Until the Cows Come Home

I recently did a post about cows and milking time. You can read it HERE if you like. My friend, Gargoyle Bruce, commented that I could read that book until the cows came home! I thought that was funny, but it reminded me that we have a book on our shelf called — Until the Cows Come Home! I love those Serendipity kind of moments!

Until the cows come home is kind of a funny thing to say. In the book, Milking Time, the cows came home every morning and every evening to be milked. But I think that maybe a really long time ago cows didn’t come home so often and now to say “until the cows come home” means a really, really long time. As in – “I’ll be waiting for some rain until the cows come home.”

IMG_1572Until the Cows Come Home
written and illustrated with hand-colored photographs
by Patricia Mills
published by North-South Books in 1993

This is a lovely, quiet picture story of life in the country. Barn and hayfields, sheep and bluebirds, barns full of stacked wood and barns full of corncobs. Grapes on the vines and vegetables in the garden. Flowers in the fields and a quiet river. Lazy, quiet visions – all “until the cows come home.”

There is a note from the author in the back of the book that tells how she took two years to photograph the life around her at her cabin retreat in West Virgina. (It took until the cows came home!) She says of the book – “I hope that in a quiet way this book will open children to the simple pleasures and the great beauty of unspoiled rural life.”

IMG_1574You should check this book out and see for yourself!

Here are the cows coming home in Ft Worth, Texas!

I hope you have a peaceful week filled with quiet pleasures –
until the cows come home!
Your friend
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A Country Road

IMG_0030We live in the country on a country road. In Texas it’s called a Farm to Market Road. FM. It’s a long and windy road that begins in the town and follows the river out of town for a long long way. There aren’t a lot of houses on our road. Or much traffic. There is lots of pasture land. You might see sheep and cows and horses and goats and emus. You might see some deer or an armadillo or a road runner running by. There are even dinosaurs!!!

IMG_0675It’s a fine, fine road to live on.

We have a book about a country road and all that goes on on that road.

IMG_0033Country Road ABC
An Illustrated Journey Through America’s Farmland
by Arthur Geisert
published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children in 2010
suitable for K and up
Theme — alphabet, farming

It begins —
is for ammonia fertilizer

Ammonia fertilizer?! Yes, that’s right. Ammonia fertilizer. Ammonia fertilizer is well known these days as a bomb maker. It happens to be at the center of the big explosion that wiped out part of the town of West, Texas last year. But it also happens to be an important farm tool that farmers use to grow better fields of produce.

This is kind of an unusual ABC book. It is a fabulous ABC book! You not only learn your ABCs, you also learn all about farming. Like fertilizer, and D is for disking, E is for erosion, G is for grinding feed, I is for inoculate! And my favorite — K is for kick!! As in the cow kicking the farmer!

IMG_0034The illustrations are D is for detailed and M is for mesmerizing. Mr. Geisert illustrates all his books with hand colored etchings. A tedious process, I think. This long country road starts in the city and moves out to the countryside where the farmlands begin. You get a very good picture of life on the farm and in a small town. (like Glen Rose, Texas!)

At the end of the book is a farm glossary that gives you further explanations for all the alphabet words used in the text. There is also a big thank-you list to all the owners of the sites and farms that you get to visit in the book. It’s all REAL!

After reading this book, you might want to do an ABC story of your own town. Is your town a farming community or a big city? Or something in between. What different things do you see in the city and the country?

This book would go very nicely with any farm unit that a class may be doing.

TeachingBooks.net has a nice little video interview with Mr Geisert in which he talks about his etching process and about some of his books. You can find it HERE.

And another interview in which he talks about the making of Country Road ABC.

Now it’s time to move on down the road to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to view the list of Perfect Picture Books that appears on her doorstep every Friday!

Have a Good One!
Your country friend
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Hide and Go Seek

One of my favorite games is a kind of hide and go seek. Somebody hides my toy and I have to find it by listening to hot and cold hints. I LOVE this game!!!!

IMG_4071Sometimes I hide the toy and the Mom Person has to find it. She’s not very good at it and  usually needs help.

IMG_4068Sometimes I like to hide myself and see if anyone can find me.

IMG_3067And sometimes the other animals at the 7 Acre Wood like to play hide and seek as well.


Hide and Seek is a fun game no matter how you play it!

IMG_4062We found a fun book at the library last week that’s all about Hide and Seek.

Millie and the Big Rescue by Alexander Steffensmeier.

It was published in 2012 by Walker Books. (We LOVE Walker Books!)

This is a FUN, SILLY Picture Book. Millie is a cow and the star of the book. She loved to play hide and seek. And so did all her friends on the farm. One day Millie chose to hide in the top of a big tree. No one could find her. She watched them all looking and looking. After awhile she got bored and decided to try to climb down, but found she was STUCK!

Well, in her attempts to get down from the tree, she gave herself away and all the other animals saw that she was stuck in the tree. They all made various attempts to rescue her, but as they did, each one got stuck in the tree with Millie. This book is very reminiscent of Oliver Jeffers’s Stuck! Even the farmer lady ends up in the tree. (I like that it’s a farmer lady and not a farmer man.) They decide that it’s a nice spot for a picnic and tea. But then the mailman comes and then the firemen to rescue everybody. And they ALL end up in the tree enjoying the view and eating cake. A very Happy Ending!

I love this book! The illustrations are really funny and require lots of thoughtful observation because there is a lot going on on every page. Even the endpapers show Millie in various hiding places.

Mr Steffensmeier has a pretty cool website HERE. It’s all in German so I can’t read any of it. But you might can.

And here is a little video of Mr Steffensmeier drawing Millie the Cow. Except in German she appears to be Lieselotte. Anyway, enjoy —

Wishing you a Joyful week full of nice views and fun with your friends


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Farmyard Beat!

I have another good read aloud book for you! Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig and illustrated by Marc Brown ( of Arthur fame ). It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2011.


The best thing about this book is the illustrations. They are paper collage, quite colorful ( so I’m told ), and crazy funny. I LOVE the pictures! The story begins with a chick hatching out of an egg saying “peep-peep-peep!” This leads to a barnyard full of animals that make a lot of racket and can’t sleep “because they got that beat!”


The chicks can’t sleep—they go peep,peep,peep and wake up the sheep who go TAT! TAT! TAT! (whoever heard a sheep go tat, tat, tat?!), and that wakes up the cat who goes PUUURRR! MEE-OOOW! and you get the picture. Lots of movement and noise making. But some of it doesn’t make sense — like sheep going tat, tat and cows going swish,clank. I never heard a cow clank! There’s lots of repetition and Rhythm in the wording. It helps reinforce the words which is a good thing with little kids.

IMG_0463I’ve heard a lot of good reviews for this book. It’s a happy book and provides for some serious singing and dancing. It might be a good addition to a preschool farm unit. You could talk about sounds that farm animals make. It would go along nicely with “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. And what do farm animals really do at night anyway?  It would be fun to make farm collages. Like I said, I do LOVE the illustrations!

Here’s a link to a farm theme lesson plan with some interesting ideas —

And a link to a really cute chick made from an egg carton!

And the Muppets doing Barnyard Boogie with all the animal sounds!

Now you can go visit Susanna Hill and all the other great PPBFs!

The Goat Lady

My Mom Person wants to be The Goat Lady. Around our town she is known as The Dog Lady. She likes that well enough, but she wants to be The Goat Lady.

We have this book by a really lovely artist, Jane Bregoli. The book is called The Goat Lady. Appropriate. My Mom Person keeps this book prominently displayed because she LOVES the lady on the cover. This is what she aspires to. Not Grace Kelly or Princess Diana or any princess or even fabulous dog trainer Carol Lea Benjamin. She wants to be this goat lady. I think it is the look of contentment on the lady’s face.

The book was published in 2004 by Tilbury House, Publishers and is about a real person. Her name is Noelie Houle and you can watch a real video of her here.

The story is about two children and their mother ( the author and artist) who move into a new neighborhood near a rundown old farm. They like to watch the frisky goats that fill the farmyard.  After a while the kids become friends with the owner, Mrs Houle, and start helping her take care of the goats and do other chores. Mrs. Houle milks her goats every day and sells the milk to local people. She also gives goats to an organization called the Heifer Project that helps poor people in far away countries. The children get their mom to paint some portraits of Mrs Houle and she paints so many that she decides to have an art show in the local town hall. Then all the neighbors who have previously complained about the rundown farm and the unruly animals, get to know Mrs Houle and see how wonderful she really is.

This book is about tolerance and helping your neighbors and being a part of your own little community. It’s about not judging ” a book by its cover.” It’s about being happy with what you have and being resourceful. It’s about goats and about how animals provide support and understanding for their humans. It is a great book on many levels.

We have goats here. We don’t milk our goats — they are fiber goats — Angoras. The Mom Person loves those goats. Me, not so much. Sometimes they try to chase me and butt me. It’s taken me awhile to figure them out. We spend a lot of time out in the pasture with the goats. The Mom Person likes to just sit and watch them. And I like to watch her. She is The Goat Lady. But she’s also The Dog Lady. And that’s what’s important to me.

I hope you have animals to look after you. And I think everyone needs to get to know their neighbors. Do you have any neighbors that you wonder about? This is kind of the season for doing good things. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend who could use some help? Think about it!

If you would like to know more about Noelie Houle’s white goats you can check this out. And if you would like to find out more about Angora goats, you can check here.

Then check out The Goat Lady. And The Heifer Project. You’ll be glad you did!

And here is a little video of some musical goats. I don’t know what kind of goats these are but they are pretty cute!