October 30, 2022

16

Sixteen years ago, almost to the minute, I met the most incredible little person. In the first moments of staring into her eyes, I wondered a thousand wonders. Who would she become? What would her hobbies be? Who would she look like? What would her personality be? I hoped, wished, and prayed our bond would be as strong as mine is with my mom, who was looking over my shoulder with a smile brighter than I'd ever seen before. 

"Did you ever know you could love someone so much, baby?" my mom asked.

I didn't. I was quickly whisked out of labor and delivery, and into a room upstairs. It seemed like only a few seconds later my family was bidding me farewell for the evening and I was left alone with my new best friend. I was mesmerized by her and equally terrified I would do something to break her. I had mothered many animals- but human babies? I retired from my babysitting career after one summer. Babies were bossy, sticky, and kind of germy little creatures. But this one? This one was perfect.

After we came home from the hospital, our days became quite routine. My life had never been so routine, in fact. I learned quickly that Little Miss enjoyed a schedule and come hell or highwater (and sometimes she was the hell and the highwater) we were following the schedule to ensure a decent night of sleep. We blinked a few times too many, and the days of rocking chairs and bottles were traded in for strolls to the park and visits to the children's museum. Little did I know, the seasons that would follow would fly by faster each year.

I suppose every parent becomes nostalgic on their child's birthday each year. In reflecting today, I remembered the thousand wonders that flooded my mind as I stared into Little Miss's eyes for the first time. Who would she become? Her. She's become her, as simple yet complex as that sounds. She has become her own person; a person I am thankful to have had a hand in molding, but am not sure I did near as much as she did along the way. The truth is, just as she grew into herself, I grew into myself all because of her. She continues to teach me and mold me into a better person each day. What would her hobbies be? Well, what started as a hobby, quickly escalated into a career. Her heart is on the stage, and when she steps onto that stage, she becomes the character she portrays. Her work ethic at sixteen is stronger than most adults in this world. Who would she look like? Her Bub...100%. And sometimes, when she gets really excited to share a story, it is like looking in a shorter, brunette mirror. What would her personality be? Kind. So incredibly kind. She loves her people fiercely and would do anything in the world to support them. She can argue better than I ever hoped to and has a poker face that would even confuse Lady Gaga. 

The hope, wish, and prayer to have a bond like my mom and I's, a best friend bond, was answered, and then some. While our bond is absolutely as strong as my mom and I's, so is her bond with my mom. She, my mom, and I are like a tiny girl gang. We have traveled all over the east coast together to see concerts and countless theatre productions. Where one goes, so do the other two. 

Sometimes when we make a wish or say a prayer, I imagine God just winks at us. Already got it handled, boo...already got it handled.

March 14, 2022

Creatures of Habit

Feeding time. 6:30am every day.


This morning…one very short day into Daylight Savings Time, I yawn my way downstairs to feed the ponies.


“Good morning, babies! It’s breakfast time!” I say, at a dull but chipper roar. (You’re welcome, neighbors. This is also your alarm. Good morning.)


I hear a scuttling sound next to the barn and peek around the corner to see both horses stretching and yawning.


Tristan gives me the loving, side-eye we are both known for. 


The sun isn’t even awake yet, Ma…

“I don’t have time to watch the sunrise with you two…get in the barn so I can get your blankets off,” I say.


And so it begins. The snorting, stomping, and running of the trusty(?) steeds.


Nope…it’s an hour too early for breakfast. Something is wrong. Maybe the vet is coming? Farrier? Something is definitely up. She’s never down here this early. THE SUN ISN’T EVEN AWAKE.


“Get. In. The. BARN.”


She’s tricking us! It’s too early…maybe that isn’t even our mom!?! She’s never early. *makes large noise sounding like velociraptor* Spooks himself, other horse, and two goats. Now we have a running parade of animals, which prompts the dogs to start barking and my vocabulary to become more colorful.


I catch a glimpse of my reflection as the sun rises…with my beanie half way on, jacket thrown over my pajamas, and muck boots on…I’m really a vision. Coworker drives by…honks…parade of prancing idiots continues as I stomp off to grab a halter.


I catch Tristan, throw his halter on & take his blanket off as he stands perfectly still, like the gentleman he is.


“Alright…come on. Let's go eat breakfast,” I say, tugging on his halter.


No ma’am. We have 30 more minutes before the buffet opens for breakfast. I’ll wait. Stomps hoof, gentlemanly.


Hooves firmly planted. Not moving a whisker. I move over to Roscoe…who is certain the world is ending because that is apparently what Tristan has told him.


Nope! Simulation Mom…she’s an imposter!!! RUN EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!


The parade begins again.


“FINE. YOU CAN SWEAT AND STARVE UNTIL I GET HOME FOR LUNCH WHEN WE TRY THIS F*$%ING SH%*SHOW AGAIN. YOU’RE BOTH JACKASSES.”


Both horses stop, look at me…then prance off in the opposite direction. (At this point, both sure I’m an imposter because I never yell at them. Okay…it’s rare.)


“But…I love you. MAKE BETTER CHOICES! And don’t forget to drink water.”





Happy Monday, everyone. No, riding a horse to work won’t be cheaper or easier than paying the rising gas prices- but it will be more entertaining.


December 22, 2021

All I Want for Christmas is a New ACL

Sometimes it's good for me to do a little life-dump blogpost, just for me. It is a reminder of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, or perhaps themes of each year. For example, 2021- the year I got a new pony, tore my ACL, and got Covid…all within a few weeks of each other. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself…let's back up.


I began looking for a new pony-pal for Tristan in the summer. I use the term pony as an endearing term for a horse, as actual ponies are little demonic creatures that spend their lives trying to burden others. (But they do build character in children. Seriously, part of why I am funny is from the many satanic ponies I loved during my childhood.) 


In my search, I found the horse market was much like the housing market and horse prices were stupid high. 

  • 2 year old, green-broke gelding - $10,000 

  • 10 year old, one eyed, lame, appaloosa - $15,000

Not only was the price making me feel like Fred Sanford calling for Elizabeth, but none of the available horses were what I was looking for.


I exhausted all my resources looking for parameters I wasn’t even sure of myself. Then after a good night of chatting with God and Daddy, the ad for Roscoe popped up. A unicorn of sorts- a 10 year old buckskin gelding with a price that didn’t send me into cardiac arrest and a name already suited for Wanchese living. 


“Memphis, TN…hmm that’s a 14 hour drive. Not far at all!” I whispered to myself as I facetimed the owner, who in short, must be a long-lost relative because we hit it off immediately.


A facetime-ride and a hundred panicked facebook messages later, Roscoe was on his way to his island home. A shipper pal offered to deliver him at a discounted price so her kiddos could see the ocean for the first time, which saved me from that 2 day road trip I was planning. A trainer pal offered to host him for a crash course in collecting and de-boogering. (One of the things that ironically sold me on Roscoe was the fact that his owner said he ‘sometimes boogers at his own shadow’...me too, pal, me too.) All the stars aligned for this stunning buckskin to join our family. 


“You know your daddy loved a buckskin,” Mama said, as Roscoe breathed in his first few breaths of salty air.


“I do. He had his hands in this,” I replied, as we both smiled.


Days passed quickly as Roscoe learned about treats and snuggles. (‘New ma likes to put her face in mine…kinda weird.’) His trust grew and the first time I climbed on his back in real life, not via facetime, he was wonderful. I questioned even sending him to my trainer-pal…right up until I asked him to trot and he turned into a snorkeling seahorse, with his nose up to the sky as I giggled. Fixable issue, no worries.


After a few weeks at the trainer’s and glowing reviews of his progress, Little Miss and I made the two hour drive to visit and go for a little trail ride. I had ridden him a few times during his schooling and he was always a perfect gentleman. I brought Little Miss’s saddle since on this particular day, she was going to ride him for the first time. Before she climbed on, I decided I would take him for a quick spin first…


As I put my foot in the stirrup and began to pull myself on, something in the distance, maybe states away, spooked the bejesus out of Roscoe. As he leapt to the side, out from under my body, my knee twisted as I attempted to stick the ride. (Because instinctually, that is what cowgirls do…we turn into spider monkeys with thigh death grips.) At some point, my foot slid out of the stirrup and my leg, together with the rest of my body, ended up face down in the arena.


I heard whispers of oh my God, are you okay, as I made damn sure I could move my toes. (Bionic back, PTSD.) Once my toes moved, I knew I was fine…until I tried to stand up and returned quickly to the dirt. (Pain notwithstanding, badumchi!) My trainer pal and Little Miss carried on with Roscoe, who at this point was back to his normal, gentlemanly self, as I dragged myself over to a mounting block to get my wits together. (Really, I was just trying to figure out how I was going to mount from the right, since my left leg was useless. Logical thinking, you know.)


“I think I can ride. I can get on Bandit (one eyed horse, appropriately named) from the right side and be fine for a short ride. I’ll probably be grounded for riding after I go to a doctor so we better get a good one in,” I said.


No one argued. We had a great ride. (In my defense, what were the odds that something else could injury me on the same day? Plus, it wasn’t Roscoe’s fault. It’s never the horse’s fault. Also in my defense, cowgirls are admittedly insane people. Tested, proven, and proud of it.) 


Days or weeks, it honestly all runs together, went by with X-Rays, a knee brace, crutches, an MRI and multiple doctors visits…until it was reported that I had completely torn my ACL, sprained my MCL, and bruised damn near everything in their path. The most athletic thing I’ve done in my entire life and it is an injury of NFL proportions. I hope I get a phenomenal halftime show out of this.


Surgery scheduled? Check. Anxiety skyrocketing? Check, check. (Remember when I had the endoscopy & was sure I wouldn’t wake up? We are back there.) I had all the things planned that I could possibly need to get done before surgery, including a good barn clean out so I could watch the horses from our barn cams post-surgery without worrying about Charlotte with all her friends hanging around. 


Post-barn cleanout, I thought I had a sinus infection after inhaling dust and spider corpses but carried on about daily life since I had no fever or other Rona-like symptoms. Then it occurred to me that my head was hurting a little worse than normal…shit.


“Maybe I’ll take one of those home tests…just to see,” I mentioned.


And I’ll be flipping darned if it didn’t immediately pop up positive. No fever. No chills. No nothing out of a normal sinus infection type of pains…posi-freaking-tive for covid.


“Oh no…we will have to postpone your surgery for at least six weeks,” the nurse told me over the phone.


Now, in the grand scheme of things I completely understand that this is a first-world, cowgirl problem. But I felt like I’d been tossed off Roscoe all over again. An extra six weeks of not riding? What kind of groundhog blasphemy is this?


“Forget it. I’m just not having the surgery. I can walk decently enough and it doesn’t hurt all the time now. I’ll just f*#%&%* cancel the whole thing,” I said to my husband.


I was overruled. *eyeroll* 


So here we are…winding down 2021 and a week away from surgery, finally. (Lord willing.) Roscoe has settled in nicely and Tristan is still wondering when the new guy is getting sent back for breaking his mom. Both horses are enjoying what they think is retirement, loads of extra snacks, and a few ground-activated tricks. My saddles are collecting dust, thanks to the observant nature of my friends and family- which to be honest, I wish you guys loved me a little less so I could have ridden for the last several months with my leg brace like I wanted to. Only kidding! 


Other things happened throughout 2021, but the last several months of this year have been truly humbling. We have been so fortunate to have some of the best people in our life to be there for us, visit us, drop off food, offer to feed kids and pets…and mostly, pray for us. Hold onto the friends who pray for you, they’re pure gold and I thank God for mine every day.


Thanks for the thoughts & prayers, friends. Merry Christmas!


#alliwantforchristmasisanewACL #97daysuntilicanride 

November 8, 2021

How We Came To Be...

How we came to be…

While Half Fast Hauling & Grading may be a seemingly new business venture, the work itself has been in our family for years.

I am a farmer’s daughter- my daddy would affectionately refer to himself as a ‘dumb old dirt farmer’ when asked what he did for a living. Growing up, I would spend countless hours riding shotgun in grain trucks, dump trucks, tractors...anything Daddy was driving, I was his copilot. I was and continue to be so proud to be that dirt farmer’s daughter. 

When his health began to decline and dump trucking just wasn’t feasible anymore, he sold his truck. He hadn’t listed it anywhere and really never tried to sell it. I knew deep down he never wanted to, but he knew he needed too. There is nothing more useless and costly than a dump truck sitting still. The truck sold because it was God’s timing- that particular day something told Steve Farr to stop by my parents house and ask about the Peterbilt. And something told Daddy to sell it to him.

It was about a year before Daddy passed away that the Peterbilt pulled out of Mom & Dad’s driveway for the last time. After he passed, I would see the big red truck and catch myself waving even though I knew it wasn’t my daddy. There was just something about that truck that I felt like carried part of my daddy with it. Maybe it was the pride he had driving it- the love he had for hauling, shifting gears, and that jake brake that could be heard from miles away. 

When Kirk began doing land clearing and tractor work, I knew one day we would have a dump truck again and just wished that timing was a little different- so they could’ve worked together. They say daughters tend to marry a man like their father...and right down to the red beard, I can surely see it. I married a dumb old dirt farmer just like my daddy.

One evening, while looking through used dump truck ads online...we noticed a familiar name in a listing.

“Steve Farr is selling one of his trucks,” Kirk said.

“IS IT!?” I yelped.

“Not the Peterbilt...he will probably never sell that one,” he said.

“Why don’t you just call him? Nothing is for sale until someone offers to buy it...just see,” I encouraged.

A few days went by and he called. The truck wasn’t for sale but he shared a few stories about my daddy and said he would let us know if he ever decided to sell the Peterbilt. A few more days passed and I received an excited text from my husband.

“I’m going to drive your daddy’s truck after work today!” he said.

Something told the owner to let Kirk drive the truck. Something. The truck still wasn’t for sale but after Kirk’s first call, he could tell how much the truck meant to us. My eyes filled with tears. If this was it, if this was the only time Kirk would get to drive the Peterbilt, it was enough for me. It would mean that they had shared the same truck- my husband would have shifted the same gears my daddy did for years. To some, that might seem minuscule but to me...to us...it was everything. 

Weeks went by and Kirk kept running into Steve...even though prior to calling, he had never seen him before to speak of. Something kept putting them in each other’s paths. Something. I knew when he decided to sell the Peterbilt, he would call us and I took peace in knowing that God’s timing was everything. Then I got another lunchtime text- a screenshot that said...

“I’ve decided to sell the Peterbilt, if you’re still interested…”

The general consensus was...no matter what we had to sell, we were getting this truck, and that included body parts and organs- whatever we aren’t using goes because we are figuring out a way to bring this big girl back home.

In the next week, we prayed a lot. I talked to my daddy and God a whole heckuva lot, asking for guidance, knowledge, reassurance, all the things we needed to know that this was supposed to be happening. They showed me without any doubts that it was supposed to happen.

The morning we picked up the Peterbilt, we were both so incredibly full of emotion. The signs were all so prevalent during the entire process, that I wasn’t expecting more the morning of. Just as Kirk put our pickup truck into park, a huge monarch butterfly circled us, then flew over to the Peterbilt and circled it, before flying off into the sky.

“Did you see that?” I asked, as my husband nodded. 

I didn’t have to explain why the butterfly was flying on that chilly morning. Kirk had heard hundreds of times before about the significance of monarch butterflies to my parents. When they first started seeing one another, my mom would draw a butterfly on her calendar each time they saw each other. It was something that was meaningful only to them. It was their symbol of togetherness.

Later that afternoon, Kirk showed me the below photo he had taken after backing the Peterbilt into her new spot in our driveway.

“The sunbeam...doesn’t that mean something?” he asked.


I knew the significance of different orbs captured in photos, but such a prominent sunbeam- I wasn’t quite sure. I asked my trusty pal, google. A sunbeam often ​​symbolizes miracles, angels, and a stairway or ladder to heaven. 

Directly below my search, google had a suggestion of things I may be interested in: what is the meaning behind seeing butterflies out of season? Butterflies symbolize rebirth and resurrection, hope and life. 

God winks every time you turn around if you know what to look for. ;-)

And that is where we began...again. We are excited to shift through the gears of this new but familiar journey with an angel riding shotgun to tell us how it is done. 

June 22, 2021

Unicorn Tales & Eyes

My unicorn can get himself into some mess. It is no wonder he is afraid of his own shadow.

Two days ago, I arrived home from work to a big fluffy marshmallow standing at the gate with a weepy, swollen but beautiful blue eye.

"What have you done to your eye, bud?!" I ask.

"Has boo boo...needs tweats to fix it," he implies, while nuzzling me.

My mind immediately flashed back to two years ago, almost to the day. I was on day two of my current career coordinating boat construction when I arrived home for lunch to find what appeared to be Quasimodo in my pasture. (Truly, it looked like he was smuggling a softball under his eyelid.)

"What have you done, T!?" I ask, while panic-dialing the vet.

The vet arrived a few short hours later, cleaned his eye to be sure it wasn't scratched and left us with strict instructions to apply ointment directly to the eyeball daily.

After a few hours of attempting to doctor the unicorn's boo boo, I call reinforcement into the barn. (Unicorns play by their own rules and on this day, there was no rule in Tristan's rulebook that said he had to stand still for goopy-yucky-stuff in his eyeball.)

"Okay...so I need you to hold his head down- and I'm going to swipe this goop into his eye," I tell my husband, who takes my instruction very serious and bears down on the halter.

Tristan, the almighty unicorn feels the pressure and immediately begins to pull slightly back right about the time I jam (gently) my goopy finger into his eye. Tristan then rears up and shoves my sweet cowboy through the stall wall. (Through the wall...like from inside the stall- through the wall into the outdoors.

Now, let me stop here and say this- none of this was Tristan's fault. (My horse people will understand...it is never the horses fault.) He made a valiant attempt to avoid trampling his cowboy-father to death mid-rear. And truly, he didn't get hurt so...it's a win, in my book. #itisneverthehorsesfault

As the dust settled and my sweet, very pale husband rose to his feet, I squawked something asking if he was okay. 

"HIS PAWS!!! They were right here and shoved me THROUGH the wall!!" he yelled, placing his hands on his chest.

"Hooves. Horses have hooves."

"Never again," he said, giving me the look.

I chuckled to myself as I looked at Tristan's current swollen eye.

"It's just me and you with the eye-meds this round, T...be easy on your mama," I told him.

He was a complete gentleman and his eye is on the mend. I think he just wanted a little extra loving and to be honest, I did too. A little extra snuggle time was just what the doctor ordered for us both.