Friday, June 29, 2007

Horse Sales

Just got home from the horse sale, picked up a couple of geldings that ought to do a fine job with the cows.

Once the second one was bought, we left. I was afraid I'd come home with three instead of the two max I'd given myself before I ever went.

*Stand Up*

My name is Farmgirl, and I'm addicted to horses.

There, I said it. Its an expensive addiction, and just like any other, once you break down and feed it once, its hard to stop. Especially when you've got two, and are thinking of that four-horse trailer half empty.

Anyway, we came home with one little grade gelding, and one bigger AQHA registered gelding. The registered boy is good bloodlines, lines we like, and watching him during his warm up out in the pens before the sale, well, it was a thing of beauty. Course, once he got in the ring, he got kind of panicky, but he'd never been to town before, so thats understandable.

Besides... it kept the price down for us.

The little grade gelding is a short little sucker, but stocky, well built, and real personable. Both of em have just crackerjack personalities, couldn't ask for better.

We got out of the horse sale for under a thousand dollars. Yeah. I think today, the way I dressed, I looked younger... so I had an advantage. None of them tough old leathery ranchers wanted to take the horse away from the cute young lady who was so excited about it.

Horse sales are exciting. There's a lot of sadness to them, when the old, broken down, or lamed up ponies come gimping through the ring, and sometimes I want to find the previous owners and beat them senseless, because the problems that cause the horse to go for slaughter would have been preventable if they'd just given it a little effort.

But there's a lot of excitement to it, too......

The gate opens, and in trots a nice little sorrel, well conformed, brushed, and with an attitude that says "I'm too good for all of you!"

The auctioneer's assistant reads off an impressive pedigree, and then the excitement starts.

The ring men work the horse in a circle, showing off his movement, and he keeps his head up, eyes on the crowd, as the auctioneer rattles off numbers and nonsense almost faster than you can hear it.

The colt stops, center ring, as if he's posing, and stares out at the crowd with proud eyes. Not wild, he doesn't mind people, but he knows all that attention and noise is for him, and he plays to it.

The bidding is fierce, the ring men begin to call out as they see bids... its a three way... no, four way battle. Everyone is determined to take this pretty boy home.

Down front, actually front row center, is a thin young woman, in a tank top, and faded jeans. She's sitting on her hands, and she has an intense, yet wistful look on her face. She knows she can't take this one home... he's just turned two, and he's not broke to ride, and she just can't afford it.

She has eyes only for the horse, and hears nothing of the auctioneer's babble until he prances out of the ring, and she can breathe again.

She takes her hands out from under her, and eyes the welts that the slatted seat has left.

Ah, well. They'll get worse before its over.

I don't get it!

Ok Blogger has managed to utterly confuse me. I edited the post about the site meter, and it saved as a draft, and when I went to delete the draft, it deleted both of them!


Anyway. I guess I don't need to edit it again, do I?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Old Storytellers

I think I get some of my storytelling ability from my grandfather.

Grandpa has a lot to tell stories about though. He's lived a full, and remarkable life.

He grew up ranching with his family, and joined the Army when he was young. That got him sent to Korea, as part of the motor pool. He brought pictures of palaces supposedly off limits, memories that he doesn't like to think about, and lots of stories he's more than willing to share home.

Grandpa uses colorful phrases and old-time terminology that make his stories come more to life. I suppose I try to do some of the same thing in mine, with less of the old-time terms. Maybe when I'm telling them to my great-neices and -nephews, or my own grandchildren, I'll have that old time flavor, too.

I used to think it was kind of boring, because I didn't know what he meant all the time. As I got older and started to figure it out the stories became more interesting, until now I'll do a lot to get him started, sometimes.

I really do think I learned a lot about storytelling sitting across from that weathered, proud old man, and watching him tell of his life, his travels, and his service to his country. Probably most of what I know, as even my extensive reading hasn't made me change my mind about how a good story is told, when its coming from me at least.

And I used to think the coolest thing about Grandpa was the pool table in his basement....

So, if you haven't lately, go find someone you love, or just like, who has lived a long life, and ask them about it. The interesting parts might just surprise you.

And thanks, Grandpa. For everything.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Ok, anyone who feels the need can blame this one on Ambulance Driver.

What in the world is with all of the "enhancement products" out there?!?

I mean, I can see it for those among us who have a physical inability to be intimate with their spouse. Thats a legitimate thing, and I have no problem with that.

But whyinhell would a 24 year old guy take Viagra???

You're not incapable. There is nothing wrong with the way things function, especially if I listen to your little "not-girlfriend".

So why? I mean seriously, when I found out about it, from you no less, I really did hope you'd wind up with some of that permanent wood they're always warning about, and have to face down the doctors' laughter.

Apparently, this is a trend.

Of course, with every other email in *my* inbox being spam about "satisfie her bettr" and "add 1nches!" I shouldn't be surprised.

What is with the male obsession with their reproductive parts? I haven't yet run across a conversation in public where a group of women were sitting around discussing who had the better vagina. And yet, I have overheard guys in public places discussing not only who's was bigger but how they "rocked her world" last night.

Bubbah, if you're walking straight and talking coherently, you may have given her a lot of fun, but you certainly didn't "rock" her "world."

And the commercials... ugh. Whoever thought up 'ol Bob needs to get some new and better drugs because whatever he's on is giving him a bad trip.

Testosterone Poisoning EVERYWHERE!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


When I was younger, we rescued a Rotty pup, and named him Max, for Maximus.

This dog was bigger than my brother and I combined, but he never hurt us, no matter how wild we got when we were playing with him. My brother would wrestle with him, and Max would ALWAYS win, by the simple expedient of sitting on him.

Me, I rode him like a pony.

Of course, Max was also the reason that we put in a six foot fence.

At that point my parents were running a restaurant, and we had a house right across the parking lot from it. When Max was a puppy, we had a typical four foot chain link fence, and it wasn't a problem. When he got bigger, though, it started to be a problem.

See, Max liked people, and he was smart enough to realize that the cafe was part of our territory, and thus part of his. We never had a problem with him being aggressive with people, but he did frighten a lot of them.

Max, being a big puppy, decided to get out of the yard and go say hi to the customers that pulled in to the cafe lot. And soon, he started taking the slower ones by the hand and leading them to the front door, and then back out to their cars.

He always delivered the right person to the right car.

Of course, the older people got a little startled when a hundred plus pounds of dog came bounding up to them, grabbing their hand, even if gently, in a mouth full of teeth and slobber, and leading them up to the door of the cafe.

Max graduated to being Truck Dog for one of the regular truckers that came through, my brother and I lost our wrestling partner, and we were left with an empty yard...

But not for too long.

My first reader question, yay!

Kate said...

I've got one!!!! *waves hand*

Okay, it might seem like a stoopid question, but what makes the determination whether a pilot car is used or not? I was in a line-up this morning (bridge repair) and one of the sign folks had a pilot car next to her, but it wasn't being used - at least not then. Are they only used if it's miles of repair work?


In Colorado, whether or not a pilot car is used is determined by the state engineers who draw up the plans and specifications for the job. In general, we only use a pilot car on 24 hour concrete jobs, although I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule. I don't have my Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) handy to look up the federal regulations on it, I'm not sure its covered there anyway. (I haven't been brave or bored enough to sit down and read it cover to cover, as I'm not required to know everything in it... its a hand-me-down from one of my supervisors.)

You'd have to ask an engineer for the specifics on when and where a pilot car is used, but in general you're pretty close. I've never seen one used on an asphalt job, no matter how long a stretch they shut off at once.

Another method that I haven't seen used often (we've used it unofficially from time to time when the radios went down) is the token system. In this system you stop the last car you're going to let through, and give them a token of some kind, to give to the flagger at the other end, to let them know that this is the last car, and they're clear to send traffic the other way. For anyone working road construction and contemplating this method, I suggest using something that won't hurt if they throw it at you going by.

The owner of our company is currently thinking of using a "caboose" car, as well. We've been having some problems with getting gaps in the traffic lines, and the workers think that the gap is the end of the line, and get out in the live lane, which causes a danger. The caboose would solve this problem, but we're not sure yet if the state and the contractor are going to go for it. It would be a major step forward in the safety department, if we could get it implemented. As well as eliminating problems with getting out of range of the end before the pilot car is told the last two vehicles in line.

We'll see how that one turns out, though.

I hope I was able to answer your question, Kate, and I'll dig out my MUTCD and see if there is anything mentioned... you got me curious too!

Monday, June 25, 2007

I got nothing

Sorry folks, I seem to be suffering from a lack of inspiration tonight. I'm sure I'll come up with something entertaining for ya'll shortly, but my muse, and my mind, have decided to go wandering.

Anything ya'll want to ask me or hear about, feel free to ask questions or make requests, and I'll do my best.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Had to share this...

An excerpt from an IM conversation with a friend, just moments ago (hot off the... er.... pixels... people!) when he informed me that this blog showed up on Google... I had to see for myself, of course.

Smartass Friend: you're on google
Farmgirl: I am?
FG: *blink blink*
SF: you are!
SF: (laughing face)
SF: "Holly's Hystrionics" is the first one that came up
FG: oh wait yeah blogger is a google thing.
SF: sidesaddle rodeo is on there too
SF: well, yeah
FG: she linked to me and she's a more popular blogger than i am
SF: ahhh, wait, Holly is?
FG: yeah
SF: oh, okay
FG: what did you search google for?
FG: that you found me?
SF: yeah
SF: I put you into my drop-down google search bar in Firefox, to get the link over
FG: no, i mean what search?
SF: yeah, it was in google
FG: *rubs forehead* whos on first?
SF: What? wait, no, he's on second..

Really folks. I gotta stop putting so many multi-syllable words into the stories, or pretty soon I'm going to be going through the rest of my interactions with a dazed drooling expression on my face, because I'll have used all of my intelligent vocabulary here.


I mentioned in my post last night that my job is a never ending series of near-misses. Someone upstairs heard me and made sure that today fit the bill.

Two separate vehicles that we called in to the Highway Patrol, one truck break down in the middle of the site, in the middle of the traffic line, and a couple of bright ones that either didn't see, or couldn't comprehend the bright frickin orange sign on the back of the Silver Streak proclaiming "Pilot Car
Follow Me"

I mean COME ON people.

Number one... there IS a no passing sign in the long series of BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS signs that lead up to the flagger that stopped you. This does not mean that its "ok" to pass after the pilot car starts leading traffic through. And guess what... when you're stuck between a steep ditch and a twelve inch drop you don't have much choice but to slow down when the pilot car goes twenty passing the nearest flaggers, thus allowing them a good look at your license plate. Hope you enjoyed that ticket, Mr. Impatient.

Number two... When the flagger tells you flat out that he cannot allow you to enter the construction zone without the pilot car, since you are neither a local, construction personnel, or law enforcement/emergency response personnel, that does NOT mean to turn around and back track to the nearest county road, go around the flagger, and drive eighty until you catch up with the pilot line, six miles on. It DOES mean that your license plate number will be dutifully written down, along with your vehicle description, your description, and the exact nature of the offense in a written statement. Right after your plate number is called into the highway patrol, that is. And probably while you're being told by the nice policeman that since dispatch received a call and the reporting parties have agreed to provide written statements as to the nature of your offense, and your estimated eighty plus mile an hour speed in a forty five mile an hour zone, it DOES mean that you're going to get one honking big traffic citation. And possibly a spanking.

Oh, and acting nonchalant as you leave the site does you no good at all. Ever heard of radios?

I'm gonna make a small statement to anyone who drives through ANY construction zone. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT mess with Traffic Control.

We take our job seriously. That job is safety. If you mess with us, we WILL shove our steel toes where the sun don't shine, even if we have to do it with a phone call.

You've heard the phrase "just do what I tell you and no one gets hurt" ?

Thats our motto, especially the no one gets hurt part.

Not that I'm not all for the process of natural selection... just don't do it in my zone.

I don't want to do the paperwork.

Its a bad sign...

When you work with your father, and he starts quoting your blog at you, at work, over the radio.

Or at least I *think* it is... I'm not sure yet. I'll have to tell a few funnies on him, at some point...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

My Co-Workers

Within my construction job I have a lot of "co-workers." Everyone on the site is my co-worker, technically. However, when I speak of my co-workers I'm usually talking about my fellow traffic control people. We're a very special club, and it takes a lot to get in. Watching the entirety of a video more cheezy than the sex-ed ones from high school (no, really, Sammy The Sperm has NOTHING on the chick in the armor in the CDOT Flagger Certification video....) and taking a test that it is impossible to fail. Why is it impossible, you ask? Because, my friends, should you fail this test that you are allowed to ask questions during, you will be handed your corrected answer sheet, told to go over the questions you missed, and given a fresh answer sheet, to take it again.


Like I said, a very exclusive club.

Anywho, my co-workers are a varied bunch, and only my favorite ones leave much of an impression at all, the rest of them tend to fade into the landscape. Which, in some cases, is the way they prefer it, and who am I to argue with them?

Several of my favorites are guys, around my own age. They're people that I know outside work, socialize with, and one of them can blame me for getting him into this whole mess.

I've known T since we were kids. His older sister has been one of my best friends since elementary school, but it was only recently that T and I began socializing much on our own rights.

For some reason, everyone is convinced that T and I are a couple. Some of them are obnoxious about it, maintaining the claim even after we both explain that it would be akin to incest for either one of us to think that way about the other. Since we can't seem to convince them otherwise, we've decided to have fun with it.

One guy in particular is convinced that I have VERY round heels, and that they're round for everyone on site... except him. Thanks to his firm (and fanatic) belief in this, I got treated to him taking his shirt off and doing one of those manly show-off-the-chest type stretches. Which I normally wouldn't argue with, as I like a little eye candy as well as the next girl, but this one had me searching the first aid kit for the mental iodine.

After that, he was fair game. One of his favorite assertions is that T and I "fool around" in the pilot car. So, as T was giving me a break (supposedly the time when we're supposed to be fooling around) I made the suggestion that it might be entertaining to find out just what kind of reaction we got if I... disappeared... as we were going by his particular flagging station. T found the idea entertaining as well, so I hid in the floorboard, while T drove by. The stubbornly deluded gentleman in question was facing away from us as we were going by... so T honked the horn and gave him a thumbs up as we went by.

Knowing that the fact that I wasn't visible wasn't entirely an indication of anything, I planned ahead, rolled my seat back a little further than I usually do, slumped down into the seat in a languid pose, threw one arm up on the steering wheel and made sure I was smoking a cigarette as I went by.

No fallout on that one yet, but we haven't worked with the guy since.

Of course, T and I are fairly comfortable with each other, probably encouraging the idea that we're dating.

Today, he was being a brat and sat on the window opening of the Silver Streak after I'd rolled it down to talk to him, so I reached out and pinched his butt.

You know something? T sounds remarkably like one of those damsel in distress types you see in the movies, when you pinch his bottom unexpectedly........

Reaction Time

This one happened at work today, and a short note to those of you in fairly risky jobs and professions.... if you're going to work in a job or a profession in which physical danger is pretty much an every day occurrence... you should have a pretty good crisis reaction time. I'm not talking about run out to your car or truck and get to the "scene" kind of reaction time, I'm talking about in your face its happening now to you or right in front of you reaction time.

Also... situational awareness, people, situational awareness.

So I'm driving the pilot car today (the Silver Streak, still) and about my third round of the morning, I pop over the hill on the north end of the site to see one of the workers' trucks in the live lane in front of me. (Live lane being the lane that traffic is running on, dead lane being the lane that traffic is shut off from. Its a little confusing right now, I admit, because we've got traffic going from one lane to the other, at each end of the site.) No big deal right? I figured he was in the truck and going to move out of my way. Then I realized that not only was he not rolling, he wasn't even in his truck. He was on the opposite side of a big honkin piece of equipment. About the time I had the little sheepies slowed down as much as I dared and leaned on the horn, he looked up, and bolted for the truck, and got it moved. All is good, except for the fact that I had to slow traffic down to nearly a stop, which is a major no no.

Right after we rearranged the site so that the traffic went on the new concrete closer to the south end, I'm headed south. And my supervisor says over the radio that M (one of the workers) is ahead of me. No biggie, right? He'll get out of the way. Wrong. M had, apparently, had a brain dead moment, and left his truck parked right smack in the middle of the live lane, pointed north, and was walking south, away from it. I had to honk the horn a few times to get his attention, before he, too, bolted like a scared jackrabbit for the vehicle and got it out of my way. (By the by, he was on the opposite side of the vehicle from me for most of it, but my supervisor saw it, and she says that M runs real purdy.)

The thing is, both of these men have, presumably, years of experience. They're both well above your average D-1 Dozer (read: shovel) operator in their company, so they should have a decent amount of experience to back it up. M is also the Traffic Control Liaison for his company, so he should have a decent idea of whats going on with all those confusing orange thingy-ma-jiggers.

Both of them stared at the situation for full seconds before reacting.

Maybe I'm expecting too much out of your average person, but I would think that if you grasp the dangers of a job, you'd make sure you kept aware of them, and have some kind of something figured out for when/if it happened. I can understand a couple of seconds of hesitation if its something utterly unexpected and unplanned for, but a traffic line coming down the live lane shouldn't be a surprise. No, really, guys, it happens about every fifteen minutes or so, depending on where you are within the site.

I'm not saying people aren't allowed to have braindead moments, I'm not saying that everyone has to be perfect every time. I've screwed up myself, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But, and this is where the situational awareness part kicks in... both of those guys could have been well out of the way if they'd been even half watching for the pilot line. They wouldn't have risked their vehicles, their lives (yes, I mean it, their lives, even at twenty miles an hour, a semi doesn't leave much behind if it hits you) and the lives of everyone in the pilot line, including Yours Truly. German Engineered or not, I don't want to find out how well a bug holds up to being in the middle of a pickup and semi sammich, thanks.

It all worked out ok, and no one got hurt, today. It just got me to thinking about how few of the people that I work with, who don't work in traffic control specifically, think about safety. I can't count how many times I've snatched a big burly worker back by the collar of his shirt, because he was about to walk in front of a car, and on this job specifically, I had a surveyor decide to walk down the live lane in front of a semi. Really. He looked at me, asked me if he could cross the road, looked back and forth with me at the gap in the line, before I told him he had time to get *across,* and then trundled his happy way down the middle of the live lane. I thought I was about to see the invention of a grill ornament, but luckily the trucker was paying attention, and hit his brakes... thus causing the guy behind him to hit his brakes... etc... etc. It about caused a pile up, but it was narrowly avoided.

Thinking about it, my job is a never ending series of near-misses, of one sort or another. Sobering thought, ain't it?

At least M had the grace to be embarrassed about his slip up. As I went by where he'd gotten the pickup off in the ditch, I looked over to see him hunched over his steering wheel, shoulders around his ears and not daring to look directly at me, like a puppy caught piddling on the carpet, in front of company. He looked like he thought I might stop right there and beat him with his own measuring wheel.

Wonder who told them THAT story?

Friday, June 22, 2007


Usually its my practice to answer each comment, at least with a thank you.

I'm not exactly used to having this much response, though. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but since I don't have enough time to sit down and write a specific response to each of you, please consider yourselves thanked when you post a comment complimenting me.

I'll reply to any questions, or anything that I feel needs responding to, of course.

And, I'll try to remember to put something up every so often thanking everyone who has complimented me. I've found I work well under the influence of positive reinforcement, and I really do appreciate all of the compliments and want to keep them coming, so that I can keep entertaining all of you!

Plus that whole part where my momma taught me to be polite and thank folks for sayin nice things 'bout me......

Bikers Love Bugs

Working as a flagger is not all sunshine and light, and we get some really pissy people who are absolutely convinced that we get a call that they're coming, and rush to put together this whole elaborate scam, just to inconvenience their day. Of course we did. Millions of dollars spent by the government just to screw up YOUR schedule. Yes, you, in the massively expensive four wheel drive vehicle, thats never seen dirt in its life.

Mostly, though, its pretty fun. I get to be outside, albeit pretty much tethered to one spot, and I get to meet a lot of interesting people, both on the crews that we work with, and people going through.

The job I'm working now, is on US highway 287. Its a fairly busy truck route, being one of more straightforward routes between I-40 in Texas, and I-25 and I-70 in Denver. (Not even the truckers want to drive in Colorado Springs!) We get a lot of traffic, and since the paving operations involve laying down a twelve inch thick slab of concrete, we have to run traffic control twenty four hours a day. We also run a Pilot Car, since, you know, theres a twelve inch slab of concrete with pieces of re-bar sticking out of the side of it for eight miles in the north bound lane, and we're running traffic up on it, or down off of it, around some culvert replacements and bridge replacements. Pain in the patoot.

On weekends, I drive the Pilot Car. Thanks to an engine blowing in the ratty old pickup that they had been using for a pilot car last summer, the owner of the company went out and bought a 2006 diesel fueled VW Bug, in mint green. She got it cheap, when she needed it, and that little sucker will run for twenty one hours before we have to fuel it. Plus, bonus for those of us who drive in circles for twelve hours at a time, its pretty cushy inside, too. Heated leather seats, Monsoon CD stereo system, sunroof, the works. Deciding she liked the concept, she also went out and bought a used Bug, silver, with purplish go-fast type decals down the sides, tinted windows, but no CD player, which makes me sad. Now I have to load my audio books on my MP3 player and buy batteries for the wireless FM transmitter, until the green one gets out of the shop. I'm so deprived! (insert dramatic wrist to forehead fainting motion here.)

So, when you roll up on our construction, if you're first in line, you get a thirty or so minute wait, a chance to chat with the flagger, and a front row seat when the little Bug with the flashy light rolls up on your end, with a big 'ol bullrack behind it. Its an amusing sight, and I see it every day.

One of the days that I was working, as I neared the middle of the site, checking my mirrors to make sure all of my little sheepies were in a row behind me, and not deciding that they knew where to go better than I did, I hear some broken-up chatter on the company radio. Now, our radios aren't the best in the world. The big units in the vehicles do all right, but the hand helds just don't reach out and touch someone every time you need them to. So I didn't think much of it, until I heard the supervisor say something about pulling them up to the front of the line.

My first thought, medical emergency. We get a few of those: someone is having a heart attack and doesn't want to go to Podunk Hospital, so they get someone to drive them to Slightly Larger Podunk Hospital, forty five minutes away. I can't really blame them, PH isn't set up for a lot of things, doing anything more than stabilizing a heart attack patient being one of them. So, I'm preparing to speed my traffic up as much as I dare, to get them through faster so I can get the heart attack/stroke/hypochondriac victim out of our site and on their way.

I get on the radio, ask the supervisor if there's anything she wants to let me know about, and she responds that all is kosher on the south end. Not a medical emergency then. I breathe a little easier and continue on my merry way, being careful to show the people immediately behind me how to dodge the pot holes caused by bog-only-knows how many individual vehicles driving over the same lane all the freakin time. And trust me, some of those potholes could swallow the Pilot Car whole. I think we actually lost a Mini Cooper in one, but by the time I got back there to check they'd patched it again.....

As I roll up on the south end, I see a plethora of motorcycles, and I perk up a bit. Nothing like a big rumbly machine that goes between your legs to get a girl's attention. Even better, they're Harleys!

I do my little song and dance of diving out of the way of traffic and only hitting the brakes once they're not gonna smack into me, which places me in the north bound lane, facing all of the traffic that has been stopped while I've been gone, and tends to make the jumpier drivers twitch, if they happen to be in the front of the line. Only then do I notice the cameras.

It seems that the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Harley Owners' Club were coming home from a rally in Texas, and because of the kind treatment of my supervisor, pulling them out of the exhaust fumes in the middle of the line and putting them up front where they wouldn't get as many rocks spit at them, and offering them all water, they'd been chatting with her. I maintain that her reasons for being nice to motorcycle riders stem less from a humanitarian urge and more from her desire to ogle the pretty bikes, as long as they're real road bikes. I've never seen her pull a crotch rocket up front.

So they decided they wanted pictures of the bug, and had their cameras ready. They got a couple snapped as I pulled in and came to a stop, and then my twisted sense of humor kicked in.

See, it gets HOT in southeastern Colorado in the summer... so I had stripped down to my sports bra underneath my regulation blind-me green vest. I slip the car into park, rummage in the back seat for my regulation orange hard hat, plonk it on my head over my S&W 1911 ball cap and climb out. I saunter to the front of the car, rip open my vest (yay snaps for dramatic effect!) and pose against the hood of the car, saying "If you're going to take a picture, take a REAL picture!"

They loved it.

I'm pretty sure I'm on a clubhouse wall somewhere, now.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kids and Hoses

The points are going out on the well where the cows are at. We've got new points, as of today, and they'll be put on tomorrow, but in the mean time there's some weird processes to go through to make sure the cows have water. Like climbing down into the well house and "flicking" (a very technical term, explained to me by my father to mean jamming a piece of wood into the points and prying them back so that the springs engage properly) the points.

Apparently the cattle were not pleased with this development, because somehow they managed to get the float knocked off the tank. So instead of having a tank full of water sitting on a pedestal of ground formed by many hooves wearing down much mud, we had an empty tank floating peacefully in a gigantic mudhole, today.

We got the tank moved, new hose run, and started filling the tank, when my bottle calf came up wanting a drink. He's just too short to reach the bottom of the tank so I let him drink from the hose. This taught the other calves how to do it, and soon I had a huddle of calves, all sticking their tongues out and lapping at the flow of water from the hose.

Soon, the huddle was all the way around the tank, and I was having to stretch across to give drinks to those opposite me. I didn't mind, they were all too short to reach the level of the water that was in the tank. I had to laugh, though, when the calves opposite the ones getting a drink would continue licking at the air, stretching as far as they could reach, to try and play in the hose.

This seems to be a pattern in little ones of any species. My two year old nephew LOVES to play in the water from the hose. I can remember loving it as a kid. Most puppies will frolic in the sprinklers with great joy.

What I want to know is, what alchemy in the rubber of a hose makes the water coming out of it so much better than any other water in the world? There has to be something, and if I could figure it out, I could sell bottled childhood, and make a mint!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


To all who will look at this blog in the morning and expect to see something other than what this is. I just can't seem to think of anything funny or entertaining to write about.

So, instead, I'll make with the time honored past time of shamelessly stealing someone else's words for inspiration.

By the way, I firmly believe that the entire works of Robert A. Heinlein should be required reading for any student before they graduate high school. Jubal Harshaw and Lazarus Long taught me more about how the "real world" works than any of my teachers did!

On with the quoting.....

"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick." -- Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

And in pondering, I thought of another that should be shared, on the subject of writing;

"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private, and wash your hands afterwards." -- Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

There are others from RAH that are applicable in many, many circumstances, but these came to mind because I was thinking about the act and practice of writing for the consumption of others. And they are all too apt in these days of prolific blogging, and ease of spreading said writings. Especially in certain specific cases that I've run across in my time surfing the blogosphere.

Hey, folks. Yeah, you guys, all of you who can't seem to write about anything but being nasty for no apparent reason other than being nasty, and can't even seem to make said nastiness entertaining for the rest of us, or who post to a public forum without taking the time to make their post anything more than incomprehensible gibberish. You're taking up valuable bandwidth that other people could use. Take a break, learn to spell, basic sentence structure, all of that jazz, take a creative writing class or two, then come back and try again.

Otherwise, stop polluting my internet!


Disclaimer: I know that I play fast and loose with the rules of writing. However, I do have a nodding acquaintance with them. I'm speaking of the people who can't be bothered to stop, take a breath, and re-read what they've written, to realize that it makes no sense whatsoever. Pure Gibberish! This has no bearing on anyone who has been mentioned in this blog, or will be mentioned in this blog in the future, unless otherwise stated. Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Oldest Friend

Ya'll can thank my associational memory for this one. Mentioning the fact that I'm horse nuts in my previous post got me thinking about my horsey times, which brought to mind my oldest friend, as it always does.

You see, my oldest friend is... was.... a horse. I still have trouble sometimes remembering that we lost him this last winter, I keep expecting to see the old man coming up for a treat and his ration of pets and attention.

Growing up, my family raised cattle. I was still tiny when the patriarchal side of the family got out of the beef industry, but I can remember moving cattle on horseback. I was just big enough to hold onto the horn in front of whichever parent drew the short straw and squeal in delight as they took off after a rogue. As a side effect of raising cattle, and because gangly colts are some of the cutest critters to walk the planet, they raised horses. American Quarter Horses, to be exact, of exalted bloodlines, and patient personalities.

One of the best we ever had, in my memory and anyone else's, was Cutter. Cutter was, technically, Hygro Cutter Sauce, but he was always just Cutter to me. He was born in the early '70s, saddle trained, and started on cutting by one of the best trainers in the land, and finished out by my father, after an afternoon chat aided by some copenhagen and a nice breeze. The trainer, while he still had him, won three minor futurities, sitting square in the middle of one of the smallest cutting horses he'd ever trained. Watching this horse work a herd of cows, and he did it mostly on his own, was as beautiful as any Mozart symphony, or Rembrandt painting in the world. He was a short little sorrel, with a blaze down his face and white socks, and a mane and tail that were perpetually ratted, no matter how I tried to keep them flowing.

When I say he worked mostly on his own, I mean, he'd wait for you to tell him which critter you wanted, and then go to work. When in the pasture, he would amuse himself by cutting the calves off of their mommas and taking them off to play for a while.

By the time I came on the scene, Cutter was a solid member of the family, and had already proven his patience and skill with children. He would not allow a child to fall of his back, ever. Unless there was a person standing there with a firm grip on the kid, he'd hurt himself getting well under the munchkin, rather than let them slide off.

This, of course, made him the perfect horse to teach my brother and I (mostly me) to ride. Of course, once I had a few basic skills, enough to stick my butt to the leather, he moved on to some more difficult lessons.

Like be careful when you ask a cutting horse to turn, or he might just spin you right off. It took many years before the ol' boy was willing to let me take my lumps, and he never entirely stopped treating me like one of his "kids," but he spit me out of my saddle a couple of times, when he thought I was getting too big for my britches.

He was my babysitter as a child, watching over me when I would toddle away from my mothers side and go romping in the horse pasture. He was my confidant, patiently listening to the secrets I cared to whisper into his ear and nodding sagely as I told him of the resolution to some conflict. He was my teacher, instilling in me the love and respect of our equine friends that I carry with me today. He was my friend, sharing with me fiery sunsets out in the pasture, one arm over his neck and leaning on each other. When all else had failed me, five minutes in his company could remove the greatest stresses, and calm the roiling seas of my emotions and mind.

Later in his life, he became more and more arthritic. Our long rambling exploratory rides became limited to him insisting on taking me for a ride in the pasture, meandering around a bit as he showed me the best of the juicy grasses, and then depositing me back where he'd picked me up when he was ready, all sans saddle, bridle, or even halter. The last time we went on a real trail ride, we came upon some cattle in the canyons, and I saw him perk up, felt his muscles tense, just waiting for the signal to go get 'em.

That poor old horse's whole body drooped when I kneed him on past the placidly grazing cattle.

Of course, that meant he had to prove that he still had the same turn on a dime and give you five cents change skills that he'd had in his youth, as I discovered later in the ride, when I asked for a sharp right and got one much sharper than I'd intended.

We spent five minutes checking his legs, and another twenty with his girth loosened and me on the ground, the old sorrel giving me the hairy eyeball the whole time for insisting that he not strain himself.

The more arthritic he got, the less we rode. The less we rode, the thinner the old man got. The rough winter this year was just too much for him, and sometime during the blizzards he laid down and let the snow cover him.

I cried when we found him.

The tradition lives, although we lost all our breeding stock in my grandmother's divorce. While at the horse sale, a couple of months ago, looking for a new horse to take to college with me, we found his sister. Or, she might as well be his sister. She pranced into the sale ring with the same "look at me!" attitude he'd always shown in parades, has the same bloodlines, similar coloring and markings, and even has "Cutter's" in her registered name. My grandmother cried, and I bid, and we got her. Her use name is now Etta, she's two years old and well worked with. Next summer, I'll begin training her.

No horse will ever replace the Old Man in my heart, but with any luck I'll do justice to the memory of the partnership he shared with me and my family.

P.S. My grandmother carries around more pictures of her horse than she does of me. No wonder my priorities, when it comes to my equine friends, are skewed.


I have fans!

I've gotten more response than I honestly expected, already! I really appreciate everyone reading my little things, and I really *really* appreciate all the praise they've received!

I don't know what to say, I figured I might get a laugh here and there, and maybe give people a peek into my dual work life of farming and ranching, and construction, and maybe a teensy little look at my experience with horses (You'll figure this one out... I'm a horse nut) and I've gotten so much response already, I'm just flabbergasted.

Once again, thank you all for reading and commenting. I'll try to live up to your expectations!

...... Crap. I need to take a notebook on the tractor with me now......

Monday, June 18, 2007

"You can't tell me that!"

Pondering on my road construction experience, I thought of one instance that has managed, I am told, to turn me into an amusing anecdote shared with classes at the Traffic Control Supervisor certification program.

We were working on US 50, headed east from Lamar (if you drive over that road in the future, think of me- I've walked every inch of that sucker from main street to about seven miles out of town, and I've done it several times) doing a recycle.

Now, recycling roads is an interesting concept, and it creates a lot less waste. What they do is, they bring in a big "train" of equipment, about five hundred feet long. The first two trucks are "burners," they've got ginormous propane tanks on top, and hanging underneath are the worlds fastest pig cookers. They heat the asphalt thats already there to a proper temperature to slightly liquefy the oils in the mixture that hold it all together. The next piece is a roto-mill of a smaller type than we usually see, that is attached to another truck. It grinds up the first inch or two of asphalt, and then lays it into a neat windrow in the middle of the lane. After this comes a semi full of NEW asphalt. Then the paver, which picks up the old asphalt, mixes it with a little of the new asphalt from the truck, and lays it all down, in a nice shiny new road. As I said, this whole processional is about five hundred feet long, and it moves slow enough that the semi driver is instructed to place his truck in neutral and let the paver push him along. Thanks to the sheer girth of all of this equipment, and the fact that there are a lot of workers around a lot of really noisy machinery, a flagger stays with the train and slows people down going by the whole shebang.

On this particular day, I was that flagger. The fact that traffic is coming from two directions means that I had to walk to each end of the train, so that the traffic would see my slow sign BEFORE they passed the paving operations at a bazillion miles an hour. Trust me, when you're the one standing on that yellow line, trying to slow people down, forty five is NOT slow enough.

In one line, coming from the front of the train, we had a bright one that wanted to go sixty five. He was in the middle and I can only assume that the other end had said they didn't have traffic, because the gap was too large for Mr Gofast to have been lagging back.

I tend to walk a ways in front of whatever it is I'm "guarding" for the simple fact that its easier to be seen that way, and I had walked maybe a hundred feet in front of the first burner truck. I saw the speed demon coming, and waved my slow sign a bit. Hmm, must not see me. I hang the sign out into the lane he's driving in (a surefire way to get the attention of the tunnel vision struck) and he starts slowing down. I pull the sign back, and he speeds up. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I finally get fed up with it and figure that he doesn't understand the dangers of this place, radio that I'm going to stop one of the cars and ask him to go by the paver slowly, and step out into the lane, flipping my sign to "Stop."

The guy stops, rolls down his window, and the first word out of his mouth is "WHAT?!?"

"Sir, I'm going to need you to go about twenty five miles an hour past our paver, as you can see we have a lot of workers down here, and they can't hear much next to that noisy equipment."

"You can't tell me that!"

"Sir, I can tell you that, its for your safety and that of our crew members, now, once you're past the paver you can speed up to-"

"YOU can't tell me that! You aren't a cop, you aren't my mother, and you cannot tell me how fast to drive!"

"Sir, I may not be a cop but I AM traffic control, and that means that yes, I can tell you how fast to drive, while you are in the construction zone. Aside from that you were driving faster than the posted speed limit of forty five to begin with. Now, I need you to drive at about twenty five miles an-"


This is about the point where I started losing my temper. He had other people behind him that were being held up, he was being flat out obnoxious, and that petulant "no" kicked my switch from "polite and professional" to "oh HELL no" in a heart beat. Then he added to it.

"I'm going to call CDOT and report you!"

"You want to use my phone? Both of the engineers on this job are on speed dial.. actually, there's one of them there, would you like me to call him over for you?"

"I'm going to call your boss and complain!"

"Again, would you like to use my phone? Or were you talking about my immediate supervisor here on site? I can get her if you like,"

"You're going to lose your job for this!!"

"Listen, buddy. Look around you. You see all these vests and hardhats? Anyone out here in a vest and a hardhat is Jesus, and can tell you to do whatever the hell they like as long as it concerns traffic and safety. Me? I'm god. Now you have two choices at this point, you can drive through MY site in an orderly and safe manner or you can pull your happy ass right over there on the shoulder and SIT THERE until the state patrol shows up. Did you not notice the damn signs as you were coming in that stated that fines are doubled? Not to mention the fact that if you give him the same shitty attitude you've given me, you're likely to get slapped with reckless endangerment and reckless driving on top of the speeding violation. If you run me, sir, I will get your license plate number and I WILL report you to the state patrol, and you WILL be stopped for it, wherever they find you."

I had seen him tense at the mention of the cops, and I figured he was preparing to run for it. He didn't, after he realized I was serious about turning him in.

"Now are you going to be a good boy and go through my site in a safe and proper manner or would you like to have this discussion with the nice officers?"

He went past the paver at twenty five, and then floored it on out of the site.

A couple of minutes later I hear on the radio: "Farmgirl, have you been cussing at traffic?"

"Yes, but he deserved it."

Apparently one of the crew members had run into my supervisor elsewhere on site, and related the story, as related to him by the driver of the first burner truck, which caught up with me in time for the cussing to start. I'm still not sure how he managed to hear what I was saying, but it was pretty much word for word, so I suppose I might have been a little loud.

I was also reported to have grown three feet in height, sprouted coarse dark hair all over my body, and large curving horns.

This is my legacy to traffic control.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

What Goes Around....

First, I think I should point out some specifics of my job, in road construction. Some days I stand there with a stick, and some days I drive the Pilot Car. It all depends on what day it is, really. This story actually happened fairly recently, and it caused no little amount of uproar, in a couple of different senses.

On the day in question, I was working a little side road, that got maybe five or six cars a day. Not much excitement. Not many people around either, which makes handling the call of nature a fairly simple task, even for us setters, if we're not too squeamish to pop a squat.

This particular day was a holiday weekend, and everyone was off site, or so I thought. The concrete cutters had been there doing some routine maintenance on their equipment, but I'd seen them head south an hour earlier. So, when nature called, I didn't think much of it. Stepped behind the light plant to shield myself from the flagger across the highway and any traffic that they might get while I was otherwise occupied, and dropped trou.

Just in time to see the cutters pop up over the hill on the highway, with a full view of me watering the roadside foliage.


Ah well, its construction, and MOST of the males in construction have the understanding that we setters have a little bit more to hang out in the breeze than the pointers do, but no less need to do so, and they politely "don't see" anything. Just like we of the mammary glands "don't see" anything when they stand really close to a vehicle tire and look innocent.

Boy, was I wrong about these guys.

About the time I'm re-covering the, er, "playground area," I notice that they're waving at me. And hanging out the window to do it. And they continue waving, while they make left turn (away from me) and start back in the direction they came from, on the other side of the slab.

*blink blink*

At this point I'm getting a little annoyed at their behavior, because its Just Not Polite, but I'm still willing to blow it off, provided they show good behavior the next time I see them.

Boy, did they screw that one up.

They came back, in all their unwashed glory, and continued their ape-like behavior, up to and including the chimpanzee resembling grin on the face of the passenger.

And then, fifteen minutes later, they pulled in and talked to me. Well, the driver talked to me. The passenger sat there and continued his impression of a zoo chimp, a good enough job that I was beginning to wonder if he was contemplating flinging poo, or something else that the smaller apes and monkeys like to fling at bus loads of school children.

At this point, their behavior got reported to my supervisor. She, being practical minded, reported it to the owner of the company to deal with on the higher levels, and then noticed that... whoopsie, the cutters had run off and left the site, leaving behind their lunch box.

Well, we wouldn't want it to get stolen, so she brought it to me for safe keeping. Somehow along the way, the zipper that held it closed malfunctioned, and everything inside just.... blew away.

And somehow, while it was in my possession, and before we decided that really, it was unlikely to be stolen sitting on the slab right beside part of the cutters' equipment, some wandering ghostly bum came by and took a whiz in it. And then another one did it, and another. And after we placed it back where they could find it, ANOTHER one showed up and whizzed all over it!

I mean REALLY! How many wandering ghostly bums do we HAVE around here? Or maybe they're Ninja bums... all's I know is, I never saw 'em.

*whistles innocently*

I also never heard a word about the lunchbox incident from the higher-ups, but I DID hear that every man on site got a sexual harassment lecture. Kind of unfair since 90% of the guys out there have been great, but the ones who didn't need it won't pay it any mind anyway.

The moral of the story... Its better to be Pissed Off than to have your lunchbox Pissed In.

Or maybe its "don't be a snarky sexist knob-gobbler and harass the female flaggers, or the whole crew will take revenge" ......

Saturday, June 16, 2007

First Ever Ladies' Sidesaddle Rodeo

Reading through some others' blogs, I've found a couple of posts on the species that provides us with such wonderful things as steak, and hamburger. I decided to add my two cents.

Growing up in a rural area, you learn quickly that nine times out of ten, cows are not the smartest creatures on this planet. This would be why they're food, and not pets. The tenth time almost always comes at the worst possible moment, "almost" because calves that are bottle raised and exposed to more than "fence, more fence, gate, OH! hole in the fence, wooohoo!" can show some real promise for the mischief olympics.

Some short and simple facts about cattle.

Your average bovine weighs MUCH more than you do. If they step on you/kick you/brush you accidentally as they go by, it hurts.

However, most cattle are afraid of people. Of any size. I've seen a herd of placidly grazing charolets go into a raving tizzy because a two year old waddles into their general area and starts giggling and yelling "MOOO cows! MOOOOOO!" I'm not sure what was more entertaining. The startled and panicky reaction of the cattle, or the disappointed look on the two year old's face when they refused to moo on command.

Our cattle are not quite as spooky as some. We tend to treat them to "cake," a protein supplement that is formed into pellets about the size of a shotgun shell, on a semi regular basis, and since we distribute this by dint of laying the bags out on the tail gate and having one person drive while the other scatters the Cow Candy out behind us, they come running pretty much every time you drop the tailgate on the pickup. However, if you're trying to get them back into the corral, because some bright boy at the electric company left the gate open whilst checking out a power outage on lines that happen to cross your pasturage, they turn into rip-snorting spooky old biddies. They also completely forget where the corral gate is, and high tail it for the other side of the country whenever you approach them. Sometimes. Sometimes you walk up open the gate and start hollering "You sorry b#$%&es, get your butts in here!" and they come running, to file into the pen in an orderly fashion, and on out into the fenced pasture that they're SUPPOSED to be in.

The most fun, though, is branding time.

Colorado is a brand state, which means we have to brand our calves before we can ship them across state lines. The sale barn that my grandfather prefers is in Kansas. So, we brand, on a semi-regular basis.

Last year, the time rolled around where grandpa wanted to brand. We consulted the almanac, told him the moon was wrong, and he proceeded to insist, in nearly the same tone as my two year old nephew uses when HE's denied something. So, we get the cattle gathered, dose the cows and the bulls with the super med that protects against seven different kinds of critters that live on or in the ones we want to eat, and start in on the calves.

Due to my delicate sensibilities, (and my uncanny ability to levitate to the top of the nearest fence if a creature weighing about four times what I do decides it wants a piece of me,) my usual job at branding time is pushing calves. That is, moving them from the pen, to the alley, and into the chute. Fairly monotonous, broken up with the potential for getting feet stepped on, crushed against the walls of the crowd chute, or just flat run over, as the 100-400 pound calves figure out that whatever is at the end of that crowd chute is Not A Good Thing.

This particular day, things were going fairly well, until I ran across one heifer calf that was determined she wasn't getting within four feet of the turn into the calf cradle. I tried the sorting stick (a four foot long slightly flexible PVC prod) poking her with the end of it in the backside, usually enough to make them ease on forward. Not an inch. I tried tapping the side of the stick on her flanks... nothing. I tried getting right up behind her and scratching on her roasts... nada. So, I resorted to a trick I don't usually have to use, grabbed hold of her flyswatter and twisted it around up over her back, and pulled forward on it.

First time I've ever had one BACK UP when I did that.

During the ensuing confusion, the heifer in question got turned around and squeezed back past a little bull, so I got him chivvy'd on up into the cradle and went back to work on little miss stubborn. The more insistent I was that she go forward, the more convinced she became that she didn't want to do that. She got turned around on me again, and I saw the light go on upstairs as she finally figured out that she was bigger than little 'ol me, and promptly went to take me out. I did my levitating act, wound up on the gate of the crowd chute, one cheek planted firmly on top, one foot hooked in the rails, and one foot dangling.

Thats when the first ever Ladies' Sidesaddle Rodeo began.

That heifer came dead on for me, even after everything but one boot was up out of her sight line... she hit my foot, slid me back into the gate latch, and by the time I got my right foot out of her way, the gate was barely caught. She backed off and I breathed a sigh of relief, about three seconds too soon. That crazy little steak-on-wheels stepped back, assessed the situation, and ran into that gate as hard as she could. Gate pops open, I pop off.

Right into a perfect sidesaddle position on the heifer.

Now, I'm pretty proud of two things about this whole debacle. Number one, I never dropped my stick. Those things are an invaluable tool for reaching over/around the animals nearest you and tapping the one shoving at the others gently on the nose, discouraging them from the activities which caused you to get a brand new tattoo of the pattern of the fencing in your back. Number two, I stayed on that heifer for four jumps before she unassed me onto another gate. This one with rounded corners, which I remembered to be thankful for as I slid gracefully over one of the aforementioned corners and to the ground.

Once I could hear over the running litany of every cuss word I've ever heard in my life and a couple that I'm pretty sure I made up on the spot, I realized that I'd been laying on the ground for longer than my co-branders were comfortable with. I heard a chorus of "Are you Ok?" from the general vicinity of the calf cradle, and climbed to my feet.

Now, I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "I'm fine, back to work" but witness accounts swear I leaped to my feet, brandishing the sorting stick like a rapier, and shouted "Have at thee, foul villain!" before diving into the milling group of calves to separate out the one that had just given me a bruise the size of the county seat on my left thigh.

She got to the calf cradle, by dint of me hanging off the sides of the crowd chute like some kind of cowgirl monkey, and planting both boots on her hindquarters at the end of a good swing.

No one has broken the record for Sidesaddle Bucking Calf Riding yet. I don't think any of them have the guts to try it.

But I think I'll let the record stand, anyway.

Commentary on another Blog (Already?!?)

Ok, well, I've been reading LawDog's blog for a while now (ever since I was turned on to it, and slowly, I'm making my way through the archives,) and I find him absolutely Hilarious. If you haven't found him yet, check him out at The Law Dog Files

So recently he made a post, concerning a young man who flipped him off, and subsequently received a traffic citation for illegal use of a turn signal. It was an amusing story and I personally think that there was a certain savoir faire to it. Apparently not everyone agrees with me on the humorous, and frankly just, nature of LawDog's actions, because he's received many, many comments on it. A few of them seem to think that its an abuse of power, some form of persecution, or that LawDog simply did this to salve his own ego. Since the comments section already has a large number of extended posts, I thought I'd just write up my commentary on it over here, and post a link for anyone who cares to see what I have to say on the matter. So, here goes.....

Yo, dude. Chill out, ok? Perhaps LawDog should have stood upon his moral high ground and firmly turned the other cheek when some young twerp decided that the cop couldn't touch him because his "daddy said." Perhaps. I however am of the mind that this kid needed to have a reality check, as he was leaning towards the kind of attitude that entirely too many people in this country seem to be cultivating.

The "I-can-do-whatever-I-want-because-I-know-the-law-and-its- not-illegal-so-neener-neener" attitude.

Now, if you actually know the law, and the local permutations of state statutes and city codes, and you're right, fine, whatever, I wish you joy of it. However, if you're simply being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious, with half-assed information and a source of "daddy says" well... take your just deserts.

This is totally aside from my personal belief that anyone in this country who is fully prepared to scream "HELP!" at the top of their lungs should trouble come knocking on their little doorstep, rather than doing whatever they can to resolve the situation themselves, (which, yes, sometimes is dialing 911 and screaming for help, but not always) should show a little bit of respect to the people that they expect to cover their lilly white butts should Johnny AxeMurderer show up in their bedroom. Just a personal thought, if you depend upon the police, fire department, EMT's, or any other form of outside assistance from a person or persons employed by the government, local or federal, in any situation, show some respect. These people get paid crap money to put themselves into harms way for you and me. Its a fairly simple concept.

What? You live in a tiny little town and NOTHING like that ever happens? Heh. You're funny. Sure, perhaps it doesn't happen as often as it does in the Human Feedlots (read: cities) but it DOES happen. No one is immune. Period. I live in a town thats Population: Few, and in MY memory we've had fires, brawls that endangered innocent bystanders, and a shooting in a residential area that could have gone MUCH worse than it did. Not to mention petty robberies, drunk and disorderlies, drunken driving, reckless endangerment, etc, etc, etc.

No matter where you are you are not immune to the lower elements of society, random chance, and you are most definitely not immune to Mr. Murphy or his bastard child, Blind Bad Luck. Therefore, unless you're planning on creating your own country, you should show a little bit of respect to those people who make the choice to put on the attire, and take that first step out the door to come and help YOU. If you are planning on creating your own country, give me a call. I want to watch.

Now, for the specifics. Law Dog saw a young man displaying a shocking lack of respect, and he gave him a slap on the wrist in an entirely legal way that will have no lasting repercussions for the young man, and will probably make him think twice about displaying that level of obnoxious arrogance again. He could have done worse. Some police officers DO put on that badge and turn into ravening power hungry mongrels. Some police officers might have followed the kid around and got him on something far worse than a simple equipment citation, and possibly left him with a record for the rest of his life. Not all officers are nice guys. That doesn't mean you shouldn't respect the uniform, if not the man. Law Dog did the kid, and society as a whole, a favor, in the mildest way he could and still be effective.

Or at least thats the way I see it.

New Blog

Well, I find myself spreading my meager blogging habits from LiveJournal over here to Blogger, with a new name and a whole new audience, who will no doubt discover me eventually, and perhaps find some entertainment in my own brand of ranting. I've decided to keep my LiveJournal for a keeping up with friends type thing, so this one will mostly be stories, rants about things that annoy me at the moment, and mentions of others' blogs.

A little about me, I suppose. I live in BFE Colorado, way down in the southeastern corner. Nearly as far as you can get without a stiff wind shoving you over into Kansas or the Oklahoma Panhandle. Its a farming and ranching community, and I help out on the family farm and ranch, thus the title of the blog and my spiffy new name over here. Most of the things I think up come to me while I have my posterior firmly planted in a deteriorating John Deere seat, tracking my way back and forth across a remote field. Unfortunately I rarely remember them in the pattern of the daily shut down, which actually tweaks my tail occasionally. Oh, wait, supposed to be info... Ok, well, I've been hanging around the little spinny green ball for about 22 years, standard childhood, I suppose. A few interesting things have happened to me over the years, and I'll probably share them at some point.

I also work road construction, three or so days a week. You know that little bastard standing around with a stop sign on a stick, interrupting your day, making you late, and generally just annoying the crap out of you because you're impatient and they're standing there looking BORED? Thats me. Trust me, folks, ya'll don't make our day all sunshine and light, either. More on that in another post.

You'll learn more about me as this thing goes along, and bog only knows how often I'll post here, but at least its no longer an empty blog, just sitting here looking all forlorn and lonely.

- farmgirl