Little House on the Ranch: Week 1

It’s officially official. We have a big hole in the ground!

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There was much debate as to whether our #littlehouseontheranch would have a basement or not. I was on team full basement with a walkout, MyFarmer was on team no basement. So we met in the middle, 1/2 basement, no walkout because marriage is about compromise… and concrete is expensive. In the end we truly needed it for storage. The house is going to have an upstairs loft that’s open to the living room/kitchen, so that won’t leave much room for attic space. The basement will also be a perfect annoying cat storage(looking at you, Zazzles) and anti-tornado facility. Both of those are much needed.

The only slight mishap thus far was digging up and breaking the water line that runs down to the horse barn. Luckily they were able to get it fixed fairly quickly and the horses never ran out of water.

We are now getting to “decision mode” so we are trying to line up where we need to go to look at siding, roofing, etc. The only thing we really know for 100% sure is that we are going to have custom barn wood kitchen cabinets made from a barn that was on MyFarmers great uncles farm. We are super excited to see those when they are done!

I’d tell you what they are doing next… but I honestly have no clue. I have yet to be at the farm when the guys are working to ask them. But I keep seeing progress every day when I do get there, so I think I’ll just stay out of their way!

Now’s the time that I ask for your opinions: What brands of appliances do you love and hate and why? We need to know! Seriously, we have no clue what we’re doing here.

Laney

Stampede Sales

If there is one thing that I have learned from living on a farm for 4 and a half years it’s that you need to have a sense of humor to survive. But when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and all the sudden the manure is hitting the fan, it can be extremely disheartening. As farmers we can’t make it rain, we can’t make the sun shine, we can’t make the grain markets go up, and most importantly, we sure as hell can’t control the minds of our cows.

I learned very quickly when Delilah the cow came into my life that poly wire fencing I had for the horses was NOT going to work for her. Even if I tried to keep it electrified one touch of the horn and homegirl was headed to the neighbors. This year I decided to replace the easy-to-escape poly wire with high tensile wire. When talking my plan over with ScubaSteve he was ADAMANT that barbed wire was the way to go. “It’s so much easier to put up!” he says. “Trust me, I’ve been doing this for 60 years!” he says.

Y’all, barbed wire SUCKS to deal with. Especially when you are a horse girl from the suburbs that has no clue what she’s doing. I have scars. I thought I gave myself tetanus. It was a horrific experience.

But eventually I got the fence done. Boy was I proud of myself. 3 strands of hot barbed wire. Get out of that you stupid cows!

Fast forward to the first day of early goose season this year. Ring, ring, I hear my phone going off at 4:41 in the morning. MyFarmer is on the other end of the line close to melt down status.

MyFarmer: “Your cow is out!!”

Me: “Wait, what? Oh, *words I won’t put in writing*, which one?”

MyFarmer: “The little one!”

Me: “*words I won’t put in writing*, I’ll be down in a second.”

Luckily for me, Faycee is about as laid back as they come. She walked back into the barn and through the gate without a fuss. Whatever, cows get out sometimes, it’s a fact of life, I need some coffee.

Fast forward about 4 hours, MyFarmer comes stomping into the house.

“Your cow has completely destroyed the mum pad!”

Oh Lawd.

I go down to the mum pad and the apparent carnage was far worse than the actual carnage. There was probably about 15 mums knocked over and scattered about, but only about 6 out of the 800 were actually damaged. Shew! That could have been so much worse.

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This is what my pristine, non-trampled mum pad usually looks like…
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Bad Cow. 
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Bad BAD Cow. 
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“Did I do that!?” 

Being the pun-loving person that I am, I had a “Stampede Sale” on Facebook and got those trampled/ate mums sold first thing the next day. Everyone got a kick out of it, no harm, no fowl. (Get it? Goose season?? I crack myself up!)

Life was grand for a couple of days until I noticed that Miss Faycee was spending more time OUTSIDE of the pasture than in. She was just going in and out as she pleased. At this point it was obvious that the fence was NOT hot, so I set out troubleshooting the issue. (If you’ve ever had electric fence you know the multitude of tiny things that can be wrong that will cause your fence to not work.)

Of course the fence tester I had was broken, so first things first, take the solar charger to TSC, have them test it, and pick up a new tester. Well, the poor guy electrified the crap out of himself attempting to test the charger, so we know that it is working properly. (I still feel bad that my first reaction was to laugh, not to show some kind of concern.) So home I go with my new tester and a working solar charger. With minimal effort we get the middle strand of the fence working. ScubaSteve and I decided as long as Faycee got zapped by one strand she would stay put. We get everything back together and ScubaSteve yells, “She’s getting ready to put her head through! Quick turn it on!” I run to the corner and flip the switch. “YES! Got her!” laughs Scuba.

With great pride we walk away from the fence thinking we have tamed the escaping heifer beast.

Our victory was short lived. 45 minutes later we look over and Faycee is out in the soybean field on the other side of the pasture.

We herd Faycee back into the pasture and commence to getting the bottom strand working as well. Right about dark we got it working. And *knock on wood* I haven’t SEEN the heifer hanging out on the wrong side of the fence since. Guaranteed she will be out today when I get home from work. Because that’s how life works.

I post most of my ridiculous tales on social media, because, well, I like laughing at myself and I figure the rest of the world should laugh at me too. But the truth is, if I didn’t laugh I would have drowned in my own tears by now.

This life I live is a hot mess y’all. But it’s my hot mess. And I love it.

Laney Hotmess Snider

 

Hello, I’m Right Here!

I had pretty much written Luke Bryan out of my country music playlist. It’s not that I didn’t like some of his stuff, it’s pretty catchy, but like all the other “bros” of bro-country, the cliché “country life” crap was starting to get on my nerves.

Then I got excited. I saw he had a new song out called “Here’s To The Farmer.” I thought, “Yes! Here is a redeemer song for my buddy Luke!” and hit the play button. Hey, this is pretty good, nice little groove, lyrics that don’t necessarily make me want to punch myself in the face. But alas, here comes the chorus, accompanied by the first little sucker punch :

Here’s to the farmer that plants the fields in the spring
That turn from green to that harvest honey
Hold one up for the banker downtown
That got him on his feet with handshake money
Here’s to the farmer’s wife that loves him every night

Okay, I do love MyFarmer every single day. But is the most important role that I play on this farm really just the fact that I supposedly, ahem, “love” him every night?  Good lord I hope not. And are we really giving the BANKER more credit than the wife here?

But you know, I’m still willing to give this video a shot. I’m not going to pull out my pitchfork for one questionable lyric. The song ends, I’m feeling pretty good about it. Then it happens. The music is over, the camera moves over to Mr. Bryan, and he says it.

“Thank you boys.”

Here I am, right here, on this farm, with the ability to do virtually anything and everything my male husband can do. But don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about me or any of the other 969,671 female farm operators in the United States*. I guess the 30% of farm operators that are female probably don’t do much anyway. It’s not like we can actually drive equipment. A woman in a combine? Goodness, don’t be ridiculous! And lets be serious, the only place a woman has on a cattle operation is in the kitchen making hamburgers. Can you even imagine a WOMAN being an agronomist or livestock nutritionist? Lord help us all!

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Here I am, NOT leading a farm tour of Ruby Branch Farms.
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And here, I’m certainly NOT running the tractor and grain cart. Beacause, ovaries.
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And here, I’m not putting out hay in the winter time. Women don’t get cold because they stand in front of the stove all day. 
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This is me, not picking sweet corn. Because if I’m wearing a contraption like this it better have a baby in it!

I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that I could hop in our combine or planter and take off no problem, but I personally know a bunch of women that could. But on that same token, if you asked MyFarmer when the last time the mums/kale/pansies/pumpkins were sprayed, what they were sprayed with, and the rate, he would say, “ask Laney.”

I’m so incredibly proud to be a farmers wife. I love MyFarmer and being married to him is such a fun ride. But I’m also proud to say that I am a farmer. I think as women we tend to just be proud of our husbands and settle for calling ourselves “famers wives”, but dammit, we are so much more than just wives, we are farmers in our own right. And it’s time we are recognized for what we do every day.

So, Mr. Bryan, I’m sorry that you don’t see us out here. Truth be told, you’re missing out on some pretty bad ass women. Your loss.

Laney, Owner/Operator, Ruby Branch Farms

 

*according to the 2012 USDA census

Pansies and Cow Poses

This weekend Ruby Branch Farms had the honor of being a stop on the Simpson County Twilight Farm tour, and man was that fun…even though I thought I was going to throw up before the bus got there. I’m not sure why in the world I was nervous. I’m one of those freaks that loves public speaking. I guess it was because I love my little mum ranch so much and I wanted everyone else to love it too. The tour went really well and I forgot to say a bunch of things that I wanted to, but that’s okay. If you were on the tour, I hope you enjoyed it! And if not, you should have been! This years tour started at Kentucky Downs racetrack where we toured Old Friends, their retired racehorse facility, and that was so fun for 2 reasons: a) because I’m a pony petter and even though I have horses at my house to pet daily if there is a horse in the area that I have not petted before it is going to be petted now, and b) because it is so awesome to see people meet a horse for the first time. People almost get a mystical look in their eyes like they are seeing a unicorn for the first time and it fills my heart with pony petter joy. After that we had dinner at the racetrack pavilion and everyone moved on to Ruby Branch Farms. Everyone listed to me yammer for awhile, then we moved on to a row crop farm, and sheep and cattle farm, and ended up at a commercial vegetable producer that raises produce both outside and in high tunnels. (They also happen to be the farm that raises pumpkins for Ruby Branch. That worked out nicely! 😉 ) If you don’t live in Simpson County, Kentucky, keep a look out for farm tours in your area. It is awesome to see what all gets produced just in your local area! I bet you will be surprised!

We are officially 19 days away from opening weekend at Ruby Branch Farms! (September 10th) As nervous as I was last year to open up I’m doubly EXCITED to open this year! The mums look amazing, we have all kinds of pumpkins, and our 2 new additions, pansies and ornamental kale, are all potted up and looking cute. (Yes, cute. I think my widdle baby plants are just too adorable – I should be medicated.)

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These precious little  babies are our two varieties of pansies we will have available. These little guys grow up really fast and go from this size (plugs) to ready to sell in 4-6 weeks!

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Ornamental Kale and pansies are an awesome fall pair. Why you may ask? Because after all your other weenie flowerbed flowers have decided it is too cold to be beautiful, these two wintertime powerhouses are still working. It’s common to see pansy flowers peaking up through the snow, and Ornamental Kale actually requires cold temperatures to develop their beautiful colors! We will have white, red, and purple varieties of Kale this fall.

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Please allow me to introduce the newest member of Ranchy Ruby Cattle Co, Miss Faycee Mae. She is the result of a trade-off for Salvador Petrillo (Delilah’s bull calf born earlier this year.)

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She came out of the same herd as Delilah and they are probably related somewhere down the line. Faycee’s momma is known as “Funny Face” and she is the first calf out of Funny Face to leave the ranch. I feel very privileged to have her. She’s pretty darn cute.

Of course when I went to the pasture to get pictures of Faycee, Miss #delilahthediva was NOT going to go unnoticed.

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If that’s not a cow pose I truly don’t know what one is.

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Delilah really likes to get up close and personal with the camera.

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Like, really close.

Sometimes it bothers me that my cows selfie game is much stronger than mine.

Have a great Monday! We will see you soon at Ruby Branch Farms!

Laney the Pansy

This Year at Ruby Branch Farms

We are so excited to be starting another year at Ruby Branch Farms and we are ready to give you all a sneak-peak of what you will be seeing at the farm this year!

The first thing you’ll notice is “The Bin”. We were able to recycle this old bin from our grain farming operation and utilize it as our new sales pavilion!

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We are now just a couple weeks away from picking sweet corn! This year we are growing yellow and bi-color corn that will be available for quite a few weeks this summer. Sweet corn will be available for purchase at Ruby Branch Farms on Lake Spring Rd. in Franklin, KY and with Garden Spot Produce at the Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market. It will be on the honor system at the farm so you will be able to pick it up at any time! Be sure to like our page “Ruby Branch Farms” on Facebook and check back often to keep up with when we are picking!

We potted our mum plugs over the weekend, and it was quite the family affair! Along with MyFarmer and I, we had ScubaSteve, MyMaja, and 2 high school boys help us out. It ended up taking us a little over 6 hours, but we have almost EIGHT HUNDRED mums! This year we have 14 different color varieties that we know you all are going to love! Upon customer request, we have added an 8 inch pot to our line-up of 12 and 20 inch pots. We now have a size that will fit everyone’s mum needs! We can’t wait for you to see them all!

This fall we will have an even larger selection of pumpkins and gourds than we did last year. Whether your looking for the classic Jack-o-lantern or something more whimsical and unique, we will have what you are looking for. We can’t wait to see what all Garden Spot Produce brings us this year!

Just as last year we will have a large selection of indian corn, corn shocks, straw, and other fall decor items available!

NEW THIS YEAR

Mums for Moms – This October we will be taking part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by having our first annual “Mums for Moms” event. Throughout the entire month of October a portion of the sales of pink mums will be donated to breast cancer research. #mumsformoms

Pumpkin Patch – We are very excited to have a pumpkin patch for all the kids (and kids at heart!) to pick their own perfect pumpkin. Opening weekend we will have a “ruby mine” game for all kids to win a free mini pumpkin from the patch!

Fall Pansies – they will be available in 6 packs and in decorative pots. They are sure to add some fresh color to your fall decor, and if planted will be there to greet you in the spring!

Ornamental Kale – these plants will keep color in your flower beds well into the gray winter months!

Frequent Flyer Discount – Since mums are only at their peak 4-5 weeks, we are giving you a discount to “refresh” your decorations! Bring your receipt back and receive $1 off per mum for your next purchase!

DATES TO REMEMBER

First week of July (ish) – when we are expecting our first crop of sweet corn to be ready – be sure to check back on the Ruby Branch Farms Facebook page to get exact days that we are picking!

August 20th – Ruby Branch Farms will be a stop on the Simpson County Twilight Farm Tour! This tour is free to anyone in the community and will be making 5 stops. Dinner and transportation will be provided. This will be a great event!

September 6th – I  will be on Farm and Home, a local TV show on WBKO promoting Ruby Branch Farms and sharing a couple fun crafts!

September 10th – OPENING WEEKEND!

October 29th – Boo-Fest Fall Festival on the square in Franklin, Kentucky

 

We’ll see you at the farm soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Things

There are a lot of awesome things going on in my little world right now that I feel the need to share with the blogosphere.

  1. My precious little 4-H horse judging team WON STATE CONTEST this week. I’m so proud of them! That earns our team invitations to compete at Southern Regional’s in Perry, Georgia, Eastern Nationals in Louisville, KY and The All American Quarter Hose Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

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    These kids. They’re awesome. As a team they were 2nd in performance, halter, and reasons and 1st overall. I’m so proud to be their coach! 
  2. Barley Harvest has begun! I love the fact that we get to have 2 “harvest seasons” in Kentucky. We grow barley and wheat as cover crops in the winter (cover crops are great because they help prevent soil run-off and add extra organic matter back into the soil, among other things) and we will plant soybeans after the barley and wheat are cut. That’s called double-cropping for those of you interested in farm terminology. I KNOW you are here for educational purposes.

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    It’s the most wonderful time(s) of the year!
  3. Our sweet corn and Indian corn are looking AMAZING. I swear if you sit there and watch it you can hear it grow. Almost. Well, not really, but you get the point: it’s growing fast. Some of our first-planted will be tasseling in less than a week. Not much longer until we have delicious sweet corn! Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Indian corn struggle is still real. Growing that stuff makes me question life.
  4. The Florida State Seminoles softball team made it to the World Series again this year! GO NOLES! In case you’re wondering why I care about a softball team in Florida so much, MyFarmer’s brother, LaCraig, is an assistant coach for FSU Softball. So I’m contractually obligated to be a fan. HA!
  5.  Delilah, Daphne, and baby Salvador Petrillo Snider went to summer camp this week! The girls were very excited to see their sisters and cousins and Sal is going to have so much fun playing with the other babies. I do miss them already though! And every time I go by their empty pasture I have a moment of panic because the cows are not in there, and that’s usually not a good thing.
  6. MUM PLUGS COME IN NEXT WEEK! This year we have close to 800 plugs coming, compared to about 215 last year. It’s going to be a long week but I’m so excited!
  7. While we are talking about mums, lets talk about our latest addition at Ruby Branch Farms – “The Bin”. We took an old grain bin that we no longer use on the farm and converted it into our sales pavilion. I LOVE IT. I’m so excited to decorate it this fall!

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    I mean seriously, how cute is this little dude?
  8. My “baby sister” Juju got married and I was NOT emotionally prepared for it, apparently. I was a complete hott mess. I cried EVERY TIME I looked at her in that wedding dress. I wanted nothing more than to force her to be 7 years old showing DZ’s Rockin Reba in walk/trot again. But I am so happy for her and her new husband. Fun fact, my sister, Juju, and I all married farmers. What are the odds? Actually, if you know the three of us you would say the odds were probably pretty high.

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    *Holding back tears as I post this picture*
  9. Apparently I’m going to be on a radio show today to talk about a horse show that I am putting on for the fair board on the 25th. The text message telling me this was happening came through about 4 minutes ago. That should be fun!
  10. I have pumpkins growing! This year we are having a little pumpkin patch for the kids at Ruby Branch Farms. This is our first time with pumpkins so it’s going to be an adventure. More to come on that I’m sure. HA!

I hope you are having a great day, friends! And if you’re not, try writing down 10 awesome things going on in your life right now. Automatic great mood!

Laney

Happy Birthday, Sal

On Sunday (4/3/16) Delilah 4.0 made his appearance into the world. He is by a Hereford bull and out of the most amazingly beautiful and wonderful Corriente cow in the world… Delilah, of course.

I had been doing “baby checks” 4 times a day for over 2 weeks and had decided that Delilah was never going to calve and that I should give up, so I didn’t shoot right out to the cow barn when I got up on Sunday morning. Instead I chose to have coffee and watch some Golden Girls. At about 8am MyFarmer gets a call from his buddy StephonDeweewee(I’m not even making this nickname up, that’s actually what we call him on a daily basis) and he says, “did you know there is a calf down here?”

*Insert scrambling to find pants, accusations of lying, and pulling on boots while running out the front door here*

You know those air-filled arm flappy things that car lots use to get your attention driving down the road? That was me.

Sure enough, there is a steamy little red calf just learning how to use his legs right out in front of the barn. First thing I notice is all of the cute “chrome” (white markings) on this calf…then that little thing hanging between his back legs. Another bull calf. I am 100% happy as long as I have a healthy momma and calf, but there is always a little ping of disappointment when I know that he won’t be able to stay with me forever and ever like a heifer calf (most likely) can. I get crazy attached to all of the baby calves, but I also understand what their place is in our lives. I am a firm believer that cows were put on this earth for the purpose of being a food source, but it is our responsibility to give them the utmost care and respect that they most certainly deserve while they are with us.

It is always incredible to watch these baby calves in their first few moments of life. It’s like watching a miracle right before your eyes. I love to watch them take their first wobbly steps and know exactly where they need to go – to get that first meal! The first milk produced by a cow after she calves contains colostrum that is rich in antibodies and it is imperative that the babies get this milk as quickly as possible for two main reasons: One, newborn calves do not have a fully developed immune system, so the colostrum is giving him or her the immunity they need to be healthy, happy, growing babies. The second reason is that baby calves bodies can only absorb the immunoglobulins from the colostrum for a short amount of time. Every hour old the calf is decreases its ability to absorb the antibodies, and by the time the calf is 24 hours old the gut essentially “shuts off” it’s ability to digest the large proteins. Moral of this story, those baby calves are in a hurry to get to the udder!

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Enough of the boring jibber-jabber, let’s get to the real reason you clicked on this link.

BABY CALF PICTURES!

Lets have a look back on the 4 precious babies that Delilah has given us thus far!

Delilah 1.0: Trixie

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trixie
Corriente x Corriente 

Trixie was born on MyFarmer’s grandmothers birthday! We had just got home from town having her birthday dinner when I went to the barn to do a check and there was miss Trixie! She had somehow managed to get under the panel to where Delilah couldn’t get to her, so thank goodness I stopped to check when I did! Unfortunately Trixie ended up having an adverse reaction to the endophyte’s in fescue that caused her to have respiratory issues (not a common thing) and I had to sell her when she was a yearling.

Delilah 2.0: Sparky

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sparky
Black Angus x Corriente 

This little momma’s twin was born the same day MyFarmer had to deal with a field fire (hence the name). I was CRUSHED when I found out he was a bull calf since he looked just like my precious Delilah. But my goodness he was a cutie!

Delilah 3.0: Stanley Zbornak

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Black Angus x Corriente 

If you are a fan of The Golden Girls you will appreciate the last 2 calves names. Stanley was full of personality like his momma. The best part about him was that his ears just kept growing the older he got! We made jokes that he was going back to his deep Brahman roots! (Truth be told he got pretty goofy looking. Kind of one of those “so ugly he’s cute” deals.) Stan’s other claim to fame is that he was born on National Agriculture Day – that’s a pretty fitting birthday for a calf if you ask me!

Delilah 4.0: Salvador Petrillo

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Hereford x Corriente 

And that brings us to the present, little Sal. He is by far the smallest of the calves Delilah has had, and I cannot even handle how precious he is. He has that sweet butterfly on his head that makes my heart melt. I will enjoy every single moment I have with this precious little fella!

One cool thing that I didn’t intend on noticing going through the calf pictures was seeing how Delilah has changed over the past 4 years. Her horns will never stop growing and according to my vet there will be a “ring” on each horn (growth mark) for each calf she has had… and sure enough she has four rings! Pretty neat factoid.

This post would be complete without mentioning a VERY proud Aunt Daphne.

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Daphne came into our lives last year when CowboyRod did a trade with me for Stanley. My intentions for her was to NOT make her into a giant pet like Delilah because, well, one 1,000 pound cow running all you because she loves you is enough.

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“Excuse me ma’am, you seem to not be taking any pictures of me…”
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“Be sure to get my good side!”

She’s CLEARLY not a pet.

Love,

-The Crazy Cow Lady