Monthly Archives: July 2011

‘Brand’ New Experiences

We have a guest staying with us….oops; he gets offended when I call him a guest.

We have a non related family member staying with us this week.  We met him last summer when our son was involved in a 4-H exchange with kids from PEI. Taylor came to stay with us for 10 days, and our son went to stay with Taylor in PEI for 10 days.  It was a great opportunity for the kids to do some travelling and make new friends.

Taylor is a great guy.  (I have to say this because he reads our blog).

All kidding aside, he’s so much fun to have around.  His life experiences are in some ways the same as our boys’ and in some ways different.  That diversity makes for truly interesting conversations and opportunities for us to learn from each other.  For example, he can teach us how to speak French or how to cook mussels, and we can teach him how to shoot gophers and ride horses.

This week Taylor has been immersed in the Western farming/ranching lifestyle, which is something that he hasn’t experienced a lot of in the past.  It’s eye opening sometimes to see his reaction to the things that we take for granted.  Like castrating bull calves for example….or my nonchalance at picking up the dead chicken that my dog killed, throwing it in the back of a truck and going inside to make a sandwich.  Yes I washed my hands, and yes I disciplined the dog….but she’s pregnant and you know – hormones can make you do crazy things sometimes.


We were so excited that Taylor would be able to experience a neighbor’s branding party with us.  Branding is one of the highlights of summer for many of us.  It’s a chance to get together with friends, get some work done, and enjoy each other’s company when the day is over.

Kind of like what I imagine a barn raising might have been years ago.

Some people are disturbed by the thought of branding.  Does it hurt the calf?  Yes.  Does it hurt the calf for long?  No.  Branding is the one and only way to identify your cattle from someone else’s.  Tags can be removed. Tattoos are missed, or blur over time making them difficult to impossible to read.  Without exception, when cattle come to the auction market, they are identified by their brands, and the cheque will go to the person who legally owns the cattle bearing their brand.  We have had cows stolen from us.  Their calves weren’t branded.  We had no recourse for compensation on those calves.  We had a cow stray into a neighbors pasture.  We assumed she was dead.  5 years later she turned up in an auction market and we were paid for her.  Branding works. 

A securely held calf makes branding faster and more clear

These calves are roped to be branded.  It’s faster that way.  We have used the method where they are walked one by one onto a table, but that takes much longer.  The calves are stressed when they are separated from the cows, and the faster we can get this over with the happier and less stressed they are.  Roping cuts the time that the cows and calves are separated by at least ½.

A good strong roping horse.

While they are roped, the calves are given a quick health check, branded, vaccinated and given CCIA identification tags.  These tags have a microchip in them so that the movement of all cattle in Canada can be tracked from the farm they were born on, through any sales and on to the packing plant where they are processed into meat.  This is a step that Canadian ranchers have taken to help ensure the safety of the food that we eat.  It is illegal to cut out one of these tags, they are in the calf’s ear for it’s lifetime…. (Ideally).

Putting in the ear tag

The vaccine is to prevent common diseases that cattle are exposed to, including many different strains of pneumonia and diarrhea.  We want healthy cattle.  Healthy cattle = healthy herds = healthy food = healthy economy for the farmers, the buyers, the packing plants and the grocery stores. 

Vaccinating the calf against disease.

Each calf is roped and on the ground being handled for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.  As soon as possible, the calf is let go and he runs back to his cow, who will walk with him away from the commotion and they will go back to grazing and acting like nothing ever happened.

Vaccinated, tagged, branded and healthy.

After a few hours of work, we all sit at tables together where we share some fantastic food and tell stories and lies and joke about the day.

It’s all over for another year.  We are so happy thatTaylor’s visit this year was timed so that he could be part of a branding crew.  It’s our hope that he learned something new about where Canadian beef comes from and some of the work that it takes to grow it, but if nothing else he’s got some good stories and a little cow poop on his shoes to take back to PEI with him later this week.

A beautiful view at the end of the day.

Our blog will feature a few stories ofTaylor’s visit to the prairies this week.  He’s a good sport and has taken some great pictures for us to use, as well as sharing some yummy new PEI recipes!  Stay tuned.

 **All photo credit goes to Taylor from PEI**

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.  Comes to us at Midnight very clean.  It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands.  It hopes we’ve learnt something from yesterday.”   – Inscribed on John Wayne’s headstone.



A Matter of Perspective

Are you looking for an adventure?  Want to borrow my car? 

My son and I left bright and early to pick up a friend who was flying into Edmonton from Toronto.  He is coming to spend a week with us on the farm.  After a mostly uneventful drive, we came upon the aftermath of an accident on Highway 16 east of Edmonton.  As we slowed down for the police officers who were directing traffic …. ‘Keep it moving…nothing to see here’…….my car stalled. 

Sort of embarrassing.  I didn’t want to appear interested in the misfortune of the people involved in the accident, so I put the car in neutral and coaxed it – speaking nicely to it the whole time – as far away from the accident site as possible.  We have dealt with this type of unruly behavior before from our vehicle, so I knew that after a short ‘time out’ all would be well again and we would be off.

I was right.  We got another 30 km down the highway and it happened again!  So, once more I coaxed the car to the shoulder of the road, no big deal, rubbing the dashboard and speaking soothingly to the car about how I understood that it’s hard to do a good job when it’s 30 degrees outside, but that I knew we still had plenty of time to get to the airport and that my amazing car would get us there.  On the bright side, there was a moose right where the car stalled, so we got to check out some beautiful wildlife while we sat waiting for the car to recover.

With two stalls in such a short period of time, I was a bit unnerved so I called my husband just to give him a heads up that our last trip to the garage didn’t solve the stalling problem, and he might need to be on call to help us figure things out.  No big deal, we are fine, but just wanting him to be aware of the situation.  He gave us some great tips on why this might still be happening, and we were on our way again.

Entering the bustling metropolis of Edmonton, we stalled again.  This time at the entry to an overpass.  I managed to pull into the ditch far enough so the gravel trucks could still pass us at the careful speed of 180 km/hr, and waited the allotted time for my car to go through all of it’s checkpoints until it realized that it has fuel, oil, and all is well so we could drive again…..

………for about another 5 minutes until it stalled again on Anthony Henday drive, which isn’t exactly a small country road.  This time I didn’t speak sweetly at all.  I pulled into the ditch beneath the overpass and wrestled with thoughts of abandoning the car.  My 17-year-old son was sleeping blissfully in the passenger seat while I called his father to ask for better advice on what to do.  He told me that he was trying to cut hay, but he would make some calls for me.  On the bright side, at least we stalled beneath an overpass, so we were shaded from the sweltering hot sun.  That was a good thing.

Two or three more stalls and we were at the airport.  We parked the car and left it at the Edmonton International Airport with the windows down and the keys in the ignition.  Fingers crossed that someone would steal it. 

No luck there.  Sadly, our car was waiting for us exactly where we left it.  I was convinced that it now had a nice long break in the shade to recover from the heat, and it had taken enough time to think about what it had done, so we would have no more problems.  All the same, my husband had contacted a nearby dealer who would see us right away and we could make sure that the trip home would be less eventful. 

Three stalls later, (one in an intersection on Gateway Ave during rush hour), we were at the dealership.  We were so lucky that they took us right away, and they had the most wonderful customer waiting area with snacks, video games, big sofa’s and a T.V.  It was very relaxing.  Especially for our visitor who had been travelling all night on a plane that apparently had encountered significant turbulence due to all the hot weather.  The turbulence, combined with a very nervous and possibly alcoholic seat partner had made his day an interesting one even before he climbed into our temperamental vehicle.

One hour later the mechanics had installed a new fuel filter into our fussy car, and we were off.  Thrilled with the new power and momentum we roared off to the east.  Convinced that the problem was solved, I relaxed and headed for Sherwood Park where I would treat the guys to a nice early supper and we would be home by 7:30.  We were listening to the radio, laughing about our crazy day, and the car stalled.  In an intersection on Whitemud Drive.

OK everyone, just calm down. I'll try starting it again.

There was no shade.  There was no sweet talking to the car.  If there had been any wildlife they surely would have been frightened away by my language and maniacal laughter.  I was no longer toying with thoughts of abandoning the car, but rather with thoughts of borrowing a sledgehammer from the creepy guy who had pulled up beside us, and smashing away at the hood until I felt better.  I called my husband.  He stopped cutting hay and left with a trailer to load up the car and get it safely away from me. 

Not me...but I understand the sentiment.

We set out again after allowing the car to make the choice to start.  We stopped to fuel up and decided against trying to find a nice restaurant, choosing instead to eat at the truck stop where I bought fuel.  It was a pretty good meal, and it settled the nerves enough for us to feel good about heading out onto the highway to meet our trailer/tow truck.

A few miles down the road there was an accident.  We don’t know what happened, but traffic was backed up for miles.  There were many police cars, ambulances and emergency vehicles.  Police were directing traffic.  It looked very serious.  The car did not stall.  I spoke to the officer and he told me that getting past them to Lloydminster was no problem; I just had to go back a few miles and take a short detour that would put us back onto the highway. 

The detour was approximately 100 km.  Through some very beautiful countryside though.  We saw very nicely landscaped farmyards, animals, and even a Hutterite family at work in the field.  We stopped in the town of Mundare so our guest from the East could take a photo of their giant sausage, and generally made a sight-seeing tour out of our 100km detour.  It would have been more fun if the car hadn’t stalled many times along the way, but we had a new appreciation of the fact that we were merely being inconvenienced.  The people who were involved in the accidents we had seen would undoubtedly change places with us in a heartbeat.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking??

Hours later, as we approached the truck stop where my husband was waiting with the trailer to rescue us, we saw more emergency vehicles speeding down the highway with lights flashing.  We cannot know if they were also heading to the site east of Edmonton, or if there was another emergency, but wherever they were heading, we were happy to have only had engine trouble that day.

It had been a long drive, so while the guys loaded the car onto the trailer to be hauled home, I decided to take a break in the washroom….where there was no toilet paper….anywhere.  Sometimes you just have to laugh.

“Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?”   – Unknown


Swiss Chard

I love Swiss Chard. To make it even better I have a great crop of it growing in my raised bed garden. Often, I just saute or steam it and sprinkle with lemon juice. But I found inspiration on and jazzed it up.

I chopped one half an onion and used three cloves of minced garlic.

These were sauteed for a few minutes in a bit of butter and oil. I then added the chopped Swiss Chard.

It was tasty. Or so I thought. Whatever you do, don’t ask the kids at my house for their opinion on it.

– Kelly

I Can Do That

You should try this…………

These are two award winning recipes that our daughter entered in the baking contest at our local fair.  One entry won first, the other won second.  They are delicious and terribly fattening….not that it matters.

Blue Ribbon Toffee Bits Triangles                                     

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cup skor toffee bits
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9×16 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until creamy.

Stir in flour and 1 cup of the toffee bits until well combined.  Press dough evenly into prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until light brown.  Transfer pan to a cooling rack.  Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the hot cookie base.  Let stand for 5 minutes or until chocolate is softened.  Spread chocolate evenly over the base; sprinkle remaining toffee bits evenly over chocolate.  Cool until chocolate is set, about 2 to 3 hours.  Cut into 3 inch squares, and then cut the squares diagonally into triangles.

Warning:  These will burn the skin off the roof of your mouth if you don’t allow them to cool before sneaking a bite.  Not that it’s happened to me…just saying.

Shortcut:  Place the pan in the fridge for 45 min to 1 hour to set the chocolate faster.

….this recipe is from the back of the chipits bag………

Red Ribbon Rolo Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 package mini rolos  (you need about 45 mini rolos)
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup baking powder
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Place rolos in the freezer for at least 6 hours.  *Caution* Frozen rolos make a crunching sound when you try to sneak them from the freezer, which lets everyone know that you are stealing from your daughter’s baking ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and baking powder until combined and no lumps remain.  In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Beat in brown sugar and vanilla, then egg, until smooth.  Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined.  Let dough stand for 30 minutes….I think we forgot that step.  Not sure if it mattered at all.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  With hands, (really?….what else would you use?  Feet?), roll 1 tbsp of dough for each cookie into balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.  If using, place granulated sugar in a shallow dish.  Remove rolos from the freezer.

Press each ball of dough into a circle.  Place rolo in the center, and mush the dough around it until it is evenly covered.  Seal well so there are no cracks.  Roll into a ball.  Roll in sugar if desired.  Place about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in center of oven for about 8 minutes until dry to the touch.  Cool on a rack.

Makes about 40 cookies.  Which will disappear in about 10 minutes if not well hidden.

……..this recipe is from the nestle website……..

I am so happy to see the attitudes of the kids who we watched competing at the fair this year.  They are very sure of their abilities in many different areas, ranging from baking to painting to horseback riding to raising show quality sheep.  Some of the things that these kids chose to compete in were things that they had never done before, but they knew they would do well so they just went for it.  Somebody will have said ‘here, borrow my sheep and show it at the fair’ so they did.  Their attitude of ‘I can do that’ is kind of inspiring.  Makes me want to run home and ride a horse, or sew a quilt….well, maybe not sew a quilt, but you get what I mean.

I, like so many adults, sometimes pause before trying something new.  I’m afraid that I won’t do very well, that I’ll get that green ‘thanks for coming out’ ribbon that I became so familiar with back in my track and field days.  Maybe I’ll even embarrass myself.  Gasp!

A budding artist at work

So here is my new years resolution….I know it’s not new years, but anytime is a good time to resolve to do something I think…I will not be afraid to try something new.  Unless it will hurt me….or it’s boring.

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself.  There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.  So what the hell, leap!”   -Cynthia Heimel, writer          (Words to live by)


Super Easy Granola Bars


It is raining again and for some reason that makes me feel like cooking. Plus the fact that my kids keep complaining there are no snacks in this house. This granola bar recipe is really quick and easy and does not involve baking. We have substituted some of the ingredients and it still turns out good.

Super Easy Granola Bars

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. peanut butter

2 TBSP butter

1 c. Rice Krispies (or any crunchy cereal)

1 c. Rolled Oats

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. chocolate chips

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cereal, oats and cranberries. Cool slightly and stir in chocolate chips. Spread out on a cookie sheet and cool until it can be cut into squares. It is very tasty and add in what you would like.



The Greatest Fair Ever!

Well it is over for another year,  but what a great fair it was. When Mother Nature cooperates it certainly helps. The attendance was the highest yet and the entertainment was some of the best; Down with Webster, Fefe Dobson, Doc Walker, Uncle Cracker and Dean Brody.  Many, many things to see and do; parade, heavy horse hitches, demolitian derby, steer show, concerts, chuckwagon races, sheep show, team roping, stock dog trials, mini horse show,  colonial creations, pig races, science shows, petting zoo, light horse show, hypnotist, heavy horse pull and of course food, food and more food, not too mention rides, rides and more rides. 

I am of course slightly biased but I think the staff, board and volunteers did a fantastic job.  Hats off for a job well done.


“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” Thomas Edison

Cool things

Nothing beats simple ideas that turn out amazing. At a recent book club, our host’s talented daughter put together a great summertime treat. Raspberries stuffed with chocolate and white chocolate chips. They are fabulous and fun. Everyone loves them. They make it seem like you fussed. But I made some last night and they are easy. She got the idea from StumbleUpon, which is another cool thing where you sign up and put in your interests and you will be directed to sites that feature your preferences. Best to pursue on a rainy day or when you have lots of free time.


“Be Yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Never Underestimate an Old Lady

I thought that we were all done calving.  My favorite cow….yes, I have a favorite cow….gave me a pretty big shock this week.

A new baby calf!!  I had convinced myself that this cow was not pregnant.  She had very little udder development, and she was showing no signs of impending doom….I mean labor….so I was pretty sure she had birthed her last calf.  Or, as my husband so sympathetically said … “she has layed her last egg”.

Isn’t she just a vision of youth, glowing with her role as a new mother?

Except, this cow is #80 F.  The F represents the year that she was born.  If my math is correct, and it rarely is, the year she was born was 1996.  That makes her 15 years old.  That’s about 156 in people years. 

Cows have their first calf when they are 2 years old.  If she’s 15, that means this is her 12th calf.  For those of you keeping up with the math, I know this should be her 13th calf….but she didn’t calve last year.  I can hear the real cattlemen gasping as they read this. 

You see, keeping a cow who didn’t raise a calf for another year is sort of taboo and very ill-advised in the cattle business.  I know this.  I strictly adhere to this rule….mostly.  This cow is my favorite.  That gave her a pass.  But don’t tell my husband.  The questionable fertility of my favorite cow just may have passed by unnoticed by him last year, and I just may have chosen to keep that little tidbit private between me and the cow.  I think I may be losing it a little.

So, with the knowledge that this is a 15-year-old cow who has just begun raising her 12th calf, let’s look at that picture of glowing youth and vitality again….

…..ya, I know this look.  It’s a look that says ‘I am never doing this again’.  ‘If you bring that bull back into my pasture I’m likely to run him over’.

But I think I will bring that bull back to her pasture one more time.  You see, she is perfectly healthy and she has the best calves.  She raised many high performing bull calves who were sent to a bull test station for the Beefbooster cattle breeding program.  Unfortunately, all of her calves are bulls.  That’s right – 12 boys.  I think that calf #13 might be lucky and I’ll finally get that replacement heifer so I can let this old girl go.

I know she’ll do a good job with this little guy.  She’s a great mom.  Maybe a little less enthusiastic than she used to be, but hers will be a very nice calf in the fall.  She has shown us that even though she might be a bit late getting her job done, this old lady can still keep up to those younger girls with more youthful udders.  At least for one more year.

Good luck little bull#12!  It will be kind of like being raised by your great-grandma.  You better just follow her around incase she forgets where she put you.  You will likely have to remind her to feed you, but I know you’ll get along just fine.

“I refuse to admit that I am more than 52….even if that does make my sons illegitimate.”        Nancy Astor


Have you ever wanted something. . . . ?


Have you ever wanted something for so long, that you actually forgot you still wanted it? Some at my house would say I often forget things and that is normal, but that is not what I am talking about. I have been a horse girl forever.  There were times that I rode a lot, then other times when not so much. But lately I am happy that I have the opportunity for lots of riding. Over the years, the really great riding facilities were always somewhere else. Don’t get me wrong, it was not that hard to haul to them and in the winter going to an indoor arena makes the most sense. And we just made do with what we had at home – the old bale yard with a barbed wire fence, and old pen with a straw pile in the middle and a significant slope.  Lots of times we just rode out in fields and pastures which we are lucky to have many. But when we set up our new yard we decided to level a spot for an actual riding arena. That was done a couple of years ago. Then this spring we levelled it, hauled in some sand and over the July long weekend pounded posts and put up rails. And some point in time everyone was working on the arena, except the guy that had to work at the team roping all weekend.  It involved lots of pounding, drilling, levelling, holding, more drilling and finally a completed riding arena. It is fantastic. The greatest thing ever. And I truly have to thank the big guy, because he does not even like horses and he will certainly not be riding in the arena, unless it is on a tractor pulling harrow.  And my girls for drilling and putting up the rails and grandpa for all his help. Now it does not seem to matter so much if the lawn gets seeded this year. It was so worth the wait.


“I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.” Martha “Calamity Jane” Burke

Be Careful of What You Learn To Do….

I’ll bet she already recognizes herself.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my Auntie and Uncle’s farm.  Some of my earliest memories are vague, hazy pictures of ‘helping’ on the farm, and of playing there with my two cousins.

Cousins 'helping' and playing on the farm.

I remember that sometimes the cows would be out, and my uncle would patiently wait for me to find some rubber boots and come with him to ‘help’ put those cows back into their pasture.

I remember that there were chickens to tend to, and we kids would be allowed to go and check on the new baby chicks.  We were very thorough chicken checkers.  I remember my sister (the fertile one) checking baby chicks for hours and hours.  We learned that handling them for that long isn’t actually a great idea.  The death rate of the baby chicks was a bit high that year….and just to be clear, it was my sister’s fault.


I remember ‘helping’ to butcher those chickens in the fall.  It was a family affair.  My grandpa would catch the chickens, my grandma would pluck them.  I remember a lot of playing around and laughing.  It doesn’t really feel like I was all that helpful, but I know that I enjoyed myself.  And really, who can say that when they are talking about butchering chickens?

I remember ‘helping’ my uncle to check the cows who were calving.  I remember walking in the pen, loving every minute of seeing all of the cute baby calves….when suddenly my uncle picked me up and ran out of the pen with me.  There was a shelter or something that he put me in where I would be safe, then turned around and walked back towards the cow, who had apparently just chased me.  I was oblivious until I heard him talking to that cow using his ‘French’ words….which I have come to learn are not French words at all.

I remember that their farm was the first place that I got to drive a truck.  I had the very important job of driving a truck with a water tank up and down the rows of newly planted trees.  I felt very ‘big’ doing that.  I probably drowned the trees with overwatering, and drove over half of them, but it kept a cranky, gangly, moody teenager busy, and while I was driving the truck I probably wasn’t complaining about being bored.

I remember that my auntie always had baking on her counter.  Always.  Without fail.  Not only when she knew that people were coming.  I have been known to stop in there unannounced and still find baking on the counter.  It’s kind of amazing.

There is a very definite parallel between my ‘town kid’ memories of growing up visiting the farm, and the real life that I am now living.

I set out to find my own farmer, and I found a great one!  He’s not French like my uncle, but he has been known to use a few French words of his own when the cows chase us.  I’m no longer oblivious when this happens though, I’ve learned to be much more aware now that no one can actually pick me up and carry me out of harm’s way.

I dare you to come one step closer...

When our own cows get out and we all rush for the door in a panic, I can appreciate the level of patience it must have taken for my uncle to wait while I finished my supper, found rubber boots, and gradually climbed up into the cab of his truck to ‘help’ him put the cows back in.

I now have my own chickens to tend to; we’ve watered our own trees; and I try to keep baking on my counter, but I am not nearly as good at doing that as my auntie is.

My aunt was not raised on the farm.  She lived in town, and had to learn her farming skills when she married my uncle.  I am the same.  I lived in town, and learned my farming skills as I went along on our own farm…..and I would like to add here that I am a pro……well, maybe not really – but after about 25 years on this farm I can now say that I have experience, and loads of enthusiasm.

You want me to do what???

One piece of advice that my aunt gave to me is this.  “Be careful of what you learn to do.”  Right away I knew what she meant, but as a young and eager new farm wife I thought she was just being overly cautious and concerned that I might over work myself…..she should know me better than that. 

I now know this piece of advice for the gem that it is.  For instance, you do not want to learn how to dump the septic tank on your trailer.  I have refused to learn how to run a chainsaw.  I wish that I had never learned how to push calves up an alleyway.  I wish that I had never learned how to balance our general journal.  These are the jobs that nobody likes, and if you learn to do them…guess what…you become the resident expert and everyone will “let” you do it.

When my brother-in-law excitedly told me to jump into the cab of his new semi truck and he would show me how to drive it, I said….”Oh, no thanks.  My auntie tells me to be careful of what I learn to do.”  My brother-in-law said… “Ya, but don’t be a pain in the ass”…  So I learned to drive the semi.  But not very well.  Definitely not well enough to be asked to do that again.

Now there is need to pass this valuable advice of my auntie’s down to the third generation.  My daughter expressed concern the other day.  Her concern is that she wants to learn to mow the grass, and everyone thinks she’s too little.  Don’t we know that ALL the kids her age are allowed to mow their grass except her?  Don’t we know that she’s not a baby anymore??  My aunt’s words of advice were on my lips, when I remembered something important.  In one very short year both of her brothers will be living in college dorms, and probably won’t be coming home to mow the lawn. 

She learned to mow the grass that day.  She’s very excited, and feels very important with her new job.  I think that the next time we vaccinate, we might teach her to push calves up the alleyway.  And maybe in a year or two, I will show her just how easy it is to balance this general journal. 

For now, I will keep my Auntie’s advice for myself……

“Be careful of what you learn to do”  –   Auntie Noreen P.