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!)