Monday, May 27, 2013

Missing Molly and Blind Buddy

For a couple of years Mark and I have been in agreement that we don't need 4 horses. We decided the geldings were easier and  I placed these 2 mares on Craigslist a couple of times and only got minimal interest and no one actually came out to see them. So, we both agreed it was  time to re-home them by giving them away. So we did. They are both gone now.  Apparently FREE makes all the difference.

A 16 year old young lady and her family came out first to look at the paint.  Of course it was love at first sight.  The paint is a cutie and also gentle and obedient in the arena and when riding with another horse on the trail.  By herself she is very anxious, balky and does things that put your life in jeopardy. (As in rearing at the first drop off she can find to scare the sh-- out of you. ) The teen mostly rode in an arena or with friends, so I thought it would be a pretty good fit.

The next gal to show up was looking for trail horses for some friends over in Shasta County near Burney Falls. ( I talked to the interested couple on the phone and they had sent me photos of their place and the horses that they currently had.  They seemed like good people and their horses well cared for. )    The lady rode the sorrel while her friend and I watched.  She decided that she should work fine for them and if not she could just come back to me, as I really like this mare.   I explained why I didn't think the paint would be a good fit and that I had an arena riding teen interested.  I told them they could go ahead and take her for a spin though.  Then I hopped on and illustrated a little of what I could do on her in the arena.  The friend that just came along for the ride perked up and I could see a little interest.  We talked the friend into hopping on even though she was in sneakers.  The horse immediately looked really good.    She hopped off and talked the other gal to take her for a ride.  She watched the horse move.  When her friend dismounted she borrowed her friends boots and my spurs and got back on the mare.  Now, the little paint mare looked amazing and both horse and rider almost seemed to be smiling.   It was beautiful to behold.

Come to find out this woman had been a trainer and she had years of experience in reining. Apparently our little paint did too. They spoke the same language. I told her the horse was hers if she wanted her.  It just felt right.  

She decided to take the mare outside the arena to see her 'issues' and whether or not she thought she could work her through them.  She decided they were workable and that if I didn't mind that she might not keep the mare permanently, she would take her home and see if the paint would be any good as  a team penning horse, as that is her current sport of choice.  I suggested that she give the horse to the teen if it didn't work out in the near future, but after more time if she wanted to sell her it was ok by me.  My wish was that the mare be optimized and cared for properly.

Both horses were loaded up and hauled away and I had the hard task of calling the teen and letting her know.

I'm still missing Molly, the sorrel mare, but I know I will get over it.

I brought the two geldings in from free ranging on the ranch.  The mustang, Buddy and the appy, Will.  Took Bud for a pleasurable ride although he seemed a bit off somehow.  Today, I noticed some cloudiness in his right eye.  The side where he has partial paralysis from an accident as a youngster.  I then noticed a lot of blinking going on.  I then pretended to slap him without actually touching him.  He didn't flinch.  I think he's now blind or at least partially blind.

The vet had originally said that might happen, but that was almost 10 years ago, and I thought he meant in the near future.  Tough luck.

It wouldn't have changed my choice which horses to keep.  Buddy is  my buddy and I'm just hoping that we can work through this change together and that our bond will even grow closer.  I love this crooked faced horse.  I'm a bit sad, but I know... I'll get over it. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Walk About

Mark and I took a leisurely 11 mile stroll around part of the ranch on Sunday.  Here is the photos from the day.  I thought visitors of the ranch might enjoy a walk down memory lane.  

 Buckeye tree alongside our driveway

 Llama following us along the saddle that looks off into fruitland ridge

 Brush is coming back strong after the fire by old Smith Orchard

 Bush Lupine 

 Far northeast corner of ranch looking north across Humboldt Redwoods State Park

 Same location looking south into the Salmon Creek drainage

 Mushroom Face

 Along the top ridgeline heading west now


 First prairie looking south

 Hiking through what used to be forest to the second open prairie

 Tiniest wild rose I've ever seen

 Big Prairie on top

 The old snag you see from our house on the top ridge

 Queen Anne's Lace

 Pennyroyal in the grasses

 Highest elevation on the ranch, 2670 feet

 Cable tree madrone

 She's still alive, but only barely

 Heading down through the burn.  Lots of baby madrones.

 Cabin pond


 Grouse Roosting Tree

 Grouse point lookout

 Pig Tree

 Along the way down to the barn

 Middle barn


 Redwood Creek Redwoods

 Firecracker Weed


 Almost home

 New cattle handling area/arena

 Down past the spring.  Top ridge is where we were.

 See the snag?
 Main House

 Our home

 Jerry's arbor with roses

Jerry's favorite rose,  Joseph's Coat of Many Colors

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lessons on Tranquility

We have a lovely little pond with fountain that is a tranquil spot in our yard.  The gold fish make graceful slashes of color, the moving water soothes and something about the purity of the white lilies invites contemplation.  Our county has had a recent bout of violence and as of this day a manhunt is ongoing for a man who murdered his family.  Of course, I judge this man harshly.  Yet, while I may not carry out huge acts of violence, I am guilty of daily acts of violence.  I guess we all are: anger, jealousy, greed  are all difficult emotions to control and most of us don't have much training on how to handle these feelings.  
But we need to try. 

tranquility - a disposition free from stress 

tranquility: the absence of  anxiety

tranquility: steadiness of mind

tranquility: a feeling of calm

tranquility: an untroubled state even with disturbances

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

what we've been up to

It's wonderful being home and I realize now that I had been depressed for quite a while.   We've had almost two tumultuous years helping my folks and now that I have some breathing room,  life is coming back into focus.   It's still hard knowing my mom is alone in a care facility with Alzheimers, but we are both adjusting.   She enjoys visiting with me and is also comfortable seeing me leave.  But why wouldn't she be?  She tells me that  I live there.   She says  I go out walking a lot!    Sad, but reassuring too in a twisted sort of way; she doesn't feel alone.

Spring on the ranch is beautiful.  Love it! This year has been very warm and dry.   We got a sprinkle or two the last few days which may save the grass a little, but we really are in a drought.  It's going to be a long summer. We try not to worry about things you can't change, so we have just been enjoying all the sunshine. 

Besides tearing down corrals, Mark has been assisting Eric on a building project and beginning the battle with thistles....  A battle he has been fighting since the fire.   He also spends his mornings with business news and trading stocks.  Mark has changed some of his investment strategies by being more active in the stock market.  Not quite day trading, but almost.    We can't stay in the green with just the cattle, so for now,  Mark the Trader is making it happen.

Besides pulling tons of weeds and cleaning our home, I've been riding and training my horses daily for the last 3 weeks.    I love riding, but consistent and methodical training on squirrelly horses is tiring. I don't know how trainers do it, day after day. My hat is off to them.     My horses had really turned into a wild herd and needed tuning up badly.  Plus, they were huge from eating all that sweet clover that is carpeting the ranch this year.  I'm happy to say, they are all making steady progress and I haven't gotten hurt, so 'it's all good'.  I really hope to find new homes for 2 of my 4 horses, but I just don't know which 2.  LOL.  If you would like a horse, let me know.  I will give them away to the right home.   

The cattle are getting very fat too on  the sweet clover, and on them, it's a good thing.  We will once again be selling some steers as freezer beef.  If you want some let me know; split quarters, sides or whole. My phone number is 707-599-0518 or email me at



Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Went down to the barn the other day and discovered this.  Posts still standing, but no boards.  Of course, it wasn't much of a corral anymore and we've replaced the cattle handling facilities in another location.  But still...

 It does make good kindling.  Or maybe we should sell this as a corral in a box?

 Went outside and discovered this little feline at our doorstep.  A pretty little thing, sweet too, but we have no idea where she came from.  It's not like we have neighbors nearby.  It's at least a mile, probably more and she would have to cross creeks and climb hillsides.  Why would she do that?  Probably because she hoped we would feed her, which we did.  We are calling her The Cat.  Shadow the dog calls her Sassy as she likes to slap her.   Bam!  If this is your kitty, or if you recognize her let us know. 

 Mark and I got to talking (AKA arguing)  about these over-sized mosquito creatures and decided to google it.  I was always told they eat mosquitoes, Mark thought they sucked plants.  Wrong on both accounts.  They don't eat in this stage.  They hatch out of ponds and just mate.  Short, but good life I am sure.  

Last, but not least, what are these men doing?   Also of note is the grass they are on.  We hauled in loads of composted horse poop and planted it last fall. We are happy to see it grew.  Of course now we have to mow it.  Maybe we should have left the rocks and weeds?