Monday, January 31, 2011

Chickens and Demise of Goats

Recently, we got some more hens off of craigs list. We were down to just a couple chickens due to an untimely visit of a neighboring dog and a golden eagle. Really. The bird would swoop down and just pick them up. I penned the chickens up for a few weeks and broke the cycle and then after I turned them out the dog came a wandering. Poor little hens. That was all over 6 months ago and I haven't since seen the bird or the dog, so I decided to chance it.
This is the rooster that survived the former attack and he isn't into the new ladies too much yet. He still sticks pretty close to his main squeeze. This fiesty white leghorn that survived as well. They are very bonded. They are a couple. And they both need names. Although, maybe if I name them they will fall onto hardship as these two are the only ones that weren't named before. Hmmm.
Cool thing about the new birds is that a couple of them lay blue and green eggs. They are Araucanas. I also have golden laced wyandottes and Buff Orpingtons who lay brown eggs. The white leghorns lay white eggs and lots of them. They seem to be the best layers of them all. I hope to also get some Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rock. I had some before and I really like them.

We figured out the demise of our goats. Eric came to our house on Sunday night to wait for us bringing his wife home to him and he brought the terrier pups he is watching. Eric fell asleep in the recliner waiting and the pups were outside unattended. We discovered a heavy path of small footprints around and around our pond and after dragging the goats out of the water it was discovered that they had some small bites on ears and noses. A very tragic demise I am afraid, but at least the mystery is solved.

There's No Place Like Home

I just got home from a trip down south to attend a baby shower for our daughter and celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. Had a great time at the events, my daughter glows with a healthy pregnancy and my mom was in good spirits too. My DIL, Jo, and I, also had a great time getting mani/pedis and going shopping. We both tired of it after a couple of days though and were ready to head home to our houses on the hill.

This morning I headed down to the barn excited to see my cats and chickens and goats and horses and cows only to find the 2 youngest goats, Lily and Billy, missing. Oh no. We had friends staying at our house and they didn't mention any missing goats and Eric the Bold was at the ranch as well and didn't mention anything amiss. After a bit of searching I found them both floating in the little pond by the barn. Dead. I wonder what happened? So bizarre. Now, we have to go pull them out somehow. It really deflates my day.

But it looks like the sun will soon shine, after the fog burns away, and I think it might be just the right day to go for winter horse ride. It is still good to be home. There is no place like home.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Around the Barn in Stripes

The sunlight has been wonderful. We have had days on end of the glorious stuff and I relish in the play of light and shadows. On this day I was just wandering around finding stripes at the barn. That's all. Well, not all I did, but you get the point which is there is no point to this post. Just stripes around the barn. No false advertising here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First Bloom

Can someone tell me what this shrub is. I have been seeing them in the burned over area of the ranch. The first time I spotted one, I thought the sun must have been reflecting just right off of shiny leaves. But, on closer inspection I discovered the first bloom of spring. Early spring. This is probably some horrible, pervasive species that will take over the ranch. But if you know what it is, please let me know. Its little blooms look like downy feathers. Quite pretty really.
Life has been sunny. YIpee. Warm, beautiful, sunny days strung end to end like pearls on a necklace. I am loving it.

Mark headed south last weekend and helped his cousin sail from Long Beach, Ca to Ventura, Ca, under sunny skies and temps in the upper 70's. At one point they had a pod of about 100 dolphins with them for 45 minutes. Pretty spectacular I am told. Soon he will head down again and go from Ventura to the Pismo area. This leg will go around the dreaded Point Conception. I worry a bit about this part of the journey. It is really the only rough sea area along the California coastline. Eventually the 35 foot sailboat will be docked in the Bay area. I look forward to going for a sail then.

I have been doing spring cleaning and relaxing. Sounds incongruous, but its not. Trust me. I feel really great when I get things cleaned and organized and we were so busy all summer that this place really needs cleaning and airing out. I really need a cleaning and airing out after the heavy gray skies of November and December.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love is in the Air....

Our oldest son, Zac, recently got engaged to his long time best friend Cristina. Also known as Teeny. Story goes that he had her clean house all day while he fiddled in the garage. As evening comes around he takes her out into the garage to see his work and to her wondering eyes there was a flowers, balloons and a big banner that said "Marry Me!" It is important to note that he did not use a question mark. LOL.

I am told she said, "well, yea!", and now wears a lovely ring as a token of thier love and promise. They are planning on a year long engagement.

We are tickled pink. Teeny is a wonderful addition to our family and the perfect counterpoint to our son.

Congrats again!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter's Rest

I love every season. Right now, I like the winter. I find that we hunker down and rest a bit more and our minds become more contemplative, more receptive to the needs of our body and the body of the world at large. I think we all need this time of slowing down. Rest. But most citizens of this country don't have seasonal cycles anymore as their occupations are no longer tied to the land. I think this hurts us all. We, as a culture, as a people become more and more wound up until things begin to burst. Like the horrible incident in Arizona. Hate and craziness bursting out of a vessel that probably hadn't rested in a long time.

The Bible talks of a weekly Sabbath rest for man and every 7 years the land should be rested and all debts forgiven. I don't think this is just idle myth or tradition. I think that mankind could use more rest and restoration. I know that I need it.

Mark and I are on day 9 of a 10 day fast. We have been withholding food to let our bodies cleanse. This has not been easy. At times my body screamed out with hunger pangs. I didn't know if I could hold up to the onslaught of need, but I learned to just wait it out. To just rest and to pray for others who really are starving in the world. As time has gone by the urgency has eased and I have slept better than I have all year. My allergies and asthma has abated. My body is unwinding, it is healing. I am resting.

I feel a bit like the winter trees stripped of their finery. Their bare bones stand in stark contrast to the blue of the sky and to the solidity of the ground they are rooted in. To an unknowing eye they appear dead, but we know they are only resting. When the time is right they will burst forth in a glory of green and the cycle will be reborn.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

"Um Sir," said the cow, "Do you realize it is 42 degrees out"

"Well yes I do," said the man, "but in my mind it is 80."

The sandals though, they turned out to be a bad idea.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lost and Found

Shortly after I took this photo my camera case, with camera, fell off of my belt. But I didn't know it. I headed down to the barn, patched a fence, fed Charlie, the goats and some steers and the old crippled cow and her calf. I checked on and fed the chickens and saw that Jo had already gathered the eggs. Good girl. I went into our tack room/hay room and tried to clean up a bit and then I petted the barn kitties. Evening feeding down I headed back to the house and felt something wasn't quite right. Something was missing. My hand flew to my waist, while my mind already knew that the camera was missing. Oh no. There is deep mud in front of the barn and it had begun to creep inside too. I began looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Trying to remember where I had been and what I had done. Spent a good amount of time looking, the shadows were beginning to deepen. Exasperated I thought what a waste it was that I lost the camera and would have to spend a couple of hundred bucks to get a new one. "Dear God," I said, "This is such a waste I could have given that money away for something good like orphans in another country or something. You know what? If I find it, I will give the money saved away." Then I started walking back and looked on the incline by the fence and there the camera lay. With nary a drop of mud on it. For a second I thought about reneging on the deal. But no way. I think I know just the place to donate the funds too.

Lighten Up

The mossy oaks light up in the sun. They seem made for such a moment. It makes me think about where I light up? I know that when I am out taking photos, or reading or writing, and definitely when I am communicating with animals, I feel like time ceases to exist and I forget myself for a moment. Perhaps my face is aglow too.

How about you? What lights you up? I think a good resolution would be to find your passion(s) and try to do them more this year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Puppy Wrangling

Eric and Jo have been dog sitting for some friends that are down in Mexico for a few months. Mark and I got our chance to watch them last weekend while Eric and Jo celebrated New Year's down south. It was fun, an energetic experience to remember. Today their dog-sitters returned, and I tried to photograph them. Easier said than done.

It is very difficult getting a little pack of six fox terriers to line up for a photo. They jump, they wiggle, they dart away and just when you think you have it, you realize that one is missing. Either way though, they're cute. Their names are Emma, Luigi, Jack, Shy, Shasta and Dylan.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunshiney Day

For about a month now we have been under a blanket of clouds and fog with only occasional glimpses of sun. But today, Hallelujah, the sun shone in all its splendor. We basked in its glorious rays and did not take it for granted.

On another note, we do appreciate the rains that brought up the grass and the rivers and replenished the springs. Since the fall rains began we have recorded about 42 inches at our house. Eric and Jo live higher on the hill and they have recorded closer to 50 inches.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
Martin Luther