We are accustomed to doing without some conveniences out here in the country. Oh, we have running water, but in the past when I’ve needed capers or a specific garden tool, we were miles away from getting what we needed when we needed it. When we finally finished the bank project (A RE-purposeful Life), I wanted to make sure my new plants got the water they needed, and my husband suggested pine mulch to keep the ground moist. Of course, there is not a nursery that sells pine mulch for miles, but I knew exactly where I could get it locally.
Our road is lined with a variety of trees. Leaves, pine cones, and pine needles cover both sides of our street every spring, and I hesitantly rake them up while fearing what animal I might disrupt from its rest. This time I gathered a rake and the wheel barrow and headed up the road to gather a couple of loads of pine needles without fear. I was on a mission. Unfortunately, I underestimated the number of loads I would need for my project, Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: Mother Nature Delivers What I NEEDle→
This week eleven goats waited patiently in two horse stalls to be hauled to the livestock auction while another family of three cruised the pasture. We spent last week trying to catch them all and get them contained in one place eventually building a chute to guide them into the barn.
Three to go.
No wait. What’s that? Remember that big, mean brown goat that I managed to capture by the horns and guide into a stall? The one that I eventually let out because he was crying? I saw it walking down the fence row. Wait. And there’s another. And another. I stepped up to the window and saw one of the barn doors on the ground. Seven goats had escaped!
It was Thursday night. The auction was Friday night. We had work to do. I can not put down the details of the three hours, but I am sure that any divorce court judge would side with me if I filed for divorce over the goat herding debacle. However, after the long, humid evening, we had twelve goats locked in one horse stall. The two that still eluded us were the twins, Susan and Elizabeth. Their mother was with the other eleven, so we hoped they would come up to the barn on their own. It didn’t happen.
If you asked me if I liked even or odd numbers, I would say “odd.” There is something about the numbers one, three, and five that intrigue me. You would never know this fact based on what’s going on out here at the ranch.
Cats: When we moved to the country in 2004 we brought along our two cats. Of course, back then we were “city” people, and I won’t even begin to tell you the exorbitant amount of money that was spent on each of them. A third cat eventually joined the group but died of an unknown illness. Really, I insisted on an autopsy…of a cat…and the findings were indeterminate. We were left with two.
Horses: Our Mustang, Jet, came to live with us because our neighbors had one too many horses. We were clueless new horse owners, but our friends are very experienced and have followed through on their promise to guide us in the right direction. “The right direction” included buying a horse friend for Jet. Roxy came to live with us just a few months after Jet’s arrival. It was great fun watching them get to know each other while they lived in the midst of all the goats.
Cats….again: Last summer my husband brought home two three week old kittens who had lost their mother. He claimed we needed barn cats. Here’s a little secret….we didn’t have a barn. We nursed them along and let them stay in the garage with a heat lamp during this cold winter. They are our outside cats. They enjoy bird watching and hopping in my car when I am late for work. Continue reading Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: Life is TWO Good→
For weeks I’ve gone to the goat shed to feed, and I’ve had my eye on a couple of goats that were pregnant. My mind was made up that I was going to make a documentary of them having the babies if I was home when they were delivered. I even looked up all the pictures that I could find on the Internet to see if I could handle what I was actually going to witness when a goat gave birth. How was I going to create something that did not have the feel of either Paranormal Activity or The Office? As it turns out, I missed all three deliveries. Yep, three. I was not prepared for the aftermath.
I had used my pregnant goats as a lure to teach my kids how great research could be. One student asked me how I knew a goat was pregnant. My reply was that it looked like a chair was sideways in its stomach. It was “just a feeling.” At the end of the lesson I showed them all a picture of the suspect. They agreed that I was probably right. For two weeks every day my students asked me if my kids had arrived. They hadn’t. The momentum was dying down and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen. It was about then that I realized there were three pregnant females on the premises. My students were so excited. I even got emails from parents inquiring about the event!
One Saturday I took off for an evening with some friends and left Greg at home to feed. Not thirty-five minutes after I left home, he called me to say that one of the goats had just given birth to twins. I’d missed it! This was compounded by the fact that the other one looked like she would give birth within twenty-four hours. A few hours later I called to make sure Greg had set up the heat lamps at the shed, and he informed me that we already had another set of twins!
The next morning I bundled up to head out into the below freezing weather to check on our new additions. Even though I’d missed the birth, I was armed with my camera. I was also carrying some compost pile material, so I separated from my husband to head in that direction first. I was not expecting the sound of distress that came out of his mouth, but when I looked in his direction, I understood. Maybe three feet from a heat lamp lay one of new baby’s lifeless little bodies. It was small and deflated as if Life had spent little time there. I could barely even see it. He hurried past it to the next pen where he found the same haunting image: one of the twins from the other doe, just a few feet away from warmth, was also dead.
Editor’s Note: If you are just beginning to read these entries, you may wish to start with the first, then the second before you begin this particular work. Thanks, Red Dirt Kelly
During the summer of 1937, at the age of fifteen, I took a job in Oklahoma City caring for three children of Dr. and Mrs. Cooper. I would take the train from Tuttle to Oklahoma City, then ride the interurban to within a few blocks of Dr. Cooper’s. When I’d hear the train blow the whistle down the track [when in Tuttle] I’d start to cry because I was already getting homesick. The first summer I didn’t come home very often. I had Dr. Cooper save up my money until I went home to start to school. I started out making $3.00 a week plus room and board. After Mrs. Cooper went to the hospital to have a baby they raised my salary to $4.00 [per day].
The Coopers had two girls and two boys. I’d cook breakfast, wash, iron, clean house and watch the children. I worked for them three summers and one Christmas vacation. I always bought clothes for school with my earnings. The first year I bought a rust colored coat, black dress with a lace yolk and black shoes. I thought I was really dressed up. I made $36.00 that summer; my coat cost $16.00.