Monday, January 30, 2017

The Sport of Breakfast

Cupcake is almost seven years old, which, according to and several other online tools, corresponds to 38 in human years. That and the fact that Cupcake has raised four calves and is expecting her fifth, might lead one to conclude that she’s a mature cow.  


Draw your own conclusions.



Breakfast time is serious business for the rest of the herd, but it’s fun and games for Cupcake. Her mama must have forgotten to tell her not to play with her food.


“Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit.” ~Author unknown

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Mountaineer

Jubilee is a purebred Nigerian dwarf dairy goat—nary a mountain goat in her pedigree—but she has mountaineering aspirations. Even when she was a kid, she was jumping and climbing up on anything or anyone she could find.

Well, Hubby hauled home a load of wet, frozen barley straw bales the other day. The cows love to snack on them, even though they look unappetizing to us.


But Jubilee thought that Hubby had brought her a mountain of her own. At sundown, the other goats had headed home for supper, but Jubilee wanted to stay on her mountaintop. I shook a can of her favorite food, oats, but even then she came reluctantly.

By the way, Jubilee and the other does will be kidding in May. Stay tuned for cuteness!


"The One who is high and lifted up, who lives forever, whose name is holy, says:
I live on high, in holiness, and also with the crushed and the lowly, reviving the spirit of the lowly, reviving the heart of those who have been crushed." ~Isaiah 57:15 CEB

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Frost, Old Steel

This vintage 1942 (we think)  International truck cab rests in peace on a neighbor's place. In its day,  it was probably some farmer's pride and joy.

I'm not sure how old this pitchfork is. Its tines are asymmetrical and bend too easily now, but it vies with my special irrigating shovel for the title of Robin's Favorite Tool.

This wheel is off a horse-drawn manure spreader, which actually required a team of horses to pull. Our manure spreader is tractor-drawn, so the wheel is a landscaping piece.

Hubby used these shearing blades to fit his sheep for the fair (see below).

(No frost in this picture, but it's vintage and goes with the shearing blades one.) Hubby won the 4-H showmanship class at the fair with this fat lamb from his Hampshire herd. He says that he'd card out and trim his lambs around 15 times over a two-week period prior to a show. 


"God is the God of 'right now.' He doesn't want you sitting around regretting yesterday. Nor does He want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what He is saying to you and putting in front of you...right now." ~Priscilla Schirer

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Excavator

Please welcome Maggie Nutter back to the Hayseed Files! Maggie writes true and very entertaining stories from her cattle ranch in Sunburst, Montana. (If you missed her story in the last post, "Deer Feet and Dog Puke," be sure to catch it.) I don't have any grizzly photos--we don't have them around here, thank goodness--but my sis, Jenny Robinson, kindly sketched a grizzly for us. Thanks so much, Maggie and Jenny!

With all the grizzly bear issues in this area, there has been some unforeseen incidents. Grizzly bears are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they eat whatever they find available. They are led by a highly sensitive nose to whatever may become their next dinner. That nose can take them five miles across country and even eight feet down to find a buried animal carcass. Grizzlies’ digging skills put a badger to shame. You think riding into field full of badger holes is bad; an area where a griz has dug gophers and field mice looks like a war zone.  They have excavation down to a T.  

This last spring, in a Rocky Mountain Front Hutterite Colony, an elder passed away.  There were two solemn days of a wake where High German songs filled the air until past midnight. A lengthy four hour service was read to the congregation as they sat on wooden benches. Then came a slow procession on foot to the cemetery at the edge of the colony housing, where the homemade wooden casket was lowered into the hole that had been prepared. The first few shovelfuls of dirt were tossed on and tears were shed. Loud, wailing High German prayers that carried centuries of history were repeated. The dirt was dumped in from the back of the farm truck and the group slowly left for their meal and fellowship.

The colony woke up Sunday morning and looked out their windows to see dirt flying. An old bore griz was in the process of excavating the gravesite. Farm boss and a pick-up hazed him away. They replaced the dirt. Old women were horrified and men were angered.

Monday morning again proved that the soft loose dirt and smell of dinner had lured the bear back to restart his excavation. Fortunately the bear did not get the prize. An electric fence was erected until the alluring smell that only the grizzly could appreciate with his sensitive nose was dissipated.

I can find humor in the story, but if it was my mother or family I too might be angered,  not just at the digging but because the grizzly was in the farmstead, only a few hundred yards from children’s homes and school. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Deer Feet and Dog Puke

Note: The Hayseed Files is delighted to welcome Maggie Nutter, a rancher (and great storyteller) from Sunburst, Montana. Enjoy her story--unless you're a game warden, then don't. 

We have three rules for deer hunters to follow. I don’t consider them outrageous or unmaintainable.
·         If you want to shoot a buck you must also take a doe off the hayfield (I don’t care if you have a tag or not).
·         Don’t leave anything dead lying close to the house--no guts, no fat shavings, and no body parts.
·         You must have reservations made so that there is not more than 5-6 hunters on the place during a day, and don’t expect to drive around.

My brother’s friend Dave, who had traveled in from out of state, had a good hunt and great success. He had shot a big ol’ whitetail with an enormous spread. With surgeon hands, he caped the deer head and shoulders for a mount. He hung the deer and attacked the carcass like a Samurai warrior with a brand-new Ginzu knife. He battled it and shoved the hairy hacked chunks into ziplock bags. Pieces and parts were shoved into the freezer to firm up and then transferred to the YETI cooler for the 14-hour drive home.

The next day calm settled on the homestead with the whiskey-sipping hunters’ migration home. Unfortunately, gifts had been left behind. The sweet little corgis kept bringing deer legs to the house.  Little Teddi had managed to chew half the hide off of the leg she carried and smelled of musk and blood. Like Easter, I hunted for legs and placed them in the back of the truck to be hauled away.

It was about 4 am when I woke to the “HERRRRRRRRT HERRRRRRT” of a dog emptying its belly. The odor greeting my nose confirmed this assumption. I crawled out of bed to seek out paper towels and gloves needed for removal of the deposit, but the most pressing need was to pee.

Just heading out of bathroom after relieving my bladder, I heard Kelly crashing around. Swinging open the door, I viewed Kelly in his birthday suit skating around in the newly deposited dog puke.   He had been snoring when I crawled out of bed, so I’d never considered that he would get up and experience the warm foot slide. 

During morning coffee, brother John called to say that when they took Dave’s deer to the taxidermist, he measured it and thought it would make the Boone and Crockett book of records. Dave was so excited he called and texted about 900 people before they got home.

“Well, tell Dave to enjoy it as it may be his last hunt here. He’s going to have to really make nice with Kelly before he comes back.”

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Nellie's short, wispy pixie bangs set off her striking features.

Buttercup is sweeter than her Cruella de Vil bangs might imply.

Joy sports a groovy auburn-tipped shag with coordinating ear-fringe.

Lily's big, feathered bangs positively scream 1980's. 


"I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know that I'm not blonde." ~Dolly Parton

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Low Temps and High Spirits

I'd intended to write about the bitter cold we've had lately. I was going to tell how hard it was on men, beasts, hydraulics, and diesel engines. But it sounded like I was simultaneously complaining and boasting about how hard winter is around here, so I scrapped it.

There's really so much to be grateful for: plenty of hay, straw, and oats for the livestock; a full freezer and propane tank; electricity, running water, and 4-wheel drive; steaming tea and Hubby's homemade bread; snow for cross-country skiing; wool socks and new mittens; satellite television to watch the playoffs--go Seahawks!

I'm especially thankful for the snow that cushions and supports Sugar's hooves. I love to see her run, buck, play, and paw through snow (to graze) without last summer's pain. Sugar feels so jaunty that when I lead her back to the barn, she finds any excuse to spook and prance about like some high-strung filly. In the past, I might have found that annoying, but now I just grin.


"And why had I moved of my own free will
To a place that prided itself
On the blunt misery of January?"
           ~Baron Wormser, from "January",Good Poems

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Fair Shake

If you see a cow in a television commercial, it's almost always a Holstein. I don't know why the industry is partial to Holsteins and intolerant of other breeds of cattle. Do casting directors post signs outside their doors that say, COMMERCIAL AUDITIONS, HOLSTEIN CATTLE ONLY? Do agents refuse to represent Shorthorns or Guernseys because of hide color?

Holsteins are beautiful and personable dairy cattle, but so are Jerseys, Brown Swiss, and Ayrshires. Beef breeds like Herefords, Charolais, and Braunveighs are also lovely. Of course, I'm favorably inclined towards an Angus-Hereford cross cow, who could surely play the part of Cow with as much aplomb and charm as any Holstein. 

In case Chick-fil-A or is scouting (on this page, no less) for a new Cow, I've included a few examples of ours for their consideration.

Cinnamon and Bunny






"I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I'll call the unloved and make them beloved...." ~Romans 9:25 The Message

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy Year!

I'm so thankful for each one of my Hayseed Files readers! I've prayed the Bible verse below for each one of you. Have a delightful and amazing year! 

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." ~3 John 1:2 NKJV