Yesterday My Cowboy moved our personal herd of 1st-calf heifers to the corrals. We have a small herd of 1st-timers, so it didn’t take him too long to get them moved. It was a sunny. bright day, but windy and cold.
Here they come.
He rode up the hill a bit, so they wouldn’t try to go where they didn’t belong.
They went easily into the gate…
Cold weather gear includes a wool Scotch cap, down vest, Carhartt coat, leather leggings, and silk wild rag. (neck scarf) Riding in the cold wind calls for lots of warm layers.
My son made stew today. Yep, delicious, savory, tender beef stew. Mouthwatering aromas of garlic and onion and bay leaves, simmering in the browned richness of beef. It tickled my nose for several hours, before I finally grabbed a big spoon and dipped in for a taste.
I barely noticed my burned tongue under the rich meaty goodness.
You might think that because my 11 year-old son made stew – I am a wonder woman. Superwoman, even. But I’m not. I am not even extraordinary. I am just a mom. A mom who gets weary of the work of just being a mom.
When all my kids were small, I’d look at moms with older kids, and see them doing lots of work, and I’d think to myself – ‘well, that must be nice!’ 😉
I had this idea that moms of older kids could pick and chose what work they did, and let the kids do the rest. That somehow the older kids would get up and go cook, bake, clean and launder without any help from mom.
I find that it is a different sort of work, for sure. Not as much diapering and burping and bathing and wiping noses and buckling carseats for the 157,000th time. No, it’s not as much that – but it is still work. I am just as busy or probably busier. Today, before the delicious aromas floated past my nose – hours before – there was work.
Yes, my kids can clean the bathroom, but I have to show them how – and re-show them how, because somehow the information gets lost if there is more than 1 week between cleanings. (More than1 week for that child – I cleaned in between!) Yes, they can bake bars for the upcoming potluck, but I have to be nearby to tell them when the crust ‘looks done’, and ‘where to find a 1/2 cup of black pepper’ for the stew. (whew! Glad I caught that one! 😉 )
I had to explain what minced garlic was, and that you really must wash celery before chopping it.
I am not complaining. I am delighted to see them growing older and being able to follow a recipe (mostly), and do harder jobs and learn new skills. But it is not a walk in the park. It takes patience and perseverance and many do-overs before they get a new skill down really good. It is hard work, my dear fellow-mom. But I am convinced it pays off in the long run, so I keep doing it. I don’t want lazy, worthless, entitled kids. So I choose to keep putting in the hours now – working alongside them. Because in 5 or 10 years, they will know how to be productive, self-confident adults who know how to make good beef stew.
Don’t you hate when you read a title like that and then have to scroll through about ten paragraphs before you get to the list?!
I do too. Here’s my list: 😉
1. They don’t get snacks. Seriously. When I was a kid I thought snacks were the coolest thing! If I told my mom I was hungry, she calmly told me I’d have to wait and that was that. I still feel special if I get a personal bag of potato chips!
2. Their food is portioned out. My mom made the best baked chicken! It is hands down my favorite food, to this day! But there was never enough to suit me. Us little kids (and girls) were served one piece of chicken each, and usually a drumstick. Dad and the teen boys got two pieces. That’s all there was.
3. They don’t get junk food. (much) Cooking from scratch has always been cheaper than buying junk food. A 10-lb bag of potatoes costs about the same as a bag of potato chips, but guess which one feeds a family? I would watch enviously as my classmates brought treasures out of their lunchboxes, like Twinkies and juice boxes and frozen corn-dogs. All I had was bologna sandwiches, bananas and carrot sticks! 😀
4. They have to share. There were 8 kids in our family, and the meals at restaurants were few and far between. Even fast food was a rarity. When we did grab a meal at McDonald’s, (Oh wondrous joy!) my sisters and I shared a small fries. That’s right, and a small Coke as well. Not too many calories in a half-glass of Coke. Good thing we didn’t eat there often.
5. They eat better. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, my mom cooked from scratch. She couldn’t afford to buy pre-made stuff, or even a lot of groceries we now consider basic. She grew a garden, and bought ‘seconds’ fruit by the bushel. We would can and freeze and preserve gallons and gallons of produce for winter eating.
When our garden was growing, many meals were fresh garden lettuce salad with little, red radishes, plate after plate of sweet corn, tomato sandwiches, and a little (portioned, remember?) lean deer meat for protein. That was good eatin’! Mom’s fresh-churned butter from our milk cow, spread thick on homemade pancakes for breakfast… We had homemade chocolate pudding, steaming and sweet, mounded with sweet strawberries that we picked ourselves. She made the best blackberry pies – more delicious because of the hours of sweaty, itchy work of picking them.
Oh we ate good. It’s a wonder we aren’t all obese! Excuse me while I go whip up some homemade chocolate pudding. I am really hungry now. 😀
Anything you would add or subtract from this list?
EDIT: After some comments on my Facebook page, I am editing this to add that I do realize a lot of ‘poor’ kids in America are living on very unhealthy, cheap foods. This was not the case for me and my siblings, because we did not receive government subsidies.
This has been one of my favorite books to review yet! ‘You Have A Brain‘ is an inspirational and motivational book for teens on using your brain to T.H.I.N.K.I.N.G. B.I.G.
Dr. Carson shares inspiring stories of his life along with nuggets of wisdom and motivating goals that teens can work towards in their own life.
Despite being the ‘class dummy’, growing up very poor, and having his father leave the family – Carson rose above the challenges to achieve his dreams and become a successful neurosurgeon. He attributes his accomplishments largely to his mother, who gently but firmly pushed her children to be all they could be.
Honestly, I was challenged by his mother more than anything else. Will my kids look back in 50 years and be able to say that “Mom always knew I could do more and held me to a higher standard”? I hope so. I think we ask too little of our kids. They are capable of so much more than our society expects of them. I want to be their supporter, yes! But equally as much, I want to push them and challenge them and hold up the standard high.
I strongly encourage you to get this book for your teens, or for yourself! It is a great read for ages 10 and up. It is written in an easy-to-read manner, and held my attention well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
February. The time of year when the cowboys start checking heifers every 2 hours. Watching for new calves. More specifically, watching for trouble with calving. The heifers (first-time mamas) need help gettin’ that big calf out, occasionally. So we watch. And on Instagram (my favorite social media platform!) you can search #calfwatch2015 and bring up a lot of ranchers and cowboys who are checking heifers and watching for calves. Because the babies – they are what we plan our whole year around. Even when there is snow, we the guys go out and check on the livestock. Especially when there is snow. I go out sometimes… but not usually. 😉 When a heifer is giving birth, we bring her into the warm barn, out of the snow and cold. She stays there a day or two, giving the baby a chance to dry off, and giving the two of them a chance to bond a bit before we take them out to the ‘heifer-pasture’. These new mamas need a bit of help at times, getting used to being a mama. After the first year, they are usually just fine. Our boss recently hired an extra hand for night-calving. That way my husband (and our boss) can sleep all night. Incidentally, the nightcalver is my brother-in-law.