Friday, February 17, 2017

Hurry and Wait

I wrote this a few days ago for a writing challenge. I'm no poet, but it does portray the current state of farm affairs.



Icicles drip from barn roof and
Snowdrifts melt into glaciers and
Only two weeks left and
Pitchfork heaps straw mush and
Tractor pyramids manure and
Spud bar jackhammers ice and
Shovel carves canyons for corral rivers and
Culvert ices clear through and
Puddles freeze gates shut overnight and
Where did I leave that shovel and
Wind and Sun, come and
Sanctify dank nursery ground and
Soon! calving starts in March




But out in the field
Cows waddle heavy to water
One leg at a time
Eating, chewing, napping, growing bigger yet
Waiting easy.


Sparkle

Mayzie

Bubbles and Brownie


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"Away, then, all fears. The Kingdom is safe in the King's hands." ~Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Nitty-Gritty

This actually wasn't the touching moment between close friends that it appeared to be. In truth, Sugar (right) was reminding Solly that her place is beside me, and his is behind her. She doesn't like to share her people.




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"The message of [Valentine's Day] is to shower with love and adoration the person who makes you happy....But the love of Christ compels us to love others even when they're not making us happy, when Cupid's not shooting arrows all over our relationships." ~Kelly Minter

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spic and Span

Years ago, Hubby’s brother, Ronnie Arthun, managed the Montana State University’s Red Bluff Ranch. Hubby recalls that in the summer, the ranch ran about a thousand head of Targhee ewes on the Taylor Fork in the Gallatin National Forest.

A herder named Thomas watched over the ewes and their lambs. With the indispensible aid of his sheepdogs, Thomas kept the sheep in a bunch, moved them to fresh pasture, and bedded them down at night. The dogs also alerted Thomas to predators like cougars, coyotes, or bears. Thomas loved his dogs like family.

Once or twice a week, Ronnie “tended camp”, which meant taking provisions up the mountain to Thomas. Sometimes Thomas bagged a deer or grouse for supper, but Ronnie also brought groceries like cured meat, sardines, potatoes, bread, cheese, eggs, and lard.

Thomas was more gregarious than most herders. When Ronnie, sometimes accompanied by his wife and sons, came to tend camp, Thomas was happy for the company and enjoyed cooking dinner for his guests.

Once when Ronnie tended camp, Thomas served him some homemade stew along with his staple, slices of bread with lard spread on them. After they had eaten, Ronnie asked Thomas if he needed any dish soap.

“No need for that,” Thomas said, setting the plates on the ground. “Shep does the dishes.” Shep, of course, was Thomas’ favorite Border collie.


Illustration by Jenny Robinson, jennyrobinsonstudio.com


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"All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only a human. He wasn't a dog." ~Charles M. Schulz


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Full Figures

it seems like the expectant mothers are getting rounder by the day. (See Exhibits A, B, and C below.) Their calves should begin making an appearance around March 10!



Dazzle, top, and Angel


Pansy, top, and Peaches


Marigold, top, and Cupcake



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Shed 'n' Breakfast

Goats are hardy creatures. Minnie and most of the other goats come outside for breakfast, no matter how many degrees below 0... 




...with the exception of Blueberry and Jubilee, who take their breakfast in the shed and don't come out until the sun has had time to warm things up a bit. 





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"For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." 
~Psalm 84:11 NLT

Friday, February 3, 2017

Moxie

Hubby used to have a registered Tennessee Walking Horse named Mariana. She had the rocking-chair canter and running walk typical of her breed, but Mariana’s sturdy build, agility, speed, and cow sense rivaled that of any Quarter Horse.

Quick and quick-witted, Mariana sprang into action the split-second that a cow made a wrong move. She read the situation and controlled a cow’s trajectory as handily as any competitive working cowhorse. Riders didn’t have to understand cattle because Mariana did. This was just as well; most were too preoccupied with staying in the saddle.

Not even the orneriest cows and bulls could bully Mariana. Hubby says that could be worrisome, seeing as he was aboard a horse that wasn’t going to back down from an angry bovine that often outweighed her. One particularly unpleasant old mama cow, #99, once hit Mariana’s side and nearly knocked her over. The experience might have intimidated some horses but only made Mariana more determined.

Mariana was never nominated for cowhorse sainthood, however, because she was difficult to catch. Hubby would have to haze her into a small corral or bribe her with oats before he could halter her.

One morning, Hubby was surprised to see Mariana not only out of the horse pasture but trotting up to him. Then he saw the blood. A mountain lion had left claw marks on her rump and had run her through a 7-wire barbed wire fence that ripped deep gashes into her neck and chest. She was a trooper, though, and stood calmly while Hubby treated her wounds and administered penicillin twice a day for weeks.

Hubby and Mariana logged many miles on mountain trails. She was the first horse he knew that wasn’t scared of moose. “The only thing wrong with her was that I didn’t have two of her. Even other gaited horses couldn’t walk as fast as she did. Packhorses had to jog to keep up, which was very uncomfortable for them. I had to keep stopping to let the packhorses rest.”

Hubby figures that Mariana was the best horse he’s ever owned, even though he didn’t pay a dime for her. He’d plowed 25 acres of ground for a neighbor, who gave him Mariana in payment. “I definitely came out ahead on that deal,” he says.

Marianna


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“I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up.” ~Malala Yousafzai