Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Girl and Her Llorse

As I pen this, the chilling October wind howls through the hundred-year-old pine outside our kitchen window, the clouds float across a moon-lit sky and I’m getting chills just thinking of Halloween. Not because the holiday creeps me out, but because my back is against the wall regarding the event.  

Two months ago, Caroline made mention that she wanted to be a horse for Halloween. We had barely made it through August, so Halloween wasn’t even on my radar. A month later I asked her what she’d like to dress up as. Same answer: A horse. 

Since then, I’ve tried convincing her to be a cowgirl, a farmer, a jockey, or even a princess (her resistance to this idea is genetic). I’ve had no success. She doesn’t want to be a person, she wants to be an animal, and a horse to be exact. She wants it to have a mane and a tail she can braid. She wants it to be brown. She’s not particular for a three-year-old, at all. My search for a horse costume began in late September and continues to this day, October 30.

I asked friends, visited stores and searched Amazon. The online site was the only place I could find one, and even then they were $40 and didn’t even have a braidable mane. Yes, I took her desires to heart.

One day at the co-op a coworker heard me discuss my dilemma and offered the use of a llama costume she had. Initially, I thought there was no way that would work, then I remembered that I only had brown yarn and a pair of Carhartts waiting for my creativity and (lack of) skill to kick in. I accepted the llama offer. 

I have hidden the costume in the spare bedroom for five days, peeking at it every so often to determine how I can transform the darn thing. It has a long neck, short tail, no mane, and tassels. Lots and lots of tassels. 

I went to Wal-Mart and found yarn which matched the multi-colored llama perfectly. I created a long tail and fastened on during the late hours of Saturday night. On Sunday I created a mane with the same yarn and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to secure it without damaging the co-worker’s costume. 

On Sunday afternoon I gave myself the, “Now or never” pep talk and decided to show the Llorse - you read that right - to Caroline. I brought it out of the spare bedroom, presented it to her and she studied it. I felt like I was waiting on the judge to examine my open show project at the county fair. I fully recognize how ridiculous that is. 

Then, with one squeal and a big squeeze, she hugged that llorse so tightly. She loved it. She loved it so much, that she has groomed the llorse extensively. I’ve reattached the tail once and the mane three times. Before tomorrow I must find a better way to keep the disguise up before my daughter figures it out. I’m telling you: as soon as the mane and the tail fall off at the same time, this charade is over.  

I’m only putting this in print because our daughter is three and is not an avid blog reader. I fully understand that as she grows she will be more difficult to fool and I’ll need to take her August warnings more seriously. 

Until then, if you see a young brunette running around town in a shoddy horse costume with a tail dragging across Mainstreet and strange tassels all over the ribbon halter, please just give her extra candy. She has a rough home life. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Auction Itch

You can travel all over the United States this season and find a cattle auction going on or approaching. Many beef cows, heifers, and bulls are sold this time of year, whether in the commercial, purebred or show cattle industry. 

Two weeks ago, our family of four traveled to the Kansas flinthills for our family’s production sale, then we went to the beautiful sandhills of Nebraska to another sale where we had beef embryos selling. Over five days, we logged 2,227 miles. That’s a lot of time in a car seat, just ask the kids. 

I love attending these livestock auctions. The atmosphere of the sale, the auctioneer’s rhythmic chant, and “HA! HA!” of the ring men who call the bids – it is truly an exciting event. It is amazing what some stock will bring, what genetics are sold for and how people select what they’d like to take back home to their operations. 

But I’ll tell you, there is something about a live auction that makes me itch. Seriously. 

When at a live auction, you should sit very still so the ring man or auctioneer doesn’t think you’re bidding on the lot. 
Do not nod. 
Do not wink. 
Do not move your arms. 

Not me. 

Put me at an auction and I itch, twitch, and simply do not have the ability to sit still. At the sale in Nebraska, I got something in my eye during the heat of the sale, and could not quit raising my arms to get whatever it was, out. Naturally, I kept blinking, winking moving my head back and forth to find comfort. My husband wasn’t terribly impressed that I almost bought a Hereford bull for more money than we have in our farm bank account. After a bit of confusion, I excused myself to the food line for the remainder of the event. 

A month ago, we went to an estate auction and I watched as they sold the 1989 Crown Victoria. It was at that moment that I saw an old neighbor and couldn’t help but wave. This was a bad, bad idea. Next thing I know, I’m “in” at $2,500 and the auctioneer asks if I want to take the bid to $3,000. I nodded “no” then again excused myself to the dessert line. 

Do you notice a trend?

On Friday night we went to an Angus sale outside West Lafayette. There I was, minding my own business and visiting with a cattle friend when I hear the auctioneer say in the middle of his chant, “Lindsay! You’re OUT!” I looked up to the auction block, and he was, in fact, looking straight at me. I wanted to respond with, “Frankly, I had no idea I was even in,” but I only nodded “no” and walked outside to get some fresh air. I think I use my hands too much when I talk. 

My husband attends these cattle sales for a living, in search of the next great beef bull. He’s taken me to three live auctions over the last two weeks, and I am fairly certain he’ll never again invite me to job shadow him. I’m just a risk that he (we) can’t afford. 

But if you do drive by our farm and see a Hereford bull, 1989 Crown Victoria or something else that just doesn’t fit in, please understand that it is probably a (/an expensive) result of me getting an untimely itch at an auction.