Dino Digs and Tall Grass

Our youngest loves dinosaurs. For his birthday party in the spring, he had a dino excavation party. We gathered horse and cow bones from a friend’s pasture to replicate the dinosaurs. (Ssshh. The party guests had no idea I faked it!) I placed them in the field to look like the dinosaurs had died naturally or as a result of a battle with another dinosaur.

Let's find some dinosaur bones!

Let’s find some dinosaur bones!

They began in the treehouse with toy binoculars to look for dig sites.

Dig site, ho!

Dig site, ho!

Then they boarded the hay ride for the tour. As tour guide, I described the excavation sites and how the dinosaurs likely died. I loved the look of awe on their faces.

This is the stillest my boys have ever been.

This is the stillest my boys have ever been.

The finale was digging in sand buckets for toy dinosaur skeletons.

Dig for your party favors! Mwahahaha!

Dig for your party favors! Mwahahaha!

Some guests were unable to make it to the party, so I promised them a private tour. We were only able to give one before the pasture got overgrown. (Those goats are NOT earning their keep!) So we had to mow it. Bye bye, dino dig!

My father-in-law mowed around the dinosaur bones the first time. We got lots of cute little hay bales from it. The pasture got really overgrown again, so my dad decided to mow. This time I had to pick up the dinosaur bones.

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The grass was really tall!

I use my hayride setup for these things. It’s an old lawnmower without the mowing deck hooked up to a trailer.

After airing up the tire with a portable air compressor, I drove  through the jungle to gather the bones.

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Katie came to help.

While driving through the tall grass, a snake slithered out of the way. I only saw its dust-colored tail and couldn’t identify it, I stopped and tried to look for it. (It was probably a copperhead.) I didn’t look too hard. The grass was really tall, and copperheads are good at hiding. So I moseyed on.

When I was leaving the pasture, I turned too sharply and lost the trailer. It was too heavy to lift and put back on the ball hitch, so I improvised.

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Redneck lever and fulcrum. Y’all thought I was kidding when I admitted to doing this in my last post.

I unloaded the bones and branches into the burn pile just as Dad arrived with the tractor.

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Farewell, dinos. We shall cremate you soon.

The pasture is being mowed as I type. It’ll look so much better, but I’ll miss the dig sites.

The dino party was a lot of fun. I love to see awe and wonder on children’s faces. That alone made all of the work worth it. But how am I going to top that next year?

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Wild Pigs and Car Trades

“Redneck is a derogatory slang term used in reference to poor, uneducated white farmers, especially from the southern United States. … [S]ome Southern whites have reclaimed the word, using it with pride and defiance as a self-identifier.” –Wikipedia

‘Cuz we ain’t all technically farmers, ya know. And farmers around here sometimes have a degree in agriculture. And a crazy streak.

'Nuf said.

‘Nuf said.

My neck is not red (long hair), but I am rockin’ a farmer’s tan. My husband still requests a short version of the mullet.

“Just leave it long in the back so my neck doesn’t get sunburned,” he says.

But I’m in charge of the clippers, and mullets are banned. At the rodeo, I noticed a teenager with a mullet like my husband used to have when he was a teenager. (That’s when I fell in love with him. What was I thinking?) Our son laughed. Hard. My hubby said he missed that haircut. He’s so lucky to have me. I won’t let him wear a certain plaid, button-down, sleeveless shirt in public, either.

Okay, I've done this before. But just because the 1-ton jack was too hard to roll through the field.

Okay, I’ve done this before. But just because it was too hard to roll the 1-ton jack through the field.

He has some redneck qualities that aren’t going anywhere. And I kinda like ‘em. For instance, trading guns for vehicles. Seriously. We’ve done this twice. It makes me laugh, because it confirms the stereotypes Okies have earned. Like when we took our gun-permit class at a Baptist church.

Stereotypes: they come from reality.

Stereotypes are based upon reality.

Years ago, the hubs bought a 50 caliber Desert Eagle. Then he decided a hand-held cannon was no fun to shoot and traded it to another redneck down the street for a truck.

Recently, our boys complained that the back seat in my fun little sports car was too cramped. Apparently, not enough leg room is a good reason to sell my cute car. Their priorities are messed up.

But in sparkly dark green. Sniff... I'll miss taking corners at high speeds in you.

My Rexy (RX8) was sparkly dark green. Sniff… I’ll miss taking corners at high speeds in you. And your suicide doors.

The hubs texted a neighbor that we’d sell it for X amount. Said neighbor countered for less. Hubs’ reply: “Do you have any semi-automatic rifles to trade?” Yes, he did.

So, we traded my car for cash and an assault rifle. (It has a friggin’ bayonet!) And bought a sensible family car. (Sad face.)

Our new car has much more kid room, a big trunk, and gets very good gas mileage. But my inner punk fantasizes about this truck.

Drool. Fuel economy, Schmool economy!

Drool. Fuel economy, schmool economy!

Why do I need a large-caliber, fast-shooting rifle, you ask? Wild pigs. With thick hide and thicker skulls. If they’re charging and you don’t shoot them in the right spot with a large-caliber bullet, you better shoot them a whole lot and quickly.

Wild pigs are an invasive species, and they reproduce at an alarming rate. While mountain lions, coyotes, and even large birds will eat small pigs, that’s not enough to keep the population in check. That job falls to land owners.

I've heard rumors of helicopter pig hunts along the river.

I’ve heard rumors of helicopter pig hunts along the river.

According to A Pickup Load of Pigs: A Feral Swine Pandemic video series by Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, “wild hogs damage crops, farmland and pastures, spread diseases to livestock, pets and people. A male’s average weight is over 200 pounds and a female’s is 155. But they can get a lot bigger. ”

And they’re mean. But if you cook one under 70 pounds, I hear they’re tender and delicious.

Because of all the rain we’ve had this summer, the river is well beyond its banks. Wild pigs have been coming closer to our homes. Some friends a few miles north were horseback riding with their full-grown Rottweiler tagging along. They ran into two sows with twenty babies. The two women on horseback got away, but they never saw their dog again.

I’m not carrying that big gun around. It’s too heavy. Plus, I might stab myself in the foot with the bayonet. If I ever see any pigs, they will have to wait until I run into the house and unlock the gun.

Here, piggy, piggy. Mama wants a luau.

Wait here, piggy, while I get my gun. Mama wants a luau.

I’d probably have to go looking for pigs, though. They are active at dusk, dawn and at night. Maybe I’ll track down a sounder of pigs, sit in the deer stand at sunset, and score a luau pig or two. We have a deep freeze that would fit a few grown men.

My husband’s grandfather used to hunt wild boar with only dogs and a knife when he was stationed in Hawaii in the military. The Hawaiians taught him how to cook a pig luau style. After a hunt, he’d invite the whole neighborhood over to help eat the day’s game. So if we ever get one, I’ll be calling him. “Grandpa, bring your grass skirt and lets dig an imu (Hawaiian for pig-roasting pit). It’s luau time!”

Watch your inboxes for invitations.

My redneck, stud-of-a husband wants us to have every kind of gun for every kind of emergency he can think of. Zombies, burglars, dystopian regimes and looters, angry sows, snakes, etc… So what if he trades my sports car for an assault rifle. I guarantee that if times get tough, my boys and I will be in good hands.