Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sure enough...

Tis important to have dreams, I think. They give rise to hopes and plans and more delicious dreams. 

I have long held the dream of a home. It sets at the edge of a large meadow, just back in the trees, to give it protection. There is a year round stream that winds  through the meadow, to swim in, fish in, for water and to irrigate with. A small barn and lodge pole corrals are downwind of the house.  Several horses live there as well as a few goats for cheese, packing, and brush control.  I would prefer cows, but they are not as efficient. Hold up there it's my dream, so, there are also a few head of beef cattle for meat, hides, and to work the horses on. Of course, there are a few hens to grub for bugs, provide eggs, and fly tying material. There are Border Collies to protect and Scotties just because.  
A large well fenced garden for food, and flowers is near the house. 
The house is simple, one story, heated by a wood stove.  There is a wall of books, and maps, a few old leather couches, with blankets to curl up in and lanterns for when the power is off. The bedrooms are just right for sleeping in with big beds covered in down duvets and camp blankets.  It has a tin roof so that when the thunder boomers come rolling in you can hear the rain.  All the windows have  stout shutters for hard times or bad weather. It has a wrap around porch with a collection of old chairs and rockers, and a swing for little ones to curl up on. There is a firepit  to barbeque on or take the chill off evening gatherings.  A spring house is up behind the house and provides cold storage for everything from pies to produce, to wine.
Most importantly, there is a man there, who has integrity to his very soul. A man who can see beyond the years, and is sure enough to hold a woman's calloused hand.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gone Fish'n...

Dad has spent a couple of weeks scouring online ads for a boat, a fishing boat.  When he found The boat he had me contact the owner via e-mail and Dad took it from there.  A few days later he proudly told me he had bought The boat.  
"How are you going to get it home", I asked.  "Oh I will arrange for my friend to take me down to pick it up" he said.  In short order a plan was made, and off they went. 
 "Where are you going to put it?" I asked.  
"I'll put it on the pad at my friend's place," he said.  "But for now we'll put it in the garage here, it needs a little work," he said. 
"What does a little work mean?" I asked.  
"Oh just this and that and a few other things," he said.
So they brought it home, and the very next day she was baptized in the waters of the  Sacramento river, along with Dad & his crony! 

Sacramento River

It seems Dad was driving and got hung on a gravel bar, instead of pouring the coal to her, and planing over it, he killed the throttle, sticking them on the gravel bar.  The crony hopped out to push them off, but soon realized Dad was going to have to get out as well.  Dad made it out, promptly lost his footing, and ended up setting down in six inches of water.  He and the crony were laughing so hard, they almost didn't get Dad back in the boat.
Now it is in a place of honor in the garage, supposedly so she doesn't get rained on.  In reality, so Dad can work on her late into the night.  She has been stripped of all her ratty ol carpet, and the rotted captain's seat tossed in the garbage.  Dad has given me a lengthy list nearly every evening of assorted "little things" to order on-line for her. 
He takes everyone who comes by out to the garage to admire his fish'n boat. So far, He and I seem to be the only ones that get it: he has a project to keep him busy, he wants to go fishing, and he's 90 years old so he needs to gett'r done now.
Dad working on his fish'n boat.

He said I could call him "Captain", I said I would call him "Ol Swampy".
He said Willie the Jack Russell, could go fish'n with us.  I said he could, but we had to call him "Gator Bait" when he was in the boat.

So, as soon as that ugly ol flat bottom boat is fixed up, Ol Swampy, Gator Bait, and I are gone fish'n.   

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Fact of the Matter...

Family offered me seats in their Rodeo box for two days, but no rodeo for me this go round. Too much going on at the home front with mom.  Next year if at all possible, and I'm good with that. Best big corn dogs and beer in the West, ummm, Best Rodeo in the West, too!

I want to mention that we have some good, honest, hardworking, local friends that are rodeo stock contractors.  They were hauling cattle to a rodeo in Nevada when the whole Bundy thing was heating up.  A jackwagon from so cal with a radio program posted FB pics of their truck and stock trailer (which of course has their name all over it) and made remarks that were totally untrue.  Because a media jackwagon and his cadre of followers never bothered to fact check, the guys have received multiple death threats, both on the road and here at home.  Many of us called the jackwagon about his posts, he has since apologized and removed the posts.  But the damage has not been entirely mitigated,  because so many read & heard the original posts and passed them on, and not the retractions.  We all need to remember to take the stuff that is put out there with a large grain of salt, and fact check, fact check, fact check.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunshine Wash & Dry revisited...

It's BIG RODEO time in RB, and I'm look'n to spend some time with the rough stock side of the Dakota branch of the family.

 JJ on Lunatic Fringe 2013

Reminds me of Sunshine Wash & Dry... HERE

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Whiskey & Water...

You just never know when your going to meet someone special.  Sunday's kayaking trip to Whiskeytown was a good example of that. 

 I was on a floating break with the gals, trying to get my bag of twigs and berries out of my dry sack, when a  handsome young Canadian flyboy befriended me. He hung on my every whispered word... in no time I had him eating out of my hand... til I ran out of Craisins.  As he flew off to pursue another,  I  swear he winked and called, "you'll be back ol water woman, see ya around".  
I'm tak'n my jetpack broom along next time, he's in for a surprise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Swapping my broom for a paddle...

The little knife is engraved LA-200, this is not a reference to a LA kinda whimp race, it was given for most use of oxytetracycline cow medicine in one go round. I pack it cause it has a great save your life cork screw. 

It's a paddling... kind of day.

  YeeHaw...Off kayaking at Whiskeytown. 
Have a blessed Sunday.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Tenkara me away...

Would you be up for a road trip, I sure would. It is fast approaching the time of year when I expect to move camp, we moved twice a year with the cattle for so many years.
While doing a little research on a totally unrelated matter, which is bound to get me in hot water,  I came across a new (to me) fly rod... 

 Hot damn...

Doesn't that look like more fun than an ol cowgirl should have...? 

Sprague River

One summer on the Sprague, we had 500 first calf heifers to ride thru twice a day.  The field they were in was bordered on one side by the river. I could saddle up, put one kid in front and one kid in back of me, tie on a fly rod, ride thru the heifers on the way to the river, fish, and ride thru the heifers again on the way home, with dinner tucked in the cantle pack.
With a little planning I can make a big enough loop to visit family, pickup a rod at the Tenkara Rod Co. in Boise, fish, visit family, fish, visit family, fish...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Straw Bale tales...

When the Cowman and I lived up a canyon, I worked for a little local feedstore/garden center.  The owner thought it would be a good thing if I took care of the garden/nursery area as well as marketing feed for all manner of livestock, critters, birds and fish. Fine by me I said, (I'm not a fan of cleaning hamster cages, or bagging live rats for snake food) just give me a bit of leeway to do some demonstration gardens.
  I grew a trial straw bale garden at home, as we lived on a hard pan shelf, where the only way to dig a hole was with a stick of dynamite. Our bale garden provided us with all the veggies we wanted and then some, with less work, and less water than a traditional garden.

not my garden, not my picture

 Next, I put in a demonstration straw bale garden at the store.  It worked well as we had wheat or barley straw bales, T posts, fencing, and starts and/or seeds of most every veggie that would flourish in our zone. My customers loved it. Especially the elderly, wheel chair bound, kids, and those living in places that had no regular garden space or poor soil.  
One customer, a rather cranky little ol lady, who had been an avid gardener all her life, was moving from her home to a retirement facility.  She was not able to kneel or bend over easily, so I asked permission from the facility management to put a straw bale garden on her patio.  She planted veggies, herbs, and flowers in her bale (completely hiding the bale).  She loved her little bale garden and spent hours on her patio entertaining the other residents, and sharing fresh veggies.  The last time I saw her she was in the store happily planning her winter bale garden.

a Paris balcony straw bale garden

I had a wheelchair bound gentleman that put his bale garden in the strip of ground between driveways, and quickly became the go to neighborhood veggie man. He got a sense of purpose and pride out of repurposing what had been wasted space. It also helped him to reconnect with his neighbors.
The straw bale process I used was gleaned from a bunch of good articles*, and only slightly tweaked to fit our needs. 

My home garden was all straw bales for the four years I lived up the canyon on the rock.  After I moved to the bunkhouse at Marymine's I put one in there as well, and that time used flakes from broken bales of alfalfa hay for the path ways.  The alfalfa flakes kept the mud and weeds down between rows, and further improved the tilth of the soil. 
I enjoy straw bale gardening, and have successful grown most veggies. The only crop that didn't do well in my garden was sweet corn, even staked it was too top heavy. When space is available, I plant sweet corn in a square block. That way it saves me from hand pollinating.   Anyway, the farmers market has great sweet corn, cheaper than I can grow it. And I don't have to put the blowup GI Joe with a motion sensor squirt gun in the garden to keep the coons away...

Plant a seed...

I'm burn'n daylight planting in the garden of delights, like a wild blue eyed granny. A post on straw bale gardening in cowcamp is coming here soon. 

not my picture, not my garden...sigh

In the mean time, if you have a moment to spare and I hope you do... you can read LL's great post on Social Values...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Smell the wonder...

It is an absolutely awesome morning. The air smells wonderful. Like bygone days on the water. A slight breeze, sunshine, and a smell like no other...

The Cowman's parents had a houseboat on Shasta when they were still going strong.  There are so many in the family that we had to take turns on it.  Nothing fancy just a place to get away from the summer heat of RB.

  Sometimes we took just adults, and sometimes the whole shoot'n match: kids, friends of kids, dogs, ski boats, boogie boards, and always lots of food and drink.

Getting the Cowman to take a break was never easy. The kids looked at him in amazement: to see him in cutoffs, wifebeater, with a bandana tied over his head driving the ski boat at full throttle. 

There were lots of pranks on the adults only trips, but I'm sure I was only the instigator in three fourths of them. One of the other cowmen eventually healed up from one, but "really" anyone who safety pins his shirt tail to his jockey shorts...

I loved to sleep on the roof top of the houseboat, no one else did, so I had it all to myself. With the stars for a roof, the lap of the water for a song, and the call of a loon for a wake up call. Quietly, so as not to wake the others, diving off the roof top to go for an early morning swim with a bar of Ivory (cause it floated). Sneaking back on board to set on top to dry off and listen to the lake, before starting breakfast for the crew. 
Here and now, a blessed beautiful day in RB, wish you could smell the wonder... 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Yesterday was absolutely beautiful here. Sun out, cotton candy clouds drifting across a blue blue sky.  You could hear the grass growing, at least I think it was the grass, couldn't have been a running ol granny's thighs...

Today it's overcast, and a little chilly.  We are supposed to get back up into the 70's this weekend.  YeeHaw! Let the veggie planting begin. There are about 50 baby Japanese maples to be transplanted as well as some started cuttings to pot up.


Went by and picked up one of Dad's shotguns from the gunny hospital.  Smithy has tried everything he can think of to make it fire correctly, and  finally recommended sending it back to the manufacturer.  Got it home and Dad says "that damn thing never has shot right." Ok, that would have been nice to know before we spent a morning on the range with it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Dad was trying to even up the playing field between the guys and I...

I purchased some new sneeks, and in my early morning excitement to get out the door and running in them, I forgot to corral the ol girls.  Damn, that is uncomfortable.  Try running with your arms across your chest.  Thankfully no one else was out at the same time, because if I had tried to wave I would have sure as shoot'n done a face-plant...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slightly bent, not broken...

It has been storm'n here, and we are getting some much needed rain. Grass is growing, reservoirs are slowly filling, but the clay soil is too wet to plant the veggie garden. If it weren't clay I would be out there planting, cheap therapy...  

Willie and I have been running in the rain, which is fine by me, not so much by Willie.  He has turned into Dad's lap dog. I think the dog biscuit jar by Dad's chair, and scraps from Dad's dinner plate have something to do with it.  Dad has started calling him with... "how's My Dog doing?" and "I'm going to turn My Dog loose on the neighbors darn cats, right after we take a nap."

An early morning run helps clear out a lot of the stuff that has gone on before and since I got back from the girls trip to LV.  It was wonderful to have a few days with the girls, not so much to come back to another !@#$ storm, that again seems to be widely advertised as my fault.  There has been a huge contest going on with mother leading the pack, to see just how many family, friends of mother's, attorneys, and assorted others it's going to take to break me in little pieces. Thankfully the hospice nurse and social worker totally get it, so they  hugged me and wished me luck as they sprinted out the door.

I try to use a little common sense, so I've found that if it's raining too hard to run safely,  another source of mental health balance is to set on top the dog house (in the covered kennel) with a neat scotch and a cigar and listen to the rain...  
The pack seem to have forgotten that I was taught survival skills early on by my late MIL, as she knew I would need them. Bless her. 
I know there will again be sunshine.  Slightly bent, not broken...