we couldn't see why it would matter, but maybe it does, cause it took a good 15 minutes to get a decent amount of water in the tub. We're gonna check that out.

I did not run the whirlpool jets this morning. I'll have to make sure that sometime in the next few days I completely fill the tub and test the jets and make sure we don't have any leak in the hoses and such on the tub. That's going to be a huge sacrifice on my part. Imagine, filling a tub and running the jets just to check for leaks. Yeah, that will be sacrificial on my end, cause I'm gonna be in that tub when we're "testing" the jets. After all, it would be a waste of water and time to just let the tub run without anyone sitting in it. And, I can't waste water. It's totally against my nature, so as we're testing the tub, I'm gonna be sitting in it. Might have to get a glass of wine to test it thoroughly and completely too.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Kev was so tired last night after spending every night this week working on the tub. Most of the work was a "one person" job, so I didn't help much. Instead, I made cookies. We're taking next week off and are going camping at our local lake. So, if I don't post anything, you all will know why. I'll either be off having fun, or I'll be sittin' in the tub...testing it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Andy, the Basketball star

The Senior Parents at Bucklin hired a photographer to come out from Wichita to take some photos of the Senior kids at their last home game.

Those shots are posted on the photographer's website if anyone is interested...

The website is

At the bottom of the screen, select "View your pictures"

On the next screen, choose Bucklin.

Now choose Varsity Boys, and Senior Boys to see pictures of Andy...he's # 25. There are only 3 or 4 pictures of him on the court.

If you click on one picture, then you can just scroll through the rest like a slide show.

(The guy with a beard is one of the maintenance men at the school. He was messing around, and posed.)

Of course I think my kid is the most handsome one out there. know, look at the shots, and then agree with me! And, yes, he is MY basketball star!

Kat tales

Miss Kat handed me a note last night. A typed note, on 1/2 a piece of typing paper. At first, I thought she was in trouble for something. But then, I read the note.

It was from the secretary of the Local DAR chapter. Apparently, Kat had done a poster for their annual competition and won! They're having an "awards ceremony" on the 28th in Fort Dodge. The poster winners will now go to the State competition and those winners will go on to a National competition. I have no idea how many kids are "award winners." I just know that my kid is one of them.

She's a little excited. She loves to draw and plan and create things, so this was right up her alley. She was upset this past fall because the kids in her class did posters for the VFW poster competition. Kat sketched her idea, and one of her friends "stole" her idea. That friend won the local competition. Kat was pretty steamed. Of course, I only heard her version. Maybe their ideas were close enough that Kat just thought her friend "stole" the idea. We'll never know, but I do know that Kat was disappointed that she didn't win anything then. This win makes up for it.

She's been pretty flighty this week. She's trying out for cheerleader, so she's been jumping around, chanting to herself, waving her arms around, etc. Tryouts are tomorrow, so hopefully she'll calm down once this is over. Oops, I take that back...Her BFF, Miss Jenna is coming down to spend Spring Break with us. Great. TWO goofy 13 year old girls will be in my house for a week.

Sigh. stay tuned for another episode of "Kat tales..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


When it rains, it pours.

Lately, the only thing "raining" around here has been money out of my pocket.

We bought a new bathtub. Which also meant that we'd have to re-tile the bathroom. And of course the drain holds from the old tub to the new tub don't line up, so we have to get more pipe for the drain. And we had to buy a new drain. And new faucet. And, since we are tiling, that means we need to put some cement board down on the floor to put the tile on. And, since the new tub doesn't line up exactly where the old one went, we'll have to do something to the walls. This tub is shorter than the old tub. When they built the house, the textured the walls after they had installed the tub, so we have to do something about that extremely noticeable difference in texture. This new tub will never crack though. The new tub is a much better tub, as it is fiberglass instead of plastic.

While I'm glad we'll have a better tub, putting the bathroom back together is proving to be more expensive than I like.

And then I did our taxes.

And discovered that Andy has turned 17, and I lose some tax breaks. I didn't anticipate that change. Why do you lose those credits when your kid turns 17? The Senior year is the most expensive year of their life! These credits shouldn't disappear until they are 18! Sheesh. And then I discovered that our new mortgage company only paid half of our property taxes rather than the entire amount. Which means I lost over $2000 in deductions. Which also means I have to pay the IRS. Which really pisses me off. Not because I expect a large refund. Nope, we don't work our finances that way. We plan and have just enough taken out that we might get a refund, but we prefer not having to pay any additional funds in. But, because I didn't pick up on the fact that we'd lose one deduction, and because of the stupidity of the mortgage company, it's going to cost me. That wasn't in the budget any more than the bathroom "remodel" was.

So, this year, 2009 looks like it's going to be the year of big bills for us. It's March. So far we've had unexpected expenses of: 1. Car repair from the hit and run. 2. Bathroom "remodel" due to the leaking tub. and 3. My friend, the IRS.

Unexpected expenses...I'm so tired of unexpected expenses. Let's all hope that they end...NOW.

Monday, March 09, 2009

workin cattle

Kev and I ran out to the Ranch yesterday to get a trailer load of manure. That's one thing that Ranch's have, a lot of manure. This manure has been "country composted" for a while. That means that it was scraped out of the working pens and piled up in the pasture. Since the pens are only cleaned out when the manure is knee high, it's good stuff. This stuff has been aging in the pasture quite a while too. Grass was growing on it, so it won't be to hot for our garden.

When we arrived, Dad was horseback, bringing up a couple of calves to the pens. They were sick, so he was bringing them up to keep them separate from the herd, and by being at the pens, he can keep a better eye on them, doctoring them as needed.

Life just feels right and perfect when I'm in a pasture watching my Dad on horseback. There are some people who are natural on the back of a horse. Dad is one of them. It's almost zen-like, as he becomes one with the horse. I guess that's natural since the man has been riding horses for over sixty years now. I like watching him and his horse work the calves. Moving together, anticipating the calves, nudging them just enough to keep them moving steadily to the pens. Calm, slow and steady movement (you don't want to rush or stress sick calves.) Manm horse, and cattle working together.

He brought these calves in and had 4 others already up here that needed to be run through the chute and doctored. Since Kev and I were there, we helped.

I have to digress here and say that I was the truly prepared cowgirl yesterday...see, I was wearing the latest in "cattle-doctorin' apparel." I was wearing those corral and manure-friendly Crocs. They are the most practical footwear to have when you are around 500 lb. calves and you're walking around in manure. Next time you see a cowgirl, check out to see if she's wearing the latest Crocs. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

With Kev and I being there, Dad was able to get these calves doctored just a little faster. We helped herd them into the chute. I helped push them through and then Kev and I put them back into their pen after Dad shot them up with Penicillin and other drugs. A couple looked really bad, one little Angus heifer was pretty lethargic. Dad's not sure she'll make it, since he's been doctoring and watching her for a week now. Another little Charlois was extremely wheezy, but she was also pretty feisty. Dad thought she'd pull through.

After we finished "workin' cattle," Kev and Dad loaded up the trailer with the manure. While they worked, I visited the mare and her colt. The colt hasn't been cut yet, and he hasn't been halter broke, so he has very bad manners. But he's a pretty horse. His mother has much better manners and she and I had a nice visit. (The mare and colt belong to one of Dad's co-workers. If they were Dad's horses...well, that colt would have much better manners!)

Then, it was time to say bye to Dad and to the ranch and Kev and I drove home with our trailer full of black gold. I always like going to the ranch, but today was like revisiting my youth...I got to watch my Dad work on horseback. I got to run cattle through the chute. I got to nuzzle and pet some horses. It was wonderful!

Friday, March 06, 2009


One of the neatest things about living on the Great Plains is seeing Mirages.

And, I'm not talking about just heat mirages. Heat mirages are those wet spots you see on the highways during the summer. You know, those spots that look like the road is wet, but they stay just ahead of you, you never get to that wet spot in the road.

We see a lot of Mirages. And we saw a lot of them around Colby. There was one morning, one spring morning I remember distinctly. As we drove south to town, there was another town just a couple of miles off to the west of us. Their Grain Elevator was so clear, and the houses were just sitting there. Except there wasn't a town there. It was a mirage. But it was so clear, that you just thought the town of Levant, which normally was a good 10 miles away looked to be just a mile away.

Sometimes, we'd see Mountains south of Colby. Well, maybe not mountains, but there would be a high level of hills just south of Colby. Beautiful blueish, foggy, misty hills. In reality, there are no hills south of Colby. Well, not for miles and miles.

Down here, most of the mirages we notice revolve around Spearville's Wind Generator farm. It's located North of Spearville. The closest we drive to Spearville is probably 15 miles. And yet, sometimes, those darn Wind Generators move. One day, they'll just be west of Spearville. Other day's, they'll be South of Spearville. Some days, it looks like we're going to drive right by the Wind farm.

It's easier to notice Mirages when they are of man made items, but some of the more beautiful ones are nature. Once, as we were driving to Colby, we followed a long cliff of gypsum hills. Their white ridge was just about a mile away from us. In reality, they were farther north, and much farther west, but that day, they just sat there, a short distance away, glistening in the sunlight. And they look so real.

Mirages. Just another cool thing about living on the Great Plains.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009




The young 'ens are fully feathered and are fully integrated with the two surviving "adult" chickens. But I'm just not sure about these silly birds.

They've been outside in the pen for what, a month now? 6 weeks? Long enough that they should know how it all works.

We open the door in the morning, they all go out and forage, scratch, and explore throughout the day. When it starts to get dark, it's time to go back in the door and sleep the night away.

So why am I still having to herd them back into the chicken house every night?

Every night, there are at least 10 birds who have to be caught and tossed back inside. Some of them no longer run from me, they patiently wait for me to scold them, pick them up, and set them inside. It's like they are simply too lazy to just go in themselves.

I'd suggest that they are pretty smart, after all, I carry them to the pen and set them inside, no work on their part. But, remember, "Smart Chicken" is an oxymoron...

Last night, Andy actually put them away. It was about 8, and fully dark. He said they were all sitting on the deck, right by the door, like they were waiting for him to toss them inside. I went out to see if he needed any help, he didn't. We assumed that all were present and accounted for--after all, it was dark, chilly, and they usually huddle together for warmth. You know, that "birds of a feather flock together" thing...

But, this morning, there were three young women outside, scratching and enjoying the sunrise. I have no idea where they were last night. I'm assuming they were the 3 that we usually have to chase around and around and under the chicken house most nights. They "out smarted" us...or something.

I've talked to the "adults", and have told them that they need to keep explaining how things work, how when it gets dark, you go inside where it's safe, and warm. Where the food and water are. They aren't being good parents or good role models.

I'm going to have to think on this. I need to figure out some way to educate these critters. I'm open to ideas...anyone?

Monday, March 02, 2009


Do we ever get ahead financially?

Is it humanly possible?

I don't think so. I really don't.

I thought we were finally getting there, and then Kev checked out my bathtub.

See, we discovered shortly after buying this house that the spa corner tub in the master bath had a crack in it. The crack is small, and someone attempted to patch it, but they attempted to patch it from the outside when they should have patched it on the inside--under the tub. Only problem is, that is exactly where the motor is and you can't get the motor out to get to the tub to patch it. (Kev was going to patch it as well and discovered this problem.)

Our solution was just that I wasn't allowed to use as much water as I wanted to. I keep the water level below the crack, and all worked well. For a year or so.

It's not working so well now.

See, we've been noticing an odor in the bathroom. Just for the past couple of weeks. I'd been blaming it on urine, telling Kev that he's splashing urine onto the carpet that's around the toilet. He disagreed telling me he thought it was my tub.

Saturday afternoon, he checked. Then, he gave me the bad news. There's mold under there. Looks like it was slightly damp, and there's even mushrooms growing under my tub.

I selflessly gave up using my tub. And, we are planning on getting a new tub ASAP. More money that we have to spend that I don't want to spend. And, I'm afraid that a new tub will necessitate new flooring, which I don't want to have to pay for now. And, since the floor under the tub is wet, we'll probably have to replace the sub-floor too. And that means more Money and more work.

Why can't anything be an easy fix any more? Or a cheap fix?

And, why can't this have waited a few more months--I thought we'd be ahead then...but now, we won't.