Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buyers Remorse with House Paint

Yesterday we had our house painted. (Before picture below)

I was thrilled with the prospect of getting to spruce up the old Nest-- to get it power washed, to add fresh colors, to give it a face lift. I pour over paint swatches and picked scrumptious looking colors like Tankard, Mutiny, and Apple Peel.

We had the old wood scraped, sanded, and primed. We fixed broken or rotten boards.

I mean we really did a face lift.

And the results:

So what do you think? This morning, I don't know if its buyer's remorse, or pregnancy hormones, or exhaustion, but I'm not as excited about the new colors as I was before. Did we make the right choice? Should have been more bold? I mean now, we have a boring gray house. At least before it was a faded blue, maybe slightly less boring. The colors I picked before I thought were radical, and now I realize they are just darker versions of the old paint (except the shutters).

I have the case of the blahs, and thought I'd share my buyer's remorse. Hopefully tomorrow I'll look at the house in a new light! 


Monday, June 14, 2010

Ranch Chores-- Orphaned Calves

Growing up on a cattle ranch, spring and calving season was never complete without having orphaned calves. If the mother cow died during labor, had twins, or for some reason wouldn’t accept the baby, or physically couldn’t take care of the baby, I would be stuck with a bummer calf, a baby I’d have to bottle feed for months. Usually I only had one or two calves at a time, and I could feed them both at the same time, a two-quart bottle full of warm milk replacement in each hand.

As I'm incubating my own little baby, I've been thinking a lot about the maternal chores I had to do growing up. One particular year springs to mind, when I was 13 or 14, and by April I had four little babies, who I named Eanie, Meanie, Miny, and Moe. They were the cutest things, but kept me busy, as I had to feed them twice a day. Soon I had them trained to come when I called; “Hey Babies!” and they would gallop across the corral, eager to be fed.


Every spring when we no longer had to feed hay, we’d turn the cow/calf pairs out on to the crested wheatgrass seeding just north of our house, where the cows could fatten o the greening grasses before being moved into the mountains for the summer. On a ranch in the middle of the Owyhee High Desert, everyone constantly prayed for rain. That particular spring, we had received a lot of rain and snow, and then the weather warmed the next day. One could literally see the grass growing, especially the crested wheat. The sudden growth in the grass was a rancher’s worst nightmare, resulting in a mineral imbalance called grass tetany. Cows with young calves nursing often had very low blood magnesium from a loss of calcium, with the combination of the high nitrogen and potassium levels in the grass; the grass tetany reaction in the cow’s bodies was usually fatal. Older cows with calves less than two months old were the most susceptible to grass tetany, and these cows were often the best cows in the herd.



Two days after that April snowstorm, we lost a half dozen cows. So I adopted Joe, a black calf with a white bally face. Joe was quickly followed by Sissy and Prissy, and finally by Chrissy. I had eight baby calves. As with the majority of our cattle herd, four of the babies were pitch black, and I could only tell them apart by their size. Moe and Joe were black ballys, with white faces on an all black body. Sissy was a brockle, with a speckled white face and a brown body, while Chrissy was a light tan color. Prissy was my favorite, her coat looking like a red Holstein cow with large white spots covering her body.

Bottle feeding eight calves took an eternity. The new calves were terrified of me, and I had to chase them down and corner them, and then slowly try to coax them to eat from the bottle. Often I had to sit on the rebellious calf, wrestling its one hundred pound body to the ground and holding its head with one hand, as I worked the nipple of the milk bottle into the corner of the calf’s mouth. It seemed half of the bottle of milk replacement spilled down the calf’s neck or onto my clothes before the calf actually began to suckle. As soon as the milk reached his stomach, hesitation was thrown aside and he began to greedily suck down the milk, his tail swinging side to side in time to his greedy gulps. The other seven, jealous that I was feeding this one calf and not them, crowded closer, almost knocking both of us over with their eager noses and sucking tongues. Like many babies, the calves believed if they found something they could wrap their tongue around and suck hard enough, milk would eventually flow. They sucked on the hem of my shirt, on my elbow, on the back pockets of my jeans, even on my ponytail if they caught me in the middle of a struggle with one of their orphaned brothers and my hands were full. If they couldn’t reach me with their tongues, they turned to each other, and happily sucking on their neighbor’s ear, all with tails wagging in excitement. I emerged from the corral covered with calf drool, but had to reenter as soon as I had mixed up another gallon of the milk replacement. After weeks of chasing the babies down, they recognized my voice as that of their mom, and when I called, they rushed over and I could feed them through the wooden slats of the fence and not have to fear getting trampled by hungry stampeding babies.




As the calves grew, I turned them loose in one of the pastures near the house. There they were able to run for miles, to hide in willow groves, and to eat grass to their hearts content. Every morning and night, promptly at six o’clock, all eight of the calves would stand in the corner of the field closest to the house and bawl for their milk. The later I was in feeding them, the louder they bawled, until even the house seemed to shake with their outrage. One the few days I was early, I stood at the fence corner and called them. Within seconds, I could hear the pounding of tiny hooves as they raced up the road to meet me, my little herd of orphaned babies.

I'm just hoping our little Baby Buckaroo doesn't have the sucking power those calves had. :) I mean look at that reddish tan calf in the picture above, he's sucking so hard on his brother's ear that his eyes are crossed! Ouch!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four Years...


Four years ago today, I married my best friend. He is my soul mate, the person who makes me smile at the days to come, and laugh at myself. He is an incredible man of God, faithful and honest. And he's going to be a wonderful daddy!

The four years have flown by, and I am so looking forward to the future, may they be even more wonderful!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting for the Lil' Buckaroo

So… the big news.

My excuse of law school keeping me busy is not the complete truth. There is more behind me not writing on my blog and my almost absolute internet silence than simply school and work.  I have a hard time writing anything at all, when what I really want to write about I can't.  I just couldn't think of something fun or interesting in my life to share other than the big news.

Not only did the last month of law school sap most of my energy, I had something else exhausting me, causing ridiculous fatigue.



Yup. It’s true.



There’s going to be a little Buckaroo in the City.



After the car accident in April that totaled my car, I had a horrible headache for days, along with almost constant nausea. I thought I just had a minor concussion, but a few days later, I decided to take a pregnancy test, just to make sure. And clear as can be, there was my answer!


We are beyond thrilled, and now that I’m 12 weeks pregnant, we feel it’s time to share our joyous news with the blogosphere and let it go viral. Or whatever.


How we’re going to deal with me working full time, going to law school, and trying to be a great wife and mom to a baby will be an even greater adventure (challenge!?) that I’m sure I’ll be writing about.


Yea! In December I’ll more to look forward to than the end of law school finals and Christmas, but also the arrival of our Baby Buckaroo!

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