Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 29 Highlights

We picked up a new group of red wattle piglets on the weekend, enjoyed hanging out with them today.   I paid four hundred dollars for a registered gilt runt.  After driving a few hours to get there, I didn't feel like squabbling.  Plus I'm a horrible negotiator and anyway little Primrose is friendly, cute and feisty.  She is the one in the middle.  Also picked up a nice looking boar and 3 to grow into meat that were much less expensive. What was I thinking.  Four Hundred DOLLARS!  Yikes.  She better grow into something that produces, that is all I can say.   

Beautiful sky day.  Enjoyed cruising up to the cabin in our 1979 Land Cruiser.  Now that the Kubota is buried, this is my new ranch vehicle.  It is a bit harder to drive and it uses more fuel, but the views can't get any better with the top off.  Driving along my mind drifted back to my first visit to The Ranch in, well, I actually think it was 1979.  Weird.  Anyway.  There was an old codger up here living with the female caretaker.  Charlie was his name.  He was small and lean.  Probably 5 foot 5 and had skin hardened and creased by the sun and pointed features.  You could tell he knew how to work.  He took us kids on a drive up to the cabin as the sun began to make long shadows across the land.  I remember there was this one spot, where he slowed down, turned his cap on backwards and his eyes creased in a smile as he looked at us in the back of the jeep.  "Hold on," he said.  Around the next bend a big jack rabbit leaped onto the road and off we went at high speed chasing that rabbit.  Yee Haw!  It was fun and obviously a common occurrence for man and beast. 

There is a real living, tree that is hollowed out that stands by our delicious Chimney Tree restaurant.  We had a meal there today after dropping off pork and beef at Chautauqua, the local natural foods store.  Had a funny thing happen at the Chimney Tree.  Tourists are in line behind us.  One of them had been there before and was telling his friends how great the food was.  Going on and on about it while also fiddling with his phone.  "Yea," he says,  "It always seems like the best places have the worst service".  All sound ceased to exist.  You could have heard a pin drop.  Man notices and fumbles all over himself exclaiming how he meant phone service.  "Good thing" says the very large cook in the kitchen, "or I would have had to come out there and pummel you." 

Hay!  It is that time of year to fill the barn with some local, big bales of grass hay.  Last year we got about 111 bales, but we have a smaller herd this year, so I think we are shooting for about 88 bales. Eight loads and each load takes Mark about 3 hours minimum.  It's not easy living out in the boonies.  One year we got a truck and trailer load of alfalfa, but the truck couldn't make it to our place, so we off loaded at the highway and made multiple trips up the hill.   This year we will probably get about 200 bales of 3 twine alfalfa.  We use this stuff for getting the cows to follow us around like we are gods. 


We got invited by a friend and his buddy to go backpacking to Caribou Lakes in the Trinity Alps.  Left the ranch before dawn and after a lengthy drive and 8.5 mile hike we entered a gorgeous alpine wonderland.  We couldn't have been happier. 


This is our friend's buddy.  I fell in  love with this dog; super sweet, but no pushover.  Amazingly good at hiking for being 77 years old and he knew his way around the mountain better than us too. We hiked to the ridge above Caribou Lakes this morning and got off trail a couple times, but Boomer always found the way.  He really seemed to enjoy the views too.  (In this photo he is looking at Sapphire and Emerald lakes.)   Later, I found out that we shared a similar love of swimming in high mountain lakes.  I didn't quite get his stick gathering though, so maybe Mark doesn't have to worry too much about being replaced. 


Hiked out under some cloud cover today and it was a good thing too as we all swam in the sun a little too much the day before and had a bit of a sunburn.  Some of us more than others.  Thanks again Dave for inviting us.   (If you would like to see more photos of our hike, I'll be posting later in the week at our hiking blog:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week 28

I'm two day late this week and contemplated not posting anything at all.  I don't have anything to say and when I looked through my camera file of the week's photos, this is what I found. 
Yea.  I was pretty excited to have scored these 4 bright collegiate ruled composition books for fifty cents each at Target. 

I didn't have any photos of the bear and cubs my dog and I spooked out of the yummy black cap raspberries while we were out on a walk.  Nor of the beautiful golden sunsets we've been having.  I didn't see any of the horses or cows with their slick, shiny coats, or of the swimming hole reflecting the sun like a bejeweled pair of blue jeans. I didn't even have any photos of the yummy food we've been eating from the garden.  We got home from Vegas and found tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of squash and we even still have peas and lettuce.  But no photos.   Just a photo of my new stack of journals.

I journal in the morning.  It is my vent session, self talk, prayer and general to-do list.  I call it my rudder.  I use it to keep me pointed in the direction I think I want to go.  It helps me notice things about myself that I like and things that I might want to change.  It has help me overcome some bad habits.  At the end of the year I burn the journals and start over.  I don't really want my ancestors to read them.  They aren't good and are only a tiny representation of my life and might give someone the wrong idea about things or people.   Like I said,  I vent sometimes and write private stuff. 

Sort of like this blog uncensored.

Blogging feels a bit narcissist and vain.  I don't really have anything important to share, yet I keep plugging away because I like looking back over these 'censored' journal entries and seeing all the things that make a life.  This is a place our ancestors can look at and get a feel for us and the ranch.  I write about real stuff, I don't make anything up, but I try to keep my rants here to a minimum.  And trust me, I am a hot blooded, Portuguese woman and I can sometimes be a bit emotional.  I put that stuff in my journals to rid myself of it and put more of the good stuff here.  The stuff I want to remember. 

I've had a few local people walk up to me and say," Hi, I read your blog."  There is an openness and familiarity in their demeanor and conversation.  They know me.  What they don't seem to realize is I don't know them.  At all.  It is a bit awkward sometimes.  It makes me smile.  I only think of two couples when I write out these posts.  They are my commenters.   Dan and Betty in New Mexico and Bill and Juanita in Colorado. We've since become friends in person with Dan and Betty and we hope to get out to Colorado someday and surprise Bill and Juanita at their lodge.  Both couples are an easy audience.  Really nice people.  But of course they aren't the only ones reading.  In reality I'm throwing my thoughts, our life, this place to the whole wide world and I wonder if it is safe or smart?  Sometimes, that is a bit unnerving and I consider stopping.  Do I really want this stuff out THERE?  Do you? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 27

I had a perfect day this week.  A golden, shining day.

Mark brought me coffee to bed before he left for work.  I read a bit.  Early to rise I finished all my household chores by 9 am and then watered in the garden and pulled a few weeds.  I  went for a 6 mile hike that went by the swimming hole and I took a swim and laid on a rock like a lizard.  I watched the little water dippers and the glimmering falls.  I hiked home and had a fresh leaf lettuce salad with tuna and iced water with lemon.  Ahh.   Refreshment.   I fired up Bouncing Betty our one ton Dodge and drove the ranch roads delivering salt and mineral blocks to most of the cattle's water sources.  I jumped a large 4 by 4 buck with his antlers golden velvet.  Startled he stood and gazed at me before dashing deeper into the brush.   As afternoon shadows deepened I saddled up big Will and went for a ride.  As the sun fell lower still I got in our wood fired hot tub and had a refreshing margarita.  Mark got home and we dined on our organic heritage pork, blue potatoes and sugar snap peas from the garden. We cowboy camped that night on our deck under my grandma's old blankets and under a banner of stars.