Branson with the grandchildren

We recently spent a week in Branson with three of our children and spouses as well as five of our grandchildren.  I bought a styrofoam and balsa wood airplane with a propeller so I could fly it with the kids.  We had fun in the yard and it flew fairly well without great damage.

Assembling the rubber band plane

Later, I bought a similar plane without a propeller (glider version) which we intended to launch from the observation deck of the 50 ft tall lighthouse attached to the clubhouse of the complex in which we were staying.  The last day we were there, we all went to the lighthouse, leaving some of our family to observe and retrieve the plane on the ground.  We launched it several times and the flight path was basically the same every time.  Basically a spiral straight down.  Oh! Well we had fun with the kids.

Throwing the glider from the lighthouse

While we were preparing to depart our vacation for home, I gave the prop glider to my grandson from Tulsa and the no-prop glider to my grand daughter from Fort Scott.  I was afraid of them getting broken, so packed the prop glider back in the box it came in.  I did not have the plastic wrap the other had some in.  My grand daughter wanted hers in a box as well, so we dumped out some cookies and used the cookie box.

glider in a box
Glider in a cookie box

Here is my daughter’s description of our grandson and the plane:

“Cademan fell asleep holding his plane box in the van on the way home and as soon as we got home he pulled it all out and begged us to put it together while we were unloading. Joel finally took him out to the golf course under Cademan’s strict instructions to NOT let it go in the pond! After a while Joel then came back in and Cademan sat on his slide playing with his plane. He wanted to take his plane in the bath with him but I said it would break. So he settled for sleeping with it but this morning he woke up and has been playing with his plane ever since! I think I need to get used to having a son with 1 arm cuz that’s all he can use with the plane in the other! Lol!

Anyway, just wanted to let u know how much he loves his plane!

He also told me last night that it was his and Daddy’s cuz they were special!”

I am getting a lot of Papa miles out of this plane.  It is kind of like frequent flyer status.


Grandson with the nod

Recently, our son told of his attempt to get our grandson to begin talking.  He kinda/sorta says some words, like my name(Papa), Mama, Car etc.  Benjamin is one and a half years old and doing quite well with most activities including communication, yet not with words.

Marked asked a question to which the answer was “yes”.  So, Benjamin shook his head in an up and down motion.  To try to get him to “say” yes, Mark told him to say it with his mouth.  Benjamin replied by opening his mouth and shaking his head in an up and down motion.  What a kid!

Larry-proud Papa

A Trip to Guatemala to See Little Hudson


Answer:  GO VISIT HIM!

Well, it was a little bit more complicated than visiting their other new grandson, Ryan Daniel Ray, who was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  To visit this grandson, Hudson Michael Shead, they had to sell a cow and save up quite a bit  first.

Question:   WHY?




Though they were in the middle of language school, they took a seven week break and went to Guatemala City to be with a midwife.  Now that they were back in school and back in their host family’s house at Xela, it was time for Papa and Grandma to meet the little fellow.

On July 8th, Papa and Grandma boarded the plane, took to the skies, and flew across the Gulf of Mexico for Guatemala City.  It was a perfect flight, though going through the security in the airport in Tulsa, Grandma had to be checked to see if she was a terrorist.  She found out where NOT to hide money, or it would raise questions!

They arrived in Guatemala City at 1;17 and went through customs quickly with their three checked luggage and two carry-on baggage.  Michael was waiting at the entrance with his Jimmy Carter smile (something his parents used to say when he was young, and Jimmy Carter was president).

All of the bags barely fit in the taxi. Then off Papa and Grandma went for a completely different cultural ride in a taxi. They felt completely safe, but taxis in Guatemala do not go by the U.S. rules of the road.  The taxi took off on what really was made to be a two lane street…except drivers make it into a four lane with NO room in between the vehicles.  At least one would think there was no room as one could stick their hand out the window and touch the vehicles next to them.

Surprise! Surprise!  What other cultures are able to do,  Americans couldn’t dare try.  In between the crowded four lanes of vehicles, came a motor cycle…right between the already ” close cars” ! Oh! My!  Do the Guatemalan drivers know how to squeeze into tight places! If a lane change was needed, Mr. Taxi driver would just angle his car toward the car next to.   Traffic moves quickly, horns honk as vehicles about touch each other, but no one seems to get scrapped or bumped.  Interesting!

Michael had the taxi driver stop at a fast food place,  grabbed some sandwiches, and then took off to the bus station where a bus would take the excited Papa and Grandma up the mountains to Xela to see little Hudson.

More on how excited they were to see the little fellow on the next blog entry.



The Saving of the duckling

Recently, my wife, Vickie, was watching some of our ducks in the water when she noticed that 2 full sized ducks were apparently pecking at a duckling.  The duckling was in the water and having trouble staying afloat.  She shooed the adult ducks away and picked up the duckling.

When picking up the duckling, she found that a snapping turtle had it by the leg and had been trying to drag it under and have lunch.

I went back later to try to eliminate the turtle, but could not find it.

Rain Gutter protection from leaves

When I was with my son, Mark, at Costco in Kansas City a few months ago, we say a product to keep leaves and junk out of your gutters.  It is a triangular piece of foamy substance that is to absorb water and let it flow down the gutter and keep the leaves, etc on top.  After they dry out, hopefully they will blow away somewhere.

I just last night installed this stuff on the north end of my carport.  Then prayed for rain!!

Today it rained.  So far, we have about seven tenths of an inch.  The electricity has been on and off as well.  We are praying for a good soaking and no damage.

I stepped out under the carport and looked at the underside of the gutter.  It did not have volumes of water running down the side as it had in the past.  So, I am marking this one down as a success, so far anyway!


Obstinate Cow

Last year one of our cows was moving rather slowly and was always the last one to show up anywhere in the field.  So, I decided that she was getting old and since she did not appear to be pregnant as she should be, it was time to sell her.

However, since she was almost always the last cow to show up, it was difficult to get her into the feed lot by my usual method.  The usual method is to call the cattle and feed them some range cubes in the feedlot.  Most of them would come running and of course, the first ones who arrived, got most of the food.  She would not get there before the feed was all gone and the cattle were leaving the feedlot, so she did not go into the lot.

One day, I asked a cowboy friend if he had any ideas on how to get her into the feedlot.  He came out with his horse and worked to round up this wayward cow.  He spent the good part of an hour trying to herd her in.  To no avail.  So, we gave up for the time being.

Several weeks after the horse and rider episode, she had a calf, much to my surprise!!  Not a good time to sell her at this point.

This spring (2011), I noticed one day, that the cattle were all pretty close to the feedlot, including the red whiteface that was the target of our previous year’s hunt.  We had sold her calf, so did not have to contend with separating them.  So, I fed the range cubes in the feed bunk and the cattle came in, including Mrs. Red whiteface.  I closed the gate and we had her!!!  YES!

We separated the cattle and let out the ones we did not want to sell.  We left 4 calves with the Red Whiteface cow so she would have some company until Saturday.  Saturday is the day that the local sale barn has their sale.

Our grand daughter spent the night with us and was excited to be going with me to the sale barn that Saturday.  She is 4 years old.  We walked the cattle around and around the feedlot trying to get them into the smaller pen and eventually into the trailer.  We finally did get her into the smaller pen and then let the calves out into the pasture.  We THOUGHT we had it made, but we were wrong!

My very patient wife worked to get feed in the trailer to coax the cow into the trailer.  I got in the pen and walked her around to get some action toward the trailer.  After a while, her attitude toward me deteriorated and she would stare at me, like she wanted to kill me.  At that point, I decided to get out of the pen and up on the fence.  She still charged at me and made me feel very uncomfortable.

Finally, my wife hung out in the hot sun for about 2 hours hiding by the trailer prepared to close the gate when she got in the trailer.  It never happened.

We decided to feed her in the trailer and just keep her in the pen until we could get her into the trailer.  After about 4 days, she would go into the trailer even when we were about 20 feet away.  At this point, we had a rope tied to the inside gate in the stock trailer, so that we could pull it from some distance and lock her in when the time came.

So, Saturday morning, a week from our original date to sell her, we got up about  7:30 and fed her in the front of the trailer.  She got in and we sprung the trap.  She was not a happy camper and turned around to try to find a way out.  We locked the middle gate and the outer gate and were ready to go.

I picked up my grand daughter at her house (she was waiting on the front porch with a container of cookies for us to eat while waiting at the sale barn).  We got to the sale barn and as we unloaded, I told the crew that the cow was not happy.  When the gate was opened, she jumped right out and everyone stayed clear.  SUCCESS!

We parked the truck and trailer and I gave my grand daughter a tour of the auction arena (the sale had not yet started).  I then took her home and then went back to the farm.  Later in the evening, I went back to town to pick up a check.  She weighed 920 pounds and brought a little over $600.  I praise the Lord that this particular cow is no longer a part of the Sheadfarm.

WSU India/Nepal Graduate Student Retreat

We had a great weekend with an awesome group.  They were a group of graduate students from Wichita State University.  Pictured below from L to R:  Krushnamraju & Suhaeini Kosuru, married and both doctors in India who are working on their US Doctorate. Great couple…and great cooks.  Tyler Doersksen, who spear-headed the retreat and who makes great mint tea.  Also, Suvidha Samant, a graduate biologist from Southern India, who made a great dish  and Pravin  from Nepal who taught us how to make MoMo.

We learned so much from this group and enjoyed their wonderful cooking.  We took them to the Amish where they helped us load up firewood and then toured the Amish goat dairy.

We had a great weekend.

October 2010

Farm gets a pig

Bacon Bits is eating some food

The Story of the Pot-belly PIG

A student had a little pig
A little pig, a little pig.
A student had a little pig
Its face was black as coal.

He brought the pig to school one day
School one day, school one day
He brought the pig to school one day
To be the classroom pet.

It waited outside the classroom door
The classroom door, the classroom door
It waited outside the classroom door
Until the children came out to play.

It made the children laugh and play,
Laugh and play, laugh and play,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a pig at school.

Everywhere the children went
Children went, Children went
Everywhere that  children went
The pig was sure to go.

And then the teacher brought it in
Brought it in, brought it in
And then the teacher brought it in
To run among the desks.

So when the children all go home
All go home, All go home,
And when the children all go home
The teacher has a pet.

Then everywhere the teacher goes
the teacher goes, the teacher goes
And everywhere the teacher goes
She nows has a pet pig.

Why does teacher do such things
Do such things, do such things?
And why does teacher do such things
Like have a pot-belly pig?

The answer is quite hard to find
Quit hard to find, quite hard to find.
The answer is quite hard to find
Except she be out of her mind.

For everyone knows that pigs do grow,
Pigs do grow, pigs do grow.
For everyone knows that pigs do grow,
To a very large, large size.

Oh! My!

Maria & Clayton

Clayton was a former youth pastor of Maria.  Maria’s brother, Michael, had worked with him at the church in Pittsburg.   MIchael and Clayton became close friends. `

Maria went to college, traveled internationally, and then taught school in Chicago and then in Tulsa, while Clayton taught school in Pittsburg, worked in management in a business and then became manager of a teen homeless shelter in Wichita.

An interesting coincidence….

during those years, while Maria was climbing mountains in Wyoming on a 40 Days in the Wilderness adventure,

Clayton was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Hmmmm!  Some common likes of the outdoors.

Last July, Maria and Clayton renewed their friendship at Maria’s brother’s (Michael and Chrisi’s) wedding.

Clayton was a groomsman.

For the first time, Clayton attended part of the Shead family’s Thanksgiving.

Clayton and Maria spent some time with the family, guests, and each other.

Shortly afterwards, Clayton asked Maria’s dad if he could pursue a special relationship with her,

and in December, they spent some time together with the Shead family and friends at Silver Dollar City.

They also took in  the Rhema lights with a group of family and friends.

They were able to spent some time with his family and with the Shead’s during Christmas vacation.

They found much in common spiritually and of course, were growing in their relationship.

For the next few months, they spent time with one weekend in Tulsa, and the next in Wichita, getting to know each other’s friends and families.

A couple of weekends they got to go to the farm where they joined in the work and fun.

The whole time Clayton was praying and pondering when it would be right to ask her to share the rest of their lives with each other. (Yes, that is Clayton in the picture).

Maria, having patiently saved her emotions all those years for  the person she felt God would have her marry, spent a lot of time contemplating the wonderful idea that it was Clayton and her time was coming.

Clayton and Maria saw eye to eye on the idea!

They are one happy couple

who both know that Jesus needs to be the center of their relationship and their entire life.

Now they are anxiously and fervently preparing for the soon coming wedding on July 17th. The hour hasn’t been chosen but may be a mid-morning wedding so that it won’t be so hot.  Have any of you ever seen a breakfast wedding cake, possibly an elaborate stack of pancakes?