Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell April 29, 2008

We were sad to hear that Kent Hart had passed away this past week- I did not know Kent all that well. What I did know of him was that I thought he was a good cowboy and enjoyed living the farm and ranch life. He had a dog with him most of the time. I always thought that anyone who loved a dog enough to keep it with him was a good man. I know that his family will have a void in their lives that can never be filled. Our hearts are with them.
One thing that I have found more annoying than telemarketers is accessing an account on-line. Once you finally figure which site you need then there are user names- passwords- One has to have a notebook to keep track of what user name you use and what password you have used. I have one account that requires three passwords. By the time I get there, I cannot remember what I wanted to do or I am so tired and irritated that I no longer care. Then you have to be able to ask the question that you need to know in the only way that the computer recognizes.
When you get so angry at the on-line site, you could call the head office. Oh, that is fun. NOT! It would be all right if you could speak to a person instead of an automated system. Those are exasperating. They ask you to push one number after another and the list keeps going on. They ask so many questions that you are not sure that you ever had a problem, in the first place.
I have found that if you get so infuriated that you cannot push one more number and you have been patiently doing everything they ask, there is something you can do. If you yell a naughty word at the automated system, you will be connected to a representative rather quickly. I am aware that many of you are too nice to do this and I am sad to say that from personal experience I know this really does work.
Do you remember when you could go into or even call a business office and ask about your account and they would go to the long rows of file cabinets and locate your file. In that file was all of your information then they would be able to tell you what ever you needed to know? You could find out if you had paid the bill or if they owed you, which is never the case. They had all of the information at their fingertips. They could answer any question you had asked them. Now when you go to an office and ask a simple question, they are more than happy to assist you if the computers are up and if the internet is working properly. If not you will just have to wait until the computer world is up and running again.
I know that computers certainly have helped us out in many ways; I just get so frustrated with the system. I guess you could say that I am computer challenged.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

County Gal by Vanita Blundell April 22, 2008

Last week’s article reminded me of the times that Dad tried to patch up various animals. I think that if Dad would have had the opportunity he would have made a great Veterinarian. He always wanted to fix something. One time Dad had pulled a calf and unintentionally broke both front legs. Well, he devised a splint made of a piece of plastic pipe. He split the pipe in half and drilled holes on each of the sides of the split. He carefully placed the broken leg in the pipe then laced up the pipe with twine or was it baling wire? This worked out well as he made the splint longer than the leg so the calf’s weight was on the splint and he could walk with out hurting his legs. He looked peculiar in the barn lot but he did not seem to mind. When the time had come to undo the pipe we had lined up one foot really well- but the other we had it slightly off and the hoof was turned to the inside but he did not know any different and he walked in a satisfactory pace.
We have had horses break their legs and Dad always thought that he could fix them. We were never successful with the horses. If heart would have mattered, in both the horse and Dad it would have worked but heart does not mend broken bones. Putting a horse down was something that Dad had a hard time doing. Mom’s nephew, Charles Crouse, just happened by one time, when Dad knew that a horse had given his all and the time had come for us to give up, as well. Charles was kind enough to help Dad out by doing what had to be done. I always appreciated him for that act of compassion for both Dad and the horse.
Many years ago in the cold freezing weather and there was ice on the ponds, a neighbor’s calf had fallen through the ice. Dad was with the ranch foreman and saw what had happened and he decided that they needed to save the calf. Knowing that it was one of the ranch hands calf and at that time the ranch hand needed every calf and could not afford to lose one needlessly. Dad jumped into the freezing pond in his Skivvies and saved the calf. The calf survived the ordeal.
Once in while, if a pregnant cow died, Dad would try to save the calf by doing a c-section to get the calf out. A neighbor lady called me and wanted to know if I could do a c-section and retrieved a calf as the cow had died but they could tell that the calf was still alive. I made a quick call to Dad to ask how to do it and how much time I had to do the deed. I was telling Dad the situation and when I asked about the time. I will never forget the hesitant tone in his voice, and his words. He said, “Well, how long can you hold your breath, little girl?” He certainly had a way of letting me know just exactly what he thought. I must say that I was sadly relieved as I was not sure that I could have done what they were asking me to do. Where are our husbands, anyway?
Another time we had a cow down and Dad fixed up a sling so she could stand. It was attached to the rafters of the barn and she could swing since she had lost control of her back legs. Thinking that we were doing her a favor and she should be grateful, she was in fact, angry. And every time I went in to the barn, she would try to hit me. The sling was a success. She got to where she could stand and walk on her own and it was time to turn out her out to pasture. She was doing really well and was minding her own business when storm came through and lighting struck her and killed her dead. It sometimes makes you wonder if all the time we had worked with her and put up with her nasty deposition, if it was really worth it, not to mention her point of view. But who knows- Hindsight is 20/20.
I have heard that some veterinarians think that some of our home remedies are ‘barbaric’. And maybe they are, sometimes. But most of the time we try to do what is best for man and beast.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell April 15, 2008

Last week was extremely stressful- but it was not with out a little fun. Jeff and Chelsea took pity on me on Sunday and helped me out. Jeff has been working for a local rancher after work and on weekends. He has been learning some ‘cowboy tricks’. You might be thinking ‘what is a cowboy trick’? A cowboy trick is something that country people do that may only work once but it takes care of the problem at hand. Well--- I have a few ‘cowboy tricks’ of my own. Some of Dads ’tricks’ I thought might be the end of me and so I have decided to see if I can teach Jeff a few death-defying antics. I had a downed heifer that I had helped calved-out in the pasture. I needed to get her to the house. Thinking that I needed some kind of a sled or sling to get her transported to the house. One good thing about never throwing anything away we have numerous items scattered around that might be of some use. We have many odds and ends, that some might call junk, but when the junk becomes useful it, then, it turns out to be valuable and no longer rubbish. I had many items to choose from- old pick-up hoods, assorted pieces of tin, large pieces of plywood, and many other things too numerous to mention. Jeff had told me that he had assisted his cowboy boss moving a cow with the tractor scoop. I will not get into details- as I am not completely sure I understand exactly how they managed it and not real sure, I want to know. After looking at our tractor scoop Jeff did not think that it would have worked the same. I must say that I was slightly relieved. Well, we found a discarded, metal, short bed, pick-up liner. It was lightweight and easy to move. We put two holes in the front of the liner so a chain hook could be used to pull it. We hooked a heavy log chain to the bed liner now a makeshift sled. We loaded it in the back of Jeff’s pick-up and took it out to the heifer. Now we had to figure out how to get her in the sled we had made for her. With the assistance of Jeff and Chelsea-, we ‘simply’ rolled her on to the sled. The little heifer did not seem to be alarmed by the activities, which made me wonder if she was all right. Chelsea rode in the back of the pick-up that was towing the little momma- Jeff was driving the pick-up (this could have been a disastrous as he is Vernie Whites grandson) but he was on his extra good behavior. I rode with the heifer on the newly made sled. We only had to stop a couple of times- we did have to add a rope halter to help her with balance. We got her to the house and got her unloaded and watered and fed. She seemed to be content grazing on the cheat grass. It was incredibly successful. I am not sure that it will work on the next animal that will be needing assistance but it worked this time. And that is how a ‘cowboy trick’ works.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell April 9, 2008

Dad’s devils who are sitting on fence posts to cause havoc have certainly been busy. I guess, I should say that my guardian angels have been working over time this past week. I have said that if you have something different happen on Monday the rest of the week is going to be chaos- It throws your whole week off. Well… that is way my last three weeks have started. But I have to remember the scripture that reads in Philippians 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I did something Saturday that I have never done all by myself before. As most of you who know me know that I when I grew up I was with Dad whenever possible. With that in mind - I helped him with all kinds of livestock ailments and with little medicine. We sewed up prolapsed heifers along with sewing up horses who cut themselves up with barbed wire- Some cuts were deep and he somehow knew how to put them back together. He had learned how to make surgical knots from Dr. Shelley after Granddad White had split his head open and Doc was too shaky to do the job - so he talked Dad through the procedure. Can you imagine that happening today? Dad used this little piece of education every chance he got. You would not think that would have been that useful of a tool. Actually, knowing that he had this knowledge - it made me a little nervous. I was fortunate enough to never to need his assistance as I was never in need of his surgical skills. Until I was married and I had to have a C-section delivering our daughter- I just knew that Dad thought that he could have helped, I was grateful that he chose to stay in the waiting room.
Back to my new experience, Jim had gone to Tulsa over the weekend to visit his mother. She has been in the Cancer Treatment Center for over 4 weeks now and he went to give her some moral support. I have been watching a couple of heifers and, of course, they decided to calve Saturday morning. I had to assist in the birthing of two calves. I was not sure that I could actually use the calf pullers by myself but I did it. Things are certainly easier with help. I was pleased that I did not have to break ruler #1 which is - ‘Do not stick your hand anywhere you cannot see the other end’. Well, I might have bent this rule a little but not completely broken. It is a good thing that the heifers can not talk- I am sure that they would like to sue me for malpractice.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell April 1, 2008

It seems in the past few weeks I have mentioned someone who has passed on from this life. I think that maybe I have buried more people than I know. This week is not going to be much different. I am certainly going to miss my feeding partner, Wendell Brown. I had the opportunity to help Wendell feed his cows this winter. In some ways it was almost like having Dad back. He was a delight. Every one had their own ways of doing things and Wendell was no different. But he had a method to his design and it was quite effective. He had equipment not much different than I grew up with - but he did things more like my Granddad Cary. He enjoyed repairing anything that was not functioning just right. Then he would fix it with out buying anything new, as he would have just the right piece to make it work. It may not be what it was manufactured with but it would operate correctly. That was the way my Granddad did things. Dad fixed things - boy, did he fix them- He had a saying “it would either come or bleed” one of us usually bled. Wendell was calm and a thoughtful man and I am going to be very sad to say good-bye.
Monday, I went with my sister, Vickie, to purchase a new puppy. This was another adventure for us. We went to Noble Oklahoma to look at a Chinese Imperial pup. Randy went with us; he is a really good sport to put up with our crazy ideas. Since we can use the computer to find an address and the exact directions to get to where we need to be going - that keeps us from getting lost. Actually, Randy got the directions so we would not get in an uncomfortable situation. We found the pups and, of course, there is no ugly puppy. I showed great restraint as I did not come home with another addition to the family. It was really hard, too, but I just kept thinking how I was going to rationalize another dog to Jim. Thank goodness, for Jim! Vickie and I have had some interesting outings looking for some sort of pet. We have bought puppies, chicks, guinea pigs, and birds. One thing my life is never boring.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell March 25, 2008

First things first- Gods garbage disposals have returned- the Turkey Buzzards- Dad always looked for the Killdeers - I watch for the buzzards- I know it is weird- I think that I have death issues. The buzzards usually get here between Dads birthday (March 21)and Moms birthday (April 15th) and this year they are right on time.
We enjoyed our Easter, even though we did not have any little ones to hunt the colored eggs - we somehow made it. Do you remember coloring eggs when you were a kid? We had our own eggs and that might give you the idea that we could color as many eggs as we wanted. That was not the case- I think that Mom gave me a dozen eggs to decorate- In my school years we were to bring some eggs to school so we could have an Easter Egg Hunt. I am not sure whether it was a half a dozen or a dozen we were to bring and maybe it was not that many- but we were bring our colorful eggs and then someone would hide them and we would have this huge hunt for the eggs and we would take home whatever ones we found.
I thought it was great fun.
While shopping in the stores I would like to know who has turned Easter into this huge commercial thing. We went out of town Saturday and the stores were almost as busy as Christmas Eve. There were huge pre-packaged baskets with various themes. Parents do not have to put any kind of thought into the basket gift. Then I saw where some of the kids had picked out their own baskets --- I guess all of this is ok- it just seems that the Easter Season has been cheapened and very little of the reason why we celebrate it is even mentioned or if the kids know why they get out of school on Good Friday.
Jennifer and Giz came out for the day and then Mom and Joe came out to eat supper with us. At the last minute I found out that Virgil and Karen were going to be around so they joined us for an early supper. It is so great to have closer to home so we can get together more often. I did not find any lamb to fix for Easter, this did not seem to bother Jim, in the least. Since it was such a beautiful day we used the grill and grilled some burgers- steaks and salmon. After supper some went to the Cantata at the Christian Church. It was a good day. I have said it once and I will say it again- It is great to have family!!!