Sunday, October 31, 2010

And the Goat Came Back

Do you remember Flower? She was a goat that we kept for a young friend. She had a couple of adorable kidds and then eventually her previous owner got a suitable pen and took her back. I missed her. I really did. It gets a little lonely on the ranch sometimes and I called her my girlfriend. We had chats and coffee, herded cows, and discussed politics. Just kidding. She doesn't really like coffee she is more of a tea drinker.

Well, her owner moved back to town so I was more than happy to have her come back. She has some more kidds, a boy and girl, and she seemed excited to take them on a walk about as soon as they got out of the trailer. Welcome Home Flower and Family!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Couple of Clowns

Today was the last farmers market of the year. We are thankful for all the support and encouragement we recieved this year and we look forward to seeing the market crowd next May.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Salvage

I recently flew to Las Vegas to visit our daughter and go to her 21 week sonogram to see our future grand baby. He looked cute and yes, it is a he. Very definitely a boy.

While I was away it rained just a little, somewhere in the 8 or 9 inch range. The ground is covered in sprouting seedlings and ribbons of water flow down every hillside into the creek below. The now swollen creek frothy with foam.

We journeyed forth in the light sprinkle of rain today to go on a salvage mission, for we had not yet brought up our summer floating toys nor had we lifted the deck to store on higher ground. Needless to say, we had to search a little to find the floating things.
Some were popped,

and some where not. This raft had journeyed forth out of the pool and Eric waded into the cold creek to go for a little float and then bring it to shore. Deck stowed on higher ground and all of our stuff gathered we headed out,
and up the hill to our garage where everything will sit until somewhere around next Memorial Day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

warming fire in the man cave

This is the second day in a row for Kate to spend the whole day on the back of my quad, doing chores in the rain. Yesterday, road drainage, dam inspection, and cattle feeding. Today, some of the same, plus helping change tires on our grader. Both days, rain most of the time. Last night she slept outside. Tonight she has a bed by the fire. The difference? Yesterday I wore a rainsuit and came home warm and dry, looked at her fur coat and figured she was too. Today I wore cotton and was soaked to my socks all afternoon. If I'm cold, she's cold... sounds like us as young parents... Anyway, she likes her "mud box". mark

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Subaru

All week I have been using my car as a truck, as the Kubota is still down, and Mark is busy delivering wood. I really needed to go around and check on cows and all the new calves and having a little hay along makes the job easy, so I just loaded it into my Subaru outback. It is an all terrain vehicle you know.

I found one old cow lame with a new bull calf. Cow and calf are going to be moved into the home pasture for alfalfa and some TLC. It looks like this will be her last calf. Her hip is just about gone. Her daughter has decided that since mom can't walk very fast she can babysit the grand calf all day. Old mama doesn't seem to mind though.

I also discovered that the first cow to calf, who happens to be the above mentioned daughter, had a bull chasing her tail. So it was time to move the bulls in as we don't want them bred just yet. Sounds like a scary job, but it wasn't. I just tooted my Subaru's horn and hollered and opened the hatchback so they could see the hay and three of the bulls and their entourage of cows followed me into the corral. Normally, we separate the bulls into the lane and then shoo out the cows, but Kate the dog and I decided to just feed the bulls right where they were in the arena, and shoo out the ladies around them. It worked perfectly. The ladies know me and respect me and when I said go, they went, while the big boys just kept contently eating. Later, when the hay was gone they had surprised looks on their faces to see that they were all alone and penned up. Clay, our oldest, biggest bull is something of a grain lover. I found him near the middle barn and corral, so I just got some grain and walked him in. Easy as pie.

If only cleaning out the Subaru was so easy. Note to self, next time you load hay in the back, put a tarp in first!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Buck

Startled awake from the dog, I jumped up the 8 foot embankment, my 6 by 6 antlers lowered for attack. I blew a warning and shook my head at the intruder who stood about 7 feet away. A noise from the left and the dog stopped its movement. I looked and saw a two legged creature gazing at me from about twice the distance of the dog. Its eyes were round with wonder and its body still. I lunged at the dog for good measure and turning quickly I bounded away to find another place for my slumber.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bye, Bye Rylee

We sit today saddened at the loss of Rylee the mule. She left us yesterday for a new home. She was scared to leave, you could see it in her eye, but she is going to a good home. Her new friends love horse packing in the mountains and they are excited to have a new project in getting her ready. We on the other hand have too many equines and we had to cut back. We never did sell the two mares. I seemed to talk everybody who was interested out of wanting them. But Rylee's new owners didn't seem fazed to hear of her mischievous ways and high jumping antics. And after the accidents, I just don't have the nerve to dive into her training. But still, we miss her. We will miss her untying ropes and opening gates and harvesting fruit and jumping the fence and hooking the rope under the lead horse's tail (she does it on purpose) and chasing and leaping and kicking at Kate the dog. We will miss her love when she is always the first to run down the hill to greet you and stick her nose in your car and breath her sweet mule breath in your nose. Bye, Bye Rylee. We will come visit you soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Gray Ghost

The dirt road was lit narrowly by the headlights, while the golden grasses alongside the road seemed to glow from the starlight that streamed down from above. Off to the right we saw movement, a gray form coming out from the shadows under the oak trees. A ghost in the night. On stiff, stilted legs, off of the slight embankement it leaped in front of our truck. Was it courage or foolishness that brought this creature into our path? A braying sound and then a long eared head showed up in our headlights. We braked as quickly as our heavy laden truck and hay trailer could manage and the gray ghost jumped out of the way just in the nick of time. We continued to roll down our driveway, thinking the danger was past. But no, it returned, zigzagging in front of us like a running back carrying the ball. Soon he stopped again, squared off in our headlights and brayed. It appeared to be an ambush. We slowed but did not stop. The hay was not for him. We wouldn't give it up no matter how hard he tried. He brayed again and stomped a hoof and the trailer brushed along his side as we drove past his outraged form. We looked behind us and saw his silhouette kicking his heels up and taking off after us. We beat him to the gate and the hay rolled safely into our compound.
Good night, and good luck.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garberville, California

Garberville lies along the south fork of the Eel River about 52 miles south of Eureka and 4 and half hours north of San Francisco. Our home town is actually Miranda, but Garberville is the closest 'big' town. Last census had its population a little over 2,000.
You really have to watch out for the traffic rush~and the crowded sidewalks at noon.
Perhaps you might want to stop in and get a cup of coffee by the iron horses and under the windmill~
or a bite to eat at a long standing diner. I can remember eating here as a teenager.
Lots of visitors stop in at the hemp store as this county is well known for the its grass. And not the kind our cows eat, well, sometimes they have been known to wander.....
Garberville, small though it may be, does have a theater and a chain grocery store and
a wonderful natural foods store that sells our beef.Garberville often seems like one has stepped back into the 60's. The pace is slower; no suburban sprawl, no malls or megastores and lots of tie dye. Its mellow and relaxed and honestly, you can find just about anything you might need here. There are a lot of little shops and the person behind the counter will probably be the owner and learn to know you by name. There is something really nice about that. We are often asked how 'we' are accepted here, since we eat meat, drive a big truck and don't normally wear tye die. And we can honestly say we have been blessed with open arms.
Come visit the area someday and tell us what you think.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I keep this blog primarily as a means of remembering. And we have a lot to remember this week.

Brian and April came out and Brian brought his skid steer and cleaned all around and in our barn. Yahooo! That was so much quicker than me and my shovel. A million thanks Brian. Later that night our unofficially adopted kids, Dylan and Cheri arrived for a two month visit with their adorable family and with the news that they have one more in the oven! Yahoo again.

Our hay arrived and it was dry. Apparently, we did get our order in for the weather and while it rained a few miles away, our stack stayed dry. Pretty providential. The truck and trailer can't make it up our road so it was offloaded at the winery along the 101 and friends and family all pitched in to get it hauled up the hill, repeatedly. I wasn't part of the crew as I stayed home and made a pot roast dinner for when the work was done. Sooo, no photos of of the cool shots of men working under a relentless sun. Thanks a million Brian, Eric, Zac, Dennis, Travis,and Dennis's nephew who I don't know his name. Dennis and crew didn't know that they were going to be unloading hay all day, but Mark found them at the local diner and talked them into it!

Sunday evening our son-in-law arrived with his father in tow to enjoy some R&R and give his dad a tour of the place.

Made the decision to pass on Miss Riley on to a new home. Began the process that will end next week when she will travel to Maria's place. Maria is an avid backcountry horseperson and she is very excited to be adding Riley to her string. After the accidents I just couldn't get the nerve up to ride her, even after Jo put in a month working on her. The darn mule can just jump too high and she is too smart for me!
Guys go pheasant hunting in the Eel River Valley with a friend of Eric. It was Spice the dog's first day retrieving and I am told she did great.

Guys go fishing in the ocean and catch halibut. It was a beautiful sunny day, but Eric the bold did get sick. Good thing for him that one of the county supervisors came by and gave him a ride back to dock Only in Humboldt!

Thursday: Donnie and Dad left with frozen halibut and steaks tucked away in the suitcase. Love ya, glad you could make it.

There, now I feel all caught up and can move on......

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Busy Day

.... More to follow. But for now enjoy this photo of streaming light through an oak tree.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Broody Sky

The clouds today teased us. They let out a sprinkle or two and that is all. We are hoping for rain. The inch we got a few weeks ago brought up fledgling grass and now it needs to be watered. Soon. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like any rain is coming our way. It is all going south and getting our hay stack wet. Which we don't want get wet. Oh dear. Hopefully, the hay will dry out some on its 8 hour journey to our house this weekend. We bought the hay from Mark's brother when we were visiting down south a couple of weeks ago. Mark actually got to bale it too; like old times when he was a farmer boy. Do you see the trees in the distance? In the middle of those trees is our old home. We planted all of those trees and over time created our own forest. We also dug a pond in the middle and stocked it with fish and had rope swings and log crossings to an island. We created our own little wilderness. All on about an acre. We had a fire pit and log benches and people always loved to come to our house for parties. Fun times, but I don't miss them. We live in the real wilderness now.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I like to name things. Anything and everything; inanimate objects and those that grow. Sometimes I wonder why?

Naming things was the first job God gave Adam so I guess it goes way back. I know that I name stuff because it seems to make it more real, alive, knowable. The symbolic act of naming creates a new and important link between me and the named. A relationship of sorts.

In the case of this following tree it is kind of a one sided relationship. But then again, not really, as the tree gives me joy when I see it and remember it and call it by name and it also gives a little shade and it makes oxygen that I breathe in. It has a big hollow hole in it, so I bet that the critters who live there know it even better than I. In retrospect I realize that the tree gives a lot more than I give it. As I only gave it a name and a smile.
This tree is right by our cabin road and we use it as a landmark and have named a spur road after it.

"Turn at the Pig Tree", we tell folks. Do you see the porcine head gazing out of the twisted wood? Pig Tree used to be all red madrone colored, but time has changed that. Pig Tree is getting old and its skin is wrinkled and dying. I see age spots. But time has made this tree only more special.

I often create little vignettes about this tree in my head. Like maybe the King of all Porkers had a spell cast upon him and he's imprisoned in the tree waiting for the right One to release the spell or perhaps a beautiful maiden pig died nearby and her lover's tears fell on the ground and from those tears sprouted a lovely madrone oak with the image of his beloved. Or perhaps the tree was a pig in a previous life. HaHA!

You people probably think I am really crazy now, and you know what, you people might be right.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quad Riding

This morning we checked on some cows on the quads. It was a beautiful morning with clear skys and various types of clouds. They were magical clouds, changing shape and texture in a blink of an eye. The sun was warm on the skin but the air had just enough chill to remind one that it is indeed fall. We loved it. I find that more and more we are using the quads over the horses. I feel a little sad, but have also found the quads to be quick and efficient and , so far, no drama....

Which would you pick- horses or quads?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Garberville Farmers Market

Another Friday Market and it was a special fundraising day to raise funds for our community square. I decided to walk around and snap some photos to give you a little sense of place.

A very enjoyable day. Full of sights, smells and good food.