Saturday, March 30, 2013

Introducing Shadow

 We have a new dog named Shadow. She is a perfect companion for us at this time in our lives.  She is easy to take on trips, loves long walks and the ranch, and makes a perfect lap warmer.   She came to us through the hand of providence last fall when we needed a little dog and distraction most.  She was a stray that a lady down the street from my mom found.  Once the neighbor told us that she was a small, black, female I accepted sight unseen as I had been praying for just such a gift as my closest companion dog in my life had been a small black dog. 
Here I am way back when with my little dog Chiquita.  Chiquita was a gift too.  A sneaky gift from my grandma.  The story is told that when my first pet died, I told my parents I didn't want another parakeet, I wanted a dog.   My mom said "no", my dad said "we'll see". I took it to a higher authority,  my grandma.  (I was sneaky like that).  She smiled and also said, "we'll see".  Even at five, I knew my dad's Mr. Will C meant 'NO' and my grandma's meant 'YES'.   One day my grandma stopped by our house with a small, white, square box about four by four inches.  Scratching noises came from inside.  Grandma was direct.  "Mary," she said, "Can Tj have what is in this box?"  My mom smiled and thinking it was a bird said, "of course".  Off came the cardboard top and there was my dog.  I was ecstatic.  For 11 years that little dog was my confidante,  companion and best friend.   I learned a lot about love and responsibility from Chiquita and my mom too came to forgive my grandma and  love the little dog as much as I.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Absolutely Ridiculous Kubota Ride

This made me laugh, maybe it will you too?  BTW-  I don't normally have such a twang.  I was just being silly after finishing working the cattle.

Silliness aside,  we had a great spring roundup and all but about 3 animals were handled and given needed care.    The cows still know my voice,  with or without the twang apparently, and they all followed me and my little orange Kubota full of hay into the handling corrals.  Eric, Jo, Mark and I have turned into a fairly well oiled machine and the job got done quickly and without mishap.  Well, one cow's head didn't get caught in the chute, instead her hips caught in the head catch, but she was gentle, so they just vaccinated her and gave her bolus as is.  LOL.

Our jobs:
Eric:  Piercer extraordinaire.  Double checks for veins and always picks the right spot for ear tags. No bleeding. Also gives shots, usually the tetanus for the bulls who are getting banded to become steers. Helps with the chute when needed and keeping the chute loaded.
Jo:  Head Nurse and shot giver for the vaccinations, also helps keep the animals moving down the runway.  Works quietly and efficiently (unlike me!)
Mark:   Runs the chute, puts on wormer, does the bolus, and the banding of the bulls.
Me:  Quality control:  Makes up tags,  keeps record of each animal, and helps Mark with the banding.  TALKS too much.  Ex.  "That's Suzette, she's a nervous gal,  go slow, walk carefully. She's Bertha's girl, you remember her right?  Remember Suzette when she had her first calf?  Shook all over, poor thing, did fine though. Yep, she's a nervous one.  Won't save any of her heifers"   and on and on with almost every cow.  :-)

Friday, March 15, 2013

All Mixed Up

 Eerie, early morning shot out in the front of our ranch captures another place and time.  Time,  something that is all mixed up this week.  Some of our clocks are on daylight savings and others are real time.  You know the time the sun says it should be.  Ranchers and farmers can't ever really understand how you save daylight. The sun comes up and the sun goes down.  The same today as last week.  It doesn't change.  It is dependable.  Unlike our new time, which messes with my internal clock a bit and makes me grouchy.  I think it is one time and go to make a call and, OOps, its after five, and they are closed.

Lots of little business on the ranch.  Tax time.  Bills to be paid.  Looking into new insurance, making a long overdue budget.  And the cattle.  The grass is short, but it is sustaining them.  We got some rain last week.  4 inches, but more would be appreciated.  Hate to be greedy, but it would be nice for the fish in the stream and the grass and the flowers and all the little creatures and our cows.

 It is about time for another spa day for our cattle and today Mark went to town and got the supplies:  premise I.D tags that are electronic and tell where the calves are born and the three month window they were born in, vaccinations, tetanus shots for the bulls who will become steers, new bands for the bander, copper supplements, pour on wormer and a few more earrings to write their number on so we can tell who are boys and who are girls and what year they were born in.  We treat the cattle fairly and calmly put them through the chute, but I am still not fond of spa day.  Cows moo and calves bawl some.  But that's life, I guess.  You gotta take the good with the bad, and the cattle don't know it, but we are doing them a favor.  Well, the bull calves aren't getting any favors.  They are going to go from being baritone to tenor.  More jobs for tenors. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

In Memory of Charlie

A month or so ago Charlie fell and got stuck sideways into the uphill side of our barn. We don't know how long he lay that way, probably 24 hours.   Mark, Eric, and Jo used the Kubota and straps to pull him out of the side of the barn.  After much coaxing and a night time vigil by Jo, he got up and ate a little and drank some water.  It was a sad night. Jo stayed close by.   Charlie was her childhood horse and they had the closest bond.  They loved each other and it showed.  The next day we had to leave the ranch again and Charlie was on his feet but weak.  He could go either way.

Charlie fell again and he couldn't get up.  Eric euthanized him and they buried him at the top of the pasture and planted a pear tree on top of his grave.  He was 33 years old and until the last couple of days he was very happy and looked like a much younger horse.

Jo and I have both been experiencing a very interesting occurrence in the barn.  We see Charlie out of our peripheral vision.  Just a quick flash and then when we look, he is gone.  It is quite odd and probably just a memory in our mind.  But still, it makes us wonder.  I've gotten to calling out, "Come on, Chuckles (my nickname for him) time to eat."

Click here for  a little story I wrote a while ago in honor of him and Mark's 50th birthday.

Charlie giving one of the ranch visitors a ride.  Charlie gave a lot of rides in his life.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sounds Like Spring

But my heart still feels like winter.

It has been a season of change.  We've had a year and a half of coming and going from the ranch.  We've released our firewood business to our son and daughter and law, we cut back on the number of cows, we drove back and forth to our old home town to supervise the care of and to care for my elderly parents.  We traveled.

My dad died this fall and my mom's mental state took a big hit.  She had been struggling with memory issues, diagnosed with alzheimers, but coping.  After her husband of 60 years died, she lost it.  We tried personally caring for her,  we tried 24 hour hired care in her home too and it didn't really work.  She was constantly anxious and looking for her husband.  She would leave to go find him, she would do odd things.  Sometimes dangerous things.  My siblings and I decided to place her in a care facility.  I thought I would feel relief, but I struggle with guilt and grief. The poor dear misses home and every time she sees me she thinks I am taking her home.  She usually thinks I'm her mom I think because she finds comfort with me.  It's hard and I am struggling emotionally.  I wish I could care for her, but it was just too much.

But it is good for me to be home on the ranch.  REAL  good.  Best air in the country and nice people too.  Beautiful surroundings.  It is home.   My cows don't really know me anymore though,  but they have been doing fine all by themselves.  Let that be a lesson to me.   The horses still come running.  Of course, it could be the carrots falling out of my pockets, but then again it could be love.

We are currently in a drought.  Creeks that usually are running this time of year are bone dry.  Our grass is short, very short.  All of the rocky areas already have some grass turning yellow.  It is strange and a bit scary, but we have to remind ourselves that the important rains are the ones that come in spring.  So please come spring rains.  Come and play.  Make the world green again and let our hearts bloom.

As you can see, I decided to come back to this blog site. I will  also blog over on wordpress, if you are interested, but I've missed the Ranch on Salmon Creek and I find this format easier to use.

Now, I just have to find something to share.

Perhaps a little flower will make you smile,
Or a group of stately trees.

Here's some rocks 

I hear the honey call that the steaks are done. That's something else I've missed. Some good meat.