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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Skunk

     My friend, Dove had some errands to run and asked me to keep her kids.  I was happy to, since I love kids and I am a 'volunteer Grandma"  to them.  They call me "Grandma" and I spoil them accordingly.  It's a beautiful, Indian summer day.  We can play outside!
     I rushed around to get some laundry in and clean the house a little, so I could focus on spoiling them once they get here. I carried the trash and noticed something had pulled a bunch of trash through a hole near the bottom of the barrel.  Probably one of the barn cats.
     Taylin (12), Emma (6), and Jack (2) arrived at about 10:30 and the first order of business was coffee milkshakes made in the Keurig.  Don't worry. There was more ice cream than coffee.  Jack held up his sippee cup and said, "I want cobbee".  How could I say no?  He only took two sips.
     Next, we headed out to the haystack, stopped to see the newly-weaned, bawling calves, and took a quick peek in the barn.   It was then that Taylin yelled, "A skunk! There's a skunk!"  Sure enough and it was headed for the trash barrels.  Hmmm.  Probably going back for another snack.  I hurried the kids and dogs to the house.  I called Randy and asked him which gun I should use (Remember, I'm a city girl and one time I tried to kill a skunk with a pistol loaded with bird-shot and all it did was make it blink and duck a little.)  Randy told me where I could find more .22 shells and said, "Don't shoot anything you aren't supposed to."  Oh he of little faith!
     By the time I loaded the gun and made sure the dogs and kids stayed inside, I couldn't find the skunk.  For the rest of the afternoon the dogs kept looking in the drain pipe, where the washing machine drains out by the trash barrels, so when Randy got home, we told him we thought the skunk was in there. 
     So, Country Boy gets a flashlight and looks in and says, "It's in here, you want to see it?"  Adventurous Emma was all over that.  She got down on the ground and looked.  My turn, and I ask, "Won't he spray me?"  Randy says, "Not while he's looking at you."  So I look and say, "Unless he's a one-eyed skunk, he has turned around!"  Yikes! 
     Randy shot 3 times into the dark drain.  I was not about to hold the flashlight once the skunk turned around!  "Did you get him?", I asked.  "Surely, I must have." he replied.  Just then the skunk comes out the other end of the drain pipe, pretty close to where Taylin, Emma, and I are standing.  (I had put Jack and the dogs in the house.)  I did what any good Volunteer Grandma would do.  I screamed and ran first, and then yelled for Taylin and Emma to follow. 
     Randy went running, gun-in-hand after the skunk.  He ran out of shells and Taylin and I ran to the house for more and I grabbed Jack.  The skunk went south so we all jumped in the back of the pickup and Randy drove while we all searched the pasture for a wounded skunk.
     At this writing, the skunk, who we've decided has 9 lives, IS STILL AT LARGE.  We think he may be hiding in the pine trees.  Here's hoping he dies and the dogs don't get sprayed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things that make you wonder...

I was in the Pueblo Mall the other day and among all the kiosks in the middle, there was a "Hurricane Simulator".  Really??  People actually put money in this machine and get inside this glass (or plexi-glass) enclosure and feel what  it's like to go through a hurricane?  I didn't see any water, so it must just simulate the hurricane force winds.

Well, gee, let me get my money out!  While you are at it, I've always wanted to know how it feels to go through a tornado, a wildfire, a flood.  Is there a simulator for getting beat up by a gang?, drug by a horse?  (oh wait I've done that one in real life)  How about a "childbirth simulator"?  Now there's an idea!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Extreme Couponing

I have been trying to save money at the grocery store and on the advice of a friend and with my subscription to Savingsangels I am slowly but surely learning.  But I think you will agree that my recent couponing experience brings new meaning to the term "Extreme Couponing".   I went to Colorado Springs with my computer printed list and my coupons hole-punched and threaded on binder rings.  One for King Soopers, one for Safeway, one for food items, one for non-food items.

I was doing great till I hit Safeway.  I only needed a few things and actually changed my mind (shocking, I know) on a couple of items and either didn't buy, or bought the store brand instead, so I thought, I'll just go through the self-checkout.  NEVER use coupons at the self-checkout. There was a gentleman behind me, holding a toddler in one arm and one item in the other.  I told him to go ahead of me, but he politely refused.  I guarantee he regretted that decision!  I scanned my groceries, then began scanning my coupons.  That lovely computerized voice said, ""coopons"... in the "...coopon"... slot.  Oh jeez, I guess I don't get to keep these and use them again, DUH.  I start feeding my coupons into the slot and the screen says, "Please see the clerk, your coupon did not scan correctly."

 The clerk comes over and I quietly tell him it's ok if that coupon didn't scan, I can live without the savings.  At this point the line behind me is growing.  Now the clerk says I have to start all over and scan all my groceries again.  I say, "but what about all the coupons I already put in the slot?"  So he tries again and gets my transaction back and at that moment I somehow drop all the tiny Safeway store coupons that I cut out of the paper.  I had taken them off the ring binder, but then didn't use them all.  They were like confetti all over the floor!  I heard people groaning behind me in line.  Remember the commercial, "Need to get away?"  That was me.  Finally paid and got out as fast as possible.

In all seriousness, you can cut your grocery bill way down.  The trick is that most items go on sale in a 12 week cycle.  Save your coupons until the item is "buy one, get one free"  or greatly discounted.  You can actually get items for free!!

You don't have to clip a lot of coupons.  Both King Soopers and Safeway allow you to go to their websites and download digital coupons to your card.  Then, when you check out the coupons are credited to your order.  They are called eCoupons.  For clumsy people like me, they are a must!

After doing this at your favorite store for a few weeks, they will start sending you emails offering GREAT deals and FREE groceries!  

A couple of websites that have helped me are: and  The first is free and after you register they send you emails letting you know what is on sale, both at the grocery stores, and restaurants and other businesses.  The second website is not free but they do offer a free trial subscription so you can try it out.  It will save you a lot of time searching for the best price.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Packaging Disasters

Dear Miss Clairol,
Just wanted to let you know I used your "La Petite Frost" kit.  Well I used the cap and hook, but instead of blond highlights (heaven knows I'm "blond"  enough)  I used brown dye from a different kit and did dark highlights.  Anyway, I think you should add two details to your instructions.  A warning that putting on a plastic bonnet and pulling half your hair through tiny holes with a metal crochet hook will make you look like an alien from outer space.  It's recommended that your pets NOT see you looking like this, as they might be traumatized and possibly attack you or run and hide.  Other people (especially those with cameras) should not see you and you ABSOLUTELY should not answer the door looking like this!  The other warning should be that pulling long (especially curly) hair through those tiny holes can be quite painful and lead to significant hair loss!  I was planning to go to the hairdresser and get my long, thick hair thinned for the summer.  Now, I don't need to.  You could market this product as La Petite Frost and Mega Thinning. 

Dear Clorox,
I was excited to see your new product, "Gel Bleach for hE washing machines".  Finally an easier way to get bleach in that tiny dispenser.  As your label says, "New!  No splash, No mess"  I tried to twist open the cap on the fancy nozzle with no luck.  Went and found my reading glass so I could decipher which block of teeny, tiny print was both directions and English and it said, "To open cap:  squeeze sides of cap where indicated.  (ahh those lines weren't just for grip) and turn counter-clockwise 1/4 turn.  Cap DOES NOT come off).  I squeezed, I turned, squeezed the bottle to dispense gel bleach.  Nothing.  Ok.  Maybe there is a seal under the cap (you know like the ketchup bottles have), but that can't be the problem because the cap DOES NOT come off.  Ok.  Squeeze again, turn 1/4, squeeze.  Nothing.  So, I squeezed the bottle harder and gel bleach exploded like lava running out under the collar, not out the nice little nozzle.  I now have bleach all over the bottle, my hands, and the top of my washer.  Thank you!  That was so much easier and less messy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary Country Boy!

     Yesterday was our 31st wedding anniversary.  It has almost become a tradition that we end up having some kind of trouble with the cows on our anniversary. Many years ago when the kids were little there was a very heavy, wet Spring snow falling and Randy came in for help.  A cow had calved in the storm and was not taking care of her calf.  We went out and loaded the calf on the tailgate of Greenie (old pickup) and Randy instructed me to sit on the calf so it wouldn't fall out and he would slowly drive to the barn and hopefully the mama would follow her baby and we could lock them in the barn, till her maternal instincts improved.  Well, we made it almost to the barn and with all the snow the tailgate was slick, and I probably only weighed 100 lbs. back then, and Randy hit a bump and the calf and I both fell out!.  I yelled for him to stop and when he got out I asked him why he loved this way of life, and told him "Happy Anniversary!"  I'm a lot less fond of helping in bad weather.

 Why did we get married in March?  One might think it was so Randy wouldn't ever have to take me on a vacation for our anniversary, but as our friend, Clyde Chess once told me, "It was B.C. Before Cows".  Randy just worked for some farmers/neighbors when we first got married.  It was several years before we acquired cattle.

      Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and Randy suggested we go out for a nice dinner for our anniversary.  He checked the cows and heifers, and heifer #57 was by herself, acting suspicious.  Heifers sometimes need help with their first calf, so we decided to stay home.  For the next three days we checked on #57 often.  One time she would be switching her tail, acting bothered, the next time she would be calmly chewing her cud.  Randy and I both had a feeling, she was going to have trouble.  So last night on our anniversary we took turns checking her every hour or so.  She had not started the birthing process, but just acted funny.  We finally went to bed.

      At 2:00 AM I was so sound asleep that I didn't realize Randy had gotten dressed, went out and checked and came back and was gently nudging me and saying, "Do you want to help, or keep sleeping?"
 " What?  Huh?  The heifer?  Did she start?  Of Course I'll help!"
 All I can say is he asked so nicely, I wasn't fully awake, I must have suddenly had a rush of adrenalin.  I got dressed and threw on Randy's big hooded coat (no sense getting mine dirty) and filled the bucket with soapy water.  Got in the pen and he roped the heifer. Randy said something like, "I thought about letting you sleep, but I wanted to share the fun." I told him I would have been disappointed if he hadn't let me help.  I was still quite sleepy and she just didn't seem "angry" like some of the older cows.  The coat's hood was blocking my peripheral vision, but I sort of sensed in my sleepy stupor that she was getting close to me, just as Randy said, "You better get out of the way."  Which I quickly did. She wasn't mad, but she also didn't care that I was there and would have knocked me down trying to escape. (I'm sure she was thinking, I'm in pain here, why is this man bothering me?)

About this time the bull in the next pen is quite interested in what's going on and starts running, bucking and snorting.  I told the heifer it was all his fault and she should stay away from him.  Isn't that what every girl wants to hear when she is in labor?  Randy wrapped the end of the rope around two fence posts and as always I held the rope.  My job is to keep her from getting away (easy with the double wrap) and if she has such a fit that she pulls on the rope and it gets too tight and she "chokes down" I have to quickly unwrap the rope and give her some slack so she can breathe.  For this "city girl"  let me just say it's traumatic!  She never choked down, but this poor girl was in some pain.  Her eyes rolled back in her head and well,  it was a rough delivery.  She was small, the calf was big and his tongue was swollen from too much time in the process.  I said a quick prayer that the heifer would not be paralyzed or prolapse (pulling a calf at 2:00 AM is one thing, putting her womb back in, is quite another!) Maybe I'm silly to pray, but I believe God hears every prayer and cares about the things we care about.  Besides, I just like talking to Him.  Randy made sure the calf's nose was clear and moved him out of mama's way so she wouldn't step on him, if and when she got up. At this point she is just laying there with a shocked look as if to say, "What on earth just happened??"  The calf shook his head and took some choppy breaths.He took looked like, What?  Where am I?
     It was a pretty still morning (it had been pretty windy when we went to bed).  Cold but clear.  I looked up and saw the stars and thought about the manger where our Savior, Jesus was born.  Wow.
      I did my best to coil up the rope and gather up the other stuff. #57 got up and the maternal instinct kicked in and she began to clean up her baby.  I followed Randy to the barn and handed him his rope to which he let out a little chuckle.  He then proceeded to throw the rope out in a straight line and coil it, giving me instructions on how to properly coil it. "Start at the tail (oops I started at the loop), then overhand, overhand, etc."  I said, "I can't believe I'm getting a rope lesson at 2:30 AM.  I did do the overhand, overhand."  
"Did you start at the tail?"
"You're just like Bret."
OK.  Back to house, back to the warm bed for me. Randy took the flashlight and went to the big pen and checked on the remaining heifers to make sure there were none in labor.  Even at 2:00 AM he is so thorough, so disciplined.  He never takes shortcuts.  He loves his cows and he takes good care of them.   I guess technically it's the day after our anniversary, but I'm sure #57 started the birthing process before midnight, so we'll call this our anniversary calf.  All's well that ends well.

31 years this country boy and city girl have been working together and I have to say it is so good to have someone to share life with!

P.S.  Randy came in from morning chores and asked me to make a bottle of colostrum for the calf.  The mama didn't clean him up good and he never stood up.  He was cold, shivering, and weak. His head and tongue were swollen from too much time in the birth canal. It took some doing, but we finally got half a bottle down him.  Amazing what some warm milk will do.  He kept trying and falling, but he finally got up and the sun came out and when I went out later he was napping.  Of course like my cousin, Penny I had to take some pictures.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Dear Miss Clairol,

      I just want you to know that your Nice and Easy 118A  medium brown hair color should be called Darker than midnight BLACK.  Thank goodness I looked in the mirror before the suggested time was up and rinsed it out early!  And as long as I'm venting, it was neither nice (fumes took my breath away), nor easy (I now have black (oh excuse me, medium brown) stains on my hand, bathroom wall, and rug.  But the funniest part of this experience was the instruction to "put on the EXPERT COLORIST GLOVES.  Even I, with my rose-colored glasses firmly in place, know that cheap, ambidextrously designed, plastic gloves will not turn me into an expert (thus the stains in my bathroom).  I know that a $4.99 box of do-it-yourself color is not comparable to a $40 coloring job from a real expert.  Really though, if you are going to call them expert gloves, you should at least tint them pink, or print pretty flowers on them, or at least make them more custom fitted. 

Packaging labels, instructions and warnings crack me up.  We all know why McDonald's has a warning on their coffee cups that the contents are hot and can burn you.  They got sued because someone burned themselves and since people are both greedy AND don't want to take responsibility for their own actions; lawsuits abound.

 I would just like to mention a few things that I think need MORE warning on the labels.  Super Glue.  OK, I'm going to reveal something about my character that most of you already know.  I am cheap.  Well, to be politically correct, I'm frugal.  So, occasionally I glue on my own nails.  I do a pretty good job, most people can't tell I didn't pay $40 to have someone (who is very nice, but I can't understand a word they say), do them.  The glue is super glue and the label says that if you glue your fingers together (yes, I have) you should NOT pull them apart (yes, I tried) but should soak them in nail polish remover.  Here's the is one supposed to make it from the kitchen to the bathroom, open the cabinet, get the remover, open the remover, and put it on the glued fingers, while a finger on each hand is glued together?

Here is my suggestion for a label.. WARNING:  Anyone using this product who is the least bit clumsy, should assemble the following items BEFORE opening the glue....Newspaper to protect table, an OPEN bottle of nail polish remover, cotton balls, paper towels for spills, etc.  There should also be a warning that not only can you glue your fingers together, you can end up with fake nails glued to the side of your hand or arm (yes, I have).  The label should also say....Under no circumstances should you attempt to apply these beautiful nails if you are in a hurry, or have an important function, such as a wedding or funeral, to attend.  This is not a good project if you are not good at working under pressure.

I think there should be a warning on sunflower seeds as follows:  This package may contain some ROTTEN seeds.  If you do not like the taste of rotten seeds, you should crack all seeds and inspect them before eating.  If you don't do this, be prepared to eat at least 10 good seeds to remove the taste of the rotten seed.

I would like to see some regulations placed on what can and can't be labeled "easy open" package.  Easy open should not require a knife, scissors, etc.  Resealable package should really mean the package can be closed.

I'll be adding to this list in the future.  Any suggestions? : D

Monday, January 2, 2012

 The following is an old post that I never published, followed by today's happenings.

 I'm pretty excited!   I ran the loader, with Randy standing in the bucket with a chainsaw. (I know, he is a very brave man) He trimmed a bunch of dead branches out of our trees.   The last time I ran the loader, I could not understand Randy's hand signals and almost dumped him out of the bucket.   He got really mad.   I got really frustrated, and then mad, and was very tempted to dump him out and go to the house.  This time we had an in-depth discussion of his hand signals BEFORE I got in the driver's seat.   I still say the lever should go forward for UP and backward for DOWN.   But that is not how any equipment runs, I'm told.   I have a terrible time with directions!   When Randy finally noticed that I couldn't remember which way to push the levers, he changed his hand signals to help me.   Kind of fun running that big thing.   Maybe someday I'll figure out the crazy gears on the tractor.   I almost pinned Randy between it and the fence with it many years ago.   He really overestimates my ranch wife abilities!

So, it's the last day of my Christmas Break (to all of you who don't get a Christmas Break, I apologize) and I am doing some serious cooking.  Two pans of lasagna (one for lunch and one for the freezer) a crock pot full of ham and bean soup, etc.   I was chopping an onion when Randy showed up to ask if I would run the loader so he could trim some trims.  We are selling calves today and he wanted to trim the trees along the driveway so the semi truck would not get tangled up in the overhanging branches.  So, I put my cooking aside and grabbed a coat and shoes and hopped in the big loader.  A quick refresher course on brake versus gas pedal (very important), forward, reverse, bucket tilting lever versus bucket raising and lowering lever (also very important) and off we go.  I have to say it went pretty well today. Not once did I see him grab on to the bucket with a look of sheer terror on his face.  My loader skills are improving!  Only one miscommunication.  At one point, Randy pointed (in my opinion) half up/half reverse.  Basically, his finger was at a 45 degree angle.  Hmmm, I thought, does he mean move the bucket up, or move the entire loader backward?  I guessed up.  WRONG!  Next, of course I see the hand signal for stop, quickly followed by a rapidly repeating signal for up.  We got all the trees trimmed and I got the loader safely parked.  I have to say that is a pretty neat machine!  It's not a job I mind anymore.  You see, I've finally realized that when Randy gets irritated, it's nothing personal.  It's just the nature of the job.  It's not about how he feels about me at all.  It's about getting the job done.  Sometimes the worst part of helping is the fact that there is down time and I get bored.  I am a daydreamer and it's a little embarrassing when I finally look up and Randy has that look on his face.  Sometimes he even has his arms crossed.  Oops.