Our personal land is surrounded by the Wild Hermits land that we share with the neighbors. We rent that land out to the Vrazels, who have many lovely cattle in two or three pastures (I think they took a fence down to make a really big pasture).
Usually, the animals are way over by the creek, or on the far end of the big pasture. But today, they decided to torture our dogs by grazing on both sides of our fenced-in back yard.
The good news is that our fence now actually holds all the dogs except Vlassic, who can slip through. The bad news is that means the dogs can stand right in front of the cattle and bark their little barkers off for way longer than either Lee or I can stand.
With them on both sides, and some irritated mooing, the dog frenzy seemed likely to never stop. Brody barked the most (duh, he’s a cattle dog), but Carlton was right behind him, adding play bows to show the cattle he LIKES them.
They actually like him, too, since we’ve seen them play with each other when Carlton isn’t fenced in. It’s rather cute. He goes after cattle; then they rush him, and back and forth. These are mostly heifers who have been around them their whole lives.
The new Charolais bull who was brought in to do some natural baby making, however, does not seem fond of the dogs at all. He bellowed at them, and gathered all his ladies and their babies around him in a most manly fashion. What a protector.
Meanwhile, Alfred just sat on the porch. He guards those cattle at night. He isn’t going to bark at them.
I’m still trying to make amends for upsetting folks who are into KonMari. I threw away a box today. Just kidding.
Really, I wanted to say how much more joy my ranch office is giving me today, because I have been reunited with my old friend, the Owl Clock. It’s not really a very old friend, but it brings back such happy memories to me of the most fun vacation my husband and I ever took together, back in 2014.
We did one of those Viking river cruises on the Rhine River that you see so many ads about. Well, it turned out to be absolutely fantastic. We loved the pace of it, we met friends from England who were perfect (Lee and the husband sat and enjoyed the scenery in the cities where we stopped, while the wife and I had a blast shopping and exploring). And there weren’t too many people for Lee, and we had a small suite he could escape to. It worked.
Our favorite place was the Black Forest (it turns out we both have ancestors from that area). We loved the traditional farms, the crops, the trees. Ah. And we even loved the Tourist Stop that apparently every tour makes, to a little center where you could buy glassware, steins, and of course, cuckoo clocks. The minute I saw this owl clock (which was next to a rather kitschy Harley Davidson clock with moving motorcycles), I knew I had to have it. The hand-carved owls and pine trees were very different from most of the other clocks, and the little own that comes out and says “Who-who” (nope not cuckoo) charmed me to no end. I love owls, even if they do eat the chickens.
The clock got shipped to our house and held a place of honor until we sold that house to move somewhere smaller. We got it to the ranch, but it took a while to get it re-installed. Thanks, Lee! And we even found the weight that keeps the time right, which of course the dogs managed to find and take outside.
What else? A tapestry and a chair
I just wanted to point out two more items that sparked my joy today (oh wow, I am using that term). I had to re-hang my Navajo-style weaving, because the Owl Clock took its place. When I touched it, I had great memories of the weaving class I took in Colorado with my friend Chriztine, and of the amazing teacher we had, Lynda Teller Pete. By the way, she and her sister have just published a new book, Spider Woman’s Children. I highly recommend it if you are a weaving fan.
I realized where I was sitting when I was looking at the clock and little tapestry. I was in the same chair I sat in with my dad, ever since I was a tiny child. I remember this chair my whole life. One of my earliest memories is of watching Lassie, squeezed in next to Dad in the big green chair, and crying because I thought something bad was going to happen to Lassie or Timmie. Dad explained that Lassie always came back.
Later on, with different upholstery, this was “my” chair in our family room. It always had a pile of books, some knitting or embroidery, and a beverage next to it on a very ugly table (now it would be a chic mid-century modern table, but I hated it).
Still later, after Mom passed away, Dad had the chair recovered in some bargello-like blue and green fabric, and I ended up with it at my house. The upholstery matched NOTHING in my house, but there was no way I’d change it, because my great Uncle Doc had done the work (this uncle raised his 7 siblings and took care of his mother, Granny Kendall, after my grandfather lost his life in a tragic bar fight accident, where he was just trying to help…which explains Dad’s feelings about guns).
When we moved out of the Braesgate house, I finally had it re-done in this perky yellow print. That chair has been busy!
What in your surroundings sparks joy in you today?
It’s time for a brief weather report. It’s windy. Very windy. Our windows are rattling and things are banging around outside. The wind chill makes it feel ten degrees colder. I agree with the profane weather app!
When you live in a big field, you really feel the wind. Plus, anecdotal evidence says it’s windier here than in many places. That’s based on long-term neighbor observations and our own careful study when we were siting our ranch house.
We lived weekends in an RV, and Lee recorded the wind direction. Thus our house doesn’t face the road. It’s a little crooked.
And there is always a patio out of the wind, or in it, if that’s helping when it’s hot.
That’s an important ranch life principle, to get to know your microclimate!
You may remember that our Australian Cattle Dog, Brody, has been limping since early last week. Lee was unable to get him to the vet last Thursday, due to the floods, but this week he got Bro-Bro in to Dr. Amy (she is only in town on Thursdays, and Brody is not great at traveling long distances).
For her to be able to look at his foot, she had to sedate him, so Lee left him at the Fancy Vet Trailer and came back later to find a dopey fellow who had trouble licking his face.
The diagnosis was a severe cut between his toes, but nothing broken. It also was not infected or healing wrong, so that was even more good news. Because Brody is out in the woods and such all the time, we got some antibiotics just in case it gets messed up later.
As a bonus, he got clean ears. He seems to have some proclivity to messing them up, too. Otherwise, he’s now back home, still limping, but putting more weight on his foot. He’ll live!
We have a guest blogger today, my friend and fellow member of the Hermits’ Rest community, Mandi.
First, I will go back to lay the scene. When the sheep first came to the ranch, I set out to make them understand I was a friend, because sheep and goats can get through any fence that water can get through. Many years with goats and every fencing imaginable has taught me that. I needed to be able to call them somehow, if I ever needed to put them back in the pen (hich has happened).
I am very much one of those people who is going to give my animals, your animals, a passing by animal, etc. a treat if I have the chance. The two sheep would hang around, fascinated when we fed the horses. They wanted what was in their feed bins.
This made Fiona (or FiFi as I call her) very annoyed. Apache (Patchtastic) and Spice (No real nickname, I just yell, “Hey Spice! Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!”) had the “Munch, Munch, GET BACK, Munch, Munch.” reaction to them. But Fiona is only little, so to the sheep she is just a really weird looking sheep with big ears.