Why we live here

As I carried in groceries the other night, I saw this.

Sunset cows


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We may not have a Starbucks on every corner in the country, but we see some gorgeous views day in and day out.


‘Tis the season of the UPS man

You know you do a little too much online shopping at Christmas when your husband says, “I really wish we  could have gotten the driveway graded before UPS man comes every day for two weeks.”

And I agreed.

I’m not so much worried about the pothole for our vehicle, but I have nightmares about a top-heavy brown truck overturned at the bottom of the hill. Somehow, I don’t think Amazon Prime free shipping covers that kind of damage.

Which brings me to my current game. I log on to my computer every morning to track where various packages are en route to my front door.

And this is what I saw this morning.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.57.54 AM

My package made better than expected time last week and arrived in Wichita on Dec. 5. This is where the problem begins. Instead of my friendly UPS man delivering to my door, they transferred the package to the U.S. Postal Service. Mistake No. 1.

USPS transferred my package to Lincoln, Nebraska. Umm. That’s the wrong direction. Mistake No. 2. The USPS folks in Lincoln took one look at the western Kansas address and sent my package east to Omaha. The N on the side of those Nebraska football helmets is for “Knowledge,” you know. Mistake No. 3.

Luckily, the package has now arrived back in Wichita, where it was originally delivered five days ago.

There’s a reason the U.S. Postal Service is going out of business, people. And there’s a reason I pay to see the UPS man. But now instead of worrying about the brown truck overturned in the driveway, I have imagined a red flag pops up when a package comes through.

“These people need to work on their driveway. Pass it off to USPS.”

I really hope not, though. I’d like to get my orders before St. Patrick’s Day.

Why we live here

I wrote a column recently about the beauty that is the country.

I see the most beautiful sunsets, an abundance of wildlife and sometimes it is just downright beautiful.

Case in point:

Just one of the many reasons why we live here.

Good, good morning


Good morning! It’s Friday. Before a three-day weekend. How could you NOT be in a good mood? Have I mentioned lately I love living in the country?

Well, that’s more like it.

Remember yesterday when I was excited for a tenth of an inch of rain? Well, this is more like it.


Here’s hoping that all the rain gauges across the parched High Plains and Midwest have the same beautiful sight in them.

You know you are from the country (#3)

You know you are from the country when this excites you.


Yes, that’s just a little over a tenth of an inch of rain. It’s not that a tenth of an inch will do any good in this part of the world where we sorely need it, but it does remind me that it CAN rain. Living in the country makes you realize that rain really does matter – even if it only happens once every three weeks or so, and only if you must suffer when it does.


Mother Nature flexed her muscle

Unless you are living under a rock, you know that most of farm country is in a drought. I live in western Kansas. I know it doesn’t rain here often, but not even enough rain to make the weeds grow? That’s tough. And this is the second year for us. Some of our friends in the eastern Corn Belt had flooding last year and are now experiencing drought. Sometimes its just makes you think Mother Nature is mean. Or has a weird sense of humor at the very least.

So flash back a couple of weeks. We had not had any rain for weeks. My family and I were headed out of the driveway one evening. As we looked to our west, clouds were gathering. But we know Mother Nature and her weird sense of humor so we assumed she was just toying with us. How convinced were we? We left sacks of feed in the back of the pickup parked in the driveway. (I realize this is only funny to farm-folk who have ever tried to race the rain home from the coop with a half-ton of feed in the back of the pickup.)

A few hours later, we headed home and the closer we got to our little part of the world, the easier it was to see that it had indeed rained. And not just a little. We pulled into the driveway and I remember seeing a Nesquik yellow container stuck in the mud. Funny, I thought. We only use those as scoops for the chicken feed. When we turned the bend our headlights shone on this.


Not good. This, you see, is our chicken shed. Picked up, dropped and smashed into a gazillion pieces. Also slammed up against our old Yukon. Lucky that Yukon was there, we decided later, or the chicken shed might just of slammed up into our house and caused much more damage. And don’t worry, luckily the chickens had been moved out this shed so all it held were a lot of chicken pens, some feed and a lot of garden paraphernalia.

And in the daylight we found this.


And this.


And this.


But you know what? The joke is on Mother Nature. Even though we had to have this kind of damage to get an inch of rain, the things were just things. And in comparison to the kind of damage I know she can do (and here), it was just a little storm. My family and my home are still here and that’s what is important.

You know you are from the country (#2)


You know you are from the country when a calf bottle becomes a permanent fixture on your kitchen counter for a few weeks.

(More on this development at the Country Chick’s house later.)

All-American Spirit

Is there anything more American than a baseball game in a small town on a summer evening?


I think not. Unless they served apple pie at the concession stand and then that would just be over-the-top.


My youngest boy is playing T-ball for the first time this year. Let me just say that we are not a sports family. Our oldest played T-ball when he was young and when he entered junior high, he decided to try his hand at track, but for the most part he could care less about sports. He’s a 14-year-old boy and I have to remind him how many downs there are in football. I know. Weird. Now, if you have a question about the protein content of the feed he mixes for his pigs, no problem. But from the time my boys have been little, they cared nothing for a ball. We would try to get them to play catch. “No thanks,” they said, “let’s go to check cows.”

I know this about my family, but I still think there is something to be learned by playing sports. We can’t be dirt and manure and livestock shows all the time. And I’m not going to say I was right, but he’s had a good time. He sees his buddies, he has learned something new and if there’s a Capri Sun at the end of it, then all the better.


And the coaches? Gold. I appreciate them like you couldn’t believe. Did I mention we aren’t a sports family? So this kid knew nearly nothing about T-ball. Did they care? Not one bit. They encouraged him, gave him high-fives and fist bumps and hollered, “Good job!” “Nice throw!”


At one of the first games, when he was too busy digging in the dirt to notice a ball go sailing past him, they simply reminded him that he can’t catch the ball if he isn’t watching. No harsh words, just more encouragement.


Notice the dirty T-shirt, jeans and seed corn cap on the coach? This was taken full-on in the middle of wheat harvest. I don’t know for sure, but I bet there was a combine idling somewhere while he stopped to help these little boys and girls have a good time and learn a little teamwork.


Because at the end of the game, where no one really knows who won, they line up, as excited as can be. And “Good game!” echoes from 15 kids, times two teams as they all congratulate each other. Now that’s an All-American spirit I can get behind.

You know you are from the country

if this is the bane of your existence:


I hate them. And I’m not using the word “hate” lightly.

I understand that I live in an old house with leaky windows and boys that have a hard time closing the back door. But crimeny. They are every where.

I come home from work and spend the next three hours swatting flies. Last night I swatted 10 in a row with out turning. Yes, it is that bad. And yes, I clean my house but you can’t tell by that photo above. These lovely little creatures leave fly specks everywhere.

Now I love living in the country, don’t get me wrong. And I like the cattle out my back door and the barn across the road. But if there’s one thing that stinks, it is flies.

Please tell me I’m not the only one. Anyone? Anyone?