Friday, December 31, 2010

Remembering Visitors 2010

I browsed through our photos for the year and realized that many events and people and places and wondrous moments didn't get captured digitally. Next year I will do better. But for this year I thought we would do a year end review of some of the folks who visited the ranch.

The Downeys. Our best friends and family of our daughter in law. They come, they go, they come and hang out again. We love em.
Our daughter and son in law on their first visit of the year to the ranch in February for Jo and Eric's wedding. I think Mark may have been telling a fish story.
Trinity. She lived in the bunkhouse with her dog Sasha and
her mama Casey and their horses Tono and Meeme. And while they have moved on to live elsewhere they will always be welcome and forever implanted in our hearts. It was a great time having them here.
Dear Anna (holding Trinity) only came a couple of times this year. What can I say... she made a new friend and his name is Daniel.

Brian and April are ranch regulars. They often come out to lend a hand. We have shared some special times. AND, April's dilly beans! I always appreciate when they bring supper for us. God bless em. They are like family. (That means underappreciated)
Our church's worship leader and our friend Mike R. and his family came out a time or two. There is nothing like good music to warm a heart.
The Ford family brightened a few weeks of our spring and summer. It was a happy time. A time to make bread and pick berries and ride Charlie, sing songs and read books.
Ah, then late June and the party for Jo and Eric. Lots of people came, but here are a few snapshots.

The Mags. Yearly visitors and lifelong friends.
The Rogers. Ditto. Second family for Eric. Justin, far left, has been Eric's friend for as long as he has known what a friend was.
My Renee. What is better than a friend one can laugh with?
Mark's two best friends from high school and college. The three amigos still up to their old games.
And the gray haired Amigo's wife, Michelle. I had a great time taking her on wild quad rides. (Clarification... it is the Amigo who has the grey hair...not the Amigo's wife. jes sayin. )
Our good friend Ryan and our son Zac. Zac also came to the ranch and cut wood a time or two or three or four. Or ten. Thanks Zac.

Amanda Sue and Teeny too. (For those of you who know those two, You now know that the party was completely unregulated and without a safety officer. The good news, no one died.)
The preg check guy came a couple times too. But not to the party. We are moving on now.
Cody lived with us for a month. He dove right in to ranch life. And who knows, he might even come back again.
Laurelbay visited many times. she loves to ride horses and help with all the cattle work. This time it was on the 4th of July.
New friends made. The daddy came and installed a radio broadband tower for internet use for neighbors and us and we have since become friends... with Jesus in common. ( and seriously, it only LOOKS like Elizabeth is the driver...I'm sure there was an adult in there somewhere!)

Oh dear, I can't remember who this adorable little girl is. Was she with Dick and Ann and their entourage, or one of Alonzo's kids or perhaps part of the Swanson family? I remember she babysat Emma (Eric and JO's terrier in her arms) all day and swam at the falls, but we didn't get to go with them because Mark was laid up from a horse fall.

The Lindsays came for the labor day weekend. We stayed busy, but I didn't get a proper photo of all of them. Shame on me. Wonderful friends from our old hometown.

Hunters who I never really met, came and went. Most had big smiles. And hey, with all that camo, you KNOW they want to be anonymous...
We ended the year with the Harris family staying in the bunkhouse for a couple of months. It was a joyous time of playing grandpa and grandma and having our dear friends, adopted family, right next door. We love them and miss them.

Although sometimes during the year our hermit mode felt a bit overwhelmed, we fondly remember all the friends and family that came and gave this place a visit this year. We live at the end of a long dirt road and we always are amazed that you come and share your lives and your hearts with us. We love you. Our home wouldn't be the same without you.

And even better than being visitors, we have a new resident on the ranch. It was a wonderful day when our son Eric wed his girl and our friend Jo.

And now... See ya in 2011. Wow. 2011. Didn't the Mayans hint that the world might end in 2012?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Week: Love

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent and tonight we lit the candles of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE. And the greatest of these is Love, for our faith as Christians boils down to... LOVE. For when Jesus was asked what was the most important thing He said," Love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Sounds simple but these are pretty tough marching orders. We mess up a lot. But we keep on trying. Most people think pretty highly of love and see it as worthy attribute, a noble goal, a beautiful thing. And we would agree...but it is also a person. A man worth knowing. A way. An eternal, infinite being born as a human baby. A real, historical happening, recorded for posterity. And a truth worthy of living for. And it is the best thing that will ever happen to you/the best gift you can ever give.

May you have a Christmas blessed with Love. And may you remember Jesus who is the one the celebration is all about. (He has many names, but Peace is my favorite.) mark
See you in the New Year! With warm regards (love) to all our blogger friends- Tj and Mark

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Listen to the Falling Rain

Lately, we have enjoyed the sound of falling rain. Over and over and over. We haven't seen the sun in days and days. But, ya know, that is what it does here in the winter. One just has to put on their rain gear and venture forth into swirling mists. Or curl up with a good book and a cup of cocoa.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Third Sunday in Advent brings us to contemplation of JOY> Webster describes joy as intense happiness. The thesaurus lists other words for joy as: pleasure, glee, bliss, elation, mirth, felicity, rapture, delight, transport, exultation, gladness, happi....well you get the picture. I have been pondering the idea of joy and I don't think I quite get it - yet. And I think that is a big part of joy in that it leads one forth into a longing for something more, something deeper, something more than just happiness. It is like standing on a precipice of extreme delight where everything else falls away and you know what is good. Maybe. What do you think of when you think of Joy? What brings you joy?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Photo for their Card

Aren't they cute? From left to right:
Chica, Spice, Johanna, Emma, Eric and Shyann.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Making of a Christmas Card

Jo called and asked us to go with her and Eric to take a photo of them for their Christmas Card. Easy enough.Jo's horse Chica gets a bow and a pack saddle while munching on some hay.

Then they added antlers and some bells and silver garland and shiny ornaments.
Jo kept giving her some little treats that she found lip smacking good.
All loaded and ready to lead out for the photo. Then I think the bells or baubles shining in her peripheral vision sent her on a wild romp.....

Check out the following post for a short video of her action.

Fleeing Christmas

I don't think I always sound quite this annoying. I was trying to be funny. Think Minnesota and add a 'Ya Betcha!"

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Today is the second Sunday in Advent and we lit the candle of HOPE and PEACE. Hope is one of my favorite ideals as it is always open to possibility. Hope springs eternal, but peace is illusive. Just when we think we have found it, our selfish desires rise up and it skitters away like a frightened deer. But with Jesus it is different. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Not only because he was internally at peace, but because through his life and his death he brings peace between man and God. Someday, His kingdom will fully reign and we are told that the lion will lay down with the lamb. I look forward to that day and try in my own way to usher some of His peace into the world today. Shalom! Peace within, peace with each other and peace with God.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cow Crazy

We got up before the sun today, no gentleman rancher hours for us, and had our coffee and prayer time and headed out without any breakfast. It was overcast and cold and looked like rain. We went to load up the last of the reject cows and Sweet Dora gave me soulful look and suggested we keep her. She is young and comely and who cares if she is having her calf late, at least she is having one. But on second thought, I said, "nope, let's just stick with the plan". We got to the auction yard and as they were sorting through our cattle and calves they wanted to know why we were getting rid of #6, Sweet Dora, as she was nice and worth keeping. She gave me the I told you so look and she was loaded back into the trailer. We decided we had just enough time to get home, unload, and then get back in time for the auction; a two and half hour round trip. Then our truck died. Gave up the ghost. Left us stranded with one cow alongside the road. We got the truck going only to have it die again. This time with a guard rail on one side and no shoulder. She started. Yippee. And then after a short stroll died again. We were limping back home very slowly. Mark figured it was the fuel filter or something or another that I know nothing about and we were low on fuel so we found a man willing to sell us some and Mark drained something or another and we headed up the hill. By this time Eric was coming down to help us and as we wanted to go back to the auction to see how things went, we unhooked the trailer alongside the road and Eric and Jo finished the job of taking Dora home. By this time Sweet Dora was curled up cozy in the thick ooze that filled the bottom of the truck. She had had enough of slipping around. Poor thing. What a day. Well, truck died again on the way back to the auction, but she started again too. We jerked into the auction yard and I got ditched there while Mark went to take the truck to the mechanics shop. I had to sit through all of my sweet cows being sold. The auction guys teased me a bit about wanting to know my cows names and such. The really blessed thing was that our calves did very well, and ours cows didn't do bad either. I feel like I should send thank you's out to the buyers like my kids did in 4-H. I really appreciate them. It looks like I can pay the bills for a few months at least. And I believe that 3 of the cows are going to be living a while longer as cows. The others...... well you might eat them someday at McD's. Just kidding. More like Carl Jr's. Honestly though, it is very difficult for me to raise the cows and then later have them go off to slaughter. I may joke a bit about it, but I love these cows. Thank you cows for your life of service to me and my family. I appreciate all that you do. Even when you chase me every once in a while, and blow snot in my face when I try to give you your vitamins. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carol of the Cows

We began gathering the cattle on Sunday, thinking it would take us a couple of days. But they are becoming quiet trained and they were a bit hungry for some alfalfa, so we were able to get all but 4 on the first day. That is a first for us. Yesterday Jo and I got the hiding cows with the horses, and on foot, as they went in an area that was too dangerous to ride into. This morning we sent in the 15 calves that were born last spring and today all 22 cows that have not yet calved got preg checked. They didn't like it much and refused to sign the waiver to let me photograph the experience. But honestly, I can't really blame them. Can you? Unfortunately, 12 were not far enough along in their pregnancy or not pregnant, so they will be going on a little road trip to the auction. I am a bit sad. On a funny note we brought in the old lame cow and her month old calf and she wasn't as crippled as we thought as she chased Johanna and Eric around the arena a bit. Apparently, she follows much better than being pushed. She wouldn't fetch us much at the auction and she is still producing milk for the calf, so she will be my winter lawn ornament. Or maybe our new guard dog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving to Christmas

Our thanksgiving is over and now let the Advent season begin.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent and we lit the first candle of Hope. Advent is a Latin word meaning, "the coming" and these 4 weeks before Christmas we try and think about what the coming of the baby Jesus means to us as well as looking forward to His future return as King of Kings.
Hope, Peace, Joy and Love to all of you this holiday season.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This week in photos

Thanksgiving Meal with Family and Friends

Dirty Shirt Classic

Cow Pie Throw

Icy Mornings

With occasional Fog and Rain

And One Cow With a Lump
Does any of my cowy friends know what this could be? It is a first time for us. I am thinking it is an abscess of some sort. Starting Sunday we are bringing all the cows that have not yet had a calf in for a preg check and we will bring her in too, although she has a newborn. We are also going to be sending all of our spring calves to auction. Last year we ended up having a little more than half of our cows calve in the fall and the rest in the spring. It was kind of strange, but we are thankful that they calved in two distinct times and now are hoping that the spring calves do well at Wednesday's auction. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mushroom Season

Our friend Dylan, the spring time poesy picker, has been out collecting mushrooms. Chanterelles, oysters, slippery jacks and ringo something or another.
These are chanterelle mushrooms he is putting into the dehydrator.

Many pounds of mushrooms were gathered and he ended up with only about 8 oz worth. Of course, after re-hydrating they will be yummy in many recipes.
He sauteed up some fresh for eating as well,
and made a delicious beef strogonaff.