Do you remember when you were young? There was a big list of things your parents said to you. They got under your skin so much that you promised yourself you’d never say them to your own children! But, eventually, when you got older and you had children of your own, you found you may or may not have been able to follow through with those promises.
When you were trying to understand some great mystery of life, you heard, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
When you were playing the funnest game you had ever devised, it was always, “Don’t jump on the bed!” Or, “Clean up that mess!”
Then, you were presented with an awful-looking mish-mash of turnips, parsnips, and brussell sprouts, and you heard the dreaded words, “You have to try it.”
Then, there was always the infamous, “Because I said so!” Which, of course, was good for any occasion!
This is just a partial list of things that I promised my future children I would never say. I can say with all honesty today, that every single one of those phrases has escaped from my mommy lips. But, far more disturbing is a different list of phrases that I started collecting through my parenting experiences on a farm. I say a lot of things in response to situations I never thought would come up…I can’t make this stuff up! Some are funny, some are sad. Some will leave you scratching your head. How on earth did that situation arise??? Well, I’m not sure! But, here it is…my list of things I never thought to say I’d never say.
1. “No Chickens!!!”
Chickens were never a danger on my radar I thought I’d need to avoid. You can read more about it in this post.
2. “You bought how many chickens?”
This was in response to the first batch of chickens my husband brought home. I was so reluctant to agree to
chickens in the first place, I thought he’d start off with just a few. But, he brought home 25! Twenty-five. That was a lot of chickens to me!
Looking back on it now, I realize it wasn’t really very many at all. I’m not really even sure how many we have at the moment, but it’s enough to fill three coops!
3. “Ham. You want ham. The ham to which you refer is clearly not ham! What is ham?!?”
When Bear was almost 2 years old, she announced to me one day that she wanted ham for lunch. Like any sensible mother, I pulled some ham out of the fridge and made some for her for lunch. It turns out, whatever ham was, it was not, in fact, ham…at least not what everyone in the adult world called ham. Bear was mad! She looked up at me with that angry face (you know, the one you try not to laugh at because it’s so cute) every toddler has, and shoved that bowl away from her and yelled, “No! Want Ham!!” Then, she proceeded to feed her lunch to the dogs.
Sometimes, our dear, sweet children come up with names for things that make absolutely no sense. “Ham” was one of these instances. It took us weeks to figure out what she meant. We tried all sorts of pointing games with objects in our refrigerator and pantry, but nothing seemed to be “ham”. Finally, we were out at the grocery store, and happened to go down the baby foods aisle. Bear started going crazy in the cart, pointing and shrieking “Ham! Ham! Ham!” It turns out, the infamous “ham” was actually those little freeze-dried yogurt toddler snacks. Who knew?
4. “Dear, how do you recommend I get a heifer out of the garage?”
When we first moved out here, it took a while to get all of our fences in perfect working order. Our first pair of cattle were a Holstein bull and heifer. Occasionally, my husband would let them out to mow down the grass out in front of the barn, but usually only when he was at home. Unfortunately, they got the idea that it was perfectly acceptable for them to go out on their own any time they wished. One day, Bear and I were outside playing, and I started hearing odd noises coming from our garage. I looked up, and low and behold, there was a heifer in the garage. There were lots of interesting things to investigate in the garage, and she had no desire to leave and go back into the pasture. She was resisting my small repertoire of methods. So, I called my husband at work for his recommendations. Eventually, she wound up getting bored and backing out of the garage on her own. At that point, she gladly followed a bucket of feed back to the pasture gate.
The next day, my husband had not had time to fix up the fence where she got out, but he did put up some 2×4 boards across the front of the garage so that if she decided to wander again, at least she would stay out of the garage. It didn’t work. She plowed right through them the next day, completely undeterred. Then she got stuck and couldn’t figure out how to back out of the garage. When she stepped on the boards she had knocked down, they felt funny under her feet and she didn’t know how to get by them. Sigh. I wasn’t about to go move the boards from under a 1500 pound cow (er…heifer)! Eventually, she was able to back out of the garage on her own, and she followed the feed bucket back to the pasture again.
The heifer’s misadventures in the garage were funny, but the bull was just downright sneaky. When Andrew let
them out to graze on the grass in front of the barn, the bull was always very interested in the section of the barn where Andrew kept the feed (imagine that!). He got chased out of the barn so many times, I couldn’t even begin to count. One day, he had found his way into the barn and knocked over the feed can. Of course, as a large, 2000 pound animal, he was silent and invisible in his persuits…in his mind, anyway. He looked over his shoulder just as Andrew came around the corner to chase him out of the barn (again). He backed out of the barn, just a little, and faced straight forward, refusing to even look at Andrew. The bull started licking a bush that was growing right next to the side of the barn. Then, he looked at Andrew as if to say, “I’m just lickin’ the bush, boss! I’m just lickin’ the bush!” These two cattle are where one of Andrew’s favorite farm catch-phrases came from: “There are few things in life more obnoxious than well-fed cattle!”
5. “We don’t need another dog.”
I like dogs. I’ve always liked dogs. When I was younger, I figured that when I grew up, I’d have a farm with just dogs running around everywhere. That’s why it came as a surprise to me when my husband started talking about getting another dog that I told him we didn’t need one. But, by this point, I figured there were enough animals around. We had just lost Blaze. But we still had Trinity. We had cattle, we had chickens. We had two small children with a third due any day. Getting any new dogs raised and trained was going to fall mostly on me, because, well, I was the one who was at home the most. I didn’t feel up to the task…especially with a newborn coming! My husband and I went back and forth about the issue for a few weeks, during which time Monkey was born.
Then, one cold day, while Andrew was home over Christmas break, he was working on putting in a gate between the two sides of the pasture, and he had a little accident involving our bull.
6. “Mom, I’ll call you back. Something’s wrong with Andrew!”
I was on the phone with my mom. The kids were napping. Andrew came up to the porch, all muddy and gasping for air. I knew he’d been out in the pasture…and it was obvious that something was very, very wrong. He just kept coughing and gasping. He couldn’t even talk to me and tell me what was going on.
Well, he had, in fact, been run over by the bull. You see, our bull at the time had previously been a roping calf. He liked to play. That was not a big deal when Blaze had been out in the pasture every time my husband went out there, because Blaze played with him. Unfortunately, when a 2 thousand pound animal decides to play with a 200 pound man, things don’t always go so well for the 200 pound man…especially when there’s no fast-moving dog to distract the 2 thousand pound animal!
Andrew was fine. He was very bruised-up, but he was fine.
Apparently, we did need another dog.
7. “The well is…frozen???”
This is Texas, folks! A frozen well is just not something we have to deal with here. But, in early 2011, not even a year after we had moved into our new farm house, when Lizard was just a couple of months old, we had a cold snap. It lasted several days. The highs only made it up into the middle teens. It was cold! A gas drilling company had provided our property with a nice, deep water well. However, they had left nothing to protect it. The previous owners of our property had put up a little lean-to around the pump. But, one of the walls (we found out) was merely a blanket. Fortunately, we knew the weather was about to get pretty nasty. We were having an electrical problem with one of the switches to start with. Water service to the house had become a bit sketchy. I took advantage of a day-long break between two Dallas snow storms and took the girls up to visit my parents for a few days. Andrew called the next day to tell me that everything was frozen…including the well. He was without water pretty much the whole time we were gone. Every day he made the trek up to the well house to make improvements so that it wouldn’t happen again. He fixed up the well, and it hasn’t frozen since. Thank goodness for handy husbands who are willing to work in the freezing weather! The girls and I came home once everything thawed out. Bear did have a lot of fun on that emergency trip to Dallas, though. It snowed. Not just a little Dallas snow like we always got there when I was a kid. She got 8 inches of snow to play in! Lucky girl! These things are enough excitement to last for years to a Texan.
8. “You’ve eaten enough green beans. You’re not going to eat any dinner!”
No stranger a phrase has ever crossed a mother’s lips! Yet, it’s one that has come out of mine more than once. The first time I said it, Lizard was about 2 years old. Andrew had spent all morning picking vegetables in the gardens. There were buckets and buckets of squash that had been loaded onto the trailer. There were cucumbers, and turnips. And, there were green beans. Not just a dinner’s worth of green beans. Andrew uses 5 gallon buckets to hold the green beans as he picks them. That particular week, there were 3 or 4 buckets full of green beans. Andrew gave each of the girls a green bean. Bear ate hers, but she wasn’t particularly excited about it. Lizard was a different story. She ate her green bean, and then asked for another one. Then another, then another and another. Finally, Andrew got tired of getting her green beans. He told her that she could have as many green beans as she wanted as long as she ate them. We didn’t want them going to waste. She ate green beans all afternoon. Finally, a couple of hours before dinner, Lizard was still going back and forth to the green bean bucket that Andrew had left on the front porch for her. I called out to her, “You’ve eaten enough green beans! You’re going to ruin your dinner!”
Andrew looked at me like I’d grown a third head, and said, “Really?”
“What?” I asked. “She’s not supposed to have any snacks after 4 so she’ll eat her dinner.”
“You’re worried about green beans? Green beans. We’re having fried chicken for dinner. You’re worried that she won’t eat her fried food because she’s eaten too many vegetables???”
Well, he had a point. We’ve laughed about that afternoon many times since it happened. The events have repeated themselves several times since then. It’s not always with green beans, sometimes it’s with peas or carrots, or something else pulled fresh from the garden. Now, it’s a phrase I use jokingly, because, let’s face it, who can complain about kids who eat their vegetables?
9. “Wait, you lost a frog in the bathroom?”
This is another one that sadly, I’ve had to say more than once. We have a pond in our front yard. I’m not sure why the previous owners of this property decided to put a pond in the front yard, but they did. Asking why the previous owners did anything around here is a forbidden question…but that’s another topic for another post. Anyway, since there’s a pond in the front yard, reptiles and amphibians are plentiful.
It’s a nightly ritual around here for Andrew to go catch a frog or a toad or a lizard at bedtime. Why bedtime? I have no idea. But, that’s the procedure around here, and who am I to demand that it change?
Anyway, we generally have some sort of reptile or amphibian find its way into the house every evening. Every once in a while, Andrew will let one of the kids hold it. Inevitably, it gets away, usually in one of the bathrooms.
10. “Why is there a duckling in my daughter’s bedroom?”
One day, several years ago, Trinity killed a duck. It was very sad. It was the female of a pair of ducks that often swam on our pond. The male flew away, never to return. As it turned out, they had made their nest in the brush along the fence line close to the pond. We pulled out the eggs, and put them in our incubator that was normally used for chicken eggs. Of course, we had no idea what we were doing, but we thought we’d give it a try. There were several eggs, but only one hatched. We put it in the brooder box to keep it warm. One day, after it had started getting its feathers, Andrew decided it was time for that little duck to learn how to swim. Bear just happened to be playing in the wading pool that afternoon. It looked like the perfect place for that little duck to learn! So, Bear played in the pool with a duck. The duck also took swimming lessons in the cows’ water buckets upon occasion.
I’m still not exactly sure why, but one day, Andrew decided the duck should visit Bear inside the house. So he brought the duck in. Bear was playing in her room, so the duck came to play as well. Of course, as one might expect, the duck didn’t have very good manners, and soon pooped on the carpet. I was a little irritated, to say the least, and said”Why is there a duckling in my daughter’s bedroom? It just pooped on the floor!” Andrew started laughing and said, “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that possibility! I’ll take it back outside.” Not every kid can say they’ve had a duck in their room.
Unfortunately, the duck did not have a happy ending. The rest of the story involves a raccoon, so I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened. But, it was fun to have a baby duck around.
11. “Why did you trap your sister in a box? Oh, of course…because it made her laugh!”
Bear had a big plastic bin that (occasionally) held her mega blocks. But, it was much more fun to dump out all of the blocks on the floor and get inside the box. It was even more fun to put her sister in the box. Fortunately, Lizard also thought it was fun, leading to much giggling! A picture is worth a thousand words.
12. “Get that snake out of here. It’s bleeding on the floor!”
This is another one that has come out of my mouth more than once. Every time Andrew kills a snake that he finds impressive, he brings it into the house. Usually it’s a particularly large copperhead that he brings to the house for educational purposes. Sometimes, he wants to show me how many eggs a rat snake has stolen (you can count the bumps to find your eggs). Whatever the case, it’s a snake, in my house! I don’t really care if it’s dead. I don’t want wildlife in my house! Especially when it’s dripping blood on the floor. Call me crazy…
13. “There are bodily fluids flying everywhere!”
It was just after Thanksgiving. I had caught a stomach bug up in Dallas where we had visited family for the holiday. I was sick all Thanksgiving Day. It was miserable, but I was over it in 24 hours. We came home the day after Thanksgiving as usual. Lizard was mostly done potty training, but still had the occasional accident. Monkey was starting to learn how to use the potty (because he was interested), but since he was barely over a year old, we weren’t doing any intensive training yet. While we were gone, Andrew bought a puppy…it was Patch. Trinity got bit by a snake as we were coming home. It was a great trip…really.
The next day went fine. Everyone was happy to be back home. We played outside most of the day. There was a new puppy to play with. It looked like Trinity was going to survive the snake bite. Christmas was coming soon. Life was good!
Then came the evening. One of the kids mentioned that their tummy hurt a little. No one ate very well. We got everyone washed and into bed early, hoping that the dreaded stomach bug would pass us by. It didn’t. It started in the middle of the night…it always does, doesn’t it? We had a washer load or two of sheets and blankets by morning. I knew it was going to be bad. But, since I had already had it, I figured it would only last about 24 hours…just like it had for me. Boy, was I wrong!
On Monday, I figured we were pretty much at the end of it, and Andrew went off to work as usual. Two of the kids stomach bugs progressed from the top side, to the bottom. The other was still working on the top. Lizard had completely forgotten all about using the potty, as had Monkey. And, there was a puppy in the house who still didn’t know to put her waste products outside. Not to mention an old, grumpy Trinity who was very upset about the puppy’s existence. Andrew called around 10 that morning to check on us. All I had to say was, “There are bodily fluids flying around everywhere!”
Everyone did finally recover, though it took about 2 weeks for the kids…a far cry from my 1 day bug. Once we were able to concentrate on training Patch, she caught on to the outside thing very quickly. And, all those flying fluids finally dried up. Now that was something to be thankful for!
14. “Where are we going to put two pigs?”
This is another one I never had on my radar as a possible danger (see number 1). I never thought I would need to worry about pigs. But, a couple years ago, the deer hunting was bad…very bad. Andrew was afraid we wouldn’t have enough meat set back in the freezer. So, he decided that he wanted to buy a couple of pigs. But, it seemed to me that we wouldn’t have anywhere to put 2 pigs. Not surprisingly, Andrew quickly found a place.
The pigs have been a great amusement for the kids. They always enjoy feeding apple cores to the pigs. We just put our second set in the freezer, which is always a little sad, but they are yummy! There will be another set soon in our future, I assume.
15. “Get that chicken foot out of my house!!!”
Yes, you read that right. When Andrew slaughters chickens, the dogs really enjoy playing keep away with each other using the chicken feet. It’s kinda yucky! Once, the kids had come out of the house during this game, and of course, they left the front door open. In runs Midnight, with a chicken foot in his mouth to find a special place to hide it. Fortunately, he had to run right past me to get inside. As he ran through the door, I yelled, “Get that chicken foot out of my house!!” He did. Andrew started laughing, and he said, “You’re going to have to add that one to your list!” So I did, and now you’re lucky enough to have read all about it!
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