On the Banks of Fun Creek

When I was a kid I fell in love with the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite was “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, that title came to mind just now when starting this blog, because we had a fun time on the bank of the creek by our house. That fun was documented by Liz Griffin as she photographed Jillian and the rest of our family for Jill’s grad photo session.

I think the hi jinx on set that resulted in photos that are different and fun largely arise from the fact that Morgan had Covid. His symptoms were few and his energy good enough that we were able to carry on with the photo shoot. We had to, really, because Gina was home for a short time and Liz couldn’t reschedule within that time. We couldn’t afford to be nonchalant about the sickness though because there was alot coming up, including a big audition for Gina and Jill’s grad ceremony within days. We got into a creative, outside the box mindset and it translated into moments that Liz not only indulged but I would say encouraged.

I am sharing the pictures here for the main reason that “fun” is an angle on life that I am drawn to and I sense others enjoy the chance to smile or giggle too. When the picture gallery was delivered to us I was teary about some pictures, with many of these ones I could only laugh.

Social distanced family pictures with an outlaw getting arrested flavor to them.
I believe Liz said, “how about some sass?”
What it looks like at the Bayliss house when Mom is mad.
Jill’s face!
The one normal family picture, achieved by Morgan holding his breath.
Another take on socially distanced family photography.
We were invited to ham things up, to process the question, “where is Morgan?” His stance would suggest he was replying, “I’m right here, its not that hard.”
This would not be funny if any of our children had ever been lost but as a dramatic exercise it was fun to be goofy about this. Morgan is looking to the sky, perhaps it was a “God help them!” moment.
Morgan has given up, but Gina reveals that our investment in her education was not wasted.
Having given up we pose and Morgan begins to photobomb.
Our clan has had to become adept at teamwork. Jill’s friend Rayna was a part of our photo shoot. She was ready to be the one that upped the fun factor a bit and helped us put our teamwork in action.
The most risky Covid moments of the photoshoot. I love the contrast between our serious effort to pose and what the boys were stirring up in the background.
There is that big generous smile of Morgan’s revealed for all to see. Perhaps this shot could be called, “the singers and the cowboys.”
Russ grabbed pictures of Liz and Jill on Liz’s camera. This candid moment is another angle on the fun.

The truth is that Liz is a really flexible person to work with and she is dedicated to her craft. The fun is possible because of these things, and so are the awesome images she gets. In this picture which I took on my phone Liz took the angle necessary to get the shot she envisioned. From this low spot she created the photo below.
I could see us developing this one for a wall canvas.

We had some fun on the banks of fun creek on June 23rd. Thanks for the fun Liz! Fun is a funny word isn’t it? Especially when you use fun 7 times in 41 words, it starts to sound, well…..funny!

Come on over for a decaf….

Do you have time for an evening coffee?  In my case it will have to be decaf. 

The windows are open, the birds are chirping a bit, the air is still, it is a gorgeous evening.   It is 9:28pm on the longest day of the year.  I think I have about a half hour before my pillow and I need each other. 

I am missing my blog.  I just haven’t made it here too much lately and definitely not for a chatty blog.  I like doing those.    This is my chance.

We feel like these are good moments we are in.  Maybe that’s crazy, considering the fuel bill for last month is a little more than $9,000.   Life is kind’ve expensive these days.  We carry on.  We are counting ourselves blessed in this moment that our dugouts are full, the creek is full, the well is full and the grass is growing quickly.  This was a scene we couldn’t imagine last year at this time.  Our cow herd is doing really well, gaining some weight back after our tough winter and doing well with pushing out the calves.  We are thankful.  The last little bit has seen Ron and Russ working on fence repair and construction.  Ron has also been attending to machinery upkeep.  Russ has been getting cow/calf pairs trucked to their summer pastures.  Morgan has been a jack of all trades and recently started doing some horse training.  Jill and I are floating around the edges.  Jill dives deep when needed.  She has had the nerve wracking job of running the controls on the hydraulic chute and continues to be the head castrator on our crew, she is swift and kind.  So………….all our skills are being expanded and deepened as we all continue to monitor the calving herd and respond to things.

When we checked cows after church on Sunday we found one abandoned by its Mom in 34 degree heat. It was dehydrated. We kidnapped it and through electrolytes and bottles have him almost thriving again. We have a calf to bottle feed for the foreseeable future, his Mom is AWOL.

Off the ranch Gina has had a great month so far and I am going to write about that a bit more in a few days when we celebrate her 20th birthday.    She arrives into the Regina airport tomorrow and we are sure looking forward to setting our eyes on her.    

Jill graduates next week.  We have so many different feelings.  One of the big ones tonight is concern.  Morgan tested positive for Covid this morning.  Our hope is that he remains the only case in the house, he works through it and we are all good to attend next week.  However, it may unfold in a multitude of ways that mean we will be flexing and bending.  I picked up five more boxes of test kits, so we have about 30 tests on hand.  That should allow us to test the heck out of ourselves.  At this point Morgan is doing well, he has a sore throat and a bit lower energy but otherwise is feeling good.

I have a lot of baking to do in anticipation of next week and today dawned cool and cloudy so it was the day to get at it.  I put a mask on and baked away. 

Seems like overkill maybe, but peace of mind for me means this is how it looks.   I made a puffed wheat cake using a new recipe and put it in a bundt pan.  It turned out so well.    That kind of stuff excites me.  I also made a batch of buns and bowed to peer pressure, (just from Russell), I used a little mini branding iron and pushed our brand into the buns.  It didn’t really turn out. 

Once they rose the brand became almost invisible. It was worth a try.

When I was a kid our route to the cottage included driving past a pig farm near the Petrofka bridge.  It was inconceivable to me that anyone could live with the smell that came from that place.  I perhaps was acting like a bit of a snooty city girl.  Anyways, its spring on our ranch and Ron started taking care of the manure in our corral today.  Our whole yard smells just like that spot on the highway.  I never thought I would be a girl with a not-snooty nose, but here I am killing it! The balance to this smell is the heavenly aroma on my kitchen counter from the bouquet of roses that Russ picked me in the pasture. He was thrilled to report the abundance of wild roses found there and took me for a tour later today. The smell is incredible.

We celebrated Father’s Day by attending church together, having lunch out and our good ol cinnamon bun and bacon celebratory meal for Supper.   On the way to church everyone answered the question, “what is your favorite memory with Dad/Russ?”  At lunch we talked over, “what is something Dad/Russ has set as a good example for me?”.  At supper we worked with the question, “what is something you are looking forward to doing with Dad/Russ?”   Later on Gina phoned Russ, I was there, Russ put the phone onto speaker phone and I asked her those questions.  She indicated that she really liked answering them.  Maybe sometimes words can be gifts.   (I hope so at least, because Jill was the only one to buy Russell a gift.)

I spent half an hour on the phone yesterday reporting fraud on my credit card.  Today I was telling Gina about it, she reminded me that I had given her permission to use my credit card to pay for parking fees at the course she was at.  So………..I called the credit card company today and spent half an hour getting the fraud report reversed.  Oops.  In my defense, Gina was in Vancouver and the line came through on my credit card for “Honk Mobile Toronto” and I had just been in Toronto so it just seemed that these $20 dollar daily charges were a result of my number getting lifted.  Nope.  Russell did say, “weird that they would steal your card number and then only spend so little.”  Yes.  Weird.  And………..my mistake….again. 

Time is up.

I wish I could put into words all the funny stuff that happens.

There is hours I could spend writing about the Tenderlands.  I have been struggling.  Maybe a few minutes will present itself.

We have some deeply uncertain days ahead.

Mostly, we are well.

Our deepest truth is that we are thankful.

I promise if you were here in person I would not do all the talking like this. I would enjoy hearing about what you are being tested by, what you have been smelling lately and any mistakes you are reckoning with, along with the funniness, gratitude and worry that might be shaping your days.