Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marriage

I've been down helping my oldest with his wee ones while his wife was in Italy on a trip with the company she works for. An amazing trip I might add.  Right now the train whistle blows as I roll into another small Central Valley town on my way home in Northern California. 

I have a lot of time on my hands to think as my body gently rocks side to side. I think especially about marriage.   It is June, after all, the most popular month for weddings.  Today also marks  the marriage anniversary of my deceased parents and Mark's very much alive parents.    Woohoo!  Congrats are certainly in order as they are celebrating 60 years of marriage. This is a great accomplishment. 

I found this photo in my phone. I love these two old oaks.  I regularly pass them on my evening hike at home. 



They always remind me of what it takes to have a good marriage.  They stand side by side with branches touching each other and reaching out.  They connect, but they don't lean heavily on each other.  If one were to fall the other would still stand.  Lonelier, but capable.  

I've also heard types of marriages described by letters of the alphabet:

An 'A' marriage is the type Mark and I had in the beginning.  Perhaps all love starts this way.  You are deeply connected and lean heavily on each other.  Your identity is tied up in the other.   You are not just intertwined, you are enmeshed. If one falls the other does too.  It's not healthy in the long term.  A marriage needs two individuals standing on their own two feet to be healthy and long lasting.  You need space as well as time together.  You need to know yourself before you can know someone else. 

A 'H' marriage is two individuals side by side but doing their own thing on parallel paths.  Busy parents with careers sometimes fall into this style of relating.  You are more like roommates than married lovers. 

The best marriages look a lot like the letter 'M'.  Each part can stand on their own but the connection they share makes the sum of their parts better. They have space between them and a rooted connection.  If one falls the other has enough balance to help pick the other up. 

Mark and I have grown our 'A' into a'M'.  It hasn't been easy, but it is good.  It is worthwhile.  It is real.  It is fun. We are both happier for it and stronger as a unit and as individuals.  

Mark and I have been married since I was 18 and him 21 and many times old friends, usually divorced, tell us how they envy our relationship.  "It must be wonderful being married to your soulmate", or "You two have it so easy".  Rubbish, I say.  Marriage is not a Cinderella story.  Get that out of your head or your marriage will be destined for failure. 

Marriage is committed love.  Period.  We chose each other, over and over again.  It is not fate.  

Don't get me wrong.  Marriage is good, soaringly good even, but  be prepared.  There are dangers to it ahead.  

We think of it as a wild adventure and everyday full of new territory to cross because each day we are slightly different people. (That's why the sex doesn't get old!).  The first thing to throw out of your pack is expectations.  They will weigh you down and make the journey less fun.  Carry along a lot of humor and love.  The Corinthians kind of love.   Keep your compass of commitment handy so you don't lose your way.   If one stumbles off course, and we have a few  times, help each other out. ( AKA: kick em in the butt by speaking truth).  The  trail is sometimes smooth and other times rocky.  Help each other along.  Have each other's back. We've had to ford a few rushing rivers too and thought we would drown, but instead learned to just float through the roughest water.  

We've  been over 35 years on this trail and we are both stronger now.  I plan on continuing on this path until death do we part and Mark says he does too. We've got this. 

Happy Trails!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

May Madness


Time is flying!  Flying like a 747 it seems. I haven't posted in ages and thought it might be fun to just look through my phone's photos and memories to see what last month held.

A wedding in Carmel, with two of our daughters and two of our grandsons, begins the month and you must always remember we live hours from anywhere.  It's a 7 hour drive to get to Carmel. 

While we were away friends lost this little 14 year old dog at the ranch.  She was missing for over a week when Eric spotted her hiding in some ferns. She had 50 something ticks, but was otherwise okay.  She had us all quite worried and we feared the worst.  Dogs are tough.  Old dogs are tougher.


The hens really started laying this month. Green grass and longer days and they were some very productive birds.


Speaking of birds, some of our homegrown chicken was barbecued because there it is in my photo feed.  We always eat well on all of our homegrown  meat and garden produce.  Speaking of which:

Lots and lots of strawberries.  We have so many that I've been able to freeze a few.


Patched up the corrals because we needed to bring in the cattle to vaccinate.
 
Here some are.  They know the sound of our truck (which we feed out of) and my screeching voice and we get pretty lucky at having them stream out of the woods and across the prairies and to the corrals.
Here are the guys after we were done working with the cattle.  They look good.  This year spring vaccination went really smooth and quick.  We worked together like a well oiled machine. 

Had a lovely rainbow along the way. 

And our tulip tree bloomed.

Cleaned the basement and sold things on eBay for the first time.  Got jipped on eBay for the first time.  Lol

Another wedding 7 hours away in the Sierra foothills.

Attended our grandson Zane's 3rd birthday dressed up.

Our new names are Grammy and Poppa Potato Head.  Zane loves Toy Story! 


Sold our last batch of piglets.

Got lots of donkey love.

Rode Horses.

Mark did lots of mechanic work.  The axle fell off of our cattle trailer.  He also worked on the skidder and bulldozer and generator and, and, and.  Plus he worked for a neighbor driving a dump truck and other heavy equipment almost 5 days every week.  Mark is a busy man.


And in the evening as the sun sets he takes a break and soaks in our wood fired hot tub.  Drinking some fine sparkling water.  The good life.

We had an couple hours at the beach on a trip to pick up a new gilt and our old boar who both did not want to load so it didn't get done until June.  New story.

Dead whale on the beach.  In case you couldn't tell. Tiger sharks killed it at sea the experts think.

We also swam at the falls for the first time of the year.  I say swam, I didn't really swim. It was cold!  I floated on a mattress.  Mark did swim and our grand dog Spice hardly ever quit swimming.  She has a passion for water and sticks and watermelon apparently as we had one chilling and she retrieved it after about 20 minutes of trying!

 
It's pretty easy for us most days.

There you have May at a glance as seen through my photo stream.   So much to live, so little time.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Return of an Old Friend

Words cannot express the joy in my heart when I heard her coming down the driveway.



For years she was my trusty steed guiding me safely all over the ranch. Then she got all tuckered out and went into a deep hibernation in the shop.  For years she slept. This winter Mark started reviving her and today she roars again.  Yay!  Long live the Kubota.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

While We Were Away

the animals did play and we had a couple mini catastrophes.

Came home to Spring!

We went hiking for 2 weeks down in SoCal and had a fantastic time.  If you are new to our page, you might not know this, but we love long backpacking trips.   We are section hiking the whole PCT and try to squeeze in a couple of hikes on it each year.  You can check out our recent hike and other hikes at www.happiesthiking.blogspot.com.

Cheers to hiking!


People sometimes ask how we get away from a ranch.  Well, we have wonderful family and friends who regularly check in on the place and the animals.  We have also tried to set everything up so that we can be gone for a couple of weeks without too much for others to do.  We have auto water and multiple large feeders for the hens and a timed, hanging, game feeder for the barn cats.  The hogs have a feeder that holds a ton of food and this time of year they have grass and grubs to forage for as well.  The cattle likewise, do their own thing in regards to food and water, as there is usually plenty of both. 

BUT- we never plan our hikes when animals are birthing.

We thought we didn't this time.

I am new to hog farming.  Everything I read online and in my books said sows will not breed back until you wean the piglets.  Everything I read said this.  Well,  not everything you read is correct because my sows delivered a month early without us around and they must have squished most of their piglets as they only have 4 left between two sows.  Crazy.  (I usually help make sure they don't squish the newborn piglets when they are in labor as the sows can roll around a bit).  I felt pretty guilty at first and it is a financial loss, but live and learn.  Some sows will breed back while their piglets are still suckling.  They most certainly will. 

Half of the new piglets!


Another mishap this time was our goldfish and koi.  Apparently an otter came into our yard and ate every fish.  Every year we get an otter than comes in, but I usually see it and make a big fuss chasing it off, not this time.  It had a feast and all our fish are gone.  Every single one of them.  The good thing is that we need to clean out the goldfish pond and build a screen to go over the top so that the otter can't get in and it will also keep our grandsons from falling in.  We have been wanting to do this, but all the fish we had complicated things. 

There is always something to learn from fails. 


I do not fail,
I succeed in finding out what does not work. 

Tiny Calypso Orchid,  English Daisy, Wild Iris