Friday, January 30, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Is there a complaint department in heaven? Does someone keep track of all uttered grievances? Are the gripes duly noted and catalogued according to date, source, and trends before being rendered into pie charts?
If so, I bet there's a Grumble Graph entitled something like January, Northern Hemisphere, in which the overwhelmingly largest slice belongs to WINTER. A click on "Sub-gripes" might list freezing temperatures, long nights, dead batteries, icy roads, flu season and wet boots, mittens, hats and coats spread about the house to dry.
Hopefully there's a corresponding Gratitude Graph. After all, the hardest aspects of winter should generate thanksgiving. If we have warm homes and hot meals and steaming cups and light to read by, what grace! If we're strong enough to shovel snow and our families and pets are safe and, if we have them, our livestock are snug in beds of straw and hay, what grace! So many don't.
"Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things." ~Horace
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
In nearly every respect, horses are more impressive than goats. Yet we humans have to study and practice, often for years, before we can communicate effectively with horses. We feel greatly honored if horses "join up" and follow us for a few strides without halter or lead.
It seems to me that horses merely condescend to include us in their social circles, at least until they tire of us--or the pasture gate is opened.
Goats, on the other hand, must be fenced away from humans. Given their druthers, kindly-treated goats would take up residence on our front porches--or sofas, if the doors weren't latched properly. Although we've never attended goat-handling workshops or studied caprine psychology, they bond to us quickly and follow us sincerely, sometimes even enthusiastically.
Horses might allow us certain herd privileges, but goats count us part of the family.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Our favorite place to run may seem, at first, to be smack dab in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, Population 0.
Upon closer inspection, however, it's obvious that the place is teeming with residents.
Pronghorn, mule deer, mustangs, horned larks, jackrabbits, cottontails, golden eagles, and a variety of rodents call this place home.
Apparently, Nowhere is something of an exclusive neighborhood!
"The greatest science in the world, in heaven and in earth, is love." ~Mother Teresa
Monday, January 19, 2015
Sugar is devoted to Rule 323-5b of the Book of Cowhorse Ethics, which states: "A cowhorse may apprehend a cow's hay, in the politest manner possible, but is not required to share said hay with said cow."
You can probably guess that 323-5a says that: "A cow, as a matter of principle, is not allowed to eat a cowhorse's better-quality hay allotment, unless said horse abandons said hay for reason of satiation."
I can only assume that said Book was compiled by cowhorses--with no bovine input whatsoever.
"Love your neighbor as yourself." ~Mark 12:31 (AMP)
Saturday, January 17, 2015
RIDDLE: Why did the rancher use his wife's hair dryer on the heifer?
Friday, January 16, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
There's no graceful way to describe a dead cow morning. Yesterday, Gracie was hale and happy; today, she was dead.
Gracie was a gentle, lovely young cow whose only vice was avarice. She was the first to get up for breakfast, whether hay or pasture, and if she could manage it, her breakfast would overlap lunch which would overrun supper! We can't say definitively but suspect that her portliness may have led to her demise.
Speculations did nothing to stop tears from streaming down or knees from buckling into the snow.
Before long, however, my favorite cow, Annabelle, planted two big, damp cow kisses on my already wet face. Annabelle so rarely dispenses smooches that I couldn't help but feel oddly comforted.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Hubby thinks our cows are too fat, so he's been trying to limit their rations. Hubby has never been pregnant, so he doesn't understand the acute hunger pangs of an expecting mama--cow or otherwise.
This morning, Hubby left for work. I plugged in the tractor so it could warm up before I fed the cows, then went for a run. I remember thinking it odd that the horses hadn't come in for breakfast.
A few minutes later, the road led me right to the scene of the crime: the entire herd plus two equine accomplices had broken into the hay corral. Broken wires were strewn everywhere, and it was obvious that much looting had already occurred!
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Blueberry's beautiful eyes, the color of winter sky, must have been overwhelmed by too much reflection off the glacier that is our farm. A case of photokeratitis (snow blindness) sentenced her to the barn for a few days, where she quickly recovered.
Snow goggles were out of the question, so Zach and I spread forkfuls of trashy hay across the gleaming snow on Blueberry Hill, the goats' favorite stomping grounds. The does seemed thrilled by the sudden influx of brownish-green on the Hill. Perhaps the color reminds them of spring!
Thursday, January 8, 2015
I hear the glaciers are melting, but this winter finds us living on one. Glacial encroachment has largely neutralized the Terrible Tiger's reign of terror, as he is averse to frigid temperatures and snow in general.
But when semi-hibernation in the house gets too boring, a cat can always slip outdoors and up a tree. He probably won't be able to boast any feathered casualties, but no matter. It's not about hunting so much as proving that a Terrible Tiger can never truly be tamed.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Normally, Sugar and Solly don't get turned out in the hayfields. Both tend toward the tubby side, and an all-you-can-eat alfalfa-grass buffet is out of the question. But when snow buries most of the buffet, the gate of freedom is opened wide.
As they trot through said gate, a pair of ordinary cowhorses horses forthwith undomesticate themselves. Curry combs, saddles, hugs, and apples become instant history. Tails up, they snort and run and roll and paw through snow for food--everything that real mustangs do--and that night, they dream wild, hoof-pounding, fenceless dreams.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Yet another storm blew in this morning, adding more snow and moving the old snow sideways. A neighbor told me that she's lived here 30 years and has never seen a winter like this one. Hubby has certainly plowed more snow this year than he ever has in the eight winters we've been here.
Regardless of season, jet stream, and latitude, storms happen. Cold fronts of fear, stinging winds of conflict, downpours of discouragement, heavy drifts of hurt happen.
But this photo of Sparkle, one of my most effervescent cows, fairly shouts, Don't let the storm snuff out your sparkle!
Thursday, January 1, 2015
I hear that the Chinese have designated 2015 as the Year of the Sheep--or Goat--depending upon translation. I suppose shepherds will argue for the former interpretation, while we goatherds will staunchly defend the second.
By virtue of milk production, intelligence, allegiance, sense of humor, and increasing worldwide popularity, goats surely deserve 2015. On the other hand, if it weren't for my cherished woolen socks, long johns, mittens, and blanket, I doubt I could tolerate Wyoming winters.
Perhaps those in the sheep camp and we in the goat shed could agree to share the Year, keeping in mind the words of Dr. Van Horn, Hubby's former college professor of sheep production and animal science: "A sheep is just a woolified goat."
I pray that 2015 will be a most wonderful year for you, regardless of your sheep-goat persuasion.
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." ~Luke 12:32 (NKJV)