Wednesday, December 31, 2008

snapshots of 2008

A full year of blogging. Wow! We made it. It has been fun, creative, and very rewarding. We didn't realize how connected we would become to our regulars. Thanks so much for caring and commenting and sharing your own lives with us. We look forward to 2009 with all of you. On a side and might we add sad note, Eric's elderly dog, Jasmine- his childhood companion, his first and only canine-will not be sharing the new year with us. She died peacefully in her sleep curled up in a bed of ferns. Sweet dreams Jasmine. May there always be squirrels to chase.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We're Home

Finally. It was wonderful seeing and being with family but....a week away from the wonder of this northcoast place feels much longer. The crowds, the people, the traffic congestion in the south were all things we had forgotten somehow. I thought it would be fun to do all of our limited Christmas shopping the day before Christmas and frankly we hadn't had time or emotional energy before, but geez, people are pretty aggressive these days over totally unimportant things. Including moi.;) Somehow, I found my angst rising as well. But now, home. HOME! Home.

Upon entering our neighboring county to the south, my heart sighed and I felt the tension in my shoulders recede and I smiled at the scenery passing by. The skies were full of clouds and a misty rain fell on all the green and we both felt quietly happy. We stopped at a store and the people, might I add, quirky and diverse people, looked me in the eye and gave a warm greeting. I felt comfortable and warmly hugged by this place and its people.

Here at the ranch, Brian had left a 'welcome home' on our white board. And we found him busy cleaning out our shop as we drove in. (Mark and Eric had left quite a mess). He had fed our cows when the snow covered their grass while we were gone, and even built a fire in our fireplace to warm our return! What a guy! All the horses must have gotten the memo that the hay lady was coming as all 7 were at the barn. Flower, the goat, and the dogs ran up to greet me, their bodies dancing in delight and with mingled voices singing. What joy! We also were greeted by dozens and dozens of wayfaring starlings and robins. With the birds busily feeding on the berries in our yard and flying from tree to prairie and the green grass growing it looked like spring and it felt like spring in our hearts. (THAT sentance will get you NO points in English 1A) I might also add that our rain gauge stood like an implacable Buckingham Palace Guard; ceremonial, decorative even, but in our weather, without someone checking and emptying it, totally without purpose. The steady, soft rain was over-flowing slowly, streaming down the rain guage's sides. A five inch rain gauge doesn't measure for very long up here.

We remember too, Jerry, our dear departed friend, who told us that he always felt a weight lift and the skys clear when he drove through our front gates. Amen to that, Jerry!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Firewood Processing Machine

Hey Max, after you get your new heart valve on Monday, you might be able to split firewood like Eric!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rudolph the Red Nosed Donkey

Sometimes Rudolph can be an ass.... Yes, you!

Merry Christmas from all of us at the ranch.
P.S.- Eric the Bold wisely chose not to be part of this photo shoot!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Caroling With The Cows!

Somehow, we took no photos of cows.
Actually, we were kind of busy and didn't take very many photos at all.

But we did have fun and our guests appeared to have fun too, even if I did forget to put any water out for them to drink! Just now while I was looking at the pictures I realized I also forgot to use helmets! I know better, I have helmets and yet in all the bustle I forgot. Good thing it was 'ole Charlie horse who gave many children a ride as we managed to dodge the people, dogs, goat and chickens that were scurrying around. What fun!

The hay ride was an adventure. Check out the expressions on the faces. The road was steep, and slippery, the load heavy and there were branches along the way that wanted to sweep
us off. LOL! At one point the donkeys met us along the way and began to sing along with hearty brays.
It really was a treat. The cows too greeted us along the roadway wondering, I am sure what was up. We made sure to toss a little hay there way.

We also had a pinata for the children to destroy. It was a little burro that continued to smile no matter how many legs he got beat off of him. The boys especially seemed to enjoy the bashing part. I don't think it was just to get to the candy either, although that did hurry things along.

Personally, I really enjoyed just watching the children make good memories playing with each other outside on the fallen tree and down the grassy slope. I am quite envious of their joy and their ability to live in the moment. I also enjoyed seeing the glow of their success of riding a horse for the first time, or cutting with scissors while they worked at the craft table. While watching children I begin to understand what Jesus meant when he said that we should become like children to enter the kingdom. Overlooking their greed, of course, as the candy spilled on the ground!

Happy times.

P.S. We are having blogging issues tonight and I know this is all formatted wonky, but I am going to bed!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Surprise

It's official, now we are a real ranch.Our friends, Brian and April came out this afternoon to help us get ready for our cow caroling party tomorrow and after finishing up in the barn we entered the house and were totally surprised and awed by this amazing sign they made for the ranch. Wow! Joyous tears were definitely shed. Brian did some really fine work using boards from an old barn. This sign is a real work of art. The trees insignia he took off of our ranch logo that he had on a ball cap. You can't see it from the photo but he even branded it with our brand, the -m. On the other end he burned in a bucking horse with rider. The back is finished as well with the heading taken from our now 'famous' blog. :-) Even better yet were the plans Eric and Brian were making to actually install the sign near our front gate. What great and talented friends we have. Thank you so much.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Views from the Top

The top of our ranch has more snow than where we live and I thought I would share a few photos that Eric recently took.

Snow is amazing in its ability to remake the landscape. These photos were taken in the burned over area of the ranch and overnight all of the dead trees, stumps, and other fallen debris are transformed. It reminds me of an old gospel hymn:

White as snow, white as snow
Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord, I know, Lord, I know
That I'm clean and forgiven

Through the power of Your blood
Through the wonder of Your love
Through faith in You
I know that I can be
White as snow

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fly Away

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

It has been a black and white day of sadness because our dear friend and fellow lover of the ranch recently had a massive stroke with no hope of recovery. Fly Away Home Jerry. We love you and will always miss you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Snow

Dust of Snow
by Robert Frost (1923)
clr gif

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Bull Namer

You might remember that last month we had a "Name the Bull Contest" and that one of our winners was Jason, who suggested the name Maximus. He and his lovely wife Michelle arrived this week for a visit. (I only mean to imply that she is lovely, NOT that he has another, ugly wife.) We have known Pastor Jay and Michelle for a very long time. Michelle's parents were partners with my parents when this ranch was purchased by our families. It had been a few years though since they were last here.

Jason is an avid fitness buff and as soon as he arrived on Monday afternoon, he took off for a long walk.
Next morning he and Mark took off for an early morning ride to the top of the ranch. They left the quad there (we still need to retrieve it!) and arrived back home just in time for breakfast. Note the goat head. She was a little miffed she didn't get to go.

Here was one of the early morning photos Jason took. Most of our mornings begin with fog in the valleys. It is a beautiful sight. I rarely see it. I bet you can guess why.

Then we coaxed them into going with us on a shortcut we knew to quickly deliver some firewood. The shortcut turned out not to be so time saving. First we came to a down tree. We only had a tiny chainsaw with a limited amount of fuel. It really helped that Jason is such a fitness buff. He held up his end....

and then pulled the winchline, attaching it first to the severed log, then tree to tree as we crept up the last mile or so of the 'shortcut'. As a few of you will understand, the ridiculous expenditure of time and effort only seemed to improve Jason's enjoyment and appreciation of our "shortcut".

By the time we got back home the guys had just enough time for a sunset ride.

And here is the sunset. It WAS a little dark as we finished, but since there was a nearly full moon, and because he IS Eric the bold, Eric rode the horses back to the cabin while we headed to a warm fire and dinner.

Then after dinner Jason did his best impression of Cher while decorating our poor, naked, pitiful tree standing in the corner. It had been standing there a week that way. The tree was a rescue. Really. During Thanksgiving the guys were clearing the road and it got cut, so I dug it out of the brush pile and brought it home.

We think Jay did a great job sprucing it up. We especially like the tree topper!
Thanks Jason and Michelle for a fun visit and the pleasure of your friendship.
(just so you know, Jay, the antlers bring out your eyes better than the wig.)

P.S. We are still waiting for the other Bull namer to claim her prize. Come on out Annette