Sunday, February 23, 2014


Sometimes there is such a place and such music that the world is a bit gentler, a bit kinder, a bit sweeter.

When my spirit needs solace there is a place, there is ever a place...
I need only to close my eyes 
to reach the meadow, 
to lay on an old quilt warmed by the sun,
where pines and quakies whisper gently in the breeze, 
where fluffy clouds drift in a blue blue sky,
 and a small stream flows,
where the fragrance of mother earth is love.

When my spirit needs solace there is music, there is ever music...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sure as shoot'n...

What a shooty morning, I absolutely loved it.  
Late last night Dad said, "You want to go shoot some clays tomorrow?  Oh, I forgot your shoulder is a little sore from the driving range!"
"Dad, I golf left handed, but I shoot right. I'll get the gear ready."
A friend of ours went too, in fact we took his rig so his Lab could get a workout as well.  He trained his dog, Lassen, and I have never seen a better trained gun dog.

Dad brought along his old model 37 Ithaca 12 ga. for me to use.  He bought that shotgun new in 1950 for $76.00.  I really like that gun: it's light, it's solid, and it's easy to operate.

Not having been in a position to do much shooting in recent years, it was interesting to see how much knowledge was retained... or not.
 Weather in the short grass hills was clear with a brisk North wind.  So, we had a tough cross wind to contend with on the trap range.  Won't say who busted the most clays, because well... the guys were having an off day.
Would've loved to have stayed out there longer, but we could see that Dad was getting cold, and I needed to be back before mom's caregiver left.
I honestly don't give a darn that I will never get a diamond from my mother, but I'm sure as shoot'n putting my name in for that sweet ol 12 gauge.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Three Ring Circus...

The first ring the Cowman gave me was a cigar band, I still have it.  We had been dating for a while and were at the RB Roundup, where he was helping bring up calves for the roping events.  I had been setting on the hood of the ranch's old Scout for hours in the rain to watch him and the rodeo, when he rode up to check on me.  "How are you doing babe?"  "Great, Thanks," I said from under my ratty ol slicker.
"I have something for you," he said, then leaned over, kissed me, and slipped the cigar band on my finger...

The second ring the Cowman gave me, when we married, was a simple band of gold.  I was happy with that simple ring, having never been much of a jewelry wearer.  Many months into married life I mentioned to him how terribly impressed I was that he had my ring inscribed on the inside.  With a bit of a puzzled look and a raised eyebrow he said, "What?"  And that's how I found out there was a brand of wedding rings marketed by the name True Love.  I couldn't help laughing, the look on his face said "I'm going to hear about this til the end of time."  Nope, I never mentioned it again. He had been straight up honest about it.
The third ring the Cowman gave me came via his maternal grandmother.  It was a large diamond inset into a platinum band.  The Cowman took it to a local jewelry designer and was informed that it was an old fashioned cut, and needed to be set up on prongs so that it could catch the light. The diamond in it's new setting was beautiful. Ever aware that this was a family heirloom, I hesitated to wear it much. The Cowman said not to worry, wear it, that gran would be disappointed if I didn't! Even so, I tried never to wear it when we were doing something rough & tumble.

As my fate would have it, I forgot to take it off one day while we were working a rough bunch of cows through the chute.  We were knee deep in mud and cow shit and it was spitting rain.  There were two of us on each side of the chute: vaccinating, tagging, mouthing, and worming.  A cow hit the front of the chute hard, and one of the bars slammed my ring finger.  What followed was like when you're in an accident, everything seems to be happening in slow motion...  I watched as The diamond popped out of the ring and sailed over the chute to land in the muck on the other side. "STOP" I yelled.   I know you aren't going to believe this, but I'm always pretty quiet working cattle.  I was brought up that way, whether working cattle or hunting: no yelling, no sudden movement.  So when I yelled "Stop!" Everyone froze, including the rough ol hide in the chute.  "Please don't anyone move, I just lost my diamond."
There was no doubt in my mind, that I did not want to have to tell the Cowman's pistol pack'n grandmother that I had lost The diamond.  So I kept my eyes on the place I thought it had sunk into the muck, walked around the chute, stuck my hand in and with a bit of feeling around, found it! 
After the Cowman died I gave The diamond to Marymine, it's where it should be.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

When I am old

When I Am An Old Horsewoman
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and car
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to ALL
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

-Author Patty Barnhart

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love Drives Us...

Sometimes old things are better, like old valentines...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bedpan Liner...

Being a caregiver is not well suited to my irreverent personality.  Standard Operating Procedure is not the norm for me.
What the heck is wrong with putting one of those musical buttons on the edge of the bedpan. That way it plays music when I put mom on it.  
So what if the RC heli wars get a little out of control and someone does a semi-hard landing on mom's backside.
 What does it hurt to make mom a milkshake for breakfast.  It has milk, eggs, frozen OJ, and bacon bits for crying out loud. My grandkids love them. 
The hospice crew are shaking their heads, Dad is looking to out fly me, mom is laughing.
Maybe I'm better at critters than people...

I have fixed a prolapsed heifer with a couple of boluses, a coke bottle, and a shoelace. I have put my arm up the butt of more than a few cows to help with a delivery.  Breathed into the snotty nose of many lambs, kittens, puppies, colts, calves, and one goat. And no one raised an eye brow.
The veterinarian I worked for said, "B,  If I let you do two sutures when I'm closing, will you get your head out of the operating field!" 

"Throw in that old pair of hemostats and you've got a deal, Doc."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hanky Pranky...

Did you ever feel like you just needed a friend to bounce things off of?  Oh not rocks, or golf balls, or cow pies... but ideas, plans, and a prank or two.  
The prank thing I thought was going away as I matured, so either I haven't matured, or the laugh so hard you pee your wranglers prank is embedded permanently.  I hadn't done one since the blowup babe in the Cowman's pickup. Well that's not quite true: there was nail gunning the Cowman's glove (in a compromising position) to the deck we were building onto the house,

(the 12x20 deck the Cowman and I built on the back of the house all by ourselves)

 and the big, nude gnome in the creek at the neighbors (who the heck doesn't find that thing for a month, at least I was home from work to hear her howling with laughter when she found him). 
I have a few new ideas, but my three friends are nice, normal people, and seem to get that deer in the headlights look when I try to share.
The kids always go "Oh, No she has that look in her eyes!"  The grandkids, who make excellent cohorts, are too far away at the moment, and the Monday night Knotty Knitters group still have me on probation for ...
A bit of cabin fever seems to have set in, Road Trip time I'm thinking...  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Buck Snort News...

Yee Haw!!! We finally got the news today: My Grandpa's buck made #11 (scoring 168 4/8) in Columbia blacktail-non-typical antlers in Boone & Crockett.

 A Huge Thanks to my brother Buzz for getting grandpa's buck scored, doing all the leg work necessary to make this happen, and most of all for making our Dad's day. You rock Buzz!

even when...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Before Swine...

As a country kid I had 4-H to teach many a lesson. I took sewing, cooking, food preservation, interior decorating, shooting, lamb, swine, and beef steer projects.
  My first livestock project was a beef show steer when I was 10. He was a big lesson in persevering as he drug me thru the star thistle, mud and barb wire, kicked me across the pen, head butted me into any available cowpie and stomped on my feet.     
I had to develop a budget for the purchase of the steer, feed costs, supply costs, and what price I had to get for him at the Jr Livestock Auction in order to break even. It meant a trip to the bank to present my budget and request a loan. Yes, my parents co-signed, as I had yet to establish my own line of credit.  But, it was not guaranteed that I would get a loan if my numbers didn't jive. After I had secured a loan I then had to negotiate with the ranch I was purchasing the steer from.  After many months of raising that steer, I had to show him at the fair,  hustle for companies, neighbors, and businesses to bid on him.  After he was sold, at a profit thank goodness, I personally went to the buyers and thanked them, as well as sending a follow up letter that asked them to remember me at next year's auction. Then off to the bank, to pay off my loan & interest.  Put some money in my college fund, and some in a working capital savings acct, and spend a little on school clothes. Then my 4-H record book had to be turned into my leader, detailing all that had been done since the purchase of my project steer. After a few goes like that I was able to self fund my show projects out of the working capitol savings acct.  But the lessons on doing business and persevering were in place.  
Some of my project animals, swine & lambs, I didn't have to purchase.  I worked out a deal with a local sheepman to raise some of his bummer lambs, (lambs that the mothers wouldn't take) getting to keep two lambs each season.  Traded work with a local farmer for feed, and I was off showing & selling lambs. 
The swine I got in the 4-H pig scramble. The pigs were donated, put in an arena, and by age group, all the kids that wanted to participate could.  But, you had to promise that you would raise your pig and show it and sell it at the Jr. Livestock auction.  There were always more kids than pigs, so you had to be fast on your feet and willing to get mud and shit from one end of you to other, with no guarantees that you would end up with a pig.  Some how I managed to catch one each year, again worked a deal with a local farmer for the feed, and increased my working capital.  After enough times with a mouth full of pig shit and mud I decided I wanted to just raise show steers.
That is the way we raised our kids too, and I think it has served them well. They have carried on that practice with their kids, my grandkids, and I hope it continues going forward.
 I cherish my memories of a little girl with blond pigtails, in a ratty shirt, cutoffs and boots, washing a 1,200 lb show steer in the heat of a long summer day.