Monday, November 24, 2008

Casper, The Halloween Calf

This is Erin feeding Casper. He now takes 1 1/2 bottles twice a day and is quite lively when we arrive at his pen. Yes, he does act like we are momma cows. Butts his head against us and follows us around. Will post riding lessons videos tomorrow.

Be sure to read the post following this one for an update of our comings and goings and to learn more about Casper and the riding lessons.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Long Overdue Update - Bugs, Pony Express, Detour to Grundy Center, Iowa - Now Back in Illinois

I started this post after we arrived back in Illinois around October 1st, but couldn't seem to get it finished. So rather than just trash it, I've left in what I'd already written and decided to just go on from there. So please bear with me as I try to reconstruct the past few weeks.

We left Denver on September 25th and stopped at a Minooka Park (COE)at Wilson Lake about 55 miles east of Hays, Kansas. We had planned to stay a couple of days and unwind and just enjoy the lake view. However, the bugs and tiny gnats were so bad, and the sand flies covered Kasey's back when I took him out that we packed up quickly the next morning and left. I have never seen so many gnats. We arrived there about 5:00pm, and I opened all the windows to enjoy the fresh air, but when the sun went down and with the lights turned on we were invaded by gnats. I put out my gnat trap which I use if we have problems with fruit flies and also started using the fly swatter. Sure did mess up the ceiling. Had to wash it off the next day.

We decided to go through St. Joseph, Mo and visit the Pony Express museum. We stopped at Lewis and Clark State Park, south of St. Joseph near Rushville, Mo. Nice park with large sites, 30amp electric; and we were charged the senior rate. In some states you have to be a resident of the state to receive the senior rate and others just look at your gray hair and ask if you qualify. :) Go figure.

On Thursday, Sep 25th, Jennifer had called to tell us that her mother-in-law's husband, Fred, had had a stroke on Wednesday. Fred and Ginny had met and married in 2003 after both had lost their spouses to cancer. Ginny had moved from Waterloo, Iowa, to Fred's house in Grundy Center. Ginny and her first husband, Gene's dad, had an RV and had traveled a lot. Ginny continued to travel after his passing. She introduced Fred to the RV lifestyle and he took to it like a duck to water.

The stroke ended up being very severe with Fred loosing consciousness and being placed on life support. He passed away on Saturday morning. Needless to say, his passing was a terrible shock to everyone who knew him. We detoured through Iowa to be with Gene and Jennifer and offer any help and support that we could. We first stopped at a state park about 10 miles from Grundy Center, but Ginny insisted that we move the motorhome to her house and park in the driveway. Fred had put in a 50amp service for their 5th wheel so we were able to use it. Fred will certainly be missed.

We traveled on to Illinois after Fred's funeral and stayed at our house in Rochester for about 2 weeks. Dan did some more work on the house getting it ready for sale. Since about the middle of October, we've been at our daughter's house south of Galesville, IL. Galesville consists of a huge grain elevator and a few houses. Our son-in-law, Jon, has been trying to get the basement finished to expand his lab and move his office downstairs and asked Dan to help. He had a couple of different people working on the basement, but they only worked part time and couldn't seem to get it finished for him. AND, his fulltime employee left in August for grad school and he needed someone to help get things back on track after nearly two months of either not having someone in the office or having a person who wasn't really the person for the job. ENOUGH SAID. And Stephanie had a "Dad, please do list" for her dad. Soooo, Dan has been drywalling, painting, hanging ceiling, wiring, and just generally getting the basement finished and doing some long overdue touch up stuff for Stef.

I've been working fulltime for Jon. He did hire a new person and we've been very busy checking in blood samples, mailing results for the past months and just generally getting things in order. And the new office in the basement will be ready to move into this weekend, so progress is being made.

And while we've been at Stephanie's, the refrigerator in the motorhome decided to quit. We are now waiting for a part from Dometic and will take the motorhome back to Mahomet (about 10 miles from here) to finish fixing it. We stayed in the house while the motorhome was at the rv shop to diagnose the problem and will do so again while they finish it. Illinois weather has been pretty cold this past week, so we've had to burn propane, but at least we are at the kid's house. Our house is nearly empty; no food, no linens, no TV, no nothing. So if the motorhome was in the shop in Springfield, we'd be in deep trouble; especially with the fridge out of commission.

We are also bottle feeding a calf. His name is Casper, since he was born on Halloween night. His mom didn't claim him and we found him in the pasture the next day. (For those of you who don't know, the Beever's also raise Hereford cattle). And Jon's lab processes blood samples from several breeds of cattle with various genetic defects. But back to the calf - He has turned out to be a very sturdy little guy who has decided that I am his mother. I feed him every morning about 7:00 and Erin feeds in the afternoon. We are trying to start him on grain, but so far he'd rather have his bottles.

Erin started horse back riding lessons about 4 weeks ago and Stephanie has joined her. The riding stable is about 15 minutes from their house. They started on a 31 year old horse named "Tuna". Erin has graduated to Mattie, a 9 year old Morgan horse. Sunday afternoons are now spent at Lowrey Stables. I'll post pictures of the calf and horses tomorrow.

We haven't been working on our house, but with the market so depressed, we've decided to just leave things as they are right now and go south after the first of the year as we did this past January. Not sure where we're going, but that's the beauty of full timing. We'll for sure be following the sunshine, especially after spending part of the winter in Illinois.

Will sign off, with more updates to come from the farm.