Thursday, November 8, 2018

Who is Your Neighbor?

Living on an isolated ranch, off the grid, at the end of a long dirt road, we don't have a lot of  'neighbors' that pass by our door.  We do have a lot of critters that come by though.  Here's a few:

We also have a loving Salmon Creek Community that we are grateful to be a part of.  Recently, our  little school had a Halloween fund raiser and we helped at the door a bit and had a fun time dancing under the stars with a diverse group of folks.  We were, of course,  the ones dressed as 'Jolly Ranchers'!

We also belong and care deeply about our fellow Humboldt county residents and  our fellow Americans who share the same constitution and tract of land that we call these United States.  Is there any end to who is our 'neighbor' as we even call nearby planets, neighboring planets? 

In the Bible a lawyer is questioning Jesus on how to get to heaven.  Jesus replies, ' to love God and to love your neighbor.''   Jesus then goes on to tell one of our favorite parables. It is about a traveler who is robbed, stripped of clothing, beaten and left beside the road.  First to walk by this poor man is a priest and he crosses over to the other side of the road.  Next to pass is a Levite  and he also goes by without helping.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came by and helped him.  Jesus then asks, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into trouble?"

Today, we were in nearby Eureka and we wandered around the city a bit.  We scared a homeless man who had made his home under an old railway bridge, he settled down when he realized we weren’t going to hurt him  and we chatted a while.  He seemed sweet, but off a bit.  Many more homeless walked past us on our meanderings, some said hi, others averted their gaze.  We later stopped for a bite to eat and sat outside in the sun enjoying our lunch.  A poor beggar came by and tried talking to us, but he made absolutely no sense.  His clothes hung from his skinny frame and his eyes were a bit sunk into his skull.  I was a bit taken aback and said nothing.  It was awkward.  His fingers reached so ever slightly toward my food as he mumbled something about a check.  I wish I'd been a better neighbor to him and given him a bite to eat.  Instead I just sat there as  mute and still as these birds.

Tonight,  I think about who is my neighbor.  (Besides the cattle, and hogs and wild turkeys.) 

What do you think about neighbors? 

Sunday, September 2, 2018


 Summer.  Where did it go?  When you are a kid the days stretch out like an endless white sand beach.  On the ranch the days go by in what seems like a blink of an eye.  We are busy, busy, busy. 

We’ve gathered cattle, sold cattle, butchered cattle, sold meat,  cut firewood, cut timber, hoed weeds, fed hogs, horses and chickens and our bulls, entertained family and friends, swam in the falls countless times and snuck away once to backpack for a few days and had another overnight camping adventure with all five of our wonderful grandsons. Plus, let us not forget, never can we forget, the never ending list of things that break that have to get fixed. This list doesn’t  even take into account  Mark’s side business. 

 The buckeyes are the herald of the changing of seasons; first to leaf in spring and first to lose in fall.  They are almost barren.   The wet season is coming and with it time  will slow down.  We will slow down. 

I think I will peruse my summer snapshots and post a few to help us remember the golden days of summer. 

Little cattlemen watering the herd

Little loggers 

Summer Skies ( we only had a handful of smokey days even though it seems like the west is all on fire!)

Feeding and hugging on hogs

Camping in the Redwoods

Backpacking in the Trinity Alps

Summer sunsets

Daily doses of beauty

Golden prairies and happy cows

Swimming at the falls.  

Looking through my phone’s photos I realize this summer has most often been filled with grandsons. I’ve also learned that I don’t snap many photos of all the work.  Mark keeps reminding me I need to go get some photos of him and our sons logging.  Maybe I’ll do that right now.

Remember your days of summer on this Labor Day weekend.

Fish On!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Freezer Beef and Pork

We are currently taking orders for freezer beef and pork.  Both are priced the same as last year, at 3.50 a pound on the hanging weight. You also pay the the Ferndale Meats butcher eighty five cents a pound for cut and wrap and get to make all your own choices as to what cuts and sizes you like your packages.   Ferndale Meats also has rental lockers available  to store your meat.  

You can purchase shares in a quarter, side or whole beef steer and a half or whole hog.   The steers will be ready mid July and the hogs in the fall.  Both are currently enjoying the spring grass and free roam all over the ranch.  

Monday, April 9, 2018

I Love this Tree

It’s in full bloom right now and it stands all alone on a prairie.  It’s near our main house and presumably someone long ago, and unknown to us, planted a young sapling hoping for fruit. 

 It’s a pear of undetermined age.   It’s (or is it a she?) now wrinkled, weathered and full of usnia blowing in the wind. The only pruning it gets is by critters and it must rely on the rain for watering. The cattle take care of the fertilizer and in the fall get rewarded with some tasty fruit. 

Bloom where you are planted she whispers in the breeze.  

Our son in law and daughter planted many Japanese cherry trees around the ranch while visiting lately.  They love Japan and especially the cherry trees there.  He told us he looks forward to retiring to the ranch and enjoying the beauty of the trees as he ages; the grace of the wood, the beauty of the blossom and the splendor of the fall color.  

I hope they take root and bloom where they’re planted too.  No doubt their whispering will grow as their roots go down deep and their branches stretch to the heavens.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wild and Wonderful Weather / Seasons

There is a saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Humboldt, just wait 5 minutes.”  February always seems to agree.  

Back in 81, Mark and I wed and we honeymooned on the ranch for two weeks.  I can remember running naked in the hot sun and snuggled up in blankets by the wood stove watching snow fall outside.   This February was the same.  Wild and wonderful weather.  

The month began very warm and dry.  It felt like spring with temperatures in the 70 degree Fahrenheit range.  It was lovely and the grass started to really grow.  The cows were very happy and I enjoyed the warm weather too.

Then it snowed.  Multiple times.  I played ‘gondola’ driver and Mark and I got some skiing in.  We have this one prairie on the front of the ranch that has a easy drop off and pick up spot and a short drive between.  The grandkids and family enjoyed sledding too and  making  fresh tracks in the snow. 

The cows were understandably hungry with their breakfast, lunch and dinner buried under the snow.  In between playing in the snow the ‘gondola’ delivered  hay.

We pass by these buckeye trees often and they are a season signpost.   First to lose leaves in the fall and first to gain them in the spring.  Overachiever!  

So, while our weather here will continue to be unpredictably  wild and wonderful one can see that the season is now changing towards spring.   As well as the buckeye trees unfurling their leaves, I’ve spotted English Daisies, Indian Warriors,   , Grand Hounds-Tongue, Western Trillium. 

*Wildflower season has officially begun!  

Spring is usually a warmly welcomed season, but there are other ‘seasons’ in life that are more difficult to embrace.  A season of illness, injury, death or financial woes. Or perhaps,  a season of mixed ‘weather’ like a new baby where joy reigns, but your sleep deprivation at times makes you question parenthood.   You get what I mean.  Seasons come and seasons go and during each season you might have some wild and maybe wonderful weather.  I find it helpful to remind myself that seasons change. Always.  The important thing I’m finding to be true is to practice the pause.  In happy seasons, sad seasons and mixed seasons, stop a few times each day and notice something good.  Perhaps an action of another or a beautiful vista or plant or building.   Breathe deep this moment of experience so it implants in your brain.  This attitude of awareness and gratitude will help carry you through whatever ‘weather’ the season brings.

(Check out our wildflower page for names and photos of some of the wildflowers on our ranch)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Unmasking

All of January we were drawn to looking at the naked trees devoid of their summer finery.  

Their structure stands out. 

Their form and shape unmasked for all to see. 

The deciduous expose while 
Evergreens maintain their cloak. 

The evergreen is careful to keep her needles until the next ones are fully in place. Like a surfer changing beneath a towel. Her shape forever described by silhouette. 

Deciduous trees celebrate inner beauty, knots, wounds, gaps and all.  Bareness exposed. 

Decidedly Deciduous
Unmasked in winter
They stand unadorned
By the business of doing.
Perhaps we too
Should have a season
To bare our soul in rest.  
Then later energy stored-
Buds, catkins leaves, pollen,  acorns!
Autumn glory another revelation. 
Green only the color of the work uniform.
With retirement comes an explosion of beauty. 
It was there all along. 
Then rest once again.  
The cycle complete. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018


“Open your eyes and see what you can see before they close forever.”   -All the Light We Cannot See

I think 2018 is a good year to try and keep our eyes open.  

To see what the winds of time blow our way.  

Always look for the light.  

“When it rains look for rainbows.  When it is dark look for stars.”  -Oscar Wilde