cows

My grandson, Caalab Royce met a girl a while back and they have been almost inseparable ever since. Her name is Chloe Foster, and she is as sweet as she can be. These kids are perfect for each other. Both are dedicated to their families and to each other’s family too…and the cool thing is that their families like each other too. It’s always special when you can join two families…because the kids got together. When Caalab met Chloe, his whole life changed. I really didn’t hear about anything else but Chloe, and when we met her, we could see what he saw in her. Her personality was totally infectious, and I enjoyed meeting her very much.

As Chloe’s birthday approached I began to wonder about this girl who holds my grandson’s heart. I knew that she is studying criminal justice in college, and that she is a Christian, which makes me very happy. She has a sweet spirit, which I have seen in the things she posts. Caalab tells me that she has been spending part of the “shelter-at-home” time in which we have all found ourselves, studying the Bible. She is a girl who prays and allows God to lead her in the way she should go. These kinds of things make my heart glad.

Chloe is also a very talented artist. She recently sat down and is just a few hours she had painted a watercolor picture of Bob Marley. Caalab really likes Bob Marley, so he was very impressed with her work. I don’t know too much about Bob Marley, but I know enough to recognize him in her painting. She did a good job. Recently, I friended Chloe’s mom on Facebook, and when looking at her pictures, I saw some of the funnier ways that Chloe uses her artwork…namely, greeting cards. I won’t display them here, but let’s just say she thanked her parents for their part in giving her life…her mom for Chloe’s first home, and her dad for putting her and her brothers, Tyson and Tanner, in the race in the first place. The cards were tastefully done, and very sweet in a funny sort of way, but they told me more about this girl who has loved cows for much of her life. I thought it funny, when my granddaughter, Shai Royce, Caalab’s sister, told me to buy Chloe something with a cow on it for Christmas…now, I can see that Shai knows Chloe pretty well. Shai loves Chloe as much (well almost as much) as Caalab does. As a grandmother, I can say it is heartwarming to know that someone cares so much for my grandson…that she not only holds his heart, but she protects it too. Today is Chloe’s birthday. Happy birthday Chloe!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kayla Stevens is first and foremost a wife to my nephew, Garrett, and a mom to their daughter, 10 month old Elliott Michelle. Being a mom is a dream come true for Kayla, and she is having the time of her life. She and Elliott are very close, and now that the weather is nicer, they have been going on walks every evening after Kayla gets off work. It’s their mother daughter time. Kayla is a great mom, and Elliott is a happy, healthy baby girl, who is full of smiles.

Kayla has been busy this summer being a bridesmaid for her friend Hannah’s wedding in Huntington Beach, California. The whole family went and had a great time. It was Elliott’s first vacation, and they made some great memories there. Kayla will be a bridesmaid in two more weddings this summer, so the summer is shaping up to be quite busy. Weddings are always fun, and for Kayla to be able to help celebrate with her friends is awesome.

A couple of weeks ago, Kayla started a new job at the VA Hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming on their suicide prevention task force. She has worked hard both studying to become a social worker and in her prior job, but I think that this is going to be the culmination of the vision she had for her career. So far she likes her new job. I think is takes a special kind of person to deal with the stresses and problems of other people, but Kayla has a heart for that, and I know that she is a blessing both to her coworkers and her patients.

Kayla’s family all live in Sheridan, and she still has all four of her grandparents, so her little family has been spending lots of time with all of them. They have started a tradition of getting together for lunch after church on Sundays with a lot of the family joining in. They also go to Kayla’s parents, Lynette and Wes Smiley’s house in the country for dinner on the weekends. Elliott loves to look at the cows and horses. Also, now that the weather is nice, they have been able to come to Casper to visit Garrett’s family, my sister, Alena and her husband Mike, as well as his sisters Michelle and Lacey. Alena and Mike have also had more opportunities to go to Sheridan to visit. Its a busy life in so many ways, but Kayla and Garrett feel very blessed with their little family, and their extended families. Today is Kayla’s birthday. Happy birthday Kayla!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my nephew, Eric Parmely was little, I would never have guessed that he would decide to become a farmer. Eric was born a city boy, and lived in town throughout his childhood. He rode motorcycles, worked on cars with his dad, and did all the typical things at city boys did. Then, when Eric met Ashley, everything changed. Ashley was a country girl, and loved all the farm animals…especially horses, and especially miniature horses. The reality was that Eric was so smitten with Ashley, that wherever Ashley was going, Eric wanted to go…whether he liked country life or not. The strange thing was, that this city boy suddenly found out that he liked country life…he really liked it.

Over the next seven years I watched as Eric became more and more a country boy…well, a country man. He loved having room to spread out and play with his kids, and have as many farm animals as he and Ashley could possible want. They raise goats, cows, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens, horses, dogs, cats…and kids!! Their two daughters, Reagan and Hattie and a great help around the farm, and no job grosses them out. I know their son, Bowen will soon grow up to be a great help too, but for now he gets to go along for the ride. Bowen likes that just as much as the girls like the work, for now.

Eric has worked for Halliburton for some time now, and is often out of town with his job. That is always tough on the family. Kids need both parents to be around, but at least the kids know that their daddy will be home soon. Eric is a hard worker, and when the bottom dropped out of the oil industry, Eric was able to keep his job. That is important, because he has a family to support. We are all very glad that his job was saved, but sorry that his work is so far away. We are also hoping that very soon, Eric’s job will bring him back home to work. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

13265986_257222344634488_4589898347726366777_n13406763_265886647101391_3366028807812107235_nMy grand niece, Reagan Parmely is a busy little girl. I think that her most important job, at least in her opinion, is being the big sister. Reagan takes it upon herself to help her little sister, Hattie to do things like climbing the hay bales. She also takes her for walks in the mud, and for rides in her truck…yes, Reagan has a truck…that runs. Together, they help around the farm, taking care of the animals, and cuddling the babies. As sisters go, Reagan and Hattie are best friends. Reagan teaches Hattie things…like pushing her big sister on the tricycle, and how the tell the difference between weeds and flowers. They have great times together.

Reagan is a helper. She loves the farm animals, and is a great help when it comes to their care. The size of these animals doesn’t bother her one bit. Most kids would be at least a little apprehensive around a cow or horse that is more that twice their size, but not Reagan, or her sister, Hattie. They know how to act around the animals, and the animals are very gentle with them. Reagan likes to make sure that all the farm animals are where they are supposed to be, In fact, all animals have a proper place, and they should stay there. In Casper, where we live, 13876265_292781794411876_617624038936402311_nimg_5512there are two statues of horses eating the grass at the Quality Inn, and every time Reagan’s family drives by there, Reagan proceeds to tell those horses that they need to get back home to their corral. Now, don’t misunderstand me, she knows they are statues. She just likes saying that to be funny, and we all think it’s funny too.

Reagan likes mobility…of any kind. She rides horse, motorcycles, her truck, bicycle, and of course, the standard walking and running. And she’s pretty good at all of them. I think she was born riding something…or shortly thereafter. She takes everyone in her truck, or at least the ones that fit. I’m not totally sure how the dogs feel about it, but they ride along, so I guess she must be a pretty good driver. Reagan has grown up around a dad that loves motorcycles, a mom who loves horses, and an uncle who loves trucks, so none of this is particularly surprising to me. She has already had her first motorcycle accident, and while she had a shiner, she is a tough 13873017_287974464892609_4907685120331456178_n12049279_134764306880293_1923635950844667072_ngirl, who doesn’t give up. She gets right back on and goes again. She loves hiking with her Oma, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, and riding her bicycle with her Aunt Brenda Schulenberg, who goes by BR. Together they all work on staying healthy and active. Reagan also loves to work with her grandparents, Albert and Kari Eighmy. They have safe tools for her to use, and she helps them build things around their farm. She loves having all of these people who let her help with things, because she likes to be busy. Today is Reagan’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Kids & CowsKids have always had a fascination with animals. Any animal will do, but pets don’t seem to fall into the same category as other animals. I suppose that the reason for that is that after a little bit of time with a pet, they become normal everyday parts of the family. It doesn’t mean the child doesn’t love the pet, because they do, but the pet is an animal they see everyday, often in the house, so it’s nothing special. Farm animals, on the other hand are something different. Here is an animal that isn’t a domesticated pet, and yet it isn’t afraid of people either. They understand that they need people to bring them their food and water, and they also understand that people aren’t usually scary. Yes, the animal could hurt a child, especially if it stepped on the child, but for the most part the animal is as curious about the child as the child is about the animal.

As small children, my dad and his siblings lived on a farm, so being around farm animals was a part of life. Still, that did not stop the curiosity about those animals from forming in their minds. When they went out to play, a part of their time outside always seemed to be spent visiting the other residents of their home. They would trek out to the haystacks where the cows would be feeding, and watch those strong, yet gentle animals eat, while the cows watched these tiny versions of the people who cared for them watching them. Funny how we all teach our kids not to stare, but when put in a situation like this, all that rudeness doesn’t seem to matter. Both sides are staring anyway, and since it isn’t a person…it just doesn’t matter. I suppose in many ways the whole situation was a lot like the petting zoos that most city children have been to as their only real interaction with farm animals.

When my girls were little, we too had a little place out in the country, and we raised a cow now and them. The girls were quite curious and really wanted to help with our cow. I had to be careful what they helped with, because when it came to grain…our cows always became pigs, and a tiny little girl could get trampled in the cows effort to get to what the cows considered candy. Most of the time the cows were a gentle as they could be, but the grain had to be given in a certain way, and very quickly, because they couldn’t wait to get to it. One cow we had named Rosie, due to her red color, was so excited that she was trying to follow me and still scratch her belly too. The end result was one good, but unintended kick to the back of my knee. It left a knot that stayed with me for the better part of 6 months. It was a good thing for Rosie that I liked her, and it wasn’t butchering time, or she would have been on our table in a matter of days.

Hay was always a very different matter. Little kids could be around cows eating hay, and there Allen, Ruth, & Bill (2)was not a dangerous rush to the food. I suppose that was the vegetables of the whole deal, and we all know how kids, which is what cows are a lot like when it comes to food, are with vegetables. The girls loved to help put the hay in the feeding troths for the cows, and then sit and watch them eat. I suppose it was an interesting sight. If you have never watched a cow eat, you might not know it, but they really are strange when they eat. I suppose that is why Aunt Ruth, Uncle Bill, and my dad were just standing there, out by the haystack when they could have been playing in the snow, just watching the cows eat.

Bob, Jennifer, and baby cowThese days when the fair comes to town, many people think of the rodeo and the petting zoo, but years ago petting zoos didn’t exist. I suppose that might have been because so many people raised their own animals that they didn’t need to go out somewhere to see the farm animals…or at least, many of them didn’t. With the urbanizing of our country, more and more, people don’t get to be around farm animals as much in their everyday lives. I guess that has made us a little nostalgic is some ways. We keep trying to connect to the past in many ways.

I think most little kids these days have been to a petting zoo, but years ago, the petting zoo was out at the barn after the calving was over, and your admission fee was cleaning out that barn. It just didn’t have quite the same effect on a kid, whether they really liked animals or not. Taking care of animals is a messy job, as any rancher or 4-H student can tell you, and not one you usually associate with little girls. Nevertheless, little girls do like babies, and baby cows are very cute.

Personally, I think I would rather go to the petting zoo. We have raised a cow or two in our time living out in the country, and while the baby is cute when you get it, they are messy, and a lot of work. They grow from babyhood very quickly and then they aren’t so cute. They want their grain and they are willing to rush you to get it. Having a cow…sweet as they can be, step on your foot, or accidently kick you while trying to get to that food or Aunt Laura with a baby calfgrain really hurts. Oh, they don’t mean anything by it, but it was not a job I was willing to allow my girls to do,

And the saddest part about raising a cow…the main reason I would rather go to the petting zoo is that once they are grown…they must be butchered. They had been like a pet to us. We had even named them, and then we were expected to eat the meat. It truly got to the point where I could hardly stand to eat it. It’s not that I don’t like beef, because I do. It’s just that I don’t want to know my dinner by name!! No, I’ll buy my beef at the store, and go to a petting zoo, if I really feel the need to get next to nature in that way.

Real CowboysWe have all watched old Western shows, and the cowboys always seem to look very romantic…at least for the period of history they lived in, but the reality was not exactly like that.  Now, I can’t say for sure that none of the cowboys of that day looked like that, but the majority of those men were hard working homesteaders, who lived in an era where there was no running water, and all too often the water they had was needed for crops. The land was hard and dry, and tough to work, because it had never had crops planted in it before. There were rocks to be removed before the land could even be tilled. This was the world our ancestors lived in…if they came out to the wild west, like mine did.

Now don’t get me wrong…they did their best to clean up, when they cleaned up, and they looked real good, but the daily shower that we take for granted, was not possible in those days. Often the same water was used for more than one person, and you had to hope that you weren’t going to be the last one. The cowboys of the old west took a weekly bath and washed their hair every couple of weeks…most of the time…or sometimes anyway. They did not understand hygiene, because no one really knew anything about that then. Off to TownAnd they couldn’t have done much about it if they had, without any running water.

The roads were dirt, the land was dusty, the sun was hot, and the people…well, the people were as clean as they could be under the circumstances, but since the only odor improving items were the perfumes that the women used very sparingly, people just got used to the odors that existed. They were around horses and cows all day, and they had to clean up after those animals. It wasn’t their fault, and there really was nothing that they could have done about it in most cases…it was just the way it really was in the old west, and they were the real cowboys.

A number of years ago, 1979 to be exact, when Bob’s parents were still living out in the country, the guys had a permit to cut down some dead trees in the Shirley Mountains. A bunch of us made several trips up and spent the day cutting and loading those trees onto the flatbed trailer my father-in-law owned. It was always a project that took the whole day, and plenty of help. We came back with several good sized loads of wood. Then came the real work. Cutting all that wood into usable sizes to burn in our wood stoves took many days.

At that time, my father-in-law had a big buzz saw to cut the wood with. It took two people to get the wood on the table that ran the log to the saw. One day, Bob and his dad were working on cutting the wood, and since we lived on the same property at the time, because our land wasn’t ready to move onto yet, our kids were there too. They loved being around all the activity that went on at their grandparent’s house. From raising a couple of cows to cutting wood, there was always something going on.

Corrie had come down to the wood pile to watch the cutting process…or maybe to be the supervisor. It was really the only job a little girl of 4 years could do, so they set her up on one of the bigger logs that had been cut, and she supervised the whole project for quite a while. I’m quite sure that in between all the sawing, Corrie probably talked the guys’ ears off too, if I know my girl. Corrie has always been an organizer…even as a little girl, when she tried to straighten a neighbor’s counter up, because it was a little unorganized. As a supervisor, Corrie was simply in her element.

Of course, at 4 years old, Corrie got bored with the work world, and decided that it was time for a break. That happened about the time that the cat, Dusty showed up and seemed to need a little bit of attention. Corrie decided that she would have to be the one to entertain Dusty and keep her out of trouble, because as we all know, cats tend to get in the way of the work. They always want to rub up against you, and that simply won’t do when the men are trying to cut wood. Dusty could be in real danger of getting stepped on. Eventually, Corrie would go back to her supervisory job, but only when Dusty decided that it was time to go find something to eat, and a nice shady place to nap.

I came across an old friend on Facebook today…one for whom I had been searching a very long time. It was a relief really, to finally find her. Even though I am still waiting for her to respond to my friend request, I feel like I have to write a little bit about what a wonderful person she was…and what a great family she had. Very rarely could a friend spend the night and have the sisters and the friends get along too, but that is what Gale, her sisters, Lynne, Lea Ann, Michelle, and I did. When I would spend the night at her house, Gale, her sisters and I would have so much fun. They lived out in the country, and actually had two houses. The main house, and the little house where all the girls slept. It was an unusual arrangement, I know, but the girls were all old enough for it to work, and all were good girls.

They had, as I recall, chickens, pigs, cows, and horses on their little farm, and I would help out with the chores when I was there…something I found fun and interesting, but I’m sure that Gale and her sisters would disagree with me on that one. We would ride horses, and lots of other fun things that I couldn’t do living in town, so going to Gale’s family’s place was always a favorite thing to do in my book. I do remember a couple of bad things too…well not real bad, but I remember a time that Gale was riding a horse, and she was heading back into the coral, and the horse was in a hurry I guess, so he got a little too close to the fence, and ran Gale’s leg into the fence. I don’t recall if it bled or not, but it wasn’t broken. I just remember being real scared for my friend right then. Another thing that happened was that one of the cows was in a hurry to eat, and he stepped on my foot trying to get into the barn. Good thing it was a calf and the area was a little muddy. My foot sank into the mud and wasn’t hurt to badly. I don’t even think I ever told Gale that it happened, but I sure remember it. Not my last encounter with a hungry cow, as those who have read my blog for a while can attest. I seem to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time where cows are concerned. It’s probably best that I don’t spend time around them anymore, lol.

The evenings in the little house were probably the most fun, however. We would watch movies and eat popcorn, and when we would hear the phone ring, then the real fun would begin. You see they had a party line. Now I’m sure most of you don’t even know what that is, but they were somewhat common back then. A party line is when several families share the same line. The odd thing about this is that you can pick up the phone during a conversation…provided you can do it quietly…and listen in on the conversation. And that is exactly what we did. Sometimes it was pretty boring, but sometimes you would hear a boyfriend/girlfriend conversation, and then…well, it could get interesting. After a while, we couldn’t stop laughing, and that would end the eavesdropping for that call. The people talking would start yelling at us to get off…right now!!! And so we did, but we laughed about it the rest of the night. I’ll never forget the great fun I had with Gale and I can’t wait to re-connect with her and her family again…hopefully soon.

Living in the country and raising a few head of cattle for the purpose of butchering to feed the family is the way of life for the small rancher. A small rancher is of course, someone who doesn’t sell the cattle for profit, but just uses them for a food source. That is what Bob’s family used to do…Bob and I included. This was a new kind of life to me, as I had never been around cows much.

Corrie, Amy, and I would feed the cows in the morning, or at least the girls would come along. If you have never been around cows when someone is bringing in a bucket of grain, I promise you that you do not want to let small children in there. You see the grain to a cow…well, that’s their candy, and you had better move fast and get it into the feeding trough, or you will get run over. They have absolutely no discipline when it comes to grain.

I remember one cow in particular that I had named Rosie, because of her coat. Rosie was a Hereford cow. She loved her grain. She would run along side me to be first in line. One time, she was running and needed to scratch her belly at the same time, so she tried to do both. The result was that she kicked me in the back of the knee. Man…that hurt. She left a quarter sized bump and a huge bruise. The bump was with me for about a year and the bruise actually re-occured off and on. I can still feel her kick. She didn’t mean to do it of course. She was like a little kid and very gentle, but she loved her candy, and anyone in the vicinity of the bucket had better beware. Needless to say, you can see why the girls watched me feed the cows. They did help with the hay though, but that was done from the other side of the fence where they couldn’t get run over.

Butchering the cows…well that is another story. After caring for the cows and even naming them…probably not the best idea, I simply could not stand the thought or the sight of my pets being shot in the head, even though I knew it had to be, and I was ok with eating the meat. So the girls and I stayed in the house…with the TV or radio on fairly loud while the butchering was taking place.

We have long since moved into town, and we do not raise cows anymore, but I look a little differently at the cows we pass on the roads when we travel, because I know a little more about how they act, and what it takes to raise them than I ever imagined I would.

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