Thursday, July 31, 2014


We planted silver buffaloberry, a hardy native shrub, in a windbreak five years ago. As their primary caregiver, I haven't been enthused about their unsociable thorns. But the buffs' profusion of blossoms and berries have begun to make a more favorable impression. 

Tribes in the Northern Plains used buffaloberries to make medicine, jelly, and a condiment for buffalo meat. More recently, scientists have recently determined that the berries contain so many antioxidants that they qualify as a superfood. 

The many songbirds that frequent our Silver Buffaloberry Cafe must be super healthy!

               Shepherdia argentea

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." --Proverbs 17:22 NKJV 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Palatability: Check!

The second cutting of hay looks good. According to my team of quality control specialists, it tastes good too!


"Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord." --1 Peter 2:3 AMP

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Charm School

5:07 pm -- Justin is introduced to our horses, Solly and Sugar. 

5:10 pm -- Justin asks me if he can feed the horses. 

5:11 pm -- Solly and Sugar are munching  on on free supper served to them by someone they've only known for 4 minutes. (How did they do that? They've never even read How to Win Friends and Influence People.)

"...Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves." --Luke 22:26 ESV

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Shining Moment

Funny how an early morning sunbeam can transform a lackluster chore like spraying cattle (to control horn flies) into one shining moment!

"...The darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining." --1 John 2:8 NASB

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Succession

Poppies and blue flax have given way to coneflowers, rudbeckia, coneflowers, sunflowers, and more coneflowers!

"The earth laughs in flowers." --Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Monday, July 21, 2014


On a 95 degree, windless day, what's a horse to do but play in the pond?

    Solly and Sugar, the queen of splash

"May the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you." --1 Thessalonians 3:12 MSG

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Which has more beauty: wild sunflowers blooming alongside a country road, or a dusty bouquet of artificial sunflowers? 

The former, of course, unless the imitation sunflowers are clutched by a troubled child learning patience, acceptance, and kindness from horses. 

Daylight, a therapy horse from Rainhorse (, assists a group of students from Northwest BOCES at yesterday's Ranch Day. It blessed me greatly to watch Maria Lisa Eastman, her big-hearted horses, and loving helpers contribute so much to each child's social skills and self-esteem.

"But You, O Lord, are...the One who lifts my head." --Psalm 3:3 NASB

Friday, July 18, 2014

Then and Now

When son Zach was young, he often inquired about my own childhood. "Did they have such-and-such back then?" he'd ask. From his perspective, a few decades previous was ancient history. 

My own method of categorizing recent history is so existential as to be worthless to very nearly all of mankind. Time simply falls into before-and-after animal eras, such as Before Peaches Died, or Before We Got the Heifers, or After Dazzle Was Born....

       2013: Cupcake's first calf, Dazzle

               Dazzle,17 months later

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." --Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In the Beginning, Perhaps

When God created the horse, were the angels watching? Did they marvel at his beauty and intelligence? Wonder at his strength and speed? 

Did the Creator tell the angels how this magnificent creature would serve mankind under saddles and packs and harnesses, on roads and trails, in farm fields and battlefields, over mountains and continents? Did the angelic host applaud?

Perhaps God grinned and said, "But that's not the best part. Wait until you see what the horse will do for the kids! He'll share his strength with the weak, his confidence with the timid, his affection with the lonely, his patience with the agitated, his grace with the broken. 

"The horse is really for the kids."

       Sugar and one of her kids, Felix. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The average annual precipitation here is less than eight inches, so rain showers like those we had last night lighten the hearts of gardeners, farmer-ranchers, range managers, surface mine or roadside reclaimers, or any others whose lives are devoted to the happiness of plants. 

We followed this double rainbow all the way home from town. 

Blissful prairie coneflowers and rudbeckia this morning. 

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " --John 7:38 NASB

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Good Mornings

Northern lights amaze and astound. But how about those eastern lights? 

"For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He has removed our transgressions from us." --Psalm 103:11-12 AMP

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mountain Goats

Since vehicles aren't permitted in the wilderness, travel is either by foot or hoof. Many use backpacks, horses or mules to carry supplies and equipment, but fellow goat-lovers Dan and Linda train their three wethers to pack. 

Young LaManchas, Leo and Buster, on a recent training hike to get used to their pack saddles. A fit, mature goat can tote up to a third of his body weight. Dan explains:

"It is not recommended to put a significant load on a goat until they’re about three years old when they reach their full maturity. Three years ago (the last time we had a mature “crew”), Linda and I packed our three goats into the wilderness. The goats were not in great shape, and thus we kept the pack weight to about 10 to 15 lbs/goat – more than enough to account for all of our camping stuff for two days. We probably covered 7 miles/day and the goats did just fine, although they were obviously tired at the end of each day."

"Note that we don’t have leads on the goats. When in strange surroundings, they stick to us like glue. We do keep leads handy in case we run into any dicey situation, such as livestock on the trail or dogs (we also carry a weapon in case the goats were under threat of attack by either dogs or other predators).


"Night time is interesting. Goats worry about everything and, if left untethered, you run the risk of either a predator chasing them off or of them burrowing into your tent (I’ll guarantee you that they’ll be in your sleeping bag with you once it gets dark!). 

"We string an overhead line between a couple of trees, put the leads on the goats, and connect the leads to the line with carabiners so that they can slide around. It’s best to tie knots in the overhead line to act as stops so that the goats don’t get tangled with each other or with the trees on either end.

"Goats are desert creatures and thus don’t do well with wet/cold (again, conditioning is important). If rain, heavy dew, and/or cold temps are a possibility, we’ll bring along a tarp to build some cover for them to crawl under at night."

Gus, a Nubian-Alpine cross, follows Leo and Buster, with Linda as rear guard. Gus still has issues from a terrible dog attack last summer so is not wearing a saddle. I can think of no better therapy for Gus than a family hike!

Many thanks to Dan and Linda Close and company for being my guests on today's blog!




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Candid Cats

Mercy is kind enough to let me keep my socks in her drawer!

Mercy and Smokey in a rare moment of peace. Usually they're playing Mercy Monster vs. Terrible Tiger. 

Bodie and Smokey supervising our work from the shade. 

"My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way." --Isaiah 51:5 NKJV

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No Red Carpet, Pt. IV

Our next New Moo Award is presented to  Gunder, Gracie's first calf. Gunder earns the Providence Award because it could only be by God's care and deliverance that Gunder is not an orphan. 

Readers may recall Gracie's brush with death several weeks ago when she got stuck upside down in a ditch and nearly suffocated.

Last week, Gracie miscalculated the location of the canal bank, fell overboard and couldn't get out. By the time we discovered her, she was exhausted from swimming and struggling to climb out. When Hubby joined her in the canal to try to catch her, she resumed clambering up the slippery bank. One wouldn't think that it's possible to pray and shout, "C'mon, Gracie!" in the same breath, but we did. Thankfully, she made it up to dry land! (Needless to say, the cows have been moved out of the canal pasture.)


"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." --Psalm 3:3 AMP

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No Red Carpet, Pt. III

There were no other contenders for this 2014 New Moo Award: the Encore Award. Little Mayzie made her grand entrance into the world a full seven weeks after the last of the other calves arrived. 

Stage fright has never been an issue for Mayzie. No matter how big the other players (even big bulls) or how new the script (new pasture or routine), she's not intimidated, but rather carries herself like a starlet. Front and center is her favorite place!

Mayzie, right, with Marigold and Samson. 

             Striking a glamorous pose. 

"...[The Lord] beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy." --Psalm 103:4 AMP

Monday, July 7, 2014

No Red Carpet, Pt. II

The next New Moo Award for the 2014 calving season, the Dairy Queen Award, is awarded to Blossom again. Though she's not a large cow, her abundant milk surely has through-the-roof protein and butterfat levels. Proof: her calf, Snoopy, is the biggest, beefiest, plumpest calf in the herd. 

                Snoopy and Blossom

"And of His abundance we have all received, and grace for grace." --John 1:16 NKJV

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Red Carpet

Winners of the 2nd annual New Moo Awards will be announced this week. Today's presentation--the Most Spottable Award--goes to Bubbles and her heifer calf, Pansy!

"May the God of your hope so fill you with joy and peace in believing...that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope." --Romans 15:13 AMP

Friday, July 4, 2014

War and Beasts

A stray neighbor bull come to call upon our cows this morning. Not only was this a genetic crisis--we didn't want his DNA in our herd--but it was dangerous. 

Champ didn't take kindly to this trespasser trying to usurp his territory, and the battle was prolonged and ugly. Our cowdog, Bodie, bravely broke up the conflict several times, but while we were trying to enforce a cease-fire by corralling the fence-crashing beast, one or the other bull would throw some punches and resume the fighting.  

Frankly, I was afraid for Champ, as his opponent had a year and 300 pounds on him. Many a bull has crippled another in skirmishes like these! 

When the battle jumped a fence and moved to the canal, we held our breath and prayed. Suddenly, the enemy's back legs bogged down in the wet bank. Champ took advantage of the opportunity to ram him into the canal. 

Said enemy sunk beneath the water. Eventually he resurfaced and taught himself to swim. Back on the bank, he declined Champ's offer to resume hostilities. We re-corralled him, but before we could hook up the stock trailer to haul him home, he heaved himself over two fences and headed there himself. He'd apparently had enough of our hospitality!

              Champ, today's champ. 

"I'm not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me? God's my strong champion." --Psalm 118:6-7 MSG

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ears to You

Hubby drives by this mule colt on his way to work. Whenever Hubby gets out of the truck, the colt joins him at the fence for a chat. 

Al-Bahima, a hard-working, plow-pulling, snack-snatching associate of son Zach and company in Yemen. 

"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You." --Job 42:5 NKJV

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Eye Appeal

It won't win any rose society awards. Its likeness won't be reproduced on a teacup. It probably wouldn't even win a blue ribbon in our little county fair. But lop-sided though it may be, this rose is still extraordinarily photogenic. 

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy." --Jude 1:24 NASB