Never have a city girl feed the goats.

Never, and I mean never, send a city girl to feed the goats. That is the lesson I learned this weekend. Now it all worked out okay. We all got a good laugh but it was a lesson in life and a good topic to share.

I am a city girl. While I do not live in a town, my housing development probably has 1000 people living here. I would not even call myself rural. I live in between a city, Omaha, NE and a smaller city, Blair, NE. I have never lived on a farm. I grew up in the Omaha area. I am not necessarily fond of farm animals. I will walk through the livestock barns at the state fair but that is more for the family than myself. I would rather be in the quilting building or the building that has all of the canning items or the retail building.

The Girl Scouts in my county had an overnight to celebrate the birthday of the founder of Girl Scouting, Juliette Gordon Low. I organized it so it was held at Camp Fontanelle, the church camp where our family volunteers and our children attend. We are very devoted to this camp.

This camp offers a lot in the fall. There is a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, tree climbing, hiking, outdoor evening movies, overnights and there is even a petting barn that houses numerous types of animals. Our troops were taking advantage of these opportunities. As we are Girl Scouts, we wanted to perform some type of service for the camp. Some of the things that were suggested were a little too difficult for the younger Girl Scouts so I suggested we go to the petting barn and take care of the animals. The director and asst. director of the camp thought that was good and said that we could feed the goats. They said I need to feed them two leaves and I would find them under the tarp, that they were square. I heard what they said, but not really. I went on my merry way to get help from the girls.

I, with another adult, looked under the tarp and could not find any small squares of hay. All I could see were bales. My thought was, “Oh, they must mean 2 bales and they just used ‘country’ language.” Now mind you, there are four goats and one sheep. No way could they eat 2 bales. But I was doing what I was told. I told my friend that we should just put one bale in and then check to see about the second bale.

This is when the girls could help. I got my camera out and snapped away while my friend and the girls dropped the hay bale into the pen. We were so proud! I snapped away photos of the goats eating the hay (above), of the girls posing outside the pen. This city girl can do country work; so I thought.

I found the director and asst director working with the girls and their tree climbing (BTW, not the way that I climbed a tree. This is more like rock climbing without the rock, just the ropes hanging from sturdy limbs. photo  below) I told them what I did and asked if that is what they meant. They both laughed and said that I gave them enough food for about 5 days! I immediately headed back over the barn to correct my error.

Those goats never looked so happy. They were gnawing away at the bale and if they could have talked, I think they would have told me they were delirious with joy. Such a table we had spread for them. We needed to get that bale out so I took 2 leaves (which, by the way, is a section of the bale that is naturally made in the baler when it is being formed. You just have to grab from the end and it will naturally break) and threw them in the pen to get the animals away from the bale. My friend jumped in the pen and lifted the bale to me and I put it back under the tarp. Crisis averted! I couldn’t imagine how miserable those animals would have been. And to think I thought two of the bales was what was needed!

So what is the lesson. There are many. The obvious is, don’t assume that you can figure out what is meant. If you don’t understand, ask questions.

Secondly, you don’t always know what is best. Those goats and that sheep were excited to have so much food. They went to town and were being very gluttonous. I think they would have eaten on that bale until it was gone. That would have been very bad for them and made them very ill.

Thirdly, it is okay to not know everything. There are many things in which I excel: cooking, baking, singing, organizing/managing. I know my limits at home. I choose not to use the riding lawnmower. It scares the livin’ daylights out of me.

And lastly, don’t send a city girl to feed the goats. Except now I know what a leaf is so I actually could feed the goats now! Let’s hope that this lesson is remembered when I run into the next time when I think, “I can figure it out when I get there.”

After the Girl Scout event was over, I, with 3 of the women that were at the campout, went shopping for fabric to make a quilt for the annual fundraising auction for Camp Fontanelle. Hours later, my friend was still laughing so hard about the escapades that tears were streaming down her face. We definitely had our fill of laughing for the weekend.

Life is good!

My latte’ for the day was chocolate, almond.

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Winter Wonderland Exposed

I happen to be the proud mother of a Boy Scout and a Cadette Girl Scout. While both of the programs are similar in their goals, their approach is greatly different. My daughter’s Girl Scout troop would never think about winter camping; but those sturdy Boy Scouts spent a night this past week-end tent camping. Now for those of you who haven’t read my bio, we live in Nebraska and the temperature Saturday night was -9 degrees fahrenheit. Add to that, snowfall and you have what may be a disaster for many. Not these boys. Eleven boys and 3 adults braved the snow, the wind and the cold temperatures and came home on Sunday, saying they all had a great time. Why? Because they were prepared. While most of us will not be tent camping any time in freezing cold weather, there are things that can be learned by their experience.

First of all, know your weather conditions and anticipate the worst. It is better to have too much and be too warm in cold weather than to not have enough and be too cold. Layers is the key thing. Your clothing layers may be:
#1    A t-shirt, then a thermal shirt (preferably one that will wick away the moisture), a long sleeve shirt or sweater, then a vest and then your winter coat.
#2    Bottom layers would be a pair of wool socks (or socks that will wick away the moisture) a pair of cotton socks and then well insulated boots; Thermal underwear (wicking), a pair of jeans and then snow/ski pants.
 #3    You need a good pair of gloves or mittens. (While mittens may not be the favorite, they will keep your hands warmer) Under your gloves/mittens, you can wear liners that would help in the insulation process. Make sure you have a hat, a scarf or neck gator.

This may seem a lot, but it will keep you warm in the cold, cold weather. If you get too hot, you can peel off a layer. This will get you through the day.

If sleeping in a tent in the cold weather, it can be very simple in keeping warm…layers. After clearing away a spot and setting up your tent, lay a tarp down to protect your sleeping bag from moisture (your body temp could melt the snow beneath the sleeping bag). Next lay down a pad as a barrier between the tarp and your sleeping bag. This will help as an insulator from the snow. You either need to have a great winter sleeping bag or you can stuff a quilt or another sleeping bag in your main sleeping bag.

When getting ready for bed, do not, DO NOT, sleep in the clothes that you wore during the day. Take those clothes off and put on clean clothes and socks. Clean clothes will help keep you warmer. If you want, you can heat up some water and put the hot water in your water bottle and put it in your sleeping bag to help warm it up. You need to put your water bottle in your sleeping bag if the temp is going to drop below freezing. That way you will have water that is drinkable in the morning and not frozen.

The last bit of advice is to make sure that when you are warming up by the fire, drying your clothes or boots by the fire, that you do not get too close. My son has ruined boots by melting them and one camper this week-end burned his snow pants. Being too close to the fire can put a huge damper on a great week-end.

While I could not camp, I am not opposed to trying out winter camping. I feel that I have enough background to survive and actually have fun. The only thing that may make the camping a little more enjoyable is alittlecaffeine!

As I was heading to church, I was thinking how those Scouts chose to sleep out-of-doors and were prepared. But there are people out there that may be out in the elements by their choice or just by their circumstances who are not prepared. While I know that we can’t be all things to all people, I hope that in some way society can be a help to those people who want and would accept help to improve their circumstances. That would be my wish for today.