Coyote Soup

Bringing life back to the family ranch with three young free range braves and lots of organic elbow grease.

The Sidetracked Side of Things. November 7, 2012

Filed under: Country Life — Piper Long @ 9:50 am
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I still haven’t started painting fence around here. Primarily because I’ve been making excuses and getting sidetracked. At first it was too cold. Then it was too windy. And lately it’s been too…

pretty.

I know I’ve used this excuse in the past, but it’s a valid argument.

I’ve used this same excuse as a reason to procrastinate hand picking pecans to replenish my freezer stash. Every pecan season I contemplate whether or not I should buy pecan harvesting equipment so I will no longer have to pick the pecans by hand. Ultimately, each season, I decide that I wouldn’t have near the time or help I’d need to pick up each and every twig in order to run the equipment through our large, muddled pecan grove.

Sure I have three boys who are completely willing and able to pick up sticks. But I’ve learned that in boy talk “stick” is code for “weapon” and the domino effect of potential outcomes that could develop from an entire day of gathering “weapons” with 3 boys just doesn’t compute.

So each year I decide it’s best to have our neighbor harvest our pecans as usual while I hand-pick the fruits of the trees that can’t be harvested with their equipment.

But today I’m really thinking that even though it’s supposed to be a perfectly beautiful day, I should really go pick some pecans because I know that when Drover gets finished planting his wheat, he will have me out building and tearing down fences. And then I will have zero time to pick pecans, crack pecans and dig the meat out of the shells.

At least moving on to fencing means we will have helpers. I’m sure it will come to no surprise that my boys are quite helpful when it comes to the destruction of old fences.
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One removes clips.

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The other holds the clip bucket.

“Have you tried the kare-ra-tee-CHOP! …That’s how I’d do it.”
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“I will try your so-called fencing pliers… but I still think the kare-ra-tee-CHOP would be thy best method.”
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Here, the middle child struggles to remove a stubborn clip.
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And the eldest lends him a hand.

Then one of the boys notices an armadillo wandering by, minding its own business, unaware of the curiosity young fence demolitioners exhibit. And then the helpers are sidetracked.

I can’t imagine how this confounded characteristic took root in my children.
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All I know is that our sidetracked helpers have ditched the fencing pliers and clips for weapons like sticks…
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…and t-posts which they intend to use as make-shift probes to drive the armadillo out of it’s back entrance.

Or the east entrance.
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Or maybe the west entrance.

 

Wrestling with Dirt November 6, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:38 am
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Things get so darn dirty around here.

A. My car.

I’m pretty sure it’s the reason why I have so few friends. It has become a giant mobile text message with all the graffiti my kids have scribbled in the dust-coated exterior provided by my 6 mile long gravel road. Hangman is a popular game for my kids to play on my car while waiting on me to take them to school or wrestling practice.

They’ve also written things like:

I heart my kids

and

Help Me!

I’m really hoping that when people see me and my three boys pass by, they realize I’m the one actually in need of help. At wrestling practice last night I saw my 9-year-old take down a 125 pound boy, nearly twice his size and bigger than me.

It would probably be wise of me to pay a bit more attention to the lessons at practice tonight. Maybe work out a bit. Pump some iron. Perfect my fireman’s carry.

Regardless, I’m thinking the days of getting my bluff in are numbered.

Too bad the days of doing laundry aren’t. I’m pretty sure I will be wrestling with dirty laundry for the rest of my days.

The only thing saving my sanity when it comes to laundry is the delay start button on my front load washing machine. It makes me look so effortlessly efficient.

I can use all the help I can get in that department.

With the delay start button, I can put a load of filthy laundry in the machine before bed, set the timer to start early the next morning and have one load of laundry freshly cleaned and ready to dry before I even get out of bed. If it weren’t for that and the sanitize button on the machine, I’m not sure I could survive life on this ranch.

Don’t get me wrong, the boys do help clean things.

1. Saddles.

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2. More saddles.

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3. And tack.
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But typically they only clean things if it means they can get dirty in the process.

Help me.

 

A Monday List : Have You Ever… November 5, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:18 am
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1. Have you ever lost your keys in a football helmet?
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On Saturday, my boys’ football teams had pictures, equipment check-in and a pizza party. While we were there, I was keeping my eye on the clock because I also needed to get my youngest boy to his soccer game in another town.

But somewhere between pictures, changing clothes, equipment check-in and the pizza party, I lost my keys.

I had searched the car, the parking lot, the check-in table, the bleachers, my kid’s pockets… everywhere except my son’s football helmet which by now had been added to the huge heap of 1st-6th grade football equipment piled on a flat-bed trailer.

Fortunately, one of the coaches remembered the general vicinity of my son’s equipment and miraculously found my keys resting in the bottom (or is it the top?) of my son’s football helmet.

How we ever found my keys in that mess, will forever be a miracle to me.

2. Have you ever been late to be early to where you needed to be?

The key fiasco ended up making me 3 minutes late to be early for my son’s soccer game. Which means that instead of being 15 minutes early to the game, we were only 12 minutes early. Which means we were late.

This was a difficult concept to explain to my 5-year-old.

3. Have you ever questioned whether or not the book you were reading was actually written by the author listed on the cover?

Anyone?

Sometimes I find myself getting to know an author and knowing their style and then reading one of their books that just doesn’t seem to read the same….

That’s when I wonder whether they actually wrote the book or just put their name on the cover.

4. Have you ever noticed how peaceful and beautiful the sunrise is in the country?

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5. Have you ever went hunting with a 5-year-old?

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Early one morning this weekend, my two older boys went with their Dad to care for the cows on the ranch, leaving me and my youngest all alone at the house. I dressed us both for comfort in sweatpants and sweatshirts and made a fire in the woodstove, happy to hibernate for the day.

Then my youngest, loading BB’s into his BB gun, asked me if I’d go hunting with him.

How could I possibly say no?

6. Have you ever went hunting with a 5-year-old and happened upon a deer?
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7. Have you ever noticed how cold hardy cilantro is?
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I didn’t plant a fall garden this year due to the drought, so anything that comes up in my garden at this point is purely volunteer.

I love volunteers!

8. Have you ever had Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?

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It’s hardy. It’s filling. And really tasty.

9. Have you ever been to Bass Pro Shop with 3 boys and 1 gift card?

… and wore the wrong shoes and seriously considered having your boys push you around in one of the shopping carts?

10. Have you ever noticed how peaceful and beautiful the sunset is in the country? Especially in the fall?
Sunset at the ranch

 

Halloween 2012 November 1, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,kids,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 9:22 am
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Yesterday Drover was out late working up ground at our farmland just south of the Kansas border, leaving me to corral the kids for a night of trick-or-treating in our small town.
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My youngest was a ninja.
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My middle child was a ninja.
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And my oldest, who’d outgrown his ninja costume, was a storm trooper.
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My boys have been ninjas for 3 years now and they still haven’t tired of the costumes.

Neither have I.

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It was our first year trick-or-treating in this small town and I must say, it far exceeded my expectations. The town was booming! There was a dunk tank along with a few Halloween themed carnival games and a car that seems to be haunted in this picture. Where’s the driver?

Kids were piled on trailers, in the back of trucks and even huddled in the back of SUV’s with the hatch wide open driving through town.

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Cars, trucks and SUVs were lined up along main street, decorated in various themes for an entertaining trunk or treat.

At the end of the line of trunks, we happened upon a walk-through spook house, a first for my young braves. I couldn’t have asked for a better set-up to introduce my kids to spook houses. It was situated in one of the old downtown buildings, ushered by an old, long-haired woman.

The first room we came to was a vintage dimly lit dining room, the table draped with an antique linen tablecloth and set with a formal arrangement of elaborate utensils and layered plates, filled with gummy eyeballs and finger bread sticks. In the center was a creepy looking human head topped with spaghetti, situated on a silver platter.

It’s the scariest place my boys have ever been.

Unless you count the time I let my youngest drive my car.

Then it might be the second scariest place my boys have ever been.

After my little boys had taken in the eery dining room setting and just before we were about to move on, the head on the table let out a little “boo!” …enough to startle the boys and generate a few nervous laughs, but not so much that they would be scarred for the rest of their lives.

It was a fun spook house.

But what my boys enjoyed most were the houses that were decorated with inflatables, graveyards, spiders, and spooky Halloween lights. I’d like to think that if I ever had a house in town, my house would look something like these…

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This house was their favorite.

Here, they each got a bag of candy, tattoos, glow-in-the-dark stickers, light sticks, silly string, juice packs, fun pads and small toys.

I’m pretty sure it will be the first house on the route next year.
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This house had some really fun inflatables.

The picture doesn’t do it justice.
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And this was the house that we had been watching in the days leading up to Halloween as spooky scenes were added daily.
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When we got home, the boys sorted their candy based on size, variety, color, flavor, texture, sugar content, packaging, expiration date and edibility.

Then they carefully tallied their piles. Accounting for each and every piece of candy in their possession.
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Making it next to impossible for a Mom to sneak candy after bedtime.

 

Five September 17, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 5:17 am

Yesterday, my big brother came out to shoot some skeet with my 3 little braves. My braves love when their uncle comes over to hang out with them because he always has the latest and greatest hunting supplies and electronics and he’s always decked out in the most stylish hunting attire.

The same cannot be said for my children.

For instance, yesterday, I sent my 5-year-old out to shoot skeet in camo long johns layered under a pair of camo cargo shorts, a camo polo and a set of worn out cowboy boots. Not exactly top of the line apparel, but a major improvement over what he was wearing the last time we had a knock at our door at which time he was clothed in nothing but his birthday suit when he went streaking by the couch where my husband and I were sitting in order to greet our unsuspecting guests. Fortunately, when my husband pointed out his shortcomings by saying, “Don’t answer the door naked! Put something on!” he turned back and grabbed a navy blue baseball helmet and slapped it on his head before throwing the front door wide open to welcome our guests.

I love having a 5-year-old in the house.

But he’s growing up much too quick.

He’s already learned the difference between the good cough drops and the bad cough drops as he pointed out just this past week when he stormed into the living room clutching a bag of Halls cough drops, clearly annoyed.

“Where are the good cough drops?” he demanded, insinuating that Luden’s cherry cough drops were far superior to Halls.

“Why do you need a cough drop?” I countered.

“Because…” he answered, exasperated with my ignorance on the subject… “I’ve got the hiccups.”

As if self medication by 5 isn’t enough to make a mom realize her baby’s growing up, he’s also learned the chorus to the 1977 disco song Stayin’ Alive along with John Travolta’s signature dance moves from the Saturday Night Fever movie.

I don’t know who taught him this.

I just really hope he waits a little longer to sing the other parts of the song.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk / I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk /

For now, I’m good with leaving it at the chorus

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

 

Hungry Horse September 13, 2012

Filed under: Country Life,horses,Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 6:36 am
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So, earlier this year, January 10th to be exact, I resolved to start keeping my animals in pens.

Funny thing is, that didn’t happen.

But I did try.

The horses were contained for a few weeks by an electric fence. Then they got word that I was serving half eaten apples on my windowsill and they busted out.

I’m not sure who told them.

Maybe the cats told them.

Or maybe the kids are to blame.

Hungry Horse

I don’t know why homes aren’t built with windowsills like this anymore. They remind me of the walk up window at the Tastee Freeze which my family has owned for generations. I remember as a child having full access to all of the delectable ice cream flavors, toppings and soda varieties imaginable, mixing them all into an insanely delicious concoction edible only to children under no supervision and having my cousin serve said delicacies to me through the walk up window. Then she’d charge me, but I’d have no money and be forced to work the window to pay my debts.

But I didn’t really mind.

I can see why they had these windowsills back in the olden days. They really are a lot of fun. You can serve your cats, your horses, your locked-out children.

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The locked-out children climb up on the windowsill, sweaty from a recent football/wrestling match that had to be taken outside.

Tap, tap, tap.

“Mom?”

I can hear the tapping because the children have been locked out.

“Yes?”

“Can we have a drink?”

“You got any money?”

“No.”

“Well then you can have water. Water’s free.”

I love walk-up windows!

 

A Field Trip to the Field December 6, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:05 am
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Sunday was my thirty *gulp* second birthday. My husband and I needed to complete the second 1/2 of the first 1/3 of the barbed wire fence we’d been working on, as well as begin the first 1/2 of the second 1/3, so we sent the boys to church with their grandparents. They gladly went because this was the Sunday that the church would be having their all-church dinner. I, on the other hand, worked through dinner without a break because anyone who has ever worked with my husband knows that he doesn’t even know the B-word (break) exists.

Even if he would have offered a lunch break, I probably would have declined. I didn’t want to be out in the woods any longer than needed, being that it was the final day of rifle season.

The only thing keeping me going was the fact that my Mother was preparing a birthday supper of beef tenderloin peppercorn with brown gravy, mixed herb pesto with homemade pasta, baked potatoes, fresh green beans and pumpkin bars with a gingerbread crust. I think I ate 4 servings worth of each. Then I went home and fell asleep at 7:00p.m. and slept for the next 12 hours straight.

I was awakened by my 7-year-old, dressed in head-to-toe camo, gun in hand and whispering, “Mom? I’m going out to get you a birthday present. I’ll be back soon.”

Next thing I knew I was frying up a squirrel for breakfast. The last time I received a squirrel for my birthday was back in the 1800’s when I was a teenager and it was in the form of a bikini. My brothers thought this was hilarious.

By 9:00a.m., we were all packed in the truck ready for our field trip to the field to work on the second 1/2 of the second 1/3 of the never-ending barbed wire fence that has no road access and can only be reached by foot with a pack of T-posts in hand, winding through trees and rocks.

The boys built a fire while my husband and I stretched the barbed wire.

They helped for a bit, carrying T-posts and handing out clips.

But they soon tired of behaving and took to wrestling by the fire and barbed wire fence.

 

 
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