Sunday, May 1, 2016


"Have you ever had a moment like that? Suddenly, without explanation, the stars seem to align and, without doing anything, the pressure in your chest eases and the thoughts in your mind untangle and you can’t explain it, but it seems like everything’s going to be okay, and you know you didn’t do anything to make it happen and it feels like a gift—one you want to open slowly so the moment of grace won’t pass you by, as you know it inevitably will." ~ Dr. Kelley Flanagan
I really enjoy Dr. Flanagan's website blog, UnTangled.  He is pretty darn raw and authentic; does not sugar coat the challenges of life all the while striving to find the higher ground.  Unlike so much of the blather on social media, which whips up drama forming stiff peaks of uncooked meringue, Dr. Flanagan brings the journey of living around to self.  I love it, I need it. I long for my moments of amazement to string together joined by "gratitude" and "right focus."

I love the new ranch.  Over the past few months, I will admit, there have been times where I felt like I was just visiting; I've felt like I was staying at a bed and breakfast, until Tuesday night.  The moment probably was seeded last month when we finally signed all the papers and the other house became home to another family.  I drove by and saw kid things in the back yard and it was bittersweet.  All the memories; the goods and bad, mundanes and parties, memories of growing a family and finding a little more of myself washed over me.  I'm so thankful the house belongs to another family growing up deserves to be loved and enjoyed!  The signing of the papers and the turning over of keys released me into unpacking my heart and mind....finally. As I was driving home on a windy, rainy Tuesday night....I came to the stop sign that I have stopped at how many thousands of times over the past 10 years of owning my original RDR?  THAT moment, of intense feeling of being untangled, hit me...... I turned right instead of left and drove home.  

This place is pretty magical.....there are days when I go out to work and I loose myself in time.  I step back into 1856 when the property was homesteaded...the first in the Turner valley.  I squint my eyes into slits and let my mind wander into the forest trees that were cut off the hill side.  What grew in the big field below? Certainly camas, as my wet corner pocket acres are full of the beautiful purple flowers.  I wonder if natives roamed my land, gathering the roots to dry and feed their families.  The little pond, fed by the spring-head on the acre we own across the main road, invites a leisure bench sitting in the shade of the big willow........who decided to bring the bullfrogs in?  Taking the land back from the hemlock, thistle and blackberries is my main goal right now.....and the beauty unfolds as the work continues.

My husband laughs, almost daily, in wonderment at the idea we purchased 'property with a view'. "Who knew?" he exclaims as he drinks his coffee from the porch and wonders at the changing views. Some days fog rolls in off Mill Creek, fingers extending out over the fields, lengthening, relaxing and covering the land.  As the sun rises and finds strength, the hand folds curling back into the waters, taking nothing while leaving the fingerprints of dew.  Other days, the sky is crystal blue, a backdrop for Mt. Jefferson, a rosy snow covered mountain reflected in the water of the pond.  

The work can be consuming....the fitbit steps never I spray, seed, feed and love on the land.  Thoughts of "how the heck could anyone let the land go so feral?" sneak in and I remind myself......I am so blessed!  The physical work, putting the roots to my dreams, is so rewarding....and I find a lot of happiness and perhaps a little peace as the late 1800's meet 2016.  

Secretly, I think this place was created just for me.  All the tiny details of those who lived here before.....maybe it was created for them too, but most certainly it was for me.  "Suddenly, without explanation, the stars seem to align and, without doing anything, the pressure in your chest eases and the thoughts in your mind untangle and you can’t explain it, but it seems like everything’s going to be okay, and you know you didn’t do anything to make it happen and it feels like a gift—one you want to open slowly so the moment of grace won’t pass you by, as you know it inevitably will."

I find myself living my manifesto.....seize the day, make life the gift slowly (with intention) so the moment won't pass me by......

Monday, April 25, 2016

Are Blogs a Thing of the Past?

I glance over at my blog feed, the list being full and long on the right hand side of my own blog page......only a handful, if that, are current.  I wonder why?  The running blogs I follow are filled with current updates, the same to be said with the bee blogs.  Of course, Pioneer Woman posts every day, sometimes more than once!  What has become of the working dog blogs?

Personally, my life has changed radically with the move to new land.  I'm still training my dogs but the days of "every weekend trialing" are gone for now.  The list of "things to do" here and closing up shop there, makes for days on end being full from sunup to sundown.  I hit over 120,00 steps for the week for the first time since my half marathon.  My days are filled with hemlock and thistle eradication, planting, feeding, planning and dreaming.  I've added bees to help the orchard thrive and have plans for an enclosed, deer proof garden.

But my love is still the dogs!  My freelance sheep work has continued well past lambing.  Young Sis is coming along and I try to work her on the mobs whenever the fields allow for mistakes and learning.  I've got a friend's dog in for some training; new lines are making me dig deep into the tool box to get understanding.  An old friend, from a life that feels past, once told me, "do what makes your heart happy" and here I am.

As I watch the youngsters sort and learn, my heart can hardly be contained in my chest.  Sis gathered a field of mamas and babies the other day. The field did not allow for the gather of my dreams; two string polywire lined the back end and Sis does not have the experience to sort that.  Well, not without either losing sheep through the wires or getting shocked in the process of bending.  As I work on her bending and sorting top ends....a shock is NOT where I want to go ever, so I got my Fitbit steps in and walked her out......pushing the stragglers over to form a single mob as we went out wide. The push to the holding pen was nice and easy with everyone staying together and Sis covering all those who might want to stay.  Sis was quite comfortable being way ahead of my slower, two legged trot that never seems to keep up with anything four legged especially in a wet field.  Once we got to the need for some real "pushing" the pressure brought some fight out in a couple of mamas.  I watched in amazement as Sis sorted out what to do and when.  One ewe, Sis just held the pressure and the mama moved off with her baby.  Another ewe decided her family was not going in the pen and came at Sis. Time froze and I knew....this was a make or break moment.

Watching a dog find themselves...learning what they are made of.....still takes me breath away.  I had no idea that Sis had a lovely face bite in her.....a soft one and a nice hard one.... or that she could take the "stand there" to allow the ewe to move off once the defensive move was delivered.  Perhaps I could have manufactured the experience in a controlled training session.....however, watching Sis sort it out herself was that sweet reward of all the lies in these amazing working dogs.  It's that "thing" that I can't take much credit for......perhaps just allowing "it" the time and miles and trust and relationship to grow up and finds its way out in the real work.

I'm still here, although life looks a little different these days.  I still train and work and I'll get a few trials in here and there.  I still think about the dogs and ponder their ways as I do my land improving work.  I believe my blog will take a little turn as I feel compelled to write about my new days....filled with bees and flowers and gardens and sheep and always, always dogs.

Seize the day!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's Never Enough

I've been told that when a dog is ready to cross the rainbow bridge....they will tell you.  I used to take comfort in that promise.  "You'll'll know when it's time".  And yet I find myself clinging to today.  What if I'M NOT READY!!!!!! I don't want to say good bye for now.....I want you to sleep next to me at night, curling up tight into my back as if I was your only source of warmth, forever.   I stop and give myself THAT pep talk...the same one I gave myself when I put my Snook down.  It's the gift we get to give our dogs....the peaceful, pain-free passing.  And yet, I feel like I am letting her down!  Am I giving up too soon?  Are there more days to share between us?? The responsibility weighs so heavy on my heart.  I don't want her to suffer because I am a weak suck and I can not imagine my life without her.

My vet will arrive at 2:45.....I know the drill.  He'll ask me if I am certain; he wants me to have no regrets.  I'll tell him "yes" because I have searched through all my options.  I can prolong this, how many days, I am not sure.  Hand feeding her rotisserie chicken, rubbing her back and she pukes in the middle of the night and early mornings.  I can sit with her on the couch and stroke her little head and whisper sweet nothings into ear.  But I know...she is in pain.  She has good moments but they are fewer now, fewer than the bad.  And the bad, she takes because she wants to be with me. Always has, always will.

I took her for a walk around the pond today...just me and her.  She loved the forest of old Christmas trees grown big and wanted to test the pond water but lack of trust in her body got the best of her. She looked at me as if to say "why have we not done this before?"  Why indeed you naughty little Jack Russell; mostly blind, very deaf and full of self serving attitude.  Today she just followed me, delightfully sniffing all the smells of country living.  She had the most difficult time with the move here, but now I believe she loves it the most.  She sat and waited for me at the back gate while I did my chores, all snug in her pink and green tartan jacket.  Our ritual followed to the finest of details as I walked back through the gate, jumping up and nipping at my hand and prancing back to the house.  Exhausted from the field trip, she now lays tucked up against me as I write out my breaking heart.

God, please grant me the strength to be a promise keeper.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas.....

It happened.....almost picture perfect to how it was dreamed.  Last week, I got up, fed dogs, went out and did my chores, came in and had a cup of coffee with my son.  Then, together we went out and moved e-net,  I came in and flung some laundry around and put the clean dishes away......sounds like another day of living.  But for me, amidst living the day......I stopped and looked was the realization of a dream.  So many times of driving back and forth to my little slice of Heaven, 15 minutes each way, just to do chores, and while I drove I thought about living where my animals are.

Here I am, living that dream.  The sheep have settled into their new loafing shed and the idea that many a field are available for grazing.  The dogs love the big field, the running around and the sheep work. There are days where I have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming......some days I feel like I am just visiting.

I took Sis out into the big field two days ago.  The fenceless side now has e-net thanks to a good friend and a big Premier order.  We drove the sheep around....and worked on outruns......and as we walked back for the day....we both felt it.  Hard to put into words....but the feelings .....I just love it here.

It's our first Christmas, the house is decorated and the tree is absolutely perfect despite it's flaws. I cut it down from our little tree grove.  The sheep will get some time in the pasture below before I tuck them in for the evening.  The rain is supposed to let up this weekend and I am looking forward to sharing some dog work on Saturday.

I always want to remember.....all the things that have brought me here. All the details that make this, right here, so amazing.  The big field, the well, the quiet, all the nature that calls this home, the big red antique barn, the tranquil pond.....the still and almost mundane moments that add up to make this perfect. I must be getting is not the big and flamboyant expectations but instead the small, priceless tiniest of details that take my breath away.  May my eyes always be looking for the miracles....

Merry Christmas!

Seize the day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Yesterday was a routine on a ranch means there will always be something to do.  I started the day with a quick brace drive of the sheep to the bottom pasture with Sis and Bella, then I worked Sis.  I wandered around trying to sort which of the gopher/mole holes were new and set traps.  The "feral fail" cats, Hello and Sox, followed me around; talking, cheering, or offering advice, I am not sure which is was, but it was sweet having company.  I continued my efforts in mud control, moving stall mats around trying to guess which areas will receive the most pressure from the coming rains.  

Amidst the peaceful business of the day, I stopped and lifted my eyes and found some intense gratitude waiting for me.  For years, I have been dreaming of this place....I've dreamed of waking up to head out the door to do my chores.  I've dreamed of a big field to work dogs....stretch them out, walk along side to give understanding....all the little things a big field can provide.  I used to drive around and visualize what it must be like to live on the different properties that sparked my interest.  And here I am: living in a place that is pretty freaking, amazingly, wonderful. 

Funny how when I dreamed my dreams, I never really thought about the work and challenges.  Just like life, there certainly have been challenges galore here with the dreaded hemlock top of the list.  As I walk around, looking at the land.....the hemlock stalks have been removed and the blankets of baby hemlock being sprayed out every sunny day.....I know hemlock will be a foggy memory and friends will have to remind me of the acres of potential doom. I've cried a few times over the hemlock and the lack of viable feed.  I pulled myself up out of the dark....talked to a few friends....made a few back to the good work.....and the beauty of this land is beginning to peek back through.  I'm counting on Spring to showcase what has been planted this fall.

I wonder if it is human nature that makes me toy with the "if only's".  Like old muscle memory that needs to be wrestled and pinned....I find it easy to fall back to ideas of "if only there was no hemlock", "if only my fence guy would get here" "if only.......I did more, or ate less, or ran more miles....or".  Perhaps more than human nature, it is the perfectionistic nature I wrestle with....THAT nature seems to find the flaws and what needs work over the beauty and what work has been done.  For November, I worked on a daily gratitude list.  I want to work on my gratitude muscle; make it strong and dominant and something I live in. I want to remember my life and dreams along the way to fill me with the awe of my dreams coming true.

I'm working dogs in the bottom pasture.....I've ordered electro net to fence what needs to be fenced to get me through to the fence guy showing up.  This is the first time my family has seen me work and train dogs......Dave took this picture of Bella grazing sheep for the first time over the weekend.  This place is amazing......indeed it is exactly what I had hoped for.

Seize the Day!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Windows and Doors, Baby

They say that when God closes a door, he opens a window.......

The day after I put Miss BK down.....THIS happened:

This big gray kitty has been mousing in my field for a few months now.  Appearing feral as the day is long, running when it caught sight of me, I knew it was cavorting in my barn at night.  My game cam caught the cat the night before:

Last evening, I was tucking Hello in for the night...she was talking to me.  And as we chatted, I herd a little whisper meow and looked out to see the gray cat skulking around....looking very hungry. So I grabbed a dish and some kitty food and the rest is feral cat history part two:

I'm not sure where the cat spends her time....I think it is a her.  She is a lovely cat and ever so friendly but thinner than I have ever seen an animal; all ribs and back bone and hair.  I've begun the process of working with the fabulous Feral Cat Society to help get this kitty fixed.

I just read that the community I moved into has a huge feral cat problem.  I'm hoping that I can be a part of the solution......but don't want to become their favorite hangout.  I mean really.....I'm not a crazy cat woman....nor do I ever want to be. But that said, if this cat can have help with the rodents around the place.....she, who is now creatively named Socks...can stay.

Doors and windows, baby.

Seize the day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some Things Change....

I've got that Pretenders song stuck in my head of my favorite Pretenders: Hymn to Her.

"And she will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same.....

I've finally got the dog room/office heading in the right direction as I begin to unload the "guest room", moving my "things" and finding places.  I've got my filming/computer stuff, my dog stuff, my craft and sewing stuff and my memorabilia.  Big mistake opening some of those boxes before my deed was done today. That said, once opened, it is hard to shut the lid on the box of growing up before my eyes, puppies into 15 year old lady dogs....time marches on and I can grieve all I continues to march.  I love love love the genealogy writings done by some relative or another.  I wonder what stories those from days gone by, who share my genetic code, could I reminisce about mine.  Did they have a favorite dog, did they love being a parent to the depths of their soul, did they have friends that would move a body for them??  I think of them often as I look at old pictures and heirlooms that have been passed on, as treasures, to me.

We all have stories....., I think of my animal's sure has been a year of change.

Barn Kitty:  She moved into my little slice of Heaven 10 years ago, living in the hay loft, which was filled to the gills in the days of running 90 sheep.  She had been hit by a car and sported a broken shoulder.  I fed her and told her to stay as long as she liked.  Once she started getting around and feeling better, I realized that she had been somebody's house cat....she was declawed and spayed and about the nicest cat I had ever had.  Well, except when she wasn't because she was pretty bossy and would bite if she was not done with her daily lovings. She decided to stay.  I spent many a long day and longer night with Barn Kitty on my lap as I lambed or taught lessons or just farted around the farm. A little orange tabby cat moved in about 5 years ago and pissed Barn Kitty off (I know...very original name!).  BK moved out and I thought she was gone until orange tabby Cream was hit by a car on the very busy road my barn rested near.  Barn Kitty came right back and staked her claim and no other cat dared to move in since.  Until, Hello, the feral kitty, was dropped off by her even more feral mother.  BK tolerated Hello, in a love/hate sort of way....kicking her ass regularly and feeding Hello's thesis of "negative attention is better than no attention."

And then I moved......slowly, I moved the chickens, then Hello, then the sheep.  Hello was contained in an old milk parlor where I forced her to live until just recently.  I left BK out at the old place, visiting and feeding her once a day......hoping I could have some rhythm in the new and find a creative idea on how to move her.  The little old lady was riddled with arthritis and completely defenseless but she loved her barn and knew how to survive there.  When a human visitor moved in for a time, with her four legged partial pack of canines, Barn Kitty left.  It took me days to find and catch her, at which point I took her to the new place.

I guess my part time attention split between clearing clutter, moving, cleaning and selling, left me surprised at how I did not know how old and feeble my faithful cat had become.  I put her in a huge double crate in the milk parlor with Hello but the move did not go well.  Barn Kitty was getting old, struggled jumping up on a small crate to get to her table when I let her out for her daily pets.  She was not feeling well, not getting around, not digging the change and I knew.  I had to give myself that pep talk..the one about the gift we give our best friends....our pets.  It is always easier to give that pep talk to anybody but myself.  Instead of stress, radical change, and coyotes, I gave my girl peace....which has left me with a huge barn kitty sized hole in my heart.

It has been a year of change for sure.  I've said goodbye to memories stored in the walls of an old milk barn, my home of 20 plus years, my good and faithful heart dog, whom I miss more than words can say.  And then I lift my eyes and look at the amazing dream come true of my new big slice of Heaven and I know.  Deep in the deepest crevices of my soul, I know......this place was made just for me and a time such as this.  The passing of change are life....the pain a good reminder that I do actually have a heart that loves deeply and passionately.  For that, today, I am grateful

Barn Kitty, that'll do.  I'll see you on the other side.......

And she will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same.......

Seize the Day!!!!