Where's the song ~~ "Don't let your daughters grow up to marry a Cowboy" ?

​​​​​​​Life is tough! Requires hard physical work, long, long days of pain, dirt, and broken fingernails.​
​Days of frigid cold & scorching heat; through the dust & mud; daybreak into the darkness of nite~~​
​the heart & body becomes toughened & weathered replicating leather!​
​A forever constant factor for a real Cowboy's Wife is tons of sweat, oceans of tears and a constant 'drought' in the wallet!​
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​​​​​​​​​IF​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ she wants to spend anytime at all with her Cowboy, she must do as he does, you become partners!​
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​​​​​​Kick off your boots, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and envision yourself in my life!​
​... It really isn't that bad! There are many rewards to be had to make it a great lifestyle! ...​ ​​​​​​​

Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside Is Delightful...

...Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain!

We don’t get much rain in our small part of the world so today we received a welcomed treat!
I do love the rains…..the ever so scarce ones~that is.
The everyday predictable ones, I can live without.


Since a gentle rain was falling, I felt compelled to do the one thing I love,
and rarely have the opportunity to do.

Take a walk in the rain!
*

I turned my face upwards as I left the eaves of the porch, allowing the pure waters, falling from above, to land on my cheeks. There was an immediate renewal in my heart.

The burdens resting on my shoulders this past month began draining from my mind with each footstep I took.
I walked down the drive not knowing which way my feet would take me.
Each step landing softly on the once crispness of fallen leaves, now gentled with moisture.
I witnessed the remaining leaves which once clung to their twining branches with life,
were now drifting and dripping to the ground.
They landed with a soft sigh of relief to have finally let go.

Beyond my reach, the once golden hills surrounding us, lay dormant.

They were quickly being freed from the weight of their dusty blanket.
The new wheat sprouts that have emerged in green hues can now welcome winter’s arrival without the burden they have carried on their tender blades.

I wandered to the bridge in our drive and rested my arms on the rail.

The creek below slipped quietly by, as I noticed three wild turkeys.
They were roosted high on a large willow branch and I followed their watchful eye.
Slowly padding along the soggy shores of the creek was a lone coyote, drinking from a shallow pool. He paused momentarily, probably catching my scent, glancing my way without fear and commenced to drink some more.

In the distance a red-tailed hawk floated aimlessly on the raindrops as if he were sailing.


The hushed calm of this rare moisture was soothing to all it fell upon.

Having lingered for better than fifteen minutes, I decided to wander up through a draw that I had yet to explore. Curiosities lead my way up the now muddy cattle trail.

I wondered what views may be awaiting me. With each step I left my own footprint.
I stopped glancing behind me, to compare the tread of my shoes to those hoof prints of the animals that crossed this path daily.
I felt as if I were intruding. I walked with a softer gait then, careful to not disturb their grounds.
Further up the trail, I scattered a family of quail and a field mouse dropped back into the earth.


Oh how peaceful this rain is.

It is not only a desperately needed cleansing rain, it is also a welcomed healing rain.

This country is comprised of many steep rolling hills. There is a vastness of unknowns beyond each rise. If a person is unable to read nature’s compass, becoming lost would be easy.

There are not the sounds of combines this time of year, yet once in awhile, one can hear the hushed drone of a lonesome tractor in the far distance making its way through the dusty valleys.

Today, there is only the touching sounds of raindrops as they slide down to the earths surface .....and only if one takes the time to listen!

I reached a crest, which is called “eyebrows” here, and noticed a rock outcropping that was beckoning me a few hundred yards away. Slowly and lightly, I made my way to them as the grasses that were now beneath my feet were slippery. The rain had become a light drizzle by now. I took off my coat and placed it as a pillow to sit on.


Stillness wrapped itself around me. There I sat, alone in this huge expansive land with the immense feeling of belonging to this earth, being so blessed to share in its bounty of nourishment and glory.

The dampness in the air filled my senses with newly uncovered aromas of the sage and the soil;
with a renewed awareness of the simplicity of my life.
My head floated in this quiet truth.
This is where my heart belongs, walking side by side with nature and wanting nothing more.

This is my home where the silence becomes my companion; the earth, my guide.

My eyes caught a movement far below my perch. Lying under the protection of a cottonwood’s fading canopy was a 5 point buck. His head was raised and uncaring.

Several feet to the north of him were 2 does at the creek side.
They were oblivious to my presence,
and if they were not, they knew I meant them no harm.
For I too, was enjoying this soft rain, cleansing the earth,

consoling the mind and encouraging the heart.

Upon reaching the steps to the backdoor, I noticed in the glare of the glass, that my hair glistened with moisture, my coat clung snugly to my shoulders and my shoes had left muddy footprints on the sidewalk behind me.

And the rains had stopped.

I loved my walk in the rain!

Tomorrow brings a clean slate;
beginning with a new day, a new month, and a new beginning of hopes.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cowboy's New Career Search...

.....the Results are in ..options that have been eliminated.

* * *
Taking up the Profession as a Chimney Sweep is out! It's a scarry, dirty job...
where was Mike Rowe anyhow, when he was needed most!
* * *

(Go ahead, click pictures to enlarge)


Hey W.O.W.! ....I've got it!


Remember when we used to dance all night,
the jitterbug, the waltz, the two-step?

I think I will try out for
"Dancing with the Stars"!
I could become a famous dancer
with my new "Three-step" routine!







...What's that you say? ...No?...





Then I should try my hand as a Mountain Climber!
Remember W.O.W., those days on the pack outfit?
Riding over the top of Mt Stuart? What a thrill it was?
Being on top of the world seeing into Canada and down
into Oregon and Idado?
Those were fun times! I Could do this!

...I know, I know, a horses' footing is better'n mine...




...HMMmmmm...






Oh! I got it!
Hydro did gymnastics!
Why not me?
W.O.W., ..watch me! I can do the balance beam
with ease, want to see me try a back flip?
Yea! This could be a lot of fun!




Ahhh.......W.O.W.! You won't let me have any fun!





You even made me quit riding bulls!
I probably would have become the
next Don Gay if you hadn't threatened
to become a Rodeo Clown,
if I didn't quit....
.....give me another chance!
...Paaleeease???




...OH, ALL RIGHT !.......
....fingers tapping gripping now...






OK, W.O.W.!
You can't tell me "No" on this idea!!
You know how much I love Christmas...
I think I want to become a Cowboy Santa?
I am such a Jolly ol' fellar, and
I will promise to drop the toys down
the chimney with care!





....COME..... ON.....!!!....W.O.W!





Do you have any better ideas?

Well, fine then...
*
*
I will just stay here and relax awhile longer!







...Oh, H.O.W.!
Quit fooling around & get off that roof....






...come in and sit by the warm cozy fire!



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Chimney Sweeps...

...are coming today!

Their names are H.O.W. & W.O.W.!



This picture is what one should look like,
in the true sense of the Profession.....
But....
Because Cowboy and I are both deathly afraid of heights, I'm quite positive we won't look so confident.
Fear will no doubt preside over our faces,
along with the soot!
Not to mention the fact that our roof line is NOT that flat! Ours has an 8-12 pitch!

That is STEEP!
(and no... I'm not talking Tea Talk!)




The next few hours shall be interesting to say the least.

Of course, since we are a family with a long history of Procrastinators, this chore has been put off way too long!
We must now, face our fears head on!
It has been downright chilly for well over two weeks, in the frigid range of 13º to 22º through the darkness.
Many a log has turned to glowing embers of scarlets and orange, already.
Smoke is infiltrating our breathing spaces each time the door is opened.

This old house has two, 2-story chimneys and the one with a funky crook in it's configuration has brought us nothing but billowing grief each winter.

Yet, for the sake of warmth which is nurturing for the heart and soul...not to mention for proper functioning of the hands that cook or these hands that want to blog, these chimneys are a blessing.

Thus far, this cold and blue morning, we have managed to kill some time by downing a pot and a half of coffee for courage as we sat in solemn silence.
Each of us secretly drawing from within the depths of our minds,
searching for the strength to carry out this dreaded task...

It is 7:18 am and the time has come!
...Without further ado, we must don our hats, gloves and coats;
grab the chains, the brushes and ladders!
We must meet the demons of creosote!

I fear, if we continue to drag our feet any longer,
we will cause holes to form in our souls soles!
New boots are on our list of things we cannot buy!

Just to make this more ordeal even more eerie....

The first time we were forced to clamber up the steep pitches towards the chimney top, was three Christmases ago (2005) in a pouring down rain.
We had had a chimney fire and all the burned off creosote came crashing down to that funky crook, plugging this whole chimney not allowing any smoke to leave. That fire smoldered for days. We were forced to hire a Pro Chimney Sweep.
Do you know they charge by the story?? It was way too costly, so we have taken on the amateur ways of a Chimney Sweep...do it yourself!
* * *
That cold and wet December night, was our second 'encounter' of having another "Presence" amongst us.

* * *

Maybe I'll post about that for Halloween...but it is the truth, and Hydro was here to witness it too!
Even the mere thought of, or the mention of, gives Cowboy the willies,
so I think I'll wait until this sooty story is behind us to remind him of that night's encounter!


By the way...if you don't hear from me in a few days?
You might send the search & rescue our way!
(Does not mean they'd find us though, Fed-ex never can!)
Silence on my end, could mean that our fears got the better of us
and we took a giant "leap of faith" and landed elsewhere....
OR...
the "Presence" reappeared at an untimely moment!


OOOooooowwwWWW




(Sorry, but I had to enable that word scrabble thingy...spammers are getting me
and I cannot find the "garbage can" thing to delete their nonsense!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

What I Neglected to Tell You...

...a week ago...

It was one of those nights that I went to sleep around 3 am, while Cowboy was having fun gathering cattle in the North country. I had been answering the phone for a few days with cancellations of our winter's income. I knew the economy was failing~heading for places never experienced by most of the population, and getting there fast!!
My very last thought that night, before falling into Z-Z-Z-z-z land,

was "Thankfully, our kids have safe and secure jobs".

The next morning the phone began ringing much too early for my brain and I did not want to talk to anyone. If it is that important, I decided they would leave a message.

Around 10 am, the phone rang again and I decide this time,
having my wits (not mattering that they were my "dim wits" ) about me I should answer it.
It was Our Son......as it had been all morning.

If you remember, the first weekend of September, he moved to Fargo for a great opportunity with a Wind Farm Company. He left ol' Mom.. brimming with pride... and many tears!
His call that morning was to inform us that Lehman Bros. was this wind

company's main investor, and we all know what happened to them!
31 days on the job, 1400 miles later, it was over.
The trickle down effect of "Their" blunders fell upon the shoulders of this young wind company, drowning them, and hence on to Our Son, sinking him!

These past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride in our lives, full of thoughts and emotions, and I hope Our Son doesn't mind that I share with you an email I just received from him addressed to his thousands of friends and family.
(Heck, he sent it to his thousands of friends, I don't think a few more reading it here
is going to matter~ do you? )

With Our Son's perpetual humor and positive personality, he too, will survive.....

* * * * *
State of the "**Our Son**" Address:

" I thought I would give you an update on what my plans are

for the rest of this year and the future.
Taking the advise of my friend Jason, I am going to sell everything but

my truck and skis, pack up and move to Jackson Hole, WY.
I am going to buy a canopy for my truck and live in the back of it for the winter working on the slopes and being a ski bum.
Once Spring rolls around, I am going to sell my truck and go to Jamaica

and live on the beach as a bum and pan handle silly tourists
while selling Chick-Let gum!"

"All kidding aside, ......... If nothing looks promising,

I will move back to the PacNW the week before Christmas.

I figure I will either have something on the line by then

or it will be time to change bait and pick a new lake!. .....".

"It is a beautiful sunny day here in Fargo with the temp

hovering around 36 degrees!

I hope this finds everyone doing well.
Cheers everyone, "**Our Son**"


PS - Fargo really isn't that bad!! I actually like it here...it's part of the reason I am going to stick it out another month."

* * * * *

As I read this email, I had to force my worries for him to the back burner, and laugh.
For this clearly is Our Son, touting sunshine in his every word!
( I am a Mother, it is my job to worry about our kids! I hurt for them, I want more for them then they do,.... but I can laugh with them too!)

I talked to my Mom a few days ago and she was telling me about a discussion that was had by several members of her generation. In their 'youth', no one knew they were poor or felt deprived~because everyone they knew had the same things

and lived in the same lifestyle as the other.

Our kids, were raised in a 'different world', a different time. They knew they were poor. Most everyone they knew had more 'things', fancier clothes, bigger houses, more opportunities. None of them had ever lived the same circumstances as our kids had. Surviving life, at times, without electricity or running water. Bathing outdoors in the winter, using an outhouse and never having Christmases like their friends. These other kids did not have to work the same, within their families, just to survive, to exist.

We always 'knew' our kids could survive if and when times got tough.
We always hoped it would never come to the point of them having to test their skills,

and our teachings.
We truly hoped their lives would be better than we were able to provide them during their growing up years.
They have lived "better", without comprimising their values, or their morals.
They set forth and built on their personal goals...and achieved them.
They would never succumb to the challenges they endured, and they had many!
They have both worked hard physically and mentally to get to where they are today.
They too, are survivors...capable of making the best ~of the worst, if need be.
They continue to maintain a sense of dignity and humor in their lives

We taught them to: Listen, learn, respect themselves & others,

laugh and love........always!
We are extremely proud of both of them.


It is a bitter-sweet emotion for me, to know that the manner, in which we raised our two kids, has not impaired them at all. We raised them to believe in their selves, build on their strengths and maintain their resilience; never to give up or become defeated.
Now is a time we wish we could help…and yet, all these years later, we are not capable of giving any financial help….....again.
It’s a sickening feeling, being the parent~ without a means!

Our Son has not asked, nor would he, but that does not ease my pain,
we should be able to lend him our hands.
A month ago, we could have and would have.
I know that he is perfectly content knowing he has our utmost pride and respect; and our eternal love.

But......

*
(Hopefully, for our daughter and her family, Education does become the next victim in our failing economy & troubled times!)
*
(Times are tough for so many people around the world today, and we pray for everyone faced with trials in their lives...just remember to keep your faith, love and laugh!)



This is just another time of Trials.. & Tears...the Triumphs will come!
"From the heart......"


(Sorry, but I had to enable that word scrabble thingy...spammers are getting me
and I cannot find the "garbage can" thing to delete their nonsense!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Make Yourself Feel Better...

...with feel good food!

First, you need to have a good friend who brings you a big box of apples!
From that point on? What else but have some fun! Wing it!
Dance the Hokey Pokey! ~~Sing at the top of your lungs~~
**You put your right foot in,You put your right foot out;
**You put your right foot in, And you shake it all about.
**You do the Hokey-Pokey, And you turn yourself around.
**That's what it's all about!
You cannot ruin the "Feel Good" that this is all about!
And if you live where we do, no one will notice that you've lost your marbles!
No one will be calling the Psych ward to have you hauled off!
Apple Pie is Just*Plain*Old*Fashioned "Feel Good Food" no matter what you do to it!












From this box, grab 8-9-10- 11 ??? of the largest ones from the top!
Remember..."An Apple A Day, Keeps the Doctor Away"! So load it up!
Juggle them as your walk back into the kitchen!
If you don't know how? That's alright, they don't splat too bad!
And it certainly won't hurt the apples nor will it hurt your floor!
Remember, practice-practice-practice makes perfect!
Have fun every chance you can! Create your own laughter when all else fails!
These happen to be Honey Crisps from the Yakima Valley.
Hopefully, they bake up and will be as good as Granny Smiths.
...Sounds like just the right combination to me...
**Cowboy is my Honey and I am a Granny! **
Should be perfect don't you think?
I will be adding some lemon~ in case they are not tart enough.
Not that we are sour-pusses, but we do like a tart pie!









Notice the knife?
I must warn you! They C-A-N & they W-I-L-L cut you! Any chance they get! They are vindictive, trust me!
Lord knows you don't want to end up like me these days!
Since I knew of no other way, I felt I had to use a knife to make my "Feel Good Food"!
I DID, carefully, tuck & roll my pinkie out of the way!
I do that now-a-days because it is "dead"...no feeling at all left in it.
Now, Peel & Core, Peel & Core...slice, slice, slice! Peel & Core, Peel & Core ...Cha-cha-chá.
I know.... I know, you aren't dummies and I'm no author qualified to write a book called
"Apple Pie Making for Dummies"...sorry....I know you know that!
(Since we no longer have chickens, the discards will go into my compost pile #3.)
Add your sugar, ** blah, **blah...**blah...
I don't use recipes for anything, so I can't tell you what to do from here.
But you probably wouldn't listen if I tried! No one else listens, so my expectations of you "invisible people" are not any grander.
Sorry, you are on your own, just make it GOOD so it makes YOU feel good!
Dump the lot into your pie crust...sorry Elliemae, I just couldn't make myself place them in such a pretty order as you do...I just dump and go!
The more the better!










Ha!
I bet you were thinking...looking at that awesome picture taken from my extravagant 8 year old $20 camera,
that I'd never get a "lid" on it! Ha Ha! I did!
Don't you think that "lid" kind of looks like the night cap Laura Ingalls wore on "Little House on the Prairie"? I have practice! And remember, practice makes perfect!
I do know all about living on the prairie, just ask Hydro...she will answer you with a grumbled "Yea...."

Be sure to throw an enormous heaping of love on top of it...see the Heart 'vent'?
This is Very Very important!
If you forget this step it will turn out to be only "Feel Good Some of the Time Food"
No... we need "Feel Good Food".. Now"!
*


The best part of this fun day, dancing, singing, juggling and splatting apples where they lay, is when this "Feel Good Food" comes out from the oven almost an hour later, dripping with piping hot, sticky sweet goo...steaming with the aroma of baked apple goodness!

Ahhh-h-h-h-h what a Good Feeling!

Yea, I know, I still have to clean the floor from the splattered apples do my ineptness at juggling and I must clean the sticky sweet goo that is plastered inside the ovens bottom layer...
but what the heck...
There is always tomorrow!

Did I lick up the counter of all that yummy goo? Darned right I did!
... when it cooled off enough to not burn my tongue.
No sense in wasting any of the Good Feeling!


What apples are left in the box, will be turned into applesauce tomorrow; I can always turn applesauce into some other "Feel Good Food" later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Feel I Should Clarify...

I don't normally allow rivers to fall from my soul!
But do you all know how many tears you caused to fall while reading
your comments and many, many emails filled with questions, concerns & prayers?!
(I thought my dams had been built "Ford-Tough" to withstand anything!)
But I truly feel a deep indebtedness for your thoughts & well wishes.
Having built so many wonderful friendships here,
gives me hope! And fills my heart with peace!
You can't imagaine how thankful I am to have gotten to 'know' you!
~ ~ ~
Now, let me clarify some things in our life...
seeing as how I've opened up so much already to this 'invisible' world...
~ ~ ~
We are NOT waving the white flag of surrender...yet!
We have NOT lost our home or land...yet, and truly hope that doesn't happen!
We ARE survivors! We've been to Hell and back many times throughout our years together and we've always come back tougher, standing on firmer ground.
Of course we are older each time and strength can diminish with age ;(
But for strength, we have faith & we have each other...
and the deepest love for one another that cannot be severed...by anything!
Here's some pieces to the puzzle of Our Life that are NOT in "Our Life" page..
(I'm sorry the following explanation is so lengthy, I just don't know how else to clarify our life)
Debts?
We have a very small mortgage payment, thanks to our sale in AZ at just the 'right' time!
(which includes property taxes & insurance)...equivalent to less than most rents!
  1. Utilities
  2. Vehicle insurance (required)
  3. Bare Bones medical insurance
That's it ...!
What could we cut out?
  1. TV Dish Satellite
  2. Wild Blue Internet
  3. Medical insurance ???
That's it ...!
~ ~ ~
Neither Cowboy or I were "born into" the agricultural world.
Nor were we "born into" money.
We have shared a mutual vision, a dream and a passion for the Pioneering spirit & lifestyle.
That is how we built the foundation of our lives together.
  • We have lived in the rugged N. Central Cascades running a pack outfit.
  • We have worked for and on ranches.
  • Cowboy (w/ Zig & Zag -our original Border Collies) managed the "backside" of the Okanogan Livestock Sales Yard.
  • Cowboy managed a feedlot in Buckeye, AZ.
  • Cowboy has been a certified Farrier for 25+ years.
  • Cowboy has started colts for 25+ years.
  • Cowboy has 'day worked' for ranchers every chance he's had.
  • Cowboy worked & lived on dairies growing up; loaded and unloaded semi's of hay.
  • We both even worked for an animal pharmaceutical company in Toppenish until they went bankrupt.
  • We have bought, built, remodeled & sold places where we maintained our Pioneer spirit & Ag lifestyle.
  • We have been sued...and lost...because some jerk didn't like driving by our covered arena! (They happened to have had more money than us, to keep the battle going!)

Our lives have been completely encompassed in the agricultural world. Agricultural lives means work! It requires a passion, dedication and fortitude. We thrived in our lives! The only time in all these years that Cowboy 'stayed home' from work was when he broke his back on the ranch in MT. and after having a heat stroke in AZ. Other broken bones or illnesses never stood in our way from a days work!

When we moved here, we were given the opportunity to fulfill our dream of having cattle. A rancher from the west side of the State was being "squeezed out". Cowboy had always been like a son to John. Keith had worked for him years ago and we've stayed close friends. None of John's sons or grandsons were interested in the cattle business to pass it on to, and being in his late 70's , wanting to semi-retire, he made us an offer we could not pass up. With purebred Shorthorn stock, he made it possible for us to have a jump start into our lifelong dream.

We moved into this community of longtime farmers and ranchers. The closest "city" is 35 miles away with a population of 2,800. Just our kind of home!

We don't own enough land to support a herd so we leased summer ranges, then winter fed, calved in Feb/March on the home grounds to make it work.
This community has quickly continued to shrink in population. Yet there happens to be a large feedlot (somehow connected to Agri-Beef) that consumes all the lands that come available or the farmer's families turn theirs over into CRP (not grazeable).
A year ago this month, just as Cowboy was headed out the drive to pay for our winter feed, I made him sit down to my black and white figures on paper.
(He was living with blinders on, desperate to bring our dreams to fruition)
.
Leased ground was becoming less available & what was left to lease, was becoming too costly...because of the feedlot!
Hay prices were soaring, fuel was creeping higher...it was NOT possible to break even with these conditions, let alone build the herd numbers up!
I insisted we sell out. He had to agree. We did, however, keep two back.
(Oh how I miss the calving time! That was always my favorite time of year!)
Cowboy proceeded out of the drive, he paid for the winter feed we needed for horses.
NOT cattle. It just was not in the cards for us.
Since coming back to Washington, he has "day worked" for ranchers and even the feedlot. But starting colts was to be our mainstay. Over the years, Cowboy has built a reputation and earned great respect from his clientele...80% of the colts he starts are for ranchers from 3 states. He's been upfront, honest & fair to them. He has not been greedy by taking in more horses than we needed to pay our bills; nor to jeopardize the quality of his work. He has not charged the ranchers the higher prices that others charge; and he has given them back horses that are safe, dependable and can get the job done that's expected of these animals.

..... AND THEN .....

On October 7th, Cowboy headed north to the Okanogan country again.
The purpose was three-fold.
1) to return 2 colts to a rancher that he had started.
2) to GIVE away one of our horses, to a 73 year old rancher who's 27 year old horse was failing.
3) to help some friends gather cattle off of their summer ranges for the week.


That morning before he left, 3 other horses he had started were picked up by their owners. The plan was that upon Cowboy's return that following week, (which is last week now) more horses would be arriving as had been scheduled throughout the winter.
The economy was taking a nose-dive fast and hard!
Two hours after he headed north, the phone began to ring.... "I'm sorry, but we can't afford..." ~~...."..maybe later, if things get better".... etc. etc. By the end of that week, all of his scheduled horses for the winter months had cancelled.
Do you remember that post "T'Was a S.A.D. Saturday" ?
We had managed to get all of our winter feed in here that week for the horses scheduled throughout the winter. Paid for.
The only horse that will remain here now, is that stallion, Bro, whose owner is in Hawaii.
He will leave this next Spring...if we hang on that long.

Since Cowboy's return from the North country, we have been doing survival maneuvers....
What? you might be asking...
We had to make the fateful decision, that any critter that did not 'pay' for itself, but instead, costs us money.. must leave!

  • GAVE away 2 Border Collies (both less than 2 yr old, they will now have 'jobs')
  • GAVE the goats away (no purpose having them since there's no dogs to train )
  • GAVE away 2 more horses, one more yet to go (that'll make 4 GIVEN away)
  • GAVE the chickens away (saves us winter feed and electricity for heat & light)
  • The 2 remaining cows? no decision yet...


It has been a strange week, a hard transition,
and leaving us with a very sad, emptiness in our hearts, our lives!
Everything has happened so fast! We are still numb..but we WILL find our way.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Surviving Life...

... by whatever means it takes.
(this isn't the continuation of the Oprah post I'd planned on..
life changed....)


Let me tell you a story first...
… the story of a penniless young man who became the Northwest’s Cattle King. ~Ben Snipes~

Ben Snipes headed west from Iowa in 1852 with a covered wagon train at the age of 17. The gold rush enticed him. He earned his keep as the right-hand man and was entrusted with the stock. which came through to Oregon in fine condition with little or no loss as compared to losses suffered by other trains making no better time.
Soon after, he headed south to the California gold rush where he prospected and gained financially. He later opened a butcher shop after learning the trade. Winter came and the mines stopped operating. He had extended credit to customers who overlooked the favor and left the country.
In the end, Ben lost everything.
There was news about the Fraser River’s big strike, in British Columbia. Ben acquired a horse and headed north but he had arrived too late. Every prospect spot was taken. Food was scarce, especially beef.
Being the young enthusiastic entrepreneur that he was, he thought why not supply the Fraser area with beef? His mind and his heart, told him that being a Cowboy was his destiny. Ben went back to Oregon, hitched up with a cattleman to drive cattle through the Columbia River, to the Fraser mines. While passing through Yakima country he realized it was a cattleman’s paradise, just “awaiting him to exploit and thereby realize upon his recently experienced dream" of living the life of a Cowboy and becoming a cattleman.
The grasses were plentiful he noticed on his return to sustain huge numbers of cattle and horses.
He is credited for giving the area the name “Horse Heaven”.

At the age of 19, Ben had found a market, found the lands to produce the almost limitless supply of cattle. With the help of an Oregon cattleman, and because of his reliability & earned respect, he set off on his venture of acquiring the stock and headed to the lands of “Horse Heaven”. His cattle thrived and fattened and in 1856, at age 21, he headed north through the Okanogan country into Kamloops to the Fraser camps. He and an Indian friend drove this herd through dangerous ice filled rivers and over mosquito infested terrain around Oysoyoos Lake, which drove the cattle crazy. Through the miles of hardship, Ben only lost a few cattle before arriving at the Cariboo Mines in Canada. He earned enough money from this trip to pay off his debt to the cattleman Jefferies who helped launch Ben’s dream.
In the following years, Ben acquired massive numbers of cattle and even horses. There was the brutally cruel winters 1861 - 1863 that wiped out tens of thousands of cattle. The smaller cattlemen collapsed and sold their remaining numbers to Ben Snipes.

But soon, Ben had to seek other ventures as "progress" was changing the ways of the cattlemen.
He endured and thrived.
He had dreams.
Ben acquired land in Seattle and built the first bank in Ellensburg. After a holocaust fire raged through the streets, leaving only rubble of where the bank had been standing, Ben set out to rebuild it
[i] of stone, the first stone building there. Soon afterwards, Ben built another bank in Roslyn[ii] for the coal miners.
This bank was robbed in 1892 and Ben lost all of his holdings.
[i] (it still stands in Ellensburg)
[ii] (filming town of TV’s “Northern Exposure”)

Ben was a successful pioneer, who overcame the trials of life in danger's untold, hardships without number and heavy financial losses. With good judgment and persistency of his dreams, he had an unsullied reputation and enjoyed the respect and confidence of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Ben prospered and gave back to the people, being mindful of the past when he needed help. He knew he had been blessed by having earned trust and respect to allow for the path his future took him.
Ben and his family lived a quiet, simple lifestyle, despite their finacial gains.
They too, had
Trials, Tribulations and Tears.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Why did I tell you this story?


Years ago, having read the book about Ben Snipes life, we felt a very strong connection to each and every word. It was not only the fact that we knew and lived in all those parts of that country, but the pioneer spirit, the dreams, the lifestyle of the pioneers was who we were! Only now, the times, the opportunities are different, and we are not afforded the same. We've felt lost in the modern world, as if we missed "our calling". The driving force that has been inbedded in our hearts and souls, always being derailed by modern times, has been heartbreaking, back breaking and worrisome.
But we managed to make the best of everything that came our way.

We moved through our lives accomodating to the times as we must, yet keeping a fast grip on the heartstrings that tug at our souls. Our lifestyle has been simple. We never sought to have more than we needed. We asked for nothing, we respected our environment and abused nothing. We conserved on everything in life! From the water we used, our minimal homes & furnishings, to the clothes on our backs. We never had new cars, never took vacations, never had frivolous possessions....
we never wanted for anything or felt deprived.

Our lives have been good. We have been happy with our choices and each other.
We worked hard, physically hard, as a team, to build and maintain what we had.
We took great pride in our accomplishments, in our life.

People were always amazed that we were able to live, to thrive, to be content with our chosen lifestyle.

One and a half weeks ago, our lives were turned upside down.
Yes, Oprah...we HAD been living within our means!
(the only luxury we have is Satelite TV & Internet!...for the moment)
We lived BELOW our means!
And today? We wish more than ever, that we had been born of the 1800's!
We regret THAT more than we regret the life choices we've made!
We know we could live, sustain, and even prosper in those times.
We cannot do the same~in these times. The world as it is in this century, does not allow for the same pioneering spirit, such as it did over a century ago....as is in our hearts.
Sadly, for us.
The plug was pulled on of our years of choices, our dreams, our joys, our hopes and our gains....
The economy crash has hit us hard.
A Cowboy in these times cannot survive.
*
Not my kind of Cowboy.
(there are different 'breeds' of Cowboy, which is a post all in itself...).

Somehow...we will survive, as we always have.
It probably means having to start all over...in a totally different world to us.
At our age, after all our years of sweat, tears and struggles, it was not something we thought we would ever have to do.
Our end of the agricultural world may not rebound fast enough....

Not fast enough for this Cowboy & his Wife....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Not AWOL...

...I'm just doing a survival manuever.


I will be back here in a day or two.
I miss visiting all of you, but I've had other priorities...called LIFE!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why, when you have plans....

.....do they always go amuck??


I awoke this morning with grandiose goals.
They failed to come to fruition.
  • Hence, no continuation from yesterday's Oprah post.
  • Cowboy is gone gathering cattle up north for a week.
  • Chores are all mine to do again.
  • It dropped to 19 degrees last night....BRRRRRrrrrrrr!
  • Water troughs were froze.
  • The electric fence is NOT working and I cannot tell you how many times I walked around these pastures and pens, contorting my neck, touching wires, rewrapping, etc. until I just gave up! I'm pretty good at finding the 'errors' but not today! Hopefully, every critter will save their energy for warmth & not test the waters! Of course they'd have to climb through 4 other wires too if they feel the need for escape....but my luck???
  • Chickens thought they died as I didn't lock them up in their coop last night.
  • Split kindling and starter size firewood and brought armloads of wood in, hopefully for 2 days at least. I needed to warm the house up. Yea! my first fire of the year! A month earlier than normal, so Cowboy had better come back with a bunch more firewood!
  • Have been on the phone non stop with different family members today with different "issues" with each one. (Yes...I have BROAD shoulders & cauliflower ears and that is why I'm so short! Years do take a toll!)
  • My one sister is coming tomorrow for the weekend...bringing her 2 grandkids that she's raising...this will be "interesting" to say the least....(long story).
  • I'm tuckered out and didn't get to do my curling up with a book and numerous cups of tea or coffee as I had hoped and dreamed about, but at least I didn't have to make dinner!

PB & J is always good for me!

G' nite, sweet dreams and I'll catch up with ya'll when I can squeeze a few minutes in behind closed doors...alone...I will be needing some alone time these next 2-1/2 days with the sister's visit.
(but where the heck are my blogrolls?? Blog Rolling Gone?? or just 'down' for the night??)
10/10~Guess they got hacked into...supposedly, now I'm going to go through and write all of you down,
so I don't lose it again...


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oprah...

...and the financial state of Americans.

Due to the call for 20 degree weather beginning tonight and for the next 5-6 days, I decided that I had better get at least one of fireplaces cleaned today as I am going to need the heat that it generates…when I add wood to it of course.
To drown out the "quiet channel" going on in my house as I cleaned it, I watched Oprah, which is something I seldom do.
Watch TV that is.
Oprah's agenda was to address the financial crisis Americans are now facing.

A special segment included a live conversation with CNBC’s Dylan Ratigan who says “the root of the crisis is that the people have been unrealistic about their finances.”
He also stated:
“The problem that we have right now is one where too many Americans collectively borrowed more than we can afford to pay and we created a system on Wall Street to support that culture, now we are all dealing with the consequences”.

Oprah’s other guests
“The Thriftiest Family in America” who helped a couple from Minnesota reorganize their finances after the two income household became one.
She had mini-interviews, via computers, with others who are reorganizing their lives, or are trying to adapt or figure out how to survive with the changes in this strained economy; from coupon shopping, swapping furniture with friends, to trading homes.
The show was intended to stress to the American people it is past time to change their lifestyle, their spending habits. Take control and become responsible, it is up to you!
Some of the tips and thoughts presented on Oprah' show today were the basis of how our parents and grandparents lived, not just through the great depression, or bad economic times, it was THE WAY they lived their lives!
We all could have and should have learned this concept of living.
This is how those generations struggled, and survived…and also prospered!
“Don’t spend more than you make”.

I am not posting this to judge anyone in America for the lifestyle, the spending habits, or the luxuries they have.
We have all made our own choices.
We must live with them and adapt to the dramatic changes that are happening.
I am writing this because Cowboy and I have lived a very frugal and austere, if you will, life (minus the 5 years in AZ). We have managed to have the “American Dream” by owning a home.

That is the only thing.



More on this tomorrow….


Monday, October 6, 2008

A Queen....

... what is a Queen?

  1. ... we had "Queen" an English rock band formed in 1970 in London, anyone remember them besides me?
  2. ... there are 4 "Queens" in a deck of playing cards.
  3. ... the "Queen" is the most powerful piece is in the game of Chess.
  4. ... there is that dominant female "Queen" ant, bee, termite, or wasp.
  5. ... one of Canada's leading universities in Ontario is "Queen's".
  6. ... we also have a 2006 movie titled "Queen".
  7. ... and we can't forget "The Queen"- part of The British Monarchy.


...BUT...how do "Queens" come to be?


None other than from....


...a "
Train Wreck " of course!

"Queen For A Day" Award

I am pretty tardy in sharing this magnificent gift from Train Wreck!

I hope she accepts my sincerest apology for the time lapse...
*whisper ..shhh....
she has actually taken up singing and tapping her toes while she waits...
I know...... I have heard her!

Heck, it just might be too soon for her even tonight,
I could be hindering American Idol's detection of her capabilities!
...if so, I apologize for that too~ Lady!

When I began this blog back in May,
Train Wreck of
Cowboy, Kids and Sunsets ,was one of the first blogs I landed upon and was instantaneously captivated by her writing, her creativity and her life!
I am so grateful for the discovery of her in this massive maze of the Blogosphere,
as we have become great friends.
Hey! She even said I could live in her neighborhood!
...and I wish I could!

This gal is so gifted, so altruistic and so genuinely entertaining, one can't help but find delight in all she creates!
Her passion for her family, for life and for her artwork is brilliantly displayed throughout her blog.

I cherish the friendship we've developed and positively hope to meet her someday!

I just love this lady! She has become my family!

If I still lived in AZ, I'd have driven up there months ago to give her a hug!

Thank you Train Wreck...

..not just for this personal "Crowning" made with your very own creative hands...

...but for your friendship!

Please...go check her artwork at "Gillespie Galleries" !
See what I'm talking about!





Fall Cleaning...

...Has had me under the weather lately.

QUITE~LITERALLY!

I have spent the past week outdoors! Working my hiney off!
Summer was here early last week with temperatures of 86+ degrees,
which was wonderful.
Fall reminded me that it is here by bringing us back down
to 70 degrees on Thursday and 60 on Friday ~ with rain!

YEP! ...I'm talking about that wet stuff that drops from the sky!
It is a rarity for our parts of the world because our average rainfall for a year
is 11-13 inches total.

Rain is good though.

But then, Winter showed it's vengeance Sunday with a whopping 47 degrees!
The hefty winds arrived overnight bringing more rain!
I don't own an umbrella or galoshes, so proceeding with my agenda
for the day, made things (and Me!) pretty soggy!

I know I've been neglectful here, I haven't been able to check in on my friends and I do have some things I need to acknowledge
(I'm getting there
Ms Train Wreck..keep singing for awhile longer Ok? American Idol may discover you yet!) but I've been pretty bogged down.
No! Silly! I didn't say BLOGGED down...I said BOGGED down!

PLEASE FORGIVE ME for being otherwise consumed!

Some things around here call out MY name only! I'm not sure why they seek MY attention and drop right upon MY shoulders this time of year,
but they always do!
(Maybe it's because Cowboy is trying to earn the $$ and I'm sloughing????)
Don't you dare answer "Yes"!

Admittedly, I can't seem to get things done as fast as I want
or used to......which really irritates me!
I then end up accomplishing less because I've spent too much time stewing about how
"it used to be"!

Here is what's on my list that I've been struggling to accomplish with hopes
(yea I know, they are High Hopes!) of completing within the next 3 weeks:

  • Clean and store patio furniture.
  • Clean BBQ & Cover.
  • Touch up paint on door trims, railings and windows. (partially done)
  • Check caulk around windows and doors. (re-caulk if needed).
  • Inspect external doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping?All is well!
  • Wash exterior windows 26. 19 to go! (Yuk!)
  • Wash interior windows 26. (Double Yuk!) ...I'll move this to my Indoor Fall List...
  • Gather, clean, Oil garden tools.
  • Pull lingering plant in garden. (1/2 done)
  • Turn #2 and #3 compost piles
  • From compost pile #1, spread around shrubs & perennials
  • Drain and store garden hoses.
  • Winterize/weed n' feed lawn
  • Take apart and find parts to repair frost-free spigots outside on house.
  • Install insulating covers on exterior spigots.
  • Check gutters and downspouts ...(miles & miles of!). Clear of debris if necessary.

The worst part of doing these gutters..is my fear of heights! While cleaning pine needles & gutters over the back porch (the only semi-FLAT roof there is), the ladder fell stranding me until Cowboy came around close enough to hear me calling out...which was about an hour later!
But Hey! I was able to take a snooze and luckily... I didn't roll off!
(In this climate, I don't have a clue why someone installed these darned things! They never get used except for collecting dust and leaf debris).

  • Stack firewood (what we have so far...)
  • Clean both fireplaces of last years soot and ashes.
  • Check stock tank heaters, make sure they still work. MEMO: Need one more!
  • Check extension cords and repair if mice dined on them over the summer. MEMO: Repair two
  • Check hay tarps~ which is not easy, as they are those really heavy duty ones made by that company in AZ I used to work for... they ARE heavy & cumbersome for little 'ol me!


I'm so sorry............but I've been exhausted come nightfall!
If you don't believe me? Come and walk in my shoes for a day.
Oh, that won't work because I don't wear shoes...
so you'll have to be barefoot too!

I AM making a pot of coffee right now....
(and my dear friend the CoffeeLady...Thank you!)
Pssstttt.....she sent me some wonderful smelling packages!
Of Coffee! You guessed it!**huge smile**
...and I am going to stay up tonight...

...and 'catch up' on all of my wonderful Blogging Friends!

Don't wait up for me, just leave the light on...
I have my coffee & I will let myself in....