Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking Forward

It silently snowed in the night. Everything  looks  different.  

Life's like that too as things often change without your awareness. 

It's still snowing.  Yesterday I photographed this little flower in our yard.  She's buried now.  


I'm feeling a bit buried too. I've been sick with congestion, cough and overall malaise.  For days I've not gotten out of my pajamas.  Dishes are piled high in the kitchen, and dirty clothes on the floor. My lungs really struggle with these kinds of chest colds and I try to just drink plenty of fluids and rest. I also use my inhalers as often as allowed.  

It's a good time to plan.  

Mark and I are discussing the direction we want to pursue going forward.   I've been feeling underwhelmed by the sameness of my days and overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks on the ranch.  MULTITUDE!  Many of which are very difficult for me to do. Ranching ain't easy and I'm a small, aging  woman.  I'm often covered in bumps and bruises.  Yes.  I know I'm whining.  It feels good to wine and dine.  For Mark's part he doesn't like having the hogs around all year and wants to make sure we get more logging done this year to pay the bills. Time for some adjustments.  

Just talking brings a wave of relief.  It's important to talk and share in a relationship and in a business. Things change and you can get broadsided if you aren't careful.  Be careful!

A guiding principle for us in 2017 is the question, "Does it add value?"  And the motto, "Less stuff, more experiences"


Mark is taking this to heart and has decided to go skiing on the ranch.  That's a first!  He apparently doesn't care about his skis much. 

We also decided we will continue with our retail sales of beef and pork  because it does bring value to our neighbors' lives and a bit to our pocketbook, but we are going to faze out the breeding of hogs.   We know quite a few locals who breed hogs so we plan to buy piglets once a year and raise them up on the ranch.    In this way we can time it for when the ground is dry and less damaged by their rooting.  Also, not having sows will make it easier for us to go on trips.  

We love backpacking and visiting our family, especially our grandsons, and always have difficulty finding someone to take care of the place. 

I hear the kubota driving up the short hill behind our house.  Let's go watch Mark's maiden ski.  

Have an intentional 2017!  

"How will we use these glorious days left to us for the best purpose?"

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back

 The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, " Life must be lived forward but only understood looking back". 

I regularly journal and at the end of the year I read back through my entries.  My impression of our 2016 seemed very crazy, chaotic and sad, but upon reading through my journal I realized all the wonderful treasures and answered prayers that 2016 held.  I also discovered a treasure trove of photos on my phone.  
For this last post of the year I decided to post one photo from each month and some words from my journal. These will stand as a remembrance for us.    
Play in God's Highway

Life is good.

Ah, hiking and backpacking, how I love the freedom, simplicity
and sense of purpose you bring.

Prayer is the bridge between panic and peace.


Thankful for the seasons on this planet and in our lives.

Compliments are free, criticism costs.

The High Sierra beckons and we must go.

Instill in me a grandmother's heart and a playful spirit.

Love God and Love your neighbor as yourselves.

Loosen the soil gently around my soul, spark my imagination
 and quicken my pulse. 

Nature's rules are miracles.  Water does turn into wine. 

What gets me out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face? 
An open trail, an open book, an empty page.  Adventure. A cup of coffee, plans, promises and an animal in need. 
Goodbye 2016.  Hello New Year. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Photos From Around the Ranch

Come along and follow us and see what we have seen.


Misty mornings

A doe and fawn

Our hay deliverer

Cattle on the hill

A couple of cute calves

Madrone with berries

Madrone Berries


Oaks and sky


Naked buckeye

Vegetable soup from the garden.  Yum.  Always a good ending to a fall day.

Quinou Vegetable Soup:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables, like zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, sweet potatoes or butternut squash
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
  • Scant 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 bay leaves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup or more chopped fresh kale or collard greens, tough ribs removed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Optional garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in soup pot and sauté onions and garlic until soft.  Add rest of ingredients and simmer until tender and tasty.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese.  

Recipe from

Sunday, October 16, 2016


The rain has been falling heavy for about 3 days. We are approaching 10 inches of rain and the forecast calls for another day of rain.  Wow! It feels like the season changed while we weren't looking.  It does that sometimes.  When I was a kid I was always ready for the next season, be it a school year or a sports season or a graduation. I knew it was time to say goodbye to one season and hello to the next.  I struggle with season changes now.  I've become more inflexible.  'I'm not done yet, darn it!' 

I sometimes find myself in mourning over a season that's gone.  Grief is important, it's part of the process of letting go of a season that's past, so that one can enjoy what's next, but it's still not easy. 

A big "season" change we've been mourning is the loss of our daughter-in-law Jo.   She left our son, Eric, in the spring.  It's been hard.  Of course especially hard for Eric. They are getting divorced, papers are signed.  We've also lost some friends and connections we had. More grief and growth.  One season has changed and I'm not quite sure about the next one yet.  I often say I don't know about the future, but I do know who holds it in His hand.  

This fall, we had our first logging season with Mark as the logger.  We wanted to log more than we did but received our permit later than we had hoped  and the rains came.  Our contract is good for a year though, so come summer we can be back at it.  

We turned this season into a family affair.  

Eric was our timber faller.   While he's cut a lot of trees for firewood it was his first time to fall for timber production. He did really well.  He is in good shape from being very health conscious and everyday he worked incredibly hard at falling trees that could kill him. His job was the most dangerous.  We are so thankful that he took his job seriously and stayed safe and strong.  He also helped Mark in the job of skidding logs out of the forest using a bull dozer. 

Our oldest son, Zac, was the official landing guy who cut off limbs left on the log.  He too, is very healthy and fit and was often running in heavy boots from log to log and then to the skidder.  When things on the landing slowed down he would skid logs from the forest too.  

This family logging event marked another change of seasons in that we no longer think of them as boys, but as very capable men. I guess they graduated in our minds.   Finally.  Why did it take us so long?  In the past the family dynamics could get a bit messy.  Tempers have flared.  This time everybody was helpful, respectful and worked hard at keeping the peace and getting things done.  We are really proud of our sons and look forward to working with them again. 

We also got help from a neighbor who owns an 'excabator' as Zac's son calls it.  
Zane loved the excavator. We would just park and watch it work.  Thanks Steve for your help and for Zane's entertainment. 

During the logging season I got to spend a lot of time  at our home with my daughter-in-law Teeny and the kiddos.  She's a terrific and patient mom as she put up with this spoiling Grammy for 2 weeks as well as being isolated on the ranch.  

 I'm really liking the Grammy season.  I think it might be the best one of all.