Crazy Cow Country Farm

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I’m such a fool, but then again, you already know that

December 6th, 2013 · Family, Kids

My son had a dentist appointment this morning and before I left to pick him  up from school, I was sitting in my chair having coffee doing a very typical thing – having my very own pity party.  It was ugly.   U G L Y ugly!   There was nothing different or special about it, I’m sure you’ve had them too — my boss doesn’t appreciate me, my kids don’t appreciate me, my horses don’t appreciate me, I haven’t won the lottery, I wanted to sleep in but NOOOOO I had to get up an work, I didn’t budget enough for Christmas gifts and all that we want to get the kids, I don’t want to go out of town next week because there aint a lot to do in Coffeyville, blah blah blah, wine wine wine.  It was absolutely pathetic!

I picked up Kenny and he hopped in the driver’s seat to drive his mama into town.  For some reason we seem to have the best talks while we’re driving and there’s time when my heart absolutely stops at the things he says – today was one of those times.

Right after this self induced pity part, as I was riding shotgun with Kenny, this insightful teen began listing the things he’s thankful for and I was blown away.  If I could pass one thing along to my children, it would be the gift of humility and thankfulness – I might just be succeeding.  He gets it, he really does.

We have heat, warmth.  We have food, a roof over our heads, animals with full bellies, vehicles that run along with a man who can fix them if they don’t.  We have our health, family, friends, and friends that have become our extended family.  We *need* nothing and want for little.  Ed and I have jobs, good jobs that pay dependably and I for one should be ever-so-thankful about that considering I have personally interviewed hundreds of people who don’t have the luxury of a dependable job – regardless of whether the boss appreciates them or not.

I’m a fool.  I suppose it’s human nature but then again, life is a roller coaster and one must be at the bottom for the long slow climb to the top before the elation of those beautiful few seconds when that feeling of weightlessness and pure joy washes over you.  I will spend this afternoon trying to hang on to that feeling and appreciating all that we have, what wealth in this house!

Thank you Kenny.  Your mama really need to be reminded of this life lesson.

 

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Hiking in the Manhattan area – Konza Prairie

November 13th, 2013 · Travels, Uncategorized

I covered an assignment for a Field Rep over the weekend and normally when I go to the field I’m authorized overtime, usually working 14-16 hours days.  Since overtime isn’t allowed any longer and I only work 8 hours, this leaves plenty of time to explore the area I’m in and, truthfully, I’ve enjoyed it for that reason – but I still my guys at home and would prefer to get in, work a ton, and get home.  Oh well, when handed lemons, make lemonade!

I went to college at K-State but I’ve never heard of the Konza Prairie and was really impressed with this trail system!  There are three lengths – Nature Trail (about 3 miles), King’s Loop (about 5 miles), and Godwin Loop (about 6.5 miles).  I really wanted to go the distance for the Godwin Loop but I arrived very late in the day around 3:00 and still had to work that evening so I didn’t think I’d have time and planned for the King’s Loop.

I paid the $2 fee, loaded up my fanny pack with oranges, water, sandwich, phone, and a Kashi bar then took off.   I decided to take the Homestead Trail when I got to the still standing homestead and that easily added another half mile or so then was able to continue running through the south portion for about a 1.5 mile run.  This is an AWESOME place to hike and is absolutely breathtaking, literally!  I can’t wait to do it again and see it at different seasons.  I’ll be back in the area next week and will take my cold gear so I can do it again.

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Rose Bud and Beckett Mountain

November 10th, 2013 · Family, Travels

After we’d barged right into a funeral and managed to wiggle a free tour out of the Rozark Roasterie, we moved on the family history portion of our trip.  Have I ever told you that Ed’s race is “Hill-folk”?  Well, that’s how he refers to himself anyway.  You see, he’s one of those lucky individuals who’s got Hillbilly genes running through both sides of family like a veritable cesspool.   Mr. Kenneth Hughes, Ed’s biological father, came from the hills of Virginia and is the namesake of our middle son, Kenny.   Ed’s mother, Nanette Flynn (Hammond), hails from Arkansas, specifically Beckett Mountain.

Nan’s been gone for years now but anyone who ever spent time with her can tell you that regardless of what you were talking about, if you were there for any length of time sooner or later, she weaved her stories back to Beckett Mountain.  We can all recite the stories about crossing the Devil’s Backbone, the lost infant children, the harsh conditions of live in those days, the final home of the Flynn’s which was there at the end of Flynn Road, and the fun she had defying her grandpa and playing on the creeks along Devil’s Backbone.  Maybe that’s where all the orneriness in the family comes from?  Yes, let’s go with that, blame it on Grandma Nan!!

Cousin Jeri was kind enough to take the time during our recent trip to give us a quick refresher on Rose Bud and help us find the long winding road across the mountain to Devil’s Backbone.  Thank you, sweet lady!  Our trip through the area wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying without that insider knowledge!

After we visited the roasterie, we headed just up the way and found Flynn Road along with his great grandparent’s home at the very end.

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We located the St. Mary’s Historical Cemetery outside of town.

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We’ve heard these names from Nan thousands of times over the years.

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It would be difficult to live in a time where nearly half the children born didn’t survive.  There were so many small headstones scattered throughout the cemetery, some were next to their parents and some were marked with simple small stones.

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We spent some time walking through and finding the graves of Ed’s relatives.  Although he recognized some names, there were probably dozens more that he didn’t know the names but are still all connect through the fabric of small community.

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We found both sets of his great grandparents.

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Of course, considering the area we were in, there were a LOT of Presley’s!

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We left the cemetery and traveled to Beckett Mountain Road where we began the climb.  No, this isn’t the Rockies, but it’s truly a gorgeous drive and it was the one time I allowed Ed without rebuff to wonder out loud, “Can you imagine making this climb in a covered wagon?  Or an old pickup truck?”  Mom used to tell us of the sheer cliff drop offs which we couldn’t really see but Cousin Jeri told us that they were really overgrown, leading to a false sense of security.  Sure enough, when I looked over and saw the solid thickets of trees then really focused on the slope of the ground rather than the trees, I could tell it was a straight drop off the edge!

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Then we hit the switchback.  I sort of knew what to expect because I’d zoomed in on Google Earth (thank God for Google!) and it was obvious we left a graded “road” to travel on two tire tracks through the Devil’s Backbone and across the creeks.

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I think this berm is supposed to keep you from heading over?  You can’t tell but this is where is went STRAIGHT down over the edge!

 

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I think I’d be nervous if my kids were sneaking off to play on these cliffs too!

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Started down the other side of Devil’s Backbone.

 

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The first creek was dry but we could see water over the second one.

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We made it across just fine and that was the end of the drive.  What a gorgeous wonderful cool trek over the mountain!  So glad we took the time to journey over it.

 

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Fall

October 31st, 2013 · Life on the farm, Travels

I love Fall, I always have.  I feel energized and at peace, anticipating the winter holiday season.  I hate the heat of the summer so Fall is that breath of fresh air after cooped up air conditioning season.  The colors, fog, and dew are the most beautiful during this time and makes driving pleasant.  When driving into Newton, you pass through North Newton and there are the prettiest trees to look at along the way!  Every year I tell myself to stop and take a couple of pictures so I’ll have them to get me through the other seasons but I never have.  Then the other day after my run, I finally decided to do it.

Just look at all this Fall Beauty!
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Enjoy it because it won’t last long!

Disclaimer: Some of these pics might be a little blurry because I swear I kept seeing Michael Myers from the movie, Halloween, out of the corner of my eye! ACK! Thirty-some years after the fact and that movie *still* freaks me out!

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Rozark Hills Coffee Roasterie

October 30th, 2013 · Travels

It’s been many years since Ed wandered through the hills of Arkansas where his great grandparents homesteaded so on our way home from Memphis last week, we decided to make that visit.  I’ve got several little stories about the trip through Rose Bud and Beckett Mountain but I wanted to start with this one because it’s about something so dear to my heart – good coffee!

As you travel west on Hwy 36 and are just about to enter Rose Bud proper, you’ll see this large metal building off to the north and let me tell you, if you are ever on Hwy 36 and you see this building, make a quick turn into the parking lot because heaven awaits you!

 

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Let me back up a bit so I can fill you in on just what you’re seeing here.

Many years ago there were a couple of men who purchased a very old German coffee roaster which didn’t work.  They took the roaster to a man who had a reputation for fixing machines and they asked him to take a look at the machine.  He was able to get the roaster up and running, fine tuning it so that it produced some fabulous coffee and the two men went on to open a little coffeehouse.  When the men located another run down roaster, they took to him again for repair and before you know it, he was the engineer who worked on all their roasters and continued to do so for quite a number of years before retiring and heading back home to Rose Bud.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the coffeehouse the two men started grew into quite a little business of coffeehouses and you might have heard of them……… Starbucks.

The man retired and moved home but decided to open his own roasterie right there in the Ozarks so he started Rozark Hills Coffee Roasterie and fired up a roaster.  His son took over the business and continues to operate it today, along with his wife, but they weren’t around the day we stopped by.  I’m sure not complaining though because we were able to meet Chad, the Roaster Apprentice who learned the art of roasting from Rita.

When the roasterie opened, and roasters fired up they created the tantalizing aromas that come with fine roasted coffee; the townfolks started knocking on the door and started asking to purchase the extra coffee after the wholesale orders were filled.  Before you know it, a little storefront was added onto the building so folks could purchase direct anytime they wanted to.  On the day we visited, Chad came out from the main warehouse and began telling us the story of the business and once we told him, “Cousin Jeri sent us,” we were invited into the back for a custom tour!

Chad’s explaining the temperature process and the benefits of these old-style roasters.  He said it’s like using a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, which I totally understand!
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He works on the process by using his hearing, sight, and sense of smell to check several times through the process.  You can see the little round window right above the name where he visually checks the beans as they tumble and then above that is the scoop that he can extract a few from the roaster for visual and smelling checks.
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This small roaster is the one Chad prefers to use most of the time but he explained that there are times when a wholesale customer purchases a large order and a larger drum is needed to he fires up the mack daddy of roasters…….
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This one is considerably larger and holds about three times the amount of beans as the other machine.   It’s a big bad boy!
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Ed was just in heaven when Chad fired up the roaster and started showing him all the levers, motors, and gas monitors.  Me?  I understood none of this conversation but was happy just to be there and sniff in that room, it smelled SO GOOD!
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Chad showed us how the beans look upon arrival, usually very green in color with some grayish to them and after a number of years working here, he’s experienced enough that he can distinguish between the different regions from sight alone.
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Once roasted, he’s looking for that rich dark brown appearance which is both dark enough but not burnt, because nobody wants burnt beans!

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Once the roasting process is completed, the whole beans are held in drums until a customer orders them and only then are they packaged up, either whole or ground.

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They even have an on-site lab where they’ll test and grade the coffee or even train folks on “cupping”. This might look like a breakroom but it’s really a state of the art lab and classroom!

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We went back into the store so I could pick out some tea blends while Chad ground our coffee order for us.  We picked up the Columbian, Brazil, Sumatra, Kaluah Dream, and Espresso plus the Raspberry and Spring Time tea.  It’s not often you get to meet the artists and have a personal tour of their studio so this was such a wonderful experience for us!

If you’re a lover of fine coffee, I highly recommend trying them out and they even have a website!  Or you can always visit in person, just tell them that Cousin Jeri’s cousins sent you.  :)

Many thanks to Chad to this once in a lifetime experience!

 

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Funeral Crashing 101

October 29th, 2013 · Family

Ed and I recently took the opportunity to brush up on our funeral crashing skills seeings how it’s been so long since the last one.  Let me tell y’all how this went down.

Ed’s Great Aunt Maureen passed away so we loaded up the car and drove over to Memphis last week without telling our sweet Cousin Jeri that we were planning on attending the funeral.  Not telling anyone you’re coming is the first rule of Funeral Crashing, so take note.  The element of surprise works best for us because when you’re a Hammond, well you’ve probably been either evicted or taken away in cuffs from so many events that the fewer people who are prepared for your arrival, the better!

I have to be honest here, it’s been a long LONG time since Ed and I’ve been in a car together for any length of time and the last time it was more than a few hours, there were diapers that needed changing, if you get my drift.   So I wasn’t too sure how this drive was going to go and, sure enough, by the time we were just the other side of Tulsa, Ed was fixing to be changed from a rooster to a hen.  The man drove me absolutely insane by asking the same question every 30 minutes, “Look at those hills and trees!  Can you imagine trying to come through there in a covered wagon?”  Let’s just say that by the time we were crossing the Mississippi River, I was *this* close to tossing his butt over the bridge.

We snuck into town arrived early enough on Saturday evening that we were able to sit in a Logan’s Roadhouse from 8:00-9:00 waiting on food before finally leaving and going across the parking lot to grab a burger.  Rule #2 in Funeral Crashing is to get a good night’s rest so we tucked ourselves in at the hotel fairly early.

The next morning we arrived at the funeral home about a half hour before the funeral was starting and asked about the family, thinking we probably ought to find Cousin Jeri and let her know that the Kansas clan was officially represented.  As we were asking the employee, we noticed this fine looking couple standing at the door and they were probably wondering why we were asking for the family since they were, in fact, the family!  After we introduced ourselves we learned that we were standing before Cousin Jeri’s son, Alex, and his beautiful wife, Leslie.

This is where things starting getting a little strange.  Well not really strange but just sort of Twighlight Zone-Ish.

You see, Alex and Leslie were kind as could be but the names of grandpa and Nan’s son or RB and all the Kansas folks wasn’t really registering with Alex – probably because he had his mind on more important matters, until we mentioned the farm.  Then he said, “Wait a minute, do you have the blog?  The Crazy Cow blog?  I used to read that all the time!”  He explained who we were then, officially, to his lovely wife and just like that……. we were in.

We followed them into the room and our hearts skipped a beat at the sight of our sweet Cousin Jeri greeting the arrivals right down center at the casket.  Where she got the strength to do this, I’ll never know.  We made our way down the center aisle and could feel the eyes upon us – it’s the Flynn nose.

Now let me explain.

You see, Ed’s a Flynn and the Flynn’s have this nose and it’s sort of handed down from generation to generation and, well there’s just no disguising it!  I guarantee that if you put a hundred people in a room, you can pick out any Flynn in a snap.  So we’re walking in and it’s clear that Ed’s a Flynn but……. who is he?  Then Jeri turned and saw him, went into his arms, and spent several minutes hugging us both.  Looking at the two of them, it’s obvious they’re related but how?  Could Ed be Jeri’s love-child?  A long lost relative who’d been shunned for years only to re-appear?  A possible scandal?

After a few minutes with Jeri, we quietly stepped over to the pews across from the family and watched the video of the family photos.  A short time later, Jeri spoke with Alex who came over to let us know that his Mama was insisting we sit with the family.  Of course we obeyed and looked at the full pews asking Alex where he’d like us to move to.  ”Why don’t you just come right up front with my wife and I,” was his reply and let me tell you, the scandal was going full force now to see these strangers-but-obviously-a-Flynn moving over to the family side!

Our Funeral Crashing was going marvelously well.

The service was beautiful and heart-breaking but yet……. exactly what a service should be.  Her life was truly celebrated and Jeri herself gave the eulogy, solid like an oak tree in her strength – her Mama would have been proud!  A gentlemen she’d worked with for several decades and informed him he would, in fact, be taking the job she’d offered and he’d turned down, gave a second eulogy that was absolutely inspiring.  Heads nodded as he let us know that if there were any Boards to serve on in Heaven, she was surely already serving on them.  Aunt Maureen’s great granddaughter then sang a beautiful song for us, such strength we witnessed that day!

After the service Alex was kind enough to invite us to his mother’s for food and celebration, since we’re family and all – of course we agreed.  We arrived at the house a short time later and poor Jeri’s daughter just couldn’t take another minute, she had to come and ask who these folks were that seemed to be stalking her Mama!  Once the introductions were made and she realized we weren’t just some strangers off the street showing up for the free food, we were welcomed with open arms, literally.

Now let me tell about southern families, what little I know about them, once you’re in, you’re in.  You’ve never witnessed hospitality, graciousness, or true kinship until you’ve discovered your southern family branch let me tell you!  The entire clan was so very kind to us and we sat around telling stories for many hours, thoroughly monopolizing Cousin Jeri right there in her own kitchen.  The family would come and go, listen for a while, join in, then go back to the other room and allowed us to have this time with her.   It was such a privilege to meet them, all of them were just so wonderful, honestly we felt very much like family and we’re so glad we made the trip.

We stayed in Memphis another day to sightsee then went home through Rose Bud, Arkansas stopping at the historical cemetery and driving over Beckett Mountain along the way while taking a ton of pictures.  We also stopped at a fabulous little coffee roasterie and I’ve got quite a story about that place!

But that’s for another day…….. I’ll finish today by reflecting more on the strength of southern women and the love of distant family.

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Tap, Tap, Tap; Is this thing still on?

October 28th, 2013 · Family, Life on the farm

I’ve been gone a long, long, LONG time from my dear friend that is this blog. It was such a comforting journal for me as well as a way to connect with friends and family, to express myself, and keep up with the happenings ’round here. So much has happened over the past couple of years and it took a simple passing comment from a wise lady to give me that “Aha!” moment where I acknowledged the hole left by not updating my blog.

My life has been running me and I haven’t been living my life for quite some time now — that needs to change.

A recent trip back to Ed’s family roots really started some soul-searching. No, I take that back, what really started it was the government shut down because that provided me with three full weeks of getting to know Loopy again. Yes, that’s when it really started. I felt like I was waking up from a dream, well a nightmare really, I mean I do work for the government after all! My soul and my very being needed those three weeks; I think my family did too. The boys sort of re-connected with their long lost mother and we’re all better for it.

I have thousands, yes thousands of pictures to upload. I have lost passwords and my story-telling fingers are quite rusty. Plugins have been updated and deleted, most of which I can’t even remember what function they were installed to serve. The picture above of the kids is about 10 years old. I need to update everything and figure out how to re-start this little blog of mine.

But I have stories, lots of them, to tell you.

I’ll be back……….. soon. :)

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Barn Fire

March 1st, 2012 · Uncategorized

Pictures of the barn fire. We’re all doing fine. Ed and I are heading into town for feed and supplies so I will post an update later this afternoon.

THANK YOU again to the entire community of Goessel. I just can’t express how very lucky and grateful we are!!!!

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Osage Indian Headrights

June 6th, 2011 · Uncategorized

I’ve been asked many times over the years about my tribe’s headrights so I thought I would do a couple of posts explaining more about them.  I say couple because I doubt I would have the time to explain it all at once! LOL  There’s a lot of details and some absolutely fascinating information.  In fact, I just borrowed some wonderful books from my mother and will post more as I read through them.

So, are you ready for a headright lesson?  Here we go.   First, some interesting links.

  • A cursory explanation can be found on the Osage site here.  There are 1.47 million acres in the Reservation!
  • My mother’s cousin (maybe second?) was Clarence Tinker, the first General to die in WWII and Tinker Air Force Base is named after him.
  • Wiki has some good general tribal information.
  • Fantastic article explaining the discovery of oil on indian land & other information.
  • Murders began because of the headrights.

I’ll post more as I go.

When the government created the Reservation they (the Tribe) counted themselves at just over 2,000 and they issued parcels of land at 658 acres to each one of the “original allottees”.  My great grandmother was Nora D Stingley and she’s number 1972.  The Tribe then created the Mineral Trust and determined that the Tribe had rights to any mineral royalties from the reservation and that those royalties would be divided equally among the original allottees.  Oil was discovered soon after and everything changed.

The quarterly payments for each headright began in late 1800′s and, once oil was discovered, were outrageous – this site shows the history of payments with inflation, the years are listed by rank in amount and not cronologically.  IN THE 20′s these indians were EACH receiving nearly $150,000 (by today’s standards) a QUARTER and when you figure that some of these allottees were also receiving their parent’s share when they passed …… well there were young indians receiving $450,000 (by today’s standards) or so each quarter.  At one point it’s reported that the Osage Indians were the richest people in the world – and the white men began noticing.

In the beginning it was setup so that when an allottee passed away their headrights were passed to their children if they were from an indian mother but not to the children if the indian was the father.  Then they started getting into percentages and things sort of went south.  Finally it was decided that the allottee could leave their headright with whomever they wanted.

That’s when the murders started.  Or should I say, suicides by putting a bullet through one’s head.  Through the back of one’s head.

Exactly.

In fact, a Mr. Hale decided that he would just get a whole racket going and actually put out contracts on his wife’s family when he got those allottments all lined out in their wills.  There was an attorney in town who “assisted” white men in finding young indian girls to marry and then strangely those girls would be mysteriously shot or found dead in another manner.  One indian committed suicide by burning a car – normally not a common method of suicide.

At any rate, taxes were avoided by one way and one way only for anyone receiving an allotment check, original or inherited, you had to be declared indigent.  If you weren’t indigent then you had to pay taxes.  My own grandmother declared herself indigent when she inherited her share of Nora’s headright.

That’s all I have time for now but I promise to post more.

 

 

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I’m in The New Yorker!

May 11th, 2011 · Pioneer Woman, Uncategorized

Remember my posting calling Bullshit! on Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman?  Well holy hell my Aunt Carole emailed and told that it got quoted in The New Yorker Magazine!  I don’t live near a place that carries it so I asked a friend to email me a copy.  I must say, it’s definitely NOT the most flattering article at Ree.  The sentence about my post is on the last page, center column, at the bottom. :)

OPioneerWomanNewYorker

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