Thursday, March 30, 2017


...then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. ~Genesis 2:7

I've been thinking about breathing lately.  It first started when I was watching an interview with a then 94 year old woman who taught yoga.  Tao Porchon-Lynch is now 98 years old, and I think she still teaches yoga.  When she was asked, what is the secret to her vitality and health, she answered, "It's about the breath.  Breathing takes away fear."  As I thought about when I first learned some yoga poses, I remembered the instructors teaching how to deeply breathe through each pose, and I remembered how effective it was to then focus on the pose or the stretch at hand.  I also remember the instructors saying, "Smile." I liked that part.  I don't practice yoga as a meditation, but I do enjoy it as a way to stretch and exercise for my health.  I find it relaxing too.

Later on I was reading from The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge where the protagonist, Mary, is reading from the diaries of her late Aunt Mary.  The diary told of her mental "terror of impending disorder" and how tired it made Aunt Mary day after day.  She wanted nothing more than to live in the country where there weren't so many social things pressing in on her fragile spirit. Eventually, she did move to the English countryside where she found peace and solace in breathing deeply the scents of flowers and fresh air and appreciating the beauty of her own garden.  Nature spoke to her weary soul --  every bee and butterfly, bird and tree. Mary knew she would have illness and depression in the winter months through the years, but she anticipated spring and knew she could hold on until then. She still had times when "she lost her reason" but she felt she could breathe in the openness of the country.  Do you ever feel that it is easier to breathe when you go on a country drive or when you take time to walk into nature and take it all in?  I live in the country and yet I need time to walk, to really look, to appreciate nature, and to be thankful for all of it.

A friend from church recently had a mini-stroke.  They didn't know why because she was in very good health.  She went to Mayo Clinic for further examination and the cause was stress.  She had been working very hard ranching beside her husband day after day, and her doctor said she needed to do less and relax more.  I don't know if the doctor said it, but I can imagine he might have said, "You need to breathe.  Deeply."  

One verse from the Bible that I am very fond of is this:  "Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:10)  Another translation says, "Cease striving and recognize that I am God."  All day long we strive, don't we?  We want to do more.  We want to do our best.  We want to perform up to the standards set before us.  Even upon our beds, our minds are racing, planning, anticipating, hoping, fearing.  Where is our rest?  When do we get to be still, breathe, and know that we are in God's hands?  Believe me, I know well that of which I speak. 

I remember seeing one of my granddaughters hurt and upset.  She was crying and breathing so hard that it made her situation worse.  The more she cried, the more desperate she felt, the faster she breathed, until her mother said, "Just breathe with me -- slow breaths, in your nose, out your mouth.   Just breathe."  And together they slowed everything down.  The crying subsided, the fear abated, the breathing calmed, and the hurt was tended to.  

Why is it that we find it so hard to slow down, to experience the little things, to focus on the here and now, to be in the moment, to just breathe?  To just be.

As I took my walk this afternoon I thought about the animals I was seeing around me:  the cows chasing their calves, the sheep grazing in the hay field,  the geese floating in the reservoir, the pair of  antelope running at breakneck speed.  Were they worried?  Were they trying hard to be themselves?  Does an antelope worry that his speed is not fast enough?  Does the cow get upset that her baby is bucking and playing too much?  Does the goose have concerns about his ability to float as well as the duck?  No.  They are all content to be exactly what God made them to be. They can breathe, they can be still and know. 

And then do you know what I did?  I stopped walking so fast.  I purposely slowed my pace.  I made an effort to breath deeply, still walking, but breathing with intention.  It's a different feeling.  It's both exhilarating and relaxing.  

What do you think of the breath?  Of breathing deeply?  Of taking time to relax and to just be?  Thank you for taking time to read my scattered thoughts.  You are sweet to come this far with me.  Now let's breathe together.  And smile!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rainy results...

Over the past week we've had some warm temperatures, snow run-off, and rain!  There are puddles in the pastures, goopy gunk under gates, waters in the wadis, and we are happy as Herefords in a hay yard!  Yup!  It appears that we are going to get some spring showers and some wetness.  Even today we've had a few sprinkles and there's more in the forecast. 

We worked all the mature Hereford cows through the corrals and barn a few days ago and sorted them up by calving dates, three ways.  I was the gate swinger and all that muddy goop was where I was pushing cows through to their appropriate pens.  I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my job because not only was there mud to slog in, but there was warm sunshine too.  Perfect for this ranchgirl.

All of the cows are now out in their designated pastures doing what they are supposed to do:  eating grass and having their calves.  So far we've had no problems, but there are about 400 head yet to have their babies.  Driving out to check cows is like a daily Easter Egg Hunt, our eyes search and search looking for wet baby calves with their mothers licking them off and suckling them.

Around the home and gardens, I've been raking up dead willow branches in the backyard and digging out clumps of grass and weeds from amongst the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth spears that are shooting through the moist soil.  It's so exciting to see the new life happening right before my eyes.  It's days like these when we are so glad to live in the country and watch cows calving in the pasture right out of our front windows.  I told Hubs the other day, "People would pay to have our views and see what we see out of our kitchen windows -- even for a weekend."

On the topic of birds -- Peach, Toodles, and their Mom spied these Eastern Bluebirds in the tree patch next to their house.  They were  so kind to share their photos with me!  Will the bluebirds stay or migrate further south?  I don't know, but they do like rotted trees with holes in them for nesting, so it could happen that they decide to stay with us.  We have a large amount of flickers who like to nest in our  rotted trees too so time will tell.  No matter what they decide, it's so fun to see their bright blue wings flying amidst our leafless trees.

On another note, the septic system is clogged.....again.  Likely the roots from the Willow tree are interfering.  We will find out tomorrow.  Bummer.

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." 
~Doug Larson
ring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
Read more at:
Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
Read more at:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March snippets...

 Peach has a new chore.
She feeds the bum calf every day, three times a day.
She named her "Chickadee."
The poor calf was totally rejected by her mother.  Mama was a first-calf heifer and it is now likely her last calf.  It's so frustrating when a cow just won't take her baby no matter how much you try to make her.  On a better note, we just finished calving about 60 head of first-calf heifers and had no problems.  Now the second round of heifers (40 head) is on the hill and should start calving in about a week's time.  I'm making the night checks so the Sons can catch up on their sleep.  When the heifers start calving, the men will take over the night checks again.

 I'm not sure if I've introduced you to Conry.
He was one of the barn cats we got a couple years ago when we had a mouse explosion.
He's very silky and beautiful and he loves to mouse and bird hunt.  He loves affection and petting, but also adores his independent life out of doors.

We are dog sitting Sasquatch's dog for 10 days.  Our son is taking a hiking vacation to Moab so we've inherited a boarder, Hope.  Sue (below) doesn't always enjoy having her cousins visit, but she's getting along with Hope quite well.  Today I found the two of them digging around on the old straw & poop pile.  I'm sure that Sue was showing Hope the fine delicacy of feasting on rotted afterbirth,  just like a ranch dog should.  At least Sue's a good hostess!  Now they're swapping dry dog food.  Hope likes Sue's, and Sue likes Hope's.  Dogs.  Ya gotta love 'em.

 Sue will be 12 years old in April.
(That's very old for a Border Collie ranch dog.)

Give a dog a bone and she'll love you forever.
We always have the butcher save us a box or two of dog bones from our beef.
It sure keeps them occupied.

On another topic, I've been enjoying a very excellent book during Lent.  It's called Jesus the King by Tim Keller.  I started a nine day devotional with my online Bible app which had excerpts from the book.  I liked it so much, I decided to buy the book and continue to study the life and death of Jesus through Lent.  I'm learning so much from Tim Keller and from the Book of Mark which it is based on. 

One snippet from today's reading:

People who believe more must not be hard on those who believe less.  Why?  Because faith ultimately is not a virtue; it's a gift.  If you want to believe but can't, stop looking inside; go to Jesus and say, "Help me believe."  Go to him and say, "So you're the one who gives faith!  I've been trying to work it out by reasoning and thinking and meditating and going to church in hopes that a sermon will move me--I've been trying to get faith by myself.  Now I see that you're the source of faith.  Please give it to me."  If you do that, you'll find that Jesus has been seeking you--he's been the author of faith, the provider of faith, and the object of faith.

We've had a beautiful day on the prairie today.  When I woke up at 2 a.m. to check the heifers, I was all bundled up against the cold, and when I walked out the door there was a warm, south wind blowing.  I checked the thermometer when I got back in and it read 58*.  Balmy!  Today we topped out at 71* which is very warm for us in March.  I had some Front Porch Time soaking up the sun and reading my books.  We are hoping and praying that we will get some moisture soon -- rain or snow, it doesn't matter to us.  Despite the snow we had this winter, it is very dry here.  Whenever I go out to feed cows and sheep, all my eyes focus on is the dirt and the cloud of dirt behind my tires.  There is very little green grass coming.  The weather forecast does sound promising though!  For that, I'm grateful!  

We continue to see more and more birds migrating back to us.  The meadowlarks are trilling in the morning hours, and we hear a robin chirruping now and then too.  The Red-winged blackbirds are singing their cock-a-ree song and the Killdeer have been dipping in our pond near the house.  I saw some ducks on the reservoir today, but I couldn't make out what variety they were.   It's always exciting to hear and see those familiar birds again.  I hope you're spring is full of good things that draw you close to the Creator. 

My dear, he said, 'Love, your God, is a trinity.  There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each.  They are these, "Lord have mercy.  Thee I adore.  Into Thy hands."  Not difficult to remember.  If in times of distress you hold to these you will do well.'
~The Scent of Water
by Elizabeth Goudge

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Bluebirds of Happiness have descended upon us!  Just a few landed on Monday as the wind blew a cold snap in.   I spotted one bluebird along the road as I went to feed livestock and then J.Lo called in the afternoon and said they had a small flock in their back yard, and to, "Come see!"  She snapped the pic.  J.Lo and her children are participating in Project Feeder Watch this winter as part of their home school science program.  Sometimes the feeder watch people want a photo to positively identify birds that their reporters see.  This happy landing will be a nice addition to their journals and reports.

Isn't this Mountain Bluebird striking against the brown background?  Of course, they are just passing through, I'm sure.  We haven't seen them since.  Now there is snow on the ground and cold again.  If we can just hold out until Tuesday, it sounds like it's going to warm up then.   We can do it; we're rugged prairie savages!

Other birds we've seen showing up are:  Towhee, Tree Sparrows, Canada Geese, and Juncos.  

Are you seeing any birds migrating?

The bluebird enjoys the preeminence of being the first bit of color that cheers our northern landscape. The other birds that arrive about the same time--the sparrow, the robin, the phoebe-bird--are clad in neutral tints, gray, brown, or russet; but the bluebird brings one of the primary hues and the divinest of them all.  ~John Burroughs

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

For baby...

Picking posies
Red rosies
But leaving a few
For bees to sip and chew 
So they can make honey
For our Baby Bunny.
A first doll softie
for our newest babygrandgirl -- Bunny.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

First calves born....

Yesterday this lil heifer calf was born to a first-time mama.  We've had some pretty nice days lately, and Mama picked a good day to bring her baby into the Big Ol' World!  Two more heifer calves were born today.  We should be on a roll with new babies coming daily!

Meanwhile, I've been taking advantage of these warm days by washing our filthy coats and gloves after lambing season.  Not that we won't get dirty during calving season.  We will.  But you know, sometimes you just hafta start fresh even though you know you're going to get dirty again in no time.  I've also been washing the mud room rugs and putting them in the sunshine to dry.  The clothes line is getting a good spring workout with all those work clothes.  The sheets went on the line to dry this morning, and I can hardly wait to climb into crisp, sun-dried, wind-whipped sheets tonight!  Oh, the lovely smell!  I've been airing the house too with windows wide open while the 60 degree breezes blow through and carry the stale air out.  I spent a little time soaking in some sunshine and indulging in my current book:  The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge.  It might be my favorite book, but then again, I have quite a few favorite books! 

I hope you've had a nice Saturday.  What's new at your house?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

All done!

 The last bunch of ewes and lambs.

 The little lambs are 3 day old bum lambs and the two bigger lambs were bummed today when their mother died in the pasture.  Look at the difference in size.  
The big lambs are about 14 days old.

The last ewe lambed today!  We're all done!  The next round of lambs will come in May when the yearling ewes will have their babies.  We docked a small bunch couple days ago and a bunch today, and we'll have one more bigger docking to do in a few days.
Here's the Tally:
38 ewes had 70 lambs
That's 180% on this bunch!

Next up:  Calving Heifers!  They are due any day.  We have a group on The Hill close to our house so where can keep an eye on them.  This bunch was bred on the same day so it is possible that we will have a lot of babies coming all at once!  Stay tuned!


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