Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ups, Downs and Making the Rounds

The barometric pressure has been all over the place again, so it has put a cramp in my style lately. I have to take hundreds of little breaks during the day and often don’t get much accomplished.
The other day was such a day and I had to stay up to 11 at night to get bread made. Next morning Randyman went out and fed the bottle calves for me and fed the rams, for which I was grateful. Mornings are beyond difficult for me...then he said goodbye, headed for work, but turned around after passing the freezers.
“We need a clean up on aisle 10!”
It appears that in my desperation to have milk while EmmaLou is dry, a gallon of it which I had put in to freeze, split open and dripped down behind the freezer, only to be cooked by the motor, or drip through the hoses, running across the floor, stinking to high heaven. After two hours of tipping the freezer back, pulling out all the parts and hoses and scrubbing, gagging, dry heaving and mopping, gagging, wiping, dry heaving and gagging, we got it all put back to rights...and so began the day.
I worked on cleaning the kitchen. Poured a gallon of cream into the churn and made butter, mopped the floor then took a break to go check on the garden. A renegade chicken has been scaling the fence and breaking in, eating my seedlings and hiding eggs under the shrubs. I snuck in the coop last nite and clipped the wings of all 4 Spangled hens, as I wasn’t sure WHICH one it was. Next day she was back. I found 24 eggs hidden under a bush, which I naturally, disposed of. I hollered and threw rocks at her, but she was unphased. I then chased her down and got her in a corner where I used my plastic pitchfork to lift her up and pitch her over the fence where she belonged. Nevertheless, she was in the yard again this morning. 

It appears that she has been playing the innocent, maligning my good name, whispering slander against me in their ears, as all the other chickens have been giving me the "stink eye".

After I chased her out, I went to check on the critters. The 4 bottle leppies were sleeping in the sheep’s tent in the shade. The sheep and goats were lined up alongside the fence in the little bit of shade it provided. I looked for the dogs and did not see them. I called and as I scanned the pasture, I saw something white waving down by the octopus tree. Sure enough, it was Maremma tails wagging. They just assumed since they could see me, that I would see them. LGD's aren't like other dogs that come running up and fawn all over you when you call. They make their own decisions based on what they feel is important at the time. It's a necessary trait for a successful guardian, as they have to make split second decisions on their own. It can make them appear stubborn, willful, or unintelligent, but nothing could be further from the truth.
 I went down there to them and both the Maremmas had been napping with the cows, the wool sheep, and Annie the goatling. We hugged and played awhile, then visited with EmmaLou who is being dried off prior to calving in July.

I headed back up to the house to change water on the garden and continue my cleaning. As I was switching the valves on the hose, Bruno came tearing up from the pasture and scooted under the corral fence in record time, barking an alert. I couldn’t imagine what he thought he saw, so I looked overhead to see if maybe it was a hawk after his chickens. Nope. Turns out, the boss and Randyman were bringing in another leppie calf. Funny that he heard them from way down there in the pasture and I was in the yard with them right behind me, and didn’t even know. He checked the calves over throughly and made his introductions. We gave the calf a bottle and pushed him into the goat shed with another, where it was cool, until he is ready to join the others.

Not too long after that, another leppie came in. So many calves have been leppied this week. Today I got up and we had 8 bottle calves. While we were feeding them, the boss showed up, apologetically, with two more! So, we have an even 10 calves to feed right now. I’ll get a break for about a week because this weekend is the Big Loop Rodeo and everyone is gone, plus the ranch is preparing to throw a big shindig to celebrate the triplets’ graduation from High School. Three hundred and fifty invitations were sent out. It is assumed that if only 1/3 of the people come to the party, which is all weekend, there will probably be around 400 people here, counting spouses and children. No one will be moving cows this week, so no calves will get left behind.

So the ranch is getting ready for the big shindig.

 It is surely going to test my social skills, which are pretty rusty, as I prefer the company of 4 legged friends to that of the 2 legged variety, although I have met some great 2 legged folk. It’s just that I have been alone most of my life and being immersed in a herd of humans is a little daunting to me...but these guys are worth it. They survived their 4 years of public school without losing their honesty, integrity, manners, work ethic, honor or faith. That, my friends, is quite an achievement in this day and age.

photo by Kelly 


  1. I wish them all the very best for the future !

  2. Thanks Elnini! I'm pretty confident they will continue meeting things head on and being the kind of people their folks (and the rest of the ranch family) will be proud of. These guys are a real kick!

  3. Sorry to hear you have been so sore lately. Dumb Weather. I have become something of a human barometor, too. :( *sigh*
    TRIPLETS.... oh my. :) What fun.
    I think my DH is with you. He is not real crazy about big events. He even dislikes the new Super Wal-Mart as it is TOO BIG and TOO Many people.
    YUCKY sour milk. Nothing smells like it. (what a mess)
    Hugs.... CAROL DEE

  4. I am glad to hear there is another on the planet that doesn't like Walmart! LOL
    Thank you for the well wishes!

  5. DC says chickens are the only farm animals that talk behind your back. I only hear chicken sounds but we've had those that can get out of anything. I always notice they can't find the hole to get back in the pen. Is that what a one track mind is like. If I ever graduate I'm requesting the party to be held in New Zealand heck on the ceremony. Three of me would be grand, huh. We pray for your healing. Big bro wants to know if you saw the PS reply to the wine in the bath comment. By the way the comments are interesting too Daboone

    1. PS Why New Zealand? Wow! I was going to send you a cool and funny link to illustrate but Amy said it probably wasn't kosher. (I like kosher) She used a more forbidding word. I thought of ways around it but usually deep-six on those. I laughed at ur wine comments. Daboone

  6. That is so true! If a dog has something to say, he says it right to your face...and makes sure all the neighbors can hear it too. Why New Zealand? Looking for Frodo? I think at least 3 of you would be a good idea. Thank you so much for your prayers. Re: comment, as a matter of fact, I commented on your PS. You are a never ending source of enjoyment :)

  7. I have to tell you Petey that I LOVE that picture of your fantastic rock wall with the Steens in the background looking so solemn and watchful, with the red barn peeking above the wall. THAT, is my kind of scenery! Oh, and your garden makes that wall look even better! I noticed your animals were seeking shade, do you mean you have heat already? I think I have temperature envy.
    I'm sitting here typing this with a down blanket on my lap! 'Course I just had a big bowl of ice cream. My dinner for tonight. Somebody has to eat it. ;)

    Hoping for less painful days for you friend.


  8. We have, in fact, had a couple of days over 70, though more in the 60's. I love that wall too, except for one spot...the only wall in the house with 2 windows looks directly at the rock wall! THAT is why the Lord gave us plants that can be transplanted.
    I stocked up on ice cream just before I dried off EmmaLouMoo. I'm saving it for a seriously severe raw milk craving!

  9. Oh petey! I know I have said it before. Probably more then once. But you really do live in such a beautiful part of the country. I tell people about, this lady I know of that lives in SE Oregon, and how awesome all of her pictures are. hahaha They probably think I'm nuts but who cares! I hope that your days get better with health and that you are able to get outside and enjoy what surrounds you. Staci, Stubborn Hill Farm

    1. Thank you! I do feel like I could die and go to Heaven without ever leaving the ranch :)

  10. Oh, what mess that milk must have made. I could see and smell the whole thing.
    You garden is looking so good. I love the stone wall. It's beautiful.
    And those chickens... talking about you like that... giving you the stink eye. Don't they know who feeds them?
    I hope you survive all the visitors. Congrats to the graduates.

    1. I believe it probably did smell bad enough to reach you! Thanks, we'll see if the garden survives freezing and blowing this spring. The chickens...well...who listens to all their cackling and crowing?