Saturday, October 25, 2008

We All Have Our "things"...

Some love their surfboards. Some love their skis. Some love their cars. Some love their pets. Me? I love my new boots!!

Dixie and I have so much fun riding together. She works at the Carway border with 4 days on, 4 days off. And because we have a blast together on her days off we always go riding. Actually, it is just not riding, she teaches me horsemanship and it is pretty darn fun. Trotting and posting came pretty easily for me and I have loped a few more times and I am getting the hang of it. But I have also learned how to spin. It is when the horse is going in a tight circle and crossing their front legs as they turn. I have also learned how to use the reins more effectively and to use my legs as signals to the horse as well. It is all very exciting.

The reason why I love my new boots is because they can make spurs work the way they should. Before I bought my boots I was either wearing Dixie's boots or my tennis shoes and spurs with tennis shoes was not working for me. Some people can ride a horse with no spurs but I seem to have a hard time so the boots really were a necessity, really they were.

Mark is not so sure about these boots, but I am. I really really like them. Alot. He will be the first to tell you that me learning how to ride and buying cowboy boots was the LAST thing he thought would EVER happen. When in Rome do what the Romans do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dr. Doolittle, Sort Of

I know what you all are thinking. You think this is a horse post don't you? Well, there are other animals around here too. And this time Mark was having some of the fun.

Look at all these reins and halters. These belong to Dale and he has chickens and goats and cows and horses and dogs and cats and all that fun stuff. He and his wife Karen milk their goats and cows and gather eggs from their chickens and once in awhile we are lucky enough to be on the receiving end.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to do for such nice people that are always so willing to give. A couple of days ago Dale dropped by with milk and 2 dozen eggs on his way to Lethbridge to haul cattle to the auction. Mark asked Dale what we could do to repay him for the milk and eggs. Dale didn't say much so Mark offered to milk his cow. And who was excited? ME! So last night, after dark, on a cool and windy night we drove up the road to Dale's barn and Mark milked a cow!

Mark used to milk a cow every morning and evening for a lot of years while growing up. With 11 kids in the family and his dad being a school teacher, there were a lot of times that scrimping and saving was a must. Mark has not milked a lot of cows, but he has milked a cow a lot of times which means he is really good at milking. He sat down on that one legged stool, bent his head down against the back end of the cow (to feel any leg movement that might come his way)and went to town. It was like riding a bicycle. Notice the tin of bag balm in the corner of the stall. That stuff is great for ailments isn't it? The cows must appreciate too, after all, it was created for them wasn't it?

After milking you have to strain the milk to get "stuff" out of it. I forgot to look and see what was left behind. Darn.

Dale traded his 22 rifle with a scope for this milk separator. I think for a man to trade his gun for a gizmo like this is, there must have been a real need. This machine was pretty cool when it started doing it's job.

That's Dale pouring the fresh milk into the separator. And let me tell you, separate the milk it does.

Look at that. The cream is going into the jar on the left and the skim milk is going into a bucket on the floor. How cool is that? and then do you know what Dale did? He put a lid on that jar of fresh cream and handed it to me. See, sometimes you can never ever get ahead.

And there you have it. My milk for the week. I think I will use the cream to make real homemade ice cream. Hhmmm.... should I make chocolate or strawberry or raspberry or peach? I'm making chocolate. Hello!

One of the cows had a calf a week or so ago so to be nice and fair to everyone, some of the milk was saved for her. It was a blast feeding this baby calf her milk. Lou Lou and I used to have a few drop calves in high school that we had to feed every morning(before early morning Seminary) and night so this was fun for me. Dale was sure that the calf was going to pull on the bottle nipple and that I would drop the bottle. I don't think Dale knew who he was messing with. That calf was no match for an experienced drop calf feeder, no siree!!

You have to admit this looks pretty fun!

Next on my agenda? Milking a cow. Mark can't have all the fun!