I hate when people waste my time describing a book in their review. That is not the point of a review. I want to know if it was good and if the book will be worth reading. That’s what I do in my book reviews. I don’t really have time to finish less than three star books anyway, so you won’t find a bad book (at least in my opinion) here.
Here’s what I read in April.
This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!
Oh my gosh. I read a book about hockey, and I loved it. My reading a book about hockey, which isn’t really about hockey, is a feat in and of itself, but loving it, even while I hated it, was incredible. It’s beautiful and tough and real and gritty. I was filled with despair and hope and satisfaction.
The quotable material and phrases and words I want to remember forever filled several notebook pages. I couldn’t make it five stars because of the depth of detail about some of the awfulness that can happen to people, but it will still be one of the best books I read this year. You must read this book.
**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **
This is the Queen of Mystery in excellent form. If you’ve never read her, I recommend starting with this one or And Then There Were None. It’s dated, obviously, so you do need to prepare yourself for that. I generally like Miss Marple better than Hercule Poirot, as far as Agatha’s detectives go. We have integrated one of his phrases from this book into our family lexicon as a joke, with an exaggerated French accent; “Because sir, I do not like your face.”
I would have liked to have a handy French dictionary with all the pronunciations for the many French phrases. Maybe when she wrote this, it was expected that the general public spoke French, but it certainly isn’t the case now!
Oh my goodness! The entire first half of the book made me want to gnaw my arm off! I hated being kept in suspense about what had happened the day of the ding-dong-dang barbeque! But once we got into the second half, it was a wonderful thing. It was so real, so healing. I cried in several different places. It was a phenomenal ending with so many good things.
As guide to motivate you and explain why you should pursue your dream of an internet based business, this book is on the mark. As an actual how-to do that, it is seriously a fail. It does help to get you motivated and it does make you believe that you can leave the regular workaday life and start something you’re passionate about via the internet. He does a good job of outlining how people seem to make money from a variety of sources via social media and the web. He describes it’s possible for you to take your blog from basic, to a full time income. And possibly that’s all the book is supposed to be. Maybe it’s not meant to get into detail of how to actually make that dream happen.
My understanding was that it was supposed to though. It was disappointing that he didn’t get into the nitty gritty or the actual how to. I got this book because one of my favorite YouTubers recommended this as a life changing book. I definitely wouldn’t go that far, but it was encouraging. It was a fast read, so I didn’t feel like it was a lot of time wasted.
I love World War II stories, there is something so powerful about the triumphs and tragedies that happened in my grandparents’ and in-laws’ life times. This book was especially compelling. I seriously found it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. It contained such interesting and incredible perspectives and intersections. Wonderfully well researched, Lilac Girls was enjoyable and heart touching, as well as awful to contemplate. I can’t recommend highly enough.
I was fascinated by this book. It is written in an anthropological style, so it is just a report of people, their stuff and how they interact with it. No judgement, no assessment, just details. I loved being invited into these families’s homes and peeking around at their belongings and home life. It’s an aspect we often, if ever, are not privy to. If you’re as interested in other people and how they live as I am, you need to get a hold of Life at Home. It’s real life, y’all.
It was intriguing enough to make me want to keep reading but I had already forgotten the title by the time I came to put in in Goodreads a few days later. The title was why I picked it up in the first place. I wasn’t even sure I liked the main characters and didn’t know whether I wanted good things to happen to them. I was also irritated that being thin and good looking was emphasized so much in the main character’s transformation into becoming more confident.
What an amazing book! I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning because I had to finish this story. It’s been ages since I have been that engrossed in a book, or that affected by a story for that matter. There aren’t words to describe the emotions you feel while reading this.
Awed that the author was able to impart such an unvarnished, yet grippingly beautiful story of life in Virginia in the late 18th century, the plight and powerlessness of both slaves and women, the interesting turns in fortune, I rate this book unputdownable. I should tell you, that I read Alex Haley’s Roots and Queen at a young impressionable age, so my bar for this type of story is pretty high. I felt like I could genuinely SEE each of the characters in my mind as I read, which, frankly, doesn’t really happen to me all that often. So much tragedy happens to so many people that one does start to get a little numb, but I still couldn’t stop reading. I felt as if I were an unfortunate witness to their lives. Nearly everyone in this story is admirable, and even those who aren’t, you still feel anguish for the things they went through to make them be as they are. This is a book I will remember for years to come. I highly recommend you block out some time and pick up this book.
**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **
You’re a busy real life mom. I am too. I share with you relatable outfits and wearable, stylish fashion so you can feel put together while you’re wiping noses and tables and feeling wiped out. It’s a challenge to be fashionable on a budget, but I can help you with that!
This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, clicking through is good for me, at no cost to you!
Sweater: hand me down
Crochet Vest: Goodwill
Support your local farmers shirt: Zulily You can find one like it HERE
Gold Skechers: Purchased at Ross and you can get yours here
This outfit is perfect for hanging out with your 13 year old all day in Des Moines and finding out she was an alternate for qualifying for Nationals at the state level of National History Day!
Skirt: Land’s End via Goodwill (I cut five inches off the bottom as it was an awkward length. I just left the hem raw. If you like an item but it has something wrong with it, see if you can alter it easily.)
This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with another headache and try to do your best and get the basics done and with a pretty good attitude even though you’re seriously not feeling it. It’s also good for standing in some weeds at the side of the road because it makes a cool photo.
Dress: actually a nightgown a friend gave me because her more abundant boobage kept escaping–I don’t have that problem, unfortunately. And who can tell it’s meant to be a nightgown anyway? This is another way to save money. (Also it was literally because I just didn’t bother to get dressed)
lace vest: Goodwill
Shoes: NEW Old Navy via Goodwill
This is the perfect outfit in which to have a migraine and not want to get up but you have to get up and sit very still until you’re forced to do something and then just throw on some accessories because you have to take people places and people are coming over but thankfully by then you feel better and can enjoy your friend and kids’ friends and the first party of the year and dancing in the rain. But seriously, people, I wore a nightgown all day.
Skirt: Old Navy via Goodwill
Shoes: Like, 15 year old Skechers, seriously, these have lasted for freeking ever
This is the perfect outfit in which to get a bit of business done, have some friends over and run here and there, and go to the chiro and acupuncturist finally and fall asleep and for sure drool, and then realize you don’t have enough time to run home and change at least your shoes and fix your hair (which is left over from the day before!) because you get to help host the Bloom! Event with the Quad City Mom’s Blog, but you just smile and act like you meant to do it all along. And when you get home, it’s perfect for hiding in the car in the garage because you just don’t want to talk to your people but of course they are waiting up for you, and hug them but you can’t sleep and feel sad.
This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with ANOTHER headache and not even want to face the day but you do it anyway and you are glad because you get to serve with your family and your CC (other) community and move a lot of rocks and hang out with your kids who are your favorite people and have lunch at a park and sit in the van ALONE while the boys are in tutoring because the two year old fell asleep and take them to Walmart because even though you did the pick up thing, you forgot several things and buy a new amazing mop that you’re in love with, but also that the kids want to use all the time, so that’s a win, and an incredible carpet cleaning gadget that is way less than the ridiculous heavy Kirby you spent a lot of money on a long time ago but works way better and actually gets all the stains out in the worst of the carpet (which you hate but that’s another story) and to think you’re going to sit and relax at the end of a long day, one in which your husband is not only working late, but he’s in another state and then when you take the dog outside, you see that the COWS ARE OUT so then you spend the rest of the evening chasing stupid bovines and you fall asleep on the couch and sleep there all night because it was a hard day; but at least you got your steps in.
This is also the perfect outfit to wear for most of the next day until the mail comes and you get your new tee shirt, so you change so you can put it on.
Five year old took this picture.
Shirt: IOWA by the Iowa City Mom’s Blog I hate when clothes are too small so I ordered it a little big, but this particular style was WAY too big, but I got to put four tiny rubber bands on the inside and kind of blouse it and it looked awesome.
Shorts: Levi’s via Goodwill (I bought these last spring, but ended up gaining a lot of grief/stress weight, and they were too small and I could never wear them, however, I actually took the tags off today!)
I bought both these shorts and sandals last spring when I was putting together a summer capsule wardrobe on a tight budget: you can read about that here.
This is the perfect outfit in which to build chain reactions with your boy and spruce up the kitchen a bit and give baths to horribly dirty people, and clean all the things over and over because seriously as soon as you put away those towels somehow they’re out again when you walk back into that room, and really want to see your friends but decide you need a quiet night in even more and that’s hard and it’s perfect in which to be sad and cry because a year ago today was when your beloved mother-in-law went into intensive care for a couple of weeks and then got better and then suddenly we lost her. Life is hard without her. Spring is always hard for me, but it’s especially hard without her, her experience, her understanding, her having been through so many spring plantings and farm crises and survived, her help and assurance. It’s hard without her.
I live in a 170 year old farmhouse on a working farm. A genuine farmhouse kitchen in real life is slightly different from the farmhouse decor on Pinterest. One of my promises on my blog is to always be real-to show you how it really is single momming during spring planting, with six kids and a puppy, and not having a lot of money to buy the perfect farmhouse decor.
I’ve been working on updating my kitchen. I have carpet in my eating area from 1987 y’all. We have had a lot of changes in here in the 15 years we’ve been married and I’m finally in a place to learn how to DIY on my own to make even more!
This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!
This wall has been blank since Christmas when we hang our advent calendars there, until Brielle, my 11 year old took two signs off the porch and threw them up on the nails. I started kind of thinking about what I wanted and decided I love the current trend of a collage. I don’t think I’m done yet, but here’s what we’ve got so far.
One of my besties gave me this sign and it’s just perfect.
I made this sign because homeschooled hobbits live around here. I’ve been thinking of inexpensively selling some of the prints I make. Let me know how that interests you!
The frame is from Goodwill. I took the cardboard off the back and wrapped it in regular 11×17 typing paper and taped the print on there.
My 9 year old drew and colored this for me last year. He followed a tutorial from Art for Kids Hub, which we adore!
The white frame is from Goodwill. I spray painted it white, and my impatience and mistakes made for some perfect distressing and crackling. Here at Yellow Barn Farms, I don’t even have to try to achieve the cheap chic look-that is just how I roll 🙂 I get that worn, farmhouse look accidentally.
The Farm Fresh sign is from Target’s Dollar Spot. I got the bird sign at Michaels on clearance with a couple of smaller matching ones. I didn’t even plan for it to be in the kitchen, so it’s especially crazy how it matches so well. The phone on the wall belonged to The Handsome Husband’s grandma. She was a rural telephone operator in the 40s and 50s. My diva dog dish is actually an old fashioned hors d’oeuvres server from Goodwill. The color is Tropical Heat by Behr. All the paint in my house is Behr. It’s my absolute favorite.
We bought the nook benches at Oak Express and long ago outgrew the table. This one was a Craigslist find on which The Handsome Husband put high gloss bar epoxy resin so it would hold up better to the constant beating our furniture takes. I love it. It looks like glass and the children have to try really hard to scratch it.
It doesn’t take a lot more time to thrift some of your ornamentation or furnishing and update your decor with inexpensive and quick little changes. I’d love to hear how you save money when you decorate!
This is the perfect outfit in which to keep and feed 8 children, go to town at Goodwill, quickly alter a dress you bought, take the Middlets bowling and out to Steak and Shake and genuinely enjoy your offspring.
This is the perfect outfit to wear for the last last day of Classical Conversations for the Year End Celebration and to take off as soon as you get your son to take this picture and sleep for days, and after which, experience total mental shutdown.
Scarf: Target (I sewed it to make it infinity)
Sandals: FitFlops purchased at Zulily but Amazon has them. These are the most comfortable flip flops you will ever own. I’ve even worn them “hiking”!
This is the perfect outfit which to wear for basically two days after you put it on yesterday aternoon. It’s good for doing a lot of communicating, grocery shopping, clothes sorting and donating and labeling, library going, lesson chaueffuering, and momming.
This is the perfect outfit in which to have a couple of extra kids on board and take everyone roller skating, under strict instructions to not tell me they’re hungry or ask me for any food for the hour and a half you’re there and have your five year old say, “I’m not telling you I’m hungry, I’m just letting you know that if you wanted to buy me a snack, I’m okay with that.” and host an informational meeting for Classical Conversations even though you weren’t really planning on it because no one RSVP’d so you had gone to Dollar Tree instead and try to show yourself grace. Lots and lots of grace because even when you make mistakes, it’s really, truly part of the human experience and it’s really, truly acceptable and expected to make mistakes.
Silver Sandals: Goodwill but you can get them here!
This is the perfect outfit in which to celebrate 10 years of your church’s existence, connect with some friends briefly, eat fried chicken, laugh hysterically at your daughter’s hilarious play, get chastised by the grumpy old woman siting behind you for your awful cackling, get over it because most people love your laugh, and you’re okay with it, and drive to Des Moines with your oldest to daughter to go to her history day competition.
This is the perfect outfit in which to sleep in the top half-because you can’t get the sweatshirt off over the straws you used to make your hair awesome, work out, hang out, go out (well technically to the shops, but it sounded better) and eat out ( and by out, I mean at home, but whatever 🙂 )
I feel like curly hair is fancy. I felt dressy in my hoodie.
You’ll notice that I’m baring some skin here–it was 35 degrees today and if frostbite on my ankles is what it takes to end this always-winter-but-never-Christmas Narnia situation Iowa is poorly imitating, then by golly I’ll do it. This thinking is in no way logical.
jacket: Sam’s Club
Shirt: Old Navy via Goodwill
Sweater like joggers: Ross
This is the perfect outfit in which to get the thing done all morning, fall asleep reading to the two year old in the afternoon, and then set out with the idea of working during Eleven’s play practice but only watch clothing hauls on YouTube instead.
Sloth Dress: Amazon
Basic grey leggings
Necklace and Earrings: Noonday
This is the perfect outfit in which to endure ANOTHER April snow, cope with all the last minute changes to the last day of Classical Conversations, be completely overwhelmed and touched out and need space and still not completely check out of life.
Necklace: gift from some doula clients-the wooden piece in the middle is how big a newborn baby’s tummy is after a week. The smaller beads are how big it is at 1 and 3 days.
Basic white tee
Shirt: Old Navy via Goodwill
Boyfriend jacket which is actually my husband’s jacket: Goodwill
Super soft leggings: Aldi
Attached children: Boy was made in the Caribbean, the other two are farm fresh
This is the perfect outfit in which to get in 10,000 steps by noon, clean up all the messes-like when the little girls had permission to play with moon sand OUTSIDE, but then I found them in the kitchen, or when I was doing grocery shopping online and they both traipsed through the house with muddy boots on, and by clean up I mean make them do it which is infinitely harder, force people to go for walks and be outside and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather, and spend some hard won time alone sitting in the van, reading a terrific home design book.
Hair: styled by sleeping
Shoes: Walmart (chosen by Brielle)
This is the perfect outfit in which to be trapped in a van with your kids/hoodlums for far too many hours, clean the kitchen far too many times, listen to far too much yelling, and have a cozy at home date night watching a far too creepy of a movie.
Shirt: AB Studio via Goodwill
vest: TEK Gear via hand-me down from friend
Boyfriend Jeans: Zulily
Velvet Boots: Target
This outfit is perfect for doing a zero dollar kitchen update aka taking some cabinet doors off, taking a daughter to play practice, taking sons out for a lunch date and to do some woodworking, taking time to tickle the tiny daughters and play, taking a different daughter and sons to a Classical Conversations year end celebration, and taking time to rest and read.
I love frugal fashion! What would you like to see and read more of?
One would think I would be an expert in all things child, since I do have children ranging in age from 13-2. I’ve got boys and girls. I’ve got all the personalities (Ok, maybe not, since there are 16 main personalities, but it feels like it most days!)
I’ve got lots of experience in many layers of different. All five of my older children were out of diapers full time before they were three. They all currently use the potty on the regular.
With my first five, they had a little sibling coming along around the time they turned two, so I was hyper-vigilant before the new baby arrived. We had long stints of Elimination Communication when they were wee babies. I instituted “Potty Train your Kid in Two Days” (Lies!) type policies. We used cloth diapers when we were out and about so they could feel the wetness. They were pantsless at home. They got chocolate chips when they did their business in the right place. They got it. They learned.
One would think potty training my sixth child would be a breeze.
If you think that, you would be wrong.
Even with more eyes that should be watching this sixth kid, she gets away with more. Case in point: she completely flooded the bathroom the other day. There was at least an inch of water on the floor. The drawers in the vanity under the sink were two/thirds filled with water.
Kevin was home with the kids while I was on a writing retreat, and I like to think it wouldn’t have happened on my watch. (Lies.) Perhaps with more people around to keep an eye on her, everyone else thinks someone else is watching her, and no one actually is.
There’s a possibility she wasn’t being trained as closely during her readiness window because of her beloved grandma being sick and subsequently dying right around her second birthday. It could be because I stopped cloth diapering all together when she was still a baby. We could attribute it to the fact that I didn’t do Elimination Communication as long with her as I did with the other kids. It’s likely she’s just more stubborn and I’m more tired.
Maybe there isn’t a good reason.
The reason doesn’t matter as much as you knowing that whatever stage of motherhood you’re in right now, you’re not alone. Even us seasoned mothers don’t know what we’re doing, or why we’re doing it, or why it’s going wrong. If your kid won’t sleep through the night and is crawling in bed with you, it’s normal, you’re not alone. If you can’t get your kid potty trained by 3, don’t worry, you’re not alone. If road trips make you think you’re going to lose your everloving mind, and any self control you had at any point in your life, you’re not alone. If you’re afraid your kids are going to kill each other in a spatula fight turned nasty, take heart, you’re not alone. What is going on with you and your kids happens to all of us. I’m here for you. You’re not alone.
Unless your kid is using the teeter totter to catapult dead mice into an open window. Then you might be on your own.
I’m not one to quit on a garment just because it has a little age to it.
This is the perfect outfit in which to spend all day in the rain and in the garage doing an amazing DIY patio update and painting all the things.
Necklaces : Target and Noonday
This is the perfect outfit in which to premiere as a greeter and usher. I’m a terrific greeter but my ushing was rather clumsy. It’s also perfect in which to take your daughters and friends out to eat and endure the snow and freezing April temperatures, take the girls to A Wrinkle In Time, and write all evening while watching Murder on the Orient Express, while the oldests wrap your hair around 89 straws.
Dress: Goodwill in DC!
Pup: Snuggles and Cuddles
This is the perfect outfit in which to start off optimistic that it’s going to be as lovely as the day before but quickly realize that you’re going to freeze, and supervise the cleaning of the patio and deck and balance bank accounts (well, try to) and babysit three more kids and hope they don’t die and have a bonfire and go out with friends and drink and talk and talk and talk.
Top: Old Navy via Goodwill
pants: PINK via Goodwill
Shoes: Converse via Ross
This is the perfect outfit to wear to babysit and end up with 10 kids including a baby who you get to wear and whose head you get to smell and kiss and know that you know that you know you are done with babies but you are so happy you get to love on friendbabies and to make an actual lunch that almost every body eats, and to buy new chairs at Theisen’s which don’t fit in the car and be late for picking up your Wal-mart grocery order and they have to page people to unlock it but you don’t even care because you just want your Kix!
dress: Garage Sale
Hairbow: chosen and loaned by five year old
practical shoes: Danskos
This is the perfect outfit to wear for Classical Conversations Costume Day and just generally enjoy yourself immensely and not even get irritated when your daughter loses her shoe in the creek and your son wades in over his ankles to retrieve it, or when the two year old refuses to come to the van and you have to chase her across the park but you catch her because you wear the practical shoes.
Sweater: New York and Company via Goodwill
Puffer Vest: Goodwill
pants: Sam’s Club
This is the perfect outfit in which to stalk and photograph ducks and coots aaaaaaand do some other stuff.
Top: New York and Company cia Goodwill
Puffer Vest: Goodwill
Blanket Scarf: Amazon
This is the perfect outfit in which to get a lot of house work done and school work done and be the best Monday-er in the history of Monday, and also get carried away at the library book sale and also get a manicure and ALSO even make a proper farm wife supper.
This post is sponsored by Theisen’s. I would never recommend a company I don’t believe in.
It’s April 15. Our spring has never arrived and I’m not feeling optimistic it’s coming any time soon. Even to the point of considering spring cleaning, (or possibly just changing all the sheets), I’ll do anything to get out of the never ending winter doldrums. It’s winter but never Christmas.
As a gift to myself, I’ve made a long, long list of spring spruce ups, and the patio and deck area is at the top of upgrades I want to do. Some of the updates I want to do just aren’t in the budget this year, but I host a lot of patio parties and wanted to upgrade as much as possible as cheaply as possible.
The kids and I raked and picked up and burned all the leaves and sticks which had accumulated all year. I was impressed how much that alone helped! Brielle, who is highly motivated since the first patio party will be for her cast party for the Davenport Junior Theater play she’s in, scrubbed off the tables and chairs. If it ever warms up and stops raining, The Handsome Husband will power wash the deck.
All our patio furniture is second hand and our plastic Adirondack style chairs were all broken and cracked so I headed to Theisen’s where they had them on sale! I was delighted that they even had my colors! I had painted the deck furniture (which my great aunt had given me 15 years ago) a few years back, and it seriously needed updating. I also picked up some Rust-Oleum Spray Paint which included a primer because I’m all about streamlining. While I was there, I noticed some hanging plants who were optimistically trying to bloom despite this freezing Iowa April. I bought a couple to eventually put on my patio swing. I want to paint it too, but I knew I wouldn’t have time this weekend.
I also wanted to have all of my cushions match. Some came with the furniture, a few we had bought, and some others my sweet mother-in-law surprised me with. I wondered if I could paint them too. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one to think of this idea. I read a few tutorials (this was one of them )when I thought of painting the cushions,decided it would work, and just went for it. A few $3 cans of paint are way cheaper than new cushions!
I spent all day Saturday in the garage, painting furniture and the cushions. We couldn’t find all of the cushions, and they had gotten rained on , and it was too cold to properly dry according to the can, and I’m not a very patient person nor do I like to follow directions to the letter, but I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out.
Other than the fact that after I was through, and I was complaining because my pincer grasp wouldn’t work, the tendons in my forearms were completely exhausted and sore, and I couldn’t even cut my own meat, my husband then informed me we had a handy dandy trigger handle I could have used. (like this one)
6:00 Wake up to alarm. Try to sneak out of bedwithout disturbing beautiful wife or two year old who’s snoozing between us. Am largely unsuccessful. Sneaking is not my forté. Grab a cup of coffee to down while putting on my coveralls. It’s 15 degrees on the seventh of April and the cow herd is calving. Dangerous conditions for newborns. The plan is to haul the last month’s accumulation of manure out of the cattle yards and use it to fertilize the fields while the ground is still frozen. It’s a week long job at least with nothing going wrong.
6:30 Check the cows. Discover a half frozen just born baby calf. Haul him in the calf sled to under the barn so I can get him nursing. His mama is not cooperative and keeps trying to charge me. Stupid cow.
7:30 Still having trouble getting her in the head gate. I’m sick of this cow trying to kill me, when all I’m doing is trying to save her baby. Take a break and go check the rest of the herd. Discover two more babies, just born while I was under the barn with the first ridiculous cow.
Drag them in to under the barn as well. Their mamas follow docilely like they’re supposed to. Get the calves all in the calf warmer—a tiny A frame shed with a heater.
Head up to the house for some frozen colostrum. I’m going to have to tube feed them all.
Put 9 year old in charge of warming up colostrum, the first highly nutritious milk. We always milk cows who have lost a baby or have extra colostrum, to keep on hand. Without those precious first few nursings of colostrum, the calves won’t live no matter what you do. It’s a miracle that newborn human babies who’ve never nursed can survive, as no animal will!
8:30 Go back out to barn to check on the situation and see that two of them are starting to stand and be halfway normal. The kids all want to come out and watch, so I let them peer through the window so they won’t disturb the mamas. Milk the two cooperative cows and tube feed their calves with their own mama’s colostrum since they can’t nurse yet.
9:30 Go back up to the house, get the warmed colostrum, tube feed the first calf. I don’t think he’ll make it. This is even more discouraging as just yesterday, I had twins (highly unusual for Gelbvieh cows), both born back feet first, both born dead. They’re supposed to be born front feet first. Besides feeling badly for the animal, we’re losing big money every time we lose a calf, and this is definitely not the year to lose any money on anything.
After feeding the calves, I headed up the breakfast operations while my wife was working out. Cadrian, the nine year old can make popovers on his own, but he still needs a little guidance and a lot of reminders.
10:30 Finally start hauling manure while it’s still frozen. I go into the cattle yards with the tractor, load the manure and the straw we use as bedding material into the loader bucket and dump it into the manure spreader. The ground needs to be frozen while I take it out to the field so I don’t tear up the ground with ruts, which then causes compaction, because I want to plant into it soon.
11:30 Take a break from hauling manure when my best friend comes over to get hay for his goat. We shoot the breeze for a while.
By this time, Jessica is gone to write all day at a local farmer owned coffee shop. I go back up to the house to check on the kids and get them to start lunch. They make frozen vegetables and macaroni and cheese.
12:30 The ground is starting to thaw, so I finally start chores. This involves feeding all the cattle in the cattle yards a special mixture of silage, hay and nutrients, and taking bales of hay out to the cattle in the pastures. I mow and bale hay all summer long so out cattle can be grass fed all winter, and I sell some hay to local horse owners. I keep a close eye on the worst off calf.
1:30 The kids are bounding around outside since it’s warmed up a bit. They want to help and be in the way and see everything. Elivette manages to get some milk to feed the half frozen, now thawed, babies!
A couple more calves are born, in the sunshine, which even though it’s still record lows, makes a big difference so they were fine. After I got the new ones all ear tagged, I poured hot water over that first calf for quite a while, trying to get him warmed up internally.
2:30 Our pet cow Lolly had her calf! She is the smartest cow we have. She had the calf at the warmest part of the day, in the calf shed I just erected yesterday. Really it was probably dumb luck, but I like to credit it to her intelligence.
3:30 Jessica has gotten home but she has a sick headache and can’t go to the party with the family.
I get the kids around and we head off to Aviana’s friend’s and Challenge A director’s home for tacos and a sing-a-long. On the way, I meet up with Brielle’s friend’s dad, because her friend Esther has stayed the night and needs to be returned to her family.
4:30 The kids have a great time while I chat with some of our friends. I have to supervise our kids pretty closely because they’re still so young and impulsive. The family who live here with their two teenagers lead a completely different life than us with our six rambunctious rascals ages 2-13.
Our nine year old especially needs to have some quality friends who are boys. We seem to have a lot of friends with girls. He and the host’s 14 year old son love to wrestle and roughhouse.
7:30 It’s impossible for me to round up six kids. You have to start an hour before you’re ready to leave, and then when you finally find them all, and get them pointed in the right direction, someone wants to chat some more and they all disperse again.
8:00 Get teeth brushed and pajamas on. By lying down with her, I get the two year old to sleep. I love snuggling her and helping her fall asleep. Often I fall asleep with her for a little while, and show her how it’s done. This farmer teaches thegreatest life lessons: Bedtime is the best time of day!
9:00 I head back outside and get the calves nursing for the first time. That’s a huge relief! The first one died. I check the cows again and see another new calf born, which brings our total to 7 for the 7th! That’s almost 10% of our herd calving on one day. I have to go out to the field to bring back the tractor I forgot out there because I drove the tractor pulling the manure spreader back and then got busy with the cows. If I had a fit bit I’m sure it would show that I walked 20 miles today.
10:00 Sit down for a rest while Jessica quizzes me about my day for this blog post. I like that she’s paying attention to me, but I’m almost too tired to think! Snuggling with the puppy in the comfy chair is putting me to sleep.