Christmas reminds me of all I have to be thankful for, especially the birth of Jesus!
This year, at the Nelson Farm, excitement seems to be higher than usual.
It’s been a crazy year with some serious losses, like my father passing away in May. We also lost a dear friend and another family member. While it’s tough, sometimes overwhelming, I’m trying to remember the good times we shared and not let the shadow of grief rule the season.
There were some less serious losses too. My appendix is off to wherever thrown out organs end up. I can no longer say I have all my original parts, but after that pain, I’m okay with the goodbye.
I did not lose any pounds, so, oh well.
There were also some gains. I’m not really talking about my weight here, but yes, it does fit, unlike some of my clothes.
Two sweet kiddos joined the Nelson Clan. While this addition was unexpected, it has been a surprise blessing. For now, we don’t know how long we’ll have this honor, but we’re thanking God day by day.
With kids come goats? We’d been talking about getting a goat for a year or so, but when a sweet seven-year old gets so excited about the possibility, suddenly you can find yourself with three goats. They’re cute little Pygmy goats who are impossible to keep contained. Their favorite hobby seems to be escaping their pen and eating the steer’s food. He doesn’t act as though he minds.
And, of course, I was blessed to add a new book in 2018! Swimming in the Deep End released in September and has been given wonderful reviews. Thank you so much to all my readers and reviewers. You have been a wonderful encouragement this year.
As usual, the Nelson Farm is full of craziness and fun. I don’t imagine we’ll see a lot of boring this coming year either, and that’s just fine with me. We’re looking forward to the adventures 2019 will bring.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We’re loading steers into the fair today! It should only be about a hundred degrees or so…
Shredder and Harper
Fair is a bitter-sweet time in the summer. We love the week of watching our kids compete and having time to actually talk with friends, but fair also signifies the end of our free summer time. Volleyball gets started the day after we pack out of the fairgrounds. I’ll be at a conference for most of a week, and we’ll squeeze in a camping trip. And by the end of the month, my youngest two will be heading back to school.
August is packed with fun, but it isn’t without work.
My next book is due September 1. Yep, that will make this month even more fun. If you see me packing a green notebook around, well, that’s my book. It’s now my constant companion.
A funny steer story:
We played rodeo last week with one of the steers. Cupcake wanted nothing to do with the fitting chute. After many attempts, I finally got the beast in.
A couple days later, I went down to the barn. While I was in the pen, Cupcake looked at me, then the chute, then me again. I wondered if he remembered our battle. I kept walking toward the gate. When I looked back, this is what I saw. He decided to do it the easy way and load himself.
Cupcake rockin’ the 80s look
Remember us while you’re enjoying the AC this week. 🙂
See this precious face?
He’s so sweet, he earned the name Cupcake. But this little cupcake was a real flop on day one.
My oldest daughter brought her 4H steer home last Sunday. My husband had spent time earlier in the day making sure the steer area was ready. But sometimes there’s just no preparing for a calf who doesn’t want to love his new home.
Cupcake was released from the stock trailer directly into the pen. He took a look around, trotted into the feeding area, and slammed his almost seven hundred pounds into the wood railing at one end. From where we all stood, there was nothing we could do in time to keep him from escaping. Cupcake broke loose.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that loose steers are not uncommon on the Nelson farm, but this was exceptional. Cupcake didn’t go down our property. He didn’t take off for neighboring fields or the wood that flank the river. Nope. Cupcake headed for town. He plunged through the creek and into a field of horses. These horses were not happy to see him, but we thought we could get Cupcake loaded into the trailer from here and brought back home.
Cupcake tore through the horse’s fence and across the road into another field. Trust me when I say this is not the way to bond with your neighbors. We were fortunate to have my daughter’s friend along for the fun. He’s a big, strong guy who doesn’t mind getting dirty. At least he didn’t complain, and I baked him cookies!
So, after a VERY long time in the rain and the dark, with my last bit of pride tossed to the wind (I find singing to the steers is helpful) and my dog, Harper, well exercised for the day, the time came for drastic action. That steer managed to get my husband and my daughter’s friend on the ground. At one point, he took out a neighbor too. But he was trailered and brought back to his new home where he’s decided to be content.
And all is calm on the Nelson farm…Until we bring in another steer this weekend.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my very infrequent newsletter or my blog for a chance to win the prize below. We’ll be drawing a name on November 19 at noon PST.
What are the odds that two of the three “hen” chicks we brought home from the feed store would turn out to be roosters? Well, I’m not a math person, but my son says it’s more than 1 in 10,000. I guess that makes us “lucky.”
You know from a previous post that Lucille was taking on a masculine look. Yep, she crowed. Just looking at her now, there’s no doubt she’s a he.
Lucille, now know as Lou
The real surprise was Mildred, my favorite hen. She’s a barred rock, and just looks like the traditional hen. Or, she did look like the tradition hen until a few weeks ago. Her comb and wattles just kept growing. After awhile I had to admit, she was one seriously large chicken. The long tail feathers and the beginnings of spurs still weren’t enough to convince me, but when you put that all together with the constant crowing, it equals rooster.
Mildred or Milton
So this is how the equation goes:
~We bought four chicks.
~One chick was supposed to be a rooster. That’s Howard.
~Three chicks were sold as 99% sure they were hens.
~We actually have three roosters and one hen.
Do you know what that means?
It’s VERY loud on the farm! Each morning at about five AM the boys start to crow. It’s not just once or twice. They play off each other, like it’s a crowing competition.
I’ve settled into a new routine. They crow, and I grope the nightstand, find my earplugs, and shove them into my ears. This has meant a few close calls with the alarm, but it’s the best solution for now.
As for eggs, well, Bitsy is at this moment sitting on a nest she made. It, of course, is not one of the beautifully designed nest boxes I built into the coop. This one is behind a bush. But she’s been there for awhile, and I’m hopeful this will produce our first egg. Our home-grown breakfasts are all dependent on this one chicken!
Just another day on the Nelson farm.