The dog days of summer are behind us, but days do seem long. Pain has been absent from my life lately, for which I am grateful, but fatigue has taken its place. I pull myself from chore to chore trying to enjoy the day, sometimes succeeding, sometimes falling asleep, sometimes just not caring about it much. Life is still good though, because I know it will not always be this way. God is still on the throne and His mercies really are new every morning.
This day, we had to dispatch the 12 game roosters that came as “packing material” when the hatchery shipped the meaties to us. They grew up to be truly ugly and flighty birds without much meat on them. I was hoping to save the breasts for canning, but their purpose will be better served as sustenance for the dogs. Randyman heads off to work so I begin harvesting chickens. I get through 3 of them before I am too tired to go on.
I head back to the house with Cider after gifting a bird each to the ‘polar bears’ who have done such a beautiful job protecting all the stock. After securing their treasures, they both come to the house for a nap inside the cool, dark living room. There aren’t many windows in this house and the light shines dimly across the kitchen.
I choose to work on my grandaughter’s birthday clothes. It’s not a birthday ‘suit’, as she, naturally already has one of those. One outfit, requested by her mom, needs eyelet lace which I forgot to buy on our trip to town, so I ordered 3 yds online. It came and I see that I got the wrong size. It will have to be set aside until we go to town again next week. I begin again on another outfit only to find the seam binding I was SURE I had purchased, is nowhere to be found. I dig around in my patterns and fabric piles to look for yet a THIRD choice.
Randyman shows up for lunch and I pull out what is left of the Claypot chicken from last night’s dinner. The meat birds were such a good investment. The flavor and the amount of meat on them has been a boon for us. I wish I had known about them years ago. 34 isn’t going to be nearly enough to get us thru the year. I wish we had room for one more freezer, of just chicken...maybe some other time. I grab some pepperjack, tortillas and Cholula and make a couple of quick and tasty quesadillas. We scarf them down and I put the rest of the leftover meat back in the fridge for later.
I had pulled out the 50 lb bucket of hard white wheat berries and milled them earlier, putting the flour in to soak with some fresh buttermilk, courtesy of EmmaLou Moo. I grab the jar of sourdough starter I had fed earlier and put it all together and make a round of bread. I’ve not been as constructive this week as usual, do to the lack of energy, but I did manage to make some fettucini noodles for the first time using the pasta press I had finally ordered. They came out fantastic and even Randyman said they were perfect. That’s a big deal for a guy who never has an opinion.
A couple of hours later, Randy shows up and asks if I want to go with him to fix an irrigation pipe. I grab my camera, just in case, and climb up in his work truck.
Leaving Cider home with the polar bears, we head down the ranch road to where he goes to work fixing the water problem while Scotty, his dog, bounces around watching.
Afterwards we head down the public road, which is 50 miles of dirt and gravel from the ranch to the first pavement. It’s fall now, and the 750 pair that had been pushed up to the top of the mountain are on their way home. The ranch cowboys spent a week up there gathering them and pushing them down the long, steep, winding path to the valley floor where they are left to wander the 10 miles back to the ranch at their own pace. I always find it interesting that they remember where to go, traveling these great distances from the desert permit back to the ranch, or from the top of the mountain and down the long road thru the valley back home.
We pass 15 pairs but as we approach the cattle guard we notice a cow in the middle of the road that isn’t moving. With a groan we see she has walked into the cattle guard and gotten both front legs stuck thru the pipes. It’s obvious she has been there for quite some time as she is drawn up and both legs are swollen and a lot of the hide has been rubbed off from her efforts to free herself. There is a set of tracks where someone, a tourist most likely, drove around her and continued on their way without bothering to let anyone know there was an animal trapped and needing help out on the road. This is just another confirmation of why I am glad we live where there aren’t many people. So few leave a favorable impression on me.
Seriously...could you just leave her there and keep driving? These are probably the kind of folks that say we are cruel for roping the cows so we can doctor them. My experience has been that most of them people are uninformed, with tunnel vision. Am I ranting?
Randy tries to free her but it can’t be done. He calls the boss who jumps in a truck and heads out to join him in freeing her. He shows up after about 15 minutes and grabs several fence posts out of his truck, placing them between the bars of the cattle guard as a bridge, in case she tries to go forward after being freed and prevent her putting a leg through again. After looking the situation over, they decide the only option is to cut her out. Randyman grabs the welding torch and sets about cutting a notch out of the pipe while the boss does his best to keep her head and legs pushed as far away from the work as her situation will allow.
He sends me to his truck for a gatorade, which he then pours on the hot pipe to cool it before they try pushing her legs over to the notch. The liquid steams into small clouds, rising from the cattle guard as the red hot steel slowly cools. Between them, they finally manage to pull one foot free. She promptly jerks it over next to her other leg and jams it through the pipe again.
Groaning, they go to work restraining and cutting once more. Sparks fly and dry mustard weed, under and next to, the cattle guard and cow erupt into a blaze. The boss asks me to grab a shovel and I begin putting out the small fire while they continue their work, focused only on freeing her.
Finally the job is done. The cow is free, we are all relieved and she heads on down the road, far behind the others, while we all head for home.
There are calves to feed, and goats, sheep and horses to take care of, along with EmmaLouMoo and Sushi, before dinner is made.
Another day is almost done.