Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Serendipity Sunset

Ok, these are for real. I don't have photo shop or anything like that. I just know how to push the little button on our camera and get what I get and tonight's sunset was awesome. I was feeding the horses and steers in the barn and all of a sudden I noticed this incredible glow so I peaked outside and- WOW - I stood amazed. Hope you are too.

Monday, February 25, 2008

my walk

Almost every evening around 5:00 I go for a short walk. I find it restorative. As I walk I try to have eyes that really see and meditate on life. Try being the operative word. Sometimes I just trudge along. Today the light was wonderful and it made everything glow. Light is like that isn't it? It illuminates. It transforms. Here are some images from today's end and the night's beginning:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Slaughtering Hogs, page 189 (pioneer skills are not for the squeamish!)

"The prime source of meat for the early family in these mountains was hogs. Part of the reason for this can be seen by a quick look at the recipes. There was almost no part of the animal that could not be used. Each farmer who kept hogs on open range in the mountains had his own identifying brand cut into the ear of each of his animals. Hogs were allowed to fatten themselves on the 'mast' of the forest - acorns, chestnuts, and so on.

Acorn mast made the meat taste bitter and altered the consistency of the fat. For these reasons, hogs to be slaughtered were often rounded up and brought down out of the mountains to the farms where they were fed on corn for anywhere from a few weeks to over a month. This removed any bitterness from the meat and softened the fat properly for rendering into lard.
The hog was killed (either by a sharp blow on the head with a rock or axe head, or by shooting it in the back of the head or between the eyes), and it jugular vein pierced immediately. As one described it, 'Stick'im right in th' goozle'ere.' Now the neck was cut around the base of the head and and through the throat so that the backbone was ringed completely....The remaining blood was allowed to drain from the carcass, and then, a long, deep cut was made down the middle of the underside ...... When the inside of the carcass was completely cleaned, it was taken down and cut up.

SAUSAGE- Use any combination of lean meat not used otherwise. Take 10 pounds of lean pork, a quarter cup salt, a half cup brown sugar, two tablespoons sage, two teaspoons black pepper, and two teaspoons red pepper. Run the mixture through a sausage grinder..."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Abbie and Anna and Tammie's Fun and Tiring Ride

Hi, I'm Abbie and I came to the ranch to ride today. It was fun and tiring. Fun because I saw a bear for the first time and tiring because I rode a tiring horse. Stormy was tiring because I had to keep slowing her down. I like Charlie better.
I'm Anna, Abbie's big sister. Today's ride was exciting because of the bear and the mustang I rode kept trying to bite all the other horses who might try to pass me. Buddy's the herd boss. Later Tammie and I switched horses and I rode Shy-Anne.
Here is a picture of us looking at the bear. See our amazed faces. Buddy can't look so amazed because he has facial paralysis. But he acted amazed! The stupid little bear would not get out of the road. We yelled. We threw rocks and we waited. It seemed to ignore us. We tried getting our horses to go forward, but they wouldn't pass the bear. So then, Tammie ran forward and hollered and threw rocks and it climbed a tree and then we were able to go.Here is a picture of the bear cub. We were worried its mommy might be near by.
Here are pictures of us goofing off back at the house after our adventurous and almost tragic ride.

Monday, February 18, 2008


We've had dry weather for 2 weeks and the falls are looking beautiful. We had friends over yesterday for some R & R and we hiked down to enjoy them and watch the steel head porpoise in and out of the water. A few fish even tried to jump up the falls.Years ago, Mark's dad caught some small trout in the pool at the base of the falls and transported them into a tributary further up. Eventually their fry's time came for travel and so they headed down the little creek, then over the falls and later out to sea and now, apparently, they are trying to get back home to spawn. My grandma always said "fish don't have feelings," and yet I can't help but feel sorry for them as they try to make that impossible jump. We tried to get a picture of the 18 inch to 2 1/2 foot fish flashing silver in the pools and up the falls, but our camera is too slow! It just missed it.
It is also invigorating to just sit and hear the falls roar and be mesmerized by the sunlight glinting on the water. I always now reflect on an incident that happened last spring. We had journeymama and her family visiting and had hyped up the falls a bit to the children. When we got there, the daughter's eyes got wide in wonder, or perhaps macabre fascination, and she repeatedly said, "water... falls", and by her inflection it was obvious that to her the water was leaping haphazardly off the cliff. For her, waterfalls is not a noun. Ahh, for childlike eyes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

horsey ride and THE PIG

The weather has been warm and wonderful. We often get a few spring like weeks in February, before March roars in, so Mark and I decided we should enjoy the day and go for a horse ride. The whole gang came: the horses that are free ranging for the winter, the new little mule, the dog, the pig, Mark and I. I have wonderful pictures. I really do. I wish you could see the green, green grass, the fields of english daisies smiling at the blue sky, the sorrel horses frolicking on the hills and the placid cattle chewing their cud. It really was a beautiful day, but you can't see it because we are on probation... bandwidth probation. How I envy those of you who have broadband and can surf to your heart's content. You see, we live completely cut off from the grid- no phone lines, no cable, no electric meter- no hard lines that connect to the rest of the world. So for our internet server we have satellite. And it's good, but it does come with limitations on our use, and we have maxed it out. Totally. So the pictures will have to wait. Maybe I can load one. Just one wee photo. The one you have to see because it expresses all of our sentiments at the moment.

Hard sentiments towards my pet pig Pink. She has been naughty, very naughty. So bad, that even I realize she has to go. Last week she knocked down and bit the nicest boy. Just the nicest boy. This is the boy that a pastor brought before the whole church and then quoted Jesus in Matthew 18: 3,4: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child (here the preacher placed his hand on this wonderful boy that my pig tried to eat) is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." All of our eyes filled up and we knew just what Jesus was talking about, because of the boy. The boy that my pig tried to eat. And then yesterday she tried to eat me. Well, not eat me, but she rammed me into the side of the barn because she had gotten into the feed room and a friend and I were trying to shoo her out. Yes, she is a very bad pig and I am thinking that Easter dinner is coming, or perhaps a luau. What do you think?

Anyway, hopefully I can load my favorite picture from yesterday. Because Shy-Anne expresses all of our feelings about THE PIG the best.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is a day devoted to LOVE, Love, love... because Hallmark wants to sell a card or two. But still, I like the day. I like thinking of love and I like to feel love and give love and also it is our 27th wedding anniversary. That makes this day pretty darn special, I think.

My hubby made me this. Isn't it cute? It was yummy too! We split it. Is this LOVE? Is love sharing cookies? Really now, what do you think love is? Tell me. How have you seen it or felt it or given it? Is it only a sentimental idea or feeling or is real, really real? The ultimate real? I think on these things. Do you?

We've heard these words a lot:
Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is LOVE and Love is patient, love is kind, love bears all things and believes all things and hopes all things and endures...endures all things and always rejoices in truth and it never ever fails and also God is love.

But really now...love does ask a lot and it is a lot that I am not. And yet, how it calls, it beckons; it seems to me to be the highest aspiration, the greatest goal. Do you too strive to see and give love, to know love? I do. I do. I do. Because love changes lives, love restores. Love is true restoration.

Happy Anniversary Honey, I love you.

P.S. this great photo and our profile pic too was taken by our amazingly talented, superstar friend Chinua. Check out his work at: Photography, Videos

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Boys Club

The ranch is home to many types of wild animals. Deer are one of my favorite. They are the graceful and elegant dancers in the woods. We ended up counting 9 bucks in this group before they waltzed away, but our wildlife photography just wasn't up to the task. Soon the bucks should be losing their horns because their new ones will begin coming up. Here on the ranch we like finding last year's horns laying out in the open prairies and wooded thickets. When our children were youngsters it always seemed kind of like an Easter egg hunt and we ended up with quite a beautiful collection.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A piece of heaven named Smith

The trip was fun, the river was beautiful, our hosts were gracious, and our 2008 fishing licenses are no longer virginal! We are trying to learn how to post a slide show because the photos were great, but maybe later. As for now, the cows were happy to see us (with some hay) and some of the biggest fish we've ever seen are swimming in the pool below our falls. ( They are safe there, the tributaries are closed to fishing.)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gone Fishing!

The sun has been shining off and on for the last few days and we've heard the first robin sing. Glorious. We've heard too that the rivers have cleared enough for some steel head fishing. So... since the snow's all gone and the cows are home and the pig's in bed and the horses tended... we've decided to go catch some fish! "Lord willing and the creek don't rise!" :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Did you vote?

We are by no means die hard American patriots, but we do honor our country. One small way we show our respect is by keeping the flag flying on our ranch.
On this Super Tuesday, I took a moment to think about these United States. There are times I am really embarrassed by our country's bumbling and behind the scenes shady maneuvering, but really, the U.S. of A. is a wonderful place and founded on right principles. We should continue to strive and hope for more justice and liberty for all, but honestly, when I compare the world at large and the people, politics and principles of such places I conclude that America is Beautiful and it is The Land of the Free.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And the Cows came Home

The snow all melted and we decided it was time to bring our wayward cattle home from the neighbor's place ( The Salmon Creek Riviera). We don't know how to rope and we barely know how to ride, but we do know how to honk our little orange 4x4 Kubota's horn and holler out the window. What can we say... we don't need no stinkin rope..... the cows love us!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meet Pete!

This is our neighbor and friend, Pete. About 30 of our cows and 3 bulls tired of the snow on our ranch had booked vacations on the " salmon creek Riviera." Pete's Place! We've delivered some hay to offset the grass they are eating, but their bar tab is growing! Today we conned Pete into helping us roundup two of the bulls for immediate return.(Their harems missed them).

During the ride Pete grimaced and squirmed, then turned to me and said," I might as well tell you the story too, it's already been spread around."

Turns out that our animal-loving friend had himself a "situation" a few days ago! Pete and Chris filled their barn with 800# round bales last fall and their goats have been playing king - of -the - hill on the pile. Discovering that his billy goat had fallen into a 12' crevasse, Pete set out to rescue the poor animal. From directly above, a rope merely slips off the horns of a goat. (Good to know) so Pete needed to reach the animal's head with his hand to cinch the noose before hoisting.

Pete went headfirst into the darkness until he reached the (he reports VERY rank smelling )and frantically uncooperative billy, the rope was tightened and... you guessed it! Pete got stuck. Sliding down headfirst is rather simple, levitating backwards straight up is more...complicated.
Enter the lovely Chris, who I imagine mixing her concern for the billy goat and her old goat and her more personal concern for getting enough air while laughing. There was struggling and muffled bleating from both goats, and really, can a woman be expected to be able to lift a man out of such a predicament? At one point she is reported to have stated that she was leaving to call Gil, a great friend and very experienced woodsman who would certainly have known just what to do. (and who to call for maximum embarrassment!) Pete was in such a tight spot that he agreed she should indeed call Gil... just as long as she would shoot Pete first!

With creative and inspired wriggling Pete managed to free himself, and the next morning dismantled the bale mountain to free the goat, but the story got out too! Thank you Chris!

firewood... the Matrix

I've wondered for some time,"why do eric and donnie split by hand even when the mechanical splitter is available?" Today I captured photo evidence that there is something wierd going on here! Apparently, they have learned to utilize shifts in the fabric of time or glitches in the Matrix to enhance the performance of their swing! The handle appears very solid and straight until the actual swing. You really must see this to beleive it!