I had to think long and hard about using the word Hillbilly in this post. Before ultimately deciding to go for it, I Googled the definition just to be sure. Folks, in some parts of the country, might consider the term insulting and derogatory but, at least to people in this area, reference to a hillbilly is mostly met with humor. In fact, many of the definitions I read were positive;”those who enjoy the simple pleasures of life, live in sparsely populated areas or in the country, do not care what city folks think about them, spend time outdoors – either in the woods or on the water, are laid back, independent and self-reliant”. I decided these descriptions and words perfectly describe life here on the ten-acre ranch. These descriptions also seemed to fit the experience we gave a couple of young guests we had over the week that falls between Christmas and the New Year.
A few months back, my sister Jules, and her husband Chris, planned a trip to south Texas to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. Their plans included dropping off their children, 16 year-old Emily and 15 year-old Sid, at our ranch for the week. Em and Sid had been here a few times before, so they were super excited about spending a week with us. But the night before they were to drive down from Nebraska, the weather turned bad. The roads were snow-packed in their area, while partial snow and ice blanketed Kansas, and of course Oklahoma suffered a nasty ice storm. Being the tough northerners that they are, Jules and Chris set out anyway and soon discovered Nebraska and Kansas roads were mostly clear, while Oklahoma gave them only a few “closed roads” due to downed power lines. For the most part, they made good time, and arrived at our home around midnight. After a short night of rest and quick goodbyes in the morning, Chris and Jules set off for their second honeymoon adventure.
FD had to work that week, but indicated he had taken off New Year’s Eve’s Day. I was happy to hear this, as it would be our 15th wedding anniversary and we had dinner plans for the evening. How romantic of him to take the whole day off! Well, that thought was quickly snuffed out when he announced he and Sid would be watching the Orange Bowl football game at 3:00, cheering on the Oklahoma Sooner’s in their battle against Clemson. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that the game ended around 7:00 and our dinner reservations at the local winery were at 7:30. Just enough time for FD to change clothes and get us to our destination.
The weather at home was cold, but not nearly as the bitter and blustery weather the kids left behind in Nebraska. Since we had a layer of ice, topped with a layer of snow, conditions were perfect for a sport we call, “Hillbilly Skiing”. We have a fairly steep slope out back of the house, and years ago FD fashioned a sled out of a pair of his Uncle’s antique, trick water ski’s joined together by a piece of wood (for sitting on) and a handle for, well, hanging on to – mostly for dear life.
After quite a few trips skiing down and then climbing back up the slope, I thought of something new. There are about four acres of pasture and yard just south of the house, which gave me the idea to try pulling the sled around behind the Bad Boy buggy. We would each have turns driving and being pulled. And so it was that Hillbilly Buggy Sledding was born that day!
I had also promised Em and Sid we would hike to the river the next day, just as the three of us had done when they came to visit over the New Year holiday last year. Again, it was a real hit with the kids, though the trek was more work than usual since we were plodding through crunchy ice.
The day of the OU/Clemson game, Em and I decided to go back to the pecan orchard and pick fallen pecans. Curious cows followed us around most of the afternoon. Many of these cows were pregnant and quite large. One in particular had an udder that looked about to burst. I told Em I believed this one would have her calf anytime. After an hour or so of searching and gathering, we managed to gather two full bags of pecans and headed home with big smiles on our faces. Sadly for the guys, however, the Sooners lost the bowl game.
On New Year’s Day, Em and I cooked and baked, while FD and Sid camped out in front of the TV watching football. In late afternoon, FD and Sid made a trip to the store for hot dogs and fixin’s for S’mores. Typical men, they forgot the hot dog buns, so we just used a loaf of bread. FD got the fire pit going down in the canyon, cut and whittled roasting sticks for everyone, and we all made a toast to the New Year with a mighty tasty dinner. We sat around the fire long into the night, talking about everything from politics to the calf Emily hoped to see born before they left. Sid pulled a hillbilly move by jumping over Em’s legs to get to the picnic table to fetch more marshmallows and, in the process, a big muddy glop of snow from Sid’s boot plopped right in the middle of Em’s S’more. The look on Em’s face when the icy goo hit her plate, resembled the “stink-eye” look I’ve seen her mother give out on a few unfortunate occasions. While Sid was apologetic, and FD was defending him, I’m afraid I was completely ate up with laughter!
The next day, we planned to hit the road to Norman early to check out the University of Oklahoma’s Campus Corner. FD wanted to get the kids some OU shirts and let them take in the campus area. There are many clothing shops, restaurants, pubs, salons, and bookstores on Campus Corner. Emily found all sorts of clothing items to suit her liking, but Sid was a bit more particular about what he wanted. After our time on Campus Corner, we ventured on to Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, but Sid still had not located any appropriate OU clothing. Finally, at 8:30 that evening at a sporting goods store, Sid managed to find some OU gear he was quite pleased with.
On Sunday, we were all up bright and early. Jules and Chris were just a couple of hours away, and I wanted the kids to be halfway packed and ready when their parents arrived. I knew Jules and Chris would only have time for a short visit, as they wanted to make it back home to Nebraska by nightfall. But Emily had other plans. Before her parents arrived that morning, she wanted to walk to the pecan orchard to see if that cow had her calf yet. So, Em and Sid and I donned our heavy winter gear and headed the short distance to the pecan orchard. Of course the cows were all grazing well off to the north, so we had a lot of walking to do. Carrying my camera and zoom lens, I scanned the distance for the white cow with the big udder. But before I found her, I saw a little lump of white with black speckles, lying on the ground ahead. Mama was nearby grazing.
Realizing our discovery, we took our time, slowly moving towards the pair. Thankfully, the mother wasn’t a first-timer and did not seem to mind our gentle approach, even when the little bull calf got up. He was wobbly and a little off-balance, but finally got his legs moving and ran to his mama. Not wanting to create alarm for the newborn calf, we all pretended to be like the cows, stopping, bending over to pick a few pecans, and slowly inching closer again. It took time, but the cows seemed just fine to have us as their companions that morning, and we managed to get fairly close to the baby, where we just sat there and marveled at the little fella – Just like any good hillbilly would do!
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…