Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Love Story

This morning we got a phone call. "I have some good news..." it began. The voice was cheerful and happy, for today Jerry and his beloved Berta are reunited in heaven.

The one defining thing about Jerry and Berta is their deep love for each other. We say 'is' because it does live on. And today, while sad that both Jerry and Berta have died, we also rejoice that they are now together again. It has been just a little over a year since Jerry passed into eternity and Berta has spent the last few years in a home with severe alzheimers. She was a strong, healthy woman and it seemed like she might live on and on without him and without concious understanding. But God is gracious and we can also imagine that Jerry was whispering in her ear to hurry up and catch that bus for heaven 'cause he was waiting.

They met in New England while Jerry, a California boy, was in the military. We remember them telling us how he was taken to Berta's house to be set up with her friend, or was it a sister? Whoever it was she did not matter and it was Berta who instantly caught Jerry's heart. What we remember most about them telling us the story, many years later, was the way they looked at each other and smiled. Their gaze connected and solidified somehow and we could almost see their hearts swell with love.

They lived a full life loving Jesus and each other. Raised 3 daughters, got some son-in laws, had grandkids to dote on. Enjoyed creation, family, friends, and work. Jerry and Berta really knew how to work. After retiring from farming, they lived in this house we are now in, and many of the cows we tend were cows they tended.

Upon hearing of Berta's death this morning we sensed Jerry and Berta's prescence sitting by the fire, just like we found them, so many times on cold, rainy mornings such as this. A reunion of souls.

We love you both.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vegas Lights

While we are now back in Central California to celebrate Christmas with family, we first stopped off to visit our daughter and new son-in-law in Las Vegas. We had a great time. Mark got to do a ride along with Donnie, who is a police officer. Mark was impressed with the grace that Donnie extended to the homeless and others who live along the dark edges of all the glam of Vegas. My daughter and I enjoyed the glam. So different from my life, but a fun experience.

We were also pleasantly surprised at the community they live in. They live close to the mountains on the northwest side and it really is quite lovely, especially at night. During the day, brown and drab may rule supreme, but at night the place really comes to life with light and color. They lights spread out before us like a sparkling, jeweled tapestry seeming to cover over all of the darkness.

Christmas celebrations and traditions often include light. Some of my favorite memories are candlelight Christmas Eve services with the church darkened except for the glow of candles on expectant faces. For, " In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:4,5

May you comprehend and be filled with His light. Blessings and Peace. See ya in the New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cupid's Arrow

Yesterday, while we were away, Eric the Bold proposed to Johanna and she accepted.We are thrilled. Congratulations. We love you.
BTW- This is the third marriage proposal on the ranch this year. Must be something in the water.

Friday, December 18, 2009


We recently received some wonderful drenching rain. I no longer keep a range gauge, because I always worry we receive too much or too little, and without a gauge it is always just right! BUT, I am told by Eric the Bold that his gauge registered 9 inches. When we get such rainfall we travel the ranch roads and make sure that we keep as much as we can from running down the roads and creating ruts. A few months ago Eric the Bold bought this little heifer for his sweetheart and when the rains began back in October I offered her the use of the barn. The calf not the sweetheart! Of course, that means I am doing the twice a day bottle feedings most of the time. I like the little heifer even though she is a little introverted and unfriendly. Although she is quite taken with Charlie and follows him everywhere. He needed a new sidekick. His sweetheart, Charity, the filly with the broken hip, was accepted by a local animal rescue and the Kidd A and Kidd B are in the freezer and Frank the male goat is off working at the dairy goat farm and Flower the female goat is soon to go back to her old home. Whew. That is alot of changes on the animal front in one run on sentence!
This was our view this morning as we headed out on a road trip to go visit our daughter and son-in-law in Las Vegas. I had to get out of the car and take some photos and offer my love up to this place. We didn't make it to Vegas today. We had some unexpected delays along the way and stopped in Reno and... went ice skating outside. That was a first. The outside part, not the skating. Although it has been 15 or 20 years ago.
We were just glad we didn't break a hip!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mystery Meat

I haven't posted any gross photos lately. So here is a couple of carcasses for you to guess what they are. If you need a hint, click here.

BTW- They never were named. I'm learning....

Speaking of meat, we released the bulls today. Which means we should begin having calves next year right around September 21st. We were hoping all of our cows would have calved by now, but alas we had bull trouble last year and we are only at 50 percent calved out.

Max and Jerry turned out to both have trouble. Jerry had a genetic flaw that showed up a couple months into his service. His front legs became very crooked and he had a hard time getting around. He was recently replaced free of charge by a bull we named Lou, after the man who picked him out for us. Mark decided not to pick out any more bulls! Max got sick last year from ticks and he never fully recovered and the fever caused him to be sterile. A total waste and unfortunately we had to buy a bull to replace him. A friend and local rancher went to pick us out a bull and came back with 2 because the price was so good. We named these two Ralph and Jacob after the father and son who did the thrifty shopping! Needless to say our one good bull Clay had his work cut out for him last year trying to cover the whole ranch and our cows will be calving into the spring. Oh well.

As for the geriatric cows I bought last year... we got 12 calves from 11 cows. Not bad. We ended up sending 5 back to the auction yard, but 6 of the cows are really nice middle aged cows- with teeth! Definitely keepers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow

Wood is stacked.

Hay's in the barn.

Dressed for success.

Let it snow.

(It almost never snowed where we grew up (twice in our lives), so when we hear it might snow, we get prepared!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dispatches from the Ranch

mark- up to the wood pile, load the trailer, drive back down and out to someone's house. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

tj- clean, cook and feed the critters and do math. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

eric- run around with a love struck look in your eyes. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

all together now- enjoy the wind and rain and mists that swirl. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Light Weekend

Morning sun flits and flies, with the mists try to make a way through.
Here then there, the dance continues to enthrall onlookers and the dancers alike.

Midday sun's shadow is light, still,
the muted shape and form of the woods glitter and glow in faded yellows and gold.

Buckeyes now barren form stilllife on rounded hill,
the green of the grass seems almost from another time, another day when flowers come.

Afternoon sun makes it's prescence known. Boldly. Shadows dark and steep scramble, colors scream to stay a little longer.

While the last of fall's bounty and vibrancy is gathered-

And then savored under a cover of night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Saturday's Ride

A light rain/mist, or spit from heaven is falling and there is a slow glowing fire in the stove. Time to do a new post. This once a week post thing was supposed to improve the quality of posts and stop my mind from thinking in blog. It has accomplished the second, but when you stop thinking blog, then you just kind of lose it. If you know what I mean. Also, not having the hubby involved really somehow lessens it all. It is just not as much fun and the quality suffers; both in wit and grammar. (Like should that just have been a semi colon, comma or just its own sentence). Oh well, maybe next year he will grace these pages again.
This post is supposed to be entitled, "The Bella Diaries", chronicling our daughter's dog's visit to the ranch. But that will have to wait. I can tell you though that it is rated PG 13 due to some violent images.Instead, it will be another post about riding. Have you figured out yet, that I love horses! Here is the herd. I am no longer counting. So don't you either. I will add that 4 are not mine. But that still leaves an awful lot, and this photo doesn't even show all of them! Now that I have them all turned out on the ranch, I call them the "Brombies". Or is it "Brumbies? Anyone know where that reference comes from? Anyone care?This photo shows how to capture handsome head shots of your horse. Johanna is optional, something to shake is not.
Here is the handsome head shot of Shy-Anne. (Eric the Bold's horse...NOT mine). Her head wouldn't really be considered beautiful, but somehow it always seems so to me. BTW- this horse is half billy goat. She can go ANYWHERE, and she does so with verve. (See I can use unusual words even without the hubby).
After grooming all the Brombies, we pick a few, saddle up and take off. A beautiful sunny, now cloudy, now mysterious kind of day.
Off the road now we head up a draw. The quiet fall surrounds us. No wind noise here. The earth smells rich and musty. We are quiet. A silhouette shot. Wait is that princess Pocahontas or is she just waving her hand around in the air? Perhaps she has a bee in her bonnet. Along the ridge we had a dramatic change in climate with wind blowing and the fog flowing. Jo decided to try and fly, I think. Donkeys in the mist. Macho ain't named "macho' for nothin. He tried to work his moves on us, but we weren't having it, I tell ya. Evening came quick and we headed back. Another beautiful ride in paradise. Of course, you aren't really done until the fat lady sings. Or perhaps the skinny lady! Sequoyah wasn't quite sure he liked the song, but he did wait around to listen.
The end.
(Post Script: Isn't it pathetic that I have ended so many posts this way?)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Calf Crazy

Photo of a brand new calf and her/his mama.
We have fairly mild winters here in the pacific northwest and we are told by other ranchers that fall is a good time to have calving. The fall rains bring up the new grass and the fairly warm temperatures give the grass some growth and vitality before cold sets in. It also makes our calf crop a bit more marketable as these young ones can be sold early summer after they fatten on the rich spring grass or held over for one more year and sold the following year to our neighbors for their freezers. I will keep you posted on how well this works. I worry that the cows could use more protein to make richer milk, so I like to supplement with a little hay. Or at least that is what I say, mostly I like giving them some hay at this time because their young are so dang cute and I really like hanging out with the cows too. I find that their presence is very relaxing. The cows are really beginning to accept me as part of their herd, so the really daring calves will come up and give me a good look, or maybe a lick! Sometime they venture close only to then dart off helter skelter with tail held high and- of course-with the occasional blast of flatulence! I really am pretty crazy about calves and they must think it odd to hear some two legged creature, bent over with nostrils flaring, making low grumbly noises, sort of like their moms do. All I can say is that it is a good thing we don't have any neighbors nearby.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Special Day

What does this photo signify? Any guesses? It was taken this morning, or was it afternoon? Ahhhh. Can't really remember.
Here is a lovely photo snapped by someone at our daughter's wedding. I didn't take any photos and I lifted this one off of facebook. It seemed odd somehow to go around snapping photos while a professional was running around doing the same thing. The photos she took should turn out really well because it was a beautiful day, with a beautiful bride and groom and a beautiful wedding party at a beautiful park. Wonderful. But a little stressful all the same when it is YOUR daughter.
Congratulations honey.
Here is a photo I did take at the rehearsal. They are such a cute couple. We are so happy to have Donnie as our son. His father did such a wonderful job with his speech at the rehearsal and at the weding. He spoke of how we are not losing a daughter or a son, but gaining family. And the good thing is we really love the family. Congratulations Donnie on your marriage with Sarah and with us!
As promised, here is a photo of us all cleaned up. With me in the fancier dress that I found in a local boutique at the last moment. My daughter liked it and then her and her bridesmaids gave me a nice modern look. Check out that straight hair. Wow. It is amazing what a little silicone and a flat iron can do. And they did my make-up too. It was kind of fun to look really nice for a day. My hubby looks pretty special too, but everyone keeps giving him a hard time about his grey beard. But I love his grey beard, so no comments please.
Weddings are wonderful for married folks. They remind you of your own love for your mate and the roads you have traveled down; sometimes bumpy, other times smooth. I snapped the following photo of an older couple holding hands at another recent wedding. Somehow their aged hands clinging to each other sums up how I feel about love. It brings a warm glow to my heart and a tear to my eye. Wonderful. Special. Here is another aged couple that I snapped a shot of at Brian and April's wedding. Perhaps you recognize one of them. The one with the grey beard? LOL. The other is Mark's best buddy and they always have a great time together. On this particular day they were sipping beer and hoping that their deep pit worked and that they would have meat to feed the 200 guests that were waiting. Luckily, it did. Almost 130 pounds of beef was eaten that day by only 200 people. Wow. They must have liked it. I like their aprons. Don't you? So cute! So special.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Week Later

Last week was a little off kilter.
We had planned on traveling south last week to get hay from the family farm and meet up with my daughter and mom to go dress shopping for our daughter's wedding that is less than 2 weeks away. Of course the bride's dress is chosen, but my mom and I are still in need.

After the accident we needed a day to just breathe and then the following day we had calves that got sick. Runny nose, cough.

We haven't really had sick calves before, and we don't want to use antibiotics, so we did the old fashioned remedy of, "feed a cold, starve a fever". Since they don't really like chicken soup we fed them copious amounts of alfalfa. It did the trick. They are all looking much better now, a
week later.

Other things happened to friends around us too. Sad things.

So needless to say, we did not head south. Now, I have nightmares of showing up to the wedding wedding with nothing on, or dressed way too sexy, or in some old dowager's dress. Really. I have. Just shows how neurotic I am. So, off to Eureka we went last week in pursuit of a dress. Pretty slim pickings in our neck of the woods. Although I will say that if you are a man, it is easy to get dress clothes.

Mark walked into the western store, got a nice pair of black boots. He put them on and then walked a short distance down the mall to the men's clothing store and said he needed a suit. First suit he tried on fit perfectly, they pinned it up for the tailor and we were done. They even had a buy one get one half off, so Eric the Bold got his suit too.


Why can't it be so for women?

A week later and Geanie, our recent accident sufferer, is managing. I wish I could say she was back home and all better, but broken bones take time to heal. I can tell you she is an amazingly strong lady with a terrific family. I feel claustrophobic and anxious just thinking about her injuries of a broken hip AND pelvis, ankle AND elbow. Everyone is thankful it wasn't worse, but still, that's bad enough. She is as of now in a rehabilitation center, near her home in Redlands, Ca with hopes to be home as soon as she can manage a few things on her own. Speedy Recovery to ya, Geanie.

And we are hoping this week is a little more balanced. And that I find a dress.

(photos taken at Humboldt Bay after an afternoon of shopping)