horses

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My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg has had a rough year, due to the loss of his mother, Rachel Schulenberg on January 19, 2021. Still, Tucker is a good boy, who always made his parents proud. He has a good heart and a loving way about him. When the family gets together for our monthly dinners, Tucker is always willing to hang out and play with his girl cousins, and his boy cousin too. They are all much younger than he is, but that doesn’t make any difference. He never shuns them.

Tucker has his own ideas on most things, and he doesn’t mind telling what they are, but he is also ok with other people having other ideas, something that is somewhat rare in these days of everyone getting offended so easily. Tucker is a Conservative, and he doesn’t mind telling you so. He has a mind of his own, and he makes sure he is informed about the things going on around him. Now, I call that one wise kid.

Tucker came to our family at two years old, when his mom married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg. Tucker had a. pretty much, absent dad, and he knew that Ron, who was his step-dad then, was going to be a better dad to him. It was Tucker who approached the adoption idea with Ron. Ron was so pleased, because he wanted nothing more than to truly be Tucker’s daddy. That couldn’t happen until Tucker’s real dad decided to allow his parental rights to be terminated. It took a while, but finally the day came, when he said ok. They all went straight to the court house, and signed the paperwork to get everything started. Soon after, on June 27, 2019, it was official, and Tucker was so happy, as were his parents. As it turned out, that adoption was so much more important than any one could have known. Tucker would really need his daddy just 19 months later. Tucker and his dad are doing better these days, but they went through some really hard times. There have been a few things that helped Tucker, mainly the grief camp he went to this past summer. The day camp involved horses, and Tucker, like most of the other campers, really thrived under the program. Tucker even thinks he might want to have a horse of his own. While they are pricey, I think his mom would love that idea. Time will tell if it can be done, but I think someday, he might just make that dream come true. No matter what, things will get better. Today is Tucker’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Reagan Parmely is in the third grade, but she has a very different kind of school day from the kind when I was a kid in the third grade. Reagan and her sister, Hattie are homeschooled, so their day is structured quite differently from a public school. They spend pretty much the same amount of time in class and studies as the public school, but the recess and lunch breaks are very different. I don’t know of any public school where the students can go out for recess and jump on the trampoline, ride a horse, or play with the kittens and baby goats. Nevertheless, that is the kind of things that Reagan and Hattie can do. They also might spend part of their classroom breaks doing a few chores, like feeding the animals or mucking out the stalls and beds of the animals.

When Reagan’s mom, Ashley Parmely decided to homeschool her children, I thought it might be fun to have a play on words with the kids. I asked them, “How do you like your teacher this year?” After giving my an odd look, Reagan and Hattie (who is in 1st grade) have both said, “My mom is my teacher.” That opened up a conversation. I told them I knew that, so how did they like her. Well, they were still confused, because, of course, they “love” her. They said that she was good, and I said that I figured they liked her. They began to catch on, and then laughed a bit. As I said, their schooling is different from pubic school, and it is, in more ways than one. What public school allows the children to hug their teacher, much less tell their teacher they “love” her these days. It is just not done anymore, because everyone is afraid of a lawsuit. I find that really sad.

Life on a farm, being homeschooled has been really good for Reagan and her siblings, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. They love the freedom they have to relax in the schooling situation, and even to sleep in, because if they had to catch a bus for school, they would have to get up much earlier. The kids are also getting an education that is much more expanded than other children. Growing up around animals, watching them give birth, learning to milk a cow or a goat, and even learning about death, because that happens on the farm too. Some animals are raised for food, and that is just a part of life. Reagan is growing up so fast. In so many ways, she is wise beyond her years. She is a good big sister, a good farm girl, and we are all very proud of her. Today is Reagan’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece Hattie Parmely is a sweet little princess of a girl, who always wears a smile first. No matter what else she is wearing that day, her smile is her best feature and for a girl who loves her “bling,” it is the best thing she wears…ever. These days Hattie sweet smile is missing a few teeth, but that just makes it all that much cuter. Hattie is very much a girly girl, and she loves her bling. Even wearing blue jeans, Hattie chooses to wear sandals covered with rhinestones, so that her blingy side is displayed too. That was the outfit she had on yesterday at a family dinner. Her outfit was topped off with a pink t-shirt, and she looked very cute.

Hattie and her siblings, Reagan, Bowen, and Maeve, are home schooled, and doing very well in school. I asked Hattie and her older sister, Reagan how they liked their teacher. They didn’t quite get it at first, because I was, of course, asking them how they liked their mom, Ashley Parmely. It was funny, when they caught on. They both looked over at their mom and grinned. Hattie also loves to play the piano…something I have always thought I would love to learn, but have never gotten around to doing so. I’m happy that Hattie is going to be able to play the piano, because I think that the ability to play the piano is something that is so fulfilling and so soothing. I think the piano compliments Hattie’s personality perfectly. I love how Hattie has her own sweet personality. Most kids do, but Hattie’s personality is one that strikes me as being a very gentle and loving girl. She chooses to be the blingy girl she is. I am always amazed at how different some of the personalities are in children, even siblings. Of course, with brothers and sisters, that is to be expected, but even with sisters, each one has their own way, and that is what makes us all unique.

Living on a farm, Hattie loves to ride horses, and can often be found doing just that. She and her siblings have been raised on the back of a horse, so they are very comfortable there. They have also been raised on a bicycle, so they love to go riding too. The trails on Casper Mountain are favorites among the Parmely and Eighmy families. The fact that Hattie is a girly girl, doesn’t in any way mean that she doesn’t know how or want to take care for all the animals on the family farm, because she loves them all, especially the babies, of which there always seems to be a few. Hattie loves the homeschooled-farm-girl life very much, and if you have ever been out to their farm, you can see why. It is such a relaxed place to be, with no rushing out the door to catch the school bus, or rushing out the door to drive in their parents vehicle to the school…school is just steps away from their bedroom, and that is very nice, indeed. Today is Hattie’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!

My grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite graduated this past year, and immediately embarked on an adventurous lifestyle. Jala got a job at the Bill Cody Ranch…a guest ranch not too far from the Yellowstone National Park entrance. Jala loves horses, and wants nothing more than to have a job involving horses. During high school, and really even before that, Jala would spend hours riding horses, caring for horses, and thinking about horses. She and her step-dad, Josh Griffith loved to head into the hill on a trail ride as often as possible, and the family loved camping and trail riding on the Big Horn Mountains.

Jala has always struck me as a glamorous kind of girl growing up, and that part is true. When Jala wants to be glamorous, she certainly can do so, and she can “wow” anyone who sees her, but Jala is not snobby or stuffy. Then, Jala got into horses when her family bought a place and moved outside of Powell. It is a really pretty place, and has plenty of room for horses. That really changed Jala’s life forever, and for the great…not just better or good…great!! Jala was living on cloud nine. She was in her element, and life was good. Who would have thought that all that would have set the course for Jala’s new adventure as a trail guide on a guest ranch.

Jala applied, and was immediately chosen for one of the positions available. She’s been there a couple months now and absolutely loves it. From what I hear, Jala is the only Wyoming hire there, and so she’s met all kinds of new people. She ben able to work with people from all over the county. Jala’s job is perfect for her. She takes people on trail rides every day. They take groups of 10 to 20 people on rides every day. Did they say this was work? I suppose there is a lot of work to it, because she takes care of about 65 horses, and of course, she saddles all those horses up for the people who are going on the trail rides. Imagine the toned arms that girl will have. Wow!! Maybe I should saddle horses for a living…probably not.

This is a summer job, of course, because the guest ranch is a tourist attraction, meaning that at the end of the summer, Jala will have to decide what her next move will be. She has a plan in mind, and her current job is a good source of leads into the nest one, which she hopes will involve working with an outfitter on pack trips. Sounds exciting to me!! The cool part of this job is that she makes really good money, and they provide room and board, so she has no expenses!! As Jala’s mom, Susan Griffith says, “What a life!!”

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is a man who likes to stay busy. He is a supervisor for the Sinclair Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, and has been there for years. As his working life winds to a close, Mike and my sister, Caryl Reed are busy working of their ranch outside Casper, Wyoming, which will be their “retirement” home. I’m not sure how much retiring people can do on a working ranch, but with the right help, I think they will manage to be more retired than working. They board horses, but really that is something that takes care of itself, because the owners are responsible for their own horses. Mike and Caryl just provide the land for the horses to stay on. They are also in their second year growing crops. Last year they grew oats, which a neighbor purchased immediately. This year they are growing oat hay. Now I didn’t know this before, but to grow hay is a three year process. You can’t just go out an grow alfalfa hay. Who knew? Next year will be their year for alfalfa hay, and they are excited. Mike really loves working on their ranch/hay farm, and really feels so at peace when he is there.

Mike and Caryl also love traveling, so this year they bought a really nice motorhome so that they could be comfortable as they travel around. After his retirement, they plan to do a lot of traveling, but Casper and the ranch will always be their home base. Mike also loves riding their new trike, and feeling the wind in their hair as they travel down the road. With the motorhome and the motorcycle, they are ready for any kind of trip they will want to take. With his retirement will come more golfing with Caryl. They took a trip to Salt Lake City for some R and R at the Little America Hotel there. They played golf at the city golf course, and enjoyed some relaxation time. They also like to stay at the Little America in Sun Valley, Idaho. Some of the Little America Hotels have golf courses, like the Sun Valley hotel…so they don’t even have to leave to play golf.

Mike loves restoring old cars and trucks and has several he is working on now. One of the trucks he is planning to sell, but the other will become a family work truck. The cars he restores, often become show cars, and that makes for more traveling, so it’s a win-win. Mike may be retiring, but I don’t see Mike not “working” in the near or even distant future. He is a man who likes to stay busy, and that means more projects. The thing about Mike is that he doesn’t start a project and then never finish it. He sees his projects through, and his work is excellent. So while it isn’t going to be a do-nothing retirement for Mike, it will be a very rewarding one for sure. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Bowen Parmely loves tractors. That isn’t an unusual thing. Many little boys love toy farm equipment, cars, trains, and other forms of toy transportation items, but Bowen is different, because he loves real tractors. Bowen has lived on a farm all his life, and he loves every aspect of farm life, especially Gloria…his parents’ tractor. Bowen likes to ride in the tractor and help work on the tractor. As far as he is concerned, Gloria is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Of course, I’m sure that pat of the draw is doing mechanic work with his dad and grandpa, but also, tractors are cool in just what they can do. I’ve driven a tractor, so I can relate to it.

Bowen is such a sweet boy. I’m told that he is also very kind…and helpful. He likes to help cook, which isn’t always something little boys want to do. They are usually too busy playing to want to cook, but there are some that do and some that grow up to be amazing cooks. I guess for Bowen, time will tell. Whether he grows up to be a chef or not really makes no difference, everyone needs to know how to cook, because you just never know if you will someday live alone.

Bowen loves farm life. Riding horses, and playing with the farm animals, especially the babies is one of his greatest joys. These days, they have some goat kids, and some kittens, which are so cute. The kittens are just getting their eyes open, and they are so tine and cuddly. Bowen and his sisters, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve love to show the farm animals to everyone who comes to their house. Bowen’s parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely, have grown their farm from just a few animals when they started, to the need to find a bigger place, which is the reason they moved to their current location. Having a bigger place give all the animals, their babies, and the Parmely children lots of room to roam around. That suits the children just fine, because they really don’t like to be fenced in. Bowen and his sisters love being farm kids, and his mommy wanted me to make sure I mentioned that “Bowen loves tractors!! So, did I mention he loves tractors? Today is Bowen’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Eric Parmely has changed so much over the years. I find myself amazed at the life he lives today. Eric is husband to Ashley, and daddy to Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. That’s his human family anyway. Eric and Ashley own a little ranch west of Casper, where they raise children, dogs, cats, goats, horses, turkeys, cows, ducks, pigs, and maybe others that I have not mentioned. There are always new babies on the ranch, and those animal babies are just as much a part of the family too. I can’t imagine all those babies in the family, but Eric and Ashley love each and every one of them. Of course, they and the children also understand that some animals are for food, and that is just how it has to be. The constants in the family of animal members, of course are the horses, cats, and dogs. They will never be food, as we all know. They are, and always will be pets.

Eric is a hard working man. He has a regular job, and then comes home and works hard on the ranch. He and Ashley bought a tractor that he is been fixing up. Once it is in good shape, it will be a big help to him on the ranch. There is much work to do on a ranch and a rancher needs the right tools. This tractor will put them closer to having all the tools they need. They live on a dirt road, so they need to be able to clear roads and so much more. Tractors and ranches just go together.

Eric has discovered audio books. To me that is vital. With our busy lives, finding time to read a book is almost impossible, but we can listen to our books while we work. Eric likes a variety of books, and just finished Harry Potter. I’m not into the Harry Potter stuff, but I love to listen to World War II books. To each his own, I guess. I find that audiobooks have broadened my horizons, and I have other types of books I have listened to since I started with Audible. Eric will most likely be the same.

Eric, being the dad of young kids, has had to keep up with all their activities. I saw a video recently of Eric trying to skateboard. He did pretty good, but I’m sure that the kids, especially Reagan can out-do him. It’s simply an age thing, so it would make sense for her to be better at it than her dad, but I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong about such things, after all. Eric has recently discovered iced vanilla lattes and has switched to decaf coffee. Now, that part is odd to me, because he probably need more caffeine kick, not less to keep up with his busy lifestyle. More power to him if he can do it caffeine-free. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Reagan Parmely almost shared her mom’s birthday, but she stalled just long enough to have her birthday the next day. I know how that is. I was supposed to be born on my dad’s birthday, but I stalled two days. It wasn’t our fault. After all, we didn’t know, we were just being born when we were supposed to. Well, all kidding aside, the day Reagan was born changed the lives of her parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely, forever. That was the day they became parents. They were no longer parents-to-be or a couple. They were parents and they had a family. It is the most amazing day in a person’s life. That was 8 years ago, and now Reagan is big sister to three siblings…Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. Life is good!!

Reagan has grown up around farm animals, and for most of her life, that was all about the cuddling and chasing of the animals and their babies, but as she grew, she began to understand that sometimes, you are raising your family’s food, and that as such, the food must be killed so it can be eaten. I don’t think that is an easy lesson for anyone, adult or child. I have raised cows too, and I didn’t want to watch on butchering day, but you have to help, and there it is. Reagan understands this, and while she may not like that part, she knows that it puts food of the family table. I am very proud of Reagan’s maturity in these things.

Reagan and especially her sister, Hattie, has become excellent horsewomen. Their brother, Bowen is coming along too. When these kids were little, I found myself feeling amazed at these little kids standing on the ground beside these great horses, and they weren’t afraid at all. Now, these little kids can ride horses like the wind, and they are only getting better and better. When I first saw them on those horses, they looked so…little, and since I have not grown up around horses, I thought that it looked so dangerous, but these kids, and Reagan first felt right at home. Of course, they have been on these horses since they were just babies riding with their mom, who has also been riding since she was little. These day, with Reagan leading the next generation, the Parmely kids are spending lots of time riding their horses, and really enjoying the outdoors. Today is Reagan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Ashley Parmely is a very busy girl these days. She has long been a farmer…raising horses, cows, chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and farmers. There may be others too that I am unaware of. Taking care of all those animals and her four little farmers too, keeps her running all day. Personally, I don’t know where she gets the energy for all of it, and as if that weren’t enough, this year, with the ongoing pandemic, she has taken on a new role…that of teacher to her three little students…all while also keeping her youngest girl, Maeve busy while she teaches the older children, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen. If she doesn’t know why she might be tired, I say…”Let me enlighten you!!”

Being the teacher is a very new concept to Ashley. I don’t think it was a role she had ever imagined herself in. Nevertheless, with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the hornet’s nest it stirred up in the education system, she and my nephew, Eric Parmely have decided that it is the best way to educate their children. Now as the teacher, you are held to a high educational standard, and it was here that Ashley came across her first stumbling block. No, it wasn’t academically, she’s fine with that. No…it was in penmanship. Not the part about being able to read her writing, but rather, her struggle with “chalkboard writing.” Seriously…how can you aske your students to write in nice straight lines, when you are unable to do so. Hahahahaha!! Ashley is working hard on this problem, and now, a little way into the quarter, I believe she has it under control.

For Ashley, homeschooling the kids is in many ways a dream come true. She has her children at home with her, and they can have relaxed classes on the farm. Homeschooling isn’t a new concept. It has been going on for many years, it’s just that now, with the pandemic, more people have opted for homeschooling. Ashley and Eric are concerned over some of the new radical education plans for things. Some of the things their kids are learning, really seem extreme to Ashley and to many other Christian and Conservative parents. Kids need time to be kids, and with Ashley, I know that the kids will have just that. Ashley has a wonderful sense of humor and isn’t afraid to look silly sometimes. I believe it will make her the kids favorite teacher. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Hattie Parmely is the second child of my nephew Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. Hattie has two sisters and a brother, and the family lives on a farm west of Casper, Wyoming. Hattie is a gentle little girl who loves the animals on the farm…especially the babies. She and her siblings have learned so much about life in the short time they have lived. They have watched the miracle of birth and snuggled the little babies…from goats, to pigs, to chicks. They have helped muck stalls and watched the milking process…both goats and cows.

Hattie and her siblings, like all the other school children in the United States and much of the world, had a shortened year in school last year, because of Covid-19, and that has changed their lives in many ways. Like many parents, Hattie’s mom and dad have decided to re-evaluate their children’s education, and have come to the conclusion that with the inadequate and often corrupt way the schools are teaching the children, as well as the virus that is still out there, the best way for them to properly educate their children is to do it at home. So, Hattie and her sister, Reagan and brother, Bowen will be studying under their mom, as will her sister, Maeve when she is older. The will have lots of “field trips” out to the barns too, of course, which doesn’t upset them at all. They love life on the farm, and they learn so much there too.

Hattie is a girly girl, unless she is helping out in the barns, and I can imagine her doing that in a dress too. She likes frilly things, glitzy things, and colorful things, but she loves her cowboy boots too. In fact, she might be seen wearing a frilly dress with her cowboy boots. Still, these days, that is the style, so she is right there on that. I think Hattie likes being one of the middle children. She gets to have an older sister, and two younger siblings. It’s the best of both worlds…a sister to show her the ropes, and little ones to help teach.

Hattie loves to ride her bike, and living in the country, they get to go on lots of bicycle rides without there being too many cars. She and her siblings ride as much as possible, and they are all very good at it. They love the outdoors, and being very active, and the country life is perfect for them to be able to do all their outdoor activities. Today is Hattie’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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