Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Them Roads Need a Rockin


Ranch life has its seasons and I'm not just talking winter, spring, summer, fall.  I'm talking about things we do year after year like clockwork.  Sometimes, our journal entries sound like a repeat from the year before and the year before and the year before that too.   I thought I would look back through the annals of time and actually re-post a journal entry similar to what we are up to now.  Road Work!

We have miles and miles of dirt road that has to be maintained.  We are very grateful that we have our own rock pit and large 'boy toys' to get the work done.  We are especially thankful that we have our neighbor, Gil, who is an amazing operator and fixes all of our mistakes and the weather's damage.    Who looks absolutely the same today as he did then.  He is the most vital and strong and sharp 87 year old that I think we have ever met.  We love ya Gil!

Without further adieu:

Boy Toys, circa 2008 Written by Mark:

For the past few days our two neighbors and I have been rockin' the roads. (we're cool, but there's no music involved) Gil , rancher to the west, Pete, rancher to the east, and I have become the three amigos road team. Our area receives an average of 8 feet of rain per year... since we need to use the roads in any weather we try to keep the surface covered in rock (gravel). Our ranch has the best source of gravel and we provide the loader, Pete has a small dozer with a 6-way blade and he provides the snacks, Gil and I both have dump trucks and he provides the road grader. (Gil is also the only member of our team who really knows road work, He actually built most of the roads we are now using.)
Here's some photos from today; I'm sorry there aren't any pics of Pete and his dozer in operation but while we were working on his ranch, we drivers had our hands full avoiding Kris, (the lady of the ranch) who was eagerly searching the fresh road covering for arrow-heads and other artifacts!

My Ride!

This is Gil and his Grader. note the all-day coffee


The Load-out (with apologies to Jackson Browne)

Pete and I have a great time, the roads are improved, and Gil gets entertained watching us make him look magic!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.



living room bed and the quilt Mrs. Butler made
It's our anniversary today and for  36 years this old quilt has kept us warm and made a picnic special.   It was prayerfully made as wedding gift  by Mrs. Butler.

 The Butler's were Pentecostal hog farmers that lived across the road from my husband's family home.  Prayers and Pigs is what first comes to mind about the Butler's.  They've since passed on into eternity but the quilt lives on, as do the good memories and kindnesses of them.  

We've had a lot of rain.  Last week we had 14 inches in just a couple days. This  wreaks havoc on the miles and miles of dirt road on the ranch.  When it's raining the wildest you will find Mark out with shovel in hand keeping the ditches flowing and the culverts clear.
 
 
Mark and his shovel
 
Trees also fall in such wild and wet weather and block the roads and dam up water.  The cattle need feeding too.



hungry cows and oak tree down
 
One 87 year old neighbor, Gil, is always the first to offer us a hand.   After this last storm he changed one of our culverts and cleared that oak tree from the road with his backhoe.  He also cleaned up roadside ditches as he drove along.  Gil is a good neighbor and, like the Butler's,  leaves behind a lasting, positive  legacy.
 
I wonder if we will? I hope so. 

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury wrote,
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there."



manzanita's are starting to bloom
 
Some questions we sometimes ask ourselves:

What's our legacy going to be? 
What's important to pass on to the next generation?    
What value can we add to each other, our family, our community, our country, our world?
And... Who is our neighbor?

 


Late January at the front of the ranch
 

Happy Valentine's Day! 
Charity - LOVE- is the greatest legacy. 

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.