It was a fine weekend. We made an unscheduled trip to town for a few more supplies, as family was coming for Christmas. A foot or more of fresh snow had fallen, and the road was icy for the 110 mile drive into town, but there was no traffic as usual, which makes things a lot less tense.
The landscape looks entirely different when covered with snow. It is like seeing things so differently. The visual analogy of everything covered in white, all clean and new, to herald in Christmas, seemed entirely appropriate.
The following evening brought high winds, and knocked out our power…BEFORE I made dinner. So groping in the dark, I managed to locate a lighter and some kerosene lamps. We had dinner by lamplight. It was really quite nice, and stirred my imagination of how many others had dined in this little 100 yr old rock house, without electricity, as power came late to the ranch, and folks here had to do things without all the modern conveniences. It seems they did just fine, and I wonder if we could ever return to a time of self sufficiency, as so few people have any idea how to actually take care of themselves without utilities, grocery stores, and pharmacies. I, myself, would be extremely challenged by it. A few hours is one thing, but a lifestyle is quite another. Its something I would sure like to feel better about. I even cheat and use an electric milking machine, as hand-milking is too tough for MY hands.
I set about to making a few items in advance of our planned meal. I cubed some bread and cornbread and dried it in the oven to stuff the turkey with, and made some ‘twice baked’ potatoes. Red cabbage was sliced up and set in the refrigerator to marinate for salad. I took a short break and as I closed my eyes, I had the uneasy feeling that I was being spied upon, and indeed I was.
Our company showed up about an hour after dark on Thursday, pulling a long horsetrailer over the icy road. They said the roads were great, except for the last 30 miles of ranch road, which is not unusual.
Christmas Eve was celebrated with a fabulous Prime Rib roast, brought up by Randy’s family, along with the potatoes, salad, and creamed corn. I made my first attempt at Yorkshire puddings, which didn’t turn out as planned, but the dogs did beg for an encore.
We polished off the meal with a peppermint cheesecake in a chocolate cookie crust. It was perfect.
Christmas day, 3 of us rode out to move some cows while Randyman and his brother in law drove the feed trucks to deliver hay and distillers grain to the many pastures where the cows, calves and pairs are being kept.
The valley looked pristine with the fallen snow, and the far away mountains were powdered blue and white. It was a stunning view. The crust of the snow was covered with ice crystals from a freezing fog that had come in the morning. It crunched under our horses hooves, as we sank through and wound our way through partially covered sagebrush and willows, looking for strays. The brilliance of the reflective sun on snow shocked the eyes, and I marveled at how the animals can manage not just the weather extremes, but the bright and burning light of the snow. We crossed several small streams, cracking through the ice into the cold water below. It was a fantastic day. I was bummed out that I had no camera. It showed batteries dead as I was saddling in the barn, and it never occurred to me to replace them when I dropped it at the house. I guess I wasn’t fully functional. We’ll chalk that up to the Mimosa I had at breakfast…even though its not that unusual for me to be scatterbrained!
I left the group early, as I had to get back and put the turkey in the oven.
There should be enough left over food to keep the ranch crew going for at least another week,
As for me… I am profoundly grateful for the provision, but I’m not sure I ever want to eat again.
Cider got a new “kong ball” for Christmas. He opted to take it outside with me when I went to feed the critters. He asked me to throw it for him, but in his excitement, he took off before he saw which direction I was sending it. The pups, who think he is odd anyway, for retrieving things just to have me throw them again, sat beside me, and noted the flight and landing of said kong ball, while Cider raced madly in the other direction. As he searched in a frenzy, Cletus calmly strode over and plucked it out of the snowbank, after which, he and Bruno, like typical brothers, gleefully trotted it past the dismayed Cider and laid guard over it.
Being in a hurry, I went in the house without waiting for Cider to catch up.
An hour later, I opened the door to find him pouting and moping on the porch. Cletus and Bruno jumped up to greet me, and Cider found his opportunity. Like a red rocket, he flashed past them to regain his prize, and Cletus realized his mistake too late.
Round 2 goes to Cider.