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Coldish and gonna get worse.. High barely above zero today they say and in a couple days the high is supposed to be below zero and the low in the 20 plus below range.. takes a lot of feed to keep cows warm in this weather…

Was a pall bearer for Ardis Smiley.. the funeral was yesterday.. as we laid her coffin in the grave sand the preacher was praying the last rites a flock of geese flew over head and honked.. it was beautiful on a cold gray day// She would have liked that.. She was a woman who took delight in many things and enjoyed the wonder of this world.. she and her husband raised up some fine children and that is probably her best testimony… wish I had told her how special she was… might be a good reminder to tell people who are special to us, to tell them.. not wait until it’s too late..

Hope we all have a great New Year..

Tate and I took off about 3 am on Monday and headed for Sioux Falls.. got there in time for my flight to Orlando to where Chance had been working.. the work he was doing in hurricane recovery had dried up so he was headed home.. I got a fairly cheap flight so I could ride back with him, to help him drive and keep him awake.. we decided to take a different route than he had taken down when he first went, so we went west into the upper part of Florida and angled across, Georgia and Mississippi and into Arkansas and then north thru’ Missouri and Iowa and into South Dakota… We left on Monday right after my flight got there about 2:30 pm their time.. we made it to Hazen, Georgia the first night and got a room and were in bed and asleep about 9:30. The net day we headed towards Little Rock with plans to eat some good barbecue along the way.. we stopped off in Montgomery Alabama, birth place of Hank and Elvis, if I recall correct and had great BBQ. Stopped in a small town along the way so I could get a pocket knife as I couldn’t take one with me on the plane and I felt naked without one on me… a friend from the internet called me and said he wasn’t too far from Little Rock so said we’d call and try to hook up… never could get him to call me back and we passed up spending time in Memphis for some Delta Blues music and missed seeing another friend who would have met us for lunch. Dang it… sorry Brian, we will bet to your country eventually and hang around for awhile.. towards night our Google on the phones route moved us off the interstate and on to a smaller two road because of traffic, must have been an accident as they had traffic backed up for miles.. we finally got back on the interstate but it was bumper to bumper and the ;lights were killing us, so we stopped short of Little Rock… motel had a good Mexican restaurant next door we ate supper in.. again, in bed asleep by 9:30.. we could have gotten an earlier start but Chance had let his glasses on the table the night before so had to wait for them to open at 8 to get them was nice traveling so we could see… we had rain the night before so the reflection had been terrible.. but in daylight the clouds started to life and we saw some pretty country… we pushed hard to get to KC before rush hour and made it tho’ it was kind of hard to tell.. pulling a 16 foot triple axle trailer with wobbly 8 feet side walls makes it a lot harder to whip thru’ traffic, but Chance said after the traffic in Miami it was no big deal.. of course I was doing a great job of navigating.. once we got north of KC I drove for a ways and gave Chance a little rest.. we switched back just north of Sioux City at a fuel stop… Chance drove until Chamberlin and I took it from there to a rat stop outside of Kadoka where we swapped back.. we found wind in SD of course and it made a dramatic difference in our mileage.. we had been getting close to 11 miles to the gallon and it dropped to 5 and 6 when we turned west and had a cross wind.. found snow when we got to Kadoka but not heavy.. stopped in Philip for one last fuel up and got home at 2:30 am.. we were both shot and still trying to catch up on our sleep.. it was a grand adventure and glad I went down and rode back.. seen country I had never seen before and had a great time..

Last Friday we had a man come out bringing a new to us pellet stove… he had worked on ours a couple times and the place he worked for always encouraged us to just buy a new stove as they were so much better.. in conversation, with the man who installs and works on them, he had told me they had a good used one.. so when he came out to work on ours, he brought it along.. figured out what was not working right on the older one and we decided, seeing as he had went to the trouble of bringing this other, more up to date stove out, we would just have him install it and move the older one to the basement… he got it all installed and it was burning.. we had to leave to go to the Cowboy Christmas Concert to practice and told him we would be gone all weekend, no problem, it was all hooked up to a thermostat, just leave it on medium heat and go, it would be fine.. we left and were planning on coming home on Sunday morning but things worked different so we just same home Saturday night.. we got home about midnight, opened the door and the house was so full of smoke you couldn’t see across the room! Cindy went to opening doors and windows while I put the vaccine cleaner on the sot on the stove where the smile was boiling out, after I had unplugged it… what a mess, we threw water on it and eventually got it to stop smoking.. it was about 36 degrees out, but we slept with a door open and fresh air blowing from a fan on us, and it was still hard to sleep, didn’t do much sleeping, matter of fact… next morning I called the owner of the store where it came from.. we made arrangement for the installer to come out on Monday and reinstall our old stove.. he hauled the burnt up one away.. much to my insurance adjusters dismay when she showed up yesterday.. I had taken video pictures of it on Sunday morning….. we have machines to run when we are not here to clean up the smoke smell and there will be a crew coming to clean the smoke from all over the house…we do not know for sure what happened to the stove to cause the problem but Cindy is ready to give up on wood stoves… I want a gas furnace/fire[place to replace it, but can’t find any I can afford… different neighbors have offered us places to stay during the clean up, but I think we can just work around the crew, but it’s nice to know you have good neighbors who will put you up if needed… so if you see us, be prepared to smell smoke as we are not to clean anything ¬†but to let the crew do it.. all at once.. I am not sure what I am supposed to wear for a good coat while the others are being cleaned, or who will clean my hats.. and what to wear while they are being cleaned.. maybe the insurance will buy me a new hat and coat? ¬†Hahahahahahaha

Just a touch of fall I the air, out there today, snow and a slight breeze up to and over 50 mph, they claim… I got the cattle fed behind protection last night.. all but the bulls.. they are usually behind the windbreak at night anyway.. of course, most weren’t this morning.. found some off east aways…Tate and I went down with two pickups and they had come back to the shelter belt north of Tate’s so we fed them a bug square bale I had loaded on my pickup.. there are a few at the corral.. and the horses knocked down a gate and are standing south of the new house in that shelter belt.. I did give the cows another couple bales and will go out and give them some more before dark.. I guess winter is here.. with a bang!

Here it is December and the weather is hard to beat… wars up into the 40 ‘s and 50’s during the day, we have had some pretty stiff winds, but that is SD…people who don’t like cold and hot and dry and windy, probably shouldn’t live around here… just kind of been ding horse..putting about..Tate had a beef butchered yesterday morning so we had friend heart for breakfast.. Cindy has been working off and on.. we have a bunch of grandkids here this morning.. Gabe has Wrest;ling, that Kass took him to and Tate has VSI.. been feeding a little hay.. got a branding of fall calves to go to tomorrow.. head and heel deal..we need to get these calves in and put the blabs in them…and prep.. our prep guy has been busy and people going hither and yon so it hasn’t been handy to get everyone to gather… the Cowboy Christmas Ball at Homestake Opera House in Lead is coming up in a week.. then I am off to Vegas for a benefit they are putting on out there to help framers and ranchers, who don’t have the means when a disaster strikes them..looking forward to it and also, not, if you understand…been working on the annual Christmas poem, not sure if it is what I want or not…hard to get new inspiration…