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 know.....you'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 around....it 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 older.....it 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 day....living 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 plans.....got 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 today.....one 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 memories...kids growing up before my eyes, puppies into 15 year old lady dogs....time marches on and I can grieve all I like...it 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 tell...as 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..... ..today, I think of my animal's stories...it 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!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pickles

My new place...which will now be know as RDR because it has become the new location for Rocking Dog Ranch.....has not been loved on for many years.  The house and yard...yes....the bottom 40 yes, the top acres...no way.  What I thought was green grass, might have been but for the cows who lived here until the very last day they could.  They have grazed and trampled and left cow punching all over this place.  Then there are the thistles and blackberry bushes and hemlock...yes, hemlock....not to mention a few ground hornet's nests.

I begin the work of putting love into the land....trying to sweeten it and seed it knowing next spring will show the fruits of my labor.  While I work, I try to really see what needs attention...rocks that need moved, or places that needs sprayed out when the rain stops.  Oh, and we live off a well traveled road.....

Yesterday, I had the spreader on the four wheeler and I began the task of spreading grass seed.  My four wheeler is also now sporting a new to me sprayer on the back....one a friend gave me to save my shoulders and arms.  I was tootling along minding my own business and studying the ground as I came up over an incline, not used to the new weight of the sprayer while not seeing the T post barely sticking out of the ground. I started pulling right and turned to go with the flow....my spreader was a little less agile and I got stuck around that darn T post. My first pickle at RDR.

There I was, right there, largely visible from all the traffic headed to Turner.....stuck.  I tried to lift the darn spreader to move it but it had too much grass seed to even be budged.  I tried to put the four wheeler in reverse and back it all up but the grade of the hill was too steep and the angle of the spreader too jackknifed.  I had a little swearing session and remembered all the pickles I had been in at my other RDR. Oh those were the days.....and I might have taken for granted having really awesome pickle solving neighbors that would eventually come to the rescue and only laughed quietly.

What's a girl to do?  What's a girl to do that is appropriate along side a busy road where pretty much every single passer by was having a little lookie lou at my situation??  I got my hand push spreader, moved the grass seed and spread that steep little incline by hand.  Had to happen anyway.....got my fitbit steps in.....and it emptied the spreader allowing me to move it and get around that stupid tee post  that is in the middle of the field for no reason I can see at this time.

I've decided to apply my efforts to fields off the busy beaten path to Turner.  That way, I can wallow in my pickles without an audience.  I'm looking forward to some good dog work in the coming days.....pickle free!

Seize the Day!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Living the Dream...and All THAT!

You don't get the things you wish for, you get what you work for! 
Sometimes it's really hard and tiring, sometimes you'll feel like it's impossible and you're never going to get there. Sometimes you'll feel like giving up and sometimes you will slip up or throw in the towel. But if you want this, you really want it then you'll have to be strong and resilient, you'll have to be dedicated and you'll have to believe that it's possible to get there. Motivation is a day-to-day thing that you're responsible for, just as you need to be responsible for your actions. - It won't happen accidentally and it won't happen immediately. It's going to take deliberate effort every day and it's going to take hard work and consistency! .
I know I want it, I want to be my best and I want to live my best life possible and I won't give up on myself!
NOW, how bad do YOU want it and what are you prepared to do to get it?? ~Emily Skye


Emily Skye was talking about fitness and health.....however, this really spoke to me this morning as I think of my day ahead...and a bunch of days after that....as I work to beat the rain......oh, living the dream!!  The farmhouse is coming together nicely, my big project is staining the deck as I work on that  goal for timely completion.  


The land...well that is another matter.  No one has loved on this land for years and years.  I have weeds beyond the wildest imagination....thistles of every single variety and I think they have been cross breeding!  And then there is the dreaded  Mother of all Weeds....I've been putting on a backpack sprayer and walking daily.....hoping it counts as exercise and living with arms going numb at night.  


Then there were the coyotes that came in close last night......yipping and barking behind the sheep loafing shed.  I laid in bed contemplating getting up with my big flashlight and going out to scare them......all the while praying the little fence zapper is enough for now to zap those bastards.  


Here is what I am learning:

1) friends are amazing and the good stuff of life.  A good friend gave me a sprayer for the back of my four wheeler.  I now can carry 15 gallons of "die dreaded weeds" and still spot spray!  In addition, I have some pretty great rye grass to spread.


2) Dreams come with learning experiences.....and I have a lot of those to fall back on from previous "living the dreams".  Sheep with polio...well, I was able to see the symptoms pretty darn fast and treat with Thiamine and Banamine giving that particular sheep more time to live the dream with me.  I know what the dreaded Mother of all Weeds looks like in the infantile, easy to kill stage....and knowing that is powerful.


3) Hard work can be good for the soul....well at least mine.  I love getting down and dirty and then love even more sitting back and admiring my handy work.  As I make my list of things-to-do, it gets longer and longer but I am sorting out priority.  I think fencing my bottom 40 has begun to rise to the top...with that fenced, it will allow for grazing and dog work while I sort my closer pastures.  


I'm working on the allowing as well:  knowing I am right where I am supposed to be.  Being grateful as I go to bed at night for what was accomplished during the day...be it farm work or time with friends.  Finding that balance most certainly top of my list......now to figure out a way to get that pasture fenced so I can work dogs.  Living the dream.........


Seize the Day