3

Affording to stay home. 

Recently a comment was made to my husband that really raised the hair on his hide. Someone said, “I don’t understand how you can afford the life you have with your wife not working.” To my husband it was an insult, to me I just think the person who said this truly doesn’t understand how we do it. 
There was a time in my life that a comment would have really chapped my hide. I would have felt offended. But at this point in my life I realize people really don’t get it and these comments are made out of ignorance and true genuine curiosity! So here’s a peek into how we run things on a tight budget at the HK! 

  1. We Save energy and resources where we can. We hang our clothes on the line when it’s nice instead of using the dryer. We take short showers and the little girls sometimes share a bath to reduce water use. We do not keep our house especially cool in the summer generally 80 degrees f. Same thing in the winter, the house we generally Keep about 60 degrees f. We use less gas and electricity this way. We also have invested in buying high efficiency units such as washer/dryer/furnace/ac unit. 


2.  We eat at home (usually). We do eat out as a family about once a week as a treat. But if the money is just not there in the budget at the time….then we don’t! I make a meal plan and stick to it. It’s not formal, just a quick jot on a post it to keep me on track. We are also blessed that we can raise much of our own food right here on the HK. We usually butcher one cow a year, sometimes a hog or two, usually a couple dozen chickens. So we have our meat right here in the freezer. We don’t have the extra store cost of the meat. We just pay to raise them and process the animal, which is a resource we HAVE and we USE! Also when I’m shopping I go with a set amount of money. Generally about $60/week. I buy the very basics and make what I can at home. As a stay at home parent I have the time to bake bread and actually prepare meals. I shop the sale ads and frequently at Aldis. We rarely buy pop, chips, snack cakes, ice cream etc. it’s just too expensive usually! 

3. We curb our entertainment costs. We are very heavy users of our public library and it’s resources! Our children attend many of the programs which are generally free, and of course check out loads of books and videos. 

We also spend a ton of time outside in our own backyard! We go on nature walks, have picnics, and grand adventures. It’s free since we already have it! And it makes my children entertain themselves! I see thier imaginations grow while they are pretending ! 


Along with playing outside and enjoying our own space, we spend a great amount of time enjoying our animals. We all enjoy riding horses, walking our dogs, and just helping with thier general care.​ 


We don’t buy all the new movies we want to, we don’t have internet to pay for….we don’t even have a computer…. But hey we do have satellite! 

4. Wardrobes are bought second hand, passed down, or bought on sale. There really isn’t much more to tell other than that. I also dont buy massive amounts of clothes. We all have probably two weeks worth of outfits each. Cuts down on the need for storage space as well as I have to keep up with our laundry. Plus we all really get our wear out of our clothes, nothing is left in the back of the closet forgotten because there are just too many clothes to wear. 

5. My husband works two jobs. I am very blessed that my husband is willing to work such long hours to financially provide for our family. This is a huge sacrifice on his part as he is often tired, misses out on having his own time, and being home to see all of the girls activities. I also work prn as a nurse when my husband is available to watch our girls (no daycare costs this way). 

6. If we don’t have the money to pay outright…..it usually doesn’t happen. We both drive  older vehicles that are payed for. The one vehicle we do have a loan on we made sure was the only payment we had (i.e. We have no credit card bills, no other loans other than our farm loan) committed to. Any improvements to our house or big purchases we make are planned and saved for. Period. Basically we know what our expenses will be each month and we anticipate for them. If we don’t have the money to spend then we just don’t. There have been several times I’ve wanted something new and had to just say to myself, it’s just not in the budget right now, let’s plan, save and wait. It’s very difficult at times. 

These are a few of the top ways we cut costs. It is very difficult to stick to it at times. Of course it would be easier to throw those clothes in the dryer or order a pizza because I just don’t feel like cooking….but it’s also more expensive! Of course there are times I wish I had top of the line wardrobe with tons of pretty clothes, but it just doesn’t make financial sense with our budget. Of course there are times we fail miserably! We aren’t perfect! But at the end of the day we don’t rely on anyone else to pay or even help us with our expenses, and we have earned everything we have by working hard and saving. 

0

Hail to Pay 

So the HK Bar had a major hail storm hit about 1 pm today. Golf ball size hail, high winds, and a torrential downpour. 


I posted a video I took during the very beginning of it all. The hail was only about quarter sized at this point but coming down fast. 



My brand new Yukon, my Dodge, and my husbands Dodge truck are all battered….. 


The siding on our house has holes all over in it……


The three photos above are pictures taken four hours after the hail…still piles of it everywhere…

I immediately phoned all of our insurance companies on the house and vehicles. I asked husband to call in our crops damage (alfalfa total worth about 10k)…..for him to look stricken and tell me he had not yet insured for the year. *sigh* 

Such the life of a rancher.. BUT here on the HK we try to keep our eyes on the 🌈 rainbow…. so we are praying God provides us deductible 💰 money…. And saying thank you that all our livestock is accounted for, safe and sound. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for strength, pray for recovery, pray for patience and goodwill. 

0

The HomeFront HK Bar

Life on the Homefront continues to be a blur. Lots of sickness, school activities, and planning for the next year has been happening. I find myself asking , ” How is it even February…..errrrrr…..nearly March?!?” Does anyone else feel like that? I, sure there will be at least a few yeses from out there in cyber world. Come on just make me feel better and agree? 

So what has been happening on the HK? In the animal departments  I have sold off all but two of my cattle. Sad, hey? Bills needed paying and so the herd was the easiest asset to turn into money. The reason we still have two? It’s only by chance. One mature one that belongs to my oldest daughter Boo, seven years old, is so damn crazy we haven’t been able to get her loaded into the stock trailer. I see some roping and dragging in Jo and I’s near future. So crazy is in a pasture all by herself and then there was the case of the other stray. A bucket calf owned by my middle daughter Owl, whom is four years old, was left off the trailer due to Owl throwing a tremendous fit! Tears everywhere as she begged her Daddy not to sell her Priscilla #47 Church!!! Needless to stay Priscilla is safely bedded down with two of our older minis that were showing some age this winter. Twilight and Louise the two minis are enjoying being out of the herd. They don’t have to fight for their place in the feed line and get extra scratches from all of us.

Currently our chicken brood is holding steady at about nine hens. They started producing eggs again, so at least they are earning keep. Our rooster met an untimely demise from a Hawk…..and then my husband shot the hawk . Circle of life stuff and discussions were had with the  three cowgirls in residence. They all took it  in thief own ways.

The horse herd is steady at an uneven nine. The two minis I mentioned before Twilight and Louise are babysitting Priscilla. Jo my best saddle horse is getting ridden pretty frequently at two to three times per week. I am looking forward to a ton of trail riding with her this summer and a few barrel races after we are both back in shape. Flash my coming two year old is doing great. She continues to learn just how to be a horse in the herd. I have made the decision tohold her out of formal training until next year. We have her on the books to spend three months with Cal Noyons and his family next spring. There she will get a ranch type education and be turned into a good hand. This year I will be ponying her behind Jo on various trail rides as well as attending a few workshops scheduled at our local saddle club. Romeo my daughter Boos gelding is fat and sassy. He has been getting pulled out once or twice a week for her to ride. After some epic spills last year Boo is focusing on gaining confidence and just having fun. This will be healing year for both of them. Katelyn our old rescue POA is holding steady. She is somewhere around twenty three years old and still going strong. She will be helping to teach my lessons kids this spring summer fall. Our farrier is still amazed at how her feet have recovered since coming to the HK. I’m personally very proud that we could do that for her. Our young minis, Grace and Rose continue to be fun for the little girls to groom and drag around as well as are great teachers to the lessons girls. And then we have the odd lady out, Angel whom came to us last year. Our plans for her this year are so far undecided. With so much going on she tends to play last card to everything in the training plans.

Our current dog count is at four.Bullet and Blitz recently turned two and four. They continue to learn. Blitz is our ovzealous guard dog. He has graduated to no kennel and patrols freely. Bullet still hugs my heels on our outings and has come out of her shell, she now has added fetching to her bag of tricks. Precious who belongs to Boo has moved up in the world and into the HK house. Boo has taken over her completely now walking her a mile daily . Boo is becoming good help to have around. She frequently walks the others as well. In October we added a new face to be crew. His name is Virgil. He was adopted by my husband from Unleashed Pet Rescue. He is a small terrier mix who goes everywhere with my husband. One is rarely seen without the other. We all love the way he adds to our family. I’m sure at some point Virgil will get his own debut post.

Eli our rescue cat continues to harass the HK house with his nightly wind sprints and yowling. He hasn’t caught a mouse in over a year….. Much to my husbands displeasure. 

I guess that about does it for the animal news…. More on family next time! Cheers and prayers to you all!

2

Fitness Day 1 ; 💦 Sweat, 😭 Tears, and a little Leaked Urine 😮

So I fell off the fitness wagon 🚙 about ohhh….. 10 years ago?! Today I finally took a little action and started a workout that a horse friend of mine suggested. 

I couldn’t complete the 30 second wall sits, but I made it to 15! My burpees are laughable, but I tried! I had to take about five breaks. I also wet my pants 👖 a little….ok a lot, I wet my pants a lot. (Thanks children!).And I thought of quitting several times…but I didn’t! I made it through the list and then I sat down and cried. I’m almost thirty one years old and I’ve let myself get so out of shape I’m ashamed. But that’s not why I cried. I cried because I did it. I set a goal (however small) and I killed it! Ok maybe I didn’t kill it but I completed it to the best of my ability. And now I feel 💪 stronger than I did! 

My body will scream tomorrow, but I’m going to stick to this workout until it’s easy. 😁 Tomorrow I will set another goal and I’ll kill it! In my own clumsy determined way.

Current weight 189# (Height 5′ 5)

Workout;

10 crunches, 10 jumping jacks, 5 push-ups, 5 squats, 30 second wall sit, 15 arm circles, 10 mountain climbers, 5 burpees, 30 Second plank, 10 jump squats, 10 lunges each side, 15 crunches, 20 knee highs, 10 tricept dips, 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 20 jumping jacks, 30 second plank, 20 bicycle crunches, 30 second wall sit, 5 burpees, 20 arm circles, 10 lunges, 10 push-ups, 20 knee highs, 10 burpees

6

Flash; Flinthillspaintedlady Celebrates One Year on the HK Bar

Flash waiting for her brush out.

Miss Flash celebrated her one year anniversary of being with us on the HK Bar by falling asleep 😴 wearing her all too big halter. In the Spring our girl will be two! Can you believe that? I barely can! 

Flash has come so far this past year. She attended several horse shows and actually will receive a year end award through our show circuit in two and under halter! She stands quietly, picks up all four feet, stands to be groomed, and seeks me out for scratches. She is a dream for the farrier and is complimented for her mind and build by him. ( And he does not hand out the compliments easily!). Flash is a pro at trailering and a quiet presence at horse shows. Absolutely nothing phases this girl!

I have been so blessed over the past year to work with such an amazing animal. I am very excited for our future! She’s going to be a good one! 

2

Up and Coming; Blitz Manny: Rescue dog

It has been awhile since I wrote a piece on Blitz Manny our almost two year old border collie that rescued me almost a year ago.when he came to the HK Bar he was a herding nightmare. He chased and killed chickens, he took cheap shots at the horses dashing in and out of their legs biting and barking all the while. He bellowed at the cows and played chicken with the Bulls. He wouldn’t walk on a leash- he would just fling himself about in blind fury. To say the least, he was a train wreck. But yet he is the sweetest soul I’ve met in awhile. He’s not in your face kind of guy. He has bouncy, contagious energy, and not a real mean bone in his body. Protective maybe, but not just outright blind rage. 

Cue to ten months of intensive work later and he now walks on a leash, respects the livestock, and has proudly been off live chickens as food for the past six months. He rides in the truck beautifully. He stays on the front porch and protects his farm. He barks and puffs up impressively when someone pulls in the drive. I love all these things about him! Like any good farm dog he owns his people and his job as overseer and protector. 

With Tucker and Bo having passed so recently and in such quick succession of one another, I feel blessed to be finding both dogs strengths in Blitz Manny. He truly will be one for the books. Hell, he already is at the tender age of almost two years old. I feel like a proud mom really having made this journey with him so far. 

HIs favorite things to do are ride in the truck with me, and chasing his basketball/football/soccer/baseballs/soft balls till he is lay down tired. He also really loves his girls. He is a gentle ball of energy if that makes any sense at all. He has an obvious distate for my husband. But I think that is the difference of heelers and border collies. A heeler will forgive rough handling and love their person blindly. A border collie on the other hand will remember harsh handling. They are no fools for sure. My husband is from the old school theory of raising ranch dogs. He is firm to a fault and any small act of disobedience is dealt with swiftly and harshly. (Never to the point it causes any physical injury, just a very stern approach). I on the other hand am of the school of thought that repetition and good reinforcement is the key. I don’t believe punish harshly when they do wrong, but praise excessively when they do right. I think this builds a stronger bond with me and my dogs. They want to work for me, they want to protect me, they want to please me. Not because I demand it, but because they come to see they want my approval. 

Anyhow, I am just so pleased with where Blitz Manny is in his journey as an HK Bar dog. Now we just need to work on not chasing the tractor when I am feeding hay, and then on to house breaking! He recently was invited in for a brief hour and he promptly lifted his leg and pissed all over our house cat Eli. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I won’t have a pee pot in my clean house!

What a little wonder dog our Blitz Manny is. I wish more people would take the time and energy to invest in a rescue dog. They really do deserve every opportunity in life. I’m so thankful my little guy has come to live with us. He makes me smile, he makes me proud, and he makes me realize I to can make huge strides and changes in my life toward the positive, no matter what. 

Cheers to Blitz Manny for transforming, and for transforming me. 

1

Who Am I? 

What a complex question this is. I am so many things it is difficult to put words to the vast existence that I consider applies to that question in regards to me. Of course I am mom to the three most wonderful little girls ever. Captain Boo at six is so wise beyond her years it is often difficult to know what to do with her. Owl at three is happy, bouncy, and a natural with animals, and little Bunny at the tender age of two is enamored with heavy equipment and tractors. She is the prankster and always the first to bulldoze her way to what she wants. But I guess these ramblings about my girls really don’t answer the age old question of whom I am. But that’s where I’m wrong. They are so much of my existence I can’t help but include them in what makes me me. 

I am also a nurse. I specialize in geriatrics, also centered around hospice, rehabilitation, and long term care. I love my field of nursing and can’t imagine myself in any other field. I have been a nurse nearing nine years. Wow where has time gone? Funny enough, in nursing school I always fancied I would work in surgery or the emergency department. Something very high paced and glamorous. At what point I admitted to myself that I love the geriatric population so much I honestly can’t say. I just know it is where I began, and where I have stayed. Although I am mostly a stay at home mom (among other titles of farm wife, horseman, etc) I am able to work one evening shift a week at the facility I have been blessed enough to be employed by for the last six years. This keeps my nursing license up, as well as gives me a mental health day from my three lovely girls that can honestly drive me a bit batshit crazy at times. 

Another title I hold is one that is self appointed. It is the one of farm manager.  I take care of the livestock side and my husband takes care of the tillable/hay ground. We have an ever changing number of animals here on the HK Bar. Ten horses has been the count for nearing two years now. We have gained and lost a few, but have stayed ever steady at that number. Current number of cattle……Er……well…. My herdsman identity is a bit bruised to admit it is at seven. I sold off thirty of my herd nearly two years ago when we had to relieve some of the financial burdens we were under at the time. So I am slowly rebuilding my angus herd back to its former glory days. Let me tell you it is arduous and slow going. We currently have five chickens. Another sad farm story as fifty were slaughtered in their hen house by what only could be raccoons. Waiting till the spring to replenish my numbers there. Anywho. We also have three dogs. “Working dogs” that are good at cleaning up after the kids after meal times. And a varying number of barn cats. They seem to bring friends home then disappear as soon as I have fully vettted them. 

I would say that is the gist of who I am if I had to make it any shorter than that I don’t rightly know if I could. I love to read…..I’m quite obsessed actually. I will honestly read anything from biographies to romance. If it has words I will read it. I love to travel and try new things, but I am a huge homebody. I love my family and friends more than anything. I am a self proclaimed bulldog who is always the first to protect the ones that I love. I like to write, however terrible it is. I love my dogs and horses fiercely….ok, actually any animal I love fiercely, but hey it’s just who I am. 

So here’s a brief glimpse of how I perceive myself. I hope you have made it through this however dull it was. And I hope you now know me a bit better. Tell me, are you a new reader? Who are you? I’d honestly love to hear.