Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rounding Up Memories...

It's that Red Bluff Round-Up time of year. 

 The Round-Up is a big deal in these parts, it brings in a great deal of revenue to the local businesses. 

The Cowman's dad & uncle were directors for many years, back in the day. The Cowman and his brothers worked the ground crew in the timed events chute. A thankless job, as it was either pouring rain or hotter'n hell, and they worked all the slack as well as all the performances. They all volunteered their time and effort to make it happen.  

Most of the old founding families are still active in producing the Round-Up.

Back in the day, at the end of each day's performance, was the Wild Horse Race.  They ran out a bunch of horses with a halter and lead rope on them. The wild horse race started with a shotgun blast, just to make sure they had the audiences attention, and spook the horses.Then each three man team had to hold on to their horse, get a saddle on it, one man had to mount up, and ride around the track back to the finish line to win the prize money.  Sounds rather simple, it's not, these were not gentle horses, they were wild horses. The Cowman, his older brother and a friend miraculously never got stomped into a pulp, bit, kicked, or bucked down like some teams.  The tough thing was hanging on to the horse long enough to get'm saddled and headed down the track in the right direction.  All this happened just feet away from the grandstand and we were lucky enough to have box seats to watch the action. 

Most of the teams were locals that we all knew, so the competition among them was pretty stiff.  I had a vested interest in those days, really didn't need a busted up husband, but we sure could have made good use of that prize money. 

They don't have the Wild Horse Race these days... But the Wild Ride competition at the last performance is great fun to watch.  The riders dress up in costumes and come out of the chute on a bronc for a Wild Ride.

Tonto & the Lone Ranger out of the chute
 My BIL still has the family box, and a ticket with my name on it, so I might just make a performance this year.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter 2017

Went to a dinner last evening at the home of the friend that gave me the flag (iris) rhizomes. Hers are blooming ahead of mine, so I took some photos to show you.

 It's a bearded iris named Presby's Crown Jewel.

Happy Easter!


UPDATE Iris 04-19-2017

Took my early morning coffee out on the patio to watch the sun peek over the Sierras,
and the wait has ended,  
Presby's Crown Jewel is blooming...


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Springtime in cow country...

watercolor by Nelson Boren

out West by an ol friend

Yep, it's spring time in cow country, 
and the sounds of cattle being gathered, marked and branded, echo through the hills...


Yesterday was spent with my attorney among the saddles, bits, and cowman deco of his office, with his Border Collie Pancho at our feet.  This morning was spent pulling and copying documents that he requested.  Got that done and delivered to his office, when a friend texted she would come over for afternoon tea and a chat.  Well I drink coffee and don't really have a nice lady like tea cup to my name. So after I picked up some Earl Grey and cream I went in search of a tea cup. I stopped off at one of the local thrift shops, no nice tea cups. On to another thrift shop, several possibles, but not quite what I was looking for. About ready to say the hell with it, she can drink out of a Fiestaware mug, when I turned around and there stacked up against the counter was a framed print.  Oh My Gosh, it was the framed print I have been keeping on the look out for for nearly 30 years.*

 *A bit of the back story, I bought the same print years ago, it hung in my living room on the home ranch.  A friend always said she liked it (it does look a great deal like her son).  After a while I gave it to my Sean for his house.  With all our moving and his moving it got lost.  Way back then,  the friend mentioned that if I found another she would like one.  

Today I ran right into it!  Took a pic of it, sent it to her, and said, "Look what I found, if you still want it it's yours!"  Her reply was "YES, PLEASE!!"  So the framed print came home with me. I have a few small dings in the frame to fix, and it will be delivered to her, at their ranch.  I'm so tickled to have found it for her.

sorry for the poor quality photo

A flowerdy mug for one friend, and a framed print for another... Much better day today!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bloom where you're planted...

Solanum laxum

It's springtime, and the sun is playing hide and seek with the thunder boomers. Inspite of fickle lighting, we are going to go for a walk around the garden and see what is blooming.

Grevillea Noellii
 The Grevillea in the front yard is covered in bright pink blossoms.

Erigeron  karvinskianus     Santa Barbara Daises
 SB Daises are acting as ground cover in the side yard. They self sow and my neighbor is cussing, because they have invaded his vinca minor borders.  It's survival of the fittest around here, I tell him.

Lavender, Crape Myrtle, Gazania
 Onward past the Crape Myrtle and Lavender border.
Well dang, we went right past the Dogwoods.  Back tracking, here you go...

White Dogwood
Now for a quick look at the Swiss chard. No blooms but it is colorful and good eating slightly wilted in bacon grease.

Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Opposite the Chard is the Camellia.  She's coming to the end of her blooming cycle, but still putting on a show.

Camellia japonica
Winding our way to the back garden we come to a happy pot of pansies.


Further on the Petunias and Pelargoniums have a new flush of bloom. My favorite old fashioned petunias.

Pelargoniums & Petunias
We will end for now with the pot of flags (Iris), they haven't bloomed yet but are getting there. They got off to a slow start as the Jays kept covering up the rhizomes while trying to plant acorns. I kept uncovering them til the Jays finally decide to plant elsewhere.

pot of flags (Iris)
I'll take a photo when the flags bloom, can't remember which color these are, time will tell.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Day by day...

Today I bought a new face shield for weed whacking, (my old plastic one seems to have disappeared), so I could get the clover and grasses knocked down on the long bank in front of the house.  Only place I could find a mesh one was in RDG.  Which was OK, as it gave me a chance to blow the cobwebs out of Hank, the pickup. Came back, gassed up the weed eater, put on the face shield, and headed out.  My neighbor came over and said, "Geez, you look like Darth Vader with that thing on." 
"Works for me, I'm going full throttle, I have to knock this out before it rains again."  
I had learned my lesson about not using a full face shield, when I did it last time with just my shoot'n glasses on.  Those little pebbles kicked up into your face hurt, and I looked like I had the measles for a week.  The new mesh one works great, much cooler, you can breathe and no fogging up!
After I ran out of daylight to whack weeds, I came in to text a friend that I had managed to get most of it done.  Friend said, now would be the time for you to use that whirlpool tub in the master bath.  I was a little leery of that tub as I had never even turned it on. I have a full bath on my end of the house, and there was never really any reason for me to use the master bathroom.  But, since my arms were still vibrating from the weed eater and my legs were complaining about the circuit training yesterday, I thought what the heck.  Filled that sucker up, turned it on, ran down to my bathroom, grabbed a ball of moisture fizz, threw that in the whirlpool, and stepped in.  Oh my gosh, if I had not wondered if that whizzing sound was my electric meter racing around, I would still be in there.

Dad, bless him, is still effecting things with his dry sense of humor... 
My brother told me on the phone the other day that Dad had told him he could have Dad's wedding ring. Would I ship it to him.  
"Well that's going to be a tough one, because I don't have it!"   
"It's got to be there, Dad said, I could have it!"
"Yes, well he hocked it."
"He wouldn't do that, it must be there!"
"Nope, he hocked it because he wanted to get a bugle!"
"What, why would he do that?"
"Because he wanted a bugle to learn to play taps."
"Why would you let him do that?"
"Let him, it was his ring, he could do with it what he wanted. He decided he wanted a bugle." 
Oh Dad I'm sending the bugle on to my brother... lol


Monday, April 3, 2017

Carrying on...

Spring has sprung in the back of beyond. The rains have gone, and the NORTH wind is howling round the place, drying every little thing out, and causing white caps on the bird bath.

Willie and I miss Dad a lot, there is so much to take care of and do that even if I weren't so inclined I would be constantly reminded.  I'm barely holding firm to not going full berserker on my brother & his wife. But friends, my kids, & the Cowman's family have been awesome in their help & support as I navigate my way through this.

 This last week I was called for jury duty, a small computer glitch at the court house, caused half of the county to be called up!  Four and a half hours to get from the security check in, into a courtroom, then told to come back the next day... 
a quarter of the line waiting to be processed for jury selection
 Back the next day, 2.5 hours later the jury was finally seated.  I wasn't called to be seated, and though I have no problem with doing my civic duty, this was a child molestation case, with no hard evidence.

Saturday, a friend and I went to the big quilt show at the fairgrounds. So much talent in our small community.

Saturday night my SIL, a few friends, and I went to the performance of Cinderella by Mercy High School. We laughed, cheered, clapped, and enjoyed every minute. (Didn't hurt that we had stopped off for a little wine tasting before hand.) The girl that played the fairy godmother, stole the show with her antics. Outstanding performance by the whole cast.

Sunday my niece, SIL, and I went to a bridal shower for my granddaughter, Ali.  Another good day, full of family, friends, and much laughter.

Today I met up with the guys to pickup the map with coordinates for the hunt'n camp where Dad wanted his ashes to be scattered. Their dad was Dad's best friend. 

T should be done with his Rubicon run, and a few other adventures by later this month. He will fly Dad and I up to hunt'n camp. Though I love to fly, I have a feeling that is going to be a hard day. 

An old friend came by the other day on her way taking some of her mares North, she has invited me to come stay with her for a few days when the others are foaling.  It would be nice to get away for a couple of days in the saddle, and shoot'n the breeze... 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


White hair moments are few and far between around here, thank God, but they do happen. When they do it is usually too embarrassing too relate to you, even for me, but what the heck!

A week ago, I was awakened at O dark thirty by an occasional Chirp. Got up and went in search of the offending Chirper. Finally got to the area, which happened to be above the doorway inside Dad's bedroom.  Dad was sleeping, and didn't have his hearing aides in, so it wasn't bothering him. It was bothering me. Got the ladder out of the garage, and  proceeded to climb up to the Chirping smoke alarm. Checked it, it seemed fine, but still Chirping, must need new back up batteries. The smoke alarms in the house are hard wired, so the back up batteries had to be the problem. Easy fix, well not quite. Managed to wrangle the unit open and pull the old batteries, Chirp... what?  Ok, put new batteries in, check the the wiring plug, Ok... Chirp!  What the hell!  It has to be this one, because this is where the Chirping is coming from. Put it all back together, go on line to do a little research, and the advice is: "You need a new smoke alarm."  Well that's just dandy. The hardware store doesn't open for a while yet, and I can't leave til Dad's home health lady gets here, anyway. Crawl back in bed, and try to go back to sleep, nope, Chirp... 
Finally, the home help lady arrives and I climb back up the ladder, unplug the unit, throw it in a bag, and head out to the hardware store.  Did I hear a Chirp as I got in the pickup!?
Arriving at the hardware store, I ask for help in the smoke alarm section. Of course, the employee that finally decides to breakaway from the morning coffee klatch of building contractors,  has only been in this section a few days.  He looks at my smoke alarm, asks how old our house is, 2001.  "Oh, that old, well they have changed the plug in on all the newer smoke alarms, so you will need a whole new unit, and have to have a new plug wired in."  I presume this will require an electrician, Damn. 
Get the new smoke alarm home, and I'm greeted by a Chirp as I walk in the door. What the hell!  Up the ladder, plug the old smoke alarm back in, screw the base back in, push the tester, screaming noise, then silence... then Chirp...  I climb back down the ladder, ask Dad (who is now wide awake thanks to the screaming test alarm) if he knows why/how that damn thing keeps Chirping.  He gives me a smurky smile (which I should have learned to be suspicious of)  and says "nope, you will just have to figure it out." Chirp...
I start to go back up the ladder and decide it would be safer if I close Dad's door and work from inside his bedroom. As I'm closing the door, CHIRP...  What, What is that on the wall, (behind the door that I have never closed from inside the bedroom) but a CHIRPING... carbon monoxide alarm! 
Change out the batteries in that alarm, no more chirping. Put the newly purchased smoke alarm back in the bag, and return it to the hardware store. "What is your reason for returning this item?"
"I'm a white haired berserker!" 
Come home, and ask Dad, "why didn't you tell me there was another alarm behind the door?"   
"You figured it out didn't you?"  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cleared to climb UNLIMITED...

Dad passed away this afternoon, here at home, very peacefully. He lead a good long life. He was a farmer who hunted and fished and golfed all over the West, but his greatest joy was to kick the tires and light the fires in a fighter jet. 

Love You, Dad.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Cowcamp news...

It has been crazy around here, what with hospice people, friends, and family in and out. Dad is still with us, but weaker.  My brother blew in for a day an a half, and has gone back home to Ideeho.  It was so good for Dad to get to see & talk to him. They went through old photos, and told hunting stories, and loaded my brother up with things that Dad wanted him to have. Now if Dad will just hang in til my Sean gets here to see him. 
I love my kids, they are straight up awesome. When I put the word out to them that Grampa was on Hospice care they went into action.  Marymine rounded up her brood, loaded'm up in her crewcab pickup, and headed up to spend the day with Gramps. 
My Sean texted to say he and Amy would fly down and spend the weekend with Grampa and I.  If I thought he needed to come sooner, he would make that work, too. I didn't think that was necessary... So they are flying in Sat and staying til sometime Monday, Yay!

In the Best News department... 
My Sean has popped the question to his girlfriend Amy and her response was "Oh Hell Yes!"

She is a really nice gal and Sean and his girls love her and her boys. 
I'm pretty excited, she just might fit pretty darn well in this crazy clan.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Running out of time...

Dad is fading, I took him to see his VA doc Tuesday, and we discussed getting Hospice in place. Dad was all for it and said he was ready to go.
I did the intake evals with the nurse, and social worker, and signed the Hospice papers on Friday. Dad will be able to stay home, and comfortable.  They have been sending supplies and info, and have been very supportive.  I have been down this road with mother, so some of it is known.
Dad is in no pain, other than the occasional twinge from a pressure sore, that the nurse and I have been aggressively treating.  We get a hospital bed on Monday, and that will help with re-positioning him, and changing him.  He is very weak, and fragile.  He is taking some liquids, but it is difficult for him. He doesn't really want to eat anything, nothing tastes good, not even his ol favorites.  If he decides he would like a certain food, I make it and two bites later he says, no thanks.
 We talked about his last wishes for quite sometime the other night.  He wants to give me all the guns but two, all his tools, and the much prized fly rod & reel that was my grandpa's.  (I'm not looking forward to when my brother finds this out.) 
Dad doesn't want any services, just his ashes scattered at an old hunting camp in the high country. 

Dad & his best friend Oscar

It's where he scattered his best friend's ashes years ago.  I asked him if he wanted to be driven up there or flown.  "Do you think you could fly my ashes up there, Sis?"   " Damn straight I will if that's what you want!" I replied.  He got a big grin on his face, and said that would be good, he would like that very much.
My brother is on his way from Idaho to see him, and I kinda think Dad is just hanging tough long enough to speak to him.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Half Cocked TBT ...

Here we are to Friday, so I'm going to post a Throw Back Thursday (which makes no sense, but that's the way things are around here)...  by reposting an old post from three years ago entitled:

 "Half Cocked..."

Most of my wrecks have come either around cattle or on horses.  Some were bloody, some were just plain funny, and some just were.
 One normal day the Cowman and I were moving a 100 head of heifers from one pasture to another.  The pasture they were in sat in a small valley between rolling hills and high mountain ridges.  A small dry stream with many deep cut banks traversed the valley.  
The Cowman sent me to bring'm, while he was busy setting the gates.
Heifers can be tough to work, they have a tendency to be flighty, one minute huddled together and the next kicking and running in all directions.  Most days if you take your time, and keep them at an even pace, things work out.
This day wasn't going to be one of those days.  I gathered them up at the far end of the valley and started them toward the gate at the other end.  Everything was going along smoothly when over the rolling hills popped three black helicopter gunships. This happened often enough on that ranch that the Cowman and I were used to them.  In fact, I loved to watch them play hide and seek thru the draws.

File:AH-64 Apache.jpg

This day they swooped down the valley fast and low, banked, made another run down the valley, then powered up to go over the high ridges and were gone. I'm pretty darn sure they were laugh'n their heads off on that last pass. Because those wringy heifers had not seen the like before and started stampeding.  There we are: the heifers, the big bay horse and I, all pretty much going full out, when out of a deep cut bank came a large herd of squealing wild pigs.

 The heifers went berserk, what with the gunships having gone over them twice, and now wild pigs shooting out of the ground.  
Of course, that big ol bay horse had to join in.  As I'm grabbing leather, for the third time, to stay on the bucking horse, I look up. There off to the side, a horseback, sets the Cowman.  His arms crossed, reins resting on the horn, and I swear to God, giving me the steely eyed look, with one eyebrow cocked and a smirky smile...


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Buttercup days...

I am finally over my cold, but tired beyond knowing, and my get up and go seems to have left the corrals. Time to Suck it up Buttercup!

Dad was doing well at home, and then last Wed got some bug. High temp, oxygen low, white count high... so the home health nurse and I shipped him to St E's.  After spending eight hours with him in the ER, with blood draws, x-rays, IV's etc. they got him turned around, and stable enough to take to the regular floor.  He was there til Sat. when I brought him home. They never did figure out what was causing the problem.  He's on antibiotics for a few more days, and the home health nurse checked on him yesterday and was pleased with his progress. I quit giving him all the meds they sent home with him from rehab, which I think caused some of this. The home health nurse agrees with me, so now he just has antibiotic, aspirin, & oxygen. Will take him to his VA doc next week for a checkup.
He is a bit bull headed and tried to get to the bathroom by himself the other early am, and ended up on the floor. No harm done, but I could not get him back in bed by myself so had to call the fire dept.  They lifted him with ease, and we got him settled back in bed.
He is back on his computer spreading cheer and wreaking havoc with his women friends, so he's feeling a little better.
I, on the other hand, seriously need to Suck it Up Buttercup...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

TBT Country...

It's Throw Back Thursday TBT

While digging through a box of old family photos, I came across this gem.  
If memory serves, this was during a period when mom had decided to try her hand at sewing. Gingham was obviously Big that year.  Don't remember that she did much sewing after this project. She did make sure I knew how to sew, by sending me to a terrific sewing leader in 4-H, so that I could make my own clothes.  I have been sewing ever since, but I never ever made matching outfits...

 That's me, sport'n the buck teeth and the high water bangs...


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day...

Dad & Willie 02.14.2017

Happy Valentine's Day from Dad, Willie, and I.  

Dad is spending it with his favorite daughter, and his girlfriend!

Dad is doing better little by little, Monday was a very full day for us: oxy man, two nurses, social worker, friends, home help, friends, etc. He did eat better, and managed to walk much longer with his walker. 

Will keep you posted, have a good day, Brig 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dad's Home...

He's home, the sun is shining, and he says he is very happy to be Home.  Willie was thrilled to see him, and required being in his lap for extended periods.  Dad's fine with that, and sneaking treats to him.

 The following are just random notes.  I'm posting it as more of a journal for me than anything. Please don't feel you are required to read on, though you are welcome to comment.

The new hip is working nicely, scar has healed well, and he has no pain from it.

He managed to get some orange chicken with rice and a small amount of a protein shake down after he got home. I fixed him corned beef hash with an egg last night, it was his request. It was good, but he struggled to swallow even a few bites. I've talked with his oncologist and the ENT surgeon, and this difficulty swallowing some things is part of what is at this stage. His coughing to clear his throat is about the same. It is frustrating to him that he can't eat many of his favorites without his choking. And we face the aspirating problem.

He is very weak and only manages very short distances with his walker. Then he sets in it and I push him where he wants to go. We have a wheel chair (left over from Mom) and a hoveround that he used to get back and forth to the mailbox(we live on a hill).  I'm not sure about him getting too dependent on mech things to do things for him, need to talk to PT & his doc about that, hopefully Monday. 
This morning he was up for a while, got him changed, his three E's in, meds and eye drops in, and gave his legs a massage, and got part of a banana protein shake down him. He wanted his favorite CD of Roy Orbison on the whole house stereo system, so we were rock'n the house, and he spent some time in his den on his computer. He's back in bed now, and comfortable.
I have a dear friend that has been occasionally going to see him with me. She talks to him like this is just a minor bump in the road. I know that she means well, but it isn't the reality, and he & I know it. 

He and I both know why he has been so adamant about getting home.

Monday, his home health caregiver will be here, as well as PT and a few others, that he enjoys interacting with. Hopefully they will cheer him up

 Lots of orders for his care came home with him.  He is on nocturnal oxygen, so they showed up not long after he got home and explained the equipment to me. I rearranged some things in his bedroom and that's all in place.  He is to use it when he naps, as well. That gets a little problematic as he is prone to just dozing off in his chair.  Last night was a process to get him ready for bed. Remove the 3 E's:  ears (hearing aides), eyes (glasses), eats (false teeth), put in his eye drops, turn on the big oxy machine, adjust it, put the nasal cannula on him, and the finger oxy tester thingy...  but we gott'er done and him tucked in for the night. Oh, and put the other things that he thought he might need on his night stand, including the big Donger (cowbell/handle)!

 (I told him he better damn well be dying if he rings that thing in the middle of the night. He laughed, and said "Aah I Love You, Sissy, Thank You for taking care of me."   "I Love You Dad, and you are most welcome.")

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Dad Report...

Sometimes you just have to push through, and keep plugging along.
Dad has had me fairly busy taking his favorite foods, the mail, newspapers, etc, up to him, daily. He won't eat the food at rehab, says it doesn't taste good to him.  I have been concerned about his not eating, or eating very little, as he has dropped 6 lbs (he didn't have to spare) since he got there.  The staff are very good about answering my constant questions on his care and status.
He has had loads of cards, balloons, phone calls, and visitors.  Still he is depressed, he just wants to be home, were he totally runs the show.  But he has needed to be strong enough to come home, a vicious circle. I've met with his social services lady several times, and finally the other day told her, "He's 93, he's lived a good long life, now do what ever arrangements it takes so I can take him home, soon".  He can do PT at home, he can have home help, I can make sure he eats, and he has Willie and friends to help keep his spirits up.
He had an interesting table mate in the dining room. Old P38 driver from a ranching family in Arizona, that went on to keep flying and ranching in N Calif. I have adopted him, he's 94. He has great stories of ranches, and cowmen we both knew. And his flying stories are just short of unbelievable. I have given him our info and told him when he's ready for a breakout I'll come get him.
They are releasing Dad to me to bring him home tomorrow, Sat. He has really missed his home routine.
Things never go quite the way we sometimes think they should... and to stick another spoke in the mix I have come down with a whooper of a cold.  I'll get over it, but Dad can't afford to get it.  Will do my best to see that that doesn't happen, but dammit! Then I hear from the staff that Dad says he wants to go home because my cooking is the best, and that I will take good care of him.  Bless his heart that's more than a bit of a stretch on the cooking...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Horses, Dogs & Bull...

Taking a second to catch my breath after another week of daily trips up to see Dad, (He's doing well, and hopefully will be home in another week) and watching events at our annual Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale. 
Lots of good working dogs this year. I sorta keep an eye out for what I like in a working dog, and after watching them in the trials, my favorite was Crazy 8 Twit (bred & consigned by Mason Winebarger of Post, Oregon).  Twit ended up being the Champion high point dog, and sold for $14,500. A tad beyond my budget.  
GS Farrah, topped the sale at $20,000 the second highest amount ever paid for a dog at the sale.

Champion Crazy 8 Twit

The geldings did well.  "Walter" was the top selling horse at $39,000.  Rumor has it that "Walter" is going to a ranch in Hawaii...

I didn't get to watch the bulls sale, but I understand they all did well, too.

Col Rick Machado sell'n right

Much to see at the trade show, and art show. North Valley Hat Co was there, Yay!  Met some lady vendors that were a real hoot.  Lots of shared laughter.
John Growney (Growney Bros Rodeo Co) with  Kathy Branco at the Branco Ranch Furniture booth

So many friends to catch up with that I sometimes only get to see once a year.