Archive: October 2013

Takin’ It Easy

posted by Chelsea

There are a few times a year when a ranch horse works extra hard.  Spring, for example… sorting pairs, branding, turn out.  The summer months are important, but not as important as other times– fall gathering is one of the more important times in the life of a ranch horse.  That being said, our two best horses, Rose & Spiderman…

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decided to take a sabbatical this fall… they both got injured at the end of August and have been laid off ever since.  Spiderman’s

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injury was, and still is, an irritating one.   He sliced his leg open on a rock and basically, his injury went downhill from there… the cut was right below his knee in a very bend-able spot.  The Vet stitched him up, then in an effort to help him heal faster (knowing we needed him back to work ASAP) he put a cast over the wound to keep his knee from bending and in turn tearing out stitches.  Well, that worked really well for about 10 days.  After 10 days when his leg and shoulder swelled up we knew something under the cast had gone array.  So… back to the vet we drove “AFTER HOURS”, of course.  Turns out he developed two pressure ulcers under the cast and by the time we got to the clinic, Spiderman had lost all of his super-powers and was one very sick and infected puppy, er… horse.    He stayed at the clinic for a few days and got himself some antibiotics and special observation.   Anyway, he’s now home recovering… with Rose…

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Rose injured a tendon in her left front leg and we’re hopeful for a full recovery…. sometime next year.  Horses, in all of their strength and glory are pretty fragile animals and sometimes usually most of the time recovery is a slow and painful process.

So… because we’re “glass half full kind of people” there is something good in all of this!  What?!  Well…. the reason Spiderman turned into a real fabulous ranch horse is because Rose hurt herself in the Fall a couple of years ago.  Buck was forced to ride the horses who’d been “sitting on the bench”, including Spiderman.   So this year, both of our starting players are hurt and so…. Marilyn,

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who’s been “riding the pine” and only getting used for backup, is getting put to use, hard use.  And THAT is a wonderful thing.  Once Spiderman and Rose heal up, we’ll have 3 best horses instead of two.  And in the meantime, Rose and Spiderman are fat and happy, albeit injured, and enjoying a really nice work-less fall…

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In addition to the horses taking it easy, I’d like to talk about another critter around here who is known to take it easy…. Scooter.  Scooter is 8 now and in working-dog-years, 8 can often be nearing retirement.    Scooter works hard and is a great cowdog,

..but once the weather turns cold (and it has), he turns into a part-time cow-dog.  This is how it goes…. Buck (and his dad, Bill, this week) have been leaving the house by 5:30 in the a.m.  Buck walks to the kennels…. the puppies jump all over the sides of their kennel and as soon as he opens the gate, the big-working-dogs come running out of theirs.  Except Scooter.  He stays in his dog house and Buck usually says something like, “Hey Scoot.  You comin’ to work today?”  And if Scooter decides it’s a good day to work he walks out, stretches his sore body and wags his tail while Buck gives him a little pat on the head.  If Scooter decides it’s a good day to stay home and lay around all day…


he pokes his head out the door of his dog house, looks at Buck and then slides himself back and lays his head down. And some mornings, like yesterday, Scooter doesn’t even look out of his dog-house, which means he’s definitely not going anywhere.   Buck doesn’t beg him or force him to go, he just tells the other dogs to “load up” and tells Scooter to “have a good day, Buddy”.  When you’ve worked as hard as him, you earn the right to pick your working days.

10 Years

posted by Chelsea

10 years ago today I was on the phone (landline I shared with my roommates) with my mom, having quite a discussion about something, I don’t remember what.  What I do remember is that it was so important I ignored my ringing cell phone.   I didn’t recognize the number, but figured whomever it was could leave a message.  No message.. but they did call right back and therefore my cell phone was ringing again.  I tossed it to my roommate, Rachel, and whispered “Will you answer that? Tell ’em I’ll call ’em back.” I walked out of the living room, chatting away, and walked back in a few minutes later while my mom was chatting away and I whispered to Rachel, “Who was it?”  And she replied, “He said his name is Buck Matthews, said he’d call back”  Our important discussion came to a very abrupt halt, “WHAT?! WHY IS BUCK MATTHEWS CALLING ME?”

I had known about Buck for about 4 years, had even met him once at a basketball game my senior year of high school.  His Aunt Jean had told us about each other and how we’d be “perfect for one another”.   Close family friends, Aunt Jean’s daughters and I played sports together so when Buck was in college he came to watch district basketball which happened to be at the college he was attending.  Prior to meeting at the game, I had only seen Buck’s senior picture (from Aunt Jean) and to be honest with you, I actually thought his picture was a little ummm… dorky.  She talked him up, but I wasn’t sold… on the picture.  Anyway, at our awkward meeting at the game, Aunt Jean sat between us and introduced us.  We smiled politely at each other and shook hands right across Aunt Jean’s lap.  I quickly realized Buck was NOT dorky and I know this sounds sort-of cliche, but when I looked into his eyes I was a little taken aback because for some reason I could see myself with him.  There was this little spark of something, something that just said: FUTURE.  I’ve come to think now, that God is like us in that respect (or rather us like Him, I suppose) and He likes to hint at future surprises.

At any rate, one quick meeting and then life went on.  Buck- the one I met at the game, not the one in the picture ;-) stayed in the back of my mind.  Sometimes Aunt Jean kept me updated on things he was doing – I knew when he went on a mission trip to Honduras.  I even knew when his little sister went to college and when his mom got in a car accident and was OK, but was in a bad wreck nonetheless.  The point is, I got little updates here and there.  I never wanted to sound overly eager to hear about him, but did try to drop little questions because my curiosity was most definitely sparked.

I was well into my sophomore year of college (actually my 3rd year of college because I had spent one year at Ecola Bible School) when I got the phone call.  I was completely caught off guard- he was the guy in the back of my mind, the one I wondered about.  And now that he was calling he suddenly became very real and much less of a distant hope or day-dream material.  Buck Matthews was real.

So real, in fact, that he took 30 minutes to call back.  30 minutes of anticipation for someone who hates anticipation- me.  I waited about five long minutes pacing as I explained to Rachel (recently engaged) who Buck Matthews was.  I decided to burn the time and make cookies, THESE cookies.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  I waited until my cell phone rang and of course let it ring a few times before I answered….

“Hey, this is Buck Matthews.  How are you?”
“I’m good.  How are you?”
“I’m good.  I don’t know if you remember me, but my Aunt Jean…”
“Oh I remember.  Your Aunt Jean has talked about you quite a bit.”
mutual laugh
“Oh, yah.  So, how are you?”
“Oh, I’m still good!”
mutual laugh

We talked for about 15 minutes.  He was working on a ranch about an hour and a half from where I was going to  college.  In fact, I knew the ranch owner’s daughter- we kept our horses at the same barn and had several mutual friends. We ended with the plan that he would come to town sometime and that he’d be in touch about when.

Lucky you, you already know the end of the story…


(two-seater outhouse we came across last week when we were gathering cows!)

I’m feeling quite nostalgic… today represents the 10 year Anniversary of our very first real conversation and the start of a whirlwind romance, one that caught me off guard and obviously changed the course of our lives forever!

Un-rural-istic Expectations

posted by Chelsea

There are a few things that are to be expected out here in our rural life.  For example,

Chinese take-out= un-rural-istic
Target= un-rural-istic
Pilates class at the gym= un-rural-istic

This past week when we were headed down to the barn to milk Bell I was getting some c/o (complaints of) from the back seat.  The c/o were in regard to the need to go milk Bell AGAIN.  I reminded my little complainers that it wasn’t just ME who wanted a milk cow, but THEM too.  The pickup was quiet for a minute until Katelyn piped up from her seat “Whale (aka well), Mom, we do WANT Bell, we just don’t want to milk her EVERYday.”  That right there is an un-rural-istic expectation.  To have a milk cow means we milk EVERY day.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Sorry, sister.

The children aren’t the only ones who’ve had to come to terms with some facets of THIS amount of rural-ness. One of  the things I’m coming to terms with, has to do with our mail.  For as long as I can remember I’ve always LOVED the mail.  When I was about 12, a couple friends and I used to call the 1-800 numbers in the back of magazines– you know, the ones that offer FREE information (AKA JUNK MAIL) if you call in and request it.  Turns out my parents didn’t enjoy the free info as much as I did, nor did they enjoy the free solicitors on the phone asking for “Chelsea, in regards to her interest in purchasing land in Montana“.

Anyway, while I don’t enjoy junk mail anymore, I do enjoy a good letter, a favorite magazine, a box, a check- love those!  Well, out here the mail doesn’t follow the same schedule as the mail in town.  Our mail comes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  You can imagine this really hypes up my mail expectation for those three days.  I mean, if it only comes three times a week, you better believe I’m hoping for something GREAT all three days!  Unfortunately for me, THAT is an un-rural-istic expectation.  I drive 2 miles to the mailbox with eager anticipation the entire way.   Once it’s in my view…

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… (ours isn’t the cute one, thanks for thinking so though!) I can only imagine what awaits me.  My stomach churns with anticipation, but the really unfortunate part is that more often than not, I’m extremely let down by something like this:

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Two lowly pieces of junk mail.  While “Jeffers” offers some good deals on things like Colostrum and Wormer, it doesn’t exactly rock my world in terms of fun mail.

Basically, this entire post just so I can tell you, I need to have some more rural-istic expectations regarding our mail.  I’ll also end by telling you that a few minutes ago Buck asked me what I was writing about and apparently Jeffers does rock his world because he ran out to the pickup in his bare-feet  to hunt it down.  Relaxing in his easy chair he just said, “Man, I love this kind of mail.”  Well, there ya go- someone with some rural-istic expectations.



posted by Chelsea

I saw this quote somewhere, sometime:

I love routine!  Until I get bored.  Then I love excitement!  Until I get overwhelmed… then I love routine!”

That pretty much sums up the past two weeks.  I love our little routine out here in the boonies… until I get bored, then I love the excitement of something like cow-camp!! Until I get overwhelmed…overwhelmed with campfire laundry, camp gear, and over-camped-babies who don’t think they need to sleep anymore.  Then, well, I love our routine!

Lets recap the last week or two of excitement, shall we?

Beautiful weather & stunning fall colors:

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Four (very fun!) nights at cowcamp:

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Yummy camp food, eaten around the camp picnic tables…

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Fun times with new friends.  First the right names in the wrong order.   A Caitlin, a Claire, and a Katelyn Claire.  Now the order in the picture… Claire, Katelyn Claire and Caitlin…

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And all three: Caitlin, Katelyn, and Claire with our Lucy Bear…

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Included in the fun, I had one really fabulous day in the saddle..

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My parents came over last weekend so I could spend all day Saturday riding.  Buck has been riding my Marilyn horse the last couple of weeks- putting some long, hard days on her.   I finally had my chance to spend a full day with her and we had a blast- she’s a go-getter-getter-doner.   I loved it.   Not to mention, together with the whole crew…

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we gathered 19 cow-calf pairs and 2 ornery bulls…

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…who have now joined the rest of the herd and will wait until they’re weaned and brought back to the home place for the winter.

included in the day was a much anticipated horse race…a ranch-horse-race where everyone on their respective ranch steed, raced across an open field.  While I just missed the medal stand, coming in 4th, I will proudly say that I’m married to the winner…

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I don’t know that I’ve shared about Buck’s competitive side, but basically he hates to lose more than he likes to win, so… I’m thankful he won, (by the hair on his chinny chin chin,  I might add!) the silly race. :-) As for me,  I got to spend a really fabulous day in the saddle, one that’s going down in my book of favorite riding days.  Victory!

Lets see… a few more little details… we had one very worn out puppy…

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…not from “work”, but more from trying to eat every scrap under the table he could possibly find… including, but not limited to, the bacon grease cup which he ran with, splashing himself and everything in his wake, through camp… twice.

And here’s a “dog tired” actual working dog…

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… taking a quick snooze.  He might just be ready for his routine, too… a couple more months and he’ll be living a winter-life-of-doggy-leisure.

So, here we are.  Back home. Back to our routine, where I refuse rest until every pair of pants, every sock, every stinky undershirt, every sleeping bag, every denim blanket, every silk scarf is cleaned and put away… OK… maybe I won’t rest until I get it started, or well, at least think about starting it…



posted by Chelsea

I’m not here.  I mean, in computer land, I’m not here right now.  But I left this post for you so you could see where we are.  We’re at cow-camp.  Buck, as well as the ranch owners and some of their family have all been staying at camp the last couple of weeks.  The kids and I drop in and stay a night here or there.  We’re staying a few nights this time and couldn’t be happier….


… well, most of us anyway :-)  As you can see, Cooper appreciates the freedom he experiences at cow-camp!

The girls on the other hand, love EVERYTHING about camp…


They love everything, including Jasper, Kate’s new BFF..

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They seem equally pleased with one another’s company…

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Unfortunately for Jasper, he may be less than impressed with our arrival because we brought BOOM…

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and TOM…

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our new puppies.

As for the rest of the crew, I don’t think they’ll mind the puppies… or the Creme Brulee (thank you Bell), the caramels (thank you, Bell) and the cinnamon roll french toast (thank you, me).   We’ll see you on the flip side!


posted by Chelsea

I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head lately- about mothering and such.  I’ve been thinking about how there should be a job description for moms.  Something to the tune of:

“Employee must be high energy, multi-tasker, quick thinker, quick mover, consistent disciplinarian, intelligent, willing to work completely unreasonable hours and maintain a good sense of humor.  Vacation time is limited to employee’s parent’s willingness to take over all duties.  Employee must be working towards long term investment and not a monetary one because, there will, of course, be no pay.  Tasks include but are not limited to: everything.  Yep, you have to be able to do everything.  Hey! You can’t argue with a job description!  You’ll figure it out… I mean, you are the mom!

I had a good ol’ fashioned albeit somewhat-disturbing laugh at myself yesterday. I’d been sitting on the couch, in a sun patch, talking on the telephone- asking my own mom to decide for me if I should go to town for some food I “needed” to bring to cow-camp today (tomorrow at the time).  In true motherly fashion, she engaged with me and my problem- like a good mom does for her nearly 31 year old daughter.  While we hashed out my predicament, I felt something much warmer than the rays of sunshine on my back.  Turns out Cooper, who I let be nay-nake for awhile… peed on me.  I was actually relieved it didn’t get on the couch and that it was only pee.  Nonetheless, I promptly put a diaper on his little buns and at some point, headed to my room to change.  Well, I got distracted first by my camera, then by the dishes, then by the laundry I needed to fold, then by the diapered baby who needed dressed, then by the latte I needed to make for the drive to pickup Lucy.  At which point, I threw on a sweatshirt, loaded kids, and jumped in the car.  As I sat back against the seat I felt just a little bit of dampness on my back which reminded me that I never changed my shirt.  My son PEED on me and I was distracted enough to not get around to changing my clothes.

So with that, I’m prompted to tell you the other thought I’ve been having lately- motherhood will break you.   It’ll break you of yourself and when it’s not doing that, it’ll break your heart.  You’ll be sitting on the couch, talking to your mom, with your son peeing on you and you’ll catch a glimpse (one you want to capture!) of your daughter playing on her toy pig and you’ll jump up, grab your camera as she rides towards you…

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and her sweet little face…

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will break your heart because you love her so stinking much.

I recently heard of an adult  telling  a young gal (whom I know and love) something to the effect of…. how smart she is and how the idea that this particular girl could in fact “just” want to be a wife and mom would be a shame- a waste of such a smart girl.   Of course, my little feathers got ruffled.  Here’s the thing…  actually a couple-a-things. While I think a skill, like a job you can do if you need to/want to/ whatever, is a not a bad thing to have,, being a mom is by far the hardest job I’ve ever had and ever will have in my entire life.  And second of all, the last time I checked, my intelligence being used on these three little people…


… just doesn’t seem like a waste to me.


Thanks for tuning into Chelsea’s Tuesday Morning Thoughts on Motherhood.  Brought to you by Kirkland Signature coffee, more of Bell’s fresh cream, and more raw sugar than is actually necessary.







posted by Chelsea

Just wanted to show you what our Monday-morning-(and every other morning) commute to school looks like.  These pictures showcase the last 3 miles or so of our 7 mile commute.  Mostly I wanted to share these because I thought it was only fair you should understand the reason for the nervous twitch I’ve acquired since we moved here out here.

First the “long-ways” view so you can see how far the road is above the river…


Then the “sideways-view” so you can appreciate the angle…


Now the middle of the hill…


And finally the zig and zag at the bottom…


I woke up with nightmares about this hill for the first couple of weeks we were here, but now (I kind of hate to admit it and you can call me crazy if you need to), but I’m actually getting pretty used to it.

How’s your Monday morning commute?!

Fall Gather

posted by Chelsea

It’s that time again… time for the cows to come on home for the winter.  October is a full month… the ranch cows have to be off summer permits by October 20th (10 short days away!) and our cows have to be off by November 1st.  Cowcamp is in full swing and the kids and I will head over to join the fun at camp on Friday.  I’ll take pictures and show you camp– 6 wall-tents, 14 horses, 4 dogs, and… I don’t know how many people… maybe 10 or so?  The ranch owner and some of his family come over and spend a couple of weeks helping ride and gather cows.   Unfortunately we…

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and we…

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and we…

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aren’t quite big enough to actually be a lot of help.

Good thing “we” are so dang cute because I would lie and tell you I’m totally OK with not helping, but I actually kind of feel like Cooper does when I don’t let him…

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play in the flour bin…

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I might not be quite so dramatic about it in public but you better know that my butt bottom rear hiney would love to be in this saddle…

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…gathering cows.

Nonetheless, I’ve decided to “make lemonade” with my “non-riding lemons” and do my best to please those who can ride with high-calorie food, knowing that someday we’ll all be out there riding!  This morning’s caloric intake will be provided by these babies…

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…  about to come out of the oven.  Basically, if I can’t be at camp full time, I’d prefer to make tasty enough food to make everyone wish I was there.  That’s how I “roll” (ha!)

Rural Life

posted by Chelsea

When my parents were here last weekend my mom gave us a book called “Curly Girl”.  It’s all about the proper way to reign these…

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It’s been enlightening… I mean, it goes against all our natural tendencies.  It requires no brushing, no blow drying, NO straightening (haven’t told Lucy that yet- she loves a good straightening!)and no over-washing. And there are regulatory products… shampoo with no silicone, sulfate or paraben, for example.  I don’t actually know what those things are, but I know they’re bad- real bad.  In an effort to follow all the rules I, of course, ordered the regulatory products.  I’ve been an “Amazon Prime” member for quite some time and the fact that I can order things, even this far from town, and receive them within two days is nothing short of a miracle.  That is, until you get a phone call from the UPS man…

“Chelsea, this is Dan.”
Me: “Hi Dan”
Dan: “So… I have this package for you… and I don’t have any other deliveries out your way today.  I probably will tomorrow…” (my interpretation: Do you seriously want me to bring this package to you? tonight? right now?”)

Me: No problem.  I totally understand.  You’re welcome to call and ask about delaying my packagse anytime- we rarely order anything super important and I don’t really want you to hate us. (what I wanted to say, “I really want my new shampoo! My hair is drying out as we speak- I’ve been using sulfates and paraben for far too long!!  Please take 3 hours (round trip) out of your evening to bring it to me! now!)

Dan: It has a 2nd Day Air sticker on it- I was worried it might be something important.

Me: Oh yeah.  You should probably get used to that sticker- it’s a pretty regular part of my Amazon Prime life.

Dan: Your what?

Me: I get everything 2nd Day Air.  (what I wanted to say “Come on Dan! You’re the UPS man, don’t you know about Amazon Prime?! Get out much?!”)

Dan: Everything?

Me: Pretty much.

Dan: heavy sigh.

So… Dan dropped off my shampoo and styling gel yesterday evening.  Three days post-order instead of two,which is still pretty dang fast.  Upon his arrival (yesterday) I informed him that my conditioner somehow got sent separately and will be here today.   This is the second time he’s had to come out two days in a row.  I didn’t ask his opinion on sulfates or paraben.  But while he was here, he conveniently mentioned that another family “out here” “lets” him leave packages at the school teacher’s house (20 minutes closer to town).  I agreed that was probably OK as I had already mentioned earlier that we rarely order anything important, except of course, this important no-poo-shampoo.

Long story short (ha!), this whole thing is making me self-conscious about my Amazon Prime life; I mean, Dan and now the school teacher, are both now privy to the often-ness and the whereabouts by which I order online.  So… just because the situation is already awkward and could afford to be even more so, I think I should start ordering from Victoria Secret or something of the sort…you know, just to make everyone a little uncomfortable AND awkward.  2nd Day Air! Urgent Victoria Secret package!  Delivery Tuesday morning at the school! :-)

My most recent rural life dilemma.  Thanks for listening.







Lets Talk

posted by Chelsea

Lets talk.

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About Bell.

I told you I love having a milk cow.  And I do!  I love having a fresh dairy supply- it’s super fun.  It is a bit all consuming… I mean, I deal with a lot of milk, approximately 3 gallons a day.  My parents came to visit this past weekend and commented that it seems like ALL I DO is deal with milk.  I was trying to make butter and a couple batches of yogurt while they were here so it did seem like there was a lot of milk in my life.  And quite frankly, there IS just a lot of milk going on.

Here are a few of things I’d like to talk about…

#1. I smell like a milk cow.  It’s like calving season all year long!  I went to town yesterday and wondered the entire time if other people could smell me.

#2. Our house, particularly our mud room smells like a milk cow.  It’s like calving season all year long!

#3. My forearms are getting stronger every day.

#4. I’m a much faster milker than I originally was.  A couple days ago, Katelyn who was watching me milk commented, “Mama, you’re gettin’ wots better at that.”  Thank you, Katelyn.

#5. I accidentally refer to milking as nursing.  It’s awkward.  “I have to get back in time to nurse Bell.”  It’s especially awkward when it takes me a minute to realize what I said.  Sometimes I don’t realize until the person I’m talking to raises an eyebrow and I can tell they’re wondering who Bell is.

Alright, more milk-cow talk later… I’m off to nurse milk Bell.