Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little Mud on the Tires (& Everywhere Else)

Once upon a time it was a gorgeous night in late May and the Prairie Princess hopped on the 4 wheeler w/ her two young sons to go visit their horses over in the neighbor's pasture. All was well and life was grand, as the warm breeze rippled thru their hair and the smell of spring and cow manure filled the air....ahhh. On this princess' prairie there is a creek or crick as some would say, in a valley that she must cross to reach the next pasture to go thru the gate to the neighbor's pasture. The creek is typically no bigger than a 6 inch wide trickle of water in the particular place she usually crosses. Having just crossed the creek in this spot days earlier she saw no trouble, it was a four wheel drive 4 wheeler so she wasn't frightened by a little mud. And after all she was an expert 4 wheeler operator...(or not). So she told her sons to hang on and she went for it. And that's when this lovely tale took a turn for the worse. She got no further than right smack in the middle of the crossing when the wheels just started spinning.....and sinking....and spinning. Uh oh this meant trouble. She looked down at the tires and this is what she saw.

Oops might've underestimated the depth a lil'.
Her boys ever so encouraging, were yelling "WE'RE STUCK! YOU'D BETTER GO GET DADDY CUZ THERE'S NOOOOOO WAY YOU'RE GETTING US OUT OF HERE. EWWWWW AND LOOK AT HOW DEEP THE MUD IS." The PP thanked her boys for pointing these things out to her as she had not realized that a) they were stuck and b) the mud was 6 inches deep. Phew....she was so glad she had them with her or she never would've known. After assessing the situation and making many failed attempts at getting "unstuck" and even at trying to figure out the wench system she decided she had to bite the bullet. That meant taking a long, uphill journey ON FOOT, covered in mud to notify her prince, GI Joe of her current dilemma. GI Joe was very busy shampooing the bedroom carpet so she hated to bother him, mainly because she wanted him to finish the carpet and also because she didn't want him to have more stories to tell their friends on Wing Nights. But she realized she had to do what she had to do.

Winded and tired she made it up to the house and broke the news to GI Joe...that his beloved 4 wheeler was stuck in some deep mud. He rolled his eyes, sighed a little, then threw on his rubber chore boots (that went so well with the SHORTS he was wearing..hubba hubba) and set out on the trek to once again get his princess out of a bind, laughing and teasing her all the way to the 4 wheeler. Upon viewing the scene, he hopped on the 4 wheeler and made his attempt at getting it out of the mud..with no luck. Finally, he used the wench (be nice we're not talking about the princess here, it's a mechanism that is attached to the front of the 4 wheeler that has a rope that comes out and you attach to a tree and then push a button and it uses the tree to pull you out or something like that.) The wench did it's magic and out of the mud he came.

See the white line in front of the 4 wheeler? That's the wench hooked to a tree. I'm here to educate and inform you. And see that hot thing on the four wheeler? That's GI Joe in boots and shorts. You should all be so lucky.

As is the norm around here, while GI Joe is busy doing important stuff I'm very busy w/ photo ops.

He then instructed the Prairie Princess to hop on so he could show her the proper location to cross. In a strange twist of irony, as he attempted to cross he also got stuck! He blamed it on the extra weight of the PP to which she didn't kindly respond but dismounted the 4 wheeler and wound up shin deep in mud. After spinning the tires for a few minutes and splattering mud EVERYWHERE GI Joe got it out w/out having to use the wench. The Prairie Princess took the hint and has not eaten since (if only). By this time GI Joe, Prairie Princess, and the sons were rather muddy but had crossed the creek and figured they might as well go check on the horses. All 4 loaded onto the four wheeler for a leisurely drive thru the pasture. As they climbed the hill their eyes beheld this beautiful sight. They were blissfully oblivious of all we'd been thru just to come see them.

After doing a little equine bonding the 4 of them once again loaded up on the 4 wheeler for the trip home. As they neared the creek GI Joe told them all to get off as he didn't want to chance getting stuck again. Miraculously, the sons made it up the hill and out of the mud with no problems. However, when the Prairie Princess attempted the climb she stepped in a mud hole and lost her shoe (which was actually one of GI Joe's sandals because they just happened to be by the door when she left earlier and were much more practical than the heels she had worn all day). The mud was like quick sand so there was a lot of suction and pressure and she could not get it out. Meanwhile, she was trying to keep from falling on her face and from dropping her camera and balance is not one of her strong suits. She received all kinds of support and encouragement from the Peanut Gallery, I mean her husband and sons as they laughed profusely at her. Eventually, GI Joe took the camera from her. That was a huge help because then she could use her hand to dig in the mud to get his shoe out. Obviously, she was thrilled to do this as she totally enjoys mud where gross things like snakes and bugs might exist. The only downfall of GI Joe taking the camera from the PP was that he took a most horrendous picture of her struggling in the mud, where she bears a striking resemblance to Wynonna Judd as the camera must've added 40 pounds,which you will NEVER see. Finally, she persevered and freed herself from the mud and they all made their way home to be sprayed off by the hose and use an entire bottle of SHOUT on their clothing.

What I want you, loyal blog readers, to take away from this story is today's sour economy there may not be room in the budget for an expensive mud wrap at the spa but don't despair. The Prairie Princess can take you on a 4 wheeler ride and see to it that you are covered from head to toe in all natural mud w/ maybe a little cow manure thrown in to soften your skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, no charge.

Satisfaction guaranteed.

Another satisfied customer. He's actually 67 he just looks 5 thanks to the miracle mud.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Battle of the Barbed Wire

Today marks the one year anniversary of a very traumatic experience in the life of the Prairie Princess.

Rated PG13 for blood and guts, finger guts that is.

This was blogged the day of the incident:

While this story caused me great pain, I thought I would share it anyway because it will undoubtedly make you laugh out loud and really that's what I'm about even if it hurts me.
Let me just start out by saying from the moment I woke up this morning I wanted to go back to bed. I should really start following my instincts. It was cold and rainy but instead of curling back under the covers, I forced myself to go to work. Only to arrive to the sounds of what sounded like a 40 man wrecking crew working in our office. So it was only 2 or 3 guys working on building a new office but there were some really loud painful noises especially before 8 in the morning. Anyway, the day got somewhat better and I managed through a long boring day at work without once crawling under my desk to nap (although I considered it.) Because I was a tad slow in getting to work I stayed about 20 minutes late, meaning Dakota and Blade were latchkey kids for about 35 minutes by the time I picked up Ryder and got home. I finally walked in the door ready to put on my PJ's and do nothing all night when there smiling at me was Bob*, Blade's friend. Bob and his mom are obsessed with play dates with Blade, and I had totally forgotten that I had agreed after the 14th call last week from either he or his understimulated mother that he could come over today. Lovely. I thought "oh great, what a day to get home late." They were playing Wii and all seemed to be fine, he made no mention of being unattended for 35 minutes so I hoped that he didn't notice. Let me back up half a step, before I walked in the house I happened to look over at the emu pen and noticed that Elvis was not strutting around in it as he should be so I knew I had to immediately go search for him. Not wanting to waste time, I slipped out of my heels and into Justin's crocs (don't worry he doesn't wear them in public they are strictly for getting dirty) but didn't bother changing out of my work clothes so I looked like a million bucks...obviously. But I wasn't overly concerned as I was going to hunt down emus. Dakota and I headed out in search of Elvis whom we quickly found. He was on the outside of the fence so she climbed over and handed him to me in the barnyard. Keep in mind it had been raining ALL day and the barnyard was MUDDY and slick. So I was trying to wrangle a 3 month old emu and keep hold of him to return him to his pen. Just as I neared the home stretch I slipped on some mud so instinctively I reached out to grab anything to catch my fall. Unfortunately, the only thing for me to grab was the barbed wire running along the top of the fence. As I slid from my back to my behind in the mud, I realized my hand was not following me and appeared to be stuck on the fence. Hmmm....strange I thought, I'm not wearing gloves (although I have some very adorable pink John Deere ones that I typically wear for chores but remember this was an urgent emu catching operation, no time for gloves). So I pulled myself up to the fence and looked at my hand. And that's when I saw that the barb had managed to go completely into my little finger, the top part of the barb was in the top half of my little finger and the bottom part was in the bottom half of my little finger and I was bleeding just a tad. Ouch. So I tried to gently pull it out, it was in good and it wasn't moving. I yelled for Dakota to go get the phone to call GI Joe who I was confident would know a trick for removing barbed wire from a little finger. Don't ask me why I thought he would have a solution, it's just habit. She went and got the phone for me but the phone seemed to be unplugged or something cuz there was no dialtone. Seriously....could I get a break here? I sent her back in the house to check the switch and make sure it was plugged in and told her to call GI Joe. Approximately, 45 minutes later (ok that's probably a slight exaggeration but it seemed like forever) she came back out and asked me for GI Joe's number. She took one look at my finger was grossed, out, handed me the phone and headed back inside. But there was still no dial tone. I was going to scream, oh wait wouldn't do me any good. The neighbors/in laws weren't home yet and the other neighbors are too far away or would just think it was one of our peacocks again. As I weighed my options to just yank the fence out of my finger even though I knew it would probably split it in 2 or wait it out til either GI Joe or the neighbors got home, a van pulled in the driveway. Now some might think, oh good, help had arrived. Well, had it been any other van I would've thought the same thing. However this van belonged to Bob's mom, Bobette*, the very type of stay at home mom that drives me insane and is obsessed with having her son play with Blade and who also happened to be the first hand witness of my unfortunate ditch incident earlier in the winter. I'm quite certain she thinks I'm the biggest moron and worst mother in the world and that was BEFORE she pulled in to find me stuck to a barbed wire fence. I decided I would rather stand there and bleed to death than to ask her for help. I yelled at Dakota who happened to peek out of the house to tell Bob his mom was here. Thinking if she would just pick him up and go home I would deal with this in my own way. Yeah, no such luck. She must've thought I was standing in a weird way, covered in mud, cuz she came over to "chat" and then screamed in horror when she saw the precarious position my finger was in and the blood running from it. Apparently, she didn't believe me when I told her I had it under control, cuz she insisted on going inside MY house to get me a paper towel. (Sidenote: I'm a freak when it comes to people going in my house, I prefer advance notice and time to make everything picture perfect.) Let's just say the house was not in company form and I hadn't really been supervising the kids so who knew what they had done to it. So the thought of her going in my house did nothing for my fragile state. She came out of the house with my paper towel and announced that we should probably call someone. Thank you Mrs. Obvious. I told her that the thought had crossed my mind but that my kids were being less than attentive and I couldn't get the phone to work. So instead of immediately just grabbing her cell phone she went back in my house to check the switch that sometimes gets flipped that shuts off the phone. Can I just say that by this time I was ready to pass out, not from the pain or the blood loss, but from an anxiety attack of this woman nosing around my probably messy house? Sigh....we finally decided the phone was still not working so she went to the van to get her cell phone. I told her to hold on before we called anyone and that if we could get Dakota to find the fence tools maybe we could just cut the fence and then once the fence was detached from the posts I could manuever it out of my finger. By this time Dakota was very involved in her Wii game and oblivious to her mother's needs. I resolved that okay we're going to have to call, as I'm out of ideas and I certainly don't want to send Bobette* on any fence tool finding mission around the zoo. So I gave her the go ahead to call 911. But instead of calling 911 for me, she handed me the phone. Yep that's right, one handed Prairie Princess took the phone from her and called 911 for herself. Seriously. So the 911 call went a little somethin like this:
911: County 911 Dispatch, what's your emergency?
Me: Ummm, I think I need some help.
911: OK what kind of help?
Me: Well, I have a barbed wire fence thru my finger and I can't get it out and I can't move. I think I need someone to cut the fence.
911: So let me make sure I have this have a barbed wire fence thru your finger and need help getting it out?
Me: Yes that's correct. I fell and broke my fall by putting my finger thru a barbed wire fence.
911: Hmmmm, OK I'll call for dispatch.(After she gets my information, she hangs up to tell all her coworkers about the idiot who called 911 for a fence incident.)
Our small town has a complete volunteer system so it was about a 12 minute wait during which I had to converse with Bobette*. I'm telling you this day could not have gotten any worse. In that short time I learned that she doesn't like animals, she doesn't really understand why we have so many animals, and that her son doesn't understand why they can't have chickens since they live in the country and she had to explain to him that the "association" she lives in wouldn't allow it. Ask me another time what I think of an "association" being out in the middle of the country and what I think about people who say they don't like animals to a girl standing amidst her beloved pets. Needless to say, I have very strong opinions about all of the above items and focused so much energy on trying not to punch her in the nose that I felt no pain in my finger. FINALLY, we heard sirens. And all of the sudden, my concerned kids came out of the house to find out what's wrong. Nice huh? The ambulance rolled in and who got out but a guy who was/is BFF with one of my exes. And he LAUGHED at me. He and 2 other guys came over to the fence to check out the situation and told me that it was in there pretty good and we had 2 options. 1) he could try to get the fence out and it was probably going to hurt or 2) they could cut the fence and take me to the hospital to have it surgically removed. Well that was ridiculous, I was not going to the hospital with a piece of fence in my hand and leaving my children at MY house with Bobette. I told them to do what they had to do. So he started working on it but kept getting pelted in the leg by Moose, our giant choco lab, that the kids let outside when they saw the ambulance. So he couldn't work because he kept getting thumped by the otter tail. Of course, by that time my caring children had lost interest and returned to their Wii game so they didn't hear my yells to put Moose inside. I wasn't about to send Bobette* in again, so I just told the other paramedic guy to hang on to Moose's collar so Joe* can work. What choice did I have? Joe managed to get the fence out of my finger without me even really feeling it and without ripping it to shreds, I was impressed. He and the other guys decided that they could probably call off the other ambulance squad that was on it's way out. Yeah, I agreed, that was a good idea, I didn't need any more excitement. Because you get what you pay for with a volunteer rescue squad they started to walk off towards their ambulance leaving me there with a very sore finger bleeding. I had to yell at them and tell them that they could at least put a band aid on it for me. They begrudgingly agreed and told me to come to the ambulance. Meanwhile, much to my dismay, Bobette had gone back inside my house with the kids, to keep an eye on them I suppose. Little did she know they manage just fine unattended. I got to the ambulance, they did the report, somewhat cleaned up my finger, told me it's going to be sore (duh) and then Joe* filled me in on the ex and named all the people he planned to call and tell them this funny story. Apparently the patient confidentiality rule doesn't apply to volunteers. I went back in the house, ready to enter the Witness Protection program and relocate. I walked in the house to a putrid smell (Moose puked on the floor amid all the excitement), kid stuff everywhere, closet doors open, and Bobette sitting in the living room watching the kids. I was mortified beyond words but managed to thank her and send her on her way. I mean really she had to get home and start the PTA call tree. I put on proper farm gear (boots and gloves) to finish returning Elvis the Emu to his pen and then I came inside to tend to my wound since the VM First Responders did a less than bang up job and took some drugs as the adrenaline had worn off and my finger was beginning to throb.

I gleaned several important lessons from this rather painful experience. 1) I have become quite the tough farm girl, I mean I didn't even cry through the whole ordeal 2) Sometimes in life I will be forced to accept help from people I don't want to, I just need to learn to be grateful for it and quit being so stubborn (sidenote: realistically this will probably NEVER happen) 3) Never wear crocs on muddy slick surfaces. 4) Always wear gloves. 5) Next time just stay in bed.
*names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

***Update-I have since retired the pretty pink John Deere gloves and have upgraded to these bad boys. I now wear them all the time when outside except when I'm doing really dirty chores as I don't want to get them yucky.

They even say Tuff Chix on them, how perfect. Thanks Doug. Don't mind my giant pink ring on my right hand, it was my birthday.
I'm happy to report that I've regained full use of my pinky and only have a slight scar.
Happy Anniversary Barbed Wire! I'd shake your hand but we all know that probably won't end well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pink Thumb

I am not a green thumb. It’s more like black but I’m softening the blow and calling it a pink thumb. Moral of the story is: I don’t like gardening and it doesn’t like me. “Why me?!?” I cry out to the dead flowers looking up at me from the weed ridden flower bed. My grandmothers are both fantastic gardeners with flower bed upon flower bed of full, brightly colored, beautiful blooms and gardens filled with nature’s bounty. My dad even has a knack for it from working in a plant nursery all thru high school. But somehow the gardening gene skipped right over me.
I’ve bulleted a few reasons why I am not a fan of gardening:
*It messes with my tan. If I’m going to be outside I need to be in a position that maximizes tanning potential. I embrace most everything about the farmer lifestyle except for the eating of the animals they raise and the farmer's tans.

*Watering everything I plant is a lot of work so I rely on nature and the rain to do the work for me. Obviously, this can be detrimental to my flowers/veggies should we be experiencing a dry spell which unfailingly we do immediately following any planting I do. Even if it rains, it mysteriously misses everything that needs the water. Weird huh?

*I already have 5 humans and 40+ animals to keep fed and watered anything beyond that is really a stretch. One more thing to keep alive. That’s a lot of pressure.

*Weeds, stupid weeds. And not the kind I can package up in little baggies and sell for a profit. Kidding!

*You can’t pet or cuddle with plants and flowers. This is why I prefer my animals to flowers and plants.

*I am really really BAD at it. I’m not proud of this but am trying to make you understand how clueless I am when it comes to gardening. For the past 30 years of my life, I could not figure out why I could never get my 6 pack of flowers to fit in those stupid trays meant to hold a bunch of 6 packs properly. Until just the other day when I realized you do not try to put them sideways so that the middle of them rests on the middle of the long tray, you instead put them long ways. It was like I had an epiphany when I discovered this by accident the other day. No wonder my flowers always fell off those trays. How could I not have known this?

But this spring just like every other spring I tried to pretend that I really can grow stuff, besides dandelions and thistles. As I wandered the garden center aisles I had grand visions of our yard looking just like the cover of Better Homes & Garden so I loaded up my flat bed full of flowers, shrubs, plants, mulch, seeds, and most importantly, cute gardening gloves. On the drive home I gave myself a little pep talk that went a lil’ something like, “this will be the year that I’ll make this gardening thing work. I will keep everything alive and not let the weeds win.” The momentum continued as we unloaded the treasures and prepared to get down and dirty. If the stars are aligned, I start planting right away. But if for some reason I can’t plant as soon as I get home from garden shopping the plants chance of survival decreases by approximately 80%. I get distracted easily so if it doesn’t get done right away it slips a few slots in the priority list and if it doesn’t rain they are in plant peril.
So I went thru the above process last week when we decided it was time to plant stuff at the Koons Zoo. I managed to actually get everything purchased planted with the exception of the flowers and plastic containers they came in, that Akala the Great Dane puppy ate for lunch. GI Joe planted the manly stuff like bushes and trees but not so much the flowers and veggies. We are officially done with our spring planting, garden and all (thank goodness) and believe it or not they’ve even been watered and it hasn’t rained! But I just want to show you that even though I've been doing everything right this is what I get.

Alot of this.

And only a little of this.

Here is the main garden before we planted anything in it:

Here is what it will probably look like in 3 months when we've harvested 1 ear of corn, 3 green beans, and 5 peas from it. Seriously.....

GI Joe knowing my history of planting flowers in the ground only for them to be overtaken by weeds and dry out and die shortly thereafter built me these...weed free boxes!

Aren't they adorable? Now if I could just remember to water these flowers and keep them alive they'll be perfect.

I'm thinking about bringing dandelions back. You know like Justin Timberlake brought "Sexyback?" I'm going to put up a sign on the road (next to the Peacock Crossing sign) that says "Dandelion Patch" pick it yourself $5 per bushel. People will think I'm making the next landscaping breakthrough. So when you see dandelions popping up in deck planters across the country, remember you heard it here first.

So if you have any good gardening tips that may help my dreams become reality, by all means let me know. I need all the help I can get, obviously. Or maybe I'll just post this ad in Sunday's paper.
Wanted: Full time good looking Gardener to pull weeds, water as needed, prune, keep all canine,feline, and peacock friends out of the flower beds and gardens, and raise flowers and plants to their maximum potential. Must be willing to work for tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monkey Business

This goes to prove that I am not the only crazy one in our house.

Last week, Martha*, a good friend of mine whom I work with celebrated her 40th birthday. Given that it was her 40th we wanted to do something special, something unique, something memorable for her, since usually she is the mastermind when celebrating everyone else’s birthdays. My boss, Martha’s boss, and myself thought a singing telegram would be perfect. Something you should know about Martha is that she embarrasses VERY VERY easily. She turns a disturbing shade of reddish purple AND if you get her laughing hard enough she may stop breathing. It’s kind of awesome. Anyway, Martha and the people in our area have a joke about monkeys. Don’t ask anyone to tell you exactly what it is because I don’t think anyone could. All I know is that one day many months ago Martha’s email out of office said “I’ll be out of the office, OBEY THE MONKEY” and from that point on monkeys starting appearing on desks everywhere and Martha started getting quite a collection of monkey memorabilia. In light of Martha’s Monkey Madness, we thought a singing monkey telegram would be the perfect way to wish her a happy 40th birthday. Turns out though that our city does not have this type of service at our disposal. Imagine that?!? Not to fear though we are a resourceful bunch and decided to create our own singing monkey telegram so we called 1-800-GI-JOE. GI Joe and Martha are also friends and he was MORE than willing to dress up in a monkey suit to come in and embarrass the heck out of Martha on her birthday. He had only one condition…that we make him a sign that said “I’m Bananas for Martha.” A reasonable demand that we easily met.
GI Joe EMBRACED his role as the singing monkey telegram by rehearsing his monkey mannerisms and knuckle walk. He even went so far on the morning of to go to the floral department at the local grocery store and hand them some kabob skewers, a bunch of bananas and tell them he needed a banana bouquet. Can you imagine? Oh how I wish I could’ve been there for that. Once they got over the initial shock of his request, they created a gorgeous banana bouquet featuring a gorilla sized rose. It was one of a kind for sure.
Because we wanted it to be a complete and total surprise I had this conversation with our building security prior to his arrival:
Me: “Umm there’s a guy in a monkey suit going to come here in awhile and I want to go ahead and get him signed in.”
Security (incredulously): “Ok a guy in a monkey suit?
Me: “Yes he’s a singing telegram for someone’s birthday. Can I go ahead and sign him in so I don’t have to come up and do it when he gets here? This is a very covert op.”
Security: “Ok, yes we can do that. And you said he’ll be in an actual monkey suit?”
Me: “Yes, a monkey suit, a monkey costume, he’ll look like a monkey. Oh and can I leave this up here for you to give him? He needs to wear it when he comes in.” (handing over the “I’m Bananas for Martha sign”)
Security: “Ummm ok yes we can make sure he gets this. Sign here and we’ll walk him back.”
Me: “Thank you. Just to warn you he’ll probably walk on his knuckles like a monkey.”
And scene.
Bet that looked lovely in their log books.

Martha had no idea what hit her when she was innocently sitting in a chair in someone’s office discussing something of utmost importance, when all of the sudden around the corner appeared a 6 foot tall monkey meandering towards her..on his knuckles. The look on her face was PRICELESS. The monkey handed her the bouquet, and then started looking through her hair for bugs, you know like monkeys do. By this time, Martha’s face was that endearing shade of purplish red and her face just kept getting deeper and deeper red the more the monkey danced, picked at her hair, sat on her lap, and mimicked your typical primate behavior. Martha kept looking at the crowd gathered round for the show accusing certain ones of their involvement. Most were too vuhklempt to neither admit or deny their involvement. The “show” went on for a good while until the monkey started to sing “Happy Birthday” in his best offkey, out of tune. Michael Scott from the Office voice. And in that instant Martha recognized the voice and I thought we were going to lose her. The monkey did finally take off his mask and revealed his true identity as GI Joe. I think Martha is still working thru the forgiveness process.
Looking for bugs
But on the bright side, we can now add Monkey Impersonator to GI Joe’s long list of credentials right up there with Goat Wrestler, Straight Drag Queen (ask my bro-in-law Terry), and Indian storyteller.

He's very very shy obviously. He never cooperates this well when not wearing a monkey suit and I try to take his picture.

But let's face it, there's no business like monkey business!

*Name has been changed as Martha would not sign the release form allowing me to name her in my blog OR show her face in these pictures.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Ramblings

If you're expecting an amusing and charming narrative from the prairie, check back tomorrow. For tonight though I have some random things I just need to get off my chest. I just have to say them.

*If I had to live with Kate from "Jon & Kate+8", I would probably also be photographed at all hours of the night with anyone but my spouse. That lady is something else. I'm not condoning extramarital affairs, but who could blame the guy? She treats him like he's one of the 8. Sorry all you Kate lovers out there, she's not my cup of tea. Actually, she kinda makes me want to drink something WAY stronger than tea. If I weren't a good Baptist obviously.

*The Office finale last Thursday night....oh my goodness! Pam is PREGNANT! I did not see that coming. I'm just glad the old Office is making a comeback, they nearly lost me for awhile with the whole direction they were going. They must've heard I was "this" close to writing a letter. Nice to have you back funny Office, so long not funny Office.

*GI Joe & I watched the Movie "Taken" the other night. Good movie, action packed. Several things I gleaned from the movie; 1) Summer trips to Paris w/ friends as a teenager are NOT happening for our kids. Sorry kids. 2) It's amazing how the main character was able to fight off 3 or 4 guys at a time throughout the entire movie. But during the most crucial point in the movie he had trouble with the one guy who stood between him & rescuing his daughter, who happened to be a little twerp, and no, he didn't know martial arts. This baffled me. 3) Lastly, I kinda wish I were Liam Neeson in that movie. I mean, this is a pasty white, nerdy, scrawny looking guy who was knocking guys out left and right and killing people with his bare hands. He was ruthless and awesome and I kinda wish I knew how to do that. Without the killer's guilt of course.

*Remember that little girl with the MAJOR crush on our Blade? Well, her mother is going to be the death of me. We've nicknamed her (the mom) the Bulldog. We gave her that nickname for a couple of very good reasons, one being that she looks/acts like a Bulldog, and the other because she has like 40 bulldogs, and I'm not exaggerating. Anyway, we get the honor of seeing the Bulldog at every one of Blade's soccer games because she has a son who plays on the same team. For some reason, she's drawn to us and has to speak to us every single time. And without fail, she manages to make my blood boil every time. Last week she insulted our emus (she's never met them she was just insulting emus in general) and this week she insulted our dog, Moose because he's "just a Lab". And he was sitting right there!! Oh uh uh, the nerve. This is an example of a time when being Liam Neeson would really come in handy, otherwise I think she may be able to take me.

*My sister Heidi told me this weekend that all of their friends are now blog fans! Can you believe that? People are actually reading this stuff?!? So this is a shout out to my KS readers...heeeey!!! Heidi tells me you all are anxious to meet me in person and see if my blog is really how I am. Sadly, it is, this is me. But to satisfy your curiousity, I'll work on arranging a blog meet and greet in the near future. I'll sign your laptops, it' ll be a grand time. Please provide Reese's eggs, that's my only celebrity demand.

*When Heidi told me about my KS readers she also told me about one in particular who after reading the "Ode to Bromance" post, declared that he wants to have a bromance. That is still making me giggle. I'm glad I'm able to not only entertain but inspire. It's what I aim to do. But seriously is there a website out there for that? Maybe that could be my next endeavor, a Bromance Hmmm...

*I'm watching the Survivor finale right now. Obviously, I'm rooting for JT, since he's a fellow country bumpkin AND a cattle rancher, and you know how I love cows. I'm just so giddy that Coach isn't in the final anything, I just wish he would be impaled by his dragon staff. Is that too harsh? I can't help myself, that guy is UNREAL. I really thought I was going to suffer from an aneurysm during Thursday night's episode and his award winning acting job with the injured back during the immunity challenge. GAG ME. And then when he recited a poem for his tribe at tribal council. DOUBLE GAG ME. I also thought it very telling that while everyone else had spouses, brothers, fathers, etc visit them for the reward challenge, he had his ASST. COACH visit him. Wow. Although I did tell GI Joe, that should he ever go on Survivor (which he'd like to and could probably win hands down), I will not be coming to visit but instead will send Dakota. As much as I'd miss him I'm just not sure I could handle the stench and the elements and the bugs. Nothing personal honey.

*For those of you wondering about the Cow Challenge, it's OVER. I won! A calf will be joining the zoo in the next couple of weeks. I'm picking out cribs and names and nursery themes. I'm thinking "The Cat & the Fiddle" for the nursery decor. That is the one with the cow jumping over the moon right? Oh boy that will totally flop if I'm thinking of the wrong nursery rhyme. Welcome to my world.

Tomorrow I promise to be back with something that a) makes sense and b) has a point. Never mind, it will still be my blog.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Runnin' on Empty

It's time for a flashback edition of Hillbilly Hilarity. I was inspired by a birthday gift I received to share with you one of my fuel management stories.

Rewind to a mid summer's night 2008.....(written real time the night of the incident)

So you may be wondering why exactly I'm blogging at 1:23 in the morning? Funny story, well not actually yet but it's a funny story in the making. And while my husband is off trying to rectify the situation and probably calling divorce attorneys I thought I would get started on laughing about it. :)
It's been a long week, teaching at Vacation Bible School every night for 2 hours at church and just one of those weeks at work. I'm tired. So VBS comes to a successful conclusion....woo hoo! After staying awhile to clean up and tear down I head home to make my grocery list. I decide that as tired as I am I do not want to make time for it tomorrow. Justin, Blade and Dakota opt out but Ryder wants to go along. Aww sweet mother son bonding time even though it's 10:30 at night. What kind of mother takes her 4 year old son out shopping at 10:30 at night? We all know I'm THAT kind of mother. So Ryder and I venture off to my Wal Mart, he's chatting up a storm, we're singing, and laughing, it's a good time. We get there just before 11:00 and decide we have to make a run for it cuz the store closes in one hour. We get to the checkout at exactly 12:01 where the nicest biggest nerd ever (he told me "riddles" the entire time and then looked at me as if I had a 3rd eye when I didn't get them) says he'll ring us up in the express line. Yay, we caught a break. We pay and we're on our way which is good because I'm fighting off utter exhaustion by this point.
Let me mention at this point in the story that my Low Fuel light has now been on for over 24 hours. I am convinced that my gas gauge is off by 7 gallons and it's lying to me so I'm not concerned. And as some of you know I avoid the gas pump at all costs, it's one of my least favorite things in the world to do, right up there with eating peas. Even before I had to cash in my life insurance to fill up I hated it. Now I hate it even more, I feel like I'm giving in to the government and their lack of willingness to help out the common folk by drilling in our very own North Dakota, when I've been there and I think some oil rigs would actually be a welcome change of scenery. Ever been there? It's the most boring, ugliest place in America. I digress, back to the story.
I'm driving home, Ryder promptly falls asleep before we even make it to the interstate by Wal Mart. I'm jealous and have to utilize every trick I've ever heard of to stay awake while driving. FINALLY, I turn on to our gravel road...4.2 miles and I'm home! Life is good, I'm thinking of which groceries can wait til morning to be put away and planning how late I'm going to sleep in tomorrow when approximately 3/10 of a mile from our driveway the Princess Mobile pretty much goes to sleep. And by sleep I mean no more purring motor, it stops completely. Even in my sleep deprived state I have a pretty good hunch what the problem might be. I pick up the phone and dial the number I always call when something breaks or goes wrong....1-800-GI-JOE! Why would he not answer on the 1st ring? 3rd ring? VOICEMAIL!?! Are you kidding me? I could be car jacked and halfway to Mexico and he's not answering the phone! Seriously. I cannot believe this is happening to me. I try again, home and cell. NADA. I weigh my options, do I lug my 95th percentile 4 year old UPHILL to get home and wake GI Joe up to make him come fix this mess OR do I lock the car, turn on the flashers, and attempt to run home to wake him up. This is where I should mention for the first time, that I typically only run when being chased. I make it home breathing heavy and kinda freaking out cuz I can't really see my car from our house since it's at the bottom of the hill. And because I have some paranoid apocolyptic friends who have rubbed off on me (you know who you are) I'm convinced I should probably just call the PD and start the Amber Alert now. I get home, I go into our bedroom where GI Joe is of course sound asleep in bed. The nerve. Imagine his surprise when I come storming in, out of breath, yelling something about running out of gas at the bottom of the hill and Ryder's in there. He finally becomes coherent and I explain the situation. I'll interject here by saying that my husband is a very good looking guy and can usually look hot in anything. USUALLY. I found out this evening that gym shorts, no shirt and rubber chore boots, maybe not quite so hot. The more coherent he becomes the angrier he gets. After 10 1/2 years of marriage, we've tamed his temper so now he just gets quiet and his face reddens and he walks harder, rather than yelling the first things that come to his mind. But I know I'm in trouble. The silence is deadly. He stomps to the backyard to get a gas can and I hop on the 4 wheeler cuz I need to get back to my sleeping baby before he is abducted. But then I think, wait maybe he'll want a ride so he can get their quicker too. See just being considerate? Turns out he needed a brisk walk. We get back to the truck he pours in the measly gallon or so he had left in the gas tank and tells me it's probably not going to work since the car is going up a hill and all the gas is running towards the back. Darn physics. And then the lecture know the one, "Why didn't you stop and get gas? How many gas stations did you pass on the way home?" and so on and so forth. He's kinda using the tone that I have only heard on several occasions in our marriage and that I despise greatly. But for once I just sit back and take it and let him say his piece. (Between you and me I knew he'd feel bad about it later.) And I did kinda deserve it. I apologized and admitted to it being a really stupid thing to do. He's storming around looking under the hood and doing whatever it is you do to get a car running. He decides that I should just take Ryder and the 4 wheeler and go back to the house. I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to spend quality time with me at this point. He comes back to the house to get his "tools" and put on a shirt and change his shoes. Thankfully. I debate about immediately logging on to myspace to blog about this or to go try to help. I decide for the sake of my marriage I should at least make an effort so off I go on my evening stroll down the road. I get there and he informs me (in that tone again) that it looks like he's gonna have to go to the nearest town with a 24 hour gas station (not ours) which is about 10 min away to get gas at 1:00 in the morning. I think he was insinuating that he wasn't happy about it. I offer to go, but he insists. I'm convinced he's going immediately to find a 24 hour lawyer who will file a divorce. I'm wondering if it's too late to text Amanda to find out the name of her divorce attorney, I'm going to need alimony. Turns out a drive and a few minutes was what he needed to clear his head and come to his senses. He calls and apologizes for being a jerk, I apologize for being high maintenance, we laugh about how he's the one that told my mom before we were even engaged that he wanted to marry me because his life would never be boring, and that maybe he needed to add a clause about not being boring within certain hours. Call off the divorce lawyers, all is well. I start blogging about it, it's gonna be a great story.
UNTIL....I hear a car door slam. It's been about 45 minutes now that my car has been sitting at the bottom of the hill and not one single car has gone by, the joys of living in the boondocks. But how could a car door slam when GI Joe was still off on the quest for gas? Oh great, I forgot my purse in the car and now some drunk person that just left our small town bar got in my car and stole it. Being the purse girl that I am (it was one of my favorites) I storm out of the house on a mission. No need for the four wheeler I'll handle this on foot. I call GI Joe back and make him stay on the phone with me in case I'm attacked. Yes, I'm thinking rationally even at 1:45 in the morning. Maybe not so rationally since I didn't bother to grab the flashlight or a weapon. I'm tough I'll figure it out. Until a cat runs by me. I freak a little and move on towards the truck. Just like in the movies, as I get near the truck I yell out "Get away from there!", in my most authorative, mean voice. Nothing. Now they are either in the truck or hiding in the bushes waiting to beat me. I still have GI Joe on the phone, he's getting quite the kick out of this but quite frankly I'm a little terrified. Apparently, he didn't realize the seriousness of the situation. Whatev. I reach in my coat pocket hoping to find a hatchet or something to protect myself with but instead find four 2" wood screws. It was JGI Joe's coat, I at least would've had perfume or nail polish that I could've done some serious damage with. But I'm resourceful so decide I will poke the purse stealer's eyes out with my 2" screw. I'm prepared for battle. I get to the truck, and open the door like they do on CSI. Screw raised in the air, ready to fire. Nothing. I grab my purse and start running like a scared little girl back towards my house, while still on the phone with GI Joe. Now for those of you who know my husband he has a sick sense of humor. So he's hearing this all going on when all of the sudden he asks me "what was that noise? i thought I heard someone". I scream, a bloodcurdling scream, at 1:45 in the morning, in the middle of the peaceful countryside. My screaming causes our peacocks to "scream" as they do. Picture this if you running up a hefty hill with my cute pink polka dot purse in one hand and my other hand full of screws between my fingers, brass knuckle style, on a cell phone screaming. Lovely, but at least all the commotion must've scared the alleged purse stealer away cuz I made it safely inside the house and locked the door. Did I mention that I'm not much of a runner and this was uphill? Note to self...time to start that exercise junk again.
I wish I could say all ended well when GI Joe got back with the gas and the truck started right up. But of course that wasn't the case, instead even afer 5 more gallons it didn't start so we had to tow it up the hill to our driveway, where it is currently "resting". I'm sure that once it has a good night's sleep on level ground it will be good as new. And maybe so will I....

Now we're back in the present where GI Joe LOVES to tell this story to all of our friends. P.S. After resting and a few more gallons of gas the Princess Mobile was just fine.

And because I have awesome friends that are always looking out for me I got this for my birthday....

No, you can't find pink gas cans in any stores, I asked. No siree, this baby was custom made for me by my friend Dougie D. I made him a man purse for his birthday, he made me a pink gas can for mine. I think we're even. This sucker is getting filled up and will be a permanent resident of my trunk. I will just have to remember not to throw my cigarette butts back there anymore. As if.

No more runnin' on empty for the Prairie Princess. Thanks Dougie!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's In Your Bathroom?

How about this?

Or maybe this?

A little of this perhaps?

So far we're on the same page. How about this?

No? You mean not everyone has a laundry baskets full of chicks and/or turkeys with a heat lamp above it in their bathroom. Weird....

This is H2 (Herky 2) and his yet to be named friend. Suggestions welcome. These 2 are turkeys and look just like Herky did when we brought him (her) over a year ago. RIP Herky. They are the current residents of the master bathroom.

Spring has sprung and that means lots of babies at the Zoo. Animal babies of course, that ship has more than sailed for this mama. It all started one spring about 5 years ago when I looked at our barren pond and decided it needed some ducks on it. I'd always, always wanted to have ducks on our pond. Sound familiar? OK, so GI Joe might've had a point when he accused me of crying "cow" or "duck" or "emu". Whatever. Anyway, off we went to the feed store to pick out a few ducks from the metal waterers full of adorable chicks and fluffy ducklings, just like on the Easter commercials. I was in heaven. We brought some ducklings home, gave them appropriate D names, and then set them up in the corner of our family room. I was just scared it wouldn't be safe for them outside yet and besides how would we make them tame if they were all the way outside? We, I mean I, tend to be a little overprotective, overzealous with our animals. I blame Animal Planet reality shows. Anyway, they stayed inside for about a week or so until it had warmed up enough outside that they'd be okay in a pen with their heat lamp. We have repeated this every spring since then and in recent years have gotten more adventurous and added turkeys and chicks to our spring additions. We're kind of like experts now.

Here is the this spring's previous resident of the bathroom before the turkeys takeover. Meet Stripey the chick who according to the sign at the feed store will lay Easter eggs. Awesome huh? He is no longer residing in our bathroom but has moved out into the Bunny Bungalow with the bunnies. Don't ask, but maybe we really will get Easter eggs out of the deal. Oh my goodness, I just had an epiphany. What if Stripey lays Reese's eggs? I think if anyone were to have a chicken that lays Reese's eggs it should be me. No one else has helped out the poultry population of the world AND the makers of the Reese's eggs quite like myself. Ok enough talk about Reese's eggs I'm now craving them and there's no getting them for another 11 months. Moving on, Stripey wasn't thrilled about his move out into the "world" as he had grown quite attached to us, his peeps. No pun intended. OK so it was intended,I can't help myself. He's quite social and when living in our bathroom would hop out of the laundry basket, strut over to where we were and stand on our feet, then if we'd lean down he'd hop on our hand and fly up to sit on our shoulder. Now when we open the door to the Bungalow he comes running over and tries to hop on our shoulder. This will make for great home videos if he continues to do this when he's a full grown chicken. P.S. I keep calling him a he but in reality we don't know yet. We're really hoping he is a she so she'll lay some Easter/Reese's eggs. Boy chickens don't do case you were wondering.

So as you brush your teeth in your fowl-free bathroom tonight think of me and the turkeys. And it's okay when you go to sleep tonight to dream of having your very own turkeys in your bathroom someday. And when that day comes I'll be here for you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Good Stuff

Please stop the hate mail regarding the lack of a new post since Wednesday. Life is busy I promise now that I'm 31 and much more mature and responsible I'll do better. :)
Letters from the Kenny Chesney concert.

Dear Miranda Lambert-You rocked as Kenny's opening act. I want your hair AND your pink guitar. Mmmkay...thanks. P.S. If you could marry my friend Doug that would be great too. I think you'd like hanging out with us. And yes, I realize that you are involved with Blake Shelton, but I have another friend, Marsha, willing to take him off your hands. You're welcome.

Dear Kenny-I thought things might be weird between us at the concert given the letter I sent to your house a few months ago. Thanks for not letting that happen. I saw you point and wave to Annette and I, (REALLY) so I'm glad to know we can move past the harsh words I said. I totally forgive you now, we're not mad at you anymore. You were awesome and even better than when we saw you 2 years ago. Maybe the raise in ticket prices made you work just a little bit harder? And what do I care about ticket prices since you gave me mine for FREE. You had me from hello Kenny. And yes, your tractor is sexy. P.S. Don't worry next time we come to see you in concert we will be much closer so you can get some more face time with us. I know you missed us being right there like you're used to.

Dear People Who Were Supposed to Sit in the Seats Next to Annette-Thanks for not showing up so we could take it upon ourselves to upgrade our seats from the nosebleed Section 303 to right next to our friends in MUCH better seats in the 200's section.

Dear Jerry-Thanks for not actually taking a nose dive over the railing of our section even though a few times I really thought you were gonna. You breaking your neck at the concert by falling 100 feet might've put a damper on the mood of the concert. As much as we love you we probably would've had to wait til the show was over to deal with your injuries. It was Kenny after all.

Dear Dallas Clark of the Indianapolis Colts-Thanks for coming on stage to sing my favorite Kenny song of all time, "Back Where I Come From" with him. When you first came on stage, I was like, "Oh who's this cute guy on stage with Kenny making him looking even smaller than usual?" I didn't have to wonder long as my friend Annette screamed "OMG it's Dallas Clark!" nearly hyperventilating so I knew he must be important. Luckily, GI Joe was on the other side and explained that Dallas Clark plays for the Indianapolis Colts and before that played for the Iowa Hawkeyes and was actually from Iowa. This was a very big deal to my die hard Hawkeye friends and husband. Did I mention you were adorable?

Dear GI Joe's Recruit Who Kept Being High Maintenance via Text Message During the Concert-Thanks for ruining the concert date night for my husband and I. You're just lucky I didn't take over the phone and tell you what's what. I did consider hurling GI Joe's Blackberry over the railing but stopped myself as it wasn't the Blackberry's fault you are a princess. All I have to say to you is "suck it up cupcake". P.S. Keep it up and you'll soon find out that the Prairie Princess can make those drill sergeants at basic training seem like teddy bears. Don't test me buddy.

Dear Dougie D-Thanks for entertaining us all, and by all I mean our entire section, with your fantastic dance moves. You've got the right stuff my friend.

Dear Nette-Thanks for keeping me company while my husband was dealing with the above mentioned Army princess. And for as usual, enjoying the entire concert experience as much as I did. Few really understand what a sacred experience seeing our favorites in concert is but you know.

And now the night in pictures...
Moments before Kenny took the stage. Can you feel the excitement? We take this picture at every monumental (ie: NKOTB) concert we attend.

And here he is from our vantage point. This was taken seconds after he looked up in our section, saw us waving at him, pointed, waved and said "Hey ya'll up there" directly to us. The people behind us and around us might've thought he was waving to them but let's be real here he was totally directing it to us. DUH.

Doug & Jerry. Notice the railing right in front of them. My fear was not unfounded.

The gang. Our album will be out in the fall.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stinko de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo brought many reasons to celebrate.
1) It's my sister Heidi's 32nd birthday. Just kidding she's only 28.
2) It's the 1 year anniversary of when I played a vital role as the official notary in the divorce of my twin soul Amanda's divorcio. Don't get me wrong I'm not typically a proponent of divorce, but in this case it was the best thing she could've ever done and I was happy to play a part, so sue me.
3) I wanted to expose my redneck family to a bit of culture and Cinco de Mayo seemed the perfect opportunity to "edumucate" 'em about another country and culture. That country is Mexico for those of you who were deprived of a mother like me. :)
4) Really, I just wanted to try out Pioneer Woman's Enchilada recipe, which by the way were muy delicioso.

So in honor of all these things we had a little Cinco de Mayo celebration right here at the zoo, Prairie Princess style. I whipped up some of PW's enchiladas, made some virgin margaritas that I served to my elementary aged children in special margarita glasses, borrowed some sombreros from work to make my family wear while we ate, and printed out fun facts about Mexico and Cinco de Mayo. I put the fun facts in a glass at the table, that we passed around and each person had to pull out a fact and read it out loud, while wearing a sombrero, eating an enchilada and drinking a virgin margarita. Corny? Yes, totally. Educational? Maybe a little. Totally awesome? ABSOLUTELY. Ok, so maybe my enthusiasm wasn't quite matched by the rest of the fam but they humored me. And yes, I realize that some might have issue with serving the children virgin margaritas in the cool glasses but it's how we roll. Don't worry we had a good talk about NOT going to school and telling everyone they had MARGARITAS for dinner last night. I don't need any more votes in the Worst Mother of the Year contest.
Because I am who I am, and live by the motto "If I don't take a picture of it, it didn't happen" I tortured the family with a few pictures.

She's not normally cross eyed but this is not the first time I've seen margaritas do this to someone.

These three amigos were obviously thrilled about the photo op OR they've had one too many margaritas.

GI Joe and I also discovered that our combined 8 years of Spanish classes in high school definitely paid off...or not. We were able to teach our kids only about 20 words between the 2 of us. Nope, that wasn't a waste of 8 years because I'm sure we can be considered bi-lingual given that we know how to say bathroom, how are you, and see you later.

Speaking of see you later...hasta la vista baby!

Next on the blog docket...the KENNY CONCERT. HEEEEY!!

Swine Flu Scare

I need to confess....I'm going to see Kenny Chesney tomorrow night. Yes, I know I said in this post that I wouldn't be going to support him. Actually, I said I would not BUY a ticket to his concert. I think my letter helped because Kenny gave 100 free tickets to the IA National Guard to be given away to the soldiers. All interested soldiers went into a drawing and GUESS WHOSE NAME WAS DRAWN? That's right GI Joe! Because of his generous gesture I'm no longer mad at Kenny. I'm sure he read my letter and figured this was a good way to make up for his previous behavior. Karma baby karma.

I hope I'm well enough to go though. I think I might have swine flu.

I called the vet last week because of these girls....

Pigxie the Pork Princess & Squeaks

I needed to know how I would know if they had swine flu and would infect me, since I've been doing all the chores due to the Cow Challenge and have had the most contact with them. My friend, Jill who is the vet tech at our vet's office answered my call and for some reason didn't take me very seriously. The vet was out at a farm doing some business with some bulls or some craziness like that. I asked her to page him as this was a bit of an emergency. Again, she denied my request and instead kept giggling at me. She assured me that since my pigs haven't been to Mexico (they did just get back from Jamaica but no stops in Mexico thankfully) and that since they are pet pigs and not in a hog confinement, we should not be concerned. And then because she is a professional she told me not to touch them if they are acting sick. Duh. I think they are healthy for the most part, I don't know though, they are pretty lethargic, oh wait that's just normal. Can you believe the vet never called me back?!? How rude. I'm sure it was added to my file though, right next to the turkey pink eye and bunny pneumonia, that the Dr. pulls out on rainy days for a good laugh.
But I can't help but wonder if maybe Jill was wrong and they really do have it and have infected me. I just haven't felt great the past few days and every time I look in the mirror this is what I see...
I think I should call my doctor and have him meet me in the parking lot right away. Wouldn't you agree? Don't panic though and please,please don't let this stop you from having bacon for breakfast tomorrow. I'm a tough farm girl swine flu won't get me down.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

At the Auction...Yeah

Hi, my name is Prairie Princess, I'm 30 years old, and I'm an auction addict. Phew, that feels better. One Sunday afternoon a month, March thru October, I get my fix by attending the "Exotic Livestock Auction" at the Stuart Sale Barn. Don't let the word exotic fool you, all they mean by that is they won't be selling just cattle, or just hogs, or just horses, but a little bit of everything. The most exotic it gets is peacocks and the occasional pheasant. Sadly, they don't sell zebras.

The kids and I attended our first auction of the season last Sunday. Hence, the horse trailer mishap mentioned here We dressed up in our best farm gear (so we'd fit in better) and headed off to the huge metropolis of Stuart, meth capital of the midwest. Just kidding Stuart readers! Typically, when we attend an auction we have a list of animals we are there to acquire as well as a budget to purchase those animals with. GI Joe and his budgets, blech. :) Last Sunday on our list to acquire was: chickens, a pair of bronze turkeys (like Herky, RIP), a girl goose to marry Duck Duck Goose, and possibly a female llama. I rehearsed my game face in the mirror the night before and we were ready.

The kids and I arrived at the auction shortly after noon, just as they finished selling the piles of non animal crap that people bring to the auction to be sold, for example, an aluminum feed pan that has been stepped on by a horse, a dirty old stuffed teddy bear, egg cartons (seriously), and much much more. I prefer to miss this part because frankly it apalls me. What are people thinking?

We got our official auction #, lucky #181, and found our seat on the not so comfortable wooden bleachers. Then we do what we always do and the only reason the kids ever want to go with me to the auction.....head to the part of the barn where all the animals to be sold are kept, it's kind of like a Redneck Zoo, if you will. Then we walk around all serious and business like, jotting down potential animals of interest, descriptions and playing with the animals to see if they would be a good fit for the Zoo. We were a little disappointed with the selection, as it wasn't as vast as it normally is but we did find some animals from our list that we were interested in and headed back to our seats to get down to business.

Thank goodness this one was workin' for me. And is it me or does she look WAY older than 9? I don't like that one bit. P.S. You should've seen the looks I was getting as I was photo documenting the event. Priceless.

Here's an outline of what happened over the course of the next 6 hours:

*After stating "I'm bored" approximately 764 times during the first 2.5 hours of the auction, Ryder went up to the top of the bleachers, stretched out and took a 3 hour nap.

This cowboy was worn out.

*I went all PETA on the auction helper, when they were auctioning off baby piglets and he was holding them up by just one of their hind legs, hanging them upside down. The poor piglet was squealing and I was afraid their little leg was going to be dislocated. I was yelling "They aren't that heavy, just pick them up moron!" I got a few strange looks from the farmers. As GI Joe so gently reminded me, they were probably just going to be eaten anyway. Thanks that made me feel better.

*Yours truly was able to set a real farmer straight on the weaning period of a llama. He was in the bleachers and they were getting ready to auction off the mama llama and her 1 month old baby he had brought to sell. They weren't getting the bids as high as he wanted on the pair so the auctioneer suggested selling them separately. I freaked out slightly (or a lot) and immediately went to the farmer and told him to stop the insanity as they had to be together for 6 months. He told me these were his first llamas and he hadn't know that so he stopped the bidding and decided to just keep them. Prairie Princess to the rescue. I think between this and the cayenne pepper cure I am officially a veterinarian now. Call me.

*Speaking of llamas, saw a woman (suspected meth addict) have a TOTAL MELTDOWN in the center of the auction ring as she was trying to sell her pair of llamas off. I was bidding against another person for the llamas when all of the sudden the woman started screaming "You have to pay more than that for them! These are my friends, sometimes they were all I had to keep me company, you can't steal them from me for less than $200!" The other guy and I just looked at each other and shrugged and stopped bidding. The woman kept screaming "You can't steal them from me, I won't let you, I want $200 for each of them or I'm just taking them back home where they belong!" For those of you not in the llama business these llamas were not worth anywhere near $200 each. As if it weren't awkward enough to have her losing her mind in the middle of the ring she kept losing her pants too. They were slightly big and every time she would move they would slip down and her sweatshirt was not big enough to make up the difference. Say no to crack (and meth). Needless to say we didn't bring those llamas home as she eventually stormed out of the ring leading her 2 llamas away, who I swear were looking at me like "Help me, can't you do something? Pull the trailer around and we'll make a break for it." Once she left, Dakota looked at me and said "Mommy, was that lady crazy?" I responded with, "Yes and that is why we don't do drugs." So while we didn't get the llamas we gained a very important life application lesson.

*It was a great day and we brought home 2 of our list items and then a bonus addition. I'm still getting grief from my auction helpers (Dakota and Blade) for not winning the pair of turkeys we were hoping to get. You see, I have a very precise strategy when bidding. When we do our barn walkaround, beside the description of the animal I make a note of what the maximum is I would bid on it. And then believe it or not, I stick to it. I will not go one dollar over. So if I set a limit of $50 and the bidding goes to $51 I gracefully bow out. The auctioneers single me out every single time, because let's face it I'm not their typical clientele and I think they get a kick out of my bidding style. But even auctioneer pressure doesn't make me cave. So we didn't bring home the pair of turkeys because a guy outbid me and paid $4 more than I said I was going to go. But you know as well as I do that if I would've kept bidding, he would've kept bidding and that $4 would've been $8 or $10 or $20. I'll get 'em next time. Besides I don't think they were very tame turkeys and we all know that would've been disastrous, because what's the point of having a turkey if you can't put a safety vest on them?

Here are the latest additions to the Zoo courtesy of our first auction of the season.

Hawkeye the Red Golden Pheasant. The picture doesn't do him justice but trust me he's a looker. He's still very young but in a year or so, he'll be breathtaking (google Red Golden Pheasants) and he'll get to wear the orange safety vest for protection.

Twelve of these gals whom we call The Red Hat Society. Sadly, our emus were not as welcoming and have since viciously stomped and murdered 5 of them. We're working thru their anger management issues currently. In the meantime, the remaining Red Hats are steering clear of them and it seems to be working. We bought these hens to restock our laying population since we lost all of our hens during the winter and only had 3 roosters left. At the auction there were all kinds of eggs rolling around in their cages but do you think we've found one single egg since we've had them? Not a chance, we're still buying our eggs at Costco. But they do make me laugh when I see them walking around and that's all that matters.

And then Gertrude the Goose, the bride to be in the arranged marriage to our male goose, Duck Duck. So far I don't think the spark has been ignited, they both just keep wandering aimlessly around the barnyard never realizing that their soulmate is just steps away. I've tried playing romantic music, lighting some candles, and even showing them our wedding video but still nothing, i think the bump on their head is making it hard to see what is right in front of them. I'm hoping fate will intervene and someday we'll have a beautiful happy goose family waddling around. I'm such a romantic.

So I've had my auction fix but I'm already jonesing for the next one. I can't explain the "rush" it is to bid on something and actually win it. And the fact that the "things" I'm winning are animals that I get to pet and love just double the fun. It's a sickness what can I say?