The haystack has been rapidly disappearing and it will be months yet, before there will be feed in the pastures. I made calls but got no answers and finally emailed our boss wife’s folks in Idaho. Her dad is a farmer and I thought maybe they might know of some hay for sale. His wife emailed me back with the number of an ad she saw, so I called and yes, the man had hay. Turns out he knew them so I decided his references were solid.
We hooked up the trailer, stuffed the Maremmas in with the sheep and asked our nephew to feed for us.
At 4 a.m. With Cider and Scottie in the back seat, we headed back to town again.
I've no idea why these two jokers ever want to come with us. They sit in the back all day, never get to go out and play except once on the way there and once on the way back, where there is a station with a Pet Poop area. Scottie sleeps with his head on a pillow, while Cider watches out the windshield every mile of the way. He always gets happy when we are near the poop stop and again when we hit the 36 mile long dirt road to the ranch. He always knows where he is. It's as though he thinks we might leave him somewhere and he needs to know his own way back. THAT's not gonna happen! But dogs are just so low maintenance and easy to please.
We were about 2/3 of the way there when the sun finally started up over the horizon. It was really amazing. Another of those little things we sometimes take for granted, that deserves more attention and leaves us awestruck when we finally take notice. Along the way, I admired the old farmhouses and fields that quilted the landscape. I love seeing crops and farmland and the old houses are really appealing to me, although they are probably difficult to live in, as most have very small rooms...but so does the house we live in now and we like it well enough. They just have character that new houses lack and I am sorry to see so many in a state of disrepair. It was nice taking the route that kept us away from the freeway, the city, pavement, people, stores and traffic. We’d have to face that later, but not yet.
After almost 4 hours of driving, we called the hayman for directions. We got to the town he was in and couldn’t find the place he mentioned anywhere. He was going to meet us at a burger joint. After wandering for 20 minutes, we pulled over and called again. After painfully topping off our diesel tank, Randy called and the hayman said to go back the way we came and turn at the Shell station. Then go a ways’ down and we’d see Dan’s Burger Den. We took a chance. Turned out the Shell station was actually a Chevron station and Dan's Burgers was actually Todd’s Burger Den. We still managed to find our way there.
Ouch! At these prices I hope there won't be anymore unscheduled trips and we can stick to the 3 month schedule we've been on the past few years.
We followed the hayman to the stack, turning off the road and making a tight u-turn around the ditch bank. If you've ever pulled a goosneck trailer, you know they cut the corners badly. There was a barn just a few feet from the ditch so there was no room to swing wide. We skipped the trailer across the ditch with 2 wheels hanging in the air over the ditch, while I clenched my jaw, closed my eyes and crossed my fingers. Randyman was driving, so of course, we made it.
The hayman was a really nice guy and we had a nice visit while "BamBam", my husband, loaded 4 tons of hay by himself, by hand in the horse trailer. When he was done it was stacked so tight there was hardly room for a credit card in there.
We called the boss wife’s step mom and she invited us over.
After visiting, getting some new recipes, gifting her with a gallon of EmmaLou's best heavy cream, admiring her Super sized grain mill and coveting a loom she has to make rag rugs, we headed out for lunch. We met up with boss’ wife’s dad, who just must have admired my new knee because he got one just like it. Lunch was wonderful, everything tasted homemade and the people were friendly. We had a great time and they treated us like family. It’s a different culture, that of ranchers and farmers. They exude an easy warmth and good humor rarely experienced in the city and it's just a happy, welcoming feeling. Even though their work is hard and there is often things they cannot control, they lack that nervous tension you find in city life. I imagine heaven will be just like that.
We tore ourselves away, as we had to be back in time to milk EmmaLou. Stopping for dogfood and parts for the new sink, we headed home and arrived at 9 p.m., 17 hours after we started. I was worried Em was in pain and engorged. It was pitch dark and I couldn’t FIND her. Scanning around with the flashlight we found she had gone around through the corral and into the pasture and was waiting at the gate behind where Sushi and Upchuck were. She’s been very lonely since Sushi was weaned. She happily followed me past them and into the milk room. She wasn’t even tight bagged. She also shorted me a whole gallon of milk, giving only 2 gallons instead of the usual 3. I still find it odd and have yet to solve that mystery. I hope she's not trying to dry up as I have 8 months before she freshens, IF she is bred. I haven't yet had her checked.
I let the pups out of the sheep pen so they could patrol, as they had been locked up the night before. They were thrilled to see us again and let their joy be shared. Randy headed to bed, I visited in a chat room with 3 teenager kids I hold dear. Wisdom isn’t confined to the aged and friendship/fellowship doesn’t need to be limited to our contemporaries. After much good conversation, lots of laughter and sharing of some deeply rooted sentiments, we broke up the 'party'.
I awoke that night to a scratching on the door. Thinking it was the Polarbears, I ignored it. They sometimes think they should take their breaks inside, but there are no unions here and in my opinion, that is a good thing. The scratching continued so I looked out to find the porch empty. Again the scratching, and I opened the bedroom door to find Scottie, Randyman’s dog waiting impatiently. He strode his supreme self to the water bucket which he found empty. With a piercing glare, he showed me his disdain and I obediently picked it up and filled it. He drank his fill then kicked the bedroom door open and went back to his favored spot. I closed the door quietly and went back to the chair I’d been sleeping in due to my hip hurting.
Next morning, I woke up and looked outside for the Maremmas. They are usually back by that time and up in their chairs on the porch, napping. Bruno was there, but not Cletus. I opened the door and called for him. I saw his head suddenly sticking out of EmmaLou’s tent, out in the back corral. He’d spent the night bedded down with a milk cow who can’t stand him, but apparently was lonely enough to let him snuggle with her for the night. But he loves her and takes every opportunity to be close to her no matter how many times she rejects him or tries to hurt him.
Reminds me of someone I know and I hope He finds as much enjoyment out of Cletus’ antics as I do. I’m pretty sure He does, as He’s the author of all things, including humor. Faithful to the core, optimistic that all will love him back, Cletus is a superhero.
How can you not love this guy?
For sure, he is a shining star.